Inns of Court Regiment on D Day 1944 a tribute to a WW2 veteran
We were honored to have been invited by Stuart Robinson and his partner Karen to join them and a group of enthusiasts from all over the UK to retrace his father’s route from the beach on D Day. None had served in the military but all are very passionate about WW2 vehicles and the history of the Normandy campaign.Stuart’s father Ken Robinson was in C squadron, Inns of Court regiment. They had embarked from Portsmouth on the 4th of June 1944. He was taking part in the largest seaborne assault in history. They landed near Graye-sur-Mer on Juno beach early in the morning of 6th of June. Their objective together with the Royal Engineers Demolishing squad was to destroy the bridges over the river Orne to delay a German counter attack on the allied forces.
Stuart was dressed in British uniform and Karen as a land army girl. A fitting tribute to his father, Stuart wore his father’s battledress and the rest of the group were suitably dressed in WW2 uniforms, all driving WW2 vehicles. We started at the Inns of Court monument near Graye-sur-Mer where Ken had landed. One the group who had researched the route taken by Ken on D Day was taking us through the details of what happened on route.As the two LCT’s neared the beach one of them struck a mine and was damaged. The other one which Ken was on landed without incident. Ken drove his Daimler armoured car off the beach and over the dunes, As the first of the vehicles reached the main road just by the memorial it stopped. Colonel Bingley pulled up alongside in his vehicle to confer with Lieutenant Shaw. Suddenly a German 88mm anti tank gun opened fire, the first round going between the two vehicles but the second round hit Lieutenant Shaw’s Daimler armoured car. The driver was killed the other two crew members were injured. Lieutenant Shaw lost a leg and later died in the First Aid Post on the beach.We followed the route and stopped about 2 miles inland. On our left was a small village in which a tall church spire stood out, from this German snipers fired at the British column as they passed. A further three miles on we were told how the Inns of Court came up against strong opposition from the Germans. They were attacked by infantry and anti tank guns. At this point one of the rounds hit the barrel of Lieutenant Reeve’s Daimler armoured car, the turret was spun around by the force of the impact but luckily the crew were uninjured.We carried on following Ken’s route until we came to a tee junction. As they got to this point they were spotted by a Canadian tank. The Inns of Court vehicles were painted black with identification markings. They were in front of the main force so when the tank commander saw black vehicles, where he thought no other allied vehicles should be, he assumed they were German and opened fire. Sergeant Wright and Trooper Smith were killed in this action. Standing on this exact spot was very moving for all of us present. The Germans had begun retreating and with dusk approaching the Inns of Court halted for the night just north of the railway. Early in the morning of the 7th they moved on, being attacked every now and again as they went forward. Also the American Thunderbolts were proving a problem attacking friend and foe, a few vehicles had narrow escapes. They arrived at the village of Le Douet also known as Jerusalem crossroads where another incident took place. As they stopped in the village they were buzzed by American P47 Thunderbolts. They quickly laid out yellow flags and fired yellow flares to identify themselves as friendly force. Again the Thunderbolts came in for a low level pass. They then turned and came back and attacked the Inns of Court Regiment. The Americans destroyed five vehicles, destroyed houses in the village and claimed the lives of British soldiers as well as several French civilians. There is a small memorial to those who lost their lives in this incident at the crossroads. If you are passing this way stop and have a look.Ken Robinson had his last parade in October 2017 and will be sadly missed by all who knew him. We would like to thank Stuart for allowing Classic Jeeps to have been part of this special day and thank the group for inviting us and allowing us to travel in their vehicles. If you had a relative or friend who was involved with, or have further information on C Squadron, Inns of Court Regiment please get in contact with us.
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