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Month and year : June 1944

Commanding Officer : Lt.Col. Bruce Harvey


1st June 1944

Place: Steeple Ashton


Briefing continues.  Capt. WEST RAMC 195 Airldg Fd Amb joins as L.O. for phase I of op.


2nd June 1944

Place: Steeple Ashton


Lt-Gen F.A.M. BROWNING C.B., D.S.O., Cdr Airborne Tps visited the div. and held conference of CO's at BRIZE NORTON, afterwards visiting and addressing tps at KEEVIL.  C.O. flew for Conference 5 Parachute at HARWELL.  The Transit Camp was designed for 1000 tps and is now occupied by 1350.  Latrine [?] was [inadequate?] in the first place, and the sanitation is certainly inadequate.  [Cooks?] etc are all below standard.


3rd June 1944

Place: Steeple Ashton


Stick Commanders check A/C.  Loading up of containers.


5th June 1944

Place: Keevil


1100 - The unit, less No 2 + 3 Sec paraded and marched to the airfield, for final fitting of parachutes, and for stowing kit in the a/c.


1400 - Compulsory test.


1900 - Hot meal.  Following this the unit paraded and messages from C-in-C 21 Army Gp and Allied Supreme HQ were read out.  Rev Briscoe said a few short prayers.


2130 - Tps embussed for airfield.


2230 - Tps emplaned.  2245 hrs Take off.


6th June 1944

Place: France


0105 - HQ flight crosses the coast at CABOURG.  Some flak was experienced.  Pilot fails to see DZ lights so [heads?] to sea and made a second run-in.  At 0120 hrs the green light went on and the unit dropped on or near DZ.


Place: Le Bas de Ranville


0230 - Majority of unit made R.V. in copse 113745 (map France 7 F/2).  There was some confusion on the DZ owing to enemy action and the use of [?] lights by him.  Some opposition was experienced and there was some mortaring in the later stages.  Unit proceeded in rear of 12 Para Bn to LE BAS de RANVILLE.  C.O. with Capt WILSON and 4 RASC carried out recce of chateau at 105732.  The inhabitants were [roused?] and were friendly.  Three German officers of TODI [?] were captured in bed.  The unit was brought in as an MDS establishment.  DZ casualties were treated at once and by 0400 casualties began to come in from various units.


0430 - At first light 0430 C.O. visited No 3 sec at Church in RANVILLE (109736).  There was some sniping going on and one of the Section had been wounded by enemy LMG.  Capt TIBBS had organised his Section to clear the DZ.  This work he continued till 1400 hrs this day.  His section worked well, often under considerable SA & mortar fire, and brought in all wounded.  Four of his section were wounded and two killed.  Capt TIBBS conduct was of a high order and worthy of recognition.


0700 - C.O. proceeds to Br. (104745) to visit R.A.P. of Coup-de-main party who had landed in gliders alongside both bridges.  Capt JACOB R.A.M.C. had established an RAP in ditch and bank 102747.  He had some dead + 15 casualties.  The position was being heavily sniped.  Arrangements were made to evacuate these casualties to MDS.


0920 - ADMS visited MDS and proceeded up to Br with C.O.  Br under enemy MG and continuously sniped.  Infmt. received that No.2 Sec (Capt WAGSTAFF) having established ADS at BENOUVILLE 095746 were cut off together with "A" Coy 7 PARA Bn.  Several of No.2 Sec were missing at RV, S/Sgt MARSDEN and his Stick being missing.  An RAP. under Capt URQUHART was established in Estaminet at br site 098748 to collect casualties from 7 Para Bn & "A" Coy OXF BUCKS still holding eastern br.


1400 - Capt TIBBS reported DZ clear of casualties.  S/Sgt HODGSON and 5 SB's detached to 13 Para Bn in Chateau 735114, remainder No.3 Sec came in to MDS.  Considerable sniping by enemy tps occurred throughout the day, one of whom appeared to be covering the M.D.S.  Some mortar fire was experienced at intervals.  Casualties flowed in large numbers throughout the forenoon and afternoon.  Surgical teams were working constantly from time of opening.  Capt Young RAMC was missing from 7 Para Bn.  All personnel not employed in MDS digging slit trenches.


