Cleared Germans From House
Rushden Soldier In West Front Adventure
(By a Military Correspondent)
When a company commander of the Lincolnshire Regiment on the Western front was warned by civilians in the area that the Boche were occupying a large house about 1,000 yards in front of his positions, he sent a platoon, including Pte. G. F. Nichols, of “Reighton,” Avenue-road, Court Estate, Rushden, with a troop of tanks under command, to clear them out.
For about the first 500 yards, the platoon rode on the tanks. When they came to a wood, they dismounted, and Lieut. Preistly, in command, sent the tanks round the back of the wood to a point on the edge, from which they had a good field of view for putting down fire on the house.
Ran Into Trap
The platoon, meanwhile, advanced under cover of a position about 100 yards from the house, the plan being that the tanks should put down a heavy “stonk” on the house, following which the platoon would put in their assault.
The tanks opened up and succeeded in hitting the top storey of the house, and a barn which stood beside it before they ceased firing.
Under cover of a Bren gun, Lieut. Priestly and eleven men doubled forward to the house; the intention being completely to surround it. Before they were able to do this four or five Jerries ran out of the building; but in so doing ran straight towards a machine-gunner whom Lieut. Priestly had placed a little distance from the house to cut off any who succeeded in escaping. All were either killed or wounded.
The assaulting party then entered the house from the rear, and throwing a grenade into each room before they entered it, soon cleared the building killing 12 and injuring several others.
Pte. Nichols, the Rushden member of the platoon, is 36, and married. Joining the Army four years ago, he served in Iceland for a time, and has been on the European front since. “D-Day” plus three. Before call up he worked at the Rushden C.W.S. factory, and belonged to clubs in the town.