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The Parson's Tale

The Reverend John Lance was Chaplain to the Inns of Court Regiment and, for various reasons, was included in the D-Day raid. Here are some extracts from his story.

"The plan was daring in the extreme, if not hare brained, but it evidently seemed worth trying to the higher command…It may well be asked at this point why a chaplain was taken at all on such an adventure…I can only say that I did not volunteer, but was asked by the Colonel…The Chaplain's Department thought otherwise and ordered me to stay with the larger part of the regiment in England. Rather than find myself at the centre of a row I told some fibs."

Tank Museum photo No 6369/C/5 Tank Museum photo No 6369/C/5

"Just before our due time our two craft came together and made for the beach side by side. One craft landed safely…the other was unlucky. She landed on a mine and, backing off to try again, struck another with her stern. There were only two minor casualties and only one scout car was damaged. That car was mine, in the bows, just over the explosion and I was sitting on top of it. It did not harm me, but the suspension of the car was ruined. There was nothing for it, and I watched thousands of pounds worth of armoured vehicle being tipped into the sea…I managed to grab my communion vessels, medical box and bed roll and scramble ashore."

Tank Museum photo No. 6370/C/4 Tank Museum photo No. 6370/C/4

"But the landing ramp was damaged and two of the half-tracks could not make the sea at that depth. In the process the second-in-command and squadron sergeant major had an involuntary bathe. Meanwhile the water was rising and in the end the only thing to do was to wait for the tide to reach its height and recede again. All this meant a frustrating wait of some six hours, and hope lost of an early start."

Tank Museum photo No. 6371/A/4 Tank Museum photo No. 6371/A/4

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