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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: 2 Warwick
Month and Year: June 1944 (Erase heading not required). Commanding Officer: Lt-Col H.O.S. Herdon
Place Date Hour Summary Reference
FRANCE 4   The Battalion embarked to take part in Operation ‘Neptune’ - the invasion of NORTH WEST EUROPE - an follows:-
4   Marching Personnel - Four Rifle Companies and Battalion Headquarters in three LCIs.
4   Essential Vehicles and ‘S’ Company (less two sections Carriers) in LCTs.
4   The embarkation was carried out in the evening and the fleet put to sea about 2100 hours.
4   Officers of the Battalion were distributed as follows:-
4   ‘A’ Coy :
4   - OC Capt HC Illing
4   - 2IC Capt MLB Hall
4   - Pl Comds Lt KStB Adams, Lt J Erskine, Lt CW Jarvis
4   ‘B’ Coy:
4   - OC Maj GEE Ross
4   - 2IC Capt GFJ Jerram
4   - Pl Comds Lt A Dockerty, Lt DA Field, Lt DSB Roberts
4   ‘C’ Coy:
4   - OC Capt WT Barratt
4   - 2IC Capt RW Heath
4   - Pl Comds Lt RM McCrory, Lt P Pratt, Lt KA Taylor
4   ‘D’ Coy:
4   - OC Maj TG Bundock
4   - 2IC Capt CO Blakey
4   - Pl Comds Lt C Briggs, Lt EE Dentith, Lt VC Walton
4   ‘S’ Coy:
4   - Maj M Ryan – OC
4   - Capt PB Waterworth – OC Carrier Pl
4   - Lt AR Allen – 2 IC Carrier Pl
4   - Lt PM Healey – OC Mortar Pl
4   - Capt AJM Bannerman – OC A Tk Pl
4   - Lt J Bindless – 2 IC A Tk Pl
4   - Lt AG Wilson – Assault Pnr Pl Comd
4   ‘HQ’ Coy:
4   - Maj TL Brock – OC
4   - Lt JR Clarke – SO
4   - Lt AP Roberts – TO
4   - Capt SJ Williams – QM
4   - Capt JHT Lawton – MO
4   - Capt (Rev) J Austin – Padre
4   Bn HQ:
4   - Lt Col HOS Herdon – CO
4   - Maj RG Kreyer – 2 IC
4   - Capt W Pike - Adjt
4   - Lt PWF Lamb – IO
4   FOB:
4   - Capt J Lee
5   An uneventful passage across the channel in the direction of NORMANDY.
6   'D' Day - 'H' Hour = 0725 hours.
6   The marching personnel and the three LCIs were due to touch down at 0955 hours. The three LCIs approached the beach at LION-SUR-MER, on time, together. The beach was under mortar and shell fire and there were still some snipers left in the houses along the promenade. 'C' Coy's LCI hit a mine of the beach, and was also hit by a shell, whilst 'D' Coy's LCI had both its ramparts shot away. This and the sniping and shelling on the beach caused a certain amount of confusion in disembarkation, and the Battalion suffered a few casualties; but by 1130 hours, all four companies and Bn HQ were concentrated in an Assembly Area about ½-mile South of LION-SUR-MER. 'A' and 'C' Coys came under accurate small arms and MG Fire in the Assembly Area from German positions to the West.
6   The Brigade Plan was then altered and the Battalion was ordered to disengage to the East and proceed to another Assembly Area East of HERMONVILLE. 'A' and 'C' Coys suffered some casualties in the Cemetery at LION-SUR-MER whilst disengaging. Lt R Pratt was wounded at this time. The German Strong Point South of COLLEVILLE-SUR-ORNE was still holding out and 2 KSLI and 1 Norfolk, who were advancing by the original axis, had suffered casualties from this position. For this reason the Battalion was ordered to advance along the axis COLLEVILLE-SUR-ORNE - BENOUVILLE - BLAINVILLE. BENOUVILLE was found to be held and ‘A’ Coy put in a successful attack on this position at about 1830 hours. 'D' Coy was now ordered to take over the defence of the bridges over the ORNE from the Airborne Division. The rest of the Battalion continued on towards BLAINVILLE, meeting opposition the whole way from a German Mobile Delaying Force armed with MGs and A tk Guns. The Battalion halted for the night on the outskirts of BLAINVILLE at midnight, having had four killed and thirty-five wounded.
