War Diary: 1st Battalion The East Lancashire Regiment

Month and year: July 1944

The July 1944 War Diary covers their movements and fighting from their harbour at SECQUEVILLE-EN-BESSIN inland to Gavrus near Esquay.

National Archive Reference: WO 171/1330

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Page 1 of 5
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
Beny-sur-Mur10800Whole Bn left conc area and moved to a harbour area at SECQUEVILLE-EN-BESSIN
(MR 909743 sheet 7F/1). Traffic jams delayed arrival till 1000 hrs, 'B' Coys
Cooks truck destroyed by accidental fire and CQMS Matthews wounded by exploding
of amn inside lorry. No. 3455624 Pte Little made repeated attempts to get lorry
away from seat of fire and had to be ordered out of cab.
1200 - 2220CO with Co Comds, IO & SO recced defensive posn held by 6 KOSB (44 Inf Bde)
(MR 904608) Hindered by local enemy attack with inf supported by tks & Mors.
Major JWC Killiams left Bn to be OC 4 Welch. Maj.UF Hussey de Burgh took over
2IC., Capt. AT Bain 'C' Coy, Lieut.H Carter 'HQ' Coy & Lieut.A Sharlot Pioneer
Pl, effective date 29 Jun 44.
21000Further recce of defensive posn, N of GRAINVILLE-SUR-ODON by Coy Comds & Pl
Comds
1900Bn moved less 'A' Ech & LOB on Ship route (via Le Mesnil Patry & Cheux)
2300Take over completed without interference by enemy. Weather cloudy with heavy
rain. Posns occupied:- 'A' right 898650; 'B' centre 904648, 'C' left 906646,
"D" reserve 903652, Bn.HQ established in Chateau grounds 904647.
30130 - 0530Enemy SAA fire on whole Bn front. No casualties. AII firing high, possibly
from MMGs mounted on M/C combinations.
2000Bde reorganised with 1 Oxf.Bucks coming from reserve and taking over 'A'
& 'B' Coys posns. 'C' remained in same location. Bn position now 'A' -
907652 - 'B' - 913653, 'D' & Bn.HQ 907657. 9 casualties to 3" Mor Bty
1 was killed & 3 evacuated to Fd Amb.
4Intermittent Enemy Mortar fire throughout the day. 'D' & 'C' Coys interchange
posns. Total Strength decrease 8 ORs (3 ORs A Tk Pl wounded seriously, Pte
Campbell later died at 0900 hrs 5th.
5C' & 'D' Coys ordered to take over reserve coy posns of 1 Oxf.Bucks who were
Page 2 of 5
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
5to cover attack of 4 Welch in area of GRAINVILLE-SUR-ODON Attack and moves
postponed. More Mortar fire scattered over whole Bn area.
6Intermittent mortaring throughout the day.
710009 rfts received, Coys commence wiring and mining posns. 'Battle Scale' of
amn in defensive posn introduced. Snipers sent fwd of 'C' Coy - no success.
DISPOSITION OF COYS :- SEE APP 'L'
2100Lieut. Bolitho wounded and evacuated.
81530Enemy fighter planes scored near miss when strafing area of Bn.HQ with MG fire
'A' Coy takes over fwd posn from 'D' Coy.
90900Bn has use of Mobile baths. 'C' Coy provide road making party.
Cheux.Grainville-sur-Odon.100130 - 0430Main body of Bn less 'A' Coy moved to area of Grainville-sur-Odon and takes
over fwd coy locations from 4 Welch. 'D' right 908644, 'A' Coy remained in
same location till 1300 hrs when it moved to reserve posn at 914645, 'C'
0900centre 909642, 'B' left X-rds 912636, Coy tpt brought up, off loaded, and
sent back to 'A' Ech except for Jeep, Carrier, & 15 cwt per Coy is 6 'HQ'
Vehs. Some enemy mortaring.
11Intermittent Mor fire from enemy throughout the day Night listening patrol
led by Lieut RJ Hawkins recced ground W of 'B' Coy fwd posn.
121200Warning order given for attack westwards from line held by fwd coys to Les
1400Nonillons 8963 supported by Div Arty, MMGS & Bn Sp weapons. CO, IO & Adjt
2359on recce accordingly. Listening patrol led by Major CW Griffin from 'A'
-0410Coy leaves. 3 Deserters brought in.
131000Attack cancelled. Enemy very quiet, Lieut. R Angrignon S.O.S. (sprain)
2300B' Coy listening patrol at night led by Capt.J.Jeavons.
Page 3 of 5
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
14th2000Bn experienced first lot of NEBELWERFER fire - sole casualty one man 'C' Coy
