View Map
Map here
Overlay transparency


    War Diary: 141st Royal Armoured Corps

    Month and year: August 1944

    The August 1944 war diary for B Squadron of the 141st Royal Armoured Corps covers their actions in Normandy in the area South West of Caen. The second page was damaged to the edge so a small portion of text is missing.

    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.

    Found this useful?

    If you've found this resource useful please consider supporting us to digitise more war diaries, documents and maps.

    By me a coffee

    « Return to war diaries

    Page 1 of 3
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    1 Aug 44. CRESSERONS. 7 Aug 44. CORMELLES. 057656.For the first few days of August 'B' Squadron remained at
    CRESSERONS. On 6 Aug it came under Command of 2 Canadian
    Corps for Operation "TOTALISE" and was allotted under
    Command 33 TK Bde to 51 Highland Division, moving to
    CORMELLES057656 on 7 Aug. "TOTALISE" was a daring night
    attack astride the CAEN-FALAISE road with Armour leading
    in two colns either side of the road and inf in Priests
    behind. The object on the left was to secure a firm base
    from which to launch the Polish Armd Div. Thus 51 Div were
    to secure during the night 7-8 Aug LONGUICHON WOOD, GARCELLES,
    CRAMESNIL and ST AIGNAN-DE-CRAMESNIL - the whole area to be
    mopped up in the morning 8 Aug and made firm on the East by
    the capture of SECQUEVILLE LA CAMPAGNE. It was in this
    mopping up phase that 'B' Sqn were to be used, originally
    with 5 Seaforths with whom they had achieved such success
    West of Troarn.
    8 Aug 44. CORMELLES. LE BRAS. SECQUEVILLE. LA-CAMPAGNE.The Sqn moved out at 1000 hrs from CORMELLES to a posn of
    readiness West of LE BRAS at 057633. Fortune favours the
    brave. Later in the day CORMELLES was to be well and truly
    "stonked" by the "precision bombing" American Fortresses
    giving close sp to our fwd tps "precisely" 10 miles away.
    As it was 'B' Sqn's Echelon lost one O,R Killed and three
    O.Rs wounded.
    The night attack had gone well and the inf were on
    their fwd objectives but TILLY-LA CAMPAGNE was still causing
    trouble in the rear and 5 Seaforths were called in to deal
    with this. During the delay the Crocodiles were very well
    represented at Div Tac HQ - present were Sqn Comd, Sqn 2IC,
    Recce Offr, C.O. and I.O, a somewhat typical Crocodile
    gathering on such occasions. It was finally decided to do
    the attack on SECQUEVILLE LA CAMPAGNE with the. Gordon High-
    Landers (153 Bde) but the plan remained basically unaltered.
    This was for the two fwd coys, with one Sqn of Shermans from
    148 RAC, to go right through the village, leaving 'D'Coy
    with the Crocodiles to mop-up the forward patches of the wood.
    Flank protection was provided by 2 Sqns
    of 148 RAC and a very thorough arty programme was laid on to
    deal with the surrounding areas, LA HOGUE in particular.
    Although the plan was ready made the tie-up came very late.
    Major Ryle went fwd to tie-up with the Inf Comd at 1400 hrs,
    but owing to a procrastinated Inf 'O' Gp he himself was not
    able to hold one until 1610 hrs and with 'H' hr at 1630 hrs
    the Tps were not able to mate up properly with their opposite
    numbers. This may account for some of the subsequent confusion.
    Yet another element added to the general melee. The
    Poles, chafing at the leash, had been released over the Start
    Line a little earlier than originally planned and off they
    went gleefully rubbing their hands in anticipation (it was
    their first time in action here). So that the whole attack
    was a glorious pandemonium of Polish Tks, 148 RAC Tks, and
    Crocodiles milling around with the Inf "hither and thithering"
    with the greatest calm and gaiety.
    It was not altogether surprising then that 7 and 8 Tps
    (Lts Barrow and Ward) found themselves for a time supporting
    the fwd coys. Lieut Barrow succeeded in swinging left and
    doing his job but Lieut Ward was forced to Jettison his
    trailer (subsequently recovered) and 10 Tp were put in to
    carry out 8 Tps task. Not that it really mattered anyway.
    The morale of the enemy was so low (they had been subjected to
    everything that war can devise) that they were surrendering
    with nominal rolls already prepared. It was thus impossible
    to judge the effect of the flame - indeed it is doubtful if
    it was required in the process.
    The Sqn was released at 2100 hrs and returned to
    CORMELLES where Lieut Sander immediately got busy on the
    Page 2 of 3
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    usual 'B' Sqn perquisities - a comfortable house, an inviting
    Mess, and what have you.
    10 Aug 44. GRENTHEVILLE. 097648From here they were spirited away (the C.O. know nothing of
    their disappearance) under command 49 Div at 1000 hrs 10 Aug
    to 097648 in an association with our old Bde, 31 TK Bde.
    During the morning a shell fell in to the tk harbour slightly
    wounding 2 O.Rs, one of whom went to hospital
    Here an attack on BENOUVILLE was laid on with the HALLAMS
    with the object of maintaining contact with the enemy should
    he withdraw. The same attack was then tied-up with the
    11 Aug 44. 109607.Leicesters for 11 Aug when the Sqn moved to 109607 (Sheet
    7/F2, 1/50,000). It was during this planning that Major
    Ryle and the eternal Storrar(trouble personified) found
    themselves painfully exposed on a skyline in a Scout Car
    to 88mm direct fire. The attack however was never called for
    13 Aug 44. CORMELLES.and on 13 Aug 'B' Sqn were put under command 2 Canadian Corps
    for Operation "TALLULAH" and moved back to CORMELLES.

