National Archives catalogue number WO 171/1357.

 

Abbreviation

098754

2 i/comd

52nd

A/C

Adm

Adv

AFV

Airfd

Airldg

Amn

Armd

Arty

A/Tk

Bde

Bldg

BM

Bn

Br

Bty

BW

C

Cas

Cdr

Comd

Comn

Conc

Coy

Def

Det

DF

Disposn

Div

Eqpt

Est

Fd

FDL

FFI

FOO

FS

FUP

Fwd

Gd

GOC

Gp

Gren

HE

Hy

Incl

Infm

Infty

Int

IO

Junc

LMG

LO

Lt

LZ

Med Authy

MFC

MG

MMG

Mob

MT

OC

Offr

OP

OR

Oxf and Bucks

Pdr

Pl / Pln

Posn

Pt

PW

QM

RAP

Rd

RE

Regt

Regtl

Res

RHQ

Rly

RM

Rt

RUR

SA

SB

Sec

SP

Sqn

SS

TCV

Tk

Tps

Tpt

Vangd

Veh

X Rds

Map Reference

Second-in-Command

52nd Regiment of Foot (2nd Ox and Bucks)

Aircraft

Administration

Advance

Armoured Fighting Vehicle

Airfield

Airlanding

Ammunition

Armoured

Artillery

Anti-Tank

Brigade

Building

Brigade Major

Battalion

Bridge

Battery

Black Watch

Car

Casualties

Commander

Commander / Commanding

Communication

Concentration

Company

Defensive

Detachment

Defensive Fire

Disposition

Division / Divisional

Equipment

Established

Field

Forward Defended Locality

Forces Françaises de l'Intérieur (French Resistance)

Forward Observation Officer

Field Service

Forming Up Place

Forward

Guard

General Officer Commanding

Group

Grenadier

High Explosive

Heavy

Including

Information

Infantry

Intelligence

Intelligence Officer

Junction

Light Machine Gun

Liaison Officer

Light

Landing Zone

Medical Authority

Mortar Fire Control

Machine Gun

Medium Machine Gun

Mobile

Motor Transport

Officer Commanding

Officer

Observation Post / Operation (lower case)

Other Ranks

Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry

Pounder

Platoon

Position

Point

Prisoner of War

Quartermaster

Regimental Aid Post

Road

Royal Engineers

Regiment

Regimental

Reserve

Regimental Headquarters

Railway

Royal Marine

Right

Royal Ulster Rifles

Small Arms

Stretcher Bearer

Section

Starting Point / Self-Propelled / Support (lower case)

Squadron

Special Service

Troop Carrying Vehicle

Tank

Troops

Transport

Vanguard

Vehicle

Crossroads

 

Month and year : June 1944

Commanding Officer : Lt. Col. M.W. Roberts

 

1st June 1944

Place: Keevil

 

General briefing commenced by coys, and lasted from 0800-2100 hrs, during which time the tps were given an introduction to the operation, the main details explained and orders given.  The amount of information available was such that tps could not be expected to absorb it all in one session.  The tps appeared to be well pleased with their role and were obviously gratified with the efforts the higher comds and RAF had made in order to ensure that the operation was a success.  Maj. Gen. R. Gale DSO. visited the men on the airfd and gave them further details of the operation, stressing the great support they were getting from the RAF, Arty and sea-landing units.  Brigadier The Hon H.K.M. Kindersley MBC. MC. visited the camp during the afternoon and watched some of the briefing, he wished the tps the best of luck and an early finish to the War.  Members of the RAF tug crews visited the offrs mess during the evening and all enjoyed a rather convivial evening.

 

2nd June 1944

Place: Keevil

 

Briefing continued, pl comds went into greater detail and the men had more time to absorb the information with particular reference to their own pl and sec roles.  Lt. Gen. A.F.M. Browning DSO, comd of Allied Airborne Forces visited the camp and gave all men an inspiring talk emphasising our great superiority in all branches of war.

 

3rd June 1944

Place: Keevil

 

Briefing continued.

 

4th June 1944

Place: Keevil

 

Briefing was continued in very great detail.

 

6th June 1944

The Regt less Bridge Assault Party of Letter "D" Coy and 2 Plns of "B" Coy [Appx A], took off from Harwell and Keevil Airfields at 1840 hrs and 1910 hrs respectively. The trip was rather bumpy over land but all became very calm over the sea.  At approx 2055 hrs we approached the French coast and could see a large fleet of ships standing off shore and occasional bursts of fire coming from their guns.  It was very easy to pick out the River and Canal below and ahead of us and we knew that there had been no mistake in navigation.  All gliders except four landed on or somewhere near the L.Z. although in most cases crash landings occurred and many collisions took place.  A certain amount of flak as gliders ran in added to the many difficulties of the Glider Pilots who in the majority of cases did magnificently.  There was a certain amount of firing on the LZ and some snipers still seemed to be holding out in the area of the bridges at BENOUVILLE.  After some delay, due to the fact that some gliders landed rather along way south and also some were very badly smashed which made unloading difficult, the Regt formed up in the area of Rd Junc 098754 at Le Port.

 

2215 - The Regt began to move forward to cross the bridges to the pre-arranged concentration area at 108744.  At this time four glider loads had failed to land, comprising Bn HQ. No.5, 1 Rifle Platoon 'B' Coy, ½ 'B' Coy HQ, 1 Mortar Pl glider.  A few people had been hurt in crash landings including the Comd Offr who managed to carry on and the Loading Offr who had to be evacuated.  Major Howard commanding the Bridge Assault Force reported to the Comd Offr and said that the route to the concentration area was clear.  Despite the darkness of the night the Regt moved quickly into the concentration area and a temporary HQ was set up at 109744.

 

2300 - The Comd Offr met the Brigade Comd 6 Airldg Bde on the bridge at BENOUVILLE and was taken forward to the area of the Church at RANVILLE 116734.  The Comd Offr received orders to move forward into the area of the 13 Parachute Bn at RANVILLE with intention of occupying HEROUVILLETTE 122724 as soon as possible and then to move on to occupy ESCOVILLE as was originally intended.

 

7th June 1944

0130 - Regt passed S.P. 110739 moving forward to the Chateau in RANVILLE a temporary H.Q. was set up there.  The remainder of the Regt moved into the area of the Chateau grounds and took up a position of all round defence.  Elements of the Bridge Assault Party joined us there including Capt B.C.E. Priday and the load from his glider, who having landed in the area of VARAVILLE Bridge, fought their way back to join the Regt.

 

0230 - 13 Para Bn had been in contact with the enemy up to dark and reported that he was occupying HEROUVILLETTE.  On arrival at the Chateau it was arranged that the Regt should take over the patrolling in front of 13 Para Bn and 'C' Coy was ordered to send out fighting patrols to discover whether the enemy were still in HEROUVILLETTE.  These patrols reported by 0430 hrs that there was no sign of the enemy in the village though they had not entered it.  'C' Coy was therefore ordered to move forward and seize the Western portion of HEROUVILLETTE and send patrols to discover whether the enemy were holding the Eastern portion.  'A' and 'B' Coys were then to move forward and seize the Eastern portion.  Meanwhile the remainder of the Regt were to move fwd to the area of the farm at 119728.  This move was completed without opposition by 0830 hrs.

 

0830 - The Comd Offr then decided to make a similar advance by bounds to seize and occupy ESCOVILLE the task allotted to the Regiment in the original plan before leaving ENGLAND.  'A' and 'B' Coys patrols moved forward to the village which they reported clear except for a few snipers.

 

1000 - At 1000 hrs 'A' and 'B' Coys were ordered to move up and occupy the posns already allotted to them and they were followed by 'D' Coy and Regtl H.Q.  'C' Coy was to remain at HEROUVILLETTE as a firm base until the remainder of the Regt was established in ESCOVILLE.  At 1030 hrs the leading Coys reached ESCOVILLE and started to dig in.

 

1100 - Regtl H.Q. attempted to establish itself in CHATEAU 124714 as arranged but came under accurate fire from an enemy SP gun firing from a hull-down posn about 250 yds South of the CHATEAU.  Attempts were made to dislodge this enemy gun with 6-pdr guns and PIAT parties but these proved unsuccessful.  The SP gun appeared to be well protected by snipers.  Meanwhile 'D' Coy moved round into its allotted posn.

 

1200 - Coys were in posn but experiencing difficulty owing to fire from armoured cars and other SP guns and snipers who appeared to be on a reverse slope posn just South of the village and which were continually moving about.  We were visited about this time by the Bde Comd.  Bn. HQ had still failed to get into the CHATEAU and HQ had been set up in a line of trees about 100 yds North of the CHATEAU itself.  Shortly after this the enemy started accurate mortar fire in area of Regtl HQ and some casualties were suffered.  Owing to very accurate fire from enemy armoured vehicles 'A' and 'D' Coys had been unable to get well forward into good posns of observation and in particular the A/Tk guns were unable to get into their allotted posns or even into posns from which they could engaged the enemy SP guns.

 

1400 - Mortar fire and gun fire continued to be experienced by all Coys and an appreciable number of casualties were incurred.  The enemy were very well concealed and although 3" Mortars were brought to bear on any SP guns that showed themselves fire was rather ineffective due to lack of observation.

 

1500 - The enemy began to become more bold and succeeded in shooting up the right forward Coy rather badly.  At about this time fire from mortars and SP guns became intensified and enemy infantry began to infiltrate forward supported by tanks and one or two armoured cars.  Owing to the fact that the Regt had never managed to get into an organised co-ordinated defensive posn and there was considerable danger of becoming outflanked in a posn not suitable for defence in view of the fact that ST. HONORINE had not been captured the Comd Offr asked for permission from Bde to withdraw to a posn on the highest ground in the village of HEROUVILLETTE.  This permission was granted.

 

1600 - The Regt withdrew to HEROUVILLETTE with 'C' Coy acting as rearguard protection.  A portion of 'D' Coy the left forward Coy and 'A' Coy the right forward Coy who were heavily engaged at the time became cut off and had a spirited battle with enemy AFV's.  The Vickers MG's with 'A' Coy did some very good work before they withdrew.  'B' Coy reformed about 400 yds North of ESCOVILLE and were sent in as a counter attack to extricate the fwd Coys.  This was successfully accomplished with some casualties.

 

1700 - The Regt took up a def posn in the area of HEROUVILLETTE and commenced to dig in.  Recce Patrols were sent fwd to discover the enemy's further intentions.  The remainder of the day and night was spent digging in.  During the day the Regt had suffered about 60 casualties.  The Comd Offr who had been injured on landing and was unable to get about on foot was evacuated by Med Authy at about 2100 hrs and comd of the Regt was taken over by Major M. Darrell-Brown 2 i/comd.

 

8th June 1944

HEROUVILLETTE.  A quiet day preparing defences and some shelling in the area of 'A' Coy.

