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    War Diary: 1st Battalion South Lancashire Regiment

    Month and year: July 1944

    1st Battalion South Lancashire Regiment July 1944 War Diary covers their fighting and advance to Escoville area

    National Archive Reference: WO 171/1332

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    Page 1 of 22
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    LA LANDEL1Patrol out during night to recce enemy posns. as contact patrol.
    (Nothing to report).
    21030Heavy barrage. Hy own Arty area N.W. CAEN.
    1130- do -
    Smoke screen laid down by enemy approx 400yds in front of LEBISEY WOOD.
    1250Sharp mortaring of location by enemy.
    1550Shelling of Bn location by enemy.
    1830More shelling by enemy from LA BIJUDE area.
    1900Smoke laid down by enemy from LA BIJUDE to 400 yds N.E. of it.
    1935Enemy again put down smoke screen.
    2020Sharp mortaring by enemy
    2300Short barrage put down by our own arty.
    Patrols out during night.
    31700Report on carrier pigeon.
    1900Barrage by our own arty.
    Page 2 of 22
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    LA LANDEL.32005Sharp Mortaring of our posn by enemy.
    2020Slight enemy shelling.
    Our own barrage starts again.
    2030Fur ther barrage by our own arty.
    Sharp shelling and mortaring of our posn by enemy. Shells believed to be
    88 mm. S.P.
    2040More enemy shelling 3 or 4 airbursts,
    Patrols out during night covering R.E. laying mines.
    101054 shells fell round REs carrying party. 1 very light casualty.
    0500Heavy barrage put down by own arty (in support of Canadians).
    0955Enemy shelling of our location. (6. H.E.)
    1020More shelling by the enemy. (18 H.E.)
    1130Officer found abandoned German M.C. combination and two knocked out MKIV's at
    043747 X rds 043749 found unoccupied.
    Page 3 of 22
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    LA LANDEL,418304 Enemy shells fall in Bn Area (15cm).
    1900Barrage commences for 15 minutes by our own Arty.
    2015MGs commence firing direction LA BIJUDE.
    2100MGs heard, direction LA BIJUDE.
    2345Own heavy M.G fire, for 3 minutes.
    50525Own mortars in action. (for 5 minutes).
    1925Shelling of our posn by the enemy. (5 minutes).
    1940More shelling by enemy. (2 casualties). (6 minutes)
    2108Again sharply shelled by enemy 8 minutes.
    60130D + 17 vehs arrived.
    0755Shelling of Bn area.
    1200Enemy S.P. gun observed although well camouflaged about 3000yds in front.
    1310Sharp enemy shelling of posn by enemy.
    1645Shelled again by enemy.
    2225After our barrage two enemy tanks appeared one of which retired again the
    other left in view on track (approx 043724).
    Page 4 of 22
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    LA LANDEL70330Heavy barrage put down by own Arty.
    0400A,2. Ech shelled by three 88 mm from LEBISLEY WOOD.
    06354 M .E.109's fly over area straffing.
    0800Positions normal throughout day.
    2150Large force of HALIFAX Bombers fly overhead in direction of CAEN.
    2155Bombing of CAEN commences.
    2320Large fires seen in LEBISEY and CAEN.
    Sharp bout of enemy shelling 105 and 150 amn used - 30 rds."B" Coy. Offrs & 5 ORs( w).
    2330Bde Comds enquires what impression the bombing made here. Replied Goods
    Adv party of NORFOLKS arrived.
    80030Main body of NORFOLKS moves up.
    01052 enemy aircraft overhead engaged by our own A. A.
    0240- Heavy barrage by our guns. Heavy enemy "stonk" WEST of this area.
    0330Patrol reports from "D" Coy 4 German deserters reported to SUFFOLKS.
    Page 5 of 22
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    80412Enemy shelling - slight - forward of "C" Company.
    0420Heavy barrage put down from our side.
    0500Enemy mortar fire over whole area.
    0520Enemy mortars to right of "C" Company posn.
    0522"D" Company report enemy M.G. fire along road 035746.
    0523"S" Company report large calibre shells near gap in wall.
    0525Patrol report to Bde Tac. H.Q.
    0530Communications to both O.P's out of order.
