YOU CAN HELP US : Airaines 1944

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by PICARFOU, May 10, 2019.



    Hello everyone
    On September 2, 2019 we will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Airaines and will offer the population an exhibition of British and Canadian materials and documents, the soldiers of these two countries having fought the Germans at Airaines.
    In particular, we are looking for documents relating to the 4th Armored Brigade.

    We launched a search campaign through different media such as media, internet, facebook.

    You can help us, we are looking for war diairies of the following units for September 1st and 2nd, 1944:

    The Royal Scots Grays
    3/4 County of London Yeomanry (Sharpshooters)
    44th Royal Tank Regiment
    4th Royal Horse Artillery
    5 Company RASC
    14th Light Field Ambulance
    4th Armoured Brigade Workshops REME (previously 318th Workshops)
    4th Armoured Brigade Ordnance Field Park Workshops
    No. 271 Forward Delivery Squadron RAC
    4th Armoured Brigade Signals Section

    Thank you beforehand

    Best regards.


    We must never forget that they gave their lives for our freedom.

    Attached Files:

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  2. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    I have attached the history of 4th Armoured Brigade.

    Attached Files:

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  3. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Here is the war diary for 3rd/4th County of London Yeomanry for the given dates.

    Attached Files:

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  4. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    "The Grenadier Guards led off the 4th Cdn Armd Bde advance at 0445 hrs and passed through 10th Cdn Inf Bde at 1000 hrs to continue the advance. The armoured regiments at this point were fighting with two squadrons of 14 tanks each. On reaching the town of Hornoy around midday, the column became entangled with elements of the British 7th and 11th Armd Divisions and 53rd Infantry division. All the columns were headed towards Abbeville and it appeared the same centre line had been allocated to the four divisions. The Germans added to the confusion by deciding to make a stand near the town of Airaines. It was not known if the British or the 4th Cdn Armd Div should deal with the situation. After a long delay, 4th Cdn Armd Bde bypassed Airaines via Allery and harboured northeast of the city. Foster was forced to visit Simonds in order to sort out the problem of the centre line of the division. The 2nd Cdn Corps staff had allocated the division a centre line that was south of the inter-army boundary. While the fighting echelons continued towards Abbeville, all of the rear echelon formations conducted another short notice, yet expertly executed, move north into First Cdn Army area before following the fighting formation."

    "The 10th Cdn Inf Bde harboured near Hallencourt. While firming up its position, 10th Cdn Inf Bde was tasked to send one infantry battalion to Airaines to help clear up the situation after a failed 4th Br Armd Bde attack. The Lincoln & Welland Regiment was given this task and encountered little opposition as the Germans withdrew again during the evening. The task of clearing the city was completed at first light on 2 September. The Lines were relieved by infantry from 53rd Div (Br) and moved to Sorel. The 4th Cdn Armd Div reached the river at Abbeville in the early hours of 2 September."

    Last edited: May 11, 2019
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  5. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Attached a fragment from "A short History of 7th Armoured Division, June 1943 - July 1945" (printed by BAOR, Germany July 1945)

    Chapter VII: "The Breakthrough: capture of Ghent, the 29th of August - the 7th of September, 1944":
    IMG_0639.JPG IMG_0640.JPG IMG_0641.JPG IMG_0642.JPG IMG_0644.JPG IMG_0645.JPG IMG_0646.JPG IMG_0647.JPG IMG_0648.JPG IMG_0649.JPG IMG_0650.JPG IMG_0651.JPG IMG_0652.JPG

    Success with your project
    Last edited: May 11, 2019
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  6. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member


    I've got some of these for you:

    WO171/604 - 4 Armd Bde Wksps:

    1 September 1944 O.C.: Major F. WOMERSLEY
    Move to Staging Area – Grandvilliers M.R. 823357 (45 miles) under command CREME 7 Armd Div, arriving 2000 hrs. Heavy rain at night.

    2 September 1944
    Cease to be under command 7 Armd Div. Rear Detachment rejoins main body from area MR 967676.

    WO171/1010 - 4 RHA

    1 September 1944 BAYEUX
    Another very busy day. Training with the RAMS continued all day. The C.O. and Second in Command went to 21 Army group Headquarters to see Lt.Col. J.GIBBON, RA in respect of our new equipment. More vehicles were drawn and surplus equipment handed in. A cinema show was arranged for the men in the evening.

    2 September 1944
    Today proceeded much on the same lines as yesterday. Training continued throughout the day and the handing in of surplus equipment was carried on. Three new officers joined the Regiment today. They were Lieut H.E. MARSHALL, RA, Lieut E.A. WILSON RA and Lieut E.D. LOWE RA. Lieut MARSHALL was posted to RHQ, Lieut WILSON to F Battery and Lieut LOWE to DD Battery. Various R.E.M.E. personnel joined the Regiment in order to make the strength of the L.A.D. agree with the new War Establishment. Baths were arranged for the men in the afternoon and a cinema show in the evening.

    WO171/2346 - 5 Coy RASC (Armd Bde)

    1 September 1944 468964
    Coy moves to 558053. 40 x 3-ton loads of P.O.L. sent to 7 Armd Div. Supply Point at POIX.

    2 September 1944 558053
    Warning order to move.
    0700 Rations and ammunition vehicles leave for POIX to meet + replenish Bde echelon. Bde revert to u/c 12 Corps.
    1800 Coy moves to 8135.

    WO171/2970 - LAD REME attd to 44 RTR

    1 September 1944 8337
    Vehicles dispersed in open leaguer. Veh Mechs working on Sherman Modifications.
    0900 Echelon moved frm 8337.
    1330 Arrived at new leaguer MR 855525. Strength 1 – 24 (Weather Raining).

