TracesOfWar needs your help! We miss photos of important sights in the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany. Submit your photos to and it will be published!
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 159 Infantry Brigade
Month and Year: June 1944 (Erase heading not required). Commanding Officer: Brigadier J.G. Sandle
Place Date Hour Summary Reference
UK 6   "D" Day. The Allied Supreme Command announced on the 0700 hrs News that the Allied Armies had commenced the invasion of Europe. It was announced that the landings had taken place between the Cherbourg Peninsula and Le Havre.
9-10   The Bde moved off from ALDERSHOT at 0630 hrs for the Marshalling Area just by Albert Dock. On arrival at 1400 hrs all vehs were given final stage of waterproofing. The Bde was confined to the camp for the period of the stay. Everybody lived under canvas. 24 hr ration packs were issued also lifebelts and bags, vomit.
11   At 1630 hrs the Bde left the Marshalling Area for the Docks and boarded SS Sampep, MT 1. The ship weighed anchor at 1900 hrs and moved to the Boom off SOUTHEND to await the collecting of the convoy.
12   Remained off the boom all day.
13   Weighed anchor at 1930 hrs and the whole convoy moved off.
14   The convoy passed DOVER at 0230 hrs without incident. At 1600 hrs one of the escorting corvettes hoisted the black flag indicating a submarine in the area. The corvette fired six depth charges. No results were reported. The convoy was under continuous protection of the Air Force. Four aircraft permanently patrolling up and down. France was just seen in the far distance at 2015 hrs. The convoy anchored off OUISTREHAM at 2105 hrs. - Owing to he roughness of the sea and the half light no unloading was attempted that night. At approx 2300 hrs the air raid warning was sounded. The raid lasted a short time.
15   At 0730 hrs vehs were being loaded on to the landing craft. This continued all day. Owing to our ship unloading at the most easterly beach we were under shell fire. A smoke screen was put up to protect us. On arrival on the land at LUC sur MER, vehs were intended to go to the transit area, then to concentration area, but owing to our not being expected, quite a few complications arose, few MPs, very little route marking etc. By 2000 hrs most of the Bde were in the concentration area, in the area of CULLY. The COs of Bns plus certain officers and all riflemen of Bns had arrived the previous day, having travelled the more direct route from NEWHAVEN. Owing to the fact that on D Day enemy snipers (incl French women protecting their German boy-friends) were reported. Every shot in our area was reported as being a sniper. These early French jitters soon calmed down. During all the hrs of daylight, the Air Forces gave complete air cover. Two to three sqns of Spitfires, Typhoons, Thunderbolts were continually in the air. Landing strips made by our troops in the brhead were in use. German aircraft in small numbers ventured out after dark and were greeted with enormous concentrations of AA fire from land based guns to all the shipping off the coast.
16-18   The Bde concentrated and dewaterproofing and generally cleaning up. Slit trenches were dug by all, most necessary owing to night bombing and enemy shelling.
18   General Montgomery, C in C 21 Army Gp spoke to all COs of the Div on the present op. He was accompanied by Sir James Grigg, Secretary of State for War.
26   8 Corps attack commences at 0730 hrs supported by 610 guns and two cruisers and one monitor. The 15 (S) Div made the initial break through, to be followed by 43 Div, 11 Armd Div with under comd 4 Armd Bde. The 15 (S) Div gained first objective area LE HAUT BOSQ and LA GAUL. The sqn of 2 N Yeo tried to make breakthrough to river ODON, but were held up just South of CHEUX by four Panthers and A Tk guns, thought to be 88 mm PAK. 60 tanks reported in area RAURAY, considered to be the tk strength of the 12 SS Pz Div. By the end of the day, the 15 (S) Div reached line of GRAINVILLE sur ODON - COLLEVILLE - MOUEN. The 29 Armd Bde harboured in the area CHEUX. No further movement was made during the night. This bde remained in same location.
27   The Bde was ordered to move at 1015 hrs to follow up the 29 and 4 Armd Bdes, who were to pass through the 15 (S) Div. This they did on the line ST MAUVIEU - LE HAUT DU BOSQ. Heavy fighting was reported from this area, armour versus armour. Later in the afternoon, the 159 Inf Bde were ordered fwd to make a crossing of the river and make brhead on South bank of R ODON. At about 1630 hrs, a tp of 23 Hussars were reported across the river with two pls of 15 (S) Div. The 159 Inf Bde zero hr was 2130 hrs. Up till midnight little reporting of posn, but it was gathered 4 KSLI and 1 Hereford had gained their objectives.
28   The Bns had a quiet night, and at first light sorted themselves out. All units were worried during he morning by snipers, who proved a considerable nuisance. Tac HQ was fwd with the res Bn (3 Mon). At 1130 hrs the Bde HQ area was shelled with guns and Nebelwerfer. It became so hot we moved to an alternative posn. The units did little during the night.
29   All units were worried by snipers, who hid themselves in woods. Sent LO to 129 Bde, who were making an attack from our left rear up to our line other side of R ODON. The 29 Armd Bde commenced fight on our front, very confused fighting seen. Continual reports keep coming in of shelling, which is considered to be from our own guns. Taking extra care to give line of fwd tps. 4 KSLI now at BARON. Report many enemy documents also very co-operative French civilian, who has given details of certain defences of CAEN. This infm was passed to higher fmn. The Herefords stopped a concentrated counter-attack by the Bosche on their front coming from the direction of SW. Certain vehs have been hit and been put out of action. Replacing amn at once. Div gives orders that orders are coming that the Bde is coming under comd of 15 (S) Div. The Armd Bde being withdrawn from the front. The bulge in the brhead is now going to be made into a def posn.
30   At first light, the Bde was still in its posn on the other side of the R ODON. During the night, the Armd Bde had withdrawn North to CULLY, and 15 (S) Div closed up slightly. The 129 and 214 Bdes of 43 Div also conformed with the Gds Armd to the North with the 31 Tk Bde in a central posn to deal with any armd counter attack. Little happened during the day, mostly arty battles, with mortars. At approx 0300 hrs the Herefords reported that they were being attacked in some strength on their front. This was confirmed by 4 KSLI. By 0430 hrs, the attack had been driven off, with very slight loss to our tps. Some PW were taken, and identifications were made. The rest of the night was quiet. At about 0730 hrs, a combined thrust by a Sqn of the 31 Tks and inf of KSLI and Herefords, the enemy were driven off some high ground which they had occupied during 30 Jun. This proved most successful. During the night a terrific concentration of arty was put down on NOYER, where the 9 and 10 Pz Divs were said to be concentrating. At about 1930 hrs a large bomber force of home based Halifaxes and Lancasters attacked VILLERS BOCAGE. This had a terrific effect on the morale of our tps, as the whole raid could be observed from our fwd posns.

previous month | next month

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.