Captain J. A. Morrison

 

Unit : No.5 Flight, "D" Squadron, No.1 Wing, The Glider Pilot Regiment

 

Captain Morrison commanded No.5 Flight in "D" Squadron. He and his co-pilot, Staff-Sergeant Beech, flew to Normandy with the Second Lift on the evening of the 6th June, carrying a platoon of the 2nd Battalion The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. The following is his official report on the flight and the subsequent events that took place on the ground.

 

Report on Operation MALLARD

by Captain J.A. Morrison

 

It was about 2100 hrs on 6 Jun 44 that we crossed the French coast and headed towards our Landing Zone. There was flak coming up from Ouistreham but this did not worry us particularly as it seemed to be aimed at the gliders to our port, and as we approached the church at COLLEVILLE SUR ORNE, I said goodbye to my tug crew and pulled off.

 

There was a feeling of great elation as we neared the field into which we were to land for we had practically 'made it'. We had been briefed to land from West to East, but as the 'Harwell' gliders were landing from South to North I decided to lead by stream in, in the same direction. At this point we could not see any landing strips, and as the gliders seemed to be piling up in all directions it looked as if we were in for an exciting landing.

 

Luckily, S/Sgt. Beech, my second pilot saw an area in which the [anti-glider] poles had not been placed. It was a ploughed field about 70 yards long by 40 yards wide, and we managed to get down without any trouble.

 

From that moment we were frantically busy, and hadn't time to worry about the sniper and L.M.G. [Light Machine Gun] fire which seemed to be coming from the area to the South of our L.Z. It was there that S/Sgt. Richardson and S/Sgt. Fraser captured two prisoners.

 

When coming into land S/Sgt. Richardson noticed three Huns shooting at him from a camouflaged pit about 100 yards in front. He quickly warned his load that they would have to deal with trouble after landing, and then he dived his glider at the enemy position, landing practically on top of it. He and his load jumped out and captured two of the three snipers. The third had run off into the hedge from whence he commenced to pepper them. S/Sgt. Richardson then took two men and stalked the Hun, and was just about to attack him when a British tank which had spotted the trouble, machine-gunned the hedgerow killing the sniper.

 

The immediate task of our force was to unload our glider and get to the R.V. [Rendezvous] as soon as possible. This we did, and arrived in the Squadron area in time to assist the men into the Flight Areas. I had already chosen these from the photographs and I was able to give out my orders and start my men digging within an hour of landing.

 

The Squadron Area was positioned along a high hedge containing a ditch, which provided us concealment from air and ground, although our field of fire was considerably reduced by corn standing about 3 ft high. Accordingly we improvised by digging a slit trench deep enough to provide ample cover against blast or shelling but with a step from which we could fire over the corn.

 

The men were in high spirits and went to work magnificently and by 2330 hrs I was able to inform the O.C. [Officer Commanding] Ian Force that we were prepared for anything.

 

The night was quite uneventful apart from slight bombing directed at the Fleet, although we were quite grateful for the narrow trench as there was a lot of 'stuff' coming down.

 

Immediately after 'Stand-down' the following morning I sent out two fighting patrols to recover weapons lost in the glider crashes, and to bury the deceased pilots.

 

The bodies of Lt. Martin, S/Sgt. Coddington and Sgt. Goodchild were found and buried by a First Aid Party at ST. AUBYN D'ARQUENAY CHURCH. It was noticeable that they had been stripped of watches, fighting knives and rations.

 

These patrols returned after two hours bringing with them various weapons, British and German, but no prisoners.

 

At 1030 hrs we received orders to make our way to the road via COLLEVILLE SUR ORNE. This we did fairly easily although we met sniper opposition en route.

 

Sgt. Watt was the Bren Gunner of the leading section and became attached to "C" Squadron who were ahead of us. They had already handed over their L.M.Gs. to the seaborne infantry, and in view of the sniper activity O.C. "C" Squadron placed Sgt. Watt and S/Sgt. Jones out on the right flank to protect the passage of the column. Whilst here he accounted for five German Snipers and assisted the Squadron through.

 

When he saw that the troops were safe he withdrew to the road only to find that sappers had mined the verges. A half hour later he was extricated. By this time Sgt. Watt had lost the main column ("D" Squadron having been diverted along a different route). He accordingly made his way to the beach where he was placed on board a [L.C.T.? - Landing Craft Tank?] - H.M.S. Glengareth. Here he assisted the A.A. [Anti-Aircraft] Gunners to maintain his weapon during an air-raid, and whilst firing the gun himself had a direct hit on an attacking J.U.88.

 

In the meantime "D" Squadron had reached the beaches and were successfully brought back to England.

 

Casualties - Killed - 1 Officer, 2 N.C.Os.

                   Injured - 1 Officer.

 

(Signed) J. A. Morrison, Capt.

 

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