 

9th June 1944

HEROUVILLETTE.  Owing to the fact that recce patrols reported ESCOVILLE to be clear of the enemy the Comd Offr decided to send 'C' Coy fwd to occupy the village.  The Coy moved out at about 1245 hrs and reached the area of the CHATEAU at approx 1330 hrs without opposition.  At 1345 hrs 'C' Coy came under fire from enemy armoured cars which came forward from the South of ESCOVILLE as soon as 'C' Coy started to move into the village.  'C' Coy fought back in a spirited manner until about 1630 hrs when the enemy appeared to be being reinforced and 'C' Coy therefore withdrew to their defensive posns on the South side of HEROUVILLETTE.  At about 1730 hrs it was observed that the enemy were moving up to ESCOVILLE in some strength and tanks had been reported.  At 1900 hrs heavy fire was opened on the area of the village by SP guns, artillery and mortars.  The enemy attacked with tanks armoured cars and a certain number of infantry.  M.E. 109's appeared overhead and carried out a short straffing attack.  Early in the attack one 6-pdr crew were knocked out by Mortar fire which left a gap in the A/Tk defence.  The Comdg Offr quickly organised a PIAT party and this gap was soon covered.  D.F. artillery fire was called for and came down very quickly and accurately.  The enemy then withdrew leaving 2 Mk IV tanks burning about 100 yds from our leading Coys and at least 3 more tanks retired on fire.  We later recovered an armoured car from the area of ESCOVILLE and found another one which we were unfortunately unable to bring back.  During this very sharp engagement the Regt suffered a total of about 40 casualties.  Recce Patrols were sent forward to ESCOVILLE during the night but nothing was reported.

 

10th June 1944

An infantry coy began to attack from BREVILLE area and very heavy casualties were inflicted on them as they moved across open country and concentrations in the wood 125731 being engaged repeatedly by very hy arty fire together with unit small arms fire.  The enemy began moving at 0700 hrs and eventually withdrew at 1300 hrs.  Another attack seemed likely to develop in the afternoon as the enemy began moving from BREVILLE on the same route as in the morning, this move was broken up mainly by arty with the assistance of [our] Tks. and the enemy withdrew at 1800 hrs, although they caused us to lose 6 Tks before doing so.  Units of the 51st Highland Div worked SOUTH round our flanks during the night.

 

Summary of casualties to date:- officers:-

June 6 Killed.  Lt H.D. Brotheridge

           Wounded.  Lt D.J. Wood, Lt C.A. Hooper, Lt L. Nicholson, Lt. Col. M.W. Roberts, Lt R.A.A. Smith

June 7 Wounded.  Lt P.H. Godsal, Lt R.N. Prince, Lt D.M. Neale, Lt M. Aston, Lt P.S. Jones, Lt C.H. Davis Goff, Lt P.G. Bulford

June 8 Wounded.  Lt G.C. Chicken,

June 9 Wounded.  Capt M.J. Brabner

June 10 Killed.  Capt J. Marriot GM

 

O.R. Casualties

June 6 Killed 2, Wounded 15, Missing 53

June 7 Killed 10, Wounded 43, Missing 27

June 8 Nil              Nil                 Nil

June 9 Killed 1, Wounded 29, Missing 9

June 10 Killed 2, Wounded 10, Missing Nil

 

11th June 1944

Place: Herouvillette

 

A report that a large number of tks were moving in a N.W. direction from CAEN towards our posns caused great activity in the strengthening of our posns.  Slight shelling added to the general state of expectancy during the afternoon, but the threat did not materialise.

 

12th June 1944

Place: Herouvillette

 

After a quiet night the unit started checking up on a few administrative details, checking over kit and eqpt and making sure that everything was in fighting order.  During the evening the Regt were spectators of the "closing of the BREVILLE gap" in the NW of the outer crest of the Div defences.  This was accomplished in a most spectacular manner with a "Corps" Arty shoot as a preliminary to the attack and occupation by infantry.  The men had a rough bath - the first since leaving England.

 

13th June 1944

Place: Herouvillette

 

At 0215 hrs Bde ordered the Regt to move to area SOUTH of BREVILLE under comd of 3 Para Bde - relieving 9 Para Bn.  The attack on BREVILLE had not been as successful as was hoped and we were ordered to prevent the ENEMY forming up between BREVILLE and our posn at all costs.  The Regt moved out from HEROUVILLETTE at 0500 hrs and reached the new location 135736 at 0700 hrs.  We began to strengthen defensive posns and clear fields of fire immediately.

 

Place: St Come

 

A very strong defensive posn had been built up by 1300 hrs although the area was being subjected to intermittent mortar & shell fire which caused a small number of casualties before the posns had been completed.  Coys sent out recce patrols during the night to locate and if possible identify the enemy.

 

14th June 1944

Place: St Come

 

Regt began to settle down and the shell & mortar fire decrease becoming less nerve wracking.  We began to clear the area of the large quantity of enemy dead and to salvage damaged eqpt.  1 RUR and 12 Devon moved in on our RIGHT and the Regt returned to the comd of 6 Airldg Bde.

 

15th June 1944

Place: St Come

 

Letter B Coy snipers had a good day on patrol and accounted for at least 4 enemy dead.  P.W. captured in BREVILLE area identified as being from 4 Coy 857 Regt (under comd 711 Infantry Div).

 

16th June 1944

Place: St Come

 

Much quieter day - patrols working well forward now, mortar & shell fire much less frequent now.

 

17th June 1944

Place: St Come

 

We were given a warning of a possible attack from Bde.  At 0430 hrs ENEMY commenced mortar & shell fire on our area.  Both mortar & gun posns were actively engaged by our Arty & mortars.  At 0600 hrs a tk & S.P. gun attack developed from CUVERVILLE towards ESCOVILLE and HEROUVILLETTE, the SP guns firing on those villages and our posns.  Small arms fire was directed at our posns from the EAST, SOUTH and NE but the attack did not develop and the tks withdrew towards CUVERVILLE at 0930 hrs after being engaged by our Arty.  Unit patrol areas were extended by Bde to (1) 2 Oxf Bucks - Chateau 156742 (2) 1 RUR - area rd 147749 - 153746, the tasks being to accurately fix ENEMY posns and strength.

 

18th June 1944

Place: St Come

 

Patrols reported (1) ENEMY post 1 sec at 155737, 1 sec at 153743 - deduction chateau area held by not more than one pl.  'B' Coy made a feint attack on posn at wood 146735 sp by Arty, thus drawing ENEMY fire; estimated 1 sec at 144736, two MGs at wood 147735, post at hedge junc 143738 - deduction that enemy is holding area of wood 146735 strength one pl.  Bde moved to new location at 133724.

 

19th June 1944

Place: St Come

 

After a quiet day the ENEMY sent over a hy mortar conc at 2000 hrs.  At 2100 hrs a fighting patrol of 2 pls 'B' Coy comd by Maj Edmonds attacked & cleared hedge row 142736 running NORTH, killing 10 ENEMY; they then came under heavy small arms & MG fire from the RIGHT flank; Maj Edmonds being wounded.  Maj Darrell Brown comd the Regt then ordered the patrol to withdraw, 'D' Coy being brought up to cover this withdrawal.  Casualties were 6 wounded and 6 missing.  Maj Favell assumed comd of 'B' Coy.  At 2300 hrs a further conc from Rocket Projectors was brought down on our area in which Lt James was killed and Capt Mason wounded.

 

20th June 1944

Place: St Come

 

At 0400 hrs Maj Favell was killed while inspecting his coy posns, by a shell.  Capt Priday assumed comd of "B" Coy.  Comd offr received ordered from Bde to move to a new location for a rest at LE MESNIL 134726, the Regts posn being taken over by 12 DEVON.  The Regt less 'D' Coy moved out at 1800 hrs & reached its posn at 2000 hrs.  Digging was immediately commenced to improve the posns, particularly with regard to overhead cover.  This posn was certainly much more restful than the last although almost continuous if intermittent shelling and mortaring was occurring on the surrounding area.  Letter D Coy moved to posn at orchard 132741.

 

21st June 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

A comparatively quiet day - no alarms - tps rested - for many the first undisturbed rest since landing.

 

22nd June 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

Another quiet day, the tps are already showing some benefit from their sleep.  All men had a rough bath during the day.  Intermittent mortar & shell fire continues but does not seriously interfere with rest now.

 

23rd June 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

At 0310 hrs the ENEMY commenced heavy shelling of our posns and continued for 70 mins, damage to property was slight and we had no serious casualties.  The remainder of the day was quiet, two cows were killed by a bomb from a rocket projector in our locality, this enabled the butchers to get to work and the tps enjoyed fresh meat for the first time since D day.  The night was the quietest we had had for some time.

 

24th June 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

Lt. Col. M.W. Roberts resumed comd of the Regt on return from England.  He was flown over in a C47 transport accompanied by Lt. P.G. Bulford who has also joined letter 'B' Coy.  The Int Offr has organised a news source consisting of boards with maps showing latest posns of all main units operating on the West European front, together with news items from our somewhat meagre supply of news papers; Coys are kept informed daily and the tps very much appreciate these efforts to keep them "in the picture".  The day passed quietly apart from the casual intermittent shelling and mortaring of our area.  At 2345 hrs the enemy were surprised by a recce patrol from 7 Para Bn, while forming up for a 5 Coy attack on the posns held by 7 B.W. and 7 Para Bn to our SOUTH and EAST respectively.  When the enemy realised he had lost surprise he pressed forward supported by S.P. Arty and Mortars a large proportion of which fell in our area, which was obviously an enemy DF task.  The Regts posns were so well dug in that we only suffered 7 casualties, 2 killed and 2 wounded from letter S Coy at 2350 hrs and a further 2 killed and 1 wounded from letter B Coy at 0400 hrs.

 

25th June 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

The attack was successfully beaten off and the enemy retired at 0410 hrs having suffered many casualties.  Letter H Coy HQ received a direct hit from an S.P. gun but suffered no casualties.  The remainder of the day passed quietly.

 

26th June 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

Orders were received from Bde for the Regt to relieve the 1 RUR at BREVILLE on the 27th.  The day passed quietly, the tps preparing for the move while offrs made recce's of the 1 RUR posns with a view to taking over.  The BREVILLE posn seemed to be an exceptionally strong one and far more comfortable than that at Le Mesnil.  5 Offrs and 30 ORs attended a concert given by ENSA in the back areas.  Good news was received about the progress on the main front.  The Regt reinforced its diet with a few chickens which would otherwise have starved after negotiations with the local mayor.

 

27th June 1944

Place: Bréville

 

The Regt moved up to BRÉVILLE at 0930 hrs.  The relief was made without any interference from the enemy.  Tps spent the remainder of the day improving the defences.  Letter B Coy sent out a recce patrol to locate enemy standing patrols and watch movement with a view to destroying it at a later date.  The day passed uneventfully.

 

28th June 1944

Place: Bréville

 

Commando units recce'd the posn with a view to taking it over in the event of the Regt being ordered to move.  The RHQ offrs enjoyed the luxury of something resembling a mess for the first time since D day.  The mortars enjoyed a good shoot against a German working party moving in the area of LONGUEMARE at 1230 hrs and also ranged for the Commandos "party" arranged for tomorrow morning.  A Coy sent out patrols.

 

29th June 1944

Place: Bréville

 

The Commando raid took place in the area of LONGUEMARE from 0300 hrs to 0400 hrs and was very successful.  The Regts mortars put up a concentration as part of the initial preparation.  The day passed very quietly, letter B Coy sent out patrols to the area of the previous nights Commando raid but found everything quiet and no enemy about.

 

30th June 1944

Place: Bréville

 

The day passed very quietly.  Lt Gen FAM Browning Offr Comd Airborne Forces, Maj. Gen. R. Gale DSO. 6 Airborne Div Comd together with the Comd 59 Inf Div visited our positions.  Letter B Coy sent out an ambush patrol but failed to contact the enemy, recce patrols operated normally.

 

 

Month and year : July 1944

Commanding Officer : Lt. Col. M.W. Roberts

 

1st July 1944

Place: Bréville

 

The Regt had a very quiet day, Letter C Coy incurred one casualty when the enemy ranged his mortars on their posn.  Some very up to date mail was received from a resupply drop by air in the Div area.

