National Archives catalogue number WO 218/68.

 

Note: Apologies for the blank spaces in July and especially late August. The handwritten war diary is quite appalling in places. Any theories concerning

 

Abbreviation

2 i/c

A/B

A/C

Adj

Amb

Ammo

AO

Arty

Batty

Bde

BM

Bn

Cdo

Cmdo

CO

FDL

Excl

Fld

FOO

FOP

Fus

Gr

HE

HMG

HOC

How

IA

Int

Intell

Junc

LCI

LST

LMG
MDS

Med

MG

MMG

MO

MR

MT

OC

Offr

OP

OR

Posn

Pt

RA

RAP

Rd

Ref

Regt

RM

RN

RNVR

RV

SA

Sec

SS

Tp

Wef

Second-in-Command

Airborne

Aircraft

Adjutant

Ambulance

Ammunition

Administration Officer

Artillery

Battery

Brigade / Brigadier

Brigade Major

Battalion

Commando

Commando

Commanding Officer

Forward Defended Locality

Excluding

Field

Forward Observation Officer

Forward Observation Post ?

Fusilier

Grenadier

High Explosive

Heavy Machine Gun

Holding Op Commando

Howitzer

Inter-Allied

Intelligence

Intelligence

Junction

Landing Craft Infantry

Landing Ship Tank

Light Machine Gun

Main Dressing Station

Medium / Medical

Machine Gun

Medium Machine Gun

Medical Officer

Map Reference

Motor Transport

Officer Commanding

Officer

Observation Post / Operation (lower case)

Other Ranks

Position

Point

Royal Artillery

Regimental Aid Post

Road

Reference

Regiment

Royal Marines

Royal Navy

Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve

Rendezvous

Small Arms

Section

Special Service

Troop

With Effect

 

Month and year : June 1944

Commanding Officer : Lt. Col. D. Mills-Roberts DSO MC

 

1st to 3rd June 1944

Place: Camp C 18

 

Commando remains in camp and continues to study Operational plans.

 

4th June 1944

Place: Camp C 18

 

Operation postponed 24 hours.

 

5th June 1944

Place: Camp C 18

 

Commando embarks for 'Overlord' at Warsash.

 

6th June 1944

Place: In the field

 

Commando lands on QUEEN RED at 0840 hrs and marches to the positions at LE PLEIN taking en route one German battery 16 prisoners and killing 24.  Our casualties Capt Pyman MC killed, Major Coade wounded, 4 O.R's killed and 28 wounded.  Total casualties first day 3 and 32.  Action of the Commando Grand.  Appendix 'A'.

 

7th June 1944

Place: In the field

 

Commando is mortared 4 casualties Capt Robinson and 1 Troop comes in and tells us Lieut Fazan killed.  Lieut Stalker and 10 O.R's wounded.  We bombard enemy position with aid of Major Seligmann.  At noon 2 Troop 3 Troop and 6 Troop attack gun battery after second bombardment.  8 prisoners are taken.  See appendix 'B'.  Signals and booby traps completed.  Appd 'C & D'.

 

8th June 1944

Place: In the field, Le Plein

 

am - A noisy night.  Acting on information received from a French woman Capt Leaphard and 15 men go out on a fighting patrol and capture 2 Russian prisoners fighting for the Germans.  We suffer no casualties.  See App B.

 

noon - The Commando is attacked request artillery fire and our own 3" Mortars repulse attack.  No casualties suffered by us.

 

p.m. - Another noisy night.

 

9th June 1944

Place: In the field, Le Plein

 

a.m. - Brigadier Durnford-Slater and Brigadier Lord Lovat visit the positions it rains like Hell.  Awful.

 

0748 - Enemy fire develops from BREVILLE.

 

0803 - Enemy infiltrate into houses overlooking position.  They are mortared by us.

 

0850 - The Commando stands-to.  'K' guns come up and are issued immediately.  Enemy mortars 3 Troop.  We counter mortar.  45 Commando takes up position on our right.  Brigadier Lovat inspects position.

 

p.m. - We shell BREVILLE wood.  Shelling reported very accurate by Airborne O.P.  Lt Hugo and Lt Clark arrived with 1st Line reserves.  We lay mines to our front.  Are straffed by Focke-Wulfes.  Commando stands-to at 2000 hrs.  6 Troop ordered to send out reinforcement to 1 Troop.  They fail to reach 1 Tp.

 

10th June 1944

Place: In the field, Le Plein

 

a.m. - 2 Troop kill 2 snipers with 'K' gun.  We are heavily mortared.  We answer with our own mortars.

 

0800 - Enemy attacks all troops engage.  By 1700 hrs all attacks definitely repelled.  Suspect enemy got it in the neck.  Our own casualties total 16.  App 'E'.

 

11th June 1944

Place: In the field, Le Plein

 

We shell BREVILLE.  We are shelled heavily.  We capture a ½ track 20mm gun.

 

p.m. - Continued to be shelled.  Casualties 3.

 

12th June 1944

Place: In the field, Le Plein

 

a.m. - We shell enemy all day.  They shell us.

 

p.m. - 2200 hrs Brigade order 2 & 6 Troop to withdraw from trenches to permit 12th Para Btn to pass through and attack BREVILLE.  This attack is preceded by a very heavy barrage which is answered by enemy counter barrage.  12th Para Btn suffer heavy casualties forming up.  We suffer 1 Offr & 15 O.R's casualties.  12 Para Bn take BREVILLE.  Brigadier Lord Lovat wounded.  C.O. takes over Brigade.  Major Lewis takes over Commando.

 

13th June 1944

Place: In the field, Le Plein

 

am - Prisoners returning unescorted from BREVILLE are sent on by us to Brigade HQ.

 

pm - Position quiet.  Mr Emery and MMG join us.

 

14th June 1944

Place: In the field, Le Plein

 

am - Shelling to our South and Rear.

 

P.M. - Fairly quiet.  Nice weather.  Commando rest room organised by M.O. for exhausted cases.  Feeding Wine Blanket Beds and Pillows laid on.  24 periods.  Nine men at a time.

 

15th June 1944

Place: In the field, Le Plein

 

Quiet.  HQ have a chicken for dinner.

 

16th June 1944

Place: In the field, Le Plein

 

am - Shelling and mortaring.  A big attack to our south is repelled by neighbouring troops.

 

pm - Capt Leaphard and 6 Troop go on Recce patrol.

 

17th June 1944

Place: In the field, Le Plein

 

Quiet.

 

18th June 1944

Place: In the field, Le Plein

 

Noisy.  We are shelled all night.  No casualties.  No sleep.

 

19th June 1944

Place: In the field, Le Plein

 

Quiet.

 

20th June 1944

Place: In the field, Le Plein

 

Noisy night.  2 Troop receive patrol order.

 

21st June 1944

Place: In the field, Le Plein

 

2 Troop does fighting patrol.  Lt Wilson is evacuated wounded.  App'd 'H'.

 

22nd June 1944

Place: In the field, Le Plein

 

am - 3 Troop returns from Patrol 1 Other Rank killed and 10 wounded.  O.R ranks wounded by a regrettable short shoot by the R.A. reported by Mr Colquhoun.  App'd 'I'.

 

pm - Lieut Col MacAlpine Brigadier Durnford-Slater Lt-Col Vaugne visit us.

 

23rd June 1944

Place: In the field, Le Plein

 

am - A busy noisy night.

 

24th June 1944

Place: In the field, Le Plein

 

am - Following promotion come into effect:- Major A D Lewis to Lt-Col w.e.f. 12 June 44.  Capt D H G J Powell to Major and 2 i/c, w.e.f. 6/6/44.  Lt J C Clark to Capt and Adjutant w.e.f. 12/6/44.  Lt D Colquhoun to Capt w.e.f. 6/6/44 and assumes command of 3 Troop.  Lieut H R Price to Capt w.e.f. 12/6/44 and assumes command of No.4 Troop.  Lieut M J Leaphard to Capt w.e.f. 9/6/44 and assumes command of No.1 Troop.  Lieut R J Emery to Capt w.e.f. 6 June and assumes command of No.5 Troop.  Capt C E Leaphard promoted to Major w.e.f. 12/6/44.

 

pm - Heavy enemy air activity and artillery.

 

25th June 1944

Place: In the field, Le Plein

 

pm - Capt Price No 4 Troop goes out on fighting patrol.  Deception party provided by Capt Leaphard No.1 Troop and 1 section of 3" mortars from 5 Troop.

 

26th June 1944

Place: In the field, Le Plein

 

C.O. approves a long list of promotion of N C O's including 5 Sgt 3 L/Sgts.

 

pm - Following officers posted to us as follows:- Lt T M Chamberlain to 2 Troop.  Lt G S Murray to No 3 Troop.  Lt H Kay to 5 Troop.  Lieut C J Deacon to No.4 Troop.

 

27th June 1944

Place: In the field, Le Plein

 

All quiet.  Officers mess opened in Farm.

 

28th June 1944

Place: In the field, Le Plein

 

General Sturgess visits the Commando with Bde Mills-Roberts.

 

29th June 1944

Place: In the field, Le Plein

 

We sent out snipers to area Grande Ferme du Buisson.  App'x 'K'.

