Source : WO 179/1994 National Archives
Thanks to Mark Hickman of Pegasus Archive for supplying the War Diary : https://www.pegasusarchive.org/
Thanks to Mark Hickman of Pegasus Archive for supplying the War Diary : https://www.pegasusarchive.org/
|PLACE||DATE||SUMMARY OF EVENTS AND INFORMATION||REFERENCES TO APPENDICES|
|1 Jan||Clear and warm. In the morning all personnel were given 48 hrs leave.|
|2 Jan||Only a few men left in camp. Remainder on leave.|
|3 Jan||Windy and cloudy all day. A coy built a pl defence locality in conjunction with RE. B coy the same plus the laying of mines, setting of booby traps, etc. Mortar pl and C coy as per syllabus fired 3 in mortar and MMG plus A/tk pl went on a ten mile forced march. Unit Padre att to 3 Bde.|
|4 Jan||Very clear and warm. |
A coy practiced in the use of Bangalore torpedoes. B coy- mine laying and C coy personnel were briefed on the night jump and exercise to take place on Jan 5. Mortars made a forced march and signals received a demonstration in the use of airborne pigeon equipment.
In the evening a quiz contest was held and prizes were given to the winners.
|5 Jan||Very cold and windy in the morning, clear and warmer in the afternoon.|
A Coy on mine laying and attack, B Coy minefield breaching and attack. C Coy packed containers in the morning and embussed for their airfield at 1400 hrs. The C Coy jump was made at 2000 hrs, one man received minor injuries on landing. Brig Hill jumped with the first stick. A funeral was held for Pte Price who was killed in an accident on the night of Jan 1.
|6 Jan||Clear and bright all day.|
General training was carried out. Coys carried on with mine laying trg under supervision of RE. A and B Coys completed a ten mile forced march in the afternoon. C Coy still on exercise "Midnight". Mortars went on a short exercise called "Long Carry".
|7 Jan||Clear and warm all day.|
Bn received inoculation typhus with the exception of C Coy still out on exercise. Mortar pl was briefed by Lt Cote for short night exercise.
|8 Jan||Clear and warm in the morning, cloudy in the afternoon.|
Bn Comd's inspection followed by march past during which Lt Col G F P Bradbrooke took the salute. In the afternoon A Coy witnessed a battle drill demonstration and B Coy packed containers for a night jump. This jump was cancelled because of high wind in the evening.
|9 Jan||Clear and warm all day. A Roman Catholic and protestant church parade was held for all personnel. In the afternoon, Capt Loudeh of the 6 Airborne div Security section gave a very interesting lecture on security to the Bn. A movie was shown to the men in the gym in the evening.|
|10 Jan||100 personnel of A Coy made balloon descents. B Coy carried on weapon training and C Coy were on the rifle ranges. MMG pl were on the 30 yd range and signals went with the A/tk pl on a route march. The weather was clear and warm all day.|
|11 Jan||Very cold and wet all day. A Coy completed a 10 mile forced march in the morning and trained on Bangalore torpedoes during the afternoon. B Coy used the 30 yd ranges and carried out recreational training. C Coy also used the 30 yd ranges and completed the Bde physical tests. MMG pl were on an all day exercise.|
|12 Jan||Weather clear and cold. A Coy on 30 yd range TOET's and inoculations. B Coy made 100 balloon descents while C Coy carried weapon training and organised sports.|
|13 Jan||Practical experience of mine laying and mine field breaking for A Coy carried out weapon trg in the morning and a 10 mile forced march in the afternoon. HQ Coy on the range all day.|
|14 Jan||Quite clear and warm. Personnel from Mortar Pl. Int Sec and Signal Pl made a balloon jump in the afternoon. Officers from an American Para Bn visited the jump field and watched the descents. A Coy in the ranges and B. & C Coy trg was carried out as per syllabi.|
|15 Jan||Foggy and cold all day. Bn Comd's inspection in the morning followed by Bn Administration. A weekend leave was given to a few personnel from the Bn Orderly Rm. Remained of Bn on recreational trg.|
|16 Jan||Foggy and cold all day. A voluntary church parade was held for all Protestants and Roman Catholics. In the afternoon, P.A.D. Exercise "Boomer" was held. At 1400 hrs all personnel took shelter in trenches. Explosions and thunder flashes were set off in different places. The gas alert was sounded and some tear gas bombs were set off in the camp area. All personnel were dismissed at 1440 hrs.||See Appendix "F"|
|17 Jan||Cloudy and cold. A Coy practiced Grenade throwing in the morning and in the afternoon they had recreational trg, while B Coy was on the 30 yard range with Stens and also a 10 mile forced march. C Coy on the 30 yard range with Stens and they also practiced throwing Grenades. The Bn was photographed by Coys as were also the Officers and Sergeants. Signal Pl was out with the thirty eight sets and practiced R/T procedure.|
|18 Jan||Cold and cloudy all day. A Coy on the Sten range and were tested on the T.s O.E.T. B Coy listened to a lecture on security by the IO and then saw trg films. C Coy on a route march and exercise. Int Sec went out by lorry to study the DZ for a Bn mass jump which is to take place on the 20th Jan.|
|19 Jan||Clear and cold all day. The majority of the Pls were engaged in Administration and being briefed in the forthcoming exercise. A movie was shown in the evening under the supervision of the YMCA Supervisor.|
|20 Jan||Very foggy and damp in the morning. Reveille was at 0400 hrs. Bn embussed at 0700 hrs and proceeded to the Airport. The jump was postponed for two hours due to the heavy fog but the Bn emplaned at 1200 hrs and jumped at 1315 hrs. The jump was very successful and there were no casualties. A number of CMHQ personnel were present to witness the drop and they expressed a great deal of satisfaction at the way in which the Bn cleared the aircraft and moved off the DZ to the RV. The Bn was then formed up, embussed in trucks and returned to Camp.|
|21 Jan||Clear and warm. Thirty men from the Bn made kit bag jumps from Albemarles and landed on the Div DZ. All personnel preparing to proceed on 10 day leave. Men going to Scotland left by special train at 2120 hrs.|
|22 -31 Jan||A skeleton crew left in camp while the remainder of the Bn proceeded on 10 days leave.|
|PLACE||DATE||SUMMARY OF EVENTS AND INFORMATION|
|1 Feb||Unit personnel returned from ten day leave. Training was carried out as per syllabus. Most time was devoted to recap on parachute training. The 2i/c briefed the unit on a forthcoming mass jump employing Douglas C47's. A movie was shown by the Y.M.C.A. in the evening. Weather was cloudy and cold all day.|
|2 Feb||Weather, cold and clear all day with unusually high wind. At 0700 hrs unit embussed and proceeded to Whelford airdrome. Chutes were fitted and aircraft took off with the bn for approx one hour's air experience. The flight was very rough and although anit-airsickness pills were used a great number of men were sick. Due to the high wind the actual jump was cancelled and the bn returned to camp.|
|3 Feb||Weather again cold and windy. Unit is carrying on with para trng which was to have included experimental kit bag jumps by 100 men. Once again due to high wind the drop was cancelled. All personnel were paraded to the Y.M.C.A. in the evening where training films were shown.|
|4 Feb||Weather still clear and very windy. The CO briefed the unit of a forthcoming Bde mass jump and exercise. Coys devoted the day to briefing using the bn briefing rm.|
|5 Feb||Clear and cold today. Coys training as per syllabus. All unit officers were briefed for exercise "Cooperation". An unusually large number of men attended a moving picture shown at the "Y" in the evening.|
|6 Feb||Very foggy and slight rain. Due to bad weather exercise was cancelled until the following day. A movie was shown at the "Y" in the evening.|
|7 Feb||Slight rain and foggy during the morning. At 0800 hrs bn proceeded to airdrome. Chutes were fitted at 1100 hrs, take off was 1600 hrs and the first jump was made at 1700 hrs. All men jumped with full battle equipment and containers were used only for the heavy weapons such as mortars and MMG. Injuries were only minor but a considerable amount of equipment was damaged. The movement from the DZ to the RV and on to the objective was good. On reaching the objective at 2100 hrs the bn dug in for the night.|
|8 Feb||Patrols were sent out by all coys early in the morning. IO proceeded on a recce and returned at 1130 hrs. Orders to move were received at 1300 hrs.|
Bn moved to Lark Hill a march of eight miles where transport was waiting to take the unit back to the barracks. During the move enemy tanks kept up continual attacks on both flanks as the bn moved forward. The enemy for the exercise was the 2nd bn 502 Para Inf Regt an American unit. Exercise ended at 1930 hrs.
|9 Feb||Warm and clear all day. Bn was debriefed on ex "Co-operation" in the morning and regular training was carried out during the afternoon. A Coy spent the afternoon on the rifle ranges.|
|10 Feb||Warm and clear all day. A Coy fired SMG on the 30 yard range in the morning. B Coy carried out battle drill all day. C Coy fired LMG on ranges all day. During the afternoon A Coy were given recreational training.|
|11 Feb||Weather clear and cool. Regular training carried on throughout the bn. A Coy completed a ten mile forced march. A film was shown at the "Y" in the evening.|
|12 Feb||Training was carried out as usual with B Coy on rifle ranges and C Coy doing a forced march in the morning and holding a sports parade in the afternoon. Mortar pl went on an all day exercise.|
|13 Feb||Clear and warm during the day with a cold wind in the late afternoon. A voluntary church parade was held in the morning and a film was shown at the "Y" in the afternoon. All ranks were permitted to go to the nearby towns.|
|14 Feb||A Coy fired on the Sten range in the morning and carried on general training in the afternoon. B Coy proceeded to Cranborne Chase for two days field firing. C Coy taking PT in preparation for forth coming swimming course. Int Sec personnel were att to coys for one weeks training.|
|15 Feb||C Coy proceeded to Yeovil on swimming course. MMG completed a ten mile forced march and Sig pl a twenty mile forced march in the afternoon. Remainder carried on with regular training.|
|16 Feb||Training carried on as per syllabus throughout the bn. A large number of men attended a film shown in the gym in the evening.|
|17 Feb||Regular training all day with A Coy on the 30 yd Sten range.|
|18 Feb||A Coy completed a 25 mile route march while B Coy used the 30 yd Sten range. Sig and a/tk pls also on route march. C Coy still on their swimming course in Yeovil.|
|19 Feb||General administration and preparation for 36 hr leave. All personnel proceeded on pass at 1100 hrs.|
|20 Feb||36 hr passes. A film was shown for those who remained in camp.|
|21 Feb||A Coy and mortar pl on field firing exercise. Sig pl visited the div Tk Sqdn for instruction in tank and A/C driving. C Coy on swimming course.|
|22 Feb||A Coy and mort pl on field firing. Remainder of the bn carried on regular trng.|
|23 Feb||A Coy on 30 yd ranges in the morning and on recreational trng in the afternoon. C Coy returned from swimming course in Yeovil in the evening. A film was shown in the gym.|
|24 Feb||Regular trng throughout the day. A Coy on 25 mile march and B Coy on the 30 yd range.|
|25 Feb||A Coy on an all day exercise. B Coy plus mort pl proceeded on the ten mile forced march route. MMG on Vickers range all day. Sig pl on the 30 yd range.|
|26 Feb||General administration in preparation for 36 hr leave granted to all men in camp.|
|27 Feb||Church parade was held for the men remaining in camp. A film was shown at the "Y".|
|28 Feb||Weather clear and colder. Coys carried out regular trng. All personnel of the bn were briefed for a short exercise in the near future. A, B, and trng Coys were paid in the afternoon.|
|29 Feb||Weather clear and warm all day. Trng carried out as per syllabus. HQ and C Coy paid.|
|PLACE||DATE||SUMMARY OF EVENTS AND INFORMATION|
|March||Despite adverse weather conditions, the Battalion carried out a vigourous training programme. Specialists Platoons, M.M.G., Mortar, and P.I.A.T. were able to practice on the ranges while the Rifle Companies were given ample opportunity of firing on the local ranges.|
Company and Battalion Schemes were laid on culminating in a Brigade scheme on March 24, 1944, which was called BIZZ II. All schemes proved of great value to the Battalion as mistakes were made and rectified enabling All Ranks to improve their Standard of Training.
