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    War Diary: 2nd Battalion South Wales Borderers

    Month and year: August 1944

    The 2nd Battalion South Wales Borderers August 1944 War diary covers the unit crossing the river Risle and advancing to the Seine at La Mailleraye Sur Seine.

    National Archive Reference: WO 171/1380

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    Page 1 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    1In the morning "D" Coy supported by the flame-throwers attacked the villageappx "A" - AF3.W.3008-9E
    of ST GERMAIN D'ECTOT and secured it, firm-basing themselves on the Southern
    side of the village. Patrols were pushed forward to CANDON and eventuallyappx "B" - adm order No.1. dated 3 aug 44
    "A" Coy got forward to CANDON and established themselves on the bridge.
    Bn HQ moved up to LA COUARDE and "C" Coy took over the orchard at 767625.
    By this time the REs, a Pl from 233 Fd Coy had cleared all the mines inappx "C" - wireless log.
    the area, and had marked those which did not need lifting. Schu mines
    were found and together with the Assault Pl they did a very good job. All
    was quiet that night.
    2"B" and "D" Coys moved forward and occupied the Eastern end of the LAUNAY
    bridge, linking up with the ESSEX on the right and 231 Bde on the left.
    "C" Coy took over a position at the bridge 776621 and Bn HQ moved up to
    CANDON. That night the enemy shelled the Bn area a little.
    3Bn remained in same positions.
    4Bn moved out at 0830 hrs to a rest area at CHOUAIN 8372 as the Bde had been
    Page 2 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    4 contdpinched out of the line and we were due for a rest. Concert by GEORGE
    5Bn resting. Bn came under command 59 Div at 0800 hrs.
    6Drumhead service for the Bde.
    7Bn resting.
    8Bn resting.
    9Bn moved to concentration area 8951 and later to area 908505.
    101100Bn crossed the ORNE and concentrated area 963496. That night "A" and "C"
    Coys moved forward to capture the high ground known as The Court Genets
    feature at 975473 and "B" and "D" Coys the high ground area 972463. Bn
    HQ moved to FORGES-RA-CAMBRAGE. All moves were completed by 0500 hrs 11
    Aug 44.
    11Bn area heavily mortared and shelled. Bn HQ moved to area 967489. "A" and
    "C" Coys particularly badly shelled and mortared. Sqn of Churchills from
    34 Tank Bde went forward in support of "A" Coy and "C" Coy and came under
    Page 3 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    11 contdheavy fire.
    12Bn remained in position. Shelling was quieter.
    13"C" Coy sent patrol during the night 12/13 to LE MARCEL which allowed the
    Sqn of Churchills to come out. They moved back at 0730 hrs. All quiet
    during the day. During the night Coys moved forward under cover of Fighting
    Patrols and occupied the village of PLACY, 9845.
    14Bn HQ moved to PLACY at 0630 hrs. At 1000 hrs forward body set off and
    formed a protective screen on high ground pt 187 9643, no enemy being
    encountered. As the Bn came up pt 187 was heavily shelled and mortared
    and the Bn dug in in a defensive position on the reverse slope.
    15"B" and "D" Coys, covered by Fighting Patrols moved forward to high ground
    at 9542 without encountering any opposition. Patrols went forward to the
    river and reported no enemy. Bn HQ moved to 913429. That night Patrols from
    "A" and "C" Coy went out to deal with a report of Germans in the ST REMY area.
    They returned without meeting any opposition.
    Page 4 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    16Bde ordered 'Stand down' and Bn rested.
    17Bn moved to take over Bn position area 0335 from 7th R.W.F. After take
    over "C" Company improved their position by going fwd to the railway at
    0632 and "A" Coy sent a fighting patrol to pt 231 0833. This
    reported no enemy and the Coy moved up and established itself on 231.
    18At 0100 hrs fighting patrols from "B" & "D" Coys went south through "A"
    Coy to get on to the high ground at 082320 and 079320. Patrols heard
    digging area LE VAL wood 087318. By 0800 hrs "B" & "D" Coys were both
    on their objectives though "B" Coy were having trouble from LE VAL wood
    on their left. At 1240 hrs after an arty conc "B" Coy attacked LE VAL
    wood. Two Plns succeeded in getting into the northern edge of the wood
    but were unable to get further. As a result of this one pl was pulled
    out and together with the reserve platoon tried to get into the wood from
    the western side. After a tough battle the Coy Comd. decided that the
    opposition was greater than was at first thought, and so withdrew to
    Page 5 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    18 (CONT)the high ground which he had originally occupied. PW stated that there
