War Diary: 1st Battalion Buckinghamshire Regiment

Month and year: July 1944

The 1st Battalion Buckinghamshire Regiment July 1944 covers their time based in OUISTREHAM and Caen canal area.

National Archive Reference: WO 171/1269

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Page 1 of 12
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
OUISTREHAM12359Trace X attd shows posn as at beginning of July
En shelling on a small scale. PAD orders issued to conform with
Sub Area Instrs. 2330 Patrol sent by B Coy to Pt du Siege no
See Trace X Attd See Appx 'A' attd 6BG/0/11.
21030Church Servic C of E at CINO REX, OUISTREHAM which is now the
1115Recce made of LUC-S-MER and PETIT ENFER prior to the BN with
the aid of 3 FSO and 10 FSP searching the whole area to discover
i) Arms and Amn ii) Possible enemy who had remained hidden iii)
Suspect civilians.
1300O' Gp at HQ 138 DID.
1345Bn HQ (Adv) set up at triangle 042823 in LUC-S-MER.
1440No Tpt, as ordered
1530Owing to lack of tpt and failure to obtained correct infm (by
higher authority) operation was cancelled.
2200-2359Beaches were shelled. Enemy a/c over BMA.
STAGE SHOWS have been arranged. Recce Patrol by 12 Pl D Coy.
See App 'B' 6BG/A/33.
30600Enemy a/c beleived to be pilotless plane or doodlebug observed
flying in direction NW-SE towards SALLENELLES.
0730Reported by 'B' Coy that at 0150hrs anemy limber parked and
probably unloaded stores: at 0250hrs a m/c parked at same posn.
Voices heard.
1315Bn, HQ set up at Triangle 042823 in LUC-S-MER.
1430A' Coy with under Comd Pl 'C' Coy and 'D' Coy with under Comd
1 Pl 'C' Coy commenced to search every civilian and house. Many
people brought back for questioning. Only a few detained by
FSP and fevforbidden articles discovered,
2145Operation ended. Entertainment cancelled (see 6BG/A/24)
considered too dangerous in view of shelling.
Ref App 'C' (6BG/A/36)
Page 2 of 12
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
40030Shelling until 0400. 1 Casualty.
5An operation order was made for the defence of Docks and
Installations at the PORT OF OUISTREHAM (1178).
See 6BG/0/17 App (D( 6BG/0/18 App 'E'
B' Coy remained Garrison Coy and def posns are as at Trace 'z'
2 OPs were put out by 'B' Coy as drawn on trace.
See Trace 'z'
60900Entertainment Programme
Cadre started for L/Cpls - newly appointed - run by RSM at Bn
HQ to train them in duties of NCOs
Usual air activity at night. No damage or Cas.
See 6BG/A/30 App 'F' (i)
72230LT J DEFRIEZ (Assistant Sigs Offr) attached to 4 SS Bde as LO
for defence of QUISTREHAM PORT.
1130 -1300Mor Pl ranged on Def fire Tasks and in posns.
Usual air activity and sholling bo night. 110 -damage or
2200Hy bomber raid observed in area CAEN a/c were LANCASTERS,
Short Cadre started for Junior Offrs and Pl Sjts. Run by 2IC and
Major Marshall D Coy - Programme attached herewith.
Appx 'F' (ii)
8Entertainments see 6BG/A/63Appx 'G' attached
Entertainments see BKS/A/65Appx 'H' (i) attached
1900Sniper shot German (believed to be offr or NCO) standing on
pillbox at range 600 yds believed killed.
2030Another German shot - badly wounded - believed killed, Usual
air activity and shelling by night. No damage or Casualties,
This is the first opportunity the Bn has had of firing at the
1 Pl 'C' Coy put under comd 'B' Coy for erecting wire E of Canal.
1 Pl 'D'Coy under Comd 'B' Coy to provide double sentries on
Trace 'z'
Page 3 of 12
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
9LT SG GILLAM attached 101 Beach Sub Area as LO
19552 Mor Bombs fell in RAP Biv area - no casualties.
2045Mor Bomb fell in area CANAL LOCK 0 no damage or casualties.
