By: Edgar A. Ferrier
I arrived in Bude on 12/1/1943. I
stayed at the private home of the Harry Ward family at 21 Killerton Rd.
in Bude. Their daughter, Myrtle Ward was 10 years old at the time.
She married later in life and became Myrtle Welch and she is still a
resident of Bude. I spoke to her by telephone on 5/22/12, as we
have stayed in touch all these years.
All the Rangers stayed in private homes.
Headquarters was downtown in a garage. It was our daily meeting
place. It was also the battalion kitchen (500 in a battalion.)
The 1st day in town many men were late for roll call, so no alarm clocks
were no longer an excuse for being late. We got a stern warning from
1st Sgt. Edward Sowa, who was killed as he got off our LCA on D-Day.
The following morning, everyone found a way to be on time, but 1st Sgt.
Sowa who showed up 1 1/2 hours late, he overslept!
After the evening meal I would take whatever I
could get from the kitchen, like crackers and cheese, home to the family.
Nightly, on the radio, Big Ben struck 9 times and
then we would be gathered with the family by the radio and to listen to
news about the war. Often times it was Churchill broadcasting.
There was no central heat in the home, each room
had a fireplace. We took coal from the headquarters area and carried
it across a golf course because it was a shortcut. We soon
discovered that we had taken more coal than we could carry so we would
leave it scattered in the golf course to pick up on the next trip.
Many of the men did the same thing.
The cliffs in Bude were the 1st cliffs we began
climbing, training for the invasion. At 1st we didn't use ropes so
we could get used to the height. Later we used ropes at the steeper
cliffs east of town, to continue developing our skills in both climbing
and descending. Later we went to Swange and Isle of Wight for LCA
landings and various other types of climbing equipment.
We enjoyed fish and chips wrapped in newspapers and
beer at the local pub. Occasionally they received a shipment of
scotch, which didn't have a long shelf life.
We were proud and pleased later in life to know we
made life long friends in Bude and never had a derogatory incident while
we were there.
By the way, there is a picture of my wife, myself
and Myrtle in the museum. We visited Myrtle when we were touring
England, and the museum took a picture of us.
I am glad to hear that there will be a statue in
Bude. I will be in Normandy that day, so I will not be able to
attend the ceremony.
Ray Tollefson, Ranger 2nd
Battalion A Company
Approved by daughter Kathy (Tollefson) Wiseman; 29-Aug-2013