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War Diary: 211 Field Park Company RE

Month and year: June 1944

The June 1944 War Diary for 211 Field Park Company covers their arrival in France and work carried out including the construction of sledges to be towed by AVREs for automatic mine laying.

National Archive Reference: WO 171/1591

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Page 1 of 5
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
Camp 38 Brentwood, Essex 1 1st Party (D + 2) Camp sealed. personnel forbidden to have any contacts with outside world.
2 Briefing. Invasion of France to be carried out by British, American and Canddian troops. Party
received order to prepared to move to embarkation point. Allotted to M.T. Ship No. 15.
3 Preparations for embarkation.
purfleet Essex 4 0630 Transported by R. A. S.C. vehicles to PURFLEET, ESSEX. 1030 hours embarked.
5-6 Moved to anchorage off SOUTHEND
7 0600 Sailed to FRANCE.
8 0800 Anchored off beaches. Voyage uneventful. sea rough off beaches.
France. 9-12 Considerable delay in off-loading. Vehicles off-loaded to L.C.Ts A.L.Cs. etc and ferried to
beaches. Considerable assistance given to ships crew in unloading of vehicles e. g. operating winches,
superintending parking in L.C.Ts. Delay would have been greater but for this assistance.
1st Party proceeded on shore with vehicles as brought forward from holds. O.C. and Capt. Harris
disembarked evening 9 and proceeded to contact C.R.E. Party assembled in transit area LONGFELLOW
by 11. Moved to R.E. embarkation Area at RYES 11. 12 moved to Bayeux Sta 790792
France Bayeux Sta. 790792 14 Company now concentrated less D + 8 and D + 17 parties. Attached u/comd C.E. 30 Corps are
23 M.E. section. R.E. U/comd 211 - 2 Sections 44 Coy Pioneer Corps. General organisation of unit
for active service role Mechanical Equipment employed by Airfield constr. GP.
15 Various road making mechanical machines acquired e.g. stone crushers and concrete mixers. Pioneer
labour utilised in organising 'factory' producing material for Fd Coys for road maintenance.
Mechanical Equipment digging in artillery guns and on airfield construction.
16-19 Nothing special to report. General routine works. Mechanical equipment employed. No interference
from enemy since landing. Considerable A.A. fire during night against enemy aircraft flying over
to raid shipping and beaches. 17 D + 8 party arrived.
20 Fd stores Pl to set up W/T outstation and operators to be trained. This necessitated by fact that
Fd stores Pl will have to operate fwd Engr Stores Dump near future detached from Coy. H.Q.
Page 2 of 5
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
FRANCE Bayeux Sta 790792 20 3 O.Rs. sent H.Q. 30 Corps Tps Engrs for 3 day course on duties of Dvr. Operators. Recce of
complete Electric supply system in BAYEUX area carried out by 12 E & M Secxtion. Recce involved
detailed examination of all power lines etc. some being extensively damaged by bombs, shells etc.
Plan of complete system drawn up and forwarded with copies of recec report to C.E. 30 Corps and
C.R.E 30 Corps Tps Engrs.
21-22 Nothing to report. General routine works.
23 On instructions of C.E. 30 Corps the following were constructed for 6 Assault Regt. R.E. 18 Trays
on 6 sledges. The sledges were to be towed by a A.V.R.E. TRAYS contained 98 Mk. V mines. By
means on of a string attachment as AVRE moved forward, mines, were automatically laid. Experiment
carried out before C.E. 30 Corps and C.R.E. 6 Assault Regt proved successful.
24 Experiments carried out on instructions C.E. 30 corps for loading of Jeeps, 6 pounder A/Tk Gun
and 25 pounder Fd Guns on to amphibious 'DUKWS' with a view to using these vehicles for river
crossings. Experiment successful in case of Jeep and 6 Pounder A/Tk gun but track of 25 pounder
too wide to permit entry into body of DUKW.
25-27 Routine works. Nothing to report. Possibility of early move of Adv. Fd Stores Section. Unit
allotted new area LE PONT ROC. Recce carried out by O.C. Date of move to be notified later.
29-30 SUMMARY. Activities of Platoons in brief were:
Field stores. During the period under review Engr Stores Dump built up and by end of month
had reached substantial proportions. 2 captured half-track german vehicles and 4 salvaged U.S.A.
trailers were utilised for holding Engr Stores on wheels. Issues and receipts throughout the
month have been considerable. Towards end of month a fair amount of Bailey Bridging Equipment was
handled. Capt. C.G. HARRIS R.E. (F.E.I - H.Q. 30 Corps TPS Engrs) attached this unit is controlling
30 corps TPS Engrs works Imprest Account. This account is designed for use use in purchasing EngI stores
urgently required and not immediately available. The sum of £60 was spent in this manner during the
