My father Edwin Riches died on Thursday, and left this account of his war in Normandy, Belgium and Holland. I'm posting it as it might be of interest to a few people, and out of respect for his service. There's also a cautionary tale for any Redcaps out there... Trooper Edwin James Douglas Riches 1943 â April 1944 1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry June 1944 24th Lancers July 1944 â Dec 1945 Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry Jan 1946 â Feb 1947 1st Royal Dragoons I was transferred to the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry in June 1944 after a brief spell with the 24th Lancers (they were disbanded, and my troop was posted to the SRY- Lt Cowans, Sgt Roberts and others). Almost all my action was with the SRY and I hav always been proud of serving with the regiment. I have a vivid memory of the slaughter we drove through in the Falaise area, but even more so of the action at Gheel. I was the troop leaderâs wireless operator and we were knocked out by a Panther at 11.30 pm on September 10th â hit by an HE round (presumably what the commander already had up the spout when he spotted us) on the turret, opposite my head, which was followed by an AP about 5 â 8 seconds later, on the same spot, by which time I had moved â very rapidly! I was looking out of the hatch, and saw the sparks fly as the AP hit. The driver (Wally Blaxall) was killed by the HE â he always went into action with his hatch open for fear of being trapped in a burning tank if the gun fell across a closed hatch lid, as sometimes did the lap gunner Arthur (Raffles) Lake â who died of wounds a few hours later. On bailing out I found Lt Cowans laying on the ground, unconscious. I managed to get him to the nearest tank (the troop corporalsâ) on which I found our gunner, whose name I cannot recall, had climbed.. He had a leg wound, probably from the HE, via the driverâs open flap. Lt Cowans never returned to the SRY; I believe that his wounds were very serious, but though I picked him up â and I donât know how â my clothing was clean of bloodstains. That tank then drove off, leaving me behind but probably unaware of that. Apart from a burning building nearby, and a German flare, it was very dark. And there I stood, on my own, deafened by the HE hit, shocked and disorientated. Fortunately I saw a faint light about a hundred yards away, so I made my way to it. It was the MO and his helpers in action, so I sat in a corner and smoked endless cigarettes. At some point I saw an officer brought in with an obvious and serious eye wound, and I thought that it was Major Gold, but this recollection does not agree with the notes of the timing of his wound which occur in Stuart Hillsâ book âBy Tank to Normandyâ. But my recollection is as pictorially vivid as if it had happened yesterday. When we withdrew on Sept 12th to a nearby village I saw the graves of Wally and Arthur. I had the misfortune to encounter two young military policemen, pink faced, scrubbed, shaven and polished. I was without any kit, unshaven and without a beret, which I had lost when I bailed out. They threatened me with arrest, and told me I must stay within the squadronâs tank park â what was left of it! However, later in the day, after dark, I went to a local âestaminetâ in a nearby wood, obviously without a hat. This place was packed with Durham Light Infantry, who had suffered very heavy casualties, and a sprinkling of Sherwood Rangers. Incidentally, the beer was like ditch water. Who should walk in a few minutes later but the two MPs? I immediately crouched down to avoid being seen, and my mates smuggled me out. We had the impression that there might be trouble between the MPâs and the Durhamâs, and we moved the following day. The end of that situation came to my attention in 1947 or 1948. I was reading one of the national papers when I noticed a paragraph, which said that the bodies of two British Military Policemen had been found in a shallow grave in a wood near the town of Gheel. I mentioned it to my Dad, who told me of a similar incident during the troubles in Ireland. My feelings were mixed: obviously the MPs had been upsetting the Durhamâs, but I felt sad for their parents. I carried on as an operator, and was in a tank hit by a panzerfaust close to Groesbeek (I think). Following that I was taken out of tanks because my eardrums were badly ruptured, and I became a driver (wheels). I finished my service with the Royal Dragoons, in the orderly room, but my heart was, is and always will be with the SRY.