War Diary: 4 Bn Welch Regiment, June - August 1944

Discussion in '53rd (Welsh) Division' started by Swiper, Jun 28, 2009.

  1. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    This is the first chunk of first hand research into the 53rd Div for my dissertation and thought it may be of some interest. Some spelling mistakes will be kicking around and a few occasional notes and chunks of confusion.

    Feedback is appreciated and occasionally tracked vehicles should be 'transport vehicles' so will need to recheck it all with the original on that...

    'Comments' and words beneath are in italics and I have added a few words to this(to ease reading very very slightly), and expanded some of the acronyms to make it easier for me to refer to for my research purposes (appologies if

    Anyway here we go...
    4 Welch
    1st June – 30th June 1944
    Appendices A-F

    Location: Herne Bay
    1st June – Geneva Convention Cards issued to OC HQ (Officer Commanding Headquaters) for SBs.
    3rd – AFW 3008 and 3009E Serial 23. Appendices A+B
    4th Lt-CH Chaimberlain (289628) posted as 1st Adjutant to RHU. Lecture for Company Commands on movement overseas.
    5th – 08.30 – Verbals lists issud for list index numbers. Mob serial numbers, water proofing marks, weight cards to be put on all vehicles. Walking out restricted to 5 miles from Herne Bay sta and all vehicles waterproofed by 1800 hours (exept nesidues?) Vehicles loaded less personel lkits.
    -[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]2300 – Codeword Adoration received and wireless silence imposed.
    6th Bn now at 6 hours notice to move. Ceremonial gds cancelled and op gds mounted by Companys on tpt by day and night. Embarkation tags prepared. Escpe aids, booklet on France and Michelin guide issued to Companys. Mot coln no longer found. Cyclist pstrol continues. Henceforward all units issued verbally by CO at conferences for those concerned.
    10th AFW 3008 and 3009 Serial 24 – Appendices C+D.
    12th Divisional command addressed Bn. 1/50,000 maps issued. 21 Army Group sos 1 per Company.
    14th Current uniprert? a/cs closed after pay fro 16th June issued. 200 Francs for each man issued. Sterling changed for currency. 2 CANLOAN officers 1st nfts despatched to RHU i.e. Lts HS Crowe (CDN/445) + DC Cuddy (CDN/371)
    Note order of battle as for May except Lt DA Duncan (CDN/450) absorbed within WE of A Company vice Lt Cuddy as a result of Battle School report.
    16th –HQ vehicles moved to dispersal parkings in Oxenden SQ (within sheeling?) P+n Qtn good also moved to Ration Store buildings in Oxenden SQ.
    1800 – Adw party 2IC dn and 1 guide from the ABC left to go to Brigade in 10st 15 cwt.
    17th AFW 3008 + 3009E Serial 25 (E+F)
    17th 1600 – I.O reported to Brigade for move orders.
    18th Battalion moved to marshalling area tacks by rail. Vehicles by road and remainder by train. Vehicle party to marshalling are T6, arriving 11.30 hours. Marching troops to different camp.
    19th Allotted to Craft T93 and necessary inquiries carried out.
    20th – 0450-0820 – Vehicles with one dux per vehicle over moved in two parties to embarkation area for loading. Surplus documents? leading.
    21st 1635 – Remainder of vehicle party (i.e. passengers) left marshalling are.
    1930 – embarkation of troops and vehicles satisfactorily completed.
    22nd 0420 – Left dock, anchored in Thames.
    0900 – Moved downstream. Anchored with convoy off SOuthend.
    26th – 2130 – Arrived off coast of Normandy.
    0800 – Commenced discharging. One 3 tonner broke front axen. 4 Cardon Loyds drowned?.
    Location – France
    27/28th – Concentration and moving up with marching troops – no casualties.
    29th Concentration of Battalion dewater-proofing in area South West of Bayeux at Les Fiettes 7773. Lt Col Coleman appt Adjutant of Brigade and Command of Battalion taken over by Lt Col JWC Williams – 41246 – from 1st Battalion East Lancashire Regiment.
    30th – Battalion moved to forward concentration area between Caen and Bayeux prepared to move into Odon Bridgehead.

    Comments
    On the 1st of June Chaplain DH Whiteford returned to 53rd Division to be sent out again. 31st May saw Luietannt R Ward sent to 30th RHU and Luietenant DG Cage was sent to 101 RFT Group.
    They also requested the return of Luieneant GW Venn to 4th Bn Welch Regiment
    By the 10th June th Battalion was at nearly full strength, requiring 9 more Fusiliers and standing at 809 strong.
    On the 7th of June 1944, the Battalion was joined by Chaplain EG Evans from the Royal Army Chaplains Department – who was attached from 53rd Division.
    4th June 1944 – Luietenant CH Chamberlain of the Welch Regiment was sent to the RHU.

    During this time three officers left during the week ending the 17th June, Luietenants Cuddy, Comen and Crow – all CANLOAN (Canadian Army) officers on the 14.6.44 – all moved to 123 RFT GP for duty.
    3 additional officers were attached, Chaplain EG Evans, and two Luietenants from the Norwegian Forces, K Hegstead and S Hamre.
     
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  2. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    4 Welch
    1st July – 31st July 1944
    Appendices 1-9
    The War Diary includes an original air photograph and tracing paper maps of movements and actions.
    Text also shifts to type from hand written notes

    Location – Grainville-sur-Odon
    1st July – 0001 – Battalion taking over from 9 Cameronians in the line at Grainville-sur-Odon. Reference Map France 1/25,000 Sheet 37/16 SE Cheux
    0530 – Take over complete and Battalion HQ set up at 912644. A Company 908645, B Company 909643, C Company 911642, D Company 917646.
    1030 Brigade HQ at 923646
    1045 – C Company reports attack coming in from South East, approximately 200 men. Attack is driven off mainly by artillery fire by 1300 hours. 6 pounder knocked out Tiger Tank West of Church. Tank gun continued firing but by 1345 was silent and on fire.
    1200 – Lt Col Williams joined Battalion as CO from 1st East Lancashire Regiment.
    2100 – After two direct hits by shell fire at 1745 hours, Battalion HQ moved from house to dug in command post 100 yards east at 913644. Battalion was heavily shelled and mortared from 0530-1800 hours. Officer casualties were Lieutenant Waller and Jenkins, who were both wounded.
    Night – 1-2am –Minefield commenced 908644 to 906643 to 909630. Only 50% completed due to lateness in arrival of mines and lack of fuses.

    2nd July – 12.45 – Carrier patrol – two sections – and 1 Royal Artillery Forward Observation officer command Captain Ryding started through gap in minefields in B Company area. Patrol was attacked by an anti-tank gun firing from behind a destroyed Churchill tank at 902642 and by machine gun and mortar fire. Captain Ryding, two others and three carriers did not return.

    3rd July – 0145 – Taking over of two Company positions from 5th Welch completed. 4th Welch then holding what had been a 2 Battalion front. Company locations A + C as before, B moved to 911637 and D were at 915638.
    0430 – Attack on B, C and D Company fronts by machine gun parties continuing till 0515. Final dispersal of enemy assisted with Churchill tanks.
    0030 – Patrol by Lt DLB Davies and 11 to Wood 901642. No sign of enemy on route or objective.
    2359 – Little activity during rest of day – occasional shell and mortar fire.

    4th July – 0001-0545 – Recce patrol by Lt DLB Davies, Corpral Young and one to buildings 907640. Objectives Les Naullions and Bas-Forges could not be reached due to coming of daylight.
    1800 – Orders (Warning) to Os C Company by Commanding Ofcier from attack on night 5/6th June.

    5th July – 0030 – D Company position at 915637 was taken over by C Company, 2nd Bn Monmouthshire Regiment and D Compny returned to original positions at 917646.
    0001-0200 – Enemy MG found at 904643, movement and talking heard at and in Wood 901642. Patrol by Lt Williams, Corpral Hall (Battle Cadre) and 2 + Royal Engineer officer and 1. 2 Enemy MGs at 907640, one at 903638, one member of patrol shot at by latter and did not return. Digging heard along hedge at 903639.
    1330 – Orders for attack given by CO at Brigade HQ. Attack now to be night of 6/7 and not night 5/6

    6th July - 0001 -0400 – Patrol by Lt Knight to Wood 902642 found it clear of enemy. 5 or 6 enemy seen at road junction 902642. Patrol by Corporal Young and 2 (Battle Cadre) found enemy MGs still in building 907640, bridge junction 903638.
    1500 – Commanding Officers O Group Battalion HQ to say attack night 6/7tth cancelled. C Company only to attack buildings 907640 and 907648 and withdraw.
    1800 – 25 rfts joined Battalion.
    2200 – C Company attack on buildings 907640 and 907638 – successful but no enemy found in either buildings. Company withdrew 2225. Casualties – 2 Other Ranks were very slightly wounded.

    7th July – 1200 – Major HC Ashton wounded and evacuated. Captain AJ Stuart takes over command of A Company.
    1800 – Commanding Officer gives orders for minelaying by A, B, C Companies, reps of 282 Field Company (Royal Artillery) and Pioneers.
    2300 – 7 enemy seen entering buildings 907638.

    8th July – 0001-04/500 (unclear printing) – Minefields commenced on A, B and C Company fronts.
    0900 – D Company take over A Company’s position, A went into reserve.
    1200 – Concentrated artillery put down believed enemy mortar position. Position was silenced which had been firing on Battalion all morning.
    9th July – 001-400 – Minefields continued and finished. Patrol by Corpral Williams, Battle Cadre found enemy in buildings 905629. Movement and revving of engines around bridge 901627. Gun firing from wood 903627. Patrol 1 NCO (Corporal Hall, Battle Cadre) and 2 found Wood 898636 occupied by enemy. Intended to lie up till first light near buildings 907637 but was driven out by enemy mortar fire from South.
    2100 – Captain Rowlands wounded by air-burst and evacuated.
    2200 – A + B Companies changed position. A moved to 912637, B to 917636, C to 910642 and D Company to 907643.

    10th July – 0001-0230 – Fighting patrol Corporal Young (Battle Cadre) and 8 to suspected mortar area. Objective to take PW or get identification. Confirmed mortar position – opened fire on them with MGs so patrol had to return. MG point at hedge junction wiped out on the way. 4 enemy definitely killed.
    2100 – 1st Bn East Lancashire Regiment started to take over from Bn mortar first – mortars to Coleville to take over from 5 Welch.
    2130 – Carriers taken over.
    2200 – Support Company handover complete.

    11th July – 0200 – Rifle Companies commence handover
    0400 – Hand over complete.
    0500 – Take over from 5 Welch complete and Bn in rest position in and around buildings at Coleville.
    Location - Coleville
    001-200 Patrol by Lt Hamre (B Company) and 9 to get PW or identification from area 900637. Heavy MG fire from 5 yards range met at 903633. Patrol disposed of post in hedge at 902633 (3 enemy definitely killed0 but had to withdraw on immediate counter attack on hedgerow 902634 by large force. No PW or identification possible.
    Location - Baron
    2300 – Taking over from 9 RSF commenced. Communications had been taken over between 1400 and 2300. Companies completed take over by 0015 12th July. Battalion locations – HQ 939632, A Company at 942627, B at 941632, D at 942626 – Locations as traced – Appendix 1
    C Company under command South Wales Infantry Brigade (160 Brigade) from time of move – moved to buildings 929639.

    12th July – Quiet day settling into a new location – no enemy activity except shelling and mortaring.

    13th July – 001-0445 Patrols by Officer 2 Gordon and 2A and SH (each 1 and 2) out through 4 Welch found enemy from (suspected Company at 933613, Gun lines at 936610. 8 or 9 tanks in road, much activity Evrecy – Bon Repos. Suspected Nebelwenfer 41 at 948602. Patrol approcimately 30 men + 3 vehicles in area 939619. Cross roads at 936623 clear of enemy. Machine gun post at 942617.
    0900 – Major Cottelle wounded and evactuated – Captain Utley took over B Company later in morning.
    Captain Stuart (Officer in command of A Company since Major HC Ashton was wounded on the 7th July) was promoted to Major.

    14th July - Very quiet – marked by almost complete lack of mortar and shell fire. Exception mortaring by HQ 0600 hours – two direct hits on buildings.
    1500 – CO back to A Echelon for 48 hours rest.

    15th July – No patrols during night. Day exceptionally quiet – little mortar or shell fire.
    1500 – CO return from A Echelon after only 24 hours.
    2345 – Attack through on to Esquay, Gavrus, Bougy and Point 113 by 15th Scottish Division. Shelling, mortaring and N6W on positions all night.

    16th July – 2 IC back for 48 hours rest to A Echelon.
    Major Stuart (promoted on 13th July to Major), of A Company killed.
    Captain Rosenheim wounded and evacuated.

    17th July – 0600 – Harassing mortar and shell fire only during last twelve hours.
    2330 – 5 Welch now forward of our position between Baron and Esquay.

    18th July – 2200 – No enemy activity beyond occasional mortar and N6W fire.
    2IC back from A Echelon.

