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Posted: Jun 13 2015, 02:35 PM
Member No.: 31
Joined: 13-June 15
My name is Steve Wood, my grandfather was drafted to the 53rd Welsh and I'm looking for people who are relatives of some of his friends, squad mates etc.
His name was Samuel Richard Wood (Sam) originally from Abertridwr, he had moved to Edgeware in London, he enlisted at Warley on the 3/12/1942. I know he was on the second wave of D Day landings but I don't know which beach.
Recently I've been sent Sam's service book and a couple of photos by my Mum as I'm trying to get some background on what my grandfathers involvement in the war was. I will upload the photos shortly and hopefully someone will be able to identify some of the men that are with him in the photos.
My father died in 2011 and I had only asked about my Grandfathers service life and experiences a few times, it wasn't something my father enjoyed talking about.
I also have a extract of a news paper story by the Herald which I see someone has uploaded the original copy, which is what made me write this in hope that I can indeed find people who had relatives that knew Sam.
The only story my father could tell me without being brought to tears was about Sam's first days in France, I'm looking to validate this story -
Sam rolled off the troop transport with his squad and a 6 Inch gun (I think), unfortunately the landing craft had not got close enough to the beach so as soon as the Land Rover/Jeep pulled off the gun sunk into the sand and was not able to be retrieved.
They decided to push on regardless and traveled to their rally point, unable to do much else they set up camp.
Some time later in the night they heard noises coming from the adjacent field, either Sam or another member of the squad went to have a look and a German quad with a field gun position was being set up. They re-grouped and tried to decide what to do, before they could do anything there was a barrage of artillery fire (Dad thought allied navel? but I don't think Sam cared to ask questions at the time!) so they scattered to find cover.
Sam took up in a crater created by a barrage the day before they had arrived, Dad always said Sam was never a believer in things like luck etc but he thinks the reason was "Lighting Can't Strike Twice etc". Anyway, the barrage continued into the night and early morning, during the night Sam heard a scrambling from the opposite side of the crater. Unable to speak Sam sat quietly, after the shelling had stopped and the air cleared he could see that it was a German soldier in the opposite him. Whom when seeing my Grandfather immediately surrendered, Sam didn't have anything on him that would help taking a prisoner so they got to talking. Luckily Sam didn't have to try out his German and he spoke very good English.
They spoke about their lives before the war, what they did, their families etc The German guy was a butcher by trade, my Great Grandfather was a green grocer by trade so they had plenty to talk about!
Sam swapped addresses with this soldier, my Dad could remember getting Christmas cards from this soldier and his family but they eventually stopped. I'm guessing Sam sent them one back until they stopped.
Anyway at day break they shook hands and went their separate ways, Sam went back and met up with the rest of his squad, they surveyed the field next to them and discovered that the German squad had not returned but had left their field gun all set up and ready to go.
A spotter came over the Radio and informed the squad of a line of German vehicles making their way to the beaches. Getting their co-ordinates they used the German field gun to strike the convoy, they disabled and destroyed a number of the vehicles causing the spotter a bit of confusion. Sam recalled the conversation - "What the bloody hell are you using, no 6" gun I know can do that" the response was - "A German field gun (make model etc) ours is too busy taking a swim" Or something like that.
If anyone knows of a similar story I would be very grateful if someone could fill in the blanks for me.