National Archives catalogue number WO 171/1279.

 

Abbreviations

1273

2i/c

52 L.I.

AA

A/C

Accn

Adv

ADS

Airldg

Ap

Armd

Arty

A&SH

A Tk

Att

Bde

Bdy

Bks

Bldg

Bn

Br

Brit

Bty

C

Cas

CCP

Cdn

C in C

Civ

CO

Col

Comd

Conc

Coy

Defs

Deg

Det

DF

Disposn

Div

Ech

Est

Fd

FDL

Fm

FOO

FSP

Fus

Fwd

Gd

Gen

GHQ

Gp

Gren

HD

HE

Hy

Incl

Inf

Infm

Int

Junc

LCI

LCT

LM/C

LMG

LO

Lt

Mag

Map Ref

M/C

MDS

MG

MM

MMG
MO

Mob

MT

OC

Offr

O Gp

OO

OP

Opp

OR

Org

Oxf and Bucks

Pdr

Pl

Posn

Pt

PW

Pz
QM

RA

RAMC

RAP

Rcd

Rd

Rds

Regt

Reqd

Res

Rfts

RHA

RM

Rptd

Rt

RUR

SA

SAA

Sec

Shellrep

Sitrep

SL

SP

SQ

SS

Sta

Str

Sup

TCV

Tk

Tp

Tpt

Trg

Veh

X rds

Map Reference

Second-in-Command

52nd (2nd Ox and Bucks) Light Infantry

Anti-Aircraft

Aircraft

Accommodation

Advance

Advanced Dressing Station

Airlanding

Anti-Personnel

Armoured

Artillery

Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders

Anti-Tank

Attached

Brigade

Boundary

Barracks

Building

Battalion

Bridge

British

Battery

Car

Casualties

Casualty Collection Point

Canadian

Commander-in-Chief

Civilian

Commanding Officer

Column

Command / Commander

Concentration

Company

Defences

Degrees

Detachment

Defensive Fire

Disposition

Division / Divisional

Echelon

Established

Field

Forward Defended Locality

Farm

Forward Observation Officer

Field Security Police / Platoon / Personnel?

Fusilier

Forward

Guard

General

General Headquarters

Group

Grenadier

Highland Division / Horse Drawn

High Explosive

Heavy

Including

Infantry

Information

Intelligence

Junction

Landing Craft Infantry

Landing Craft Tank

Light Motorcycle

Light Machine Gun

Liaison Officer

Light

Magnetic

Map Reference

Motor Cycle

Main Dressing Station

Machine Gun

Military Medal

Medium Machine Gun

Medical Officer

Mobile

Motor Transport

Officer Commanding

Officer

Orders Group

Operation Order

Observation Post / Operation

Opposite

Other Ranks

Organisation

Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry

Pounder

Platoon

Position

Point / Physical Training (if upper case)

Prisoner of War

Panzer

Quartermaster

Royal Artillery

Royal Army Medical Corps

Regimental Aid Post

Received

Road

Rounds

Regiment

Required

Reserve

Reinforcements

Royal Horse Artillery

Royal Marine

Repeated

Right

Royal Ulster Rifles

Small Arms

Small Arms Ammunition

Section

Shell Report

Situation Report

Start Line

Self-Propelled / Support

Square

Special Service

Station

Strength

Supported

Troop Carrying Vehicle

Tank

Troop

Transport

Training

Vehicle

Crossroads

 

Month and year: June 1944

Commanding Officer : Lt. Col. G. R. Stevens

 

1st / 2nd June 1944

Bn (less A Coy) stationed marshalling camps at GRAYS (personnel party) and PURFLEET (vehicle party) awaiting move to theatre of operation 'OVERLORD'.

 

3rd June 1944

0900 - Bn (less A Coy) left marshalling camps.

 

1200 - Bn (less A Coy) embarked at TILBURY.

 

1430 - Ships at anchor off SOUTHEND.

 

4th June 1944

1100 - L.C.Is (carrying Personnel party) sailed to SHEERNESS.

 

1630 - Troops allowed ashore to visit camp.

 

1940 - Troops reembarked.

 

2020 - L.C.Is returned to SOUTHEND.

 

5th June 1944

Ships at anchor inside Thames Estuary Boom.

 

6th June 1944

0445 - Ships sailed in convoy.  Convoy shelled in STRAITS OF DOVER.  A Coy under comd Major J. Rogers emplaned in gliders at FARRINGDON aerodrome and flew to area of operation.  One glider crashed in sea 8 miles off French coast.  6 O.Rs missing.  Gliders landed in FRANCE in area F/7 1273 assembled and moved to HEROUVILLETTE.  Village held until arrival of Bn on 7 June.  No casualties.  Appx A.

 

7th June 1944

Day - L.C.I's and Transport ships landed on coast of FRANCE off OUISTREHAM.  All personnel landed safely.  Some equipment drowned.

 

1600 - Bn regrouped in unit assembly area 'HOMER'.

 

Place: Le Bas de Ranville

 

1700 - Moved to Concentration Area Le Bas de RANVILLE and took up defensive posns from 12 Para Bn at 1800 hrs.

 

2200 - A Coy joined up with Bn.

 

2230 - Bn 'Stood To'.

 

2315 - Bn 'Stood Down'.  3 P.Ws taken.  Two identified 125 Pz Gren Regt one 100 Pz Gren Regt.  (One P.W. a sniper captured by B Coy).

 

2200 - Bn positions subjected to enemy mortar fire.  16 O.Rs wounded.

 

2300 - Bn positions MACHINE gunned and bombed by enemy aircraft.  New type of anti personnel bombs dropped.  3 O.Rs killed.

 

7th / 8th June 1944

Place: Le Bas de Ranville

 

Intermittent bombing and shelling by enemy on our positions during night.  No casualties.

 

8th June 1944

Place: Le Bas de Ranville

 

1100 - Bn positions subjected to heavy enemy mortar fire.  1 O.R. killed.

 

1400 - Bn positions subjected to heavy enemy mortar fire and shelling by sp guns.  No casualties.  Infm received enemy forming up for attack.  Enemy dispersed by Arty.

 

1630 to 1830 - Increased shelling and enemy air bombardment on bridges.  Arty replied with heavy barrage of enemy positions.

 

2359 - Bn sent a patrol to ring contour above STE HONORINE de CHARDONNERETTE.  Patrol reported enemy lorried inf moving up from STE HONORINE.  6 Airldg Bde informed.  Arty fire brought to bear on enemy convoy.

 

9th June 1944

Place: Le Bas de Ranville

 

0800 - Int O.P. est in fwd posn on NORTH side of ring contour above STE HONORINE de CHARDONNERETTE.

 

1000 - Bde informed Bn that enemy were reported to have left STE. HONORINE de CHARDONNERETTE and ring contour.  1 R.U.R. to send strong occupying force.

 

1010 - Bn mortar pl blew enemy ammunition dump on SOUTH side of ring contour.  Effects observed from O.P.  Bde informed.

 

1100 - Comd 6 Airborne Div visited Bn. H.Q. and gave infm and orders to C.O.  (1 R.U.R. moving fwd to STE HONORINE de CHARDONNERETTE and 12 Para Bn moving to LONGUEVAL).

 

1105 - C.O. left Bn H.Q. to accompany 'C' Coy patrol (str 1 Pl under comd Lt Vickery) to Orchard S.W. of ring contour.  Posn under fire from enemy mgs and mortars.  Pl withdrew under cover of smoke laid by 'A' Coy.  No cas.  Enemy appeared to be still in STE HONORINE de CHARDONNERETTE.  It was later learned that occupying force of coy of 1 R.U.R. had been forced to withdraw.

 

1140 - Two female civilians reporting spreading "alarm and despondency" in LA BAS de RANVILLE.  Matter investigated by Bn Int Sec and F.S.P.  Both civilians arrested by F.S.P. at 1345 hrs.

 

1235 - Bn posns subjected to enemy mortar fire.  Snipers reported in area LE BAS de RANVILLE.  Attempts made to eliminate them.

 

1240 - Deputy Comd 6 Airldg Bde visited Bn H.Q.

 

1645 - Mortar Pl instructed to fire two minutes rapid fire on enemy 104716 7/F.

 

1655 - Enemy mortars retaliated on Bn posns.

 

1700 - Recce patrol sent out in direction of LONGUEVAL to check on enemy infiltration by River ORNE.

 

1710 - Bn posns straffed by enemy fighters planes.

 

1735 - O.P. reported sounds of heavy fighting in 1 R.U.R. area at LONGUEVAL.  This has been in progress since approx midday.

 

1745 - BRIT arty shelled enemy area WEST of STE HONORINE de CHARDONNERETTE and SOUTH of LONGUEVAL.  Enemy replied with mortar fire.

 

1840 - O.P. reported further shelling of enemy posns at STE HONORINE.  Enemy mortars fired on BRIT arty positions.

 

1930 - Enemy commenced hy barrage from SOUTH on to Bn posns, incl mortar, arty and rocket projectiles.

 

1940 - Barrage continued.  Int O.P. wiped out.  2 O.Rs killed.  1 injured.

 

2000 - Barrage continued.  Coys ordered to 'Stand-to'.

 

2030 - H.E. barrage terminated.  Enemy laid smoke screen and launched attack on 'A' & 'C' Coy fronts.  Attack met by rapid small arms fire by Pls of 'A' Coy under comd Lts. Whiteway and Hobbs and by mortar fire from Bn & Coy mortars.  'C' Coy met that attack in similar manner.  Enemy halted and eventually withdrew.  Some shelling intermittently by both sides until dark.  Enemy's cas for day thought to be very hy.  Bn suffered total 3 killed and 11 wounded.  1 missing.

 

10th June 1944

Place: Le Bas de Ranville

 

Intermittent shellfire and a/c attacks on Bn posns during early hours.  This continued throughout the day except that the air attacks ceased as R.A.F. air cover was provided.

 

10th / 11th June 1944

Place: Le Bas de Ranville

 

Patrols sent out during the night to obtain identifications, without success.  Generally a quiet night.  Total cas for day were 1 Officer killed, 2 O.Rs killed and 17 O.Rs wounded.

 

11th June 1944

Place: Le Bas de Ranville

 

0800 - Bn area shelled from BREVILLE.

 

2015 - Enemy movement seen on ring contour.  Area engaged by our mortars.  Total cas for day 6 O.Rs wounded.

 

12th June 1944

Place: Le Bas de Ranville

 

0815 - Barge seen floating down River ORNE towards bridges.  D Coy warned.  Dealt with by 1 R.U.R.

 

2200 - D Coy received orders to move area LONGUEVAL to come under comd 12 Para Bn to counter-attack BREVILLE.  Hy arty conc on BREVILLE preceded attack.  D Coy caught in conc on start line.  Major J.A.F.W. Bamfylde killed, Captain J.H.W. Pengelly and Lt P. Taylor wounded.  5 O.Rs killed and 18 wounded.  Attack successful and composite force consolidated in village.  5 O.Rs missing.

 

13th June 1944

Place: Le Bas de Ranville

 

0400 - A Coy attacked ring contour "30" SOUTH of LE BAS de RANVILLE.  Little opposition.  Posn taken and held.  This to secure flank of Camerons attacking STE. HONORINE, from LONGUEVAL.  Hy arty conc preceded these attacks.  No cas.  During the day slight shelling and enemy aircraft activity.  Bn area handed over to 5 SEAFORTHS midnight.  Total cas for day 1 O.R. killed 1 O.R. wounded.

