National Archives catalogue number WO 171/1245.

 

Abbreviations

103727

2 i/c
A/

Adj

Admin

Airldg

Amn

A Pers

Appt

Arty

Att

Bde

Bldgs

Bn

Can

Cdo

C in C

Comd

Comn
Coy

Div

Fd

Fm

FUP

Fwd

Gp

HE

Hvy

Hy

Ind

Inf

Int

Junc

LMG

MG

MO

MT

OC

Offr

OP

OR

Pdr

Pl

Posn

Poss

QM

RA

RAMC

Rd

Regt

Res

Rly

RUR
Sec

Sin

SP

SS

Tks

Tpt

u/command

x rds

Map Reference

Second-in-Command

Acting

Adjutant

Administration

Airlanding

Ammunition

Anti-Personnel

Appointment

Artillery

Attached

Brigade

Buildings

Battalion

Canadian

Commando

Commander-in-Chief

Commander / Command

Communication

Company

Division / Divisional

Field

Farm

Forming Up Place

Forward

Group

High Explosive

Heavy

Heavy

Independent

Infantry

Intelligence

Junction

Light Machine Gun

Machine Gun

Medical Officer

Motor Transport

Officer Commanding

Officer

Observation Post

Other Ranks

Pounder

Platoon

Position

Possibly

Quartermaster

Royal Artillery

Royal Army Medical Corps

Road

Regiment

Reserve
Railway

Royal Ulster Rifles

Section

Single

Self-Propelled

Special Service

Tanks

Transport

Under Command

Crossroads

 

Month and year: June 1944

Commanding Officer : Lt. Col. A. P. Johnson

 

2nd June 1944

Place: Keevil

 

1240 - Bn. addressed by Corps Comd. Lt. Gen. Browning C.B. D.S.O.

 

3rd June 1944

Place: Keevil

 

1250 - Bn. address by Bde comd. Brigadier Poett.

 

6th June 1944

Place: Ranville

 

0100 -  OPERATION OVERLORD.  Bn landed in CHERBOURG PENINSULAR (link up posn in LE BAS DE RANVILLE and high ground SOUTH.  B + C Coys fwd A Coy NORTH covering rear and watching bridges).  Maj Mayfield, Capt Turnbull, Lt Sharp, Lt Austin and 100 ORs missing.  Lts Tottingham-Smith and Campbell and 12 O.Rs wounded.

 

Place: Le Bas de Ranville

 

1200 - Capt Sim and 7 O.Rs fought very gallant action area HEDGEROW S.W. of Bn Posn.  Held off attack by Enemy Coy supported by 3 S.P. Guns.  4 O.Rs killed.  Tiger tank destroyed B Coy area.

 

2100 - Bn came into reserve under comd 6 Airldg Bde.  A Coy moved fwd area x rds 103727.

 

7th June 1944

Place: Le Bas de Ranville

 

1300 - Bn attacked by 8 Mk IV tanks and 50 lorried inf.  3 Tanks destroyed and attack driven off.  Approx enemy casualties 6 Offrs 110 O.Rs.

 

2100 - Bn relieved by 12 Devons came into Div Reserve and Rest area in village under comd 5 Para Bde.

 

1230 - Pte Hall 'B' Coy destroyed 2 Mark IV Tks with 2 shots with 6 Pdr.  He had never fired a 6 Pdr. before.  Majors Darling and Ritchie & Lt Stirling wounded.

 

8th June 1944

Place: Le Bas de Ranville

 

1130 - Moved into rest area 1 mile N of RANVILLE.  Still in 5 PARA BDE reserve.  Capt Bernhard OC 'A', Capt Firth Adj.

 

9th June 1944

Place: Longueval

 

1130 - Moved to LONGUEVAL under command 6 Airlanding Bde to take over village whilst R.U.R. attacked ST. HONORINE.  Bn was ordered to work forward into fire posn and support R.U.R. by fire.

