View Map
Map here
Overlay transparency


    War Diary: 141st Royal Armoured Corps

    Month and year: August 1944

    The August 1944 war diary for A Squadron of the 141st Royal Armoured Corps covers their actions in Normandy in the area around Caen and Tilly-sur-Seulles

    National Archive Reference: WO 171/877

    The "References to Appendices" column for this document was empty so has been omitted.

    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 3
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    6 Aug 44 BALEROY Area.On 6 Aug 'A' Sqn were roused from their delightful but non-
    productive vegetation by having to move across the whole
    bridgehead to just south of CAEN at 037657 for Operation
    'TOTALISE', the Cdn Army drive on FALAISE (for General Idea
    see 'B' sqn). On 5th August the Sqn Comd (Major Cooper) had
    already received the outline plan at 6 Cdn Inf Bde HQ under
    whose comd 'A' Sqn had been placed. Here the Tp Comds met
    the C.Os of SSR, FMR, Cameronians on the morning 7th August.
    'TOTALISE' was to begin as a night Operation on 7/8th August
    and it was suggested that the Crocs be used at night also.
    The C.O. him self carried out tests in firing the flame by
    night and came to the conclusion that once the target was found
    it was not impossible for the front gunner to take aim,
    especially if a high shot was tried first. There were how very
    serious snags - the Crocs would have to be led almost right up
    to their objective (range of some 80 yds) by the Inf. Once
    the first shot had been fired the Inf would be fully
    illuminated on the gd thus giving to the enemy all the
    advantages of daylight whilst he himself retained his
    invisibility. This would be accentuated should a Croc "brew up"
    as it would illuminate the objective for the whole night and
    thus present the enemy with an admirable aiming mark for mortar
    and arty fire. It was finally decided to split the Sqn into
    two halves. 3 Tp and 1Tp (Lts Tunbridge and Griggs) under
    Major Cooper were to operate with the SSR, objective
    ROCQUANCOURT. The Tps were to remain conc at the SL just north
    of TROTEVAL FARM, 052617 (Sheet 7/F1). No plan was laid on
    but Capt Westwell was to travel in a scout car with the CO of
    SSR and plan sp as and when required and if possible.
    The other half of the sqn, 4 TP and 2 Tp (Lts Brereton and
    McCulloch under Capt Strachan were to operate in the same
    way with the Cameronians, objective FONTENAYE SUR MARMION,
    0358 (7F/1).
    8 Aug 44 MAYE-SUR-ORNEDuring the night 7/8th August no assistance was possible
    but on the morning of 8th August Brigadier Young asked for
    assistance at MAYE-SUR ORNE for the FMR who had been held up
    with heavy casualties, and it was decided to put a whole Sqn
    into the show. The plan was to attack four tps up on the
    village with one tp right of the main CAEN - MAYE SUR ORNE rd
    and three tps left of the rd. FUP behind the Mine bldgs which
    were held by us. SL the line of the Mine bldgs. 'H' hr
    when the Crocodiles crossed the SL. The four comd tks were
    to give covering fire and smoke from the area of the Mine bld
    rhe length of the adv being some 600 yds. Arty concs went
    down on the village, and subsequently on the back of the
    village to prevent any enemy getaway.
    The Crocs pressured up a mile from the FUP and 2 Tp had to
    be dropped because of trlr and gun troubles. The attack there
    went in at 1505 hrs with 1 Tp right and 3 and 4 Tps left as
    per diagram. MINE BLDGS
    Page 2 of 3
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    The whole front area of the village was flamed and the
    slit trenches on the eastern edge. From the SL to the objective
    all tks fired 75mm and Besa even whilst the flame was being used
    The Inf followed close behind with one Coy on each side of the
    rd. They passed through the Crocodiles immediately the
    flame finished. The Crocodiles suffered no cas and the Inf
    it is believed likewise. The Inf CO and the Press were most
    impressed by the party and at 5 Cdn Inf Bde HQ the Sgn was
    congratulated and thanked by the Div Comd and Brigadier Young.
    They infd the Sqn that over a hundred Prisoners had been
