Eric Downingand suddenly you know the whole turret was flame and smoke and I thought hell Ive been hit within the first few minutes like
Eric Downing – Film 1After three months training, Trooper Eric Downing, was posted to B Squadron of the 22nd Dragoons. He was a gunner and would soon be training in one of the RASCs new mine clearers, the Fail tank. Bish as hes also known gives a fascinating and emotional account of D day and the advance into Europe.
Eric Downing – Film 2It was at Stow-in-the-Wold in Gloucester when Eric first sees a Flail Tank in operation. He remembers a sense of wonderment when seeing it in full operation. He goes on to explain what it was like to be inside.
Eric Downing – Film 3Preparation for D Day. As mine clearers the Flail tanks were some of the first onto the beaches so they headed out on June the 5th for France. When they reached the Needles off the Isle of Wight it was called off. For the next 24 hours their LST is tossed around in heavy seas and every-man onboard is as sick as a dog. After a long night, the dawn breaks and Erics tank rolls onto Juno beach.
Eric Downing – Film 4Stranded on a rise at the top of the beach, Erics Flail tank is a sitting duck. Their Commander who has been shouting orders is shot in the face and Eric is forced to climb out of the tank.
Eric Downing – Film 5In amongst the mayhem of the D Day, a young girl hands Eric a black and white photograph of her pushing a pram. Many years later that photograph plays a big part in Erics life. Three days after their tanks track is blown off the REME come to the rescue.
Eric Downing – Film 6Eric recalls some of the operations that he and his crew were called upon. Several incidents define what the true meaning of terror must feel like.
Eric Downing – Film 7Onto Belgium and Holland when winter sets in. Laid up for a period in a farmhouse, warfare takes a back seat and young Eric becomes the butt of some funny experiences.
Eric Downing – Film 8As the Second World War reaches its final days an emotional Eric recalls the moment when he inadvertently kills an innocent person. Very hard to view this without a lump in your throat.
and suddenly you know the whole turret was flame and smoke and I thought hell Ive been hit within the first few minutes like