 

1400 - B Coy eased forward but came under heavy MG + Mortar fire suffering many casualties.  "A" + "C" Coys also reached their posns.  Owing to continued hvy mortar it was decided to withdraw the Bn and try to retrieve the casualties.  The stretcher bearers were magnificent and work with complete disregard to their personal safety.  The Bn then withdrew to original area N of RANVILLE.  Casualties Capt Stephenson G.H. + 9 O.Rs killed.  Lieuts Duthie, Burkinshaw, Shaw + Captain Kennedy (MO) + 37 ORs wounded in this battle.

 

1900 - 3. 3 x tonners with Capt Winney arrived by Sea tpt.

 

10th June 1944

Place: Le Bas de Ranville

 

2100 - Remained resting until 2100 hrs when Bn was put under command 1 SS Bde and sent to take over from 4 Commando.  "B" Coy left behind to follow on.

 

Place: Hauger

 

2230 - Bn less "B" Coy in posn.

 

11th June 1944

Place: Hauger

 

0430 - "B" Coy arrived + took up posn. (quiet night).

 

1200 - Relieved by 47 Commando and went into Rest Area N of Le Bas de Ranville.

 

12th June 1944

Place: Le Bas de Ranville

 

2200 - Rested until 2030 hrs when marched to LE PLEIN to form up for attack on BREVILLE.  2215 attack went in and Bn occupied BREVILLE.  Casualties killed Lt. Col. A.P. Johnson, Major H.D. Rogers, Lieut B.M. Brewer + 28 O.Rs.  WOUNDED Major C.W. Stephens, Capt P.C. Bernhard, Capt W.G. Medd, Capt J.N. Sim, Lt Campbell + about 100 O.Rs.

 

13th June 1944

Place: Breville

 

0300 - Reinforcements arrived (22 Ind. Para Coy) and Major Stockwell who took over command of BREVILLE garrison.  No further activity.

 

1000 - 1 Coy of R.U.Rs. arrived for Reinforcements but no move by enemy.

 

14th June 1944

Place: Ranville

 

0900 - Relieved by RUR's and went back to rest area in RANVILLE.

 

15th to 16th June 1944

Place: Ranville

 

Remained in rest area with Bde counter attack role but no action.  2 killed + 10 wounded by enemy shellfire.

 

17th June 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

1600 - Moved up to LE MESNIL to relieve 9th PARA BN.  3 ORs wounded.  No other action.

 

18th June 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

Bn in Bde Reserve Area.  Major W.A.B. Harris took over command.  Major Stockwell 2 i/c, Capt C Bliss O.C. Composite Coy.  Bn reorganised into 1 Rifle Coy, 1 HQ Coy.  Spasmodic enemy shell + mortar fire.

 

19th June 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

Lts Robson + [unreadable] posted to Bn & took over No.s 2 and 3 pls Composite Coy respectively.  Still in Bde Res.  Enemy shell + mortar fire.  1 OR wounded.

 

20th June 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

Bde Reserve.  Enemy shell mortar fire.

 

21st June 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

Bn provided patrols for 13th Bn otherwise in reserve.  3 ORs wounded by mortar fire.

 

22nd June 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

1 OR killed 1 OR wounded whilst on patrol.  Composite Coy took over from 1 Coy 7 Bn + came u/command 7th Bn.  7th Bn Coy to Bde Reserve Area under 12 Admin.

 

23rd June 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

No activity.

 

24th June 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

Very heavy enemy shell + mortar concentrated on all Bde Posns.  11 ORs wounded.  Major Bliss took out patrol without loss.

 

25th June 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

1000 - Bn relieved by 9th Para Bn & proceeded to rest area  118760.  Composite Coy released.

 

26th June to 2nd July 1944

Bn in rest area N of Ranville.  No incidents to report.

 

Month and year: July 1944

Commanding Officer : Lt. Col. W. A. B. Harris

 

3rd July 1944

Place: Rest Area

 

Reinforcements from SWB & Glosters.  Non parachutists absorbed into Bn, A & B Coy formed.  Capt Baker, Lieut Coates, Lieut Deakin and Lieut Guy posted or attached to the Bn.  Capt Baker took over 2 i/c B Coy, Lieut Coates promoted Captain took over 2IC A Coy, Lieut Guy and Lieut Deakin took over command of Nos. 2 & 3 Platoons.  Major Foster took over comd B Coy.

