National Archives catalogue number WO 171/1266.

 

Abbreviation

1172

Arty

A & SH

A/Tk

Bde

Bn

Can

C-in-C

CO

Coy

Div

Fd

H

IO

MC

MG

O Group

Posn

QM

RAMC

Regt
SP

X roads

Map Reference

Artillery

Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders

Anti-Tank

Brigade

Battalion
Canadian

Commander-in-Chief

Commanding Officer

Company

Division

Field

Heavy

Intelligence Officer

Motorcycle

Machine Gun

Orders Group

Position

Quartermaster

Royal Army Medical Corps

Regiment

Self-Propelled

Crossroads

 

Month and year : June 1944

Commanding Officer : Lieut.Col. C.M. Thomson D.S.O.

 

6th June 1944

Place: At Sea

 

0720 - H. hour - D. Day.  6th Airborne Div landed on soil of France at H-4 hours and secured the bridges across the Caen Canal and the River Orne.  3rd. British Div. and 3rd Canadian Div landed as the Assault Troops of 1 Corps in the area of River Orne to Fray sur Mer.  50 Div. forming the spearhead of 30 Corps landed in area Fray-sur-Mer to Bayeux.  On the 30 Corps right flank the American Armies effected a landing with the object of cutting off the Cherbourg Peninsula.

 

1100 - Heard that operations were going according to plan.

 

2030 - Bn. landed at Fray-sur-Mer and marched to Banville after having a very wet landing, most of the Jocks getting thoroughly soaked in the process.  The advance party under Major F.W. Dunn, D.S.O., M.C. who had shore guides etc. arranged for us, was still afloat owing to unforeseen circumstances so that the Bn had to find its own way about.  Harboured for the night at Banville.

 

7th June 1944

Place: Banville

 

0430 - Stand to.

 

1500 - Brigadier [H.?] Murray D.S.O. arrived at Bn H.Q. while the CO. was at 3rd Canadian Div. HQ.

 

1630 - CO sent for his 'O' group to rendezvous at the X roads North of Beny-sur-Mer.  Bn. left by March route for same place.

 

1900 - Bn. supported by Sherman tanks of County of London Yeomanry advanced to clear wood East of Beny-sur-Mer of enemy snipers.  Owing to misinformation supplied by the Canadian Div. H.Q. we found ourselves fighting a Bn of the North Shore Regt of [? ?] who had already occupied the wood and thought we were Boche.  They eventually withdrew and tanks and Block Busters were put into action against the enemy Radar Station between Beny-sur-Mer and Douvrea La Deliverande.  Two Block Busters were knocked out, the attack failed and we consolidated our positions in the wood using the former H.Q. of Grenadier Regt 736 (716 Div) as our Bn. H.Q.  This consisted of excellent concrete dug-outs, a Q.M. store and a Canteen so that the Jocks were lucky.  We also picked up three enemy motor vehicles and a M/C combination.  Here we stayed for the night being lightly shelled.

 

8th June 1944

Place: Beny-sur-Mer

 

0830 - C.O. attended conference at 3 Cdn. Div. HQ.  During the morning we were shelled and mortared and had several casualties.

 

1130 - C.O. returned to Bn.  It was decided to bombard the Radar station from the sea then bomb from the air, followed again by a barrage from the sea and artillery after which Infantry and Tanks would attack.

 

1230 - C.O. again went to Can. Div. HQ.

 

1500 - Bn. moved to Beny-sur-Mer to avoid bombing mistakes.  During afternoon it was learned that the plan had been altered and that we were now to take up our former positions and contain the enemy supported by fire from 127 (H) Fd. Regt assisted by Medium Arty and 4.2" Mortars.  Patrols were carried out during the night.

 

9th June 1944

Place: Beny-sur-Mer

 

1030 - Representative from 5 Camerons arrived at Bn. HQ and looked over our positions prior to his Bn taking over.

 

1430 - C.O. and 'O' Group set off for St. Aubin D'Arquenay on recce.

 

1500 - Bn was relieved by 5 Camerons and set out by March Route for St Aubin D'Arquenay arriving 1930 hours.

 

1930 - Took over positions vacated by a Bn. of the Lincoln Regt.  For the first time 153 Bde was now concentrated as a Bde in defensive positions in the area of St Aubin, Benouville and Periers-sur-Le Dan.  The people of the village of St Aubin D'Arquenay proved to be the first to show any signs of real friendliness.

 

10th June 1944

Place: St. Aubin D'Arquenay

 

1030 - C.O. at Bde Conference.

 

1230 - C.O. and I.O. left on recce of new positions to be taken up at Herouvillette.  We were diverted to 6 Airborne Div. HQ as their 2 Bde. were at present involved in a Battle.  After hanging about for about 2 hours it was decided that the Recce group should proceed to 2 Para. Bde. HQ to find out the actual position.  No information was available there and, in the absence of Brigadier Pope we set out for 3 Para Bde. HQ.  On the way there we became involved in the battle but finally reached 3 Bde HQ where it was finally decided we should fill a gap between the Chateau St Come, near Breville and Amfreville.  Leaguered in the area of 3 Bde. HQ for the night.  Personal message from C-in-C.

