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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: HQ 185 Inf Bde
Month and Year: July 1944 (Erase heading not required). Commanding Officer: Brig. K.P. Smith OBE.
Place Date Hour Summary Reference
BEUVILLE 1   Posn at beginning of month shows 2 Warwick and 2 KSLI still alternating every five days or so between BEUVILLE and BIEVILLE and 1 Norfolk in the woods behind BEUVILLE with the forward company at BEAUREGARD now relieved by 3 Recce Regt (one sqn). The date of the attack for which we are waiting continues to be postponed which is disturbing because we lose men daily through harassing fire.
1 0400 Enemy aircraft paid one of its periodical visits to our area. They went over Bde HQ but no bombs were dropped. Mine laying continues and the desperate business of trying to keep check of every mine laid. Units have been laying some anti-per mines in their own areas without reference to OC 17 Fd Coy. This unorganised laying is dangerous. No mines should be laid in any part of the Bde area without reference to this HQ. We will get this right next time.
1   One offr of Bde HQ is always busy with a compass taking bearings on shelling and mortaring. One Bde OP is constantly manned.
1 0500 170 mm gun firing occasional rounds on BEUVILLE.
1 2130 A Victor shoot 5 rpg on LEBISEY more successful than ever.
1   A number of shells are falling on the Bde area without exploding. This is not thought to be due to time fuzes but to faulty mechanisms and several have exploded hours or days afterwards causing casualties.
1   AFW 3008 (Offrs) Appx 1
1   AFW 3009E (Bde HQ) Appx 2
1   AFW 3009E (Def Pl) Appx 3
1   AFW 3009E (LAD) Appx 4
1   After many conferences the plan of Battle took shape and 185 Inf Bde OO No. 2 was issued Op Sherwood and 185 Inf Bde Int Summary No. 1. Appx 5, Appx 6
1   Both of these documents were destined to become abortive.
2   A bad day for shelling.
2 0400 Hy conc on Bde HQ.
2   Brig KP Smith OBE left the HQ this morning after saying farewell to all the officers.
2 1225 Another conc on Bde HQ about 50 rounds fell and two casualties (one fatal) were incurred.
2 2150 Yet another conc.
3   During the night same shelling continued intermittently for two hours. Although the shelling is perhaps one tenth of what the units are enduring and one fiftieth of what the enemy gets - it is not appreciated as it constantly interrupts work. But as Bde HQ and the enemy at LEBISEY are now in view of each other through the gaps in tress torn by shelling it is not surprising that attention is paid to us.
3 1055 1 Norfolk report that COLOMBELLES br has been blown and it is impassable to traffic. Not known who is responsible for this but it helps our forthcoming operation considerably.
3 1130 News from Div that the enemy pons on our right appear to have been taken over by 16 GAF Div. Seems very probable that there has been a similar handover in LEBISEY, as he appears to have changed his habits, to be more careless in showing himself, and maybe the more vigorous enemy patrolling of the past few nights may have been designed to cover such a relief.
3 1200 Brig. Bols E arrived from England to take over Bde. Visited units.
4 0100 Considerable movement of vehs heard near WEST edge of LEBISEY. May be a pointer to the alleged reliefs.
4 2205 One med shell, either from our guns or from enemy bty at SALLENELLES landed at Bde HQ and killed CSM (CSM Bell, R Norfolk Regt).
5 0110 Shells on Bde HQ. Two RE casualties. Some shells fell on the German barracks and set them on fire. As there was a lot of SAA in them there was a lot of noise and excitement. Fortunately no one was hit. AFS came to the rescue.
5 2000 Shells on Bde HQ. One wounded.
6   The time of the long awaited attack on LEBISEY at last revealed. It was to be part of a Corps attack Op Charnwood and to start on 8 Jul. This Bde was to have limited objectives up to the high ground overlooking CAEN if possible - but it was anticipated that 9 Bde would have to take the 60 metre contour just to the NORTH of CAEN.