    0054Slight enemy shelling in area of this H.Q.
    0603O.P. reports our Inf. and tanks move forward under shell fire on left of
    "C" Company.
    0615"D" Company reports friendly inf. moving on road on road CAMBES - LA-BIJUDE
    Enemy M.G. still firing from that vicinity.
    0640GAL-MANCHE and LA-BIJUDE reported taken by troops on right. On left
    fighting going on in LEBISEY. Bulk of neighbours on 1st lateral. Some
    opposition coning from thick wood on left. Mopping up in houses on right.
    Page 6 of 22
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    80640Several friendly aircraft ground straffing enemy positions.
    0703Enemy heavy mortaring on road in front of "D" Company.
    0718Troops and tanks moving left to right towards small copse, First
    objective reached and forward troops on "BETTY" ind. "PAUL" and "BILL"
    also reported taken.
    0745Sit. reps. from Coy's. "A" - Shell fire in area.No casualties.
    "B" - Out of contact.
    "C" - Friends on left move forward but cannot be
    seen due to ground.
    "D" - Heavy mortar fire on fwd area. All quiet on road
    CAMBES - LA-BIJUDE. Vehicles from friends
    already gone forward.
    0945Heavy shell fire on SG wood.
    1140GEN. SIT. REP. 1100. Elements CMK and LMV in ST.CONTEST. GALMANCHE cleared
    LA-BIJUDE and EPRON in our hands. Two units ZCA consolidated LEBISEY due east
    to CANAL-de-CAEN also our WFP moving down to general line.
    Page 7 of 22
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    81220"A" Company report itermittent shelling of area also tps on right.
    1225Own tps move forward from LEBISEY through "MAUD" and "MABEL". Enemy inf.
    seen moving S on road LEBISEY - CAEN. Enemy tanks seen W of ST. CONTEST
    moving E. Small party of enemy inf working from AUBERGE to EPRON.
    1400New draft - 35 strong joined Bn.
    2230Contact patrols with E. Yorks.
    Mine Field patrol.
    90520Warning order for coy's to be ready to move from 0600 hrs onwards.
    No move developed.
    1300S.P's fire on area beyond LEBISEY.
    1430O.P.2. report smoke screen over area LA-BIJUDE, also on right flank.
    1500O.P. report small vehicle moving east to west - wood of LEBISEY.
    10Position at LE-LANDEL eased by capture of CAEN. Bn. bathed by coy's.
    check of equpt and arms.
    1400N.A. A.F.I. van arrived.
    Page 8 of 22
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    110900Bn. to remain in same area and not move. Period for rest and re-checking
    of equipt and arms.
    120730Party provided to assist R.E's in clearing mines - area CAMBES.
    0935Our S.P. guns commence firing - direction COLLOMBELLES,
    0945Cease fire.
    14054 M.E. 109's flying over area N.E. Engaged by A.A. and Spitfires.
    1835O.P. report series of explosions coming from COLLOMBELLES - fire started.
    131000Own mortars laid down smoke screen in front of Bn, obscuring view.
    1540Sappers blowing mines - area of LE-LANDEL farm.
    Bn doing section training throughout day also training of 2" Mortar team and
    L.M.G teams - 30 yds range.
    141000 to 1200Own mortars out on firing practice.
    1500Air activity - 3 .109's over area. Spitfires in pursuit.
    1930One M.E. 109 flying through own intense A.A. barrage chased by Spitfires.
    Page 9 of 22
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    151230"O" Group (Preparation for Exercise.
    1515Troops pass starting point.
    1545M.T. pass starting point.
    1603"O" Group - "A" and "D" Coy's
    1645Arrival "D" - "A" Coy deployed.
    1705"D" Coy deployed.
    1740"O" Group move after Carriers.
    1800Bn H.Q. arrive "SMITH"
    1805"D" Coy report two plns in position - rest moving up.
    1811Mortars report guns in action.
    1815Rear Bn. H.Q. arrive "SMITH"
    1818First report of "A" Coy in position. Time of arrival 1815.
    1827"D" Coy report Sector 1 fully occupied.
    1829"C" Coy report first platoon moving into Sector 3.
    1837Mortars in new position.
