National Archives catalogue number ADM 202/103.

 

Abbreviation

068816

2 i/c

A&SH

Adv

Arty

Att

Bde

Bn

Br

Cdn

Cdo

CO

CRE

Div

FDL

FOB
FOO
FUP

IA

Inf

LCI

LO

LMG

MG

MMG

MT

OC

Offr

OP

OR

Posn

RA

RAMC

Rep

RM

RN

RUR

SAA

S Lancs

SS

Tp

Map Reference

Second-in-Command

Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders

Advance

Artillery

Attached

Brigade

Battalion

British

Canadian

Commando

Commanding Officer

Commander Royal Engineers

Division / Divisional
Forward Defended Locality

Forward Observation Bombardment

Forward Observation Officer

Forming Up Place

Inter-Allied

Infantry

Landing Craft Infantry

Liaison Officer

Light Machine Gun

Machine Gun

Medium Machine Gun

Motor Transport

Officer Commanding

Officer

Observation Post

Other Ranks

Position

Royal Artillery

Royal Army Medical Corps

Representative

Royal Marines
Royal Navy

Royal Ulster Rifles

Small Arms Ammunition

South Lancashire Regiment

Special Service
Troop

 

Month and year : June 1944

Commanding Officer : Lt.Col. E.C.E. Palmer, R.M.

 

25th May to 4th June 1944

Place: C.19 Camp Southampton

 

(2 Hunt class Destroyers, 1 Fleet Destroyer).  Briefing continued until 4th June.

 

5th June 1944

Place: Warsash

 

1515 - Unit embarks in 5 L.C.I.(S) at Warsash.

 

2130 - Craft sail in convoy.

 

6th June 1944

Place: At Sea

 

0745 - Until 0745 hrs. when coast became dimly visible and our naval craft could be seen firing on the land targets the sea passage had been uneventful.

 

0750 - Message received by H.Q.L.C.I.(S) that the beaches were not under fire.

 

0825 - Coastline now perfectly visible and Troop Commanders were able to identify their beach from previous study of low obliques during the briefing.  The beach appeared a bit of a shambles.  It was littered with dead and wounded and burnt out tanks and with Flails flailing through wire and mines, Bulldozers clearing gaps etc.  The beach was quite obviously still under fire as mortar bombs and shells were crashing down fairly plentifully.  It appeared however that Red Beach was getting a better share of this fire than White.

 

0830 - Shells started falling around the craft and several near hits were reaching ships damaging ramps etc. on some craft but caused no casualties to personnel.

 

0840 - Due to land.

 

0845 - Touch down about 200 yards out to sea on Red Beach with our proper Beach, White, 300 yds. away on our left.  Whilst still coming in, Lieut. Colonel Gray had foreseen this and did his best to get the craft to slew right on to the proper beach which was in fact drawing less fire than Red.  In the general confusion, however, his efforts were unsuccessful.  'P' Troop commanded by Captain B.J.B Sloley with a nucleus Advance H.Q. moved swiftly across to White Beach and within about 5 minutes were off the beach almost complete.  Within another 5 minutes a section of A. Troop with Captain C.N.P. Powell, DSO, Troop Commander had followed.  Lieut.Colonel Gray then decided to move this body up to the first lateral and to find a more suitable spot for assembly.

 

0920 - P. and A. Troops halted at road junction 080809 and waited there for the remainder of the Commando.

 

0940 - By this time a dozen men of 'X' Troop had joined up and reported that their Troop Commander Captain H.E. Stratford, M.C. had been wounded on landing and that they had also lost about 25 men killed and wounded, on the beach.  'Y' Troop reported that the 2 i/c Major D.L. Barclay had been killed and that the Signal Officer Lieut. A.G. Aldis M.M. was a casualty.  Lieut. Colonel Gray then decided to push on with the troops he had collected and P. Troop followed by Y. Troop and A. started to move into LION.  Civilians contacted and gave information that the Germans had left at about 0700 hrs. that morning and the French seemed quite pleased to see us.  P. Troop were then ordered to push on and occupy the strongpoint, Y. following them in.

