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War Diary: 6th Green Howards

Month and year: June 1944

The 6th Green Howards June 1944 War Diary covers their embarkation at Southampton ,landing to the West of Ver-sur-Mer and their fight inland.

National Archive Reference: WO 171/1302

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Page 1 of 10
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
Southampton 1 A, B, C, and D Coys safely on aboard L.S.I's in SOUTHAMPTON WATER.
2 A:Tk and Carrier Pls still in marshalling areas awaiting embarkation
3 2300 A:Tk and Carrier Pls moved to SOUTHAMPTON from Camp 13 arriving at dawn
the following morning.
4 1000 Specialist Pls and Specialist personnel embarked on L.C.T's. The weather
was not too good and the sea was 'choppy'
At Sea 5 Today should have been D'Day┬╣ with 'H' Hour at 0635 hrs, but owing to
adverse weather conditions. the Landing has been postponed for 24 hrs.
1815 L.S.I's with Coys aboard moved down the SOLENT towards the open sea.
1900 L.C.T's with Carriers, A:Tks and specialist pls aboard moved down the
1900 L.C.T's with Carriers, A:Tks and specialist pls aboard moved down the
SOLENT towards the open sea in one huge array- flotilla following flotilla:
Weather moderate to fair but the sea still rather 'choppy'.
6 0635 As the great armada of ships approach the French Coast in the dull mist of
the dawn, many flashes can be seen from the coastline as Allied Bombers and
fighter-bombers fly in to engage enemy coastal batteries and targets that
may hinder our landing.
0710 A,B,C,D Coys and BHQ sofely aboard the L.C.A's made their hazardous dash
for the mainland in a sea that did not favour a landing so important, whilst
Allied cruisers and destroyers heavily engaged enemy shore batteries.
Area Map Ref 9186 RefMaps France Sheet 7/E/5 1/50,000. 0735 'H' Hour.
0737 A and D Coys being the fwd Coys, assaulted the beach between Map Refs 910869
and 918868 A Coy attacked the highly fortified strongpoint at 914868
and D Coy attacked the heavily concreted gun positions in area MONT FLEURY
Map Ref 917863, The storming of both these enemy positions was highly
successful and the Bn: suffered surprisingly low casualties.
The reserve Coys (C and B) followed the landing of A and D Coys,
B Coy moved to area 908863 and attacked enemy posns, clearing a quarry
en route occupied by the enemy
C Coy moved with little opposition to area of Pt 52 Map Ref 904850
the Bn re-organising area,
Page 2 of 10
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
Area Map Ref Ref Maps France Sheet 7E/5 1/50,000 6 (cont) 1000 By this time, the Coys BHQ and the majority of Support Coy were
firmly established ashore and proceeding as fast as possible to the Bn re-
organising area in the area of Pt 52. (Map Ref 904850)
The enemy were falling back quickly, but many snipers were left behind hidden in the houses, woods and hedgerows to delay our advance, PW's were plentiful and these the Bn sent straight back to the beach.
Sheet 7F/1 1/50,000 1200 By mid-day, the Bn had reported to Bde the successful completion of Phase I
and were fast pushing on to the area of CREPON. (Map Ref 900835 )
1300 Although strong enemy resistance was reported West of CREPON, the Bn proceeded to advance along the Bn axis and the CO fwd with the Coys, informed them
that any resistance encountered was to be by-passed unless absolutely unavoidable,
1400 a house near CREPON at 903845, a party of Germans were called upon by A Coy
to surrender, They refused but when treated to a substantial dose of Bren
and Sten fire, they came out under cover of a white flag.
1500 By this time, the Bn were well South of CREPON and approaching VILLERS le SEC
(8980). BHQ passed through CREPON at 1530 hrs which had previously been reported
clear of the enemy by 5EYR at 1510 hrs. The successful completion of
Phase II was passed to Bde at 1520 hrs,
1700 Bde reported that Approx 100 enemy tanks and much MET were on the move West
of CAEN. Meanwhile, the RAF continued to bomb and strafe the enemy on all
sectors of the beachhead. Although enemy tanks were reported advancing NE from
RUCQUEVILLE, the Bn continued its advance towards St,GABRIEL which was being
heavily shelled by the enemy.
