On a journey of discovery to historical sites? Download the TracesOfWar app directly on Google Play or the Apple App Store.
Instructions regarding War Diaries and Intelligence Summaries are contained in F.S. Regs., Vol. 1. and the Staff Manual respectively Title pages will be prepared in manuscript.

Army Form C.2118
Unit: 2nd Bn The Seaforth Highlanders
Month and Year: September 1944 (Erase heading not required). Commanding Officer: Lt.Col. G.L.W. Andrews
Place Date Hour Summary Reference
1 0930 CO to HQ 152 Inf Bde for conference.
1 1330 CO issues orders to Bn 'O' Gp.
1   Enemy reported to be withdrawing East from area LE HAVRE 5028. 152 Inf Bde will move North from area ROUEN 2016 in direction of ST VALERY-EN-CAUX 9647 to deny the main escape routes from the LE HAVRE peninsular to the enemy.
1   Plan divided into three phases.
1   Phase (a). Capture of area PONT DES VIEUX 0824 - BARENTIN 1026. 2 Seaforth to capture and consolidate area of BR over R AUSTREBARTE 073242.
1   Phase (b). Capture area DOUDEVILLE 9947 - x rds 9952 and 0151. 2 Seaforth to capture and consolidate DOUDEVILLE and deny the main rds to the West to the enemy.
1   Phase (c). Capture area DOUDEVILLE - x rds 9952 – VEULES-LES-ROSES. 2 Seaforth objective same as Phase (b).
1   2 Seaforth to move at rear of 152 Inf Bde Column.
1 1645 Bn moves off - route shown in Appx 'A'. Appx 'A'
1 2005 Bn crosses R SEINE at ELBEUF.
1   Plan (b) ordered by 152 Inf Bde.
1 2130 Bn passes through ROUEN 2016.
1   Plan (c) ordered by 152 Inf Bde.
2 0112 2 Seaforth in posn around DOUDEVILLE.
2   C Coy area 992480 covering rd NW.
2   D Coy area 989479 covering rd West.
2   B Coy area 990471 covering rd SW.
2 1215 Bn ordered to move to area LE TOT 9264.
2   Area ST VALERY-EN-CAUX reported clear.
2 1345 Bn moves off in following order: - Bn HQ - C Coy - B Coy - D Coy - S Coy.
2 1430 Bn arrives LE TOT.
2   Non tactical layout - Bn closely conc area 922639.
2   NOTE: This was the last posn occupied by 2 Seaforth before being over run by the enemy in July 1940.
3 1100 C of E and Pres: church service in Bn area.
3 1130 RC Church service at INCOUVILLE Church 940615.
3 1600 Massed Pipes & Drums of 51 (H) Div play Retreat et CAILLEVILLE 972005 to celebrate the return of the Div to ST VALERY. Majority of Bn attended.
3 2130 Bn warned of probable move early 4 Sep.
4 0930 Bn moves to conc area 5541. Appx 'B'
4 1530 Bn complete in area 5541.
5   Veh maintenance and arms inspections during morning.
5   Bad weather during afternoon prevented further training.
6   Weather continues to be bad.
6 1400 CO to conference at HQ 51 (H) Div.
7 0900 CO to conference at HQ 51 (H) Div.
7   Plan for a two Div attack on LE HAVRE garrison, explained and discussed.
7 1400 CO to HQ 152 Inf Bde for conference.
7   Attack on LE HAVRE postponed 24 hrs owing to weather conditions. In addition to the ordinary issue of maps, adequate numbers of defence overprints and air photographs were received by the Bn.
8 1200 Conference for Bn 'O' Gp. CO explains the broad situation and outlines the general task of 152 Inf Bde and 2 Seaforth.
8   Capt H.P. Salmon, OC B Sqn ERY (under comd for the coming operation) visits Bn HQ to discuss plans.
9 1200 Conference for Bn ‘O’ Gp attended by offrs of B Sqn ERY (East Riding Yeomanry RAC).
9   CO issues detailed orders with regard to tasks allotted to 2 Seaforth with B Sqn ERY u/c.
9   Twelve 'Lifebuoy’ Flame-throwers issued to the Bn and distributed to Coys. Teams trained during afternoon.
9 1500 S.C.F. visits Comd Post.
9 1930 CO visits OC 1 Gordons and discusses possible liaison between 2 Seaforth and 1 Gordons in the coming op.