knocked unconscious, Lieut.Sharlot & Pnrs recced minefield around 'B' Coys
posn found to be charted quite inaccurately,
15th0300Mortar Bty of the Bn assisted 1 Oxf. Bucks in attack on on left of Bn
front. 'B' Coy provided firm base and assistance to their right coy after it had met
with very heavy opposition. 3 of their prisoners brought in and sent back
during the course of the day.
16th1800D' Coy pushed forward to meet 5/S.Staffs in copse.
2215A' & Coy attack Chateau & copse at 906637, 'C' Coy attack rd & track junc
907634, 10 mins Arty preparation on these features.
2225Rate of adv 200 yds in 2 mins.
No enemy opposition, 1 prisoner captured.
2300Bn positions now 'D' right 903639, 'A' centre 916637, 'C' left 907634, 'B'
Coy in same posn 912635.
16th2230Lieut.TA Phelps (Canloan) killed by Aerial bomb. Buried at 90306401.
17th070027 enemy deserted to 'C' Coy from 277 Inf Div as a result of attacks by the
Bde and neighbouring units.
1830Bn moved to MOUEN - rest area - 938654.
2300Bombing attack on neighbouring gun lines. Capt.Johnston killed by aerial bomb
19thBn ordered to take over BOUGY post from 8 Royal Scots
19/20Bn moved to BOUGY in three parties - marching coys taking over at half-hour
intervals - wheeled vehs arriving before tracked vehs - the last to enter new
posn only when marching tps were settled in to minimise casualties, 13
casualties during take-over caused by enemy mors. Take-over complete by 0430
posns now - 'B' 907612, 'C' 910619, 'A' 906609, 'D' & Bn.HQ 903614
Page 4 of 5
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
BOUGY.202300Lieut.BJ Carroll & 2 men sent out on 24 hr patrol to find out if enemy wasAPPENDIX 'D'
withdrawing, Enemy activity observed within 100 yds of fwd lines.
Patrols sent out with object of getting an identification, 'D' Coy patrol
under Maj.JF Lake, 'B' Coy patrol under Lieut. H Taylor, to take a prisoner.
Bn received warning for impending attack on Fine de Mondeville, to be made
only if enemy was found to be withdrawing after 1 HLI had taken EVRECY.
APPENDICES 'C' AND 'B'
21st2030Enemy post located at 909605. Attacked by 1 Tk with Arty & 2" Mor support.
2 Secs 'C' attack and capture 1 prisoner.
APPENDIX 'E'
A' & 'B' Coys change posn. CO goes to L.O.B. at 'A' Ech,REPORT - APPENDIX K'
22nd1400D' Coy moved 2 Pls to areas 910614 & 910612, 2 Secs Carrs moved to between 'B' & 'C' Coys to close gap to any infiltration.
23rd.2000CO returns from L.O.B.
03452 deserters brought in from 277 Inf Div, 991 Gr Regt. Listening patrols only
sent out at night.
APPENDICES 'G', 'H' & 'I'
24thA' Ech moved to area St.Manvieu,
25thBn for attack on River GUIGNE line between ESQUAY & EVRECY to enable
REs to bridge river.
26thGUIGNE attack put off, Bn prepared to move to rest area while 1 Oxf. Bucks
relieve.
2330Capt. HJ Stockings takes small patrol out - 'no results,APPENDIX 'F'
MONDRAINVILLE27th0230 14001 Oxf. Bucks commence relieving the Bn - A tk guns first.
Riple Coys & 'Sp' & 'HQ' relieved in order 'A', 'C', 'B', 'D', 'Sp', 'HQ'
APPENDIX 'J'
Page 5 of 5
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
27th1730Bn moved to rest area 925638 on relief.
28thBn maintains vehs, weapons & amn. Bathed by Mobile bath unit.
29thAdministration,
30th1000Bn warned to relieve I HLI in area SE of GAVRUS.
1400Coy Comds recce with Pl Comds.
2300A Tc guns take over,
31st0330A' & 'D' Coys take over posns from 1 H.L.I.
0830B' Coy take over.
0900C' Coy take over defensive posn in Les Vitains as Bde Reserve Cov,
1100Bn take over complete. Coys in posns: 'A' - 924606, 'B' - 924620,
'C' - 926624 'D' - 929613, 2 Carr secs 926608.
Fairly heavy enemy mortaring. CO hit by small splinters from mortar,
not evacuated, Capt. Whiteside & Lt.Day wounded and evacuated.
Lieut, Wyatt killed. Capt.Coffey evacuated sick.
2330'A' & 'D' Coys patrol fwd to verify enemy posns. Digging continued
throughout the day incl use of Bulldozer for Command post and blowing- of weapon pits.