 

2nd July 1944

Place: Bréville

 

At 0100 hrs. the Regts mortars put down a concentration as part of a fire preparation for a raid by 12 Devons.  Letter D Coy mortars received two casualties from enemy counter mortar shoot.  The enemy reaction to the preparation was mainly conc on Letter C Coys area & directed mainly against our MMG sec which was supporting them.  The enemy used many flares & MGs but very little mortars or shell fire, the use of his MGs on this occasion helped us to accurately plot their posns & was thus of great value in planning the Regts raid for tomorrow night.  At 0200 hrs a rehearsal of the mortars & arty supporting fire for the next nights raid took place, with the object of discovering the enemy's reactions and also to mislead them into thinking that no infantry attack would follow the mortar & arty preparation when the raid took place.  The enemy reaction was very weak consisting only of slight shelling and mortaring over Letters A & D Coys areas.  The raiding party spent the day making their final preparations, and the day passed quietly.

 

3rd July 1944

Place: Bréville

 

At 0230 hrs a strong fighting patrol from Letter B Coy under comd A/Maj Priday with Lieut. Fox in comd of the assault pl made a raid on an enemy pl posn in wood at 147747, with the intention of inflicting the maximum casualties on the enemy and then withdrawing.  Unfortunately during the preparation some mortar bombs fell amongst the fire party and caused 4 casualties including Maj Priday and Capt Mertons F.O.O., this rather shook up the party and reduced the effectiveness of the supporting fire, with the result that when the Bangalore party came under MG fire, they were unable to put the torpedoes under the wire which was found to be much stronger than anticipated.  The enemy MG was not neutralised and a section post was attacked with 36 and 77 grenades, as in the circumstances it was not possible to get inside the wire.  Lt. Fox decided to withdraw, one casualty was received from S.A. fire and it was not possible to ascertain how many casualties were inflicted on the enemy.  It rained heavily throughout the day, many of the slit trenches becoming waterlogged and the Regt's area resembled a quagmire whenever any movement was being made.  The Regt was reinforced by three officers, Capt [the name reads like Gadbles but almost certainly should be Gaade], Lieut Preston and Lieut Ledsome.  The Div Comd Major Gen R Gale visited the Regt this morning and the arrival of 'NAAFI packs' relieves the cigarettes situation.

 

4th July 1944

Place: Bréville

 

Between 07.30 hrs and 08.30 hrs this morning the enemy mortared and shelled our posns.  Our casualties were one OR killed and four ORs wounded.  The previous nights ambush patrols had no luck as no Germans ventured their way.  Except for occasional shelling the remainder of the day has been quiet though rain has added to the mud.  THREE ME 109s were shot down by our fighters in dog fights over our area.  At 23.30 hrs this evening Lt Sweeney was wounded whilst out on patrol.

 

5th July 1944

Place: Bréville

 

At 0145 hrs Lt Bulford with an ambush patrol shot up a suspected enemy post at hedge junc 144744 but was unable to ascertain what casualties he had inflicted.  It has been a fine day and most of the mud has dried up.  The enemy shelled and mortared our posns during the day but we suffered no casualties.  Lt Scott went out on patrol with two of 'C' Coy and shot one of the enemy - the first for a long time.  Coys have been sending sections at a time for short marches around the Div area - this has made a pleasant change from life in and around a slit trench.

 

6th July 1944

Place: Bréville

 

This morning 'D' Coy standing patrol spotted five enemy in the area of the buildings 147750 who were firing on one of the Commando patrols on our left.  'D' Coy brought up two Brens and three 2" Mortars into the area of their standing patrol at 143750, and arranged with the Mortar Pl to put down a three minute conc just behind the located enemy at 1045 hrs.  As soon as the Mortar conc came down the enemy got up and started to run back to their own lines.  'D' Coy then opened up with their Brens and 2" Mortars and claim to have inflicted at least three casualties on the enemy.  It is hoped that the 3" Mortar fire inflicted further casualties as the enemy were not dug in.  It was not until 10 minutes later that the enemy reacted to our fire when he opened up on the area D Coy had fired from with small arms fire - by this time 'D' Coy were back in their main posns.  This afternoon 'C' Coy sent three Bren gps and some snipers into the SOUTH of FOX WOOD 147747 with the object of shooting up the enemy, who were believed to move up into the wood during the evening and occupy it by night.  At about 1730 a section of enemy came into the wood from the NORTH and 'C' Coy claim to have inflicted two casualties on the enemy.  This evening the short spell of fine weather broke and we had some thunder and rain.  Enemy mortaring and shelling has only been slight and we have incurred no casualties.

 

7th July 1944

Place: Bréville

 

At 14.00 hrs to-day the Regt handed over the defence of BREVILLE to No.4 Commando not without some feeling of regret as we had made ourselves very comfortable and had just begun to dominate effectively with our patrols and snipers "No Mans Land".  After handing over we moved about ½ mile southwards and took over from our right hand neighbours the 12 DEVON in defence of the CHATEAU DE ST COME for the second time.  The 12 DEVON had held this position for 17 days and were due for a few days rest in Bde res.  The 1 RUR had taken over the area of the LE MESNIL X rds 140728 yesterday and are now our right hand neighbours.  The take over was carried out without incident and all sub-units were in posn by 1700 hrs.  For the def layout of the Regt see Appx B.

 

8th July 1944

Place: Chateau de St Come

 

Our patrol activity last night was on a small scale but useful infm was gained concerning some of the enemy disposns on our front as indicated by 12 DEVON.  To-day has been a quiet one - though "A" Coy suffered a few casualties from enemy arty and mortar fire.  Coys have spent the day making any necessary adjustments in their layout and in generally strengthening our posns.  Our snipers have been getting to know the lie of the land but their fd of operations is somewhat cramped as the enemy posns are within 250 yds of our most fwd posns.

 

9th July 1944

Place: Chateau de St Come

 

Another quiet day.  Our recce patrols last night confirmed further of enemy posns on our front.  The mortars ranged on their D.F. tasks and carried a certain amount of counter-mortar fire.  One of 'D' Coy snipers claims to have hit one of the enemy.

 

10th July 1944

Place: Chateau de St Come

 

Our recce patrols last night were very successful in pinpointing the enemy disposns.  At 16.30 this afternoon the 12th Para Bn put a small attack about a mile to our SOUTH with very strong arty sp.  The enemy reactions were [active?] and part of his DF fire came down in the Regt's area causing us three casualties.

 

11th July 1944

Place: Chateau de St Come

 

Last night patrols did more good work in pinpointing enemy posns on our front.  Enemy mortaring and shelling has been on a slight scale to-day and we only suffered one casualty.  The ½ issue of bread since the start of the campaign; it was only enough for 2oz per man but it is hoped that the ration will be increased to 4oz to-morrow.

 

12th July 1944

Place: Chateau de St Come

 

Last night's patrols reported no change in the enemy's disposns on our front.  At 0655 this morning two of four ME 109s were shot down over our area while carrying out a low level machine gun attack.  'C' Coy harassing the fwd enemy posns with 2" Mortar PIAT and Bren fire.  'D' Coy snipers killed two of the enemy at 16.00 and 19.30 hrs.

 

13th July 1944

Place: Chateau de St Come

 

One of last night's patrols under Lt Scott attempted to find a gap in the enemy's fwd posns and recce the ground behind them, but it was found that there was only about 20 yds between the enemy posts and it was not possible to get through without being observed.  The day on the whole has been a quiet one though there has been the odd exchange of mortar and arty fire and 'C' Coy suffered one casualty.

 

14th July 1944

Place: Chateau de St Come

 

Last night Bde carried out a propaganda broadcast in German and Polish from the hedgerow between 'A' + 'C' Coy fwd posns.  The result was most satisfactory as this morning five deserters came into 5 Para Bde's lines on our right as a direct result of hearing the broadcast.  Our snipers had a good day and claim three probables.  We had one or two quite lively exchanges of mortar and arty fire and hope that we silenced for good an enemy SP gun which had been harassing us.  No.9 (MMG Pl) carried out harassing fire against some of the fwd enemy posts on our front between 23.00 and 2359 this evening.  This was the first indirect shoot our MMGs have done and it went according to plan and we hope inflicted a number of casualties on the enemy.  The enemy reacted with MG & Mortar fire which proved it had stirred him up somewhat at any rate.

 

15th July 1944

Place: Chateau de St Come

 

Our orders to-day have been to keep as quiet as possible and to cut out all offensive action, in order to entice the enemy into being a bit more bold and offering betters targets for our snipers, Brens and Mortars to-morrow.

 

16th July 1944

Place: Chateau de St Come

 

Last night's patrols got further infm concerning the layout of the enemy posns.  'C' Coy snipers claim a definite hit this morning and this evening our standing patrols fired a Bren Magazine at a group of about 7 of the enemy in a hedgerow about 250 yds away.  The enemy all went to ground but it was not possible to ascertain how many had been hit.  'A' Coy standing patrol spotted an enemy working party of about 10 men on their front and our arty put down fifty shells on to them, again it was not possible to estimate the enemy's casualties.  Other than these activities it has been a quiet day and we have not been trouble by enemy mortar or arty fire.

 

The following officers and men have been granted immediate awards by the Comd-in-Chief.  Maj M. Darrell-Brown and Maj J. Howard - DSO.  Lt A.E. Bousfield, Lt H.D. Brotheridge (deceased), Lt H.J. Sweeney, Lt C.A. Hooper, Lt R.A.A. Smith - M.C.  L/Cpl Stacy - M.M.  Of these only Maj Darrell-Brown, Major J. Howard and Lt A.E. Bousfield received their awards from General Montgomery to-day, the remainder are still casualties.

 

17th July 1944

Place: Chateau de St Come

 

Our patrols last night confirmed that the enemy FDLs already pinpointed were still occupied.  No enemy patrols approached our ambush parties - and he seems generally to be very nervous about sending any of his own patrols fwd.  During the night enemy horse drawn tpt could be heard going round his FDLs probably distributing rations.  During the day 'A' Coy were mortared but the enemy mortar posns were spotted and the Lt Arty put down a conc on each of the posns silencing them most effectively.  Cries of pain were heard coming from one of the posns.  'D' Coy got three hits with their snipers to-day.

 

18th July 1944

Place: Chateau de St Come

 

Last night was a quiet one, our own patrols confining themselves to making sure that the enemy had not changed his posns during the night.  An enemy wiring party was observed on 'A' Coys front, strength about 20 men, but no action was taken owing to necessity of keeping the front quiet during the night.  Between 0520 hrs and 0700 hrs we had a magnificent view of hundreds of medium and heavy bombers carrying what is termed "the greatest air assault in history" against the enemy posns EAST and S.E. of CAEN.  This was followed be a tremendous arty barrage of over [800?] guns and then we could see our armour going forward until it was out of sight in the dust & smoke caused by this arty fire and bombing.  Enemy reactions in our own front were negligible.  During the afternoon five of "A" Coy's numbers worked fwd into one of the enemy fwd posns and found it unoccupied, but later in the day the enemy returned and set off one of his own booby traps in the posn.  The noise of the big push SOUTHWARDS and WESTWARDS out of our br head EAST of the R. ORNE could be going on all day.  From all accounts the day's fighting has been going very successfully.  At about 23.00 hrs this evening a small number of enemy bombers flew over dropping about 100 small anti-personnel bombs on A + D Coys, one of which wounded Lt AF White in the back of the head.  Other bombs were dropped near D + C Coys Standing Patrols and also some behind the enemy's FDLs.  Our own patrols incurred no casualties.

