The SRY in NWE in August 1944

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by Ramiles, Apr 21, 2015.

  1. Ramiles

    Ramiles Well-Known Member

    Hi all,

    August 1944 - was quite a month for the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry (SRY).

    Mont Pincon (Battle honour), Jurques (Battle honour), Noireau River crossing (Battle honour) Conde-sur-Noireau, Chambois, Seine 1944 (Battle honour), Aigle, Evreux, Vernon, Gisors, Beauvais, Amiens.
    A "basic" outline of which can be found here: http://en.wikipedia....ssing_the_Seine

    The actions were fierce, the time was brief and the distance traveled (haven't yet found a good word for it! ;) ) so specific details of the SRY's movements (particularly down to the squadron level) in August 1944 may be quite hard to track. I don't think too many people had time to keep detailed notes...

    But ideally I'd like to try to tease out some more more detail on what the specific SRY squadrons, troops and even individual tanks were up to during this most interesting month.

    And tie it into this topic here: http://ww2talk.com/forums/topic/57196-sherwood-rangers-yeomanry-sry-in-north-west-europe/

    All the best,

    Rm.
     
  2. Ramiles

    Ramiles Well-Known Member

    SRY links for August 1944

    Books:

    An Englishman at War: The Wartime Diaries of Stanley Christopherson DSO MC ...
    By Stanley Christopherson, James Holland - seems quite good for detail on August 1944 for the SRY (Rm) : Englishman at War

    Audio

    Morris, Robert Malcolm (IWM interview) - served with Sherwood Rangers in Normandy, 1944 (details in Reels 8 & 9)
    Morris, Robert Malcolm (Oral history) (20468)

    WW2talk threads:

    For some more general links for the SRY see: http://ww2talk.com/forums/topic/57196-sherwood-rangers-yeomanry-sry-in-north-west-europe/?p=665517

    Nottinghamshire yeomanry 1944-45 war diary: Nottinghamshire Yeomanry 1944-45-War Diary

    The Sherwood Rangers at Vernon: The Sherwood Rangers at Vernon
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017 at 11:05 AM
  3. Ramiles

    Ramiles Well-Known Member

    SRY events in August 1944

    See also: http://ww2talk.com/forums/topic/57196-sherwood-rangers-yeomanry-sry-in-north-west-europe/?p=665518

    And: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/8th_Armoured_Brigade_(United_Kingdom)#Race_for_the_Seine_and_beyond

    Tuesday 1st August 1944: http://www.westpoint.edu/history/SiteAssets/SitePages/World War II Europe/WWIIEurope64.gif


    [sharedmedia=gallery:images:28213]

    Cahagnes, Bois Du Homme,

    Wednesday 2nd August 1944

    The SRY advanced in moonlight with the 7th Hampshires riding on the backs of their tanks to capture the town of Jurques (and won a Battle Honour there), after which, overcoming determined German resistance the towns of La Bigne and Loisonniers were captured during the day.

    Thursday 3rd August 1944

    The SRY moved on from La Bigne, taking the road towards Ondefontaine, the route here was a narrow hedge lined one through the Bois de Buron, in which wood the Germans had concealed observation points and tanks, causing the SRY advance to slow, delaying the capture of Ondefontaine and preventing it that evening (i.e. see: Englishman at War )

    Friday 4th August 1944

    After a heavy allied artillery barrage "C" squadron SRY took the lead of the SRY and helped to capture the village of Ondefontaine.

    Saturday 5th August 1944: http://ww2talk.com/forums/index.php...attach&attach_rel_module=post&attach_id=84906

    Ondefontaine (i.e. see: Englishman at War ) & http://ww2talk.com/forums/topic/408...osq-6-8-aug-1944/?hl=ondefontaine#entry491462

    Sunday 6th August 1944:

    Planning for Operation Blackwater (the drive south to Conde-sur-Noireau)

    Monday 7th August 1944:

    East of Ondefontaine - Mention of being withdrawn from battle for 4 days of rest and recuperation here:
    Tank Action

    Tuesday 8th August to Friday 11th August 1944:

    Coulvain (5 miles to the rear for "rest")

