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    War Diary: 211 Field Park Company RE

    Month and year: August 1944

    The August 1944 War Diary for 211 Field Park Company covers their time in the area around Bayeux and their challenges with the constant movement of road building equipment inland to Vernon area to keep up with the advance.

    National Archive Reference: WO 171/1591

    The "References to Appendices" column for this document was empty so has been omitted.

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    Page 1 of 7
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    FRANCE. BAYEUX STA. 7907921Position at begining of month as follows:-
    Coy. H.Q.; Fd Stores (less Adv Dump); workshops; 12 E & M Section; L.A.D. R.E.M.E; RAF BD Squad;
    M.E.O.S. all concentrated at BAYEUX STA (790792). Adv Fd Stores dump at 771701. Tarmac factory
    still being operated at TILLY (8468). Sawmill in operation at LINGSVRES (8168). Nothing of
    2incident to report.
    hrs. Established 1700 hrs.
    31000Adv. Fd stores ordered to move to new site at 755638. Moved 1200 LAD. Established 1700 hrs.
    LAD. REME; MEOS; RAF BD SQUAD also warned to move. Moved 1200 hrs. LAD. REME and RAF BD SQUAD
    established with Adv Fd stores. at 755635. MEOS established with 23 ME Section R.E. at 748642.
    41200MDRS moved and established with Adv rd stores at 755635. RAF BD Squad dealt with 1 UXB (British)
    at TILLY 8468 and 2 UX shells (AA) at 8075.
    5Cloud and mist. Drizzle. Communication with CRE and Corps Engr Corps. now difficult owing to moves
    fwd of latter. Phone to CE out w.e.f. 1000 hrs. W/T faint. DR has to travel 12 to 15 miles on
    congested roads. DR permanently at HQ 30 Corps TPS. Engrs. w.e.f. 1000 hrs.
    6Warning order for Coy HQ to move. Recce of possible site at AUNAY-sur-ODON (830510) to be carried
    out forthwith. 1000 hrs - O.C. and Lt. RENNISON out on recce. Mines suspected, detector carried.
    Approach available from west only. warning order - prepare to take over Gravel pit at LE LION VERT
    (792647) date and time to be notified. Decision as to RE responsibilities in mine clearance as
    result of difference of opinion with RA. C.R.E. 30 Corps TPs (Lt. Col. BLACK) ruled RE responsible
    for clearance of roads, verges and entrances to fields etc. (entrance to be swept minimum of 5 yds
    from entrance). Further mine clearance responsibility of other arms. 1500 hrs. Preliminary
    arrangements for projected move of Coy. put in hand. 1700 hrs. O.C. returned from recce. Move
    cancelled on instructions of CE 30 Corps - site not available. Coy. not to move at present. 6/7
    quiet night.
    7Instructions received that Coy not now required to take over Gravel pit at LE LION VERT (792647).
    Tarmac factory at present operating at TILLY (8468) to be handed over to 11 AGRE in situ today. Adv
    Fd stores to move to new location at 743547, move to be complete by 1200 hrs. 7. Again greatest
    difficulty experienced in complying with orders to move stores due to lack of transport. On this
    occasion necessary to off-load 12 Bridging lorries of 128 Bridging Coy. RASC to provide transport to
    Page 2 of 7
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    FRANCE. BAYEUX STA 7907927 contdmove stores. This is very unsatisfactory from all points of view. At Appendix 'A' is letter from
    DDST 30 Corps to second Army outlining position as represented by Maj. MATTHEWS and stores Officer
    080030 Corps on 2nd. Instructions received to establish small tarmac factory at AUNAY-sur-ODON (830510)
    1200to replace one being handed over to 11 AGRE today. Lt. RENNISON to TILLY (8468) to hand over tarmac
    factory. 2 stone crushers and 1 Concrete Mixer handed over in situ. 1 stone Crusher and 1 Concrete
    Mixer to be transported to AUNAY-sur-ODON to open new tarmac factory. MEO Section moved with 23 M.E.
    Section to 748547. As general rule MEO section of this unit will now be located wherever practicable
    with 23 ME sec. R.E. u/comd CRE 30 Corps TPs (Lt. Col. BLACK). C.E. second Army Directive on
    "Handing over of Water Points" lays down responsibilities of Army and Corps in this respect and is
    contained at Appendix B'. Plant situation reviewed. C.R.E. ordered return to 5 E.S.B.D. of 2
    Collodial Concrete Mixers and 1 tar Boiler 250 gall. 3 other Tar Boilers to be retained until
    sufficient Cold Emulsion sprayers available. to provide 2 per Field . Tar Boilers then to be
    returned to 5 E.S.B.D.
