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    War Diary: 65th Norfolk Yeomanry Regiment

    Month and year: August 1944

    The 65th Norfolk Yeomanry Anti Tank Regiment August 1944 war diary covers the units time in Normandy including the death of Lt Col WB Stewart after his jeep ran over a teller mine and friendly fire aircraft.

    National Archive Reference: WO 171/921

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    Page 1 of 7
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    Field1Expect to move at any time, and are ready to do so. Do not move however
    until 1630 hrs. Leagured at 725612 for night and were bombed at about
    0130 hrs 2 Aug. Fortunately, by great luck, no damage was done although a
    very large crater appeared in the middle of the leaguer.
    2Adjt called to Rear Bde HQ at 0600 hrs. Ordered to move at 0830. Bde
    HQ had a number of cas from anti-personnel bombs during the night. Move to
    711591. TAC HQ is located at CAHAGNES 7356. Btys are in action on the
    CAHAGNES - AUNAY SUR ODON rd 8251. Adjt visited TAC HQ as usual during the day
    3Fighting on the AUNAY SUR ODON rd is very bitter and the situation appears
    somewhat fluid. In the afternoon 257 Bty had an unpleasant time and lost
    some guns and about 15 men missing. Fwd tps were forced to withdraw about 2000
    yds. A total of 34 cas were sustained today.
    4Starting at 0500 hrs the Adjt visited all Bty HQs in order to ascertain their
    exact state with a view to rfts of personnel, and also of equipt. At present,
    somewaht naturally, it would not be possible to man complete equipments. 258
    Bty lost 2 M 10s yesterday, but the Tech Adjt spent all last night and managed
    to draw 2 new ones by the morning.
    During the morning the Adjt visited HQRA and the Corps Rft Camp, and at about
    1700 hrs, 60 rfts arrived at RHQ.
    News received that the GOC of the div has left, though, at present his
    new appointment is not known. The Corps is commanded by Gen HORROCKS who
    commanded 30 Corps until being wounded in an air raid just before the ITALIAN
    5The Germans have withdrawn from our front and, except for small pockets of
    resistance, seem to have gone to the EAST side of the R ORNE. One of 257's
    Page 2 of 7
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    Field5lost guns was recovered in a fit state. The remainder have been damaged in
    during the battle too badly to be of much further use.
    The Army starts to move fwd during the day.
    Lt FE LATTER RA joined the Regt.
    TAC HQ are expecting to move all day, but, in the evening, are under the impression
    that they will not move until midnight.
    News received late in the evening that Lt Col WB STEWART DSO MC RA had been
    killed when his Jeep ran over a TELLER mine sewn in the rd. The Regt is most
    sorrowful at this misfortune, and especially so at the circumstances about
    which the CO could do nothing in the way of counter-measures.
    6The Padre and Adjt visited the site of the CO's decease and buried his
    body at 77254975. He was killed instantaneously.
    RHQ moved to 825545; TAC HQ moved to 865525. In the evening, Btys are
    reshuffled to Bns etc and the Div is divided into 3 colns - PEPPER, MUSTARD
    and SALT for an operation SOUTH down the AUNAY GRIMOULT rd.
    7Adjt visited Div HQ to discuss the usual question of rfts. TAC HQ moved
    to 827495. Lt LATTER joined the Regt as a rft offr from 92 A tk Regt RA
    (9 Armd Div) which is being broken up.
    News received that Lt Col J GORING RA from 21 A tk Regt RA (GUARDS Armd
    Div) is to take comd of the Regt, arriving shortly.
    8RHQ moved to 827519 at 0930 hrs.
    The day for RHQ was spent in maintenance, etc and from our point of view
    there is nothing to report.
    931 Rfts arrived. Our NCO situation due to battle cas is very weak, and
    there are few people who qualify for promotion. This draft of rfts incl
    9 Sgts 3 L/Sgts 10 Bdrs 5 Dvr Mechs and 4 other tradesmen who, being over
    establishment 2/11 are Being returned.
    Page 3 of 7
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    Field9At 1830 hrs RHQ moved to 828502 in order to be SOUTH of AUNAY which is
    normally very congested with traffic and difficult to get through. There is
    not one single house standing in the town and bulldozers are busy clearing
    debris to make decent rds.
    News received that the Div is to be withdrawn tonight for a few days rest.
    At 2100 hrs the Adjt recced areas for 257 and 259 Btys at 833504 and made
    arrangements for a guide to meet them as from 0500 hrs tomorrow and lead them in.
