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War Diary: 5th Battalion Royal Tank Regiment

Month and year: July 1944

The 5th Royal Tank Regiment (5 RTR) July 1944 War Diary starts with the unit moving to Ellon to form an open leaguer before crossing London bridge (over the Caen Canal) and fighting in the Grenthville/Bourguebus area

National Archive Reference: WO 171/867

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Page 1 of 3
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
ELLON 1 - 3 Regt moved to ELLON ref 803735, formed open leaguer.
Maintenance.
4 1000 Visit from GOC 7 Armd Div Maj Gen GWEJ Erskine CB DSO.
5-6 Tk crews re-organised and made up to strength from a
very small reserve.
7 Regt courses, Wireless, D and M and Gunnery commenced
in tk crews.
8-16 Recce carried out for defensive positions in area
ST LEGER, DUCY ST MARGUERITE and southwrds to FOLLIOT
Casualties - 15th L/Cpl Lambert, Sgmn Williams (att
personnel) and L/Cpl Goodman wounded by A/A shell
landing in the leaguer.
17 Leaguer shelled in early hours of the morning, thought
to be SP guns shelling newly constructed Air-field
close to Regts location.
Regt moved to CULLY area 9076 where Bde concentrated
for big attack E of CAEN in which the Gds Armd Div,
11 Armd Div and 7 Armd Div were all taking part.
Casualties - Killed - Cfn Davies (LAD)
Wounded - S/Sjt Turner (LAD)
L/Cpl Giles (LAD)
Cpl Lynn and Tpr Harrison.
CULLY 18 0930 Regt moved over London bridge immediately behind
Northants Yeo, the last regt of 29 Armd Bde. CL took
shape over open going to SUVERVILLE and then to
DEMOUVILLE where the leading Sqn, "B" was ordered to
deploy and move up abreast of Northants Yeo. The
first incident was when an enemy tk 800 yds E of
DEMOUVILLE opened up and knocked out a Firefly of
"B" Sqn reserve tp and a Honey from Recce. Fire was
immediately returned and enemy brewed-up. The CL
was directed on GRENTHVILLE 0864 and advance continued
to MESNIL FREMENTIL where several British tks were
"brewing" including one from "B" Sqn. Meanwhile
PsW had been coming in small groups to the number of
80. It was soon established that there were 4 Panthers
in FOURS 0968. "A" Sqn were accordingly directed
against GRENTHVILLE 1200 yds NW of FOURS and "C" Sqn
came into position where they could watch and shoot
into FOURS if necessary. "B" Sqn came into reserve
"A" Sqn reached GRENTHVILLE and after short action
against enemy inf, established themselves in the
southern outskirts. The enemy re-acted strongly and
attacked from FOURS with 2 Panther and 2 MkIVs. A Sqn
lost 2 Tks and "C" Sqn KO'd 2 enemy tks the remainder
withdrawing.
Page 2 of 3
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
18 "A" Sqn remained in GRENTHVILLE and the Regt leagured
after dark in area MESNIL FREMEN TIL. Some shelling
during the night.
Casualties -
Killed - Cpl Attle, L/Cpl Garratt,
I/Cpl Needham.
Wounded - 2/Lt D.J.Clarke, Sjt Hill,
L/Cpl Ferguson, L/Cpl Sumners
Tprs Rooke, Thomson, Watson,
Trent and Lewis.
Losses
Own -
1 Firefly
1 Honey
4 Cromwells