Physical Training was also carried out. This included cross country runs and forced marches.
The majority of the Battalion made two Parachute Jumps during the month. One jump was made from a balloon and the other from a C-47 Aircraft on Exercise BIZZ II.
No Reinforcements were received from Canada this month although there were a few Officers and Other Ranks who transferred to the Battalion from other Canadian Units.
C-in-C 21st Army Group inspected this Unit on 8th March ,1944.
|PLACE||DATE||SUMMARY OF EVENTS AND INFORMATION|
|April||Tempo of training during the month was speeded up in preparation for the operation that everyone felt was not far away. Special Courses were given to various Companies including a street-fighting course in Southampton, and a swimming course in Yeovil Baths. The entire Battalion spent three days at Brighton under adverse weather conditions on Field Firing.|
A Corps Scheme "MUSH" was held on the 21st April, 1944, in which the 6th Airborne Division was pitted against the 1st Airborne Division. The Battalion performed very creditably on this Exercise.
The Battalion received a large number of reinforcements from Camp Shilo, Manitoba, Canada, and they were turned over to the Training Company.
The Battalion started to bring itself up to full War Establishment.
|PLACE||DATE||SUMMARY OF EVENTS AND INFORMATION|
|May||During the first three weeks of this month the Battalion was brought up to full War Establishment. A Brigade Scheme for the Intelligence Section, Exercise "LOOKOUT", was held on the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th of May, 1944. The Object of the Exercise was to give the Intelligence Section practice in Observation Post Work and to give them the latest information on the German Army in France.|
All equipment was checked and issued and it became very evident that the invasion day was near.
In the first two weeks the Commanding Officer and the Company Commanders, the Adjutant and the Intelligence Officer, were briefed on the forthcoming Operation and facilities were given to the Commanding Officer so that he could prepare his Operation Order and for the Company Commanders to study the various tasks that lay ahead of them.
On the 18th day of May the Intelligence Section proceeded to the Transit Camp. They were briefed and set to work preparing the models and enlargements necessary for the briefing of the Battalion.
On the 24th May, 1944, the Battalion left Bulford and arrived at the Transit Camp at Down Ampney where they were to remain confined to the Camp Area until they flew away to France.
The morale of all Ranks was extremely high and the men settled down to enjoy themselves while waiting. Games and entertainment were arranged by the Y.M.C.A. Supervisor.
The weather fortunately remained fire enabling All Ranks to take full advantage of these entertainments and the swimming parades that were arranged.
|PLACE||Date||SUMMARY OF EVENTS AND INFORMATION|
|1 Jun||Weather was clear and hot. All briefing tents and models were ready for the briefing which began today. Movie tonight in the Y.M.C.A. tent.|
|2 Jun||Weather clear and hot. Briefing continued. Brigade Commander commended the Intelligence Section on their Briefing preparations, Said "They were the best in the Division." Amateur concert big success.|
|3 Jun||Weather extremely hot. Briefing continues. All Ranks showing a keen and intelligent interest. A violent storm threatened to destroy models and enlargements in the briefing tents. Battalion proceeded to DOWN AMPNEY Airfield where they say their aircraft for the first time and drew and fitted their parachutes.|
|4 Jun||Weather fine. Church Parade in the morning. Aircraft crews came to the Camp where they were introduced to their sticks their planes were to carry. These R.A.F. crews came from every country of the Empire. Their calm certainty of dropping their sticks at the right time greatly reassured the men. Major-General Gale, G.O.C. 6th Airborne Division, spoke to the Battalion of its approaching tasks and wished it God-speed and good hunting.|
|5 Jun||Weather was cloudy with a light wind. All ranks ordered on enforced rest during the morning and the afternoon. Battalion was paraded at 1930 hours in full kit. All Ranks checked and inspected to see if escape kits were well hidden and that no incriminating documents were being carried. "C" Company then left for their airport. Remainder of the Battalion proceed to Down Ampney Airport where each stick reported to its respective Aircraft. Parachutes were put on and a short prayer was offered for the success of the mission. Battalion emplaned at 2245 hours and were Airborne at 2300 hours in C-47 Aircraft. "C" Company had emplaned at 2230 hours in Albermarles.|
|6 Jun||The initial stages of operation OVERLORD insofar as the 1st. Cdn. Parachute Battalion was concerned, were divided into three tasks. The protection of the left flank of the 9th Para Battalion in its approach march and attack on the MERVILLE battery 1577 was assigned to "A" Company. The blowing of two bridges over the RIVER DIVES at 1872 and 1972 and the holding of feature ROBEHOMME 1873 was assigned to "B" Company with under command one section of 3 Para Sqdn Engineers. The destruction of a German Signal Exchange 1675 and the destruction of bridge 186759 plus neutralization of enemy positions at VARRAVILLE 1875 was assigned to "C" Company.|
The Battalion was to drop on a DZ 1775 in the early hours of D Day, "C" Company dropping thirty minutes before the remainder of the Battalion to neutralize any opposition on the DZ. The Battalion emplaned at Down Ampney Airfield at 2250 hours on the 5th June, 1944. "C" Company travelled in Albermarles and the remainder of the Battalion in Dakotas (C-47). The flight was uneventful until reaching the French Coast when a certain amount of A.A. fire was encountered. Upon crossing the coast-line numerous fires could be seen which had been started by the R.A.F. bombers. Unfortunately the Battalion was dropped over a wide area, some sticks landing several miles from their appointed R.V.. This factor complicated matters but did not deter the Battalion from securing its first objectives.
Protection of Left Flank of 9 Para Bn - A Company
"A" Company was dropped at approximately 0100 hours on the morning of 6th June, 1944. Liuet. Clancy, upon reaching the Company R.V. found only two or three men of the company present. After waiting for further numbers, unsuccessfully, of the Company to appear, he deceived to recce the village of GONNEVILLE SUR-MERVILLE 1676. Taking two men he proceeded and penetrated the village but could find no sign of the enemy. He then returned to the Company R.V. which he reached at approximately 0600 hrs and found one other Officer and twenty Other Ranks of the Battalion and several men from other Brigade Units waiting. The entire body then moved off along the pre-arranged route to the MERVILLE battery. Encountering no other opposition enroute other than heavy R.A.F. Bombardment at GONNEVILLE SUR-MERBILLE. Upon completion of the 9th Battalion task the Canadian party acted first as a recce patrol to clear a chateau 1576 from which a German M.G. had been firing and then as a rear guard for the 9th Battalion withdrawal toward LE PLEIN 1375. The party left the battalion area (9th Battalion) at LE PLEIN at 0900 hours and reached the 1st Cdn. Para. Bn. position at LE MESNIL BAVENT cross roads 139729 at 1530 hours on the 6th June, 1944.
ROBEHOMME - "B" Company
Two platoons of "B" Company were dropped in the marshy ground south and west of ROBEHOMME. Elements of these platoons under Sgt. OUTHWAITE then proceeded toward the Company objective. Enroute they encountered Lieut. TOSELAND with other members of "B" Company making a total of thirty All Ranks. They were guided through the marshes and enemy minefields to the ROBEHOMME bridge by a French Woman. On arriving at the bridge they met Capt. D. GRIFFIN and a further thirty men from various sub-units of the Battalion, including mortars and vickers Platoons. MAJOR FULLER who had been there for some time had left in an attempt to locate Battalion Headquarters. Capt. GRIFFIN waited until 0630 hours for the R.E.'s who were to blow the bridge. As they failed to arrive explosives were collected from the men and the bridge successfully demolished.
A guard was left on the bridge and the main body withdrawn to ROBEHOMME hill. Although there were no enemy in the village there were several skirmishes with enemy patrols who were attempting to infiltrate through the village and some casualties were suffered by the Company. An O.P. was set up in the church spire. An excellent view was obtained the road from PONT DE VACAVILLE 2276 to VARRAVILLE. Artillery and infantry could be seen moving for many hour along this road from the East. It was particularly unfortunate they wireless communication could not be made with Bn. H.Q. as the subsequent fighting of the Battalion was carried out in such close country that observation of enemy movement was almost impossible.
At 1200 hrs on the 7th June, 1944, it was decided to recce the route to Bn. H.Q.. Upon the route being reported clear orders were issued for the party to prepare to join Bn. H.Q. Lieut. I. WILSON, Bn. I.O. came from LE MESNIL to guide the party back. Them move was made at 2330 hours, the strength of the party by this time being 150 All Ranks, the addition having been made by stragglers of various units who had reported in. The wounded were carried in a civilian car given by the cure, and a horse and cart given by a farmer. The route was BRIQUEVILLE 1872 to BAVENT road 169729, through the BOIS DE BAVENT and on to LE MESNIL cross roads. Near BRIQUEVILLE the lead platoon was challenged by enemy sentries. The Platoon opened fire killing seven and taking one prisoner. Shortly afterwards this same platoon was fortunate enough to ambush a German car which was proceeding along the road from BAVENT. Four German Officers were killed. Bn. Headquarters was reached at 0330 hours on the 8th June, 1944.
VARRAVILLE - "C" Company
The majority of "C" Company was dropped west of the RIVER DIVES, although some sticks were dropped a considerable distance away including one which landed west of the RIVER ORNE. Due to this confusion the Company did not meet at the R.V. as per-arranged but went into the assault on the Chateau and VARRAVILLE in separate parties. MAJOR McLEOD collected a Sgt. and seven O.R.'s and proceeded towards VARAVILLE. En route they were joined by a party under Lieut. WALKER. One of the Sgts. was ordered to take his platoon to take up defensive positions around the bridge that the R.E. sections were preparing to blow. This was done and the bridge was successfully demolished.