 

14th June 1944

Place: Le Bas de Ranville

 

0130 - Bn moved to "harbour area" Map ref F/7 134726.  One Pl sent to Map ref F/7 141734 to hold posn between 52 L.I. and 9 Para.

 

15th June 1944

Place: F/7 134726

 

Normal patrolling.  Quiet day.

 

16th June 1944

Place: F/7 134726

 

0430 - Bn. stood to.

 

0435 - A very heavy conc of shell & rocket projector fire fell on bn area, very concentrated and lasted for approx 30 mins.

 

0500 - An enemy attack developed from ESCOVILLE area which was fairly determined and lasted over three hours before they were finally driven back with losses by a Bn of 51st. Highland Div.  Bn took up posns during the attack.

 

2010 - Short burst of shelling around Bn H.Q.  Total cas for day 4 O.Rs killed 13 O.Rs wounded.

 

17th June 1944

Place: F/7 134726

 

A quiet night.  Slight intermittent enemy shell and mortar fire otherwise a quiet day.  No casualties.

 

18th June 1944

Place: F/7 134726

 

0600 - Patrols returned without having contacted enemy.

 

1030 - Bn left concentration area which was taken over by 154 Bde H.Q. of 51 Highland Division.

 

1100 - Bn in reserve in new concentration area map ref 40/16 NW 132742 S.W. of BREVILLE.  Day spent digging in.  Nothing to report.  No casualties.

 

19th June 1944

A quiet day.  Nothing to report.

 

20th June 1944

0345 - Slight enemy shelling in Bn area.  1 O.R. wounded.

 

1800 - Bn moving out of Reserve position and took over front line posns of 2 Oxf Bucks.  This change over was carried out by one coy at a time.  All coys in position by midnight.

 

21st June 1944

Place: 40/16 NW 136736

 

0230 - One shell dropped in B Coy area apparently from area 40/16 NW 144736-147736.

 

0900 - B Coy O.P. reported having seen no enemy in this area.

 

0915 - A patrol of one officer and three O.Rs were sent out to see if the area was occupied by the enemy.  Patrol were fired upon and it withdrew after locating 2 M.G. posts.

 

0840 - One Officer and 3 O.Rs of Recce Pl went on patrol to see if wood 500x E.N.E. of C Coy occupied by enemy.  Patrol reported that when on West side of wood they were sniped at from east side.  No M.G. fire.  Patrol withdrew after patrolling South side of wood without further infm, and reported back at 1040 hrs.

 

1510 - Mortar barrage laid on area 2 M.G. posts facing B Coy.  During the day enemy fired a small number of shells and mortar bombs on B and D Coy posns.  Casualties 2 O.Rs wounded.

 

22nd June 1944

Place: 40/16 NW 136736

 

SP Gun reported firing on B Coy posns.  Location of this enemy gun worked out and 6 Airldg Bde informed.

 

1220 - 120 mortar bombs dropped on enemy M.G. posts facing B Coy.  Bombs reported on target.  Standing patrols made no contact with enemy during the day.

 

23rd June 1944

Place: 40/16 NW 136736

 

0001 - C. Coy sent out recce patrol to find if wood 500x E.N.E. of Coy occupied by enemy.  Patrol contacted enemy strength estimated one sec and withdrew.  Listened for 1 hr but no further infm obtained.

 

0430 - B Coy patrol driven off Coy O.P. by enemy.  One man missing.

 

0640 - B Coy standing patrol reoccupied Coy O.P. and found missing man wounded.

 

1015 - C. Coy reported enemy mortar fire from 143742.  The F.O.O. was informed.  During the morning a strong German counter attack with tanks could be seen approaching from CULVERVILLE in the direction of STE HONORINE which was occupied by bns of 51 Highland Div.  Counter attack was beaten off by our artillery and fighter aircraft.

 

1820 - Enemy laid mortar fire on B Coy O.P. and posns.  Also some enemy M.G. fire.  Coy Comd requested arty fire on enemy mortar posns and this was carried out by R.A.  Enemy firing lasted about 40 mins but no enemy attack developed.

 

2005 - A Coy reported enemy firing 5 c.m. mortar and sp guns.  Arty replied.  Total casualties for the day:- 3 O.Rs wounded.

 

24th June 1944

Place: 40/16 NW 136736

 

0001 - C. Coy sent out recce patrol of 1 Officer and 6 O.Rs to ascertain whether any enemy in Northern half of wood 144744 (40/16 NW).  Enemy were heard on other side of wood but no enemy were contacted in wood.  Contact was made with recce patrol 1 RUR.  Patrol returned at 0400 hrs.

 

1800 - A. Coy took over B Coy area on Bn right flank.  B Coy moved over to left flank.  Change over completed 2300 hrs.

 

2300 - Heavy firing started along the front of 5 Para Bde on our right.  On the right of 5 Para Bde the enemy attacked 7 Black Watch with a lighter attack sup by mortars and arty on 7 & 13 Para Bns.

 

25th June 1944

Place: 40/16 NW 136736

 

0130 - 6 Airldg Bde reported slight infiltration on 5 Para Bde front.  Bn "Stood To".  At 0140 tks were heard moving approx 2 miles S.E. of Bn HQ but Bde confirmed that these were British tks.  By 0230 position was restored and battle died down.  Bn "Stood Down" at 0245.  D. Coy ambush patrol timed for 0030 hrs was postponed as element of surprise was lost.  Total casualties for day: NIL.

 

26th June 1944

Place: 40/16 NW 136736

 

0040 - A fighting patrol, Lt Strawbridge and 6 O.Rs, was sent out to obtain identification from M.G. post at 144756.  At 0100 patrol heard small arms and shouting & saw verey lights from area 144743.  At 0120 more voices were heard, incl English in area 148743.  At 0145 4 mortars opened fire from same area.  Coughing was heard in hedgerow 50 yds North of M.G.  At 0240 Lt Strawbridge decided to attack M.G. post to obtain an identification.  The patrol attacked from 15 yds with 36 grenades and sten guns.  Immediately the enemy opened fired with M.Gs from areas 145740 and 144736.  Sgt Treball rushed a trench and killed three of the enemy at point blank range.  Efforts were made remove a body from the trench without success and 1 O.R. was injured and Lt Strawbridge and 1 O.R. slightly injured by grenades.  Patrol retired carrying wounded man.  They were subject to heavy mortar during return journey.

 

0340 - C Coy reported enemy shelling from 700x range.  No casualties.  The F.O.O. R.A. was informed.

 

1500 - C.O. attended a conference of Commanding Officers at 6 Airldg Bde HQ.  A quiet day on the Bn front.

 

27th June 1944

Place: 40/16 NW 136736

 

0001 - C. Coy sent out a patrol of one officer (Lt Hartland) & 6 O.Rs to recce and ambush at South of wood 144741.  Rain and wind made it difficult for patrol to hear sounds of movement and no enemy was seen.  At 0100 mortar was heard firing from NW corner of wood and flares seen fired from NE corner of wood throughout the night.  Patrol returned at 0400 hrs.

 

1700 - 9 Para Bn sent out recce patrol in front of the Bn area.  All Coys were informed.  Patrol returned at 2200 hrs.

 

1840 - Mortar Pl fired 120 rds of HE at triangular wood known to be held by the enemy.  The fall of bombs was not visible.

 

2300 - B Coy sent out a patrol of one officer (Lt Nuttall) and 6 O.Rs to recce and ambush at SE corner of wood 144740.  Patrol were unable to ambush enemy.  Laid up SE corner of wood for one hour.  It was fired at by M.M.G. from the wood and two rifle shots were heard.  Enemy also fired verey lights.  Patrol returned intact at 0400 hrs.

 

28th June 1944

Place: 40/16 NW 136736

 

At "Stand To" (0415) and during the day A Coy O.P. observed enemy movement in area of enemy M.G. posns 144735.  At 1355 hrs 9 PARA BN on our right flank mortared this area and during the day and again at night they sent patrols out in the same area.

 

1700 - 30 tks were seen in the area 082649 occupied by the enemy about 5 miles to S.W. of Bn HQ.  6 Airldg Bde HQ were informed.

 

2330 - D Coy sent out a patrol of one officer (Lt Grange) and 6 O.Rs to recce and ambush for identification area hedgerow junction 145738 - 145740 and if unsuccessful to obtain infm for future patrols.  At 0300 hrs at pt 143739 patrol saw an enemy sec (10 to 12 men) moving slowly down same hedgerow.  Patrol laid up for 1 hrs while enemy passed but was unable to ambush.  Infm for future patrols.  Patrol returned before 0300 hrs owing to a raid by 45 Commando due to start at that time.

 

29th June 1944

Place: 40/16 NW 136736

 

0300 - "A" Tp of 45 R.M. Commando (on left flank of 6 Airldg Bde) raided area 147750 with intention to destroy all enemy within that area.  Our Bn Mortar Pl gave sp fire for five mins from 0309 to 0314 hrs on target at 154753.  Raid was successful and 16 enemy posns and two strong points were dealt with.

 

1410 - D Coy sent out a patrol of one officer at 2 O.Rs to patrol same area as that during the night to ascertain if enemy along hedgerow north of A Coy O.P. and if any enemy booby traps had been laid in the same area.  Lt Grange left one man at O.P. to give covering fire whilst he went to South edge of wood (144741) where he threw a grenade.  He also threw two more grenades in thick hedgerow on his return journey but no enemy seen or heard.  No enemy booby traps were located.  Patrol returned at 1430 hrs.

 

2300 - 9 Para Bn sent another patrol in front of Bn area.

 

2358 - Cries were heard of wounded man in front of D Coy posns.  Lt Ogden and one O.R. went fwd to investigate and found Cpl Simpson of 9 Para Bn wounded.  The assistance of another O.R. had to be obtained before the N.C.O. was brought back to our R.A.P.  6 Airldg Bde and 5 Para Bde were informed.

 

2305 - B Coy sent out a patrol of one sgt and 4 O.Rs to cover a det of Pioneer Pl who were to lay booby traps at hedgerow 100 yds N. of O.P. (143738) and to ambush any enemy patrol moving South along hedgerow towards O.P.  Patrol contacted A Coy Standing Patrol at O.P. but had no encounter with the enemy.  Booby Traps were successfully laid and patrol returned at 0140 hrs.

 

30th June 1944

Place: 40/16 NW 136736

 

1700 - Mortar Pl (Lt D.D. Bowman) mortared two enemy posns.

 

1925 - Bn mortar posns mortared by enemy.  Casualties: 1 O.R slightly wounded.

 

2300 - A Coy sent out patrol of one officer (Lt Hobbs) one sgt and six O.Rs to capture an identification by forming an ambush in area of tracks and orchard junc 144741 and to recce approaches from ambush North to NE corner of hedgerow with a view to guiding raid in this locality the next night.  Also if time permitted to recce alternative route round East flank through field where enemy horsedrawn vehicles had been reported.  If identification available without forming an ambush patrol to return at once.  At 0100 hrs patrol contacted enemy MG post frontally.  Patrol then withdrew 25 yds to get through hedge and saw an enemy patrol of eleven strong moving down east side of hedgerow towards O.P.  Lt Hobbs sent a runner back to warn Standing Patrol at O.P. but the enemy patrol returned within 3 mins.  At 0150 hrs a 2nd MG post was contacted 50 yds East 144741 and at 0320 hrs a 3rd MG post at orchard and hedge junc 145741.  Patrol unable to ambush enemy but successfully withdrew with fire sp from Mortar Pl laid on area 145741.

