The Battles for the Parc de Bois Londe (17th-18th June 1944)

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by Ramiles, Apr 10, 2015.

  1. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic Patron


    Have you made the Curator of the Tilly sur Seulles Museum, Stephane Jacquet, aware of your photos? These are important local historical documents.

  2. norton 407545

    norton 407545 Well-Known Member

    Do we know why the Chateau was totally ruined? Was it occupied by either the Germans or allies so making it a genuine target or was it just basically to hard to miss it so became collateral damage?
  3. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY


    This is what I have seen in the Meyer SS book:

    Not sure if it is covered much in the Tilly book though???

    Says the English mined the castle and blew it up on the afternoon of Saturday 1st July 1944, not sure what state it was quite in (after all that prior shelling) on the day before. Though doesn't say why (from what I've thus far seen).


    Ps. From the wardiary of the 24th L they were heavily involved around Rauray at that time (1/7/1944) though "At last light the Regiment (24th L) was relieved by the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry and withdrew to a defensive position on the high ground North of Fontenay"

    For Rauray:

    And then:

    SRY WD puts the SRY meanwhile involved in moving south from Fontenay to Rauray in the early hours of the 1st July and then sporadic activity around Rauray in case of any attempt by the Germans to counterattack there.
  4. norton 407545

    norton 407545 Well-Known Member

  5. norton 407545

    norton 407545 Well-Known Member

    I never get the reply right
  6. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic Patron

    My overall impression over years of research, and I stress my use of the word impression, is that the Chateau was, like most buildings in the area, a victim of circumstance but also used by the Germans as some sort of base during the battle. If the British did indeed blow it up, then I assume this was to deny its use to the Germans.

    If anyone has any definitive information, I would be pleased to see it. This battle seems clouded in a certain degree of mystery from the Allied side, possibly due to a reticence to talk bearing in mind the alleged underperformance of the Duke of Wellingtons Regiment.....but that's another story.
  7. yann

    yann Member


    I will ask to mum where pictures where taken.
    The Chateau de Boislonde were located (see picture).

    About the Chateau, Germans occupied during months the Chateau using it as a HQ, my family and some neighbors lived in the cellar. When Britishs troups arrived they asked my family to move and on the 1st of July the Chateau was mined and blew up to avoid Germans to take it again.


    Attached Files:

  8. norton 407545

    norton 407545 Well-Known Member

    Yann, Thank you for the information that makes sense. I did think it had been deliberately targeted because of the amount of damage.
  9. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Thanks Yann,

    By the way, forgive my inquiry but was it (ever?) a castle or was it more of a stately home? By some appearances it looks rather like a large farm, with a cider orchard etc. but it has the aspect of a park too.

    I guess the Germans partly used it as an officed place of work? I'm not sure if they had adapted it much for defence but it naturally was a very hard place to attack.

    By the looks of it Rauray was still a bit touch and go at the end of June and the very start of July. Round then the front line was close and rather stayed that way:

    On the above it stays fairly static through the first 3 weeks of July and the Chateau would have been a pretty prime target to retake throughout I guess.

    By the sounds of the German account even staying in the cellar was not much protection. Still a home is a home and leaving it be open to all or waiting things out must have been weighed up with some thought in the event.

    All the best,

  10. yann

    yann Member

    Dear Ramiles,
    About what I know, before war there was only the "chateau" and the walled garden on the North-East of the picture, and the farm North West but not belonging to the chateau. Other buildings you can see were built after war. The term "castle " comes probably because it was perhaps settled on a previous place of another castle. I guess that because there was in the 80'th the ruins of an old tower 100 yards West-East of the castle, older than could be the chateau. I don't know if they are still there.
    About the Germans troups , they stayed in the chateau and they also installed tents at the rear.
  11. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Thanks Yann,

    I've been trying to tie in some of my grandad's both detailed and vague descriptions with some of the places on the map, and the leaguer (grouping for mutual protection) of tanks of the 24th L and the SRY whilst there abouts from the War diaries for example.

    Their description often being merely on the high ground north of Fontenay, whereas when they talk about it (Bois Londe) they do say quite clearly 'Parc de Bois Londe' so for instance for the 26th June 1944:

    "In the late afternoon it was decided to abandon this direction of attack as being unprofitable and the Regiment accordingly moved back and round to the left flank, leaving ‘C’ Sqn still in its positions on the Western side of Tessel Wood. On the left flank the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry were putting in an attack on Rauray. The Regiment moved up behind them in support but it was found to be unnecessary as the attack was going well and later in the evening the Regiment withdrew to a defensive position in the area Parc de Bois Londe.