MAJOR McLEOD and Lieut. WALKER with the balance of the party then cleared the chateau and at the same time other personnel of "C" Company arrived from the DZ and cleared the gatehouse of the chateau. The gatehouse then came under enemy M.G. and mortar fire from the pill box situated in the grounds of the chateau. The pill-box also had a 75mm A/Tk. Gun. The whole position was surrounded by wire, mines and weapon pits. MAJOR McLEOD, Lieut. WALKER and fire O.R.'s went to the top floor of the gatehouse to fire on the pillbox with a P.I.A.T. the enemy 75 mm A/Tk. Gun returned the fire and the shot detonated the P.I.A.T. ammunition. Lieut. WALKER, CPL. OIKLE, PTES. JOWETT and NUFIELD were killed and MAJOR McLEOD and PTE. BISMUK fatally wounded. PTES. DOCKER and SYLVESTER evacuated these casualties under heavy fire. CAPT. HANDON, 2 i/c of "C" Company was slightly wounded and his batman killed while proceeding to report to the Brigade Commander who had arrived in the village from the area in which he dropped. "C" Company, together with elements of Brigade H.Q. and the R.E.'s took up defensive positions around the village and a further party encircled the pill-box in order to contain the enemy. A further party of "C" Company under Lieut. McGOWAN who had been dropped some distance from the DZ arrived in VARAVILLE in time to catch two German Infantry Sections who were attempting to enter the town. Lieut. McGOWAN's platoon opened fire causing casualties and the remainder of the enemy surrendered. This platoon took up firing positions firing on the enemy pill-box. "C" Company H.Q. which was located in the church yard pinned an enemy section attempting to advance in a bomb crater killing at least three. The chateau was evacuated by our troops and left as a dressing station. An enemy patrol re-entered the chateau and captured the wounded including Capt. BREBNER, the Unit M.O., and C.S.M. Blair of "B" Company. This patrol although attacked by our own troops managed to escape with their prisoners.
Heavy enemy Mortar Fire and sniping was brought to bear on our positions from the woods surrounding VARAVILLE. During this time the local inhabitants were of great assistance, the women dressing wounds and the men offering assistance in any way. One Frenchman in particular distinguished himself. Upon being given a red beret and a rifle he killed three German Snipers. This man subsequently guided the Brigade Commander and his party towards LE MESNIL. Although it is believed that he was a casualty of the bombing attack that caught this party enroute to LE MESNIL.
At approximately 1030 hours the enemy pill-box surrendered. Forty-two (42) prisoners were taken and four of our own men who had been captured were released. From 1230 hours on artillery fire was brought to bear on VARAVILLE from the high ground east of the RIVER DIVES. At 1500 hours cycle troops of the 6th Commando arrived and at 1730 hours on 6 June, 1944, "C" Company proceeded to the Bn. area at LE MESNIL. The german prisoners giving evident satisfaction to the Frence population enroute.
VICKERS PLATOON - Initial Stages
The Vickers platoon was dropped in four sticks of ten or eleven each being a total of forty-one (41) All Ranks. For the first time their M.G.'s were carried in kit bags, a number of which tore away and were lost.
The Platoon was dropped over a wide area, a part of them joining "C" Company's attack on VARAVILLE, part joining "B" Company at ROBEHOMME and part joining Bn. H.Q. Casualties on the drop totalled twelve missing and three wounded. One of the missing, PTE. PHIPPS, was identified in a photo in a German newspaper found on a P.W. After the initial Company task had been accomplished the platoon was deployed to the Companies as single gun detachments or as Sections.
MORTAR PLATOON - Initial Stages
The Mortar Platoon was dropped over a wide area and suffered very heavy loss in equipment due to kit bags breaking away and a great majority of the men landing in marshy ground. As the platoon dropped they attached themselves to the nearest company they could find and assisted in the capture of the objectives. One detachment commander landed on top of the German pill-box at VARAVILLE. He was made prisoner and spent the rest of the time in the pill-box until the Germans surrendered to "C" Company. A point of interest was that the P.I.A.T. Bombs did definite damage to the interior of the pill-box and had a very towering effect upon the morale of the defenders.
Some of the Mortar Platoon which joined "B" Company at ROBEHOMME were detailed to guard the approaches to the destroyed bridge. Three enemy lorries full of infantry appeared on the other side of the bridge. The guard opened fire knocking out one truck killing most of its occupants. The other two lorries were able to withdraw. One of our own men who was a prisoner in the lorry was able to make good his escape.
Upon the detachments arriving at LE MESNIL they were re-grouped as a platoon and given three mortars which had arrived by sea. These mortars were set up in position in the brickworks where they engaged the enemy.
BATTALION HEAD QUARTERS - Initial Stages
The Commanding Officer, 2 i/c, Signals Officer and Intelligence Officer and a small portion of the Battalion Headquarters together with elements of 224 Para Fd. Ambulance and other Brigade Units met at the Battalion R.V. in the early hours of the morning of 6th June, 1944. The Signals Officer was detailed to look after the Enemy Signal Exchange near the R.V.. He went into the house and found a certain amount of Signals equipment which he destroyed but he found no Germans. The Intelligence Officer set out with two men to recce VARAVILLE and bring back a report of the situation. In the Battalion Headquarters meantime the party moved off to LE MESNIL taking with them many scattered elements including a 6 Pdr. A/Tk. Gun and crew. Upon reaching the Chateau 1574 they encountered part of the Brigade Headquarters. The party there upon split into unit parties and continued until they reached the orchards 141729 where they came under heavy sniping fire from nearby houses. This fire caused several casualties including one Officer. The enemy were forced to withdraw from the buildings after an attack by the party. The party reach the Battalion area at approximately 1100 hours on 6th June, 1944.
|7 Jun||In the early hours of the morning German infantry of the 857 amd 858 Grenadier Regiments supported by S.P. Guns and a number of Mk. IV Tanks attacked "B" and "C" Companies positions. Our mortars in the brickworks were given an ideal target as the German infantry formed up in close groups along a road in the apparent belief that we possessed no mortars. Heavy casualties were inflicted on the enemy and the main force of the attack broken, however casualties were inflicted on our own Battalion by the S.P. Guns and tanks. One tank penetrated to within one hundred yards of the "C" Company position but withdrew before the P.I.A.T.'s could fire effectively on it. Some of the enemy infantry also attempted to assault our forward positions but were driven off. It was learned later from P.W.'s that the object of the German attack was to secure the brickworks and cross roads at LE MESNIL. The rest of the day was quiet save for activity by enemy snipers.|
|8 Jun||"B" Company party returned from ROBEHOMME at 0230 hours and were a welcome addition to the Battalion strength. It was decided to clear the enemy from buildings at 144730 to neutralize the harassing fire which was coming from that position. Recce patrols went out from "C" Company early in the morning and confirmed the presence of enemy in the buildings. At 0900 hours CAPT. P. GRIFFIN with Company Headquarters and 2 platoons from "B" Company, strength of seventy-five (75), went into the assault on the position with the support of a naval bombardment.|
The party was split into two sections, the main body consisting of Capt. P. GRIFFIN and one and one half platoons assaulting the position from the front. The balance of Company Headquarters and the remainder were to go to the BAVENT road east of the objective to protect the flank. There were six to eight enemy M.G.'s in the hedge in front of the objective. These positions were abandoned as the assault party went it. The crews withdrawing to positions behind the hose. A small number of the enemy were found in the house and adequately dealt with. The enemy launched an immediate counter-attack and were caught in the crossfire of the assault party that had withdrawn to the hedge in front of the houses and the flank protection party was still moving along the edge of the orchard 145727 toward the BAVENT road. PTES. GEDDES and NAVAL with a Bren gun and a snipers rifle killed approximately twenty-five Germans. Total enemy casualties for this engagement were reckoned as approximately fifty dead and an unknown number wounded. "B" Company then withdrew to a hedgerow 141726 that continued to form a forward line of their position.
Later in the afternoon an enemy attack was launched against our left but was driven off by mortar and small arms fire. However they left snipers in the trees and hedgerows who were a nuisance factor until winkled out in the course of the next few days.
|9 Jun||Weather was fine. Enemy patrols were active along the Battalion front. Snipers who had infiltrated into the woods near our positions continued to be a nuisance factor. The Battalion sent out patrols both to recce the enemy positions and to deal with these snipers. The bulk of the Battalion had their first opportunity to secure some rest.|
|10 Jun||Weather continued to be fine and constant patrolling was maintained by the Battalion. During the day the enemy formed up on the glider field for an attack against the Brigade area but this attack was broken up by our artillery and M.M.G.'s before it got under way. Battalion position was shelled and machine gunned by the enemy at intervals during the day.|
|11 Jun||Weather continued fine. Enemy made probing attacks along the Battalion front but were driven back and suffered casualties. During the evening two patrols were sent out. One supported one section of R.E.'s went into BAVENT to recce the village and lay booby traps. The other was to go to VARAVILLLE and blow up the bridge that had been repaired by the Germans. "C" Company provided the patrol for BAVENT. They entered the village, laid booby traps and withdrew without making contact with the enemy. The patrol for VARAVILLE was provided by "A" Company, shortly after leaving our forward positions they contacted the enemy along the LE MESNIL - VARAVILLE road and were pinned down by heavy fire and eventually had to withdraw back to Company line.|
|12 Jun||Weather continued fine. Battalion Headquarters moved position to the brickworks across the road. Shelling and mortaring continued. Standing patrol was sent by "A" Company to CHATEAU 147735. This patrol captured an enemy artillery O.P. and ambushed a car containing a Gestapo Officer, Propaganda Officer, a Sergeant and a driver. The Propaganda Officer was brought in as a P.W. and the remainder were killed. Among the documents carried by the Officer was a list of British and Canadian P.W. Among them were the names of Liet. COTE and Sgt. BREEN.|
"C" Company sent a fighting patrol into BAVENT to obtain further information about enemy disposition. The enemy were found to be too numerous for the patrol to deal with having been reinforced during the night. The patrol withdrew without making contact.
|13 Jun||Weather continued fine. During the night a "B" Company patrol ambushed and killed the occupants of a VOLSWAGEN. Upon searching the car they found that one of the officers was a paymaster with 38,000 francs in his possession. In addition the car contained one days rations for one of the forward enemy companies.|
"A" Company standing patrol at the CHATEAU returned to Battalion lines and reported that an enemy force of approximately two companies strength was forming up for an attack on "A" Company lines. Our artillery was quickly brought into action and laid down a heavy and successful concentration in the middle of the enemy F.V.P. inflicting heavy casualties and completely breaking up the attack.