    19th July – 1000 – Minefields in front of positions lifted by Holdfast between 1905530 and 190830.
    2400 C Company now forward in areas of 1 Worcester Company position 952625.

    20th July – 0600 – Battalion HQ and rear areas heavily mortared between 0355 and 0445.
    1600 – C Company now located in buildings 946634.
    2359 – Only light mortar and shell fire during day.
    CO to conference regarding future activities

    21st July – 0345 – Patrol by Lt Williams (C Company) and 1 OR (Ordinary Rank) + 1 Royal Engineer Officer to recce river area 945602. Patrol unable to proceed further than Orchard 943613 owing to enemy standing patrols.
    1530 – Start of enemy activity against 5 Welch at Le Bon Repos.
    Lt Brown – Sp – evacuated due to sickness.
    Rain started at 1700 hours 20th and continued today, the condition of the roads was bad due to mud.

    22nd July – Very quiet day. Improvement in weather – no rain.

    23rd July – 0100 Companies now located as trace (Appendix 2)
    1500,1700,1900 – Deception for Clemen – HE (High explosive rounds) fired at 1500 by Artillery, HE and smoke 1700 and 1900.

    2130 – Raid by A and C Companies on Le Bon Repos cross roads and village of Esquay. Known as Operation Clement. Start line of road running North-East – SouthWest at cross roads 936623, C Company left, a right of cross roads. Axis – Torunaville-Esquay. Advance from start line made under cover of continuous smoke screen without casualties to road – Evrecy-Louvigny – A Company south of road by 2145 hours, C Company by 2143. First PW arrived D Company area 220. At 2210, Companies began withdrawal from Esquay and were back in our lines by approximately 2235 before moving on axis road Tournaville-Esquay. Raid sp by artillery (plan at Appendix 3) MMGs (Appendix 3).
    3 inch mortars of 158, 71 Brigades, Bnof Tanks (107 RAC) and 2 troops of Crocodile flame throwing tanks. Allotment 1 squadron of tanks and 1 troop of Crocodiles to each Company. Casualties inflicted on enemy, identified as 21 SS Panzer-Grenadier Regiment of 10th SS Panzer Division. Between 50-80 killed in close combat, 5 PW (Prisoners of War). Own A Company X0/3 Y1/21 Z0/3 C Company X1/4 Y1/28 Z/0/5.
    Total X1/7 Y2/49 Z0/8. Officer casualties – killed Lt L Williams (C Company), Major Clement (C Company) and Lt Hegstadt were both wounded and evacuated.
    Approx 4 COs report and Adjts statement of casualties. Appendix 5 (report of interrogation of PW), approx 6 Div Comd reports on Op to 12 Corps, Appendix 3 (Fire Plan).

    24th July – 1700 – Change over of B and C Companies completed.

    25th July – 1900 – Counter mortar observation post established at 943624, positions unchanged – nothing to report.

    26th July – 0600 – Report from standing patrols out from stand to – stand to. Digging NE of cross roads, Le Bon Repos – 0100-0300. After shelling of cross roads by our guns at 0200, tracked vehicles were heard moving off from there towards Esquay. Op positions – as on Bridge trace (Appendix 7), D rigt, A centre, D1/5th Welch left.
    0200 – Company of 5 Welch under command moved into position shown on trace 7 between B Company and 2nd Monmouthshire Regiment. Company well established by first light.
    1430 – Counter mortar observation point moved to 944627, arrival of Major Home who took over as Officer Commanding A Company.
    1700 – Conference Battalion HQ regarding future ops.

    27th July – Standing patrols A at 946621, D at 943618, D Company 1/5th 952620 – Report 2330 sound of tracked vehicles (estimated three and believed to be tanks) in Esquay. 0230 – 0250, “Knocking noises, like pickets being driven in” – possible wiring patrols. 2 fixed lines fired at intervals of 15 minutes throughout early hours of morning from area West of cross roads, Le Bon Repos in direction of 2nd Monmouthshire Reginent.
    1600 – Bridage layout now as trace. (See Appendix 7)

    28th July – 0630 – Standing patrols, as last night report firing 0400 from behind derelict tank at 942618. Otherwise quiet throughout night.

    29th July – 0630 – Standing patrols report 2 fixed lines firing from area West of Le Bon Repos cross roads firing from area West of Le Bon Repos cross roads. At about 0230, clusters of green Verey lights came up within a few minutes of each other at 9566618 (most likely 956618), 949616, 946614, just south of road. 20 minutes later, three machine guns fired together from behind where each cluster of Verey lights had gone up about 200 yards behind road. Two easterly machine guns fired in direction of Baron other towards 2nd Mons (Monmouth) line. Apart form this sound, advance listening post within 100 years of road at 948612 reported complete quiet along road during night.
    No activity to report during day, Lt-Gen Ritchie – Commander 12th Corps- visited Battalion at 0700.

    30th July – 0600 – Recce patrol reports no enemy along road between buildings 952617 and Le Bon Repos. Full report attached.
    1100-0500 – Two snipers worked forward to road at 949617 and confirmed night patrols reports of no occupation of slit trenches there. 2 machine guns fired on snipers from well behind road, one right and one left. Enemy mortar and shell fire has been on a greatly reduced scale the last two days.
    Quiet day – mortaring and shelling very light
    31st July – 0001 – Fighting patrol of one and ten command Lt DLB Davies to track junction, 952603 Le Bon Repos, no trace of enemy in area. Standing patrols report very quiet night apart from occasional VLs and two bursts MG fire.
    Very quiet day.
    2145 – Own guns dropped short in orchard 938628, wounding one man from the Carrier platoon. 8 or 10 shells fired from approx due North.

    Casualties for month of July:
    X 20 Y 210 Z15
     
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  3. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    4 Welch
    1st July – 31st July 1944
    Appendices 1-9
    The War Diary includes an original air photograph and tracing paper maps of movements and actions.
    Text also shifts to type from hand written notes

    Location – Grainville-sur-Odon
    1st July – 0001 – Battalion taking over from 9 Cameronians in the line at Grainville-sur-Odon. Reference Map France 1/25,000 Sheet 37/16 SE Cheux
    0530 – Take over complete and Battalion HQ set up at 912644. A Company 908645, B Company 909643, C Company 911642, D Company 917646.
    1030 Brigade HQ at 923646
    1045 – C Company reports attack coming in from South East, approximately 200 men. Attack is driven off mainly by artillery fire by 1300 hours. 6 pounder knocked out Tiger Tank West of Church. Tank gun continued firing but by 1345 was silent and on fire.
    1200 – Lt Col Williams joined Battalion as CO from 1st East Lancashire Regiment.
    2100 – After two direct hits by shell fire at 1745 hours, Battalion HQ moved from house to dug in command post 100 yards east at 913644. Battalion was heavily shelled and mortared from 0530-1800 hours. Officer casualties were Lieutenant Waller and Jenkins, who were both wounded.
    Night – 1-2am –Minefield commenced 908644 to 906643 to 909630. Only 50% completed due to lateness in arrival of mines and lack of fuses.

    2nd July – 12.45 – Carrier patrol – two sections – and 1 Royal Artillery Forward Observation officer command Captain Ryding started through gap in minefields in B Company area. Patrol was attacked by an anti-tank gun firing from behind a destroyed Churchill tank at 902642 and by machine gun and mortar fire. Captain Ryding, two others and three carriers did not return.

    3rd July – 0145 – Taking over of two Company positions from 5th Welch completed. 4th Welch then holding what had been a 2 Battalion front. Company locations A + C as before, B moved to 911637 and D were at 915638.
    0430 – Attack on B, C and D Company fronts by machine gun parties continuing till 0515. Final dispersal of enemy assisted with Churchill tanks.
    0030 – Patrol by Lt DLB Davies and 11 to Wood 901642. No sign of enemy on route or objective.
    2359 – Little activity during rest of day – occasional shell and mortar fire.

    4th July – 0001-0545 – Recce patrol by Lt DLB Davies, Corpral Young and one to buildings 907640. Objectives Les Naullions and Bas-Forges could not be reached due to coming of daylight.
    1800 – Orders (Warning) to Os C Company by Commanding Ofcier from attack on night 5/6th June.

    5th July – 0030 – D Company position at 915637 was taken over by C Company, 2nd Bn Monmouthshire Regiment and D Compny returned to original positions at 917646.
    0001-0200 – Enemy MG found at 904643, movement and talking heard at and in Wood 901642. Patrol by Lt Williams, Corpral Hall (Battle Cadre) and 2 + Royal Engineer officer and 1. 2 Enemy MGs at 907640, one at 903638, one member of patrol shot at by latter and did not return. Digging heard along hedge at 903639.
    1330 – Orders for attack given by CO at Brigade HQ. Attack now to be night of 6/7 and not night 5/6

    6th July - 0001 -0400 – Patrol by Lt Knight to Wood 902642 found it clear of enemy. 5 or 6 enemy seen at road junction 902642. Patrol by Corporal Young and 2 (Battle Cadre) found enemy MGs still in building 907640, bridge junction 903638.
    1500 – Commanding Officers O Group Battalion HQ to say attack night 6/7tth cancelled. C Company only to attack buildings 907640 and 907648 and withdraw.
    1800 – 25 rfts joined Battalion.
    2200 – C Company attack on buildings 907640 and 907638 – successful but no enemy found in either buildings. Company withdrew 2225. Casualties – 2 Other Ranks were very slightly wounded.

    7th July – 1200 – Major HC Ashton wounded and evacuated. Captain AJ Stuart takes over command of A Company.
    1800 – Commanding Officer gives orders for minelaying by A, B, C Companies, reps of 282 Field Company (Royal Artillery) and Pioneers.
    2300 – 7 enemy seen entering buildings 907638.

    8th July – 0001-04/500 (unclear printing) – Minefields commenced on A, B and C Company fronts.
    0900 – D Company take over A Company’s position, A went into reserve.
    1200 – Concentrated artillery put down believed enemy mortar position. Position was silenced which had been firing on Battalion all morning.
    9th July – 001-400 – Minefields continued and finished. Patrol by Corpral Williams, Battle Cadre found enemy in buildings 905629. Movement and revving of engines around bridge 901627. Gun firing from wood 903627. Patrol 1 NCO (Corporal Hall, Battle Cadre) and 2 found Wood 898636 occupied by enemy. Intended to lie up till first light near buildings 907637 but was driven out by enemy mortar fire from South.
    2100 – Captain Rowlands wounded by air-burst and evacuated.
    2200 – A + B Companies changed position. A moved to 912637, B to 917636, C to 910642 and D Company to 907643.

    10th July – 0001-0230 – Fighting patrol Corporal Young (Battle Cadre) and 8 to suspected mortar area. Objective to take PW or get identification. Confirmed mortar position – opened fire on them with MGs so patrol had to return. MG point at hedge junction wiped out on the way. 4 enemy definitely killed.
    2100 – 1st Bn East Lancashire Regiment started to take over from Bn mortar first – mortars to Coleville to take over from 5 Welch.
    2130 – Carriers taken over.
    2200 – Support Company handover complete.

    11th July – 0200 – Rifle Companies commence handover
    0400 – Hand over complete.
    0500 – Take over from 5 Welch complete and Bn in rest position in and around buildings at Coleville.
    Location - Coleville
    001-200 Patrol by Lt Hamre (B Company) and 9 to get PW or identification from area 900637. Heavy MG fire from 5 yards range met at 903633. Patrol disposed of post in hedge at 902633 (3 enemy definitely killed0 but had to withdraw on immediate counter attack on hedgerow 902634 by large force. No PW or identification possible.
    Location - Baron
    2300 – Taking over from 9 RSF commenced. Communications had been taken over between 1400 and 2300. Companies completed take over by 0015 12th July. Battalion locations – HQ 939632, A Company at 942627, B at 941632, D at 942626 – Locations as traced – Appendix 1
    C Company under command South Wales Infantry Brigade (160 Brigade) from time of move – moved to buildings 929639.

    12th July – Quiet day settling into a new location – no enemy activity except shelling and mortaring.

    13th July – 001-0445 Patrols by Officer 2 Gordon and 2A and SH (each 1 and 2) out through 4 Welch found enemy from (suspected Company at 933613, Gun lines at 936610. 8 or 9 tanks in road, much activity Evrecy – Bon Repos. Suspected Nebelwenfer 41 at 948602. Patrol approcimately 30 men + 3 vehicles in area 939619. Cross roads at 936623 clear of enemy. Machine gun post at 942617.
    0900 – Major Cottelle wounded and evactuated – Captain Utley took over B Company later in morning.
    Captain Stuart (Officer in command of A Company since Major HC Ashton was wounded on the 7th July) was promoted to Major.

    14th July - Very quiet – marked by almost complete lack of mortar and shell fire. Exception mortaring by HQ 0600 hours – two direct hits on buildings.
    1500 – CO back to A Echelon for 48 hours rest.

    15th July – No patrols during night. Day exceptionally quiet – little mortar or shell fire.
    1500 – CO return from A Echelon after only 24 hours.
    2345 – Attack through on to Esquay, Gavrus, Bougy and Point 113 by 15th Scottish Division. Shelling, mortaring and N6W on positions all night.