 

Lt R.A. Vickery att 3 Para Bde was wounded by enemy shell fire on 29 Jun.  Field Returns of Officers and O.Rs were submitted to GHQ 2nd Ech on 10th, 17th and 24th.

 

 

Month and year: July 1944

Commanding Officer : Lt. Col. G. R. Stevens

 

1st July 1944

Place: 40/16 NW 136736

 

Patrol sent out night 30 Jun/1 Jul reported in War Diary for JUN.

 

1500 - Op Order 'NUTS' prepared and distributed to all concerned.

 

2000 - An enemy patrol, reported initially as 25 strong but subsequently est as 12, adv on Bn O.P. which had just previously been subjected to mortar fire.  The Bn O.P. Standing Patrol withdrew without loss and our Mortars bombed O.P.  The enemy withdrew and the O.P. was reoccupied.

 

2205 - 6 Airldg Bde HQ reported that enemy main mob res now est within striking distance.  Although likely that the enemy thrust line will not be on this Div front in the first instance the Bde front must be carefully watched day and night.  All units were instructed to take steps to be particularly alert 3 hrs before dark.  Standing Orders regarding "Stand To" were adjusted and 50% of Bn to "Stand To" from 2100 - 2330 and 0230 - 0530.  This order was cancelled on 4 JUL.

 

2nd July 1944

Place: 40/16 NW 136736

 

0106 - A raid (Op 'Nuts') was made on ORCHARD 143744 by 12 Pl B Coy sp by Arty, Mortars and MMGs.  From 0058 to 0105 150 Fd Regt fired 3 rds per min on the ORCHARD together with four mortars.  From 0106 - 0120 Airldg Lt Regt and twelve mortars of 2 OX BUCKS fired on copses to the North while one sec MMG fired along NORTH face of ORCHARD.  Seven of 12 Devon mortars fired on HEDGEROW 144735 and COPSE 146736.  At 0106 hrs 12 Pl assaulted the ORCHARD from Barn 141742.  One sec (Cpl Collett) est a firm base in the SW corner and engaged by Bren two enemy MMGs in the NE corner.  A second sec (Sgt Higginson) made for the centre of the COPSE through a suspected mortar posn (actually a small pond) to the centre of the EAST face of the ORCHARD where they drew MG fire from the NE and SE corners of the wood.  Lt Lewis led the third Sec along the SOUTH face to SE corner with a view to obtaining an identification.  Lt Lewis was accompanied by Pte Black who called upon the enemy in German to give themselves up.  A booby trap was encountered within 70 yds of the start and set off without causing cas.  Cpl Harris who was following Lt Lewis was jumping in and out of trenches shouting "Empty" when an MMG from the SE corner opened up and hit Cpl Harris who dropped and wounded Pte Black.  Lt Lewis then went straight for the MMG, armed only with a Sten and silenced it.  A Schmeisser beside the MMG opened up and hit Lt Lewis who was seen to fall and lie still.  Pte Geard moving behind Lt Lewis was also hit but managed to silence the Schmeisser with a grenade.  At the same time enemy mortars opened up on this Sec (and on their own tps as well).  It was now 0118 hrs and the patrol withdrew to the firm base where it was established that Lt Lewis, Cpl Harris and Pte Geard were missing and Pte Black wounded.  Sgt Higginson withdrew the patrol to the SL at 0130.

 

0330 - Pte Geard crawled back from ORCHARD to A Coy's posn and was taken to RAP.  In addition to the above cas 3 O.Rs of Mortar Pl and 3 O.Rs of A Coy were wounded by enemy counter bty & mortar fire.  It was later learned from an enemy deserter (a Pole) that Lt Lewis and Cpl Harris had been killed and that enemy cas were 2 killed and 10 wounded.

 

1100 - 6 Airborne Div Comd visited Bn HQ.  The following Letter was received by the C.O. from the Comd 6 Airborne Div:- I was most impressed by all I have heard of your raid last night.  I think the young officer and N.C.O. and man who reached the German M.G. post put up a splendid show which is a credit to themselves, to your Bn and to the Div.  Will you let all those who took part know what I think and congratulate them from me.

 

1500 - B Coy sent recce patrol of 1 Officer (Lt Nuttall) & 2 O.Rs to observe enemy movement in area ORCHARD 145744 and to confirm infm about presence of enemy at HEDGEROW 143740.  At 1535 hrs one enemy unarmed seen moving N to S on HEDGEROW 146742.  NW corner of ORCHARD appeared to be unoccupied.  There appeared to be a camouflaged post at SE corner.  The patrol contacted 3 snipers of A Coy who had moved along N of HEDGEROW 144740 and found it to be clear of the enemy.

 

2300 - A patrol of 1 sgt (Sgt Hands) and 6 O.Rs sent out to cover a det of Pioneer Pl erecting defs of Bn OP 143738.  Two posns were taken up each about 100x from OP along N and E HEDGEROWS.  No enemy patrols were seen or heard.  Enemy rifle fired from HEDGEROW 144735 at 0235 hrs and verey lights were sent up from ORCHARD 144743.  The Patrol and the Pioneer Det withdrew at 0500 hrs.  The Pioneer Det completed about 75% of its task.

 

3rd July 1944

Place: 40/16 NW 136736

 

0850 - One enemy soldier who claimed to be a POLE deserted and gave himself up to A Coy.  Preliminary interrogation was carried out at Bn HQ by Interrogator of 6 Airldg Bde.  P.W. was then sent Bde HQ.  Appx B.

 

2035 - D Coy fwd pl were mortared by the enemy.  About 6 bombs fell in pl area but no cas caused.  Source of was unknown.

 

2120 - C Coy HQ was mortared by the enemy and 2 O.Rs were wounded.

 

2345 - A recce patrol of 1 Officer (Lt Reakes) and 2 O.Rs were sent out to ascertain if HEDGEROW connecting ORCHARD 145741 and HEDGEROW JUNC was occupied by the enemy.  Also to recce with a view to laying an ambush area HEDGEROW JUNC 145738 & 146738 on another night.  Patrol got within 8 yds of HEDGEROW which was occupied by the enemy.  Individuals were pinpointed but no contact was made and patrol was apparently not seen.  Area found suitable for a raid but not an ambush.  Patrol returned at 0345 hrs.

 

4th July 1944

Place: 40/16 NW 136736

 

0130 - Enemy shelled D Coy area.  2 O.Rs wounded.

 

0400 - Our Arty opened up a barrage on enemy lines SQ 1474 for 4 mins.  B Coy then started a "sham" attack by firing SAA and laying a smoke screen for 3 mins.  This was followed by a 2 min barrage by Arty.  Directly B Coy's "Attack" opened enemy replied with SAA and mortar fire.  Remainder of day was quiet.  Enemy sneak raider dropped a.p. bombs.  No cas.

 

5th July 1944

Place: 40/16 NW 136736

 

1150 - An enemy deserter who claimed to be a POLE gave himself up to C Coy from approx 144737.  He was identified as of 1 Coy 346 Fus Bn and sent to Bde HQ immediately.

 

1405 - A sniper patrol of 1 NCO and 1 OR was sent out.  No opportunity to fire on enemy and returned at 1630 hrs.

 

1530 - Enemy movement was observed in area Fm Bldgs 147735.  53rd Lt Regt R.A. were informed and they shelled the area.

 

1800 - D Coy changed over posns with C Coy.  Change over completed by 2200 hrs.

 

1845 - Enemy fired mortar bombs in D Coy area.  One bomb killed 1 O.R. and wounded 4 O.Rs.

 

2215 - Mortar Pl (Capt Bowman) shot 12 H.Es on HEDGEROW 145736 - 144736 and 36 HEs on enemy mortar posn at 146741.

 

5th / 6th July 1944

Place: 40/16 NW 136736

 

No patrols were sent out during the night.  Some enemy shelling but no cas.

 

6th July 1944

Place: 40/16 NW 136736

 

1015 - Comd 6 Airldg Bde visited Bn HQ.

 

1400 - A sniper patrol of 1 NCO (L/c Neale) & 1 OR sent out to observe enemy movement and snipe at possible targets.  No opportunity arose for sniping and patrol returned at 1645 hrs.

 

2330 - A patrol of 1 NCO (Sgt Wade) and 10 O.Rs sent out to lay an ambush SW corner ORCHARD and to observe enemy movement.  Very little movement was seen or heard and patrol was unable to lay ambush.  Patrol returned at 0520 hrs.

 

2340 - Another patrol of 1 NCO (Cpl Rice) and 6 O.Rs was sent out to lay an ambush at HEDGEROW JUNC 141739 and to observe enemy movement.  Very little movement heard or seen and patrol unable to lay ambush.  Patrol returned at 0445 hrs.  Enemy shelling during the night and enemy a/c dropped a.p bombs.  No cas.

 

7th July 1944

Place: 40/16 NW 136736

 

1500 - Bn was relieved by 2 OXF BUCKS.  Hand over was completed by 1630 hrs.  Bn moved into Bde reserve area at 132740.

 

2130 - Bn witnessed heavy air attack on CAEN by strong force of LANCASTERS.

 

2300 - Slight enemy a/c activity over Bn area but no bombs dropped.

 

8th July 1944

0900 - Bn again witnessed air attack on CAEN, 36 "MARAUDERS" were seen to bomb the town.  Noise of battle in CAEN could be heard throughout the day.  A trg programme was arranged for the period the Bn would be in Bde res.

 

9th July 1944

A quiet day.  Padre conducted several services.  News was received of the fall of CAEN.

 

10th July 1944

C.O. accompanied by Maj Rogers and Capt Binning (RAMC) visited 2 DEVON on right of British-Canadian Sector for liaison purposes.

 

1700 - Enemy laid a fairly heavy mortar conc on Bn area causing 2 cas (2 O.Rs wounded) and destroying a jeep.  In the afternoon during the C.Os absence orders were received for the Bn to move into area RANVILLE 1173.  153 Bde of 51 HIGHLAND DIV was to carry out an op at dawn to capture Northern edge of COLLEMBELLES and blow factory chimneys at 080700 which gave the Germans observation over the whole of the bridgehead EAST of the River ORNE.  A Bn of 154 Bde was to move from RANVILLE to "DEVON" HILL (1072) to be replaced on the "firm base" by the Bn.  C Coy to come under comd 7 A&SH.  Bn (less Recce Pl, Pioneer Pl, one A tk Pl, one MMG Pl) were in posn by 2100 hrs.

 

11th July 1944

Place: 40/16 NW RANVILLE

 

0900 - Enemy shelled Bn area.  1 O.R. killed and 1 O.R. wounded.  The op by 51 HIGHLAND DIV was not a success and the raiding forces withdrew.

 

2100 - C. Coy were relieved and returned to 6 Airldg Bde Res area.

 

12th July 1944

Place: 40/16 NW Ranville

 

0200 to 0230 - Enemy heavily shelled Bn Area and enemy a/c dropped a.p bombs.  One a/c was brought down by 40mm Arty A.A.  No casualties were suffered.

 

0400 to 0430 - Enemy again heavily shelled Bn area but no cas.

 

1300 - 5 BLACK WATCH relieved the Bn who returned to 6 Airldg Bde Res area.  Remainder of the day was quiet.  Enemy 346 Div opposite 6 Airborne Div front was reported to have been reinforced by 1,200 men (30% non-Germans).

 

13th July 1944

Place: NW 40/16 132740

 

A quiet day.  Trg and sport carried out by coys.

 

14th July 1944

Place: NW 40/16 132740

 

Slight enemy air activity during the afternoon and evening, otherwise a quiet day.  Trg and sport carried out by Coys.

