History of War

THE CRAFTSMAN

Sword was the easternmost beach on D-Day and stretched from Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer to Ouistreham. It was also the nearest beach to Caen and the responsibility for storming the sands fell to the British 3rd Infantry Division.

The invading forces landed at 7.25am on 6 June against relatively light German defences and by 8.00am the fighting was mostly occurring inland. At 1.00pm, commandos from Sword achieved their objective of linking up with airborne troops but the British were unable to join Canadian forces from Juno Beach thanks to German counterattacks.

Twenty-year-old Cedric Wasser was one of those who landed at Sword. A craftsman in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME), Wasser’s unit was attached to 7th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery. Like Batts, D-Day was Wasser’s first experience of combat and after being driven off the beach, he was tasked with repairing the light vehicles that enabled the Allied advance. Despite operating behind the Front Line, Wasser conducted his repair work under the constant threat of artillery fire for weeks. Now a recipient of the Légion d’honneur, he recalls watching a German pillbox explode, avoiding shellfire and taking risks to check on his friends.

JOINING THE REME

When did you join the British Army?

I enlisted on my birthday, which was 10 February 1942 and went into service on 12 March. I volunteered because there was a scheme where volunteers could choose

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