 

4th July 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

0930 - Bn relieved 9th Bn at Le Mesnil.  Lieut Metcalf posted to Bn, promoted Capt and appointed Adjutant.

 

1930 - B Coy took up forward position taking over from a coy of 1 Canadian Para Bn.  1 OR killed by enemy sniper.

 

5th July 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

1100 - Bn took over forward locality from 13 Para Bn.  Major Crocker posted to Bn and took over comd HQ Coy.  Enemy sniping of forward localities caused 1 OR wounded.  Suspected enemy positions mortared.  C Coy 1st Bn R.U.R. came under command.

 

6th July 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

Local activity by constant patrols.  Slight enemy mortar fire, no casualties.  11 deserters entered our line in the evening stating that our mortaring would make some more come over.

 

7th July 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

0930 - Lt Col Harris wounded by a sniper.  Maj Stockwell assumed command.  Enemy mortaring during the morning.

 

1145 - Forward platoon of A Coy attempted to gain forward positions.  Leading section was caught by heavy mortar and machine gun fire.  By this and in attempting to evacuate casualties Major Bliss A Coy Comd and Capt Coates were wounded.  Two other ranks killed, one missing and eleven wounded.  Platoon withdrew to original positions.  Major Stockwell was also wounded by mortar fire on going forward.  Further report attached Appx 'A'.

 

1430 - B Coy changed locations with  C Coy RUR (under command).  One sniper of A Coy wounded & missing.

 

1935 - Propaganda broadcast was made to the enemy.

 

2000 - Area of Bn HQ heavily mortared.  Major Steelbaume of 7 Para Bn assumed command.  Capt Fellowes also attached from 5 Para Bde.  Lieut Robson was attached to 5 Para Bde.  Intermittent shell and mortar fire continued.

 

8th July 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

Little action took place.  1 OR killed and 1 wounded by mortar fire.

 

1500 - Major Stockwell resumed command.

 

8th to 9th July 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

Enemy positions mortared during night.  Major Steelbaume ceased to be attached.  B Coy moved into forward position.  A Coy moved back into reserve.  Intermittent shelling during morning.

 

1800 - Enemy posns in hedgerow 146730 to 146729 blasted with 3" mortars 2" mortars and grenades.  MG posn at this hedgerow considered destroyed.  10 OR wounded by shelling and mortaring during day.  Capt Holmes and Lieut Delany. Can. Inf. Corps. joined unit.

 

10th July 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

0200 - Recce patrol of B Coy located several enemy M.G. posts, recce patrol of C Coy located one post.

 

1100 - 13th Bn relieved Bn.  Bn proceeded to area Chateau de Benouville in reserve.  Mortar platoon remained under command 13th Bn.

 

1730 - Bn area heavily shelled from N.E.  Casualties 4 ORs killed 5 ORs wounded.  Mortar Platoon casualties through enemy mortaring 1 OR killed 1 wounded.

 

11th July 1944

Place: Benouville

 

Bn in reserve area.  Resting.

 

12th July 1944

Place: Benouville

 

Bn in reserve area, reorganising and coy training.

 

13th July 1944

Place: Benouville

 

Bn in reserve area, coy training and recreation.

 

14th July 1944

Place: Benouville

 

Bn in reserve area, coy training and recreation.

 

15th July 1944

Place: Benouville

 

Bn in reserve area, coy training and recreation.

 

Immediate awards announced as follows: Lt Col Johnson DSO, Lieut J. H. Duthie MC, Sjt F. Milburn DCM, L/Sjt W. Jones DCM, Sjt E. G. Frost MM, L/Sjt J. F. Nankivell MM, Cpl M. K. Walsh MM, Pte F. J. Hall MM.

 

1950 - Area shelled by 88mm guns.  Eight shells counted.  No casualties.

 

16th July 1944

Place: Benouville

 

Bn in reserve area + coy training and recreation.  C in C 21 Army Group presented ribbon of MM to Sjt Nankivell.

 

17th July 1944

Place: Breville

 

1830 - Bn moved to area BREVILLE under comd 1 SS Bde as Bde reserve.

