War Diary: 2nd Battalion The Cheshire Regiment

Month and year: July 1944

The 2nd Battalion Cheshire Regiments July 1944 war diary covers their actions in Normandy with fighting in the Hottot, Ellon, Juvigny area.

National Archive Reference: WO 171/1276

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Page 1 of 18
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
Butte du Gros Orme.1st0900C.O. to "D" Coy re 13 Pln being placed u/c 56 Bde, which has now reverted
to command of 50 Div.Coy locns.
1200C.O. returns having placed 13 Pln in posn."A" Buceels.
1430Visit to G.I at Divisional H.Q to inform him that 13 Pln are now in posn."B" 768689 La Belle Epine
7 Armd Div who were on our right have moved back into Corps Reserve."C" Bernieres Bocage.
Mortar and artillery fire byenemy along the whole of the Div front today."D" 794706 Bernieres Bocage.
Some counter battery work in the area of Bn HQ during the early hours of the"HQ" 795713Butte du Gros Orme
morning, some shells landing quite close. Coy locations unchanged.
Enemy air activity during day - slight. Weather fine.
2ndQuiet day on our front. 2 American Armd Div now on our right. 49 Div on the
left. Attack west of Caen appears to be going according to plan.
Enemy air activity - slight. Weather - showery. Coy locations no change.
3rd.Nothing to report today. Very little activity along the whole front.
Limited to active. patrolling by the forward Bdes. Coy locations no change.
Weather - rain.
Page 2 of 18
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
Butte du Gros Orme4thQuiet day today. Coy still in the same locations. Activity on the Div
front seems to have died a natural death. Patrolling at night is the main
occupation at the moment.
Cherbourg Peninsular - all enemy resistance has ceased. 43,000 prisoners
were taken by the Americans. Weather - showery.
5th0930C.O. visits "C" Coy and 231 Bde HQ then to visit "A" Coy Pln posns.
1300C.O. returns.
Little activity on the Div front. Some enemy mortaring and shelling.
Mines are now being extensively used by the enemy. Enemy air activity - nil.
25. O.R's arrived as reinforcements.
6th0830C.O. to see G.I at Div H.Q.
0915Returns to Main HQ.
1030Adjt, I.O. and M.T.O. visit 9,10 & 11 Plns of "C" Coy.
1300All above return to Main HQ.
Enemy air activity - 12 ME 109's and FW's 190 strafed Coy locations this afternoon
Page 3 of 18
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
Butte du Gros Orme.6th(cont)and swooped very low over Bn HQ. 2 men of "A" Coy were injured and
1 man of "C" Coy killed and 1 wounded.
Little to report today the whole of the Div front has been very quiet.
Coy locns unchanged.
7th0900C.O. visits "A" Coy re relief of 151 Bde by 49 Div. "A" Coy is to support
56 Bde in their attack tomorrow morning. Object of 56 Bde is to possess
the main rd Le Lion Vert - Hottot.
1100,C.O. Returns.
1400Major Martin O.C. "A" Coy arrives to see C.O. and attend conference with
C.O. of Kensingtons - support bn of 49 Div who are taking over from "A" Coy
and also supporting an attack by 231 Bde
1600Conference ends. Recce parties of Kensingtons leave with Major Martino
2130Long procession of heavy bombers with a large fighter escort bombed CAEN
this evening. Very little flak was observed, Approx 450 heavies were
used. Sky over CAEN was a pall of black smoke. Coy locns unchanged,
Page 4 of 18
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
Butte du Gros Orme8th0900C.O. to see G.I at Div HQ.
0930C.O. returns to Main HQ and at 0945 hrs leaves for "A" Coy who have now
changed their locns and are at MR 754694. 12 Hvy Mortar Pln have also
moved to support 56 Bde attack. Object of attack to secure high ground
around LANDES 779640.
1130C.O. returns.
Attack is going according to plan 56 Bde taking their objectives, but had to
retire to North of the rd Le Lion Vert - Juvigny after strong counter attacks
by enemy inf and tanks.
151 Inf Bde are now in reserve. 11 Pln "C" Coy have now been withdrawn for
a rest having been in the FDL's for 3 weeks without a break.
Coy locns remain the same except for "A" Coy which is as stated above.
Our tps are now on the outskirts of CAEN and still going quite strongly.
Some mortaring and shelling along the Div front. Enemy air activity - nil.
Numerous explosions on 56 Bde front, possible enemy blowing up ammunition dumps. Weather - showery.
Page 5 of 18
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
Butte du Gros Orme9th1100C.O. 2nd Kensingtons support Bn of 49 Div plus O.C. "C" Coy 2/Kensingtons
visit C.O. to arrange fire plan for 231 Bde attack tomorrow.
1400C.O. to 231 Bde HQ to attend a. conference re proposed attack tomorrow.
