War Diary 297 GT Coy RASC

Discussion in 'RASC' started by Tom OBrien, Sep 10, 2017.

  1. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    WO171/2428 – 297 Coy RASC (GT)

    1 June 1944
    [no entry]

    2 June 1944 AVELEY
    Craft loads assemble in camp.
    1200 Craft loads assemble in vehicle parks.
    Weather warm, overcast at times.

    3 June 1944
    Serial 3205 (main Coy serial) move to TILBURY dock.
    Later serials move throughout morning.
    1100 [TILBURY] Serial 3205 commences loading; finished by 1530.
    1605 LST 3205 moved to SOUTHEN mooring to join other craft.
    Weather fine, much sunshine.

    4 June 1944
    Ship’s captain attends conference SOUTHEND area.
    Departure for channel rendezvous assumed for p.m. this day postponed 24 hrs.
    Weather mostly fine some dull periods.

    5 June 1944
    Ship’s captain attends conference SOUTHEND area. Sailing for channel area fixed 1330 hrs; H hour 0730 6 June 44.
    1340 Ship under way.
    Weather dull some bright periods.

    6 June 1944
    Ship’s radio receives BBC reports of German news of Allied landings on N. coast France. D day.
    Vessel now off NEWHAVEN and heading for 1st rendezvous South of I of W.
    2200 Serials on 3rd tide now at forward sea rendezvous.
    Weather cooler, overcast at times.

    7 June 1944
    DUKW portion of serials landed. Contacted D day serials under Capt W in Tpt Pk.
    D day suffered landing casualties 1 OR killed, 1 Officer [&] 4 ORs wounded + absent – evacuated immediately to England – two DUKWs containing above hit sea mines. These serials landed 1500 D day off-loaded MIKE sector + gained Tpt Pk in NAN by re-entering sea to avoid road congestion.
    DUKW pool [??] established 2100 hrs D day.
    Coaster off-loading began 0400 7 Jun 44 and still continuing when D + 1 serials landed. Work often stopped by violent night air attacks + local sniping.
    2359 7 ORs killed and 36 wounded by high explosive AP bombs in air attack.
    47 DUKWs holed in body + tyres by shrapnel – park [??] congested: local mine fields prohibit expansion. Repairs delayed by non landing of W/S element of D _ 1 serials until 1800 D + 2.

    8 June 1944
    CRASC gave permission for sound DUKWs to be taken to sea from 2200 hrs to avoid casualties due to congestion.
    No raid at night. Weather dull and some rain.

    9 June 1944
    DUKWs working on 6 coasters. Motor boat coy detachment used as sea report centre organised to coasters.
    2230 Sharp raid. One DUKW badly damaged. 2 personnel wounded.
    Weather dull, heavy intermittent rain.

    10 June 1944
    Weather dull, some rain. Clearing at night.

    11 June 1944
    Weather fine, some dull periods.

    12 June 1944
    Weather fine: figures for 10 over beaches 3746 tons but heavy vehicle losses would indicate general underloading of vehicles. Weather fair much sun.

    13 June 1944
    4,000 tons exceeded in stores over beaches. Maintenance roster and rest period (1/2 day) now in being in Coy. Weather fair, heavy sea.

    14 June 1944
    D + 6 parties arrived intact.
    Weather fair, some cloudy periods with heavy sea.

    15 June 1944
    Weather fair, heavy sea at times.

    16 June 1944
    ALMA begins issue – BERNIERES-SUR-MER.
    Coaster position over past two days rather unsatisfactory – spasmodic arrival & not enough of them in view of amount of transport available.
    Introduction of transhipment areas ie forward bulk dumps formed from beach dumps and as an intermediate step to a [??] as front deepens. Some beach dumps grouped to facilitate collection of stores to transhipment area.
    Weather dull, very heavy sea improving throughout day. Colder.

    17 June 1944
    Mainly fair, some cloud clearing at night.

    18 June 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Coaster position still unsatisfactory. Two platoons only working then not extended. Coasters arriving at night.
    Heavy morning sea improving.
    2130 Received messages between Senior Naval Officers ashore + afloat congratulating DUKW drivers on working in heavy seas.

    19 June 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Full company earmarked for coaster programme delayed by rough weather and heavy seas.
    0900 Recommended T/… CSM Cadwaladr J. for mention in despatches for work in organising evacuation of wounded on night 7/8 JUNE 44. Appx A
    Except when tide is out off-loading not practicable. Almost continuous rain with high wind.

    20 June 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    High wind + sea soon bring off-loading from coasters to standstill.
    1830[?] Work resumed on dried-out coasters by DUKWs until 2030 hrs.
    Weather dull, clearing at times with high wind + heavy sea.

    21 June 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Extracts from War Diary sent CRASC 30 Tpt Coln for inclusion in report on RASC units up to D + 14 – to be forwarded by him to 102 Sub Area (Beach).
    Inclement weather precludes any off-loading. Small amount still to be taken from beached coaster not allotted as task to this coy.
    Dull, high wind, heavy sea.

    22 June 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    No off-loading owing to high wind.
    Promise of abatement later in day.

    23 June 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    1 Pln began off-loading; by 1430 all DUKWs working at full pressure.
    Weather abated, plenty of coasters in.
    Record number of load journeys made = 350 by coy. totalling 1050 tons.
    Weather fair, wind abated.

    24 June 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    As on 23rd, sudden call for DUKWs to work until 2300. CRASC ordered that in future 2 Pls of DUKWs only will be on road at once – then if running time is lengthened reserve platoon can be substituted.
    Plenty of coasters available for off-loading. Work proceeding steadily from 0500.

    25 June 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Off-loading continues in full swing.
    1730 O.C. discussed with CRASC 30 Tpt Coln the proposed circuiting for DUKWs to avoid BERNIERES. Proposal reserves one circuit reports [??] lay-out with required to report centre + w/S and takes up valuable parking space.
    Record off-loading figures of 4700 tons achieved by 102 Sub Area.
    2100 CRASC conference. Proposed channeling of Nan Green beach explained by CRASC to obviate running over rocks of Nan White beach where damage to shafts + propellers of DUKWs is mounting. This is bound up with Bye-passing BERNIERES described above.
    Weather fine, much sunshine, clouding over in evening.

    26 June 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    DUKW on detachment to IWT Group COURSEULLES holed and sunk off MIKE RED. Cause unknown. Reported by driver of another of these DUKWs returning to location 1015 hrs for relief.
    Visit of O.C. + O i/c w/s to beach, Group HQ, 966 IWT Coy (actual location of detachment) fails to determine position of DUKW as this had only been verbally to R.E. Group + coy, + not at all to this coy. Valuable time for salvage lost as must [??] another tide.
    1330 RE officer from 966 IWT Coy arrives to give first official information re loss of DUKW.
    1400 O i/c W/S makes arrangements with P.B.M. 7 Beach Group and 23 B.R.S. REME to attempt salvage at next low tide ie between 2000 + 2100 hrs.
    2100 DUKW not located.
    Weather [??] much thundery rain.

