History of War

THE SAPPER

“MONTY CAME ROUND AND SPOKE TO US. HE TOLD US WE WERE GOING ON THE BIGGEST ADVENTURE OF OUR LIFE”

Gold was the central-most Allied beach. After the beachhead was secured, the British aim was to link up with the Americans at Omaha and Canadians at Juno while also capturing Bayeux. Soldiers began landing at 7.25am but high winds made disembarkation difficult. The British also came under attack from German embrasure, emplacement and artillery fire, which resulted in over 1,000 casualties. Bayeux was not captured until the following day but Arromanches-les-Bains was taken and the British made contact with the Canadians.

Among the thousands of British troops who landed was Sapper George Batts of 1049 Port Operating Company, Royal Engineers. Batts was only 18 years old but he cleared mines in the vicinity of Gold for several days before working extensively on the beach’s Mulberry harbour. After Normandy, Batts served in Belgium and the Far East where he helped to liberate Allied prisoners from Japanese POW camps.

In later years, Batts was heavily involved in the Normandy Veterans Association (NVA) and became its national secretary and treasurer. When the NVA disbanded in 2014, he was instrumental in founding the Normandy Memorial Trust (NMT) and secured government funding from the then Prime Minister David Cameron for an official memorial to the British of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy. Now the

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