The landing of the HAMILCLAR Glider CN501
The other major event. This was the first time that HAMILCARS were ever flown on a airborne operation and the first time 17-pounder anti-tank guns were to be taken into action by air. Only four HAMILCARS intended to land on L/Z ‘N’, RANVILLE, that night, but only two managed to reach RANVILLE, Hamilcar CN500 and CN503. Hamilcar CN502 had to land at Ford (England), as the tow rope broke over Bognor Regis.
Hamilcar CN501, which pilots were S/Sgt Leslie RIDINGS, and Sgt Ronald HARRIS, had to land in a farm at Saint Vaast En Auge, because the tow rope broke over the sea off Villers Sur Mer, probably because of the Flak. The glider was still a long way from its intended landing zone (12 miles S/E), but the pilots had no choice. Sgt Leslie RIDINGS, managed to land correctly, but it seems that he was injured in the landing, as the cockpit hit branches.
Once again, the Thre Canadians, Sgt Major HALL, Sgt LA CROIX, and Sgt BROWN, saw the landing. They met the crew and passengers (five of them), and as they were lost, they decided to go and ask their location at a nearby farmhouse. Sgt Major HALL, who was able to speak French, took Sgt BROWN, with him.
As they spoke to the Landlady, they heard the burst of a machine gun fire. When they were back at the place were they left their mates, the found four dead Brits (S/Sgt Leslie RIDINGS,bombardier William WHITNEY, Gunner Douglas STANLEY, Gunner Frank NEWHAM), and Sgt LA CROIX was mortally wounded. Sgt BROWN treated Sgt LA CROIX with morphine, and then left him. The 2 Canadians, and Sgt Ron. HARRIS evaded for 10 days, and were captured near Pont L’Eveque. The remaining gun crew (5 men) protected the escape by hiding along the hedgerow, and they were taken prisoners at about 16.00 on 6th June 1944. S/Sgt Leslie RIDINGS was still alive at that time
Load: a 17 pounder anti-tank gun and a portee to tow it
Passengers: 8 gunners of ‘A’ Troop, 3rd Airlanding Anti-tank Battery
4292339?? Sgt W. CANNON Captured 6/6/44
4924410 Bdr William WHITNEY killed 6/6/44
1074775 Bdr K. HARDING Captured 6/6/44
14207549 Gnr F. NEWHAM killed 6/6/44
5059287 Gnr D. STANLEY killed 6/6/44
???????? Gnr J. GRAINGER Captured 6/6/44
2 other gunners (names unknown), all probably Captured.