    were about 80 men in the wood. At 2200 hrs the whole of the Corps Artillery
    was concentrated on the wood and two fighting patrols from "A" & "C" Coy
    went in after it. They found the enemy still in occupation and had to
    come back.
    19"A" & "D" Coys attacked LE VAL wood, zero hour at 1100 hrs. "B" Coy were
    in a cut off fire position at 082320. "C" Coy were in reserve. "A", "B"
    & "C" Coys moved to an FUP in area 100328 and advanced after an arty conc.
    The attack was successful and 33 PW passed through BN HQ. Mines were
    found in LE VAL village. "D" Coy occupied objective. "A" Coy concentrated
    with the rest of the Bn at 0833, Bn was relieved by 1/5th Lancashire Fusiliers
    and "D" Coy were able to withdraw and complete the Bn concentration
    by 1700 hrs. At 1900 hrs Bn moved to area PENDOUZE 1960. Move completed
    by 2100 hrs.
    20Bn came under Comd 49 Div and rested. C of E Service.
    Page 6 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    21Bn still resting. "C" Coy disbanded and "A", "B" & "D" Coys made up
    owing to lack of reinforcements. 60 reinforcements arrived from Tyneside
    Scottish, 3 Coys now up to strength.
    22Nothing happened except Recce party went off to BONNEBOSQUE.
    23Battalion moved to area BONNEBOSQUE 4396.
    24Bn resting atb BONNEBOSQUE.
    25In the morning Bn following up the advance of the ESSEX, and GLOSTERS moved
    to area of BANGY LE CHATTEAU 5898 where it spent the greater part of the
    day. In the evening Bn moved to conc area at LA CHAPELLE BAYVELLE 6690Transcription note: 6690 should be 6600?
    where the night was spent.
    26In the morning Bn, with fwd body consisting of "A" Coy and elements of "Sp"
    Coy moved to a position west of PONT AUDEMER. The afternoon was spent
    in recces for the crossing of the RIVER RISLE. Tac Bn HQ was est in
    PONT AUDEMER and a convenient spot chosen for the crossing at 775199.Transcription note: 775199 should be 775099?
    Tape was laid from fac Bn HQ to the crossing, the route running through
    Page 7 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    26 (CONT)a Maquis HQ and a tannery. At 2130 hrs "B" Coy left the Assembly Area and crossed
    the river at 2230 hrs followed by "A" Coy. "B" Coy were fired on by a Spandau force
    which they dealt with successfully before reaching their objective 400 yds
    beyond the river on the high ground. "A" Coy took up a position on their
    right without difficulty. "B" Coy suffered 12 casualties.
    27Locations remained unchanged until the afternoon, although there was
    shelling and sniping at PONT AUDEMER. In the evening "D" Coy crossed the
    main bridge at PONT AUDEMER, as this bridge had only been partially
    destroyed. All Coys concentrated into a firm base around X rds 773104 in
    the evening and Bn tpt moved into the town.
    28At first light Bn HQ and Bn tpt joined the Coys and Bn HQ was est at
    773106. In the afternoon Bn moved to new concentration area at 892112
    At 2230 hrs "D" Coy gp moved to deal with an enemy pocket at 867107. Patrols
    were sent out to contact enemy but whilst the Coy was forming up for an
    attack it was subjected to heavy enemy mortar and shell fire. This broke
    Page 8 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    28 (CONT)up their attack and the Coy having suffered 18 casualties, returned to the
    conc area.
    29The Carrier Pl with Mortars in sp moved out to maintain contact with
    a/m enemy at 867107. After lifting some mines they were subjected to
    spasmodic sniping and MG fire throughout the day but succeeded in keeping
    contact with enemy and suffered two casualties. They were withdrawn in the
    afternoon to prepare for Bn move.
    At 1830 hrs, the Bn with fwd body of "A" Coy and elements of "Sp" Coy
    moved through the FORET DE BRETONNE and reached the SEINE at LA MAILLERAYE
    SUR SEINE 9621 without difficulty. A firm base was formed at LA MAILLERAYE
    for the night.
    30There was no fighting throughout the day but a stream of PW arrived at Bn
    HQ. The Carrier Pl took up a position of observation at LA HARELLE
    HEURTEANVILLE 9817 but no contact was made.
    31Bn positions remained unchanged as follows:- "A" Coy 964214, "B" Coy
    Page 9 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    31 (CONT)968209, "D" Coy 951201, Bn HQ 953207. Prisoners continued to come in,
    Total of PW for the LA MAILLERAYE position was 407. Within the Bn area
    over 300 damaged and destroyed vehicles were left by the enemy.
    During afternoon and evening a small patrol crossed the SEINE by boat,
    located shipyard containing a damaged U Boat in process of construction,
    took over 11 PW from Maquis and returned without loss.