Ian Hammerton – D Day – Tank CommanderIn this film we learn about Ian's early training onboard a Sherman Flail tank. As this was a new discipline for his Squadron all ideas were considered and some innovative suggestions are now commonplace on many vehicles. **Flailing is the process of clearing mines by deliberately detonating them in front of a tank with rotating chains.
Ian Hammerton 2 of 6Ian tries to explain what it was like to be part of a fleet of 5000 ships heading across the Channel, 'like a giant pulling ropes across the sea'. He also gets his first taste of how dangerous the landing would be when he sees a Spitfire blown out of the sky.
Ian Hammerton 3 of 6Ian's recollection of the mayhem around him is incredible. With the words of command ringing in his ears he is forced to leave drowning Canadians in the water. It's an emotionally charged account.
Ian Hammerton 4 of 6Ian's advance into France brings him face to face with a German POW. Initially he won't talk with them but when he sees Ian's crew eating breakfast his 'eyes almost pop out of his head' and they learn more about him. He was a German boy soldier of 15.
Ian Hammerton 5 of 6Flailing used to throw up massive amounts of mud and debris onto the tanks and clearing the periscopes was a regular job. It mean't getting out of the tank and becoming very exposed to danger.