 

15th July 1944

Place: NW 40/16 132740

 

Recce party of 9 Inf Bde visited Bn Area in preparation of that Bde moving into Bn Area (Inf Bde moved in during the night, Bn received orders to avoid movement and pay special attention to camouflage.  There was no further trg or sports).

 

16th July 1944

Place: NW 40/16 132740

 

C in C 21st ARMY GROUP held an investiture at H.Q. 6 AIRBORNE DIV.  C.O. attended and C/Sgt Bond (B Coy) & Cpl Jeffrey (A Coy) were awarded M.M. for bravery at LE BAS DE RANVILLE on 9 Jun.  A quiet day.

 

17th July 1944

Place: NW 40/16 132740


All mortars (under comd Capt Bowman) moved into Area CARREFOUR de la MADELEINE 1072 under comd 152 Inf Bde (HD) for an op to commence 18 JUL.

 

18th July 1944

Place: NW 40/16 132740

 

A general offensive started from the bridgehead held by 6 AIRBORNE DIV and 51 HIGHLAND DIV.  Bn mortars fired 1,800 rds on targets in the area of BOIS DE BAVENT in sp of 5 SEAFORTHS on the left of the gen attack.  2 O.Rs were wounded by counter mortar fire.

 

1600 - Bn came under comd 5 PARA BDE and moved up to relieve 2 SEAFORTH in areas 148710, 144710, & 140717.  'B' Ech and MMG Pls did not accompany Bn.  Bn was now the right fwd bn of 6 AIRBORNE DIV.

 

2300 - About 20 enemy a/c bombed 6 AIRBORNE DIV area.  One jeep in 'B' Ech area was hit by a.p. bomb.  Enemy immediately to the Bn front reacted by putting up "Golden Rain" to denote their FDLs and opened with tracers at irregular intervals.  One a/c was seen in flames.

 

19th July 1944

Place: 40/16 NW 138715

 

1800 - B Coy fired 2" mortars and S.A.A. on enemy front to induce enemy to reply so that positions could be located.  Only 2 M.Gs and occasional rifle fire replied.  Listening Posts pin pointed one MG.

 

20th July 1944

Place: 40/16 NW 138715

 

0830 - Comd of 5 PARA BDE visited the Bn.

 

0900 - Comd of 6 AIRLDG BDE visited the Bn.

 

0845 - A wounded German deserter crawled into C Coy lines and was brought into RAP.  He was identified as from 1 Coy 858 Gren Regt and evacuated to MDS.  5 PARA BDE HQ was informed.

 

1200 - Two Standing Patrols were put out.  One at HEDGE JUNC 142711 (DF Task 3) manned by day by one officer or sgt & six O.Rs Recce Pl and by night one officer & nine O.Rs D Coy.  The other at HEDGEROW 142717 (DF Task 1) to be manned by day by 1 Officer or sgt & six O.Rs of D Coy.  Tasks for both patrols to withdraw when making reports of enemy firing to enable Bn mortars to engage targets.

 

2300 - 3 5cm mortar bombs fell in D Coy area and wounded 3 ORs.  From 1600 hrs very heavy rain fell waterlogging tracks and slit trenches.

 

21st July 1944

Place: Le Mesnil X Rds

 

1000 to 1200 - The Bn was relieved by 1 CDN PARA BN and 9 PARA BN.  The Bn reverted under comd 6 Airldg Bde and relieved 1 RUR in area LE MESNIL X RDS.  1 RUR went into Bde Res.  Bn now bounded by 13 PARA BN on right flank and 2 OXF BUCKS on left flank.  Mortars held in 3 btys of four in area X RDS 134727.  Occasional enemy mortar fire during the day casualties 2 O.Rs wounded.  A draft of 1 sgt and 17 O.Rs (BORDER REGT) volunteers, arrived from 54 (BEACH GP) DIV and were posted to D Coy.

 

22nd July 1944

Place: Le Mesnil X Rds

 

0930 - Comd 6 AIRLDG BDE visited Bn HQ.  A counter mortar plan was devised to reply to any enemy mortar fire immediately by crumping a pre-selected target with one bty of mortars and arty (Code word: REVENGE).  Subsequently when bearings become available fire to be switched to located mortar posn.

 

1430 - Bn mortars ranged on WOOD 148735 with 40 rds HE.

 

1650 - Enemy fired a few mortar bombs in area of left fwd Coy (C Coy).  Counter mortar fire on enemy within 6 mins.

 

23rd July 1944

Place: Le Mesnil X Rds

 

0001 - Two Recce Patrols sent out.  Each of 1 NCO & 1 OR.  Task of one patrol to report any enemy at HEDGE JUNC 146728 and between track and HEDGE JUNC 147728.  Voices were heard and flash light was seen 50x South of first pt but no enemy were located at second pt.  The task of the other patrol was to report if any enemy SW of TRIANGLE WOOD and any enemy listening patrols WEST of the area in vicinity of main road.  No enemy was located.  Both patrols returned at 0330 hrs.

 

0800 - Enemy mortared Bn area (A & C Coys).  1 OR slightly wounded.  Mortar Pl fired REVENGE.

 

1220 - Enemy mortared Bn Area (A Coy).  No cas.  Mortar Pl fired REVENGE.

 

1900 - Two unarmed enemy were seen doubling at 500x range S of main rd at TRIANGLE WOOD.  Coy snipers opened fire and one enemy was seen to fall but hit was unconfirmed.

 

24th July 1944

Place: Le Mesnil X Rds

 

0001 - A Recce Patrol of 1 NCO & 1 OR was sent out to report if there was an enemy post at SW of TRIANGLE WOOD.  Patrol found no enemy post at extreme SW edge of TRIANGLE WOOD but a posn with an MG NE of that pt.  Patrol returned at 0400 hrs.

 

0130 - A/c dropped a number of leaflets on our fwd tps.

 

0810 - Enemy mortared Bn area.  No cas.  Mortar Pl fired REVENGE.

 

1216 - Enemy movement seen at 147738.  C Coy fired 3 rds of 2" mortar on this pt.

 

1330 - Enemy mortared Bn area.  No cas.  Mortar Pl fired REVENGE.

 

1515 - An O.R. of left fwd coy was wounded by rifle shot whilst in a posn facing North.  No enemy sniper was seen.

 

1520 - Enemy mortared left fwd coy (C Coy).  No cas.  Mortar Pl fired REVENGE.

 

2240 - Enemy mortared Bn Area.  No cas.  Mortar Pl fired "REVENGE".

 

2244 - Enemy continued mortaring Bn Area and Mortar Pl rptd "REVENGE".

 

2315 - Right fwd Coy (D Coy) reported that two semi-tracked vehicles passed up the road towards the enemy.  The vehicle ran into a minefield and exploded two mines.  The vehicle was found to contain 12 men of 33 Fd Regt R.A. 3 of whom were injured.  The injured men received treatment by the Bn M.O. and the remainder were escorted back to their own area.

 

2330 - Enemy a/c were active over Bn Area but no bombs were dropped.

 

2335 - A Recce Patrol of 1 NCO and 2 O.Rs was sent out to ascertain if there was an enemy listening post on the road between TRIANGLE WOOD & BLDGS 144731 and if so to ambush it.  The patrol located no post but heavy mortar & arty fire precluded accurate listening.  Patrol saw enemy a/c drop bombs on their own lines 1,000x NE of TRIANGLE WOOD.

 

25th July 1944

Place: Le Mesnil X Rds

 

1125 - Bn Area mortared by enemy.  2 O.Rs were wounded.  Mortar Pl fired "REVENGE".

 

1245 - Enemy again mortared Bn Area.  No cas.  Mortar Pl fired "REVENGE".

 

1430 - D Coy sniper in right fwd pl sniped two of the enemy.  Both believed to be "kills".

 

1700 - B Coy took over right fwd posns from D Coy.  A Coy took over left fwd posns from C Coy.

 

2100 - Enemy mortared B Coy posns.  No cas.  Mortar Pl fired "REVENGE".

 

2103 - Enemy mortared A Coy posns.  No cas.  Mortar Pl fired "REVENGE".

 

2010 - Enemy mortar target engaged by Mortar Pl.

 

2205 - Enemy mortared B Coy & Bn HQ.  Mortar Pl and Arty fired "REVENGE".

 

26th July 1944

Place: Le Mesnil X Rds

 

1135 - Enemy mortared B & C Coy areas.  No cas.  Mortar Pl fired "REVENGE".

 

1615 - Enemy mortared B Coy area.  No cas.  Mortar Pl fired "REVENGE".

 

1830 to 2010 - Increased enemy movement was observed.  The enemy was more alert but sniper of right fwd coy fired one shot and claimed a possible hit.

 

2330 - A Recce Patrol of 1 NCO & 1 OR was sent out to ascertain if the enemy used HEDGEROW STICKEES CORNER to TRIANGLE WOOD as a track by night and if so whether a simple ambush could be arranged.  Patrol reported that HEDGEROW was not used as a track between posts during night but area was suitable for an ambush.  Patrol returned at 0300 hrs.

 

27th July 1944

Place: Le Mesnil X Rds

 

0130 to 0200 - Enemy a/c bombed Bn Area with a.p. bombs.  No cas but some damage to equipment.

 

0330 - Enemy mortared Bn Area.  No cas.  Mortar Pl fired "REVENGE".

 

0345 - Enemy continued to mortar Bn Area and Mortar Pl rptd "REVENGE".

 

1100 to 1300 - Sniper posn of left fwd coy (A Coy) - HOUSE 143732 - was engaged by an enemy long range gun (probably sp gun) on three occasions with about 8 rds each time from a range of 100 deg (mag).  3 O.Rs were wounded (2 slightly).

 

2100 - Enemy long range gun again fired on left fwd coy (A Coy) this time from a range of 107 deg.  No cas.

 

28th July 1944

Place: Le Mesnil X Rds

 

During the morning enemy sent over several very small objects (smaller than a 36 grenade) into the FDLS of left fwd coy (A Coy).  The effect was to fragment on impact with the ground and make a noise similar to a trg thunder flash.  No damage or cas.

 

1100 - Left fwd coy fired PIAT from House 144730 EAST along sunken lane at assumed enemy sec posn.

 

1345 to 1410 - Enemy mortared Bn Area.  2 O.Rs slightly wounded.  Mortar Pl fired "REVENGE" three times.  Right fwd coy 2" mortars fired as a bty on enemy sec posn in sunken lane.

 

1455 - Enemy mortared Bn Area.  No cas.  Mortar Pl fired "REVENGE".

 

2000 - Enemy mortared Bn Area.  2 O.Rs wounded.  Mortar Pl fired "REVENGE".

 

2015 - Sniper of right fwd pl hit one enemy.  "Kill" unconfirmed.

 

2330 - Enemy a/c passed over Bn Area but no bombs dropped.

 

29th July 1944

Place: Le Mesnil X Rds

 

0015 to 0100 - A few bursts of enemy MG fire from HEDGEROW JUNC 145730, otherwise a quiet night.

 

1220 to 1225 - Enemy shelled Bn Area with SP gun.  5 rds were fired.  SHELLREP sent to 6 Airldg Bde HQ.  At first light it was seen that the enemy had attempted to block the view in GAP 144731 with branches.  At 1400 hrs Coy fired several rounds from PIAT at a low angle 300x range into the area of the GAP.  The cover was blown away and the foliage of the hedgerow considerably thinned out giving a better view of the enemy.  At 2100 hrs a 2" mortar bty shoot was made on the GAP & HEDGEROW JUNC 145730 (where an enemy observer was seen).