    27 June 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Further time spent searching for lost DUKW. Not located + written off.
    1100 O.C. (Major G.M. Bridges) recced with O.C. 199 G.T. Coy area of responsibilities allotted in 9 Beach Group defence plan.
    1200 Capt. C.E. LIMTORN [??] appointed P.A.D. + [??} ordered to revise Coy Standing Orders to agree with 21 A.G. P.A.D. orders.
    1800 O.C. recced proposed site with representative 199 G.T. Coy and 2 i/c 30 Tpt Coln RASC for new DUKW Control; so sited as to avoid passing over rocks on NAN GREEN. To be taken into use by agreement with 8 Beach Group from 0900 28 June 44.
    New high record of 5,300 tons discharged in 102 Sub-Area beaches.
    Weather mainly fiar, heavy showers, sultry.

    28 June 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Revised Stand-By + defence plan issued to agree with 8 Beach Group defence plan.
    Appx B
    Received warning order of arrival 31 ORs from RHU sometime after 1800 hrs today.
    2300 1 Officer and 30 ORs arrived from 34 RHU.
    Mainly fair, much cloud at times; slight rain.

    29 June 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Thundery weather with very heavy rain.

    30 June 1944
    Weather continued unsettled.

    The diary is hand-written and difficult to read in a couple of places hence the occasional [??]!
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  2. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Appendix A
    30 Tpt Coln. RASC.

    Report on action by T/44145 C.S.M. Cadwaladr J. of the 297 General Transport Coy. RASC, location at Bernieres-Sur-Mer.

    During the night 7/8 June 44 two sharp air attacks resulted in five lines of A.P. Bombs falling on the Coy. Dukw Park when 51 Dukws were holed, 5 O.Rs killed and 36 wounded.

    The bulk of the Coy. had arrived in during late evening of 7 Jun 44 and control of personnel during raids was consequently made more difficult. During the whole of this time T/44145 C.S.M. Cadwaladr worked unceasingly in carrying out orders for evacuation of the wounded without regard to his own safety under conditions made increasingly difficult by much indiscriminate ground firing round the area.

    By his efforts C.S.M. Cadwaladr kept casualties to a minimum and removed those which occurred without delay by his unceasing efforts.

    His work during the night was an example to rank and file.

    It is recommended that C.S.M. Cadwaladr be mentioned in despatches.

    Major RASC
    O.C. 297 General Transport Coy. RASC
    24 June 44
    In the Field.
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  3. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Appendix B


    No. 8 Beach Group Defence Plan gives Coy. responsibility of manning with 199 line from houses by 199 Workshops to road BERNIERES to BENY-SUR-MER (by old F.D.S. location).

    This Coy. gets half of this line from 199 Workshops end to man in a STAND-TO.

    (a) General alarm will be the sounding of hooters which will only be done on the orders of an officer except in case of Guard during Stand-To at 199 Workshops Post.
    (b) On sounding of the General alarm:

    (i) All personnel will arouse immediately, get arms and equipment and fall in – Workshops and “C” Platoon under Capt. Jackson at Operational H.Q. dug-out. “A” “B” and “H.Q.” in field behind H.Q. house. Lt. Birches will immediately lead “A” Platoon to man forward defence points on line given above; PIAT and Bren in Posts 1, 2, 3, with riflemen in close support. Remainder in reserve in top of 199 G.T. Park.
    On taking up positions, a runner will be sent from Operational H.Q. dug-out and “A” Platoon to Coy. H.Q. house. “C” Platoon under Duty Officer will act as 1st Reinforcements to “A” Platoon, word to act being sent from H.Q. House.
    Capt. Wildsmith [?] and Capt. Carter will be responsible for disposition of “H.Q.” and “B” personnel in Local Defence around “H.Q.” House. Capt. Jackson will similarly be responsible for Operational H.Q., disposition of Workshops.

    (ii) Workshops Guard will withdraw from main road and take up position behind wall nearer to Operational H.Q. dug-out.

    (c) Half-hour before first light and half-hour before dark, all Guards will Stand-To daily at Operational H.Q. dug-out (excluding men posted). Relieving N.C.O. will lead Post near H.Q. House to roof of 199 G.T. Coy. Workshops.
    C.S.M. will ensure N.C.O. is armed with Pistol and Signal Cartridges, “Red” which will be fired in air towards Operational H.Q. in an emergency, in addition to sounding hooters in 199 G.T. Workshops.

    (d) Personnel at Dukw Control will return to H.Q. by quickest possible means of sounding of Alarm.

    [Sgd: ??]
    Major RASC
    O.C. 297 General Transport Coy. RASC
    28 June 44
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  4. hutt

    hutt Member

    Were you aware of the privately published book ' Memoirs of a Soldier' by Douglas Heathfield-Robinson. The book is dedicated to this unit. At the beginning of his service he was in the same unit as my father (902 AA Coy) and then later 297 GT Coy RASC. He recorded an audio memoir that is available at the IWM as is a copy of the book.

    Here is the link

    Heathfield-Robinson, Douglas Albert (Oral history) (28197)

    Last edited: Sep 11, 2017
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  5. hutt

    hutt Member

    Link to IWM recording added

    REEL 1 Background in Tottenham, London and Potters Bar, GB, 1921-1940: family; employment. Aspects of period as driver with 902 and 907 Anti-Aircraft Coys, Royal Artillery in GB, 1940-1944: call up; pattern of basic training; passing driving test; work with Indian unit; delivering ammunition to anti-aircraft gun sites; change of unit number to 907; attachment to Maritime Regt; types of vehicles driven. Recollections of period as driver with 297 General Transport Coy, Royal Army Service Corps in GB and North West Europe, 1944-1945: initial impressions of DUKW; training on DUKWs in Wales; controls on DUKW; inflating tires on DUKW; crew of DUKW; allocation of DUKW in Derby, 1944. REEL 2 Continues: training for operating DUKWs; incident of engine problem with his DUKW; attending 'Commando' course; weapons training; weapons and equipment carried on DUKW; unit officers; organisation of company; operating in Walcheren area, Netherlands, 10/1944; in sealed camp in Essex, 5/1944- 6/1944; landing in Normandy, 7/6/1944; damage to DUKWs in German Air Force raid; unloading ships; working on double summer time; air raids and under sniper fire in beach head. REEL 3 Continues: unloading stores off Juno Beach in Normandy; advance through France to Netherlands, 8/1944- 9/1944; getting lost in fog during between Eindhoven and Nijmegen; reasons for not using DUKWs during evacuation from Arnhem; hospitalisation for illness; rejoining unit; hospitalisation in GB after illness, 12/1944; delivering stores to Reichswald Forest through flooded landscape; method of crossing River Rhine; non-fraternisation orders in Germany; hearing of atomic bomb being dropped whilst on leave, 8/1945. Aspects of period as driver with 533 Coy, Royal Army Service Corps attached to 916 Inland Transport Coy, Royal Engineers in Germany, 1945-1946: role transporting depth charges to blow up wrecks in River Rhine; billeting. REEL 4 Continues: dealing with blackmarket; contact with English women married to German; rations; office duties, 5/1944-8/1946. Demobilisation and return to civilian life, 8/1946.
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  6. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Thanks for these details. Interesting stuff. It is amazing how many unit histories are emerging.