 

30th June 1944

Place: In the field, Le Plein

 

All quiet.

 

 

Month and year : July 1944

Commanding Officer : Lt. Col. A.D. Lewis

 

1st July 1944

Place: Le Plein

 

A.M. - Shell falls in 3 Tp lines - Lt [Murray?] wounded - 1 O.R. killed and two wounded.

 

P.M. - Major Leaphard takes out No.6 Tp to Longuemare Farm.  Lt. Clapton goes forward with two men on recce patrol.  No casualties.  See Appendix "A".

 

2nd July 1944

Place: Le Plein

 

A.M. - Considerable shelling and firing on our right flank around 0100 hrs.  Cmdo stands to for nearly one hour.

 

P.M. - Lt. Hugo and two men go out on recce patrol.  See Appendix "B".

 

3rd July 1944

Place: Le Plein

 

P.M. - Capt. Colquhoun and 25 O.R.'s from No.3 Tp go to Longuemare Farm as covering party to broadcast loudspeaker for Germans.  Leave 2200 hrs, return 2400 hrs.  Loudspeaker failed to function.

 

4th July 1944

Place: Le Plein

 

A.M. - Brig. Mills-Roberts and B.M. visit Cmdo.

 

P.M. - Fighting patrol under Major Leaphard No.6 Tp attacks enemy in Farm and Orchard N/E of Longuemare Farm.  Patrol successful.  Our casualties: 1 O.R. wounded and missing, 4 O.R.'s wounded.  See Appendix "C".

 

5th July 1944

Place: Le Plein

 

P.M. - Capt. Price and Lt Deacon and 30 O.R.s from No.4 Tp go out as covering party to Brigadier Mills-Roberts [?] between Longuemare Farm and Grande Ferme du Buisson at approx 1400 hrs.  At 1800 hrs Capt Price and 20 O.R.'s from No.4 Tp go out as covering party to Brigade Major same area.

 

6th July 1944

Place: Le Plein

 

All quiet.  Maj. Leaphard evacuated to M.D.S. as result of slight wound received during fighting patrol 4 July 44.

 

7th July 1944

Place: Le Plein

 

P.M. - No.4 Commando takes over in Breville - Capt. Hardey wounded in the arm by M.G. bullet while placing out snipers near Breville.  Snipers sent out to Longuemare cross roads and just North of Breville - they do not see any Germans.  Commando watches 450 Bomber Command A/C drop 2000 tons of bombs on Caen.  Enemy A/C drops heavy bomb 50 yds from Commando lines.

 

8th July 1944

Place: Le Plein

 

A.M. - Big attack on Caen starts - we see 3 enemy A/C destroyed over Orne bridges by Ack/Ack.

 

P.M. - All mortars brigade harass German F.D.L.'s.  One 3" mortar H.E. bomb falls short in 3 Tp lines.  No casualties.

 

9th July 1944

Place: Le Plein

 

A.M. - Quiet day.

 

P.M. - Caen reported captured.  Our 3" mortars support fighting patrol from 45 R.M. Commando North of Breville.

 

10th July 1944

Place: Le Plein

 

All quiet - [Thickened?] enemy shelling and mortaring during the night.

 

11th July 1944

Place: Le Plein

 

All quiet - Lt.Col. W.N. Gray - 45 R.M. Commando dines with us.

 

12th July 1944

Place: Le Plein

 

A.M. - Brigadier Mills-Roberts inspects the lines.

 

P.M. - Lt.Col. Menday - No.4 Commando - dines with us.

 

13th July 1944

Place: Le Plein

 

All quiet.

 

14th July 1944

Place: Le Plein

 

P.M. - No.1 S.S. Bde War Memorial is unveiled in Church Square at Le Plein.  We send a detachment of 30 men under Capt. R.J. Emery.  Brig. Durnford-Slater takes salute at march past.

 

15th July 1944

Place: Le Plein

 

All quiet - Capt. Tasker, Capt. Hardey, Capt. Thompson given immediate award of the M.C. - L/Cpl Gray, No.6 Troop, gets M.M.

 

16th July 1944

Place: Le Plein

 

A.M. - We unveil and dedicate No.6 Commando Memorial during short service by Padre.  Brigadier Mills-Roberts present.

 

P.M. - Capt. Tasker and L/Cpl Gray receive their M.C. and M.M. from General Montgomery at ceremony at 6 Airborne Division.  C.O. and R.S.M. present.  C.O. speaks to Montgomery.  C.O. and 2 i/c attend a conference by Brig. Durnford-Slater on the question of future reorganisation.

 

17th July 1944

Place: Le Plein

 

P.M. - No.1 and No.4 Troops dig slit-trenches - [Tanks?] are dug in and preparations made for big attack scheduled for 18 July 44.

 

18th July 1944

Place: Le Plein

 

A.M. - Big attack S.E. of our bridge-head commences 0430 hrs.  We watch R.A.F. and U.S. Bombers fly over and drop 8000 tons of bombs on German positions.  Heavy gun-fire all day.

 

P.M. - Lt. W.H. [Balmer?] our rear-party officer in U.K., comes out and joins us by detailed to No.5 Troop.  German Le Plein area after dusk.  Stick of bombs fell across orchard in front of our positions.  No casualties.  Petrol and ammo trucks in village explode.

 

19th July 1944

Place: Le Plein

 

A.M. - One unexploded bomb found 10 yards from H.Q. trenches.

 

20th July 1944

Place: Le Plein

 

P.M. - Lt. Dixon and 16 O.R.'s join us from Beach units - Lt. Dixon posted to No.4 Tp, O.R.'s to No.1 and 3 Tps.  Lt Kay moves to No.3 Tp and Lt. Deacon to No.6 Troop.  Very heavy thunderstorm in late afternoon.  Rum issued to all ranks.

 

21st July 1944

Place: Le Plein

 

Rains all day.

 

22nd July 1944

Place: Le Plein

 

2 snipers from each Tp. (excl. No.5 Tp) operate all day area Longuemare Farm.  Several Germans seen, one shot.

 

P.M. - No.3 Troop sent out three patrols at night.  One ambush patrol at house ref 143749 and another at hedge ref 144753.  Lt. Kay and two men do recce patrol up to house ref 147750.  No Germans heard or seen, no firing.

 

23rd July 1944

Place: Le Plein

 

A.M. - Considerable firing from our left flank just before dawn due to patrol activity by No.47 R.M. Commando.

 

P.M. - Lt. Dixon and 20 O.R.'s from No.4 Troop recce house at ref 147750, they hear sound of German voices.  Firm base under Capt. Price at Longuemare Cross Roads.  No casualties.

 

24th July 1944

Place: Le Plein

 

P.M. - No.2 Troop send out a standing patrol of one section and two snipers to Longuemare Farm during afternoon.  Nothing to report.  Brigadier Mills-Roberts comes for dinner.  No.1 Troop sends out ambush and recce patrols in area of Longuemare Farm.  Germans heard shouting and talking, but no incidents or casualties.

 

25th July 1944

Place: Le Plein

 

A.M. - Shelling of Bde. area during early hours of morning.

 

P.M. - We receive orders to move on July 29th.

 

26th July 1944

Place: Le Plein

 

A.M. - Kit inspection of whole unit in morning.  C.O.'s conference at noon re move of unit.

 

27th July 1944

Place: Le Plein

 

A.M. - Considerable enemy air activity during early hours of morning.  Several anti-personnel bombs in our area.  No casualties.  Move of unit on 29th cancelled.  Brigadier Mills-Roberts accompanied by B.M. inspects the Commando.  He then talks to all Troops assembled in orchard.

 

P.M. - Brig. Carr, with Brig Mills-Roberts visits the Commando.

 

28th July 1944

Place: Le Plein

 

A.M. - Capt. Sykes from 6 A/B Div. demonstrates camouflage to Commando snipers.

 

P.M. - Usual enemy air activity after dark.

 

29th July 1944

Place: Le Plein

 

P.M. - Capt. Emery evacuated to U.K. through M.D.S. for operation.  Lt. [Mansbridge?] and Lt. [Graham?] join unit from Border Regt.  They join No.2 and No.1 Troops respectively.

 

30th July 1944

Place: Le Plein

 

A.M. - General Gale - Commanding 6 Airborne Div - accompanied by Brigadier Mills-Roberts visits units.  Capt. Price and 16 O.R.'s go to Gen. Montgomery's H.Q. to form a Commando Guard.

 

31st July 1944

Place: Le Plein

 

A.M. - Order for move of Commando arrives during the night.  Commando moves out of Le Plein at 0900 hrs and marches to new area on fringe of Bois de Bavent ref 139709.  New area taken over from 9 Para Bn by 1200 hrs.

 

P.M. - Commando settles in.  No.1 Troop is right forward - No.3 Tp behind it with No.6 Tp - No.4 Tp on right flank and No.2 Tp in reserve.  Mortaring and shelling during late afternoon.  Two O.R.'s from No.3 Tp slightly wounded and evacuated to M.D.S.

 

 

Month and year : August 1944

Commanding Officer : Lt. Col. A.D. Lewis

 

1st August 1944

Place: Bois de Bavent

 

A.M. - Enemy mortaring Bde. area at odd intervals all day.  Own arty active.