1800 The enemy armour moving from RUCQUEVILLE was reported to have reached BRECY,
and by 1900hrs 86 Fd Regt RA reported much enemy movement in the area of St.
GABRIEL. At 1950 hrs the Brigadier ordered the Bn to halt its advance towards
St. GABRIEL as the enemy inf and a:tk opposition in front was too much. At
2030 hrs the Bn continued its advance and at 2100hrs proceeded to occupy an
area West of St.GABRIEL under cover of a heavy barrage laid down by 86 Fd Regt RA
Page 3 of 10
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
REF: MAPS FRANCE: SHEET 7E/5 1/50,000 6 (cont) : 2300 and a heavy MMG concentration laid down by B Coy 2 Ches,
As last light failed, the Bn was holding en area West of St.GABRIEL (Map Ref
890795) with BHQ located at Map Ref 877785 A Coy 875784 B Coy 875782
C Coy 878783 and D Coy 874784.
2359 Enemy aircraft were not seen during the day, but by midnight many appeared
over the beachead and many bombs were heard to fall.
SHEET 7F/1 1/50,000 7 0430 The Bn 'stood-to' for one hour. The night 6/7 passed quietly within the Bn
0815 Co held a conference with his Coy Comdrs and details were discussed for the
immediate move forward of the Bn. By 1000 hrs, the Bn had passed through
RUCQUEVILLE AND proceeded to advance on DUCY St. MARGUERITE.
1100 On reaching area 855734, the Bn experienced difficulty in moving fwd owing
to heavy enemy mortar fire and the activities of snipers. C Coy ran into
trouble with enemy tanks at 854733. Meanwhile the Brigadier had visited
the CO and it was decided to withdraw the Bn 1000 yds North of DUCY St.
MARGUERITE to area 8574, At 1330 hrs the Coys withdrew to the new positions.
The Carriers were bombed and strafed by our own aircraft en route, and cas-
ualties were reported,
1500 Many conflicting reports were received of the situation in DUCY St. M. Some
reported tanks and inf, but the CO speaking to Bde at 1630 hrs said he thought
the situation had been overrated. Many German Inf were seen moving around
the countryside during the afternoon and at 1800 hrs approx 60 enemy Inf were
seen moving through a cornfield near CANCAGNY heading SW for the woods and river
as though they were trying to reach their own lines again.
1815 Bn dispositions in front of DUCY St. MARGUERITE were as follows:-
BHQ located 857747 A Coy 858743 B Coy 855744 C Coy 856747 D Coy 859746
1930 All Coys were warned to be on look-out for enemy paratroops. Reports stated
that many had been dropped in the Canadians area.
Page 4 of 10
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
REF: MAPS FRANCE: SHEET 7F/1 1/50,000 7 (cont) 2000 B Coy reported enemy armoured cars active in area DUCY St. MARGUERITE and
at 2100hrs one fired across B Coy's front with 20MM cannon shells but caused
no casualties,
8 During the night 7/8 A Coy sent a patrol to the wood at 859733 but saw and
heard nothing.
1430 Pl of C Coy sent to St. RIVIERE to establish a Joint Post with the 8 DLI.
During the day, the Bn was not in direct contact with enemy but one or two
small groups of enemy inf were seen moving about in front of our positions.
These were engaged by 86 Fd Regt RA whenever possible.
9 0700 As the Bn was informed by Bde that no move was probable this day, the CO
ordered all Coys to rest as much as possible. Situation on the Bn front throughout
the day was very quiet until 2200hrs when 8 Focke-Wolfe 190's flew South
over the Bn area and were engaged by heavy AA fire.
10 0830 The CO informed all Coys that as there was no immediate threat from the enemy
to our front, priority for men was sleep. The day passed quietly with no
11 0800 The CO was called to Bde to discuss with the Brigadier details of the move
fwd of the Bn., At 1050 hrs the CO held a conference with all Coy Comdrs
and again at 1330hrs. By 1430 hrs the Bn was on the move through DUCY St.