 

19th July 1944

Place: Chateau de St Come

 

The big battle SW of CAEN still continues but most of the fighting is now well beyond our range of vision and the majority of the sp arty has moved up so the noise has not been so deafening.  On our own front the enemy still appears to be occupying the same posns and 'D' Coy snipers claimed another two hits, otherwise a quiet day.

 

20th July 1944

Place: Chateau de St Come

 

Once again our patrols report that the enemy posns on our front remain unchanged.  Our snipers claim three certain hits and 'C' Coy standing patrol engaged several targets with their guns as well, but the result could not be observed with any certainty.  Very heavy rain fell to-day and a lot of the slit trenches became waterlogged and all the tracks in the Regtl area extremely muddy.

 

21st July 1944

Place: Chateau de St Come

 

During the night our own arty fired at frequent intervals on counter bty and counter mortar tasks on our front.  Enemy reaction was only slight.  Our own patrols confirmed that the enemy were still in occupation of the posts on our front.  Lt Scott fired a PIAT at three of the enemy posts, the bombs landed in the right place but the enemy reaction was nil.  It continued raining most of to-day and practically no movement observed from the enemy fwd posts.

 

22nd July 1944

Place: Chateau de St Come

 

A quiet night except for continuous activity by our own arty.  Bde did a propaganda broadcast from the area of 'A' Coys right fwd pl.  The broadcast went well and there was no enemy reaction by fire.  Our snipers claim another two hits and our standing patrols have been using their PIATS offensively.  The rain abated somewhat to-day.  A and C Coys changed over their Coy areas.

 

23rd July 1944

Place: Chateau de St Come

 

Last night was an exceptionally quiet one and our patrols had no fresh infm to report.  This morning B + D Coys changed over areas.  A Coy snipers got two hits.  At dusk this morning a few enemy aircraft flew at [naught?] feet over our HQ but no bombs were dropped in our immediate vicinity.

 

24th July 1944

Place: Chateau de St Come

 

A really fine day at last and a great day for our snipers who got the biggest bag of the season, 'C' Coy hitting 3 certains and 2 possibles and 'D' Coy hitting 6 certainties.  Otherwise it has been a quiet day.

 

25th July 1944

Place: Chateau de St Come

 

A noisy night due to our own and enemy arty fire, also large numbers of aircraft flew overhead, mostly our own.  Bombs were dropped SE and SOUTH and SW of our posn but some fell in our immediate area.  Another very good day for our snipers who between them claim 8 certain hits and 6 probables.  The carelessness on the part of the enemy in allowing our snipers such success in the last few days may indicate a relief.  But at the moment we believe the enemy opposite us to belong to Nos 6 + 7 Coys of the II Bn 857 Gren Regt.

 

26th July 1944

Place: Chateau de St Come

 

Our own arty was active during the night a number of VICTOR targets being engaged.  The enemy have been rather more hesitant about showing themselves to-day and our snipers only claim two certain hits and 5 probables.  About 50 men attended a concert given by the Regtl Band at OUISTREHAM and a further 50 attended a film show at LUC SUR MER.

 

27th July 1944

Place: Chateau de St Come

 

During the night a small number of enemy bombers dropped a few bombs on the Regtl area causing damage to a small building occupied by No.7 (A/Tk) Pl HQ. (no one inside the house was hurt).  'A' Coy suffered one slight casualty.  Our patrols confirmed that the enemy are still occupying the same FDLs.  The enemy has been much more cautious in his movement to-day and our snipers only claim one definite hit.  At 1730 our mortars put down a small but effective conc on a party of ten enemy moving back to their Coy HQ.  At 2045 hrs about 20 enemy mortar bombs landed in the fd behind one of our own mortar btys, and so all three of our btys fired immediately on BENEAUVILLE CHATEAU which is thought to be a Bn HQ.  This seemed to have the desired effect.

 

28th July 1944

Place: Chateau de St Come

 

Our standing patrols reported a certain amount of movement between the enemy FDLs during the night.  During the day enemy movement continued to be very cautious and he filled in the gaps in the hedgerows where our snipers had scored several hits previously, we did however manage to score one more hit.  At 2140 hrs 9 enemy mortar bombs landed in the Regtl H.Q. area, 6 of them were duds however and no casualties were incurred.

 

29th July 1944

Place: Chateau de St Come

 

A normal night.  Our own arty active as usual, a few enemy shells land in the Regtl area, but no casualties.  Our snipers claim two more hits during the morning, one of the enemy hit was wearing a much lighter grey uniform than any seen previously which tends to confirm other indications that a relief has taken place.  During the afternoon the Regt was relieved by 1 RUR and moved back into Bde reserve area in the orchards astride the rd 132142.

 

30th July 1944

Place: Orchards

 

A large proportion of the Regt had their first full nights sleep since before 'D' day.  40 men were sent across the bridges to LUC SUR MER for a days outing.  The remainder have spent the day resting and generally cleaning themselves up.

 

31st July 1944

Place: Breville & Amfreville

 

The Regts period of rest came to an abrupt end at 0100 hrs this morning when we received orders to be at one hour's notice to move and take over from 4 & 6 Commandos at BREVILLE + AMFREVILLE.  The relief was completed by 0900 hrs, without any interference from the enemy.  In the afternoon we were informed that 'B' Coy 1st Bucks were to be attached to us and would arrive tomorrow morning.  The Comd Offr decided to use them to relieve "C" Coy who would go into a rest area for four days.  The layout of the Regt is as in attached traces.

 

 

Month and year : August 1944

Commanding Officer : Lt. Col. M.W. Roberts

 

1st August 1944

Place: Breville & Amfreville

 

'B' Coy, 1st Bucks Bn under comd Major Foster arrived this morning and relieved 'C' Coy who went into the Regtl Rest Area.  Our patrols and snipers have spent the day renewing their acquaintance with the area.  Otherwise it has been a quiet day.

 

2nd August 1944

Place: Breville & Amfreville

 

Another quiet day.

 

3rd August 1944

Place: Breville & Amfreville

 

Enemy mortars more active last night, about 100 bombs landing in the Regtl area.  During the day our mortars registered a number of counter mortar tasks.

 

4th August 1944

Place: Breville & Amfreville

 

A quiet night except for the usual arty activity and a number of enemy a/c attacked their own FDLs.  One of our standing patrols was heavily shelled during the afternoon but otherwise an uneventful day.

 

5th August 1944

Place: Breville & Amfreville

 

During the night a heavy mortar conc and a number of shells fell in the Regtl area, only one slight casualty was incurred.  Lt.Col. Roberts left the Regt this afternoon to start the Div Battle Drill School at Ouistreham.  Major M. Darrell Brown has assumed comd for the period of his absence.  One more casualty was incurred from enemy mortar fire during the day.

 

6th August 1944

Place: Breville & Amfreville

 

Enemy mortars less active last night.  The Bde counter-mortar org was in action for the first time today, firing 36 mortars of the Bde as one bty; the results were excellent.  At 2100 hrs 'A' Coy snipers reported that a party of about 40 Germans had moved into the orchard 144752 and had started digging in.  They were engaged by the Bde mortars and the Lt Arty.

 

7th August 1944

Place: Breville & Amfreville

 

Nothing more was seen of the enemy in the LONGUEMARE X rds area last night, but today our patrols found seven entrenching tools and a German FS Cap in the area where the enemy had been reported digging yesterday evening.  Mortar bomb craters were also seen in the area and it is thought that our mortar fire caused the enemy to retire in some haste.  During the day we suffered 5 casualties from enemy mortar and arty fire.

 

8th August 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

This morning the Regt changed Bn areas with the 12 Devons.  The enemy shelled and mortared both areas during the changeover and we suffered two casualties - two more casualties were incurred later in the evening.  Our own mortars have also been very active.

 

9th August 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

A quiet night until 0600 hrs when enemy put down about 50 bombs into our area.  Sixty reinforcements from England arrived this morning and Major Styles visited us this afternoon.

 

10th August 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

Lt. D.B. Fox was wounded this morning while out on a recce patrol.  One member of the patrol stepped on an 'S' mine just outside an enemy post, killing himself and wounding Lt. Fox and the other member of the patrol.  Enemy mortars and arty active between 1200 hrs and 2100 hrs, otherwise an uneventful day.

 

11th August 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

Enemy mortar and arty activity as usual.  'B' Coy snipers dug up and brought back an 'S' mine just outside an enemy post without being observed.

 

12th August 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

'B' Coy were relieved by a "Coy Gp" of the Royal Netherlands Bde and went into Bn res just West of R.H.Q.  'A' and 'D' Coys changed over Coy areas.  Enemy mortars and arty more active than usual, obtaining direct hits on buildings occupied by R.H.Q. 'A' and 'H' Coy HQs.  Eight casualties incurred during the day.

 

13th August 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

Enemy mortars and arty less active.  R.A.P. moved to same building as 45 RM Commando R.A.P. at 133725.

 

14th August 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

No.8 (MMG) Pl carried out an indirect fire shoot on to suspected enemy res posns and rest areas.  The enemy reacted by mortaring the Dutchmen on our left.  The Mortar Pl put down harassing fire on to the enemy rear areas as well as the usual Bde counter-mortar concs.

 

15th August 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

'B' Coy returned to their posns in the WOOD 140737 this morning, relieving the Dutch Coy who had been ordered to take over another Coy area further North.

 

16th August 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

Bde reported that there was a strong possibility that the enemy might be withdrawing and that we were to carry out active patrolling and be prepared to follow them up.  The Comd Offr returned from the Div Battle Drill School as Ouistreham and reassumed comd of the Regt.

 

17th August 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

During the night 'B' Coy patrols reported that the enemy had withdrawn from STICKIES CORNER which they accordingly occupied.  At 0500 hrs 'A' Coy sent a fighting patrol to TRIANGLE WOOD which was found to be clear of the enemy.  The patrol then continued in accordance with orders to the rd junc at BENEAUVILLE.  Here a party of about 20 Germans was seen and shot up.  At 0800 hrs 'C' Coy advanced down the VARAVILLE rd towards BENEAUVILLE CHATEAU, while the R.E. cleared the rd of mines so that the tpt could get through.  By 0930 hrs the rd was clear and the main body of the Regt advanced.  By 1000 hrs 'C' Coy had reached and consolidated around BENEAUVILLE CHATEAU.  The Comd Offr then ordered them to move on to LES COINS 162753, leaving one pl at the rd junc at 164748 to act as right flank protection as the axis of the advance swung NORTHWARDS.  This pl was later relieved by 'D' Coy who pushed out patrols towards VARAVILLE.  One patrol was fired on by an enemy post and lost 2 N.C.Os as a result.  The enemy post was, however, fairly quickly dislodged and the remainder of the Regt passed through 'D' Coy having suffered a few casualties from shellfire in the neighbourhood of BENEAUVILLE CHATEAU.

 

Meanwhile we were informed that the 12 DEVONS had met opposition astride the road about one mile N.E. of LONGUEMARE X rds and were going to put in an attack against them with arty sp at 1300 hrs.  The Comd Offr ordered 'C' Coy to push on to GONNEVILLE SUR MERVILLE with all speed and to cut off any of the enemy driven back by the 12 DEVONS.  It appears however that the enemy withdrew before the DEVON's attack went in, as no enemy came back through 'C' Coy.

 

'B' Coy were then ordered to advance down the rd towards DESCANVILLE and during the course of the advance the leading pl was fired on by a couple of enemy snipers whom they attacked and drove out, suffering one casualty in the process.

 

'B' Coy was ordered to consolidate on the Southern edge of the village and 'A' and 'D' Coys were ordered to carry out a two coy attack sp by arty and mortars to capture DESCANVILLE.

