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May 2019
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British Army

From Beaufays to Mierchamps

From Beaufays to Mierchamps
 
Heading in the direction of La Roche we encountered a patrol of "Black Watch" who were returning after contacting the American 84th Infantry Division.  My memory of an attack our battalion made that time (probably 9th or 10th January 1945) may be of interest to you. 
 
We were billeted at a farm in a long straggling village a few miles West of Liege and were ordered to move some 50 miles to a place called Ronchamps.  The road conditions were impossible and took all of 20 hours to complete in snow storms (in open trucks) and packed snow and ice on the roads making movement almost impossible. 
 
We debussed at Ronchamps to a noisy reception from German mortars and artillery a sight that was most unusual.  The explosion in the snow were quite spectacular: - a crash, a fountain of snow, enclosing a black cloud of earth and smoke.  Most spectacular but we didn't hang around to admire them and made our way across the snow and through some woods till we were held up in a deep gorge by a bridge that had been demolished and had to stay there in the bitter cold for some hours before the assault on Mierchamps.  (I heard later that the temperature was 25° below freezing that night) while being mortared continuously until about 0400 hours, when the attack went in.  By daylight Mierchamps fell. We took well our 100 prisoners and 9 or 10 halftrack armoured vehicles, for the cost of 3 killed and about 20 wounded.  About half of dozen of our men suffered frost bite. 
 
My most abiding memory however was of the welcome we received at Beaufays in that little farm above Liege where we were billeted and as Corporal had the honour of sleeping in a huge feather bed.  The farmer, his wife and "Leona" his little grand daughter slept in the cellar. 
 
At that time the "V1" assault on Liege was at its height.  These were passing over the village at a height of a few hundred feet before crashing into the town.  Our opinion of these cowardly perpetrations was beyond description.  How any one could order this discriminate murder of innocent women and children is still even after 50 years indelibly stamped upon my memory. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sergeant G. D. NESBITT

5th Seaforth Highlanders

152nd Brigade

51st Highland Division

Seaforth Highlanders

Campaigns:

Battle of the Ardennes,

Belgium