 

0430 - Bn. advanced on Breville with the intention of occupying and holding the village.  At the outset we met heavy opposition in the shape of M.G. and Mortar fire and suffered heavy casualties.  At 0900 hrs. the Bn. was forced to withdraw to its harbour area where defensive positions were taken up.  During this action the following officers were killed: Capt J.R. Andrews, Lieut W.J. Acton and Lieut R. Martin.  The following officers were wounded: Maj. J.O MacGregor M.C., Maj. A.A. East, Lieut O.F. Mitchell, Lieut S.F.L. Marshall and Lieut J.K. Tucker.  Lieut R.S. Clegg M.C. was reported missing but later it was established he had been killed.

 

2200 - During the evening, the Bn down to three coys. strong (A. Coy had been pretty badly hit) joined 'D' Coy who had occupied the Chateau St Come during the move.  Capt R.A. Stewart was wounded by an enemy sniper.

 

12th June 1944

Place: Chateau St Come

 

During the morning, we had the usual slight shelling and mortaring.

 

1500 - A terrific concentrated enemy barrage came down on our positions.  When the barrage lifted our positions were attacked by a Bn. of German Infantry supported by Tanks and S.P. guns.  We had no armoured support and our M.Gs. were knocked out in the early stages of the battle.  Only one A/Tk. gun was working.  After a battle, lasting all afternoon during which the enemy fired a few solid fuel and Oil Bombs, we finally drove them off suffering heavy casualties and men and materiel.  The enemy also suffered heavily and left his dead literally piled up on the battlefield.  During the course of the afternoon, many examples of personal bravery and sacrifice were carried out.  Never did the Bn uphold better the tradition of the Black Watch.  During this action Capt W.H.O. Stuart-Hamilton, M.C. was killed.  The following officers were wounded:- Capt D.C.M. Dunbar, M.C., Lieut M.S. [Best?], Lieut A Connor, Lieut W. McDonald, Lieut M.L. Gould (who died later) and Capt S.D.V. Weller, R.A.M.C.

 

2000 - Bn. re-inforced by a Coy of Canadian Paratroops.

 

13th June 1944

Place: Chateau St Come

 

0700 - Bn. relieved by Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry Airborne Troops.  Withdrew to rest area at Le Mesnil 1172 where we set about re-organizing the Bn.  Here Lieut  J. Ramsay, A/Tk. Platoon, joined us with first follow up transport.

 

1930 - Strafed and bombed by our own planes - very unpleasant and several casualties.

 

14th June 1944

Place: Le Mesnil 1172

 

The Jock's had their first good night's sleep for long enough and felt greatly refreshed.  They took full advantage of the opportunities offered to get cleaned up and personal washing could be seen hanging from practically every tree in the area.

 

1030 - C.O. attended conference at Bde. H.Q. located just next door as a result of which the Bn took up defensive posns round Bde. H.Q.  During the morning our first lot of re-inforcements arrived.  The following officers joined for duty: Lieuts W. Henderson, R. [Beerhope?], Patton, I.A. [McRory?] and A.R. Smith.  Capt K.W. Beetham, R.A.M.C. joined in place of Capt S.D.V. Weller, R.A.M.C. who was wounded at Chateau St Come.

 

15th June 1944

Place: Le Mesnil 1172

 

More reinforcements arrived and the following officers joined for duty: Capt A.M. Keith, Capt J.D. Horne, Lieuts D. Law, W.A. White, L.E. [Atha?], W.J. Patton, A.U. Oglesby, R.R. Skinner, D. Wylie, J.W.H. Scott, W.B. MacPherson.

 

16th June 1944

Place: Le Mesnil 1172

 

0100 - Warned to be prepared for enemy attack on our front 0400 hours.

 

0330 - Stand to.

 

0425 - Attack came in all day along the front East of River Orne.  Three attacks were successfully repulsed, 4 x MkIII Tanks and two armoured cars being knocked out.

 

1300 - All quiet by 1300 hrs.  Escoville (1271) now occupied by Derby Yeomanry in strength.  This had been one of the Boche objectives.

 

17th June 1944

Place: Le Mesnil 1172

 

0020 - Warned to anticipate another enemy attack in the morning but, happily, nothing transpired.

 

18th June 1944

Place: Le Mesnil 1172

 

1000 - C.O. and I.O. went to 5/7 Gordons H.Q. to see their dispositions as we were to relieve them in the evening.

 

1200 - 5/7 Gordons relief cancelled.  Our Bn moved nearer Escoville in the afternoon and took up new positions.

 

19th June 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

Terrific downpour of rain all day long, turning our area into a proper quagmire.  During the morning we provided a covering party for recce parties of 1 Black Watch who were to take up positions in front of our area.  In the afternoon recce parties turned up from 7 Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders who were to relieve us in the morning.

 

20th June 1944

Place: Le Mesnil

 

1000 - Bn. relieved by 7 A. & S.H. and moved back to area of Le Mariquet (1273) where we harboured for the night.

 

1400 -  C.O. and I.O. recced area of Herouvillette and Ranville at present defended by 9 Para. Bn. and Canadian Para. Bn.

 

21st June 1944

Place: Le Mariquet

 

0800 - Commenced relief of 9 Para. Bn. and Canadian Para. Bn.

 

1200 - Relief complete by 1200 hours.  Message received from Commander-in-Chief.