 

1500 - Enemy mortared the Bn Area.  5 O.Rs wounded.  Mortar Pl fired "REVENGE".

 

1535 - Enemy shelled right fwd coy (B Coy).  2 O.Rs were slightly wounded.

 

1720 - Enemy shelled Bn Area.  1 Officer and 3 O.Rs were slightly wounded.  Mortar Pl and Arty fired "REVENGE".

 

1850 to 1852 - Enemy shelled fwd coys.  No cas.  Mortar Pl & Arty fired "REVENGE".

 

1920 - Enemy shelled C Coy Pl at X Rds.  No cas.

 

30th July 1944

Place: Le Mesnil X Rds

 

0001 to 0200 - Mortar Pl fired a harassing shoot of about 30 bombs.

 

0320 to 0600 - Enemy mortars laid harassing fire from due E (from left fwd coy) on X Rds.  Slight enemy air activity during the night but no bombs dropped on the Bn Area.

 

1345 - A tk gun destroyed by enemy mortar fire.

 

1700 - D Coy relieved B Coy in right fwd posns and C Coy relieved A Coy in left fwd posns.

 

1815 - Enemy mortared left fwd coy.  No cas.  Mortar Pl fired "REVENGE".

 

2300 - Enemy mortared left fwd coy.  No cas.  Mortar Pl & Arty fired "REVENGE".

 

31st July 1944

Place: Le Mesnil X Rds

 

0320 to 0600 - Enemy laid harassing fire on X Rds.

 

2215 & 2225 - Mortar Pl engaged all "REVENGE" Targets.

 

2330 - A Standing Patrol of 1 NCO & 3 O.Rs was sent out at HEDGE JUNC 144731 to ambush any enemy recce patrol in S end of ORCHARD 145737.  No enemy patrol came into ORCHARD though patrol was fired upon from N of HEDGE JUNC.  Patrol returned to 0330.

 

Strength Returns of Officers & O.Rs (dated 1 8 15 22 29 JUL) rendered to 2nd Ech.

 

 

Month and year: August 1944

Commanding Officer : Lt. Col. G. R. Stevens

 

1st August 1944

Place: Le Mesnil X Rds

 

6 Airborne Div's front was extended and Bn area altered.  Right bdy now excl rd (Herouvillette - Varaville) and left bdy extended to WOOD 138736.  D Coy (left fwd coy) handed over Coy area to 45 R.M. COMMANDO and relieved Coy 1 RUR in WOOD 138736.  B Coy in res moved to area 135725.  These moves were carried out without incident.

 

2100 - Enemy mortared Bn Area.  No cas.  Mortar Pl fired "REVENGE".

 

2nd August 1944

Place: Le Mesnil X Rds

 

0320 - Enemy shelled Bn Area.  No cas.  Mortar Pl fired "REVENGE".

 

1130 - Enemy shelled D Coy Area.  No cas.  Mortar Pl fired "REVENGE".

 

1144 to 1155 - Enemy mortared Bn Area.  No cas.  Mortar Pl fired "REVENGE" three times.

 

1330 - Enemy mortared Bn Area.  No cas.  Mortar Pl fired "REVENGE".

 

1610 to 1830 - Snipers of rt fwd coy (C Coy) scored two hits and two "possibles".

 

2300 - A Standing Patrol of 1 NCO & 5 O.Rs occupied HEDGE JUNC 143734 to prevent occupation of HEDGEROW 143735 by the enemy during the night.  Patrol were relieved by snipers at 0500 hrs.  This posn now to be continually occupied by snipers during the day and patrol at night.

 

3rd August 1944

Place: Le Mesnil X Rds

 

1400 - B Coy relieved C Coy in right fwd posns.  C Coy went back into Bn Res posns.  Change over completed by 1600 hrs.

 

1840 - Enemy shelled and mortared fwd coys.  3 O.Rs killed, 1 O.R. died of wounds and 5 O.Rs wounded.  Mortar Pl and Arty fired "REVENGE".

 

2200 - Enemy mortared Bn Area.  No cas.  Mortar Pl fired "REVENGE".

 

2245 - Enemy mortared Bn Area.  No cas.  Mortar Pl fired "REVENGE".

 

4th August 1944

Place: Le Mesnil X Rds

 

0045 - Enemy aircraft passed over Bn Area, but no bombs were dropped.

 

0245 - Left fwd coy (D Coy) heard sounds of hy tpt driving eastwards from enemy lines.  Otherwise a quiet night.

 

1445 - Enemy mortared right fwd coy (B Coy).  No cas.  Mortar Pl fired "REVENGE".

 

1900 and 1945 and 2359 - Enemy mortared Bn Area.  No cas.  Mortar Pl fired "REVENGE".

 

2300 - Normal Standing Patrol at HEDGEROW 143735.  The patrol was mortared at 0001 and 0445 hrs in direct line from BUGLE CORNER.  No cas.  Patrol was relieved by snipers at 0525.

 

5th August 1944

Place: Le Mesnil X Rds

 

0445 - H.D. tpt was heard E. of TRIANGLE WOOD.  The area was engaged by our arty.

 

1800 - Enemy O.P. or sniper observed and heard in tree at BUGLE CORNER.  This was engaged by our snipers who missed.  Arty immediately engaged target with 96 rds.  Tree was demolished.

 

6th August 1944

Place: Le Mesnil X Rds

 

0015 and 0205 - Enemy m/c and HD tpt was heard in rear of TRIANGLE WOOD and engaged by our arty.

 

1010 and 1040 - Enemy mortared Bn Area.  No cas.  Mortar Pl fired "REVENGE".  6 Airldg Bde reorganised counter mortar fire so as to conc fire of all available 3" mortars of the Bde on targets on Bde front, especially active hostile mortars.  Fire orders to come from Bde HQ under code word "STOVE PIPE" when more than one Bn's mortars reqd.

 

1050 - Enemy mortared Bn Area.  No cas.

 

1200 to 1220 - Enemy observer was seen looking through glasses at BUGLE CORNER.  This was followed by spasmodic mortaring of left fwd coy area (D Coy).

 

1210 - Enemy shelled Bn Area.  No cas.  A bearing of enemy gun was obtained a SHELLREP sent to 6 AIRLDG BDE HQ.

 

1810 and 1835 - Enemy mortared Bn Area.  No cas.

 

1950 - Enemy sniped at right fwd pl (B Coy) in house 143732 from STICKEES CORNER.  One rd fired.  No cas.

 

2030 - Enemy shelled left fwd coy (D Coy).  1 Officer (Lt Grange) killed.  Lt.Col G.R. Stevens attached to H.Q. 21 ARMY GP.  Major P. Gleadell (2i/c) assumed comd in his absence.

 

7th August 1944

Place: Le Mesnil X Rds

 

At 1000, 1100, 1145 and 1217 hrs enemy gun fired on Bn Area.  No cas.  Bearings were obtained and SHELLREP sent to 6 Airldg Bde HQ.

 

1150 - Enemy mortared Bn Area.  No cas.

 

1430 - Recce Gp recced posns of 2 OXF BUCKS, on Bde left sector, with whom Bn was ordered to change posns on 8 AUG.

 

1800 - One enemy was sniped at and hit at BUGLE CORNER.

 

2300 - The Standing Patrol of 1 Officer and 6 O.Rs at HEDGEROW JUNC 143735 heard enemy movement at STICKEES CORNER from where verey lights were sent up.  During this period mist came down at intervals when the enemy fired single rifle shots.

 

8th August 1944

Place: Amfreville 40/16 NW 131746

 

Bn changed posns with 2 OXF BUCKS on Bde left sector.  Change over was completed by 1100 hrs.  Coy 1 BUCKS came under comd Bn.  C Coy took over right fwd posns, A Coy centre, Coy 1 BUCKS left fwd posns, B Coy in res, and D Coy in Bn rest area.  During the move 1 OR was killed and 2 O.Rs wounded by enemy shelling.  Bn HQ 131746.  A Coy HQ 135746 B Coy 128745 C Coy 146744 D Coy 126751 E Coy 128748 Sp Coy 134744 Coy 1 BUCKS 129749.  O.O. No.3 received from 6 AIRLDG BDE HQ.  12 DEVON O.O. No.2 prepared and sent to all concerned.

 

1300 - Enemy shelled Bn Area.  1 Officer (Lt Tucker) killed and 1 OR wounded.

 

1700 and 2015 - Enemy mortared Bn Area.  No cas.

 

B. Coy put out a Standing Patrol area LONGUEMERE X RDS and C Coy at S.W. Corner JOHNNY'S ORCHARD (142745).  During the night B Coy patrol reported LONGUEMERE FM on fire (area 12 PARA BN Standing Patrol) and occasional enemy MG fire from area COPSE 147755.  C Coy patrol reported that an enemy patrol approached within 30x of them but withdrew when engaged with grenades.  Enemy movement was heard in LE BAS de BREVILLE.

 

9th August 1944

Place: Amfreville 40/16 NW 131746

 

A very quiet day and night (9/10).  60 rfts (2 Officers & 58 ORs) arrived from Base.

 

1914 - Dust, indicating MT movement, seen on rd 150769.  F.O.O. RA was informed who put down 8 shells on the area.  Standing Patrol at LONGUEMERE X RDS completed wiring tasks.

 

10th August 1944

Place: Amfreville 40/16 NW 131746

 

Owing to morning and evening mists fwd coys were ordered to double sentries during such mists.

 

1230 - B Coy Standing Patrol reported an enemy tank or sp gun in FOX'S WOOD (148748).  On further investigation this was thought to be 2 A tk guns.  The posn was engaged by Bn Mortars at 1320 hrs and by Arty at 1930 hrs.

 

1310 - Enemy shelled fwd or right pl of C Coy (Right fwd coy).

 

1315 - Enemy shelled A Coy Area.  Coy Comd (Maj Rogers) and 1 OR wounded.

 

1613 - A bearing was obtained on enemy.  Arty (25 pdrs) fired 40 rds on posn.

 

1740 - A Cow strayed onto Minefield in ORCHARD 131747 near Bn HQ and exploded a mine.  No cas (except to cow).

 

1905 - Enemy mortared Right fwd coy (C Coy).  No cas.  6 AIRLDG BDE HQ was informed.

 

1923 - Enemy mortared Standing Patrol at LONGUEMERE X RDS.  GILBERTS COTTAGE (144749) was hit but no cas.  Enemy mortar was thought to be in WOOD 147755.  In the afternoon Patrol had got to within 50 x of this wood without seeing enemy.  O.P. at LONGUEMERE X RDS was evacuated at 2215.  Pioneer Pl and Wiring Party on Pl def posn until 2400 hrs.

 

11th August 1944

Place: Amfreville 40/16 NW 131746

 

0030 - A small enemy patrol approached left sec of BUCKS Coy fwd pl def posn.  Sec reacted by throwing grenades and patrol withdrew.

 

0100 to 0200 - Enemy patrol activity was heard in area JOHNNY'S ORCHARD.

 

1245 - A Coy were shelled by a medium enemy gun (12 rds).  The F.O.O. R.A. was informed.  No cas.

 

1245 to 1335 - Enemy mortared (5 cm) A Coy intermittently.  No cas.

 

1430 - Two snipers (Coy 1 BUCKS) were sent out to operate in fd 144746.  They observed enemy OP in house at 147750.  This OP was confirmed by 5 PARA BDE.

