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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: 15th/19th Hussars
Month and Year: August 1944 (Erase heading not required). Commanding Officer: Lt Col A.D. Taylor, MC.
Place Date Hour Summary Reference
U.K. 1   Recce Sqn sent a party of men on leave. During the next week everybody in the Regt except for those who had recently had leave was sent on a short leave, 48hrs for those who lived within 200 miles and 72hrs for those who lived more than 200 miles from FORNHAM. This was the first leave most people had had for 4 months and after the strenuous trg was a very good thing for erverybody. ‘C’ Sqn and RHQ sent an adv party to FORNHAM HALL.
3   All Sqns took over a medley of tks consisting of Cromwells, Centaurs and Shermans.
5   For the next few days only minor trg was carried out owing to the leave parties being away. Sten guns were fired, tks prepared for trg and swimming instruction given at the swimming pool at CULFORD PARK.
8   Leave parties had all returned and Sqn trg and Tp trg began on the STAMFORD Battle area. Recce Sqn moved out to BOLNEY LODGE to act as enemy for Sqn and Tp schemes.
9   For the next 2 days Sqns put Tps through the Tp run on the STAMFORD Battle Area.
11   'A' Sqn carried out Sqn Field Firing Exercise on the STAMFORD Battle Area firing 75mm HE. and Besa MG. The Exercise consisted of a Sqn adv against moderate opposition on Centre Lines BODNEY WARREN – WEST MERE FARM – TOTTINGTON – EAGLE TOWER – FROG HILL. This turned out to be a good Exercise and was quite well carried out.
12   The same Exercise as was done on the previous day by 'A’ Sqn was carried out by ‘C’ Sqn. This was extremely well done. Crew control, use of ground, fire and movement and shooting all being good. Whilst moving up onto the final objective FROG HILL at about 1930 hrs, news reached the Commanding Officer over the wireless in his tank, when he was conducting the Exercise, that the Regiment was likely to move overseas immediately. On return to billets at FORNHAM PARK, orders for the move early the following morning were received. This stated that the road party was to leave at 0430hrs the following morning and go to HAVANT, Nr PORTSMOUTH, and the remainder of the Regiment to leave in two trains at 0830hrs and 0930hrs. Only personal arms and personal kit were to be taken, and the order stated that only 12 vehicles of all sorts could be taken to carry this amount of kit. Permission was later granted to increase the number of vehicles and finally about 33 were taken.
13   The Regiment moved down to the marshalling area near HAVANT according to orders without incident and spent the night in a transit camp.
14   A small adv party consisting of the C.O., Adjt., Q.M., T.A., O.C. ‘HQ’ Sqn and 15 O.R’s flew across from THORNEY ISLAND aerodrome. On arrival this party was taken to 2nd Army Main H.Q. and immediately started receiving instructions and making arrangements for equipping the Regiment and it's inclusion in 11 Armd Div. as Armd. Recce Regt. The Regiment embarked on 5 boats from PORTSMOUTH at about 1800hrs and started crossing at about 2300hrs.
FRANCE 15   The C.O. went forward with Brigadier R.A.C. 2nd Army, to meet G.O.C. 30 Corps – Lt.Gen. B.G. Horrocks CB., DSO., MC., and G.O.C. 11 Armd. Div. – Maj.Gen. G.P.B. Roberts DSO., MC. Further arrangements about re-equipping and movement of the Regt were made. The Regt was to take over a complete new establishment of Cromwell and Challenger tanks from No. 2 A.R.G. situated just North of BAYEUX and to complete itself to establishment in B vehs, partly with new vehs drawn from this A.R.G. and partly by taking over vehs from 2nd Northants Yeo. The Regt was to replace the 2nd Northants Yeo as Armd Recce Regt to 11 Armd Div. The 2nd Northants Yeo were to be disbanded and amalgamated with their 1st line Regt. The whole situation was somewhat complicated by political difficulties over the disbandment of the 2nd Northants Yeo, and the fact that the Secretary of State had not yet given his agreement to this, which prevented the Corps Comd and Div Comd or the Regt itself being informed what was going to happen till this day.
15   The Regt disembarked at ARRAMANCHES at about 1300hrs and later in the evening moved to an orchard just North of BAYEUX close to No. 2 A.R.G. After some 3 weeks of very dry weather there was a thunderstorm and heavy rain that evening which was a particularly unpleasant welcome for the Regt in France as we had no cover whatsoever against the weather.
