Hi, I thought the June 44 war diary from this relatively small RASC unit would be of interest (and not just because of the Austin K5 3-ton 4x4 issues!). WO171/2288 – 237 Petrol Depot RASC C.O.: Capt O.W. ERDAL […] 11 – 14 May 1944 COWPLAIN Preparation & sorting G.1098 Equipment. 15 May 1944 COWPLAIN 237/238 Petrol Depot Conference at Camp A.2 Emsworth. Major Speirs D Coy Kings present and representative from D Coy Ox & Bucks. Captain Carter [??] in the chair. 16 May 1944 COWPLAIN G.S. Lorry 4 x 2 Austin collected from 28 V.R.D. Nuneaton. 17 May 1944 COWPLAIN Work continued on G. 1098 Stores. 18 May 1944 COWPLAIN G.S. Lorry 4 x 2 exchanged for G.S. Lorry 4 x 4 Austin @ 24 AFV Depot. Austin 4 x 2 Utility exchanged for Willys 5 cwt Jeep @ 69 V.R.D. Lt. Barrow posted to 102 Rft. Gp. Authority 101 Beach Sub Area. Balance of Petrol & empty Jerricans returned to Petrol Dump Bereleigh House. 19 May 1944 COWPLAIN Sgt. Harrison posted to 46 R.H.U. Promotions:- Cpl Chilton to Sgt. L/Cpl. Wassall to Cpl. Dvr Harris to L/Cpl. 20 May 1944 COWPLAIN Final packing G. 1098 equipment. 21 May 1944 COWPLAIN Cornelius Received concentrating. Residual G1098 equipment (expected in D + 21) delivered to 69 V.R.D. (8 3 ton lorries from 39 G.T. Coy). 22 May 1944 HORNDEAN 1000 Inspection by the King. 23 May 1944 COWPLAIN Waterproofing Stage A completed. Austin G.S. 4 x 4, Willys 5 cwt & Trailer Fire Pump. 24 May 1944 COWPLAIN Packing Willys 5 cwt & Austin G.S. 4 x 4 3-ton. 25 May 1944 COWPLAIN Ptes Parry & Davey proceeded with Willys to London Docks. Camp sealed 2359 hrs. 26 May 1944 COWPLAIN O.C. attended 101 Sub Area Briefing Conference – Overlord. 27 May 1944 COWPLAIN O.C. & 2 i/c attended 5 B.G. Briefing Conference. A.M. 2 i/c attended CRASC Conference. P.M. O.C. & 2 i/c attended Jt. Petrol Depot Conference @ Petworth. P.M. 28 May 1944 COWPLAIN Unit briefing. Overlord. 29 May 1944 COWPLAIN 1800 A6 Camp Comt. Conference. 2000 5 B.G. Commanders Final Conference. 30 May 1944 0930 Advance Party – O.C. & 3 men proceeded to Marshalling Area J2. 1330 2 i/c & 15 men proceeded to Marshalling Area A14. 30 May 1944 0900 Unit split into craft parties. Advance party (Capt. Erdal + 3 men) to Camp J2. 1500 Main party Lt. Erskine + 16 O.R’s to Camp A14. Marching Party 1 Off + 13 OR’s. Vehicle Part 2 OR’s – 3 ton 4 x 4 Austin + Fire Trailer Ump. Ignition trouble Austin 3 ton 4 x 4 5193580 to REME for repairs. 31 May 1944 WICKHAM Confined to camp. Austin 3 ton lorry condemned. 1 June 1944 0430 Austin 4 x 4 5193580 replaced by Austin 4 x 4 5193150. 0600 Main party moved to embarkation area. 1400 Embarked 382 (LST)(2) Gosport – anchored in Solent. 2 June 1944 At sea. 3 June 1944 Vehicle party 2 OR’s + 1 Jeep embarked Tilbury on 943 MTC from T7. 4 June 1944 At sea. 5 June 1944 Main party sailed comfortable ship men rather cramped but in good spirits. No direct enemy activity. 6 June 1944 Queen Beach Main party landed contacted Advance Party. Key Plan site still in hands of enemy – Depot set up with 238 P.D. recce party within 150 yards of beach temporarily. Capt Carter + advance party arrive 238 P.D. Proximity of ammo dump and no room for expansion noted. P.O.L. arrives, offloaded and stacked on ground allotted after area tested for mines. Hundreds of planes towing gliders and with paratroops pass overhead to cheers of our troops. Work continued throughout night. 7 June 1944 Colleville-sur-Mer Supplies arrive steadily and small issues made. 27 Armd. Bde using Derv are best customers. Sniping + shelling of beach causes some apprehension. Coles Crane and 2 RE personnel to be attached unit hit mine coming off beach. Personnel O.K. saved no doubt by sandbags under feet in cab – near side wheel of vehicle and most of engine blown off – later houses set on fire by shelling + general marking of snipers remains of vehicle burnt out. Jeep + 2 ORs arrive. Temporary site becomes dangerous as more P.O.L. arrives. B.G. “O” Group asked for new site – none available – strongpoint near Key Plan site not yet reduced. Good RAF cover – plenty of air activity – absence of cover quickly taken advantage of by enemy. AA gunners have much success. Men tired but unshaken. 