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    War Diary: 2nd Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles

    Month and year: August 1944

    The 2nd Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles August 1944 War diary covers the units time in Normandy in the areas of Granville, Vaudry and La Chapelle-au-Moine

    National Archive Reference: WO 171/1384

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    Page 1 of 13
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Bieville1The weather today was very warm. The Bn. spent a quiet day at Bieville.
    in the morning hot showers were arranged for the Bn. and an ENSA Concert
    in the evening.
    "2The weather very good. The Bn. spent the morning preparing to move to a
    new location. The advance party under 2 i/c left for new location of
    GRANVILLE763643 at 1315hrs. Remainder of Bn. left by transport at 1535hrs
    arriving GRANVILLE at 1915hrs.
    GRANVILLE3To-day was another warm day. The Bn. spent a quiet day at GRANVILLE
    At 1730hrs a recce party of Bn. left for new location at 639504 near
    Page 2 of 13
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Granville4At 0700hrs the Bn. left GRANVILLE by transport, arriving at the new location
    near ST MARTINS at 1000hrs. Here we suffered one casualty when A/A truck
    ran over a mine and the explosion killed a member of "C" Company.
    ST MARTINS5At 1715hrs a Recce party left for new location with a view to relieving
    the 1st on. Royal Norfolk Regiment.
    6The remainder of the Bn. left at 0230hrs on the 6th and finally reached its
    new position near LA BISTIERS 6637 at 0600hrs. in this position the role
    of the Battalion was to prevent any hostile thrusts along the main road
    running North Eastwards out of VIRE, It had the additional task of providing
    a firm base for 1 Bn KOSB and 2 Bn LINCS which had to pass through to the
    high ground in front. in order to assist these Battalions further this
    Battalion sent forward patrols from A, B and C Companies to some woods on
    the high ground at 658358, 660360, 666361. These were all reported clear
    of enemy.
    Page 3 of 13
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    LA BLANQUAIRE6Later in the day the Battalion moved to LA BLANQUAIRE. it was in position
    by 1800hrs. Shelling began at 2000hrs and although the Bn was already dug
    in 4 ORs were wounded.
    LA BLANQUAIRE7The Battalion left LA BLANQUAIRE at 0615hrs in fine weather and moved some
    two miles to MONTESANGER arriving at 0800hrs. This move was designed to
    achieve closer concentration within the Brigade and to permit the Battalion
    to be in a better position for a move forward. It served also to provide
    a firm base for an abortive attack by 2 LINCS on strongly defended positions
    to our front. In this role the Battalion was shelled intermittantly and
    suffered a few casualties.
    MONTESANGER8The Battalion had a quiet day in perfect weather. During the day it became
    known that 9 Brigade were to launch an attack with two Battalions up with
    Page 4 of 13
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    MONTESANGER8the object of securing high gound to the East of VIRE. 1st Bn KOSB were to
    capture ring contour 230 and 2nd RUR had as their objective the village of
    VAUDRY and the VIRE - VASSY Rd running E to W to the South of VAUDRY. The
    day was there spent in detailed reconnaissance of the ground by the Commanding
    Officer and Company Commanders and at the end of it the C.O. gave out orders
    to Company and Platoon Commanders on the ground itself. Subsequently
    further detailed recconaissance was made by Company and Platoon Commanders.
    LA GALONNERIEAt 2200hrs the Battalion moved to an Assembly Area at LA GALONNERIE and dug
    in for a short night.
    9Battalion left LA GALONNERIE at 0530hrs and moved forward steadily towards
    VAUDRY. It soon became clear that the enemy had withdrawn from this area
    leaving behind as obstruction nothing except mines. These succeeded in
    deaying the advance so that VAUDRY itself was not reported clear and the
    road VIRE - VASSY reached until 0930hrs.
    Page 5 of 13
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    "D" Company had led at the Beginning but on reaching a preliminary objective
    "C" Company passed through to secure VAUDRY itself and finally "A" Company
    moved forward of VAUDRY Church to sit astride the VIRE - VASSY Road. In fact
    the village was effectively captured by O.C. "S" Company, Capt. GAFFIKIN and
    OC. Anti-tank platoon, Capt. C. GREY who, on an enthusiastic recconnaissance
    reached the village ahead of the forward troops.
    On the objective, which the Battalion had reached without a casualty,
    the Battalion dug in. Later in the day there was slight shelling of the
    area but it was from a great distance and there were no casualties.
    VAUDRY10During the early hours of the morning a patrol of "B" Company encountered
    a patrol of "C" Company; there was a misunderstanding about identity and
    shots were fired on both sides killing one and wounding another.
    In the afternoon a Typhoon crashed behind the Battalion area. The
    pilot baled out and landed close to our lines.
    Page 6 of 13
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    VAUDRY11To-day an attack by 3 Division on TINCHEBRAY was launched with two Brigades
    forward one in reserve. 2 RUR as part of the reserve Brigade held its
    positions as a firm base for the advance of the other two Brigades. 2 RUR
    stood by to move in support of either of these two Brigades but owing to the
    character of the ground and enemy resistance we were not called upon.