    80900Mobile Bath lorry (built up by 12 E & M Section) proceeded to 'Q' Rear 30 Corps. 1 Junior N.C.O.
    sent to take over Quarry at 748749 - to be utilised by Corps TPS. R.E. Lt. AITKEN on recce of
    plant and machinery at ABBAYE 714504 - reported to F.E. I H.Q. 30 Corps TPS. Engrs. 1830 hrs.
    Coy Commanders Conference H.Q. 30 Corps TPS. R.E. decided (a) to send fwd from H.Q. to Adv Fd stores.
    Stellar Trailers Maintenance Party to cope with general overhaul and minor repairs to water
    Purification sets (b) Quarry at 748488 not now our responsibility. (c) plant at present at H.Q. to
    be moved to Adv. Fd stores.
    90900Arrangements made to implement (a) and (c) above. Stellar Maintenance Party moving today. plant
    being ferried on low loaders today. plant Maintenance Party to proceed a.m. 10. All Mech Eqpt.
    and plant will be at 23 M.E. Section. and Adv. Fd stores. w.e.f. 1800 hrs today and will be administered
    from there and not Coy. H.Q. Coy to resume administrative control on next move fwd.
    1030RAF BD Squad out to deal with 1000 lb UXB at E. side of road 824504 Quiet day. Routin works
    continued. C.R.E. ordered that Tarmac Factory be placed on wheels and made fully mobile. 1 Frauhauf
    trailer de spatched from Adv. Fd Stores to Tarmac Factory at AUNAY-sur-ODON to carry stone Crusher on
    wheels. Arrangements in hand to place Concre Mixer on wheels as soon as possible.
    Page 3 of 7
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    FRANCE. BAYEUX S STA. 790792100900Plant party to Adv Fd stores. All Mech Eqpt and plant now left this H.Q. O.C. returned from
    Coy Comds Conference 2030 hrs. Coy H.Q. to move and be established at present location Adv Fd stores.
    111030Coy H.Q. moved to new location. Day spent settling in. Fd stores. 12 E & M section and workshops
    Section remaining at BAYEUX STA 790792 until further notice. Following now established at present
    location Coy H.Q. Adv. F/S. M.D.R.S., plant Maintenance Party (12 E & M Section). L.A.D., R.E.M.E.
    RAF. Bd squad. A section of 44 Coy pioneer Corp. is attached to Adv. F/S for work in advanced dump.
    MEOS remains attached to 23 M.E. section. R.E.
    12-13Routine Works. Nothing of importance to report. Fine weather spell continues.
    14Two beach mats constructed at this HQ for assault crossings. Beach mat consists of coir matting
    80' long 12 1/2' wide. 2" tubular scaffolding placed across width of mat, secured thereto at intervals
    of 1 . whole mat rolled round wooden drum diameter 4' length 10' Mats are placed on ground and
    rolled forward by tanks, thereby unfolding to provide bed for crossing site.
    1730warning Order to move to new location at MR. 800442. Recee carried out by Capt. HARRIS. whole Coy
    to concentrate at new location (less workshops Section). workshops Section to remain at BAYEUX STA
    790792. Administrative arrangements put in hand for move. Transport difficulties again encountered
    in connection with move of Engr Stores. overcome by loan of RASC vehicles. Company to be organised
    in as mobile condition as possible consistent with operational requirements. Ordered that all R.E.
    plant with exception of petrol Rammers and Cold Emulsion Sprayers be transported to Advanced w/shops
    and park Dump established at Robin cross-roads MR. 759503. similary 1 CL. I Tractor, 1 Drawn Grader
    and 1 Tractor and low loader to proceed to dump at MR. 759503. Rear Fd store's at BAYEUX STA 790792
    to Join Coy H.Q. with G. 1098 scale and a small quantity of operational stores. Balance of Engr.
    Stores in Rear Dump to be handed over to army. 12 E & M Section to move with Rear Field stores.
    Move from BAYEUX to take place on 16. Coy. H.Q. to move 15.
    151000Coy. H.Q. Adv F/Stores. LAD. REME. Stellar Trailer Maintenance Party and RAF. BD Squad moved to new
    location. 1230 hrs. arrived and settled in. Major. R.C. MATTHEWS to BAYEUX to arrange for
    administration of Workshops Section whilst detached. Administration arranged with 16 E & M Coy. R.E.
    Page 4 of 7
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    FRANCE. DUVAL. 800442160200Company placed under 3 hours notice to move. from 790792.
    1200Rear F/stores and 12 E & M Section arrived this location BAYEUX STA 790732 Small party
    left at F/Stores dump to arrange handover to Army. This party joining main body on 17.