238 P.D. main + vehicle parties arrive. Men work on throughout the night tired but standing up the job well. 8 June 1944 Colleville-sur-Mer After night of tension with enemy continuously overhead Capt Carter O.C. combined Depot again reported to B.G. H.Q. necessity for new site. Staff Capt. visits Petrol Depot and recce is made of adjoining area. Additional recce made by O.C. and Major Butcher of Ammo Depot. New sites selected. Stores now pouring in. 1230 Enemy hits depot. Disastrous fire within 60 seconds H.E. hits loaded D.U.K.W. Immediate fire in Petrol Depot and Ammo dump. Officers of dumps attempt to move and rescue transport. Many drivers leave vehicles and flee. One OR of 96 D.I.D. steps forward and rescues one 3 Tonner. Capt. Erdal badly injured as also is Lt. Col. Sale, 6 B.G. Commander. 1800 Lt. Erskine and Lt Gibbons 238 P.D. collected + assembled all personnel that could be found and on instructions of Major ?? of 21 Transport Column set up P.O.L., DID and ammo dump at Hermanville. Very short of labour. 40 men obtained from nearby R.E. Company to assist in offloading and stacking of stores. 2000 Instructions to withdraw P.O.L. to new site recced by Capt. Carter. 2200 P.O.L. and personnel transported to No.2 Depot Coleville area where Capt Carter and his party had establishment of depot + mine clearance in hand. Roll Call proves Capt. Erdal casualty. P.O.L. stacking [??] in conditions very difficult – shortage of labour and mine clearance in darkness. 27 Armd Bde demands Derv and is supplied by residue [??] at burnt out site – no hold up caused by loss of stock. Still very small issues due to static line. Estimated loss 400 – 450 tons POL, all 1098 equipment (including vehicles), all records and most personal kit lost. 9 June 1944 New site rapidly expands and new fields taken over. Depot now develops along line of hedges, small fields providing staggering of rows. Enemy mine warnings ignored by necessity. Still very small issues due to static line. Lt. Erskine assumed command. Lt. Hall posted to unit as 2 i/c. Advised Capt. Erdal evacuated. 10 June 1944 0400 Depot hit by 3 H.E. bombs and containers of S.D.Is – fierce petrol fire – dispersal of stacks limits extent, all men working valiantly and energetically in fierce heat and glare to move adjoining stacks – enemy continually overhead – depot efforts successful and at dawn the fire is under control and as the RAF arrived the enemy beat it. All personnel including D Coys 5th [??] Bucks + 5th Kings worked splendidly. Pte Parry removed C.R.S. with shock. S.O.S. 1400 Recce 1st Key Plan site. Estimated loss 18-20 tons P.O.L. Lt. Coe posted to unit [???] 237 P.D. & 238 P.D. move to new site. 1800 Rear party under comd Lt. Gibbons left to close down site. New site large flat cropped [??] area with little cover. Trenching system already waiting for bivvy area. Dispersal P.O.L. now 1st Priority. Stores on ground by 2000 hrs. Issues being carried out at old site, receipts at new site. Major Scott 101 Beach Sub Area orders delivery emergency transport (1 Weasel + 2nd i/c proceed). Personnel very dishevelled and unkempt but more determined than ever. 11 June 1944 CRESSERONS Depot rapidly expands. Stacks 5/7 tons well dispersed along strip cultivation. Dispersal gives necessary protection but adds to control difficulties (traffic – labour etc). Labour shortage. Supplies of towels – soap – razor blades etc obtained for men. 12 June 1944 CRESSERONS Planning continues, Receipts continue, greatest difficulty accounting – approx figures only are being returned. Suffering from loss equipment and 1398. Most personnel now issued with most immediate necessities. 