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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
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
Beny-sur-Mur 1 0800 Whole 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 - 2220 CO 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.
2 1000 Further recce of defensive posn, N of GRAINVILLE-SUR-ODON by Coy Comds & Pl
1900 Bn moved less 'A' Ech & LOB on Ship route (via Le Mesnil Patry & Cheux)
2300 Take 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.
3 0130 - 0530 Enemy SAA fire on whole Bn front. No casualties. AII firing high, possibly
from MMGs mounted on M/C combinations.
2000 Bde 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.
4 Intermittent 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.
5 C' & 'D' Coys ordered to take over reserve coy posns of 1 Oxf.Bucks who were
Page 2 of 5
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
5 to cover attack of 4 Welch in area of GRAINVILLE-SUR-ODON Attack and moves
postponed. More Mortar fire scattered over whole Bn area.
6 Intermittent mortaring throughout the day.
7 1000 9 rfts received, Coys commence wiring and mining posns. 'Battle Scale' of
amn in defensive posn introduced. Snipers sent fwd of 'C' Coy - no success.
2100 Lieut. Bolitho wounded and evacuated.
8 1530 Enemy fighter planes scored near miss when strafing area of Bn.HQ with MG fire
'A' Coy takes over fwd posn from 'D' Coy.
9 0900 Bn has use of Mobile baths. 'C' Coy provide road making party.
Cheux. Grainville-sur-Odon. 10 0130 - 0430 Main 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'
0900 centre 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.
11 Intermittent Mor fire from enemy throughout the day Night listening patrol
led by Lieut RJ Hawkins recced ground W of 'B' Coy fwd posn.
12 1200 Warning order given for attack westwards from line held by fwd coys to Les
1400 Nonillons 8963 supported by Div Arty, MMGS & Bn Sp weapons. CO, IO & Adjt
2359 on recce accordingly. Listening patrol led by Major CW Griffin from 'A'
-0410 Coy leaves. 3 Deserters brought in.
13 1000 Attack cancelled. Enemy very quiet, Lieut. R Angrignon S.O.S. (sprain)
2300 B' Coy listening patrol at night led by Capt.J.Jeavons.
Page 3 of 5
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
14th 2000 Bn 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,
15th 0300 Mortar 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.
16th 1800 D' Coy pushed forward to meet 5/S.Staffs in copse.
2215 A' & Coy attack Chateau & copse at 906637, 'C' Coy attack rd & track junc
907634, 10 mins Arty preparation on these features.
2225 Rate of adv 200 yds in 2 mins.
No enemy opposition, 1 prisoner captured.
2300 Bn positions now 'D' right 903639, 'A' centre 916637, 'C' left 907634, 'B'
Coy in same posn 912635.
16th 2230 Lieut.TA Phelps (Canloan) killed by Aerial bomb. Buried at 90306401.
17th 0700 27 enemy deserted to 'C' Coy from 277 Inf Div as a result of attacks by the
Bde and neighbouring units.
1830 Bn moved to MOUEN - rest area - 938654.
2300 Bombing attack on neighbouring gun lines. Capt.Johnston killed by aerial bomb
19th Bn ordered to take over BOUGY post from 8 Royal Scots
19/20 Bn 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
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
BOUGY. 20 2300 Lieut.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.
21st 2030 Enemy post located at 909605. Attacked by 1 Tk with Arty & 2" Mor support.
2 Secs 'C' attack and capture 1 prisoner.
A' & 'B' Coys change posn. CO goes to L.O.B. at 'A' Ech,REPORT - APPENDIX K'
22nd 1400 D' Coy moved 2 Pls to areas 910614 & 910612, 2 Secs Carrs moved to between 'B' & 'C' Coys to close gap to any infiltration.
23rd. 2000 CO returns from L.O.B.
0345 2 deserters brought in from 277 Inf Div, 991 Gr Regt. Listening patrols only
sent out at night.
24th A' Ech moved to area St.Manvieu,
25th Bn for attack on River GUIGNE line between ESQUAY & EVRECY to enable
REs to bridge river.
26th GUIGNE attack put off, Bn prepared to move to rest area while 1 Oxf. Bucks
2330 Capt. HJ Stockings takes small patrol out - 'no results,APPENDIX 'F'
MONDRAINVILLE 27th 0230 1400 1 Oxf. Bucks commence relieving the Bn - A tk guns first.
Riple Coys & 'Sp' & 'HQ' relieved in order 'A', 'C', 'B', 'D', 'Sp', 'HQ'
Page 5 of 5
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
27th 1730 Bn moved to rest area 925638 on relief.
28th Bn maintains vehs, weapons & amn. Bathed by Mobile bath unit.
29th Administration,
30th 1000 Bn warned to relieve I HLI in area SE of GAVRUS.
1400 Coy Comds recce with Pl Comds.
2300 A Tc guns take over,
31st 0330 A' & 'D' Coys take over posns from 1 H.L.I.
0830 B' Coy take over.
0900 C' Coy take over defensive posn in Les Vitains as Bde Reserve Cov,
1100 Bn 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.