1600 - Contact officers from 8 Fd Amb of 3 Br Div reports to RAP at Br.


1730 - CO. visits Br to find Capt Wagstaff and part of his section had made their way back from A Coy location.  Tpt was provided and casualties [promptly?] evacuated to RAP at Br.  This was soon full and Capt WAGSTAFF established a second post 200 yds up the road.


2100 - By 2100 hrs Tpt under Major MacDonald of 8 Fd Amb reported and starts to clear casualties from Br to FDS in beach area.  Some 50-60 casualties were evacuated in this way.


2200 - The bridge was under intermittent mortar fire and continuously sniped, but Maj MacDonald established [?] at Fm 109742 and evact of MDS began.  By this time there were some 280 casualties admitted to MDS.  Fierce fighting continued throughout the night.


7th June 1944

Place: Le Bas de Ranville


An attack by ME 109's at first light caused some casualties.


1600 - A heavy bombardment by mortars was experienced and a direct hit fell on the cookhouse, killing 2 and wounding several, including Rev BRISCOE.


1700 - The MDS was nominally closed but casualties continued to come in.  Up till 1600 hrs 380 casualties had been dealt with.


8th June 1944

Place: Le Bas de Ranville


1400 - An appeal for help from 195 A/Ldg Fd Amb to evacuate casualties from RAP at LONGUEVAL was received.  The canal road was covered in its length by enemy snipers and the route was dangerous.  A convoy of jeeps & trailers was, however, [?] along unmolested.  On arrival at R.A.P. of 1 RUR it was found that the exit to RAP was covered by an enemy automatic.  Some 80 casualties were awaiting evact. in tpt [?] RAP and any at evact. was met by fire.  Several SB's of 12 Para Bn had been wounded and the MO Capt KENNEDY, Lt-Col ANDERSON of 195 A/Ldg Fd Amb was also hit.  All casualties were evacuated by a back entrance and the R.A.P. cleared.


9th to 10th June 1944

Place: Le Bas de Ranville


The MDS was fairly quiet, and only occasional mortaring & shelling occurred.  By this time personnel were becoming used to bombardment and were digging in well.  This, as always, was a difficulty initially & it was not until tps had experienced some heavy bombardment with casualties that they could be made to realise that value of deep trenches.  During the first 40 hours the Surgeons performed [sentence ends].  A summary of the operations is given below


Face & Neck

Upper Limb

Upper Limb Amputations

Lower Limb

Lower Limb Amputations



Backs & Buttocks























10th to 13th June 1944

Place: Le Bas de Ranville


The division during this time [?] several counter-attacks, but no front has been given up.


14th June 1944

Place: Le Bas de Ranville


1 SS Bde & 12 Para Bn attacked BREVILLE.  The attack was preceded by a heavy concentration of artillery, some of which landed on the Bn assembly area, killing the CO and inflicting severe casualties.  Inspite of this, the attack was successful BREVILLE was captured and the position consolidated.  Brig. Lord Lovat and Brig. KINDERSLEY were wounded and brought into MDS.  Evacuation was being carried out by 175 Fd Amb from CCP in [St. Aubin area?] BENOUVILLE.


14th to 18th June 1944

Place: Le Bas de Ranville


Few airborne casualties were brought in during this phase and the casualties received almost entirely from 51 (Highland) Div.  The proportion of cases of so-called exhaustion was amazing.  Intermittent mortar & shell fire fell at frequent intervals on or near M.D.S.  One shell demolished the operating theatre on 14 JUN.


18th June 1944

Place: Le Bas de Ranville


1400 - Advance party of 175 Fd Amb arrived to recce MDS.  Orders were received to move into a rest area.  Four 3-ton lorries reported from CRASC and unit moved by march route at 1600 hrs.  Stores and baggage being ferried to new location.


1900 - 175 Fd Amb took over MDS.  Some shelling received at 1800 hrs.  New location was an orchard near river bank.  Tps immediately dug in.  One Sec was [loaded?] as standing by for an emergency.


19th June 1944

Place: Normandy




20th June 1944

Place: Normandy


Warning order to move and set up MDS in QUARRY 121755 prepared to receive casualties following an attack on objectives to SE of 6 Airborne position.  New location adjacent to Xrds which had been intermittent mortar & shell fire.  CRE asked for assistance in construction of splinter proof theatre & wards.  Extra canvas demanded but not available.  2 airborne shelters borrowed from 195 Airldg Fd Amb and two 30 x 30 tarpaulins from 174 Fd Amb.


