The Brave​ ​Cornishmen​ ​and​ ​Hill​ ​112

On​ ​the​ ​10th​ ​of​ ​July​ ​1944​ in ​Normandy,​ ​France​ ​was​ ​the​ ​battle​ ​for​ ​Hill​ ​112​ ​which occurred during​ ​The​ ​Second World​ ​War​ ​(1939-1945).  

In​ ​1944​ ​Britain​ ​and​ ​its​ ​allies​ ​executed​ ​the​ ​D-Day​ ​landings,​ ​stationing​ ​thousands​ ​of​ ​soldiers​ ​on​ ​the beaches​ ​of​ ​Normandy​ ​with​ ​the​ ​aim​ ​to​ ​liberate​ ​France​ ​from​ ​the​ ​Germans.​ ​As​ ​the​ ​soldiers moved​ ​in to​ ​France​ ​the​ ​German​ ​army​ ​fought​ ​back​ ​and​ ​the​ ​fight​ ​for​ ​Hill​ ​112​ ​developed​ ​in to​ ​one of​ ​the​ ​fiercest​ ​battles of World War Two.​

​The​ ​hill​ ​was​ ​named​ ​112​ ​due to the fact that​ ​it​ ​was​ ​112​ ​metres​ ​above​ ​sea​ ​level​, strategically​ ​it​ ​was​ ​a​ ​vital​ ​area​ ​of​ ​high​ ​ground​ ​near​ ​Caen​ ​in​ ​Normandy.​ ​High​ ​ground was​ ​always​ ​an​ ​advantage​ ​during​ ​a​ ​battle​ ​and​ ​Hill 112 was​ ​an​ ​advantage​ ​that​ ​the​ ​German​ ​Army desperately wanted​ ​to​ ​keep​ ​control​ ​of.​

​The​ ​British​ ​soldiers​ ​had​ ​the​ ​difficult​ ​task​ ​of​ ​trying​ ​to​ ​capture​ ​the​ ​hill. The​se British soldiers ​included​ ​many​ ​men​ ​from​ ​Cornwall; these​ ​men​ ​were the​ ​5th​ ​Battalion​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Duke​ ​of​ ​Cornwall’s​ ​Light​ ​Infantry​ ​(DCLI).​ ​Already​ ​at​ ​a​ ​tactical disadvantage​ ​there​ ​was​ ​also​ ​the​ ​fact​ ​that​ ​the​ ​5th​ ​Battalion​ ​was​ ​made​ ​up​ ​of​ ​(​ ​mainly​ ​Cornish) men​ ​who​ ​were​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Territorial​ ​Army​ ​and​ ​volunteers…not​ ​even​ ​professional​ ​soldiers.​

During the evening of the 10th​ ​July​ ​1944 ​three hundred and eighty​ ​soldiers​ ​from​ ​the​ ​DCLI​ ​carried​ ​out​ ​attacks​ ascending up​ ​Hill​ ​112, it​ ​was​ ​a​ ​fierce and difficult​ ​battle​.​ ​The​ ​Germans​ ​launched​ ​twelve​ ​different counter​ ​attacks,​ ​but​ ​unbelievably​ ​the​ ​DCLI​ ​managed to fight​ ​off​ ​each​ ​and every attempt​. An impressive feat ​considering that​ ​the​ ​Germans 10th​ ​Panzer​ ​(tank​ ​division​) fought​​ ​using​ ​stronger​ ​armour​ ​than​ ​the​ ​DCLI​ ​had​ ​and​ ​far more​ ​powerful​ ​guns.

​​German​ ​tanks​ ​were​ ​rolling constantly​ ​over​ ​the​ ​top​ ​of​ ​trenches​ ​in​ ​which​ ​the Cornishmen​ ​hid. ​ ​All​ ​in​ ​all​ ​the​ ​fighting​ ​lasted​ ​for​ ​approx​imately nineteen​ ​hours​ ​with over two hundred ​soldiers​ ​from​ ​the​ ​DCLI​ ​ ​killed. However, despite the tragic losses ​the​ ​Cornish​ ​soldiers​ ​had​ ​defeated​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the German​ ​Army’s​ ​most prolific​ ​tank​ ​divisions and ​The​ ​DCLI​ ​gathered​ ​triumphantly​ ​together​ ​at​ ​the​ ​top.

The​ ​DCLI​ ​soldiers​ ​then​ ​joined​ forces with more British soldiers ​to​ ​form ​a​ ​larger​ ​division​; The​ ​43rd​ ​Wessex​ ​Division,​ ​and​ ​from their​ ​advantage​ ​point​ ​they​ ​fought​ ​for​ ​weeks​ ​until​ ​the​ ​Germans​ ​retreated​ ​completely.​  From​ ​this division​ ​alone ​seven​ ​thousand​ ​men​ ​were​ ​killed​ ​in​ ​battle​ ​and​ ​it​ ​is​ ​likely​ ​that​ ​the​ ​German’s​ ​loss was​ ​even​ ​greater.​

​It​ ​is​ ​with​ ​great​ ​respect​ ​and​ ​pride​ ​that​ ​we​ ​remember​ ​our​ ​Cornish​ ​soldiers.​ ​The​ ​wood​ ​that​ ​the​ ​soldiers​ ​gathered​ once​ ​at​ ​the​ ​top​ ​of​ ​the​ ​hill​ ​was​ ​renamed​ ​‘Cornwall​ ​Wood’.​ ​In a fitting tribute the​ ​local​ ​French​ ​people​ ​wanted​ ​to remember​ ​the​ ​brave​ ​Cornishmen​ ​who​ ​fought​ ​on​ ​Hill​ ​112​ ​and​ ​renamed​ ​the​ ​area​ ​‘Cornwall​ ​Hill,’ here,​ ​to​ ​remember​ ​those​ ​who​ ​gave​ ​their​ ​lives​ ​stands​ ​a​ ​stone​ ​memorial.​

​It​ ​really​ ​was​ ​an unbelievable​ ​battle and its story​ ​goes​ ​to​ ​show​ ​that​ ​with​ ​the​ ​heart,​ ​might​ ​and​ ​the​ ​pure​ ​determination​ ​of​ ​a Cornish​ ​man,​ ​against​ ​all​ ​odds,​ ​we​ ​triumphed!   

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