rear guard for the 9th Bn withdrawal toward LE PLEIN 1375. The party left the bn area (9th bn) at LE PLEIN at 0900 hrs and reached the 1st Cdn Para Bn position at LE MESNIL BAVENT cross roads 139829 at 1530 hrs on 6 Jun 1944.


Two platoons of B Coy were dropped in the marshy gound south and west of ROBEHOMME. Elements of these platoons under Sgt OUTHWAITE then proceeded toward the Coy objective. En route they encountered Lt. TOSELAND with other members of B Coy making a total of thirty All Ranks. They were guided through the marshes and enemy mine- fields to the ROBEHOMME bridge by a Frenchwoman. On arriving at the bridge they met Capt. D. Griffin and a further thirty men from various sub-units of the Bn, including mortars and vickers platoons. Major Fimuller who had been there for some time had left in an attemt to locate Bn HQ. Capt. Griffin waited until 0630 hrs for the REs who were to blow the bridge. As they failed to arrive explosives were collected from the men and the bridge successfully demolished.

A guard was left on the bridge and the main body withdrawn to the ROBEHOMME hill. Although there were no enemy in the village there were several skirmishes with enemy patrols who were attempting to infiltrate through the village and some casualties were suffered by the Coy. An OP was set up in the church spire. An excellent view was obtained of the road from PORT DE VACAVILLE 2176 to VARRAVILLE. Artillery and infantry could be seen moving for many hours along this road from the East. It was particularly unfortunate that wireless communications could not be made with Bn HQ as the sub- sequent fighting of the Bn was carried out in such close country that observation of enemy movements was almost impossible.
At 1200 hours on the 7th June, 1944, it was decided to recce the route to Bn HQ. Upon the route being reported clear orders were issued for the party to prepare to join Bn HQ Lt. I. Wilson, Bn IO came from LE MENSIL to guide the party back. The move was made at 2330 hrs, the strength of the party by this time being 150 All Ranks, the addition having been made by stragglers of various units who had reported in. The wounded were carried in a civilian car given by the cure, and a horse and cart given by a farmer. The route was BRIQUEVILLE 1872 to BAVENT road 169729, through the BOIS DE BAVENT and on to LE MESNIL cross roads. Near BRIQUEVILLE the lead platoon was challenged by enemy sentries. The Platoon opened fire killing seven and taking one prisoner. Shortly afterwards this same platoon was fortunate enough to ambush a German car which was proceeding along the road from BAVENT. Four German officers were killed. Bn HQ was reached at 0330 hrs on the 8th Jun, 1944.


The majority of C Coy was dropped west of the RIVER DIVES, although some sticks were dropped a considerable distance away including one which landed west of the RIVER ORNE. Due to this confusion the Coy did not meet at the RV as pre-arranged but went into the assualt on the Chateau and VARRAVILLE in separate parties. Major McLeod collected a sgt and seven ORs and proceeded towards VARRAVILLE. En route they were joined by a party under Lt. Walker. One of the Sgts was ordered to take his platoon to take up defensive positions around the bridge that the RE sections were preparing to blow.
This was done and the bridge was successfully demolished.
Major McLeod and Lt. Walker with the balance of the party then cleared the chateau and at the same time other personnel of C Coy arrived from the DZ and cleared the gatehouse of the chateau. The gatehouse then came under enemy MG and mortar. fire from the pill- box situated in the grounds of the chateau. The pill-box also had a 75 mm A/Yk gun. The whole position was surrounded by wire, mines and weapon pits. Major McLeod, Lt. Walker and five ORs went to the top floor of the gatehouse to fire on the pill-box with a PIAT; the enemy 75 mm A/Tk gun returned the fire and the shot detonated the PIAT ammunition Lt. Walker, Cpl. Oikle, Ptes. Jowett and Nufield were killed and Major McLeod and Pte Bismuk fatally wounded. Ptes. Docker and Sylvester evacuated these


(Archive transcripts © Copyright Normandy War Guide)

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Archive: 6 Airborne Div.: H.Q. War Diary, 1944 June

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