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    War Diary: 5th Battalion Duke Cornwall Light Infantry

    Month and year: June 1944

    The 5th Battalion Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry (DCLI) June 1944 War Diary covers the units arrival and fighting in Normandy including the destruction of 6 Panthers at Cheux

    National Archive Reference: WO 171/1280

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    Page 1 of 11
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    CROWHURST11400The Navies??? Boxing competition took place on the
    cricket pitch. 22 bouts were arranged and
    fighting was of high standard. At the
    end of the 16th bout the Commanding
    Officer decided to postpone remaining events
    owing to rain
    1800A film "No time for love" was shown in the
    N.A.A.F.I tent.
    1415The training film "Sex Hygien" was shown in
    the NAAFI and in turn was attended by
    the whole af the Bn
    1515A foot ball match between "HQ" and B Coys took
    place. B Coy were the winner by 5 goals to 3.
    1730The boxing competition was continued and H.Q. Coy
    team were the winners. The Commanding officer
    Page 2 of 11
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    CROWHURST2presented the prizes and congratulated all
    boxers an a very high standard of fighting.
    31400A Cricket match between the Offrs and Sgts took
    place the offrs were the winners by 218 runs to 48
    The Bde Comd granted permission for
    bounds to be extended to a radius of
    25 miles and all ranks to be allowed
    out until 2359 hrs, a concession which
    was greatly appreciated.
    4"D" Coy defeated "C" Coy by one wicket
    in an inter coy any cricket match
    5This day marked the commencement of
    an Inter - Sec Rifle Competition held on
    the 30 yds Range near Crowhurst.
    Page 3 of 11
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    7During the morning the Div Comd gave a talk
    to all Officers and Warrant officers on the 'Invasion'
    of the continent and many interesting points were
    brought to light
    In the afternoon the 2 i/c Major R W James lectured
    to HQ and S Coy, on procedure before and after
    going across!
    81415The Cond Officer gave a talk to the BN on
    the part that the BN will play in the Invasion
    1450Another Boxing competition was held which will
    go on for two nights
    Page 4 of 11
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    Crowhurst109-30The Brigade Comander gave a talk to the whole
    Bn in the NAAFI tent he spoke for about 40mins
    the theme being "as one infantry man to another"
    and said he did not intend to flatter the Bn
    but to give a staaight talk; this he did
    During the afternoon a cricket match took
    place on the Bn sports field between a team from
    the 1st Worc Regt and ourselves. The Worc Regt
    batted first and were all out for 82, they won
    the match however as our team were all out
    for 80. They had been entertained both for
    lunch and tea at the Officers mess.
    Page 5 of 11
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    CROWHURST11930A drumhead Church Service was held in the NAAFI tent
    the address being given by the Padre.
    121100the Bn advance party received instructions to prepare to move
    off and the whole Bn had to remain in camp area also
    at short notice to move the advance party actually left
    at 1600 hrs.
    In spite of the ban on going out the Bn
    on the whole spent an interesting day, a cricket match
    having played between S and HQ Coys the result was
    HQ 83 runs : S Coy 29 runs all out.
    After the invasion various messages were heardAppendix C.
    to Units liable to enter the battle including one
    from General Sir B L Montgomery C in C 21st Army
    Page 6 of 11
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    CROWHURST131500An inter BN Boxing Competition was held between the
    Bn and 5th DORSET Regt which ended with a win for
    the D.C.L.l by 6 fights to 5.
    1700An ENSA show was given in the N.A.A.F.I. tent
    which was called the "Gay Wayfarers"
    14The Bn at last received its orders to move to a
    marshalling area and all transport left CROWHURST at
    0030 has 15 June and went to Purfleet Camp via
    London, where the troops received a great welcome, the
    star on the vehicles showing they were troops for the