 

1020 - B. Troop were contacted and reported that Captain H. F. Morris Troop Commander was a casualty on the beach.  Lieut. Colonel Gray then decided that since Force II had lost its commander, Major D.L. Barclay and both troop commanders he would take both forces under his own command and employ them as far as possible in their original role.  P. Troop then reported held up by L.M.G. fire and snipers from houses on each side of strong point.  At the same time the S. Lancs contacted us and reported that they were held up by opposition from the strongpoint at Cross Roads 068816.  B. Troop under Lieut. Sturgis were ordered to move up road to Chateau as far as 065814 there to contact laterally the S. Lancs, A. Troop were to follow.  This was with a view to ultimately outflanking the strongpoint.  Wireless contact by this time had been established with 8 Br. Inf. Bde.  The codeword "TROUT" (contact S. Lancs) was passed.  The F.O.B's signalmen were all wounded on the beach and their sets destroyed, the F.O.B's own set was damaged hence no contact with naval support.  F.O.O. Lieut. Miller R.A. and party wounded on beach but R.A. Rep. Capt. J.C. Clough was up with HQ unable however to assist since the Centaurs attached had apparently been knocked out.

 

1040 - P. Troop still held down.  S. Lancs at this time were drawing mortar and M.G. fire and were having casualties.

 

1050 - Lieut. Colonel Gray ordered Y. Troop to prepare to back up the S. Lancs and if possible to assault through them.  Just at this time 3 Avre tanks contacted us and informed us that Br. Inf. Bde. had put them under command to assist where required.  They were immediately put in support of Y.

 

1100 - Accordingly, firing their Besas the tanks moved up the road Y. Troop following.  Within 100 yards of the strongpoint, unidentified gun, which later proved to be a 50mm PAK, opened fire at very short range and knocked out the first tank.  Within 5 minutes all 3 tanks were put out of action and enemy mortars had ranged on Y. Troop.  Y. Troop suffered casualties including Captain P.T.H. Dufton killed.  The remainder of the Troop occupied the houses on each side of the road.

 

1140 - B. Troop reported that they had pushed ahead as far as Cross Roads 062814 and that they had suffered casualties from mortar fire and from some unidentified mobile gun operating in area 059813 and that (temporarily) without some support on the Chateau area they could not push on.  The S. Lancs had not been contacted.  Since no support was available our own 3" Mortars having expended all their ammunition on the strongpoint, B. Troop were told to remain where they were.

 

1300 - Up to 1300 hrs. the position remained virtually unchanged with both sides sitting where they were engaging any targets that presented themselves.  No Arty or other support was available.  The L.O. (Lieut. Kay) was sent to 8 Br. Inf. Bde. to report this fact.

 

1310 - A. Troop report that they had got as far as houses in area 065814 where they had been mortared and fired upon from the left flank.  Capt. C.N.P. Powell D.S.O. was a casualty.  B. Troop at almost the same time reported that the enemy were counter attacking about 60 strong on the left flank with mortars and an infantry gun in support.  Lieut. Colonel Gray then appreciated that a counter attack on the commando might become general and decided to withdraw all Troops to the line of the lateral road running from the sea to the beach 070813 thence to road junction 067812 which was an easier line to defend.

 

1330 - By this time B. Troop and a section of A. Troop had withdrawn to the line, 1 Section of A. Troop was missing.  P. and Y. Troops conformed.  X. Troop, the smallest in numbers was attached to Y. Troop.  The general appreciation was that there was about 80 enemy in the strongpoint and 100 in the Chateau.  By this time the majority of casualties had been evacuated to the Beach by the 6 Jeeps which had landed at about 1000 hrs.  The FOB's Jeep with the Bombardier and wireless set also arrived and contact was made with the destroyers.  H.Q. moved from the Church to Orchard about 074813.

 

1500 - Contact 9 Inf. Bde. who had landed at H + 6 hrs. and had detached two Battalions to assist in coastal sector.  41 Cdo. came under command the 9 Inf. Bde. and the Brigadier ordered the 5 Lincolns and a battalion of the R.U.R. to complete the perimeter partly formed by 41's present positions to the sea; with the Lincs directly on 41's left.

 

1600 - By 1600 hrs. the Lincs were in position with a dividing line inclusive to 41 road Lion-Luc Sur Mer.  German aircraft dropped 1 bomb which fell on a small track about 50 yards from the H.Q. cratering it and rendering it unusable.