21st June 1944

Place: Ecarde 118755


0900 - Unit moved to QUARRY and started digging in.  [Tank?] & shelters erected and splinter proofed.  In the middle of the area, a family of French lived in a lean to.  They were extremely dirty and their conditions highly insanitary.


23rd to 25th June 1944

Place: Ecarde 118755


Construction and clearing of MDS area.  On 23 the French family were removed by Civil Affairs.  It seems that the [?] was handled very [messily?] and the manner in which it was carried out would not aid Anglo-French relations.  A US Army officer was in charge.  Relations between the unit & local inhabitants have been excellent up to date.  Some difficulty has arisen from time to time in [?] to lifting of vegetables.


26th to 30th June 1944

Place: Ecarde 118755


Little activity has taken place during the week.  Occasional shelling has been experienced but nothing within 50 yds of MDS.  The troops are well dug in.  A splinter proof operating theatre with electric light, and a splinter proof resuscitation ward have been constructed by R.E's.  Wards are mainly 160lb tents with anti splinter tanks.  The quarry allows good protection from direct hits.  On 27 53 Lt Regt R.A. started digging gun pits in a field 100 yds from MDS boundary Geneva Cross markings were pulled in.  During this period few casualties were dealt with, mainly commando tps.  Three [large?] operations were performed.  Hot showers have been erected for unit tps.  These are improvised and erected by unit personnel.



Month and year : July 1944

Commanding Officer : Lt.Col. Bruce Harvey


July 1944

Place: Ecarde


During this month the unit has been static, and only a small number of casualties have been dealt with, mostly mortar wounds.  A small amount of emergency surgery has been undertaken by the Surgeons, but this has been confined to life saving cases and the application of [plaster?].  Throughout the month some improvements have been made in the layout, and personnel have improved the protection of slit trenches.  There have been several [alarms and discussion?] in regard to the withdrawal of the div from the line, and its return to the U.K.  [Feverish?] packing, return of surplus [stores?] etc has been [carried?].  The plan each time has been cancelled.


16th July 1944

Place: Ecarde


GEN. MONTGOMERY visited HQ 6 AIRBORNE DIV and presented ribbons to recipients of immediate awards.  He addressed the parade, complimented the Division in no uncertain terms, and promised our return to the UK in the very near future.  The C-in-C afterwards met all C.O's.  During this time an [? few minutes?] were explosions then an ME 109 passed over head, and fragments of shell from intensive AA fire was dropping in the vicinity.  The following personnel of the unit received immediate awards.



July 1944

Place: Ecarde


For the first fortnight of this month the C.O. lived, at the request of Bde Cdr, at HQ 5 Para Bde at LE MESNIL.  There have been some signs of fatigue amongst bn personnel, who were subject to very frequent mortaring and shelling.  Mosquitoes have been exceedingly troublesome and it was some time before tps could be educated in preventing this nuisance which was very definitely interfering with the sleep of tps in the forward areas.  During many visits to forward tps it was very evident to CO that the training of junior officers in the care of men and [?] matters of administration was of a low standard.  This is a further example of the excessive stressing of the importance of 'G' training at the expense of the administrative side all was to be seen during exercises in U.K.  The continuous presence of this unit in the forward area daily brings out the inadequacy of our equipment in performing the role of a land borne unit over a length of time.  No canvas is held by the unit, and when demanded the usual reply is, there is none available and you will not require it for long.  The unit has been its present location over 4 weeks.