  7. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    1 July 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Inclement weather causing early wear on RE tracks. DUKW exit from beaches continually changed. Check on position of DUKWs made correspondingly difficult i.e. if DUKWs pass DUKW Control going out to sea but not back impossible to check whether DUKW is at sea or at a dump. The ideal DUKWs passing DUKW Control in + out on a 2-way road has not yet been reached.
    Weather unsettled.

    2 July 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Reinforcements now sent from 101 RHU to make up deficiencies. 50% DUKW drivers but remainder v. inexperienced drivers.
    Weather unsettled.

    3 July 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Weather very unsettled with almost continuous rain.
    2000 O.C. at CRASC conference presses necessity for fixing as early as possible permanent DUKW exit noted on 1 July 44.

    4 July 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Weather improving.
    0900 Army Fire Service team and trailer attached to company. Parked in Coy vehicle park.
    Some bright periods, rain during evening.

    5 July 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Reinforcements now received to date (excluding) residue allow 2 drivers per DUKW with small pool spare.
    Enquiries proceeding through 102 Sub-Area (Beach) as to whereabouts of residue due.
    All DUKW spares indents now rendered to CRASC 30 Tpt Coln, Understood that limited amount of spares will be flown. Cannibalisation of complete DUKW casualties plus borrowing e.g. 2 main spring leaves from 299 Coy RASC have kept permanent VOR to nil so far.
    Weather dull with intermittent rain.

    6 July 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    V. fine day but stiff sea breeze with heavy sea and gale warning pending.
    Distance of coasters from shore means control of flow to them exceedingly difficult as time taken to + fro is so long.
    1030 DUKW lost at sea with load on – caught beam sea + load shifted. Drivers saved.
    Report to CRASC 30 Tpt Coln. Appx A
    O.C. at CRASC conference repeats former request for coasters to be brought in as close as possible – time saved, safety of DUKWs in heavy sea which with cross-tide +rocks inshore at places all help to make a dangerous beam sea at right angles to shore. Control of DUKW flow also made more difficult.
    Thunderous tendency [?] at night.

    7 July 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Spring tides uncovering bad mud patches. Many DUKWs sticking on present channel used on coming ashore. Area marked off by naval authorities – attempts to find new channel not easy owing to rocks on NAN WHITE.
    0800 DUKW lost on 6th located by REME B.R.S.
    Weather mainly fair; some dull periods, sea falling.

    8 July 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    REME B.R.S. succeed in bringing DUKW ashore with use of divers.
    2000 Diver resumed work prior to lifting DUKW with naval crane. All [?] broken aft, this not surprising as open-ended hooks were used tied down instead of closed shackles. Coy having no diver has no means of doing operation for itself.
    Weather mainly fair.

    9 July 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Weather fair. Unloading proceeds at even flow: 4800 tons off-loaded (cf target 4500).
    REME fail to lift sunken DUKW.

    10 July 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Worsening weather precludes work on sunken DUKW now reported to be in hands of navy. Off-loading stopped between 1400 and 1900.

    11 July 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Weather improving throughout day allows normal programme in evening.
    4th DUKW now VOR with broken front springs and 2nd with broken V. strut bearing the result of travelling over rocks and road side pot holes now showing itself.

    12 July 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    O i/c W/S at last obtains main leaf (6 inc.???) which has not been available so far for spring repairs.
    Normal running in off-loading.
    Weather mainly fair, dull patches.

    13 July 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Report from W/S officer on theory of DUKW spring breakage, manifold cracking & v. strut breaking + reminder [??] forwarded to 30 Tpt Coln. Appx A
    Weather mainly fair; dull periods, some rain during evening.

    14 July 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Weather generally fair.

    15 July 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Receive notification from 11 L of C Area ST that DUKW paint + fender replacements to be available from RASC sources within next day or two.
    1500 Unit collected 30 DUKW drivers for distribution by CRASC 30 L of C from 102 Reinforcement Group.
    O i/c maintenance (W Bircham ??) prepares full list of tool equipment boxes from DUKWs which cannot be attributed to drivers owing to many changes among drivers + fact that before leaving U.K. NOT 25% of Tool boxes were equipped with padlocks + local purchase at time was not possible. List to be forwarded CRASC on completion for write-off.

    16 July 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Weather fair.

    17 July 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Weather fair.
    2100 5 Dvrs report MIKE Sector to ferry driverless vehicles.

    18 July 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    D + 17 residue arrive.

    19 July 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Mention made on Situation report of considered inadvisability of DUKWs going out to 2,000 class coasters (a) Time taken for distance. (b) tendency of coasters to change to LBV without warning. (c) Suspicion often causing damage to DUKWs rpts CRASC 30 Tpt Coln at conference 2000.
    Tonnage figures required by CRASC.
    Weather fair.

    20 July 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Tonnage check on 2,000 class coaster instituted over 3 days by DUKW control.
    2000 CRASC conference: difficulty of protecting perishable goods from sea + weather discussed. Impossible to load with superstructure up, also impossible to erect canopy without superstructure. Maximum protection by pulling canopy over cargo to be enforced.
    Weather dull + thundery; heavy rain evening + night.

    21 July 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Almost continual rain and poor visibility brings DUKW off-loading practically to standstill.

    22 July 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Work back to normal with nine small coasters beached by 1300 hrs.
    Weather dull, further evening rain.
    6,300 tons off-loaded – a new record in Sub-Area.

    23 July 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Received 102 Sub-Area allowing personnel to sleep above ground with normal P.A.D. precautions.
    1820 Very fast off-loading all day with 9 coasters beached and 2 off shore – 280 completed journeys with 37 DUKWs working.

    24 – 25 July 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Weather improving although long dull periods still met.

    26 July 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Improved weather allows full DUKW off-loading programme.
    1800 Received warning of DST 21 Army Group conference for AD, ST areas, CsRASC Tpt Cols controlling DUKW Coys and all DUKW Coy commanders to discuss working hours of DUKW personnel + maintenance of DUKWs – requirements + amount done + methods in present campaign.
    Weather mainly fine – long bright periods.

