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    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
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    1The 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.
    2-3The Regiment still in reserve at LES HAUTS VENTS. Numerous
    recces made but no move.
    4The 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
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    5First 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.
    6Maintenance 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
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    6 ContdThe 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.
    8H 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
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    8 ContdC.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 BdeHQ moved a mile away to
    avoid enemy reaction.
    10The 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
    11Rest day in Camp. Squadrons had baths and entertainment at
    120345 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
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    12 Contearly 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
    13Quite 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 DDRegts of 27th Armd.Bde swam on D-Day successfully and
    Page 6 of 13
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    13 Contdhave been operating in the area N.of.CAEN. Strangely enough
    they have not encountered any panthers in that area, on Mk.IVs.
    14Our 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/ATp. claimed a share in one ME. Lt. Col.P.Harding
    DSC (C.O.23H) called in the afternoon.
    15quite at. Nothing to record except the great news of the
    immediate awards by the 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
    PlaceDateHourSummary 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.
    16The 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 BdeHQ 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
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    16 ContdHis departure was much regretted by all.
    17The 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
    18All 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
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    10 Contdto 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.
    21Nothing 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.
    22Nothing to report
    23The Adjutant attended short conference on personnel situation at
    Page 10 of 13
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    23 ContdBde.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.
    24Nothing to report.
    25At 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.
    26Major 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
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    26 ContdThe 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.
    27Nothing to report. Major G.K.Barker held a short Squadron
    Leader conference.
    28At 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.
    29Major G.K.Barker and the Adjutant attended Brigadier G.E.Prior Palmer's
    Page 12 of 13
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    29 ContdO 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
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    29 ContdS.R.Y. in support.
    1300Major 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
    30Initial 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.
    31RHQ 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.

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