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    War Diary: 65th Norfolk Yeomanry Regiment

    Month and year: July 1944

    The 65th Norfolk Yeomanry Anti Tank Regiment July 1944 war diary covers the units time in Normandy initially south east of Bayeux before crossing the River Orne over London Bridge.

    National Archive Reference: WO 171/921

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    Page 1 of 10
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Field1Orders received that the Div is to withdraw on relief by 2 US Armd Div,
    and rest and clean up. Conc area is to be JERUSALEM X rds 8272.
    Main RHQ moved at 1600 hrs to S house at 819753, leaving Tac HQ at the
    old location until 0600 hrs tomorrow. Weather again wet.
    Orders later issued to say that 259 and 260 Btys were to remain in
    present posns in the line. It is hoped they will be withdrawn later.
    2257 and 258 are now in new locations at 833707 and 826701 respectively.
    TAC HQ moved to join MAIN RHQ at 0600 hrs.
    CO 2 went out to area BUCEELS830703 to recce A tk posns between the 82
    and 84 EASTINGS. The Div, while resting, is to be prepared to occupy a
    defence line as depth to fwd tps.
    3For the first morning since landing in FRANCE, reveille was timed for
    0700 hrs. Hitherto, there has been a Stand To every morning at 0430 hrs.
    At 0900 hrs TAC and MAIN RHQ paraded in clean kit. Battle Dress was
    all cleaned with petrol and webbing equipment scrubbed white.
    At 0930 hrs approx the BMRA visited RHQ to see if any difficulties or
    troubles required looking into.
    At 1500 hrs, the CO attended a talk at Div HQ 810753 by the C-in-C,
    General Montgomery, who reviewed the war, propounded the future plan.
    The latter is not to be known below Lt Col level.
    At 1900 hrs, the CO talked to RHQ (TAC and MAIN) on the C-in-C's
    review of the war in NORMANDY. The facts given were most interesting and
    extremely encouraging.
    News received today of an American attack, with 3 Corps' SOUTHWARDS from
    the cherbourg Peninsula.
    4CO visited Btys to reproduce the C-in-C's talk.
    Page 2 of 10
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Field4(Contd)At 0900 hrs onwards 2 Courts Martial were held at RHQ (Gnrs MARCHANT
    and SCRAGG, of 257) for desertion. The Adjt-prosecuted, while Lt HA ARNOLD
    RA (257) defended.
    2 IC visited the rft Camp in the afternoon, but at present, no rfts
    are held.
    Today baths and cinema seats have been allotted to the Regt for the
    Public Baths and CINEMA MODERNE at BAYEUX. 100 men to each.
    5CRA game to RHQ at 0900 hrs and visited all Btsy except 259 Bty.
    No parades were laid on but the CRA saw the men doing their normal jobs on
    their equipments.
    Adjt went to Div HQ and B Echelon during the morning.
    At 1500 hrs the CO visited B Echelon to re-produce Gen MONTGOMERY's
    talk (see Jul 31.
    The Technical Maintenance Officer from Div Sigs visited the Regt and
    the Regt Sigs Offr (Lt JP HAYLEY RA) accompanied him on visits to Btys. He
    inspected maintenance on WT sets and charging engines.
    6CO visited 259 Bty and made a tour of inspection.
    In the afternoon the CO and 2 IC visited 101 Ret Camp in connection with
    Officer rfts but at present none are available suitable for us.
    The Prime Minster, Mr CHURCHILL, made a statement in the House of
    Commons on the "Flying Bomb" which has been used by the Germans to bomb Southern
    ENGLAND since soon after "D" Day. The bomb has caused some 2750 cas
    equal to the number of bombs which have crossed the Channel.
    Weather fine all day - close and thundery in the evening.
    7CO again visited 259 Bty as his inspection yesterday was not complete.
    Mail from the UK is now to be flown to NORMANDY daily, and vice versa.
    Page 3 of 10
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Field7259 Bty HQ moved during the afternoon to 765683. This Bty is to take part
    in an operation known as "Ocean Swell".
    30 Corps Rest Camp, designed to accomodate 100 offrs and 1000 ORs opened
    at LE MESNIL 7987 on 4 Jul. The period allotted for each party going to the
    Camp is 3 nights, and we are allotted 2 offr and 20 OR vacancies from 1600 hrs
    7 Jul to 1200 hrs 10 Jul. An off from each of 258 and 260 Btys and 8 ORs 258
    5 ORs 259 and 7 ORs 260 went today. Amenities include almost any outdoor sport
    bathing, ridnig, sailing, fishing, etc and NAAFI supplies, beer and wine are available.