18th July 1944

Place: Ecarde


During the past 24 hrs two class 40 bridges have been erected over R.ORNE and CANAL in this area and a large quantity of guns, tps and vehicles have assembled in the area this side of the river.  [? ? dispersed ?] during the night.  Between 0600 & 0730 a tremendous amount of a/c passed overhead and dropped thousands of tons of bombs on the area ESCOVILLE - TOUFERVILLE - CUVERVILLE and at 0730 hrs 11 Armd Div put in attack on axis ESCOVILLE - CARNY.  This was followed up by 7 Armd Div and Gds Armd Div.  The fruits of the labour of 6 AIRBORNE DIV were indeed evidenced this day.  Three inf divs were also on the E. side of the river and took part in the attack.  Some few casualties after this battle were admitted during the day.  At 1130 pm a sharp enemy air attack was experienced.  Several bombs were dropped one hitting and destroying nine vehicles of an ammunition train sheltered astride the MDS.  Some 80 anti personnel bombs fell on the MDS ruining the greater part of the canvas roofing.  Only one man was injured in this area, Cpl [Shelbrook?] of this unit, by an A.P. bomb which exploded at the entrance to his dugout.  The splinters proofing proved its value this night.  Some 57 casualties were admitted as a result of the raid.  The personnel did good work and Pte FYNN was noted for the good and brave manner in which he fetched in 3 wounded from a blazing ammunition truck.  Short ineffective attacks by e.a. were experienced about nightly for the [second?] two weeks.  In one a 500 lb bomb struck fair beside the C.O's shelter, bored its way through the earth, jumped the MDS and exploded harmlessly in a field some 100 yards in front of the M.D.S.


19th July 1944

Place: Ecarde


This evening a heavy thunderstorm broke, and was followed by torrential rain for 36 hours.  The countryside became a sea of mud and most vehicles became bogged.  The camp area was a sea of mud and there was about 18 in's water in all dugouts.


21st July 1944

Place: Ecarde


The M.O. Capt HANNUM RAMC and 9 OR's were received as reinforcements.  The OR's with exception of a Sgt were attd to battalions as SB's.  They were [?] of a poor type, and were not parachute [?].



Month and year : August 1944

Commanding Officer : Lt.Col. Bruce Harvey D.S.O., R.A.M.C.


7th August 1944

Place: Ecarde


First light - 5 Para Bde relieved 1 S.S. Bde & 4 S.S. Bde in the LE PLEIN sector.  The move started at first light and the enemy started shelling the area.  It appeared that he was sensitive to this movement as there had been almost no activity for the past seven days other than routine mortaring.


1130 - The R.A.P. of 7 Para Bn received a direct hit from an 88 mm S.P. gun.  Pte. Earle was killed and several casualties incurred.  There is no doubt that houses unless they have cellars, are unsuitable for R.A.Ps which should always be dug in when in the front line, as one direct hit on a house causes more casualties than one on a dugout or trench.


8th August 1944

Place: Ecarde


Orders received that the unit would take over MDS of 195 A/L Fd Amb at chateau in LE MARIQUET, (115732), 195 took over MDS at ECARDE, all canvas being left in situ.


9th August 1944

Place: Le Mariquet


Unit moved to LE MARIQUET and immediately on arrival casualties mainly from 3 Para Bde and 4 S.S. Bde were admitted, some 35 being admitted in 12 hours.  These were mainly from mortar bombs.  There had been considerable enemy mortar and shell activity in this sector.  Considerable digging was necessary to accommodate unit personnel as it was considered unwise to house large numbers of men in outbuildings, in view of the fact that the area was subject to intermittent shell fire.  Two hits were received on the MDS on the day of arrival, but no casualties were incurred.


12th August 1944

Place: Le Mariquet


A warning order from ADMS was received that an advance over the whole front was expected in the immediate future.  A Netherlands and a Belgian Brigade were under command 6 Airborne Division for the operation, known as 'PADDLE'.


16th August 1944

Place: Le Mariquet


Orders for the advance to take place the following morning were received.  225 (Para) Field ambulance were responsible for collection and evacuation of casualties of 3 Para Bde, 4 S.S. Bde, and 5 Para Bde (Div Reserve).  Both S.S. Bdes were responsible for transport of casualties to nearest medical installation.  MDS at LE MARIQUET was to remain open for surgery until ordered to close by Div.  Capt Johnson, 224 (Para) Fd Amb with one Jeep and three ambulance cars was attached to 3 Para Bde.  Two C.C.Ps were established No.4 Section under Capt J.M.G. Wilson at LE MESNIL and Capt MacPherson with No.2 Surgical Team to pottery at 152698.  Transport proved the great difficulty in this operation and the shortage of personnel RAMC was acute.  By the time Bns had been made up to 14 SBs each the unit was left with 60 ORs to an ADS and at least two CCPs.  Each CCP was allotted one jeep, one 2 str ambulance and 2 4 str ambulance cars, in which they had to carry equipment and personnel.  At this stage it was decided to reorganise the unit into five sections, each being staffed and equipped to form a CCP and carry out first aid treatment including resuscitation and transfusion.  Sections as necessary could be detached, the remainder being fused to form an ADS.  A difficulty here was that we were expected to undertake major surgery, and it is not considered possible to do this and retain mobility and flexibility.  Further evacuation to RANVILLE was to I Corps medical units at DELIVERANDE.