    27 July 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Return prepared for ADST 11 L of C area on lines of DST requirements. Appx B
    O.C. (Major ??) attended CRASC conference on beach to discuss proposed position of DUKW control now that a 2-way road for DUKWs is ready. Owing to position of road DUKW Control to be placed on beach lateral some 100 yds from road entry/exit from beach as work takes place on this side of road and beach is too soft at other places for safe journey across it.
    1800 Report on DUKW tool equipment deficiencies rendered CRASC 30 Tpt Coln – which can be charged to drivers but for which losses extenuating circumstances permit application for write-off. Appx C
    Weather mainly fair some dull periods.

    28 July 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Mainly fair, some dull periods.

    29 July 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Until DUKW Control covers entrance and exit O i/c DUKW Control finds it impossible adequately to check up on DUKW service to 2,000 class.
    2000 Forwarded incidents as requested to HQ 30 Tpt Coln for consideration for inclusion in newspaper article on RASC work in B.M.A. Appx D
    Weather mainly fair, long periods of sunshine, slight showers at times.

    30 July 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Weather good. Off-loading continuously fast. Average for sector over 1 week 4900 tons per day and on JUNO area 8200.

    31 July 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    DUKW on detachment to IWT Group badly holed and burned during night shelling from E of River ORNE in OUISTREHAM area.
    Weather fair, much sunshine.
    Capt. C.E. LINTURN admitted hospital 30 July 44, evacuated UK.
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  8. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Appendix A

    Subject: Loss Dukw P.5575624

    30 Tpt. Coln. RASC.

    Herewith report received from the driver of the above vehicle lost 6 July 44 whilst engaged on unloading.

    In my opinion no blame attaches to the driver. The coasters worked are far too far out for safe Dukw working in anything like a sea.

    There was a heavy sea running at the time with a gale warning pending; this with a cross tide and load made shore approach extremely difficult as Dvr. was on a beam sea for most of the time.

    It is estimated that it sank 1 mile from the shore in at least 4 fathoms of water.

    May I receive your instructions re further action please.

    [sgd: ??] Major. RASC
    O.C. 297 Coy. RASC (General Transport)
    7 July 44
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  9. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Appendix B

    Ref. No. VA/1/50
    Subject: Dukws – Statistics

    30 Tpt. Coln. R.A.S.C.

    Ref. your 30/ST/100 datd 26 July 44 the following is the information required and which is based on the records held by this Unit and covers the period 6 June 44 to 24 July 44 – 7 weeks.

    (1) Average number of Dukws working per day = 70.1
    (includes 2 permanently attached I.W.T.)

    (2) This Unit has not been called upon to use the shift system and it has been found possible for the two drivers to work comfortably during the hours of daylight. On the average each driver gets one day for maintenance in every three and one half day for interior economy in six.

    (3) The daily average number of double drivers available is 86. This is based on present day strength and did not apply in the early stages, when, owing to casualties it was necessary apply Circuit Patrol Corporals as drivers, until the arrival of reinforcements on 29 June 44, 1st and 16 July 44, and the Residue on the 19 July 44, in order to keep all Dukws running.

    (4) The average number of man-hours put in each week per double driver and based on present day strength is 86.

    (5) Number of drivers at present held against W.E. who cannot be trusted to drive and maintain Dukws is 12.

    [sgd: ??] Major. RASC
    O.C. 297 Coy. RASC (General Transport)
    27 July 44
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  10. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Subject: R.A.S.C. Work in Beach Group Maintenance Area.

    30 Tpt. Coln. R.A.S.C.

    Ref. recent request for material suitable for incorporation in a newspaper article; the following is offered for consideration:

    (a) On the night of D + 1 a series of sharp air attacks on Beach Maintenance Area resulted in 5 lines of Anti-Personnel Bombs being dropped over the vehicle park and bivouac area causing 40 odd casualties.
    In addition much indiscriminate ground shooting and the fact that the majority of the Coy. had arrived in only during late evening D + 1 made control very difficult. C.S.M. Cadwaldr with untiring energy and complete disregard for his own safety carried out orders for the evacuation of casualties in a way which was a fine example to all rank and file.

    (b) On this same night Dukw casualties amounted to 53 out of 99. Two were “write-offs” having been blown up by mines when landing, and in those damaged on night + 1 the average number of perforations was 15 on each DUKW with two also damaged by fire; the tyres also suffered heavily.
    By evening D + 4, 47 Dukw casualties were back at work; all this was done whilst normal running repairs on Dukws already working were being done by Workshops.

    (c) The above shortage of men, although all Dukws were manned once repaired, the great strain on drivers now that very few reliefs were available and working hours were sometimes as long as 20 a day – not a single case of a driver falling asleep at the wheel was reported and no traffic accident which could be attributed to a Dukw driver, occurred during this period.

    [sgd: ??] Major. RASC
    O.C. 297 Coy. RASC (General Transport)
    29 July 44
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  11. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Appendix C
    Subject: Deficiencies.
    30 Tpt. Coln. R.A.S.C.

    Attached herewith is a list of deficiencies found on a complete Coy. check of Dukw equipment.
    These losses have occurred during operations. They are properly on signature to Drivers but the following circumstances are submitted as reason for Write-off.
    For the first three weeks of the Campaign casualties and non-arrival of Residue made working hours long with no time for checking equipment. Much of this equipment on a Dukw has no lockable storage space –
    e.g. Lifebelts
    Cab covers
    In addition this difficulty was foreseen when Dukws were first issued and application was made 1 Corps for issues of Boxes Stationary as a locker for this equipment.
    For the tools, a tool box exists, but no padlock or keys were issued in the majority of cases and none were able to be purchased before embarking.
    In the circumstances it is submitted that a case for Write-off exists.
    A.F.G. 998 is enclosed.

    [sgd: ??] Major. RASC
    O.C. 297 Coy. RASC (General Transport)
    27 July 44


    £ s. d.

    Torches 8 [?] 1. 4. 0.

    Buckets. 27 4. 1. 0.

    Tyre Gauge. 1 2. 6.

    Grease Gun Adaptor. 2 1. 6.

    Wrench Hub Nut. 2 2. 0.

    Wrench Wheel Nut. 3. 3. 0.

    Grille Cover. 3. 7. 6.

    Knives. 20 3. 10. 0.

    Pliers 6”. 5 3. 9.

    Schrader Valve Tool. 1. 6.

    Jack Handle. 2. 5. 6.

    Spanners (various) 12 12. 0.

    Life Jackets. 6. 1. 10. 0.

    Rear Surf Cover. 5. 15. 0.

    Screwdriver No. 1. 3. 1. 7.

    Screwdriver (Cros??) 3. 2. 3.

    Cab Cover. 5. 3. 2. 6.

    Grease Gun Extension. 2. 1. 6.

    Tunnel Plug Adaptor. 1. 2. 9.

    Allen Set Screw. 2. 1. 0

    Total: 16. 9. 10.