|14 Jun||Weather still continues fine. Battalion continued patrolling activities along its front making little contacts with the enemy. Very little shelling on either side.|
|15 Jun||Weather broke. Sky overcast and slight rain. Heavy enemy artillery and mortar concentration was put down on our lines at 0430 hours and lasted until 1000 hours. At conclusion of this fire and enemy attack was launched on "" Company lines supported by several tanks which was driven off after heavy fighting.|
|16 Jun||Weather continues the same. Sporadic shelling and mortaring during the day. Otherwise there was little or no activity.|
|17 Jun||Weather fine. Brigade relieved by the 5th Para Brigade and Battalion moved back to area RANVILLE 1173. No enemy activity in this area except for occasional planes at night.|
|18 Jun||Weather continued fine. Men enjoying their first real rest since D Day. Only enemy activity is occasional shelling of the main road that runs through RANVILLE.|
|19 Jun||Weather fine. Battalion continues to rest and infrequent shells from the enemy landed in the village.|
|20 Jun||Weather hot. Battalion moved at 1000 hours to a rest area by the RIVER ORNE 1176. Battalion dug in by the evening as the area is occasionally shelled by heavy German guns from HOULGATE.|
|21 Jun||Weather hot. Battalion started to clean up and draw fresh clothes from their big packs. Bathing parties were organized in the RIVER ORNE.|
|22 Jun||Weather continues fine. Parties organized for visits to the Army Cinema at LUC SUR MER and sight seeing tours around the beaches at QUISTREHAM.|
|23 Jun||Weather continues fine. Parties from the Battalion continue visits to cinema and beaches. Lt. General CRERAR visited the Battalion area.|
|24 Jun||Weather continued fine. Enemy places were overhead during the day and night but caused no damage.|
|25 Jun||Weather fine. The Battalion moved at 1000 hour back to the crossroads at LE MESNIL and took up positions relieving the 13th Battalion with two companies forward and one in reserve. Battalion Headquarters in the former positions and mortars were combined with the 9th Battalion firing from behind the brickyard.|
|26 Jun||Weather very wet with steady rain throughout the entire day. Enemy mortaring and shelling our positions at intervals during the day. Battalion conducting a vigorous patrolling programme. The reason - to pin point all enemy positions.|
|27 Jun||The weather today was quite warm with an occasional light fall of rain. It was decided to reinforce the "B" Company standing patrol by sending out a platoon and having the engineers make a strong point of the buildings on that location. During the procedure of this work enemy mortars and snipers kept up a harassing fire resulting in the death of PTE. MOHRING, "A" Company, by shrapnel and the wounding of several others. Enemy snipers accounted for one wounded man.|
At 1200 hours the Brigade Commander informed the Commanding Officer that the identification and location of enemy units was very unsatisfactory. As a result plans were made for an attack on a known enemy headquarters in an attempt to take prisoners and locate M.G. and mortar positions. The raid on the buildings was put in at 2330 hours by the 8th Battalion on our right with covering fire supplied by "A" and "B" Companies of this Battalion. The raid proved very successful and much knowledge was gained. Our casualties were one Officer and One O.R. slightly wounded. The remainder of the night proved very quiet.
|28 Jun||R.E.'s were again active and fortifying "B" Company forward position. Intermittent shelling and mortaring kept the Battalion on alert throughout the day. Forward O.P.'s reported that there were definite enemy strong points and road blocks being erected in front of our positions. At 1200 hours enemy artillery (S.P.'s) opened fire on "B" Company strong point. Several minor casualties were reported and dealt with by the R.A.P.. The remainder of the afternoon proved quiet with only minor patrol activity. At approximately 1800 hours PTE. KING, P.I.A.T. Platoon was killed and one man wounded when a lone enemy shell landed near them. The Brigade Commander along with the Battalion Commander made an inspection of the trenches. An enemy shell landing in the Battalion Headquarters area wounded the Battalion Intelligence Officer as well as the Signal Sergeant and two other ranks; A visiting R.E. Capt. was killed by another shell later in the same area. The Battalion mortar battery has been very effective in using counter-fire. As the country does not allow long vision O.P.'s find it difficult to observe fire with the result that ranging must be done by sound and map reference.|
|29 Jun||At 0530 hours in the morning "B" Company forward position received a terrific bust of fire from a 75mm gun firing at approximately 200 yards range using a flat trajectory. Several hits were scored on our position before counterfire could be brought to bear. The enemy appeared to be using A.P. Ammunition as they pierced the buildings and exploded beyond. SGT. MIDDLETON of the mortar platoon was seriously wounded by shrapnel. No other casualties were caused. Battalion mortars ranged on the enemy gun and a continuous barrage of mortar fire forced the enemy to cease fire and take cover. Artillery support was called up and a heavy concentration was laid on the enemy gun. The gun withdrew under fire. Work was carried out on the building defense positions and laying wire. Enemy fire was at a minimum during the day. R.E. party completed laying the flares (trip). Towards last light around 2200 hours a barrage of enemy mortar and artillery fire was laid on and around this battalion position followed by an attack concentrated on our right flank.|
|30 Jun||Infantry infiltrated through the right but were turned back after a series of sharp encounters. At 0200 hours a second attempt was made to breach our lines but met with no success. Our casualties for the day were twelve wounded and one killed. SGT. MIDDLETON died of wounds. After first light this morning the situation was quieter and up till noon the only activity was an exchange of mortar fire. "A" Company which up until the present had been held in reserve moved up and relieved "B" Company which had been holding the difficult forward position in the houses. Mortar fire on this position caused several casualties among "A" Company personnel. None were serious. Occasional rain made the day mizzerable for those on duty in the open. The remainder of the proved comparatively quiet.|
On the whole the men are in good spirits, earnestly looking forward to the day when they will return to England for a few days leave. Food is good but becoming monotonous after living on Compo ration for nearly a month. Letters and parcels arrive regularly and quickly and fair facilities for writing have been in order.
"C" Company moved a platoon forward to the position formerly occupied by a standing patrol. During the hours of darkness work was carried on by "A" and "C" Companies, laying wire and trip flares.
|PLACE||DATE||SUMMARY OF EVENTS AND INFORMATION|
|1 Jul||Dominion Day in the 1st. Cdn. Parachute Battalion was begun by a series of mortar exchanges. Several heavy artillery shells landed in the Battalion area at approx. 0400 hours. They landed in twos and threes at approx. one-half hour intervals. Stand to was called at 0430 hours. At 0510 hours what was believed to be a 75mm A/Tk. gun opened fire on the house in "A" Company postion. A.P. Shot was used and between fifteen and twenty rounds were fired piercing the building. Mortar bombs were dropped by the enemy in hopes that men might be caught escaping. The unit mortar battery soon replied and brought fire to bear on the enemy gun until artillery support fire forced the gun to withdraw. No casualties were caused among our troops but a Vickers gun was damaged.|
|2 Jul||At 0200 hours several mortar bombs fell in the area of Battalion Headquarters. No casualties were caused but an R.E. stores was set on fire. Quick work by Battalion Headquarters personnel prevented further explosions and damage to nearby buildings. The ever alert cable crews repaired major lines in the darkness and the remainder of the morning. From stand to in the morning throughout the whole day proved to be the quietest since landing. An unfortunate and careless accident resulted in PTE. SPISAK of the Vickers Platoon receiving a rifle shot through both knees.|
|3 Jul||Companies continued to occupy their new positions without opposition from the enemy. Slight mortaring and shelling along the Battalion front occured during the afternoon. Rain stopped and the weather improved.|
|4 Jul||Weather cloudy with slight rain. The Battalion was relieved at 1100 hours by he 13th Para Battalion and marched back to the Divisional Rest Area on the RIVER ORNE.|
|5-11 Jul||The Battalion spent this week in cleaning up and resting after the tour of duty in the line. The weather was fine and full advantage was taken of the bathing facilities in the river, and in the CAEN canal. There were facilities for the men to see the landing beaches at OUISTREHAM and cinema shows were provided in the nearby town of LUC-SUR-MER. There was no enemy activity in the rest area apart from sporadic shelling and occasional air raids at night. On the two or three occasions when enemy aircraft appeared during the daytime in attempts to ground strafe they were quickly driven off by the fire of the A.A. guns that were heavily concentrated around the crossings of the river and canal. A Spitfire, damaged in a dog-fight, crash landed in the area narrowly missing a mine field on 10th July, 1944. The pilot was rescued with slight injuries by member of the Battalion.|
The Battalion strength was increased by seven Officers and one hundred O.R.'s who were sent from the C.B.R. Battalion. Although non-parachutists, these Officers and O.R.'s were an exceedingly welcome addition to the fighting strength of the Battalion.
|12-19 Jul||The weather continued to be very fine and the Battalion enjoyed a thorough rest and its progress toward a complete mental and physical recovery was aided by rumors that the Division was shortly to return to England to reform and refit.|
During this period enemy shelling and air raids continued without causing any casualties. The pilot of an American Thunderbolt which crashed in the mudflats in the mouth of the river ORNE was rescued by SGT. R.H.MORGAN of this Battalion and a Pte. from the Commandos. The pilot who had bailed out of his plane and broken his leg on landing was at the time of his rescue under heavy mortar and M.G. fire from the isolated German strong point at the mouth of the river ORNE.
During this period extra pontoon bridges were placed across the River and the Canal and as the new approaches to these bridges led through the Battalion Headquarters area, it was found necessary to move and dig fresh slit trenches. The slight annoyance caused by the extra digging was dissipated when the masses of armour and troops began to pour across the River and Canal in the big push south.
|20 Jul||Rained heavily all day, flooding slit trenches and soaking all equipment. At 1530 hours the Battalion was informed that it would be returning to the line.|
|21 Jul||Battalion moved to new position in BOIS DE BAVENT 1471. Heavy rain continued and all fields and roads were covered in deep mud. This Battalion relieved the 12th DEVONS in the new area and as all slit trenches were flooded new ones had to be dug. Heavy shelling by artillery on both sides continued all evening and night. Battalion was issued with its first rum ration.|
|22 Jul||Rain continued. Two soldiers from 858 Grenadier Regiment deserted and came through Battalion lines. One was killed by fire from our forward positions and the other passed happily rearwards towards captivity. Remainder of the day was quiet. Battalion M.O. was assigned the task of Brigade C.M.O..|
|23 Jul||Rain ceased although the sky continued to be overcast. The counter Mortar work proved successful in the first day of operation, retaliatory fire being brought to bear on enemy mortars on an average of three minutes after firing on our position.|
Second in command of this Battalion, MAJOR J.A.NICKLIN and one O.R. were evacuated with wounds.
|24 Jul||No rain and weather clearing. Occasional enemy mortar and shellfire came over with the usual reply from our artillery and mortars. Enemy aircraft raided the Brigade area during the night dropping A/P bombs but causing no casualties in the Battalion.|
G.O.C Division paid a visit of inspection to the Battalion Area.