    16th July – 2 IC back for 48 hours rest to A Echelon.
    Major Stuart (promoted on 13th July to Major), of A Company killed.
    Captain Rosenheim wounded and evacuated.

    17th July – 0600 – Harassing mortar and shell fire only during last twelve hours.
    2330 – 5 Welch now forward of our position between Baron and Esquay.

    18th July – 2200 – No enemy activity beyond occasional mortar and N6W fire.
    2IC back from A Echelon.

    19th July – 1000 – Minefields in front of positions lifted by Holdfast between 1905530 and 190830.
    2400 C Company now forward in areas of 1 Worcester Company position 952625.

    20th July – 0600 – Battalion HQ and rear areas heavily mortared between 0355 and 0445.
    1600 – C Company now located in buildings 946634.
    2359 – Only light mortar and shell fire during day.
    CO to conference regarding future activities

    21st July – 0345 – Patrol by Lt Williams (C Company) and 1 OR (Ordinary Rank) + 1 Royal Engineer Officer to recce river area 945602. Patrol unable to proceed further than Orchard 943613 owing to enemy standing patrols.
    1530 – Start of enemy activity against 5 Welch at Le Bon Repos.
    Lt Brown – Sp – evacuated due to sickness.
    Rain started at 1700 hours 20th and continued today, the condition of the roads was bad due to mud.

    22nd July – Very quiet day. Improvement in weather – no rain.

    23rd July – 0100 Companies now located as trace (Appendix 2)
    1500,1700,1900 – Deception for Clemen – HE (High explosive rounds) fired at 1500 by Artillery, HE and smoke 1700 and 1900.

    2130 – Raid by A and C Companies on Le Bon Repos cross roads and village of Esquay. Known as Operation Clement. Start line of road running North-East – SouthWest at cross roads 936623, C Company left, a right of cross roads. Axis – Torunaville-Esquay. Advance from start line made under cover of continuous smoke screen without casualties to road – Evrecy-Louvigny – A Company south of road by 2145 hours, C Company by 2143. First PW arrived D Company area 220. At 2210, Companies began withdrawal from Esquay and were back in our lines by approximately 2235 before moving on axis road Tournaville-Esquay. Raid sp by artillery (plan at Appendix 3) MMGs (Appendix 3).
    3 inch mortars of 158, 71 Brigades, Bnof Tanks (107 RAC) and 2 troops of Crocodile flame throwing tanks. Allotment 1 squadron of tanks and 1 troop of Crocodiles to each Company. Casualties inflicted on enemy, identified as 21 SS Panzer-Grenadier Regiment of 10th SS Panzer Division. Between 50-80 killed in close combat, 5 PW (Prisoners of War). Own A Company X0/3 Y1/21 Z0/3 C Company X1/4 Y1/28 Z/0/5.
    Total X1/7 Y2/49 Z0/8. Officer casualties – killed Lt L Williams (C Company), Major Clement (C Company) and Lt Hegstadt were both wounded and evacuated.
    Approx 4 COs report and Adjts statement of casualties. Appendix 5 (report of interrogation of PW), approx 6 Div Comd reports on Op to 12 Corps, Appendix 3 (Fire Plan).

    24th July – 1700 – Change over of B and C Companies completed.

    25th July – 1900 – Counter mortar observation post established at 943624, positions unchanged – nothing to report.

    26th July – 0600 – Report from standing patrols out from stand to – stand to. Digging NE of cross roads, Le Bon Repos – 0100-0300. After shelling of cross roads by our guns at 0200, tracked vehicles were heard moving off from there towards Esquay. Op positions – as on Bridge trace (Appendix 7), D rigt, A centre, D1/5th Welch left.
    0200 – Company of 5 Welch under command moved into position shown on trace 7 between B Company and 2nd Monmouthshire Regiment. Company well established by first light.
    1430 – Counter mortar observation point moved to 944627, arrival of Major Home who took over as Officer Commanding A Company.
    1700 – Conference Battalion HQ regarding future ops.

    27th July – Standing patrols A at 946621, D at 943618, D Company 1/5th 952620 – Report 2330 sound of tracked vehicles (estimated three and believed to be tanks) in Esquay. 0230 – 0250, “Knocking noises, like pickets being driven in” – possible wiring patrols. 2 fixed lines fired at intervals of 15 minutes throughout early hours of morning from area West of cross roads, Le Bon Repos in direction of 2nd Monmouthshire Reginent.
    1600 – Bridage layout now as trace. (See Appendix 7)

    28th July – 0630 – Standing patrols, as last night report firing 0400 from behind derelict tank at 942618. Otherwise quiet throughout night.

    29th July – 0630 – Standing patrols report 2 fixed lines firing from area West of Le Bon Repos cross roads firing from area West of Le Bon Repos cross roads. At about 0230, clusters of green Verey lights came up within a few minutes of each other at 9566618 (most likely 956618), 949616, 946614, just south of road. 20 minutes later, three machine guns fired together from behind where each cluster of Verey lights had gone up about 200 yards behind road. Two easterly machine guns fired in direction of Baron other towards 2nd Mons (Monmouth) line. Apart form this sound, advance listening post within 100 years of road at 948612 reported complete quiet along road during night.
    No activity to report during day, Lt-Gen Ritchie – Commander 12th Corps- visited Battalion at 0700.

    30th July – 0600 – Recce patrol reports no enemy along road between buildings 952617 and Le Bon Repos. Full report attached.
    1100-0500 – Two snipers worked forward to road at 949617 and confirmed night patrols reports of no occupation of slit trenches there. 2 machine guns fired on snipers from well behind road, one right and one left. Enemy mortar and shell fire has been on a greatly reduced scale the last two days.
    Quiet day – mortaring and shelling very light
    31st July – 0001 – Fighting patrol of one and ten command Lt DLB Davies to track junction, 952603 Le Bon Repos, no trace of enemy in area. Standing patrols report very quiet night apart from occasional VLs and two bursts MG fire.
    Very quiet day.
    2145 – Own guns dropped short in orchard 938628, wounding one man from the Carrier platoon. 8 or 10 shells fired from approx due North.

    Casualties for month of July:
    X 20 Y 210 Z15
     
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    Adjutants Casualty Report into Operation Clement

    A Coy
    C Coy
    Total
    X
    0/3
    1/4
    1/7
    Y
    1/21
    1/28
    2/49
    Z
    0/3
    0/5
    0/8
    Total
    1/27
    2/37
    3/64
    Incl in missing are 4 seriously wounded believed killed but now missing.
    Captain D Law, Adjt.

    Appendix 4
    Report by Officer Commanding 4 Welch Regiment on raid on enemy position at Esquay night 23/24th July 1944.w

    1. Object
    The object of the raid which was carried out by two Companies of the infantry was to inflict the maximum number of casualties upon the enemy and to bring back prisoners for interrogation.
    In my opinion the object was achieved with great success and from careful interrogation of personnel from sections of both Companies taking part in the attack, I think it is safe to say that between 50-80 enemy were killed in close combat fighting; this does not take into consideration those killed by our barrage or in the areas neutralised throughout the attack.

    2. Details of attack
    Both Companies formed up on the track running south west from Baron and astride the road running from cross roads 936623 to Le Bon Repos, this road was to be the dividing line between companies, and in addition was to be the axis of advance; zero hour was 2100 hours, and on time the Companies crossed the start line without suffering any casualties. An advance of approximately 900 yards had to be made over open exposed country in full view of the enemy before the opening line of the barrage was reached; this advance was carried out successfully with no casualties, under cover of an heavy smoke screen stretching from Evrecy to point 112 (9561)[Hill 122].
    Just short of the opening line of the barrage the Companies halted and referred preparatory to the assault; at this point they should be been joined by a squadron of tanks each, plus one troop of crocodiles; from accounts received it appears the tanks were somewhat late on arriving, with the result that the assault by the right forward Company was in progress by the time that the crocodile operating on that front had arrived and at least two of our own troops were caught in the first flame jet.
    The first stages of the attack was somewhat complicated, in that the right forward Company had to clear up a thick and closely held orchard 942612, whilst the left forward Company had open ground; the barrage having lifted from this orchard was timed to stand for 15 minutes to enable the orchard to be thoroughly mopped up, this 15 minutes stand was the cause of a considerable number of casualties being imposed on the left hand forward company, and it appears from the evidence of the day the company command that the forward platoons advanced through excessive eagerness and zeal into our own barrage, where the best part of one platoon suffered heavy casualties… I made a very strong point of stressing the possible danger of this before the attack and I knew that the Company commander also stressed it at their [briefing]; at the conclusion of the 15 minutes the whole of the orchard are was in our hands, and the advance then continued up to our final objective.
    The work of the supporting squadrons of tanks was magnificent and undoubtedly greatly assisted the task on hand, and the use of the crocodile with the left forward company was a great success; and sixteen burnt enemy were counted in the house at 45615.
    During the assault phase up to the objective, some considerable numbers of enemy dead were found, and these were thought to have been killed as a result of the enemy attack on A Company of the 1/5 Welch two nights previously.
    After reaching the objective and clearing it up, withdrawal was ordered and Companies then reformed, collected their wounded, and withdrew according to schedule; during this withdrawal some casualties were inflicted on us by enemy mortar fire.
    The evacuation of casualties was carried our by six carriers, each equipped with two stretchers and two stretcher bearers and this proved most effective, and to the best of my knowledge only dead were left behind on the battlefield.
    On arriving back at the start line, Companies were somewhat disorganised and the matter of reorganisation was considerably hindered by enemy mortar fire which was put down along the whole battalion area up to 0400 hours 24th July. Reorganisation was however completed, and the two companies of the 2 Mons were relived by 0200 hours. As far as can be ascertained at the moment 67 all are either killed wounded or missing; of this figure 42 have so far been traced as evacuated through the medical channels, 17 are thought to have been definitely killed, and the balance have not yet been accounted for.
    [Footnote:] My own medical officer and the medical officer of the 2 Mons who dealt with these casualties informed me that at least 75% are wounds of only a minor nature.

    3. Notes of Interest
    During the operation, the following points were noted –
    a)[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]The greater part of the enemy troops were wearing camouflaged smocks.
    b)[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]A considerable number of enemy snipers were concealed in trees.
    c)[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]Enemy slit trenches were all sighted about 10 to 15 yards in front of the hedges, and were almost impossible to discern them in the failing light and thick smoke.
    d)[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]Most of the enemy personnel wore boots half sealed with thick crepe.
    e)[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]Enemy morale appeared to fluctuate between nil and 100% ; these who stayed to fight. Fought until they were killed, whilst a very large proportion get up whilst our own troops were still some distance away and ran back to their own barrage.
    f)[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]One enemy atk [anti-tank gun] post (described as looking like a 2 pdr) was overran and destroyed.
    g)[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]The enemy were found to be using our own compo pack and hexamine cookers, presumably these captured form the 1/5 Welch.
    h)[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]My right forward company commander who has studied enemy weapons, informs me that they were using the old type MMG No.42.

    4. Conclusion
    In conclusion I would like to make two points as follows –
    a)[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]Crocodiles are of doubtful value to the infantry unless the infantry have previous experience of operating with them, and unless adequate time is allowed for liaison between infantry and crocodiles; in this case the left hand company spoke highly of flame warfare, whilst the right hand company were not to pleased at having themselves involved in fire. This was solely due to the fact that the crocodiles were not allocated before 1700 hours, and owing to an unavoidable mistake, the demonstration of there use to the companies concerned failed to materialise.
    b)[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]Control of an operation of this nature –
    Control is at all times difficult, but on this occasion I made both attacking companies carry two No.18 sets [radios], which were netted in to a No.19 set in a Churchill tank in which I made my command post, there is no doubt in my mind that a No.19 set (possibly a No.22) is the ideal set to have at the control station, since whatever the atmospherics or other disturbances, it is sufficiently powerful to force itself over to a No.18 set net. I doubt whether I would have been able to control the withdrawal of these companies had I not had the No.19 set as my control.

    I should like to end by saying that this attack is just in what my Bn required. Since taking over command I have found the morale has been extremely high in spite of rather trying circumstances, inactivity and heavy mortaring; but now morale is at its full peak, particularly amongst the companies that carried out the attack, and in spire of rather heavier casualties that I expected.

    JWC Williams
    Lt. Col.
    Comd 4th Welch
    Addendum – The under mentioned points to be included in para 3 (notes of interest)
    i)[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]A cluster of three green verey lights brings down arty fire.
    j)[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]One white verey light fired from a flank end and into our own forward troops brings down mortar fire.
    k)[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]Personal hygiene was bad – our men report that the enemy soldiers, prisoners and dead smelt strongly.
     
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    Appendix 5
    Report on Interrogation of PW captured by 4 Welch
    during attack on Esquay 2100-2300 hours 23 July
    Interrogation carried out by IO 53 (W) Div.


