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War Diary: 1st Battalion Buckinghamshire Regiment

Month and year: June 1944

The 1st Battalion Buckinghamshire Regiment (Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry) June 1944 covers the unit from their embarkation and disembarkation in 5 ft deep water and fighting around Ouistreham and Caen Canel.

National Archive Reference: WO 171/1269

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Page 1 of 5
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
Peyworth III Camp Marshalling Area "A". 1 Comd. Offr, Staff Capt and Adjt remained at Camp to tie up final details of
embarkation, with those landing third and fourth tides and residuals
The remainder of the Battalion was in various marshalling camps in area
"A" split up into craft serials. No-one was allowed to leave these
camps but various entertainments. were provided.
Second tide parties remained in these camps for four days.
4 During the day the movement order to proceed to embarkation points was
cancelled
2300 Movement order received (verbal)
Portsmouth 5 0743 Convoys moved from camps to Embarkation points by vehicles and embarked
on LCI(L) and vehicle parties on LST during the morning. No-difficulty
was encountered and convoy assembled off the Isle of Wight during the
afternoon.
At Sea 6 0500 Warning order to sail (verbal)
0700 Convoy sailed - voyage uneventful. - Sea, slight-swell. Sky, clear with
occasional cloud.
0800 News heard that British and American troops had landed in NORMANDY
1640 Coast of FRANCE sighted.
1900 Convoy arrived at dismbarkation point LE BRECHE and was switched to
QUEEN WHITE Beach
LE BRECHE 2030 Troops disembarked. One man wounded (almost drowned); The craft were
unable to beach in less than five feet of water and many men had to swim
the first few yards to the shore,
2100 Commanding Officer and 'R' Group assembled at 5 Beach Group Command Post.
2200 The situation was unsatisfactory, Enemy troops were still holding out
in Strongpoint LION SUR MER and small numbers were sniping in OUISTREHAM
and LE BRECHE. Recce of BMA impossible further WEST than 075812 owing
to enemy fire. The decision was taken to expand the SSDs until the BMA
was free of enemy.
Page 2 of 5
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
6 2330 Enemy aircraft flew over BMA and bombs. were dropped, but AA fire was
intense from land and sea.
Casualties: 1 killed 2 wounded (one of which mentioned above)
7 0500 2 enemy discovered occupying same dugout as our men and promptly made
prisoners.
0600 Decided that Lt Col Sale would command both Beach Groups owing to the
death of CO 5 Beach Group
1100 JU88 shot down onto Command Post. No casualties. Butterfly bombs were
scattered over the area.
1700 Coy dispositions as on attached trace.
1 Pl "D" Coy established in area LION SUR MER to relieve Commandos who
had attached enemy positions.
Enemy air activity was mainly fast runs down the beaches to bomb and
machine gun, but only few appeared, and they suffered heavy losses.
They were encouraged by low clouds. By night single- enemy planes were
overhead continuously.
8 0700 Remainder "D" Coy relieved RM Commando at LION-SUR MER; where-they
encountered enemy snipers.
1000 "D" Coy relieved by 9 Inf Bde, who were to assault the strongpoint.
1130 Single FW.190 jettisoned bomb on to SSD 3 while trying to elude British
fighters. Petrol fire started with thick black smoke and ammunition
soon involved. Lt. Col. Sale with great courage organised parties
to extinguish the flames and remove amn to a safe distance together with
Major Carse and Major Boehm. Much heroism was shown by officers and men.
Lt. Col. Sale was seriously wounded and operated on in BDS. Major Boehm
was also wounded but remained on duty.
1530 Fire died down. Major E.A. Carse assumed command of the Battalion and
both Beach Groups.
Page 3 of 5
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
8 2300 Report received that enemy paratroops had landed in area HERMONVILLE.
It was in fact British containers dropped in error.
Wounded 2 NCOs and 3 men.