 

1845 - C Coy Standing Patrol (SW JOHNNY'S ORCHARD) reported that enemy laid 5 cm mortar smoke 100x to patrol's front.  During the day rfts of 2 Officers and 20 ORs arrived from Base.  6 AIRLDG BDE sent O.O. No.5.  Some minor adjustments were made to 12 DEVON O.O. No.2 and verbal orders were given by C.O. to all concerned.

 

1430 - Bn received orders from 6 AIRLDG BDE HQ to relieve 12 PARA BN.  Bn not to take over actual posns of 12 PARA BN but to est one coy locality area LONGUEMERE FM 139752 and SOUTH of RD and to move on pl Coy 1 BUCKS - area ORCHARD 134752.  This meant an extension of the Bn Front.  Patrol bdy on left flank with 1 BELGIAN GP incl rd junc 130755 - thence rd to rd and hedge junc 137752 - LONGUEMERE FM 139752 - North Corner of Orchards 143753 hedge and track junc 148752 - thence NE along track to GONNEVILLE 1676.  This order to come into effect on 13 AUG.

 

Night 11th / 12th August 1944

Place: Amfreville 40/16 NW

 

In order to be ready to comply with 6 AIRLDG BDE Order on 13 AUG 1 Officer & 35 ORs (incl Wiring Party & Covering Party) sent to Area LONGUEMERE X RDS with the following tasks:-

1) To est listening post at X Rds and at each NE and NW Edge of the ORCHARD which is immediately N of X RDS, and to give warning of any enemy approach.

2) To complete wiring (75x) from GILBERTS COTTAGE towards X RDS.

3) To commence digging two sec posns at each junc in hedge 143753 and hedge junc 144754.

 

At 2300 hrs about six Germans adv upon the det covering the wiring party immediately E of X RDS.  These Germans had moved up from the direction of FOXS WOOD.  There was a rapid interchange of fire at close quarters and the Germans eventually withdrew.  It is believed one cas was inflicted on the enemy.  The covering party remained "in situ" and the wiring task was completed by 0130 hrs.

 

The listening posts moving out to cover the digging parties NW of the X RDS came upon a party of about six Germans moving WEST at NW corner of ORCHARD at 2320 hrs.  Listening Posts got back to Pl posns unobserved and warned digging party to lie low, until enemy patrol passed.

 

12th August 1944

0700 - D & A Coys changed positions.

 

1600 - Four shells area LONGUEMARE crossroads.

 

1750 - Six shells area BREVILLE Cross roads.

 

1800 - Shells landed 200 yds S.E. of C Coy Standing Patrol.  Bearing 150 deg. Mag.

 

1905 - Shells landed area 132746, incl two airbursts.

 

1940 - 5 cm mortars fired on C & D Coy areas.

 

1950 - 1 BUCKS Coy fired 30 mortar bombs (2") on enemy snipers.  Enemy replied with 5 cm mortar fire.

 

2015 - Bearing on enemy mg obtained from C Coy.

 

2120 - Sitrep from D Coy:- Enemy activity & Disposns normal.  1900 hrs one salvo shells landed in Coy area.  Mild mortaring of rt fwd pl.

 

2200 - Fighting Patrol est area Orchard North LONGUEMARE X Rds.  Str:- 2 Offs, 22 O.Rs.  Digging task completed without incident except for enemy flares to immediate front.  Patrol returned 0300 hrs.

 

Normal standing patrols est areas LONGUEMARE X Rds & SW corner JOHNNIES ORCHARD.  Nothing unusual to report except mild mortaring.  Total cas for day:- One O.R. wounded.

 

13th August 1944

0215 - Bn warned that enemy may attempt to pass agents through our lines dressed in BRIT or AMERICAN uniforms.

 

0730 - BUCKS Coy caught Alsatian dog, believed to be GERMAN, at LE PLEIN.  Dog sent to Bde.

 

1635 - During morning 5 cm mortar bombs fell in C Coy area.  Bn warned that resisters may pass through lines using pass word TOUSOUSE.

 

A quiet day.  One Coy, covered by fighting patrols occupied posns LONGUEMARE X Rds and FARM without interference.  There was one enemy recce patrol in the area.  Normal Standing Patrols had nothing to report.  Total cas for day:- One O.R. wounded.

 

14th August 1944

0200 - BUCKS Coy reported considerable S.A. fire 300 yds N.E. of their posn, also Verey lights followed by intense arty.

 

0250 - Enemy patrol approx 15 strong reported to have passed to rt of BELGIANs posn on our left flank.  BELGIANs engaged patrol.

 

0445 - Enemy patrol infiltrated in to LE PLEIN through BELGIAN posns.

 

0600 - Enemy recce patrol tampered with wire in front of C Coy standing patrol posn.

 

1130 - B Coy snipers confirmed posn of gun in FOX WOOD.

 

1350 - Mortars fired "Stovepipe" 8*

*O.O. attached.

 

1700 - B Coy sent patrol in to DEVON ORCHARD.

 

1755 - Mortars fired "Stovepipe" 5, 11 & 13 on orders from Bde.  One O.R. in fwd Pl B Coy was wounded, possibly by bomb falling short.  During morning B Coy sent recce patrol to FOX WOOD and confirmed posn of enemy gun.

 

1900 - Two B Coy snipers at DEVON ORCHARD found three enemy booby traps along hedgerow between JOHNNIES ORCHARD & DEVON ORCHARD and saw one enemy.

 

Sitrep:- Coys report situation normal.  Total cas for day:- One O.R. wounded.

 

15th August 1944

0015 - Enemy a/c over Bn area.  Three bombs fell in C Coy area.

 

1530 - Coy I BUCKS ceased to come under comd.  Reported at embussing pt 125739.

 

During day C & D Coys changed posns and B Coy were relieved by a Coy of the DUTCH Gp, which was under comd 6 Airldg Bde.  Enemy opp Div on rt of Airborne Div reported to be pulling out.  House believed to have been enemy O.P. set on fire by Arty.

 

2145 - Harassing fire put down by 4 mgs each firing ten belts.  Also shoot by Mortar Pl.  A patrol to FOX WOOD discovered one mine which they neutralized in SW corner of FOX WOOD.  Patrol Comd (Lt. Nuttall) endeavoured to bring back mine but was forced to abandon it on being wounded by 5 cm mortar bomb.  Total cas for day:- One officer wounded.

 

16th August 1944

0130 - Shouting and enemy automatic fire heard in area BREVILLE X Rds.  Patrol sent to investigate and adjacent sub units stood-to.  At 0325 hrs one DUTCH O.R. was brought in in a frightened condition and is believed to have been the cause of the shouting.

 

0325 - Enemy movement observed near D Coy O.P.

 

0535 - Bde informed Bn that BELGIANs had reported enemy in area of their southern front.

 

0600 - All fwd Coys reported situation normal.

 

1800 - Patrol - recce and sniping - returned.  No enemy seen.

 

2300 - Preparations started for Op PADDLE.  Cas for day - Nil.

 

17th August 1944

0100 - F.O.O.s and L.O.s reported for Op PADDLE.

 

0150 - Recce patrol reached hedge junc 144752 and reported presence of enemy who withdrew.  Patrol ordered to recce same area again later.

 

0240 - Another patrol sent out to 148753 and came under S.A. and Lmg fire.

 

0245 - Bde ordered continuous patrolling in order to watch for enemy withdrawal.

 

0430 - R.U.R. on rt reported BUGLE AND STICKIES CORNERS unoccupied.

 

0515 - Our patrol reached triangular wood.  (1475)

 

0530 - Bde informed us that enemy in front of our right hand neighbours were withdrawing and we were ordered to keep careful watch and we would be informed when to follow up.

 

0700 - Order from Bde:- Op PADDLE to commence and continue to bound 'ELM' - See trace.

 

0705 - Comd 6 Airborne Div went forward to LONGUEMARE X Rds.

 

0720 - Mine clearing party arrived from Bde to clear rd BREVILLE - LONGUEMARE X Rds.

 

0740 - Recce Pl moved to LONGUEMARE X Rds.

 

0755 - R.U.R. reported at LE PLEIN and debussed.

 

0815 - Bn reached bound 'HAMMER'.

 

0835 - Bde informed us that PW stated that they had been ordered to withdraw at 2200 hrs 16th.

 

0900 - B Coy moving fwd.

 

0925 - Pioneer Pl cleared minefield on rd north from LONGUEMARE X Rds.  B Coy moved fwd towards bound 'ELM' meeting light opposition ( [Note: entered in the diary as a '', but probably meant to read '3'] cm mortar fire).

 

0945 - Fwd elements B Coy advanced to 150762 where they came under slight S.A. and 5 cm mortar fire.  Coy Comd (Major BARROW) was slightly wounded but carried on.

 

0950 - ADS est house 132755.  CCP est 143752 under supervision of Padre.  RAP remained with Bn H.Q.

 

1030 - 1 RUR took over four Bn A tk guns.

 

1050 - B Coy reported enemy (str about 1 Pl) both sides rd at 153764.

 

1115 - 2 sec of B Coy attacked with mortar and arty sp but failed to dislodge enemy, and suffered cas of one OR killed and one OR wounded.  Enemy cas believed same.

 

1120 - One tp armd Cs of 1 BELGIAN GP came under comd Bn.  Assistance of one tp armd Cs of DUTCH GP could not be given owing to epidemic of dysentery in the GP.

 

1135 - B Coy still held up by enemy 500 yds SOUTH of 'ELM'.  Mortars and arty were called for but enemy remained in posn.

 

1230 - Tp BELGIAN armd Cs reported to Rear Bn H.Q. and was sent fwd to Adv Bn H.Q. at Triangular Wood NORTH of LONGUEMARE X Rds.

 

1250 - 2 OXF BUCKS reached 'ELM'.  Reported turning NORTH.  B Coy still held up and it was decided to make a Pl attack with sp of three armd Cs, mortars and arty at 1330 hrs.

 

1330 - B Coy attacked with one pl line of rd and one pl on rt, sp by one armd C from rd and one from rt flank.  By 1400 enemy had been cleared and B Coy consolidated at 'ELM'.  Meanwhile 2 OXF BUCKS were advancing beyond ELM and Bde ordered Bn to consolidate area wood 153765 and not adv further.  Bn to be responsible for protection of route gained so far for the adv of 1 RUR to 'MAUL'.  B & C Coys were responsible for guarding route.  D Coy consolidated area LONGUEMARE X Rds and A Coy in area BREVILLE - AMFREVILLE.

 

1750 - 1 RUR had moved up through Bn, so B & C Coys were ordered to return to posns occupied before Op PADDLE commenced.

 

1830 - Bn was resorted to original posns and now in Bde reserve.  By dusk enemy had withdrawn over River DIVES with exception of elements in CABOURG, and it was considered unnecessary for Bn to 'stand-to'.

 

18th August 1944

Bn rested.  Nothing to report.

 

19th August 1944

Bn spent another quiet day.  Six ORs were wounded by a mine whilst making a tour of the recently evacuated enemy posns.  Two of these ORs died of their wounds.

 

20th August 1944

1400 - Bn was put at half hour's notice to move.  O Gp assembled.

 

1700 - Bn embussed hurriedly at LE PLEIN, with orders to proceed to TROARN and from there to march to conc area at 198692.

 

1930 - Bn reached conc area without incident.

 

2215 - Bde order rcd for Bn to stand by for immediate move.  O Gp was called and Bn Comd proceeded to Div H.Q. at 2330 hrs to receive orders.