10The Beach Gp as such dissolves finally and the Staff Capt
(Capt JD Bicknell) was withdrawn to 101 Beach Sub Area on whose
strength he has always been borne since he ceased to be Adjutant
of this Bn and became Staff Capt to the Beach Group last February.
2/Lt RCBM Viney taken on strength from Reinforcements Gp and
posted to 'S' Coy as understudy to the Mortar offr.
Lt RD Moore transferred to 'C' Coy as 2IC following posting of
Lt SG Gillam to 101 Beach Sub Area.
Lt Morley assumes comd of Carrier Pl.
Bn now back on Bn basis but the future is very obscure. Pressing
on with trg as much as possible but strictly limited by ground
to small scale Section Trg and occasional Pl Trg.
U.S. Gangshow 'SKYBLAZERS' comes to LION whole of this week . Bn
is allotted seats.Appx 'I'
Op Instr No 3 (2nd edition) issued. 15 shells dropped during day.Appx 'J'
11Inter Coy change overs effected during day. A Coy take over
defence of Docks from 'B' Coy. Change over effected without
Enemy interference of any sort incl shelling.Appx 'K'
1400Representative from Airborne Division came to ask for volunteers
for Parachutists or Airborne tps Went round Coys seeing men
direct. Quite a number volunteered.
1500Received a visit from Adjt 52nd.
02452 enemy MGs fire into Wood 134784 (Point du Siege) in attempt
to shoot our relieving Snipers - No casualties.
1835Enemy shelled Dock Area, destroying only bridge across the lock with
two direct hits which set off the demolition charges. Bridge was
useless except for pedestrians. Approx 65 shells fired into Bn
Page 4 of 12
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
120055Completion of take over by 'A' Coy from 'B' Coy.
Consistent enemy shelling and a/c action until dawn over general
area. No damage or casualties.
0550Docks area shelled. No damage or casualties.
0845Possible enemy relief occurred at FRANCEVILLE PLAGE as 4 men
were observed leaving positions with full kit.
2359Bailey Bridges erected across the Canal during the night.
CSM Bateman returns to the Bn after convalescing following an
accident several months ago on an Exercise in Scotland and is
posted to 'A' Coy as CSM in place of CSM Stevenson who goes to
52nd on trial pending posting.
13Normal shelling continued throughout the day approx 60 shells
falling Bn Area.
In addition to normal shelling ennecessary movement by the RE
near an Artillery OP brought down fierce fire from the enemy 50
shells in all which put the Radio Eqpt of local AA Guns out of
The slightest attempt to work on the high ground invariably
brings its response from the other side of the canal.
1430OC A Coy visited SS Bde over the River and made mutual arrangements
regarding supporting fire and signals orders Appx 'L'Appx 'L'
2350A' Coy carréd out Patrol to test suspected enemy minefield and
wired in 'A' Coy area.
14Le Quatorze Juillet' Local arrangements made with Mayor for
Guard of Honour to be provided outside church at OUISTREHAM.
'D' Coy supplied Guard of 1 Offr and 40 men. There was
voluntary service at OUISTREHAM Church (RC) for the tps. Comd
Offr had arranged to attend service and lay wreath at War
Memorial afterwards but was called to conference at 101 Sub-Area
just before the commencement.
Page 5 of 12
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
142IC (Major Boehm) and the Adjt attended the service. The Mayor
inspected the Guard of Honour and then went into the Church. The
service opened with a short address in English by the Vicar
followed by the normal mass. At the end 'La Marseillaise' and
'God Save the King' were played by the brass band got together by
the civilians. After the service the various wreaths vere laid
on the memorial and the 2IC laid one on behalf of the British
Enemy shelling did not interfere with the service or the celebrations.
