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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: 4th Tk Bn Grenadier Guards
Month and Year: July 1944 (Erase heading not required). Commanding Officer: Lt.Col. H.R.H. Davies
Place Date Hour Summary Reference
OTTERDEN near LENHAM CAMP 1-2   Bn prepares for move to area BROOME PARK, 7 miles South of CANTERBURY. Pilotless planes fly intermittently over the Bn area. Several have been brought down between the Bn and Bde H.Q. locations.
3   Final stowage for move.
4   2 and 3 Sqns move to new area. No 2 to FREDVILLE and No 3 to GOODNESTONE. Move by road.
5   Bn HQ. and No 1 move by road to BROOME PARK.
7   Bn carried out individual training and maintenance including certain modifications to tanks. Recce troop have discarded Locust light tanks and now received two Mk. V A1 Honey tks.
11   Information concerning move is beginning to come in. Bn commences to pack.
13 2130 First tank train leaves CANTERBURY at 2130 hrs tonight for BOTLEY, Hants.
BROOME PARK near CANTERBURY 14   Tk trains continue to run. The last one due to leave at 0500 hrs 15th. Bn advance party under Major C.M.F. Deakin leaves Bn and proceeds with Bde HQ. adv party to Transit Camp at ROWLANDS CASTLE, near PORTSMOUTH.
Nr GOSPORT 15   Bn arrives at marshalling area 7 miles N.W. of GOSPORT. Owing to break-downs, certain M.T. replacements were made. One half-track carrying ammn. caught fire and exploded during the journey, and was replaced. No reason for this outbreak of fire could be detected. One Mk. VII Churchill was exchanged vice one Mk. IV which developed minor trouble, but which could not be certain of being repaired before embarkation. All the special issues of food, cookers, water-sterilising units etc. were made by the Transit Camp permanent staff.
18 0400 Three tank parties left at 0400 hrs this morning for GOSPORT by road, under command of Majors I.J. Crosthwaite, J.C. Gascoigne, and R.H. Heywood-Lonsdale.
18 1830 Bn HQ tks and ARV’s moved at 1830 under Captain R.H. Monteith. These parties embarked and disembarked as follows:-
18   No 1 Sqn embarked 18 July, disembarked 20 July.
18   No 2 Sqn embarked 19 July, disembarked 20 July.
18   No 3 Sqn embarked 19 July, disembarked 20 July.
18   Bn HQ embarked 19 July, disembarked 20 July.
19   Loading on to L.S.T.s commences.
20   Bn moved overseas to NORMANDY landing at a beach a few miles East of ARROMANCHES.
21   Night is spent in assembly area near REVIERS, South East of GRAY-SUR-MER, and in due course the Bn was concentrated in orchards near ST MARTIN-DES-ENTRÉES, some 2 miles S.W. of BAYEUX, on the main BAYEUX – CAEN road. The Bn is at the moment living on 24 hour packs, containing concentrated meat pills etc. but changing after 48 hours to 14 man packs, which contain excellent rations. From now until the 28th July the Bn remains static, and the time is spent organising for battle, and in carrying out the welding of tracks on to the turrets and hulls, giving additional protection against A/Tk weapons.
23   Bread appeared for the first time to-day, one slice per man was issued. The first mail also arrived.
25   The Commanding Officer, 2nd in Comd. and Sqn. Leaders attended a conference at General Montgomery’s HQ this morning. The C.-in-C. welcome this formation to FRANCE and gave a brief review of events to date, but would not commit himself to the future.
28 1600 At 1600 hrs the Bn was warned to be at one hours notice from 2000 hrs.
28 2000 The wheeled vehicles moved out by road, followed at 2100 hrs by the tanks by cross country route to a forward area at ST NERVEUX some six miles SE of BALLEROY. The bn come under comd 15 (S) Div on the extreme right of the British sector.
29   The Bn is concentrated by first light, after some shelling of the tks en route.
29 0900 At 0900 hours the Commanding Officer, 2nd in Comd. and I.O. attended a conference at Bde HQ to receive preliminary orders for an attack tomorrow morning. The attack is to be the first phase of a break out battle south of CAUMONT. The day was spent in the necessary recces being carried out and in necessary orders being issued. By last light the Bn had moved up to its F.U.Ps. The Bn less No 3 Sqn just West of CAUMONT, No 3 Sqn East of CAUMONT.
30 0655 H-hr 0655. Bn less No 3 Sqn in sp of 9 Cameronians. Objective:- village of SEPT VENTS. No 3 Sqn in sp of the 2 Gordons (227 Bde). Objective:- LUTAIN WOOD. The attack was sp by arty: also under comd were one Sqn of Sherman flails. No 3 Sqn had under comd 9 Crocodiles (flame throwing Churchills).
30   On the left. The attack proceeded smoothly and LUTAIN WOOD was in our hands by mid-day. Capt. G.C. Grey, M.P. and Lieut. J.G. Marshall-Cornwall were killed in action during this attack.
30 1600 No 3 Sqn rejoined the attack at about 1600 hours to coninue the movement South towards ST MARTIN DES BESACES.
30   On the right. No 1 Sqn encountered a minefield, but a way was found through with the aid of Sherman flails. Resistance in SEPT-VENTS was fairly strong and it was not finally subdued until 1300 hours. Two tps from No 2 Sqn and a patrol from the Oerlikon Crusader tks was sent to help in the fight. 7 Churchills were temporarily disabled by mines (5 from No 1 Sqn and 2 from No 2).
30 1500 The Bn moved South in the direction of ST MARTINS DES BESAES, picking up the Glasgow Highlanders on the way.
30   Just North of the village of LES MORICHESSE LES MARES, the Bn was held up by the enemy, including an 88 mm gun. The leading tk of no 2 Sqn was knocked out by this gun, three of the crew being killed. The Sqn Leader Major R.H. Heywood-Lonsdale was wounded here during a personal recce. Owing to the rapid approach of night the inf de-tanked and proceeded on foot to the high ground west of BOIS DU HOMME. The Bn prceeded after dark to harbour at LA FERRIERE AU DOYEN. Captain J.A. Cannan assumed comd of No 2 Sqn.
31   A quiet morning followed by an afternoon scare, when it was reported that some 30 Tigers plus inf were forming up in the wooded country some 500 yards to our N.E. Emergency disposns were taken up, but it proved to be a scare, due to an air recce reporting our ow locations inaccurately. This was unfortunate as at this moment ‘A’ Ech chose to arrive. It dispersed very rapidly into the background, until it was once again able to rejoin us. At about 1500 hrs orders were received to carry out an attack in support of RSF on the high ground NE of LA FERRIER AU DOYEN. During the recce for this attack, the Bn was attacked by one or two rocket firing Typhoons. The placing of yellow recognition signals provided no security from this attack.
31 1845 43 Div arty now commenced to lay hy smoke concentrations over the entire area over which we were to attack. HE was incended amongst the smoke shells. In view of the additional difficulties provided by the smoke from our neighbouring Div it was fortunate that there was only slight opposition, and the objective was safely obtained. Two dummy Tigers were found. While on the objective No 1 was bombed and rocketed by Typhoons. Further more a direct hit on the Sqn Leaders tk by our own arty destroyed the water system of one tank and this resulted in the eventual brewing up of the engine some 3 or 4 hours later. The Bn harboured some 1000 yards in the rear of the objective for the night.

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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.