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    War Diary: 2nd Battalion Household Cavalry Regiment

    Month and year: July 1944

    The July 1944 2nd Battalion Household Cavalry Regiment covers their deployment and actions in Normandy including the capture of Bull Bridge over the river Souleuvre.

    National Archive Reference: WO 171/837

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    Page 1 of 4
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    Paddockhurst22 H.C.R. received orders to conc on 6 hrs notice to move. Waterproofing was
    completed in a hurry mainly owing to atrocious weather conditions. C.O. returned
    after a period of sickness.
    Roslands Castle11 Jul.2 H.C.R. moved to Marshalling Area Camp A1. A certain amount of mechanical
    trouble from waterproofed 3 ton lorries was experienced but owing to a quick system
    Appx A.
    of replacement the non runners were replaced. In the marshalling area 2 H.C.R.
    was split into 4 ship loads and was entirely looked after by the 'hotel' service
    provided in the area.
    Roslands Castle12 Jul0400 2 ship loads (comds C.O. and 2 I.C.) moved down to Hards but after several
    moves and 4 hrs wait they were returned to another Marshalling Camp No. A 16. at
    ROCHE COURT. 1600 ship loads 3 (Major Wignall) moved to hards at Portsmouth and
    embarked. 2200 C.O. and 2 I.C's ship loads moved fwd to hards at Gosport.
    Ship load 4 (Major Ward) also moved to hards during the night. The Sqns organisation
    was entirely broken from the time the Marshalling area was entered until reforming
    in the unit assembly area abroad. This caused a certain amount of confusion at
    first but was soon sorted out.
    13 Jul.0400 C.O's and 2 I.C's parties began to embark at first light on LST's.
    These boats carry about 80 mixed vehs on 2 decks. All craft had a very smooth
    crossing. One craft unloaded in the evening the others anchored for the night
    and the vehs disembarked at about 0900 hrs on 14 Jul.
    14 Jul.All ships loads disembarked entirely dryshod and proceeded through the Beach and
    Transit Areas to a Unit Assembly Area at BRECY. The voyage was an unforgettable
    sight for all - masses of shipping in the Channel and no interference from sea or air.
    5 Jul.2 H.C.R. conc complete (less 1 AEC Armd C) in a pleasant country of orchards
    and apparently of plenty. Very little war damage apparent. 2 H.C.R. had to move
    harbour during the day but remained in same area.
    Page 2 of 4
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    16 JulRHQ and D Sqn moved to area AMBLIE 9480 and harboured close to the village.
    2 H.C.R. found 6 Traffic control posts of 1 offr and 3 O.R's under comd Capt. Balding
    to assist in movement of 3 Armd Divs over the ORNE north of CAEN. One of these parties had
    a direct hit from a basket of A.P. bombs which killed Lt.Potter and 2 O.R's and wounded 2 other
    O.R's. C Sqn were given a job of preparing a rest Camp for 8 Corps at St. AUBIN SUR MERE.
    17-22 Jul.RHQ and D remained at AMBLIE.
    22 Jul.2 H.C.R. conc complete near CAMILLY 9476. 2 H.C.R. was very congested but this was the
    case throughout the area.
    22-29 Jul2 H.C.R. remained at CAMILLY and carried out maint and even some trg in map reading and
    Scout car work. Scout Cs were modified by adding smoke dischargers wired to the side light
    switches which with the use of tail smoke gave an instantaneous smoke screen if in a tight corner
    29 Jul2 H.C.R. less B moved to area BALLEROY on the WEST end of the British front to take
    part in op BLUECOAT which was a complimentary op to the big push by U.S. forces through NORMANDY
    into BRITTANY and round the West flank 8 Corps consisted of Gds Armd Div, 11 Armd Div, 15 (s)
    Div for the initial phase of this op. B Sgn under comd 15 (s) Div. 2 H.C.R. (less B Sqn)
    under comd 11 Armd Div Tac HQ SALLEN 6961 close to HQ 11 Armd Div.
    30 Jul8 Corps attack went in axis CAUMONT - ST. MARTIN DES BESKES, 15 (s) leading sp by by
    6 Gds Tke Bde, 11 Armd Div following: the attack was preceded by heavy bombing with fragmentation
    bombs. D rt, C left. Owing to mines and demolition, 11 Armd Div had some difficulty in getting
