Memorial to 3rd (Tank) Battalion Scots Guards – Les Loges, Normandy
On 28th July 2019 a memorial and orientation table was unveiled at Les Loges, Normandy to commemorate the Officers and Guardsmen of 3rd (Tank) Battalion who perished on the afternoon of 30th July 1944 on Hill 226 following an ambush by three German Jagdpanther tank destroyers (the first appearance of these machines in the Normandy theatre) in the early stages of Operation Bluecoat (the breakout of the Allied forces from the Normandy landing beaches).
The memorial has been funded by relatives of men who served in the battalion together with donations from various branches of Scots Guards Association throughout the UK and other third parties.
Brigadier Erskine-Crum (L), whose Father was Adjutant, 3rd (Tank) Battalion, and Major Kelly (R) Regimental Adjutant 1st Battalion, Scots Guards, together conducted the memorial unveiling ceremony alongside French dignatories. Major Kelly recited the Scots Guards “Collect” and the Roll of Honour
The Regimental Collect
Almighty God, whose blessed Son did say unto Saint Andrew “Follow me”, grant that the Scots Guards, who wear the Cross of thy Holy Apostle, may follow thy Son with impunity; be made stronger in brotherhood and fierce against all enemies of our Saviour, ever going forward under the leadership of him, who by the hard and painful way of the cross, won high conquest and great glory, even Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
We were honoured to have Pipe Major Reid, currently serving with 1st Battalion, play a lament to the fallen “Flower of the Forest” during the reading of the Roll of Honour
My wife, Pauline (R), my daughter, Annabelle (L) and myself
It was a pleasure to meet the Graham family – Pamela, Arabella and Malise. Pamela (to my immediate right) is the daughter of Major Willie Whitelaw (my Father’s Tank Squadron Commander – but also better known as Deputy Prime Minister to Margaret Thatcher). Note that she is wearing the Military Cross presented to her Father by Field Marshall Montgomery following the battle at Les Loges. Arabella (to my left) is his Grand Daughter.
Mary Treadgold and her husband.
Mary is the niece of Sgt Andrew Hay, “S” Squadron, who was sadly killed in action on Hill 226 on 30th July 1944. Andrew lies in Hottot les Bagues War Cemetery
Rae Jackson and her husband.
Rae is the niece of Guardsman John Prentice, Right Flank Squadron, who was another casualty of the battle on 30th July 1944 and also lies in Hottot les Bagues War Cemetery
Our good friend of over five years, Eain Findlay.
Eain’s Father, Muir, was a kind and gentle man. He was very determined that the memorial should be constructed to honour his fallen comrades. He fought alongside my Father and Andrew Hay in “S” Squadron. Muir sadly passed away in January 2019, aged 96, and never saw the memorial completed. He would not have been disappointed !
The concept of a memorial was first conceived several years ago by our friend, Colin Foster, a military historian with considerable knowledge of battles and military events in the Normandy region of France. Together with input from Eain and Muir Findlay and Stephane Jacquet (a local French Military Museum curator) the idea began to come to fruition. Colin and Stephane negotiated with the French Authorities and eventually co-ordinated the clearance of the site and final construction of the memorial. More recently Hew Balfour, whose Grandfather founded the Battalion in the early 1940’s, and whose Father also served in the Battalion, co-ordinated the military and social arrangements, much as he would have done when he was a serving officer.