    Saturday 12th August 1944: Le Plessis Grimoult


    [sharedmedia=gallery:images:28219]


    Sunday 13th August 1944: Preparations for an attack on Proussay

    Monday 14th August 1944: http://www.westpoint.edu/history/SiteAssets/SitePages/World War II Europe/WWIIEurope65.gif

    14: Proussy, Les Haies to Point 201. "B" squadron SRY with 4 Hants advanced to Les Haies where they were opposed by what was referred to as a "small" enemy regiment with SP and anti-tank guns but managed to reach their objectives albeit with the loss of 2 tanks destroyed and 2 damaged. A number of enemy POW's were taken. (Lt. Cameron SRY (formerly 24th L) WIA, Trooper Baxter (formerly 24th L) KIA), Trooper Eley (formerly 24th L) KIA). "C" squadron SRY with 4 Dorsets took Pt. 201.

    Baxter: Casualty Details

    Eley: Casualty Details


    Tuesday 15th August 1944:

    15: Conde-sur-Noireau (The bridge here had been blown by the retreating Germans).
    16: Crossing Noireau; "C" squadron SRY moved across the Noireau at first light and moved up the steep, almost impassable terrain towards Berjou with DCLI (Duke of Cornwall Light Infantry) riding on the backs of the tanks. They methodically destroyed 10 German machine gun nests but in so doing lost 6 tanks damaged (3 of which however were able to be fixed in less than half a day). Following SRY troops also had several tanks damaged by infantry and mines, with at least one tank "brewed up" with the entire crew killed by mortars and small arms fire apparently whilst bailing out.


    [sharedmedia=gallery:images:28218]


    17: Berjou (See http://ww2talk.com/forums/topic/23915-sherwood-rangers-yeomanry-in-normandyberjou-16-8-44/?hl=noireau#entry291641 ), Horine La Chardonne. In summary the cost of the last five days fighting to the SRY was reported to have been "25 casualties, 2 tanks destroyed and 5 damaged most of which will run again." The SRY "helped to take several hundreds of prisoners and the part played by C squadron in crossing the Noireau and dominating the high ridge to the south has been a triumph of determination and grit over almost impossible country."
    18: Same area
    19: Operation order "Kitten" (i.e. see: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=daO2AwAAQBAJ&pg=PA534&lpg=PA534&dq=Operation+Kitten+Normandy&source=bl&ots=gRo7CkoLrL&sig=ax_HsTManCZv5R-QnWfKq29u63M&hl=en&sa=X&ei=1jk2VbHGKoqV7AailIG4Dg&ved=0CCsQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=Operation%20Kitten%20Normandy&f=false )
    20: Just north of Ste.Honorine la Chadonne
    21: Same area

    Tuesday 22nd August 1944: Gives a general "idea": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/6th_Ai...ile:1st_Canadian_Army_advance_in_Normandy.jpg

    22: Same area due to move orders cancelled
    23: Courtelles, Habloville ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Habloville ), Chambois (Nb. For miles on either side of Chambois the roads and fields were littered with dead soldiers, dead horses and smashed equipment; the scenes of chaos belied description, as also did the stench.)


    [sharedmedia=gallery:images:28216]

    24-25: Almost 3 miles east of L’Aigle

    Friday 25th August 1944: (Nb: German surrender of Paris: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberation_of_Paris#German_surrender_.2825_August.29 )

    25: SRY almost 3 miles east of L’Aigle. Conference at Bde. HQ

    Saturday 26th August 1944: http://www.westpoint.edu/history/SiteAssets/SitePages/World War II Europe/WWIIEurope66.gif


    [sharedmedia=gallery:images:28217]

    26: Maintenance then to the Seine at Vernon
    27: Crossing the Seine (Nb. thread here: http://ww2talk.com/forums/topic/7978-seine-crossing-vernon-1944-2007/?hl=vernon )
    28: Increasing the bridgehead over the Seine
    29: On route to Amiens
    30: SRY leaguered 5 miles south of Beauvais
    31: St.Sauflieurs (??? P'haps St.Sauvear - just to the nw of Amiens ???), orders to cross the Somme and then push north.