    All five prisoners are of 5 Company 21 Panzer Grenadier, 10th SS Panzer Division
    Heinrich Graul
    Joseph Ott
    Georg Vogel
    Ignaz Voiker
    Farbier

    All of the above were captured near the cross roads at 943614.

    Background
    Of the above, the first four were Alsations; Ott had been in the French Army, and had been a German PW in 1940. All the Alsations were extremely anxious to say that they had been conscripted into the SS. Three of the ALsations had been serving only since April of this year.


    Farber was a German wth 18 months service.
    They started that their Company had come into line 21/22nd July.

    Strength
    Their estimate of the strength of the company varied from 15 to 90. Out of the four strength estimates three ranged between 15 and 30. Farber who stated 80 – 90 is not considered reliable and the lower estimates are accepted. Gaul stated that the strength of battalion was 80 – 90 and that the strength of his company was 20.

    Dofs.
    The PW stated that there were no positions North of Le Bon Repos-Eterville road.

    General.
    a)[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]One PW stated that he thought they had relieved 1 BN and believed the latter had had heavy casualties.
    b)[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]The PW testified to the effectiveness of flamethrowers (crocodiles were used in the op).
    c)[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]Vogel complained that they had not been properly trained.
    d)[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]Farber stated that they had been near Caen on their return from Russia.


    Bahring – Officer Cadet
    5 Company 21 Panzer Genadier – captured area of crossroads 944613
    Background
    PW was formerly for fourteen months in 2 SS Panzer Division (SS PGR Deutschland) and still wore Deutschland arm band. He had come to 10 SS Panzer Division from a special SS training school. His home was in Wupperthal and formally a medical student.
    PW stated that II Battalion had been in reserved woods South of Esquay when I Battalion attacked on positions in Le Bon Repos area 21st July. On that occasion he saw 4 assault guns and 5 Panzer IVs.
    His Battalion then relieved I Battalion night 21/22; I Bn having suffered 50% casualties in the last four weeks and needed rest. (N.B. the attack against 1/5 Welch positions was the first attack since I Bn had fought since leaving Russia).
    When questioned about the present strength of the Company, PW in obvious distress stated that there were only eight survivors. Other companies were equally weak and the total strength of these companies was put at 50. These companies were on the left of 5 Coy on the road running West from cross roads 994613.
    PW said before the attack each platoon in the Company had been of section strength only.
    PW stated that he believed 9 SS Panzer Division to be on the right of the [holepunch – most likely Division]:
    Reasons for stating this were:
    a)[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]the troops on his right were SS troops and not of his Regiment
    b)[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]It was accepted as true in his company that 9 Division was on the right. He himself when pressed would not be prepared to swear that this was true but never the less confident it was so.

    He said moreover that the road running diagonally NW SE through the cross roads marked the right bdy of his Division although in fact his company HQ was in the houses to the right of the crossroads.
    The whole of the Division was about to be relieved by what he thought was a Division of the Wehrmacht although the relief may have been intended to be carried out by 22 SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment. The relief had been expected all day 23rd July.
    (NOTE – this PW although wounded himself cared for and brought to our lines one of our wounded officers)

    General
    ALL PW agreed on the following points:
    a)[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]The arty fire had been unbearable
    b)[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]MMG fire had prevented them from raising their heads above their slit trenches
    c)[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]That the crocodiles had caused a profound impression

    Comments
    These comments are made in amplification of the above PW statements.
    1. Strength
    II Bn 21 SS PGR on 9 July was 266 all ranks
    6 Company strength on 17 July = 55
    8 Company strength on 15 July = 40
    (Source 12th Corps Intelligence Summary No. 18 Appendix A to 53rd Divisional Intelligence Summary No. 21)
    Strength estimates given by PW are therefore not entirely incredible.
    All PW were interrogated separately and estimates given independently of each other. All estimates except one are extremely low.
    It appears that one of the reasons which compelled the relieve of I Bn was the mauling given to the Bn on its attack on 1/5 Welch positions.
    2. Order of Battle
    The presence of elements of 9 SS Panzer Division alongside 10 SS Panzer Division cannot be confirmed and indeed there are some conflicting factors.
    However in support of the possibility, the following points may be noted.
    a)[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]The Pay Clerk from II Bn 10 SS Tank Regiment stated that he followed 9 SS Panzer Division direction sights. (12 Corps ISUM No.16)
    b)[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]Wounded PW interrogated by Div 10 at 202 Field Ambulance on 23rd July believed to have come (but not confirmed) from the Maltot battle stated that he belonged to 260 Field Engineers Battalion, was sub-allocated to 271 Infantry Division who were making up the deficiencies in Hohenstaufen Division.
     
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    Appendix 6
    Report on Raid by 4 Welch 23rd July
    Dated 24 July 1944

    G. 12th Corps,

    • 1. I forward herewith 2 copies of a report by Lt Col O Williams, OC 4 Welch on the raid at Le Bon Repos during evening of 23rd July
    • I also attach the final figure of casualties suffered by the raiding coys.
    • In my opinion the raid was a very great success, Lt Col Williams plan was excellent and the operation went according to plan, the troops arriving on each objective and withdrawing exactly in accordance with the time table.
    • There is no doubt at all that large numbers of were killed/
    • Other important results were as follows
    a)[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]Important enemy identifications were obtained, proving that relieve in this sector had taken place the night before.
    b)[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]Prisoners stated that this relief was carried out because of the heavy casualties suffered by the 1st Bn in their attack on the Coy of 1/5 Welch during night 21 July. D
    I view this proof of the gallant fight put up by the Coy of 1/5 Welch as being the greatest value from the morale point of view.
    c)[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]The effect of the success of this action will be far reaching in my Division. We have so far been a little unfortunate in our short experience in hving been faced with one or two very sticky operations and a lengthy period of static conditions subject to heavy mortar fire.
    The success of this operation against troops of the standard of the 10 SS Pz Div, involving as it did an advance of 1200 yds down an open forward slope in daylight will go a long way to proving to the men of this Division that we are capable of taking on the best of the enemy troops even under conditions favourable to the latter.
    d)[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]In my opinion it was very necessary to make it quite clear to the enemy that he could not engage in operations such as his attack on the Coy at Le Bon Repos on night 21 July with impunity. The casualties suffered by his 1st Bn int hat attack followed by the losses to his 2nd Bn in this raid should have made this clear.

    • I regret the casualties suffered by the attacking Coys were rather heavier than I had hoped. I understand, however, that a very large proportion of the wounded are only suffering from slight mortar wounds.
    • I wish to acknowledge the support afforded by the 107 Reg RAC. As you will see Lt Col Williams refers to this in his report as ‘magnificent and undoubtedly greatly assisted the task in hand’. I am glad to record the regiment suffered no casualties to personnel or tanks.
    • I also wish to acknowledge the assistance of the two troops of 141 RAC. I agree with lt Col Williams that it would have been preferable to have had a longer time to arrange the cooperation of the Inf and the crocodiles but it was only known at 1500 hours that they would be available.
    Inspite of this lack of time, their assistance was invaluable. Their disposal of the 16 men occupying the house at 945615 must alone have saved the attacking troops many casualties.
    *Signed*
    Ross
    Maj-Gen
    Comd.
    53 (W) Div.
     
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    4th Welch
    1st August 1944– 31st August 1944
    Appendices 1 – 15
    Location - Baron
    1st August – 0001-0400 – Recce Patrol Lt McKenzie and 4 (from D Company) found 4 tanks in field North of Le Bon Repos and could not cross road at pt 112 – Evrecy due to enemy movement at 5 pts between Le Bon Repos and Lone House. Patrol report as Appendix 1.
    1000 – 2 snipers returned after going down to road at 947616 and report trenches not occupied and all quiet except one tank and vehicles in Esquay.
    1330 – Snipers and patrol from D Coy (Company), 1/5 Welch returned after going to slit trenches area Lone House 952617. Both patrols bought back 1 MG42 from the trenches. Private Townsend (sniper) stepped on a mine of some kind near derelict tanks north of the house and was killed.
    1/2nd August – 2330-0300 – 2 Pioneer patrols from A Coy standing patrol – 1 to area Lone House, other to area north of Le Bon Repos buildings object – search for mines possibly in the area and bring one back if any are found. Patrol (A) was also to see if possible what type of mine killed sniper. No mines could be found (A) could not answer question except that it was a charge of 3-4lb only - definitely not Teller mine. Patrol report attached.
    0600 – Standing Patrols report activity, tank moving area 112 and noises area Lone House at 0330 hours.

    2nd August – 2100 Raid by B Coy on Le Bon Repos crossroads and Esquay similar to that done by A and C Coy 2130 hours. Established that 10 SS Panzer Division (21 PGR) had been withdrawn and relieved by 977 Regiment, 271 Infantry Division – first time this Regiment has been identified in the line Op known as Op Battleaxe. COs report is attached. (Appendix 5 – Map of Fireplan, Appendix 3 – CO’s Report, Appendix 4, Artillery Fire plan)
    Officer casualties – Major WR Utley wounded and evacuated, total own casualties: X1 Y29 Z3. Enemy 18 PW including 1 Officer and estimated 30 killed. Object of raid was to establish whether 10 SS had been relieved and to optain PW for interrogation – both objects were achieved.

    3rd August – 0100 – D Coy SP sent man down within 20 yards of road 70 yards east of Le Bon Repos crossroads. No sign of enemy in area.
    0130 – Tapping noise in direction of Lone House
    0200 – A Coy SP, tracked vehicles moving in area West of cross roads.
    0215 – Two guns firing from area of Aveny
    0300 – D Coy report MG firing from area to SW about 1000 yards away. Remainder of day very quiet. 160 Brigade now made up of 4 Welch, 2 Mons, and 6 RWF (1/5 Welch to 158).
    Rest of day very quiet.
    0900 – CO’s report on No.38 set.
    Positions at Baron – Map (Appendix Six)

    4th August – 0500 – 2 patrols retuned a) D Coy patrol under Corporal WJ Williams. B) A Coy patrol under Corporal Clarke. No movement heard or seen after 0330. Tracked vehicles, vehicles and motorcycles heard during last hour of movement in fields to Le Bon Repos crossroads. Standing patrols confirm no activity after 0330 hours and vehicle noises before then. Full patrol reports attached. During evening 3rd Battle Patrol formed to follow up enemy if he withdrew. To consist of original command, Captain Lewis, one platoon of infantry (under Lieutenant Hamre). One section of Carriers, one section of mortars, one section anti-tank gun, one assault section of pioneers, then changed night of 3/4th to the same but with one Coy infantry commanded by Major Tranter. Report from 53rd Division Recce that an armed patrol had reached Le Bon Repos without incident. Pushed onto area – of a ford – in Bas de Esquay found it to actually be a bridge. Bridgehead formed across river Guigne the rest of C Coy Gp followed up.
    1830 – D, A and B Coys moved forward through C Coy to positions astride main roads into Aveney, and this was made without incident.
    Very quiet night. 2 deserters came in at 2100 from 271 Engineers Bn (271 Infantry Div)


    Location - Aveney
    5th August – 1100 – Bn warned to stand by to move.
    1430 – A, D and C Coys plus Advance Battalion HQ moved off to Maizet.
    1445 – B Coy moved off to a new location.
    1600 – Remainder of Bn moved up to Maizet less OC, HQ and non priority transport. During the move 2 carriers (CO and D) – were blown up by landmines – Tellermine 42. More were discovered by Pioneers – found to be laid in road and on verges, very scattered about 100 metres between mines.
    2100 – Remainder of Bn moved up.

    Location – Maizet
    6th August – 0001 – Recce made by Captain Lewis across River Orne. Reports good approach for tracked vehicles to rive down re-entrant 963566. The weir of stepping stones from north bank connecting it to the island in centre. From the island which is wooded, the depth of to the enemy bank is about 4 feet. Captain Lewis went into field and about halfway to road on the other side of the river. No fire was directed against him.
    Reports railway embankment is not high, and a level crossing at 957551 appeared normal and passable – did not know whether mined. River at this point is around 30 yards wide and away from across mentioned, it is more than 6 foot deep.
    0001 – Lieutenant Booth (A Coy) returned from Recce Patrol. Reported the ford 964556 was not passable to vehicles, but could be used by infantry – depth of water in the centre is around 4 feet. Road on enemy side unusable due to bomb craters, confirmed both railway bridges 972555 and 967554 blown. (Appendix 10).
    No place between bridges suitable as a crossing place for vehicles or infantry. Reports no minefields west of road area 968555 but possibly minefield east of road. Recce was interrupted by machine gun and mortar fire at 972551 and 970550. One member of the patrol was killed, Royal Engineer sergeant severely wounded – patrol report attached. (Appendix 11)Lieutenant Booth was cut off from the remainder of the patrol when machine gun fired and arrived back with Royal Engineer sergeant about six hours after remainder.
    0515 – Patrol by Lieutenant DLB Davies (C Company) and 8 returned, could not cross the river at ford 963555 due to enemy movements along forward slopes on other side of the river from 956550 to 965554 – thought a booby trapping detail – patrol report attached (Appendix 12).
    1100-1415 – Patrol by Sergeant Hall (C Coy) and 1 other rank reported no enemy in wood 946558, wood 950558 road from 964553 – 958556. Mines suspected along road, but none seen, standing patrol was established by C Coy at 957555, and A Coy 973562.
    Quiet day with no enemy artillery or mortar on own positions.
    2000 – One deserter, 217 Engineer Bn.