    8CO and a small party from each Bty attended a demonstration of River Crossing
    by 17 prs. We have supplied 2 X 17-prs for this. The demonstration was at
    1030 hrs at VAUGELLES.
    259 Bty under comd 56 Bde are taking part in an operation which started
    early this morning. For details, see 259 Bty War Diary.
    OC 2 Sqn Div Sigs and TMO visited the Adjt at 1500 hrs to discuss points
    arising out of their inspection recently.
    At 2100 hrs Capt BALFOUR and Capt HAMPTON who were both left with the
    Residue arrived at RHQ to report that the residue has arrived complete and
    is concentrated in the RYES area. They will arrive in their respective Bty
    areas tomorrow, orders having been given that they are to move to B Ech areas
    9259 Bty lost 3 offrs during the morning - Capt A HOTTON killed, Lt L BADGER
    wounded and Lt AG COGGAN missing. All these offrs were doing recces, when the
    cas occurred. Capt WOLLEY is posted to 259 Bty to comd a Troop temporarily.
    At 1330 hrs, the Residue arrived in RHQ Main Location. The Regt office is
    included in the party.
    In the evening the CO gave RHQ Residue a "GRIFF" talk on the NORMANDY war
    so far.
    258 Bty had their Sgt Fitter and a senior No 1 killed in the evening by
    Page 4 of 10
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Field10257 Bty supplied a 17-pr and det to fire trials with SABOT amn in the area
    of BALLEROY 6869. The trial was carried out against a brand-new captured
    PANTHER tank at a range of 750 yds. The penetration of front armour was
    During the night 257 Bty is to relieve 259 Bty under comd 56 Inf Bde.
    258 Bty have been stonked in their present area twice during the last 24
    hours and are moving to a new HQ in area NONANT 8375. Move completed by 2000 hrs.
    Orders received that from 0700 hrs tomorrow, the Div is at 2 hrs notice to
    move. Probably no move until 12th and then to EAST of R SEULLES (to a similar
    leaguer area to the present one) on vacation by 11 Armd Div. 2 hrs notice was
    later increased to 4 hrs notice.
    11259 Bty are ordered to relieve a Bty of 73 A tk Regt on the Corps stop
    line in the area CRISTOT 8770 in order that this Bty of 73 A tk can relieve 257.
    Intimation received that the General will inspect the Regt 13 Jul.
    12257 Bty relieved and moved to area Ste DUOY MARGUERITE 8573.
    RHQ played football versus a Fd Pk Sqn RE of 50 Div who are encamped in
    the next field. Result - RHQ lost 3 - 1.
    13General's inspection postponed until 15 Jul.
    257 and 259 Btys ordered to move from EAST of R SEULLES to this side of
    the river. 257 move back to their old posn at 840707 and 259 move to area 811748.
    Regt is busy at present cleaning all vehs and equipt, incl personal web equipt.
    14Weather yesterday and today has been very sunny and warm. Cleaning up is
    consequently so much easier.
    At 1400 hrs CO held a promotion conference at RHQ lasting until 1600 hrs.
    The first Bulk Issue of NAAFI has been drawn today, and is limited to a
    ration of roughly 4/9d per man.
    Page 5 of 10
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Field14At 1630 hrs the CO attended a conference at Div HQRA.
    COG's inspection which was to have been tomorrow, has been cancelled.
    15CO inspected RHQ vehs and personnel at 0845 hrs. At 0930 hrs CO 15 LAA
    REGT visited RHQ to discuss adm problems in connection with a Tp from his
    Regt which is to be attached to us. The Troop in question is equipped with
    Crusader Tanks mounting OERLIKONS and has the double use of being able to tow
    17 prs in awkward situations. Half the Tp is to be attached to 257 and the
    other half to 259.
    Rubber tracks with chevrons are drawn for 9 of our M 10s today. At present
    some of the M 10s have steel tracks and others have block rubber. The former
    cause undue wear on the bogies, while the latter skid in mud! Hence the change.
    Capt J PAGE joined the Regt at 2230 hrs, having been posted.