 

P.M. - L/Sgt Dobbs and 2 O.R's from No.2 Troop to recce 200 yds SOUTH of F.O.P., they see 2 Germans and hear several others in the undergrowth.  They withdraw unheard.  No casualties - One H.Q. O.R. wounded by mortar bomb.

 

2nd August 1944

Place: Bois de Bavent

 

A.M. - Lt. Kay leaves unit, returns to U.K. and is struck off our strength.  Troop positions altered.  No.2 Troop goes over to right flank.  No.1 Troop withdrawn to rear of Commando leaving only a standing patrol forward to be manned by Troops in turn for 24 hours.  Spasmodic mortaring of our positions all day.  One slight casualty in 5 Tp during evening.

 

3rd August 1944

Place: Bois de Bavent

 

P.M. - L/Sgt. Jones - No.2 Troop wounded by booby-trap.  Enemy mortaring all day - Sgt. [Rattle?] - H.Q. slightly wounded.  Lt. Goodwin - No.1 Troop - takes out 2 O.R.'s on recce but runs into booby-trap wounding both O.R.s.  First issue of Commando Daily newssheet "The slit-trench sentinel" appears.

 

4th August 1944

Place: Bois de Bavent

 

P.M. - Usual spasmodic enemy mortaring and counter action by our arty all day.  L/Sgt. Hare - No.3 Tp. and Cpl. Drew - No.10 (I.A.) Commando - wounded by booby-traps.

 

5th August 1944

Place: Bois de Bavent

 

A.M. - Two Polish deserters surrender to own forward Standing Patrol at 0800 hrs.  They belong to 3/346 Pioneer Bn. and were laying mines to our front.  Two officers and 20 O.R's go to cinema show at St Luc sur Mer.

 

P.M. - L/Sgt. Kendall - No.4 Tp - wounded by shell splinters.  Brigadier Mills-Roberts with a Major from C.O.H.Q. visit our lines.  Usual mortaring during the day.

 

6th August 1944

Place: Bois de Bavent

 

A.M. - Lt. Griffiths - No.10 (I.A.) Commando does a propaganda broadcast from our forward Standing Patrol.  C.O. visits Capt. Price and guard at Gen. Montgomery's H.Q.

 

P.M. - Ring of booby-traps places around our Standing Patrol.  Usual enemy mortaring and counter action by our arty.

 

7th August 1944

Place: Bois de Bavent

 

A.M. - Lt. Deacon leaves unit, returns to U.K. and is struck off strength of unit.  Two O.R.'s from No.6 Tp. are wounded in skirmish with enemy when going out from Standing Patrol to man F.O.P.  Enemy only heard but not seen in thick undergrowth.

 

P.M. - Capt. Hardey - Lt. [Stalker?] and Lt. McDonnell with 25 O.R.s rejoin unit.  Most of O.R.s are wounded personnel returned fit.  Capt. Hardey takes over again No.2 Tp - Lt. [Stalker?] returns to No.1 Tp. and Lt. McDonnell is posted to No.3 Troop.  T.S.M. Payne returns and goes to his old troop - No.4.  T.S.M. James moves from No.4 Tp. to No.2 Tp.  Lt. Goodwin goes from No.1 Tp. to No.6 Troop.  Usual enemy mortaring during day - no casualties.

 

8th August 1944

Place: Bois de Bavent

 

A.M. - Lt. Col. C.C. Coade returns and takes Command of unit.  Major Lewis becomes 2 i/c.  Major Powell takes over duties of Adj.  Capt. Clark takes over duties of A.O.

 

9th August 1944

Place: Bois de Bavent

 

A.M. - Lt. Clayton is promoted to Capt.; Major-Gen. Sturges Capt. Jefferies R.N. visit the commando.

 

P.M. - Bdr. D. Mills-Roberts to-gether with Maj. Gen. Laycock C.C.D. visit the unit positions.  The C.O. dines with 4 Cdo.

 

10th August 1944

Place: Bois de Bavent

 

A.M. - Bdr. D. Mills-Roberts DSO. MC. visits our lines.  Lt. Clayton is promoted to Captain.

 

P.M. - Shelling by the enemy in the late afternoon.  One man wounded by accident.

 

11th August 1944

Place: Bois de Bavent

 

A.M. - Lovely weather.

 

P.M. - Shelling.  Tp. Cmdrs read up operation "Paddle".  Shelling continues.  Lt. Cdr. Jefferies R.N.V.R. pays us a visit.  6 Troop sent out a patrol under Lt. Goodwin.  Appx 'A'.

 

12th August 1944

Place: Bois de Bavent

 

A.M. - Weather fine.

 

P.M. - Shelling.

 

13th August 1944

Place: Bois de Bavent

 

A.M. - Peaceful.

 

P.M. - Bad shelling.

 

14th August 1944

Place: Bois de Bavent

 

A.M. - C.O. visits Bde. H.Q. in company with the med off.  Lt. Col. Bruce Harvey O.C. 225 Para Field Amb visits the unit.

 

P.M. - The Brigadier visits the unit.

 

15th August 1944

Place: Bois de Bavent

 

A.M. - Shelling and Mortaring.

 

P.M. - Shelling and Mortaring.  3 casualties at 1420 hrs.

 

16th August 1944

Place: Bois de Bavent

 

[0200?] - Heavy mortaring and shelling.  A noisy night.

 

A.M. - Quiet.

 

P.M. - Major Yates H.O.C. visits the cdo.  Preparation for op. 'Paddle'.

 

17th August 1944

Place: Bois de Bavent

 

0700 - Cdo moves forward through Bois de Bavent to Bavent.  Enemy has withdrawn.

 

Place: Bavent

 

1100 - 2 Tp. reach bridges across DIVETTE.

 

1300 - 3 Tp. sends out fighting patrol to secure bridge across Divette.

 

1600 - 6 Tp. cross Divette and enters and holds Robehomme.

 

18th August 1944

Place: Bavent

 

0630 - 4 Tp. sends fighting patrol under Lt. Dixon to cross Dives and hold Railway beyond.

 

P.M. - Lt. Dixon 1 O.R. wounded.  Sgt. Walker killed.  See Appx B.  Heavy aircraft force overhead.

 

19th August 1944

Place: Bavent

 

A.M. - Cdo stands by to move off.

 

1200 - Cdo. moves to Plain Gruchet.

 

Place: Plain Gruchet

 

2300 - Cdo. marches to secure heights of Angoville E. of the Dives.

 

20th August 1944

Place: Angoville

 

0600 - Cdo. takes heights.  Casualties in the taking of the heights nil and 4 O.R.'s.  Prisoners taken 15 Germans killed about 8.

 

1000 - Cdo. is shelled.  Casualties nil and 4 killed 20 wounded O.R.'s.  Cdo. repels two counter-attacks.

 

21st August 1944

Place: Angoville

 

It begins to rain.  We remain at Angoville.  Major Leaphard and 15 O.R.'s re-join us.

 

22nd August 1944

Place: East to the Seine

 

0900 - We move off Eastwards in Transport.  3 more prisoners are taken by 5 Trp.  We stop at Heuland and wait.

 

P.M. - It rains again.

 

23rd August 1944

Place: Heuland

 

A.M. - We move to La Haie Tondue.  We are warned for an operation on Pont L'Éveque and prepare but it is cancelled.

 

24th August 1944

Place: La Haie Tondue

 

P.M. - We move forward from La Haie Tondue.  Spend 1 hr in a farm and then infiltrate through the enemy lines to [?].  One prisoner taken.  The Cdo. is guided by the [G.O.?].

 

25th August 1944

Place: [Brockelterville?]

 

A.M. - Cdo dug in & Capt. Greenhalgh HOC arrives in attachment from group.

 

P.M. - Capt. Hardey & 2 Troop leaves for the enemy lines.  See appendix.

 

26th August 1944

Place: [Brockelterville?]

 

A.M. - We leave for an orchard E. of Beauzville and find 2 Troop.

 

27th August 1944

Place: Beuzeville

 

The Commando is given a rest period.  Troops visit Trouville.

 

28th August 1944

Place: Beuzeville

 

Rest period continues.

 

29th August 1944

Place: Beuzeville

 

Rest period continues.

 

30th August 1944

Place: Beuzeville

 

Rest period continues.

 

31st August 1944

Place: Beuzeville

 

Rest period continues.  2 Offrs + 13 O.R's place a wreath on the Tomb of the unknown soldier in Paris.  Capt. Greenhalgh leaves this unit for England.

 

 

Month and year : September 1944

Commanding Officer : Lt. Col. C. Courtenay-Coade

 

1st September 1944

Place: Beuzeville

 

Commando remains at rest in Beuzeville.

 

2nd September 1944

Place: Beuzeville

 

Commando remains at rest in Beuzeville.

 

3rd September 1944

Place: Beuzeville

 

Commando remains at rest in Beuzeville.

 

4th September 1944

Place: Beuzeville

 

Commando remains at rest in Beuzeville.

 

5th September 1944

Place: Beuzeville

 

Commando prepare for "Lordover".  M.T. is handed in.