17th August 1944

0900 - It was evident that the enemy had evacuated their line opposite this divisional sector and had withdrawn from the coast to TROARN.  All roads had been obstructed by hastily improvised methods, tree felling etc; Some mines were encountered, mainly in the verges.  Roads were easily cleared.  No contact was made with the enemy until reaching the R.DIVES where they were covering river crossings.  All bridges had been blown.  C.O. was forward throughout the day with Cdr 1 SS Bde and Cdr 3 Para Bde.  MDS was ordered to be at 4 hours notice to move.  No casualties in Southern Sector (Lieut MacPhersons CCP) and only a few casualties from mines passed through LE MESNIL.


1600 - At this time CCP at LE MARIQUET was ordered to close and move to BASSENVILLE as it was considered essential that some installation be opened East of the river.  The only available crossing was by Jeep ferry at BURES.  3 Para Bde were established in the ST SAMSON - GOUSTRAINVILLE 'island' and 1 SS Bde in area ROBBEHOMME.  4 SS Bde in area TROARN.  During the afternoon C.O. while on a reconnaissance of bridge EAST of BAVENT 173728 met a Sergeant and a Sapper of 6 Commando and together they had an encounter with some enemy holding the East side of bridge at 195726.  This bridge was also found to be demolished.  By 2400 hours CCP augmented by Capt Johnson and his car post was established at BASSENVILLE.  The area was entirely evacuated by civilians and it was strange to find the majority of houses, farms etc; intact.  During the night CO carried out a recce of GOUSTRAINVILLE area and made contact with 3 Para Bde, units of which were deployed in area pt (2271).  At first light this area came under shell fire, which was intermittent throughout the day.


18th August 1944

0700 - Capt Wilson was ordered to RV ST SAMSON and Lt MacPherson's CCP was called forward to that place.  At 1000 hours an A.D.S. was established in a house at 219713 reinforced by Capt Cunninghams and 20 ORs from 224 (Para) Fd Amb.  MDS still at LE MARIQUET to which casualties were to be evacuated from ADS.  TROARN bridges still not repaired.  A jeep ferry was established but sank during the forenoon.  Few casualties were admitted until midnight 18/19 August.  At this time enemy held West Bank of River AUGE and bridges at 2211726 and 233726 and an attack by 3 Para Bde was timed for 2300 hours.  C.O. went forward to command post with Bde Cdr at 225716.  The attack went in and there was severe fighting throughout the early hours.  Objectives were captured by 0400 hours.  All bridges were blown except for a small bridge at 230717 over which all troops passed.  5 Para Bde were in reserve ready to pass through 3 Para Bde to seize high ground PUTON en AUGE.  1 SS Bde were attacking high ground CIRCQUEVILLE.


19th August 1944

0400 - Brig Hill (3 Para Bde) and CO went forward to line of railway to contact 9 Para Bn.  In the half light and morning mist this developed into an interesting patrol into enemy infested territory.  By 0630 hours contact was made with 9 Para Bn at Rly station.  Very heavy mortaring occurred and some casualties were incurred.  13 Para Bn were assembled by Bridge at 235717 and also incurred casualties.


0900 - CO visited 9 Para Bn.  Heavy casualties were being incurred and the MO was not with the Bn.  Coy Cdrs and Bn Cdr were calling up medical transport and organising evacuation.  The result was chaos of the first order.  This was proof of the necessity of the RAP always being with Bn HQ.  In this case the RAP had been left behind in GOUSTRAINVILLE.