    7th August – 0600 – Standing patrols report very quiet except working parties area south of Brigade making knocking noises like driving in piquets. 0300-0500 tracked vehicles also heard in this area. Explosions heard 0500 hours from same place.
    Very quiet day again – nothing to report from Standing Patrols.

    8th August – Standing Patrols done by 6 RWF report all quiet. Occasional movement seen by snipers and standing Patrols in bulge of river 963552. Intelligence Section OP established 1400-1600 saw an 8 man section move along railway at 957552 and disappear into woods behind.

    9th August – 0200 – one deserter from 14/979 Grenadier Regiment in Bn HQ – sent to Brigade.
    0215 – A Coy patrol Lieutenant Williams and 2 other ranks reported could not cross river Orne at 976563 due to enemy movement on other bank and appearance of enemy body of six men on bank.
    0300 – Five deserters in from 4 and 14/979 Grenadier Regiment.
    0300 – B Coy patrol – Corporal Beynon and two returned. Report no sign of enemy in buildings 959549, wood 962548, woods 966549, 964547 knocking of stakes heard again – see night 7/8th – at west end of railway bridge at 996552.
    0600 – Standing patrols report all quiet on front during the night.
    1200 – Fighting patrols from A, B, C Coys confirmed no sign of enemy east of river in Langours Lasserat, North-West Foret de Grimbosq, Mutrecy - confirming deserters stories that 979 Grenadier Regiment had withdrawn from the line of the river Orne.

    10-11th August – quiet day with no sight enemy on our front. Standing patrols as usual, but reported nothing for nights 9/10, 10/11, 11/12.

    12th August – 0900 – O Group by Major Burnett. Orders for move to Vacognes, positions already recede at 111330.

    Location – Vacognes
    1430 – Bn commenced moving to concentration area Vacognes. Bn HQ and Support at 1430, A and B at 1440, C and D at 1450. Arrived 1450-1525.

    13th August – 0600 – Advance party left for concentration area in Foret de Cinglais at 994518.

    Location – Foret de Cinglais
    0930 – Remainder of Bn left for area – route road June 923560 – Les Bjudes 911547 – Complillieres 9452 – Brieux 9651 – cross roads 998519 – Concentration area.
    2130 – O Group to give warning of likely future ops.

    14th August – Bn moved to concentration area further forward at Bois Halbout in orchard and fields at 006470.

    Location – Bois Halbout
    2200 – O Group by Lt Col Williams for ops area Trepel.

    15th August – 0615 – Bn moved by tracked vehicles to area of cross roads – 016407 in the Bois de St Clair.
    1200 – 3 PW taken.
    Location Treprel
    1635 – Advance to Treprel 0336. Resistance met by A Coy at 034359, B Coy at 036363 – C Coy assisted KRRC (4th Armoured Brigade) to clear village of Treprel. 66 PW taken = 3 Officers and 63 other ranks.
    1600 – Lt-Col JWC Williams was taken away as a casualty due to being sick.
    2000 – Bn firm in approximate positions – A Coy at cross roads 033359, B Coy at orchard 036362, C Coy at cross roads 037364 – and D Coy at orchards 040362.

    16th August – 6 deserters (2 Fieldwebel – 3 U/Officer and 1 Obgfter) from 271 Rft Bn to A Coy.
    1330 – Two deserters – one 271 Rft Bn, one 1/991 Grenadier Regiment 277 Infantry Division to C Coy.
    1430 – Patrol led by Lieutenant DLB Davies to steam and woods 1000 yards SW of Treprel reported no sign of enemy.
    1800 – A Coy moved to area 030345.
    2000 – 6 deserters to B Coy – 5 of 3/271 Engineer Bn 1 of 2/979.
    2300 – 6 Russian deserters to A Coy.

    17th August – 1315 – Advance party commanded by Captain Jones OC support platoon left for Brigade Concentration are Martigny.
    1830 – Remainder of Battalion followed having handed over to Essex Regt.
    1700 – Return of patrol commander Luietenant McKenzie (1 and 25) guided by 2 members of the “Maquis” from Les Loges Sulces – 7 PW, 2 of these in civilian clothes but vouched for by the Maquis as a doctor and assistant who had tended French wounded – these men had deserted to French 14 days earlier.
    2 days at Treprel marked by first contact with the Maquis – seems highly organised and very loyal in this part of France.

    Location - Martigny
    18th August – Bn moved to area on Falaise-Argentan road location Battalion Hq to 160312, A Coy to 162310, B Coy to 168299, C Coy to 172300, D Coy to 164311. The position was taken over from 1st Bn Ox and Bucks (Oxford and Buckinghamshire Regiment).
    1900 – 2 PW – Russians.

    19th August – 1200 – Orders by Brigade Command to Major Burnett for attack on Moutabard 2226 were only to be carried out if the 1st Bn Ox and Bucks were unsuccessful at 1700 hours. 1st Bn Ox and Bucks were successful so the attack was not carried out.

    20th August – 0830 Bn started clearing Bois de Feuillet 2328 from 222291 to 220276 line of road to line of road 238230 cleared by – right D Coy, A Coy in the centre and the left by B Coy. Clear by 1500 hours.
    Final line 262280 – 249263

    Location – Brieux
    20th August – 1830 – Bn concentrated in area Brieux 2229

    21st August – 1000 – Orders for move to Bierre to counter possible threat from SE. Bn positions: Bn HQ at 248292, A Coy at 248296, B Coy at 252294, C Coy at 245291, D Coy at 248291.

    Location - Bierre
    21st August – 1400 – Bn in positions in Bierre.

    22nd August 0001-25th August 1400 – Bn resting and reorganising in area for long move.

    25th August – 1400 – Move in two parties, 1. Marching troops and 2. Transport to area Mardilly.
    1800 – Lt Col Sperling joined Battalion as CO.

    Location - Mardilly
    2230 – Advance Battalion HQ and marching troops entered concentration position area Mardilly. Remainder of transport arrived all through night to about 0400.

    27th August – 0900 – Bn left Mardilly on embussed non-tactical column.
    1030 – Bn at Les Bottereaux 8254, Bn HQ at 827547, A and B Coy in field 826551, D Coy at 831551, Coy 832552.

    Location Les Bottereaux (8254)
    [28th August] - Day spent organising and resting, preparing for move to concentration area North of Evereux.

    29th August – 1200 – Bn F transport, Route – Les Botteraux 8669 – Glos La Ferriere 7753 – La Barre En-Ouche 8263 – Breaumesnil 8669 - Manselles 9266 – La Houssaye 9367 – Le Chatelier 9468 – Station 9767 – Emmanville 0274 – cross roads 0279 – cross roads 1073 – Bacquepuis 1276 – Houteville 1680 – Les Planches. Arrived 200 hours Bn concentrated HQ 227824.
    0230 – Orders for move across River Seine – 30th July [possibly means August?]

    30th August – 0800 – Bn column started out from les Planches. Tactical move by Companies embussed to road junction 393996. Order of march; A Coy, Carrier Platoon Command Group, Advance Battalion HQ, Mortars, B Coy, C Coy, D Coy, Rear HQ, Supporting Arms. Route – Les Planches – Louviers – crossroads 258936 – crossroads 258925, Bridge over Seine at 268907 – Houville – crossroads 297981, road junction 393996.
    1300 – Advance on foot by rounds, A Coy leading on bicycles, Command Group followed by remainder of Battalion Group moving one bound in rear of leading Coy. Counds – Gallardbois 407020 – Rosay 429050 – Essart 441077 – Le Bosse 255094 – Le Tronquay 469108 – Les Landes 480123 – La Feuille 4914. 20 PW taken.
    1900 – Bn ordered to stop and close on leading sub unit for night. Positions established in La Feuillie, Bn HQ at 498147, A Coy at 499148, B Coy at 499149, C Coy at 495142, D Coy at 500142.

    Location Mesangueville
    31st August – [Addition from Sept WD] 1600 – Bn concentrated in Mesangueville. Bn HQ at 542239, A Coy at 536237, B Coy at 548237, C Coy at 545240, D Coy at 542247.

    Location La Feuillie
    31st August – 0805 – B Coy left on Sun route. Battalion task is to clear the area La Feuillie – Nolleval 4718 – Argueveil 5023 – La Feuille. B Coy secured first bound Le Mazis 5117. Followed up by Carrier platoon, A Coy passed through and secured 2nd bound La Vente, then Command Group followed up by remainder of Battalion Group moved to Les Mazis. Same bound procedure was followed on bounds Fry 5121 and Argueil 5023. Command group reached Argueil at 1335 hours.

    Location – Argueil
    1430 – Move to Battalion area Messangueville

    Location – Mesangueville
    1600 – Bn concentrated Messangueville. Bn HQ at 542239, A Coy at 536237, B Coy at 548237, C Coy at 545240, D Coy at 542247

    More added...
     
    englandphil and Paul Reed like this.
  8. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique MOD

    Very interesting indeed.

    What are you going to do with all this raw data? What's the theme of your study?
     
  9. englandphil

    englandphil Very Senior Member

    Excellent stuff, I am always impressed when the 'youngsters' pick a serious subject from our history, rather than a modern day subject

    P
     
  10. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    The theme of study is an assessment of 53rd Welsh Divisions impact in their campaign and the men who served, was it a positive experience for where they went and later on in life etc. Well thats the gist of it. I'm actually an ultra-modernist chap studying War and Society at Swansea, so ww2 is my 'relaxation' topic for the dissy!

    I've done a lot of the 'published' reading and since I needed around 10 current books on it to write a dissertation I've decided to have so many original sources - new vets testamonies, documents et al which were not available for the last major work, Delaforce's Red Crown and Dragon that whatever I write is new, accurate and to some degree 'groundbreaking' on this subject.

    I'm also hoping to turn this into a new 53rd Division history, focusing on the men and many of the smaller action in a style that younger people like myself will read. My webby: Royal Welch Fusiliers - Home (before I get www.53rdwelshdiv.com) will have a lot of stuff on there, and does have the - I believe - most comprehensive stock of 53rd Division photos about it there.

    Anyway... before I can do all that, I need to read and write down 30 War Diaries or so over a period of 1-5 years. Which is something of an epic task... also I hope this will assist a member of my reenactment group who is making an amateur film regarding his grandfathers experiences in 4RWF and get more people to 'remember' this massively overlooked formation.
     
  11. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique MOD

    Sounds fascinating stuff - thanks for the links and good luck with the project. Am sure some of us can help.
     
  12. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Great stuff Swiper, and welcome aboard.
    I know many passing people doing research will be very glad of you sharing this stuff - the transcribed War diary threads are popular stuff.

    Cheers,
    Adam.
     
  13. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    The casualty table in post 4 lost formating when posted. I believe this is how it should read:

    Adjutants Casualty Report into Operation Clement

    ..........................A Coy....................... C Coy.....................TOTAL
    .........................0F/O.R......................OF/O.R....................OF/O.R.
    X.......................0/3..............................1/4.............................1/7
    Y.......................1/21............................1/28............................2/49
    Z.......................0/3...............................0/5.............................0/8
    TOTAL..............1/27............................2/37 ..........................3/64
    X = Killed
    Y = Wounded
    Z = Missing
     
  14. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    good stuff Swiper, well done & thanks for sharing the war diaries on the forum.
     
  15. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    AUGUST APPENDIX



    Appendix 1
    Patrol Report
    Handwritten report

    No sign of the enemy in House 267554 (2 Mons House) Ememy likely to be small as only the one MG opened on patrol.
    Patrol lost one man tby this MG. Engineer sergeant attached to patrol for [this] recce was also wounded. MG is focoused to fire on track 968555. Patrol leader states detail 1/25000 map is [illegible]between 2 hours. Attac[k?] 968555 + railway station.


    Appendix 3
    Report by CO 4 Welch Regt on a raid on enemy localities astride Le Bon Repos crossroads map reference 944614

    1. Objective[FONT=&quot][1][/FONT]
    The object of the attack was to secure a minimum of 15 prisoners for the purpose of establishing the fact as whether the 10 SS Pz Regt were still holding the line. This objective[FONT=&quot][2][/FONT] was achieved.