1600Returns to Main HQ.
1700Major Abel O.C. "C" Coy visits C.O. to co-ordinate fire plan for tomorrow.
Div front very quiet today. Activity limited to active patrolling.
"C" Coy moves with 231 Bde to M/R 823692. 9.10 and 11 Plns are together
just South of Lingevres. 8 109's swooped low over this HQ early this afternoon.
Certain amount of counter battery work by enemy arty. Total of approx 50 shells
fired most of them landing in the Northumberland Hussar's Waggon Lines, causing
6 casualties. Enemy posn was immediately located and well and truly stonked
by our Artillery and mortars.
Coy locns: "A" Coy 823708 1/25,000 37/16 S.W.
"B" Coy 769690 " "
"C" Coy 823692 " "
Page 6 of 18
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
Butte du Gros Orme,9th(cont)Coy locns cont: "D" Coy 794706 1/25,000 37/16 SW.
Americans have captured LA HAYE DU PUITS. Weather - raining most of day.
10thAttack has been postponed until tomorrow. Rain stopped play.
The Commanding Officer is responsible for co-ordinating all M.G. and Mortar
fire in support of attack tomorrow. "A" Coy have now moved to 56 Bde area
as they are now u/c of that Bde M/R 753695. C.O. busy all day co-ordinating
MG fire and mortar fire with R.A. plan. It will be the first time in the
history of MGs and the Regiment that an MG barrage has been fired in conjunction
with the Artillery. Slight enemy air activity overhead today. 1 F.W.190
shot down by A.A. Fire. Weather bad today - raining all day.
Coy locns unchanged except for "A" Coy who are as stated above.
11th0630C.O. to,231 Bde HQ and our Tac HQ. composed of Major Langrishe O.C. "D" Coy
and Capt. P.L. Saunders-Griffiths Signal Officer.
"C" Coy plus 13 Hvy Mortar Pln in support of attack today also 14 Hvy Mortar Pln.
The barrage fired today was a complete success and the attack is going according to plan
Page 7 of 18
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
Butte du11th(cont)63 prisoners have been captured up to 1200 hrs today.
Gros Orme.Weather fair - showers on and off all day. Typhoons attacked enemy
concentrations this afternoon. Towards evening our attack slowed down and
halted North of Hottot. Very heavy opposn from the enemy.
Coy locns unchanged.
12th1000C.O. leaves for 231 Bde HQ.
1400I.O. Adjt and S.O. to Caen. Town badly shattered on the outskirts. Centre
hardly touched. Town very much like CATANIA in SICILY.
1800C.O. returns.
Attack yesterday was not a great success. Heavy mortaring on 231 Bde front
throughout the day. Enemy concentrations bombed at 2200 hrs by Typhoons.
Coy locns: "A" Coy 739658 1/25,000 37/16 SW.
"B" Coy 769690 " "
"C" Coy 823692 " "
"D" Coy 794706 " "
Page 8 of 18
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
Butte du Gros Orme.13th0900C.O. to visit 231 Bde HQ.
1130Returns to Main HQ.
1400I.O. and M.T.O. visit plns of "C" Coy to inspect coy carriers.
1715C.O. visits "A" Coy and then on to 56 Bde HQ also 69 Bde HQ.
1800Returns to Main HQ.
2000Major Abel O.C. "C" Coy visits C.O. re Op Inst No.20 issued by DIV HQ.
2 Pns of "C" Coy are to be in support of 151 Bde, with the remaining Pln in
Div reserve. 13 Pln "D" Coy now brought back into reserve for a short rest.
Front quiet during day. Coy locations unchanged.
14th0930Major Martin O.C. "A" Coy and Major Mellor O.C. "B" Coy arrive to see C.O.
re Op Inst No.20.
Distribution of Coys is now as under:-
u/c of 56 Bde. | 151 Bde, | 69 Bde. | 231 Bde.
"A" MG Coy. | "B" Coy(less 1 Pl) | 1 Pl "B" Coy | "C" Coy (less 1 Pl)
13 Hvy Mor Pl | 12 Hvy Mor Pln | 15 Hvy Mor Pln | 14 Hvy Mor Pln.
Page 9 of 18
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
Butte du Gros Orme14th(cont)NAAFI rations up today. Distribution is quite good. Post is arriving from
home in a matter of 3 days but it still takes 10 - 14 days to get home.
10 Pln "C" Coy is now in Div reserve. Coy locns unchanged.
Our artillery is firing propaganda leaflets over the enemy lines.Specimen at Appendix "A".
15thOperation starting tomorrov morning with 59 ,Div attacking on our left in the
area NOYERS. 50 Divn intends to hold present posns and be prepared to exploit fwd.
and secure as a firm base Pt 158 7662 - ST.GERMAIN D'ECTOT - Wood 7963 -
LES DOUESNETS 8163 - Wood 825649.
u/c 56 Bde. | 69 Bde. | 151 Bde.
