Cpl Gordon Penter 3781977 B Coy 1st South Lancs

Discussion in 'British Army Units - Others' started by jimi66, Jul 17, 2012.

  1. jimi66

    jimi66 Junior Member

    Presently working with Gordon on collating information regards 1st Battalion South Lancashire Regiment actions from Sword Beach to Chateau La Londe were Gordon's involvement in the war ended due to a serious injury sustained from a German sniper.Gordon is hoping he can add to the information already here from other members and hopefully contact any other surviving D day veterans.

    Jim Doyle on behalf

    Cpl Gordon Penter
    B Coy
    1st Battalion South Lancashire Regiment
  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive


    Can you ask him if he knew a Peter Carroll and Andrew O'Neil Both 1st Battalion - I would love to know what Company(s) they were in.

  3. jimi66

    jimi66 Junior Member


    Can you ask him if he knew a Peter Carroll and Andrew O'Neil Both 1st Battalion - I would love to know what Company(s) they were in.


    Will do Drew,will speak to him today
  4. jimi66

    jimi66 Junior Member

    Dear Colonel Bostock,
    Thank you very much for your extremely kind reply to my letter and also your thoughtful gift of the S Lancs Newsletter and excerpt from the Regimental history. However, on reading page 408 of the history, I once again came upon the misinformation that was present in the divisional histories, in as much as it states that the “German counter attack overran “B Company’s position and forced the company to fall back to Le Londel.” On the contrary, we stood our ground until overwhelmed. In contrast the account of the action by Lt Col Jones, then of course Lt Jones,in the newsletter of Spring ’86, was far more accurate an account. In it he says he was moving platoon of “A” Coy up to reinforce “B” and met Captain Murison coming back to make contact. At this moment shelling and mortaring of a heavy intensity fell on the position whilst we were still digging in, He then stated “B” Company was overrun and there were few survivors. Lt Colonel Jones was of course not with “B” Company itself but his account is true to the facts as could possibly be in the circumstances.
    At the start of the last week in June, “B” Company had been ordered (as part of the Battalion plan) to put in a silent night attack on the Chateau- Le- Londel position. As I remember it we formed up just before midnight and moved across what I think was a cornfield in open order. We had not gone very far before sporadic artillery fire started dropping amongst us. However , although there were a few casualties, we kept on moving forward and it was not until we entered the wood at the far end of the field that we came under enfiladed machine gun tracer fire what appeared to be at least two or three weapon positions deep in the wood.
    At the time I was very near to the Company Commander, Captain Murison, and on seeiing me he ordered me to collect the bren gunners of the Company and engage the German positions. Although it was extremely dark with much shooting, I managed to get most of them to my position, and allotted two or three to each weapon pit. Eventually, after a hectic exchange of fire and using the tracer as a guide, we silenced the positions. The Company by then had well infiltrated the wood and we overran their positions. Some of the Panzer Grenadiers were wounded, some captured and the rest fled, I remember thinking we must have taken them by surprise after all. We then moved forward to the hedgerow which faced the Chateau and proceeded to dig-in in what was a shallow ditch. For the next hour or so we were subjected to some not very heavy mortar fire, and as I remember, we all thought that reinforcements would arrive, including anti tank guns and armoured vehicles for this had been the case in previous attacks. We were sadly disappointed. In the early hours of the morning we were subjected to an intense mortar and artillery bombardment and this was extremely accurate as of course they well knew our positions. As I recall they were using a lot of airburst shells. Worse was yet to come. After what seemed an eternity and when we were still trying to burrow into the earth ,we heard the dreaded sound of tank engines immediately before us. They were also now using smoke on each side of our positions. Our Canadian Platoon Commander and Sgt Horan ordered us to engage the flitting shapes we could now see coming through the wood in the glare of the bursting shells. This we did with great gusto, but it was to no avail. By now the tanks, some of which I think were Panthers, were rearing up over the hedge, some actually falling on the sections in the ditch. Also their Panzer Grenadiers had broken through the smoke and were coming round the back of us.
    It was by now chaos, and we were standing up trying to take them on as we were completely surrounded; armoured vehicles at both flanks and enemy infantry front and back. I well remember we engaged what appeared to be a German Platoon coming swiftly towards us , our lads were dropping like flies . All of a sudden I felt as though I had been hit in the face with a sledge hammer and I was thrown across Sgt Horan who seemed to be hit at the same time. I felt “this is it”, as I was choking with blood and bone in my throat, and I could not see through my left eye. I was not aware of much at that moment although I never lost consciousness but evidently I owe my life to a L/Cpl Ball, who cleared my throat and applied a shell dressing to the large wound in my face. Sgt Horan was now dead as seemed to be most of our platoon, and the action was ended. Even at that time. I remember the Germans lining up the survivors to march away to captivity. I also recall them brining up a truck and loading our dead into it. All the wounded including me were taken forward o their regimental aid post which was by the Chateau and we were treated with great respect. All around the Chateau were a considerable number of tanks hull down in soil bunkers. I was now quite sure the powers that be had under estimated the enemy strength, certainly considering we had no major anti tank defence.
    I myself had a nightmare journey to a prison hospital in Rennes, because of the Allied planes and bombardment we took a devious route through the bumpy roads choked on both side with destroyed enemy vehicles. When I eventually reached the hospital at Rennes I was given a huge morphia injection and I remember no more for a considerable time, Eventually I was operated on, and it was then that I learnt that I had been sot through the left side of my face, the bullet had entered two inches below my left eye and penetrated through the roof of my mouth and out through my upper lip and nose. I was eventually freed by the American advance and returned to this country where I received plastic surgery. I am now 68 and alive and well.

