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    War Diary: 7 Bn Duke of Wellington

    Month and year: July 1944

    The July 1944 war diary starts with the Battalion in area south of Fontenay le Pesnil and covers their fighting around Fontenay, Noyers, Cagny and Conde de Seulles.

    National Archive Reference: WO 171/1288

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    Page 1 of 4
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Sat Jul 1Bn is still est in area SOUTH OF FONTENAY LE PESNIL. At 0735 hrs
    a small enemy force attempted to penetrate between 4 Lincs and 11 DLI
    at ROURAY. Bn Stood To and quite soon this attack petered out. C Coy
    (Maj.Mountain) gained infm by wireless from RAC sources that the
    first attack was made by enemy tps wearing British uniforms which was
    confirmed later by the 4th Lancers who reported elements of 1 SS PZ Div dressed in
    BD doing the attack.
    Attack developed on from 1 Tyneside Scots with Inf and tks. Hard fighting all
    day. By noon B Coy of our Bn was put under comd of 4 Lincs to destroy
    infiltration and moved off - accomplished its task most successfully and
    was put into the front line to fill a gap between 4 Lincs and 11 DLI. Bn
    came under command 70 InfBde and reported to Brig COOKE-COLLIS at FONTENAY. As
    the battle developed, first C and then D Coys, then the whole Bn moved fwd
    into the line at RAURAY relieving in battle, 11 DLI who had formed a
    composite 11 DLI-1TS Bn to counterattack and plug original 1 TS front.
    Whole complicated operation successfully done by 2100 hrs with one cas (B Coy)
    in spite of sniping and mortaring.
    Sun Jul 2Active patrolling throughout night. Brig 70 Bde visits BnHQ,
    accompanying Staff Capt marks up his map from the Bn situation map. At
    1400 hrsBnHQ area is mortared, also at 1640 hrs. B Coy also receive a
    'packet' but very efficiently got the bearing of the mortars at which
    permission is given to engage them by arty. Enemy hard hit yesterday.
    Mon Jul 3It is learned that Bn may be relieved at 1400 hrs to move back
    to last loon. Reps from coys and from relieving Bn report to BnHQ to patrol
    Bn area. At 1530 hrs the Bn is relieved by 4 RWF and moved back to old
    loon SOUTH of FONTENAY-LE-PESNIL. At the same time reverted to comd
    146 InfBde.
    Tue Jul 4Active patrolling carried out through night 3/4 Jul. Enemy fighters
    flew over BnHQ going SOUTH towards out lines. AA engaged and drove them off.
    Wed Jul 5Patrols out again night 4/5 - Nothing of importance to report
    from any returning patrols.
    Thu Jul 61 Leicesters take over new loons, newcomers to 146 InfBde in place of
    6th Bn DWR. Patrols have nothing to report.
    Fri Jul 7Situation - No change. D Coy quickly reported enemy gun posns
    located by compass bearing then engaged by our arty. Patrols - nil.
    Sat Jul 8Situation - No change
    Sun Jul 9It is reported that a live 16" naval shell is in area D Coy. RE
    demolished at 1100 hrs. C Coy report enemy smoke screen being laid LEFT
    fwd which proved to be a small enemy patrol attempting to attack outposts of
    4 RWF- this was beaten off - all quite. At 1735 hrsBde inform us that
    we will take over 4 Lincs area on 11 Jul and that 1 Leicesters will take
    over out positions.
    Mon Jul 10Patrols return nil report. IO 1 Leicesters visits BnHQ to see about
    changeover. At 0915 hrsBrig H Wood (Queens) (who assumed comd 147 InfBde
    of 4 Jul) visits Bn. 1030 hrsCO and IO recce Lincs area fwd.
    Tur Jul 11At 1200 hrs relief by the bn Lincs begins. BnHQ moves and takes
    over at 1445 hrs, Leicesters take over our posns at same time.
    Reliefs carried out with no incidents occurring.
    Page 2 of 4
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Wed Jul 12Last nights patrols nothing to report. Brigadier visits
    Bn area. Our Own fighting patrols report no location of enemy.