    16Orders issued as warning for move, but not before 1200 hrs tomorrow. Later
    this is changed until not before 0700 hrs tomorrow.
    CO attended a conference at 131 Bde HQ at 1700 hrs. At 2100 hrs he held a
    conference for BCs and gave orders for tomorrow's move. The Regt less 260 Bty
    is to cross the Start Point 828732 at 0930 hrs and proceed by Route C which is a
    bulldozed track, to the assembly area for the next operation.
    17We leaguer at 893787 arriving there at about 1200 hrs. At 1250 hrs, The CO
    gave BCs a brief talk on their part during the first stage of the operation
    (ie moving up to the Start Line) which necessitates crossing the R ORNE.
    There are 3 brs across the River, and 3 Armd Divs are to get across. Tpt
    thus has to be cut to the barest minimum. RHQ has been cut down to 10 vehs -
    4 TAC and 6 MAIN.
    At 1500 hrs CO and BCs attended a conference at 131 Bde HQ, and the GOC
    briefed them.
    CO gave RHQ personnel a "GRIFF" talk on the forthcoming operation at 1900 hrs.
    Page 6 of 10
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Field17RHQ TAC will move a s usual with 231 Bde TAC and RHQ MAIN with 131 Bde
    Btys are under comd fmns etc as follows:-
    257. .1/7 Queens
    258. -do-
    259. 1/6 Queens
    260. 22 Armd Bde.
    18The weather (on which the op depends) is ideal.
    At 0630 hrs all available aircraft from ENGLAND carried out a tremendous
    bombing programme lasting until 0830 hrs.
    TAC RHQ moved at 0840. MAIN moved 5 minutes later to join 131 Bde MAIN
    at 885780.
    At about 1000 hrs MAIN RHQ moved off, along a cross-country route. The
    ensuing journey was most monotonous, as the col was constantly halted for
    varying lengths of time and moved in fits and starts. It was never possible
    to move for more than 3/4 of a mile at a time. The length of each halt was an unknown
    quantity, as it depended entirely on the condition of traffic in front.
    It was thus impossible to decide whether to "Brew-up" or not, and on several occasions
    when a cup of tea was nearly made the col moved off.
    It became clear towards dusk, that the move would continue during the
    Throughout today, the Regt WT net broadcast news of the battle from TAC
    HQ. This morning's bombing seems to have destroyed one Regt of 21 Pz Div
    complete. This Regt was equipped with Pz KW IVs.
    At about hrs 2300 enemy aircraft bombed in the area of the brs. 257 Bty
    lost 1 Sgt Killed and 3 ORs wounded.
    19Not until 0515 hrs was this stage of the move completed. At this time MAIN
    HQ leagured at 105743 after crossing the R ORNE by "LONDON BR"
    Page 7 of 10
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Field19At about 1200 hrs MAIN RHQ moved to area 101727 while TAC moved to
    093696. Weather very fine and warm.
    20News received that the 2 IC, Maj JJ BARCLAY and Lt A AYLING of 260 Bty
    had both been awarded the MC and Sgt HAMILTON of 260 Bty had won the DCM.
    At 1345 hrs RHQ moved to area 091687. Later, TAC HQ moved into the village
    of GIBERVILLE 0968.
    Weather very sunny and warm until about 1630 hrs and then a deluge of
    very heavy rain started and lasted most of the night.
    21Raining still this morning and more very heavy rain during the day.
    The cornfield in which we are leaguered is a quagmire and the Div Axis track
    which crosses cornfields for several miles. NORTH of here is a line
    of thick mud and water.
    The Div is being relieved by a CANADIAN Inf Div, and is going under comd
    2 CANADIAN CORPS. A move is expected when the ground dries up a bit to the
    CAEN-FALAISE rd, which is to be the new Div Centre Line.
    22Weather slightly better. Rds everywhere are very muddy, and in the
    case of some brs over the river the track is so bad that the br's have had to be closed.
    During the afternoon RHQ M IN moved back some 600 yds, as hitherto we
    have been with Bde HQ sitting on skyline in full view of the enemy a few
    miles away. Occasional shells have been dropped in the area. Location now is
    23Today we brought up the balance of RHQ MAIN tpt which was sent back to
    B Ech for the operation.
    131 Bde HQ are re-organising as follows:-
    TAC is being eliminated.