MARGUERITE, At 1600hrs the Bn had passed through AUDRIEU and was advancing
on ORISTOT where Bn was to take up new positions and deny the enemy use
of Pt 102 (Map Ref 877693 ) The Bn advance on ORISTOT began in earnest at
1800hrs. The Coys experienced great difficulty in moving find and eventually
became pinned-down in the area of the cross-tracks at 866702 where they
came under extremely heavy Spandau fire from the enemy situated in the orcards
around ORISTIT. Owing to the threat by enemy tanks to our L of C's, the CO
withdrew the Bn to 857705 and there, the Bn dug-in at 2200 hrs. During the
battle; we suffered fairly heavy casualties. (Major Honeyman OC A Coy,
Capt Chambers OC C Coy, Capt Mitchell 2i/c B Coy being killed and Major
Young OC B Coy being wounded)
Page 5 of 10
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
REF: MAPS FRANCE: SHEET 7F/1 1/50,000 11 (cont) Although the Bn suffered in that respect, the enemy was severely shaken by
our attack and had many dead,
12 0515 By first light, the Bn was again on the move, and under orders from Bde
moved into the wooded area NE of the railway station in area 8623
At 0730hrs BHQ wes located 856734 A Coy 864732 B Coy 861732
C Coy 864732 D Coy 886726. Here the Bn proceeded to dig-in and
establish a firm base.
1100 The CO sent the following message to all Coys to be read to all ranks within
the Bn: - "I want it to be clearly understood that I, who was there and saw
it, have nothing but admiration for the Bn fought yesterday afternoon,
The withdrawal was given entirely on my order, it was carried out perfectly,
and it was given chiefly because of the threat of Tanks to our Lines of
Communication. The men of the Bn deserve more credit for their performance
yesterday than for any other battles for which we will, and have received
more credit".
1300 Fifty reinforcements allocated to the Bn were inspected by the CO and sent
to the Coys. 1400 hrs although the Bn was not in direct contact with the enemy,
much enemy movement was reported and noticed along the Bde front,
13 0600 B Coy sent a patrol to the village of AUDRIEU but found no enemy and at
0900hrs & section of the Carrier Pl: moved to patrol the road from LOUCELLES
873737 to the area of Pt. 103 857702 and at 1100hrs reported enemy snipers
in the wood at 876718, which was engaged by the Bn Mortars and by 86 Fd Regt
RA with success.
1430 CO and IO of The Hallamshire Regt visited the CO and discussed details of
the relief of the Bn. Throughout the afternoon and until late evening when
the Bn was relieved, many minor engagements were reported with the enemy
who continually tried to infiltrate across the railway in small parties into
the Bn area. By 2030hrs, the relief of the Bn by the Hallamshire Regt was
complete, and the Coys proceeded to march to a rest area North of the railway
Page 6 of 10
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
REF: MAPS FRANCE: SHEET 7F/1 1/50,000 13 (cont) near CONDE sur SEULLES. By 2130 hrs the Coys were located in the orchards
adjoining the "MANOIR de CHENE" in which BHQ was established, Bn dispositions
as follows: BHQ 837742 A Coy 838743 B Coy 832744 C Coy 837748 D Coy 841752
CO ordered all ranks to rest as much possible and the Bn took fullest advan-
tage of such a comparatively peaceful area.
14 A day of rest within the Bn. At 1000hrs Brigadier E.C. Cooke-Collis DSO and Bar.
who used to command both the Bn and the Bde, paid a visit to the CO. He also
spoke to many of the old faces that still remain with the Bn.
1830 Ten officers and four NCO's arrived to reinforce the Bn and were interviewed
by the CO. At 2000hrs the 2i/c (Major C.M.Hull MC and Bar) and IO (Lieut J.Clayton MM)
proceeded on reece via LA BELLE APINE 770695.