10   2 Seaforth O.O. No. 6 issued. Appx 'C'
10   2 Seaforth Movement Order No. 3 issued. Appx 'D'
10   Morning spent in preparation for coming op.
10   Complete plan is made known to all ranks.
10 2120 Head of Bn coln passes S.P. (see Appx ‘D’).
10 2130 Head of Bn coln passes 152 Inf Bde S.P.
10 2315 Bn conc in area 5335.
11 0330 CO visits HQ 152 Inf Bde.
11   Bn placed at half an hours notice to move.
11   Progress of 5 Seaforth reported to be satisfactory.
11   152 Inf Bde issue code word Burgundy (see Appx ‘C’)
11   2 Seaforth ordered to move at once to fwd assembly area 535340.
11 0400 Bn move cancelled - Bn remains in present locn (area 5335).
11   Coys placed at ten minutes notice to move.
11   1 Gordons ordered to move fwd in adv of 2 Seaforth.
11 0515 Bn ordered to move fwd to area 535340.
11   CO to HQ 152 Inf Bde.
11 0600 Bn conc area 535340.
11 0615 CO returns from HQ 152 Inf Bde and orders Bn to move fwd to ‘Rum’ in following order, D Coy - C Coy - A Coy - B Coy. Tac Bn HQ ordered to meet CO at HQ 152 Inf Bde.
11   CO moves fwd in jeep with Comd 18 Set to recce situation at ‘Rum’ gap. Broad daylight by now.
11 0700 Tac Bn HQ joins CO at ‘Rum’.
11   D Coy moving fwd through ‘Ale’.
11   C Coy moving fwd through ‘Rum’.
11   ‘Ale’ and ‘Rum’ impassable to vehs in spite of earlier reports to the contrary.
11   CO sends A Coy through ‘Ale’ and B Coy through ‘Rum’
11   Main Bn HQ - Sec Pnr Pl - RAP - F ech of Rifle Coys - Mortar Pl - B Sqn ERY had moved fwd to conc area 542333 in rear of 5 Seaforth veh coln.
11   All vehs of the Bde being held up at the minefield - much congestion.
11   CO unable to get vehs through ‘Rum’ and ‘Ale’, leaves Tac Bn HQ and goes fwd with B Coy, using B Coy’s 18 Set as a comd set.
11   In touch with Tac Bn HQ by 18 Set.
11   Tac Bn HQ in touch with HQ 152 Inf Bde by 22 Set. Intercomn satisfactory.
11 0830 ‘Rum’ now available to vehs. All 1 Gordons vehs pass through but unable to continue past Pt 526322 owing to further minefield. RE working to clear minefield as soon as possible. D Coy approaching FONTAINE LA MALLET from area 523315, found Southern part of village occupied by 1 Gordons - unable to proceed until 1 Gordons moved on.
11   Intermittent shelling on the village and minefield area and some automatic fire from the SE.
11   C Coy approaching FONTAINE LA MALLET from area 523320 found Northern half of village had not been cleared - deployed one pl either side of road and pushed South, to join up with 1 Gordons, taking 20 PW in the village.
11   Considerable shelling of FONTAINE LA MYALLET by enemy guns.
11 0900 1 Gordons Coys move on.
11   D Coy push through reserve 1 Gordons Coy and make good NE corner of FORET DE MONTGEON in area 514311 according to plan, taking approx 15 PW.
11   A Coy in area 523315 undergo intermittent SA fire from area 517307, not yet cleared by 1 Gordons.
11 0930 C Coy and A Coy push fwd according to plan for Phase I (see Appx 'C') and take objectives without serious opposition. C Coy take approx 100 PW, A Coy 2 PW.
11   Situation at ‘Rum’: - 1 Gordons vehs through 'Rum’, but unable to push on owing to mine fd 526322.
11   5 Seaforth and 2 Seaforth vehs behind ridge in area 541332.
11   Orders received from HQ 152 Inf Bde to move tpt through gap with all possible speed.
11   Tac Bn HQ located 529324 - 'Rum’, no longer available to traffic owing to damage to BR.
11   A further gap made passable for vehs some 100 yds South of 'Rum' at track and rd junc 528323.
11   5 Seaforth tpt move fwd and disperse in area 529325.
11   2 Seaforth tpt ordered by HQ 152 Inf Bde to move fwd and pass through new gap.
