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August 2019
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British Army

From Rendeux towards La Roche

From Rendeux towards La Roche
 
I was one of the first British soldiers to enter La Roche after the Germans had over-run the American lines. 
 
Early morning on the 11th January 1945, our Armoured Car Troop of 3 cars headed a convoy of military vehicles proceeding on the road from Rendeux towards La Roche.  As we approached the bend in the road that went through the hills, I noticed a concrete pill box on the bend.  At the time I thought we were like sitting ducks on a shooting gallery exposed and no where to run. 
 
Suddenly the car literally jumped up into the air and I immediately thought we had been hit with an anti-tank shell.  But after the dust and smoke had settled we realized we had run over a landmine. 
 
The Sergeant in our car was slightly concussed as the mud-guard with a box of rations fastened to it caught him on the head.  Our driver suffered rust and paint fragments in his eyes but fortunately no one suffered any serious injury. 
 
Order was given from the troop leader for engineers in the convoy to carryout mine clearing duties with our Troop giving covering fire power. 
 
Myself with another Trooper investigating the area discovered a huge German tank just round the corner.  But quiet relieved to notice it also had a covering of snow on it and none underneath which proved it was not in use. 
 
 
 La Roche after the battle
 
Further investigations brought us in contact with a local vicar or priest or some member of the church who on nearing the explosion of the mine came to investigate.  He told us of a German medical officer and his batman, who had stayed behind to attend a young woman who was in labour and in need of medical attention, were prepared to surrender to British Troops also a small party of about eight were ready to surrender.
 
After the Engineers had given the all clear signal to the Troop leader, he gave order for the convoy to advance leaving us behind with the damaged car.  The leading car being our Troops second car had only past ours by about a hundred yards when he ran over a mine.  Only after more had been picked up by the Engineers was the convoy able to advance. 
 
Meanwhile others and myself had been to see the German officer where he was still attending the pregnant woman we had visions of driving off with his white sports car until he said its engine was frozen solid.
 
Trooper Ian CREASEY

"C" Squadron

2nd Derbyshire Yeomanry

51st Highland Division

Derbyshire Yeomanry

Campaigns:

Battle of the Ardennes,

Belgium