 

18th July 1944

Place: Breville

 

1800 - Bn took over posns of 12 Devons with same role of Bde reserve to 1 SS Bde.

 

2350 - Area bombed with A pers bombs.  No casualties.

 

19th July 1944

Place: Breville

 

Bn in reserve.  General training continues.

 

20th July 1944

Place: Breville

 

Bn in reserve.

 

21st July 1944

Place: Breville

 

1400 - Bn relieved by 1 RUR, and moved to area 118760 as reserve Bn to 5 Bde.  Returned to comd of 5 Bde.

 

22nd July 1944

Place: Area N8760

 

Bn in reserve.

 

23rd July 1944

Place: Area N8760

 

Bn in reserve.

 

24th July 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

0930 - Bn relieved 13 Para Bn at Le Mesnil.  One platoon 22 Independent Para Company came under command.  No enemy activity on Bn front.

 

25th July 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

Slight enemy mortar activity during day.

 

26th July 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

0400 - One O.R. wounded.  Patrols of A Coy during night report enemy digging at 146725.

 

B Coy took over A Coy forward position.  A Coy came into Bn reserve.

 

27th July 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

0145 - Bn area bombed by up to 20 planes with anti personnel bombs.  One OR wounded.

 

1400 - Enemy observed in farm 147724 heavily mortared, results not known.

 

28th July 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

Slight mortar activity during daytime.  A Coy relieved B Coy in forward area.

 

2300 - Enemy planes bombed and machine gunned area.  Forward enemy positions observed to put up green very lights whenever their planes are overhead and red lights if bombs drop on them.  Enemy patrol in lane at 145725 withdraw hurriedly when bombed.

 

29th July 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

Considerable enemy mortaring and shelling during day.  Two ORs wounded.  Slight enemy digging activity observed at 146725.

 

2250 - Slight enemy air activity over area, machine gunned by one plane.

 

30th July 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

0300 - Fwd coy and HQ area shelled.  Two ORs wounded.

 

1000 - Slight mortar activity during day.  B Coy took over forward area from A Coy.  Two ORs wounded by mortars.

 

2145 - Enemy positions at 148727 mortared.

 

31st July 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

A quiet day, very little activity by either side.

 

Month and year: August 1944

Commanding Officer : Maj N.C. Stockwell

 

1st August 1944

Place: Ranville

 

1100 - Bn relieved by 45 Cdo and moved to Divisional reserve in area RANVILLE.  Major Ritchie, Lieuts Firth, Roberts and Stirling rejoined the Bn from the U.K.

 

2nd August 1944

Place: Ranville

 

Bn resting and administration.  No incidents.

 

3rd August 1944

Place: Ranville

 

Bn resting and administration.  No incidents.

 

4th August 1944

Place: Ranville

 

Bn in reserve area, training sport & reorganisation.

 

5th August 1944

Place: Ranville

 

Bn in reserve area, training sport & reorganisation.

 

6th August 1944

Place: Ranville

 

Bn in reserve area, training and reorganisation.

 

7th August 1944

Place: Le Plein

 

0800 - Bn relieved 47 Commando at LE PLEIN.

 

1100 - Area shelled.  1 OR wounded.

 

1450 - Area shelled, no casualties.

 

8th August 1944

Place: Le Plein

 

0700 - Forward platoon of B Coy at Farm 140752 relieved by platoon A Coy.

 

0830 - Area shelled, two casualties, building in farm 140752 set on fire.  Platoon HQ changed location slightly.  Shelling and mortaring continued at intervals during the day.  Forward posn reports that farm at 139752 occupied by us in daylight was not occupied by enemy during night.  2 ORs wounded during day.

 

9th August 1944

Place: Le Plein

 

0730 - Pl of B Coy took over fwd posn.  Slight enemy shelling during morning.  Capt Clarke QM, and 100 ORs joined from U.K.

 

1500 - 2 man patrol from B Coy went out from 138732 to hedge junc 173753.  No sign of enemy seen, but trench found containing BRITISH equipment.  Digging had apparently been heard and booby trapping was suspected.  Barn at 144752 reported to be booby trapped.