0500 - From this time, for the next 36 hours casualties were pouring into the ADS 310 patients were dealt with during this period.  There is no question that the ADS was inadequate and understaffed.  Captain JMG Wilson, Captain Cunningham and Capt MacPherson toiled unceasingly throughout this period as did all ranks present.  The ADS came under shell fire on several occasions and little protection was available as there was no labour for digging.


1500 - Capt Tibbs MC 13 Para Bn was wounded by snipers in a gallant attempt to bring in 2 wounded men who had been hit when 13 Para Bn assaulted PUTOT en AUGE.  Captain Urquhart was sent to relieve him.  7 Para Bn had left their medical jeep behind and it was several hours before it caught up with them.  Evacuation throughout the period was extremely difficult.  The Bridges at TROARN were badly congested and the 'turn round' for ambulance cars was some 6 hours.  CO had orders not to move MDS until crossing of River AUGE was secure.  This entailed a shortage of transport forward, further increasing the difficulty.  Evacuation from forward RAPs was by hand carriage to bridge at 235717, where a car post of 2 jeeps and 2 Ambulance cars was established by Lieut Hill and S/Sgt Hodgson with 8 ORs.


Place: Butte de Bois L'Abbe


1600 - MDS was ordered to move forward to area BUTTE de BOIS L'ABBE.  In an attempt to overcome the difficulty and to ensure that essential personnel and equipment were kept mobile and flexible Major Hewlings organised MDS into 'A' & 'B' Echelons.  'B' Echelon being QM department and heavier stores.  During the day orders were received to attach one MO and 20 ORs to 1 SS Bde.  Capt Hannum was sent with this party.


20th August 1944

Place: Goustrainville


During the forenoon 'A' Echelon was moved up to ADS which was taken over by Major Hewlings.  CO visited 13 Para Bn at 256713.  Bde now attacked and drove the enemy off the high ground above this position at 0400 hours.  A number of men of 13 Para Bn who were wounded in a counter attack which had driven them off the previous afternoon were still out.  While searching for them Capt Urquhart was wounded.  Lieut Atkinson was sent to replace him.  Capt Hannum and party returned, not having been required.  Throughout the day and night casualties from 3 & 5 Para Bdes and 4 SS Bde continued to arrive.  Lieut MacPherson (224 Para Field Ambulance) replaced Capt Cunningham.  During the evening 5 Para Bde was ordered to attack and capture DOZOULE, the attack to go in at 0100 hours.  Owing to the difficulties of evacuation CO decided to go forward to HQ 5 Para Bde PUTOT.  At 2300 hours considerable mortar and shell fire was falling in area of station and cross roads 248722.  So CO took shelter in farm at Car Post 235716, at which Lt Marquis 9 Para Bn had his RAP.


21st August 1944

0100 - Some 88mm shells from very short range fell on this farm.  As the shelling became intense, personnel were ordered to take shelter in two large (disused) refrigerators.  In the smaller of the two CO, Lieut Marquis and Lieut Hill, RASC.  Lt Hill was last in and was told not to shut the door but in the dark he had done so and it was discovered that it was impossible to open the door from within.  There was no window, and the door was so heavy that it was quite impossible to open it by breaking it down.  Communication by shouting was established with S/Sgt Hodgson in the neighbouring refrigerator.  He eventually replied that they too were locked in.  With some foreboding all settled down to sleep.  Shells rained down on the area from a range found later to be some 400 yards and the weapon and 88 mm gun on an SP mounting.  All was quiet at 0700 hours when the officers were released by S/Sgt Hodgson who when daylight came found that they could open the door with a handle inside which was of the plunger type.  Six direct hits had been registered on the farm during the night.  The COs Jeep was out of action.  On breaking out of their temporary prison it was found that DOZOULE had been evacuated and that 3 & 5 Para Bdes were to advance towards PONT LE'EVEQUE.  DOZOULE had been shelled by both sides and some burning buildings in the main street caused some delay.  During the day the advance continued with mopping up operations.  A car post under Capt Holland A.D. Corps was established at DOZOULE.


1900 - 224 (Para) Field Ambulance established an ADS in DOZOULE at 1900 hours, casualties during the day being received in MDS at GOUSTRAINVILLE.  During this battle a total of 479 casualties passed through the MDS at GOUSTRAINVILLE.  The 'B' Echelon system was found to be impracticable owing to the small size of the unit and was abandoned.  The whole unit, less the car post, was collected at GOUSTRAINVILLE and the ADS was ordered to close at 1900 hours, prepared to move forward at one hours notice.  The unit had a quiet & well earned rest.


