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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: 2nd Bn The Royal Warwickshire Regt
Month and Year: July 1944 (Erase heading not required). Commanding Officer: Lt-Col. D.L.A. Gibbs, DSO
Place Date Hour Summary Reference
FRANCE 1   Bn still in BEUVILLE. Sporadic shelling during the day. Coy and Pl Comds visited Staff Yeo during the afternoon for a conference on co-operation with tks in close country. Brig Prior-Palmer, Comd 27 Armd Bde, also spoke about co-operation with AVREs and Crocodiles. Twenty Other Ranks visited Cinema at LION-SUR-MER.
2   Sporadic shelling caused a few Casualties. All ranks of the Bn had baths at the Mobile Bath Unit.
3   Bn took over from 2 KSLI at BIEVILLE during the day and night.
4   Usual shelling and patrol activity. A few Casualties. No enemy patrols met and it is thought that a GAF Div has taken over LEBISEY WOOD from 21 Pz Div.
5   Very little shelling and patrols at night were unable to draw any enemy fire. During the day, Bde Orders were given out for an attack on LEBISEY WOOD on 8 Jul 44; this op to be called 'Charnwood’.
6   Front still un-naturally quiet. An ‘A’ Coy patrol led by Lt CW Jarvis got right up into LEBISEY WOOD on a very moonlight night without being fired at. However, they finally ran right into a German Post and sustained two Casualties from a stick of grenades. All Anti-Personnel and Anti-Vehicle Minefields in the area were lifted during the day. Preparations for Op ‘Charnwood’ continue. A letter received from Gen Sir Bernard L Montgomery – KCB, DSO – in which he sends his very best wishes to all Officers and Men of this Bn. An extract from this letter published in Routine Order No. 17/1 dated 7 Jul 44.
7   CO gives out final orders for Op 'Charnwood’ (OO att). During the evening the bn was privileged to be able to watch a raid by 450 Bombers on the defs round CAEN, which put everybody in very good spirits for the attack the next day.
7   Following message received from Brig KP Smith – OBE:-
7   “On relinquishing command 185 Inf Bde I wish to thank all ranks for their loyal co-operation, and above all, for their gallantry and endurance on D Day and D + 1. I also wish to thank them for their stoic endurance of the very realy hardships of training. I wish all ranks the very best of good luck for the future and know that I can safely rely on 185 Inf Bde to continue the good work and contribute in no small measure to the successful conclusion of the war.”
7   The contents of this message were conveyed to all ranks in Battalion Routine Orders.
8   Op 'Charnwood’- 2 KSLI took up a position at 0130 hours in the thickly wooded low ground in front of our position, to cover the Bde Start Line. The Leading Coys reached their Start Line, 400 yds from the North edge of LEBISEY WOOD by 0430 hours, without much def fire coming down, under heavy barrage from the Corps Arty. About 0440 hours, heavy def fire started coming down on the ground North of LEBISEY WOOD, causing Casualties to the Reserve Coys forming up, and the Leading Coys moving up behind the barrage. The Leading Coys were able to keep well up with our own barrage and did not get very much opposition from the small arms fire, most of the Germans being unable to get out of their positions after our barrage had passed over them and any positions that did open up were quickly dealt with. 'D' and 'C' Coys reached their objective on the South side of LEBISEY WOOD by about 0600 hours and shortly before this time, the Germans started putting down heavy mortar and arty fire on the wood. The two Tps of tks had a very difficult passage over the tk obstacle in their track, but they came up behind the Reserve Companies and proved of great assistance in dealing with isoIated German Positions which were still holding out in the rear of the Leading Companies.
8   One Pl of 'A' Coy was having difficulty with the German Command Post, which was an underground rabbit warren, but with the assistance of fire from an A tk gun on a tank, this wan quickly cleared up. The road was found to be mined, but was cleared up by the REs by 0730 hours and the Bn Sp Arms were told to come up. The position was quickly consolidated. Enemy mortar and shell fire continued to be very heavy during the morning. At 1145 hours 'A' Company Gp went forward to take the high ground about 1,000 yards South of the wood. They reached this position without much opposition, but were very heavily shelled and mortared as soon as they got on to the objective, including several salvos from German multi-barrelled mortars. However, they held on to this position until 1500 hours, when 2 KSLI went through them to take up a position on the high ground overlooking CAEN. During this very successful attack it was estimated that the German Bn of the GAF Div holding the position was completely destroyed.The Bn’s Casualties were:-
8   Officers. Lt L Cohen – Cdn Forces … Killed, Capt J Bindless … Wounded, Lt J Erskine … Wounded, Lt DJ Oland – Cdn Forces …. Wounded, Capt KA Taylor …. Wounded, Lt AWJ Whitaker – Worcester … Wounded.