 

10th August 1944

Place: Le Plein

 

0730 - Pl of A Coy took over fwd posn from B Coy.

 

1045 - Pl Comd of fwd pl reports metal glinting in woods 149755 and bldgs nearby.  Smoke seen dropping in area 140755.

 

1230 - Mortar bomb landing on right.  OP reports puffs of smoke from behind buildings 146755.

 

2245 - Slight enemy air activity over position.

 

11th August 1944

Place: Le Plein

 

0800 - Pl of B Coy took over fwd posn from A Coy.

 

0820 - B Coy report that a dog like an Alsatian, sized between a terrier and an Alsatian, approached position at 135753 at 0620 hrs and then ran off at high speed towards the enemy.

 

1145 - Slight enemy shelling on general area.  Counter battery action by Bn mortars.

 

1230 - Lieut Pope and 12 ORs joined from U.K.

 

1450 - Slight enemy shelling.

 

1555 - Patrol of B Coy report MG located in hedge at 147755.

 

12th August 1944

Place: Le Plein

 

0015 - MG fire posn poss near one located above, not on our posns.

 

0130 - MG fire from 145755 and 146754 on right flanking unit.

 

0315 - These positions opened fire again, also a 5cm mortar from 145755.

 

0730 - Pl of A Coy took over fwd posn from B Coy.

 

1547 - 4 shells landed near O.P. at 138753.

 

1915 - Enemy shelling - puffs of smoke seen on ridge about 5 miles away beyond CABOURG bearing of 51 Grid from OP at 139751.  Recce patrol of A Coy observed hedgerow 143753 to 146757 and saw no movement.  Grass flattened down as though by recent occupation.

 

13th August 1944

Place: Le Plein

 

0900 - Bn relieved by 1 Belgium Gp and moved into Div Reserve area RANVILLE.

 

14th August 1944

Place: Ranville

 

Bn in reserve.  Maj NC Stockwell appointed officer commanding vice Lt Col WAB Harris (wounded) and promoted A/Lieut Colonel with effect from 9 July 44.

 

15th August 1944

Place: Ranville

 

Bn in reserve.

 

16th August 1944

Place: Ranville

 

Bn in reserve.

 

17th August 1944

Place: Troarn

 

Lieut Fellowes att to HQ 5 Para Bde.

 

1600 - Bn moved to area fork roads 140703 as other elements of Div moved forward through TROARN.

 

18th August 1944

Place: Mongassard

 

0450 - Bn advanced through TROARN to MON GASSARD 192690 as reserve Bn to 5 Para Bde and awaits orders to continue advance.  Capt J.A.N. Sim, Lieuts J.H. Duthie, Hall, Warren and Flint and 80 ORs joined from U.K.  C Coy formed under Capt Sim.

 

2100 - Bn received orders for night attack on PUTOT-EN-AUGE 2371.

 

2130 - Bn moved to assembly area at 216715.

 

19th August 1944

Place: Putot-en-Auge

 

0230 - Bn commenced approach march to F.U.P.  Order of march B Coy, Bn HQ, A Coy.  B Coy assaulted Putot-en-Auge supported by A Coy, and captured all objectives, taking 75 prisoners.  Casualties in the assault were three ORs killed and six wounded.  A story of the battle is attached at Appx 'A'.  During the morning the position was heavily shelled and the battalion suffered casualties as follows 2 ORs killed, Lieut Stirling and 27 wounded and 2 ORs missing.

 

20th August 1944

Place: Putot-en-Auge

 

Bn consolidating and re-organising in PUTOT-EN-AUGE.

 

21st August 1944

Place: Putot-en-Auge

 

Bn re-organising and re-equipping.

 

22nd August 1944

Place: Putot-en-Auge

 

0530 - Bn moved out through DOZULE and advance by march route and M.T. to River TOUQUES South of PONT L'EVEQUE.

 

1520 - Bn commenced river crossing, supported by 150 and 187 Fd Regts R.A.  A Coy led assault and came under heavy fire from MG's on far bank.  Capt J.A.S. Baker A Coy Comd with eight men succeeded in crossing river but were pinned down by heavy fire.  Remainder of Company and B Company following were also pinned down.