    And on into September: http://ww2talk.com/forums/topic/57414-the-sry-in-nwe-in-september-1944/
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2017
  4. idler

    idler GeneralList

  5. Ramiles

    Ramiles Well-Known Member

    Thanks idler,

    re. Berjou, that's a great link. (I'll attach it as a forward to link to some of the comments in my posts above :) )

    I guess some of those commenting on it back a while ago might be good contacts for further research - I think I have some info on what "B" squad SRY were up to at Berjou, so I might try to add something to it there,

    All the best,

    Rm.
     
  6. Ramiles

    Ramiles Well-Known Member

    There's a nice IWM picture from "Owen" of military traffic on a road near Jurques here on the 6th August 1944.

    http://ww2talk.com/forums/topic/56431-military-traffic-on-the-continent-during-the-war/?p=657163

    & originally at: THE BRITISH ARMY IN NORMANDY 1944 (B 8745)

    The SRY fought to help liberate Jurques on the 2nd August 1944 - and I don't know if they did - but the SRY may have passed this way!

    It looks like you could make some speed on a road like this, but I guess the chances were that an enemy might pop up or out from behind any bush, ditch or tree, or be sitting waiting by the window of any house or foxhole/pillbox.

    Some other IWN "Jurques" related info the "Jurques" tag found:
    Search Our Collections | Imperial War Museums

    i.e.

    Audio: Hingston, Frederick Bouverie (Oral history) (27192)
    Hingston, Frederick Bouverie (IWM interview)
    British officer commanded B Coy, 5th Bn Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry in North West Europe, 1944

    Audio: Morris, Robert Malcolm (Oral history) (20468)
    Morris, Robert Malcolm (IWM interview)
    British bandboy served with 7th Hussars in Egypt, 1939-1942; trooper served with 7th Hussars, 7th Armoured Bde in Burma, Iraq, Lebanon and Egypt, 1942-1944; served with Sherwood Rangers in Normandy, 1944

    Film (description only available at the mo.): THE 43RD (WESSEX) DIVISION ADVANCES TOWARDS THE MONT PINCON MASSIF [Allocated Title] (A70 109-6)
    THE 43RD (WESSEX) DIVISION ADVANCES TOWARDS THE MONT PINCON MASSIF [Allocated Title]
    After driving out its 21st Panzer Division defenders, 43rd Division's 130th Brigade takes possession of the village of Jurques.

    Seven prisoners from the 21st Panzer Division (?) are led through the deserted and derelict streets of Jurques. A universal carrier rumbles through the village along the main road which continues in a straight line down into the valley below and then ascends the ridge overlooking Jurques a half mile beyond; from this view of the countryside some idea can be gained of the advantages enjoyed by an enemy equipped with excellent high- velocity anti-tank guns and moreover usually in possession of the higher ground. A discarded German steel helmet lies among the debris in the burning interior of a house. A Bren gunner serving with the 7th Battalion Hampshire Regiment keeps watch over a rubble-strewn thoroughfare in Jurques. A universal carrier makes a return journey up the main road through the village. A British infantryman (either dead or feigning death for the cameraman) lies before an abandoned Somua half-track APC which belonged to Assault Gun Battalion No. 200.

    All the best,

    Rm.

    Ps. "Intriguing" detail ("somewhat") there at the end of the film description - "A British infantryman (either dead or feigning death for the cameraman) lies before an abandoned Somua half-track APC which belonged to Assault Gun Battalion No. 200."

    I thought the camera never lies :eek:
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017 at 1:06 PM
  7. Ramiles

    Ramiles Well-Known Member

    :)


    7880500 Sgt.B.Symes
    Sherwood Rangers
    265 FDS.
    B.L.A.
    August 1st 1944

    Dearest Phyl and Rob,
    There is a nice big address for you. I’m not allowed to explain even yet why the change. As you probably known Regiments go in threes, The Sherwoods are sister Reg. to the 24th. I have all my boys with me, so it’s just a change of name at the moment. The application for a commission in the R.A.S.C. has probably gone into the waste paper basket by now, although I had a very good write up from the Sqn, “I can’t see them allowing first class tank commanders to beetle off” says the intelligence officer…

    http://www.slang-dictionary.org/London-Slang/Beetle_off

    (Says means "Leave quickly") ;)
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2016
  8. Ramiles

    Ramiles Well-Known Member

    Looking at some IWM links for the SRY in August 1944...

