HOLY ROLLERS initiation to war.
76 years ago, at 0415 AM, 5 June, General Dwight D Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of all Allied forces taking part in Operation Overlord, gave the word to launch the invasion.
Within hours ships of all sizes began their move across the English Channel, slow moving ships went first, faster ships departed later so they could all arrive off the coast of France at the roughly the same time, or at the allotted time they were needed according to plan. The Airborne forces would depart England later that evening.
The 1st Hussars taking part in the assault were aboard 12 Landing Craft Tank (LCT). Both A and B Sqn were in four LCT each. Each LCT loaded with 5 DD tanks, the Squadron HQ LCTs only had four tanks each. Their job was to swim ashore and land ahead of the infantry and engage the many bunkers in NAN GREEN and MIKE RED sectors of Juno Beach. Regimental HQ and C Sqn followed in three LCTs, they would land directly on the beach. Also, two Sherman Fireflies travelled in their own LCT. Their role was to engage an Anti-tank bunker on the beach that could wreak havoc on the landing tanks in B Sqns landing area.
All of the LCTs departed Southampton at 1100 hrs on 5 June and arrived off the coast of France 6 June sometime shortly after 0500hrs.
A Sqn landed behind the Royal Winnipeg Rifles at 0755hrs. B Sqn landed first ahead of the Regina Rifles in NAN GREEN Sector at 0758hrs. C Sqn and RHQ landed at 0820hrs. Their appointment with destiny and history forever remembered.
The HOLY ROLLER was one of those tanks. It landed at 0820hrs on 6 June along with the rest of the RHQ tanks. Maj Frank White, commanding. At this point in the landing, due to the exit being blocked the CO (LColwell) and R2IC (Maj White), dismounted and walked the beach trying to find an exit. Eventually, the exit was fixed, another good story, and the Regiment was able to move off the beach. Shortly after moving off the beach the CO's tank was disabled by a land mine. The CO took over command of the HOLY ROLLER for the remainder of the day. The HOLY ROLLER ended up having engine problems and would have to be repaired by the hard working folks at 57 LAD. Thus began the HOLY ROLLER's time in Europe.