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With the 8th Rifle Brigade from Normandy to the Baltic

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Don Gillate landed on the beaches of Normandy on 13 June 1944. From then on until 8 May 1945 he saw almost continuous action. Don was one out of only three in his platoon of over 40 men to remain with the platoon right to the end without getting killed or seriously injured.

As a member of 13 ‘Scout’ Platoon, 8th Rifle Brigade, part of the famous 11th Armoured Division, Don Gillate took part in major operations in Normandy (Epsom, Goodwood and Bluecoat) and in the liberation of Amiens and Antwerp, the watch on the river Maas, the Battle of the Bulge and in the final advance through Germany.

Don recorded his experiences in the early 1990s with vivid and personal descriptions of events including bearing witness to the loss of some 30 of his friends and comrades.

In this book Don Gillate’s story is illustrated by well over 100 photos and contemporary maps. Both the text and many of the photos used have not been published before.

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Don Gillate was born in 1922 and called up to join the British Army in 1941. From June 1944 until May 1945 he took part in the liberation of North-West Europe, serving as a front line soldier with the 8th Rifle Brigade, part of the famous 11th Armoured Division.

Right after the war, while still in the army, Don had a brief career with the British Forces Network in Hamburg, first as announcer and eventually as head of programmes. After being demobbed he took up his studies to become an English teacher and later went on to study drama at the Rose Bruford Drama College in London. Most of his carreer he worked for the British Counsel, in many different countries.

Don recorded his experiences in the early 1990s. Together with his wife Marjorie he had three sons. Don Gillate died in 2009.

 
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