    1845"B" Coy arrive "SMITH" on route section 4.
    Page 10 of 22
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    1855"D" Coy report Coy H.Q. 048768.
    1900"C" Coy report moving into sector 3.
    1913"C" Coy report consolidating sector 3.
    1917Fwd plns "B" Coy in posn sector 4.
    1923"D" Coy ordered "move now" to new location.
    1932"B" Coy now fully in posn sector 4.
    1954"A" Coy ordered to "move now" to new posn.
    20082 Mortars sent to "A" and "D" Coy's.
    2017"D" Coy moving into sector 5.
    2018"A" Coy on move.
    2029"C" Coy ordered to move new location.
    2032"D" Coy occupied sector 5.
    2045Bn. H.Q. move to "JONES"
    2053Bn. H.Q. est. "JONES"
    2056"A" Coy in position in sector 6.
    Page 11 of 22
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    2102"C" Coy moving through.
    2105Exercise ends.
    2150"D" Coy return.
    2155"B" and "A" Coy's return.
    160930Advance party to assembly area at PLUMETOT.
    (Sheet 7.F. 1/100,000 - 043789.)
    0945"O" Group Advance Party.
    1430Advance Party move off to new area.
    1500Marching personnel left LE-LANDEL assembly area.
    1645M.T. left.
    PLUMETOT.1710Arrival in assembly area.Sheet 7/F. 1/100,000. 043489
    2200Stand by ready to move.
    2355Bn leaves assembly area for new location.
    HEROUVILLETTE170400Bn arrives new area. (HEROUVILLETTE Sheet 7.F. 119720. 1,100,000.)
    and occupies posn.
    Sheet 7/F 1100,000. 119720
    Page 12 of 22
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    HEROUVILLETTE.170600Large formations of Sherman Tanks moved up and harboured in Bn area.
    1500Sporadic shelling throughout day. C.O. & Coy Comds carry out recce of
    approaches to FUP. 51st Div to form firm base for our attack.
    1700Coys issue orders with Pl comds fwd. on recce of approaches and F.U.P.
    Orders issued for attack of July 18th.
    180600Bn left location for F.U.P. Operation "GOODWOOD" (Ref.1/25000 40/16 N.W.)Ref Sheet. 1/25,000.
    0745with 3 Armd Divs and 2 Inf Divs 51st & 3rd. Bn Role as follows:-40/16 NW.
    Objective line of track TOFFEVILLE excl x rds 147696
    Start line 125717 - 135715.
    Fwd Coys Left "A" Coy. Right - "B" Coy.
    Res, "C" Coy.
    Special role. "D" Coy. moving WEST to WEST behind 2 E Yorks had task of seizing
    area ORCHARD 134695, with object of cutting off enemy driven back by fwd Coys.
    0745Attack commences.
    0815"A" Coy held up North of Sandpits 134703 by M.G. and Mortar Fire from SOUTH
    and SOUTH EAST. Owing to density of woods "B" Coy lost direction slightly
    and contact between fwd lost.
    Page 13 of 22
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    HEROUVILLETTE.181200By 1200 hrs "B" Coy located the Bn
    CO. v. decided to advance via west across "B" Coy front to relieve
    pressure off "A" Coy and then to swing south and maintain momentum of attack.
    1400"C" Coy attack launched- supported by 2 trps 12/18 Hussars
    1420By 1420 "C" Coy cleared sand pits and diverted south on to "A" Coy's
    final objective. "B" Coy then resumed its advance with "A" Coy in reserve
    following "C" Coy and in touch with 5 carriers on left.
    Soon after Z hour "D" Coy succeeded in making a methodical advance down
    its axis, capturing 15 enemy and destroying a number of enemy posts
    and arrived on its final objective by 1100 hrs.
    1500At 1500 hrs Bde Comander ordered final objective to be consolidated and
    Bn to be prepared thereafter to move forward and relieve 1 Suffolk in
    2000Final clearing of wood not cleared until 2000 hrs.
    Bn then consolidated the gains and was ordered to remain in position during
    Page 14 of 22
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    darkness 18/19 July, Position was then - fwd D.B.C. A reserve behind C
    Bn. H.Q. at 125704
    SANNERVILLE190150Bn Ordered to relieve 1 Suffolk, Sannerville, by first light. Relief
    -of 1 Suffolk commenced 0500 hrs - completed 0700 hrs.