 

1800 - Between 1600 and 1800 hrs. there was intermittent mortar and shell fire from the enemy.  The navy had carried out a shoot on the strongpoint and the Chateau between 1700 - 1800 hrs.

 

1930 - Lieut. Stevens reported to H.Q. that he and the missing section of A. Troop had returned having been cut off in area 065814.  He himself on the way back knocked out a german armoured car (presumably the mobile gun referred to) with a grenade.  Except for sniping and L.M.G. fire from the houses where Germans had been left behind, all was quiet during the rest of the light.  Casualties for the day were approximately 140 killed, wounded and missing.  Officers killed - Major D.L. Barclay, Captain P.T.H. Dufton.  Missing - Lieut. J.C. Pearson and Lieut. A.G. Aldis, M.M.  Wounded - Captain H.F. Morris, Captain H.E. Stratford, M.C. and Capt. C.N.P. Powell, D.S.O.

 

7th June 1944

Place: Lion Sur Mer

 

1105 - All quiet except for snipers and occasional shell fire up to 1105 hrs.  At that time 3 Heinkels with Spitfires on their tails suddenly swooped out of the clouds and dropped 3 sticks of anti personnel bombs one of which straddled H.Q. orchard killing the FOB Capt. P.C. Dixon R.A. and 2 men, and wounding the Commanding Officer, Lieut. Colonel T.M. Gray, R.M., the Chaplain, Rev. Caradoc Hughes, R.N. and 9 others.  Major J.A. Taplin, R.M. then took over command.

 

1330 - Commanding Officer 5th LINCS visited H.Q. and informed us that 9 Bde. had put 41 under his command whilst the battle continued in and around LION.

 

1415 - Brigadier 9 Bde. ordered attack on Chateau by Lincs.  41 moved up behind in reserve.  The attack went in at 1536 hrs from the S.E. and was successful.  There was one casualty in the Lincs. and 1 or 2 prisoners were taken; the remaining Germans having made good their escape previously.  41 Cdo. was then ordered to occupy the houses at the N.E. end of the Chateau while the Lincs prepared a further assault upon the Strongpoint in LION.

 

1730 - At 1730 hrs. however, Brigadier 9th Bde. changed his intention and ordered 41 to push on to LUC SUR MER.  Accordingly, the unit moved on and at 1820 hrs. contacted 46 R.M. Commando in LUC SUR MER who informed us that PETIT ENFER had been cleared by them that morning.  Major J.A. Taplin then reported to H.Q. 4 S.S. Bde. and was ordered to occupy LUC SUR MER for the night.

 

8th June 1944

Place: Lion Sur Mer

 

46 moves to LA DELIVERANDE and 41 takes up positions for local defence of LUC SUR MER and PETIT ENFER.  Throughout the day and night parties were out searching for snipers and French 5th Columnists.

 

9th June 1944

Place: La Deliverande

 

1500 - By 1500 hrs. move up to La Déliverande and occupy a defensive position by the cross roads 023802 and road at 033868 with 48 on our right and 46 completing the perimeter round Douvres and La Déliverande.

 

10th June 1944

1700 - Believe a battalion of the Black Watch in area wood 9980 who had been containing the enemy at the RADAR STATIONS in 0080 and 0081 which were still occupied as strong points by the enemy.  Troop positions were as follows:- The triangle of wood 002813 'P' Tp., 001810 to end of wood 'A' Troop, end of wood to clearing 998806 'B' Troop.  Remaining troops were in reserve.  The policy to be followed was to patrol to both Radar Stations and to generally harass the enemy.  48. Cdo from their positions in Douvre were adopting the same policy facing the Radar Stations from the N.E.

 

11th June 1944

0215 - Patrols in from the Radar Stations give reports on depth of wire and possible approaches.  Voices etc. were heard in the South Radar Station.

 

1700 - 4 SS Bde. (47 and 48 Cdos) come under command 6 Airborne Div. and move over the river ORNE to take up fresh positions.  'S' Troop 41 Cdo. was detached under command 48 Cdo.  41 remaining to contain Radar Stations under command 1 Corps.  46 Cdo. come under command 3 Cdn. Div. and move up into the Canadian Sector.  'P' and 'X' Troop occupy the area vacated by 48 in Douvre 015803.  30 A.U. about 50 strong also move into Douvre this day.