    Ex 3781977 Cpl G Penter
    “B”Coy 1st Bn The South Lancashire
    Regiment (PWV)

    Gordon is now 89 and still alive and well in Liverpool and looking forward to his 90th birthday in November
    dbf likes this.
  5. jimi66

    jimi66 Junior Member

    Hi Drew,
    Spoke to Gordon this morning but he has no recollection of the two lads mentioned.Were they at the Dunkirk action? Gordon joined up with the 1st South Lancs from The Kings Reg in 1942.Gordon mentioned that a lot of the original lads from Dunkirk action moved onto to other units.Gordon sends his regards Drew.

  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Thanks for asking.

    Peter Carroll was killed in Belgium during the retreat to Dunkirk in 1940.

    Andrew O'Neil (Corporal) was wounded on the beaches during D-Day and that was the end of his war. He was a pre-war regular who fought with the BEF in 1940.
  7. Danielryan2012

    Danielryan2012 Junior Member

    I spoke to Gordon in Bluecoat today and he said, he's not too sure because the they could've been in different regiments within the battalion. He also said that if he did know them it was probably on by first name, I hope this comes in handy!
  8. Pete Keane

    Pete Keane Senior Member


    In relation to Corporal O'neill - I believe he was either A or C Company, they were the two companies of the S Lancs engaged with the enemy on the beach.

  9. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Thanks Pete - I really should finish the research on the GF's family members.
  10. Seagull99

    Seagull99 Junior Member

    I am doing research on the Penter family tree and came across George's nam. My father was Walter Penter, he was wounded in 1945 and was cared for at St Dunstans. He died in 1959. I wondered if George knew him. Also could George give me any information on his family ?
  11. jimi66

    jimi66 Junior Member

    Hi Seagull with great sadness that Gordon passed away 08th Feb 2013
  12. jimi66

    jimi66 Junior Member

    It is with great sadness that 3781977 Cpl Gordon Penter of B Company 1st Battalion South Lancashire Regiment passed away suddenly 08th February 2013.A tragic loss to all his family and friends and people who knew him.Gordon was a veteran of D day and landed on Sword Beach Queen White and fought with with his comrades through to the fateful day he was severely wounded and captured at Chateau La Londe. RIP Gordon my old friend back with your comrades,Joan and David now
  13. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    My condolences to his family :poppy:
  14. jimi66