22nd August 1944

0700 - CO and Captain Holland went forward to recce a site for ADS, West of PONT L'EVEQUE.  5 Para Bde being held up on main line of R.TOQUES.  Chateau de REUX 495025 which had evidently been an enemy HQ was provisionally chosen.  CO and Captain Holland proceeded to search for 5 Para Bde and met Div Cdr who had also been looking for that HQ.  He gave CO a verbal order to 5 Para Bde to seize the river crossing and push on as far as possible and more troops would be sent in support.  After further searching further contact was made with 5 Para Bde at 501003.  Here news of a German hospital at MONT GASSARD 495995 was received.  This proved to be a permanent hospital of 350 beds clearly marked with Geneva Cross.  The enemy had left six German wounded and six British Wounded under the care of one British R.A.M.C. Orderly and four German Medical Orderlies.  The hospital had been evacuated 48 hours previously and left in good order.  All patients spoke well of treatment that had received.  The enemy had left a message to say that they would respect the hospital and requested that no troops be put within 1000 yards of the chateau.  Captain Holland was sent to bring unit forward and open ADS.  Contact was made with CO 13 Para Bn in PONT L'EVEQUE.  The bridge had been blown and houses on either side were on fire.  The town was under shell fire and held by the enemy East of the bridge.  A company attack had been put in but failed to dislodge the enemy who were armed with automatic weapons and electrically controlled mmgs.  MO 13 Para Bn had established an RAP in the hospital.  Arrangements for the evacuation of this were made.  A tank attack by three tanks of Armd Recce Regt failed to dislodge the mmgs covering the approach to the bridge.  CO proceeded to 12 Para Bn at Rd Junction 521027.  This Bn had put in a Coy attack across the river with the railway station as the objective.  Fierce opposition was encountered and the attack failed at considerable cost.  Intense mortar fire was brought down on area LA COUR.  An MDS was opened in the Captured Hospital and casualties started to come in at 1330 and were cared for by the advance party until arrival of unit.  Some 12 Casualties were admitted by midnight.  1 Carrier Lloyd and 2 Universal Carriers were allotted by Bde for evacuation of casualties.  The carrier Lloyd was sent down at 1800 hours to 13 Para Bn to cover their withdrawal.  One ambulance car and one jeep were hit at this post.  Evacuation was still to Deliverande.  This was by now some 5 hours journey by car and entailed three river crossings.  In view of this and the long turn round for ambulance cars C.O. ordered Surgical Teams to set up and carry out major Surgery as necessary.  No Corps Medical units were moved up on the Div maintenance route and the nearest medical unit was now 35 miles in rear of ADS.


23rd August 1944

Place: Mont Gassard


Action along the River TOUQUES continued and forward troops were heavily mortared and shelled from the high ground East of PONT L'EVEQUE, which town was ablaze by morning, the enemy having planted incendiaries in the houses and then subjected the town to shell fire.  100 Casualties were received during the first 24 hours.


0900 - Brig. Wallace, DDMS 1 Corps visited ADS, he arranged to take over hospital with 20 FDS and 1 Surgical team.  He gave orders that casualties should be held for 24 hours if they required operation.  He stated that he was moving a CCS to LISEUX the following day.


1100 - One Section of 20 FDS arrived and took over POW cases and Post operative ward.


1900 - CO was called to conference with Cdr 4 SS Bde who had been ordered to put in a Bde attack, crossing the river opposite PIERR FITTE 535008 and exploit North along railway to assist 7 Para Bn to clear PONT L'EVEQUE and secure the high ground to the East.  1 SS Bde were to cross river at 528035 and clear railway station and secure high ground ST JULIEN.  S/Sgt Redbourn and 10 ORs were detailed to report to 47 RM Commando at RV Church 508009 at 0100 hours.  CO was to RV with Bde Cdr at 0200 hours at Church 529008.


