Bill WardIts frightening to be on guard duty because you dont know whats going to happen. You dont know if a German is going to pop up or two or three Germans are going to pop up. Youre there, what do you do? Very frightening.
Bill Ward – Film 1Bill Ward was conscripted into the army as soon as he turned 18. His over riding memory of his early days as an infantryman are of being very home sick whilst he undergoes basic training in Chichester, England.
Bill Ward – Film 2Bill volunteered for Commando training and was sent to Elgin, Scotland for some intensive training. Then its back to England and preparations for D-Day start in earnest.
Bill Ward – Film 3Bill gets on his bike and is surprised to find how difficult many of his friends find life in a saddle. He goes onto describe crossing the channel and being shocked to see that on Sword beach tanks wait for no man.
Bill Ward – Film 4Bill describes the scene on Sword beach. Once off he cant wait to ditch his bike and look for some real cover. Nothing prepares a man for the sound of a Spandau gun firing rounds across your head.
Bill Ward – Film 5Bill recalls the bombing of Caen. The devastation is brought home to him when a local takes him to one of the bomb shelters which wasnt up to the job. It still rankles him now.
Bill Ward – Film 6Bill is sent back down the line for a 2 day rest. It was welcome but it made going back to the frontline more difficult, you could smell when you were in the frontline, you could smell it because of as you say cattle, dead cattle, dead bodies. The Germans didnt bury our dead so we didnt bury their dead. We just left them there itself, but the smell of death was there. You knew you were in the frontline when you got this smell. Death all around you.
Bill Ward – Film 7Bill is almost beheaded by a tank barrel. He also has to rub his eyes when two Germans emerge from a wood carrying white flags. They request a ceasefire which gives enough time for both sides to remove the dead and wounded. There was to be not talking but some communication was unavoidable.
Bill Ward – Film 8Bill recalls Thury-Harcourt where the Germans had burst a dam and flooded the area. Its an area of intense fighting and he recalls his Bren Gun overheating. Soon after hes hit by a piece of shrapnel and loses his sense of hearing. Hes offered a choice and it probably ensured that we were able to interview him 70 years later. A wonderful story Bill. Thank you.
Its frightening to be on guard duty because you dont know whats going to happen. You dont know if a German is going to pop up or two or three Germans are going to pop up. Youre there, what do you do? Very frightening.