    10At 0700 hrs 257 and 259 start to occupy their leaguer areas, The Adjt
    recced areas for 258 and 260 in the area 837500. They will move there
    later today. RHQ at present is not allowed to move, as no traffic is allowed
    to use the AUNAY-GRIMAULT rd from this division.
    RHQ move at about 1030 hrs to 833504 and TAC join them at about the same
    time in the new area.
    Remainder of today spent in personal maintenance, ie cleaning of webbing
    equipment, etc.
    11At 1030 hrs all offrs and NCOs assembled with similar parties from other
    units to hear an address from Lt Gen HORROCKS (Comd 30 Corps) on the war in
    FRANCE. All were greatly inspired by his talk. The Regt was congratulated
    on its turnout by the General.
    Maj JJ BARCLAY MC RA (2 IC) is informed that he is to comd the Regt and
    is, subject to confirmation, temporarily to hold the rank of Lt Col.
    News received that THE CRA, Brig R MEWS, DSO is leaving the Division.
    12Day spent in maintenance. Concert parties, baths, cinema and sea bathing
    are started, and in the latter instance about half the Regt are spending the day
    down at the sea. At 1400 hrs a promotion conference for NCOs is held.
    Page 4 of 7
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    Field13At 1130 hrs the new CRA, Brig LYON-SMITH, visited the Regt and talked
    with offrs and NCOs of all Btys.
    Further parties went to the sea to bathe, and baths, etc continue.
    14A party of 5 offrs and 50 ORs who had been sent for a few days restat
    the 30 Corps REST CAMP on 10 Aug returned this afternoon and a further party
    of 1 offr and 30 ORs went. Maintenance, leave, etc, baths, cinema, etc
    continue. Weather during the last few days has been perfect and the battle
    news is extremely good.
    15News received of a landing in Southern FRANCE.
    The Adjt prosecuted at a Court Martial in the afternoon.
    The CO held a conference on trg at 1800 hrs. Trg for 5 hrs a day is to
    start in earnest tomorrow.
    16At 0100 hrs last night orders were received that the Div is to come under
    comd 2 CDN CORPS and is to move at first light to the CAEN area. As we expected
    to be in the present area for the next four days at least, a certain amount of
    equipment in the Regt is stripped down for overhaul, there is a party away at
    the REST CAMP and certain other minor worries. The remainder of the night is spent
    in laying everything on.
    At 0430 hrs the route, time to start etc is received. SP - AUNAY, 0845 hrs;
    route - VILLERS - NOVERS 8862 - VERSON 9665 - ETERVILLE 9864 - Area IFS 0463.
    At 0600 hrs the Adjt went to Br at 006644 and with an offr from 257, 258 and 259
    met an offr from 2 CDN CORPS. An Assembly Area near IFS was recced, in readiness
    for the arrival of the Regt (260, as usual, are under comd 22 Armd Bde).
    At about 1000 hrs, the head of the Bde Coln arrived, but news was received
    that we would not leaguer in the areas recced, as we are now to come under
    comd 1 BR CORPS. The Recce Part accordingly went to the area CONTEVILLE 1257
    and recced a further area. At about 1600 hrs the Regt arrived in this area.
    Page 5 of 7
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    Field16RHQ leaguer at 117567. The dust on cross country routes is as bad as any
    desert track, and convoy travelling is consequently rather unpleasant.
    At 2030 hrs the CO was called to HQRA for a conference and, immediately on
    his re turn by 131 Bde to a further conference. Orders were given to "bed
    down" and be ready to move at first light.
    17CO gave orders at 0600 hrs. 257 are under comd 22 Armd Bde, and the
    remainder of the Regt under 131 Bde. The div is to pass through 51 (Highland)
    Div, directed on LISIEUX, 131 Bde leading. At present the enemy line in this
    sector, runs just to the EAST of ST PIERRE SUR DIVES 2469.
    TAC HQ move about 1200 hrs to 207527.
    Lt Col GORING (vide entry in this diary for 7 Aug) joined about 1900 hrs.
    At 2100 hrs MAIN HQ moved to 201530, arriving about 2220 hrs.
    18Main HQ moved at about 0830 hrs to 236514.
    The CO visited MAIN HQ (having until now been to TAC where he is living and
    the Btys) at 1430 hrs and talked to the men individually.
    During the night bombs were dropped in the vicinity of RHQ. No damage and
    no cas.
