Raymond Stretch

The Hallamshires landed in France on 9 June 1944 with the 49th Infantry Division and moved into the front line four days later. Twelve days after landing the Hallamshires were involved in the attack on Fontenay-le-Pesnel against the 26th Panzer Grenadier Regiment. The attack was successful but at the expense of 123 members of the battalion killed or wounded. To this day, former members of the battalion at that time still celebrate the victory as the Fontenay Club.
The battalion was involved in the capture of the docks at Le Havre before the Germans could destroy the vital installations. Here they captured 1,005 prisoners, three Dornier flying boats and a submarine! In September, the Hallamshires crossed the Antwerp-Turnhout canal and for his part in a subsequent action, Corporal JW Harper was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.
During the winter months, the battalion served in the Nijmegen salient and participated in the liberation of Arnhem in April 1945, their final action in World War II. Eleven months had seen the battalion suffer 158 killed and 689 wounded


I met Mr. Stretch at the ceremony at the ''Geronimo monument'' at Eerde, The Netherlands, September 20, 2009