24th August 1944

0100 - The attack was called off S/Sgt Redbourn met 47 RM Commando at 0130 hours and returned to the unit.  Their task would have been hand carriage of casualties from West bank of River to church where carriers would be waiting to evacuate ADS.  Capt Smith and Lt Hanley joined the unit.  At first light enemy were found to have pulled out from PONT L'EVEQUE and 7 Para Bn followed in pursuit.  No wheeled vehicles could cross the bridges.  A CCP was established in the house of a local doctor with 10 bearers.  Some civilian casualties were already in the house.  Evacuation to this house was by means of carriers.  Thence by ambulance carriage to East bank of river, thence by ferry to West bank.  Lieut Hill had a car post established on West Bank.  Some 35 casualties were dealt with by this route until a class 40 bridge at 513042 was across the TOQUES.  A tiresome deviation was necessary to this bridge and there was bad traffic congestion during the latter part of the evening.


1600 - The advance of 5 Para Bde was held up at 576056 (railway crossing) and the road was heavily shelled at this time.  CO was up with 12 Para Bn with a carrier which evacuated their casualties to CCP.  The French Doctor and a female nurse gave valuable assistance, although large doses of 'Calvados' and rest in bed wasn't suitable front line treatment for exhaustion cases.  During the first 24 hours, 60 cases were admitted to A.D.S.  Operations were performed by unit surgeons.  Valuable assistance was rendered by 20 FDS.  Capt Smith, Lieut Hanley and Lieut Scott, all parachute M.Os joined the unit, 24th August '44.


2100 - CO and Capt Holland proceeded to HQ 5 Para Bde at 567053.  Capt Holland ADC had retrieved the 7 Para Bn Medical Jeep and he had the greatest difficulty in locating the Bn.  4 SS Bde passed through 5 Para Bde to attack BREUZEVILLE at first light 25th August.


25th August 1944

0630 - CO reported to Brig Mills Roberts M.C. Cdr 1 SS Bde at Cross Rds 601074 to organise evacuation during attack on BREUZEVILLE.  A car point was established under Lieut. J. MacPherson at 587069 to which 1 SS Bde were to evacuate in their own transport.  Lieut Scott had three carriers and two ambulance cars.


1300 - 224 (Para) Field Ambulance opened up at ST ANDRE d HERBERTOT and at 1500 hours 225 received orders to close and were putt in Div reserve.  Lt Hanlon RAMC sent as MO 5 Para Bde.  CO carried out recce for a rest area but did not move the unit as it was not considered advisable at this stage to proceed East of the River TOQUES.  20 FDS and FSU attached took over all patients remaining.  All casualties fit to move were evacuated to 32 CCS at LISEUX.  During the afternoon CO and Captain Holland carried out a recce of a rest area for the unit.  The buildings at DEAUVILLE airport were selected.


26th August 1944

During the day a note was received from a civilian.  This had been handed to him by Cpl. Morris when he was in enemy hands.  Cpl. Morris had been missing since 19th August when he was last seen leaving 12 Para Bn RAP in charge of a stretcher case carried by four POWs.  He left RAP at Railway station South of PUTOT and was making for car post at Bridge 266716.  In his note he informed CO that he had been taken by a German patrol, who had ordered him to abandon the case (Sgt Thomas 12 Para Bn) short of our positions and had taken him back to their own lines.  He stated he was being well treated.


1600 - Unit was ordered by CO to proceed to est area in Casino in TROUVILLE, in which the unit arrived by 1800 hours.


27th August 1944

Place: Trouville


By first light no enemy were West of River Risle and 6 Airborne Division reverted to 21 Army Group reserve.  All tasks given to this Division had now been successfully completed.


28th to 31st August 1944

No duties other than domestic detail were carried out during this period.


31st August 1944

CO called to conference with ADMS.  Orders for return of 6 Airborne Division to United Kingdom were issued.  All equipment, medical and ordnance, other than certain specialise Airborne equipment was returned to Corps dumps.



Month and year : September 1944

Commanding Officer : Lt.Col. Bruce Harvey D.S.O., R.A.M.C.


11th September 1944

Place: Bulford


Unit proceeded on 9 days disembarkation leave.  During this break the unit was ordered to mobilise.  This entailed retention of certain key personnel and caused delay in getting through the leave period.  An extra 5 days leave was granted to complete 7 days embarkation leave for all ranks.  Mobilisation proceeded smoothly.  Individual training has been carried out during the month.