|25 Jul||Weather clear and sun shining. Usual enemy mortar and shellfire and occasional M.G. fire on fixed lines. Our rocket Aircraft were active during the evening apparently strafing targets in the vicinity of BURES.|
|26 Jul||Enemy aircraft attacked the Battalion Area and vicinity in the early hours of the morning dropping heavy and A/P bombs. No casualties were suffered although several close misses were registered. Fires were started in dumps to our rear. The weather was again clear with a strong wind. Enemy shelling and mortaring was at a minimum.|
|27 Jul||Battalion was relieved by the 8th Para Battalion and returned to the RIVER ORNE rest area, arriving at 1300 hours. Remainder of the day was spent cleaning.|
|28 Jul||A dull sky cleared around noon. Unit spent the day removing mud from clothing and equipment. Slight enemy air activity over the area during the night but no bombs were dropped.|
|29 Jul||Weather very warm. Battalion occupied itself washing and resting. A rumour again spread abroad that the Division was to return to England to reform and refit, and at that within the next two or three days.|
|30 Jul||Sky overcast but weather warm. Church parades were held in the morning and bathing parties in the afternoon.|
|31 Jul||At 0430 hours orders were received for the Unit to return to the line. At 0900 hours that Battalion moved off along track FIR to area triangle 148705 in the BOIS DE BAVENT relieving the ARGYLL AND SUTHERLAND HIGHLANDERS of the 51st HIGHLAND DIVISION. The enemy opposite were our old acquaintances of the 858 and 857 GRENADIER REGIMENTS of the 346th INFANTRY DIVISION. Enemy Aircraft dropped A/P bombs in the Brigade area during the night causing no casualties in the Battalion.|
|PLACE||DATE||SUMMARY OF EVENTS AND INFORMATION|
|1 Aug||Weather fine and clear. Enemy mortar fire on our positions during the day appeared more accurate than usual and any movement of M.T. along roads to our rear brought immediate shell or mortar fire.|
|2 Aug||Weather is fine. Battalion resumed patrolling activities in an attempt to confirm enemy positions on our front. Enemy mortar fire continued with our mortars replying immediately, otherwise little signs of activity from the enemy apart from occasional bursts of M.G. fire and enemy aircraft at night.|
|3 Aug||Weather fine. Our two forward companies engaged in digging platoon position in front (approximately 50 yards) of main company lines. Accurate enemy mortar fire continued and the Brigade Commander ordered a heavy artillery shoot on the enemy during the evening.|
|4 Aug||Weather fine. Reports were received that the enemy might be preparing to move out of his positions and plans were made to persure him. Enemy mortar was augmented by artillery fire and he developed the habit of shelling the cook-house at meal times. The Battalion is patrolling steadily and contacts have been made with the enemy.|
|5 Aug||Weather fine. Day quiet except for usual exchange of Mortar fire.|
|6 Aug||Weather fine. Patrolling continued during the night but little fresh information could be obtained. Enemy mortaring continued. Their bombs landing accurately on our positions. Enemy artillery battery also sent over several salvos during the day.|
|7 Aug||Weather fine. Mortaring and shelling continued. Propaganda broadcast was arranged during the night in an attempt to obtain deserters so that identifications could be made. Several deserters came in to the units on our right and left.|
|8 Aug||Weather fine. Shelling and mortaring continued otherwise there was no activity.|
|9 Aug||Weather fine. Shelling and mortaring continued. No indication could be obtained that the enemy was preparing to move out.|
|10 Aug||Weather during the day was very nice. It was very quiet during the early part of the day. Enemy dropped the odd mortar bombs and shells in the evening. A recce patrol under LIEUT. STEVENS went out from "A" Company at 1900 hours. Patrol recced a suspected enemy Headquarters but found it unoccupied. The patrol returned at 2100 hours. Reinforcements arrived from England for this Unit and were split up among the companies. More reinforcements expected to arrive in the next few days.|
|11 Aug||"A" Company went out two patrols during the day. The first patrol under Capt. CLANCY went deep into enemy lines, and reported that enemy seemed to have moved back. The second patrol was an ambush patrol which left "A" Company lines at 1830 hours. It moved to 145704 - 1/25000 Dozule sheet. Patrol heard enemy mortar and L.M.G. fire but did not see or hear enemy movement. Patrol returned to "A" Company at 2200 hours.|
Battalion Headquarters was heavily shelled in the afternoon. There were no casualties thirty-nine reinforcements arrived for this unit. Nine Officers and 30 Other Ranks.
|12 Aug||There were four patrols sent out. Three from "A" Company and one from "C" Company. "A" Company sent our 2 ambush patrols and one Recce. The ambush patrols were commanded by SGT. PARKER and SGT. EVANS. "C" Company sent out Recce patrol. Conclusions from these patrols proved that the enemy is not withdrawing from its positions. The enemy sends out patrols of 10 to 15 men which come fairly close to our lines. It was quiet during the early part of the day. Battalion Headquarters advance area was heavily shelled at 1800 hours. Enemy sent down two salvos of approximately twenty rounds in each salvo. It was fairly quiet the rest of the day. The weather was very clear and hot all day.|
|13 Aug||Patrols were sent out by "A" Company and "C" Company. "B" Company patrol under Capt. HILBORN met five enemy personnel. Three of them were walking toward our lines and are believe to have surrendered to the 9th Pata Bn. Standing Patrol under Cpl. THOMPSON went to CHATEAU at 14487030. They did not hear or see the enemy. Enemy shelled Battalion Headquarters Administration area at 1800 hours. Enemy brought down two salvos of approximately twenty rounds per salvo. Outside of this shelling it was very quiet. The weather was very clear and hot.|
|14 Aug||Patrols were sent out from all companies. "A" Company under Sgt. EVANS. The patrol left at 0600 hours and went to the CHATEAU at 14487030 and waited to ambush the enemy till 1000 hours. No enemy were seen during that time. The patrol heard enemy sawing and chopping wood. "B" Company recce patrol under LIEUT. SUTHERLAND. This patrol recced area 143705 to 145709 and did not see any enemy. "C" Compnay sent out ambush patrol under SGT. KELLY. This patrol took up positions 143708 to 145706. No enemy were seen. Enemy M.G. fire heard from CHATEAU at 14487030 at a bearing of 75 degrees M.A.G.. Very clear and warm during the day. The odd mortar bomb dropped in "B" Company positions. Battalion Headquarters was mortared in the evening.|
|15 Aug||Enemy bombers were active on our front. The enemy bombed to the south of our positions. "A" Company had a standing patrol and an ambush patrol The standing patrol was at the CHATEAU at 14487030. The ambush patrol was at 143705. "C" Company had an ambush patrol at 143706. No enemy were seen or heard. Ten men from this unit went to the 6th A/B Division Leave Camp. There were allotments for E.N.S.A. show. There was also a bath parade for the personnel of this Unit. Battalion position was mortared and shelled during the day.|
|16 Aug||Clear all day. Enemy shelled and mortared out positions. Patrols were sent out in the afternoon and the evening. Patrols reported that no enemy were encountered and it looked as though he was pulling out. In the evening orders were received that the Unit would advance on the following day. When the advance was to start was not definite. Enemy aircraft were active during the night.|
|17 Aug||Clear weather all day. At 0800 hours Companies started to advance through the BOIS DE BAVENT. No enemy were encountered in the wood. "B" Company was delayed in their move by mines and booby traps. "A" Company encountered enemy at PLAIN LUGAN 2072. Battalion Headquarters rear party moved to new positions (PLAIN LUGAN) in the afternoon. There was very little shelling of our new positions during the night.|
|18 Aug||Battalion spent the night and all that day at PLAIN LUGAN. During the day ordered were received that this Unit was to attack four bridges at 2372 and 2371. This Unit left PLAIN LUGAN at 2030 hours. Forming up time was at 2130 hours. F.O.P. was at crossroads 2271. Zero hours was to be at 2145 hours. Attack went in at Zero plus three minutes. "A" Company captured their bridge intact at 2300 hours. Bridge named CANADA BRIDGE. Considering the task, casualties were very light. During the night and the following morning approximately one hundred and fifty prisoners of war were taken. Battalion held all four bridges all night. There was no shelling or mortaring of our positions. Weather clear all day.|
|19 Aug||Clear during the day. All personnel dug in. Companies were in defensive positions. All German equipment that he left behind was picked up and sent to Division. "A" Company positions was shelled heavily by S.P. Gun and a few casualties were caused. Battalion Headquarters was shelled in the morning with one casualty resulting. "B" Company position shelled in the afternoon and a few casualties resulted. Enemy aircraft were active over our area at night a few bombs dropped but no damage was caused.|
|20 Aug||Clear all day started to rain in the late evening. "A" Company position was shelled in the morning but no damage was done. There was no other activity during the day.|
|21 Aug||It rained hard all morning. At 1015 hours this Battalion started to move forward. During the advance the enemy shelled the road heavily. The enemy also used rockets. No enemy resistance met until the evening. A strong force of enemy was met at LA VALLE TANTOT 4101. At that point the enemy used 81 cm mortars and S.P. guns. Battalion stayed at this position until 0800 hours 22nd August, 1944.|
|22 Aug||Enemy retreated during the night. This Unit move to one Kilometer from BOURBEC. All personnel washed and rested all day. At 1730 hours orders were received to get ready to advance to PONT L'EVEQUE. At 1600 hour BRIGADIER HILL visited our Positions and told us to be ready to move on two hours notice.|
|23 Aug||Clear all day. All personnel on two hours notice to move forward. LIEUT. GENERAL STUART visited Battalion Headquarters. LIEUT. COLONEL BRADBROOKE returned to take a position in the General Staff. MAJOR EADIE assumed temporary command of this Unit. 1430 hour Battalion "O" Group was informed that a parachute jump was to be made behind enemy lines by the 3rd PARA BRIGADE. The Jump was definitely cancelled at 0100 hours 24 August, 1944.|
