IAN123.

The 508th at Tent City.

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A series of photographs prior to D- Day.

Most taken on Wollaton Park or in The Market Square. Most of these perished in battle in France and Holland etc..misc_11c.jpgrelaxing on the lion in 1944.

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christensen_edw_03.jpgBoys of the 508 Parachute Infantry..relaxing in what they called 'Tent City'..the Wollaton Park Camp.mccall_jg_10.jpg"England 1944"..such was the pre D- Day security.

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shanley_30c.jpgYou'll notice the arches of the Council house are filled with breeze blocks.

My late Mum often went to the camp and GI's would throw 12 packs of Juicy Fruit over the wire..she arrived home on Bloomsgrove St.with a 10lb tin of jam one evening...she never ate it again!Lamberson-02b.jpgSpring 1944..Wollaton Hall in the background.

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ob_hill_album_067b.jpgTwo Infantry men relax in Slab Square..'44.roper_eby_04.jpgUniformed men of the 508 posing infront of Wollaton Hall's Camellia House.

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smylie_james_b_msgt_03b.jpgA Notts establishment reserved for US Troops..an eagle eyed NS member might recognise the place..soldier on the left nicknamed it "The Doughnut Dugout".

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Strange coincidence for you.

 

508 were still considered green when operation Market Garden took place and they were assigned to protect the route that the main force had cleared.

 

Later at Nijmegen and Beek area they requested experienced armoured support and were given the Sherwood Rangers.

 

One of the guys was quoted as saying "They may be called green but they had no fear of going forward".

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Incidentally there were several accidents on Wollaton Park when the 82nd was also on Wollaton Park..two red deer were shot for food by a trigger happy GI..and a little girl found a live hand grenade!

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According to David Render there at the time, they lost a lot of men.

 

At that particular time during operations our supply chain was severely stretched we had had to hold back for some weeks. We had three armies over there but could only supply one for forward operations one of the reasons Monty came up with Market Garden which we know failed at the final hurdle (bridge).

 

This lull in forward movement had given the Jerry time to revitalise the Siegfried Line with new camouflaged bunkers (most with 5ft thick walls) and connecting trenches, mines etc. As 508 advanced they came under heavy mortar and machine gun fire the Rangers Sherman's 75mm gun could not penetrate the bunkers walls, as an alternative they would plaster the firing aperture with 75mm HE whilst the yanks got close enough to (a) lob a couple of grenades through the slot (b) make their way round to the rear of the bunker, blow in the armoured door with a satchel charge and use grenades and machine gun fire. This went on day after day for some time.

 

Our war diary comes up with a story. The word Ranger as a special connotation to the yanks, so combining the words Sherwood (Robin Hood and all that) with Rangers (American special forces) they thought we must be some kind of special forces unit. Of course the lads did nothing to correct this thought.

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Cheers Colin..my eldest lad will love chiking at this..right up our Street.

The very thought of taking out those bunkers..with a MG42 barking at you...not nice.

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508-band-3-sm.jpgBefore being shipped out ...the 508th enjoy Nottingham.

Following on from NBL's post i see that the 82nd that were stationed in Nottm suffered casualties at Nijmegen.

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Local press cutting 1944 : USA soldiers become the first band to play on the Council House balcony.nico_34_d.jpg

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I have a vague memory about Canadian Airforce men coming into town and having fights after a few in the Sawyers Arms. Think they were stationed in Newton? As youngsters we referred to them  as Canucks.

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The Canadians were stationed at Newton, I had a Canadian friend at BHGS in 1958 who was there for a couple of years before returning to Canada.

As has been mentioned on here previously, you only started a ruckus in The Sawyers if you weren't hard enough to do it in The Tower!

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I wasn’t aware that the Canadians were at Newton. I thought they were based at Langar. They did have some housing at Radcliffe on Trent which is reflected in the names of the roads on the estate.

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Played football at RAF Newton and the Canadian air force at Langar,,would be about 1959 for Padstow youth club,,Langar still sticks in my mind,,because of their terrific hospitality,,after the game we were fed and then we all went to their Dance night......was like being in ''happy days and Grease'' all rolled into one,,they had a couple of groups made up of the Canadian lads.''....happy days..........

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Phil, you've made me think again about Newton! My mate Steve lived in Radcliffe and arrived in Bramcote on the Lamcote(?) bus with the Radcliffe lot but maybe his Dad was as at Langar. Steve was an ardent ice hockey player!

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Ian,

Bit of a time line for you, not complete but gives some idea.

 

508 parachuted in early on 6th June their objective being Sainte-Mere-Eglise. Unfortunately like a lot of others they were dropped in the wrong place and were unable to make the required link-up. However they stayed in contact with the enemy and suffered heavy losses including the first American officer killed on D-Day. They were relieved on 7th July aqnd placed in Divisional reserve. For their work during this time they were awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation.

 

They came back to Wollaton Park on 13th July of the 2056 who jumped in only 995 came back, a grievous casualty rate, their losses included the CO of the 1st battalion.

 

At Wollaton their casualties were replaced and they started training up for Op Market Garden. On the 17th September they dropped in and their first job was to secure and hold a 12,000 yard defensive line, before going on to Nijmegen and then to the Battle of The Bulge.

 

The 82nd was an airborne division of which the 508 were a part.

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Brilliant Colin..thanks..always amazed me how a Dakota..probably with little fighter resistance drops them on the wrong spot...then again they most likely at low altitude and wanted the hell out of there!

Thanks for that NBL.

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A little wider perspective to add to NewBasfordlad's timeline. to 82nd and 101st. The first D day wave was dropped at night in the dark. They were pathfinders to mark the various drop zones (DZ) with radar transponders to guide in the following main force (at night) to within 2 miles of their designated DZ (the equipment wasn't any more accurate than that for many reasons) then various coloured lights would be used to pinpoint the exact DZ for each different flight. Some lights failed to work in time, one pathfinder unit lost some gear when a C47 ditched in the sea. Some troop flights missed their turning point and the DZ, returning from an unplanned direction and dropped too late to join up with the other units on time. Others only managing to set up as the troop planes were overhead. Despite these difficulties in the dark most objectives were achieved but 3 days late. This confusion was not fully exploited by the German army.

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