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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
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    Southampton1A, B, C, and D Coys safely on aboard L.S.I's in SOUTHAMPTON WATER.
    2A:Tk and Carrier Pls still in marshalling areas awaiting embarkation
    32300A:Tk and Carrier Pls moved to SOUTHAMPTON from Camp 13 arriving at dawn
    the following morning.
    41000Specialist Pls and Specialist personnel embarked on L.C.T's. The weather
    was not too good and the sea was 'choppy'
    At Sea5Today 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.
    1815L.S.I's with Coys aboard moved down the SOLENT towards the open sea.
    1900L.C.T's with Carriers, A:Tks and specialist pls aboard moved down the
    1900L.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'.
    60635As 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.
    0710A,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.
    0737A 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
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    Area Map Ref Ref Maps France Sheet 7E/5 1/50,0006 (cont)1000By 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 1/50,0001200By 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 )
    1300Although 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,
    1400a 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.
    1500By 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,
    1700Bde 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.
    1800The 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
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    REF: MAPS FRANCE: SHEET 7E/5 1/50,0006 (cont) :2300and 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 1/50,00070430The Bn 'stood-to' for one hour. The night 6/7 passed quietly within the Bn
    area.
    0815Co 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.
    1100On 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,
    1500Many 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.
    1815Bn 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
    1930All 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
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    REF: MAPS FRANCE: SHEET 7F/1 1/50,0007 (cont)2000B 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,
    8During the night 7/8 A Coy sent a patrol to the wood at 859733 but saw and
    heard nothing.
    1430Pl 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.
    90700As 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.
    100830The 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
    incidents.
    110800The 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
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    REF: MAPS FRANCE: SHEET 7F/1 1/50,00011 (cont)Although the Bn suffered in that respect, the enemy was severely shaken by
    our attack and had many dead,
    120515By 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.
    1100The 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".
    [SEE APPENDIX A]
    1300Fifty 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,
    130600B 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.
    1430CO 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
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    REF: MAPS FRANCE: SHEET 7F/1 1/50,00013 (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.
    14A 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.
    1830Ten 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 APINE770695.
    151200The 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
    160630The 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.
    170930The 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
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    REF: MAPS FRANCE: SHEET 7F/1 1/50,00017 (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.
    18The 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.
    190515When 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.
    1125The 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.
    1700Co 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
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    REF: MAPS FRANCE: SHEET 7F/1 1/50,00019 (Cont)Bn front, and although more enemy harassing fire was experienced, the situation by nightfall was quiet.
    20No 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.
    21Enemy 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.
    22A 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.
    [SEE APPENDIX 'C']
    23Again, 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.
    24Another quiet day within the Bn area with only slight enemy shelling of the
    Coy areas.
    25Bn 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,
    SEE APPENDIX 'B'
    261130C Coy relieved D Coy.
    1400In 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
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    REF: MAPS FRANCE: SHEET 7F/1 1/50,00026 (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.
    27900The 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.
    281645H' 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
    [SEE APPENDIX 'D'] [SEE APPENDIX 'E']
    280600Although 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.
    [SEE APPENDIX 'F']
    29The 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
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    REF: MAPS FRANCE: SHEET 7F/1 1/50,00029 (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
    to BAYEUX .
    30The 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.
    1517BHQ moved from 795669 to 794673 and reopened 1700hrs.