    Where available, prices are based on Chilwell pub. C.F. 76 [????] dated 19 Feb. 44.
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  12. hutt

    hutt Member

    I think the great thing is that Douglas left both a written and aural history and that it is at the IWW for posterity. Add in your transcription of the war diary and you have a very interesting summary of what 297 Coy got up to and how even just the RASC carried considerable risks in carrying out their daily tasks.
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  13. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    1 August 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Visit from 4 M.T. Inspection Branch – preliminary discussions with Oi/c W/S about DUKW working and defects.
    Weather fair but shortage of coasters keeps off-loading figures down.

    2 August 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Owing to shortage of coasters Coy not required except for 30 DUKWs to work L.C.T. and barges beached from 1230 to 2000.
    Weather fine, high wind, choppy sea.

    3 August 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    As above 20 DUKWs for coasters from 0600 and 20 on [??] from 1300 to work beached small craft as on 2nd.
    1500 Oi/c W/S (Capt. Jackson [??]) attends conference at HQ 30 Tpt Coln with Inspectorate of M.T. representatives re DUKW defects. Appx A
    DUKW on detachment to IWT ordered back to Coy by O.C. Coy owing to dirty + damaged state DUKW was in. Report to CRASC 30 Tpt Coln. Appx B

    4 August 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Weather mainly fair, choppy sea.

    5 August 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Weather improving, more sunshine but sea still choppy, improving afternoon.

    6 August 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Representative 4 MT Group visits Coy to experiment with suggested remedy for tendency of DUKW to throw out of 2nd gear after much sea work. Coy remedy of changing hot head agreed to be the right but simpler one suggestion of plate lock to hold change lever in position to be put into operation.
    Weather fair. Good off-loading all day.

    7 August 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    W/S reports on first day at new DUKW entry into sea: 2 V strut caps broken, 3 propellers twisted, 1 inflation device broken, 2 front springs broken. Dvrs report obstruction at low tide.
    1000 Verbal report made CRASC for [??] action.
    Sea mist prevents off-loading until 1100 hours.
    Very fine weather after mist cleared.

    8 August 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Mist clears early allowing good full off-loading day. DUKWs employed to full capacity 0600 – 2130. Owing to short run from beach to transhipment area DUKWs outstrip lorries so that finally, shells (200lb) loaded loose + therefore to be handled into trays – are sent back to DUKW park for off-loading 0600 9 Aug 44, as there would be no opportunities of off-loading before.
    V. fine day much sunshine.

    9 August 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    DUKWs now working to full capacity i.e. approx 70 – 75 over past 3 days which is no. available with V.O.R. averaging 20%. Numbers on maintenance park averaging 5.
    Weather fair with sunshine.

    10 August 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Shortage of coasters slows down work of off-loading.
    0900 O.C., 2 i/c, O i/c W/S in conference to discuss company details in respect of information required by DST 21 AG at forthcoming conference on a) present hours worked by DUKW drivers b) maintenance of DUKWs c) modifications required in present system to meet a long term policy. Appx C
    Weather fine after morning overclouding.

    11 August 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Good clear morning with many coasters in keep DUKW off-loading going at good pace.
    1300 Report of DUKW defects forwarded 21 Army Experimental Workshops. Appx D
    Weather fair – heavy evening mist.

    12 August 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Weather fine, much sunshine.

    13 August 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    O.C. attended conference CRASC 30 Tpt Coln re report required by DST 21 Army Group on DUKW operation – points to be covered by Os.C. Coys a) hours of work b) tonnage lift over first 40 days c) system of maintenance d) quality of drivers and reinforcements e) Technical data re DUKWs including tyres.
    2300 Night shelling with direct ground burst in W/S location 1 B/D lorry, 1 x 3 ton burned out; minor DUKW holing and cracked windscreens from shrapnel. 1 slight casualty – cut on face.
    Weather fine much sunshine.

    14 August 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Rendered report b drivers on previous weeks detachment to IWT – to HQ 30 Tpt Coln. Appx E
    Sea roughening throughout day causes cessation of DUKW work at 1600 hrs.
    Weather fine, much sunshine; onshore wind stiffening throughout day.

    15 August 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Weather fair – thundery tendency.

    16 August 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Weather fair, overcast at times, sea roughening towards evening.
    1300 Lt. H.A. MECROW joined for duty from 37 RHU.

    17 August 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Weather fair, full off-loading programme; spate of V.O.R. due to many different breakdowns – rudder cable, braking defects, water in petrol.

    18 August 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Workshop inspections stopped in effort to reduce number of V.O.R.
    Oi/c W/S submits defective DUKW parts to 21 Advanced Base W/S together with suggested remedies. Appx F
    Weather fair, full off-loading programme continues.

    19 August 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Weather breaking with heavy evening rain clearing at night.

    20 August 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Weather mainly fair. Cloudy at times.

    21 August 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Continuous rain and heavy sea limit off-loading.
    1800 Receive warning order to exchange company domestic vehicles (Austin K5) with 39 GT Coy and receive Chevrolet 4 x 4 in lieu. This apparently to reduce no. of types held by 39 GT in load carrying vehicles. Exchange to be effective 22 Aug 44 – authority 11 of C ST 317 dated 19 Aug 44.

    22 August 1944 BERNIERES-SUR-MER
    Above effected.
    Weather improved but heavy swell.
    2359 Warning from HQ RASC 30 Tpt Coln by telephone to be ready to move 1200 hrs 23.

    23 August 1944
    Q Movements L of C area telephone message confirming move with route as per card attached. Appx G
    DUKWs to be loaded with Compo from 55 BSD ST LUC SUR MER.
    Loading commences 0630 hrs.
    0830 In view of above message permission sought through 30 Tpt Coln to cancel exchange of domestic vehicles, replace U/S and evacuated vehicles = 1 x 3 ton, 1 x 15 cwt, 4 x DUKWs.
    This effected through units 30 Tpt Coln.
    1800 Convoy broken [??] from FMC near ATHIS T9228 under 46 Tpt Coln giving information that R.V. changed. Part of convoy met at VILLERS BOCAGE T.8258 not stopped by above therefore did not report F.M.C. – this latter not acquainted with 30 Corps instructions.
    Loading table issued by 46 Tpt Coln necessitates much off-loading – when complete, news that part of convoy at ECOUCHÉ is to return to F.M.C. causes remainder to stand by ready to move off. Appx H
    Weather dull, heavy rain at night.

