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    War Diary: 7 Bn Duke of Wellington

    Month and year: August 1944

    The August 1944 war diary starts with fighting patrols around the battalion area and covers their advance North to Pont-Audemer

    National Archive Reference: WO 171/1288

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    Page 1 of 21
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    1 AugThe day opened with shelling on the Bn area and small arms fire was also
    heard to the left fwd posns. All the Bn 'stood to' from 0415 to 0805 hrs
    when the situation quietened down. The day apart from occassional
    shelling and bombing was uneventful and concluded with a full recce and
    fighting patrol programme, as it has ben very important to get
    identifications. No prisoners, however, have yet been captured.
    2 AugA day which activety was mainly patrolling and a snipers day. Our
    Standing Patrol shared now with 1 Tyneside Scottish sent in many reports
    of very local enemy movement approximately 1500 yds beyond our front.
    A fighting patrol was detailed with the task of bringing in a prisoner.
    The arty programme that was to laid on for the patrol could not be fired
    as all comns brake down. An enemy posn was located but enemy fire
    prevented the capture of a prisoner. Lt Townsend was wounded with
    concussion after a shell had followed hime into a house.
    3 AugNo special activety today. Patrolling for identifications continues
    Page 2 of 21
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    3 Aug cont.Enemy only shells and mortars posns ocasionally.
    4 AugJust after midnight the bn was bombed for the first time. Three
    250 lb bombs were dropped in the area of Bn HQ and many anti personnel
    bombs (2 kilo) fell in all Coys posns, Two cas resulted - Cpl Clowes and
    Pte Bingham a bomb dropping into their slit trench they both sustained
    leg and foot injuries. Shelling followed the babing and some 125 mm
    shells were fired by the enemy. Snipers were again active throughout the
    day acting as observers.
    2100At 2100 hrs CO was called to Bde for a conference where orders were
    riven concerning a raid which is to be carried out with a view to
    obtaining identifications. The raid will be carried out by 11 RSF but
    all Bns will help with the fie plan by the 32 mortar pls laying a smoke
    screen. Apart from these orders the day was very quiet and it was thought
    that "Jerry" might be 'pulling out'
    Page 3 of 21
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    5 Aug0415The Bde 3" mortars lay out smoke screen at 0415 hrs to test enemy
    reactions 'jerry' however, did not respond.
    The reports on last nights patrols showed that both recce patols had
    penetrated into enemy lines and both brought back good information.
    The patrol led by Lt Ouellete were challenged at very close range by
    the enemy and withdrew after three sten guns had been emptied into the
    sentries. Owing to spandau fire it was impossible to linger about and
    get identifications, The remainder of the day was very quiet and there
    was only a very little shelling, and bombing.
    C Coy was placed under comd of 11 RSF as one coy RSF is resting prior
    to the raid which takes place on 7 Aug. B Coy went to the rest-trg area,
    A Coy returned and took over B Coys posns.
    0445Again the 3 Bns of the Bde fired down a smoke screen at about
    0445 hrs this morning - still no reactions by the enemy. The enemy
    then fired one or two sharp periods of shelling, but otherwise the day
    Page 4 of 21
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    5 Augconthas been uneventful.
    CSM Painter S. Staffs Regt joined the Bn today and was posted to A Coy
    as a replacement for CSM Wood who was recently wounded.
    6. AugRather quiet day - patrols returned safely and had little to report.
    Few periods of shelling,
    7 Aug.0345At 0345 hrs today, 2 pls from 11 RSF carried out a raid on enemy posns
    with a view to obtaining identifications this raid was ordered by 1 Corps.
    A Coy at the same time had a fighting patrol out with the same task to accomplish.