 

1800 - The parts of A Coy who were across remained until their ammunition was reduced to sin rounds of pistol amn, and then withdrew to the river where they had to remain with more of the company until darkness fell.

 

2200 - It was impossible to evacuate the wounded until dark when C Coy provided bearer parties.  Casualties were Lieut JM Bercot killed, Lieuts J Duthie and HW Roberts wounded 16 other ranks killed, forty six wounded, and four missing believed drowned.  Full story is attached on Appx 'B'.  After dark the battalion was relieved by 7 Para Bn and withdrew approximately one mile to the west to re-organise.

 

23rd August 1944

Place: Pont L'Eveque

 

Bn re-organising.

 

24th August 1944

Place: VX Bourg

 

1100 - Bn advanced to VX BOURG 5706 through PONT L'EVEQUE where Bde formed a firm base for the Division to pass through.  The position was shelled several times during the afternoon and evening and casualties caused as follows: Lieut Firth and 15 OR's wounded.

 

25th August 1944

Place: VX Bourg

 

Bn remained in position, no enemy action of any sort.  Reconnaissance patrols found an ammunition dump not fully destroyed in woods at 563066.

 

26th August 1944

Place: VX Bourg

 

0500 - Bn commenced to advance by march route and M.T. to PONT AUDEMER 7608.  No enemy opposition was encountered and the Bn took up position SE of PONT AUDEMER at LE DOUBS and LES PLACES.

 

1930 - Bn moved to FRENOUVILLE on relief by 49 Div.

 

27th August 1944

Place: Frenouville

 

Bn resting & refitting in area FRENOUVILLE.

 

28th August 1944

Place: Frenouville

 

Bn resting and refitting.

 

29th August 1944

Place: Frenouville

 

Bn resting and refitting.

 

30th August 1944

Place: Frenouville

 

Bn received warning order to prepare for embarkation to UK on 4 Sep 44.

 

31st August 1944

Place: Frenouville

 

Capt J.A.N. Sim received ribbon of MC from C in C at 21 Army Group HQ.

 

Month and year: September 1944

Commanding Officer : Lt Col N.C. Stockwell

 

1st September 1944

Place: Frenouville

 

Bn preparing to embark for U.K.  Orders received to move to transit camp on 2 Sep and embark on 3 Sep.

 

2nd September 1944

Place: Frenouville

 

0830 - Bn commenced move by MT to area ARROMANCHES.

 

3rd September 1944

Place: Arromanches

 

1700 - Bn embarked for UK.

 

4th September 1944

Place: Arromanches

 

0700 - Battalion sailed for UK.  No incidents on voyage.

 

Place: Southampton

 

2330 - Bn disembarked and proceeded by MT to transit camp for the night.

 

5th September 1944

Place: Southampton

 

0750 - Bn moved by MT and rail to LARKHILL.

 

6th September 1944

Place: Larkhill

 

Bn reorganising.  Major Stephens, Capt Caden[?], Lieuts Russell, McGuire, Whitworth, Wheeler, Absalom, Crouch, Capt Kennedy RAMC, Lieuts Ward, Stockton, Cattell, Coakes of Residues absorbed into Battalion.

 

8th to 21st September 1944

Place: Larkhill

 

Bn proceeded on Block leave.  Major J. Barker Hampshire Regt joined unit, and assumes appt as 2 IC as of 4 Sep 44.

 

 

Report on Action by 'A' Coy, 12 Para Bn - 7 Jul 44

 

The action took place in the area of the farm 143730 at 1145 hrs.  The object of the action was to establish a post at the hedge & track junc at 145730.

 

It was suspected that the enemy had a MG post in posn at this point, and it was known that the hedge running from the hedge & track junc (145730) to hedge junc (145720) was frequented by one or more enemy snipers.  The night previous to the action a wiring party had laid wire from the road 144731 to hedge 145729.  No enemy fire was drawn from this MG even though it was a moonlight night.