    Casualties 18/19 July.
    Officers, Killed:- Major. H.B. Shepherd. Wounded:- Ma jor Bisgood,
    Lt. Ray, Lt. Hawkins, Lt. Markey, Lt. Black, Lt. Walsh.
    O.R's. Killed:- 3
    Wounded:- 25
    Missing:- 6
    Bn moved forward to SANNERVILLE and dug in around village area. Complete
    havoc wrought by bombs on previous day. (SANNERVILLE Map Sheet 7 F.,
    1"100,000 - 134931.
    "C" Company placed under comand of 2 E. Yorks.
    Expected enemy counter attack from S.E. Bn stood to Sporadic mortaring
    Page 15 of 22
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    and shelling increasing in intensity throughout day.
    1500Enemy laying smoke across to S. E
    Fire observed on ground to S. E.
    2100Officer went forward of objective on recce and contacted Lines. in orchard
    Large fire direction of Troarn.
    201100Comand post hit.
    Lincs. moved forward in orchard.
    "A" Coy established connecting link between 1.S.Lan.R and 2 Lincs. in rear
    of orchard.
    Sporadic M.M.G. fire and occasional sniping fire sweeping wood.
    Heavy arty fire on Bn. area.
    New draft of reinforcements arrived.
    Very heavy rain. Posn a morass.
    21Position static. Lincs. still forward in the wood under heavy mortar fire
    and sniping. Bn area still shelled regularly.
    Ordered to take over from 2 Lincs on 22nd.
    Page 16 of 22
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    220700-1300.Relief of Lincolns. in orchard.
    0915C.O. shot by sniper. Wounded neck and shoulder.
    1130Relief completed.
    1215Pigeon going NORTH
    1815Sharp M.M.G fire on E Yorks front.
    1930-1950.Enemy mortar and arty fire on locality. (Casualties 8)
    1955Pigeon going south.
    2030-2050.Enemy mortar fire. M.14 hit and partially gutted by fire.
    2107Pigeon going SOUTH
    2119Pigeon going SOUTH.
    Pigeon going NORTH.
    (Ref. Map sheet 7 F. 1/100,000 - orchard 144926)
    230400Our patrols report enemy holding wood immediately SOUTH of posn. 4 L.M.G's
    Intermittent mortar and arty fire all day. Own arty exchanges.
    24Nothing fresh to report.
    Page 17 of 22
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    Occasional shelling and mortaring during day. Arty exchanges.
    Several Niehelwerfer shoots on position from TROARN.
    25Very occasional shelling during day.
    1530Enemy Minenwerfer located approx. area Petit Fort (1466) Engaged by arty
    Other locations. (1) Small calibre mortar in orchard approx 143667.
    engaged by our arty.
    (2) 3" Mortar area orchard 157668 - engaged by 3" Mortar.
    (3) Twin guns - area LE-HOLLIE (sq 1466) Firing across Bn position from
    left to right.
    (4) Single gun area east of TROARN.
    1707Heavy bout of shelling on Bn area - 3 casualties. Otherwise quiet day.
    Night of 25/26. Patrol under 2Lt. Coatsworth found corner of orchard
    152673 and hedgerow 151673 unoccupied,
    2 dumps of Mortar bombs (8 -- 10) at 151673.
    260600Stonk on area X roads 145675. 4 "S" Coy casualties.
    Page 18 of 22
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    1000guns shelling BANNERVILLE (Suff) from area LE-HAMME 1466.
    1120Sharp bout of shelling from CHAV-ST-PIERRE 1464 (S.P's)
    Engaged by 76 Fd. Regt.
    1325Niebelwerfer on area BANNERVILLE # 1 Gun (Medium)
    76 Fd. Regt engaged target area ST PIERRE.
    1433Niebelwerfer on Bn area from east of TROARN.
    1445Repeat above.
    1520-1530Shelling on right of posn - 14 guns - 88 m.m.
    1535Repeat above.
    1550Repeat above.
    1715Shelling on left.