"A" MG Coy. | "B" MG Coy. | "C" MG Coy.
13 Hvy Mor Pl. | 15 Hvy Mor Pl. | 12 Hvy Mor Pl.
"B" Coy less one pl reverts from comd 151 Bde to 69 Bde.
"C" Coy reverts from comd, 231 Bde to 151 Bde. No change in 4.2" mortar disposns.
Slight mortaring and shelling on Div front during early hours of morning.
Enemy is reverting to his old practice of mines and booby traps,
Page 10 of 18
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
Butte du Gros Orme.15th(cont)His airforce seems to be getting much braver. Several times we have had
sneak raids over the Bn area.
Bn has had roughly a 100 casualties up to date roughly 16 % of the Bn strength.
Coy locations unchanged. Weather - raining most of day.
16th2000Co-ordinating conference takes place. Major Martin, Major Abel, Capt Handford
attend, Pl arcs fixed lines and D.F. tasks co-ordinated between coys.
2100Conference ends,
Some mortaring and shelling during the day. A flying bomb dropped quite close
to Bn HQ early this morning - no casualties. Weather showery, turned slightly
warmer. Coy locations unchanged.
17thFront very quiet today. Enemy seems to have withdrawn from the area.
At 0400 hrs this morning the enemy opened up with 105 mm on Ellon aerodrome
which is only two or three field to the rear of us, He fired approx 100 shells
some of which landed rather close. Damage 2 killed 9 wounded and 21 planes damaged
on Ellon airfield, Heavy enemy bombing of 15(s) Diy area at 2300 hrs tonight.
Page 11 of 18
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
Butte du Gros Orme.17th(cont)Weather fine and hot. Coy locns unchanged.
18th0830Capt M-Davies and some of the D+17 transport arrives about 4 weeks overdue.
Sgt Tetlow "I" Sgt ordered to find two "C" Coy carriers lost by 10 Pln about
3 weeks ago. He finds one with the remains of two bodies in. Both carriers
burnt completely out. Burial party will go down tomorrow morning.
Enemy air activity over Ellon airfield in the early hours of the morning,
Weather dull but dry. Coy locns unchanged.
19th0300Major Moon, Lieut Gaiger and Lieut Walkinshaw and the remainder of D+17 transport
and personnel arrive.
1400Coy comdrs co-ordinating conference takes place.
1500Conference ends.
Attack on CAEN front is going according to plan. Armour in CAGNY with inf
strengthening behind, Enemy doing certain amount of shelling around the
TILLY SUR SEULLES area early this morning, HOTTOT was taken early this
morning, but the rd leading to it is under heavy shell fire and the rd and
Page 12 of 18
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
Butte du Gros Orme19th(cont)village itself is very heavily mined and booby trapped. Enemy appears to
be moving back on Div front. 56 Bde filtering fwd slowly.
Coy locns: "A" Coy 739658 1/25,000 37/16 SW.
"B" Coy 769690 " "
"C" Coy 798686 " "
"D" Coy unchanged.
"HQ" unchanged.
Weather fine and sunny.
20th1400C.O. visits "B" Coy, "A" Coy and "C" Coy also Bde H.Q's re fire plan, arcs
and tasks. Returns to Main H.Q.
Enemy still withdrawing line of F.D.L's now running just SOUTH of road
LE LION VERT - HOTTOT - JUVIGNY. Certain amount of mortaring and shelling
this afternoon. Coys and plns are moving fwd to keep up with the enemy's
withdrawal. Weather fine and sunny.
Coy locns : "A" Coy 739658 1/25,000 37/16.S.N.
Page 13 of 18
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
Butte du Gros Orme20th (cont)Coy locns cont: "B" Coy 773657 1/25,000 37/16 SW
Coy 813679 " "
"D" Coy unchanged.
Main HQ inchanged,
21st1000,C.O. visits "A" Coy. and returns to Main HQ.
Nothing of interest to report today - rain stopped play.
Companies have at last obtained permission to bring one Pl back for a short
rest period. The first since we landed 46 days ago. Enemy air activity - slight
Plns in reserve are: 3 Pln "A" Coy.
7 Pln "B" Coy.
9 Pln "C" Coy.
14 Pln "D" Coy.
Coy locns unchanged. 5 Reinforcements arrived today. Weather - raining all day.
22ndFront quiet all day. Coy locns unchanged. Slight enemy air activity during the
night. Parties are now being despatched to the Corps rest Camp at Le Mesnil.
Page 14 of 18
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
Butte du Gros Orme.23rd231 Bde has now been withdrawn from the line. "C" Coy have now reverted to comd
of 151 Bde. Little activity on the Div front today. Small amount of shelling
onto high ground by Bn HQ. Enemy propaganda leaflets dropped. Copies
attached.See Appendix "B"
Coy locns unchanged.