Enemy -
3 Tks
80 Psw.
GRENTHVILLE 19 "B" Sqn plus 2 Platoons of "I" Coy 1 RB passed
through "A" Sqn who had formed a firm base at
GRENTHVILLE, and pushed into SOLIERS, clearing
minor inf opposition on the way, which they then
made firm. Spasmodic AP fire came from the
direction of the left flank (direction of FOURS)
but nothing was seen of the tks or SPs. "B" Sqn
were ordered to put 2 tps in BOURGUEBUS which
arrived in the outskirts after carefully working
there their way there. A few minutes before, 3 Tigers and
2 Panthers came into the village. In the ensuing
fight 2 Tigers and 1 Panther were brewed up for the
loss of 1 Cromwell. The enemy then withdrew and
at last light the 2 Tps of "B" Sqn returned to
SOLIERS where the son leaguered for the night.
Casualties -
Killed - 2/Lt P. Alexander, L/Cpl Taylor
Wounded - Sjts Squires and Onions,
Lt J.Peel, Lt J.P.Roberts,
2/Lt K.R.T.Crocker,
L/Cpl Barker, Tprs Pariss,
Heyes, Baudry, Bramley, Dodd
Pearce, Spenceley, Waterson,
and Wood.
Missing - Tpr Sayell.
Losses
Own -
1 Firefly
2 Cromwells

Enemy -
2 Tigers
1 Panther
20 "B" Sqn at first light moved into BOURGUEBUS and
after a short fight in the outskirts a Tiger was
brewed up. There was no other enemy in the village
except 2 abandoned Panthers one of which was brewed
up the other being towed back to Bde Wksps also 4
abandoned Nebelwerfers. The enemy continued to
Shell heavily in BOURGUEBUS, SOLIERS and GRENTHVILLE.
The Gds Armd Div by now had established themselves in
FOURS. Later in the day, a "B" Sqn Firefly succeeded
in stalking a Panther and 'Brewed it up', 800 yds
SE of BOURGUEBUS.
1700 8 Hussars relieved the Regt and open leaguer was
formed near DEMOUVILLE. It was under observation
and very heavily shelled.
Page 3 of 3
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
DEMOUVILLE 20 Casualties - Wounded- Sjt Bennet (REME)
L/Cpl Fry, L/Cpl Donald

Losses -
Own - NIL
Enemy - 1 Tiger
3 Panthers (1 intact)
4 Nebelwerfers
21 Sqn locations were adjustéd and an attempt made to
maintain and re-organise. A1 Ech moved to the
factory area in CAEN where the fitters were able to
work without interruption.
Casualties - Wounded -
Sjts Kershaw, Tatum, Stokes,
Cpl Topp, L/Cpl Adamson.
Tpr Lewis

2 Vehs brewed in A2 Ech.
22-24 The Regt in reserve, maintenance carried out though
there was a certain amount of shelling during the day
and fairly heavy AP air raids at night.

Casualties - Killed - Sjt Harbin
Wounded - Cpl Bell, L/Cpl Booth,
Tprs Moulton and Bayer.
IFS 25 0515 Bde moved in support in area IFS 0463. The Bde
was "two up" with the Regt in reserve behind 1 R Tks,
4 CLY. No progress was made and positions were
prepared against what seemed a very probable counter
attack:
Casualties - Wounded - Tprs Sayer and Clarke J.
Losses - Own - 1 Humber Scout Car.
VERRIERS 26 Regt took up position of 1 R Tks and a Sqn was sent
into VERRIERS in support of Royal Hamilton Light
Infantry. Verriers was shelled badly and enemy
attempted to infiltrate back into the village. Both
tks and inf had several good shoots.

Casualties - Killed - L/Cpl Hearne
Wounded - Tpr Gowan
IFS 27-29 Regt moved to area 1/2 mile NE of IFS and remained in
reserve. The Sqns in VERRIERS being changed daily.
There were several good shoots.
Casualties -
Wounded - Tpr Manning.
Losses - Enemy - Mixed bag of MT. 1 SP.
30 1600 Regt moved back to ELLON, their positions being
taken over by a Cdn Armd Bde, leaguering at MR 8073.
31 Regt placed under Comd of 131 Bde and at night
made an approach march to CAUMONT area.
REF MAPS: FRANCE GSGS4250
1:50,000
7F1, 6F2, 6F4, 6F3