View Map
Map here
Overlay transparency


    War Diary: 4th - 7th Dragoon Guards

    Month and year: August 1944

    The diary covers the 4th - 7th Dragoon Guards fighting around Caumont and Cahagnes to the cathedral town of Beauvais.

    National Archive Reference: WO 171/838

    The "References to Appendices" column for this document was empty so has been omitted.

    All diaries for this unit:

    Please use the contact us page to report any errors or inaccuracies.

    Viewing map locations

    Many of the location in this diary have been geocoded, these locations are highlighted clicking on them will display them on a map. Many location also have historical maps and aerial photographs of the area available.

    « Return to war diaries

    Page 1 of 19
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    1.The Regt. moved out from area NE of CAUMONT very early, the
    Commanding Officer's and Sergt. Porter's tanks moving with 214 Bde
    HQ. 1 Worcs. led followed by 2nd S.L.I with "B" & "A" Sqns.
    respectively. objective was CAHAGNES and high ground beyond.
    RHQ moved in morning to CAHAGNES with Bde H.Q. where they were
    shelled. Sqns. saw their Inf. on despite some opposition. By
    mid-day "B" Sqn. were within 400 yds of their objective. "C" sqn.
    working with D.C.L.I. brewed up a Panther and took some prisoners,
    "A" and "C" Sqns. were released and returned to harbour in the
    evening "B" Sqn. remaining out until 2130 hrs. with their Inf.
    The Regt. harboured N. of CAHAGNES that night and remained in
    that area most of the next day. captain D.J. Collins who had
    been Technical Adjt. since November, 1943 was unfortunately
    killed by a shell in the evening when returning from recovering
    a "B" sqn. tank. He was a most energetic officer and a very able
    Page 2 of 19
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    1 ContTechnical Adjutant.
    2Orders received for us to move with the 214 Bde thorough JURQUES
    on to DUVAL (7945) "B" Sqn. working with D.C.L.I. "C" Sqn. with
    the Worcs. and "A" Sqn. with the S.L.I. "B" & "C" Squadrons
    joined their Inf. in the evening "A" Sqn. not moving till following
    3Inf. were held up S. of JURQUES where the enemy were on a high
    feature which wes almost unapproachable for tanks except up the
    main road. However "B" Sqn. pushed on to JURQUES and helped
    the D.C.L.I. on to their objective from which they already had
    to come about 400 yds. "A" Sqn. supplying supporting fire from
    the left. Tigers were reported in the area and at mid-day a
    Typhoon attack was seen to go in on them. "A" sqn. being in a
    very good position acted very successfully as an O.P. for the
    Gunners who hit an enemy tank.
    Page 3 of 19
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    3contd.1830 hrs. The Commanding officer held "0" Gp. though there were
    no actual orders available for us as yet, but quick move probable,
    the Inf. to do a detour on to their objective without tank support.
    4.No move. Every indication of enemy withdrawing, and the Inf. were
    trying to maintain contact by pushing on to their final objective
    SE of JURQUES.
    5.The Regt. married up again with the Inf. (214 Bde) and RHQ moved
    in the morning to area LE MESNIL AUZOF. In the meantime operations
    being carried on by 50 Div. with 13/18 H and SRY with the object
    capturing MT. PINCON feature.
    2200.warning order issued for Operation BLACKWATER (dependant upon
    the capture of MT. PINCON and PLESSIS GRIMOULT. 53 Recce Regt.
    (commanded by Lt.Col.L.Williams) have obtained a crossing at
    THURY HARCOURT. Intention. 43 Div. will secure crossing at
    CONDE SUR NOIREAU, 8 Armd.Bde. less 13/18 H. leading on two
    Page 4 of 19
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    5.contd.routes with the Regiment on East route with under command
    12 KRRC and Troop W.Dragoons (Flails).
    6.30Commanding officer and Adjutant attended conference at Brigade
    obtaining details of route and orders for Operation BLACKWATER.
    Marrying up with Tps. under Comd. (FOOs from 86 Fld.Regt. R.Es.
    and flails) completed by 0700 hrs.
    operation timed to start 1000 hrs. was postponed until 1830 hrs.
    when the Regiment moved out with "A" Sgn. and "A" Coy of the
    12 KRRC leading. We were directed on to CONDE SUR NOIREAU
    via LA QUESNE and LA PLESSIS GRINOULT. 214 Inf.Bde. to follow on
    the routes used by 8 Armd.Bde. The advance proceeded about 4
    miles and the whole column halted in a narrow defile and later
    the Regt. curled up in the best place it could find off the road
    for the night. During the night "A" Coy. had to send out a
    patrol to the X-rds which got badly mortared and the R.Es
    Page 5 of 19
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    6 Contsuccessfully bull-dozed a bomb crater under fire.