    captured. This attack bore out the contention that the effect
    of flame is increased out of all proportion by using it en
    8/9 August 037657The Sqn harboured for the night just south of CAEN at
    037657 and moved on the 9th August to 050650. The next few days
    witnessed a series of moves more or less within the same area
    - thus on 10th August they moved to 104554 on the 11th August
    from 104554 to 130540 under 144 RAC. On the 11th again to
    093572 and on the 12th back again to 050650 where they
    remained until the morning 14th August. During this period
    planning had been going on for Operation 'TALLULAH' (for General
    Idea see 'B' Sqn),for which Operation 'A' San were under comd
    2nd Cdn Div and in sp of 9th Cdn Inf Bde. The task of
    9th Cdn Inf Bde was to clear the River LAISON especially
    in the area 1447 - 1446 after the armr had gone through.
    The Crocs were to follow up and be called upon as required
    for assistance. At 0700 hrs they moved to a Fwd Assembly Area
    14 Aug 44 R. 095503, at. 1130 hrs they moved to a FUP in the area 114514
    and at 1215 hrs crossed the SL which was a rd SOUIGNOLLES -
    ESTREE la COMPAGNE. From here they moved fwd and assembled
    in the area east of the rd track june 148477.
    No. 2 TP flamed the hedgerows round the fd on the south side
    of the rd at 151477 (Sheet 7F/4) and No. 4 Tp stood by for
    a similar action in a second fd. Instead the Inf required
    No. 4 Tp to adv along the road in order to flame the houses
    at 143469. These Crocs came under 88mm fire almost
    immediately from a Tiger concealed at the bend in the rd.
    The Sgt's tk was hit twice and the Tp Ldr's once, whereupon
    they were ordered to withdraw. A Tiger then appeared
    on the right flank and the Crocs took up posns to engage it
    should it come within effective 75mm range or should it adv
    and affect our own Inf moving up to the village south of the rd.
    One Croc (comd by Lt McCulloch) in an attempt to get a
    favourable viewpoint from the high gd north of the rd was hit
    by an 88mm shot which penetrated the driver's front plate.
    The Croc was set on fire and only the Comd and Co-dvr escaped.
    A second tk following the Croc was also hit but was able to
    take cover immediately. During the long period of waiting for
    ann attack to come in from the right flank a Comd tk was hit
    whilst in posn in a hedgerows. The crew baled out and the tk
    was hit a further three times. There was no indication
    of the direction om_which any of these shots were fired.
    Total casualties in 'A' Sqn's fighting echelon for the day
    were TKB - 5Z 3X; Personnel 1 Offr (Lieut McCulloch) and 5
    This was not 'A' Sqn's lucky day. The RAF were giving
    close heavy bomber sp to the fwd tps but many of them entirely
    misjudged their target and bomb after bomb rained down on
    the area 0956, where 'A' Ech of 'A' Sqn and many
    other Echs (including the Poles) were harbouring. The tragic
    result for 'A' Sqn was the loss in vehs of 6 3-tonners,
    4 half-tracks, 1 Water truck, 1 M/C, and personnel - Lieut
    Walters killed, 1 NCO died of wounds, 1 NCO missing and
    4 other personnel wounded.
    Page 3 of 3
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    15 Aug 44 LE BRASIn this sorry state 'A' Sqn harboured the night at 078567
    from where on the morning of the 15th August they moved to
    17 Aug GORMELLES. 18 Aug TILLY SUR SEULLES.LE BRAS. On the 17th August 44 they moved to CORMELLES 074654.
    On the 18th August 'A' Sqn moved their tks to
    TILLY SUR SEULLES. for complete overhaul and refit in 1 Assault
    Tps Wkshops (823686 Sheet 7/Fl). All personnel except drivers
    remained for a time at MARCELET936676 Sheet 7/F1, from where
    they spent a short time at a Rest Camp at 9786. Here Capt
    Storrar took over 'A' Sqn for a short time and Lieut Bristow
    was promoted to Captain.
    26 Aug VIMOUTIERSDuring the night 25/26th August 'A' Sqn once more came
    into operation and moved up to an area east of VIMOUTIERS,
    514650 (Sheet 8/F3).
    31 Aug LA HAYE MALHERBE.On 29th August 'A' Sqn moved for the night to BERNAY
    155910 (Sheet 8F),thence on 30th August to LA HAYE
    MALHERBE 155910 (8F),where they remained until the end of
    the month.