19 October 2016

Sheldrake - Memories of a WWII Gunner

Richard Hughes was an artillery officer with the British Army in World War II. He was sent to Europe twice. The first assignment in 1940 was short lived, as he joined the hopelessly ill equipped and overwhelmed Allied forces in France. The superior German army pushed them back to the English Channel at Dunkirk, and Hughes was one of some 300,000 troops miraculously rescued from the beach by a flotilla of small boats.

In 1944 he returned to France as apart of the Allied invasion, this time as a Major commanding a battery of field guns with 497 Battery, 133 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery. The contrast is apparent. Now they were a well equipped, superbly trained and coldly efficient force. Supporting the Monmouthshire Regiment as they advanced across North West Europe, Hughes was involved in numerous battles right through Europe to reach Hamburg, at the final surrender of Germany in May 1945.

He received a Military Cross and was Mentioned in Despatches during his service. The title 'Sheldrake' comes from the code word used by artillery officers when communicating via wireless.

Table of contents:

Part 1 - A Fortnight in France
Chapter 1 - The Beginning
Chapter 2 - A Fortnight in France
Chapter 3 - England - 1940-44

Part 2 - The Second Front
Chapter 4 - The Landings
Chapter 5 - Hill 112
Chapter 6 - Battle for Le Logis
Chapter 7 - The Incident on Hill 210
Chapter 8 - The Battle for Leffard
Chapter 9 - Necy - Tiger Corner
Chapter 10 - Sweep Through France
Chapter 11 - Belgium
Chapter 12 - Voorheide
Chapter 13 - The Battle for s'Hertogenbosch
Chapter 14 - Assault Crossing of the Wessem Canal
Chapter 15 - On the Maas
Chapter 16 - The Ardennes
Chapter 17 - 'Operation Vertiable' Reichswald Forest; Weeze
Chapter 18 - Crossing the Rhine
Chapter 19 - 'Operation Eclipse' Final Push Through Germany
Chapter 20 - Postscript

Appendix 1 - Military Cross and the King's Letter
Appendix 2 - Mention in Despatches
Appendix 3 -  497 Field Battery, Royal Artillery
Appendix 4 - 25 Pounder Field Gun

Available from:
Pen and Sword

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