(When the Germans launched their first heavy assault at 5:00 a.m.
the following morning, the troopers with these weapons were to
stop the attack about 7:15 a.m. [crossed out] just [end crossed out] 100 yards from the Aid
Station and battalion command post.) Also no sweat with the
radio operators - they were netted with our companies and the Regimental
C. P., but already the wire section was having trouble
mending breaks in the lines caused by the German artillery fire
which also made it hazardous for the wiremen to move along the
lines, find the breaks and repair them.
Lt. T. G. Smith of Dallas, Texas, the commanding officer of
company D, was not there. He had torn the ligaments of his leg when
he landed and, remaining in the D Co. C. P., had sent his second
in command, Lt. Waverly W. Wray, to fill in for him. Wray said
his company was well dug in on the east of the road leading north
from Ste Mere Eglise to Neuville au Plain and he would let me
know as soon as Turnbull’s platoon came back to the company.
Someone asked how the fighting was going on the beaches as we had
been hearing distant firing from that direction ever since daylight.
No one knew the answer to that question, so Waverly and the others
left as the sounds of small arms firing began to build up in the
Waverly Wray, from Batesville, Mississippi, had a devout
religious faith in the goodness of God that kept him from drinking,
smoking or even using any language stronger than ”Dad-burn” or
"Dad-brown" - and even these he used only in moments of extreme
anger. His qualities as a fighting man and combat platoon leader
were such as to have caused the First Sergeant of company D to
remark to me after the fighting in Italy, ’’Aren't you you glad that
Waverly is on our side?” Waverly, a slow-spoken young gentleman
of the Old South, regularly attended Chaplain George Wood’s Protestant
Sunday Services. He carried his Bible with him at all times
and read it in his fox-hole in the evening when he had the chance.
He was armed with the conviction that he fought on the side of the
Lord. That his guardian angel was with him the next day (D plus 1)
there seems little doubt. He re-appeared at tne battalion C. P.
about 7:00 a.m. after the sleepless night of June 6. Still no word
of when help would arrive from the beach [crossed out] assault [end crossed out] had been received.
Wray was rightfully worried. His D company platoon, adjacent to
the main highway, had been overrun by the morning assault of the
German Infantry and self-propelled guns which had started at 3:00
a.m. On his side of the road they were now being held back by
Lt. Turnbull and sixteen survivors of the third platoon. [inserted] When they
had come back from Neuville au Plain they had dug in to the rear
of the other two platoons to add depth to the D Company position. [end inserted] Elements
of E company, the battalion reserve, were helping them.
Notes and Questions
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A webpage with information on Waverly W. ("Charlie" seems to have been a nickname that he used for himself during his service in World War II) Wray -- including information about his actions on "D-Day" in Normandy June 6, 1944 -- may be found online here: https://www.thenmusa.org/biographies/waverly-w-wray/.
(The page notes that Wray was a devout Christian, did not use "profanity", and was nicknamed "Deacon"; he lived from 1919 to September of 1944; he died in combat in the Netherlands .)