7   During the night the Battalion received a Warning Order that they would attack a German position in LEBISEY WOOD at 0945 hours. 2 KSLI had been held up by this position the previous day, but it was not thought to be strongly held. At 0730 hours Lt-Col Herdon gave out orders for the attack as follows:-
7   ‘A’ Coy (Left) & ‘B’ Coy (Right) – To attack Eastern half of the Wood
7   ‘C’ Coy – To folIow up, pass through and clear the Western half
7   ‘D’ Coy – To follow up as soon as they had been relieved on the Bridges at BENOUVILLE.
7   This attack was to be supported by 7 Fd Regt and a Cruiser.
7   Start Line - Line of the stream North of LEBISEY WOOD. The leading Companies set off to the start line at 0800 hours, but 'A' Coy got held up on the way by German LMG Snipers, and the attack was postponed for half-an-hour. Unfortunately 'B' and 'C' Coys, owing to a breakdown in wireless communications, did not get news of this postponement, and attacked at the original time without artillery support. They gained a foothold on the North edge of the wood and were pinned down there by very heavy German MG fire from inside the wood from very well prepared positions, receiving heavy casualties, particularly to one Platoon of 'B' Coy led by Lt A Dockerty, who penetrated into the wood. All his Platoon is missing and it is not known what happened to them. ln the meantime, ‘A’ Coy and Bn HQ moved up on the left of ‘B’ Coy. They also came under very heavy fire and received heavy casualties. Lt-Col HOS Herdon and Lt AG Wilson – Assault Pioneer Platoon Commander – were killed, and Capt HC Illing and Lt KStB Adams wounded. Maj RG Kreyer then took over command of the Battalion and the three Companies held on to the edge of the wood from 1200 hours until 1500 hours under continuous MG and Mortar Fire. 'D’ Coy came up from the bridge at 1500 hours and was put into an attack round the left flank. Owing to some magnificent work by Maj TG Bundock and Sjt Pittaway, they wiped out the German positions which had been holding up ‘A’ Coy. At this stage the Battalion was counter-attacked by tanks and forced to withdraw into a tank-proof locality in a thick part of the wood. The Battalion continued to hold the near edge of the wood until 2230 hours under continuous fire, when they were ordered by the Bde Comd to withdraw. They withdrew in good order and took up a position at BEUVILLE. During the afternoon, Bn HQ transport and the Carrier, Mortar and A tk Platoons, in attempting to join the rest of the Battalion up the main road, were allowed by the Germans to get right into the position and were then ambushed by MGs and Tanks. Most of the vehicles were set on fire and the Officers and Men in them escaped into the cornfields on each side of the road, where a very large number of them were able to lie up until dark and then made their way, through enemy lines back to rejoin the Battalion. However, Capt W Pike (Adjt), Capt AJM Bannerman (A Tk Pl Comd), Capt PB Waterworth (Carrier Pl Comd) and Lt PM Healey (Mortar Pl Comd) and about forty men are still missing and are preeumed to be Prisoners of War.
7   It was Iearned later that the German Unit opposing the Battalion in LEBISEY WOOD was the 125 Pz Gren Bn, who had reinforced the position on the previous evening.
7   Casualties for the day were:-
7   Officers = 10 Other Ranks = 144
8   The Brigade was ordered to form a firm base around the area BIEVILLE – BEUVILLE and the day was spent in digging in and re-organising under spasmodic shelling and one air bombing attack. The Battalion had a few casualties during the day.