    to this objectives but by 2000 hrs Div Comd appreciated that it would be possible to push the
    Armd Cs through and Sqns were moved up the centre line CAUMONT - SEPT VENTS through the night.
    Tac HQ remained at SULLEN.
    31 JulSqns were badly held up during the night owing to rd congestion and the rd had several times
    to be cleared to let priority tk colns come through. However, by 0900 hrs C Sgn were able to
    deploy to West and S.W. of ST. MARTIN DES BESACES. Lt. Powle seized his opportunity to cross the
    railway just before the Germans rushed up 3 88 mm. guns, and he was able to push south to the
    bridge over the river, and report SOULEUVRE as clear. It was being used as a two way road
    by 5 G.A.F. div. Lt. Powle reported the bridge as clear and kept it under observation the
    whole day until the arrival in the evening of 2 tps of 2 N.Y. (Armd Recce Regt) . This exploit
    had meant a 9 mile drive through enemy country down narrow roads with high banks on both sides.
    Both C and D Sqns obtained much information during the day. Lt. Bethell in the FORET
    DE L'EVEQUE area disappeared with his whole tp after reporting on the air that he was in
    difficulty and had had several casualties. His car was later found burnt but but there was no
    sign of him or the rest of his tp. RHQ moved to FIERVILLE 6856 and thence to LA FOUQUERIE 6653.
    Page 3 of 4
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    16 Jul.2 H.C.R. was warned that 2 Sqns would take part in Op Goodwood under Comd Gds Armd
    Div. B and A were selected with an ad hock RHQ Gp comd by 2 I.C. C and D remained in
    Corps Reserve. C sqn finding 6 offrs traffic posts and doing a fatigue job at St. AUBIN S
    MER. A and B moved near BAYEAUX. RHQ and D moved to AMBLIE. C.O. tried to get permission
    to comd the 2 Sqns himself but this was refused.
    Appx A.
    17 Jul.0600 hrsA and C Sqns under Comd Major Sir P. Grant Lawson, and Tac HQ passed to Comd GAD for
    2130 hrsMoved in rear of 5 Gds Armd Bde by Northern wheeled route to forming up area south of
    ANGUENY 0177 arriving about 0315 hrs.
    18 Jul0745 hrsH. Hr Tac HQ remained with Tac GAD throughout day. A and B Sgns moved down 5 Gds
    Armd Bde Antse Line in rear of 2 W.G. Route Br BENOUVILLE 1075 - RANVILLE 1173 - ESCOUVILLE
    1271 - thence due south. No opportunity was given for Sqns to carry out recce.
    2200 hrsBoth Sqns moved into harbour with Tac GAD 1,000 yds south of DEMOUVILLE 1067. A Ech
    moved to LE MARIQUET 1173. L/Cpl. Barnes A Sqn was killed during an enemy bombing attack on
    Main GAD on night 18/19 Jul.
    19 Jul.0500 hrsStand to. Sqns remained in res all day. Field moderately mortared once during morning.
    A Ech moved HEROUVILLE 1271.
    20 Jul.0910 hrs.B Sqn given task of patrolling area south of Rly incl Pt 53 (1657) - CONTEVILLE 1257 -
    1015 hrsA Sqn given task of patrolling area south of COURS DE JANVILLE - west of rd St. PAIR 1666 -
    ARGENCES 1761 - and north of rd ARGENCES - VIMONT- CAGNY.
    1600 hrsPatrols withdrawn having failed to get fwd owing to enemy tks and A/Tk guns.
    1900 hrsA Ech came under comd own Sqns in harbour. Heavy thunderstorm in evening followed by
    intermittent heavy showers.
    21 Jul.Sqns remained in res. Heavy rain all day.
    1300 hrsEnemy shell fell in harbour and wounded Lt. Murray, killing one D.R. and wounding three
    Appx A is Diary of the doings of this party when detailed from 2 H.C.R.
    Page 4 of 4
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    in the evening. The advance had gone very fast and 326 Germany Inf Div had been virtually
    over-run. That night 159 Inf Bde Gp had pushed over Lt. Powle's bridge about LE BENY
    BOCAGE. D Sqn moved during the night to try to capture further bridges to the West and to
    get in touch with U.S. forces on the right of 8 Corps' advance. In this they were unsuccessful
    mainly owing to rd congestion as the boundary with U.S. forces had not been thoroughly tied up,
    and 11 Armd Div and 19 U.S. Div were both using the same road south.
    Attached notes on talk by General Sir B.L. Montgomery K.C.B., D.S.O., to senior officers.Appx B.