1515The Regimental Band which had just arrived in Normandy was sent
to us to give a concert at OUISTREHAM. The large Theatre there
was chosen as there is a good stage and the place itself is not
greatly damaged. The place was crowded with military and civilians
and the Band gave an excellent performance which was greatly
appreciated by all. During the show there was a lot of artillery
firing during the performance which. brought some retaliation but
although explosions outside could be heard no damage was done to
the Thteatre on the audience.
1930Enemy shells fell in 'D' Coy area - no damage or casualties. One
pilotless in the morning, obviously somewhat
off its course as it was heading straight for the German Lines.
The enemy AA got wildly excited but despite intense Flak the
Doodle Bug' sailed serenely through and disappeared from view
still going stong.
150900Further course for L/Cpls starts at Bn HQ under RSM.
0930Visit from Comd 7 Bn East Yorks who has recently moved into
this area and has instructions from above to take over the defence
Page 6 of 12
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
151000Visit from SS Gp (Commandos) who interview candidates for Commandos.
They choose eight out of about 24.
1200Thunderbolt a/c crashes and pilot parachutes into R Orne. Patrol
from 'A' Coy goes out to fetch him in but SS Bde are already there.
Pilot is brought to our lines and sent to 101 Sub Area.
Were warned that one Coy would have to do duties in CAEN. Warning
order issued but decision of 101 Sub Area changed at last moment.
Appx (P)
150 shells in Bn area during day.
160945Lighthouse shelled again - no casualties.
Authority given for 5 offrs and 7 ORS to be attached to front
line tps for Battle Experience.
Appx 'Q'
101516 men attached to 241 Pro Coy for CMP duties.
1640Visit by Lt Col Alexander - Civil Affairs - (the Bn IO from Sept
40 - March 42).
2330Enemy shelling bridge at OUISTREHAM - 20% of shells did not
explode. 195 shells in area altogether.
17A lot of German Amn ordered to be collected in this avea. Most
of it is in a strong room in one of the Ex German defences and
each time movement is seen by the enemy over the River he lets loose
with shells. Collection of amn consequently abandoned temporarily!
1150Heavy shelling of Dock Area until 1400, (2 Cas-wounded)
1320Martor Pl range on Mustang which crashed over the River in enemy
lines to attempt to set on fire, but range is too great. The
Casino LION opened as a permanent Theatre. Bn allotted seats
daily. Rumoured Residual parties have arrived.
Appx 'R'
180200 - 0250Heavy shelling of Canal Area followed by further shelling of
OUISTREHAM generally incl D Coy and Bn HQ. Bn suffered 6
casualties (wounded) 18 all incl Lt DO Eden
Lt Defriez appointed L between Bn 4 SS Bde across the river.
Page 7 of 12
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
180600Fleet of bombers flew over and dropped 7000 Bombs on enemy FDLs
just East of CAEN. - Very impressive.
First indication received of future of Bn which is threatened
with heavy Drafts or disbandment. Other Beach Gp Bns being
disbanded or finding drafts but no definite authority for us to
do so as yet.
1430SSI Rider appointed NCO IC Enemy Weapons.
Information Room established and demonstration given to all
offr WOs and Pl Sjts. Amn is in plentiful supply from the Pill-
boxes evacuated on D Day by the Germans so it is hoped to allow
one NCO per Plto become proficient in the handling of the enemy
1630Arrival at Bn HQ of Capt EA Low Bn TO who has come over with the
Residual Party. Residuals were meant to arrive on D + 17 approx
but finally turned up on D + 42. All personnel and tpt join up
with Bn here at 2300hrs. Bn once more complete.
1700Enemy MG Post 137789 hit by our arty and left burning.
2100Considerable traffic on the roads tonight as fresh tps move up
into the line for the coming attack. German 88mm at 137789 opens
up at column of vehs as it moves down Canal Bank. Noticed that the
Ambulances were not fired at.
190615Polish deserter picked up by AA Site and brought to Bn HQ. Passed
to interrogation camp.
