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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. East Yorkshire Regt.
Month and Year: June 1944 (Erase heading not required). Commanding Officer: Lt. Col. C.F. Hutchinson
Place Date Hour Summary Reference
FIELD 1-2   Final briefing of all tps was carried out and dispersal of Bn to conc areas prior to embarkation.
3   Bn moved from conc areas to embarkation hards. Assault Coys embarking in “Empire Battleaxe". Reserve Coys in H.M.S. Glenearn with Bn H.Q.
3   Weather was fine freshening towards evening. Rt Hon W.S. Churchill P.C. M.P. and Gen Smuts reviewed the invasion fleet. Lt Col C.F. Hutchinson presented Capt. Hutchinson with a silver bugle inscribed with the Regtl crest and in return the ships company* presented the Bn with a pike which bore the Regtl badge of the Royal Marines. The Bn H.Q. Flag made by the ladies of WATERLOOVILLE was then attached to the pike and an anchor signifying the part played by the H.M. Navy sewn to the flag. * This is untrue. The pike was provided by Lt Col Hutchinson. The RM badge was subsequently sweated onto the pike-head on board HMS Glenearn.
3   P.M.: Supreme Commander postponed the operation 24 hours.
4   The day was spent resting on board the craft, the M.O. making a final examination of the feet of all ranks followed with the Padre collecting all letters and addresses which may be of use to the enemy.
5   The sealed bundles of maps were broken and distributed to Comds of all craft. The assault Coys were visited by the C.O. and addressed by him. Rev V.A. Price gave a short blessing.
5 2100 The L.S.I. weighed anchor and set sail taking its place in the gigantic convoy.
6 0430 No enemy were encountered on the trip over and no interference received by sea or air. Landing craft were quickly loaded and lowered in accordance with the time table. The assault Coys sailed past and were cheered by the remainder of the Bn who were waiting to be loaded.
6 0600 All were afloat and ready to run in.
6 0735 Wireless silence broken A & B Coys reported heavy opposition but the operation was proceeding according to plan.
6 0755 Reserve Coys and Bn H.Q. touched down. Some difficulty experienced in negotiating the underwater obstacles in the increasing swell but on the whole beaching was extremely good. Cross fire and sniping was fairly considerable and accurate enemy Mortar and shell fire was causing some casualties. The difficulty of evacuating casualties was increased by the rapidly rising tide, fire, and the fact that the M.O. was hit on disembarking. The clearance of the beach perimeter was going on and C Coy were despatched to the O.P. posn SOLE. D Coy lost their Coy Comd when a mortar bomb burst among the Coy H.Q. and some difficulty was experienced in collecting them. The move across the open marshy ground towards SOLE was slowed by the nature of the terrain and was under observation and mortar fire throughout. Nothing had been seen of F.O.B. and party since landing but Arty fire was readily available from 76 Fd Regt on call. SOLE proved to be more strongly held than originally anticipated but the posn was secured by C Coy. A Coy by this time having cleared the beach had assisted in the consolidation. B Coy rejoined the Bn and the attack on the gun posn of DAIMLER prepared. Bn O. Gp held just North of SOLE came under considerable mortar fire and the R Gp in moving to a posn from which to make a suitable recce was caught by a salvo in a sunken lane. Lt Col C.F. Hutchinson was hit in the arm and in the absence of Major G.W. Field who was collecting the track vehicles on the beach the comd passed temporarily to Maj S.R. Sheath. The attack on DAIMLER was put in by A & C Coys supported by 76 Fd Regt and B Sqn 13/18 H and was quickly secured for little loss. Some 70 P.Ws of the Arty Coastal Bn surrendered and considerable enemy weapons captured of 4 × 7.5 cm several 40 mm AA Guns and numerous small arms. By this time the mortars, AA guns and some carriers had come ashore but had suffered some casulaties from shell and mortar fire on the first lateral. The Bn moved on to ST AUBIN D'ARQUENAY which was not held and in ruins. Here, it took up defensive posn until relieved by the 1 K.O.S.B. and withdrew to a posn West of HERMANVILLE where it dug in, in a cornfield. In the hrs of darkness some enemy aircraft attacked the beaches but were met with considerable AA fire.