8   Warrant Officers. RSM F Bates … Wounded, CSM A Mewett … Wounded & Missing, CSM W Jones – MM … Wounded, CSM E King … Wounded.
8   Other Ranks
8   ‘A’ Coy … 5 Killed, 15 Wounded, 3 Missing
8   ‘B’ Coy … 4 Killed, 20 Wounded, 5 Missing
8   ‘C’ Coy … 8 Killed, 18 Wounded, 5 Missing
8   ‘D’ Coy … 6 Killed, 13 Wounded, 3 Missing
8   ‘HQ’ Coy … 1 Killed, 12 Wounded, 8 Missing
8   ‘S’Coy … 1 Killed, 13 Wounded, 1 Missing
9   9 Bde passed through the Bn during the day and advanced into CAEN. The Bn remained at a firm base in LEBISEY under only moderate shell fire. German Prisoners continue to come in.
10   A quiet day in the same position. A few casualties from shell fire Lt PWF Lamb - IO - was wounded. German Prisoners still coming in. Following message received from HQ, 3 Br Inf Div:- "The Divisional Commander has received a letter from the GOC-in-C Second Army congratulating the Division on the splendid fighting qualities shown during operation ‘Charnwood’, resulting in the capure of CAEN. The Divisional Commander wishes to add his own congratulations and directs that this message shall be passed on to all ranks in the Div.”
10   The contents of this message were published in Battalion Routine Orders.
11   The Bn moved into a Rest Area in BENOUVILLE. The day was spent in re-organising and digging in. Thirty-one Rfts arrived, mostly Specialists.
12   The day was spent in re-organising, baths and drawing up training programmes. As it was thought that the Bn would have at least a week for training purposes.
13   First day's training was started and Junior Leaders’ and Snipers' Cadres had also commenced. Capt ADR Smith was appointed IO and Capt DR Fraymouth became 2IC ‘C’ Coy. RQMS J Emmett took over the duties of RSM. In the evening all ranks received their first issue of Beer since coming to FRANCE and it was very much appreciated.
13   The following Officers joined the Bn:-
13   Capt WS Cook - Posted to 'C' Coy
13   2/Lt RP Strutt - Posted to 'B' Coy
14   Training again started in the morning but orders were received that the Bde was to take over from a Bde of 51 Div on the East bank of the River ORNE the next day and Recce Parties were sent off.
15   During the morning the Bn took over from a Bn of 51 Div at HEROUVILLETTE. This was a reserve position and not in immediate contact with the enemy. The following awards were notified during the day for the first battle or LEBISEY:-
15   Maj RG Kreyer – DSO
15   Maj TG Bundock – MC
15   Capt. HC Illing – MC
15   Sjt G Pittaway – MM
16   A quiet day with very little shelling in forward areas. All ranks of the Bn much troubled by mosquitos.
17   A quiet day. A Bde ‘O’ Gp was held in the morning for the Op to be carried out by the Bde on 18 Jul, which formed part of the big 2nd Army Op to extend the Bridgehead South of CAEN across the ORNE. In this Op 3 Br Inf Div was to attack objectives in the thickly wooded country to the East with the object of keeping a corridor open for 8 Armd Corps to pass through. 185 Inf Bde had the Southern-most of these objectives, the woods round the villages of CUILLERVILLE and EMIEVILLE. 2 KSLI would lead the advance with the Staffs Yeo at ‘H’ Hr, with the Bn following up when called for, followed by 1 Norfolk. The advance was to be preceeded by two hours’ bombing approximately by over one-thousand bombers.
18   The Bn spent the morning in its original positions watching the bombers passing over and the armour passing through. During the afternoon information was received that 2 KSLI and Staffs Yeo had been held up in their attack on the woods round CUILLERVILLE and the Bn was ordered to move at 1600 hours to put in an attack on the same position. At 1615 hours the Bn moved forward through the corridor to a concentration area about four miles South, where they dug in. ‘A’, ‘B’ Coys and Bn HQ came in for some very shelling on he move up, which caused casualties. The CO went forward to an 'O' Gp with Bde Comd on the line of the railway at LIROSE and Coy Comds were also up to this point for orders, as follows:-
18   The Bn would attack its objective from the West, 'A' Coy – Right, 'C' Coy – Left, with 'B' & 'D' Coys in reserve.
18   H Hr - 2100 hrs.
18   Arty Concs – on the objective from H to H+20.
18   Start Line – 1500 yds from the objective.
18   The attack went in at 2100 hours and the leading companies made good progress up to within 100 yds of the objective. Here a long delay was caused by a long 20-ft high wall being met and fire from MGs and one tank in the woods. Eventually a way through the wall was found and the leading companies got on again. By this time it was getting dark and the battle became very confused in the thick woods and twilight. Leading companies were ordered to halt about 200-yds short of the final objective to sort themselves out and dig in for the night. About forty prisoners were captured during this attack and a large amount of enemy equipment, including two 88’s. Shelling was heavy during the night.