    VAUDRY12Today the Battalion again stood by the move forward but again did not actually
    move. Weather was fine and at 1145 there was a swift but severe burst of
    enemy shelling which killed the M.T. Sergeant and wounded RSM Fleming and
    two other ranks.
    LANOE13Today the Battalion moved about a mile East along the VIRE - VASSY road to
    LANOE where its intention was to block any possible enemy counter attack
    along the road from VASSY direction. While in this position - which was
    reached by 1130 hrs -
    Page 7 of 13
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    "B" Company was detached to come under command 1st KOSB to strengthen a
    position which had been taken up further foward. On the Brigade front the
    day was quiet and the weather remained good.
    LANOE14Bn still kept at short notice to move, but urgency gradually diminished
    during the day and it became apparent that we were to stay at LANOE for
    some time.
    15Today was quiet and weather was excellent. Hot showers were arranged for
    the Battalion and in the evening a large party attended an ENSA. show at
    the Div Club. At 0800hrs the Commanding Officer was at Brigade to receive
    orders for the move for it had finally bean decided to pass 9 Brigade
    through 8 Brigade to follow closely on the enemy withdrawal.
    Page 8 of 13
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    LANOE16The Commanding Officer left LANOE at 0900hrs to meet the Brigadier for orders
    at the new location. The rest of the Battalion left at 1100hrs and moved
    by M.T. to new area at 747255 near TINCHEBRAY arriving at 1330hrs. The
    enemy had however retreated swiftly and at 1530 the Battalion moved again
    to area 8022 in the region of LANDISACQ.
    LANDISACQ17The speed of the general advance on a contracting front was such that 3rd
    Division today found that there was no longer room for it in the line. The
    Battalion learnt that it was to stay in LANDISACQ for three days today and
    embarked forthwith upon administration.
    "18The Bn benefitted by a perfect day and parties went to the Divisional Club
    and the Corps rest Camp.
    Page 9 of 13
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    LANDISACQ19Today a systematic search of the Battalion area for enemy equipment and
    men was carried out. NO Germans were discovered but some knocked out tanks,
    guns and vehicles were reported.
    LANDISACQ20Bn heard that it was to do training for at least a week in assault river
    crossing and co-coperation with tanks. With this end in view the Bn at
    0815 marched to area 8514 near CHAPELLE AU MOINE. The distance was about
    8 miles and the Battalion was in position by 1210hrs.
    In the evening a school of orphans under the guidance of Sisters of
    Mercy delighted the Commanding officer and his Battalion with a short
    concert in appreciation of their liberation. At the outset the choir of
    about 50 children sang the British National Anthem and followed this with
    the marseillaise. The Bn was then asked to render the British National
    Anthem, which it did with great spirit; it followed this with an impressive
    Page 10 of 13
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    CHAPPELE AU MOINE20selection of Irish ditties. The the children sang some French peasant and
    patriotic songs, finishing superbly with LA LIBERTE FRANCAISE. It was
    noteworthy that throughout the performance a little coloured girl proudly
    held the French Flag on high. A lasting liason was established between
    the Bn and these people.
    "21Weather rather bad, showers throughout the day. The Bn spent the afternoon
    river crossing in stormboats. Vehicles and guns also crossed on rafts and
    transport was practised in driving across different types of bri ging.
    "22Today tank training began with a squadran of 4th Grenadier Guards from the
    6th Gds Tank Brigade. Another wet day.
    "23Weather slightly improved. It was warm though still cloudy. The Battalion
    had baths and training continued.
    Page 11 of 13
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    CHAPPELE AU MOINE232/Lt. COPPARD recently joined as a reinforcement officer, was wounded by
    shrapnel from a PIAT bomb when firing at a PANTHER tank.
    "24Weather still improving. Company and platoon training continued. Major
    Hyde, "B" Company Commander, was wounded in the same circumstances as 2/Lt.
    Coppard. Both these officers had to be evacuated. "I" Section left the
    Battalion to search an area near FALAISE and report on destroyed enemy
    equipment therein.
    "25Weather very hot. "I" Section continued with their search. Training continued.
    "26Still warm. "I" Section today visited Battleground between TRUN and
    ARGENTAN and inspected enemy vehicles and equipment.
    Page 12 of 13
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    CHAPPELE AU MOINE26During today the Commanding Officer carried out an inspection of "A", "B",
    "C", "D", and "S" Companies.
    27Weather still good and Battalion held a sports day, inter-company football
    and basketball competitions being organised. In the evening the "I" Section
    rejoined the Battalion.
    28The Commanding Officer completed his inspection of the Battalion when at
    0900hrs he saw "HQ" Company. Though fine to begin with the weather clouded
    over later and rain began in the evening.
    29Rain continued and restricted training. Cinemas and concert parties in
    30FLERS were well attended.
    Page 13 of 13
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    CHAPPELE AU MOINE31A Battalion scheme was held today in co-operation with the tanks of
    supporting Sqn of Gren Guards. At 1800hrs C.O. held a conference to
    discuss its success and draw lessons from it.