    1730Possibility of move of Coy HQ on 17. plant at last location of Coy. being ferried to
    MR. 759503.
    2000Coy HQ to remain in-present location but MEOS to move with 23 ME section on 17 to MR. 925356.
    2 additional Mack Tractors released to this unit and taken on charge. 4 additional Frauhauf Trailers
    reserved from 50 (N) Div. 2 handed to 23 M.E. Sec. R.E. 2 retained by this unit. Instructions
    received from CRE to close Tarmac Factory at AUNAY-sur-ODON. Plant to be transported to this HQ
    and await movement order to new location.
    171000Plant from Tarmac Factory arrived this HQ. Possible new location at MR. 906340 awaiting
    confirmation. Moved 1100 hrs. Location ST. DENIS-sur-MERE907340. 1500 - 2 x D6 Angledozers
    at present working to proceed immediately to CONDE-sur-NOIREAU882320 to assist 210 Fd Coy in
    clearing route. Instructions sent out and Angledozers arrived on site approx 1800 hrs. 1900 hrs.
    Breakdown lorry of LAD. REME. to 882320 to clear lorry from damaged bridge.
    180030RAF. BD Squad dealt with 500 lb. British UXB at CONDE-sur-NOIREAU882320 holding up road clearance
    1115Orders received from CRE to move today. Recce party to report to CRE's HQ forthwith. 1630 hrs.
    Coy moved. 2030 - Arrived new location MR. 965243. 1130 hrs. O.C. returned from Coy Comds Conference
    MDRS. MEOS. and LAD. REME and elements of HQ section to move forward on 19. Workshops Section
    still to remain at BAYEUX STA 790792. Administration of unit becoming increasingly difficult as
    unit is stretched out over considerable disance. After move fwd today, elements of this unit will
    be as far apart as 60 miles.
    LA CARNEILLE96524319This unit is to take part in forthcoming operation "KITTEN" and to meet operational requirements,
    it is now nece ssary to split main body into two sections. The following comprise advanced section
    and will be completely mobile, capable of moving at extremely short notice. This section will
    be required to move daily in support of Corps TPs R.E. Field Coys. Advanced Section will consist
    of MAJOR. MATTHEWS (O.C.) Lt. RENNISON (O i/c MEOS) and Lt. OXLEY (Interpreter). and MDRS. MEOS.
    Page 5 of 7
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    FRANCE. LA CARNEILLE96524319 contdLAD., REME., RAF BD Squad 12 E & M sect maintenance party for plant and Stellars., Wireless truck,
    plus 2 cooks, 1 clerk. Total 11 vehicles - 62 O.R's MEO section will invariably be with
    23 M.E. Section. R.E. who are also moving as advanced column. Advanced section will be adminstered
    from Coy. H.Q. who will also be as mobile as possible but will be required to move behind advanced
    section on alternate days. Administrative difficulties are bound to be considerable, but effective
    machinery set up for coping with any unforseen circumstances. Fd stores who are unable to move
    without a abortive quantity of transport are to continually ferry from location to location,
    easily leap-frogging where necessary and closing sumps as emptied.
    1600Advanced Section moved to MR. 072206. CRE ruled that 1 CL Tractor, 1 Drawn Grader, 1 Mack and
    low loader, R.E. plant and Rollers in W & P site at X roads 759503 be moved to last location of Coy.
    HQ at 800442 and a small party left to maintain same. This arrangement to stand for whole of
    operation "KITTEN". Tarmac Factory to move on 20 from ST. DENIS-sur-MER 907340 to FLERS area.
    Exact location to be notified later. Coy H.Q. to remain present location 20.
    20Quiet day. Ferrying of stores from DUVAL800442 continued.
    2000CRE ordered Advanced Section to move forward, morning 21 to ARGENTAN Area. Lt. RENNISON proceEded
    on recce. Coy. H.Q. to move on 22. Havy rain during night 20/21, continuing in morning.
    211200MDRS moved to ARGENTAN area 260195. Move of Tarmac Factory to FLERS area and Advanced Section to
    ARGENTAN area still held up. Heavy rain during whole day. Coy H.Q. standing by to move at any time.
    2200Still no orders to move.
    220900Rain ceased. weather fine and ground drying quickly. Plant now being ferried fwd to present location
    from DUVAL800442 and strenuous efforts being made to close F/Stores Dump at that location.
    Difficulty in accomplishing latter experienced owing to shortage of transport and loaded lorries ready
    for forward move having to be unloaded to ferry up stores from old location.
