National Archives catalogue number WO 170/1344.

 

Abbreviation

Admin

A/Tk

Bde

Bty

LZ

OR

Sqdn

Administration

Anti-Tank

Brigade

Battery

Landing Zone

Other Ranks

Squadron

 

 

Month and year : August 1944

 

3rd August 1944

Place: Tarquinia, Italy

 

0530 to 0830 - Tactical Exercise "Load" with 35 HORSA gliders.  A/Tk Bty. & Light Bty. lifted complete with average load per glider of 6500 lbs.

 

7th August 1944

1030 to 1530 - Glider Pilots carried in tugships in Exercise "Preface" i.e. demonstration of glider formation towing by tugships without gliders for benefit of U.S. Naval Forces.

 

9th August 1944

1800 - Seaborne operational element of Sqdn (Admin personnel) arrived at Bde. Area.

 

11th August 1944

0930 - Seaborne operational personnel proceeded to Staging Area NAPLES.  Gliders at TARQUINIA Airfield loaded for Operation "Dragoon".

 

12th August 1944

Loading of gliders continued also pilots given first briefing for the Operation and gliders flight tested.

 

13th August 1944

Flight testing of gliders continued and further briefing.  Newsreel taken of Glider Pilot Sqdn A/Tk Bty. & Light Bty. representatives by R.A.F. Photographic Unit.

 

14th August 1944

Final preparations for Operation "Dragoon" including final inspection of gliders & marshalling.  Newsreel taken of Anglo American briefing.

 

15th August 1944

Reveille at 0330 hrs.  Final briefing re weather at 0445 hrs.  First glider on Operation "Dragoon" took off at 0519 hrs.  Whole formation assembled over base at 0600 hrs & flight began.  Course via Elba and Northern Tip of Corsica.  Arrived within hrs flying of French coast when wirelessed instructions from Command to tugships received to turn back due to 10/10ths ground mist.  33 gliders reached TARQUINIA at 0840 hrs the remaining 2 gliders having forced landed on Corsica due to lack of petrol in two of the tugships.  33 gliders & 2 reserve gliders were marshalled on runway for the second take off at 1500 hrs.  Final briefing at 1430 hrs followed by take off as scheduled.  Same course flown and 35 gliders plus 1 which took off from Corsica arrived over the LZ (triangular valley between villages of La Motte, Le Muy & Saint Michele in Southern France).  On neither trip were enemy fighters encountered, however it is reported that small arms fire was directed against gliders over the LZ.  On landing the Sdqn suffered 9 casualties (2 Officers & 7 ORs) 1 of which proved fatal, 2 were slightly injured and returned to Sqdn, while the remaining 6 were later evacuated to Hospitals at NAPLES.

 

Place: S. France

 

Report made out in War Diary form for period 1800 hrs 15 Aug 44 to 1200 hrs 18 Aug 44 and forwarded to Bde. on 20 Aug 44.

 

16th August 1944

Remaining glider from Corsica landed on LZ in the morning.  Sqdn remained on LZ airstrip collecting, guarding & issuing stores from Bde. Supply Dump.

 

21st August 1944

Sqdn H.Q. established in Wood E of FREJUS.  Remained here until concentration at point of re-embarkation on 25 Aug, carrying out normal duties in the meantime.

 

26th August 1944

0230 approx - Embarked in U.S. Naval transports.

 

29th August 1944

Place: Naples

 

1000 approx - Disembarked at NAPLES.  Passed through Bde. Transit Camp and set off for base at TARQUINIA at approx 1230 hrs.  Arrived at base at approx 2100 hrs.

 

Seaborne element of Operation cancelled and administrative personnel of Sqdn at Staging Area NAPLES ordered to remain behind to set up Transit Camp for reception of Airborne Element on its return from mission.