 

11th and 12th June 1944

Patrols were out nightly to the Radar Stations.  C.S.M. O. O'Neill (10 I.A. Cdo) was particularly valuable in this work.  During daylight the Radar Stations were harassed by LMG fire, 2" Mortar, PIAT, Snipers etc and by the fire of the 2 Centaurs commanded by Capt. Cannier R.A. who came under command 41.  On the morning of the 12th and because from patrol reports it seemed likely that the small Radar Station was unoccupied, it was decided that a fighting patrol commanded by Lieut. Stevens from A. Tp. should make an attempt to enter the small station and depending upon success occupy it.  For this purpose support was provided by Corps in the shape of the 5th Assault Squadron R.E. and a plan was made in conjunction with Major Simpson C.R.E. as follows - At 0100 hrs. a gap was to be blown through the minefield and outer wire surrounding the station at about 005810.  On completion of the blowing 6 Avre tanks would approach from the North to the edge of the minefield and engage concrete targets within.  On completion 'A' Troop about 20 strong we to enter and mop up.  It was directed by the Corps Commander, Lieut. General J.R. Crockett that should the station be occupied by the enemy, the patrol was to withdraw and not suffer unnecessary casualties.

 

13th June 1944

0100 - C.S.M. O'Neill and party commence to blow gap; this was successfully completed and at 0200 hrs. the Avres had moved up and were firing off their Petards.  On completion 'A' Tp. entered the outer wire and Lieut. Stevens with two men went forward to blow the inner wire, on the explosion of the Bangalore the enemy who up to the time had not fired a single shot opened up with M.G. and Machine Carbine fire from 4 directions.  A fire fight then went on for about a quarter of an hour, the enemy firing very wildly.

 

0300 - At about 0300 Lieut. Stevens withdrew his patrol as had been laid down.  No casualties were suffered.  The enemy retaliated on completion with Mortar and Shell fire.

 

14th June 1944

1700 - Lieut. Colonel E.C.E. Palmer, R.M. arrived from U.K. to take over command of Unit.  Unit continues to harass both stations.  Recce patrols out.

 

15th June 1944

0300 - Two parachute containers dropped by German aircraft over Radar stations; fell outside wire and were got in by 'P' Tp.  They contained - Spare breach blocks for PAK 38, SAA, Booby traps, instruments etc.

 

16th June 1944

Harass each station.  Commander 1 Corps orders an attack to be put in on both station on the following day.  For this purpose 5th Assault Squadron R.E. and the 22nd Dragoons were attached to the Commando.  The plan for the attack was devised as follows - 3 teams of flails should go forward to the main wire under cover of an artillery barrage lasting 1/2 hr. and should make 3 gaps through the wire and minefields at the following points 006803, 007802, 010801.  The gaps having been made, the Avres were to move through inside the wire covered by fire from the flails and engage any targets presented.  After 10 minutes they were to lay smoke and lay hand placed charges on those targets unsuitable for their Petards.  The Commando was then to follow in with 'B' Tp. on the right through 006803, 'P' Tp. through the centre 007802, 'X' Tp. through 010801 and to mop up, 'Y' was to be held in reserve.  A similar and smaller team of flails and Avres was to make a breach in the Northern Station at about 005811 and 'A' Tp. to follow in.  Zero hour was fixed for 1700 hrs. on the 17th.

 

17th June 1944

1400 - 'A' Tp. moves to FUP area orchard 003815.  B. X. and Y. to Douvre with FUPs in orchards facing the Radar Station in square 0180.

 

1630 - Barrage commences intense.

 

1700 - Flails commence clearing minefields.

 

1720 - Avres move up and into Radar Station.  Avres suffer two casualties (in tanks) and one flail.  According to plan, yet a little behind time, troops go in at about 1740.  By this time the enemy had been dazed, shocked or frightened into surrender and came out in large numbers with their hands up.  The assault was similarly successful on the small station which was found to contain 38 Germans.  The bag in all was 5 Officers and 222 O.Rs.  'A' Tp. suffered the only casualty, 1 man wounded.  In all 44 tanks had taken part in the assault, all was over by 1830 hrs.  Our troops withdrew to the positions previously occupied in the wood.

 

18th June 1944

All quiet.

