War Diary: 4th - 7th Dragoon Guards

Month and year: July 1944

The diary covers the 4th - 7th Dragoon Guards fighting from Les Hauts Vents south westerly to Caumont.

National Archive Reference: WO 171/838

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Page 1 of 13
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
1 The Regiment spent a quite day at LES HAUTS VENTS being at 10
minutes notice to move throughout the day to support, if
necessary, SRY and 24L in RAURAY area. 24L and the Infantry
of the 70 Bde knocked out 22 panthers, one Tiger and one S.P.
when the enemy made attacks upon a Company scale throughout the
day. During the night there was moderate enemy shelling
activity in our area through nothing too close, some six
barrelled mortars being used. Our artillery put up a big
barrage in reply.
2-3 The Regiment still in reserve at LES HAUTS VENTS. Numerous
recces made but no move.
4 The Regiment left LES HAUTS VENTS at 0900 hrs. and moved back
to an area behind B Echelon for a rest, two miles N of CHOUAIN.
The Commanding Officer held a Sqn. Ldrs. conference in the
afternoon at which routine matters were settled.
Page 2 of 13
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
5 First fine day for some time. "A" Sqn held a best turn out
parade in the morning on which all ranks appeared once again
with Regtly. collar dogs and lanyards which was good to see. The
Regiment is a 24 hours notice and Sqns. are doing 100 hrs.
maintenance duties on their tanks. Parties from Sqns. had
baths at CHOUAIN, and a number attended a cinema at BAYEUX.
6 Maintenance continued. Commanding Officer attended conference
at Bde at 1000 hrs. and held Sqn. Ldrs conference at 1400 hrs.
issuing preparator orders for forthcoming operations with 50 (N)
Div. Summary as follows:-
(a) The regiment os to move over to 50 Div area near
BERNIERS BOCAGE 1300 hrs. 7th July coming under command 50 Div
1000 hrs. 6th July for Operations only.
(b) Intention, To support an attack on Saturday 8th July by
56 Bde. Objective being road running E-W by LA CROIX DES LANDES.
Page 3 of 13
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
6 Contd The Regiment less "C" Sqn. is under command 50 Div. in this
Operation. "C" Sqn. being in reserve. "A" and "B" Sqn. Ldrs.
to go and contact C.Os of 2 Essex and 2 S.W.B. respectively to
make recce to-day. Portion of Recce and A/A Tps. and A1 Echelon
to remain in present harbour North of CONDE SUR SOULLES as
holding party. Regiment to be prepared to move 1300 hrs. 7 July.
"B" and "C" Sqns. to be on Regtl. net, "A" Sqn. on Sqn net,
third set in C.Os tank on "A" Sqn. frequency. The remaining
portion of the Regiment completed baths to-day.
7 "A" and "B" and RHQ move to BERNIERS BOCAGE, "C" Sqn. remaining
in reserve, "A" and "B" Sqns. joining the Essex and S.W.B.
8 H hour 0800 for "A" and "B". Very slow attack but objective
reached by "B" Sqns. Inf. near GRANVILLE, but who were shelled
out and had to retire. RHQ remained with 56 Bde. HQ i.e.
Page 4 of 13
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
8 Contd C.Os and Sergt.Porter's tanks. 2 I/C. and I/C and I.O. with "C" Sqn.
Sqns. had formed rally for the night.
9 "A" and "B" Sqns. still with their Battalions. A counter
attack by the enemy was held, "B" Sqn. doing good work. Owing
to 56 Bde. Operations being captured Bde HQ moved a mile away to
avoid enemy reaction.
10 The Regiment was released at 1600 hrs. having had little to do
except to be under mortar fire, but "B" Sqn. stayed out until
0200 hrs. 11 July, and then moved back to Harbour at CANCAGNY
11 Rest day in Camp. Squadrons had baths and entertainment at
12 0345 hrs. Orders received to send one Sqn. ("C") to move at
First Light to area WEST of TILLY to be in support of 70 Bde
(49 Div). 2 i/c and Major T.M.Bell had to be sent to an
Page 5 of 13
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
12 Cont early hour to contact Bn. Comdrs. of 10 D.L.I. at Bn. HQs.
Though originally at 24 hrs. notice, the Sqn. moved out at
0700 hrs. and took up positions with 10 D.L.I. The Regiment
less "C" Squadron moved out to relieve 24L in area LES HAUT
in the early afternoon. the Regiment's role being an
offensive one to operate on RAURAY or ST.PIERRE in case of an
enemy counter attack. 23H of the 11th Armd. Div were on our
left and contact was made with them. A few shells fell within
200 yds of the Regiment in the evening otherwise all quite.
"C" Sqn.
were released at 2100 hrs. and returned to harbour at
13 Quite day. Brig.G.E.Prior Palmer, Col.M.Aird, Capt.E.H.Frank and
Capt.V.Jillard, also out former Padre, Revd.Farther Murphy of
27th Armd. Bde. paid us a very welcome visit in the afternoon.
The DD Regts of 27th Armd. Bde swam on D-Day successfully and
Page 6 of 13
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
13 Contd have been operating in the area N.of.CAEN. Strangely enough
they have not encountered any panthers in that area, on Mk.IVs.
14 Our own brigadier called in the morning and the Commanding
Officer attended demonstration at 12 K.R.R.C. in the afternoon
on the use of PIAT which was very encouraging. Nothing else to
report except slight enemy air activity when three out of four
Messerschidts were shot down at one time during the afternoon.
Our own A/A Tp. claimed a share in one ME. Lt. Col.P.Harding
DSC (C.O.23H) called in the afternoon.
15 quite at. Nothing to record except the great news of the
immediate awards by the C.in.C. of :-