 

This attack took place at 1700 hrs but the fire sp was cancelled at the last minute as the leading pl of 'B' Coy had managed to get into the village.

 

'A' and 'D' Coys reached their objective without opposition by 1730 hrs.  The Regt then consolidated with 'C' & 'D' Coys at GONNEVILLE and 'A' & 'B' Coys at DESCANVILLE; Regtl HQ was established in the coastal bty posn which had been attacked by the 9th Para Bn on 'D' Day.  The whole are between GONNEVILLE and DESCANVILLE is pitted with bomb craters caused by the R.A.F. attempts to knock out the bty posn prior to 'D' Day.

 

1 R.U.R. then passed through the Regt en route for CABOURG.

 

A good many mines were encountered during the days adv, the R.E. party with the leading coy picking up over 100, no casualties to personnel or vehs were incurred through mines.

 

18th August 1944

Place: Gonneville & Merville

 

The Regt spent a quiet day resting and were very little trouble by enemy arty fire - the enemy mortars were just out of range.  'B' Coy were sent to occupy a posn on the coast road to CABOURG where they suffered some casualties from 'S' mines and arty fire but they were later withdrawn.

 

19th August 1944

Place: Gonneville & Merville

 

We were ordered to send a detachment consisting of two Coy gps under comd Major M. Darrell Brown, D.S.O. to take over from 3 Commando at VARAVILLE.  This was accomplished without incident.

 

20th August 1944

Place: Gonneville & Merville & Varaville

 

The Regt was ordered to conc at ST RICHER 2069, this was completed by 2130 hrs.  At 2300 hrs the Comd Offr received orders to stand by to move.

 

21st August 1944

Place: St. Richer

 

At 0300 hrs the Regt moved off behind the 12 DEVONS to relieve 1 SS Bde who were cut off from the rest of the Div on the hills East of BRUCOURT.  No communication with 1 SS Bde was possible as the only road leading to them was under hy mortar fire from enemy posns on the hills EAST and WEST of them.  Wireless comn had also broken down.  This made the operation rather a hazardous one as not only was it impossible to let 1 SS Bde know that we were coming but there was also only one line of approach and no recce of the route was possible.  Despite the difficulties including an extremely dark and wet night the operation was carried out successfully and at 1000 hrs the pursuit of the enemy Eastwards towards the R. Seine continued with 12 Devons leading.  Progress was rather slow but by the evening after mopping up minor resistance and capturing a few prisoners, the Regt consolidated astride the road PERIERS ON AUGE - VAUVILLE 2978 just North of the village of HEULAND.

 

22nd August 1944

Place: Heuland

 

Next morning the adv towards VAUVILLE was continued with the Regt in the lead, 'D' Coy acting as adv guard.  About midday a member of the F.F.I. came cycling down the road with the news that the enemy had withdrawn to the other side of the river TOUQUES.  The Comd Offr sent fwd two BB patrols to confirm this infm.  The Int Offr went fwd into DEAUVILLE and confirmed that the bridge across the river had been blown and that the enemy were holding the East bank in some strength.  Lieut Bousfield brought back similar infm about the bridge at TOUQUES 8410.  The Regt then received orders to consolidate astride the road at LE PT CASTEL while 1 R.U.R. passed through with the object of trying to get across the river during the night.

 

23rd August 1944

Place: Le Pt Castel

 

1 R.U.R. had no success in their attempts to cross the river during the night, and the Regt was ordered to move fwd to TOURGEVILLE and 'D' Coy were sent fwd to occupy the high ground overlooking the river at ST. ARNOULT while the 1 R.U.R. moved further South.  'D' Coy suffered a few casualties from enemy arty and mortar fire during the day but our own arty returned the fire with interest and succeeded in silencing two of the hostile btys.

 

24th August 1944

Place: Tourgeville

 

At 0700 hrs a member of the F.F.I. came into Regtl HQ and said that he had got across the river TOUQUES.  He stated that the Germans had pulled out early in the morning.  This was further supplemented by 'D' Coy who were fwd at ST ARNOULT who stated that the local population the other side of the river at the village of TOUQUES were dancing and waving flags.  Immediately the Comd Offr ordered 'D' Coy to cross the river and establish themselves on the high ground beyond taking the HONFLEUR rd as their axis of adv.  The night before, the Comd Offr had ordered 'B' Coy to relieve 'D' Coy at ST ARNOULT and they duly carried out this relief before 'D' Coy crossed the river establishing themselves as a firm base.  By 0800 hrs 'D' Coy had reached their objective and reported it clear, taking on route two or three prisoners who waved a white flag from a lonely farmhouse.  In the meantime the Comd Offr had ordered Major A.C. Mason to take a recce party to the river to see what could be done about getting the Regt's vehs and men across.  'A' & 'C' Coys were also ordered to stand by having received orders to adv when instructed and consolidate the X rds on the crest of the high ground the other side of the river.

 

The river TOUQUES at LE TOUQUES is 30 ft wide with a fast running current and up to 10 ft deep.  As it is also tidal considerable difficult faced Major Mason in his job of arranging the river crossing.  The br was brick consisting of 3 spans and the roadway to it was the only possible approach as, on the North side the way was blocked with partially demolished houses, and on the South by an embankment which dropped down sharply to the leas running up to the river bank.  The banks themselves were steep and were faced with thick slimy mud.  No bridging or raft eqpt of any kind was carried so Major Mason was faced with a tricky problem.  However, providence in the shape of the newly liberated population came to the rescue and the whole of the male population of the village standing around was immediately organised by him with two parties on either side of the river to pull a boat which had been found by 'D' Coy across by means of ropes attached to it.  So was the problem of the personnel settled but what of the vehs?  Nothing daunted at his difficult task he got the population to produce suitable timber for building a raft and soon our Pioneers and some civilians were up to their necks in water constructing a raft.  Meanwhile the Comd Offr had been on the scene and appreciating that congestion had to be avoided if a quick crossing was to be effected he came back and called fwd 'A' Coy, leading them across the river by means of a difficult crossing place well to the North.  'C' Coy then commenced to cross the bridge site and in a very short time they were across.  By 1000 hrs the whole of the marching personnel of the Regt were across.  The Regt were given a terrific welcome in LA TOUQUES.  The usual kisses and drinks were distributed but what was more to the point to the men who had been living on compo rations since 'D' day, plates of steak and chips were produced on the far side.  Despite all these distractions the Regt marched smartly through the village.  An American airman reported himself to us.  He had been hidden by the French for two months after being shot down and had been bombed out of 3 houses in that time.  Meanwhile Major M. Darrell Brown, DSO, and Capt J.M.A. Tillett were organising the crossing of the vehs and they soon had soldiers of 'H' Coy and civilians working like fury constructing approaches to the raft.  This was a most inspiring sight.  The men were as keen as mustard and by 1130 hrs the first veh was rafted across.  By this time the marching Coys had reached and consolidated their objectives and 'B' Coy were ordered fwd with Regtl HQ.  The whole operation was a real trial of patience and the tension was much relieved by the sight of the Comd Offr being driven up the hill in a farmer's cart with the two wireless sets on it and by 1200 hrs the Regt less tpt was intact on the high ground above the river and ready to carry out further orders.  The rafting parties worked steadily throughout the day bringing across essential vehs with only one mishap, a jeep falling in the river, but that was only a detail in a harassing day.

 

We were favoured by a visit from the G.O.C. 1st Corps, Lieut.Gen. Crocker, C.B.E., D.S.O., M.C. and the G.O.C. 6th Airborne Division, Major. General Gale, D.S.O., O.B.E., M.C. who seemed impressed by the Regt's efforts to affect a speedy crossing of what could have easily been a serious obstacle.

 

25th August 1944

Place: Manneville

 

The Regt spent the night 24/25 Aug in the area of GABIN 4814, out of contact with the enemy.  Orders were received to continue the adv at 0615 hrs 25 Aug on the route X rds 488139 - ST PHILIBERT 5111 - LA CORRESPONDANCE 5412 - PRETREVILLE 5713 - MALBORTIE 6012.

 

The Regt moved off to time with 'C' Coy acting as vanguard and the mobile recce pl ahead, and passed through 1 R.U.R. at ST PHILIBERT at about 0700 hrs.  'C' Coy was ordered to seize the feature about Pt 127 5513 and establish a firm base there.  This was effected without incident by 0900 hrs and 'A' Coy with the recce pl still ahead was passed through and seized PRETREVILLE again without incident.

 

From here 'D' Coy was passed through and seized the area X rds 595132 without opposition but while in their posn information was received at about 1130 hrs from the BELGIAN Recce Regt that they had reached the line of the rly but had had a scout car knocked out by an enemy post holding the bridge at MALBORTIE 604124.

 

At about the same time the Bde Comd arrived at Regtl HQ and ordered the Comd Offr to seize the crossing over the river as soon as possible.

 

'B' Coy (Major Edmunds) was ordered to pass through and seize the bridge and consolidate on the high ground immediately EAST of it.  At the same time 'C' Coy were ordered to be prepared to carry out a right flanking attack to cross the river and seize the high ground in event of 'B' Coy being held up.  'B' Coy's attack went in at about 1330 hrs and the bridge was seized intact and some prisoners captured.  One pl of 'B' Coy succeeded in est themselves on the high ground EAST of the bridge but the left fwd pl was held up for some time by an enemy post to their left.

 

As a result the Comd Offr ordered 'C' Coy to carry out their right flanking attack and on arrival at their first objective to be prepared to consolidate on the right of 'B' Coy or, if the situation permitted, to push on and seize the line of the rd running North and South through MANNEVILLE LA RAOULT.  'A' Coy was shortly afterwards ordered to move fwd, clear the wooded slopes East of the river and consolidate on the ridge on the left of 'B' Coy.  'C' Coy started off on their rt flanking movement at about 1500 hrs and reached the ridge and made contact with 'B' Coy about 1700 hrs.  The Coy Comd then decided to go in and make the line of the road to the East.  Enemy opposition was encountered when the leading pl were still about 300 yds short of the village.

 

Arty fire was put down on the village of MANNEVILLE LA RAOULT and 'C' Coy succeeded in infiltrating fwd, driving out the enemy and est themselves astride the road South of the village about 630110 at about 1900 hrs.  Unfortunately wireless comn broke down with 'C' Coy shortly after the attack started and it was not until 2200 hrs that their posn and the fact that they had been successful was eventually discovered.

 

At the same time as 'C' Coy's attack started, 'D' Coy (Major Howard) who had been moved up into the ridge on the right of 'A' Coy were ordered to infiltrate into the centre part of the village.

 

This movement started at 1835 hrs and was successful though stiff enemy resistance was encountered just East of the village and mopping up continued until after dark (2200 hrs).  Contact between 'D' & 'C' Coy was not effected until nearly midnight.

 

26th August 1944

Place: Manneville

 

During the early hours of 26 Aug the remainder of the enemy withdrew and 1 R.U.R. passed through en route for BERVILLE.  The Regt remained in its posn until first light 26 Aug.  A full account of the battle of MANNEVILLE LA RAOULT is attached in Appx "D".  At first light the advance was continued.  The Regt's objective was FOULBEC 7014.  'C' Coy reached the high ground overlooking the village at 1300 hrs.  As the enemy had been mortaring the village fairly heavily and the Belgian Recce Sqn, who had reached FOULBEC before us, had suffered some casualties, the Comd Offr did not order the immediate occupation of the village but ordered Coys to remain in concealed posns on the high ground until Coy Comds had had the opportunity of recceing concealed routes to their consolidation posns in and around the village.  By 1900 hrs the Regt was established in its final posns.  During the night enemy arty and mortar fire continued to fall in the area and MGs on fixed lines also fired from the opposite bank of the river.  No casualties were incurred.  Our own casualties during the advance have been:-

KILLED:

WOUNDED & EVACUATED:

WOUNDED BUT NOT EVACUATED:

SICK & EVACUATED

TOTAL:

1 Offr and 5 O.Rs.

38 O.Rs.

4 O.Rs.

14

62

Casualties inflicted on the enemy are NOT known but the number of PW taken is estimated to be 120.