 

21st August 1944

0200 - Bn moved fwd by march route, together with 2 OXF BUCKS, to conc area 253756.  Tpt to follow one hour later under comd Major DOBBIN.  1 SS Bde were in occupation high ground 240750, but it was uncertain whether enemy had been cleared from whole route of Bn adv.

 

0630 - Conc area reached after difficult march without incident.  Bn H.Q. est 253736.  C.O. decided that Bn should adv along axis of rd to BRANVILLE and arranged with Comd OXF BUCKS that they were to pass through this Bn if any serious opposition was encountered.  The Bn adv was to be made in bounds with adv guard of one Coy.

 

1000 - C Coy crossed start line 'HAMMER'.

 

1209 - C Coy were halted at rd junc 275773 where they consolidated.  D Coy moved through C Coy and reached area X Rds 295873 where they came under enemy mortar and MG fire from area track junc 304782.  Enemy harassing fire started landing area rd junc 279773.  By 2000 hrs A & D Coys were est area 295783.  A Coy had suffered cas in close fighting.  B Coy est at 275773.  C Coy in reserve and Bn H.Q. at 273767.

 

22nd August 1944

0300 - C Coy left reserve area in 15 cwt trucks to proceed around rt flank in order to recce with a view to an attack at first light or to occupy the village should the enemy have withdrawn.

 

0530 - C Coy reached BRANVILLE and found that the enemy had just pulled out.  A few GERMAN stragglers were taken prisoner and six BRIT parachutists who had been hidden by the FRENCH civs since D Day were liberated.

 

0800 - Bde comd ordered that BRANVILLE should be occupied by two Coys.  B Coy was sent fwd to join C Coy in the village.  1 RUR passed through the Bn to continue the adv and Bn rested.

 

23rd August 1944

0800 - Bn ordered to be at 30 mins notice to move with R Gps at 15 mins notice.

 

1045 - Bn rcd warning order from Bde to move to conc area at 4406 at 1130 hrs.

 

1130 - Bn moved and reached new area 438058 at 1300 hrs without incident.  Bn under two hours notice to move with effect from midnight.

 

1715 - C.O.'s recce party ordered to area LA POTTERIE 4607 to carry out recce with a view to crossing River TOUQUES in that area during night once 1 RUR had est a bridgehead across the river.

 

2000 - Recce Party returned.

 

2015 - Proposed operation cancelled.

 

2030 - Message received from Bde that there were some 50 enemy in a house at MEZERAY 3081 and that these were to be rounded up by the Bn.  25 men from A Coy and Recce Pl under comd Maj Carey sent out to deal with enemy.  C.O. also accompanied party.

 

24th August 1944

0030 - Party returned after finding report of enemy unconfirmed as no contact was made.

 

1030 - Patrols of 1 RUR and 2 OXF BUCKS had crossed the R.TOUQUES during the night and found the enemy withdrawing again so the Bn was ordered to conc in the Area TOUQUES 468117.

 

1100 - Bn moved to TOUQUES crossing river by Footbridge 468078.

 

1300 - Bn arrived TOUQUES without incident.  Bde Comd expressed wish that Bn should be first in HONFLEUR before 1 BELGIAN GP.

 

1645 - Mob Col consisting of Recce Pl on bicycles, 19 Pl (Lt Reakes) on commandeered vehs all under comd Maj Warren sent out to seize HONFLEUR as soon as possible.

 

1730 - Mob Col entered HONFLEUR without opposition, but enemy known to be in Eastern outskirts of HONFLEUR.

 

1740 - Two recce patrols (Cpl Lines & 3 O.Rs : Cpl Pinder & 3 O.Rs) to gain contact with enemy.  Patrols returned at 1900 hrs after contacting enemy area HONFLEUR STA and high ground at 573175.  3 O.Rs of the patrols were wounded.

 

1745 - Remainder of Bn left TOUQUES for HONFLEUR via ST PHILIVEIT and EQUEMANVILLE

 

2200 - Remainder of Bn arrived HONFLEUR without opposition.  Bn HQ est in College at 568184.  A Coy est HOTEL BRAS D'OR B Coy EQUEMANVILLE C Coy Area THEATRE D Coy Area HOTEL ANGLETERRE.  A quiet night.

 

25th August 1944

0300 - B Coy with orders to cut off the enemy's withdrawal by getting astride rd at LA RIVEIERE - ST SAUVEUR - 5816 proceeded by march route to that area from EQUEMANVILLE.

 

0630 - B Coy arrived new area and est astride rd at ST SAUVEUR without opposition.

 

0600 - Recce Pl moved fwd with orders to push fwd to br at FIQFLEUR 6116 and if clear to pursue enemy who had left HONFLEUR.

 

0830 - Recce Pl reported that they were under M.G., 5 and 8.1 cm Mortar fire from high ground at approx 620615.

 

1115 - Recce Pl and A Coy in contact with enemy along line of river at 615166.  Both under considerable Mortar and MG fire.  C Coy moved round to right flank in attempt to cross river via ABLON and the crossing at 621142.

 

1145 - C Coy held up by enemy mortar and MG fire from 623167 and 624144.

 

1300 - C Coy reached 623145.  Cas 3 O.Rs killed 3 O.Rs wounded.  3 PWs taken.

 

1500 - A Coy attacked on left flank supported by Bn Mortars and 2 tps 25 pdr.  Coy held up at river by heavy enemy mortar & MG fire.  B Coy moved fwd and took over area astride rd 610167 and D Coy sent to high ground East of ABLON 6114 to cover C Coy out who had been ordered to withdraw to Western side of Valley.

 

2300 - A Coy withdrew behind B Coy.  D Coy took over from C Coy.  Bn HQ moved up from HONFLEUR to ST SAUVEUR.  Total cas for the day: 1 Officer (Lt Horwood) killed.  3 ORs killed.  5 ORs wounded.  6 PWs captured.

 

26th August 1944

0630 - Recce Pl (Lt Wild) passed through B Coy at FIQUEFLEUR with orders to confirm the presence of the enemy or not in his posns of 25 Aug and if he had withdrawn to continue adv. with all speed to BERVILLE-SUR-MER.

 

0900 - Recce Pl reported that enemy had again withdrawn.  Bn moved with all speed to BERVILLE.  1 BELGIAN GP passed through Bn but BERVILLE had already been reached by 1 RUR.

 

1300 - Bn reached CONTEVILLE 6816 where it was ordered to est itself.

 

1430 - All Coys est in new areas.  Rest and maintenance ordered.

 

1730 - Warning order received that the Bn with the rest of 6 AIRLDG BDE to move into 1 CORPS Res Posns on 28 Aug.

 

27th August 1944

A quiet day in CONTEVILLE.  Maintenance of weapons and vehs carried out.  Padre conducted Church Services.

 

28th August 1944

1000 - Bn left CONTEVILLE and moved into 1 Corps Res at FIQUEFLEUR 6166.

 

29th / 30th August 1944

Bn rested and recreational tpt was made available to take tps into HONFLEUR.

 

31st August 1944

Light P.T. and Route Marches.  Bn received orders to prepare for return to U.K.

 

Strength Returns of Officers and O.Rs rendered to 2nd Ech 21 ARMY GP on 5th, 12th, 19th and 26th.

 

 

Month and year: September 1944

Commanding Officer : Lt. Col. P. Gleadell

 

1st September 1944

Bn left FIQUEFLEUR in T.C.Vs and moved to Embarkation Camp near ARROMANCHES.  Night spent at camp.

 

2nd September 1944

1500 - Bn left Embarkation Camp marched to beaches and embarked on LCTs.  Transferred to Troopship lying off coast.

 

3rd September 1944

1130 - Ship sailed for U.K.

 

2200 - Anchored in SOLENT off COWES.

 

4th September 1944

1400 - Bn disembarked at SOUTHAMPTON and moved in TCVs to BULFORD FIELDS CAMP.

 

5th / 6th September 1944

Checks made on deficiencies of kit and equipment.

 

7th September 1944

Bn (less R Coy) sent on 10 days leave.

 

9th September 1944

Strength return of Officers and O.Rs rendered to GHQ 2nd Ech.

 

12th September 1944

Leave extended by 4 days.

 

 

Appendix

OPERATION "OVERLORD"

12 DEVON O.O. No.1

 

28 May 44.

Ref Maps:- (NOTE This O.O. deals with events subsequent to marshalling)

 

INFM.

1.  (Issued verbally).

 

INTENTION

2.  12 DEVON will assemble at HOMER (          ) and immediately prepare to carry out any task ordered.

 

METHOD.

"A" Marshalling

1.  Main body marching tps will marshall in camps E., F. & I. of Area S.1.  Veh. parties will marshall in present areas.

2.  OC Tps of Craft Serials.  These will assume comd of their tps on marshalling (Tps of other units will be included in their dets).  They will collect AFs W.5169 and AFs. W.3060 from each det.

3.  Move and accn.  Arrangements will be made by 5 RHA & MC.

4.  Maps

        (a) LCIs  (S.1.) sealed bundle will be issued to OC Tps in marshalling area of 3 Brit Div.  These will be guarded day and night by an Offr.  (3 to be detailed daily).

        (b) Veh. parties.  (T.6) Maps will be taken on board by the OC Tps concerned (NOT found by 12 DEVON).

        (c) D+2 Party.  (RQMS Party - S.6) On receipt of orders maps to be drawn from map issue depot WARLEY BKS, BRENTWOOD.  Map issue schedule issued with this O.O.

        (d) NO MAP BUNDLES TO BE OPENED UNTIL TPS ARE EMBARKED & ORDERS RECEIVED THAT OP. IS "ON".

5.  Sups.  The following will be issued in marshalling area:- Emergency Ration, Two 24 hr Packs, tommy cookers & Tablets.  20 Cigs.  2-ozs Sweets.  Haversack Ration.

 

"B" Embarkation

1.  Orders for movement will be issued to OC Craft Serials by MC.

2.  Documents:- 

        A.F. W.5169  (Parties over 5 and vehs) - 2 copies to ESO.

        A.F. W.3060  (Parties under 5) - 1 copy to ESO.

        Embarkation Tags  OC Craft Serials will arrange to collect in Sandbags at Embarkation Pts and hand to ESO.

3.  Handcarts MUST be embarked.  Drill for disembarking these and L.M/Cs will be practiced at first opportunity.

4.  Blankets  2 per man to be taken from Marshalling Area.

 

"C" Voyage

1.  Briefing:  OC Tps will find out if Op. is "on".  Map bundles will then be opened and tps briefed.  Instructions for action on landing will also be found in these bundles.

2.  Sea Passage Ration will be provided on board.  Landing rations and water in water bottles will on no account be used during voyage.

3.  A.A. Defence.  A.A. weapons will be posted as ordered by Naval Comd Offr or Master.

 

"D" Disembarkation

1.  Beach

        (a) Queen.  062818 - 093805.

                S.1 Personnel              H + 24     )

                T.6 Personnel & Vehs H + 25  )  Two men per L.M/C.

        (b) NAN.  968858 - 016851.  S.6 Personnel & Vehs D + 2.

        (c) Signs: Vehs follow dark blue wind-sock.

2.  Assembly.

        (a) QUEEN BEACH:  Immediately on disembarking S.1 Gp. will go to Personnel Transit Area and T.6 Gp. to Vehicle Transit Area.  Packs will be put on handcarts.  The Bn. will assemble at Assembly Area HOMER 0877.  Route to HOMER will be marked by 3 Brit Div Sign.

        (b) NAN BEACH.  Move to Transit Area and thence to Assembly Area KNEE 9683.  Report to Div rep. at 966834, where you will be redirected to sub-sector ARCHIE.  On receipt of orders move to HOMER 0877.