16   Ref map France 1:50000 Sheet 7F/5 FLERS.
16   Sqns very busy taking over their new tanks and preparing them for battle. This necessitated taking all the guns out of grease and doing a large number of jobs of fitting and adjusting to make these new vehs ready for battle. The C.O., 2nd i/c and Sqn Ldrs. went forward to meet G.O.C. 11 Armd Div and be given some picture of the battle which was then going on. C.O. and 2nd i/c went on to visit H.Q. of 29 Armd Bde and 159 Inf Bde, the two Bdes in 11 Armd Div., which were at the time fighting in the area CONDE-SUR-NOIREAU 8831 and VASSY 7932. 29 Armd Bde is Comd by Brigadier C.B.C. Harvey DSO., and 159 Inf Bde by Brigadier J.B. Churcher.
17   Continued taking over tanks and some new B vehs. Tanks received were 11 Challenger 17 Pdr tks, 6 Cromwell 95mm and 44 Cromwell 75mm tks. Later in the evening the Regt moved forward, its wheeled vehs by road and its tks on transporter lorries to the area where the 11 Armd Div were fighting to take over from 2nd Northants Yeo. It was planned that the tks should arrive just behind the Div front line at 0200hrs on the 18th, that the Regt should immediately take over position from 2nd Northants Yeo who had been fighting in contact with the enemy until nightfall and that the Northants Yeo should go away with their tks on the same transporters at 0530hrs that morning. The Regt was told that it would be responsible for these positions from the moment it took over from the 2nd Northants Yeo and would continue the adv at the head of the Bde Gp. at first light.
18   Ref. maps. France 1:50000 Sheet 7F/5 FLERS, 7G/1 DOMFPRONT, 7G/2 ARGENTAN.
18   The tank transporters had a difficult journey in the night, one transporter carrying 'A' Sqn Ldrs tank turned over injuring the crew and damaging the tk. and the remainder did not arrive until about 0600hrs. The Regt was therefore allowed to go into reserve in the Bde Gp. This gave most of the morning for organisation, for crew comds to get their maps ready and to be put into the picture of the battle, which was most necessary and welcome. All B vehs not yet in our possession, which included fitters and medical half tracked vehs and Jeeps, were taken over during the hours of darkness of the previous night from 2nd Northants Yeo. This take over of posns and vehs from 2nd Northants Yeo took place in the area ATHIS 9127;- FLERS 8620;- LANDIGOU 9320. At about 1200hrs the Regt advanced along the Centre Line as reserve Regt of 159 Inf Bde Gp. The other Regts of this Bde Gp being 3rd R.T.R., 4th K.S.L.I. and 1st Herefords. The other Regts in the Div, 23rd Hussars, 2nd F.F. Yeo., 8 R.B., and 1st Monmouths were grouped in 29 Armd Bde Gp. for this particular operation. In little more than 5 days therefore, the Regt with no previous warning had been moved overseas, re-equipped with entirely fresh equipment and taken over a new role in a fresh formation and taken its place in the battle, which it had for so long been wishing to do. The difficulties of all this very rapid movement and equipping and of taking on a new role amongst strange people inevitably had its effect and for some time it is doubtful if the Regt performed as well as it was capable of doing.
18   During the afternoon the Bde Gp advanced down to BRIOUZE 0014 and turning East from there advanced towards ECOUCHE 1815. The Regt leagered late that night in the area 153158. Weather had been fine and warm.