8   Reinforcements came up in the evening camposed of five officers and one-hundred and twenty-three other ranks from our own First Line Reinforcements
8   and twenty-seven other ranks – Worcester
8   four other ranks – Dorset.
8   ‘B’ Coy came under command of 2 KSLI at BIEVILLE.
8   The officers of the Battalion were now reorganised as follows:-
8   'A' Coy:
8   - OC Maj M Ryan
8   - 2IC Capt MLB Hall
8   - Pl Comds Lt J Erskine, Lt CW Jarvis
8   ‘B’ Coy:
8   - OC Maj GEE Ross
8   - 2IC Lt DA Field
8   - Pl Comds Lt DSB Roberts, Lt AJW Whitaker, Lt DR Greenhough
8   ‘C’ Coy:
8   - OC Capt WT Barratt
8   - 2IC Lt KA Taylor
8   - Pl Comds Lt RM McCrory, Lt DJ Oland, Lt J Webb
8   ‘D’ Coy:
8   - OC Maj TG Bundock
8   - 2IC Capt CO Blakey
8   - Pl Comds Lt C Briggs, Lt EE Dentith, Lt EJ Bate
8   ‘S’ Coy:
8   - Capt GFJ Jerram – OC
8   - Capt ADR Smith – OC Carrier Pl
8   - Capt F Bell MM – OC Mortar Pl
8   - Capt J Bindless – OC A Tk Pl
8   ‘HQ’ Coy:
8   - Maj TL Brock – OC
8   - Lt JR Clarke – SO
8   - Lt AP Roberts – TO
8   - Capt SJ Williams – QM
8   - Capt JHT Lawton – MO
8   - Capt (Rev) J Austin – Padre
8   Bn HQ:
8   - Maj RG Kreyer – CO
8   - Maj TL Brock – 2 IC
8   - Capt RW Heath – Adjt
8   - Lt PWF Lamb – IO
8   The following promotions were made:-
8   Officers – Lt DA Field, Lt KA Taylor, Lt J Bindless promoted A/Capt
8   Other Ranks – Sjts – 1, Cpls – 8, L Cpls – 4
9   The Battalion continued to consolidate in BEUVILLE. A patrol from 'A' Coy led by Capt DA Field, which went out to retrieve kit which had been dumped before the Battle on 7 Jun 44, was successful, and came back with five German prisoners as well. Still a few German Snipers about so ‘D’ Coy made a house to house search of the village but found nothing.
10   The Battalion took over the forward positions at BIEVILLE from 2 KSLI during the day and night. Intermittent shelling during the day and patrol activity at night. A few casualties. The Div Comd Maj-Gen TG Rennie – DSO, MBE – visited theBattalion during the day.
11   LEBISEY WOOD very quiet and it was thought that the Germans might be withdrawing. A fighting patrol from ‘B’ Coy was sent out during the day and found that it was still strongly held. Intermittent shelling and patrol activity at night. Lt-Col DLA Gibbs – DSO – Queens Regt, arrived to take over command of the Battalion. One or two casualties during the day.
12   Usual shelling and patrol activity at night. Lt C Briggs wounded.
13   A patrol from the Carrier PI went out to a wood in Square 0473 during the day and reported it clear of enemy. Ususal shelling during the day and a few casualties were suffered from fire from a six-barrel Mortar. Lt RM McCrory injured.
14   Shelling rather heavier than usual. Anti-Personnel and Anti-Tank Minefields were laid during the day and night. A few casualties were sustained from shelling whilst this was going on. Fighting patrols during the night, one to LEBISEY WOOD, who exchanged fire with enemy patrols.
15   Battalion relieved by 2 KSLI and returned to location in BEUVILLE. Reinforcements arrived, inclusing thirty-nine RWFs. Lt EJ Bate wounded.
16   Three Germans gave themselves up to the Forward Company during the day. Intermittent shelling.
17   A quiet day. The IO took a recce patrol into the valley forward of BIEVILLE to recce crossing places for a possible attack on LEBISEY at a future date.