19   At dawn the advance continued with 1 Norfolk coming up on the left of the Bn to the final objective. Mopping up operations went on throughout the day and considerable trouble was caused by German Snipers everywhere. Finally, 'D’ and 'B’ Coys, both very depleted, were holding the forward positions, with 'A' and 'C' Coys forming a firm base behind. One Pl of 'C' Coy, under Lt J Martin-Webb, was sent up to come under command of ‘D’ Coy. At 1800 hours a German counter-attack was put in by infantry and two tiger tanks, which surprised 'B' Coy and forced them to withdraw, but was very gallantly beaten off by ‘D’ Coy and the Pl of 'C' Coy. During this attack, Maj TG Bundock – MC, personally stalked and crippled a tiger tank with a PIAT. Heavy shelling all day.
20   During the day 'C' Coy took over from 'D' Coy in the forward position. No further German attacks were put in but there was very heavy shelling all day which caused a number of casualties. A large number of German tanks were found in the area, most of which were put out of action by the air bombing of 18 Jul 44.
21   Very heavy shelling all day. A patrol was sent into EMIEVILLE, which was found to be unoccupied and 2 KSLI moved in to take over positions there.
22   Very heavy shelling all day, which caused casualties. Bn HQ moved into the cellar of the Chateau.
23   Very heavy shelling all day, which again caused casualties. The IO, Capt ADR Smith, was killed.
24   The Bn was relieved by 10 DLI of 43 Div and moved by MT into a rest area at CAZELLE. The Bn was shelled as it was embussing and was also shelled during the journey.
24   The following casualties were sustained during the last five days:-
24   Maj RG Kreyer – wounded, Maj GEE Ross – wounded, Maj M Ryan – wounded, Capt RW Heath – exhaustion, Capt ADR Smith – killed, Capt JHT Lawton – wounded, Lt CB Bubb – exhaustion, 2/Lt TL Williams – wounded, RSM J Emmett – wounded, CSM F Launchbury – wounded, CSM G Mills – wounded. Casualties - Other Ranks (Not incl above) Two Hundred and Forty-eight (killed – 34, wounded – 202, missing – 12).
24   The following Officers’ Appointments and Promotions were made:-
24   To be Acting/2 IC – Maj TL Brock
24   To be Acting/Capt – Lt JR Clarke, Lt CT Aylward, Lt WS Cook
24   To be Acting/Maj – Capt WT Barratt
24   To be OC ‘HQ’ Coy – Capt DR Fraymouth
24   To be Acting/OC ‘B’ Coy – Capt DA Field
24   To be Acting/2 IC ‘B’ Coy – Lt JA Clarke
24   To be Acting/2 IC ‘C’ Coy – Lt J Martin-Webb
24   To be 2 IC ‘D’ Coy – Capt F Bell (MM)
24   To be OC Mor Pl – Capt WS Cook
24   To be Acting/IO – Lt FJ Groom
25   The day was spent in rest and re-organisation. Twelve Rfts arrived, including CSM W Lewis, who took over duties of RSM.
26   The day was spent with Baths, visits to Div Club, Corps Rest Camp and Cinema.
27   Gen Sir Bernard L Montgomery – KCB, DSO, accompanied by the Div Comd, presented awards to members of the Div at 185 Inf Bde HQ, and then visited the Bn. He went round the Bn talking to the Coys and then had tea in the Officers' Mess. During the day a large number of men visited a performance by George Formby at the Corps Rest Camp. Maj RG Kreyer discharged from hospital and rejoined Unit.
28   It was again thought that the Bn would get some days for training and the day was spent in re-organising, compilation of training programmes and Cadres.
29   The Bn received orders that they would take over from a Bn of the 9 Bde in positions on the East of the ORNE and recce parties visited 9 Bde in the afternoon.
30   The take over from the 9 Bde was postponed for 24 hours. Following Rfts arrived:-
30   Lt FAE Bonney & 34 ORs – Posted to ‘A’ Coy
30   Lt CW Moxham & 33 ORs – Posted to ‘D’ Coy
31   Orders were received that the take over from 9 Bde would not now take place and that 3 Br Inf Div would become GHQ Reserve and might be sent anywhere to exploit success.

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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.