3.  Change of Plan.  All tps must anticipate the possibility of being landed on a beach other than that originally intended.  ALL MUST MAKE FOR HOMER.  QUEEN Beach tps diverted to NAN will pass through NAN Transit Camps and make for HOMER via LA DELIVERANDE 0281 - HERMANVILLE SUR MER 0679 - COLLEVILLE SUR ORNE 0878.

4.  Control.  Essential that sub-units be kept under control throughout.  NO HALTS except at Transit and Assembly Areas.

5.  Casualties on Beaches.

        (a) Beach Dressing Sta for Wounded.

        (b) Beach Resuscitation Centre for Partially Drowned Personnel.

        (c) Drowned Vehicle Park.

6.  Lifebelts.  These will be dumped at Personnel and Vehicle Transit Areas.

 

"E" Assembly Area.

1.  Location:  HOMER 0877.  Report to Lt.Col. SHEPHARD HQ 6 Airborne Div at:

2.  Action on Arrival

        (a) First there to: Find out Bn. Sub-sector.  Allot Coy areas.  Estab. a check pt. at entrance to area.  Post AA & ground defs.  Improvise signs.  If any complications on route send back DR to Transit Area to help remainder.

        (b) Action by all: Re-org into Coys and Pls and report situation.  Wear berets (if practicable).  Post defences & sentries.  Dig in.  Re-org kit.  Check vehs.  Put out signs.  Feed (water bottle to be re-filled before leaving HOMER).  KEEP CHECKING MEN AND EQUIPMENT.

        (c) B. Ech: will be formed under QM Company Adm Pl, 3 tonners, water truck & any spare Jeeps.

 

"F" Gaining touch with Bde.

1.  First det to arrive will send an offr to contact Lt.Col. SHEPHARD at Control Post and obtain latest sit rep.  An orderly (with M/C or bicycle) will remain at Control Post.

2.  Senior Offr present will comd.

3.  Recce Pl.  When infm received from Control Post of location of Airldg. Bde. (possibilities 105736 or 119721) one sec will contact Bde HQ to gain latest infm about battle and give report on condition of bn.

4.  A L.O. from 6 Airldg Bde may be expected at HOMER.

5.  No move from HOMER without orders from 6 Airborne Div.

6.  A T.C.P. will be est by Div at 097749.  Should brs be blown the bn will be ferried over river & canal.

 

"G" Possible Courses of Action.

1.  Operations successful and 12 DEVON to take over from 12 Para Bn.

2.  Owing to hy cas 12 DEVON to take over from either 2 OXF BUCKS or 1 RUR.

3.  Be ready to move a portion of the bn to a threatened area at the shortest notice.

4.  Carry out an entirely new plan.

Course 1.

(a) Take over recce parties to stand by.  To be made mobile.

(b) Provisional Areas:- C. Coy (WEST) / D. Coy (EAST) - Inter coy bndy (incl D Coy) rd, x rds 104727 - x rds 998712.  B. Coy. Res. - area LE BAS DE RANVILLE 1073.  Bn. HQ. - TREES 105731.

Course 2.

(a) Recce Parties as for Course 1.

(b)    (i) STE HONORINE posn.  C. Coy: LONGUEVAL 9871.  D. Coy: SOUTH face STE HONORINE 9970.  B. Coy: ORCHARD 9971.

        (ii) ESCOVILLE posn.  C. Coy: SOUTH face to incl x rds 124709.  D. Coy: Area x rds 127712.  B. Coy: Bend in wood 125718.

Course 3.

First coy to arrive to stand by to move at short notice.

Course 4.

Normal R & O Gps to stand by.

 

APO. England.

[Signed] Captain.

Adjutant, 12th. Bn. The Devonshire Regiment.

 

 

Appendix 'A'

War Diary of 'A' Coy Until Rejoining Bn at 0100 hrs 8 Jun

 

"A" Coy was detailed to form part of "Parker" Force.  The Armd Recce Regt formed the largest part of the force, and the Coy with a Bty of 54 Lt Regt and under comd A tk guns and M.Gs was to form the firm base for Recce approx 10 miles forward of the Divisional area, in the area of CAGNY.

 

Preparations for the task were carried out in detail but not without difficulties, as the Force H.Q. had no staff and there was no Adjutant or QM to do the things they normally do and eventually the force was split up over four different and widely separated transit camps, so it was difficult to find out anything.

 

The Coy Comd was briefed about three weeks before the operation.  Pl Comds about 10 days and the men 7 days.  Briefing was carried out in great detail and everybody knew the story in detail from photographs etc.

 

Our transit camp was at BRIZE NORTON and the take off airfield at FARRINGDON, 15 miles away.

 

We began loading at D-2, the loads having been changed the day before for the 5th time.  There was excellent co-operation at the airfield; especially from the glider pilots with whom a firm base for co-operation was made in the very early in the proceedings.

 

D Day was spent at the airfield.  We took off at approx 1915 hrs.  We flew over many ships on the way little knowing that some of them carried the remainder of the Bn.  We lost one glider on the way which crashed into the sea.

 

There was no serious injuries on the landing, although it was not without excitement as the posts seemed many and very large and some gliders pitched in minefields.  We were all landed in about the right place although no coy glider was in view of another.  Great difficulty was experienced in getting the trails off, owing to damage caused to the gliders on landing and in most cases it meant hacking them off with an axe which took at least an hour. It took us an hour and a half to concentrate.

 

At this stage we were in touch with no one and did not know where our Force H.Q. might be, so we started off for our Assembly area just south of BREVILLE.  On reaching RANVILLE we heard, by chance, that it was occupied by the enemy and so stopped.  It was then approx midnight.  Efforts were now made to find out what to do.  At 0300 hrs it was discovered that "Parker" force operation was off for the time being and we were to be under comd 13 PARA Bn in area RANVILLE.  We accordingly went into a defensive posn, dug in and looked for snipers, one being found in a barn where we had held an "O" Gp during the night.  We remained in this position until midday.  There were many mortars active on to the village but they missed us.

 

At noon we were ordered to take over HEROUVILLETTE.  Two Pls were given the task of clearing the place, covered by another pl, with one in reserve.  Snipers were predominant and there were booby traps, one member of the Coy having a lucky escape from a crafty booby trap on the door of a house and a steel helmet. The houses were large and it was not a pleasant task, and took some time.  Eventually it was completed without mishap.  We now took up a defensive position around the village, with no A.tk guns.  We were, from necessity, widely dispersed and continued to look for snipers.  We were also mortared.

 

We heard firing going on in ESCOVILLE, to our South, where 2 OXF BUCKS were in position.

 

At 1600 hrs, with no warning, the 2 OXF BUCKS started to withdraw through our positions with frightful stories about enemy tanks and SP guns.  We had no A.tk guns at all so we grabbed as many A tk guns and m.gs as we could from 2 OXF BUCKS and put them in position, assuring them that we were in a strong posn, which we were not.  More OXF BUCKS were withdrawing through the leading pls, but they held their ground in spite of everything, especially the tank threat.

 

By chance the Coy Comd saw the C.O. of the 2 OXF BUCKS who said that he was very sorry but was withdrawing through us to LE MESNIL.

 

At this it was stressed how strong we could be with their support etc so the C.O. decided to stay put with us and form a joint position.

 

When all 2 OXF BUCKS were gathered in we were in a strong position.

 

1800 hrs 10 Pl drew their first blood by putting in the bag two enemy [3?] tonners containing paratroops.  They killed most of them, the remainder were sent back as prisoners.  'A' Coy then thought they had T.C.Vs for the remainder of the operation.  Unfortunately we could not get them going and only a noise similar to a siren could be got out of them.

 

At about this time a patrol from 10 Pl saw approximately 40 enemy and a m.g.  A 3 inch mortar was immediately put on to them and fired 15 rounds rapid.  The bombs fell accurately and the results were satisfactory, as was seen later.  Some enemy m/cs and ten men were accounted for definitely and probably several more.

 

The enemy were active and patrolling against us and there were still snipers.  In conjunction with 2 OXF BUCKS arrangements were made for the night, but at 2100 hrs orders were received to rejoin the Bn.  Our posns were handed over to 2 OXF BUCKS, which took some time.  We eventually left at 2300 hrs and rejoined the Bn in the area of RANVILLE at approx 0100 hrs.

 

Very few had eaten much from their 24 hour packs except sweets as there was no opportunity, and as yet nobody had had any sleep since leaving ENGLAND.

 

 

Appendix B

Interrogation Report on Gren Michnik

1 Coy 857 Gren Regt

(now 1 Coy 346 Fus Bn)

 

1. Gen

PW who is a POLISH deserter crossed our lines on 3 Jul 44 at approx 138743.  He states that his coy was renamed 1/346 Fus Bn about 3 weeks ago; he confirms that his coy left area LE TOUQUET on D day travelling on bicycles via VARAVILLE and taking up a posn in front line which PW described as being to the North of his present posn (? near SALLENELLES).  When he came through VARAVILLE on approx D + 3 it was still intact but a comrade from another pl which joined them a few days later reported that it had been badly bombed and a number of tks destroyed therein.  His coy was withdrawn into res from the previous posn on approx 16 Jun (rest area ? GONNEVILLE).  On approx 25 Jun his coy took over their present posns (see att sketch).  PW states that raid by our fwd tps on night 1/2 Jul was successful.  Two GERMANS were killed, 10 wounded; he also confirms that one Brit offr and one cpl were shot during the night and buried next morning by the GERMANS.  It is further his opinion that apart from their strongly held line there were no posns in depth other than mortars and arty; he did, however, hear mention made of the presence in the vicinity of some semi-tracked vehs which - according to his description - were probably 2 cm AA/A tk guns on SP mountings.

 

2. Coy Org, Str and Weapons

(a) 1 Pl - Sjt GITTNER       )

     2 Pl - Sjt SCHWARTZ  )   Approx 25 men per pl.

     3 Pl - Sjt WALHOLZ    )

 

(b) PW was in 1 Pl.

                        Pl HQ

                            |

  -----------------------------------

  |                         |                         |

1 Sec                 2 Sec                 3 Sec

(7 men)              (7 men)              (7 men)

 

(c) One MG 34 per sec.

     2 x 8 cm Mortars in the coy.

     3000 rounds for MG.

     70 rounds per Rifle.

 

(d) Disposns (as per att sketch).  It is PWs opinion that his coy frontage is 400 - 500 yds.  PW states that there is no wire in front of posn but some booby-traps consisting of stick grenades have been placed in hedge-row at approx 144741.

 

3. Routine

During day-time, one sentry per sec is on gd; the rest sleep in dugouts which are behind firing posns.  During the night the whole coy stands to from 2200 hrs to 0600 hrs in their firing posns.  If they are shelled the food does not come up from Fd kitchen; otherwise the food is brought up in containers between 2100 - 2200 hrs.  This is the only issue of food during 24 hrs.

 

4. Members of PW's sec (1 Sec, 1 Pl):-

L cpl SCHMITT

Pte KORBAL    )

Pte JUNG          )   Nos 1 and 2 on LMG

Pte KREMER  Rfn.

Pte RISELE

Pte RAUCHALLES

 

5. A recce patrol was sent out on night 3/4 Jul by our fwd tps to check up on disposns of enemy in sector described by PW.  Patrol comd's report corresponds to the statement made by PW and confirms enemy posns as described by PW.

 

4 Jul 44

(ADV)

BWEF

Lt [?]OL, GS

6 Airborne Div.