    7.Change of plan. The Regt. is to return to 50 Div. less "C" Sqn
    who would remain under comd. 43 Div. RHQ established for the
    day at HQ 214 Inf. Bde. "A" & "B" Sqns. engaged in assisting the
    12 KRRC in dealing with enemy on our right flank.
    8.Night was quiet. The commanding officer visited in the
    morning. 12 KRRC were engaged by enemy coming up from the
    SOUTH and "C" Sqn. in the afternoon (with two Tps only) were
    engaged in supporting the Worcs. in clearing up operations along
    the road WEST of LE PLESSIS GRIMOULT and this operation
    proceeded satisfactorily. Later in the evening "A", "B" & RHQ
    less C.Os and Sergt.Porter's tanks moved to POSTY on Northern
    slopes of MT. PINCON PRIOR TO MARRYING UP WITH 69 Inf. Bde.
    9.The remainder of RHG joined the Regt. at POSTY in the morning
    and the Inf.Bde. attack went in the morning Inf. being
    Page 6 of 19
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    9 Contd.carried on the backs of tanks. LE PLESSIS GRIMOULT was taken
    and RHQ moved down SOUTH of this town with HQ 69 Bde where for
    a time they were shelled and mortared, Sergt.Porter being
    concussed. "C" sqn. still with 43 Div. did very well, a
    large number of prisoners being taken. unfortunately Major T.M.
    Bell who had had command of the Squadron since August 1941 was
    killed by a shell when on a dismounted recce with the Inf.Coy.
    comd. The loss of Major T.M.Bell was a great blow. "A" &
    "B" sqns. harboured for the night to the rear of their Inf.Bns,
    10The commanding officer issued orders in the afternoon. our
    attachment to the 69 Bde is finished and the Regt. now come
    under cound. of 213 Bde. with "A" sqn. with Devons, "B" with
    Dorsets and "C" with Hants. ("C" Sqn. having returned to the
    Regt. in the early morning). Intention was to advance SOUTH
    and capture ST.PIERRE LA VIELLE on the high ground to the SOUTH
    Page 7 of 19
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    10 ContThe Operation commenced at 0830 hrs. 11 August. The day was
    spent as far as possible resting and maintaining. Some shells
    landed in "C" Sqn. area in the evening killing Tpr.Walters of
    HQ and injuring 6 others of HQ and "C" Sqn.
    11.Attack started as scheduled RHQ now being with 231 Bde. (the
    other side of the road from 69 Inf.Bde). By 0900 hrs. the
    Inf. were nearing their first objective which was ST.PIERRE LA
    VIELLE and by 1100 hrs. the village was entered by both the
    Devons and the Hants. "A" with the Devons knocked out an
    A/Tk. gun and took 18 prisoners of war. The ground on the
    right was difficult and "C" Sqn. could not get on but they
    were ordered to push through and did a flanker round the
    village, two tanks getting ditched. "C" Sqn. eventually
    moved EAST on to the road and went into the village by that
    way Pt.229 dominating feature to the WEST of the village
    Page 8 of 19
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    11 Contwas still occupied by the Bosche who had a S.P. gun there. "A"
    and "C" Sqns. harboured in the afternoon and the RSM had a hard
    time getting supplies to them in the dark and everyone was
    extremely tired after a hard day. "B" Sqn. did not come in
    12600"A" moved out again and joined the Devons on the left "B"
    Sqn. remaining with the Dorsets, "C" Sqn. not operating during
    the morning, but remaining in fire position on the right, The
    Inf. pushed on to the next feature fairly quickly, but "B" Sqn.
    were unable to get on it as whenever they came to the reverse
    slope they were fired on by S.P. from pt.229. "B" Sqn. had an
    extremely sticky day and had one tank brewed up when coming out
    in the evening,another one was knocked out and Lieut.M.A.Norman
    who had been regularly in command of his Troop since D-Day
    was wounded by his own phosphorous smoke grenade which went
    off in his tank. All three Sqns. came back to harbour in the
    Page 9 of 19
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    12 Cont.evening to Area SOUTH of LE PLESSIS GRIMOULT.
    13.The Commanding officer held a Squadron Leaders' conference in
    the morning on the subject of re-inforcements, and the rest of the
    day until the evening was spent in maintenance. In the
    evening the Regt. withdrew to go back for a rest in the area of
    ROBIN (WEST of AUNAY SUR ODON) The rest of the Bde. also
    came back to this area. A warning order received for parade
    to-morrow for visit by Lt.Gen, B.G.HORROCKS C.B., D.S.O., M.C.
    commander 30 corps.
    14.All available personnel were trasported over to 13/18 H in the
    afternoon when the Corps Commander Lt.Gen.B.G. HORROCKS spoke to
    al ranks about the course of the war and future operations.
    Many of us remembered him as G.O.C. 9 Armd. Div. when we were