    Thu Jul 13D Coy reports slight mortaring in corner of field in front
    which is occupied by their standing patrol. A Coys two
    fighting patrols reported back. C Coy recce patrol reported
    nothing except flares seen in the distance. Fighting patrols of
    D Coy under Lt Lappin had a most successful patrol, killing 12
    and wounding 4 Germans and suffering no casualties themselves.
    The operation was controlled by OC D Coy (Maj ABM Kavanagh)
    from his HQs by line to the patrol HQ 1000 yds forward. A fire
    plan was arranged with MedBattery, FdRegt and Bn Mortar Pl.
    Registration was done by Lt Lappin and reported to the Gnrs and
    Mortar Pl through D CoyHQ. The whole episode showed considerable
    enterprise and offensive spirit. BnHQ was registered by enemy
    mortars which were engaged by our arty.
    Fri Jul 14More mortar loons sent back by D Coy, our arty engaged immediately.
    Bn snipers went out and located sunked road, an obvious A Tk obstacle
    with trees felled across and probably booby trapped.
    Sat Jul 15All patrols carry out tasks. CO thins out B Coy into D Coys old
    area and posns. Two Pls and HQ only, one pl remains in present posn.
    D Coy ordered not to take action against an enemy LMGposn - arty
    engages. One third alert carried on through night. Noise of tks
    heard by forward patrol of D Coy. At 0200 hrs B Coy reports
    Cpl Scott and 1 OR not returned from patrol, presumed missing between
    1800 - 2000 hrs 15 July. Lt Merrill and 2 ORs went on same route
    and met hy fire from 3 spandaus. Observed two Germans adv along
    ditch, attacked them with 36 grenades and Boche went to ground -
    returned 2030 hrs no cas and no sign of Cpl Scott and 1 OR. D Coys
    patrol in posn 0105 hrs and heard sentry marching on beat. Sentry
    fired on them and MG opened up. Patrol withdrew according to plan.
    No cas.
    59 Div attacking through 49 to seize gen line NOYERS - MONTES.
    Recces carried out by OC East Lancs and offrs from our lines.
    Attack starts 0430 hrs with massive barrage. Bn keeps its head
    well down to minimise DF. Attack successful on left. Sticky
    on E Lancs front. Lancs Fus put in later and then R NORFOLK.
    Sun Jul 16A Coy is heavily mortared - no cas. At 1110 hrs 9 prisoners are
    brought in by Capt Illingworth OC Carrier Pl identified as 986
    InfRegt of 276 InfDiv.
    Mon Jul 17A lot of harassing fire on our front during night. Patrols came
    in nothing of importance to report. Brig arrives in Bn area.
    2 PW gave themselves up to C Coy. They belonged to 463 Gren Eng
    Bn and were of Polish nationality. Stated that their Regt consisted
    of Poles and Germans, they were all willing to give themselves up.
    176 InfBdefwd of our posn, attacked at 1200 hrs.
    0330 hrs, hy bombing attack in rear of our posns. we received
    wounded A Tk gnrs from unit in front who reported posns established.
    Objectives taken but cas sustained from air bombardment
    Tues Jul 180555 hrs RAF heavies seen flying towards CAEN. A little later
    American Liberators were seen going in too.
    It was reported that NOYERS had been captured by us.
    Bn would likely move out to rest area but this was postponed owing
    to situation at NOYERS being unfavourable, and the Bn to relieve us
    was in reserve for counter attack if necessary on NOYERS.
    At 1545 hrs orders received to pull out. Arrived rest area
    CONDE-SUR-SEULLES 2100 hrs, Bn fed and then the order was given to sleep.
    Wed Jul 19After a short time in this area it was learned that the Div was
    going under comd 1 Corps on the CAEN sector and a move would be
    ordered any time.
    Page 3 of 4
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Sat Jul 22Received warning order to move but postponed
    Recce party consisting of CO and IO recced new area at
    ST HONORINE East of Caen. This is conc area for 7 DWR with area
    round about for rest of Div.
    Sun Jul 23Adv party moves off to new area by 70 Bde route.
    Mon Jul 24Reveille 0015 hrs move off embussed 0130 hrs.