During day enemy shelling of Canal Area including, onee more, vehs
moving down Canal Bank.
1500Bn Sports. Major Kaye arranged the meeting which was held on a
very nonvenient field nereby and included all the usual Running
Heats, 100x 220x 440x 1/2 mile and 1 mile, Relay Races, Long Jump,
High Jump, Tug-of-War and as always the comic obstacle race at the
end, it was a perfert day and during the afternoon there was no shelling.
Page 8 of 12
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
191500Results were C Coy 21 points
B Coy 19 "
S Coy 18 "
HQ Coy 13 "
D Coy 11 "
2200Aerial bombardment over area on small scale. One bomb dropped on
B Coy Canteen. Fortunately no one was there at the time, the only
casualties being from blast - CSM Rous, L/S Haggerty who suffered
from shock but was treated by the RAP and remained with Coys.
20Letter received from General Montgomery regarding the future of
the Bn. In view of the shortage of man-power it has been found
necessary to turn all Beach Gp Bns into Drafting Bns and we are
to expect heavy Drafts in the future. It is not clear whether the
Bn is to be disbanded or not but it seems unlikely now. Undoubtedly
we shall have to find drafts and the chance of fighting as
a Bn seems very remote unfortunately. At the moment, while we
are performing our present operational Role of defending OUISTREHAM
we are frozen as regards drafts, but how long this will last is
uncertain. This was the only thing of importance that occurred
during the whole day apart from the fact that the Comd offr after
attending a conference at 11 L of C was told that the Bn would be
"broken Up". What exactly "broken up" means no one quite knows
but we all hope that it only means 'bled' and not disbanded.
2000Comd offr called conference of all Coy Comds and broke the sad
news as far as he knew it and asked each Coy to submit names for
a Minimum Cadre based on our own proposed cadre which was sent at
once to all concerned. We await developements.
Appx 'V'
Page 9 of 12
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
21Very little of interest happened today. The biggest administ-
rative headache at HQ is the Entertainment which is assuming a
rather complicated proportion. This seems to be the most
important item for everyone these days so an up-to-date 'guide'
is produced for all Coys. Everyone is able to see some film
See App 'T'
or show every 3 weeks at present which is considered very good by
all except the odd few who are never satisfied.
1400Lt DUNKLEY is attached to 241 Pro Coy CMP for a period of 3 weeks
pending posting to CMP.
1500Operational Relief of A Coy by D Coy & vice versa. This will now
complete the circle as all Rifle Coys after D Coy have completed thier
tour of duty will have done the actual immediate operational Role of the
1700Comd Offr spoke to all Offrs on subject of future of the Bn and
asked them all to write a personal letter to him today stating
in view of the circumstances whether they wished to try and go
elsewhere at once, or if they had any special choice of posting
was eventually inevitable.
Morale not quite so high as usual on hearing the news but luckily
the NAAFI supplies had just arrived so we were all able to drown
our sorrows,
Capt JA Hope appointed Sniper officer and Sniper Section detailed.
Attached to Bn HQ and work with Intelligence Section.
Volunteers for Commandos and Airlanding Bde are attached to
respective Units (58nd in the case of Airlanding Bde) on
Rev Dix posted from 2nd Army to L of C but remains with Bn for
the present until we should move.
A day from shelling point of view - only 17 in all.
Page 10 of 12
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
22Normal Routine everywhere. Leaflets dropped in area 'B' Coy.Appx 'V'
Much traffic across the bridge and down the Canal Road which
as usual draws a lot of attention and fire from the enemy.
Approx 120 shells fell in this area during the 24 hours.
23Normal Routine. Rev. Dix took Church Service at the special
church converted out of the Local Cinema called 'St Christophers
Church'. In the middle of the service the enemy shelled the
Town and shells fell all around the Church, the nearest one being
on the other side of the road. The church itself was not
damaged and the service was not interupted.