|24 Aug||Unit embussed in lorries and move at 1015 hours to VAUVILLE and from there marched to TOURGEVILLE. The Battalion stopped and had a meal. Left TOURGEVILLE at 1430 hours and marched to ST. GATIN & ST. CROXFORD. PTE. BLANCHARD went to ST. GATIN on a motorbike and on arriving there seven Germans ran out of the buildings and surrendered. While marching into the tow a German S.P. Gun fired eight rounds but no casualties were caused by this shelling. The Unit stopped until 0800 hours the next day. Very rainy day. The Battalion slept the night in the town.|
|25 Aug||Unit started to move at 0800 hours. No enemy met along the advance. At 1000 hours this Battalion arrived at 621080 and remained at that position until 1900 hours. Commandos and the 6th Para Battalion ran into strong enemy position. He kept the roads covered with heavy M.G. fire. At 1900 hours ordered were received to move along enemy's left flank and proceed to MON MOUGER 664122. Battalion stayed at 122103 overnight. One casualty was caused by sniper with a rifle grenade. SGT. McPHEE was the casualty.|
|26 Aug||Battalion moved at 0300 hours and arrived at 664122 at 0745 hours. Companies took up defensive positions but no enemy were seen. All personnel were given sleeping quarters in buildings on the farms and others slept in the open. No enemy were seen during the whole day.|
|27 Aug||Clear day. Unit given twenty-four hours rest. The Administration from the rear area arrived at 1000 hours. Large packs were given to personnel. Very quiet during the day.|
|28 Aug||Clear all day. Twenty-five percent of the personnel were allowed in BEUZEVILLE which was a small town about three kilometres from our position.|
|29 Aug||Clear all day. Battalion resting at the same position. A further twenty-five percent of the men were again allowed to go to BEUZEVILLE. No activity during the day.|
|30 Aug||Rain during the day. All personnel confined to the Battalion area. Battalion resting. Personnel informed about the move back to England on 6th September, 1944.|
|31 Aug||Rained all day. Very windy. Confined to Barracks ruling lifted and again twenty-five percent of men were allowed in BEUZEVILLE again. Remainder of the Battalion were resting. Preparations were being made for the return to England.|
|PLACE||DATE||SUMMARY OF EVENTS AND INFORMATION|
|1 Sep||Rain all day. Twenty-five percent of the personnel allowed in town. Battalion resting. All non-parachutists returned to C.G.R.U.|
|2 Sep||Rain and very windy in the evening. 5 Officers and 85 Other Ranks arrived from England to reinforce this Unit. All Ranks warned to prepare to move to a new area.|
|3 Sep||Battalion marched from MON MOUGER at 0830 hours to the new area south of Brigade arriving at 1045 hours. Large Packs and equipment were carried in jeeps.|
|4 Sep||Rain during the evening. Battalion marched in full marching order to embussing area and when T.C.V's arrived at 1100 hours personnel boarded by 1115 hours and moved to Concentration area No. 60 arriving there at 1630 hours. All personnel were issued with one blanket and allowed to leave the area until 2200 hours.|
|5 Sep||Very cloudy all day. Reveille at 0630 hours. Breakfast 0815 to 0845 hours. Blankets rolled and turned in to Ordnance but as movement was cancelled they were again drawn.|
|6 Sep||Reveille at 0600 hours. Battalion moved to the docks at 0730 hours, boarded the ship at 1000 hours and sailed at 1115 hours. The Isle of Wight was sighted at 1545 hours. Ship dropped anchor in harbor at 2045 hours and no personnel went ashore.|
|7 Sep||Moved to docks by boat at 0700 hours. Arrived there at 0830 hours. Disembarked at 1145 hours. RASC served a hot meal and lunch for the train was issued. Y.M.C.A. issued cigarettes and matches. Entrained at 1215 hours and arrived at Bulford at 1545 hours. A very nice meal was served by Training Company cooks and there was a show in the evening in the Y.M.C.A. All personnel were paid two pounds.|
|8 Sep||No early reveille. Breakfast at 0800 hours. Medical inspection at 1330 hours. Clothing parades in the afternoon and a show in the evening, very well attended. French money was exchanged into Pounds Sterling in the evening.|
|9 Sep||No special parades. Men free to leave camp in the afternoon. Personnel that turned in Francs were paid in the afternoon.|
|10 Sep||Clear all day. Voluntary church parade. Pay parade in the afternoon held by companies. Personnel free to go to town. Show in the evening.|
|11 Sep||Reveille at 0530 hours. Personnel were issued with travelling warrants and passes. All personnel were inspected and marched to the Railway Station. Train to Scotland at 0630 hours, Train to London at 0730 hours. Train to the Midlands at 0830 hours.|
|12 - 24 Sep||Battalion on leave.|
|25 Sep||Clear and cold. Battalion parade at 0830 hours. Preparations being made to commence training. Nothing special.|
|26 Sep||Clear and cold all day. First parade at 0800 hours. Special parade for all personnel for Lt. Col. Nicklin. Standing Orders were laid down by Lt.Col. J.A.Nicklin on this parade.|
|27 Sep||General training for all personnel. Fair weather during the day. Physical training for the whole battalion in the afternoon.|
|28 Sep||Cloudy and attempting to rain. General training for all personnel. A movie was shown in the Y.M.C.A. in the evening and was well attended.|
|29 Sep||Cool and cloudy. General training by all Companies. Pay Parade in the afternoon.|
|30 Sep||Clear and warm all day. General training during the morning with inoculation parade, Muster Parade and Physical Training for the afternoon.|
|PLACE||DATE||SUMMARY OF EVENTS AND INFORMATION||REFERENCES TO APPENDICES|
|1 Oct||Clear during the whole day. A voluntary church parade was held for the R.C. personnel and a compulsory Parade for the Protestant personnel of this Unit. Personnel were allowed in the neighboring towns in the afternoon and evening. A muster Parade was held by Headquarters Company included in which was an inspection.|
|2 Oct||Clear during the day. N.C.O's School started today. Eighty men from this Unit were scheduled to make a Parachute Jump with Kit-Bags today but owing to the shortage of Aircrew the Jump was postponed. Bde. Orders Group, Exercise "FOG", was held at 1015-1115 hours and was attended by O.C., 2-i/c, Adjt. and the I.O..||app 6|
|3 Oct||Clear all day. Bn. Int Sec was preparing enlargements for Exercise. Eighty men from this Unit made a Parachute descent today with Kit-Bags. 10 men were taken from each Company and the remainder were taken from the Specialist Platoons. N.C.O's School continues. Show "CARAVAN" arranged by the Y.M.C.A. was here in the evening and was well attended and much enjoyed. Muster Parade for Headquarters Company followed by the briefing of the entire Battalion on Exercise "FOG" by the Commanding Officer, Lieut.Col. J.A.Nicklin.||app 13|
|4 Oct||Cloudy and cool with slight showers. Company Commanders were briefed by the Commanding Officer at 1330 hours today on the Exercise. N.C.O's School continues. Personnel being issued with G-1098 equipment preparatory to going on the Exercise. Exercise "FOG" postponed from 6-7-8 Oct 44 to 7-8-9 Oct 44. "CARAVAN" show again performing this time for 1st. Cdn. Para. Trg. Unit and British personnel in the Camp. Well attended and much enjoyed by all.||app 8|
|5 Oct||Clear all day. "A" Company briefed in the morning. "B" Company briefed in the afternoon. Normal training carried out when not in the briefing rooms. Companies were briefed by their respective Company Commanders. Bn. Headquarters, "A" & "B" Parties were briefed in the evening.|
|6 Oct||Clear and warm. "C" Company briefed by Commander in the morning. Companies drawing equipment for Exercise "FOG"- 7-8-9 Oct 44. Transport arrived at 1645 hours to be depart from Camp to Airport. A strong wind started to blow in the late.....|
|7 Oct||Very windy all day. Parade at 0915 hours, aircraft sticks checked and then word was received at 0935 hours that the jump was cancelled for 24 hours. General training for the rest of the day. Battalion C.B.. There was a show in the evening.|
|8 Oct||Very misty day. Parade at 0950 hours. Sticks checked. Battalion embussed and proceeded to Welford Airport - USAAF (9th Troop Carrying Commands). Arrived at the Airport at 1340 hours and a hot meal was served. The 'chutes were fitted and equipment prepared for the Jump. Word was received at 1700 hours that the Jump was again postponed for 24 hours as visibility was very poor. Battalion returned to Camp, ate a hot meal and as the were C.B. did not leave camp.|
|9 Oct||Clear and warm all day. Battalion resting in the morning. Parade at 1315 hours. Check of sticks, embussing and the ride to the airport followed. Arrival at Welford airport at 1550 hours where hot tea was served while men refitted 'chutes. Personnel emplaned at 1645 hours and the takeoff was at 1700 hours. Aircraft over D.Z. at 1849 hours in tight formation. Personnel dropped and every man was clear of the D.Z. in 20 minutes - the maximum laid down by the Brigade Commander. Personnel made their way to the R.V. and then marched cross country to SHREWTON which was the objective. R.V. was cleared at 2020 hours and Objective reached at 2335 hours. Small parties of enemy were encountered and dealt with successfully on the way to the objective and upon arrival there the Battalion took up defensive positions and dug in.||app 15|
|10 Oct||Battalion on Exercise "FOG". Personnel completed digging in. Quiet night for "A" & "C" Companies but "B" Company was attacked a few times during the night. Stand to at 0430 hours. Breakfast at 0700 hours made from 24 hour ration packs. Exercise over at 0930 hours. Preparations made for return to camp. March back started at 1115 hours. March finished at 1340 hours and a hot meal was served in the mess hall. Personnel rested during the remainder of the day. Movie in the evening.|
|11 Oct||Rainy and windy all day. General training carried out by the Battalion. Intelligence Section preparing a large model for "B" Company's Exercise - 12-13 Oct 44.|
|12 Oct||Very rainy all day. "B" Company personnel briefed by Company Commander on their Exercise. Remainder of Battalion carried out general training while "B" Company prepared for their Exercise.|
"A" Company went to Southammpton on a Street-Fighting Course.
"B" Company Exercise
Embused in trucks at 1930 hours and proceeded to DZ where men were dropped in pairs every 100 yards and told to move to the RV. Move to the objective started at 2010 hours and first stage position was reached by 2240 hours. M.R. 669625 - Sheet 122 - 1/63,360. Enemy were one platoon of "C" Company under Capt. Clancy. An assault was made of Cholderton at 2300 hours. The assault was very good and the battle lasted for 18 minutes. The Exercise ended at 2359 hours. Form up and march back to camp took place at 0015 hours and the Company arrived back at camp at 0145 hours. Tea and soup were served. Reveille for "B" Company laid down at 0830 hours and breakfast at 0930 hours.
