None of the men of the 1st Battalion of the Royal Hampshires was surprised that the fight would be tough. As they doggedly advanced up ‘Gold’ beach on D-Day, every man knew that surviving the murderous criss-cross of machine-gun fire would demand a miracle. The village of Le Hamel, although no more than a few hundred yards beyond the surf, never seemed to get any closer. The bullets mercilessly cut down their commanding officer as well as several middle-ranking officers, and as the day wore on, it looked as if the entire battalion would be slaughtered on the beach.