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1st Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry

Discussion in '53rd (Welsh) Division' started by Swiper, Feb 4, 2010.

  1. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    More still to come guys... I am aiming to get all the 53rd Diaries (including Pay/Field Ambulance etc) completed to September 44 as a 'first' cut off before moving on to completing the next wave!

    Enjoy!

    1st Battalion the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry

    June 1944
    Commanding Officer: Lieutenant Colonel JH Hare
    Location: Faversham
    10th June – General Officer Commanding 53rd (Welsh) Division – Major-General RK Ross, DSO, MC – addressed the Brigade on parade at Sharsted Court, Dodington, near Faversham at 1200 hours on the forthcoming Invasion of the Continent.

    14th June – The Advance Party for Operation Overlord left Faversham under Major JW Nicol for the Marshalling area at Tidal Basin, London Docks.

    16th June – The Track party under Captain RJ Holden left Faversham by rail at 1930 hours for the Marshalling area.

    17th June – The Road party under the Commanding Officer left Faversham for the Marshalling area at 0630 hours.
    The Marching Party under Major GD Jephson MC, left Faversham for a Marshalling area separate from the remainder of the Regiment, at Wykehurst Park, Bolney, near Haywards Heath.

    Location: Marshalling Area, London Docks
    18th June – Final Stages of water-proofing vehicles were carried out.

    Location: West India Dock
    20th June – 1130 hours – All vehicles embarked at West India Dock at 1130 hours and steamed to a point offshore at Southend.

    Location: Victoria Docks
    22nd June: The Advance Party embarked at Victoria Docks

    Location: Courseulles Sur Mer
    23rd June: The Advance Party landed at Courseulles sur Mer 9685 and drove to Beny sur Mer 9880 to preopare the Regimental Concentration Area.

    Location: New Haven
    24th June: Marching Party moved in troop carriers to Newhaven and embarked during the day.

    Location: Courseulles sur Mer
    25th June: Convoy of Marching Party set sail at 0250 hours and arrived off Courseulles sur Mer at 1330 hours. Troops started disembarking at 1400 hours and marched to an assembly area at Banville 9483, from where they moved in troop-carrying transport to Beny Sur Mer later in the evening.
    Location: Beny sur Mer
    The Brigade had been detached from 53rd (Welsh) Division and was under command 1st Corps.

    Location: Colomby sur Thaon
    26th June: Major JW Nicol accompanied the Brigade Commander on a reconnaissance of a defensive potision for the Brigade in area Colomby sur Thaon 9977 – Anguerny 0177. All officers went up to Colomby during the afternoon and reconnoitred platoon and section postiiosn.

    Location: Courseulles
    26th June: Part of the Vehicle Party, including the Commanding Officer, disembarked ruing the afternoon at Courseulles and drove up to Beny sur Mer.

    Location; Comoby sur Thaon
    27th June – 0700 – Companies marched up to the area Colomby sur Thaon at 0700 hours and dug the Regiment’s positions, returning to Beny sur Mer for the night.

    Location: Beny sur Mer
    28th June – A section of 147 Field Ambulance RAMC, under Captain NA Cambell came under command of the Regiment

    29th June – The Regiment ceased to be under command of 1st Corps and came under command of 8th Corps.

    30th June – The Commanding Officer attended a lecture at HQ 53rd (Welsh) Division given by GOC-In-Chief, Allied Western Expeditionary Force, General Sir Bernard L Montgomery, KCB, DSO.

    1st - 31st July 1944
    Commanding Officer: Lieutenant-Colonel JH Hare
    Location: Beny-sur-Mer
    1st July – 1130 hours – The Regiment left Beny-sur-Mer 9880 for a new area at 1130 hours. Marching troops travelled in troop carrying transport. Route: Basly 9979 – Fontaine – Henri 9679 – Camily 9476 – Bry 9473 – Secqueville-en-Bessin 9274 – Wood 908736 – Wheatfield 910740.
    The whole Regiment bivouacked for the night round the edges of the wheatfield.
    2330 – At 2330 hours the Brigade Commanders O Group assembled in the orchard of the Chateau at Sainte Croix Grane Tonne 896746 and orders for a remove were given out.