15 1200 The CO and IO were called to Bde to discuss details of the move forward of
the Bn and at 1300hrs the Co held a conference with the Coy Comdrs. By 1600hrs
the Bn had passed through the shattered and broken town of JERUSALEM 821727
and at 1700hrs Bn dispositions were as follows:- BHQ 811717 A Coy 810717
B Coy 811717 C Coy 811716 D Coy 815718
16 0630 The Bn began to move forward to occupy positions in the area of LES OREILLES 765667
and by: 0700hrs had passed through BERNIERES BOGAGE 797719
Although progress was hindered by much enemy MG fire and SA fire, the Bn
proceeded to occupy the positions ordered by the Brigadier and by 1200hrs;
Bn dispositions were as follows:- BHQ located in farmhouse 764666 A Coy
767663 B Coy 770664 C Coy 768666 and D Coy 766666. Throughout the
day until dark, the enemy continued to shell and mortar the Bn area.
17 0930 The Bn was relieved by 5EYR and proceeded to the wooded area at 789687
situated midway between LA BELLE APINE and LINGEVRES, arriving there at 1030 hrs.
At 1300 hrs, the Bn moved forward to occupy the area of the cross-roads at
LA TAILLE intention being to advance along both sides of the LINGEVRES-ONCHY
road, Owing to the close country, progress was slow and the Bn was continually
engaging the enemy who offered stiff resistance with mortars and Spandaus.
Page 7 of 10
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
REF: MAPS FRANCE: SHEET 7F/1 1/50,000 17 (cont) By 1600hrs the enemy increased his shelling and mortaring of the Bn area,
and the advance. came to a halt in the area of Pt.113 798676. By 1800hrs,
the Coys were dispersed as follows and were proceeding to dig-in:
BHQ located 797676 A Coy 798673 B Coy 796675 C Coy 799672 D Coy 801675.
Until nightfall, the enemy continually shelled and mortared the Bn area.
18 The Bn did not move from the present positions but continued to dig and consolidate. Throughout the day the Bn area was subject to harassing fire from
the At 2100hrs the CO discussed details with his Coy Comdrs for the
move forward the following day.
19 0515 When dawn broke the Bn was once again moving forward to engage the enemy and
occupy the area North of the cross roads at LA TAILLE the axis of advance being
both sides of the LINGEVRES road, Progress in this sector as before
was slow as the enemy resisted fiercely. It appears that B Coy advanced almost
to the house at 799666 but there; the enemy were waiting for them and they came
under very heavy fire. They had to withdraw and tanks had to deal with the enemy.
D Coy got to within 20 yds of the cross-roads at 794664 and were then shot
at from the cross roads at LONGRAYE. One pl: was pinned down by heavy MG fire
and could not locate the enemy. A and C Coys encountered strong enemy resistance
but continued to advance slowly.
1125 The CO speaking to Bde by phone said; that the Bn was as firm as it possibly
could be in its present positions but didn't think the position good. By
1200hrs the Coys were dispersed as follows:- BHQ still at the same location
797676 A Coy 793667 B Coy 797668 C Coy 792672 and D Coy 796669.
Although the Bn area was again subject to, heavy enemy harassing fire the Coys
continued to consolidate their positions. At 1245hrs, an arty barrage laid
down on the wood at 801667 fell short and onto B Coy, who had to withdraw.
1700 Co speaking to the Brigadier by phone said that, he thought an enemy counter-
attack on the Bn front imminent; AII Coys were ordered to 'stand-to' and man
all Brens and Piats, However, the counter attack did not materialise on the
Page 8 of 10
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
REF: MAPS FRANCE: SHEET 7F/1 1/50,000 19 (Cont) Bn front, and although more enemy harassing fire was experienced, the situation by nightfall was quiet.
20 No move was made by the Bn and the Coys proceeded to dig and strengthen their
positions although the enemy intermittently registered the areas with
mortar and shellfire.
21 Enemy still continued to shell and mortar the Bn area particularly in A Coy's
area. at 1100 hrs the Brigadier visited the Coys accompanied by the CO.