13 June 1944 CRESSERONS Expansion continues – receipts heavy. Many visitors including Brigs. Gillespie and Dominic Brown. Now under command CRASC 17 S.U. as 2nd Army Troops. Increased labour. 14 June 1944 CRESSERONS Labour change from Infantry to 95 Pioneeer Coy. Ordered to recce new sites by CRASC 17 S.U. – recced but cancelled. 15 men of 132 Petrol Depot attached. 16 of Movement Control arrive in depot. Night receipts light. First day of real accounting – still feeling loss 1398 and other equipment. 15 June 1944 CRESSERONS Command Post 101 Beach Sub Area suggests salvage MT87 in fuel tanks of wrecked LCI(S)’s. O.C. recced LCI’s, unit equipment totally unsuited to the job. 1900 Mustang Mark III crashes in depot - pilot bailed out safely. No night work. 16 June 1944 CRESSERONS Receipts slacked off. Depot signing now taken in hand – close cooperation and assistance by Pro 245 HQ Coy. Mail deliveries slow and not much news – enemy continues spasmodic shelling of beach – another attempt at salvage proves useless. Difficult to contact Navy for pump etc. Dispersal of stocks completed. Planning depot in complete sub-depots, each area dispersed but containing all natures. No night work. 17 June 1944 CRESSERONS Small receipts, large issues. Petrol salvage on LCI(S)509 commenced – very slow business. CRASC asked for additional equipment. Enemy shell Cresserons 2115 hrs apparently nuisance raid. Command now 11 L of C Terminal. 18 June 1944 CRESSERONS Depot stacks to be eaten down to 1500 tons. Still no accurate forecast or pre-advice of stores to be handed. Movement Control working in depot and cooperating. 19 June 1944 CRESSERONS Attempt to use harbours to speed up salvage ops – no report yet received as to result – services 132 + 134 Pet. Dep.’s called in for this purpose. Rum issue – road repair urgent. First conference of Depot Representatives at No.1 Roadhead HQ. Dvr Fond [??] fractured ankle bone motor cycle accident – taken to 86 General Hospital. 20 June 1944 CRESSERONS Dvr Fond [??] evacuated S.O.S. No receipts, small issues. Small receipts and issues. Enemy still shelling beach. 21 June 1944 CRESSERONS Issues increase – rough sea holds up delivery POL and Mail. 22 June 1944 CRESSERONS Some issues replacement G.1098 arriving. Enemy shelling beach. Rough sea holds up delivery POL + Mail. Issues steady. 23 June 1944 CRESSERONS Pioneer roadmaking party lay hard core on half depot circuit. Lt. Coe posted 57 BSD, authy HQ 17 S.U. CRASC. Enemy shelling beach. Steady issues. 24 June 1944 CRESSERONS Roadmaking continues. Small Receipts, steady issues. Depot holding to be increased to 2500 tons. 25 June 1944 CRESSERONS Revised schedule 1 Corps + 71 Inf Bde drawing times received. Issues steady, receipts light. 26 June 1944 CRESSERONS New schedule in force. Issues heavy. Enemy shell beach. 2100 hrs O.C. attends conference Commander 2nd Army. 0730 Heavy barrage heard from forward areas. Receipts small, issues steady. Very heavy rain in evening plays havoc with tracks. 27 June 1944 CRESSERONS Receipts small, shelling beach, Issues steady. 28 June 1944 CRESSERONS Receipts small, steady issues. Notification received of Capt. O.W. Erdal’s death at 16 C.C.S. on 11th June. Death from shock and fractured spine. Shock responsible for change in condition after advice of evacuation on 9th. 3 Ton Austin 4 x 4 lorry drawn from 17 A.O.D in replacement 3 ton lorry burnt out 8th. 29 June 1944 CRESSERONS French labour reported for roadmaking in depot. Small receipts, steady issues. 132 P.D. personnel draining Petrol Tanks on beach and filling jerricans in depot. Weather showery. Torrential rain during evening. Shelling beach. 30 June 1944 CRESSERONS Issues 100 Octane to R.A.F. commence. Barrage continues ahead, weather very changeable. Small receipts. Increased issues.