 

27th August 1944

Place: Foulbec

 

A quiet day.  Lt Scott and Capt Thompson (F.O.O. Lt Arty) swam across the RIVER RISLE and collected 7 PW.  'A' Coy took over the defence of the village of CONTEVILLE 6817 from one coy of the 12 DEVONS.

 

28th August 1944

Place: Foulbec

 

'C' Coy patrols have been across the RIVER RISLE as far as the RIVER SEINE: no enemy were encountered although the F.F.I. reported that there are a few Germans still hiding up in the area.  Units of 49 Div incl tanks have crossed the river at PONT D'AUDEMER and are completing the process of mopping up.

 

29th August 1944

Place: Foulbec

 

News has been received that the Regt will be proceeding back to ENGLAND on 2 Sep.  Today has been spent issuing men with new clothing and getting them bathed and generally cleaned up.  There was a slight scare that the enemy were preparing boats to cross the river to BERVILLE SUR MER from which all British tps had been withdrawn.  'A' Coy had a mobile pl ready to deal with any emergency, but nothing came of it.

 

30th August 1944

Place: Foulbec

 

The day has been spent in returning all non-airborne arms and equipment to Ordnance, as we have been ordered to take nothing but personal or special airborne equipment back to England.

 

31st August 1944

Place: Foulbec

 

The Comd Offr received orders that the Regt would proceed to a Transit Camp at RYES 8483 tomorrow where we would spend the night and embark for ENGLAND on 2 Sep 44.

 

 

Month and year : September 1944

Commanding Officer : Lt. Col. M.W. Roberts

 

1st September 1944

Place: Foulbec

 

The Regt, less the MT, moved by TCVs to a Transit Camp at RYES 8483.  We arrived at 1800 hrs and a hot meal was provided at 1900 hrs.  We were provided with tents to sleep in, which was most fortunate, as it rained heavily during the night.

 

2nd September 1944

Place: Ryes

 

At 1100 hrs the Regt marched down to ARROMANCHES, the port of embarkation.  Owing to the rough sea it was 1600 hrs before the whole Regt was on board the troopship 'Empire Crossbow' (7,500 tons).  The 1 RUR and Bde HQ were supposed to follow us on board, but owing to the roughness of the sea, it was not possible to get everyone on board that night, and the night was spent anchored outside the harbour.

 

3rd September 1944

Place: Arromanches

 

The remainder of 1 RUR, Bde HQ and various Div tps came on board at 1100 hrs and we set sail for ENGLAND at 1300 hrs.  The sea was still rough, but owing to the size of the ship the motion was not very noticeable and very few of the men were sick.  At 2300 hrs we anchored just off COWES.

 

4th September 1944

Place: Cowes

 

The night was spent anchored at COWES and at 0800 hrs we started down SOUTHAMPTON WATER only to be turned back because there was another ship in our berth.  We tried again at 1300 hrs and berthed at 1430 hrs.  It was pouring with rain but the band of the HAMPSHIRE REGT was in the Customs Shed to welcome us home.  TCV's were also lined up under cover in the Customs sheds and by 1600 hrs the Regt had embussed and we moved off to BULFORD, arriving at 1800 hrs.

 

5th September 1944

Place: Bulford

 

The day has been spent in checking deficiencies and worrying the Q.M. Staff.

 

6th September 1944

Place: Bulford

 

Another day devoted to adm.  A reshuffle of offrs necessitated by cas and promotions is taking place.  Appx 'A' gives details of the new appointments.  All Coy HQ staffs have been kept very busy making out leave passes and ration cards for the Regt to go on leave tomorrow.

 

7th September 1944

Place: Bulford

 

The whole Regt, except for a few members of 'R' Coy started its leave.  Originally we were to have returned to Bulford on the 16th, but notes were sent to everybody at their homes, to the effect that they need not report back till the 20th.  There were a few members of the Regt whom the notices did not reach and who returned on the original date.  Others got as far as Waterloo station before learning of the extension.  But Orderly Room staff are to be congratulated on getting their most welcome information to the vast majority.

 

 

Appx. A

Coup de Main Party

 

At [2354 hrs??] Monday 5th June 1944 an Assault Party consisting of letter 'D' Coy and 2 Plns 'B' Coy under command of Major R.J. Howard, took off in 6 Gliders from Tarrant Rushton Airfield.  They were the first troops to leave England for the invasion of the continent and had a coup de main task of capturing two vital Bridges intact, namely the Brs over the Caen Canal and River Orne at Benouville and Ranville respectively.  Three gliders were briefed to land within 50 yds of each Br. speed and dash on the part of the attacking troops was considered sufficient to overcome the German garrison of 50.

 

At 0025 hrs. the first glider crash-landed within 20x of Benouville Br. it contained No.25 Pln, commanded by Lt H.D. Brotheridge, and the Coy Cdr.  According to plan they immediately attacked and crossed the Br. while they took on the defences, the Sappers who accompanied the party cut wires and removed charges.  Lt Brotheridge was unfortunately shot while crossing the Br. and died two hours later, he gave a gallant display of brilliant leadership.  The 2nd Glider, 24 Pln. commanded by Lt. D.J. Wood touched down a minute after 25, with 14 Pln commanded by Lt. R.A.A. Smith ½ minute later.  While we took on the inner defences, 14 were ordered to reinforce 25 and start to form a small bridgehead to meet the first expected counter-attack.  Both the Pln. Cdr. and the Pln. Sgt. of 24 Pln. were wounded in the initial assault, subsequent command falling on Cpl. Godbold.  On the Ranville Br. only two gliders had arrived, 17 Pln. under Lt. D.B. Fox and 23 under Lt. H.J. Sweeney.  Little opposition was met and 17 Pln. soon had full control of the Br. reinforced by 23.  Both Brs. were captured intact and consolidation effected after mopping up, within 15 mins of landing.

 

The defence of the Brs. until our relief arrived, was expected to be a difficult task, within an hour some two or three tanks approached the Brs. from the WEST, the first tank was put out of action by a well aimed bomb from a PIAT fired by 17 Pln. this Pln. was brought over from the River Br. to form part of the bridgehead on the WEST bank.  Our relief, 7th Bn. Parachute Regt. (Somerset Lt. Infty) reached us 3 hours after our landing, 2 hours later than expected.  Being relieved by the Somerset made the Br. operation a Light Infty show.  Our first relief was intended to be 'C' Coy 7th Para Bn. commanded by Major R.J.H. Bartlett of the Regiment, unfortunately his Coy. were dropped dispersed and unable to reach us as soon as expected.  Soon after 1st light a Gun Boat moved up the Canal from the sea and shot HQ 7 Para Bn. another well aimed PIAT bomb put this out of action.  The assault force was still defending the Brs when the Regt. landed and crossed the Brs. at 2300 hrs.

 

The missing glider, 22 Pln. under Lt. C.R. Hooper with the Coy 2nd in Comd Captain B.C.E. Priday, landed near a Br. on the River DIVES and had a lively fight with the Boche defending.  Having discovered where they were, they set out [although?   ?] and joined the Regt at Ranville at 0230 hrs. 8/6/44.

 

Total casualties 1 offr 3 O.R's killed, 2 Offrs 15 O.R's wounded, 2 O.R's missing

 

 

Appx 'D'

An Account of the Battle of Manneville La Raoult 25 August 1944

 

[The?] 52nd spent a quiet night in the area of GOBIN 4814 out of contact with the [enemy?].  Orders were received to continue the advance at 0615 hrs on 25 Aug 44 on the following route X rds 488139 - ST PHILIBERT 5111 - LA CORRESPONDANCE 5412 - PRETREVILLE 5713 - MALBORTIE 6012 - MANNEVILLE LA RAOULT 6212.

 

The Regiment moved off to time with C Coy acting as vanguard and the mobile recce pl ahead and passed through 1 RUR at ST PHILIBERT about 0700 hrs.

 

C Coy were given instructions to seize the feature in the area Pt 127 5513 and establish a firm base there.  This was done without incident and the posn occupied by 0900 hrs.  A Coy was then passed through with the mob recce pl still ahead to seize PRETREVILLE and form a firm base there.  Having accomplished this D Coy was passed through to seize a firm base posn astride the X rds at 595132.  This again was accomplished without incident and adv Regtl HQ was est on this posn at about 1130 hrs.

 

At about this time a patrol from the BELGIAN Recce Regt came back through our posn and reported that the bridge at MALBORTI 604124 was held by the enemy and that they had had a scout car knocked out there.

 

B Coy with under comd one sec MMG and two dets A tk guns was then ordered to continue the adv and secure a crossing over the river.  At the same time the Bde Comd arrived at Regtl HQ and emphasised the importance of getting across the river as rapidly as possible and seizing the high ground at MANNEVILLE LA RAOULT.

 

The Commanding Officer then went fwd with Major Edmunds (Comd B Coy) and Major Granville (Comd C Coy) to make a recce and plan in event of B Coy not being able to deal with the situation by itself.

 

After recce it was decided that B Coy should attack, with one pl round the right flank and destroy the enemy post at the br, the remainder of the coy passing through and seizing the high ground dominating the river from the East.  C Coy was to move to an assembly area and be prepared to cross the river 500 yds to the South of the enemy post and capture the high grounds immediately East of the river by a wide flanking movement.  OC B Coy then moved his Coy fwd to an assembly area just WEST of the rly [and?] carried out a recce with his pl comds.

 

C Coy moved up to their assembly area in the orchard at 603126.  Adv Regtl [HQ?] was est at the orchard 598129.

 

At 1305 hrs B Coy began their attack and shortly afterwards being unable to [obtain?] any information of the progress of the battle the comd officer moved his comd post up to the rd and rly crossing to watch the progress of the battle.  B Coy attack was sp by two armd Cs of the Belgian Recce Regt who set on fire a house near the rd junc just East of the br in which it was suspected that the enemy posn was located.

 

The country over which the action took place was extremely thick and the [?] and the bridge were overlooked by a steep wooded ridge immediately to the East.  Owing to the thick nature of the country and consequent lack of observation and to the fact that it was not possible to pin point the enemy opposition it was decided to carry out the attack without arty sp and to rely on surprise and infiltration tactics.  An F.O.O. was however sent fwd with B Coy to give arty sp if required on targets disclosing [?] also a M.F.C. from the Mortar Pl.

 

B Coy attacked on the right (SOUTH) of the road, 14 pl (Sjt Harrison) acting as fire pl from the area of the level crossing, 15 pl's (Lt Aston) objective was the post covering the br from the area of the rd junc, 17 pl (Lt Cochrane) followed with the task of securing the high ground EAST of the river.  The attack went according to plan.  15 pl dislodging the enemy post in the vicinity of the rd junc and capturing an A tk gun and one or two prisoners.  17 pl succeeded in reaching the bridge in the area of track junc 618121 chasing the enemy before them en route and capturing some prisoners.  14 pl was held up while moving up to its consolidation position.  Fuller details of OC Letter B Coys plan and the progress of the attack are attached as Annexure W.