 

19th June 1944

0930 - The Commando moves across the ORNE and relieves the 7th A. & S.H. in area 1174 occupying defensive positions round the bridges over the canal (under command 51st Highland Division).

 

20th June 1944

1400 - Derby Yeomanry take over our positions.  41 comes under command 6th Airborne and moves to 4 SS Bde. rest area at 117755 and digs in.

 

23rd June 1944

1300 - 41 relieves 48 at Sallenelles. (see appdx. att. posns. etc.)

 

24th June 1944

Shelling and mortaring during day, 1 slight casualty.  Enemy movement observed in Moulin Du Buisson.  Our snipers report 1 probable.

 

25th June 1944

All quiet.

 

26th to 30th June 1944

Shelling and mortaring during day.  } Snipers 1 certainty (see appdx att.) Snipers 1 probable.  From the period 23rd to 30th positions were improved, extra minefields laid and normal patrols carried out.  Unit strength on landing was 27 offrs and 410 ORs.  The present strength is 22 and 346.  Total casualties incurred to date 155 including 3 offrs killed 6 wounded 2 missing.  Reinforcements received during month.  Major H.F.C. Kimpton R.M., Captain P.R. Dunne M.C. R.H.G.  Lts J.W. Holmes, D.F. Murray, P.J. Dietz.  53 Drivers who did not land with original party have since joined.

 

 

Month and year : July 1944

Commanding Officer : Lt.Col. E.C.E. Palmer, R.M.

 

1st July 1944

Place: Sallenelles

 

On the afternoon of July 1 as a result of exchange of fire between a patrol and the enemy F.D.Ls, Cpl. F. Gray (10 I.A. Cdo. att.) became detached from the patrol.  As he had not returned at dusk a search party was sent out to locate him, without success.  Cpl. Gray returned early in the morning of July 2, uninjured, having lain up close to the enemy and having gained much useful information.

 

1st to 2nd July 1944

Place: Sallenelles

 

41 (RM) Commando continued to occupy the SALLENELLES positions; normal patrols were carried out.

 

3rd July 1944

Place: Sallenelles

 

The extra commitment was undertaken by the commando of a standing patrol in the GRANDE FERME DU BUISSON, as a protection to counter mortar O.P.

 

4th July 1944

Place: Sallenelles

 

1130 - Commando was relieved from the SALLENELLES position by 48 (RM) Commando.  Patrol at GRANDE FERME DU BUISSON was continued and that in SALLENELLES was discontinued.  Commando went into Brigade rest area.

 

6th July 1944

Commitment of GRANDE FERME DU BUISSON was discontinued.

 

7th July 1944

Place: Hauger

 

1130 - Commando relieved 4 Commando in the HAUGER positions by 1130 hrs. (see attached trace of positions).  Commitments taken over included a counter mortar O.P. and standing patrol forward of the F.D.Ls.

 

8th to 11th July 1944

Place: Hauger

 

No patrols were sent out.  Sniping activity took place forward of the standing patrol.

 

9th to 10th July 1944

Place: Hauger

 

Heavy weapons troop took part in a brigade harassing task, M.M.Gs and Mortars.  During 24 hrs. the mortars fired over 350 bombs.

 

9th to 31st July 1944

Place: Hauger

 

Commando continue to hold their HAUGER positions.  Normal patrols were carried out, chiefly by night.  It became the chief task of the commando to locate enemy F.D.Ls in its front with the ultimate object of gaining a prisoner for identification.  By July 30 most machine gun positions in the enemy F.D.Ls had been located by night patrols at the cost of 2 casualties.  No prisoner grabbing raid has yet been attempted.

 

16th July 1944

Place: Hauger

 

Investiture was held by General Montgomery in 6th Airborne Div. area at which the following officers and O.Rs. were awarded the following decorations.

    Captain T.M.P. Stevens, R.M.  )

    Captain J.C.P. Cregan, RAMC )    Military Cross.

    OR/X 2244 Sgt. R.J. Wither                   )

    7367051 L/Cpl. John Thwaytes, RAMC ) Military Medal.

At the investiture it was also announced that Lieut. Colonel T.M. Gray, R.M. (casualty) had been awarded the Military Cross.

 

 

Month and year : August 1944

Commanding Officer : Lt.Col. E.C.E. Palmer, R.M.