19   Ref. maps France 1;5000O Sheet 7G/2, 7F/6. FALAISE.
19   A fine sunny day. C.O. went fwd early in the morning to attend the planning of a battle across the R. ORNE to ECOUCHE and adv towards ARGENTAN 2618 with O.C .159 Inf Bde, CRA 11 A.D. Brig Fowler, O.C. 3rd R.T.R. - Lt.Col. Silvertop and O.C. 1st Herefords. The enemy were holding with weak forces the area of MONGAROULT 1719 and LE BOIS-SERANS 1717. The plan decided on was for 1st Herefords to cross the river at ECOUCHE and adv North from a start line running East and West through SERANS 1716 and take and hold the high ground about LE BOIS-SERANS. 3rd R.T.R. to cross behind them and adv due North up the track to MONTGAROULT and on in a North Westarly direction towards HABLOVILLE 1523. The Regt was to cross the river behind 3rd R.T.R. and protect their right flank on a line from about 2018 overlooking GOULET 2117 to about Pt 180 2121 overlooking MOULINS-SUR-ORNE 2220 and CUI 2122. Opposition was very light and the operation went completely according to plan. A certain amount of enemy tpt and inf were encountered which were shot up by the Regt and 3rd R.T.R. and up till fairly late in the evening it seemed that the Regt had had an almost perfect day for their first day real contact with the enemy. About 1800hrs 'B' Sqn moved onto the high ground West of ARGENTAN in square 2419 to endeavour to destroy enemy withdrawing Eastwards from the area MOULINS-SUR-ORNE. The Sqn achieved this with some success despite encountering minefields laid just North of the road, but 1 or 2 vehs stopped with mechanical trouble. Whilst repairing these the crews were subjected to some sniping and mortaring and shortly afterwards a Panther tk appeared and knocked out the Tp Ldrs tk of 1st Tp - Lt. J.R.D. Sharpe at approx 254193. The Sqn was ordered to withdraw to Regtl leager at about 200186.
19   Wireless communication became very bad and whilst withdrawing across the river to this leager, the Sqn got into some trouble owing to the appearance of the enemy Panther tk and to the mortaring and sniping which was taking place; all this being aggravated by the fact that it was the Sqns first day in action. Some tks became bogged, others shed tracks and the Sqn eventually rejoined the Regt in its leager at about 2330hrs leaving 8 tks out. 2 Scout Cars of Recce Tp also failed to come in that night and contact with them was lost. This trouble had probably been almost entirely due to “greenness" and to the difficulties of extricating an inexperienced Sqn from a position across obstacles such as rivers and railways in a failing light and with difficult wireless communication.
19   No. 14433711 Tpr Cornwall B. 'B' Sqn was accidentally killed when a gun in his tk went off when no one was in the tk at approx 230194.
20   Maps, France 1/50000 Sheets 7G/2, 7F/6.
20   On the orders of the Brigadier a plan was made to recover tks and Scout Cars left out the previous night. With the help of a Coy of 1st Herefords and a Tp of R.E's these were all recovered except 2 tks which had been knocked out. All crews returned complete with the exception of Lt. Sharpe’s crew. No. 321290 Cpl Edwards F. his operator had been killed and was buried at approx 255193. The remainder of the crew - Lt. J.R.D. Sharpe, No. 7899210 L/C Kelly T, No. 14411735 Tpr Frampton M., and No. 7962210 Tpr Warner H. were all missing. These have subsequently been traced to hospitals in England. In the afternoon the Regt adv Eastwards at the hd of Bde Gp through ARGENTAN and leagered for the night astride the road just West of LE BOURG – St-LEONARD 3520. Weather stormy and very heavy rain during the night.
21   Maps France 1/50000 Sheets 7F/6 and 8F/5 GACE.
21   Very wet morning. Moved off in rear of Bde Gp at 0900hrs and moved by minor road over scissors bridge over R. DIVES just North of [OMM?]EEL 4450 and turned East along the road from AVENELLES 4351 towards GACE 5448. Regt took over from 3rd R.T.R. and led adv of Bde Gp Eastwards along this road over very hilly enclosed country not at all suitable for armour as far as X rds 520480, practically no opposition encountered. When Recce and leading Sqn were overlooking GACE, Regt handed over to 3rd R.T.R. and 4 K.S.L.I. who succeeded in capturing this town and a number of prisoners in the late evening. No. 403677 Sgt Bray R. was killed by shell fire on the road just West of GACE when the attack on this place was forming up. In the late evening 'A' Sqn was sent back to area AVENELLES to protect the Bde A Ech from marauding Panther tanks reported to be in the area. None of these were seen and the Sqn. which lad lost communication with the Regt leagered on the ground just North of AVENELLES. The Regt less 'A' Sqn leagered in the area X rds 5248. Orders were received to lead the adv the following day carrying 2 Coys 1st Herefords on the tanks of 2 Sqns and clear the wooded country East of GACE astride the road towards LA TRINITE-DES-LAITIERS 6048 and thence Southwards. Meantime the A1 Ech had become bogged in the area of the previous night's leager at LE BOURG ST LEONARD and was out of touch, and no petrol came up and 'A' Sqn could not be found nor could contact be made with them over the wireless. A somewhat anxious night was therefore spent until eventually 'A' Sqn were found and brought forward just in time to refuel and move carrying a Coy of Inf at 0630hrs in the morning, and sufficient petrol was also procured. It was a dull and stormy day.