 

6th September 1944

Place: Beuzeville

 

Commando leaves in M.T. for Arromanches and spends the night in No.60 Transit Camp.

 

7th September 1944

Place: 60 Transit Camp

 

Commando embarks on L.S.T. 402 and L.S.T. 162 at Arromanches.

 

8th September 1944

Place: On Board

 

The Commando sails.  Reaching Gosport Sound at 2000 hrs.

 

9th September 1944

Place: Gosport

 

L.S.T's touch down.  End of Operation "Lordover", Commando in high spirits.  A dry landing.  We proceed in transport to Fort Monckton for breakfast and then by train to Petworth Park where everything is wonderfully organised and the Commando, washes, eats and changes its clothing, and greets its wounded.

 

10th September 1944

Place: Petworth

 

Commando prepares to go on leave.

 

11th September 1944

Place: Petworth

 

Commando goes on leave.

 

 

Appendix 'A'

Action of No.2 Troop

 

Report.

6/6/44

 

1015 - 2 Troop assumes lead, and made contact with tanks (SHERMANS) at 084792.

 

1020 - 2 Troop comes under mortar fire from area 065791.  Leading tanks left to liquidate mortars.

 

1035 - Leading section 2 Troop under fire from German L.M.G. firing from road 085787.  Position attacked and gun crew wiped out.  Then came under fire from 2 L.M.G's in Pill-Boxes and trenches.  Major Coade wounded recceing for an attack on these.  Were eliminated with help of SHERMANS which re-joined at this point.  Casualties 1 O.R. killed, 1 O.R. wounded.

 

1100 - Advance continues - Supposed minefield crossed under enemy L.M.G. fire.  2" Mortar smoke used to cover crossing (No casualties).

 

1110 - 2 Troop contacts enemy in dug-out at 093786 who withdraw.

 

1130 - Lt Cruden shot through shoulder at 091793 on path.  Sniper shot, believed killed.

 

1135 - Party of approx 12 enemy at 093783 (rd) on being attacked scattered and ran.

 

1200 - Forward guns of battery at 094778 observed by leading section.  2 Troop attacked immediately Battery was in hedge behind thick scrub.  7 prisoners taken, others wounded and killed.  Scrub did not delay advance of troop pushing on to St Aubin-D'Arquenay.  Following troop to 4 further prisoners, where remaining guns of battery had been withdrawn (88mm?).  Advance continues down road 093767 to road junction 098753, where cycle troop was contacted, tp bridge - to Le Plein.  The 7 prisoners handed over to Brigade HQ on EAST bank of river.

 

1900 - Commando sniped at from Amfreville.

 

2000 - Patrol composed of 1 Sec 2 Troop sent to clear village.

 

2100 - Village cleared and patrol returns.

 

 

Appendix 'B'

3 Troop - VI Commando

Report on D-Day

 

At 08.45 hrs on 6th June 1944, 3 Troop of VI Commando landed from its L.C.I. on to its allotted beach without casualties.  After getting clear of the beach as quickly as possible, amidst a certain amount of confusion, the troop took up its position as leading troop of the Commando, and consequently of the whole No.1 S.S. Brigade.  It was noticed that no troops in 8 Infantry Bde had penetrated further than the first lateral, at that time and place, as they considered that the area before them was under fire.  The troop, however, proceeded to the Commando forming-up area, which was in the woods 086797; reaching it without casualties and undue incidents.  As we ran inland shells from our ships were falling beyond and on to various enemy batteries; a six-barreled mortar was also seen firing fairly close although the bombs were landing to our rear.  The ground up to this time had been very marshy and many deep ditches had to be crossed which were filled with water - the weight of the rucksacks carried making it no easier to get out of them.

 

On reaching the Commando forming-up position, the Commanding Officer only gave the troop enough time to get into proper formation before continuing the advance inland.  The country was by this time heavily wooded, and the troop stuck to fairly well defined paths, which were luckily going in the same direction as the line of advance.  The enemy had stuck "Minen" signs all over the place which must have been bluff as no mines were encountered despite the fact the troop walked over many of the signed areas.  Continuing in a southerly direction the troop soon came to the two pill boxes which had been allotted to 3 Troop to either attack or neutralize until the remainder of the Brigade had passed through.  Although no firing was coming from these pill boxes at the time they could be seen quite easily through the trees - another strong point also being discovered in the corner of a field which was not shown on the photograph.

 

The troop commander decided to attack all three positions and despatched No.2 Section to the more westerly and went himself with No.1 Section to the other two.  No.2 Section attacked and found the position had been vacated at very short notice, and signs of bombing were evident everywhere.  The section then returned to support No.1 Section in the event of their needing it.  No.1 Section were formed into two parties and a third gave covering fire onto a hedge ahead whilst the attack went in from the flank.  The first pill box was cleared by grenades after putting up minor resistance.  The second pill box was attacked in a like manner and two prisoners were taken.  Returning from this attack fire was turned on the section from a hedge in the rear.  In the attack one man was severely wounded.

 

No.2 Section then proceeded off to destroy the six-barreled mortar which had been firing fairly close all this time, in co-operation with two Sherman tanks which had by this time come up with some other infantry.  On reaching the road in the area 084791 the section came under small arms fire from a distance.  After penetrating a little further the mortar was nowhere to be seen and having gone somewhat over our boundary the section returned, and on the orders of the Brigadier continued the advance to Breville.

 

The route that was taken was Colleville 083789, 083779, 094776, 101754, Benouville bridges, 116749, 128746, Breville, 134744.  During the advance several snipers were contacted but they always fired and retired through the undergrowth.  On reaching the Bénouville area small arms fire was heard in the village so the Troop Commander decided to by-pass the village and make for the bridges which had been reported captured by the Airborne.  On nearing the bridges a group of men were seen through a hedge 200 yards away and these were first thought to be Germans; on looking at them through the glasses, however, they were recognised as paratroops.  The Troop Commander waved the Union Jack carried for this purpose and shouted us.  On seeing us the paratroops cheered frantically and moved towards us.  The party consisted of a paratroop Brigadier, Colonel Pine-Coffin and their H.Q.  The Brigadier said to our Troop Commander: "We are very pleased to see you".  The Troop Commander characteristically answered, looking at his watch: "I am afraid we are a few minutes later, Sir!"

 

The troop then continued across the bridges and so on to Breville via Amfreville.  Small parties of paratroops were met on route, but the ground ahead of us was undoubtedly unclaimed territory.  Just this side of Breville we met a civilian who informed us that Breville was held by Germans; this was odd as we marched into the village without being fired on at all and took up a position around a fairly large house which we discovered to be the H.Q. of the Officer and R.S.M. in charge of the local troops.  Leaving a section at this house the Troop Commander decided to attack another house which the enemy were reported to be living in and from which they were sniping at us.

 

The section tried to make its way round to the back of this house and take it from the rear in area 134744.  It was at this point in the back garden of a house that the Troop Commander was killed, shot in the neck by a sniper.  The section was then heavily mortared from the area 135745 and consequently withdrew to the position of the former house after having several casualties.

 

Little did the section realise that they were within 200 yards of a troop of four German 105 Gun-Hows and a dual purpose 20 mm gun, situated in the orchard 135746.  These guns had not fired a single shot whilst the troop had been coming up.

 

Not being able to dig-in in the area allotted to the troop on account of enemy small arms fire the troop was ordered to dig-in in its present position.  Not more than a half hour elapsed before heavy mortar fire descended on the troop area, also shots from the dual-purpose gun.  Although the troop had dug-in as much as possible in the time, heavy casualties were sustained in the first two hours and the position was regarded as impracticable to hold against a determined attack.  The troop was then ordered back to the area of Commando H.Q. 130748 where it dug in - the rest of the evening passing uneventfully.

 

At the end of the day the Troop had suffered 21 casualties.  The body of Capt A.C.H. Pyman, M.C., was recovered two days later and buried at Le Plein.

 

2 July 44.

 

 

Appendix 'C'

Report on Attack on German Field-Gun Position Map. Ref. 135747 by Troop Commanders who Took Part

 

Report as given by Troops taking part and Order of March:-

 

Statement by Capt. Thompson, Force Commander, No.4 Troop

 

We were ordered at 1125 hrs 7 June 44 to capture at map. ref. 135747 a BATTERY intact.  My orders were to assault with two Troops and a third Troop as Fire Support.  An Artillery Barrage was laid on for 1155 hrs to 1200 hrs.  Mortar smoke to screen the forming up place was laid on from 1157 hrs to 1200 hrs.

 

The forming up place was reached without incident, (this was a Wall and Dyke west end of village) except for a sniper in one of the houses covering the road.  He was liquidated.

 

At 1155 hrs No.2 Troop under Capt. Hardey moved close to the Artillery barrage to cover position on the west side of the village under open ground.

 

At 1200 hrs Troops moved forward in the following order: No.4 Troop and No.6 Troop.  The Support Troop moved forward in bounds until they were at very close range.  After 150 x both Troops fanned out in open order and went in from the orchard into the assault.  Snipers were encountered and all accounted for.  Casualties were suffered, however, from snipers.