month. Many recces for timber and local resources were Carried out by Major MATTHSWS. Capt. HARRIS
and Lt. AITKEN. On instructions of C.E. 30 Corps a Corps Rest Camp was to be built at LE MESNIL.
Page 3 of 5
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
This unit to provide material. Arrangements made with local contractor BAYEUX to complete
4 huts as per plans. All other stores provided through this unit.
workshops. work carried out included following:-
Painting of 320 assorted signs and numerous road signs for Fd stores Pl. Construction of 42
wooden latrines for use within corps. Sawing of 5735 F.R. timber. Conversion of 3 ton G.S.
vehicle to mobile office for 30 corps O.F.P. Construction of sledges and trays for automatic
mine laying. Numerous welding jobs e.g. to M.T. vehicles, towing bars, cutting A.I. pickets,
penthouses, supports etc. also to Mechanical Equipment 23 M.E. section. Carpenters and Joiners
engaged in numerous tasks e.g. construction of 9 pairs steps, 2 tables, 12 folding stools, map table,
(G.OPs), Filing Boxes. letter boxes, chopping blocks (butchers), notice boards, map boards,
tradesmen's benches etc. Boot repairs for this unit and H.Q. 30 Corps TPS. Engrs. In
addition crew with paint sprayer camouflaged tentage and vehicle covers etc. of whole of Main and
Rear 30 corps.
12 E & M Section. This section chiefly employed as follows:
Making materials for road maintenance. Modifications to automatic mine laying sledges. Painting
signs. It was laid down as a matter of policy that this section should be responsible for the
following items. (1) Stellar Water purification Trailers - both for issue and repair and
maintenance. (2) All Captured enemy mechanical vehicles and equipment.
BAYEUX Theature prepared by this unit for variety shows for troops. Electric light plant installed
and fittings for stage and other lighting set up. Electricians from this unit in charge of lighting
during all performances. Considerable work carried out on Stellar trailers, one of which was
extensively damaged whilst being unloaded.
Attachments. R. A.F. Bomb Disposal Squad arrived FRANCE with this unit and remain attached to date.
Little B.D. work so far. Two false alarms. one instance - bomb had exploded underground.
Second instance A.A. shell had also exploded underground.
Page 4 of 5
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
Summary Contd. General.
Month has been one of continuous activity. Unit Was considerably dislocated by being split up
into five parties for transportation to FRANCE, however by middle of month, it was again
concentrated and able to function in its correct active service role. In early stages of operations
communications were difficult, but as operations progressed administration of unit bacame simpler.
weather generally was fair only with considerable rainy periods.
211 Corps Field Park Coy. R.E.
2nd Party (D + 3)
West Fen Camp Ely. 2 2350 Party left ELY
3 0800 Arrived Camp T.1. M.T. Drivers commenced Stage B Waterproofing immediately.
4 Warning Order. Drivers to stand to to take transport to point of embarkation.
5 1330 vehicles proceeded and embarked.
Tilbury. 6 1430 personnel proceeded to ALBERT DOCKS and embarked M.T. ship 89.
7 proceeded to anchorage off SOUTHEND.
8 0645 Sailed for FRANCE.
France. 9 Anchored off beaches. Delay in unloading.
10-11 All vehicles unloaded into L.C.T's and ferried to beached. Contacted Major MATTHEWS at CREPON.
12 proceeded to BAYEUX STA 790792 and joined Coy H. Q.
Page 5 of 5
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
211 Corps Field Park Coy. R.E.
3rd Party (D + 8)
West Fen Camp Ely. 8 2200 Moved from ELY in unit transport.
9 0700 Arrived Camp T.6. PURFLEET. Remained 24 hours,
Tilbury 11 1400 Moved to East India Docks TILBURY. Embarked S. 47 proceeded to anchorage off SOUTHEND arriving
early hours 12.
13 2000 Sailed for FRANCE. Arrived beachead 2000 hours. 14. Delay in offloading. Air attack carried
out on shipping off beaches on nights 14/15 and 15/16.
France. 16 Disembarked. Ferried to beached by L.C.Ts.
17 Joined company H.Q. at BAYEUX STA 790792.
12 E & M Section. R.E.
(D + 6 Party.)
West Fen Camp Ely 1-6 preparations for move. Waiting for instructions from Movement Control CAMBRIDGE. Intructions.
to move received 6. 2300 hours vehicle party moved to Camp. T.1.
7 0600 Arrived Camp T.1. 1 3 ton Ford damaged en route exchanged by R.E.M.E. for 1 - 3 ton Chevrolet.
0836 Marching party entrained at ELY Station.
1300 Arrived Camp T.1. 2nd Stage waterproofing carried out on all vehicles.
8 0850 Vehicles left for Embarkation Area - drivers accompanying. Vehicles embarked.
9 1645 Vehicle and Marching parties embussed for Embarkation point. Embarked M.T. Ship No 18.
10-12 At sea. Uneventful voyage.
13 Disembarked FRANCE and proceded tojoin Coy H.Q. at BAYEUX STA 790792.