Testimony Records
Testimony Records

Major Brown Sub Port T-411
Received information (not an alert) from 156th Infantry at 2330 hours of three targets moving in SW at 10 knots. At 2400 hours received second information notice. This sounded like an alert and was told that it probably was because they were coming in fast. He then alerted all units in the area. Docks were blacked out. POWs were sent to stockade, special guards were posted and OD was on the job in the port area. The defence plan wears completed last week. It had not be approved by higher HQ and there had been no dry run. The defence weapons are limited to carbines.He estimated 30 raiders formed the diversionary raid at the Hotel Normandy and Hotel des Bines and 200 at the port. In his opinion the defence plan operated except that the attack came too soon after the alert and fire power was lacking. One cannot fight 88's, 50cal and 20 or 30mm with carbines. The French security Battalion of 130 men are armed with German light weapons. He thinks aid in planning the raid was given from the mainland and it was a perfect raid. Estimates operations will be stopped for 2 days. Telephone communications were out and while he was on the rock organising troops, the attack took place and he was pinned to the rock for about ab hour. There was nobody at HQ's as the diversion raid entered it initially.

Captain T R Wilkinson, Liaison and Billeting Officer
Received the alert about 2300 hours in 3 separate calls from Major Brown. He then went to the Port and found it blacked out and no POW's in the area. Two flares appeared SW and seemed quite far away. He then went with major Brown to the Rock and more flares appeared. Attack then began. Going towards dock he saw 3 or 4 ships enter the inner harbour. Firing was coming from the ships. He then reported this fact to Major Brown who was then with the US troops stationed on the Rock. The troops were put into position after which he and Major Brown went to the French Security Garrison. 88's and possibly 105's were hitting the buildings. The French were in the barracks at that time. The troops were ordered out about 1245. The French officers had the idea that the Americans were practising and it was only with considerable urging and finally an order that brought out the French Security Unit. He says positively 3 ships entered the port and probably 4 with estimated 150 men. The French troops were dispersed along the road running parallel to the stone wall he surveyed the Rock as to positions of the men and gave some final instructions. They then went to HQ's at Hotel Gourmet and from there to Hotel des Baines, where he learned of the diversionary raid . After accompanying Colonel Schroeder to 176th General hospital at about 0530 he revealed the damage in Granville. From Lt Commander Fordham and Major Proudfoot, G-5 of SHAEF, he learned that they did not think Granville was a safe place for UNRRA. The raiders had entered the Normandy Hotel and his quarters and he found the whole building pretty well shot up with broken glass everywhere.

Lt Colonel N W Dingman CO 514th Port Battalion
Under defence plan the CO at the stockade will march the POW's straight inland. His Bn Hqs and the company on the rock are to march to the port form a delaying party, the security of the POW's being the main objective. A comprehensive Defence Plan is in draft. He was alerted about 1200 by Major Brown. The perimeter guard of the Rock was immediately doubled. He was back in his quarters when the firing began at about 0100 hours. First elements of the 156th Infantry arrived about 0300 hours but the raiders were front by that time. Raiding party estimated to be 100 men in 3 ships. There were no POW's lost from the stockade but 67 of the POW's on work detail at the port did not return to the stockade. These POW's are either scattered inland or were carried away. HE holds the latter in opinion. There was insufficient time after the alert to get into position in the port area. That is why the landing and the sabotage was not prevented. Operations followed his Defence Plan in the issue of ammunition and arms (except grenades) but there wasn't time to Get into position in the Port.

Lt E R Frederick, Operations Officer
Went on duty 2400 hours. The 79 POW's had arrived but were not put to work but held in formation. Most of the lights were out. He had the remaining lights on a few cranes put out. Two master switches control the port lights but lights on cranes must be put our separately. Shelling began at 0100. The POW's and guards took cover . Two or three telephone calls were received during the raid, one was for transportation for 156th infantry. The motor pool was under fire so no vehicles available. The OD was with Lt Frederick and remained in the office throughout the raid. There was no siren sounded nor any definite announcement made of alert. There is a defence plan involving the troops billeted in the Rock.

Lt F A McGuire Operations Officer
I was on duty at the port until midnight. Received notice from Naval Radar station about 2300 the three targets were in sight. Second call at 2330 same targets, about 11miles away, and headed toward Granville. Lights in port area were turned off on the first call. POW's were rounded up on the second call and sent to stockade. He left the port area for his headquarters in Hotel des Baines at 1230. A POW detail of 79 due to work at 1230 arrived in port area. He was unable to intercept their coming. Of these 79, 12 have been recaptured and 67 are missing. His next arrival at the port was 0330. The raiding party was gone or going but still firing on area from their ships. He saw from the window of his quarters 2 small boats 40 men estimated land in diversion raid. Harvey firing began about 0120. He thought it was 156th Anti-Tank guns as he understood from Major Brown they were coming. No Alert was reported and no siren sounded. Warning of a similar nature are not incoming. Whenever a target is picked up by observers at the Naval sighting Station or by the 156th infantry the information is received at the port but this is one time the target all moved all the way in. There is a stockade defence plan and also a defence plan for the rock but no plans to cover Granville area.

Newell Younggren, first lieutenant in the US Quartermasters Corps, assigned to civil affairs.

'I had only had army rations for the previous few months and was looking forward to a change of diet,' he said. 'The hotel chef cooked us a beautiful dinner, and later we went upstairs to our bedrooms on the third floor. I had been sent some pyjamas by my grandmother, but this was the first night that I had had a chance of wearing them. I went to bed setting my boots and field jacket next to my bed. I was woken at one o'clock in the morning by the sound of gunfire and explosions. I looked out of the window and saw German troops – I didn't think there were any within 200 miles of us.

'I quickly put on my boots and threw my army jacket on over my new pyjamas and rushed out of the room to find out what was happening. I left my pistol behind in the bedroom. But the Germans were rushing up the staircase and other troops had come up the outside fire escape and were coming downstairs. I was caught in the middle – and I was captured in my pyjamas!

'I was taken prisoner with eight American officers who had been staying at the hotel. They led us down to the beach. There they lined us up facing a rock wall. I thought we were about to be shot. But then other American troops began firing at the Germans from another location, so the Germans used us as cover and ran across the beach to their inflatable landing craft. As we ran, one of the prisoners was shot, but the Germans successfully escaped with the rest of us.

'We were put on a raft and transferred to a tugboat. I sat in the prow, still wearing my jacket and boots over my pyjamas. Thank goodness I had put my jacket on – it was very cold. A German sat next to me covering me with a machine pistol. I don't know why. I had no weapons.'