    20203" Mortar (3) "A" Coy's area. Located Mortars - area orchard. 76 Fd. Regt
    and Med. Regt engaged.
    New C.O. T/Lt-Col. Orgill, Manchester Regt joined Bn from 1st Corps.
    Page 19 of 22
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    270145Aircraft dropped bombs in field on right.
    0200Our patrols returned (1) Lt. Fryer and 4 men ) "B" Coy.
    (2) Sgt Lewis and 4 men)
    (1) Brought prisoner from slit trench 148669 and reported enemy in that area.
    (2) Reported orchard clear.
    Large number of enemy flares during night and M.G fire from "C" Coy's front.
    0755Five shells on area from east of TROARN (3 duds)
    0800East Yorks reps arrive.
    09035 shells from previous gun - 2 casualties "S" Coy and 1 casualty E. Yorks.
    All wounded.
    1445Relief by E. Yorks began.
    Bn. moved to ESCOVILLE.
    1730Relief completed.
    2050Air activity commenced and continued spasmodically throughout the night.
    Green verey lights put up by the enemy and replied to by own tps.
    Page 20 of 22
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    ESCOVILLE,28ESCOVILLE. 1297. Map sheet 7.F. 1/100,000.)
    Very quiet day. Baths and reorganisation. Nothing of interest to report.
    2348Enemy aircraft overhead, Some bombs dropped, but none in immediate In area,
    Less aircraft activity generally throughout night.
    290830Bn. "O" Grp. Orders for relief of E. Yorks.
    1030Advance Party reps moved off.
    1045Draft of 35 O.R's and Lt.Leigh-Norgan arrived as reinforcements
    1100Lt. Buckridge 3" Mortar Pln.Cmr rejoined unit after compassionate leave.
    1600Bn relief of E. Yorks commenced with 3" Mortar personnel.
    1740Bn H.Q. moved.
    2014Relief completed.
    2210Small arms fire from high ground to "A" Coy's front.
    2248Enemy aircraft over again - white verey lights from direction of TROARN.
    One stick of bombs. dropped in rear of E.Yorks posn, also 12 to 15 shells.
    and Mortar bombs dropped in forward edge of "A" Coy's area.
    Casualties - Lt. Coatsworth "B" Coy wounded. "B" Coy carrier hit and burned
    out. 3 O.R's "A" Coy wounded, 1 killed.
    Page 21 of 22
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    ORCHARD 1446260010 - 0040Noise of heavy transport to west.
    0200Lincs. contacted "S" Coy, "C" Coy contact patrol to K.O.S.B.
    0215Enemy a/c flak. Heavy return of own arty.
    0300Recce Regt contact patrol reported.
    Lt. Pilchar and patrol returned.
    0515Recce Regt patrol contacted.
    0525-0540Enemy aircraft dropped bombs area TOUFFREVILLE- straffing "B" Coy area.
    1030Visit from Brigadier.
    1045C.O. checked up on section positions and coy counter attack rolls throughout
    1430C.O. and I.O. liased with K.O.S.B. on left flank.
    1445Niebelwerfer on BANNERVILLE
    15003" Mortar stonk on 1 K.O.S.B. west flank.
    1555Niebelwerfer in rear of K.O.S.B. posn (165677)
    1600Niebelwerfer sporadic shoot over Bn area.
    Page 22 of 22
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    16?? - ???0Heavy arty reply from own guns.
    1710New draft of complete pln from 5th Kings. New officer (Lt Rennie)
    2115Established "I" section O.P. for shell reps.
    2135"A" Coy report intermittent MG and Sniper fire.
    3100152 i/c to Bde at 0100 hrs.
    03002 i/c returned with warning order for Bn to move to BEAUVILLE.
    3rd. Div. to act as 21st Army Group reserve.
    0600C.O's "O" Grp and warning orders. Bn to be releived by 1st Hallamshires.
    0955Hallamshires reps arrive.
    1330Relief commenced. Order of relief - B. A. D. C.
    1400Vehicle Park stonked by 88 mm whilst waiting to move.
    1526Vehicle col, moved.
    1815Bn in position - area BEAUVILLE (0600 Map Sheet 7.F.1/100,000.)
    Temporary consolidation area. at 6 hrs notice to move.