The National Archives | DocumentsOnline | Image Details [hr] From [The Glasgow Herald/i], June 12, 1940 SCOTS GUARDS IN NORWAY Thrilling Rearguard Action INDIVIDUAL DEEDS OF HEROISM Thrilling descriptions of the fighting in Norway and the evacuation were given by members of the SCOTS GUARDS when they were landed at a British West Coast port yesterday. For 10 days the Guards fought a gallant rearguard action of 140 miles before re-embarking. During the 10 days they were engaged in almost continuous hand-to-hand fighting with the Germans. Guardsman BRYSON, from Cumberland, who has won the D.C.M. described the action which earned him that honour. “I was the No. 1 gunner in a Bren gun section,” he said. ”Our platoon had been practically wiped out, and one of our men was lying wounded some distance in front of our position. My sergeant took over the gun, and I crawled out to my wounded comrade. “We were operating in a wooded part of the country, and I managed to get a little cover. I succeeded in getting to the man, and, lifting him on my shoulder, I had carried him some distance when a party of Germans approached. NARROW ESCAPE “I lay down behind a fir tree, and had to smother the groaning of my companion, who was badly wounded in the back. The Germans were almost on top of us, and fortunately they swung off a bit to the left and passed without spotting us. “I then managed to get the wounded man back to our position, where he received attention. “Taking over my Bren gun again from the sergeant I ‘bagged’ in a short time about 60 Germans. I kept shifting from one position to another and letting go a short burst of fire each time. The Germans made towards me, but I continued to change my positions and kept mowing down the enemy while they were searching for me. “During all this time the sergeant was keeping me supplied with ammunition, which he was bringing forward rapidly.” Guardsman BRYSON, with this particular sergeant, figured with distinction in two other encounters with the enemy. In one the pair were responsible for bringing down an enemy ‘plane with their Bren gun. In the second exploit the two gunners spotted a patrol of about a dozen German cyclists which was in the vanguard of an advancing enemy column. With admirable deliberation the pair held their fire until the cyclists were close on them. The whole patrol was wiped out. HAND-TO-HAND FIGHTING The Guards fought in Norway for 73 days, and a company sergeant-major from High Blantyre said of their conduct “Guards’ discipline and tradition were always in evidence, and these carried us through in many a tight situation. Our rearguard action was magnificent. Bavarian Alpine troops were opposed to us, and there was much hand-to-hand fighting. “We were greatly superior to the enemy in this type of fighting and inflicted very heavy casualties.” Regarding the rearguard action, the sergeant-major said, “We would fall back probably 10 or 15 miles and take up a position at a bridgehead. This we would hold sometimes for nearly 24 hours. When arrangements were completed for retirement we would blow up the bridge and fall back to prepare another position for a stand. These tactics were adopted right up to the last minute before we left Norway. TRAINING IN THE SNOW “When we arrived in Norway there was six to nine feet of snow on the ground. Our men knew nothing of skiing, but they took to it like ducks to water. Soon we were organising competitions, and gradually the men gained in proficiency until latterly most of them were quite good with skis and snowshoes. The training was something new for the men and they enjoyed it.” The sergeant-major told how one detachment, operating in snow about nine feet in depth, adopted something of the Eskimo tactic in preparing their encampment. The men dug down into the snow until they came to ground. Then they erected their tents in the hole. The tops were covered with blocks of wood and ice, so that the encampment was invisible from the air. “It looked like a vast snowfield,” he said. “Each tent had a primus stove, and fires were also lit from trees which they had found buried in the snow.” HOSPITALS PICKED OUT Indignation was expressed at the ruthlessness of the Nazi bombers. The first place the Nazi ‘planes made for, one Guardsman stated, was the hospital. Incendiary bombs were dropped on the buildings, which were set on fire. As casualties were being carried out on stretchers the ‘planes came down to little more than 50 feet and raked the men with machine-guns. The padre, the Reverend J. HAMILTON, St. Andrew’s, Perth, praised the Navy. “When we were being taken off,” he said, “a destroyer came into the wharf, tied up, took 500 men on board, and was steaming out again inside eight minutes.” The padre also spoke of seeing a Red Cross ambulance machine-gunned from the air by a Nazi aeroplane, although it was clearly marked.