6   Issue of 185 Inf Bde Op O Mo. 3 and Appendix B to same. Appx 7 and 8
6   Issue of 185 Inf Bde Adm Order No. 4. Appx 9
6   Issue of 185 Inf Bde Sigs Instr No. 3. Appx 10
6   Minelifting has already begun several days ago and to-night it will be completed. Staffs Yeo will move down to forward assembly areas to-night. 2 Lincs took over from forward company 2 Norfolk to enable that bn to come for the attack and also take on the HEROUVILLETTE feature in the operation.
7 0040 News received that Lt Col F J Maurice 2 KSLI had been killed by a shell fragment in BEUVILLE. This news has upset all in the Bde Gp, for there was nor will be, any finer officer in the bde, no man so well liked and respected.
7   All day heavy shelling on the bde area, but everyone took it with the thought “Tomorrow we will put an end to this”.
7 2200 Northern outskirts of CAEN heavily bombed by hy bombers (1200). The whole of the area was enveloped in smoke. 185 Inf Bde Int Summary No.2 issued. Appx 11
8 0400 Bde Comd and BM to command post to control battle.
8 0430 H hr.
8 0440 All tanks through the gully. This was the first of the days successes.
8 0802 1 Norfolk report their sector of LEBISEY clear. Lincs in HEROUVILLE at about same time.
8 1000 2 Warwick after some delay in mopping up report LEBISEY village itself clear.
8 1024 2 KSLI ordered to move forward through the other bns to SOUTH of LEBISEY leaving their one company still engaged near SQUARE wood.
8 1203 One coy 1 Norfolk on high ground SOUTH of LEBISEY.
8 1240 One coy 2 Warwick on high ground SOUTH of LEBISEY. Tac HQ moves forward to LEBISEY.
8   2 KSLI passed under comd 9 Bde and by evening Warwick and Norfolk had withdrawn their forward coys and were consolidated in LEBISEY itself. All very elated at such a complete success and at being at last in possession of a piece of ground that had given us so much trouble. 2 Lincs on left had given us most excellent assistance and were consolidating but undergoing very hy mortar fire as the position was fully overlooked from COLOMBELLES. Tac HQ remained at LEBISEY. Main HQ back at BEUVILLE with the command post established in the recently hewn cavern in the rock where no fresh air ever penetrated nor any shell fragment, and where only the G III could exist for more than a few minutes.
8   AFW 3008 (Offrs) Appx 12
8   AFW 3009E (Bde HQ) Appx 13
8   AFW 3009E (Def Pl) Appx 14
8   AFW 3009E (LADB) Appx 15
9/10   A period of sorting out and burying the dead from the LEBISEY battle of D+1 and putting up with some more shelling. Tac HQ remained fwd.
BENOUVILLE 11   Move of Bde Gp to rest area at BENOUVILLE where we quickly bulldozed in.
11   LEBISEY taken over by the Cdn Recce Regt.
11   Issue of Amdt No. 3 to 185 Inf Bde Adm Order No. 5. Appx 16
12   First day of rest since D Day. Also first taste of bread.
13   More rest and reorganisation. Bde Staff quite rightly does not get the same degree of rest as the units but nevertheless it was a great change.
14   Receipt of Warning Order to move across to EAST of R ORNE.
14   PM: Brigade Commander and BM and IO visit 153 Bde at RANVILLE to find out the form. Issue of 185 Inf Bde Adm Order No. 6. Appx 17
15   Adv parties to RANVILLE AREA to take over posns.
RANVILLE 15 1400 Bde HQ moves to of RANVILLE Chateau. Bde Gp not completely in line - but one fwd outpost coy in contact and all of us in considerable contact by shells. Not known yet what our role is to be.