 

The objective turned out to be one gun not dug in and facing own Troop positions.  The remainder of guns dug in facing north.  In addition there was a cannon-gun mounted on wheels and four light machine-guns also captured.  In a dug-out close to the Batteries position were four Airborne personnel, who had been taken prisoners during the previous day, whom we rescued.  Three of these men were wounded - one seriously.

 

There were also some German casualties from the previous shelling.  These were all taken prisoner.

 

From the objective all Troops sent parties through the wood clearing it of snipers.  Finally cleared the houses in the village, capturing a selection of material including intercepted British Rations (Airborne) 2 re-captured Brens, range-finders, 3-80cm. mortars, and other weapons and a further number of prisoners.

 

These Troops all R.V. finally in one Troop areas and made report.  The greatest assistance was given by No.6976552 Sgt. Sanderson, 9th. Para. Regt. who escaped on the morning of 7 June 44 and returned to his own Troop defence positions and gave accurate information as to enemy morale, position, etc.

 

Opposition could not be described as heavy but there was considerable activity which was responsible for all our casualties.

 

Total casualties for the attack: 2 O.Rs. wounded and 1 (one) O.R. Killed.

Total number of Germans killed: 8.

Total number of Germans Captured: 12.

 

Capt. C.E. LEAPHARD O.C. No.6 Troop and Capt. R.G.K. Hardey O.C. No.2 Troop.  The evidence of the above officers coincides with the above statement.

 

 

Appendix 'E'

Intelligence Log

No.6 Commando

 

10/6/44

0001 hrs - Intermittent shelling of our positions throughout the night.

 

0700 hrs - No. 2 Troop shoots sniper out of tree on their front with 'K' gun.

 

0800, 0810 - Enemy mortars bring heavy fire on our positions.

 

0812 - Farm house hit with shells.

 

0818 - Mortar and Arty barrage enemy batty in wood-Breville.

 

0830, 0900 - L.M.G. and S.A. Fire covering our positions.

 

0900 - All troops engage enemy with fire.

 

0920 - Cease fire ordered.

 

0925 - 2" & 3" Mortars open fire on enemy.

 

0930 - Believed HMG (.5") firing on us.

 

0950 - Several wounded entered our RAP (farmhouse) were sniped at.

 

1000 - Lt Colquhoun and 3 Troop closes on Farmhouse and our Cdo positions and moves into 6 Tp lines.

 

1005 - 3" Mortar moves up to farm and takes up positions in rear of 2 Tp.

 

1010 - 3" Mortar fire on enemy in BREVILLE wood.

 

1020 - No.6 Troop sends out a Patrol.

 

1030 - Approx 10 rounds of heavy shells fall in our area.

 

1035 - 3 Troop moving back to original position.

 

1038 - 2 mortar shells land in own LMG position in front of our area causing it to retire.

 

1044 - 2 more shells land in same area.

 

1100 - Enemy mortar village Le Plein and our positions.

 

1140 - Mortaring of our positions continues.

 

1145 - C.O. sends round message congratulating No.6 Commando for beating off first attack.

 

1215 - Casualties:- 2 Dead & 13 wounded approx.

 

1230 - Enemy shells in around village Le Plein.

 

1232 - Slight enemy LMG fire from SOUTH.

 

1300 - Enemy mortaring shells land in our area.  Slight exchange of LMG fire.

 

1415 - Carpet of large calibre guns (possible fragmentat on shells?) covered 3 Commando area.

 

1430 - Intermittent arty fire.

 

1600 - 3" Mortar open fires.

 

1500-1700 - Exchange of mortar and arty fire through-out afternoon coming mainly from S.E. and N.E.

 

1700 - No.6 Troop sends out a Patrol.

 

1730-1930 - Approx 110 shells land in our area.

 

2200 - Approx 30 mortar bombs land in close vicinity of HQ.

 

11/6/44

0500 - Our arty lays barrage of approx 40-50 shells in area BREVILLE and woods.

 

0630 - Mortars attack village BREVILLE.

 

0635-0645 - Approx 35 shells land in our positions.

 

0650 - Small amount of S.A. fire coming from BREVILLE.

 

0700-0715 - Approx 30 mortar shells land in our positions.  Casualties:- 2 Dead (1 Intell Sect) 1 Wounded (1 Intell Section)

 

0720 - Series of explosions (approx 15) in area (believed rocket projectiles).

 

0740 - Approx 48 shells land in area.

 

0810 - Approx 30 shells land in area.

 

0820 - Counter-battery fire by both sides.

 

0930 - 27 Shells land in area.

 

Patrol with Intelligence section proceed to Amfreville and bring in enemy ammunition and equipment.  1 Semi-track vehicle, 2 Mortar ammo carriers.

 

1000-1600 - Intermittent shelling in area.

 

2100 - Comparative quiet.

 

2110 - Snipers active in area.

 

2120 - 3 shells (believed 25 pounders) fall in our area.  Attempts made to check them.

 

2205-2225 - 68 Mortar shell land in our area.

 

 

App "F"

 

Report of a Group of Recce Patrols to Area Gonneville-Breville Road by 6 Troop, No.6 Commando.

Date: 16/17 June 44.

Strength: 2 Officers and 40 O.R's with Sjt Nichols, L/Cpl Drew, L/Cpl Masters and Pte Mason of Brigade Intelligence Section.

Time Set Out: 2100 hours.

Time of Return: 0300 hours.

Visibility: Poor, Cloudy.

Weather: Dark and Misty.  Slight North West Wind.

 

Report

A Patrol that consisted of 3 Reconnaissance Groups and a firm Base was established as a fighting Group in Area 137763.

 

No.1 Patrol set out at 2100 hours.  Made for corner of Wood 136758 where it observed fire on the Gonneville Road which sounded like an M.G. 34, together with a mortar flare fired towards the WOOD bearing of which was 102°.  It then made its way down the edge of the whole WOOD to the corner 139755 where it remained listening, being unable to go any further owing to the fact that No.3 and No.45 Cdo were operating in that Area.  Patrol returned to Base at 0130 hours.

 

No.2 Patrol went to investigate La Grande Ferme du Buisson and surroundings in WOODS 140764.  This Patrol reported nothing in the above area and only drew a flare towards it.  Area X Rds 138768.  It then returned to its base at 0045 hours.

 

No.3 Patrol was ordered to go as far forward as possible on the same Gonneville Rd in the area 149764.  Owing to WOODS and a HAYFIELD its progress was slow, finally it emerged in approx area of Stream 148764.  It encountered shortly afterwards an enemy Patrol of about 9 strong heading towards the South, about 100 yards away from where they were.  At this stage a mortar flare was fired towards them bearing of which was 80°.  This Patrol was behind time and the Patrol Commander decided to return to his base where he arrived at 0215 hours.

 

The Fighting Group was organized in the form of an Ambush but no enemy were encountered.


The Patrol returned to its lines at 0300 hours.

 

 

App "H"

Report on a Fighting Patrol to Area Rd 147759 by No.2 Troop and Support Party From No.5 Troop, No.6 Commando

 

Date: 20/21 June 44

Strength: 2 Troop 2 Offr's and 42 O.R's

              5 Troop 1 Offr and 12 O.R's plus 1 Med M.G.

              Sjt Nichols and L/Cpl Masters from Bde Int Section

              1 Offr + 1 O.R. F.O.O. Party.

Time Set Out:- Recce Party of 2 Offrs + 2 O.R.'s 1830 hours.

                        Main Body 2200 hours.

Time of Return:- 0215 hours.

Visibility:- Poor.

Weather:- Dark with moderate N.W. wind.

 

REPORT

Recce Party:- Intention:- to establish an O.P. in daylight at 143759 to observe enemy F.D.L's.  Owing to some open ground this party did not achieve their objective.  It being impossible for them to get forward in daylight without being observed from enemy positions.  The officer from 5 Troop's support party, who were to protect the left flank, managed to recce a position for their M.G. at 143760.

 

Main Party: moved out through forward position into Wood 1375 and at 2230 hours they took up a position at corner of Wood 140757, where they could lay up until required for the attack.  Patrol Commander in charge of this party then moved forward and contacted recce party, who withdrew to main body.  At 0045 hours the main body moved forward to forming up area, corner of Wood 147758 where the fire group took up positions slightly forward of this point.  At 0130 hours the F.O.O. brought down Artillery fire at rapid rate on the following tasks:-

            2 Batteries        Wood 147755

            1 Battery          Wood 154765

This fire lasted until 0137 hours.  During this period the assault group moved forward along the line of hedge to a position approx 147757, where the leading element heard movements in the hedge, they attacked immediately with hand grenades.  Meanwhile an enemy L.M.G. opened fire from approx 200 yds to their left, from the direction of the road.  The covering group opened fire on this position and the enemy L.M.G. fire ceased.  There were no casualties.  By this time the Artillery fire had ceased, and enemy small arms fire started on the right flank, this was answered by the covering party, a short fight ensued.  Surprise having been lost, the Patrol Commander decided to withdraw, this accomplished without casualties.  The Patrol returned by the West and South sides of wood 1375.  The enemy continued to fire in the direction of this wood, but his fire was high.  He also sent up flares.  One L.M.G. appeared to be firing from a position forward of the Rd approx area 145754.  The patrol returned to its lines at 0215 hours.