    24 August 1944 FROMENTEL
    As ECOUCHÉ did not arrive having been directed to FROMENTEL by higher authority remainder of convoy from F.M.C. leaves to join it there arriving from 0615. (U0817).
    0700 Before all convoy is in DUKWs grouped to carry troops forward. This is to be done on top of load therefore most DUKWs carried 3 tons of stores and 20 – 25 men.
    3 Bns of 129 I Bde so lifted.
    0830 O.C. visited B.M. 129 I. Bde inthat S/Capt passed on news that Coy HQ would be attached HQ 129 Bde for operation = assault crossing R. SEINE near VERNON 4473 after off-loading stores short of VERNON for Bde Coy RASC to re-load.
    43 DIV move FRANCHVILLE area Q9545.
    1930 O.C. recced area for stores dumping with DAQMG 43 DIV + off-loading commences 2045 – DUKWs had to be called in from Bn coy locations.
    1100 Before O.C. left with 128 Bde HQ arrangements made for W/S and remainder Coy to move + live with 505 Coy (129 Bde Coy).
    Advance party arrives just as O.C. moving off – main party arrives just in time to move with 505 Coy.
    Weather fair.

    25 August 1944
    1000 -
    Coy moves with 129 Bde to VERNON area.
    DUKWs disperse with Bns for assault crossing.
    1 Bn did not use them at all [1 Worc]. 4 first used by another Bn [5 Wilts] only 1 successful.
    First one used by 3rd Bn also stuck in mud – 3rd Bn later used 2 for carrying stores. [4 Som – see Staff College account WS/63].
    Weather fair. Thundery tendency.

    26 August 1944 VERNON
    3 DUKWs carry RE Stores. Proper exit + entrance not built – bridge being intact may have influenced this.
    1500 DUKWs returning to Coy location (to be recced in VERNON area) from am 27.
    1800 O.C. recces suitable area for Coy concentration MAULUT (environs VERNON).
    Weather fair, heavy thunderstorm at night.

    27 August 1944 MAULUT
    Coy concentrates at MAULUT. This is the first time since 22 Aug that Coy has been together or Pls complete for Pl organisation was lost on 23, (a) nature of convoy (b) difficulties of pre-loading in short time (c) DUKW casualties en route (d) loss of part of convoy early in journey meant further loss of time. Therefore at FROMENTEL Coy was again on move before re-organisation could be effected.
    Fair, heavy thunderstorm at night.

    28 August 1944 MAULUT
    Search parties out over route to find missing DUKWs numbering 5.
    Coy resting and on maintenance.
    Dull heavy intermittent rain in evening.

    29 August 1944 MAULUT
    2 i/c RASC 43 DIV. visited Coy with news of probably further move with 43 DIV to R. SOMME. Discussed vital spares together with Oi/c W/S and finally visited ADOS 43 DIV to see if any vital spares which Coy has always lacked: especially Tyres and Carburettor parts, + brake linings.
    1700 ADOS arranged to send WO to 17 AOD to lodge outstanding indents and get any available spares.
    2200 Capt Sykes (199 Coy) arrives with B/D replacement and 3 Reinforcements (men wounded D+1). B/D loaded with many vital DUKW spares.
    Oi/c W/S visits ORD FD PK to obtain m/c spares required which are in stock.
    Weather dull, much rain throughout day.

    30 August 1944
    S. SUP. O 43 DIV visits location requiring amounts of stores handed by coy to 43 DIV = amounts picked up at F.M.C. and any which came straight through + did not cap [??] at FMC i.e. (Capt. Wilasmiths [??] serial].
    He passed on general information that Coy was now likely to be used with another DIV of 30 Corps in next move.
    Weather dull, much rain clearing later.

    31 August 1944 VERNON
    O.C. visited DDST 30 Corps. Coy to come directly under 30 Corps HQ – immediate use to carry 156 FMC from HOULBEC 3572 to form 157 FMC in CRILLON M8118 area.
    1530 All available DUKWs loaded with petrol.
    1630 Before leaving reinforcements for 11 Armd Div on-loaded on load to be delivered fwd.
    O.C. given orders to move HQ to next 156 FMC area 3572. Complete by 1930.
    Weather improving bright periods.
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  14. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    And for an overview of 297Coy ops in Normandy there is this:

    Appendix D

    Subject: Dukw Operation.

    30 Tpt. Coln. R.A.S.C.

    Ref. points required by C.RASC at Conference today 13 Aug. 44 –

    Point No. 3. Fell from 16 – 20 hours to 11 – 14 over the period of 40 days.

    Tonnage: D – 1 to D + 40.

    Loads. Tons.

    Ammo. 4,774 14,322.

    R.A.F. Ammo 166 498

    R.A.F. Petrol. 59 177

    R.A.F. Stores. 61 183

    P.O.L. 2,039 6,117

    R.E. 539 1,617

    O.B.D. 271 813

    Supplies 1,495 4,485

    R.A.M.C. 7 21

    TN. Stores 14 42

    N.A.A.F.I. 233 699

    Mail 14 42

    Misc. 4 12

    TOTAL 9,676 29,028

    Personnel 239 loads

    No loads 151 loads

    GRAND TOTAL 10.066 Loads

    Point No.4. 20% was allowed off road daily after initial 48 hours – but this became rapidly eaten up by V.O.R. and permanent detachments. Slacking off in off-loading as a general rule gave a Platoon a day’s Maintenance to 3 or 4 working.

    Maintenance checking has been done by Workshops on return to Transport Park after a run and by Transport Park Control Staff before starting journey. This covers such driver discipline as dress, stowage of Dukw kit, checking on fenders, cleanliness of Dukw hold.

    Point No.5. Original Company formed only 60% of ultimate Coy. size. Reinforcements were very seldom even good lorry drivers – general quality of reinforcements has been poor, not really fit to be trained as Dukw drivers.

    Point No.6. Turn over of Tyres has been at rate of 5 per week from other than enemy action.

    Major damage to Dukws other than by enemy action has been:
    (a) Cracking of Exhaust manifold.
    (b) Twisting of Marine Prop. and breaking off of bottom half V strut
    bearing cap.
    (c) Broken Front springs.

    [sgd: GSB Badger ???] Major R.A.S.C.

    O.C. 297 Coy. R.A.S.C. (G.T.)

    13 Aug 44
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  15. blackdubh

    blackdubh Junior Member

    "[sgd: GSB Badger ???] Major R.A.S.C."


    Can confirm the name as Badger, as that is stated in the book by Heathfield-Robinson. Other officers mentioned include:-

    Captain Wildsmith
    Captain Burgon
    J Boxhall.

    Eagerly awaiting further extracts if available!
  16. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Ok, thanks, Badger it is!
  17. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    1 September 1944 HOULBEC
    DDST 30 Corps visited location with news that coy would soon revert to L of C command. In the meantime another convoy forward from HOULBEC area to ESSERTAUX 0542 was required and then in return a load of captured [???????] to be briefed [?] at No 4 Road Head on way back.
    1100 O.C. contacted O.C. 156 FMC HOULBEC re details of load = ammn and route. Appx A
    DUKWs returning from Pet. Detail – much delay en route by meeting a division on a fwd route as fixed return route given [?].
    2130 Loading commenced and first platoon pulled out 0015.
    Weather improved wind light.