    2230Firstly at 2230 hrs a recce patrol went out to locate a
    party of enemy, later to beat up but they were unlucky in their hunt
    and did not find any in spite of going to known enemy locations. Even
    the firing of a bren and 2" mortar as decoy weapons did not draw his fire
    and make him disclose his posns. The full fighting patrol therefore
    set out at 0245 hrs in search of Boche along a route reported clear by
    snipers yesterday afternoon but after they had gone about a 1000 yds they
    Page 5 of 21
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    7 Augcontcame across a small 'S' mine field the patrol leader Lt Coleman and two
    others were wounded ( L/Cpl Roe and Pte Smart ) three other men
    were killed although at first it was not certain and SBs went out to try
    and bring them back whilst doing so more S mines went off and Pte Platt
    was wounded and Pte Hewitt killed. Pte Seaman also an SB and att to D
    (standing patrol) who went with the party was also wounded in the foot.
    The Coy Comd of A Coy 10 DLI went down to this area later and
    whilst there tried to recover the bodies. Owing to an enemy patrol sited
    within 30 yds of two of the bodies, he could not do so all identifications
    were however, removed.
    RSF raid produced one unidentified dead German. Enemy reaction was
    considerable on RSF front. One Coy Comd and GSO 3 (Capt Crossland (DWR)
    of the Bde were killed at an OP by a direct hit.
    8 AugA quiet day - the weather continues to be very warm there was a very
    heavy mist this morning which did not lift until nearly 0800 hrs
    Page 6 of 21
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    8 AugcontThe GOS 49 Div visited the area this morning at 0630 hrs and gave
    his congratulations and some cigarettes to one of D Coys sections as having the best section
    posns he had seen within the Div.
    Enemy shelling was remarkably increased today but Pte Clarke a SB with
    A Coy was the only casualty. Heavy attack by American heavies on enemy
    posns opposite Canadians.
    1330At 1330 hrs one flight of Flying Cortresses passed over Bn area flying
    North West and by mistake bombed a Canadian medium battery and amn dump
    very near CAEN. Many cas.
    9 AugWeather still warm and the day began again with shelling of our A and
    B Coys. Bde Comd called an O Gp at Bde HQ and CO came back with infm
    that we were to move fwd in a three phase attack on VIMONT. Orders were
    given within the Bn and it moved off at 2000 hrs on the first phase with
    Sqn of tanks in sp. On reaching ob jective there were many cas with
    AP mines. Major Mountain (OC C Coy.) Capt H. Gardner (2IC C. Coy) and
    Page 7 of 21
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Capt. JP. Symonds (I.O) were among the wounded and Major CH.Hill (OC D Coy)
    was killed by a direct hit on his slit trench. C Coy also lost
    their CSM. Robinson who was killed by an AP mine. Coys est in their
    areas and sec posns were dug and improved during night.
    10. AugBn is firmly est SE of CAGNY on completion of 1st phase. A day
    of patrolling and 100 per cent alertness with periods of shelling by the
    11 AugPatrols active during night to prevent any infiltration by the enemy.
    Bn HQ was under heavy shellfire during early hrs of morning. During
    the afternoon, the Bn area was shelled again 3 shells dropped in SP Coy
    area believed to be our own dropping short. Five cas were caused -
    Ptes Paul, and Mee were killed outright and L/Cpl Haynes, Ptes Tansey and
    Buss injured.
    12. Aug.The weather is still consistenty warm and an early morning mist is
    rising during the period of 'Stand to'. At 0615 hrs two enemy deserters
    Page 8 of 21
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    13 AugContwalked to our lines surrendering to 'D' Coy. After interrogation they were
    proved to be YUGO-SLAVS and gave quite a lot of useful infm concerning
    posns on our front. Bde HQ got quite a good German Order of Battle from
    these PW.
    13.AugVery little shelling and A Coys fwd posn was subjected to some mortaring.
    Two cas. A Coy patrol brushed an enemy patrol this morning killing 3 and
    recovering quite an amount of arms and egpt. Identifications were brought in
    and proved to be from members of the I/981 PGR. D Coy also contacted enemy
    patrol 80 yds out of their area, Arty engaged, thus clearing Jerry out at
    once. Booby trapping and minelaying in fwd pl posns was completed by A Coy.
    14 Aug.Nothing of importance. A few more identifications were brought in from the
    dead Germens killed by A Coy yesterday. Night times brought a small air
    raid behind Bn HQ area.