    2. Composition of Force
    The raid was carried out by one Company supported by 4 Field Regiments[FONT=&quot][3][/FONT], 1 Medium Regiment, 4.2” mortars and MMGs from the 1st Manchester with one Squadron of tanks and two troops of Crocodiles in support.
    The start line for the attack was the road running NE and SW through point 936624, the axis of advance being the track leading from crossroads 966624 to Le Bon Repos.
    The Company attacked with two platoons[FONT=&quot][4][/FONT] up; one each side of the axis. The advance went according to plan and the troops arrived just short of the opening barrage, where they lay down; on the barrage lifting, the right hand platoon prepared to go in on the Northern point of the wood 942612 but were delayed owing to the late arrival of the troop of Crocodiles, this troop were unfortunately 5 minutes late and somewhat delayed the advance and the benefit of the barrage was to some extent lost.
    Enemy were found to be dug in along the Northern edge of the copse 943613 and those were either killed or captured; no enemy were found in the western edge of this copse, but two spandau posts caused some trouble from the hedge and road junction at 942611. The right hand platoon then moved left handed towards the crossroads and found the house at 944614 clear of enemy. They then proceeded to cross the road and moved down 500yards into the village where no enemy were found. The Officer commanding this platoon reports that very heavy enemy fire was directed onto his platoon from the line of the road running SW from Le Bon Repos and from the high ground about 944607.
    On the left the attack went satisfactorily, but again the troop of Crocodiles was late in arriving. The house at 945615 was found to be clear of enemy but a strong post was located and destroyed in the edge running SE from this house to about 947614; having cleared up this post the platoon proceeded onto the final objected and later withdrew according to schedule.
    The reserve platoon moved in rear of the left hand platoon and somehow appeared to have got further forward than they should have done[FONT=&quot][5][/FONT], and certain casualties were suffered through their walking into our own barrage; they found a small enemy post in the field at 943614 which they mopped up taking two prisoners.
    Reports seem to indicate that the enemy had an antitank gun dug in somewhere in the region of the main crossroads, but as yet I cannot get a definite confirmation of this. A note book the property of an NCO in the 14 (Anti-tank) Coy was found near crossroads.

    No outstanding incidents have been reported nor have the tactics of the enemy varied from the usual. Enemy DF fire was quite 50 heavier than in the previous raid, and there is no doubt that in my mind that the position the whole way along that road is strongly held.
    The Squadron Commander reports the use by the enemy of a Churchill tank which opened fire on his left hand leading troop, and which was subsequently dealt with by that troop.[FONT=&quot][6][/FONT]

    3. Prisoners
    13 Prisoners have definitely passed through this Bn HQ while a further four were sent direct from the battlefield to Brigade HQ making a total of 17 known to date.

    4. Enemy Casualties
    Apart from the 17 prisoners mentioned above, it has been estimated that a further 30 enemy were killed during close quarter fighting either by our own troops, or as a result of the Crocodiles. The tank Squadron Commander also reports considerable casualties inflicted on the enemy by his troops operating to both flanks, who engaged parties of the enemy withdrawing from the forward localities down into the village.

    5. Own Casualties
    The Coy suffered the following casualties which are now confirmed:
    1. Killed
    29. Wounded (Which includes the Company Commander)
    3. Missing

    6. Tank Losses
    Two Churchill’s and two Crocodiles are casualties; one Churchill and one Crocodile were disabled by our own mines, the position of which was not previously known. This minefield apparently lies down the Western edge of the orchard at 936624; both these tanks are recoverable.

    7. Communications
    As in the last raid of this kind I controlled the battle from a Churchill OP tank, moving in the rear of the Coy. Once again I should like to stress the tremendous value of the No. 19 set as a control set for a Battalion Commander, and I would suggest if Battalion Commands are to be given in a scout car, as has been suggested, that this should contain at 19 or 22 set which can be used as the CO’s Rover and, if need be, as control set.

    8. Conclusion
    From my own point of view this raid has been a great success, and once again ‘topped up’ the already high morale amongst the men of my Bn. My gratitude is due to magnificent help given to me by the supporting arms, without which the raid could not possibly have been a success.

    C Williams
    Lt Col
    Comd 4 Welch
    In the Field
    3rd August 1944




    Appendix 6
    Reports on 38 Sets

    Original Telegram – 160 Brigade to 4 Welch requesting 38 Set Report
    Originator: 160 Brigade
    For Action: 4 Welch 2 Mon
    G1. Please forward by DLRS [Dispatch Rider Letter Service][FONT=&quot][7][/FONT] tonight a short report on effectiveness of 38 sets for command with infantry from infantry point of view. If report adverse please give reasons. Also short note on comparative effectiveness of 38 set under UK conditions and battle conditions. All infm.
    Subject: Report on No. 38 sets 3rd August 1944
    HQ South Wales (160) Brigade

    Reference your G1 dated 3rd August 1944. The opinion of users of the No.38 sets in this Bn, is that under static conditions the sets work quite well.
    We have only limited experience of its use in the attack and encounter battle, and this has been entirely limited to two raids; in both instances the 38 set did not prove a success.
    The following are the main points against it:–
    a)[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]the range of these sets varies with the type of country, and in several cases between sets. It is never very good without the long aerial, which immediately gives away the location of the set; long trailing aerials have proved satisfactory at times, but cannot be used if the ground is wet or damp.
    b)[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]Difficulty in netting is experienced owing to continual drift.
    c)[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]The junction box is one of the main weaknesses and owing to the fragile way in which it is constructed, it does not stand up to rough usage.
    d)[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]The quality of the material used appears to be weak, for instance, the junction box already quoted, the ‘on’ and ‘off’ switch and the clamping nut, which frequently moved the tuning dial, or it does not clamp it at all.

    The above small points, tend to make this set too difficult for the average infantryman to operate and since it is impossible to always guarantee that a trained signaller will be available it rather loses its value. I find that within this Bn, officers themselves man the sets during important periods of as ‘Stand To’ and ‘Stand Down’, and sometimes in the battle itself.
    With regard to the effectiveness of this set under UK conditions, it is hardly fair to express an opinion, since conditions out here have been such as to almost prevent any detailed maintenance, which was of course always possible in the UK.

    C Williams
    Lt Col
    Comd 4 Welch
    In the Field
    3rd August 1944
    Appendix 10
    Recce Patrol by Lt Booth + 4 Welch 5th August 44
    Very hard to read will do so at later date




    Patrol Report
    Lt Williams + 2ORs – 4th Welch
    Time out 2300
    Time in 0215
    Route
    Across River Orne 976563 to Mutrecy and back by Guillieries 974557.

    Patrol was unable to cross river.

    Patrol Commanders Report
    Patrol proceeded towards river by track 9664566, but experienced difficulty in fiding a point to set recce boat to river. They reached bank at 976560. So much noise had been made reaching this point that the patrol lay low for a period. During this period an MG was heard firing from approx 980567 but it was not possible to pin point it or its direction of fire. Tracked vehicles were heard at approx 982562 and 974555 all seemed to be moving towards Mutrecy. Talking and movement was heard on hostile bank of mine and at approx 0100 hour a boat was launched from the enemy bnk. The patrol commander decided to attack this parts but on landing the party split.

    RA 53 Welsh Div Task Table No 30
    in sp[FONT=&quot][8][/FONT]4 Welch Op Battleaxe
    Ref Maps 1/2500 37/16 SE 37/14 NE
    H Hour 022100 B Aug

    [FONT=&quot][1][/FONT] Originally ‘object’

    [FONT=&quot][2][/FONT] Originally ‘object’

    [FONT=&quot][3][/FONT] Originally ‘Fd Regt’ all Regiments onwards were originally so, and Squadron was Sqn, tanks = tks and troops tps

    [FONT=&quot][4][/FONT] Originally ‘Coy’ and “pls” = Coy and Platoons

    [FONT=&quot][5][/FONT] No reference to this being caused by over eager infantry

    [FONT=&quot][6][/FONT] Cross reference this with the tankers War Diary and reports.

    [FONT=&quot][7][/FONT] DLRS – Dispatch Rider Letter Service

    [FONT=&quot][8][/FONT] sp = support
     
  16. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    4th Welch
    1st September 1944 – 30th September 1944
    Appendices I to XI

    Location – Mesangueville
    1st September – 0700 – Orders for move to River Somme. Bn at one hours notice from 1100 hours.
    1800 – Bn moved embussed long “Star” Route. Route: Mesangue-Ville- crossroads 544211 – crossroads 599204 – road junction 590223 – Gaillefontaine 5835 – Criquiters 6536 – Abancourt 7039 – St Clair – Digeon 732467 – Hornoy 8155 – Selincourt 8158.

    Location - Selincourt
    2nd September – 0230 Bn HQ est Selincourt 816582, Bn Concentrated in village.
    0900 – Orders for continuation of advance to River Somme. Bn to move 1400 hours.

    Location – Hautelcouque
    3rd September – 0230 – Bn reached concentration area at Hauteclouque 1307. Route: Selincourt – Hornoy – Molliens Vidame – Piquigny – crossroads 998655 – crossroads 9475 – Doulles – Hauteclouque 1307. Bn concentrated in village (River Somme crossed area Picquiny)
    1745 – Command post established at[FONT=&quot][1][/FONT] 156088. Took over clearing of St Pol from Queens Regiment. Town reported clear 2200 hours. 160 PWs taken including 60 Todt workers and 4 officers. Companies in positions as follows; A at 161118, B 157087, C at 165120, D at 163116. Own casualties = nil.

    Location – St Pol
    4th September – 0730 – Command post moved to 170121, B Company moved to 174123 (personal message of congratulations on speedy clearance of St Pol received from Field Marshal Montgomery)
    0930 – Bn column formed up on road St Pol – Arras for continued advance. Bn HQ 178112. No move. Bn taken off road for night.

    5th September – 1500 – Bn move to Bethune – Route: road junction 185108 – road junction 197149 – Divion – Dethune. C Company and Carrier platoon to positions at 384320 – 3993 and 395304.

    Locaiton – Hinges
    2200 – Bn concentrates Hinges – Bn HQ at 383318, A Coy at 385325, B Coy at 387323 – C Coy at 384318, and D Coy at 382317.

    6th September – 0700 – Orders given for clearing Foret de Nieppe.
    0900 – A Coy on cycles, 2 Sections of Carriers, 1 detachment from antitank platoon, 1 detachment of mortars, 1 section of MMGs from 1st Manchesters, Forward Observation 133 Regiment moved vial Merville – Haverskerque – Steen Becque and to West. 6 PWs including 1 wounded taken and several enemy killed. Lt Williams of A Company is wounded in leg and evacuated. Section reported clear 1900 hours.
    0930 – Remainder of Bn to concentration area North of Merville. Command position established at 391403.

    Location – Merville
    1100 – Battalion less A Company began clearing Woods East and West of the road Merville-Hazebrouck. C Company formed firm base astride road at 362431. Command group with C Company – D Company to clear to West as far as grid line 33. B Company is to clear to East as far as grid line 39 stops provided by remainder of Carrier Platoon and remainder of MMG platoon from the 1st Manchesters in area SQ 3846. 40 PWs taken including several wounded. No casualties. Woods reported clear 1830 hours.
    2130 – Battalion move to Kemmel (Belgium). Route: Merville-Estaires 457393 – road junction 451429 – road/railway junction 434482 – crossroads 521472 – Kemmel 5454. Arrived Kemmel 2330 hours, 7th September 1944. Night extremely dark, rain and Battalion HQ was established at 543544.

    Location - Kemmel
    7th September – 2200 – Bn move to area Moorslede 714652. Route: Kemmel – Wytschaete 5854 – crossroads 600544 – crossroads 621560 – Zandvoorde 6556 – Gheluvelt 6659 – Becelaere 6260 – Moorslede 7165.

    Location – Moorslede
    8th September – 0245 – Bn HQ established 717654, Battalion concentrated in town.
    1200 – Bn ordered to advance to Albert Canal, East of Antwerp.
    2000 – Battalion moved as ordered above. Route: Moorslede – Daiseele – Menim Mouscron H84 – Espierres H9044 – Audenarde U05 – Alost U46 – Wolverthem U5967 – Willebroeck U67 – Antwerp – crossroads 729943 – Broechem.

    Location - Broechem
    9th September – 1200 Battalion concentrated in the area of Broechem. Bn HQ at 811918, the remainder of the Battalion are in Triangle Square 8091.
    1230 – Orders given for deployment of Bn.
    1640 – Deployment completed, A Coy at 809915, B Coy at 812925, C Coy at 829919 and D Coy at 823923.

    Night 9/10th September – 2000-0600 – Patrolling 2 Recce and 2 Fighting Patrols sent out during night to ascertain a) any enemy this side of the canal, b) enemy formation facing us, c) state of bridges in our sector d) recce suitable crossing and approaches to canal. Patrol reports attached [Appendixes I-IV]

    10th September – Mortars and anti-tank shoot on enemy positions across canal. Church tower at Ooleghem demolished. The enemy reacted with inaccurate mortar and machinegun fire.
    1400 – Battalion to move into Brigade reserve area Wolvergem 7594. Recce party to leave immediately, Battalion on handing over to Battalion from 15th Scottish Division.
    1700 – Recce party return from Wolvergem.
    2000 – Patrol parties arrived from 1st Battalion Gordons – 15th Scottish Division. Move to Wolvergem postponed.

    Night 10/11 – 2300-0600 – Patrols by 1 Gordons to canal area. Details not known.