22   Maps France 1/50000 Sheets 8F/5 , 8G/1. SEES
22   Moved off from X rds 5248 as ordered through GACE and onto LA-TRINITE-DES-LAITIERS clearing wooded country 1000yds each side of road. A slow, tiresome and laborious business. Very few enemy encountered. In afternoon 50 Div who had been resting came forward and took over from us in area LA-TRINITE-DES-LAITIERS and whole Div moved in a South Easterly direction. Regt leagered in area South of ECHAUFFOUR 6241. Rained hard at intervals during the day.
23   Maps France 1/50000 Sheet 8G/1.
23   Regt moved with remainder of Div to harbour area just south of AUBE-SUR-RILE 7240 where Div was to have about 4 or 5 days rest and refit. Received orders in evening to send 2nd in Command to liaise with 43 Div. Fine day.
24   Maps France 1/50000 Sheets 8G/1, 8G/2 VERNEUIL and 8F/6 BRETEUIL.
24   Rained hard all morning and afternoon. Received orders in the morning to move off the same evening and join 129 lnf Bde Gp of 43 Div for operation of crossing R. SEINE at VERNON. Moved off about 1715hrs the weather having by that time cleared up. Leagered for the night at about 982470. Received orders from Brigadier 129 lnf Bde for following day's operation.
25   Maps France 1/50000 Sheets 8F/6, 9F/5, ST. ANDRE-DE-L’EURE, 9F/3 EVREUX 9F/4.
25   Moved off about 0800hrs and did very quick move with 129 Inf Bde Gp to area LA HEUNIERE 3870 where Regt turned North to area LA CHAPELLE 3674 and VILLEZ-SOUS-BAILLEUL 3676 to protect North flank of Bde Gp during river crossing operation over R. SEINE at VERNON.
25   234 A/Tk Bty R.A. was under comd Regt. ‘C’ Sqn were detached since the previous evening and were under comd 4 Wilts Bn Gp for this operation to support crossing by direct fire across river from positions in VERNON. No enemy encountered during the day. Regt less 'C’ Sqn leagered about VILLEZ-SOUS-BAILLEUL. A fine day.
26   Maps France 1/50000 Sheets 9F/3, 9F/4, 9F/1.
26   Regt less ‘C’ Sqn with under comd ‘C’ Sqn 43 Div Recce Regt and 234 Bty A/Tk guns carried out an independant operation between R. SEINE and R. EURE North West of VERNON 4653 up to LOUVRES 2289 to clear this area of any enemy that might be in it. It was a very fine day and the Regt had a very good day's Regtl trg in most suitable tk country. In spite of numerous reports, very few enemy were however encountered. In the evening the Regt less 'C’ Sqn with Tps under comd leagered in the same position as previous night. During the day ‘C’ Sqn supported the Inf of the 4 Wilts Bn Gp. by direct fire across the river from posns in VERNON. They had a certain amount of successful shooting and were themselves subjected to shell fire.
27   Maps France 1/50000 Sheet 9F/4 MANTES-GASSICOURT.
27   A lovely hot sunny day. Regt less ‘C' Sqn remained in previous nights harbour for most of the day engaged on maintenance etc. Moved about 1800hrs and crossed the R. SEINE at VERNON over Bailey Bridge constructed by R.E’s, and leagered for night on the road running East from VERNON at about 460742. 'C' Sqn crossed their Tps by ferry across the river and supported 4 Wilts in an attack Southwards down the East bank of the SEINE towards GIVERNY 4771 both with Tps on East side of the river and by fire from Tps on the high ground West of the river about 4571.