Lt. Col.R.G.Byron. Major J.A.d'Avigdor Goldsmid.

Major S.R.M.Jenkins. Lieut.N.S.Wide. Lieut.T.E.Apps.

No.404143 Sergt.Harris W.

No.404491 Sergt.Fry C. No.7955283 Trp.Draper D.F.
Page 7 of 13
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
15 Contd "C" Sqn relieved "B" Sqn. in the forward area by LES HAUTS VENTS,
"B" Sqn. returning to harbour near CONDE SUR SEULLES.
16 The Commanding Officer made a recce of our new area N.E. of
CAUMONT where we are to move with 8th Armd. Bde. on 17-7-44.
Big attack by 12 Corps away to our left at approx 0130 hrs.
followed by 49 Div. attack on line VENDES-BARBEE farm
commencing 0500 hrs. also with the object of clearing the JUIRGNY woods
on the SEULLES River. A tremendous artillery barrage was put up by
our guns continuously from 0530hrs. to 0730 hrs. and
intermittently throughout the day. 4 alleged Tigers were
reported by 147 Bde. to be in area three quarter of a mile to
the East of VENDES at 1530 hrs. 2 I/C and O.C. "C" Sqn.
proceeded immediately to 147 Bde HQ to get details and orders.
Major C.B.R.Pollock RAMC who had been M.C. since the unfortunate
death of Capt.S.C.H. Hood left the Regiment to-day on posting.
Page 8 of 13
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
16 Contd His departure was much regretted by all.
17 The Regiment moved to an area NE of CAUMONT and took over
portion of the line from Unit of the 2nd U.S. Armd. Div.
we ourselves being in immediate support of 12 K.R.R.C. Move
completed without incident. RHQ situated half a mile NORTH
18 All quite except for an occasional shell in our area. The
Commanding Officer went to Bde. to take over temporary comd.
of the Bde. during the absence of Brigadier H.J.B.Cracroft DSO
who is sick. Major G.K.Barker undertook command of the
Regiment. Squadron Leaders conference held in the morning
and in the afternoon. Commanding Officer, Sqn. Ldrs. and Adjt.
visited 12 K.R.R.C. whom we are supporting to tie up plan for
their support.
19 "A" Squadron supplied 1 Troop in support of 2 Glos. who planned
Page 9 of 13
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
10 Contd to push on a bit further if the Bosche had retired as he had
done in HOTTOT area. Patrol of the 2 Glos however met a
little opposition and no advance was made by the Glos. The
"A" Squadron Troop was not committed and returned in the
20 "A" Squadron had again to supply a Troop in support of the 56 Bde
this time with the 2 S.W.B. in the GRANVILLE area.
21 Nothing to report. Two Officers from HQ,AFV School, Bovington
and the Gunnery Wing at Lulworth called in the afternoon and
discussed with Squadron Representatives various problems
dealing with the Sherman D.&M. and Gunnery. A very wet day during
the course of which the Signal trench became
waterlogged with disastrous results.
22 Nothing to report
23 The Adjutant attended short conference on personnel situation at
Page 10 of 13
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
23 Contd Bde. H.Q. in the morning. Brigadier G.E.Prior Palmer took over
command of 8th Armd. Bde. to replace Brigadier H.J.B.Cracroft who
is sick.
24 Nothing to report.
25 At 0500 hrs. Warning order received of enemy tracked vehicles