    11th September – 1200 – Slight enemy machinegun and mortar fire during morning. Our answering fire caused several casualties to enemy personnel.
    1400 – Handling over to 15th Scottish Division cancelled, Bn HQ moved to Chateau 805929.

    12th September – 0600 – Patrolling during night 11/12th contacted no enemy.
    1200 – Last 24 hours quiet, nothing to report. [Patrol reports Appendix V and VI]

    Night 12/13th – 2300 – 0600 – Patrols along line of canal during night report high state of alertness by enemy. No physical contact made.

    13th September – 1800 – Slight enemy mortar and MG fire during day. Nothing else to report.
    2100 – Reorganisation of Companies completed. Locations: A Coy at 809915, B Coy at Chateau 815932, C Coy at 845923 and D Coy at 822925. Bn HQ unchanged. [See trace – Appendix VII]

    Night 13/14th – 2200 – 0630 – Fighting patrols to 1) Nederveirsel 8691 and area 2) Area Ven 8492, patrolling along canal during night by B Company. Results – no enemy met this side of canal but diging and lights seen and slight mortar and machine gun fire heard from enemy side of canal. Horse drawn transport[FONT=&quot][2][/FONT] heard area Wood 826937 and Oeleghem 8094. Section patrol report attached.

    14th September – 1200 – No enemy activity. Positions unchanged.
    1515 – Aggressive patrolling and mortaring by A and C Companies in area Oeleghem and Massenhoven in order to discover if enemy are still present on North bank of canal.
    1730 – Our action successfully disclosed presence of enemy on canal from West of Oelgehem to East of Massenhoven. Counter-mortar and small arms fire by enemy. No casualties to Battalion personnel.

    Night 14/15th – 2100-0600 – Standing Patrols on canal bank all night. No enemy activity to report. [Appendix IX]
    15th September – 1130 –Battalion handed over area to elements of 7th Armoured Division and moved into Brigade reserve positions at Wolverghem 7594.

    Location - Wolverghem
    1400 – Battalion in position. Bn HQ at 755944, D Coy at 749935, B at 755943, C at 757936 and A at 757947.
    2130 – Commanding Officer called to Brigade Order Group, Battalion at one hours notice to move. Harbour party to Brigade HQ immediately.

    Night 15/16th – Nothing to report

    16th September – 0600 – Orders given for move to Brigade concentration area. Battalion area –Verrle 0778 move by troop carrying vehicles. Route: Lierre- Aerschot – Hersselt – Averbode – Veerle.
    1200 – Battalion disposed in the area of Veerle. Bn HQ at 086760, A at 075786, B at 081780 and D at 070780.
    2359 – Nothing to report. Battalion at one hours notice to move.

    17th September – 0630 – Order Group for advance to concentration area south of L’Escaut canal.
    0800 – Battalion moved in troop carrying vehicles to Gledershorten 2890 – Route: Veerl – road junction 075785 – Eynthout – crossroads 097825 – Gheel 0888 – Moll 1690 – Baelen 2088 – crossroads 266836 – Kirkenhoven 2727 – road junction 298913 – Geldershorten – (Albert Canal crossed at 09681, Canal Embranchment crossed at 194894.)

    Location - Geldershorten
    1130 – Battalion HQ located at 279900, Companies concentrated square of 2890.
    2359 – Nothing to report. Battalion at one hours notice to move across Escaut canal.

    18th September – Battalion column formed up on road from 277902 to road junction 298913. Order of march, D Company, 2 sections carriers, 1 detachment of anti-tank guns, 1 detachment of mortars, 1 section of assault pioneers, B Company, remainder of support company, A Company, C Company, Supporting Arms and RAF Advance Battalion HQ (Fl Echelon), F2 and A Echelon’s to follow later.
    1900 – Move commenced. Route: Road junction 298913 – Lommel 3195 – road junction 306953 – Luyksgestel 3101 – Weebosch 2903 (Brigade column held up by enemy air activity 172100A at 307932. No casualties in this Battalion.

    19th September – 0700 – Leading Companies held up South of Wilreit 2704. Advance Battalion HQ established at 297038. Orders are given for clearing enemy resistance and continuation of advance to area Postel 2201.
    0900 – Mortars fired on Wood 2703 to allow D Company to approach within 500 yards of area between 282032 and 282030. A Company now established as fire Company at 280044. Plan for D Company to clear “Spandau Wood” 2703. Wood being cleared, Battalion to continue its objective – road junction 262037. D Company passed into Wood at 0915 hours. Remainder of Battalion lead by C Company commenced moving down road Wilreit-Postel 2201. B Company met with opposition area of road junction north edge of “Spandau Wood” and Woods to north of road 2604. It was appreciated by this time that enemy were in area in some strength and plan was made for attack from the North East at 1400 hours supported by artillery, mortars and MMGs.
    1200 – D Company ordered to withdraw to South East corner of “Spandau Wood”. When the Company representative returned, it was found that they had penetrated the wood to 265032 against heavy machine gun fire and sniping. Enemy machine gun positions located all along the West edge of wood from 265031 to 265027 and in general area of wood to West. Fighting had been heavy with casualties: X1 and 5Y1 and 9, Z nil and 4 (Officer casualty killed Lt CA Knight, Lt DA Mackenzie was wounded.)
    1400 – Attack postponed half an hour to 1430 hours.
    1430 – Attack began. Objectives, B Company left road junction 262037, C Company right 250038. A Company to push through B Company and exploit to road track junction 252027. Artillery composed of 2 Field Regiments, 2 Medium Regiments, and 1 Heavy Regiment in support. 2 Platoons of MMGs, 3” mortar platoon from 4 Welch, 3” mortar platoon from 6RWF were also in support.
    B Coy reported to advance 400 yards over Start Line without opposition then met by heavy machine gun fire and pinned to ground. Advance continued after a short time and machinegun fire ceased, opening up a gain in great strength together with mortar and gun fire when approximately 600 yards from objective. No communication with C Company during this period.
    A Company reported in difficulty in Woods 268042 from very heavy machine gun fire from North edge of “Spandau Wood”, B Company command called for heavy artillery concentration on his objective and two five minute regimental concentrations put down.
    C Company managed to report through Royal Artillery Channels that they had been halted for long period 50 yards short of Wood 263050 by heavy machine gun fire at 50 yards range but had overcome it and advanced 200 yards into the wood.
    A Company reported that they were now in touch with B Company.
    C Company report pushed back again to positions 50 yards outside wood.
    1730 – Royal Artillery Forward Observation Officer with B Company returned to command post 281044 to give position of battle in that area. Reported opposition have been extremely heavy and that the position of A and B Companies was far from good.
    1900 – Orders given for Companies to withdraw to area of Wilreit. A and B Companies were over-run and all control lost, stragglers post established at Wilreit 278047.
    C Company in position 276053, remainder of Battalion concentrated around command post in defensive hedgehog. Advance Battalion HQ at 288044. State of A, B and C Companies remained obscure until the morning of 20th September when it was found losses were not so great as was feared.
    Total casualties: X1 9Y1 and 30 Z nil and 14 20 PWs during day revealed II Bn 6th Falshirmjager Regiment in Spandau Wood and III Bn 6th Falshirmjager Regiment around road junction 262037 and in woods to North.

    20th September – 1200 – Battalion completed reorganisation. Occasional machine gun and mortar fire from enemy area during morning.
    1530 – Battalion relieved area Wilreit by 6RWF and concentrated in woods North East of the road between Weebosch – Wilreit.
    1715- Battalion Commander called to Brigade Order Group.
    1900 – Battalion to move to new positions to complete Brigade defensive layout. Bn HQ at 308024, A Company at 305028, B Company at 298039, C Company at 305008, D Company at 314016. Battalion in position 2300 hours.

    Location - Reid
    21st September – 0900 – A Company patrol to area woods 2801 to find if occupied by the enemy. C Company patrol to area wood 2600 for same purpose. B Company strong fighting patrol area between square 2802 and 2803 to try and contact enemy nad pinpoint positions.
    1200 – A and C Company patrols have nothing to report, B Company patrol fired into front edge of “Spandau Wood” at approx 1030 hours and were answered by light and unaimed light machine gun and mortar fire. No positions pinpointed.
    1900 – No enemy activity to report. Own positions unchanged.

    Night 21st-22nd – 2000-0630 – Patrolling 1) Fighting Patrol from B Company 1 Officer and 10 Other Ranks, objective; to disturb enemy – probable HQ in farm 257018. Patrol report:– moved down in transport to wood junction 275023 then proceeded on foot to approx 257018. Light machine gun fire was directed into farm buildings and wood in immediate vicinity. This was answered, after a short interval by heavy but erratic machine gun fire from approximately 12 machine guns. After figing several more magazines into the area, the patrol withdrew with no casualties. 2) Patrol from C Company, 2 NCO and 2 Other ranks to contact 2nd Monmouthshire Regiment at 288044, successfully accomplished.

    22nd September – 0550 – Intelligence observation point established at barn 268020 to observe any enemy movement area on the east edge of Wood from 255016 to 259030 and south edge of “Spandau Wood”
    0900-1200 – A, B, C Companies did same patrols as yesterday (21st September) with similar results.
    1630 – 2 Bofor A guns beat up farm buildings 257018 from approx 270019 setting buildings afire. The enemy reacted by wild mortar fire after the guns had been withdraw.
    1800 – Intelligence observation point withdraw, report very little movement by enemy in area observed.

    Night 22/23rd – 200-0630 – Patrolling 1) Fighting patrol from A Company to disturb enemy in farm 257016. Patrol moved in transport to wood/track junction 268047 then on foot to 400 yards of farm buildings. Heavy light machine gun fire and 2” mortar was directed against the farm and immediate surroundings. No enemy reaction until after had withdrawn when patrol area was mortared. Patrol returned 2200 hours. 2) Recce patrol from C Company to wood 2801-2901-2902 report no contact with enemy.
    23rd September – 0600 – Intelligence observation point again established in barn 268020
    1200 – Nothing to report.
    1600 – Battalion to move to area South West of Wilreit.

    Location – Wilreit
    1900 – Battalion in new positions. Battalion HQ at 277045, A Company at 260037, B Company at 271036, D Company at 276044, C Company to remain in last area as protection for Gunners and rejoins Battalion on 24th September.
    2100 – Orders to move to area Egypte 2409. B Company and 1 Carrier section, 1 detachment of mortars, 1 detachment of 17 pounder anti-tank guns to move at 2200 hours and establish itself in Egypte. A Company and 1 section of carriers, 1 detachment of mortars, 1 detachment of 17 pounder anti tank guns to move at same time and proceed to Dalem 2708. The Battalion HQ, D Company and remainder of Support Company are to move to Egypte after first light on 24th September, with C Company to rejoin Battalion after completing present task.

    24th September – 0200 – B Company reported as held up by mines and demolished bridge at 256088, pioneer assault section sent out to clear mines. B Company ordered to get onto objective as soon as possible.
    0600 – B Company now moving into Egypte. To bypass the demolished bridge, a diversion was found from 256087-254086-255088.
    0600 – Battaion on road for move to Egypte 2409. C Company is marching to rejoin Battalion.

    Location - Egypte
    1200 – Battalion in positions as follows. Bn HQ at 249091, B Company at 247094, C Company at 250102, D Company at 255093, A Company still in Dalem 2708.
    2359 – No enemy activity in our area. Nothing to report except the weather – heavy rain during the last 24 hours, the roads are in poor condition.

    25th September – 0600 – Battalion at one hours notice to move a) to Bladel 2410 to take over from 1st Battalion East Lancashire Regiment or b) to assist 6 RWF to clear Reusel 2010.
    1500 – Battalion ordered to take over task of clearing enemy from Rusel form 6 RWF. Stress laid on the importance of the village being cleared by morning of 26th September. A Company rejoined Battalion from area Balem 2708.
    1530 – Orders for clearing Reusel 2010: A Company to provide firm base astride road at De Hoeven 220102, B Company right objective area cross roads 209106; D Company left, objective area 209102. In support, two Field Regiments, 1 platoon MMGs, 1 platoon 4.2” mortars, 3” mortars plus 4 Welch and 6RWF searchlights to light up area from 1930 hours until first light 26th September. Start Line from 217109 to 217099. Axis of advance, road De Hooeven-Reusel. Command post to be established at Leemskvillem 238097. Rear HQ and Company transport to remain in present location until called for. ‘H’ Hour 1900 hours. Artillery, MMG and 4.2” mortar tasks to start 1830 hours until 1915 hours then at call from individual command. Tasts 1) B Company Objective. 2) C Company Objective 3) D Company Objective.
    Location - Leemskuilem
    2100 – All companies on objectives and consolidating. Companies report south edge of village is clear.

    26th September – 0500 – 58 PWs including 2 Officers captured during night.
    0600 – A Company passed through forward Companies to centre of Reusel, road Bladel-Reusel under constant enemy machine gun and mortar fire
    0730 – Enemy attempted counter attacks repulsed with heavy losses to enemy. Persistent sniping with rifles and machine guns by enemy.
    1200 – Reported by Companies that small enemy parties have infiltrated area nd are proving a small nuisance by sniping with LMGs. Enemy mortar and gun fire increased.