 

At about 1415 hrs, in view of the fact that the left pl of B Coy was held up just East of the river the Comd Offr ordered C Coy to carry out their right flanking movement and occupy the high ground on the right of B Coy.  On reaching this, their first objective C Coy prepared to consolidate on the right of B Coy for, [while the?] situation permitted to continue their advance and seize a second ridge some 500 x further East on which was situated MANNEVILLE LA ROULT.  C Coy moved off at about 1445 hrs and by 1615 hrs had crossed the river.  At about 1700 hrs C Coy arrived on top of the ridge immediately East of the river and made contact with the leading pl of B Coy.  As the area here had been cleared of the enemy Major Granville (C Coy) decided to continue the advance and secure the line of the road running North and South through MANNEVILLE LA RAOULT.  Owing to the very difficult country the inaccuracy of the 1/25000 map and the fact that the MAQUIS guide with C Coy proved a broken reed, C Coy's flanking movement took very much longer than had been anticipated.  At about 1445 hrs the Comd Offr ordered A Coy to move fwd to be prepared to cross the river and occupy the ridge immediately to the left of B Coy.

 

At about 1500 hrs as the left hand pl of B Coy was still held up Major Rahr (A Coy) was ordered to cross the bridge, move onto the ridge and attack the enemy post located about rd and track junc 616129 from the rear.  Hereafter they were to clear the ridge overlooking the bridge and to consolidate on the left of B Coy along the line of the track running North and South from track junc 617125.  A Coy moved off to carry out their task at about 1515 hrs but soon after crossing the bridge it was found that the left fwd pl of B Coy had succeeded in dislodging the enemy post that had been holding them up.  A Coy therefore cleared the woods and consolidated on the line of the track as ordered.  Further details of letter A Coy's operation are attached as Annexure X.

 

At about 1630 hrs the Comd Offr went fwd to B Coy HQ which was situated in a house at the rd junc East of the bridge.  Having discovered from Major Edmunds that B Coy was disposed with only one pl fwd on the high ground at about track junc 617122 and the other two pls on the line of the rd North and South of the rd junc the Comd Offr decided to pass B Coy through to occupy the high ground on the right of A Coy.  Orders to this effect were issued to Major Howard (D Coy) at about 1645 hrs, D Coy having already been ordered fwd to the area of the level crossing.

 

At about 1715 hrs the Comd Offr moved his HQ to the area of A Coy HQ on the track at 617126.

 

At about 1745 hrs C Coy reported that they had reached a Pt about 300 yds West of the village at about 626118 and had encountered enemy opposition there.  The Comd Offr then ordered predicted arty fire to be put down on the village between the area of the church and the main rd for 5 mins.  This fire came down ay 1805 hrs.  Then, after going to see Major Howard (D Coy) the Comd Offr ordered a further 8 mins arty fire to be put down on the village 200x S.E. of the first concentration and ordered C Coy to endeavour to infiltrate into the enemy posn under this fire.  D Coy was also ordered to infiltrate a pl down the track towards the church at the same time and if this pl was successful to follow with the remainder of the Coy.  The arty fire came down from 1620 hrs to 1628 hrs and D Coy's pl started to move fwd at about 1635 hrs.  Major Granville was informed of the plan as regards D Coy and ordered to make touch with D Coy after capturing his objective.  It was difficult to get information from the leading pl of D Coy but at about 1900 hrs Major Howard moved fwd with another pl and shortly afterwards small arms fire was heard coming from the direction of the village.  At about 1930 hrs Major Howard moved up his 3rd pl and from then until after 2000 hrs D Coy was continually engaged in mopping up enemy posts in the area of the cross rds and in the orchards about 625127.  A full account of D Coy's operations are attached as Annexure Y.

 

During the whole of this time C Coy were out of touch and no information of their movements or whereabouts could be obtained.  OC D Coy reported that he had not been able to make touch with C Coy but that from sounds of small arms fire and from statements made by civilians he thought C Coy to be some one thousand yards to his [?].  Actually C Coy started their attack about 1825 hrs and under cover of the arty concentration No.21 pl (Lt Scott) moved fwd and secured the line of the rd after a sharp engagement with the enemy who were surprised by the direction of the attack.  Major Granville then despatched another pl under Lt Leadsome round to the right to clear the orchards EAST of the rd.  This was successfully carried out and C Coy consolidated just East of the rd at about 630119 about 1930 hrs.

 

C Coy then sent patrols out towards the village of MANNEVILLE LE RAOULT to make contact with D Coy but failed to do so.  Contact was not effected until after midnight.  During their action C Coy killed 6 of the enemy and captured 12 prisoners and also 6 horses, 6 loaded carts and 2 dogs.  Although an F.O.O. accompanied C Coy on their flanking movement he was unable to produce any arty sp owing to his wireless breaking down.  Full details of Letter C Coy's battle are attached as Annexure Z.

 

As D Coy appeared to be having difficulty in mopping up enemy opposition to the North of the village the Comd Offr asked for a company or 1 RUR to be sent up to relieve A Coy who were warned to be prepared to carry out the left flanking attack on the village to clear up this opposition.  The coy 1 RUR arrived at A Coy posn soon after 2030 hrs and had taken over the posn by 2100 hrs but owing to the approach of darkness and the precipitous and wooded nature of the country A Coy's proposed operation was cancelled at 2115 hrs and they were warned to stand by to move in any direction.

 

At 2115 hrs the Comd Offr went up to see Major Howard whose HQ was situated on the rd and track junc 624125.  On arrival he found D Coy still engaged in mopping up enemy posts and the main rd was under enemy fire.  Major Howard reported that he was just putting in a pincer attack to dislodge the enemy opposition and he felt that he could deal with the situation himself.

 

The Comd Offr then told Major Howard that he would move A Coy up to the area of the church and that one pl A Coy would be sent fwd to him to go out and try to make contact with C Coy.  Thereafter this pl might be used to fill in the gap between D and C Coys if necessary.

 

Having given these orders to A Coy the Comd Offr returned to rear HQ which was situated at the rd junc 615124 where he arrived about 2200 hrs.  He here met OC 1 RUR who informed him that he had been ordered to continue the adv through the 52nd during the night and secure BERVILLE.

 

Both Lt Cols Roberts and Carson felt that it was not possible to continue the adv until the enemy in the area of MANNEVILLE LA RAOULT had been mopped up or until they had retired.  It was therefore decided to ask the Bde Comd or BM to come up and discuss the situation.

 

The Dep Comd arrived at Regtl HQ at about 2330 hrs and reiterated the necessity for pushing on to cut off the enemy retreating to BERVILLE.  1 RUR were to continue the adv as soon as possible as patrols of the 52nd reported the enemy had withdrawn.

 

D and C Coys were therefore ordered to send out recce patrols about 500 yds at intervals during the night to ascertain if the enemy were still in posn or not.  A patrol sent out from the pl of A Coy in the direction of C Coy reported being fired on in the area of the Southern end of the village about 0100 hrs.

 

At about 0100 hrs adv Regtl HQ was est in the Chateau at 618126 and between 0130 hrs and 0230 hrs the Comd Offr visited A Coy and D Coy.  All was quiet but contact with C Coy had not been est.

 

At about 0400 hrs in spite of lack of confirmation that the enemy had gone 1 RUR passed through the Regts posn and continued the adv towards BERVILLE.

 

The Regt followed after first light.  The leading coy (B) passing the sp x tracks 633120 at 0730 hrs.

 

Annexure 'W' - Letter 'B' Company

Account of Action for Bridge West of Manneville La Raoult

 

1. Preliminary.

Letter D Company had been given the bound the high ground from Pt 116, 602135 to GENNEVILLE 5912.  If this bound was clear they were to consolidate on the edge of the valley to the East.  Letter B Company were to pass through.

 

2. Order of March of Letter B Company.

No 14 Platoon (Comd Sjt Harrison) Van Guard.

    'R' Gp  Coy Comd.  F.O.O.  L/Cpl Hoad with 38 Set.  N.B.  This had to be changed as the Comd Offr joined the Coy Comd in the recce and the inclusion of the F.O.O. would have been too big a party.  The F.O.O. was therefore left with 'O' Gp.

    'O' Gp  Pl Comds No 15 (Lt Aston) and No 17 (Lt Cochrane) Pls Comd.  Pl A Tk (Lt Moncrieff).  F.O.O. see above.

 

3. At about 1150 hrs Letter B Company began to pass through D Company who had consolidated on the line in para 1 with 1 Pl fwd in the orchard 604127.  Comd Letter B Company had stressed the importance of the Pt Section being well in adv of leading Pl and that he would not move the main gd fwd of the orchard 603127 until vangd had crossed rly.  At this point therefore the coy was halted under cover in the order of march (para 2).  Whilst Sjt Harrison pushed fwd down the re-entrant towards rly crossing 610125.  Previous to this the coy received infm from the mob recce party under Lt Bousfield than at enemy A tk gun had been located at rd junc 615124.  The recce gp followed the leading pl, the Coy Comd searching the slopes on the South side of the rd for a Pt of vantage from which orders could be given out.  No view point could be found and he followed down to the level crossing where there was a view point on the North side from which a good view could be obtained of the valley to the North of the rd and another to the South from which a moderate view of the valley South of the rd could be obtained.  On arrival at the level crossing Sjt Harrison reported that the enemy were holding rd junc 615124.  No 14 Pl had one section (Cpl Evans) in the area East of the br 613124 and the remainder of the Pl astride the rd at the rly crossing.

 

4.  Task

Letter B Company's task was to clear the bound the spur running North from about track jun 618121 - 618129 (the Coy Comd had given orders where Pls were to consolidate should the coy reach the bound unopposed).

 

5.  Appreciation

The areas on the Eastern slopes of the valley from which the enemy could produce fire were very limited owing to the number of trees and hedgerows.  There was only one point (about track junc 618121) where the ground seemed open enough at the top of the spur.  The enemy posns at the track junc 615124 could produce frontal fire in the fds running down to the stream and up from the stream to their posns.  The line of the rd running North and South through 615124 was the most likely line on which other enemy posns would be located.  There appeared to be more cover for our own tps on the South side of the rd than on the North side.

 

The plan therefore was for No 14 Pl to work fwd to the line of the river to produce covering fire onto the post at 615124 [and the?] MMG's to get in posn on the South side of the river by the rly crossing to cover the opposite slopes of the valley on the right flank.  The Belgian Armd Cars to cover the valley to the North of the rd in a similar manner.  No 15 Pl to attack the rd junc 615124 and consolidate.  No 17 Pl to move fwd in res under the Coy Comd to be used either to assist No 15 Pl if they were held up or if they were successful to exploit to track junc 618121.  The covering fire was to be for five minutes from 1300 - 1305 F.U.P. Rly cutting South side of crossing.

 

The Action.  No 14 Pl moved sec on the right of the rd (Cpl Gibbon) down to the line of the river on the right of the rd keeping the Scout sec (Cpl Stewart) and 2" Mortar team back on the rly bank to the North of the rly crossing.  MMG's and Armd Cars got into posn to carry out their tasks.

 

At 1255 hrs Coy Comd postponed the attack until 1305 hrs in order to give pls more time to brief their secs.

 

At 1305 hrs No 14 Pl opened fire with all weapons incl PIAT on the rd junc 625124.  No 15 Pl began to move fwd at the same time.  Belgian Armd Car fired a round of incendiary into a cottage on the right side of the rd just short of No 15 Pls objective.  The cottage turned out to contain all sorts of amn and explosives and made a lot of noise and smoke.  No 15 Pl reached rd 605122 and moved north to take the rd junc.  They were fired at from the track to the East.  Cpl Dunbridges sec were placed in posn to cover the rest of the pl fwd to their objective where they consolidated and captured an A tk gun which was pulling out towards the East from the rd junc.  One or two prisoners were taken and two men were sent back to report success but the enemy seemed to be in strength to the South.