11   Tpt moves fwd but unable to pass through gap as mine fd in area 525322 had not yet been cleared.
11   Considerable shelling of ridge area 528329.
11   B Sqn ERY ordered to move through 2 Seaforth tpt and push on down to FONTAINE-LA-MALLET.
11   For fifteen minutes vehs were highly conc in area around 'Rum’ due to the closing up on 2 Seaforth tpt but unable to pass through because of minefd.
11   Mine fd clear.
11   Tks push fwd to FONTAINE-LA-MALLET.
11   B Coy move fwd to area Wood 514314 - large number of well camouflaged concrete dugouts and defences forming a permanent camp site was found in this area - considerable equipment was left behind by the enemy.
11   One pl of B Coy moved from track junc 519320 to area North of Wood 515325 to act as flank protection.
11   When contact had been made with 5 Camerons in this area, pl was withdrawn and rejoined B Coy.
11   Patrol from C Coy est MONTS TROTINS 5031 free of enemy.
11   C Coy move fwd one pl to occupy MONTS TROTINS sp by tp of tks.
11 1000 Remaining tks arrive 509309 and make contact with C Coy.
11   CO orders one pl of C Coy plus att tks to secure strong point Pt 67 518317.
11   Strong point captured with no opposition. Approx 80 PW taken.
11   Patrol from C Coy to area 500515 fail to find any opposition - capture approx 90 PW.
11 1130 B Coy ordered to move one pl, sp by tks, fwd to area 505524 - pl reports area is not contested.
11   Remainder of B Coy ordered to move fed and occupy area marked Arty task ‘Bridge’(See Appx ‘E’). Appx 'E'
11   Approx 150 PW taken.
11 1400 D Coy ordered to move through B Coy, picking up tks, and endeavour to clear up area arty teal 'Chess'. (See Appx ‘E’). Appx 'E'
11 1530 D Coy pass through B Coy, make contact with tks who are to assist them and move fwd to area Wood 498325.
11   Intermittent R/T intercomn with D Coy through the Sqn net.
11   Bn HQ located area 513312 and F ech tpt now arriving fwd after much congestion at gap.
11   Progress of D Coy reported to be satisfactory.
11   Slight enemy opposition encountered.
11 1900 D Coy reported to be firm in area arty task ‘Chess’.
11   Approx 200 PW taken.
11   2 Seaforth ordered to concentrate in area arty task ‘Chess’.
11   Considerable recce necessary before clear route to new area for vehs could be found. This prevented move before dusk.
11 2300 Bn conc as follows :-
11   Bn HQ - North of Wood 499525.
11   A Coy - South of Wood 498525.
11   B Coy - Orchard area 495333.
11   C Coy - Orchard area 494330.
11   D Coy - X rds 492336.
11   S Coy - Orchard area 506324.
11   B Sqn ERY harboured in D Coy area.
11   Own losses :- four killed, ten wounded.
11   Enemy losses to Bn:- 634 PW, and a vast amount of equipment.
11   Enemy showed themselves ready to give up as soon as pressure was exerted by our tps.
11   Night 11/12 Sep was quiet except for distant explosions in area of LE HAVRE.
12 0600 CO inspected Coy posns.
12 0645 CO orders one pl of D Coy plus one tp tks to clear area of LE TOT – 4833. No opposition encountered - a number of PW taken.
12   B Coy ordered to move one pl with one tp of tks to clear area ST ANDRIEUX 4822.
12   Pl reached ST ANDRIEUX without opposition and found tps from 1 BW taking over the area and withdrew.
12 0730 CO orders one Pl of C Coy with tk sp to clear area of OCTEVILLE 500340.
12   PW had reported many Germans in OCTEVILLE waiting to give themselves up.
12 0800 Comd 152 Inf Bde visited Comd Post and fwd Coy posns.
12 0830 C Coy report clearing up of OCTEVILLE proceeding satisfactorily. Many PW taken.
12 0915 OCTEVILLE reported clear of enemy. Approx 150 PW taken.
12 1000 CO orders one Pl of B Coy with tks to move North and search area BRIERE 4935 and North of it towards ECQUEVILLE 4936.
12 1100 LE HAVRE garrison surrenders.
12   Tks report clearing up area ECQUEVILLE satisfactorily. No enemy opposition encountered. Approx 300 PW taken.
12 1200 Tks ordered to withdraw and conc in area X rds 492335.
12   During afternoon NTR. Occasional batches of PW coming in.
12   610 PW taken during day. Final total 1244 PW taken by Bn during Op.