 

1st to 7th August 1944

Place: Hauger

 

Continue in defensive position at HAUGER.

 

7th August 1944

Place: Hauger

 

Move to TROARN area taking up position in centre of Brigade front in apex of British line directed at TROARN.  Move completed by 1400 hrs.  Sustained shelling and mortaring was kept up by the enemy for three days following the establishment of the Brigade at TROARN.  Brunt of casualties from X. Troop, Sgt. Murray and Lieut. P.D. Robinson, R.M. killed a.m. on 7th as X. Troop was getting into position.

 

7th to 12th August 1944

Place: Troarn

 

Task of Cdo. was first to establish counter mortar OPs to enable own mortars and guns to gain fire initiative over the enemy and secondly to establish beyond doubt the exact positions held by the enemy.  This second task was carried out by patrols and by fire.  Close country and the proximity of the enemy FDLs (150 - 300 yds) rendered such patrols difficult and of prime importance.

 

12th to 16th August 1944

Place: Troarn

 

Patrols increased in activity to establish whether enemy was still holding known FDLs opposite the Bde. front.  With the continued attack in the FALAISE sector it was considered possible that the enemy would withdraw at some unspecified time to the line of the river DIVES.

 

16th August 1944

Place: Troarn

 

On the 16th news was received from Bde. of possible enemy intention to pull out of TROARN which was confirmed later by a deserter who stated leading enemy elements were due to cross the bridge at TROARN at 2000 hrs.  During night and at first light 17th active patrolling to discover if enemy had gone.  No enemy found.

 

17th August 1944

Place: Troarn

 

Advance direct on to TROARN avoiding minefields and continued advance S.E. to JAUVILLE and RUE HAUTE.  At both places bridges found blown.  Y. Tp. advanced across the river to ST. PIERRE DU JONQUET 800 yds. N.E. of which they discovered enemy patrols covering a blown bridge.  Patrol ordered by Bde. to withdraw to JAUVILLE where it was for the remainder of the night whilst the rest of the Cdo. withdrew to the old line facing TROARN.  Cdo. stood by all night at 1/2 hrs. notice to take up defensive posn. South of TROARN.

 

18th August 1944

Cdo. at 1 hrs. notice to move and final orders were received at 2030 hrs. at HQ 5th Para. Bde. near GOUSTRANVILLE for advance to ST. RICHER and assembly there.  HQ established ST. RICHER 0100 hrs. 19th.

 

19th August 1944

Place: St. Richer

 

Cdo. at 1 hrs. notice to move all day.  1800 hrs. received orders to advance and cross the river MUANCE, leading troops crossing at 0520 hrs. 20th.

 

20th August 1944

Crossed river to PUTOT-EN-AUGE and went into assembly area about half a mile South.  Slight shelling on the way.  About 1000 hrs. received orders to advance to cover gap between 48 and 46 Cdos.  During tenure of this gap position Cdo. H.Q. was mortared suffering 8 casualties including Capt. Grant O.C. S. Tp.  Patrols sent out to CLERMONT and one or two stray enemy prisoners and deserters were taken.

 

Place: Les Panniers

 

1600 - About 1600 hrs. advanced to LES PANNIERS and at 1745 hrs. sent patrols from P. Tp. down road towards DOZULE.  Patrol captured 2 Germans and a large quantity of medical equipment.  Patrol continued advance towards ST. LEGERE DUBOSQ and were followed by A. Tp.

 

Place: St. Legere Dubosq

 

Outskirts of ST. LEGERE were taken simultaneously with the advance of 48 Cdo. along the high ground to the East.  Opportunity was offered to complete the occupation of ST. LEGERE which A. Troop carried out with no loss and the capture of 2 enemy guns demolished and one intact.  A. and P. Troops were then left in the village as standing patrols after the Cdo. had been ordered not to advance further.

 

2230 - At about 2330 hrs. orders were received from Bde. to increase these standing patrols to the strength of 4 Tps. and to double the standing patrol left at Point 134 and CLERMONT by a tp. detached from 47 Cdo.  Warning order was also issued that an attack would be carried out in conjunction with 47 Cdo. at 0430 hrs. 21st.