 

Meanwhile Coy Comd was puzzled by the amount of firing which appeared to be still coming from No 15 Pl (in actual fact most of this was from the burning cottage).  He ordered No 17 Pl (Lt Cochrane) to take two cottages 614123.  This was done without encountering any opposition and Coy Comd ordered No 17 Pl to take rd junc 618121.  They started off to the right down the rd and leading sec (Cpl Newman) came under fire from bldgs on the East side of the rd.  Pl Comd led remainder round up the hill to the East of bldgs and opened fire at close range and the enemy hoisted a white flag and nine prisoners were taken out of these bldgs.  Cpl Newman's section was then left in the area and used to take the prisoners.  Remainder of pl then climbed up the hill to the rd junc 618121.  During the move the enemy could be heard withdrawing in front of the pl and were seen when the pl reached its objective.  They were pursued by the pl who caught 4.  The pl then consolidated and reported success.

 

The Coy Comd had remained with No 15 Pl who came under fire from the North.  So the Coy Comd went back and ordered No 14 Pl (Sjt Harrison) to take rd junc 615127.  The Pl crossed over the br and moved off North East across the first fd.  Cpl Evan's sec was leading and came under fire from the first hedgerow.  The sec jumped over the hedgerow and caught one prisoner.  The order was given for deploy into line and the left hand sec under L/Cpl Stewart bumped into three enemy in a slit trench who gave themselves up.  Cpl Evans (who was on the right) then saw 6 men running away.  He gave chase with his sec and on getting to a small ridge got down and opened fire on them killing one man (a sjt).  The remainder of the pl moved fwd on the left and Sjt Harrison was wounded as they came onto the small ridge.  The enemy appeared to be firing from the track junc which was the pls objective (615127).  Cpl Evan's then got the whole pl under cover of the hedgerow.  The Coy Comd came up to investigate and ordered the pl to consolidate there as C Coy were moving round to the right and A Coy were through our posn.  After the Coy Comd had gone back three Germans came down the hedgerow and gave themselves up.  Cpl Evans then went fwd to investigate the track junc (615127) himself and finding it unoccupied moved the whole pl fwd and consolidated there.

 

Annexure 'X' - Letter 'A' Company

Attack on Manneville La Raoult

 

At approx 1400 hrs Letter A Coy were rear gd Coy to the Regt, when the Coy Comd was sent for by the Comd Offr who was fwd with Letter B Coy the adv gd coy.  By this time the Comd Offr was reached the situation was that B Coy had crossed the river and had one pl on top of the ridge overlooking the river, on pl protecting the br, and one pl North of the br held up by enemy MG posts in the North East end of the woods.  Letter C Coy had already been sent on a right flanking attack to come in through B Coy's Southern flank and clear the woods holding up B Coy's pl.  Letter A Coy was ordered to stand by ready to move up on Letter B Coy's Northern flank to consolidate on top of the first ridge while Letter C Coy pushed on to the next ridge.  Letter A Coy Comd ordered Letter A Coy to move up to the area of the level crossing and gave the infm available to pl comds when they arrived in the area.  The OC A Coy returned to the Comd Offrs OP and met OC B Coy there who gave details of his dispositions.  The Comd Offr then ordered Letter A Coy to clear the wood holding up Letter B Coy and altered Letter C Coy's objective to the ridge East.  B Coy Comd gave the route up to the part of the wood not cleared, and guides to his pls areas would meet A Coy at his HQ which was just over the river br.

 

The time was now approx 1530 hrs and as soon as the Comd Offr had finished his orders while Coy Comds were returning the enemy shelled and mortared the rd from the rly crossing to the West, causing some cas in the rear Regtl HQs.  Letter A Coy was moving off at approx 1600 hrs and reached its forming up line for "beating" the wood without incident.  12 Pl were on the Western edge of the wood, 11 Pl on the Eastern with Coy HQ in the middle and 13 Pl in res.  As soon as the clearing started two secs of 13 Pl had to be put in the centre to link up 11 and 12 Pls, the wood being very thick in places.  After going about 100 yds an enemy MG Post of 4 men was located and dealt with very quickly by 12 Pl.  The rest of the wood was quickly cleared and 11 pl consolidated on its previously selected posn astride a track junc facing East.  12 Pl had further to go clear the Northern tip of the wood where it collected further enemy prisoners and a A tk gun, then consolidated facing N.E.  13 pl linked up between the two with Coy HQ in the rear.  All pls sent fwd recce patrols down the Eastern side of the ridge where they shot up various enemy seen moving about on the feature where the village of MANNEVILLE was situated.  Letter A Coy sent back the wood clear and Coy consolidated at about 1700 hrs and from then on kept observation on the village and sniped at the enemy.  Letter D Coy came up on the South of Letter A Coy both facing East - by now Letter C Coy were out of touch so Letter D Coy ordered by the Comd Offr to infiltrate into the village from the South West linking up with Letter C Coy when the line of the rd running North and South through the village was reached.  D Coy adv and there was an arty conc put on the village for 5 min previously which set light to a house and various enemy was seen running about in apparent confusion, giving good sniping shots to A Coy outposts.  D Coy infiltration attack went well until the Northern end of the village was reached where enemy in an orchard were difficult to dislodge and A Coy were warned to be ready to attack the Northern end of the village from the West.  The Coy was relieved by a Coy of RUR and orders given out for the adv to attack.  12 pl left flank protection, 11 pl objective the orchard holding up D Coy, 13 pl in res.  Just as the Coy was moving up D Coy said the opposition was overcome but they would like 1 pl to link up with C Coy.

 

The remainder of the Coy was ordered to take up a posn in the valley to protect D Coy from attack from the West.  11 pl went to D Coy to link up with C Coy and the remainder of the Coy moved to a posn astride the track (running North and South in the valley) just North of the church - with listening patrols out to the North.  The remainder of the night was passed without further incident.

 

Annexure 'Y' - Letter 'D' Company

Battle for Manneville La Raoult 26 Aug 44

 

Approx Timings

[??]00 hrs.  Received orders to attack and capture village.

    Plan.  22 pl (Nicholson) fire pl firing across valley from the right flank.  25 pl (Vasey) main effort to adv under arty fire, capture church and X rds.  Recce pl (Bulford) res.

 

1850 hrs.  Enemy SP gunned church and X rds area.

 

1900 hrs.  Infm from 25 by runner that they were in possession of church area and were near X rds where SP fire and LMG fire had held them up.

 

1905 hrs.  Issued orders to Recce Pl to move up on right of 25 to secure area South of X rds to give me a base on hill.  22 to come into res.

 

1915 hrs.  Infm through 25 that Recce had reached line of rd South of X rds without serious opposition.  I therefore moved up to just short of X rds with adv Coy HQ and 22.

 

1930 hrs.  Reached X rds under LMG fire to find that enemy were holding N.E. of village in some strength (afterwards learnt from civilians that there were some 70/75 Germans milling around this area at this time).  The Recce Pl had apparently swung across the front of 25 and were pinned down in the orchard by accurate enemy fire from the N.E.  They were between the enemy and 25.

 

1945 hrs.  Could get no infm from Recce Pl.  Gave orders to 22 to make a wide right flanking to cut off and deal with enemy posn.

 

2015 hrs.  25 still under my hand, no further infm from two other pls.  Coy HQ under constant MMG fire, expecting enemy SP or Mortar fire any moment.

 

2030 hrs.  Decided to commit 25 on left flank to complete a pincer movement on the enemy posn.  Sent runner to recce and 22 giving them plan.  Recce to act as fire pl.

 

2048 hrs.  25 moved off to left.  Orders for consolidation were - 25 astride rd running North from village, 22 X tracks East of village, Recce astride rd South and to Liaise with C Coy.

 

2100 hrs.  Received infm that Lt Bulford seriously wounded.  Sent S.Bs who returned to say Lt Bulford and L/Cpl Ballantyne killed.  Put CSM Stevenson in Comd of Recce with orders to get them together and sp 22 and 25 moving up on either flank.

 

2115 hrs.  Visited by L.O. and told A Coy attacking on my left.  Still no infm from 22 and 25; went off to find 22, had to crawl all the way because of enemy fire.  Could not locate 22, afterwards found out they had made a wider flanking than I thought and were dealing with enemy pulling out along a sunken track running East from main rd 250 yds North of X rds.  2" Mortar HE used by 22.

 

2130 hrs.  Returned to Coy HQ.  No infm from 25.  Was getting dark and enemy fire had died down.  Confirmed on the air that A Coy not required.  Much uncertainty caused during battle by enemy using Bren guns.

 

[???]5 hrs.  Infm from 25 that they had consolidated and had captured 13 prisoners in the act of leaving with two fully loaded horse drawn vehs.  Other pls also consolidated.  Sent out patrols to confirm no enemy left in area and to get in touch with C Coy.

 

2230 hrs.  Received orders for patrolling throughout the night.

 

Annexure 'Z'

Account of C Coys Movements.  Area Manneville La Raoult.  Aug 26/27 1944.

 

During the morning I received a warning order from the Comd Offr to be prepared to take a Coy on a right flanking movement.  This was to take place if Letter B Coy was unable to reach their objective immediately.  At 1415 I got the order to move off.  The route was across difficult country and by tracks.  The 1/25000 map proved inaccurate throughout and the "Maquis" guide provided by the I.O. stated he could not find the way by which we were ordered to go.

 

Leaving at 1445 hrs the route the Coy took was from ORCHARD 603127 - TRACK JUNC 605123 - RAILWAY AND STREAM JUNC 610121 - direct to HOUSES area 618119.  Here No 17 Pl B Coy was contacted but I was unable to find out the whereabouts of OC B Coy.  The route taken was over difficult and enclosed country - the rly embankment being some 50 feet high at a gradient of 1 in 2.  No opposition was encountered.

 

As my orders were to push on if it seemed that the situation demanded the Coy adv to the area of ORCHARD 626117 - the leading pl moving down the track to report line T.O.R. at 638118.  On arrival at T.O.R. this pl (No 21 Lt Scott) came in contact with the enemy approx one pl strong holding the line of the rd.  Time approx 1730 hrs.  A sharp engagement ensued, the enemy being surprised at the direction of our approach.  No 2[1?] pl secured the line of T.O.R. at about 1815 hrs after a sharp attack during which 5 cas were inflicted on the enemy.  I then sent "A" pl (Lt Leaison) round on the right of 21 pl to clear the wood EAST of T.O.R. to which the enemy appeared to have withdrawn.  This was successfully carried out and consolidated on the line T.O.R. at about 1900 hrs.

 

During this time our own arty fire was falling on our left along the high ground.  The enemy employed no arty but down some Mortar Bombs.

 

Patrols were then sent out towards the village but failed to contact the enemy or Letter D Coy whom I understood were adv on our left.  At about 1830 - 1900 an arty conc came down immediately to our left followed by small arms fire, some of which came in our direction.  I then moved the Coy less a party on line T.O.R. to area ORCHARD 633122 which was the comd ground and consolidated.

 

I then took a patrol to the area of ORCHARDS 634125 where a battle appeared to have been in progress.  Hereabouts the patrol captured the following:- 6 Horses, 6 Carts - completely loaded, 2 dogs, 12 prisoners and various other small "booty".  Other enemy running away were engaged but results could not be observed.

 

Unfortunately comn with the Regt failed early on in the afternoon the gunner set also failed and the Coy had no sp available.

 

C Coy cas during the op were one man wounded.