28   Map France 1/50000 Sheet 9F/4.
28   Sqns detached to support Bns of 129 Inf Bde on adv Eastwards from VERNON. 'A' Sqn was in support of 5th Wilts in attack astride main road on LA CHAPELLE St. OUEN 4973 and Pt. 142 4774. 'B' Sqn was supporting 4th Somersets in attack on BOIS JERME ST. OUEN 4774 and HARICOURT 4975. Both these attacks were successful during the morning and Sqns gave most effective support to both Bns. In a minor operation South of the main road in square 4873 a number of Germans had to be dislodged from slit trenches which they had dug in a field of corn and covered over with stocks of corn and in which they stuck most tenaciously. Recce Tp unfortunately suffered some casualties in this. Lt. R.J. Pearce, his operator No. 7905311 Tpr Dakin T. and No. 4748485 Tpr Drake H. Capt Robb’s driver were killed, are Capt W.W.M. Robb was severely wounded. The Regt took about 140 prisoners in the course of the day and except for the casualties suffered by Recce Tp had a very successful day. The Regt leagered for the night at approx 487746. Weather stormy. ‘C’ Sqn returned under comd of Regt and in the evening Regt reverted to comd 11 Armd Div which came fwd and crossed the R. SEINE that afternoon.
29   Map France 1/50000 Sheets 9F/4, 9F/2 and 9E/6.
29   A wet morning and very heavy storms throughout the morning and afternoon which made fighting in tks extremely difficult and uncomfortable. Orders received early in morning to act as left flank guard to Div advancing Northwards in the direction of ETREPAGNY 5596 - GOURNAY-EN-BRAY 6515 and onto the SOMME at AMIENS. Sqns moved off about 0930hrs to posns as follows:- 'C' Sqn to area NEZE 4584, ‘B’ Sqn to area Pt. 134 4686, 'A’ Sqn to area FORET-LA-FOLIE 4888. Immediately after Sqns moved off the C.O., Adjutant and S.O. on their way to Div in a Humber Scout Car went up on a mine on the track at approx 489763. The vehicle overturned and immediately caught fire but very luckily no one was injured except the Adjt who dislocated his shoulder and was evacuated to hospital.
29   Sqns contd to leapfrog fwd in a Northerly direction on the left flank throughout the day in very heavy rain storms. ln the afternoon ‘C’ Sqn met considerable opposition on the rly line South of LE-THIL-EN-VEXIN 5197 but fought their way fwd over the rly line knocking out some two or three A/Tk guns in the area of the station and the village and a considerable amount of other enemy equipment. ‘B’ Sqn unfortunately knocked out an Armd Car of the Inns of Court Regt moving south East down the main road about Pt. 138 5151. The Regt harboured for the night just West of LE-THIL-EN-VEXIN.
30   Maps France 1/50000 Sheet 9E/6.
30   A fine day. Regt contd similar role of previous day protecting left flank of Div advancing in a North Easterly direction towards the SOMME. Little opposition was met and in the evening the Regt less ‘A’ Sqn were concentrated about 693123. 'A' Sqn were further North at VILLERS-SUR-AUGNY 7015. About 2200hrs the Regt contd the advance by night in the rear of the Div on two routes towards the SOMME. There was very heavy rain which made it a very cold and uncomfortable drive. No opposition was met however and very good progress was made and by early morning the Div had reached AMIENS, and elements of 29 Armd Bde secured a crossing over the SOMME intact and captured General Eberback, Comd German 7th Army and his staff complete with marked maps, whilst they were out on a Recce South of the river.
31   Maps France 1/50000 Sheet 10E/1, France & Belgium 1/50000 Sheets 113, 58.
31   About 0700hrs the Regt moved East from the Div Centre Line at CONTY 5841 and then moved North and halted for the morning in position just North of ST. SAUFLIEU 0546 taking a number of prisoners and destroying some enemy tpt South of this place on the way. ‘B’ Sqn remained West of the river SELLE and took up a posn on the high ground about 0049 where they took a number of prisoners and destroyed some enemy equipment. In the afternoon ‘A’ & ‘B’ Sqns moved up to protect the left flank of the Div South of the river with ‘A’ Sqn on the spur about 0559 and ‘B’ Sqn on the spur about 0457. ‘C’ Sqn were moved to the right flank of the bridge head about RILON-VILLE 1462 where they remained throughout the night. Just before last light RHQ and ‘A’ & ‘B’ Sqns were moved over the river by the bridge at 0760 and took up psns facing North West on the left of 29 Armd Bde from POULAINVILLE 1163 to LONGPRE-LES-AMIENS 0761 for the night.
31   Distribution of personnel by Sqns as on disembarkation is attached at Appx ‘A’.

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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.