|13 Oct||Fair with rain in the evening. Headquarters Company on 10 mile forced march in afternoon. "A" Company in Southampton. General training for all personnel in camp. "A" Company returned from Southampton in the evening.|
|14 Oct||Weather dull threatening rain. Dress Inspection in full Battle Order for Headquarters Company in the morning. All personnel proceeded on 36 hours passes in the afternoon.|
|15 Oct||Fair weather all day. Personnel on pass. Voluntary church parade.|
|16 Oct||Very bad day for rain and clouds. "A" Company was on ranges at Devizes. "C" Company on Field Firing at Cranborne Chase. General Training for the rest of the Battalion. Bde. Commanders' T.E.W.T. for all officers in the 3rd. Para. Bde. began today. Movie in the evening well attended and much enjoyed.|
|17 Oct||Rainy all day. "C" Company came back from Field Firing area. General Training for the remainder of the Battalion. "C" Company Dance was held in the evening with civilian women from nearby towns and villages being the dancing partners. The dance was a big success and much enjoyed by all who attended. Personnel from other Companies were also invited.|
|18 Oct||Rainy and windy all day. Lecture by Lieut. James RNVR on "Escape from Germany". 195 Para Fd. Ambulance Dance in the Evening and some Cdn. men were invited "B" Company on the Ranges.|
|19 Oct||Bead weather during the day. General training by all Battalion. T.E.W.T. for N.C.O's and Officers of "B" Company in the evening by Major Fuller and was on Airborne Ops., and Street-fighting. Model was prepared by the Int Sec. Movie in the evening.|
|20 Oct||Rainy and windy. General Training by Battalion with "A" and "C" Companies on Rifle Ranges. On evening supper parade great confusion was caused when the men refused to eat. The complaint lay not in the food but in the treatment of the men by the Commanding Officer.|
|21 Oct||General Training during the day. Personnel still not eating. Platoon Commanders spoke to platoons to ascertain complaints and in the afternoon changes in orders heretofore laid down were made but only 60 men ate supper.|
|22 Oct||Voluntary R.C. Church parade was held in the church hut. Personnel had a free day. Mortar platoon was on the ranges in the morning. Personnel still in camp refused to eat again today.|
|23 Oct||Clear and warm all day. Approximately 60 men ate their breakfast. General training in the morning and a lecture from Brigadier Hill who promised that their would be an investigation into all grievances. Personnel all ate dinner and supper. There was a movie in the evening which was well attended and much enjoyed.|
|24 Oct||Rain during the morning. "A" Company personnel preparing to go to London on a street fighting course. The Course is to last 6 Days. Remainder of the Battalion carried out General Training.|
|25 Oct||Very foggy during the day. "A" Company personnel had an early reveille and prepared to leave for London at 0600 hours by truck. Battalion carried out general training as per syllabus.|
|26 Oct||Clear all day with shower in the evening. Reinforcements arrived from Canada. 154 O.R's and 3 Officers. "B" Company and "I" Section and Signals Platoon had tabloid sports in the afternoon. "C" Company preparing to go to London for Street Fighting. Int Section went on a night Compass march. Movie in the evening.|
|27 Oct||Clear all day. Q.M. Parade for Headquarters Company. "C" Company went to London on Course today while the remainder of the men were on General Training as per syllabus.|
|28 Oct||All personnel in camp preparing to go on 60 hour pass. Warm and sunny.|
|29 Oct||All personnel on 60 hour leave. "B" Company personnel remained in Camp as they are to proceed on a Street-Fighting Course.|
|30 Oct||Clear and warm all day. Personnel still on 60 hour pass. "B" Company went to London on a Street-Fighting Course. "C" Company returned from Street-Fighting Course. Many of the men returned from leave tonight.|
|31 Oct||Clear all day. Remainder of personnel returned from leave. "B" Company and "A" Company are on a Street-Fighting Course in the Battersea Area in London. Intelligence Section on a 10 Mile Force March.|
|PLACE||DATE||SUMMARY OF EVENTS AND INFORMATION||REFERENCES TO APPENDICES|
|1 Nov||Clear during the day. Companies Training as per syllabus. "B" Company in London during the day on a Street Fighting Course. They returned in the early evening. "A" Company personnel were on 36 hour leave. "C" Company was on recreational training in the afternoon.||see app 1|
|2 Nov||Clear during the day. Free day for "B" Company personnel. "C" Company on a 20 mile Route March. 40 men from this Unit made up of men from the Int Sec, P.I.A.T's, and five from each Company visited the Tank School of Technology. A movie in the evening in the Y.M.C.A.|
|3 Nov||Clear all day. "A" Company on 20 mile march. "B" Company on general training. "C" Company on battle drill training at Silk Hill. Mortar Platoon on 10 mile march.|
|4 Nov||Slight rain in the morning. H.Q. Company on fatigues while other Companies are on 36 hour pass.|
|5 Nov||Slight rain during the day. Headquarters Company on fatigues. Remainder of the Unit still on 36 hour pass. Movie in the evening in the Y.M.C.A.|
|6 Nov||Clear all day. 20 Mile March for Headquarters Company during which they were watched by Maj-General B. Cale who was very pleased with the Company. "A" Company was on the Obstacle Range at Ink Pen. "B" Company was in Southampton on a Street Fighting Course. General Training by remainder of personnel.|
|7 Nov||Clear all day. "B" Company Street Fighting in Southampton. General Training by remainder of the Battalion. Signal Platoon were preparing the Gymnasium for the Company Dance to be held on the 8th November, 1944.|
|8 Nov||Rain during most of the day. "B" Company Street Fighting in Southampton. "A" Company on 15 Mile March. P.I.A.T. Platoon on Battle Drill at Silk Hill. Headquarters Company Dance was a big success. Partners were brought from nearby towns - A.T.S. and W.A.A.F. Camps.|
|9 Nov||Clear all day. "B" Company returned from Southampton. Headquarters Company Officers and N.C.O's had instructional periods in the afternoon. Remainder of the Company was on a 10 mile march under Capt. J.R.Madden and Lt. J.M.G.A.Lamarre from 1 C.P.T.U.. Pay Parade at 1830 hours. Lecture on V.D. at 2030 hours. General Training by the Companies (Rifle).|
|10 Nov||"A" Company on Battle Drill at Silk Hill. Mortar Platoon training on American 60 mm Mortar. General Training for remainder of Unit.|
|11 Nov||All personnel had interior economy and prepared for 36 hours leave.|
|12 Nov||All personnel on 36 hour leave. Those in Camp had movie at 1830 hour in the Gym.|
|13 Nov||Clear all day with slight showers in the evening. "B" Company on Battle Drill at Silk Hill. Remainder of the Battalion on General Training. Movie in the evening in the Y.M.C.A. which was very well attended.|
|14 Nov||Clear but very cold all day. General training for all in the morning. A rehearsal for Bde. Commanders' Inspection was held in the afternoon. Brigade Commanders Inspection is to be held on the 16 Nov 44.|
|15 Nov||Training as per syllabus in the morning. Afternoon spent cleaning for Brigade Commanders' Inspection.|
|16 Nov||Int Sec began work on preparing maps etc for briefing of Exercise "EVE" which is to be held on 20-12-22 Nov 44. Brigade Commander was very pleased at the turnout on his inspection at which time all grievances were brought forward. Order Group for Exercise "EVE" was held by Lt.Col.J.A.Nicklin - Commanding Officer.||see App 8|
|17 Nov||All personnel briefed in general by Lt.Col.J.A.Nicklin in the forenoon. Companies were briefed in the afternoon and prepared to move to the Transit Camp.|
|18 Nov||Reveille was at 0515 hours. Personnel embussed in trucks and moved to Transit Camp. Arrival at Traning Camp - 1830 hours where a hot meal was served. Blankets and Sleeping Quarters were prepared by Capt. Besteck.|
|19 Nov||Cold and windy. Personnel briefed again. No further training was carried out.|
|20 Nov||Exercise "EVE" postponed for 24 hours due to low ceiling and wind. Platoon Commanders briefed their platoons. Short Route March for all personnel. Liberty trucks in the evening to take personnel to nearby towns.|
|21 Nov||Exercise "EVE" - Weather fine at 0915 hours. Battalion embussed and proceeded to the airport. All personnel fitted Parachutes and emplaned at 1115 hours. Take-off was at 1155 hours - approximate flying time one hour. First stick jumped at 1257 hours and by 1305 hours all personnel were on the ground. At 1345 hours all personnel were at respective R.V.'s and Companies prepared for assault on enemy positions. "B" & "C" Companies ready for assault at 1400 hours and made assault at 1415 hours. Enemy opposition met at 1420 hours. "B" Company reached its objective at 1430 hours M.R. 992120. "C" Company reached its objective M.R. 993116 at 1445 hours. First Stage on the Exercise was over at 1500 hours. Final objective reached at 1605 hours. There the Companies prepared for Counterattack. Small patrols and Tanks were seen but none attacked. Exercise finished at approximately 1650 hours. At 1730 hours Battalion marched to the area where trucks were waiting to return to camp. Personnel embussed at 2230 hours and reached camp at 0430 hours. A hot meal was served at 0530 hours.|
|22 Nov||Bad weather. No Training. Movie in the evening.|
|23 Nov||Weather fair all day. All N.C.O's of Headquarters had an Instructional afternoon while the Company went on 10 mile Route March. "B" Company went on the Studland Battle Range. "A" Company on General Training. "C" Company is duty Company.|
|24 Nov||Weather fair all day. Mortar platoon on 10 mile march with full equipment. P.I.A.T. platoon on range in the afternoon. "A" Company had a day of rest. "B" Company on the Studland Battle Range. Movie in the evening.|
|25 Nov||Weather fine. Headquarters Company on the Rifle Range all day personnel firing Rifle and Bren. "B" Company had a Kit Inspection in the morning and went on Field firing. "C" Company had sports all day. Headquarters Company went on 15 mile run in P.T. Kit.|
|26 Nov||Weather fine all day. All personnel had free day. Voluntary Church Services in the morning. A movie in the Y.M.C.A. in the afternoon and was well attended.|
|27 Nov||Clear all day. Int Sec had a small briefing on Exercise prepared by the I.O. Lieut.M.A.F.Mountain to take place on 28-29 Nov 44. "C" Company on 15 mile run. All personnel from Headquarters Company who had not as yet completed 10 mile physical test went on same in the afternoon. Concert party in the evening was much enjoyed.|
|28 Nov||Weather clear all day. Int Sec personnel on Exercise "ACORN". Vickers platoon on the ranges all day. Route march for "C" Company. Training Unit had the Concert Party this evening and enjoyed it very much. It was presented in the Y.M.C.A. and was arranged for by the Y.M.C.A. Supervisor.|
|29 Nov||Fine day. Int Sec still on Exercise "ACORN". Exercise at a distance of approximately 35 miles. Section returned in the evening after an all day march. Vickers, Mortars and P.I.A.T. Platoons went on 20 mile Route March. "A" Company of Rifle Ranges. "C" Company on the Grenade Ranges in the morning. All personnel were paid in the evening.|
|30 Nov||All personnel preparing to go on 10 days Privilege leave. Passes and Warrants were issued in the evening. Kit and quarters inspection by Battalion Commander in the morning.|
|PLACE||DATE||SUMMARY OF EVENTS AND INFORMATION|
|1 Dec to 10 Dec||Personnel of 1st. Canadian Parachute Battalion on 10 days privilege leave.|
|11 Dec||Personnel of "B" and "C" Companies returned from leave today. H.Q. and "A" Companies on Special Leave granted by G.O.C.-in-C. 6th Airborne Division.|
|12 Dec||Cold and clear all day. "H.Q." and "A" Companies returned from leave today. "B" Company on the Ink Pen Ranges for 3 days starting today. Vickers Platoon on 10 Mile Route March in the afternoon. "C" Company on a Route March in the afternoon. A movie was shown in the evening in the Y.M.C.A. and was much enjoyed by all.|
|14 Dec||Cold and misty during the day. Int Sec on Bde. Int Exercise "LOOKOUT II". "B" Company on Ink Pen Ranges. "C" Company on Sports in the afternoon. N.C.O's class for H.Q. Company N.C.O's in the evening. A movie in the evening.|
|15 Dec||Fair during the whole day. "B" Company on the Ink Pen Ranges. "A" Company on 20 mile Route March. General Training for the remainder of the Battalion.|
|16 Dec||Rainy most of the day. Int Sec with the mortar Platoon on the Beaches Barn Ranges in the morning. Int Sec manned listening post on the range. Mortar Platoon on the range all day. P.I.A.T. Platoon on the Beaches Barn ranges all day, field firing. "B" Company marched back from the Ink Pen Ranges.|
