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5574273 Pte Edwards W.G

Pte Edwards, who lived at Kintbury before his marriage, worked as a driver for Swattons of Pewsey and lived at 15 Downview, Hungerford with his wife.

William Edwards was with the 5th Wiltshire Regiment who arrived in France by Landing Craft on a Mulberry Harbour at Arrowmanches on 17 June 1944, having left Newhaven the day before. It was not until 25 June that all their transport arrived and they began the march to Brecy.

The battle to advance on Caen and Hill 112 had started on 23 June as Operation Epsom. Fierce attacks and counter-attacks took place with heavy casualties on both sides.

By 29 June, the 5th Wiltshires had taken up defensive positions around La Gaule, after relieving the Royal Scots on 26 June. On 29 June orders were received to make ready for an attack on the woods in the area around Mouen/Baron and the River Odon. After heavy fighting, the woods were taken and the unit were again in defensive positions around Baron, to the west of Caen and just north of Hill 112. On the night of 30 June/1 July, they came under attack from about midnight to 6.00am from heavy shelling and mortar fire, with the resulting loss of two officers and seventeen other ranks. It is not possible to pinpoint where Pte Edwards was at the time, but his family told me that information they received later, indicated that the Bren-Gun carrier he was in drove over a mine.

The heavy fighting to gain control of Hill 112 continued, counter-attack after counter-attack, until the Allied Forces finally gained control on 18 July 1944 opening the way for the next stage in the liberation of France - Operation Goodwood.

Pte William Edwards is buried in the Bayeux War Cemetery.

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William Edwards