    15 Aug.The day started with enemy planes above Bn area but no bombs were dropped,
    Several reports came in concerning the evacuation of VIMONT by the enemy
    Page 9 of 21
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    15 AugcontCo orders a recce and fighting patrol to proceed North of village and
    feel' for enemy locns. Lieut R Smith was killed during this op and 4 ORs
    missing, Bde OO issued 147 Bde to hold woods 1560,1 Leics to hold VIMONT with RSF SOUTH in
    woods. These two units will penetrate enemy locns fwd thus giving
    general idea of layout and strength. Bn stays in present area SE of CAGNY
    Heavy rain at night.
    16.Aug.Day is bright and sunny after last night's downpour and continues to be
    very hot. Battle patrols are sent out and the arty gives covering fire.
    Patrols went to plan.
    17 Aug.Bn receives orders to move CO calls his O Gp at 0400 hrs giving instrs to
    Coy Comds on move fwd to VIMONT. It is planned to strike SE VIMONT - MOULT
    Bn moved off at 0645 hrs and arrived just outside MOULT. It was decided to
    est a HQ in woods South of village - the enemy were nowhere to be seen and
    thought to have withdrawn on a very large scale. Adv 6 miles.
    18 Aug.Bn spends a quiet night and no instrs are received from Bde HQ as was
    Page 10 of 21
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    expected during night. An O Gp. was called at Bde giving orders for
    147 Bde to take over from 70 Bde posns near MEZIDON 2956. The Bn task was
    to take over 10 DLI posn who had withdrawn from High ground slightly.
    19 Aug.Bn did an embussed move at 0700 hrs and settles in wooded area mile WEST of
    LE MESNIL MAUGER 2956. Posns wer dug D Coy provided screen on fwd edge of
    wood carriers providing a protective screen between the Bn and left flank
    unit of HD who were on our right in the area of Les Bruyers. 4 Lincolns
    were fwd of our posns and were held by enemy rearguards. Our own screen
    patrols were subjected to occasional maortar and shellfire and suffered
    one cas. Bn posn was held for the remainder of the day without any other
    enemy opposition. Later in the day 4 Lincolns came back on our left to
    consolidate the posn. The Hallams meanwhile, were situated on the banks of
    the R.Dive at the front of St Pierre du Mont.
    20 Aug.The plan for the day was that the Leicesters should capture MONT EILLE
    and the prominent hill feature some 3/4 mile West these were known by the code
    Page 11 of 21
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    David and Goliath respectively. The 49 Recce. Regt meanwhile were scouting
    ahead to ascertain if the numerous bridges on the R LA VIE Nor th of
    MONTEILLE had been blown. The plan for the bn was that we should pass through
    the Leicesters on the rd to CAMBRAMER. The Bn started its adv late afternoon
    but the Leicesters, having been unable to complete their task in suffectent
    time necessated our move into an area NW of ST - AUX - ANGLIES where we dug
    in once more. Meanwhile the Recce Regt had reported that all bridges had been
    blown and they were in contact with the enemy to the NE of MONT EILLE.
    During the night the CO attended an 'O' Gp at which plans were made for an
    attack on the high ground EAST of the BUTTE du PARC feature, which
    meawhile had been seized and held by the Hallams. Adv 3 miles.
    21 AugAn early reveille an early move at 0430 hrs the Bn was on its way towards
    the start line. It was raining heavily and was very dark but without
    faultering we acheived out our forming up place on the river line SE of
    CREVECOEUR-EN-AUGE with ample time to spare. The well laid on arty
    Page 12 of 21
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    21 Augprogramne of timed concs started at H hour which was 0715 hrs.
    A and C Coys adv immediately from the start line taking full advantage of
    the arty fire which was covering them to their objettives. The gradient
    was steep and the country fairly close, but direction was maintained
    and the first objective reached at 0855 hrs. The entire adv was unopposed and
    immediately the Bde had ben informed of success we were ordered to exploit
    still further North to LES TROIS ROIS . This was accomplished still without
    opposition and the Coys consolidated and dug in. Civilian reports received
    stated that eneny Inf and A Tk guns had been seen on the outskirts of
    CABREMER The Carrier Pl were detailed to recce fwd with nil results
    Coys also sent out recce patrols immediately but no contact with enemy made.