18   Another quiet day. The first party of residue transport arrived from UK, consisting of fifty Other Ranks and sixteen vehicles.
19   A very wet but quiet day. CO, with 'B' Sqn Comd, Staff Yeo and 'C' and 'D' Coy Comds, did a recce of the valley forward of BIEVILLE during the day, for an attack on LEBISEY WOOD.
20   One or two heavy bursts of shelling caused a few casualties.
21   Battalion took over from 2 KSLI at BIEVILLE during the day and night. Wood in Square 0473 occupied by Standing Patrol of one platoon of 'C' Coy changing over every twenty-four hours. Other patrols out all along the front.
22   Shelling and patrol activity. A few casualties. Capt PA Batt returned to the Battalion from HQ 185 Inf Bde to take over Adjutant. Capt CO Blakey replaced Capt Batt as GSO III. Capt RW Heath assumed appointment of 2IC ‘D’ Coy.
23   Usual patrols and rather heavier shelling. Some casualties. Maj-Gen Whistler, who had taken over command of the Div on the previous day visited the Battalion.
24   Shelling and Patrols as usual. FOO with Battalion took on some targets successfully which had been spotted by our OPs.
25   Patrol from the Carrier Platoon sent out to contact standing patrol from 'C' Coy in the wood, had a clash with an enemy patrol and suffered casualties. Casualties to Germans not known. ‘C’ Coy’s standing patroI in the wood heavily mortared.
26   Two Poles from the German position in LEBISEY WOOD gave themselves up to 'A’ Coy. The Battalion changed over with 2 KSLI during the day and night and returned to BEUVILLE. Battalion sent first party to Corps Rest Centre.
27   Fairly heavy shelling on Battalion positions. Recce and plans proceeding for attack on LEBISEY WOOD.
28   Heavy shelling during the morning caused one Officer – Lt DR Greenough – and five Other Ranks to become casualties. During this and the previous day, all ranks had a bath with the MobiIe Bath Unit.
29   Shelling during the night and intermittently during the day, did not cause any casualties. No enemy planes came over. One platoon per company went on a short route march.
30   Heavy shelling during the night and light shell fire during the day, especially on forward positions, caused no casualties. Two enemy planes machine-gunned ‘A’ Ech area at approximately 0700 hours without causing any damage. Fifty men from each 'B' and 'D' Companies, with a covering platoon from 'C' Company, did some mine laying during the night. Lt JA Clarke and five re-inforcements arrived.
30   Casualties, 8-30 Jun incl, were = Officer – 3 Other Ranks – 35, making a total for the operation to date of Offrs - 14 ORs – 218. Total numers of All Ranks who have been evacuated through sickness or injury – as opposed to Battle Casualties – since the start of the operation, are:-
30   Officers 2, Other Ranks 27.
30   Total Casualties – all types – to date are:-
30   Officers 16, Other Ranks 245.
30   No. 3712636 – Pte Sutcliffe F ‘A’ Company
30   This soldier was wounded in the attack on LEBISEY WOOD on 7 Jun 44. He remained in the area between the enemy and ourselves for nine days, existing on food which he found on Casualties lying around, finally making his way back to our lines. He was then evacuated.
30   No. 5102636 – Cpl Ashdown W ‘D’ Company
30   This NCO was also wounded in the attack on LEBISEY WOOD on 7 Jun 44. He has written to his Company Commander from a hospital in ENGLAND saying that when his Company withdrew his injuries prevented him accompanying it. Two Germans attended to his wounds and left him lying near the enemy position. He managed to crawl towards the English Lines where he fainted. He next remembers waking up in a Base Hospital.
30   Missing Officers
30   On Wednesday, 28 Jun 44, the Deutchland Sender announced that the following Officers of this BattaIion were Prisoners of War:-
30   - Capt W Pike
30   - Capt PB Waterworth
30   - Capt AJM Bannerman
30   - Lt PM Healey
30   It is emphasised that no official information has been received in confirmation.

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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.