 

21st August 1944

Place: Dozule

 

0430 - Leading tps. advanced direct to DOZULE against no opposition.  The town was burning and patrols were established at either end whilst two Tps. carried out a house to house search in the dark.  At first light a sweep through the orchards North of the town was carried out in conjunction with 47 Cdo. who swept the orchards South of the town.  During the sweep shelling started causing 4 casualties to X. Tp. and Cdo. H.Q. and acting on previous instructions from Bde. the search was discontinued and standing patrols of 2 Tps. was left in the town.  These patrols were eventually reduced at 1030 hrs. to a strength of 1 troop, the remainder of the Cdo. having withdrawn to ST. LEGERE.  At about 1200 hrs. warning was received of the advance through DOZULE of 5th Para. Bde. and British tps. continued to advance through the town all day.

 

22nd August 1944

Place: Pont L'Eveque

 

0645 - Warning was received of immediate move forward by march route.  Start line just South of DOZULE at 0900 hrs. and advance continued as far as a position ¼ mile short of PONT L'EVEQUE in which were British Paratroops still engaged with the enemy.  Commando posn. was that of an outpost to the remainder of the Bde. and the posn. was dug immediately.  There was intermittent mortaring throughout the night.  At about 2000 hrs. the C.O. was ordered forward to contact C.O. 13th Para. Bn. with a view to advancing through 13th Para. Bn. to a start line at the East end of PONT L'EVEQUE and advancing a distance of about 1 mile to form a firm base through which the remainder of Bde. would attack.  It was evident from the picture painted by C.O. 13th Para. Bn. that such a move was impossible as there was still heavy street fighting going on in the town.  The plan was abandoned with permission from Bde. forthwith.

 

23rd August 1944

Place: Pont L'Eveque

 

1100 - At about 1100 hrs. Adv. H.Q. moved direct into PONT L'EVEQUE and joined up with HQ 13th Para. Bn.  All tps. were at 1/4 hrs. notice to move and B. Tp. was ordered down to buildings at the West end of the town preparatory to moving through 13th Para. Bn. should the enemy be cleared out of the town.  At about 1300 Commander 5th Para. Bde. ordered the withdrawal of 13th Para. Bn. as the opposition which they were encountering appeared to be stiffening.  Cdo. H.Q. was withdrawn to its original posn. covering the main exit Westward from the town.  At 1500 hrs. Bde. Commander ordered a reconnaissance of the river TOQUES at PIERRE FITTE with a view to the Bde. crossing that night and seizing the high ground to the West of PONT L'EVEQUE.  The recce was completed successfully and the Cdo. was on the move at 0030 hrs. 24th when the operation was cancelled.

 

24th August 1944

The enemy appeared to have withdrawn from the heights overlooking PONT L'EVEQUE and there was no mortaring all day.

 

25th August 1944

0115 hrs. warning order received for move in M.T. starting at 0600 hrs. and Commando moved with the remainder of the Bde. in M.T. to a posn just S.W. of BEUZEVILLE.  41 Cdos axis was South of the town and ahead of them on the axis was 8 Para. Bn.  This Bn. had been given two objectives on our route but failed to clear them all day.  A. Tp. was sent forward to continue the advance should the objectives be cleared and was involved in a defensive action with a company of the 8th Para. Bn. until the enemy withdrew at about 2000 hrs.  At 2320 hrs. orders were received from Bde. for a night advance behind 48 Cdo.

 

26th August 1944

Place: St. Maclou

 

0200 hrs. night advance started in single file.  No enemy were encountered and the village of SAINT MACLOU was entered at about 0615 hrs.  The Cdo. went into billets in the village and remained there resting, washing and recuperating until the 30th Aug.

 

31st August 1944

Bde. received orders to move in transport to river SEINE, to cross the river at DUCLAIR and to march on to BARENTIN.  41 Cdo. embussed at 1000 hrs. and moved through PONT AUDEMAR to DUCLAIR.  Crossing of the river SEINE had to be done by small boats with Jeeps on class 9 rafts.  The Commando, which was the second to cross, had formed up at DUCLAIR on the North bank by 1500 for the approach march on BARENTIN.

 

Place: Barentin

 

1800 hrs. commando entered BARENTIN having reported on the state of all bridges on its route and in the town itself.  Troops were dispersed around the town to block all road approaches from the S.E. South and S.W.  H.Q. established in the Mairie.