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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
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Camp 38 Brentwood, Essex11st Party (D + 2) Camp sealed. personnel forbidden to have any contacts with outside world.
    2Briefing. 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.
    3Preparations for embarkation.
    purfleet Essex40630Transported by R. A. S.C. vehicles to PURFLEET, ESSEX. 1030 hours embarked.
    5-6Moved to anchorage off SOUTHEND
    70600Sailed to FRANCE.
    80800Anchored off beaches. Voyage uneventful. sea rough off beaches.
    France.9-12Considerable 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. 79079214Company 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.
    15Various 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.
    16-19Nothing 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.
    20Fd 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
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    FRANCE Bayeux Sta 790792203 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.
    21-22Nothing to report. General routine works.
    23On 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.
    24Experiments 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.
    25-27Routine 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.
    29-30SUMMARY. 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
    PlaceDateHourSummary 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
    PlaceDateHourSummary 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.22350Party left ELY
    30800Arrived Camp T.1. M.T. Drivers commenced Stage B Waterproofing immediately.
    4Warning Order. Drivers to stand to to take transport to point of embarkation.
    51330vehicles proceeded and embarked.
    Tilbury.61430personnel proceeded to ALBERT DOCKS and embarked M.T. ship 89.
    7proceeded to anchorage off SOUTHEND.
    80645Sailed for FRANCE.
    France.9Anchored off beaches. Delay in unloading.
    10-11All vehicles unloaded into L.C.T's and ferried to beached. Contacted Major MATTHEWS at CREPON.
    12proceeded to BAYEUX STA 790792 and joined Coy H. Q.
    Page 5 of 5
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    211 Corps Field Park Coy. R.E.
    3rd Party (D + 8)
    West Fen Camp Ely.82200Moved from ELY in unit transport.
    90700Arrived Camp T.6. PURFLEET. Remained 24 hours,
    Tilbury111400Moved to East India Docks TILBURY. Embarked S. 47 proceeded to anchorage off SOUTHEND arriving
    early hours 12.
    132000Sailed 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.16Disembarked. Ferried to beached by L.C.Ts.
    17Joined company H.Q. at BAYEUX STA 790792.
    12 E & M Section. R.E.
    (D + 6 Party.)
    West Fen Camp Ely1-6preparations for move. Waiting for instructions from Movement Control CAMBRIDGE. Intructions.
    to move received 6. 2300 hours vehicle party moved to Camp. T.1.
    70600Arrived Camp T.1. 1 3 ton Ford damaged en route exchanged by R.E.M.E. for 1 - 3 ton Chevrolet.
    0836Marching party entrained at ELY Station.
    1300Arrived Camp T.1. 2nd Stage waterproofing carried out on all vehicles.
    80850Vehicles left for Embarkation Area - drivers accompanying. Vehicles embarked.
    91645Vehicle and Marching parties embussed for Embarkation point. Embarked M.T. Ship No 18.
    10-12At sea. Uneventful voyage.
    13Disembarked FRANCE and proceded tojoin Coy H.Q. at BAYEUX STA 790792.