    2 September 1944 HOULBEC
    Received Sitrep from Oi/c Amn Convoy with reasons for delay in return. Appx B
    Weather dull, some rain. Clearing.

    3 September 1944 HOULBEC
    DUKWs begin to return but not complete until 1000. German prisoners brought back by two platoons.
    No further orders to move to L of C mentioned as most likely by DDST 30 Corps.
    Weather fair, high wind at times.

    4 September 1944 HOULBEC
    Coy. resting + maintenance.
    Weather fair.

    5 September 1944 HOULBEC
    Weather dull with rain clearing towards evening.

    6 September 1944 HOULBEC
    Oi/c Admin reported CRASC 43 DIV to ascertain orders for move which were understood to be imminent prior to move 30 Corps.
    CRASC 43 DIV signalled ST 30 Corps.
    Weather worsening to gale force at night with heavy rain.

    7 September 1944 HOULBEC
    Weather improving throughout day; cold.

    8 September 1944 HOULBEC
    Weather improving throughout day; cold.

    9 September 1944 HOULBEC
    Weather fairly good; some dull periods.

    10 September 1944 HOULBEC
    Weather fairly good; some dull periods.
    0930 CRASC 43 DIV detail received for 38 DUKWs to fetch P.O.L. load LOUVIERS area 1586 at 1430 today; detail to be repeated 11 + 12 + 13 for SUPS + AMN.

    11 September 1944 HOULBEC
    Weather fine.

    12 September 1944 HOULBEC
    Receive warning message that 43 DIV expect to move fwd about 15 Sept. No special mention of coy.
    1045 Visit from Brigadier in command 214 I Bde with outline of exercise – demonstration he wishes to run using DUKWs over SEINE. O.C. makes recce with him of likely spots.
    1400 Recce continued with Inf Bn involved – loading places + DUKW entrances fixed. Troops to [??} ashore as landing DUKWs on the far side of SEINE i.e. East side not practical without extensive preparation which would probably not be possible in assault.
    Weather fine.

    13 September 1944 HOULBEC
    1 section DUKWs and rifle coy 7 Bn SOMLI (43 DIV) practice entering R. SEINE at Vernon for an assault crossing with troops landing from DUKWs at rivers edge.
    1500 Morning’s practice given as demonstration to 214 Bde (43 DIV).
    1630 O.C. attended conference re move of 43 DIV 14 – 15 Sept to DIEST K.16. Coy to move loaded with pet, amn, + reinforcements behind Div Adm HQ.
    1700 DUKWs loading with above.
    1730 O.C. conference Pln commanders: broad outline of move given; route card prepared. Appx C
    Weather fine.

    14 September 1944 HOULBEC
    O.C’s conference for Pln commanders for final details of move.
    2i/c moved off with Admin Group 43 DIV Recce party.
    1600 Main body move out. Owing to traffic on road + slowness of DUKWs in convoy, Coy staged at ABAMCOURT R7340 and did not reach estimated 1st stage until 1230 on 15th.
    Weather fine.

    15 September 1944
    DUKWs still straggling (final numbers fallen out of convoy 24 mostly on account of punctures) – 2nd stage made at NECHIM 84.
    Weather fine some rain at night.

    16 September 1944 DIEST
    Coy arrived DIEST K16 area 1230 but traffic block actual entry to DIV location until 1630 hrs.
    1700 DUKWs unload, refuel, reorganise for operational plan.

    17 September 1944 DIEST
    66 DUKWs in 3 Pls 22 each join 214 Bde (43 DIV) for operation “GARDEN” – DUKWs again, first of all, to be used for road journey estimated at 90 miles.
    1200 Vehicles still missing = 2 x m/c’s, 7 DUKWs, 1 x 3-ton. W/S breakdown search parties out.
    1600 CRASC visits location with orders for providing 33 DUKWs from remainder of Coy and DUKWs of 50 Coy whose personnel are withdrawn from DUKW operation with 43 DIV w.e.f. this date in order to take over 10 tonners.
    1800 Above changed to taking over a complete platoon from 50 Coy in order that the loads of 25 pdr on them may be utilised. All above to provide 22 DUKWs for 1 Bn 129 Bde and 11 for another (similar operation for 536 Coy RASC to complete brigade to 66 DUKWs).
    Appx D
    CRASC orders that DUKWs will be picked up by guides from 129 Bde at 50 Coy location 0900 18.
    1900 Change over at 50 Coy location put in hand.
    Weather dull, heavy evening rain. Cool.

    18 September 1944 DIEST
    Change over + check of vehicles for petrol and equipment completed.
    0930 DUKWs join 129 Bde for operation GARDEN. Officers appointed from Coy to 214 and 129 Bde HQ’s as liaison officers: 1 officer with each 22 DUKWs and odd 11: this latter officer also to look after DUKWs from 536 Coy in that Bn. DUKWs may be used for river crossings on WAAL but probably only for load carrying owing to shortage of RASC transport.
    1200 Capt Jackson standing by to join recce group of 43 DIV Admin Group (for Coy HQ + W/S location on move for operation GARDEN in ARNHEM 7070 area in HOLLAND).
    1900 Received SITREPs from Coy officers attached 214 and 129 Bdes. Appx E
    Weather fine; evening mist.

    19 September 1944 DIEST
    Capt. Jackson joins recce group for move of Coy HQ and W/S at HQ DIV Admin Group.
    0900 ADOS 43 DIV contacted for possibility of getting more DUKW inners – coy stock exhausted by run from VERNON – sand tyres with thin walls creates heat from friction so that inner is made useless when ultimate puncture occurs. Report none in stock but indent given priority at once.
    1500 DUKW at 214 Bde exchanged on request from Capt Wildsmith at Bde HQ – made from 3 surplus held in W/S.
    1700 Further reports received from LT MECROW at 129 Bde. Appx F
    Slight enemy air activity during night.
    Weather fine some rain at night.

    20 September 1944 DIEST
    Sitrep 214 Bde HQ (Capt. J. Wildsmith) Appx G
    Sitrep 129 Bde HQ (LT MECROW). Appx G
    O.C. sends verbal order to raise DUKW pressures to 45 lbs in view of shortage of inner tubes.
    Received March Table for Div Admin Group. Coy vehicles prepared with serial no on windscreen + route card issued. No fixed date for move except probably two days after DIV main body = 22.
    Weather fine.

    21 September 1944 DIEST
    O.C. attended move conference at Div Admin Group HQ 43 DIV (ADOS O.C.).
    Defence on route: probability of moving earlier that anticipated i.e. on 21 in order to be able to cross 30 Corps S.P. to time. This will mean extra night harbouring probably just N of ALBERT CANAL. Units placed at 12 hrs notice from 1200.
    1700 Message from Div Admin HQ units to be marshalled by 0900 hrs 22 Sept 44.
    Weather fine.

