View Map
Map here
Overlay transparency


    War Diary: 1st Bn Royal Tank Regiment

    Month and year: June 1944

    The 1st Bn Royal Tank Regiment June 1944 war diary covers their embarkation at Felixstowe and their disembarkation and advance through Normandy to Parfouru l\'Éclin

    National Archive Reference: WO 171/865

    All diaries for this unit:

    Please use the contact us page to report any errors or inaccuracies.

    Viewing map locations

    Many of the location in this diary have been geocoded, these locations are highlighted clicking on them will display them on a map. Many location also have historical maps and aerial photographs of the area available.

    « Return to war diaries

    Page 1 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    1 JuneThe tanks, which were now in the marshalling area on the Ipswich -
    2 JuneFelixstowe Rd., went forward as called for, and were embarked on L.S.T.s
    3 Juneat FELIXSTOWE, Embarkation was completed by 3.6.44. On that day, Unit
    Personnel were paid in French francs, and issued with 48 hr Ration Packs.
    41300The party at S5 Camp were embussed to travel to Tilbury Docks.
    1400Party moved off.
    1600S5 party arrived at the docks and were taken by lighter out to S.S. IGNATIUS
    DONNELLY, an American Liberty Ship, which was lying out in the stream.
    5 "This was planned to be 'D' Day, but owing to adverse weather conditions,
    the landing operation was postponed for 24 hrs,
    2200The L.S.T. convoy with the tanks of the unit sailed from FELIXSTOWE.
    6 "D' Day. The initial assault proved highly successful.
    7 "0600S.S."IGNATIUS DOMNELLY" sailed from the Thames with a large convoy of
    Liberty Ships.
    Page 2 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    7 June1000This convoy was shelled from the French Coast as it passed through the Straits of Dover. No damage was sustained.
    1400 - 1600The L.S.T. convoy had now arrived off the French coast. From 1400 - 1600 hrs
    Map Refsthe tanks of the Regiment were disembarked. This operation was completely
    FRANCEsuccessful. The tanks went to SOMMERVIEU, 825808, where they leaguered
    CAEN-FALAISEand carried out de-waterproofing. The Unit leaguered at this place for
    1/100,000.the night,
    2200The Liberty Ship convoy, which had been sailing close to the English Coast
    now stopped for the night.
    8 June0400Liberty Ships went on, sailing almost due South, and arrived off the
    French Coast at ARROMANCHES at 0800 hrs. It was found that disembarkation
    was 24 hrs behind schedule owing to bad weather, and that the wheeled
    vehicles would not disembark until the 9th JUNE. Conditions on board
    the Liberty Ship were not good. Officers and men slept in a hold and the
    cooking facilities consisted of one steam boiler. This was in sharp
    Page 3 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    8 June0800- contrast to the LST's on which Unit personnel were well accomodated
    and fed. The day passed without incident on board ship. The tanks
    remained at the same point on land.
    2200From this hour there were several air raids on shipping lying off ARROMANCHES.
    No damage was sustained by the ships of our convoy.
    9 June0800Disembarkation of wheeled vehicles from S.S. IGNATIUS DONNELLY began, Vehicles
    were lifted out of the holds by the ship's derricks, and slung into Landing
    Craft alongside. At the beginning, this operation was very slow, but it
    speeded up as the day went on and all vehicles were disembarked by evening.
    On landing, wheeled de-waterproofed and then went on to the leaguer area
    at SOMMERVIEU825808.
    1200It was considered possible that the enemy might launch a counter attack
    with tanks, and our own tanks were therefore moved forward to the area
    RUCQEVILLE 8777, where they took up a battle position. RHQ was at 873775.
    Page 4 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    9 June2000CO held a full conference. 22 Armd Bde were to push forward on the next
    day. 5 R Tks to move forward to"JERUSALEM" 815724, and thence South West
    to BERNIERES BOCAGE. 4 CLY to move on the axis of the Tilly road to
    BUCEELS830701. 1 R Tks in reserve, to move forward to CONDE SUR SEULLES
    0500The tanks moved forward to CONDE SUR SEULLES, and leaguered around RHQ
    which was at 836745. The rest of the day was uneventful
    The day was uneventful.
    1800COs conference. The method of advance was to be changed. 131 Bde had
    now arrived on land, and 1/5 and 1/6 Queens supported by B & C Sqns were
    to advance along the axes as before, B Sqn right and C Sqn left. It was
    hoped that this method of advence would prove more succossful than the