    Found this: The Armoured Campaign in Normandy

    Which suggests that this IWM picture:
    THE BRITISH ARMY IN NORMANDY 1944 (B 8588)
    Sherman DD tanks move along a narrow lane towards Ondefontaine, 4 August 1944.

    Might perhaps be an SRY DD tank....

    There is also some discussion here on the same picture:
    Pressed Steel Car M4A1s

    "The British received 80 of the US converted M4A1 DDs, all of which were allocated to the 8th Armoured Brigade for the Invasion. Photos indicate that some of them were the large hatch models. Above shows an example in action with the Sherwood Rangers, the junior Regiment of the 8th AB. The unit was photographed on August 4, 1944 advancing towards Ondefontaine, France on a farm lane in the hedgerow country typical of Normandy. The "SCR 528" stenciled on the turret stands for "Signal Corps Radio Model 528," the standard tank radio used by the US at the time. For some reason, the British did not overpaint this along with the USA Registration Number when they applied the circle tactical marking indicative of C Squadron. Perhaps they used the SCR 528 in lieu of the British #19 on the DDs received from the US? Because the M4A1 DDs transferred to the British in the UK were not originally intended for Lend Lease, they did not have British WD Numbers assigned beforehand. A May 24, 1944 Roster of the Nottinghamshire Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry lists the USA Numbers of some of their DDs, and several are in the large hatch range, such as USA 3070473, 3070488 and 3070492. Photo courtesy of the Imperial War Museum"
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017 at 1:08 PM
  9. The Sherman Minutia caption (at the end of the previous post) is correct: IWM B8588 definitely shows a Sherman II DD (large hatch version) of 'C' Sqn NOTTS YEO (SRY). There seems to be a '2' inside the circle on the turret which would further indicate that the tank was part of 2 Tp.
    [​IMG]
    THE BRITISH ARMY IN NORMANDY 1944. © IWM (B 8588)
    IWM Non Commercial Licence

    The only other unit equipped with Sherman II DD on D Day was 4/7 DG which used a different turret marking system.

    Michel
     
    Ramiles likes this.
  10. Ramiles

    Ramiles Well-Known Member

  11. Pak75

    Pak75 Junior Member

    Don't forget the excellent Stuart Hills' "By Tank into Normandy"
     
  12. Albowie

    Albowie Junior Member

    stolpi likes this.
  13. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Albowie - thanks for the tip, I ordered a copy of the book.
     
  14. Ramiles

    Ramiles Well-Known Member

  15. Ramiles

    Ramiles Well-Known Member

    I also did a bit of browsing through:

    Tank Action

    With one or two mentions of the 24th Lancers in there:
    Tank Action
     
  16. Ramiles

    Ramiles Well-Known Member

    Another book to browse, with a chapter for this period, is "Hard Fighting" - Hard Fighting

    Johnathan Hunt - Pen and Sword, 30 Apr 2016 - 352 pages.

    "This account, following on from Unicorns - The History of the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry 1794- 1899, covers the Regiment's war service between 1900 and 1945. During the Boer War the SRY formed part of the first volunteer unit to see active service overseas fighting the Boer Commandos as cavalry. For its role in the ill-fated 1915 Gallipoli campaign, the Regiment was awarded the King s Colour and then fought Allenby s victorious campaign against the Turks. During the Second World War the Regiment initially saw service in Palestine, at the siege of Tobruk and the fall of Crete. After acting as Special Forces in Ethiopia, they were converted to armour and fought through from Alamein to Tripoli before returning to North-west Europe for D-Day and the advance to Germany. In so doing they won thirty Battle Honours and 159 awards including eighty-three for gallantry. General Sir Brian Horrocks later wrote no armoured regiment can show a finer record of hard fighting. Hence the title of this invaluable regimental history."

    With Chapter 33: Hard Fighting

    Covering the "Battle for Normandy - Jun-August 1944"

     

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