The Road to the Cheux Memorial

In the summertime warm and sunny, in the fall leaves fall from the trees, in the winter it's cold and in spring the beauty pops up again and gives the landscape that newborn feeling. That is what it is. It could have been any place, but it isn't any place. It could have been my home or yours, but it's not mine and most who read this can't say it's theirs either. But nevertheless it could have been.

Normandy is that place. Home of 3 million people. Mostly French, but with quite a few import Normandy lovers. It's their home. But there are more residents there. Normandy is the home of thousands of fallen soldiers who can only let you know who they are when you read their headstones. Roy E. Barnes, David Gotobed, Roy Painter, Stanley Dusza and many, many more. Names who were given to a baby once. Babies that were raised by their parents, cared for by their families, loved by their loved ones and grieved for by all who knew them. Their family, their friends, their wives and their children. But also loved and missed by their comrades in the armed forces. Who they fought with side by side in a country that was not theirs, but remained home for the ones who lost all. And maybe also home to those who lost a bit of their hearts and souls on the battlefields.

In Normandy, there is a little town like many others. Surrounded by hedgerows like most towns in Normandy. But the town we are looking for is Cheux. A little town close to Caen. Cheux could have been like all other towns but history decided otherwise. History made it a place where some of the finest young men were thrown into battle. Nowadays only little reminds us of that battle. However be rest assured that the people of Cheux do know what freedom means. The freedom given to them by the Allied forces. And they remember these men and women every year on June 27th on the square where a monument stands.

But keeping the memory alive is not only remembering. It also means that we should be telling their stories over and over again. Only then we can learn from history and try to be a better person so we can continue to live in freedom. The freedom they fought for.


On June 26, 1944 the men of 12 Troop were ordered to support the infantry and engage the enemy stronghold in the town of Cheux. The sunken roads and the rain made it very difficult to advance but the men managed to liberate most of the town and arrived in the center, near the church.

With the Churchill tanks and infantry they went southeast, passed the church on the right and went onto a field through a gap in a hedgerow. (Nowadays this is a sports field). But the field was heavily defended by German infantry and heavy guns (88's and Panthers).

The first Churchill tank was hit and the driver David Gotobed died instantly. A second tank was hit but the crew managed to get out. The third tank was also hit and the men fled. All but one. The driver, Royston Painter, was severely wounded and wasn't able to get out by himself.

One of the crewmembers, Charles Poulter, went back into the tank using the top turret and with the aid of Pete Davies they got him out through the side hatch of the tank. Charles carried him to a slightly safer place which was the brick wall of the church cemetery and later got him on a stretcher to carry him to a Jeep which took him to a hospital. Despite their effort, Roy Painter died a few days later. He is buried in Bayeux cemetery, almost next to David Gotobed.

Besides David Gotobed and Roy Painter, two other men were killed in Cheux; Ted Keeble and Sid Chapman.


You can say that the early actions of the battalion were just a small part of that gigantic war. But how small is small when the men who fall leave a gap because they don't return home. And how small is small when men like Charles Poulter come home with the memories of war. Small isn't small anymore.

These men deserve to be remembered for eternity. They made a difference, they came when they needed to come. They gave freedom and hope again.

On June 27th 2016 we will unveil a plaque for four men of 9th Battalion Royal Tank Regiment who lost their lives in the town of Cheux; Ted Keeble, Sid Chapman, Royston Painter and David Gotobed. And in honor of all the men who lost their lives. And besides the plaque we will place a signboard explaining what happened during the battle so the story will continue to be told.

Epsom 9RTR

Churchill tanks of 9th Royal Tank Regiment and infantry of 15th Divison, move forward during Operation Epsom, 26 June 1944.


12 Troop, C Squadron


Royston Painter


Charles Poulter


David Gotobed


Peter Davies

© 2011