The reality for the rest of C Company was very different.

'They were knocked out and took prisoner and there was any amount killed and wounded. So, anyway, we were going up through the grass, crawling away up, crawling away up and I heard these voices. You could hear them getting nearer and nearer. And we were just lying at the bottom and this head popped up over the top and it was about six of them--Jerries. And it was "Stand up!" We had to get up. I says, "Here, they're coming. There's somebody coming. If they pop their heads over have a go."

Who was the Lance Corporal with you?

'Eeeh, he belonged Bishop Auckland. I'd given him the Bren in the meantime. I says, 'I'm sick to bloody death of pulling this bloody thing about! Here, have a go with this.' And we heard these voices and I had his rifle and this head comes over the top and I pulled the trigger and nothing happened. "Up! Get up!" But if that rifle had been cocked, I'd have gotten him, but there was about six of them and we would have had it. We would have gotten killed there and then. They wouldn't have took us prisoner. Knock one of their mates out? Doubt it. Oh, they were good blokes, peaked cap and everything. Tommy guns. But if that rifle had been cocked I'd have fired and we'd have gotten it.'

The grim inverted chivalry of the frontline soldier was common to both sides: a man was very unlikely to be taken prisoner if he put his hands up immediately after shooting at close range any of those enemy troops he wanted to surrender to.

'In the heat of the moment, they would have just shot us there lying on the bottom. There was only two of us, there was about six of them. There was an Arab among them. He was one of those mercenaries. They used to get the buggers. There was Arabs fought for the Germans and there was Arabs fought for us. They used to change sides, them buggers.'

As of the Germans picked up the Bren gun, he burned his hand on the hot barrel.

'Aye, chucking it down the hillside! And he actually said, 'For you, Tommy, the war is over.' 'Aye, he actually said it. "For you the war is over," he says, "You go to Berlin!" Oh, they were talking. There was a lot could speak English. "Bad. War bad. No good.'"

As the Battalion History puts it, C Company 'virtually disappeared' in the final attack and the other DLI Companies also suffered very heavy casualties.

'The other Companies? I don't know what the hell happened to them. Edgar got wounded.' One of the platoon's three Section Leaders. 'He got shot in the foot. George Local, he was the bloke that was left with me. There was only two of us left.'

Known casualties in Tom Tunney's No 15 Platoon over the several days of the battle included:

Lt Charles Duck (Platoon Commander, KIA), Cpl Les Cant (died of wounds), Pte Kershaw (KIA), Pte Stan Bernard (KIA), Pte Harold Mitchell (KIA) L/Cpl Jack Christie (wounded), Cpl Bill Edgar (wounded) L/Cpl Verdun Lockwood (wounded), Pte George Forster (wounded).
POWs included: Pte Tom Tunney, Pte Norman Cook, Pte Evan Darlington.

Several decades on, the exact fate of many DLI men still remains a mystery. Many were never seen again after starting their advance up the hill; a large number have no known grave. Many were wounded, many others became POWs, eventually in camps scattered all over Axis Europe.

Three of the four Rifle Company Company Sgt Majors were killed in the course of the four days fighting on the hills (C Company's CSM Arthur Pearson was the sole survivor); all of B Company's officers were killed, wounded or captured and in total it seems that some 60 plus DLI men were killed and many more wounded and made Prisoner of War.

After being seriously wounded in the stomach by a German bullet during the advance, Tom Tunney's Bren No 2 George Forster didn't see him again for 46 years--at a Battalion Reunion in Durham in 1989.

Pte Forster made his way back to the British positions and the Regimental Aid Post with the aid of a 'bomb happy' shell-shocked man from D Company. The last man he remembers seeing on the battlefield from 16 DLI was RSM E Thomasson, who was back with the ammunition supplies. The RSM asked, 'What are they doing up at the front?'

Only a badly wounded man could get away with his reply: 'Bloody well get up there and look!' I knew he couldn't do owt about it!'

The Germans treated their prisoners fairly, not least by pointing out where their own minefields were.

Tom Tunney

'They seemed all right. There was one Officer we met after, he took us back. We carried one of our lads, he was wounded. There was four of us. There was a gas cape and we put him on the gas cape and carried him all the way back. And a couple of miles back they had like a little field hospital. They had their wounded and ours in these tents. Zip up, like studded