 

 

App "I"

Report on Fighting Patrol of No.3 Troop No.6 Commando on night 21/22 June 1944

 

OBJECT OF PATROL  To probe enemy F.D.L's and capture prisoners in the area, triangular Orchard 147755.

SUPPORT.  1 Fld Regt R.A.    Task as previously planned.

                    6 Cdo 3" Mortars   Task as previously planned.

STRENGTH.  2 Officers and 48 O.R's and F.O.O. attached.

 

REPORT  The patrol starting out from Commando H.Q. at 2300 hrs and proceeded through No.3 and No.4 Commando positions respectively, and by 2320 hrs reached Track Junction 136757.  Continuing on track, the patrol reached end of wood at point 139756, without incident, and remained there on account of light.  Moving from wood, the patrol continued through fields of cut corn and grass straight to hedge 144756.  Numerous hedges were crossed on the way but no enemy encountered although flares were fired at intervals from their F.D.L's.  On reaching hedge 144756 a Bren Group was despatched to corner of hedge 143757, another Bren Group was despatched to point 144754, thus covering both flanks.  The assault party, comprised of 2 Officers and 20 men, lined the hedge 145755 between the two Bren Groups.  The patrol was in position to attack at 00.45 hrs.

 

At exactly 01.00 hrs, the barrage started to fall, the main point of impact being approximately 146755.  Several guns were firing short of this point and shells were falling some ten yards in front of the Assault Party, injuring 10 men in the Assault Group and one man in the right Bren group.  When the barrage lifted as ordered at 0106 hrs, one gun continued to fire short, thus preventing an immediate assault behind the main barrage.

 

The Patrol Commander decided, in view of the number of casualties the loss of surprise and the delay in the attack, to strengthen his assault party by taking men from the left hand Bren Group.  On reaching the left hand positions, it was discovered that the Bren party had encountered a German patrol at 146757.  The patrol consisted of 5 men, two were wounded and the remainder made off towards their main positions.  Considerable time was spent in searching for the wounded men, however after several minutes they ceased to groan and the nature of the undergrowth made it quite impossible to find them; darkness also helped them to conceal their positions.

 

After this incident the Patrol withdrew by the same way they had come, taking all their wounded with them, one man dying on the way.  The patrol reported back to its lines at 03.15 hrs.

 

MAP:  OUISTREHAM Sheet No. 40/16 N.W.

 

(Signed) D.COLQUHOUN Lieut

O.C. Patrol.

 

221400 B.

 

 

Appendix

 

Date of Patrol:  25/26 June 1944.

Troop:  No.4 Troop under Capt. Price.

Strength of Patrol:  1 Officer and 14 O.R's.

Visibility:  Good.

Weather:  Raining (an advantage to the Patrol).

Time set off:  0015 hrs.

Time returned:  0345 hrs.

 

REPORT

The Object of the Patrol was to capture and destroy the enemy Standing Patrol in the area 145757.  Strength of enemy patrol estimates 5 Germans.

 

This area was carefully investigated and no sign of the enemy was seen throughout the Patrol.

 

A considerable amount of fire was drawn from enemy F.D.L.s by a deception Party consisting of 25 O.R's from No.1 Troop under Capt. M.J. Leaphard which were working well on the left flank.

 

An interesting experiment was tried after the deception Party had withdrawn by a new 'gadget' which represented Bren Fire, Rifle Fire, M.G. Fire and Mortar Fire.  This also drew a lot of fire but I do not think that it would not normally deceive first-class troops.  Being on the flank I listened carefully for the various noises which this experiment would make as I knew the exact time it was about to go off.  The sound of rifle fire was very similar to the noise made when Blank ammunition is used.  The crack and thump was missing in all Small Arms fire.

 

The explosion representing the mortar sounded exactly like a demolition going off and had not the normal mortar crump.

 

The enemy was obviously very 'jittery' and was putting up lights on every conceivable occasion and firing wild in all directions.  No single aimed round was ever directed at my Patrol.

 

No casualties were suffered throughout this Patrol.

 

M.J. Price Capt.

O.C. No.4 Troop.

26 June 44.

 

 

Appendix

 

Subject:  Sniper's Report

321755 L/Cpl Carrigan

961044 Pte Smith

 

Time Out:  1630 hrs  )

Time In:  1905 hrs     ) 29 June 44            O.P. 144765

 

INCIDENTS

The snipers got to their O.P. following the ditch running N.E. on the farm.  An unexploded shell, probably a German 88 mm stuck obliquely in the ground with the point sticking out was seen halfway up the ditch.  The snipers lay at a point 144765 opposite a gap in the hedgerow, hidden from view by the high grass.  The cover was good.

 

No movement was observed until 1740 hours.  At that time the German, who appeared to be a walking casualty, without any rifle was observed walking down and behind the hedge, from point 144767 to 145766, where he disappeared from view.  As he was partly hidden to the snipers, by trees whilst moving, it was almost impossible to take aim at him.  At 1750 hours, another, or perhaps the same German was seen moving up the same hedge from point 145766 to 144767 and disappeared where there seems to be a heavy clump of bushes.  He was not fired upon for the same reason as above.

 

At 1805, a party of about 6 Germans moved from point 143768 to point 146767 where they disappeared.  They were walking casually and were not a good target as they were half hidden by the hedgerow.

 

At 1825 a single German walked up from point 146766 to point 144767 where he disappeared.

 

At 1840 a single German who appeared to be watching carefully, leaning down and using binoculars, appeared at point 145766 on the front side of the hedge.  He was not fired upon as he appeared to be observing the close vicinity of the snipers O.P.  He might have been at about 250 yards away.

 

During the last half hour, that is between 1830 and 1900 hours our own artillery was shelling the area around point 142772 (in orchard).  This may well have been the reason why the last German, came out to observe trying perhaps to find the possible O.P. directing and correcting our artillery fire.

 

Several parties belonging to 47 and 3 Commando were in the farm area.  The snipers gave the result of their observation to the officer in charge of a listening patrol of 47 R.M. Commando, who wanted to know the best covered approach to our O.P.  The snipers asked him not to go beyond their O.P. in case he might give the position away.

 

 

Appendix 'K'

 

Subject:  Sniper's Report

No.6 Commando

29 June 44.

 

1118411 Pte Somerville.    ) 2 Troop.

14417179 Pte Floyd.         ) 2 Troop.

 

Time Out:  0945 hrs

Time In:  1300 hrs            Observation Post 141762.

 

INCIDENTS

The 2 snipers took position at 0945 hrs in an orchard under cover of a hedge row south of GRANDE FERME du BUISSON at point 139761 in order to observe the point which had been selected as this Commando O.P. 141762.  They saw a German soldier in a darkish green uniform wearing a steel helmet running away.  He dis-appeared from view behind a hedge row approx 143763.  He may have moved off on account of a shell landing in an orchard north of the farm or on account of the fact that the snipers arrival frightened some sheep which ran away, afterwards the sheep kept moving SOUTH EAST of the farm.

 

After a few minutes the snipers crawled to the point at 141762 which had been selected as an O.P.

 

In the close vicinity of this point in a ditch about 7 yards away 2 bicycles were found.  One of which seemed to have been used recently.  The tyres being covered with mud.  On the top of the other, which was lying flat, was a rectangular box similar, although, smaller, to our Bren gun magazine boxes.  The snipers did not touch these bicycles and took up their position in the hedge row.

 

At 1145 hrs a British Patrol appeared in the Farm.  The snipers went up to investigate and found it to be a patrol from No.45 (RM) Commando, about 10 (ten) strong.  The snipers went back to their positions and at 1220 hrs as nothing had happened, they decided to creep along the hedge row running NORTH EAST of the farm.  At point 144764 they moved about 5 yards NORTH along another hedge row and observed 2 Germans in darkish green uniforms with rifles slung.  They appeared to be on sentry along a deep hedge row running NORTH from point 145765 to 143768.  One was moving along the NORTH part of the hedge row and the other along the SOUTHERN part.  They being 30 yards apart.

 

Just as the sniper was about to take aim they both disappeared.

 

This sniper heard afterwards from their relief party that a sniper from No.3 Commando in the same area, whom they had met, told him (the relief party) that he thought that the 2 German sentries had seen him just as he was about to shoot.  This sniper had withdrawn immediately afterwards and had come across his relief party.

 

Our snipers then withdrew about 5 yards to take cover - one sniper went back to point 141762, the other remaining in the same position.  This one saw what appeared to be a camouflaged track of similar size to our 15 cwt at point 145767.

 

The two snipers then withdrew and their relief took over.

 

NOTE.

The other snipers have observed no movement but noticed that several Patrols and several Sniping Parties from other Commandos were moving about in the same area.  It is suggested that too much movement takes place in the sniping area and the Germans will either keep clear of the area or send a strong fighting patrol to deal with the small parties sent into the area.

 

 

Appendix 'A'

 

Recce Patrol

Date of Patrol : 1/2 July '44.

Time Set out : 2230 hrs.

Time returned : 0200 hrs.

Visibility : Dark, heavy rain.