    "TALLULAH" was to be a repitition of "TOTALISE" methods
    in order to seize the controlling ground North and North
    East of FALAISE - the famous FALAISE Pocket was in the
    making. 2 Canadian Corps was to attack on a two Div front
    with Right 3 Canadian Inf Div and Left 2 Canadian Inf Div
    Again two armoured columns were to lead - Right 2 Canadian
    Armd Bde, left 4 Canadian Armd Bde; these in turn followed
    by Priest borne bns of 9 and 8 Canadian Inf Bdes respectively
    to clear the River Laison after the armour had crossed ????
    This time however the operation was to be done in day ?????
    with extensive smoke on the flanks and heavy bomber s?????
    Sqn were in support 8 Canadian Inf Bde and allotted p?????
    to the Regt de Chaudieu to assist if necessary ???? clear
    ROUVRES 165482 and its neighbouring Chateau. ???? hour was
    1200 B hrs 14 Aug.
    14 Aug 44. ROUVRES. 165482On the appointed day 'B' Sqn formed up at ST AIGHAN DE
    CRAMESNIL and after crossing the Start Line proceeded to
    high ground North of ROUVRES, there to wait until required.
    Here the Sqn came in for a good deal of direct A/Tk fire
    from the other side of the river and extensive use of smoke
    was made in order to get in to reasonable positions. Lieut
    Sander claimed one A/Tk gun. First news from the Inf was
    that their objective was already taken. The Bde Comd was
    consequently asked for release by the Sqn his HQ.
    He himself was pleasantly surprised, having no communication
    with his Bn, and asked if the Crocodiles would give orders
    to his other two bns to advance now as he was not in touch
    with them either. Late that evening the Sqn pulled out
    to GARCELLES SECQUEVILLES to refuel, and harbour at
    LE BRAS 037633. It was the firm intention of one Peter
    Sander to move lock stock and barrel back to CORMELLES (
    the Sqn now being in Army Res) in order that the sweets of
    life might be taken up once more without undue labour. It
    was gently but firmly pointed out by the C.O. that the axis
    of advance in fact lay in another direction. There could
    20 Aug 44. 159411.only be one outcome and on 20 Aug the Sqn moved to 159411
    (S.W. of EPANCY) behind Main HQ. Arrangements went ahead
    for a "roarer" (C.Os terminology not mine) which was very
    fortunately cancelled.
    21 Aug 44. 296510.At 0230 hrs on a very dark and wet morning Lieut Saunders
    made his very unwelcome appearance with orders for 'B' Sqn
    to move at first light to the area LES AUTHIEUX PAPILLON
    4080 (Sheet 7F/4). and the Sqn Comd to report with an L.O.
    to 7 Arma Div HQ under whose comd the Sqn now came. Major
    Ryle and Capt Moss accordingly set off and by good fortune
    hit on the correct location of 7 Armd Div after the very
    ambiguous map reference given. A wet and miserable column
    of tanks set out under an even more wet, grim and miserable
    Page 3 of 3
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    STORRAR. Not before Lieut Sander had armed himself however for
    the journey with an empty 75mm shell case for he was suffering
    more than somewhat from diarrhea, and showing more than ever
    that 19th century "mal du siecle" expression of his. Beyond
    St. Pierre the tk column was stopped by a very irate Highland
    Division DAAQMG who informed Capt Storrar that he knew nothing
    of the Crocodiles, wanted nothing of the Crocodiles, and would
    the Crocodiles damnwell get off his axis. With pleasure, and
    Capt Storrar pulled into an orchard at 296510, NE of St.Pierre
    Sur Dives. With Major Ryle's return from 7 Armd Div it transpired
    that the Sqn had been sent on their wrong axis. All the 7 Armd
    Div knew was a vague recollection of a passing mention some few
    days ago that the Crocodiles would be useful on a certain strong-
    point which they had finally dealt with from their own resources.
    We draw the proverbial veil over Capt Storrar's sentiments - that
    night he left 'B' Sqn to take over 'A' Sqn and Capt Moss became
    'B' Sqn 2IC.
    21 Aug 44.7th Armd Div and 51st Highland Div were making a concerted
    drive east this time through LISIEUX and 'B' Sqn were held in
    res to deal with any stubborn pockets that might be left behind.
    23 Aug 44.Still under 7th Armd Div 'B' Sqn on 23rd Aug moved first
    to 442786 arriving at 1200 hrs, thence to 506860 (7F/4)
    south-west of LISIEUX 484878 in anticipation of being used to mop
    up in LISIEUX. Owing to the difficulties of manoeuvre in
    LISIEUX especially with the presence of rubble this did not
    materialise. In any case the advance along the whole front
    was now proceeding at a pace which made it almost impossible
    for the Crocodiles to catch up to be put into operation against
    any strongpoint before that strongpoint was reduced by normal
    24 Aug 44 165406. 27 Aug 44.At 0800 hrs on 24th August 'B' Sqn came u/c 51 Inf Div
    but reverted to 1 Corps on the same day at 1800 hrs.
    On 27th August at 0800 hrs 'B' Sqn came u/c 33rd Armd Bde
    and moved to 795967 (8/F1) just west of ST. GEORGES DE PIERRE
    with a possible view to mopping-up operations east of the River
    RISLE. Again, however, this was not necessary and still u/c
    33rd Armd Bde on 28th August the Sqn moved up to 965032 with a
    view to possible jobs on the River SEINE. On 29th August the
    Sqn moved up to 985077 (8E/6) just north of BOURG ACHARD
    with a view to crossing the River SEINE where they remained until
    the end of the month.

    Found this useful?

    If you've found this resource useful please consider supporting us to digitise more war diaries, documents and maps.

    By me a coffee