    purely armoured advance, which had been very slow owing to thick country.
    Page 5 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    11 June2100B & C Sqns left CONDE to join 1/5 and 1/6 Queens respectively.
    0400A Sqn in Reserve, moved forward to the area FOLLIOT813716, where they.See Report by Lt. Col. R.M.P. CARVER, DSO.MC. at App. C.
    remained all morning.
    RHQ, consising of the Colonel's and Adjutant' tanks, and the I.Os Scout
    Car, moved to 818717, which was a point of vantage affording a good view
    of the battle area. Although in an exposed position, these vehicles were
    apparently not spotted by the enemy all day.
    Fighting went on all day but little propress was made.
    2030Enemy tanks were reported at VERRIERES 8069. B & C Sqns were moved round
    to deal with these, and after some fighting the tanks were driven off.
    2300The Squadrons and A1 Ech moved into Leaguer at 816718. Orders wereSee COs Report at App. C.
    received that the Regt was to pull out next morning and move round
    to the BRIQUESSARD 7459 Area, in support of the rest of the Division, which
    had made good progress on this front all day.
    Page 6 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    13 June0400Reveille.
    0800Regt moved via SUBLES 7576, LA BUTTE 7469, STE. HONORINE DE DUCY 7365
    1200and leaguered at 738637.
    1230COs conference. Immediate task was to protect flank from PARFOURU-L'ECLIN
    7463 to LA BELLE EPINE 7769. and Recce Tp were each allotted sectors
    which they recced during the afternoon.
    1900Regiment leaguered at 733615.
    COs conference. 5 R Tks and 4 CLY were in the area VILLERS BOCAGE and the
    road BRIQUESSARD-AMAYE-VILLERS BOCAGE had been cut by the enemy. The task
    of 1 R Tks on 14 June was to open the road and keep it open until the other Regiments had pulled out.
    14 June0400Reveille.
    0430Sqns moved out along the axis of the BRIQUESSARD - VILLERS Road. It was
    opened and positions were taken up on either side of the road.
    Page 7 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    14 June1500The enemy was active in front of our positions all afternoon, but in the
    evening it become clear that a counter attack was to be launched in some
    2000About 2000 hrs this attack came in, but it was adequately dealt with by the
    Unit. Many German infantry men were killed by machine gun fire from the
    tanks and at least two "PANTHER" Tanks were KO'd.
    2300The attack petered out as it got dark, and at 2330 hrs the Regiment moved
    into leaguer alongside the main rd. No sleep was allowed, but the enemy
    did not attempt a night attack.
    15 June0430In the early morning, 4 CLY & 5 R Tks moved out along the road to
    BRIQUESSARD and 1 R Tks followed them out. The move was completed without
    enemy interference.
    0700The Unit arrived back at the leaguer area 733615. Vohicles were replenished
    and B & C Sqns moved to hold the flank between LES ORAILLES764668 and
    PARFOURU L'ECLIN 748635.
    Page 8 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    15 June1200Regiment moved into Leaguer. at 633646.
    16 "0430Reveille.
    1000C.O. talked to the Regiment, reviewing the last 3 days' action.
    17 "The flank being shortened, it was held by one Sqn; Sqns took daily turn
    of duty. C Sqn on duty. 17 June, They were not in contact with the enemy
    though their forward post was at 756652.
    18 "0900A relieved C Sqn.
    19 "0900B. Sqn relieved A )
    20 "0900C Sqn releived B ) There was very little enemy activity on our front during this time.
    21 "0900A Sqn relieved C )
    22 "A Sqn continue on duty.
    23 "0800A Sqn of 4 CLY relieved A Sqn.
    1100CO talked to the Unit on the subject of the general war situation.
    Page 9 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    24 June)
    25 June) Normal field routine
    26 June)
    27 "1100Lt Col R.M.P. CARVER DSO. MC told the Unit that he was leaving to command
    4 Armd Bde. He left almost at once, as 4 Armd Bde was in action at the time.
    Major E.H. GIBBON. DSO, promoted A/Lt Col and assumed Comd 1 R Tks.
    Major C.L. SPROULL MC. apptd 2 i/c Regiment.
    Major J. J. DINGWALL apptd O.C. 'C' Scn.
    Commanding officer:- Lt Col.E.H. GIBBON.DSO.
    28 "Normal Routine.
    29 "1400C Sqn carried out an exercise, cooperating with infantry and using No 38 set.
    30 "1400B Sqn carried out an exercise cooperating with infantry and using No 38 set.
    Appendices attached to Original Diary,
    No. 1. - Report an Regtl Operations during period 12 - 15 JUNE 44.
    No. 2. - Overseas Admin Order No. 2.
    No. 3. - ABs. W. 3008 for 10,17 & 24 JUNE 44
    No. 4. - AFs. W. 3009 - do -