    Location: Cheux
    2nd July – 0620 – At 0620 hours essential transport moved out and went to an area just North of Cheux 9167. Marching troops left at 0730 hours and arrived at 1030 hours in same area as the motor transport. A Battalion position was taken over from 8th Battalion Royal Scots and occupied by mid-day at Le Haut du Bosq 905660. A Company were in area 898658, B Company at 902660, C Company North of the Ruisseau de Salbey 908654 and D Company in counter-attack reserve 905662 (only one platoon was bought up at first). 900 guns and 34 anti-tank guns were ready to fire as necessary around the Regiment’s front. 1st East Lancashire Regiment were in front of the Regiment, 1st HLI behind. Regimental anti-tank guns - 4 were sited to cover left and right flanks, while one covered the front from a position at Regimental HQ 905659. 3” Mortars were grouped as a Battery around Regimental HQ, with an observation post forward in 1st East Lancs area, in the Chateau at Grainville-sur-Odon 903658. The Carriers were in positions around Regimental HQ. Spasmodic mortaring took place during day and night.
    2130 – At 2130 hours the Brigade Command gave out orders for the reorganisation of the Brigade layout.
     
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  2. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    3rd July – Commanding Officer and Company Commanders recced the Company areas to be taken over from 1st East Lancashire Regiment during the day. The new areas were to be occupied by 2000 hours. A Company at Chateau de Grainville sur Odon 903649, B Company on track amongst fields 904655, C Company also in fields 895645, D Company in A Company’s old positions outside Le Haut du Bosq: Regimental HQ stayed in same place, as well as the Mortars and Carriers. The positions were occupied without event though sporadic mortaring continued during the night.

    4th July – Mortaring continued throughout the day on an increased scale. Preliminary conferences for further reorganisation of the Division front were held at Brigade HQ and at our Regimental HQ. IT was intended to close a salient running into our lines by moving D Company into road and track crossing 895646 and B Company to orchard 900643; leaving A and C Companies in their old areas, the whole line being covered by a minefield laid by the sappers 300 yards in front of B and D Companies.
    1650 – AT 1650 hours, A Company reported orchard 900643 occupied by several Tiger tanks. Medium guns and one of the Regimental 6 pounders opened fire, scoring direct hits on one tank. The tank did not move and later began to burn. During the night, the Officers Commanding B and D Companies and a Royal Engineers Recce Group moved out of the Regimental area and recced the positions to be occupied on the following night. Officer Commanding B Company was accompanied by an Royal Armoured Corps Officer, who identified the tank shelled during the afternoon as a derelict British Churchill tank and not a German Tiger tank. No opposition was met. Officer Commanding D Company and the Royal Engineers party met no opposition either, but a section of C Company covering a mine lifting party of 4 RWF on our right lost one man at crossroads 895646 by machinegun fire. All patrols had returned by 0415 hours.

    5th July – During the morning, final conferences were held at Brigade HQ and Regimental HQ dealing with the reorganisation of our positions.
    1400 – At 1400 hours, however, intelligence was received that the matter had
    been postponed. In the event, the Regiment never moved into its intended new positions, owing to the information about enemy strength and dispositions gained by patrols.
    During the night, two recce patrols went out, one under Lieutenant TM Rylands to the orchard 900642 and the other – a very successful one – under Lieutenant PJ Badman to area Quedeville 892643, where signs of great activity by the enemy in preparing a defensive position were observed.

    6th July – During the day, mortaring of A and C Companies positions was fairly heavy. A recce patrol under Lieutenant EA Yates went out to area cross tracks 895646, and came under fire from mortars and small arms of 6 RWF on our right. Owing to a misunderstanding in the transmission of orders, the patrol had been sent to the wrong place.