    Carrier pl brought in a 12.2 cm gun, limber and truck found abandoned on
    their route. Meanwhile, the Leics and RSF were recoe area of high ground
    to East of our posn to the area of LA POSTE. Still no contact with enemy.
    Further orders to move at 1730 hrs on our original axis were received.
    Page 13 of 21
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    21 AugRSF with tks were leading the adv. They met with light enemy opposition
    this held the adv for a while and due to fading light, Bde ordered a
    halt for the night, The Bn est itself in area of large farmhouse called
    LE MANOIR where we are greeted very cordialy and treated most hospitably
    by the farmer and his wife and a number of evacues in residence. Everyone
    settled in under cover of barns and outbiuldings for the night. Adv 11
    22 AugVery quiet day in which the Bn rested preparing itself for the further
    pursuit of the enemy.
    23 AugAfter a fairly quiet night of which the early part was disturbed by
    possibilities of an immediate move, the BN was embussed in TCVs and made
    an uneventful move to ST GRATIEN on the WEST bank of the R TOUQUES Here
    we est as res Bn at 1000 hrs. At 1515 hrs a wireless message to the effect
    that the Leicesters were being counter attacked, was intercepted and 15
    mins later a similar message from RSF was intercepted. The Bn 'stood-to'
    Page 14 of 21
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    23 Augas both these bns were est the other side of river and bridges were blown
    and it was impossible to get vehs with res amn over to them. The Leics
    asked us to lay on a carrying party for the purpose of getting amn up to them
    but this was later cancelled on Bde instructions. B Coy were ordered
    to stand by for counter attack role but this was unnecessary as by 1645 hrs
    the enemy had withdrawn having been beaten off. At 1830 hrs a Bde order was
    received that a Coy of ours should be moved across the river to strengthen
    a gap between Leics and RSF. This role was fulfilled by C Coy which
    made a successful crossing and suffered no opposition during the night
    During this time 49. Recce Regt was still casting ahead
    encountering opposition some half mile SW of NOROLLES. During the night at
    2217 hrs orders were received for remainder of Bn to move across river and
    get on to high ground beyond 11 RSF at DAUBICHONS. This was cancelled
    later no move before 0630 hrs. following day was to be expected. The RE
    during hrs of darkness commenced building Bailey brs across the two streams in
    the valley
    Page 15 of 21
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    24 AugOrders received in the early morning that Bn would adv,
    taking the lead with the leading coy mounted on a of tks
    (9 RTR) the remainder being embussed in TCVs. The move was
    held up until 0910 hrs due to the fact that the R.Es had not
    completed the bridge to schedule. With the Recce Regt
    scouting well ahead our adv as leading Bn was carried out
    without opposition, minor diversions having to be made as the
    results of roads being cratered. As the Recce Regt neared
    CORMIELLES minor opposition was met. Bridges over the
    LA CALONNE river were blown. Immediately plans were made for
    crossing the river at LA VALLETTE 3 miles SOUTH of CORMEILLES.
    Bn debussed WEST of pt 154 and were moved fwd, B Coy leading.
    The move was being covered by the sqn of tks who found that
    the damaged bridge was mined with Tellar and AP. B Coy under
    Capt Illingworth made a successful wet cressing followed by
    Page 16 of 21
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    24 AugD Coy who found a foot bridge further up stream. These two
    were est by 1755 hrs with very minor opposition encountered.
    A and C coys then crossed with the object of establishing
    posns on the high land. C Coy reached their posn unopposed
    but A Coy opposition from an enemy Spandua and Mortar. After
    2 or 3 attempts during whach the coy suffered 6b cas they
    finally est their posn having been supported in by fire from
    tks and arty. The CO est a fwd Bn HQ on high ground WEST
    of the river with a rear Bn HQ in a Chateau some quarter of a
    mile to the rear. A Coy posn was strengthened by sec of carrier
    pl dismounted and latert one coy of Leicesters crossed and came under
    comd of OC A Coy. Adv 12 miles.