    in that formation in 1941. Baths and ENSA entertainment were
    laid on for 13th, 14th and 15th August and 30 Corps Welfare
    Page 10 of 19
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    14th. Contd.Officer visited us to see that during our period of rest all
    possible welfare arrangements were made.
    The Regiment remained resting until 17th August when warning
    order issued for big advance SOUTH and then EAST once agáin with
    69 Inf.Bde.
    Information was that 19th U.S.Corp on our right, ourselves and
    30 Corps centre, 12 Corp on left. 8 Armd.Bde were under Comd.
    50 Div. and were preceded by 11 Armd.Div. along our route. Our
    GACE - LAIGLE - BRETEUIL. In the afternoon the Regiment moved to
    concentration area of the 69 Inf. Bde. at ROUCAMPS on MT. PINCON
    passing through the uttely uninhabitable town of AUNAY-SUR-ODON
    en route.
    2100The commanding officer gave out orders. our move would be a
    "Peace" one, Recce parties preceding our advance. Little was
    Page 11 of 19
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    17 Contdknown about the enemy who was going back pretty fast except that
    a very large number of them were trapped in the FALAISE pocket.
    We would be passing SOUTH of this pocket. 50 Div. were to pass
    through 43 Div in the FLERS area and then move two up EAST.
    "B" Sqn. were to be leading Sqn.
    18.Move from ROUCAMPS commenced 0800 hrs. 61 Recce leading followed
    by harbour parties, A/A Regt. and then ourselves with the rest
    of 69 Bde. following and a Troop of flails under our comd. right
    at the rear. Our harbour area was reached about mid-day, a
    pleasant ground near ROYFLEURE. In the evening orders issued for
    a short move of only 6 miles taking us to the SOUTH of ROYFLEURE.
    19.Move completed by 1000 hrs. Afternoon spent in recreation,
    Squadron Leaders conference held in the evening. No operation
    orders yet received for to-morrow.
    20.0700.Orders received for quick move, but only for a distance of 10
    Page 12 of 19
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    20. Cont miles. The Regiment moved out at 1000 hrs. preceded again by
    recce patties, and we arrived at MENIL GONDOUIN at mid-day.
    In the evening orders from 69 Bde. to push on further. This
    move was completed in the dark, the Regiment harbouring at
    NAUX de BARDUAD (2612),whe re it was extremely wet and most
    people got clothes and bedding wet.
    21.The Regiment remained in same location. orders issued in the
    evening, and once again Recce parties to go on ahead. We
    would continue our advance with 69 Inf.Bde. going via ARGENTAN -
    EXMES and GACE (which we might have to clear up).
    22.Regiment moved out in the morning "A" Sqn. leading 69 Inf.Bde.
    RHQ set up at EXMES in the evening. Order were given out for
    further advance tommorrow.
    23.The Regiment moved out at 0815 hrs. By 1015 hrs. "A" Sqn.
    were within 2 miles of Rugles. "A" Sqn. entered RUGLES in the
    Page 13 of 19
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    23 Contd.afternoon and had a great reception from the inhabitants who
    sai d the Bosche had pulled out only a few hours before in or on
    any form of transport he could get hold of. Bridge over a
    stream here had been partially damaged by the Hun and the local
    inhabitants set to with all hands to make it usable.
    24.Orders for the day were that the Regiment will move to
    concentration area the other side of RUGLES preceded by
    harbour party and this move was completed fairly early, and we
    set up in an orchard East of RUGLES. No further move for us
    that day. The Brigadier called in the afternoon and spoke to
    Squadron Leaders and told us that 50 Div. with 8 Armd.Bde. less
    ourselves were being called upon to relieve another formation.
    We ourselves would be going to 214 Bde (43 Div.) making for
    VERNON to obtain a crossing over the SEINE there. Orders
    received for move to 214 Bde late at night.
    Page 14 of 19
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    25.The Adjutant went back some 30 miles and collected the orders
    for move from 214 Bde. The Regiment moved out at 1300 hrs.
    "C" Sqn. leading with their Inf.Bn. A long march - no enemy
    were met and every village turned out to greet us with cheers
    and flowers as we went by. The route was via BRETEUIL -
    DAMVILLE. The Regiment arrived in this harbour NE of BRETEUIL
    about 5 miles from VERNON
    26.No move to-day. The Regiment teed up ready to cross the SEINE
    when the bridge was completed. The Inf. crossed in assault
    boats. The 130 Bde. had a footing across the SEINE by mid-day
    crossing over the old bridge at VERNON which had been blown.
    The Regiment was prepared to cross the river that evening on