Enemy shelling of the beaches began, but was sporadic. Weather dull
and cloudy, Battalion HQ now established at rd jun 087807 with Command
Post 091805. Pls of "D" Coy moved to Pet and Amn Dumps.
9 1700 Strong Point LION-SUR-MER finally captured by Bde. Report of enemy
holding out in DOUVRES.
10 Major Carse promoted to Lt Col. Major Boehm appointed 2IC.
First copy of Beachcomber produced by Lt. J.B. Johnston.Appx "A" Issues 1-6 incl
10/11 Enemy aircraft active during night no casualties.
11 1600 Patrol from "B" Coy taken to LUC SUR MER to investigate two Germans
reported living there nothing was found.
LION SUR MER 12 0700 Bn HQ moved to its intended posn in Orchard 069809 and all offices were
dug in to a depth of 5ft. "D" Coy HQ to Pet Dop HQ from 087806.
Casualties: 1 killed 1 wounded.
13 0015 A per and incendiary bombs fell accross HQ and amn dump causing three
stack fires. Casualties 4 men wounded.
Casualties killed 1 man "B" Coy on a mine.
14 1700 OP established CHURCH TOWER, LION SUR MER to observe shelling of beaches.
Visibility good, but observation unsatisfactory. OP established on
beaches 086806.
"D" Coy concentrated area 103800.
Casualties. 1 NCO "B" Coy wounded.
15 1000 Heavy shelling of QUEEN BEACH. Six out of seven LCT hit on beaches.
Casualties. 1 man wounded.
2000 Spitfire crashed on POL dump - fire put out at once, Pilot safe,
Page 4 of 5
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
16 0800 New HQ at OUISTREHAM, (Map ref 109794) sited.
"C" Coy established def posns in area Lock Gates OUISTREHAM.
1345 New HQ shelled. Casualties - 1 wounded.
1700 OP withdrawn.
2330 Lt Shilling took patrol to end of PT DU SIEGE 134784. One enemy
aircraft attempting to bomb lock gates was shot down
17 1600 OP established in enemy concrete shelter on bank of Canal (Map ref 117783).
"D" Coy moved into OUISTREHAM (HQ 110788) to operate MOON ASSEMBLY AREA.
Shelling of beaches was intermittent,
RIVA BELLA 18 HQ moved to new location 109794. All offices have been dug in to a depth of
five feet and roofed with 6" timber.
It was announced that no further copies of "Beachcomber" will be published.
Selling diminishing in quantity.
19 Normal shelling and air activity by night
20 Normal shelling and air activity by night.
21 Normal shelling and air activity by night. Standing Orders issued.Appx "2B"
22 0650 Lock-gates shelled with slight damage to Power House.
6 Beach Gp assumes responsibility for ground and air defence of bridge and
Lock Gates 119787.
23
24 0110 Bombs dropped near lock - one a delayed action of 2 hrs.
0330 Several leaflets dropped, written in very bad English. slang. FIRST
LORD OFTHE ADMIRALTY visited LIGHTHOUSE OP:
No examples available.
1700 VICE ADMIRAL HAMILTON and REAR ADMIRAL TALBOT visited Beach Gp HQ.
2340 Further attempt to bomb locks - no damage.
Enemy shelling directed against beaches and lock gates.
25 1015 Padre Dix MBE CF conducted C of E service in RIVA BELLA, Chalet Des Effants.
2359 Shelling of Port and beaches was increased. A permanent smoke screen is
now laid from area 097803 to prevent enemy observation of the beaches from
Page 5 of 5
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
area CABOURG - FRANCEVILLE PLAGE.
Casualties: 2 ORs wounded from "C" Coy.
Coy reliefs - see 6BC/0/1 dated 24 Jun.
Appx "C"
26 2359 Enemy shelling has increased again, the beaches and port area being the
main targets, but although several direct hits have been obtained on the
walls, the gates are still intact.
27 Comd 101 Beach Sub-Area laid down that 6 Beach Gp will be responsible for
the defence of OUISTREHAM PORT.
28 1300 "B" Coy and exoavators working on canal bank shelled.
One shell hit roof of coy stores, wounding 2 men.
29 2350 2000 kg bomb fell on civilian house next to QM 108795 Rescue party
organized by RMO. Bomb may have been aimed at Red Lamp put up by Pro.
30 2359 Operation Order Issued
Entertainment plan
Appx "E" Appx "F"
Corps Rest Centre and Recreation Centre opened at PETIT ENFER
Occasional enemy shelling of beaches.
Coy posns at end of month see Trace "Z"
Appx "D"