Archie Ratcliffe’s further thoughts
Notes from Mr Archie Ratcliffe
Some late thoughts that got lost and not printed.
Extracts from correspondence with Stan Mallett
Re the Padre
I watched him moving from corpse to corpse collecting dog tags and giving the last rites to severely wounded, using a stubby pencil to jot down the details on a tattered note pad. I’m not religious, but I felt that I was watching God at work. Cpl Middleton lost his life by driving “up and down” the beach until he was shot up by heavy machine gun fire. He and Jock the Medical Orderly were using the jeep to get the wounded back to what little shelter there was, and saw so many of the lads and the Yanks killed and wounded. All of our four BDS lads were killed. Later that evening while getting off the beach Stan Mallett (and) another lad took two Jerries, but Stan said that they threw down their rifles, as obviously they had had enough.
Found out that Sgt Humble had been blinded.
“Hoppy” Highfields was killed as he landed.
The call signs were “Loophole” and “the swim”.
God knows where we went after leaving the beach area, I can remember crawling up a lane with a machine gun pinning us down. Luckily a Yank with a bazooka did the job in getting rid of him, we eventually got up to the top of the cliffs and assembled with the Yanks on top of the cliffs where the Military Cemetery is now at St Laurent.
Must get in touch again with Stan…
The one surprise is what I call the mental distress that surges back when I recall those harrowing days. It would be reasonable to suppose that after 60 years my attitude of mind of those times would be so deeply buried into my sub conscience (sic), but they do surface occasionally but not as intense as they once were. These feelings of regret and sadness are with me still, there are not many days go by without some reflection of those brutal times.
Stan has unfortunately since left us; but never forgotten.