7   Cas for 6 June:- Killed 5 Offrs & 60. Wounded 4 Offrs & 137. Missing 3 O.Rs.
7   Shortly after first light another attack was made by Ju 88 on the beach dropping A.P. and H.E. bombs. Six were seen to be destroyed. The morning was spent in a re-org and recce to relieve 2 R.U.R. on the PERIERS ridge.
7 1300 Relief of 2 R.U.R. completed and patrol sent out to contact 1 Suffolk on left and a recce by A Coy to PERIERS SUR LE DANS to est whether held by enemy. Some posns which had been held but were now evacuated and some damaged gun posns found.
7   3 Offrs and 60 Rfts arrived and were TOS. D Coy which had reached the brs RUGGER and CRICKET rejoined, having been relieved by 6 Airborne Div. Another raid on the beaches by enemy aircraft after darkness. Casualties. Killed - nil. Wounded - 1 Offr. Missing - nil.
8   Posn still held and active patrolling carried out without being in contact with enemy.
8   Elements of 185 Bde passed through and had obviously sustained some casualties.
8   Occasional shelling of Bn posn in fwd Coys. Weather cont to be fair.
8   Night raid on beaches to rear. Cas. Killed - 2 O.Rs. Wounded - 2 O.Rs. Missing - nil.
9   Bn relieved by 1 Gordons of 51 (H) Div, embussed and moved to GAZELLE. Relief completed by 1100 hrs. In GAZELLE the Bn relieved 1 Suffolk who had come under Comd 9 Bde. Posn was attacked by low flying fighter bombers, no cas.
10   Bn still held def posn in GAZELLE with A Coy rt, B Coy centre, C Coy left and D Coy res. Contact maintained with flanking Units.
15   Bn relieved 1 S. Lan. R. in LE LANDEL wood just North of Chateau de la Lande. Whole Bn in all round def posn with enemy active at nights by patrolling but with no success. Bn area under spasmodic shell and mortar fire throughout the day and night which was replied to by our Arty.
16   Bn still holding posn. Any movement fwd of LE LANDEL wood was greeted by heavy enemy fire which was still spasmodic throughout day and night resulting in 2 Offrs killed, 1 O.R. killed., and 7 O.Rs wounded.
17   Posn still held and first night recce patrol led by Lt Rutherford was sent out to discover strength of enemy in CHATEAU DE LA LANDE. Some posns were identified but were obviously alternate posns and any effort on our part to discover infm were treated with heavy SA fire from all sides and heavy shell fire. Cas sustained:- 2 O.Rs wounded.
18   Active patrolling still carried out by night to determine locns of enemy M.G. posns. The patrol received no attention until on top of a posn when M.G. opened up causing 3 O.Rs Cas all of whom were brought back. No identification or pws taken.
19   Posn still under hvy mortar and shell fire which caused 2 ORs cas wounded throughout the day and night. During the day, snipers were pushed out to observe any movement by enemy but they claimed no success. Patrolling by night was still carried out, one a diversionary raid on a suspected enemy O.P. which was destroyed by fire after being found to be occupied, while the other raided known MG posns in CHATEAU DE LA LANDE. Both patrols returned safely.
20   Bn relieved by 1 S. Lan. R. in LE LANDEL and pulled out to rest at GAZELLE. Posn was shelled during relief causing 6 ORs cas.
21   Bn re-organised at GAZELLE with rfts and weapons made up to scale. Some visited cinema at PERRIER SUR LE DANS. Long range enemy Arty fire harrassed nearby cross roads during the day causing 2 ORs cas wounded.