24th1600Major Abel O.C. "C" Coy visits C.O. re disposns.
Very little activity along the whole front. The enemy has pulled out.
Coy locns unchanged. Weather - fine. Enemy air activity - nil.
Arrangements have been put in hand for all Bdes to have a period in reserve
which of course means that 1 Coy at a time will also get a short rest.
25th.Nothing of interest to report today. Weather dull but dry. Coy locns
unchanged.
26thInter Pln relief take place, Plns in reserve now:- 12 Hvy Mor Pln "D" Coy.
11 Pln "C" Coy, 4 Pln "A" Coy, 6 Pln "B" Coy. Quiet day on Div front.
Americans attacking due SOUTH of ST.LO and cutting through like wildfire. Coy locns unchanged.
Page 15 of 18
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
Butte du Gros. Orme.27th1600C.O. visits 56 Bde HQ and "A" Coy.
1900C.O. returns.
"A" Coy lost one carrier tonight a direct hit from a shell, fortunately
driver was sleeping underneath and emerged without a scratch. All Pls
back in posn again. Coy locns unchanged except for "B." Coy who are how at
753666 1/25,000. 37/16 SW. 69 Bde is being relieved by 231 Bde.
Weather fine. Americans have captured COUTANCES and are still going strong.
28thCoy comdrs conference on harassing fire etc. 69 Bde is now in Div reserve.
Coy locns unchanged, Disposns:
56 Bde. | 231 Bde. | 151 Bde.
"A" Coy | "B" Coy | "C" Coy
13 Hvy Mor Pl | 12 Hvy Mor Pl | 14 Hvy Mor Pl.
Enemy shelling early this morning. Shells landed in Bn. HQ, D Coy and a Coy Waggon
Lines. One shell landed 10 yds from the petrol dump and in the middle of the field.
Fortunately the trucks were very well dispersed round the edges of the field
and no damage was done. No casualties. "D" Coy had one truck damaged.
Page 16 of 18
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
Butte du Gros Orme.29thAttack is going in tomorrow at 0700 hrs. 8 Armd and 61 Recc.e. relieved by
43 Div. Quiet day a little shelling and mortaring on the Div front.
Coy locns and disposns unchanged.
u/c for tomorrows attack:
56 Bde. | 231 Bde. | 151 Bde. | 69 Bde.
"A" Coy. | "B" Coy. | 14 Hvy Mor Pl | 15 HvynMor Pl.
13 Hvy Mor Pl | 12 Hvy Mor Pl.
Div reserve. "C" Coy.
30thPlan for today is as follows:-
50(N) Div will hold the high ground Pt 198 7656 - AMAYE SUR SEULLES -
Pt 138 7959 as a firm base for future ops.
69 Inf Bde with "B" Coy and 2 Hvy Mor Pls will hold the AMAYE SUR SEULLES feature.
231 Inf Bde. " "C" Coy and 1 Hvy. Mor Pl will hold the LA DOUETIE feature.
151 Inf Bde. " "A" Coy and 1 Hvy Mor Pl will hold FEUGEROLLES - SERMENTOT - BELTOT.
Large force of 4 engined bombers supporting attack on right by 15(s) Div, 43 Div
and 11 Armd Div. Bombing from "0" ft, no posn enemy. Attack is going well.
Page 17 of 18
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
Butte du Gros Orme.30th(cont)Our attack on this front has resulted in an advance of approx a mile along the
whole front. The news is very promising from all fronts today. In Italy
we are only 6 miles from Florence. In Russia the Russians are within sight
of Warsaw.
Major Martin O.C. "A" Coy had a narrow escape this afternoon, whilst talking
to an Essex officer the Essex Officer was shot through the chest and killed.
1 Reinforcent arrived today.
Coy locns unchanged,
31st1500BN HQ moves to new locn at M/R 783678. Area clean and the vehicles are
dispersed round 3 or 4 fields.
1700C.O. to Div HQ re proposed attack by 56 Bde and 231 Bde.
1800C.O. returns to Bn HQ.
2000Launay captured by 56 Bde.
No enemy activity on front today. Enemy appears to be withdrawing.
Bn HQ is now up in line with the Coy HQ's and about 3,000 yds in front of "D" Coy.
Page 18 of 18
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
Butte du Gros Orme31st(cont)Americans have reached Avranches. Advance along whole front maintained.
Plns moving fwd with Bdes. Coys now U/C as follows:-
"A" Coy - 56 Bde. "B" Coy 231 Bde.
"C" Coy - in reserve.
29 Reinforcements arrived today.
Total wounded and evacuated and killed as follows:
Killed. Wounded and Evacuated.
17 98 OR's.
- 4. Offrs.
Total 17 102