    25 AugAt 0130 hrs D and C cays reported that an enemy veh was
    moving inte their area, D Coy wounded and captured 3 with german
    jeep intact, C Coy wounded and captured a L/sgt who stated
    Page 17 of 21
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    25 Augthat our occupation of the area was unknown to the enemy and
    at 0915 hrs two members of the MARQUIS brought in 6 Russian
    deserters to Bn HQ, these were sent to Bde. Orders were given
    to the Bn to move at zero hr for the move being 2 hrs 40 mins
    after the Bailey bridge being opened. The job took the R.Es
    longer than had been anticipated and as a result the Bn did not
    move until midday. The RSF were doing adv gd to the Bde and
    once through LIEREY encountered minor opposition. The Bn
    deployed in the area of small village 1/4 of a mile NORTH of
    MORCAIN VILLE PRES LIEUREY retaining the tpt for any further adv.
    Acting as civilian information passed from Bde, A Coy moved to
    the ridge of high land in the area of LES HAUTES VENTS. Once
    est there a recce patrol was sent fwd to LA POTTERIE MATHIEU
    Moving down the WEST side of the main rd, due to the shortage
    of time allowed for this the patrol was unable to to complete
    Page 18 of 21
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    25 Augits task, but was able to get near to the village to observe
    it through binoculars and detect no sign of enemy occupation.
    The Bn remained in the locatity for remainder of the day. In
    the late evening orders were received from Bde to carry out an
    embussed move to area of TERRIER some 4 miles NORTH of ST GEORGE
    DU VIEVRE. This move was accomplished without anyundue event
    although enemy planes were dropping flares and making bombing
    attacks in the area. The CO spent the remainder of the night
    in planning and issuing of orders for the seizing and holding
    26 Augof the high ground between CAMPIENY and LE VIEVIDLE. Adv 11 miles
    Bn 'O' Gp was held at 0900 hrs and H hr was decided for 1100
    hrs. Start line a convenient track running due EAST and
    WEST immediatle y SOUTH of BIGARDS. B and D Coys were the leading
    coys sp by two tps of 9 RTR with a and C Coys respectivly
    Page 19 of 21
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    26 AugSummary of Events and Information
    laid on but not used, and once again we achieved our objective
    without any opposition and immediately re-organised and sent
    out patrols to exploit. No contact was made. Patrols had
    nothing to report with the exception of very important infm
    brought back by the Carrier pl patrol under Sgt Charlesworth
    who had reached the village of LE REULLES to find it occupied
    by a pl of Germans with two inf guns and MGs and the main bridge
    blown. At 1700 hrs Bn received orders to attack that night
    Leicesters right, DWR left, RSF res. All recces were started
    but at 2030 hrs attack was cancelled as 11 Hussars of 9 Armd
    Div reported intact br at APPEVILLE on out right and it was decided
    to cross Bde there. However, the power station manager of
    REIULLES came in under a white flag and asked for our arty fire
    which was being put down in the village to be stopped and that
    Page 20 of 21
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    26 AugSummary of Events and Information
    with him to verffy it and found this was the case, also bringing
    back the infm that the girders of the blown br afforded quite
    a reasonable crossing for men on foot. CO informed Bde of this
    who were in perfect agreement of this ideas of seizing LE REULLIES
    during the night hrs, as this would materially assist the
    movement of other tps along the EAST bank of the river RISLE
    once they had crossed the br at APPEVILLE. This move started
    27 Augearly next morning,
    Bn moved into LE REULUES which the enamy had evacuated and the
    rest of the day was spent in preparation for move to
    28 Augrest area at BOURDON 753127.
    Bn moved to rest area which was found to be a very comfortable
    place Bn HQ and A Coy were accommadated in a large Chateau
    willst the rest of the coys bivuaced in what must have been
    Page 21 of 21
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    29 AugSummary of Events and Information
    Quiet day with baths and enter tainments taking priorty a very
    good ENSA show was given at PONT AUDEMER a small village
    30 Augsome 2 miles away.
    31 AugQuite a lot of rain but little else to reprt.
    Still raining. Bn spent the day resting with a litle trg
    in the morning,