    22 September 1944 DIEST
    Message from Div Admin HQ no move before 1400 hrs today.
    1200 Orders to move and harbouring night 22/23 Sept received. Route card issued. Appx J
    Intention of move explained to all ranks by O.C.
    1700 Coy residue moves area VINK 3578 with 43 Div Admin HQ. On reporting in orders for 23 Sept 44 received. Move fwd of admin group dependent on progress of battle at NIJMEGEN + ARNHEM (7062 – 7171). Appx K
    Dull intermittent rain later in day.

    23 September 1944 VINK
    Verbal information from HQ Admin area 43 that general movement fwd would begin 1800 23 Sep therefore no anticipated move before p.m. 24.
    2315 Orders for move 24th Sept. 44, harbouring area now situate[d] area WIJCHEN 6358. Adv party rep. to meet main convoy X-roads 624549. Appx L
    Weather wet clearing towards evening.

    24 September 1944
    Coy admin serial joins convoy as per Appx L.
    1930 Serial arrives area WIJCHEN 6358. Oi/c Admin reported “in” to HQ Div Admin area; O.C. reported “in” CRASC at Rear DIV. no further orders, no information re platoons attached brigades.
    Weather mainly dull, much rain – short bright periods.

    25 September 1944 WIJCHEN
    LT MERCOW reported from 129 Bde. 3 DUKWs missing en route. One overturned and lost when infantry convoy went off route. Appx M
    O.C. visited 214 Bde HQ contacted Capt. Wildsmith for sitrep. Whilst there verbal instructions received from B.M. re evacuation from ARNHEM 7476 area of 1 Airborne Div. Work to be done under 129 Bde i.e. DUKWs as required to be detached from 214 Bde.
    1400 Capt. Jackson (Oi/c W/S) sent to 214 Bde HQ to contact Capt. Wildsmith re spares required and evacuation to W/S of non-runner DUKWs.
    Weather mainly dull, intermittent rain, short bright periods.

    26 September 1944 WIJCHEN
    Lt MECROW (Liaison Officer 129 Bde) reported Coy HQ. Enlarging on Appx M. Appx N
    C17 reported missing, now reported abandoned when ditched. Location not certain; enquires being made of infantry.
    W/S search party already sent out to EINDHOVEN area in anticipation of C17 being normal breakdown.
    1030 O i/c W/S visited 129 Bde to inspect + report on mechanical condition of DUKWs.
    1045 Report from Capt Wildsmith on activities of Pls attached 214 Bde. Appx N
    Pls now concentrating in Groups – those required following Oi/c W/S report called to W/S for attention. Two DUKWs to be evacuated: one enemy action (burned partially out), one mechanical state.
    1800 Sitrep 129 Bde. Appx O
    O.C. Coy left to contact G.S.O.1 43 Div re future DUKW operation. Appx P
    One platoon each to be with 214 Bde + 129 Bde both from this Coy, i.e. all DUKWs 536 Coy, 1 pl 297 to be withdrawn. To be effective 27 Sept 44.
    O.C. contacted Capt. Wildsmith of this Coy at 214 Bde and Lt MECROW at 129 re above arrangements. As 214 Bde have 2 pls of DUKWs from this Coy with them on N side of river WAAL – 1 Pl would report 129 Bde (due to move fwd 26 Sept 44 p.m.) + platoon at present with 129 to revert to Coy command.
    Weather mainly fair but cold wind.

    27 September 1944 WIJCHEN
    O.C. recces site near Coy HQ in anticipation return 1 pl.
    1000 Div intelligence report re Div lay out received. Appx Q
    Sitreps 214 + 129 Bdes. Appx R
    Orders sent to Capt. Wildsmith at 214 Bde that any very doubtful runners among DUKWs will be replaced by good ones from platoon being withdrawn if advice is sent by him by return.
    1700 DUKWs working with 129 Bde return to Coy command, sited WIJCHEN 6358.
    1745 Received orders for employment of this Pl from CRASC 43 Div. Appx S
    43 Div Int Summary. Appx T
    Lt Gooch contacts F.M.C. to get details of work, duration + domestic arrangements required for Appx S.
    2300 Message received from CRASC 43 Div indicating reforming of Coy. Appx U
    43 DIV SITREP received. Appx V
    Weather dull, cold, intermittent, heavy rain.

    28 September 1944 WIJCHEN
    1 pl reports 162 F.M.C. WIJCHEN for duty.
    0900 O.C. recces location in WIJCHEN area for remaining 2 Pls.
    1115 All pls returned and in location 6358.
    1145 Pl complete work for 162 FMC and return.
    1800 43 DIV. INT SITREP. Appx W
    Weather dull and cold, clearing evening.

    29 September 1944 WIJCHEN
    Staff Capt 30 Corps brings verbal instructions to O.C. of reversion of Coy to 30 Corps command. 2 Pls DUKWs required as soon…

    [I've got some of the Sep4 appendices but not all, I'll go through the ones I have and post them up here.]

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  18. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Appendix M: (handwritten, so I had some difficulty understanding)

    Report from 214 Bde

    25 Sept 44


    CLARK W.G. Wounded 24 Sept. 44

    RIDGEWELL Wounded 23 Sept 44

    TOWNSEND Killed 23 Sept 44

    TURNER W. Wounded 23 Sept 44

    DUKWS + other vehicles

    B9 hit by Shell burned out near [??] non-runner.

    1 x 3 ton B Pln domestic shrapnel holes (Runner but new spare tyre required).

    C2 shrapnel holes in [??] but runner.

    C12 Transmission (non-runner)

    C6 Shrapnel Holes (but runner)

    C19 Canopy holed (runner)

    B21 [??] (non-runner)

    1 m/c B Pln back wheel buckled.

    1 m/c B Pln Clutch

    1 m/c B Pln ignition.

    1 m/c B Pln Big end.

    1 m/c C Pln excessive oil

    1 m/c C Pln dynamo.


    LT. Bannerman left on 22 for ferrying DCLI + Stores to ARNHEM to relieve 1st Airborne Div, working under 130 Brigade.

    Map Ref of present location 665679
    Plus concentrating 666667

    25 Sept 44

    O.C. visited 214 Bde 1230 25 Sept.
    Information from Capt. Wildsmith.

    [I noted from CWGC Website:

    L/Cpl. D. TOWNSEND T/142599 was killed on 23.9.44 and originally buried “30yds from S.E. corner of X roads in small orchard GSGS 2541 1/100000 Sh 5 663700]

    Does anyone have a contemporary map that shows this location?

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  19. Richard Lewis

    Richard Lewis Member

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  20. blackdubh

    blackdubh Junior Member


    That map reference for L/Cpl Townsend's burial place looks to be the crossroads in Valburg. On Google maps it is the junction of Stationstraat and Tielsestraat.

    I'll upload a screenshot when I can work out the process!

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