Object : (i) To recce route of future fighting patrol.

             (ii) To locate enemy F.D.L's and defences in area of orchard 147755.

 

This Patrol consisting of 1 Officer (Lieut Clapton) and 2 O.R's left Major Leaphard's party at 1140 hrs at LONGUEMARE FARM and made for corner of hedgerow 142755.  Then followed hedgerow ESE about 20 yards then crossed hedge row and continued along it about 80 yards when just as they were going to go across the field a German patrol 3 men strong came down on the other side of the hedge.

 

Lieut. Clapton's party then went to ground and kept still for 20 minutes.  The German Patrol probably did likewise.

 

Lieut. Clapton's party then crawled quietly in the field about 100 yards.  Got up and walked towards the high ground on the right upper angle of the field.  Passed a gap at 145757 continued up the hedge and stopped just short of the upper eastern angle of this field where they stopped.  L/Cpl Bolton saw a flash with a torch - heard a noise - someone was there.  The party stood still again.  No further noise was heard then the party went back to the gap and crossed it.  A very deep ditch was on the other side of the hedge.  Then they crossed the narrow field and the opposite hedgerow offered a corresponding gap and the same kind of deep ditch.  It was crossed by the party who went straight towards the road and halted 30 yards further.  Then just as Lieut. Clapton had started to crawl towards the road at 0105 hrs out Arty barrage started.  The shells landed on the right in the orchard around Map Ref 148751.  The barrage should have started at 0200 hrs.  Lieut. Clapton crawled back and joined his men.  At this stage white flares started to be fired from point 148752 towards cross roads west of it.  To avoid being seen, as soon as the light went out, the party crawled back to the ditch nearer the gap.  At that moment, small arms fire started in the LONGUEMARE FARM area.

 

It looked as if more than one Bren was firing.  Then, after all had become quiet again immediately afterwards a German dual purpose gun started firing East of point 150755, and another one opened up further South of the first gun.

 

Then our Mortars opened up and the bombs fell in the orchards around point 148752.

 

German flares went up again from the same point in the same direction and small arms fire developed in same area and lasted between 5 and 10 minutes.  Then our Art barrage switched on the orchard East of the road at point 148756.

 

Flares came up again from along the road and from area East of FERME du BUISSON.

 

The party then withdrew across the second gap and across the field at that moment self propelled guns opened up.  Shells landed in the LONGUEMARE FARM area creeping towards LE PLEIN.  About 16 shells were fired.  1 gun firing from close vicinity at point 148757 (opened up first) the other 152752 from the clearance most likely.  This one was probably responsible for the shelling in the area of Le Plein.

 

The party crossed the field towards the WEST made for a wood which they hit at 139756 followed its edge Southwards to 138756 avoiding LONGUEMARE FARM area.  From the corner of the wood they went straight through a cornfield to the corner of the orchard point 135753.  Followed road back.  Mortar bombs opened fire concentrated for half a minute.  Bombs landed at cross road 130754.  No more incidents on way back.

 

No casualties.

 

 

Appendix 'B'

 

Report on a recce patrol to area LONGUEMARE FARM.  By 1 Officer and 2 O.R's of No.1 Troop.

 

Date : 2/3 July '44.

Time set out : 2315 hrs.

Time returned : 0245 hrs.

Visibility : Dark with patches of moonlight occasionally.

Weather : Continuous rain.

Object : (i) To recce route of future fighting patrol to orchard 147755.

             (ii) To locate booby-traps, wire or other obstacles en route.

             (iii) To locate positions of enemy M.G's if they opened fire.

 

REPORT

A Patrol that consisted of 1 Officer (Lt. Hugo) and 2 O.R's left the camp area and went through No.3 Commando lines and made for corner of hedgerow m.r. 142755.

 

At this hedgerow the patrol discovered the body of a German soldiers believed to be dead for approx. 10 days.

 

The left the area of the first hedgerow for 100 yards and went in the vicinity of LONGUEMARE FARM and crossed almost 15 yards of this hedgerow on the far side of the farm where the patrol discovered a slit trench which appeared new and 2 German shovels left lying about.  The patrol suspected suspicious movement 30 yards left of position in hedgerow.

 

10 (ten) minutes later the recce patrol de-toured and entered another field 50 yards wide and recced the hedgerow which was running along this field.  Again enemy movement was suspected.  Time approx. now 0125 hrs.

 

This patrol has to finish by 0230 hrs so they re-made their way back to the camp via hedgerow map reference 142755 arriving back at 0230 hrs approx.

 

At a point between the 2nd and 3rd hedgerow m.r. 145757 a cigarette end glow was noticed by the patrol.

 

Very few Verey lights were fired and a gun was observed to fire (heavy type) in the same area only further back towards the German lines.

 

 

Appendix 'C'

No.1 Special Service Brigade

Report on raid by No.6 Commando

 

Map Sheet:    FRANCE:   1:25000    Sheet No 40/16

 

OBJECTIVE:

Elements of 1 Troop and 6 Troop No.6 Commando to destroy the enemy in the area Orchard 147755 and to take a prisoner.

 

METHOD:

See Operation Order herewith annexed.

 

NARRATIVE:

Everything went according to plan.  The Arty and Mortar concentration were accurate and effective.  The Arty fire deserves a special commendation and its accuracy enable the patrol to be on its objective 15 seconds after it lifted.  3" Mortar smoke was put down during the first minute of the concentration owing to the bright moonlight.  The action was entirely successful.

 

The fighting patrol consisted of the following:-

    (i) Raiding Party.  Consisted of 1 Officer and 18 O.R's.  Their role was to get in on the objective itself, take the prisoner and do damage.

    (ii) Flank Party.  Consisting of 1 Senior NCO and 8 O.R's.  As the objective lay deep within the known FDLs, this party took up posn on the FDL line to quell any fire which might lie dormant during the advance and later come to light and cause trouble.

    (iii) Covering Party.  Consisted of 1 Officer and 15 O.R's.  Their role was to take up a position further back from the FDL's and to silence enemy weapons which opened up on a wide flank.

    (iv) Firm Base.  Consisted of 1 Officer and 15 O.R's plus, FOO, Signal party and Lieut-Col Lewis, Comd No.6 Commando.  Role, self explanatory.

 

The whole raiding force proceeded to the area where the operation was to commence along the road towards LONGUEMARE 137752 where it proceeded NE along a hedgerow to pt 139754 thence via corner of orchard 141755 where the Firm Base established itself at 142756.  The Covering Party dropped off at hedge junc at 146758 while the remainder of the force proceeded towards the line of enemy FDL's on road GONNEVILLE - LONGUEMARE.  The flank protection Party dropped off at the edge of the triangular orchard 147757 while the Raiding Party crossed the road and proceeded through the orchard to its objective.

 

It has been reported in previous patrol reports that the line of the hedge 145753 to 146757 is an enemy outpost line.  The posns in this outpost line are not always occupied and fighting patrols have drawn a blank on recent occasions and found the line unoccupied.  The enemy are aware of these excursions and have now booby-trapped the area.  These booby-traps caused casualties last night.  The first men wounded by these devices were men from the covering party who were making a routine search of hedge junct 147757.

 

We return once more to the raiding party that had crossed the road dead on time and moving fast up to their objective.  They reached the large farm and block of houses without further incident and threw their Gammon Incendiary grenades into the out buildings, setting at least one alight which burnt furiously.  The enemy had obviously been taken unaware and groans and cries of anguish were heard from the building which was set alight.  There is a large farm building at 148755 which was put into an elaborate state of defence, all entrances were barricaded and it is indeed a fortress.  Grenades and incendiaries were lobbed over the walls of this place but there was no reply and the effect of the grenades has not been ascertained.

 

A prisoner was taken meanwhile by the Flank Protection Party, he was firing an LMG and was engaged in a fire fight with this party when they captured him by a simple piece of fire and movement.  It is greatly regretted that he was killed by enemy fire while the withdrawal was being made across the road.  The Covering Party obtained his papers of identification which are submitted herewith.  These were taken by L/Cpl Hinchcliffe who removed them from the dead man under enemy LMG fire on the road.  While doing this his TSMG was shot out of his hand and he was wounded but he nevertheless got away with the Pay Book.

 

One of the main difficulties which the raiders had to contend with was the profusion of booby traps and trip wires, these caused last nights casualties and on the withdrawal through the orchard from the objective to the road the patrol leader was himself wounded in this way.

 

The whole patrol withdrew according to plan picking up its component parties en route.

 

CONCLUSION:

The raid was a success and caused enemy casualties and damage.  Identification was obtained.  It is unfortunate that the prisoner was killed but his Pay Book is submitted herewith.  He belonged to the 2nd Gr 857 Regt this entry has been erased and a new entry 346 Fus Bn has been inserted.  This shows no change in this area.

 

The enemy, as can be seen from the booby traps report, are steadily digging themselves in and becoming more defence minded.

 

It was noticed that there are only shallow and little used weapons pits along the forward edge of orchard GONNEVILLE - LONGUEMARE road.

 

There is a post at corner orchard road 146757, a 20mm gun approximately 150759 and a suspected enemy standing patrol with LMG's along hedge 146759 to 148758.