    19At 0830 hrs MAIN moved to 277497 and leagured in a very nice orchard. The
    country here is very pleasant and the weather all day is warm and sunny, as it
    has been for some weeks. In the evening, however, light rain started and
    continued most of the night.
    Again, bombs were dropped close to us at night but no damage or cas were caused.
    Now that we are located close to the "Gap from which the Germans withdraw
    tps from the almost encircled "pocket", cases are occurring of our own aircraft
    straffing and rocket-firing at our own tps. 258 today lost 1 man killed and
    3 M 10s damaged and put temporarily out of action.
    Page 6 of 7
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    Field20Weather good again. Nothing of interest to report today.
    At 1900 hrs MAIN HQ moved to 408744. TAC HQ now at 422752. A few bombs
    were dropped a few fields away during night 20/21.
    21During last night, and most of today there has been some medium-heavy
    rain. At 2000 hrs MAIN moved to 419749, owing to the discovery of 3 large
    UXBs in the last area.
    22MAIN HQ moved at about 1200 hrs to 462742 and halted there temporarily while
    the Centre Line (Main rd LIVAROT - LISIEUX) clears. At 1900 hrs, moved again
    to 502786. TAC are now at 497808.
    23Weather last night and today wet. Maj RS BURTON RA - OC 259 Bty is promoted
    to Lt Col and posted to 61 A tk Regt RA in 51 (Highland Div). He is to leave the
    Regt tomorrow.
    24Weather still wet. TAC moved at about 1900 hrs to area L'HOTELLERIE 6686.
    Orders received from Rear Bde for HQ to move at first light 25th.
    25The enemy has withdrawn a long way, and the div is making considerable advs.
    MAIN HQ moved at first light (0630) to L'HOTELLERIE 6686, arriving there at about
    1000 hrs. At 1945 hrs again moved to 785903. TAC are in this location at present.
    26At 0900 hrs approx TAC moved to 903957. MAIN moved at about 1600 hrs to
    835945 (St BENOIT DES OMBRES). The Bde Gp is withdrawing to this side of the
    R RISLE with a view to an adv on a new CL. The new CL is NORTH and slightly
    EAST from HONTFORT 8601.
    27News received that the Div is to be withdrawn from the present sector of the
    front and go under comd 12 Corps further SOUTH. RHQ remained in same location.
    Page 7 of 7
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    Field28MAIN HQ moved at 1300 hrs to 850993 which is in the area allotted to 131 Bde
    for conc on withdrawal from the present sector of the line. The withdrawal
    took place during the late afternoon, and TAC HQ are temporarily ordered to
    go with 22 Armd Bde to area ST GEORGE DU VIEVRE 8096. 260 are also concentrating
    with 22 Armd Bde. Orders are issued "No move before 291600B"
    29At 1000 hrs the CO held a conference with BC's - the first opportunity available
    since the CO assumed comd. An Agenda of general points was covered. (TAC HQ
    had previously moved at 0900 hrs and come into MAIN HQ Leaguer.) The remainder
    of the morning was spent in general adm and the clearing up of outstanding matters.
    At 1615 hrs RHQ moved to a new conc area. Btys moved; 257 and 259 with
    Bns of 131 Bde, 258 and 260 with 22 Armd Bde. Route - PONT AUTHOU 8895 -
    BRIONNE 8990 - HARCOURT 9486 - NEUBOURG 0283 to leaguer at MARBOEUF 0783. 257
    and 259 Btys are in the same area as 258 and 260 are in the area GRAVERON -
    SEMERVILLE - 0777. RHQ arrive in their new location at 1900 hrs.
    30Day spent in maintenance. In the morning orders are issued "No move before
    2300 hrs" In fact at 2030 hrs RHQ MOVED a short distance to link up with
    Bde HQ - TAC with MAIN and MAIN with Rear - which is normal battle grouping.
    An operation to cross the SOMME is to start at Dawn tomorrow, and Comd 131
    Bde addressed all offrs of the Bde Gp at 1800 hrs. At 2000 hrs the CO briefed
    RHQ and various orders from the Div Comd regarding traffic discipline were read out.
    31TAC HQ move off at First Light, Main HQ at 0730. Supplies having been delivered
    by B echelon during the night, we are now self sufficient for four days, and probably more.
    Attached as an Appx is the Regt Op Order for the Operation.
    In fact, Main HQ had only just passed the SP at 2230 hrs this evening and
    Appx D
    leagured at 635529 for the night.