Veteran Stories:
Cleve Conlon

Army

  • The Memory Project, Historica Canada
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"I was ordered to lead the regiment, that day, up to Hill 195 and to capture it, which we did."

Transcript

It was reported that this was lightly held, but we ran into heavy opposition there. And it was the key point, an enemy anti-tank screen—of an enemy anti-tank screen. And it had to be reduced by artillery and a division of infantry, a couple of days later. We spent all day in front of Quesnay Wood [France], being shelled, being shot at by anti-tank fire. A number of our men were killed there.

We fought there all afternoon and all evening. And, with the tanks in defensive position, we spent the night there. No. 1 Squadron [Governor General’s Foot Guards] went into action that morning with 21 tanks, and when night fell, they had seven left. No. 2 and 3 Squadrons lost 15 tanks between them. So, you could figure that we had about 40 tanks going into action, and we lost about 15 of them, which would mean that we had about 25 tanks—a good-sized squadron left.

We later learned that an intelligence officer, who had been going from Point A to Point B in that particular area, had been taken prisoner with a marked map of exactly what the attack was going to do, what it was designed to do. That is why they were so heavily armed and so ready to destroy us. Now, the next morning, we were told that The British Columbia Regiment [(Duke of Connaught’s Own)]had been completely wiped out. The only people who were left were three men, with their tanks, who had been left out of action, and they called them LOB, “left out of battle.”

We had an Orders Group,* and we were also told that The British Columbia Regiment had been attacking Hill 195 [north of Falaise, France], but they had lost quite a number of tanks, that they weren‘t sure whether they had reached the top of this hill or not, that the infantry were below that hill, facing up, and that they were under very heavy fire.

I was ordered to lead the regiment, that day, up to Hill 195 and to capture it, which we did. It was about, I suppose, maybe a mile and a half, two miles, to pull ourselves out of there—out of—in front of Quesnay Wood, and to move around, and go back through Grainville-Langannerie [France], and up onto Hill 195.

* An Orders Group was an informal meeting during which orders were passed from commanding officers to lower ranks.

 

 

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