Remembering Today 16/7/43 Private G.J.Williams 3910930 Durham Light Infantry 9th Bn.

Discussion in 'Durham Light Infantry' started by CL1, Jul 16, 2013.

  1. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Our bill likes this.
  2. Our bill

    Our bill Well-Known Member

    God bless this brave young man
  3. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    It is likely that Pte GJ Williams was KIA during the action to capture Primosole Bridge between 13 and 17 July 1943.

    The 1st Parachute Brigade, 1st Airborne Division, captured Primosole Bridge - part of Operation Fustian - on the night of the 13/14 July 1943. Unfortunately, a lot of the Para’s were dropped in the wrong place - a lot of them into the Med - some of the transports were shot down by 'friendly fire' and other transports returned laden to base. Only around two Coys of Para’s arrived at the Bridge. They were driven off the Bridge after heavy fighting with German Para’s at about 7 pm on 14 July 1943. However, the bridge was still intact and the enemy demolitions had been removed.

    The 151st Infantry Brigade, 50th (Northumbrian) Division, were ordered to march flat out to reach the bridge in gruelling heat and difficult terrain, the 9th Bn Durham Light Infantry at the van, followed by the 8th Bn Durham Light Infantry, then the 6th Bn Durham Light Infantry. The 9th Bn Durham Light Infantry arrived just south of the bridge, exhausted, at 9.30 pm shortly after the 1st Parachute Brigade had been driven off the bridge by German Para’s.

    An attack to recapture the bridge was made by the 9th Bn Durham Light Infantry at 7.30 am on 15 July 1943. The German Para’s were now situated on the south bank of the bridge in defensive positions. The 9th Bn Durham Light Infantry’s casualties were numerous. However, the German Para’s were driven back over the bridge, which was recaptured intact and by 9.30am one platoon of ‘C’ Coy had established itself on the north bank. Attempts by 44th Royal Tank Regiment to get its Sherman tanks over the bridge failed due to the attention of an enemy ‘88’ being used in an anti-tank role firing straight down the road and bridge.

    It was the turn of the 8th Bn Durham Light Infantry to attack using a ford to the west of the bridge in early hours of 16 July 1943. They too were able to establish themselves on the north bank, but not in great numbers or depth. They also had numerous casualties.

    The final attack was undertaken by the 6th and 9th Bns Durham Light Infantry at 1.00 am on 17 July 1943, again utilising the ford to the west of the bridge. Heavy fighting ensued again, but ground was gained and battalion HQ was able to cross to the north side of the bridge at 4.30 am. Thereafter, a German counter-attack including tanks was beaten off at 6.00 am, aided by artillery fire. The 6th and 9th Bns advanced and moved well beyond the bridge, the ‘88’ was removed and the 44 RTR’s Sherman tanks crossed the bridge. The German resistance was broken.

    The Gateshead Gurkhas (Moses) reports that 71 officers and men of the 9th Bn Durham Light Infantry were KIA at Primosole Bridge, another 62 were wounded and 63 missing. In addition, the 6th Bn Durham Light Infantry lost, approximately, 25 KIA and the 8th Bn Durham Light Infantry lost, approximately, 30 KIA.

    RIP Pte GJ Williams.

    Here is a link to his headstone, courtesy of Verrieres:

    NB. Pte GJ Williams service number is from the South Wales Borderers allocation.



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