    1700Movement Orders as follows for 22 and 23. F/Stores at DUVAL800422 to move immediately to present
    location. Advanced Section, Coy. H.Q., Adv F/Stores to move to ARGENTAN 260194 on 23. W/Shops
    Section at BAYEUX STA 795792 to move to ARGENTAL 260194 on 23. Sawmill at LINGEVRES 8168 to close
    and personnel to move to ARGENTAL 260194 Tarmac Factory at St. Denise-sur Mere 907340 to move to
    Page 6 of 7
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    FRANCE. LA CARNEILLE96524322 contdpresent location immediately and to move to ARGENTAL 260994 on 23.
    2200Tarmac Factory arrived present location. 2330 hrs. F/Stores detachment arrived from DUVAL.
    12 E & M Section to remain present location until 24 until return of vehicles being used to convey
    W/Shops Section from BAYEUX.
    ARGENTAN 260194230945Party at LA CARNEILLE965243 moved. 1400 hrs. Arrived ARGENTAN 260194 Adv Section already at new
    location. 1600 - W/Shops Section arrived. 1630 - Sawmill party arrived. 1700 MEOS re-joined
    unit from 23 ME Section. unit concentrated at new location less 12 E & M Section and Rear F/Stores
    at LA CARNEILLE 260194
    1200News received from officer of 8 Corps signals that RAF BD SQUAD attached this unit (2 Sgts. 2 cpls)
    killed at 1600 hrs 23 whilst defusing UXB jettisoned by USAAF "Flying Fortress" about to crash.
    MR of accident CONDE-sur-NOIREAU886285.
    231700Adv section to move fwd again on 25. Location 260194 CE 30 Corps arranging for Fd stores Dumps
    at BAYEUX AND DUVAL to be handed over to Army. Plant at present at DUVAL being ferried to present
    location. All plant to be at HQ by 2359 hrs. 25th.
    24Adv Sec moved to 260194 on instructions of CE 30 Corps the following assault stores were off-loaded
    in Fd stores Dump, 90 Assault Boats, 27 Seagull engines and accessories for safe custody.
    Quiet day, nothing exceptional to report. Routine Works.
    25Decision by CRE to leave Main Coy HQ at present location in time being owing to extreme difficulty
    in keeping pace with present speed of advance of forward elements. Adv section to be reinforced to
    make self-supporting and to take forward a basic element of essential stores. (90 tons) to be carried
    in 15 G.T. lorries attached this unit. Several captured enemy vehicles recovered by this unit
    from recent battle area NE of ARGENTAN, serviced and taken into use by Corps HQ and this unit.
    26-27Quiet days, nothing of importance to report. Adv Section moved to Barracks at VERNON 425744
    281930Orders given to send following from present location to join Adv. Sect. at VERNON 425744 W/Shops
    (complete) Adv detachment F/Stores. pioneer Corps Section. Tarmac Factory - 62 R' S. Move to take
    place 29.
    290630Parties as detailed moved to VERNON. Heavy rain. proposed to move H.Q. 12 E & M Section to VERNON
    30. Awaiting O.Cs. confirmation. Rear F/Stores at present on ground. This will be lengthy task
    Page 7 of 7
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    FRANCE29 contdas only 15 G.T. trucks available in addition to normal unit transport and distance of return
    ARGENTAN 260194journey is approx 150 miles. To date in this theatre of operations lack of transport to carry
    Engr Stores has resulted in considerable disruption in administration and has slowed down rate
    of advance of unit. Fd Coys requiring Engr stores have to travel excessive distances to rear
    areas as a direct result of this lack of transport.
    VERNON 425744300845H.Q. Section moved to VERNON. Arrived 1500 hrs. 1130 - 12E & M Section moved to VERNON. Arrived
    1800 hrs. whole unit at VERNON less rear detachment F/Stores remaining at ARGENTAN Adv. Party
    310600placed under orders to move across SEINE. Lt. RENNISON proceeded on recce.
    Adv section moved to GISORS 670930. Quiet day. Routine works.
    It can be seen from the above account that the unit has been on the move for a considerable part
    of the month. Consequently, W/Shops and E & M Section have not been so fully employed as previously.
    Nevertheless considerable works were carried out including making up of numerous brackets, crank
    handles, etc and other similar work. welding of numerous items, construction and painting of
    upwards of 500 signs. many carpentry jobs, paint spraying etc. 1 lorry 3 ton was converted into
    mobile shower vehicle. Fittings for 3 others made up and awaiting installation. M.D.R.S.
    repaired 154 mine detectors, making total repaired in present campaign 3580. Events have
    moved quickly in the latter part of month, and the main pre-occupation of the unit has been
    maintaining a sufficient speed to keep up with rate of advance of armoured columns.
    Activities of Adv. H.Q. are reported at appendix 'C'.