    Allied Expeditionary Force.
    NO FIXED ADDRESS151350The marching personell left Crowhurst at 1350 hrs and
    entrained at Crowhurst Station at 1500 They arrived at
    Glynde at 1635 hrs which was the marshalling area
    and remained there until Monday 19th June.
    Page 7 of 11
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    "170830The vehicles left Purfleet Camp to load on to a ship and
    the riding personell made to the docks in motor busses
    and embarked at 1830. The ship which was the U.S
    William Jones set sail at about 2300 hrs
    At Sea.18the ship did not leave English water immediately but lay
    off Southend waiting for the Convoy to form up.
    " "19Set sail at 2000 hrs. Sea choppy
    " "20Hugged the coast until we reached the Isle of Wight
    which could be seen quite plainly and which brought
    memories to many of the Bn who had been stationed
    there. When we headed across the Channel the sea became
    quite rough and the sea remained so in spite of the
    glorious sunshine. The sea actually held up landing
    operations for about two days, the first boat load
    Page 8 of 11
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    left the ship just before nightfall.
    At Sea24Unloading continued all day and by evening all vehicles
    were safely ashore, and after wards they
    made their way to the Bn Conc area at Manvieux.
    MANVIEUX251200 hrsMarching personell left present location for a positions
    nearer the battle line and the vehicles left at 1500 hrs
    At 1730 Bn HQ was entablished at RACQUEVILLE.
    2400 hrsThe CO. gave a talk to the Bn on the forthcoming
    operation in which they were to take part.
    RACQUEVILLE261200 hrs
    The Bn was given order to be at 30 mins notice to
    move to relieve a unit in the line. The weather was
    exceptionally bad and the Bn was not actually
    called for until late at night and they moved
    off at 0130 hrs 27th June. The bulk of the Bn went
    by the quick lift system though the cycle coy
    Page 9 of 11
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    had to leave their cycles behind and march because
    of the state of the road, and it was dawn when the
    Bn relieved the 9th Cameronians in the area of the
    village CHEUX.
    CHEUX27Immediately on arrival the Bn was in the midst of
    a counter attack by tanks. During the
    enemy engagement the Bn had the misfortune to lose its
    Commanding officer 34773 Lt Col J W Atherton TD
    who was killed in action whilst handing amunitionSee Appx 'D' for report sent to press
    to the anti tank gunners. During the action that
    day our casualties were as follows:-
    34773 Lt Col J.W. Atherton TD, 88173 Capt PEG Coode
    and 13 ORs killed
    288831 Lt K.W Gilbert, Lt 251856 Lt CG. Hopkins
    and 23 ORs wounded and I OR missing
    Page 10 of 11
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    CHEUX27-The counter attack was beaten off and the enemy
    lost 6 "Panther" tanks. Major RW James 2 i/c
    assumed command of the Bn and was promoted
    Lt Col in the field.
    CHEUX28There was no major action today but the area wasPatrol Reports Appendix B.
    subjected to shell and mortar fine which caused
    slight casualties ie 1 OR killed and 9 ORs wounded.
    There were several snipers in the area and some
    were captured
    CHEUX29We remained in the same area today and there
    was some activity on the part of enemy tanks. The
    Bn was relieved by a Bn of 130 Bde but during
    the hand over news came through that a large
    number of tanks were approaching us. The two
    Bns therefore remained in the position making
    Page 11 of 11
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    double strength but the tanks were held before
    they reached our area by arty fire and a
    number was destroyed. Our casualties were again
    light 2 ORs being killed and 1 OR suffered from
    CHEUX300130The Bn left CHEUX and marched to COLLEVILLE
    where they had been given a sector to hold against
    any counter attack and which was to be a base
    for armoured activity together with several other
    localities to be similarly held by other units.
    Bn HQ was established in the village itself and
    was to remain there for several days. Our
    casualties today were 1 Offr 124200 Capt JBB Aimers
    killed, 3 ORs wounded and 3 ORs were treated for
    shellshock and 7 for exhaustion