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William B. Goudy - HQ 1st

I landed in Normandy on 6th June 1944.

When I hit the ground, I got out of my chute while under machine gun fire and crawled over to another trooper and helped him to get out of his chute.

At daybreak, as we started to move we discovered that we were in the middle of a deployed German Artillery unit.

As we quietly moved out of the area, we discovered that a German patrol was following closely behind us. We deployed behind an hedgerow and organised a hasty defensive position. The Germans also deployed and a vigorous fire fight ensued.

As we were outnumbered, the officer leading our group told me, as the only non-commissioned officer, "go around the end of the hedgerow and fire on the Germans from the flank."

I picked one man and we worked our way around the hedgerow to a position where we could shoot at the Germans.

A big mistake.

In the initial exchange of fire, my partner (a red-head named Mansfield.) was killed and I was pinned down by rifle and machine gun fire. As soon as I could, I worked my way free and returned to where I had left our group only to discover that they had pulled out and left me.

I scurried out of the area and spent the night in a hedgerow.

Just before daylight, I discovered a German unit was deploying on the other side of my hedgerow.

Again, I quickly vacated that unwelcome area.

A short time later, I wandered into a large field that looked like it had been a large impact area for large artillery shells.

I found an area where the shells had detonated among a group of paratroopers. Among the dead I found Harry Higgins' body.

It was stripped of his jump jacket and still had a white mark where he had his wristwatch.

NOTE: Higgins is listed as KIA on 11 July 44 which may have been the date that the Grave Registration unit recovered his body.  This eyewitness account indicates that he died more than a month earlier.

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