    Bn is to go into conc area ST HONORINE and then 147
    InfBde will take over from 154 InfBde (HD) at area CAGNY
    LE POIRIER and FREMOUVILLE South East of CAEN. The Bn will then
    be reserve Bn for Bde. Reach concs area 0720 hrs. Bde ) Gp
    for orders of move to CAGNY.
    Recce party sets off, reps from each Coy to CAGNY where 7
    Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders are waiting to hand over. Bn O Gp
    2000 hrs.
    Tue Jul 25Bn moves in, starting at 1000 hrs and completes take over at
    1445 hrs.
    BnHQ est N of CAGNY with Coys on outskirts of village fwd.
    At 1440 hrsBnHQ area and C Coy are heavily shelled all movement
    drawing fire from high ground to East, South, and South West.
    2115 hrs Typhoons with Allied markings machine gunned B Coy area -
    no cas.
    Major HM Kilner OC B Coy adm to hosp
    Wed Jul 261030 hrsBnHQ area again heavily shelled for an hour,
    command post it situated in middle of open corn field and seems to
    be ranged on by enemy arty. CO decides to move into area of
    orchard further forward.
    Thurs Jul 270120 hrs enemy planes overhead AP and HE dropped over wide
    area until 0150 hrs.
    Patrols report in to 2 i/c contacts made of flanking unit
    patrols. An Italian deserter wearing SS uniforms belonging to 16
    GAF Div surrendered to the Carrier Pl.
    Frid Jul 28Shelling of B Coys area occurred during the morning and
    Pte Stead was killed.
    All Coys were ordered that no movement would take place during
    hours of light as enemy had good observation.
    Efforts have been made within the Bn to-day to locate any
    German weapons, which could be used against the enemy. Three 88 mm
    guns, once inf gun and about 10 6 barrelled mortars with plenty of amn
    were found, but mostly these weapons had been damaged beyond repair.
    REME however hoped to be able to repair a few.
    Our Bn snipers located from an OP enemy mortar posns which the
    RA dealt with later in the day.
    The day closed with the usual tip and run air raid by the enemy.
    D Coy area was machine gunned but no cas.
    Our patrolling was active tonight but no contact was made.
    Sat Jul 29During the early hours the enemy sent over planes which dropped
    leaflets into our area. This was the first time he had used this
    "weapon" against us. In the leaflets they tried to upset our minds
    by promising many more new weapons with marked results also apologised
    for his bombing of London "Buzz bombs" but said we had driven him to
    do it by our bombing of German cities. The leaflets were treated with
    the ridicule, they deserved.
    Page 4 of 4
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Just after stand down the area was heavily shelled which
    resulted in the deaths of L/Sgt Bellamy of D Coy and in C CoyLt Evans
    Ptess Gibson and Slater were wounded. This leaves C Coy with only
    Major Mountain and Lt Wood. Bn is now 8 offrs below WE.
    Any movement within the area brings down shells but our visitors
    are learning that we do not appreciate fast driving which may cause dust.
    At 2300 hrs the Bn "Stand To" 100% as a small party of enemy
    attacked the left fwdCoy of 11 RSF causing three cas. No identifications
    were obtained by the enemy and the situation was rapidly restored by
    a local counter attack by 11 RSF.
    Sun Jul 30Enemy air activity was less than usual during the early hours, but
    at 0530 hrs a lone low flying aircraft flew over and machine gunned
    and bombed D Coy.
    On the whole shelling and mortaring has been less today. D & B Coys
    have been chiefly effective and D Coy had 3 ORs wounded.
    The attached newspaper was delivered by the RAF during the night.
    Mon 31 JulA rest from shells and mortar bombs as practically none fell in
    our area today, but visibility is still good so the "no movement" order
    still stands.
    It has been noted lately that a very large proportion of "Duds"
    have been amongst the enemy fire, both shells and mortars.
    News has been received at last concerning Lt Hallsworth who has
    been missing since setting off from CONDE-DE-SEULLES on a recce of
    the route to ST HONORINE. It is now understood that he has been
    admitted to hospital.
    Patrolling has been carried out by all coys but so far contact with
    the enemy has not been made.
    Parties have now started again for the rest camp and a small allotment
    of seats for ENSA shows (well in rear) has been given to the Bn.
    No cas to-day.