    7th July – 0300 – Starting at 0300 hours, D Company relieved A Company and B Company C Company in the forward positions. During the day enemy mortaring continued but on a much smaller scale.
    2330 – At about 2330 hours Captain Hilton Campbell of 1 HLI, who was to have gone out on patrol with Lieutenant AH Morely of the Regiment during the night, was hit by fragments of a mortar bomb and died soon afterwards. Lieutenant AH Morley’s patrol went out soon afterwards and reconnoitred the area of Quedeviille 892643, where again signs of enemy activity in preparing a defensive position astride the road were observed.
    Lieutenant EA Yates led another recce patrol to the railway bridge 902643, where the enemy were again located in Company strength, and continued through the orchards 893637 to the farm called Les Mouillons 895636, which was found unoccupied, but with troops in the vicinity.

    8th July – Enemy mortaring was again on the reduced scale experienced on 7th July.
    During the night, Lieutenant HJW Newton led a further recce patrol to observe the area Quedeville 892643, and again enemy activity was reported.
    2345 – At 2345 hours, operation Sally started. This involved a platoon of A Company under command of Major GD Jephson, MC; the intention was to occupy the orchard 903649 and to hold it as a firm base for dawn operations against the enemy as they moved up into their forward positions for the day.
    Under cover of arty fire from 323 Battery of 81 Field Regiment , the forces moved into the orchard and occupied it without opposition.

    9th July – The next morning it was decided to move up the railway towards bridge 893638, which was known to be occupied by the enemy.
    0830 – At about 0830 hours the advance began, but almost immediately after leaving the orchard and crossing the railway, the leading section was seen by an enemy section in a hedgerow 895640 and the alarm was given. Accurate mortar fire came down immediately on either side of the railway and caused casualties. Lieutenant HG Green was hit by fragments while moving up to the leading section; Major Jephson, MC was also wounded when bombs fell in the orchard. Several light machine guns began to fire into the orchard from a hedge 895642. Captain PN Steptoe, of the 1 HLI, who was attached to the force as an observer, took over command on instructions from the Commanding Officer given over the wireless, and started to withdraw under cover of a very heavy arty concentrations, of mixed HE and Smoke, together with small arms fire from the Carriers and the forward troops of B Company. Lieutenant HC Green and several other wounded had to be left in the orchard. During the night, however, Lieutenant JK Mulcair, Canadian Infantry Corps posted to the Regiment, led a patrol into the orchard and bought back one of the wounded. Another patrol under Lieutenant DC Humphreys went out to the crossroads 895646 and recovered the body of a man who had been lost on patrol on 4/5th July.
    1 HLI relieved the Regiment during the night, and the Regiment moved back into “the Corps Bastion” 908673, just outside Cheux.

    10th July – 0430 – Command of the Regiment’s old positions passed at 0430 hours.
    1400 – At 1400 hours the Regiment was ordered to move forward again tot take over the position of 1st East Lancs in area of the orchard at 907657.
    2200 – The move took place at 2200 hours without incident, after the Regiment had handed over its old positions to 7 RWF. Initially, Companies were disposed as follows: A and B Companies South West and North East of the orchard, C Company amongst the hedgerows 907653 and D Company at 913653, with a Squadron of the Fife and Forfar Yeomanry immediately on their left. The mortars were seen in D Company’s area, with one section detached in C Company’s area; the carriers were disposed around Regimental HQ at the northern end of the orchard.
     
  3. Davey

    Davey Junior Member

    Operation Sally. I fear a few thing's have been left out.My late father was on that patrol and he was one of the wounded.The person that you mentioned that was recovered from the orchard was his good friend Private Fletcher.After the mortar and machine fire had died down my dad heard groaning,and upon finding this person to be his friend he pulled him into a ditch and returned to HQ,not easy as he'd been shot in the back!.My dad went with the search party to find him and they did.My father's name,Fred Hastings.
     
  4. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    There may be more information in the patrol notes Davey, you have incoming PM!
     
  5. PICARFOU

    PICARFOU PICARFOU

    Hello Swiper,
    I research the war diaries of OBLI for 1, 2 and 3 September 1944.
    this regiment participated in the liberation of my village 2 September 1944.
    Cordially.

    Franck
     

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