    2 September 1944 855525
    Standing by to move, on one hours notice, all vehicles packed.
    Echelon did not move that day. Weather fair but showers.

    WO171/967 – 6th Field Regiment, R.A. C.O.: Lt.Col. C.H. Colquhoun, R.A.

    1 September 1944
    44 RTR went ahead with 69 Bty towards bridge at Picquigny.
    1200 Bty in action at Cavilion 944646. German arty scored direct hit on No.4 gun ‘A’ Tp with HAB – 1 killed, 2 evacuated. Withdrew to Cavilion and fired on enemy bty from observation of flashes.
    1500 74 Bty deployed at BETTENCOURT RIVIERE 8671, also shelled with HAB.
    77/79 Bty fired on enemy transport from 885685 then moved to same area as 74 Bty. Shelled with HAB, direct hit on GF and RF – 3 killed and 6 wounded, withdrew 1000x to position in 8670.
    Lt. Mills and party overshot latter posn and presumed captured.
    RHQ with Bde Tac HQ moved to Tailly 8665 and then to Molliens Videame 9058 for the night.
    69 Bty after trying 5 bridges crossed R. SOMME near AMIENS 2230 and harboured near CANAPLES 0480.

    2 September 1944
    69 Bty in action at first light at 049784 protecting left flank for 7 Armd Div to pass through.
    1400 74 Bty deployed area – LIXECOURT 9671 – opportunity tgts.
    1700 74 Bty deployed VILLERS SOUS AILLY 9178.
    77/79 Bty engaged enemy transport columns.
    RHQ moved to QUESNOY EN AIRAINES 8866.

    As you can see, 4 RHA had been temporarily replaced by 6th Field Regiment while the former was re-equipping with RAM SPGs back in Normandy.

    I hope these are useful, if only to rule out some of the units you had thought might be present on 1 - 2 Sep 44.

    I think I might have got 44th RTR war diary as well, I'll try to dig it out over the weekend.

    If you come across any photos of 4th Armoured Brigade units in Airaines (and especially of their vehicles) we would all love to see them on here!



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  7. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Here is 2 KRRC (WO171/1327):

    1 September 1944
    Bn. is moving N with Coys u/c Armd Regts. 250 PW were brought to Bn. HQ by Maquis.
    1200 Lieut. Colonel R.B. Littledale went on recce with Bty Comdr 174 Anti-Tank S.P. Bty, also Major Bernays and MMG Pls of "D" Coy. This party was ambushed in AIRAINES and both Lieut. Colonel Littledale and the Bty Comdr were killed. Bn. Task here was to prevent attack on the CL from the N.
    Major H.R.W. Vernon, M.B.E. took comd of the Bn. with Major E. Bernays as 2 I/c.
    A Company under 3/4 CLY advanced to NE of AIRAINES and subsequently took the village and 52 P.W.
    1700 Bn. HQ harboured with 2 MMG Pls.
    2300 At POIX a B Coy patrol of 5 took 150 P.W. Many were drunk but one officer who attempted to resist was shot by Major F. Mellor firing his rifle from the hip.

    2 September 1944
    Greys with C Coy u/c were in area WANEL 8870.
    1000 Bn. HQ moves to join Main Bde at LE QUESNOY SUR AIRAINES 8866.
    A Coy crossed SOMME taking 8 PW and 3 20 mm.
    B Coy took 600 PW with aid of MAQUIS.


    stolpi likes this.


    Thank you for your answers.

    Very interesting documents.
    I will come back to you for some information or clarification.

    For example for 6th Field Regiment:
    How many batteries make up the 6th field regiment ? 69 Bty; 74 Bty; 77/79 Bty...

    In the W.D. what is the term HAB?


    As I write quite often in my posts, I use the translators on the internet because my English is quite weak ...

    Merci à tous.



    Hello Canuk,

    I have this w.d. He is very succinct about the release of Airaines. On another document we learn that Lt Col Cromb fired on the village before the regiment entered the city.

    It is written that the LINC & WELL were relieved by the infantry of the 53rd Div. Which units? In a previous post I put a photograph of English soldiers posing with civilians Airaines (Ox & Bucks and Manchester rgt). These 2 regiments fought at Métigny, a village 2 km away from Airaines?

    What is interesting is to gather all the documents relating to its events.


    canuck likes this.


    Good evening Tom,

    thank you very much for the w.d.

    I had one of 6 FD Rgt but not readable.

    Is there a link between the 5 coy RASC and the 779 Corps Car Coy?




    Good evening Dryan,

    thinks for the documentation.
    Do you have the original of the w.d. from 3/4 CLY to 01-09-44? I have the same version as you but not quite complete in terms of schedules, I think.

    The o.r. killed is the soldier GARDINER. He died in Bettencourt-Riviere, 5 km from Airaines.


  12. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Sorry, I do not have the original.
  13. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    This was just less than a week after the date(s) mentioned in post #1...

    Re. Trooper Ralph Hurst - 14231034

    Gunner/mechanic in "B" Squadron of the 24th Lancers.
    Transferred to the 44RTR on the disbandment of the 24th Lancers.

    Kia - 7d9m1944

    Casualty Details | CWGC

    Service Number: 14231034
    Regiment & Unit/Ship
    Royal Tank Regiment, R.A.C. 44th
    Date of Death: Died 07 September 1944
    Age 20 years old
    Buried or commemorated at HEVERLEE WAR CEMETERY. 2. K. 1. Belgium
    Country of Service: United Kingdom

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