22   Bn rested and bathed as far as was possible. Long range shell fire caused 1 OR cas wounded.
23   Maj G.W. Field who had comd the Bn since 6 June handed over to Maj N.J. Dickson who was appointed 2 i/c.
24   Bn relieved 1 Suffolk in LE MESNIL wood on EPRON – GAZELLE rd. Some Arty fire was directed on the posn which resulted in 1 Offr wounded, 3 ORs killed and 3 ORs wounded.
25   Bn remained disposed, B Coy right fwd, C Coy left fwd, D Coy right rear, A Coy left rear. Increased enemy Arty fire in centre of Bn posn.
26   Bn O Gp called 1300 hrs. 8 Bde to attack CHATEAU DE LA LANDE with right 2 E Yorks , left 1 Suffolk through 1 S. Lan. R. remaining firm base on LE LANDEL. P.M. 27 June. Coy Comds left with C.O. to make preliminary recce. Bn area still under fairly hvy Arty fire. Cas 1 OR killed.
27   Final conference at Bn H.Q. 1200 hrs to co-ordinate plan. Comd post at that time under accurate shellfire which rather disrupted proceedings. 1500 hrs Bn less Sp Coy conc area in rear of LE LANDEL wood for attack at 1630 hrs. Increased shelling on whole of Bde front. Later attack was postponed until first light 28 June.
28   Bn attacked CHATEAU DE LA LANDE with right B Coy, left A Coy, follow up Coy, C Coy. D Coy as firm base in area of 1 S. Lan. R. posn. The start line which was the tk running parrallel to the fwd edge of LE LANDEL wood was under hvy shell fire as leading Coys moved up to cross it. Maj S.R. Sheath and B Coy H.Q. were hit moving up to the start line. However both B & A Coys moved steadily across the open cornfield to the fwd edge of the wood surrounding C. DE LA LANDE still under hvy shell fire and MG fire which made the attendence of cas extremely difficult owing to the S.Bs being unable to find cas in the standing corn. Both A & B Coys reached their objectives and were consolidating their posns when a counter attack by Tks and supported by Inf was put in on A Coys objective. An urgent call from A Coy was received by Capt Swinburne for Atk guns just before his R/T set was put out of action. A Coy was partially over-run and O.C. A Coy was taken PW together with C.S.M. Wakelin and a runner. Before their captors could get them away an S.O.S. task was called down and in the resulting confusion all made their escape. In the meantime Tac Bn H.Q. had moved up to the CHATEAU and had set up in an enemy mortar pit. This posn must have been on a D.F. task of the enemys as it was under consistant shellfire for many hours. However, comn with Bde was est by thesig line party running a line from rear H.Q. up to Tac H.Q. and maintaining it constantly. After A Coy had borne the first brunt of the counter attack, B Coy were the next to receive the follow up of a Tk. Some cas were inflicted and Lt Fetterly personally accounted for a German Tk Comd who was unwise enough to call upon his Pl to surrender. C & D Coys were up on the posn by this time and although still under enemy shellfire the posn was stabilised, consolidated and held. A Tk guns were brought up from the Bn, the Sp tp who were held up by an 88 mm suffered some cas but followed the battle up as quickly as they could. In the whole battle cas amounted to 5 Offrs wounded, 1 missing later found to have been killed, 13 ORs killed, 79 wounded and 13 missing, many of whom were accounted for later. The posn was held throughout the short night but only occasional enemy fire came down as the key to the road to CAEN was now in British hands. Later, this strong point was reputed to be the bloodiest square mile in the whole of NORMANDY.
29   The Bn was pulled out, 1 Suffolk taking over the Bn frontage and at 0800 hrs recce parties were away at MATHIEU to recce an area where the Bn could re-organise and gain a few hours rest. At 1100 hrs the relief began and was conducted without any interference.
30   The Bn rested, re-organised and received rfts, new eqpt and reviewed the past month with the satisfaction of knowing it had added nothing but honour to the Regiment in the Battle of Normandy.
30   Total Cas for the month:- Killed – 7 Offrs, 83 ORs. Wounded – 13 Offrs, 266 ORs. Missing – - Offrs, 13 ORs.

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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.