 

At about 0800 hrs it was thought that the enemy might possibly have withdrawn from the posn at the rd & hedge junc, and it was suggested that the posn should be occupied by a section of 'A' Coy.

 

The method was as follows:- Snipers were to be sent forward towards the posn to report if the posn was occupied or not.  Two snipers moved fwd from the posn at 145728 and moved along the edge towards the enemy.  They later reported back and Pte Digby stated that he had shot an enemy sniper at 145729.  He thought he only wounded him and believed that the sniper went back to his lines.  Information still pointed towards the fact that the posn was still occupied.

 

At 1130 hrs a small party consisting of 1 sniper, 1 LMG & and NCO commanded by Lt GUY (SWB att 12 Para Bn) moved to the hedge junc at 145729 in order to prevent interference from the right whilst the posn was being occupied.  At 1145 hrs L/Cpl O'ROURKE and two snipers moved from the farm down the track towards the hedge junc.  They reached a point about 100 yds from the fm and still no fire was drawn so a composite section consisting of six men with three LMGs, commanded by Sgt MARRIOT began to move down the track in the rear of the snipers.  They had gone about 50 yds down the track when an enemy MG started to fire down the track towards the farm and L/Cpl O'ROURKE was immediately wounded.  The section returned the fire.  Maj BLISS (commanding 'A' Coy) who was moving in the rear of the party, picked up a Bren gun and firing it from the hip, moved towards the enemy.  The party were then fired on from the left of the track and Maj BLISS was among those wounded by another MG firing from the NORTH.  2" mortar fire was then placed down on the hedge & track junc from fwd of our posn at 145728.  Whilst this was going down the section withdrew down the track back to the farm bringing the casualties with them.  It was during the evacuation of wounded that Capt COATES (2 i/c 'A' Coy) was wounded.  All the wounded were brought back except L/Cpl O'ROURKE, in spite of repeated attempts by RAMC stretcher-bearers.

 

It was estimated that at least six enemy were killed or wounded in the whole action.

 

 

Battle of PUTOT EN AUGE

18th August 1944.

 

At 2030 hrs 18 Aug 44, 12 Para Bn received orders to cross part of the River DIVES, pass through 3 Para Bde and attack an enemy position at PUTOT EN AUGE 2371 at 0300 hrs with forming up position the orchard at 240705.  7 Para Bn was attacking on the left with objective Northern end of PUTOT EN AUGE and the orchards beyond.  13 Para Bn were to cross North of the DOZULE Rd and exploit eastwards.  12 Para Bn was to mop up the village and hold it as a firm base.  13 Para Bn had difficulty in crossing and 12 Para Bn time of attack was postponed until 0400 hrs and 7 Para Bn was given the task of exploiting eastwards.

 

By 0200 hrs the Bn was in position on the main DOZULE rd behind 7 Para Bn.  There was some shelling but no casualties were caused.  "A" Coy and the Int Sec were sent on ahead to recce the route to the FUP and beyond a task they carried out brilliantly despite a pitch black night and some fog.

 

Because there was a bottle neck over the river 7 Para Bn was delayed and the Bn did not reach the FUP until 0500 hrs.  The Bn then moved in the early light of dawn along a most complicated route covered by morning mist to the line of the railway at 245701 where it met a patrol of 9 Para Bn.

 

"B" Coy were ordered to attack forthwith and the remainder of the Bn was moved up to the hedgerow under the hill on which the village stood which leads up to the church.  "A" Coy lined this hedge and covered the WEST of the village.  While this move was on the leading platoon of "B" Coy had reached the church and the first shots and shouts of alarm rang out.  The enemies defensive fire fell on the FUP.  It was almost impossible to bring fire to bear on the Battalion as it was under a hill.  Occasional mortar fire fell and that was all.

 

"B" Coy's leading platoon cleared the church and found themselves pinned to the ground by fire from an MG 34 in the graveyard at 25 yds range.  This killed one man and wounded CSM Warcup in the neck.  The next platoon (Lt. Bercot) was then put in and they attacked the group of houses on the cross rds with such ferocity that prisoners were soon streaming down to Bn HQ.