A recce patrol wis sent into the LONGRAYE area at 1200hrs and reported eneny
inf walking about in that area. At 2000 hrs the Co held a conference with his
Coy Comdrs and read out to them the letter of congratulations from the Corps
Commander. Slight enemy air activity was reported over the area during the day.
22 A quiet day along the Bn front. Only slight enemy shelling was experienced.
The LONGRAYE area was again patrolled in daylight but no enemy were seen.
23 Again, the Bn experienced rather a quiet day and pushed daylight recce patrols
into the LONGRAYE area but no enemy were seen, At 1400hrs, the Divisional
Commander Major-General D.A.H. Graham CBE DSO. MC. visited the Bn and
accompanied the Co on an Inspection of the Coy areas.
24 Another quiet day within the Bn area with only slight enemy shelling of the
Coy areas.
25 Bn dispositions still unchanged, Enemy increased his shelling and mortaring
of the Bn area and at 1345hrs a NEBELWERFER fired two salvos into the area
in and around BHQ. At 2200hrs a fierce concentration of 20 105MM shells
fell in the area of BHQ. No casualties were sustained however,
26 1130 C Coy relieved D Coy.
1400 In view of the encouraging reports received, that the enemy was withdrawing
from the area of LONGRAYE, the CO sent two pls: of A Coy forward to the farm-
house in front of the Bn area at 792668 where they killed three Germans
and took four PW's, As a result of this success, the CO decided to move the
Bn forward and occupy the area of the Cross-roads North of LA TAILLE.
Page 9 of 10
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
REF: MAPS FRANCE: SHEET 7F/1 1/50,000 26 (cont) The CO ordered B Coy to occupy the houses at 793666 but although they got
to within striking distance of the enemy, they were forced back slightly
by heavy enemy fire from the areas LA TAILLE and LONGRAYE. The CO speaking
to Bde said the situation was not developing as fast as he thought it would
and decided that as the enemy were difficult to locate, and that the battle
for the cross-roads at La TAILLE would be rather a large one, he would not
go any further. By 1710hrs the situation was normal again with the Coys
in their original positions.
27 900 The Brigadier visited the CO and discussed details for the move forward of
the Bn. At 1000hrs the CO held a conference with the Coy Comdrs.
As the wood at 787670 was almost in the line of the Bn advance, Lieut
MILTON took a recce patrol from B Coy to recce the area, but reported no
enemy seen.
28 1645 H' hour. Bn began its advance on LA TAILLE under cover of heavy arty barrage
and MMG concentration, Strong enemy resistance was encountered but the Bn
continued to move forward slowly and by 2100hrs were firmly established in
the area North of the cross-roads at LA TAILLE. At 1930hrs the CO was brought
into the RAP with BHQ having been wounded in the thigh, and Major R LOFTHOUSE
took over the command of the Bn. At last light, the Coys were dispersed as
follows: BHQ located 794668 A Coy 793666 B Coy 797665 C Coy 794663 D Coy 796666
28 0600 Although the enemy continued to register the Bn area with mortar and shellfire,
the Coys continued to consolidate their positions. At approx 0630 hrs,
Lt-Col. Webster of the Essex Regt took command of the Bn until 1400hrs when
the commend passed to Lt-Col. R.K. Exham MC. (Duke of Wellington's Regt)
At 0830hrs the Divisional Commander paid a visit to the Co who accompanied
him round the Coy areas. During the day over 250 enemy shells and mortar
bombs fell in the Bn area.
29 The night 28/29 passed quietly but throughout the day, the enemy was active
along the whole of the Bn front and minor engagements were reported.
Page 10 of 10
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
REF: MAPS FRANCE: SHEET 7F/1 1/50,000 29 (cont) At 1130 hrs, the Brigadier met the CO and discussed the situation.
During the day, a further 250 enemy shells and mortar bombs fell in the Bn
area, In the morning and afternoon, bathe parties from each Coy were sent
30 The enemy continued to be active along the Bn front and groups of enemy Inf
were seen in LA TAILLE. Movements of NET were also reported, Shelling and
mortaring of the Bn area by the enemy continued throughout the day.
1517 BHQ moved from 795669 to 794673 and reopened 1700hrs.