12 1630 B Sqn ERY revert to comd ERY.
13 0800 Bn ordered to move to conc area LA POTERIE 5646.
13 1030 CO and Coy adv parties move off to LA POTERIE.
13 1230 Bn moves off from area X rds 492335 through OCTEVILLE North on main rd (now clear of mines) to X rds 569463 - LA POTERIE.
13 1600 Bn located as follows
13   Bn HQ 566464.
13   A Coy and B Coy area 564465.
13   C Coy area LA PRESBYTERE 560465.
13   D Coy area 558478.
13   S Coy area farm 568450.
13   B Ech area Ste MARIE-AU-BOSC 5745.
LA POTERIE 5646 1/25000 108 SE 14   Major R R Hammond-Chambers posted to 37 RHU.
14   COs conference for Coy Comds. Trg policy for next period discussed. Mornings to be devoted to trg (Route Marches) PT Weapon Trg firing etc. Afternoons to organised games and recreation.
15   Trg under Coy arrangements.
16   Junior NCOs Cadre reorganised by 2 ic began.
16   Pipes and Drums played Retreat in village square LA P0TERIE 5646.
16   1 OR of A Coy accidently killed whilst on trg.
17   RC Church service in LA POTERIE church.
17   Pres and C of E church service.
18   Trg under Coy arrangements.
18   Innoculation of recent reinforcements began.
19   Trg under Coy arrangements.
19   Lieuts TC Corston, FC Brown, JR Fitzgerald (all Canloan) posted to Bn. Joined D B A Coy respectively.
20   Trg under Coy arrangements.
21   Trg under Coy arrangements.
21   Inter-Coy football.
22   Trg under Coy arrangements.
22   Lieut GS Ling posted to Bn as signal offr.
22   Inter-Coy football.
22   Balmoral concert party visited Bn.
23   Trg under Coy arrangements.
23   Coy trg teams exercised in the use of flame throwers (Lifebuoys).
24   Lieut A Donaldson att 152 Inf Bde as IO.
24   Inter-Coy football.
24 1015 RC church service in LA POTERIE church.
24 1100 Pres and C of E church service.
24 1500 CO to conference on Exercise Barra V at ST MARIE-AU BOSC 5745.
24   Comd 152 Inf Bde issues preliminary orders and explains purpose of scheme. (To exercise the Bn in the drill for crossing an A Tk obstacle by night).
25   Trg under Coy arrangements.
25   Inter-Coy football.
25 1430 Conference in Bn O Gp in ST MARIE-AU BOSC. Coy Comds receive preliminary orders from CO and view the ground over which attack is to be made.
25 1900 A and D Coy dance in FECAMP 7054.
25 2015 IO and cable party lay out SL and FUP for to-morrows attack.
26 0900 Exercise Barra V 2 Seaforth OO No 1 issued. Appx F
26   Trg under Coy arrangements.
26   Inter-coy football.
26 1845 Exercise Barra V begins.
27 0130 Exercise Barra V ends.
27 1415 COs conference for coy comds on lessons learnt from Exercise Barra V.
27   B and C Coys dance in FECAMP 7054.
28 0900 CO inspects NCOs Cadre.
28 0930 CO to conference at HQ 152 Inf Bde re move of Bn on 30 Sep (Bde is to move to area ANTWERP).
28 1430 Comd 152 Inf Bde discusses with all offrs and NCO pl comds lessons to be learnt from Exercise Barra V.
28   HQ and S Coys dance in FECAMP.
28   NCOs Cadre ends.
29   Preparations for move.
29   Movement Order No 3 issued. Appx G
29   Major AM Gilmour MC leaves on posting to 7 Seaforth as 2 ic.
29   Capt WCM Mitchell takes over comd of C Coy and promoted A/Major.
29   Entertainment by Bn Concert Party.
30 0705 Bn column moves off as per 2 Seaforth Movement Order No 3. Appx G
30   Progress steady all day.
AUBEGUIMONT 6451 1/199999 9E 30 1745 Bn arrived area AUBEGUIMONT 6451 and leaguered for night 30 Sep/1 Oct.

next month

Source: Jeroen Koppes, TracesOfWar.com, transcribing: Hans Houterman.

Disclaimer: This War Diary is based on its original, but typos might be corrected. Locations are calculated, so might not be in the correct place. For historical research, always check the originals.