 

The third platoon (Lt. Delany) was then put in round the right as the other platoons were pinned by MG fire.  They were led by the Coy Comd Major Croker and their movement enabled the other two platoons to move on.  Major Croker personally accounted for 3 Germans with his rifle and one he killed with a knife when Sgt Walker was seriously wounded tackling a fleeing Hun.  The attack began at about 0610 hrs and by 0700 hrs the village was in our hands.

 

While the attack was on "A" Coy had brought accurate Bren fire to bear on fleeing Germans in the open fields to the West.  Any escaping this fire were caught by 7 Para Bn on the left.  "A" Coy then passed through "B" Coy and seized the X rds NORTH of the village, where they contacted 7 Para Bn.  The attack was characterised by the speed of house clearing and the ferocity and courage shown by all ranks.  After an arduous night march with no sleep the attack was so swift and well led by OC "B" Coy that the enemy was completely demoralised.

 

The Bn took about 75 prisoners, 15 of which were wounded and though only 5 dead were found many more were killed in the open field.  The booty consisted of 5 MG 34's, 2 80m/m mortars, 4 5cm mortars, one Bazooker, and 2 75m/m anti-tank guns and one 20m/m gun.  Bn losses were 2 killed and 6 wounded.

 

For the remainder of the day the Bn held the village under heavy mortar and shell fire which cost it about 25 more casualties.

 

 

Battle of PONT L'EVEQUE

22nd August, 1944.

 

On 22 Aug 44 12 Para Bn having been lifted by lorry after the retreating enemy, reached the River TOUQUES in the area 522027.  At 1305 hrs the CO was ordered to attack and get across the river with first objective the rly embankment and second objective the ridge beyond.  2 Fd Regt's of Arty were to be in support.  There were supposed to be two fords which a French civilian volunteered to lead the Bn to.

 

The attack was timed for 1500 hrs with a 10 minute heavy crump of Arty on enemy positions known to be near the fords.  The remainder of the Arty firing smoke to screen PONT L'EVEQUE from the attack.  At 1500 hrs the attack started.  "A" Coy moving across the 1000 yds of open ground most steadily almost as if on parade.  Unfortunately the guide got pinned by fire with a result that "A" Coy failed to strike the ford and most of the Coy were pinned by fire from both flanks in the river bed.  Capt Baker the Coy Comd and 8 men however succeeded in swimming the river and clearing the Hun posts on the embankment but they drew hy fire from the rly trucks and the embankment on the right.  They most gallantly remained in their posn until they had only 6 rds of pistol amn left when they withdrew.  All WT comn had ceased as all sets were hit by bullets but men could be seen on the embankment and "B" Coy were ordered to advance.  They got halfway to the river when they were pinned by hy MG fire from both flanks which was impossible to locate.  Further smoke and HE concentration was ordered and the Coy with Lt Bercot's platoon leading were able to advance a further 200 yds to a deep ditch full of water.  Lt Bercot and part of his platoon almost reached the river in a most gallant advance under hy fire but unfortunately Lt Bercot was killed.

 

From 1700 hrs onwards until dark the Bn went through a very unpleasant time.  Two Coys were cut off by fire behind them over 200 yds of open country.  No more smoke from the Arty was available to help them and so they grimly hung on mostly up their waist in water.

 

It was impossible to get the wounded who were also in water back owing to enemy fire.  However Pte Shelley, RAMC, volunteered to cross the 200 yds of ground to alleviate their suffering.  This he did with great gallantry and later carried in a wounded man in the dark despite hy and accurate MG fire.

 

After 2200 hrs these two Coys were able to trickle back in: soaking wet and very tired by astoundingly cheerful.  Patrols were sent out to search for the wounded and 17 were brought in between 2200 hrs and 0430 hrs.  These patrols also destroyed one sniper and a LMG post during the night.  A further four wounded were picked up early on 24th when the enemy retired.

 

The attempt to cross the river very nearly succeeded and pressed the enemy so hard that instead of withdrawing he was forced to reinforce his posns.  The attack by "A" and "B" Coys was most gallantly carried out with great courage and endurance.  It cost the Bn 1 Offr and 15 ORs killed and about 50 wounded.