 

Casualties 6 wounded (3 at duty).

                2 missing believed wounded.

 

One Corporal was temporarily blinded but he gave every assistance to a badly wounded man.  He was lost, but later made his own way back to our lines.

 

Brigadier

Comd No.1 Special Service Brigade.

B.W.E.F.

4th July 44.

 

 

App'x A

 

No.6 Commando Patrol Report

Time: 0620 hrs - 1150 hrs - 11 Aug. 44.

 

Ref. O.S. Sheet 1/25,000. 40/16 N.E.

 

REPORT

1. Patrol Strength:  1 Offr. (Lt. P.E. Goodwin) & 2 O.R's.

2. Intention:  To recce line of track from 151712 to track junc. 147710.

3. Patrol Report:

The recce patrol left the forward O.P. 144714 at 0620 hrs and proceeded on a Magnetic Bearing of 106 degrees for 260 yds when a continual hammering sound as of a working party was heard in a SOUTH EAST direction and about 500 yds. away.  The patrol proceeded and reached end of track 147714 at 0945 hrs, here there was a clearing caused by tree-felling but no signs of recent work having been carried out.

 

From this point the Patrol moved forward on a Magnetic Bearing of 127 degrees.  After moving a 150 yds. a L.M.G. was heard firing at 1005 hrs 200 yds away on a Magnetic Bearing of 187 degrees.  The Patrol crawled about 40 yds. to the edge of a clearing at 150713 and then lay up watching for ten minutes 2 Germans tree-felling about 100 yds. from them across the clearing.  This accounted for the noise heard at the beginning of the Patrol.  The Patrol then moved in a southerly direction towards the track for 100 yds and lay up about 150 yds from the track.  Here they saw at 1030 hrs 2 Germans about 150 yards SOUTH EAST of them without tunics or hats walking unconcernedly towards the track.  Then a further party of 3 Germans were seen about 3 minutes later walking in the opposite direction.  These 3 were wearing this tunics and soft caps.

 

The Patrol then moved WEST parallel with the track about 150 yds. NORTH of it.  Extensive deforestation and burning of under-growth had been carried out in area 148712 leaving an area cleared of 150 yds NORTH of the track by 200 yds. SOUTH WEST and parallel with it.  No positions were seen in this area.

 

On reaching 146713 M.G. fire was heard on a Magnetic Bearing of 220 degrees at 1125 hrs.  The Patrol then returned to No. 6 Cdo. lines.

 

It is apparent from this report that there is still no sign of withdrawal of the enemy and that they are even still taking the trouble to clear fields of fire in front of their F.D.L's.

 

I think it can definitely be assumed that their line extends from the buildings at 152713 down the road to the known M.G. positions at 143708, then right handed parallel to the Canadian front.

 

What is more, these positions are occupied by day as well as by night and is borne out by bearings and flash reports of M.G. fire heard during the hours of darkness.

 

 

Statements by Officers and O.R's who went to Paris on the Victory Parade 31 Aug / 1 Sept. 44

 

Statement by Major C.E.J. Leaphard

Paris, since I last laid eyes on it, in April 1940 is still to my thinking the most beautiful city I have ever seen in the world.  The reception we received from the Liberated inhabitants of Paris was one of the most emotional scenes that I have ever encountered.  The people literally mobbed us and on their learning that we were English their joy seemed to be even greater.  Talking personally with various Parisennes they gave me the impression that they were waiting silently for our visit.  Many told me that Great Britain had borne the hardships of the war on her shoulders and they marvelled how we ever survived the disastrous year of 1940.  Although our Air Force has done considerable damage in France and killed many Frenchmen they have no grudge against us and they say that our bombing was always aimed at Military targets, and they fully understood that this was necessary in order to defeat eventually the might of the German Armies.  It was a pleasure to see half starved Parisennes rejoice at their Liberation.  There was no damage done to the city of Paris but the outskirts of the City around the suburbs had been damaged to what extent I did not see.

 

Statement by Capt. M.J. Leaphard

Seeing the Arc de Triumphe at the end of the Avenue de la Grand Armee lined with Parisennes and shouting Viva L'Angleterre is a sight that I shall never forget.  We were the first English troops in Paris and the reception we received from them on their knowing we were English Troops was indeed terrific.  Wherever we stopped, men, women and children swarmed around us wanting to shake hands with us for coming and wanting to know why English Troops had not come sooner.  I discovered that food was very scarce and heating and lighting was practically non-existent.  The 'Metro' was not running for want of electrical power and the Parisenne went to and from their places of business on bicycles of which there are literally thousands of them in Paris and cycle parks everywhere the eye can see.  A fair meal now in Paris would cost over a 1000 francs to buy and then it would only be something very small.  Drinks were plentiful and the prices were not too high.  The emotional reaction of the Parisenne freed after over 4 years in German bondage creates a terrific atmosphere comparable to champagne bubbling out of a bottle.  There is none of the sadness and perhaps bitterness that we have found in the Normandy area owing to our shelling and bombing and the burning of their cities and villages by the Germans in Paris and the people seem to be only suffering morally and physically due to lack of sufficient foodstuffs and heating.

 

Statement by T.S.M. Rae, 3 Troop

The people were exceptionally glad to see us when we came to Paris and cheered us and shook hands with all the men of the Commando.  Many a woman cried with joy on seeing us and were continually asking the question why we did not come sooner.  I saw no damage done to the centre of the City - which was the only part I could visit.  The people seemed to me to be very gay and were making light their troubles such as the shortage of food or heating.  Some expressed the remark that they we very much displeased at the welcome we got from the people of Normandy and seemed to believe that the people we first met in Calvados were hostile to us.  What struck me was that many of the pavements were dug up and when I ventured to ask one of the Parisennes the reason why, he explained that the Germans had taken the casings for metal as they were in dire need of scrap metal.

 

Statement by Pte. Dunn, No.6 Troop

The people of Paris did not at first know how to take us but on discovering that we were British troops their joy was uncontrollable.  Women and children kissed us in the proverbial French style and men kept shaking our hands.  Many explained to us that they regretted very much at not being able to bring us to their homes to entertain us as they should feel fit but owing to the shortage of food and not sufficient heating they could not do so.  I saw no damage done to the city and what struck me most was the amazing numbers of bicycles being used.  Some cycles were carrying several persons at the one time.

 

Statement by Cpl. F. John, No.1 Troop

The city of Paris appeared to me to be most beautiful, clean and bright with all its beautiful and historic buildings intact.  What struck me most of all were the number of beautiful French girls very prettily dressed and their delighted expressions at their seeing us when they discovered that we were English soldiers.  We sat on a bridge and literally hundreds of French people came and shook hands with us.  In the evening we got billets in a French Institute but many of my comrades were invited out for the night by French families.  Altogether the reception given to us was marvelous and we had a very nice time in the short period we were in Paris.

 

Statement by L/Sgt. Sparks, No.5 Troop

We got a stupendous welcome from the French people of Paris soon after they had realised that we were British Troops and the first to enter the city.  The girls were most beautiful but we had to be very polite to them as we knew that we were such welcome sights to them that we did not want to displease them in any way.  They were dressed beautifully and were very thankful for our cigarettes and the candies which we brought.  I paid a brief visit to Napoleon's Tomb and the Eiffel Tower in my short stay there.  What struck me was the number of people who went around on bicycles.  There were all types of cycles; some carrying two's and more often carrying three's.  We even saw two girls going about their business on roller skates.  One old lady whom we met said that the English soldier that she had met in 1914-1918 was small, buxom and a 'petite' type; presumably she meant a chubby type but she said that the Englisher of 1944 was tall, more developed and handsome.  We were billeted in the Foch Pavilion which one time was a Cadet's Training Institute.  Drinks were all on the French people but food was very scarce, however, the people were living up to their role as 'Gay Parisennes'.

 

Statement by Pte. J. Heath, No.3 Troop

The people of Paris gave us a grand open welcome and they were more than pleased to see English Troops.  Many persons at first could not identify us when they saw us wearing khaki battledress and the Green beret but as soon as our identity was known to them they were frantic with joy.  I did not see much damage in the streets - in face none at all except the pavements in some of the streets were missing.  Paris by night was typically Paris as I have read it in travel books - Parisennes were singing in the streets in the night-time; although there was no lighting in the streets; and many were playing the accordion.  The French girls were dressed most prettily and still retain their high standard of style.  One Free Frenchman I met in the uniform of the American Forces said that the people of Paris were more pleased at seeing English Troops than they were on seeing American Troops.

 

Statement by Cpl. Ridge, No.6 Troop

On entering the City of Paris I saw a huge banner stretched across one of its wide streets with the wording 'Merci Aux Liberateur' on it.  The people I saw in the particular neighbourhood I was in always smiled at me and said 'Merci'.  On their knowing that I was an English 'Tommy' they were highly pleased and wondered why we had not already come sooner.  The French brought me into some of their cafes and gave me several drinks including and ice cooled beer which I found out had cost about 4 francs.  I met two members of the S.A.S. in civilian uniform who informed me that they had dropped some weeks previously over the French border near Switzerland and had made their way back to Paris and had been fed and kept in a hotel for over a fortnight without paying for anything.