15   AFW 3008 (Offrs) Appx 18
15   AFW 3009E (Bde HQ) ,, 19
15   AFW 3009E (Def PI) ,, 20
15   AFW 3009E (LAD) ,, 21
16   Plan of Op Goodwood made known to all coy comds.
17   No OO was produced for op Goodwood heralding a new policy of “less paper”. Only Traces and List of Code Words issued. ,, 22
17   Issue of 185 Inf Bde Adm Order No. 7 ,, 23
17   Issue of 185 Inf Bde Int Summary No. 3 ,, 24
18   D Day of Op Goodwood. Opened by flights of hy bombers over the target area for one hour and then further flight after flight of Fortresses scattering fragmentation bombs. This was an inspiring sight and very shortly the 2 KSLI were off mounted on the Staffs Yeo, and other bns moving on behind on foot later in the day. Prisoners came in large quantities and the KSLI reached LEROSE without difficulty. From here they attacked MANNEVILLE but were repulsed by a number of Tigers firing from the hedges. 1 Norfolk on the left reached area SANNERVILLE by last light.
19   Attack by 2 Warwick (right) 1 Norfolk (left) on MANNEVILLE found that enemy had withdrawn leaving a mass of armour smashed by the bombing. By evening all three bns established in MANNEVILLE and Tac HQ and the plain to the NORTH. One enemy counter attack beaten off. Heavy German shelling.
20   Very hy rain made comns between Main HQ, Tac HQ and the units very difficult. D Coy 2 Mx salvaged a Panzerwerfer from MANNEVILLE intact and this was joined to the Bde Gp.
20   Continuation of very hy shelling, units very close together and casualties growing proportionately.
21   Number of casualties growing - many examples of nervous exhaustion. Enemy has great number of Nebelwerfers in this area and uses them most of the day and night. Units badly need a rest.
22   EMIEVILLE found empty of enemy and 2 KSLI moved in.
22   AFW 3008 (Offrs) Appx 24A
22   AFW 3009E (Bde HQ) ,, 25
22   AFW 3009E (Def PI) ,, 26
22   AFW 3009E (LAD) ,, 27
23   During night a patrol from 153 Bde (51 (H) Div) came unexpectedly into our lines and was shot up. One fatal casualty.
23   Visits of reps from 70 Bde (49 Div) who are to take over this sector.
24   Same story of hy shelling, with no enemy to see by day, and few to be encountered by day. A large number of offrs being knocked out.
24   Tac HQ still in its hole near MANNEVILLE.
24   In the evening Bde Comd held conference for move to-morrow - in cellar of Chateau at MANNEVILLE. For two hours German shells were dropped on the Chateau and at the entrance to the cellar. One offr was killed just as he went out to see what was happening. It was impossible to move in or out until shelling stopped.
CAZELLE 25   Move of Bde Gp to MANNEVILLLE area for rest and reorganisation. Bde HQ moved to MATHIEU Chateau. This was once a German HQ and in good condition. Even the sound of shelling could scarcely be heard.
26   Washing, reorganisation and entertainment.
27   “Monty” visited Bde HQ and presented medals won by 3 Div personnel since D Day. Lt BNL Fletcher LO III wounded (not badly) by .5 inch bullet from aircraft. Out first officer casualty in the HQ. Evacuated to BAYEUX. During night sudden burst of shelling on 2 Warwick area. No casualties.
28   Our next role is to take over from 2 Lincs on the other side of the river and take part in an operation to capture TROARN and BURES. An unwelcome role as we hear that 2 Lincs are having a very unpleasant amount of HF on top of them.
28   Visits by Bde Comd, BM and IO to 2 Lincs.
28   Issue of 185 Inf Bde Adm Order No. 8 Appx 28
29   Bde Gp recce parties to other side of river.
29   Issue of 185 Inf Bde Movement Instr No. 1 ,, 29
29   AFW 3008 (Offrs) Appx 30
29   AFW 3009E (Bde HQ) ,, 31
29   AFW 3009E (Def PI) ,, 32
29   AFW 3009E (LAD) ,, 33
30   Issue of 185 Inf Bde Int Summary No. 4 ,, 34
30   Expected move tomorrow to TROARN postponed 24 hr in view of American success in the offensive from LESSAYE.
31   News again received that our roIe has again changed, this time to a more inspiring one, pursuit of the retreating Germans and probably under 8 or 30 Corps. Month ends on a hopeful note and everyones fervent wish that at last we may be given a chance in more fluid battle.
31   Issue of 185 Inf Bde Movement Instr No. 2 ,, 35

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Source: Jeroen Koppes,, 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.