    jimi66 Junior Member



    Dear Editor,
    I am writing in the hope that the following letter may be of interest to past and present members of the regiment.
    Quite recently a quite amazing meeting occurred one that I had not thought possible after so many years. It had first come about through the 50 years celebration of the “D” Day Landings in Normandy. Although at the time I was not able to attend myself, I saw in the photos published later in the “LAD” some face from the past.
    They were Major Rouse, Lt. G. Wilson and Cpl Gerry Mather, at the time I did not understandably recognise any others.
    I then contacted the late Col. Bostock and he kindly put me in touch with Gerry Mather and also Lt. George Wilson (who was my platoon Commander on “D” Day).
    Sadly the Lieutenant was wounded on that day and was returned to England and I was never to see him again till recent years although he did return to the Battalion later.
    Since getting in touch with Gerry, I have visited him and his wife in “HIGHHAM-IN-PENDLE” where he now lives and they also visited my home in Liverpool. I also met Lt George Wilson and his wife and we had a lovely lunch at the “Wigan Tree” in Parbold not to far from his home in Leyland.
    Gerry has also been in touch with two other “B” Company members who live not far away from him and eventually it was managed through the kindness and effort of Gerry’s wife Elizabeth that we four and our wives would meet for lunch at a pub in FENCE(Pendle).
    You may imagine how the years rolled back… The other two old soldiers were Ken Lomax who lives near Bolton and Tom Macro from Colne. As far as I am aware I know of only one other from the ill fated “B” Company of the period mentioned at the beginning of my letter. He is ex L/Cpl Hector Ball and like me lives in Liverpool, there may be a few others who hopefully may read this letter.
    Naturally during the course of our meeting we exchanged memories particularly of the night attack on the Chateau. Gerry, Tom and myself being there, Ken having been shot in the head by a sniper on “D” Day morning and obviously very lucky to survive, he still has a metal plate in his head.
    Each of the remaining three was able to enlighten the others on events that the others were unaware of at the time (remember the action took place in the middle of the night).As you may be aware I have already wrote about my personal re-collections of the action but I was amazed at what Gerry and Tom told me.
    In the case of Tom he told me that when the enemy brought their tanks up. Pandemonium reigned as of course no anti tank weapons were available to us except for one P.I.A.T Bomber. Tom tried to get the weapon but his platoon Commander ???? him to it, unfortunately the bomb he fired fell short. Tom then to say that in the ensuing confusion which was now becoming a slaughter, he looked over a nearby hedge and found himself staring straight at a German Tank, its Commander was standing with his head out of the turret and luckily for Tom did not fire, but beckoned to him. Tom of course decided the best thing was a hasty retreat.
    Then Gerry came up with a tale that even after 50 odd years sent a shiver down my spine. He said that when the action had come to its inevitable conclusion and the few unwounded survivors were lined up a German S.S officer arrived in the German version of a jeep, he was probably from the 12TH S.S (JUEGEN) Division who were immediately on our right flank.
    None of our lads could understand much German but they were soon able to get the gist of what he was saying. In fact he wanted all prisoners to be executed, that would of course included the wounded which meant L/Cpl James and myself who were then at the German aid post. Thankfully this officer was given his marching orders by the officer in charge of the Panzer Grenadiers. Incidentally none of the lads including myself had anything bad to say about our captors with the obvious exception of the S.S Officer.
    About the whole night action we were all agreed that something had gone dreadfully wrong with our support. From when we consolidated after we initially took the position, I should say approx 01:00hrs until the German counter attack Capt Munison must have decided to personally contact Battalion Headquarters to find out what was happening. This was confirmed in the excellent article by Lt Col Jones then of course a Platoon Commander in “A” Company, who was coming to contact us. He states that as he was approaching our position he met Capt Munison coming towards him, immediately after them meeting an enemy box barrage came down on our position making it impossible to get in our out.
    As a finale Gerry told me that he and Tom where sent to a prison camp in the east of Germany, they were eventually released by the Russians who would not repatriate them until the British had acceded to Stalin’s demand that they hand over the Russians who had fought on the German side. They were all executed.
    I close now Sir enclosing a photo of the four of us at our meeting, I remain yours truly

    Corporal G Penter.
    1st Battalion South Lancashire Regiment
    D Day Normandy And Beyond

    Gordon was laid to rest united with his loving wife Joan, beloved son David and his fallen comrades in arms 22nd February 2013 his family and friends were present to celebrate his life and witnessed two standard bearers preform their duty whilst the last post was played be-fitting of a devoted family man and soldier of B Company 1st Battallion South Lancashire Regiment.Till we meet again further down the road my old friend you will live on through we who had the honour of knowing you.RIP Gordon Ich Dein

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