    Location – Peel
    1900 – Command post F1 and F2 Echelons now established at 216077.
    2000 – Position remains unchanged. Sniping and counter snipering with mortaring continues.

    Night 26-27th – 200-0600 – Enemy infiltrated into Company positions and considerable confused fighting ensued. D Company reports fighting inside Church annexe with heavy losses by enemy.

    September 27th – 0700 – A Company withdrawn from centre of village to area 200100.
    1200 – Situation unchanged. Sniping and mortaring with occasional gunfire continues.
    1700 – Battalion ordered to evacuate Reusel and return to original positions in the area of Egypte 2409. Artillery plan (to include 7.2” guns) laid on, withdrawal to begin immediately.

    Location - Egypte
    2000 – Withdrawl completed. Battalion HQ established 249091. Companies are ordered to rest and reorganise. Total casualties for whole operation 281900 A to 271000 A. X1 and 3, Y1 and 27, Z Nil and 2. An accurate estimate of enemy casualties is not possible but believed to be very heavy.
    2100 – Order group for move to Bladel to relieve 1st East Lancashire Reimgent. Companies and Advance Battalion HQ to move 280530A. F2 Echelon to move 280630A.

    Location Bladel
    28th September – 0800 – Battalion in position, taking over completed. Bn HQ at 245104. A Company at 243103, B Company at 244109, C Company t 246105 and D Company at 244106.
    1400 – Patrol from A Company report De Hoeven 2210 clear of enemy.
    1730 –Dutch civilian attached for liaison duties.
    1800 – Enemy gun fired several rounds on general area Bladel. No casualties, no material damage.

    Night 28/29th – 2000-0600 – Patrolling: 1) Recce patrol area Dehoeven 2) recee Patrol Franches Hoef, 3) Recce patrol to wood 236107, 4) Recce ptrol to Wood 246118. No enemy seen or heard by any of patrols. Night quiet and uneventful. [Appendix X Patrol Report]

    29th September – 1200 – Nothing to report, positions unchanged.
    1800 – Patrols from B Company report enemy strength is unknown north of Fransches Hoeve in general area of Hulsches Hoeven 2212.
    1930 – Nothing to report. Day spent in reorganising and refitting, positions unchanged.

    Night 29/30th – 2000-0600 – Protective patrolling only throughout night. No enemy contacted, nothing to report.

    30th September – 1800 – Slight enemy mortart and light artillery fire on general line De Hoeven 2210 – Fransches Hoeve 2211. Day quiet, nothing to report.

    Night 30th Sept-1st October – 2200/0600 – Patrolling 1) To discover if the enmy is in area of main road at 229101 2) To find whether enemy are a) in area of buildings 223108 and b) in area of Hoeven Ten Eine 219109 3) to see if enemy are in area of woods 228113. Results:– No enemy seen or heard by any of the patrols. Night quiet with nothing further to report.

    [FONT=&quot][1][/FONT] Original document says ‘est’ = established at

    [FONT=&quot][2][/FONT] HDT – Horse Drawn Transport
     
  17. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    SEPTEMBER APPENDIX
    Appendix 1
    Recce Patrol Report Night 9/10th Sept 44[FONT=&quot][1][/FONT]
    4 Welch
    Time Out: 2200 Time In: 0415

    Unit providing patrol: ‘B’ Coy 4 Welch
    Patrol Commander: Sergeant Molcher
    Strength: 1 NCO, 3 Ors
    Route: De Bist 811928 – Wood 821938 – Canal 819939 – Oeleghem.

    Questions Answers
    1. Any pontoons on Canal? 1. None seen
    2. Is Oeleghem held? 2. Yes. Sergeant Molcher estimates one company

    Patrol Comd’s Narrative
    I moved via route laid down to canal and crossed and 819939. Canal bank was good for boating, both sides being about 2’6” in height. I moved up to the road which runs between Oeleghem and De Bavaardheof. I heard horse drawn transport moving East along this road at about 0115 hours. I returned to canal, recrossed canal and moved West along footpath on the bridge approach running down to the left of the blown bridge thought this might lead to a Pontoon Bridge but before I could investiage a verey light and rifle shots were fired from area opposite bridge close down the canal bank.
    Note:– Whilst in the area of the bridge I heard tabbing on route of bridge site on opposite side of canal bank.
    Molcher, sjt 4 Welch

    [FONT=&quot][1][/FONT] Tpt = Transport, Br = bridge, rt = route


    Appendix II
    Recce Patrol Report Night 9/10 September 1944[FONT=&quot][1][/FONT]
    4 Welch
    Time Out: 0100 Time In: 0400

    Unit providing patrol: ‘D’ Coy 4 Welch
    Patrol Commander: Lt. Knight
    Strength: One Officer, 3 ORs
    Route: 823922-821932-Canal 821957

    Questions Answers
    1. Any pontoons on Cana between 821937 and 826934l? 1. No. No Pontoons between
    821937 and 826934l
    2. Find suitable places for crossing? 2. Suitable between 821937
    and 837931.

    Patrol Comd’s Narrative
    I moved down to the canal via 823922 – 821932 – 821937. This route was bad being intersected by many ditches, one ditch being 9’ wide. The canal between 821937 and 837931 has a low bank this side of canal and is suitable for boating and rafting at all places. I returned 0330 hours via 830922. No enemy contact was seen or heard.
    Knight Lt. 4 Welch

    [FONT=&quot][1][/FONT] Hours substitutes hrs


    Appendix III
    Fighting Patrol Report Night 9/10 Sept 1944
    4 Welch
    Time Out: 0230 Time In 0515

    Unit providing patrol: ‘C’ Coy 4 Welch
    Patrol Commander: Lt Bottell
    Strength: One Officer, 5 ORs
    Route: Firm base (remainder of Lt Bottells platoon) at 835927-831925-Massenhoven

    Task: Obtain identification

    Patrol Comd’s Narrative
    I left my firm base as planned and made my way down to bridge at 837931. This bridge is blown. From this side the first half appears to be intact. The second half has dropped to water level in the centre of the canal from the enemy’s side. There is a certain amount of rubble in centre of canal. (See diagram below).

    [File does not like the interwebz]

    Rubble

    I did not see any barges. I then made my way West along canal bank having sent back for my firm base and assault boat. This had not arrived by 0415 hours so I attempted to swim canal at 827934. My intention being that followed by another member of my patrol who could swim the canal, we would grab an identification from a known enemy locality 827936. The canal was very wide at this point with the moon shining down on it. I got quarter of the way across when the enemy opened up with rifle fire from 827935. I swam back. I waited for a further 10 mins hoping the fire would direct the remainder of the platoon with the assault boat which I had considered essential to cross the canal but they had not arrived by 0505 hours when I returned.

    Report on Canal: Canal[FONT=&quot][1][/FONT] is suitable for rafting at 827935, the bank being about 5’, earth to water level then brick.

    Enemy activity: Definite enemy activity area 838931, 830934 and 827935. Voices and movement [FONT=&quot][2][/FONT]heard from all these places.
    [FONT=&quot]Bottell 4 Welch[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot][1][/FONT] Text is ‘can’ – canal is a safe assumption

    [FONT=&quot][2][/FONT] Text is marked as ‘mov’ so movement is a safe assumption.
    Appendix IV
    Fighting Patrol Report Night 9/10 September 1944
    4 Welch


    Unit providing patrol: ‘C’ Coy 4 Welch
    Patrol Commander: Lt DB Davies
    Strength: One Officer, 12 ORs
    Route: 843922-848924 including bridge [FONT=&quot][1][/FONT] 848928

    Task: 1. Is bridge at 848926 blown? Answer: Completely demolished
    2. Obtain identification this side of canal east of Bridge.
    Answer: No enemy this side of canal now. Only body was that of Cpl Thursby who was killed in scrap late yesterday evening.

    Patrol Comd’s Narrative
    I moved down to Bridge from my platoon at 843922 at 0400 hours and arrived at bridge 848926 at 0450 hours. There had been spandau fire over our heads in village 845922 during the evening but during patrol I located no enemy this side of the bridge nor did I hear any activity on the far bank. The bridge is completely demolished. The banks of the canal are very high and unsuitable for rafting. The width of the canal is at lest 30 yards.
    NOTE: During the evening I heard horse drawn transport moving on the enemy’s side of the canal opposite to bridge, but high banks to canal deny observation.
    Davies, Lt 4 Welch

    Appendix V
    Recce Patrol Report 11/12th Sept 1944
    Poor handwriting will transcribe at later date

    [FONT=&quot][1][/FONT] Text is marked incl = including/included etc.




    Appendix X
    4 Welch Patrol Intentions Night 28/29th Sept 1944
    1. A Coy – Recce patrol. Strength three. Task ny enemy between Coy and butter factory 235001 + De Hoeven. Route – Bladel to objective and return via main road. Time out 2100 Time in 2359.

    2. D Coy – Recce patrol. Strenght three. Task any enemy wood 236107 route – road junction 243107 to along track to 237107 to wood to road junction 236105 to road junction 243106. Time out 2200 Time In 2359.

    3. C Coy – Recce patrol. Strength three. Task any enemy wood, 246118 route – road junction 248109 to road junction 243116 to woods to cross cracks 246116 to road junction 248107. Time out 2300 time in 0200.

    4. B Coy – Recce patrol. Strength three. Task –any enemy Fransche Hoef 233117 roate – road junction 243107 to Fransche Hoef to road junction 243116 to road junction 243107. Time out 0001 Time in 0400.
     
  18. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    4 Welch Movement Order No 1
    Note Dated October 1944

    Intention
    1. 4 Welch will move to assembly area around 458527 on 21 Oct.

    Method
    2. One NCO per Coy and Harbour party veh report 2 IC Bn HQ 0800 for recce assembly area. H’sack rations required.
    3. Route: (SPUR route) for Vehs and marching tps:
    Rd junc – 541584-rd junc 548583-rd junc 547578 – rd junc 523555 – rd junc 514553 – rd junc 514552 – rd junc – 502-546 – x rds 477547 – rd junc 476456 – x rds 474546 – Level X 467537 – rd junc 458528 – rd junc 459526

    Route will be signed and lit
    4. Bn S.P. for both colns X Rds 546594
    Bde SP for both colns rd junc 547578
    Bde Dis P level x 467537

    5. Marching Tps:
    a) Order of March – C Coy
    D Coy
    B Coy
    A Coy
    b) Time to head pass Bn SP 1450
    Bde SP 1530
    c) Note: head 6 RWF passes Bde SP 1445
    d) One cooks 15 cwt per Coy will be incl in this coln. They will report to 2IC A Coy at 1415. 2 IC A Coy will bring these 4 cwts in bounds behind marching tps and send out to Coys in assembly area.
    e) O.C> HQ will arrange for all tps ‘HQ’ to be carried in tpt.

    6. Tpt coln:
    a) All vehs less – A B C D 3 Ton Lorries (see sub para h)
    – A B C D 15 cwt cooks (see para 5d)
    b) Order of march:
    MTO
    C Coy
    D Coy
    Bn HQ incl Pnr Pl & RSM amn
    Mortar Pl
    B Coy
    A Coy
    Sp Coy less Pnr Pl, Mortar Pl
    Pl R.E.
    Tp 17 pdrs
    RAP & CCP
    c) Time head to pass Bn SP 2025 tail 2050
    Bde SP 2035 tail 2100
    d) Note: Bn is serial 7 in Bde coln and follows Coy 212 Fd Amb (now in area 545595)
    e) Pl R.E. and Tp 17 pdr will arrive before 2100 hrs and OC will allot them an area and control them for movment.
    f) Speed 12½ mih
    Density 40 vtm
    No halts
    Tail lights only except leading veh of Bn coln which may use sidelights.
    g) Control of coln by MTo. Al Ors on MCs report to MTO at Bn SP at 2000 hrs.
    h) A B C D 3 ton lorries report A Ech area by 1900 hrs
    7. Full Bn O Gp 100 hrs 21 Oct NOT 0900 hrs as previously arranged

    Adm
    8. All Coys hot meal before departure. Further hot meal in assembly area under Coy arrangements, where lights of cookers must be concealed.
    9. A Ech remains present area.

    Intercomn
    10. Wireless silence till 220630A.

    Law, Capt
    20th Oct 1944 Adjt 4 Welch
     
  19. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    Ok after spending a lovely hot day in the aircooled National Archives the War Diary is updated to September/the early October movement orders.

    I also have full fireorder plans here for October on Excel but can't work out a decent way to make them look presentable!

    So far this is kicking out at 15,184 words for two days work. Not too bad but somewhat daunting realising I've got October-1945 to do... then rinse and repeat for each of the other Battalions et al. Should be going early tomorrow morning to try and finish 4 Welch 1944 and hit one of the other units.

    Feedback, as always on style/form et al is appreciated :)
     
    Owen and dbf like this.
  20. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    It's spot on old chum, just don't want to interupt the flow of the thread by commenting.
    Keep at it, a very useful resource to have on-line.
     

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