|17 Dec||Weather fine all day. General training during the whole day for all personnel. A Canadian Concert Party gave a show in the evening. Well attended and much enjoyed. 20 Mile Route March for Headquarters Company. Pay Parade held in the evening.|
|18 Dec||Compulsory Church Parade for R.C. personnel and a Voluntary Church Parade for Protestant Personnel. General Training carried out in the afternoon. A fine day. Movie in the afternoon was well attended.|
|19 Dec||Weather clear all day. During the day the Companies carried out General Training. A movie was shown in the Y.M.C.A. in the evening and was much enjoyed by all.|
|20 Dec||Foggy in the morning and clear in the afternoon. Lt.Col.J.A.Nicklin warned all ranks that the Battalion was moving overseas on Active Duty. The advance party left at 1230 hours. During the day personnel prepared equipment to move overseas. Personnel warned that Unit is to proceed to the Transit Camp on the 21 Dec 44. Orders changed in the evening and Unit put on 6 hours notice after 0600 hours 21 Dec 44. Personnel were free to go to the neighboring villages.|
|21 Dec||Clear all day. Unit on 6 hours notice for service Overseas. Personnel ready and anxious to be under way. Personnel were free to leave camp but had to report back every 6 hours.|
|22 Dec||Clear throughout the entire day. Unit still on 6 hours notice. No special training. Personnel allowed to proceed out of camp. Christmas dinner for all ranks was served in the evening.|
|23 Dec||Clear all day. Unit still on 6 hours notice. Unit confined to barracks due to bad behaviour in nearby towns. Personnel informed that the Battalion was definitely moving Overseas on the 24 Dec 44. Major P.R. GRIFFIN found Unfit for Active Service (Broken Wrist) making promotions necessary. Capt. J.A.CLANCY to be A/Major and to Command "A" Company. Lieut. J.A.LUKASPEY to be A/Capt. and to be 2 i/c Headquarters Company. Lieut. D.O.BELDING T.O.S. from 1st Cdn. Para. Trg. Unit to fill Vacancy in Mortar Platoon.|
|24 Dec||Clear all day. Reveille at 0430 hours. Breakfast at 0530 hours. Unit fell out in Full Marching Order at 0715 hours and marched to Railway Station, embarked on train and proceeded to FOLKSTONE where they arrived at 1430 hours. They were then shown to billets in the Transit Camp and were free to leave camp in the evening.|
|Field||25 Dec||Clear and fine all day. Personnel allowed in town until 1730 hours. A Christmas Dinner was served in the messes for All Ranks at 1230 hours. At 1830 hours all personnel marched to the docks in full marching order and embarked on the S.S. CANTERBURY. Personnel informed that sailing time was at 0400 hours 26 Dec 44.|
|26 Dec||Clear and fine. S.S. CANTERBURY sailed for Belgium at 0400 hours and reached the docks at 1030 hours in the Port of OSTENDE, BELGIUM. At 1100 hours the Unit embussed in trucks and proceeded to TAINTIGNIES, BELGIUM. They arrived at 1930 hours. The Unit was placed in small villages by Companies. H.Q. Company was in TAINTIGNIES, the central village and the Rifle Companies, "A", "B", "C" were in nearby villages. Men were billeted 2 per home in the village and they ate in a central kitchen. Commanding Officer, 2 i/c I.O. and Batmen went on a recce of the area which the Battalion are to occupy.|
|27 Dec||Slight fog in the morning. Clear and cold the remainder of the day. All personnel resting in towns. Headquarters Company had a small arms inspection in the afternoon at 1500 hours.|
|28 Dec||Very foggy all day. Weapons Inspection at 1500 hours. Sgt. HILLS of "B" Company was seriously injured when a 36 Grenade accidently exploded. Unit was due to move off to the front lines today but due to bad weather transport did not arrive at the present position.|
|29 Dec||Weather clear all day. Small arms inspection at 1000 hours. Route march for H.Q. Company at 1400 hours.|
|30 Dec||Weather foggy in the morning. Arms inspection at 1000 hours. Personnel were warned at 1200 hours that they were to be ready to move at 13151 hours. Transport arrived at 1330 hours. Personnel embussed at 1400 hours and left for new area. Personnel arrived in the new area at 0430 hours 31 Dec 44. Personnel billeted in groups in rooms in Private homes. MAREDRET. Map reference 875933 Sheet 12 NAMUR. 1/100,000.|
|31 Dec||Weather clear and cold all day. Breakfast served at 1000 hours. Arms inspection at 1500 hours after dinner was served at 1400 hours. Company and Bn Orderly Rooms set up. Stores and equipment taken off lorries. Personnel of this Unit were invited to a dance by the people of MARE DRET.|
Roll of Honour
- 1st January
Due explosives accident
- 4th May
Due explosives accident
- 6th June
Aubin, Joseph Ernest Albert
Bismutka, Peter Ignatius
Broadfoot, James George
Clark, Wendell James
Coburn, John Carrwon
Connaghan, Gordon Charles
Cosgrove, Francis Dernier
Ellefson, Orlando Morris
Flexer, Alec Ellis
LaCroix, George Richard (Dick)
MacInnis, Alexander Joseph (Scotty)
MacLeod, Hugh Murray
MacPherson, Malcolm Allen
Modderman, Peter Jacob Martinus
Neufeld, Leslie Abram
Nigh, Joseph Simeon
Oxtoby, Clifford Melbourne
Pledger, Kenneth Mervyn
Reynard, Martin Howard
Walker, Hugh MacMillan (Shug)
- 7th June
Lapierre, Clarence David
MacLean, Donald Spurgeon
Oikle, Winslow Earl
Rousseau, Joseph Philippe
- 8th June
Huard, Clifford Ernest
- 9th June
Blair, Alfred Edward Wesley
Race, Donald Angus
Shwaluk, Wesley William
Turner, Donald Graham
- 10th June
Davidson, George Harold
Embree, Glenn Wendell
Wilson, Irwin Gordon
- 11th June
Jowett, John Baird
Roberts, John Herbert
- 12th June
- 13th June
- 14th June
Lacasse, Joseph Aime
Sachro, Joseph Fred Albert
- 15th June
Ross, Leslie Donaldson
- 16th June
Johnson, Charles Alfred
- 19th June
Ducker, William Skirving
- 20th June
- 22nd June
- 25th June
- 27th June
- 28th June
- 29th June
Miller, Verne Wallace
- 1st July
- 2nd July
- 4th July
- 6th July
- 7th July
- 9th July
- 1st August
- 2nd August
Brierley, John Thomas
- 3rd August
- 11th August
- 17th August
Dokken, Sherwin Arde
Fritz, Howard Edward
Jesson, Richard Elmer
Olsen, Arnt Herman Christian
Sylvestre, Hector Phillip
- 18th August
Swanton, George Alven
- 19th August
- 20th August
Benoit, Jacques Lucien
Cote, Cecil Alexander
Evans, Edward George
Mills, James Delmer
- 25th August
- 26th August
- 27th August
- 30th August
Dew, Malcolm James
- 20th September
- 22nd September
- 24th September
- 6th June
Military Medal - Ducker, William SkirvingAt Varaville on 6 Jun 1944 in an attack on a strongly fortified posn this officers coy Comd was killed. Capt HANSON immediately took over Comd showing exceptional leadership and courage attacked the posn inflicting casualties and taking 40 prisoners. He immediately consolidated this posn and held it under enemy mortar fire until relieved. Capt Hanson was wounded in this action but continued to command his coy.
Military Medal - Lacasse, Joseph AimeThis soldier was a medical orderly attached to C Coy during the action at Varaville on 6th June 1944. The Coy Comd, a Platoon Commander and 2 Other Ranks were in a building being heavily engaged by an anti-tank gun and mortar. A direct hit caused all four to become casualties. Private Ducker with absolute disregard for his own safety under heavy Machine Gun and mortar fire went to this building which was still under heavy fire gave medical attention to the Coy Commander and ascertained that the others were dead or beyond medical aid before removing the Coy Commander to a place of safety which was also under heavy fire.
Military Medal - Minard, Willard ParkerAt Le Mesnil on 8 Jun 44 in Coy attach this man showed a very high standard of leadership and courage in that he led his section from assaulting posn across open field which was swept by fire and then onto objective. His section knocked out LMG posn. He was wounded on the thigh by a grenade on objective but still took his section to reorganization area and was wounded twice more in so doing.
On 6 Jun 1944 in the attack on VARAVILLE this NCO's pl commander was killed. Sgt MINARD assumed comd and so ably led the pl that it was largely responsible for the eventual surrender of the garrison. Later he showed great courage and was a steadying influence on his platoon during the relief by his coy of part of the Black Watch who were being strongly attacked at the Chateau south of BREVILLE on 13 Jun 44. He showed utter unconcern for enemy tanks and mortar fire. This NCO has shown inspiring leadership and devotion to duty throughout and has maintained the fighting morale of his pl.
- 8th June
Military Medal - Geddes, Russell AlvinOn 8 Jun 44 in a counter attack on building occupied by the enemy this officer so successfully led his coy that the buildings which were strongly held were captured and heavy casualties inflicted on the enemy. The enemy immediately counter attacked with very superior forces and Capt GRIFFIN by exceptional coolness and courage successfully returned his coy to a defensive posn and held on grimly under heavy sniping and mortaring. In neither of these actions was this coy supported by Bn supporting arms.
Military Medal - Morgan, Gordon HarveyAt Le Mesnil on 8 Jun 44 in a Coy attach this man with his sniper was detached with a Bren Gp to give covering fire to his section crossing over open ground to objective. When Coy were counter-attacked he and Bren Gp were cut off but kept fighting and finally found his way in to the Coy. 25 dead Germans were counted by the stretcher bearers in area this time were fighting.
Military Medal - Noval, WilliamOn 8 Jun 44 at Le Mosnil Sgt MORGAN displayed a complete lack of concern for his personal safety and displayed fine leadership and initiative. He was wounded while leading an assault on a group of buildings but he supplied cover by smoke for his section to withdraw from what might have been a serious situation. He then returned to Coy HQ with valuable information concerning enemy positions.
At Le Mesnil on 8 JUN 1944 in a Coy attack this man with his Bren gun and a sniper were detached to give covering fire to his section crossing open ground to objective. When Coy were counter attacked he and sniper were cut off but kept fighting and finally found their way in to Coy position. 25 dead Germans were accounted for by him and sniper.
- 6th June - 18th August
Sergeant Green has proved a great inspiration to the men of "A" Company throughout the campaign in Normandy until he was severely wounded at Goustranville on August 18th. His never failing good humour and superb courage at all times endeared him to all officers and men alike who knew him. On 18th August 1944 at 2230 hours at Goustranville, "A" Company was given an objective in a battalion night attack on the south bridges over the Eastern tributary of the Rives Dives. Sergeant Green was Platoon Sergeant of No.1 Platoon and acting Platoon Commander on this attack. His Platoon suffered heavy casualties but he reorganised them swiftly and led them on two separate assaults on enemy positions, killing and capturing well over 25 Germans; as he brought his Platoon onto their objective on the left flank of the bridge he was badly wounded in the leg. Ignoring his wound he placed his sections in positions for all round defence, got ammunition and casualty states and reported to his Company Commander. He refused to be evacuated until after every one of his men who had been wounded had been attended to.
- 1st August - 6th September
For devotion to duty and outstanding gallantry, Normandy 1 Aug - 6 Sep 44. This officer, by his personal example, sustaining courage and initiative has been a great inspiration to all men of his company throughout the above campaign. His utter disregard for his personal safety in difficult situations has become a byword in the battalion. On 18 Aug 44 at 2230 hours at Goustranville, "A" Coy was given as an objective in a Bn night attack, the south Bridge over the eastern tributary of the river Dives. Captain Clancy was A/2IC of the Coy at the time. He led No.3 Pl on an assault against one MG position, and then pinned down by another off to a flank he personally organized and led a small group armed with grenades, silenced this second enemy position and took five prisoners. The momentum with which this officer led his Pl enabled them to capture the bridge, vital to his Brigade, before the enemy could demolish it. Numerous prisoners and a considerable amount of arms and equipment were captured by his command. This splendid effort by Captain Clancy is but one concrete example of his outstanding courage, initiative and leadership which has been so much in evidence and a characteristic of his work throughout the whole period.