St. Johns Bridge.

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St. Johns Bridge.

Post  Shaun on Sun Aug 05, 2012 10:26 pm

Hi all,

Spent this morning looking at an interesting bridge in Lechlade, Gloucestershire. Which is only a 20 min drive from my house. Its importance?

It was were 2 (AB) Ox & Bucks LI started training for the Assault on "Pegasus Bridge". Training started in early April 1944. To aid in the realism Polish troops dressed in German uniforms guarded the bridge and acted as enemy.

The area itself is very flat with little or no cover in the open fields. With the exception of a few trees that divide the fields. This area would have been very hard to cross without being seen. There is also a Home Defence Pill Box as you head North across the fields from the bridge towards Lechlade, this would have dominated the surrounding area and would have made it very hard for the Ox & Bucks LI to manover without being seen early on.

Trout Inn - East side of bridge.


Crossing the bridge East to West.


Looking North on Bridge.


Looking South on bridge.


West side of bridge. Looking East.


West side of bridge looking North (Town of Lechlade in distance and Church spire).


On River Thames looking South. At bridge.


Interesting Pill Box in the low land areas between the bridge and Lechlade town.


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Shaun

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Re: St. Johns Bridge.

Post  Andy Wood on Sun Aug 05, 2012 10:50 pm

Nice location Shaun, wonder if there's any photos taken during those exercises.
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Re: St. Johns Bridge.

Post  Shaun on Sun Aug 05, 2012 11:04 pm

Hi Andy,

I agree with you its a beautiful location and very quite. I wouldnt have thought that any photos were taken during the actual exercise as i imagen the exercise would have been completed during the night as the lay of the land would have been easily defended by a MG or 2. However this is not to say that a reccie was carried out and photos taken during this. Point to note is that Coleshall house is up the road from this place so as wondering the follwoing.

A) Did the Ox & Bucks LI camp overnight at this location prior to the exercise?
B) Did the Polish troops used in the exercise were they local?
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Re: St. Johns Bridge.

Post  Shaun on Tue Aug 07, 2012 12:37 am

Further to this i have also discovered that this was a dress rehershal for the actual assualt on Pegasus Bridge, so Gliders were used during this exercise, which makes sense when you look at the surrounding fields, and take away the pylons the fields, in my opinion would have made excellent landing zones for gliders. Oh well means i need to take another trip there to look at the fields....
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Re: St. Johns Bridge.

Post  brian on Tue Aug 07, 2012 2:59 am

Thanks for posting , i have been to lechlade , very quaint place , but never knew about the obli part , only the pubs in steeple Ashton ,which were used by the obli and where
Otway , hired local girls and service personal to fraternise with the obli and try to ween out any information on thier highly secret mission! to see if any loose tounges were talking!

oddly enough Otways previous posting/command was 1st airborne /recce Sqdn later taken over by Major Freddie Gough M.M. Very Happy
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Re: St. Johns Bridge.

Post  Andy Wood on Tue Aug 07, 2012 3:13 am

Wasn't Otway in charge of one of the Parachute battalions that attacked the Merville battery?
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Re: St. Johns Bridge.

Post  Shaun on Tue Aug 07, 2012 3:18 am

Aye,

It is a very quite place the actual bridge is tucked away around a corner if you like, just outside the town. But i took a few minutes to think about, how, for one evening, the air was filled with a handful of gliders practicing for D-Day. The actual exercise itself was a distaster, which ended with two of the platoons having a "Blue on Blue". And the "Enemy" blowing up the bridge. However it served as an eye opener to Mjr. Howard on how close the gliders would need to land to attain utter surprise.
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Re: St. Johns Bridge.

Post  brian on Tue Aug 07, 2012 5:17 am

Sorry Shaun , i have a head cold at the moment ! i was getting pegasus bridge mixed up with the attack on the Merville battery , Dooohhhh! all info i posted re Steeple ashton and RAF keevil relates to the merville operation, Shocked
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Re: St. Johns Bridge.

Post  Shaun on Tue Aug 07, 2012 5:37 am

Thats ok Brian,

I am planning a visit to RAF Keevil in the next few weeks. As 16PFA flew from there and it is nice to show the other group members where the actual 16PFA Flew from and what is left...
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Re: St. Johns Bridge.

Post  brian on Tue Aug 07, 2012 6:08 am

There is plenty left to see of nissen huts etc, some now being used by small business great site lots to see , there was when i last went a small museum there with lots of pics etc and which squadrons were based there , it,s primary role was Stageing black ops! for the SOE etc , also nearby was a underground assembly plant for Spitfires! definintly worth a visit! Very Happy
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