in area BREQUET just SOUTH of left flank on the 12 K.R.R.C. line.
"B" Squadron warned - no further action taken as nothing
Major G.K.Barker and the Adjutant visited No.2.A.R.G. HQ near
BAYEUX in an effort to get reinforcements - actually only 6 men
were chosen, and these will join the Regiment in a day or two.
26 Major G.K.Barker attended Bde conference in the morning which
concerned many matters of policy, e.g. Courses, future of A/A
and Recce Troops, Formation and Unit numbers etc.
Lt. Col.D.Silvertop called; he now and has for some time commanded
Page 11 of 13
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
26 Contd The 3rd R.T.R. and was with the Regiment in France in 1940. in
in "A" Squadron, his own Regiment being the 14/20th.
Major G.K.Barker and Squadron Leaders made a Recce of Regimental
concentration area near LA BUTTE due NORTH of our present
position where we may have to go in the near future.
A/A Troop personnel commenced Sherman D.&M abd Gunnery classes
with a view to making them suitable as Sabre Squadron tank crews
if required.
27 Nothing to report. Major G.K.Barker held a short Squadron
Leader conference.
28 At 2300 hrs. Boche aeroplane dropped a very large number of
Anti Personnel bombs over the area occupied by RHQ. Captain W.Davies
and Trp.Monks were killed and 2/Lt. J.P.Jones and 13 O.Rs
were wounded.
29 Major G.K.Barker and the Adjutant attended Brigadier G.E.Prior Palmer's
Page 12 of 13
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
29 Contd O Group in the morning for orders for Operation through
CAHAGNES to secure BOIS des HOMMES feature.
Summary of Orders are as follows:-
Information: Hun pulling back and we are to attack and secure
ground which might be used by him as a pivot for the defence and
30 Corps on the left, 43 Div, 50 Div, 7 Armd. Div, 8 Armd. Bde
11 Hussars and 8 Corps on the right are to assist the
exploitation of the U.S. Forces who are sweeping so successfully
through into Brittany. We are under comd. 43 Div.
Method: 3 Phases: Phase 1. Capture of CAHAGNES feature to be
done by 131 Bde. with 4 Som. and S.R.Y. in support.
Phase 2. Capture of Pt.762 and LA BUISSON and mopping up of
LE HOIS. 4/7 DG with 214 Bde and 12 K.R.R.C. with two Troops
Flails and 2 17 Pdr. Anti-Tank Batteries under comd.
Phase 3. Capture of BOIS des HOMMES to be done by 219 Bde with
Page 13 of 13
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
29 Contd S.R.Y. in support.
1300 Major G.K.Barker and Lt. Col. Oxley (Commanding Officer, 12 K.R.R.C.)
contacted Brigadier Esame Commanding 214 Bde.
Lt. Col. R.G.Byron DSO came back in the evening and re-assumed
30 Initial operation in the CAHAGNES attack mis-fired. Commanding
Officer's and Sergt.Porter's tanks spent the day a mile NORTH
of the Regimental harbour awaiting developments.
31 RHQ moved down to area about a mile N.E. CAUMONT with 214 Bde,
the Regiment coming down under comd. Major.G.K.Barker. Move
forward by the Infantry supported by "A" Squadron and "B" Squadron,
("A" on the right, "C" on the left) with the Som. and Worcs.
respectively commenced late that night to try and get to the
start line near CAHAGNES. Traffic on the road was impossible
and a long delay ensued.