    rafts tank by tank, two tanks crossing per hour. on the other
    side guides from the Inf.Bns. were to meet us and take us to
    their Bns. areas. First tank of "A" Sqn. crossed at 0700 hrs.
    Page 15 of 19
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    26 Contd27th. on the raft, the first British tank to cross the SEINE.
    Crossings were continued through the day until the class 40
    Bridge was completed by about 1500 hrs. RHQ then moved over
    by the bridge. The Commanding Officer remained at 214 Bde. in
    VERNON itself until the following morning It was learned
    8 Armd. Bde. who were to have gone across some 40 miles to the
    SOUTH were coming up across our bridge. Bridgehead on the
    EAST bank of the SEINE was farly small and the Regiment
    harboured in close proximity to the BOSCHE. This evening the
    Regiment came under comd. 130 Bde.
    28,"c" Sqn. on the left with 5th Dorsets, ":"B" Sqn. on the right
    with D. C.L.I., "A" sqn. in the centre with 4th Dorsets
    commenced an attack at 0900 hrs. to extend SEINE Bridgehead
    in direction of TILLY. Ground was very close to start off
    with and fairly ste ep. However the attack progressed. By
    Page 16 of 19
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    28 Contdmid day they were on better ground; "C" Sqn. got on well until
    being held up by S.P. on the main road. Lieutenant O.L.Holmes
    "C" Sqn. was unfortunately killed when doing dismounted recce.
    He was a very valuable officer and Troop Leader. By 1700 hrs.
    the Inf. were on their objective, and "A" Sqn, pushing on
    quickly captured another village actually beyond the original
    objective. Information received that 8 Armd. Bde. would
    operate to-morrow as an Armoured Bde, and we would be
    rejoining them. In the late evening the Regiment left 130 Bde.
    and moved SOUTH to 8 Armd.Bde. area preparatory to big move
    to-morrow. The commanding officer held a conference in the
    late evening for Operation Supercharge No.2. Orders were
    briefly as follows:-
    Information:- Enemy 49th German Inf.Div. are on the NORTH.
    of us 18th G.A.F. Div. to the SOUTH. Our own Troops; on our
    Page 17 of 19
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    28 Contdextreme right U.S.A.Forces heading for RHEIMS, 11 Armd.Div. are
    on our left and the Inns of Court would be moving ahead on our
    Intention: To force a crossing over the SOMME at AMIENS.
    Method: Bde. will move two up, 13/18 H.Gg. on the right,
    S.R.Y. on the left; ourselves less one Squadron moving in the
    main body. This operation was really to break out of the
    VERNON Bridgehead and once through the enemy crust drive on in
    pursuit to the SOMMET
    29.Heavy rain fell in the morning, and as 13/18 H. met some
    opposition in the area of GASNEY, the Regiment was not allowed
    on the road until late in the afternoon when we moved slowly
    through GASNEY to harbour area EAST of DONJUE. 13/18 H.
    reached DONZIE having quite a battle en route, shooting up quite
    a lot of transport and getting a crossing over the river at
    Page 18 of 19
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    29 ContdDONJUE. O Gp. held at 2345 hrs. Intention for tomorrow -
    push on to GISHORS and bey-ond towards BEAUVAIS, "C" Squadron to
    lead with a company of the 60th under Comd. and a Troop of
    30moved out from Harbour 0630 hrs. and continued the advance.
    "C" Sqn. entered GISORS. Bridge was intact as we came into
    the town where there were still Enemy snipers. The Hun blew
    up a train which was in the station. After GISORS we pushed
    on to LA LONDALE, and by 1340 hrs. rad covered 34 miles.
    1400.After plain motoring from GISORS "C" Sqn. were held up 5 miles
    w. of BEAUVAIS by a burning panther tank and they destroyed a
    Staff car which was coming up to the panther with supplies,
    On the outskirts of BEAUVAIS an A/Tk gun was met and "C" Sqn.
    knocked it out and by 1630 hrs. were in BEAUVAIS after shooting
    up the BOSCHE in the streets and brewing up a King Tiger in the
    centre of the town.
    Page 19 of 19
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    30. ContdIn the engagement at BEAUVAIS Major JAMES Coy. Comd. of the
    12 K.R.R.C. was killed. Meanwhile 13/18 H. were coming up in
    the direction of BEAUVAIS on the route to the right of ours and
    met some opposition, and some of the german transport retiring
    before the 13/18 H. Were shot up by "A" Squadron who took up
    position SOUTH of the town covering the roads. The Regiment
    had a triumphal passage through this cathedral town of BEAUVAIS
    and harboured some 3 miles to the EAST all night in Bde laager.
    31.Remained in harbour area 1700 hrs. when RECCE parties
    were sent off followed by the Regiment who moved in Bde.
    column to another harbour area SOUTH of AMIENS.