    Parc de Bois Londe
    27/6/44 ‘C’ Sqn still on the Tessel Wood feature were relieved by ‘B’ Sqn in the early morning. The remainder of the Regiment remained in the Parc de Bois Londe area"

    & thereafter:

    29/6/44 The Regiment remained at Les Hauts Vents area during the day, moving out and deploying on Pt. 102, 8769, in the evening to be prepared to resist the possibility of an enemy attack. Later in the evening the Regiment resumed its original positions.

    30/6/44 The Regiment moved up and deployed in the Rauray area which was held
    by us but encompassed by enemy patrols and it was believed that an enemy counter attack on this position was imminent.

    I think my own gd. being in "C" squad 24th L was therefore elsewhere i.e. Tessel at the time of the 26th-27th and somewhere in Rauray around the 29th June to the 1st July.

    I do think there's a chance he might have been there on the night of the 17th June and on 18th of June though as:

    On the 17th June: positions (24th L) were maintained until last telescopic light when the Sqn was relieved by ‘C’ Sqn (24th L).

    18/6/44 The Regiment remained at Hervieu throughout the day resting and maintaining the vehicles. The day was uneventful. ‘C’ Sqns defensive position at Parc de Bois Londe, was relieved by a Sqn of the SRY in the early morning.

    It is very, very tough to tell though :mellow: as his troop (of 4 tanks) also sometimes according to him actually acted independently and away from the rest of "C" squadron for periods of time, and it was oft "in a field or on a hill" which is not now much to go on I guess ;) He hasn't camped outside of a castle yet to the best of my knowlege though :( and I think he would have remarked on that, as it's something that I'm sure for him would have really stood out.
  12. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Was reading (or perhaps probably re-reading) this: Tank attack into Fontenay-le-Pesnel - WWII Today

    Where in talking about the attack on Fontenay there is the quote:

    "Gradually we worked our way through the town. (Fontenay) Resistance was unexpectedly light and the infantry was in and out of the houses. I then received orders to accompany a Churchill tank to blast a nearby German headquarters in a chateau which we duly destroyed. We moved off, with Arthur half outside his hatch and holding a Sten gun to deal with any Panzerfausts."

    A German HQ in a chateau nr. to Fontenay - sounds to me remarkable like Bois Londe. So it looks (to me) perhaps like it was tank shelled by the SRY and then subsequently - i.e. as in the Meyer book

    Meyer SS book:
    The 12TH SS Volume One

    ...the English mined the (already heavily damaged) castle and blew it up on the afternoon of Saturday 1st July 1944
    norton 407545 likes this.
  13. AllanB

    AllanB New Member

    Hello Yann,
    Thank you for posting these most fascinating photos. I am writing a book on the full taking of Hill 112 ending with Operation Express. However, the book begins at Parc de Boislonde. Would you mind if I could please use these photos?
    Kind Regards
  14. AllanB

    AllanB New Member

    Hello Yann,
    Thank you for posting these most fascinating photos. I am writing a book on the full taking of Hill 112 ending with Operation Express. However, the book begins at Parc de Boislonde. Would you mind if I could please use these photos//
    Kind Regards
  15. Neil Ostler

    Neil Ostler Member

    Hello Yann,
    My father fought in the battle of the Parc de Boislonde on the 17th and 18th June 1944, with the 6th Duke of Wellington regmt.
    He was greatly affected by his experiences during that battle, losing so many friends in just two days.
    My wife and I are putting together a (not for profit) 'Video Documentary' about his life and that battle. We have found a translation of your great grand mothers diary in the Hubert Meyer book, but my wife, being a french speaker, would like to do a voice over in the original French... Is there a copy, or scan you could let me have of the original french wording of those dates? My wife believes it may have been mis-interpreted in part.
    Very grateful in advance,
  16. Aerial view of Le Parc de Boislonde on 24 June 1944:
    Le Parc de Boislonde, 24 Jun 44.jpg
  17. Neil Ostler

    Neil Ostler Member

    Thank you Michel.
    Neil O
  18. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic Patron

    What an amazing number of bomb and other craters etc on that photo. Horrendous.

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