During the shelling four Casualties were caused in the Bn incl
Lt Chatham. None was serious and all remain with Bn,
24More leaflets dropped during the night throughout the area.
1540Visit of Gen Naylor Comd L of C to this HQ.
Nows was received from KSLI that Lt EMMENS who had been attached
to KSLI temporarily to gain battle experience with certain other
offre and NCOs from this Bn had been killed on the 18 Jul 44 by
a shell which exploded close to him. Lt MOFFATT was also
injured and removed to hospital. Remainder returned to the Bn
having all been in charge of Pls and been engaged in the assault.
But of thirteen sent we were unfortunate to have about 25%
casualties L/Sjt Killigrew also being wounded.
25Enemy weapon circus started.
In view of the shelling which hampers work on the Docks and the
surrounding area, it has been decided to put up a Camouflage
Screen round Canal Bridge. This is put in hand by Camouflage
offr 101 Sub Area,
All Umits of 6 Beach Gp finally passed out of Comd. The Bn is now
responsible for the local dministration of elements of AA only.
Large parcel received from Bucks Welfare Fund.
Page 11 of 12
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
26Small exercise laid on by this HQ for Carrier and A/tk Pls to
practice their role. Much benefit derived from it for all
The Fd Punishment Cage which is being run by this Bn for 101
Sub Area closed down and became merely our own FP Gage for our
own delinquents and a Close Arrest Cage for those awaiting
disposal etc,
271500Regimental Band gave a further concert in the Theatre at
OUISTREHAM. The civilians were informed throug Civl Affairs
and the Mayor and 300 seats were allotted to them as before.
70 seats were also allotted to 52nd who are on the other side
or the river. Unfortunately during the morning there had been
some shelling and the Church next to the Theatre had been hit by
a shell. This incident coupled with the fact that it was mid-
week and therefore everyone was at work resulted in only a mere
handful of civilians turning up. Despite this the conoert was
a great success, the Band with its usual versatibility giving
us everything from Military Marches to Dance Music - the latter
was a tremendous success not only with the soldiers but also
with the few civilians who were there.
AMNormal Routine.
1500Heavy shelling on the Town and especially round Bn HQ area,
shells landing in the square in front of the HQ and in the
empty shed next door to the Cookhouse. 20 men slightly wounded
otherwise no damage.
1600The Comd Offrs Car (4 str) badly holed by splinters and rendered
hors de combat. Great lamentations at the thought of the
Majestic 'Bread Van' (Bucks for 'Battle Box') being replaced by the
uncomfortable though undoubtly Utilitarian Jeep. There is indeed
Total War!
Page 12 of 12
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
271600Camouflage Screen over R Orne at Canal Bridge knocked down and
damaged by Shellfire.
282 sjts of 1 NORFOLKS attached to our Mortar Pl and A/TK Pl for
training to discover their technical capabilities.
Snipers claim 1 German wounded from Point du Seige.
Heavy shelling of area. 173 shells fell in Bn area. No
291030Mortar Pl carried out practice shoot of operational role. Shoot
satisfactory and brought no reprisals. Normal Routine.
300550Received letter from 1 Canadian Army stating that the Bn ceases
to be L of C but comes under 1 Canadian Army wef 1200hrs today.
immediately under 1 Corps.
0960Comd Offer visits 1 Corps and arrangemnts are made for Bn to
become Corps Troops, directly under 1 Corps for Admin but under
6 Airborne Division for operations.
12006 Airborne Division contacted.
31B Coy complete moves over the River Orne to take up position at
128748 under command 52nd.
A Coy assumes responsibility for guarding 4 bridges over River
Orne at 111765 and 115761 under command 4 SS Bde.
Weekly AFW 3008s and 3009s and copies of Bn news sheet attached.
6 Beach Gp Admin Order No 1 Operation OVERLORD attached with
Amdt No 1.
Appx 'W' & Appx 'X' Appx 'Y'
Extracts of original operation order (6 Beach GP) attached.
No complete copy was brought overseas.
Appx 'Z'