    MAIN is a small HQ now incl the tpt which used to be in TAC
    and a little of the old MAIN (CO,2 IC, A/Adjt).
    Page 8 of 10
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Field23REAR - which is the balance. (Adjt, T/Adjt, Sigs Offr,
    MO, Padre).
    To conform, RHQ ds re-naming "TAC" - "MAIN" and re-naming "MAIN" "REAR".
    Then 2 HQs will travel with MAIN and REAR 131 Bde.
    24CO attended conference at HQ RA at 1500 hrs. The next op, known as op
    SPRING is timed to start at Dawn tomorrow morning.
    Copies of air photographs covering areas of future adv have been given to
    the Regt.
    25MAIN HQ moved off at about 0615 hrs. REAR HQ remained in present location
    and REAR 131 Bde moved in at 0700 hrs. News of the battle is not very exciting.
    By the end of the day, the Div had hardly been committed at all and the Inf Divs in front
    of us had only advanced about 1200 yds. Identi fication of all 4 Pz Divs has been made.
    1 SS, 9 SS, 10 SS and 12 SS all appear to be facing this front.
    The Div CL on this front is the main rd CAEN - FALAISE.
    26Every day in the present posn RHQ has received a few close shells from high
    velocity guns. No damage fortunately has been done.
    131 Bde have now formed a firm base in the area SOUTH Of IFS 0463.
    RHQ MAIN are at 037647. During the night RHQ REAR was bombed with small
    anti-personnel bombs, 1 OR slightly wounded and evacuated, several trucks with
    small pieces of splinter in tyres, etc. No real damage.
    27At about 1000 hrs REAR Bde HQ moved to 090710 in order to keep rather more
    clear of shell fire. RHQ REAR conformed. Unfortunately the location in
    which RHQ finds itself is about 200 yds from a busy rd junc and in full (though
    distant) view of the enemy. 2 very close shells fell in our leaguer, and others
    nearby, so at 2200 hrs we moved to 098723. Bde HQ's actual location is 095718.
    Page 9 of 10
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Field28At 0830hrs, the RSM (RSM WOOLGAR) left to recce a new area to which we are
    to move this morning. At 0945 we moved to 008752.
    The Americans on the right flank of the br hd have adv a good deal in the
    last 48 hrs, and the plan now is to straighten the line on the 30 Corps front.
    This Div is reverting to comd 30 Corps on relief by 4 CDN Armd Div in the present
    sector. The Div is to withdraw from present posns on night 29/30 Jul and
    cross the river to an assembly area on 30 Corps Front.
    29,At 0600 hrs the Adjt was instructed by REAR HQ 131 Bde, to send a recce
    party for the new RHQ posn in the SUBLES area. The RSM went, and found an
    area 765745. At about 1500 hrs RHQ moved to this area, arriving after a very
    slow move on packed rds, at about 2115 hrs.
    TAC HQ moved during the night arriving in the same area as the remainder
    of RHQ at about 0400 hrs 30 Jul.
    30It is decided to revert to the old nomination of TAC and MAIN RHQ instead
    of MAIN and REAR
    At 1500 hrs, CO, 2 IC and Adjt attended a conference at HQ RA where the
    CRA gave the plan for the next adv. At 1700 hrs CO attended a conference at 131
    Bde HQ and at 1900 hrs held a conference with Os C, 257, 258 and 259, For
    the forthcoming ops the Regt less 260 are under comd 131 Bde and 260 Bty under
    comd 22 Armd Bde.
    31Our deficiencies at present of personnel are in the region of 90 and 15 LAA
    Regt are being instructed to lend us some 50 bodies. 27 have arrived today.
    Our total cas in FRANCE to date are:-
    Killed 2 Offrs 15 ORs
    Died of wounds 2 " 2 "
    Wounded 4 " 89 "
    Missing 1 " 1 "
    Total 9 " 107 "
    Page 10 of 10
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Field31In addition, the normal wastage due to sickness, etc keeps the strength down.
    131 Bde Gp are on 1/2 hr notice to move as from 1430 hrs. This is later
    increased to 1 hrs notice and at 2015 hrs, TAC HQ are ordered to move at 2215
    hrs. MAIN HQ expect to move at about 0900 hrs tomorrow. At 2030 hrs A/Adjt
    (Lt VR MINNEY) went to area LA PAUMERIE X rds 7361 to recce an area
    for the Regt for the night.