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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 Ulster Rifles
Month and Year: July 1944 (Erase heading not required). Commanding Officer: Lt. Col. I.C. Harris
Place Date Hour Summary Reference
CAMBES (France) 1   The Commanding Officer held a conference at 0900 hrs.
1   A multi-barrelled mortar dropped their shells in the Bn Area during the day.
1   The Bn Snipers were out today and claimed to have inflicted casualties on the enemy.
2   Shelling was on a reduced scale today, although there was one particular severe period around 2000 hrs.
2   The weather today was fair with cloudy periods.
3   There was no change in the weather today.
3   The Bn saw first signs today that it was to be relieved in the near future when recce parties from Battalions of 59 Div came to view the area, and, in particular, the Bn dispositions in CAMBES.
4   In the morning, recce parties from 2/6th South Staffordshire Regt arrived to take over all information about the Bn locality.
4   Shelling during the day on several occasions, causing casualties - two Other Ranks Killed, three Other Ranks Wounded.
4   The weather today was unchanged.
5   Today the weather is much brighter.
5   During the day there was some shelling on Bn HQ and in the area of the Church of CAMBES.
5   The Commanding Officer held a conference at 1700 hrs to confirm details of move from locations at CAMBES. Advance parties under the 2nd i/c left soon after to recce the new area at ST AUB1N. At 2330 hrs this move took place.
ST AUBIN (France) 6   The Bn arrived in the new location at 0300 hrs. The purpose of this move was to give the Bn a rest after exactly one month in direct contact with the enemy; once dug in, everybody put this opportunity to good use. Every man had a bath, provision for which was made by the Mobile Bath Unit, and a prolonged sleep which slight enemy shelling did not disturb.
7   Rest continued today, though again there was some enemy shelling and mortar fire. In the morning the Bn heard that it was to move forward again, this time to relieve the Royal Warwicks at BREVILLE. Recce parties under the 2nd i/c preceeded the move itself, which was to take place during the night. Major C.R.P. Sweeny, M.C., carried out recce of 1st Royal Norfolk’s position.
BREVILLE (France) 8   At 0130 hrs the Bn, less “D” Coy, moved to the Spur North East of BREVILLE to relieve 1st Royal Norfolks. It was reported in position by 0230 hrs and off again by 0510 hrs to take over from the Royal Warwicks, who were moving forward to attack the enemy at LEBISEY at that time. "D" Coy had moved at 0130 hrs with the Bn but had gone direct to BIEVILLE to provide a firm base for the Royal Warwick’s attack. In the morning the Commanding Officer had received orders from the Brigade Commander and at 1500 hrs he made a reconnaissance with Commanders of the leading Companies and their opposite numbers from the Northants Yeomanry who were on this occasion providing tank support. See Appx I
8   When the start line on the South side of LEBISEY WOOD had been recced and the plan finally agreed upon, the attack was launched with “D” Coy on the left and “A” Coy on the right. There was little small arms fire because the KSLI, a battalion of 185 Brigade, were already on the objective, but the enemy mortar and artillery fire was intense and caused number of casualties. Among these was “A” Company Commander, Major W.D. Tighe-Wood, whose Company HQ received a direct hit. Casualties in the Bn amounted during this period to 8 Other Ranks Killed and 46 Wounded.
8   By night a strong patrol of "B" Company, under Major J.W. Hyde, and two troops of tanks from 1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry attempted to move down into CAEN. Progress was seen obstructed by the ruin and havoc wrought in the town and its approaches by RAF bombing. Some mines were encountered, and, once it was felt that an advance in daylight would save casualties, the march in was postponed until the following day.
CAEN (France) 9   Before the march into CAEN was begun, two patrols were sent out. The first, consisting of a platoon of “A“ Coy under Lieut R. Wise and a troop of tans, moved down to CALIX on the Eastern outskirts. The second, a platoon of “A” Company under Lieut B.R. Burges with another troop of tanks, went to ST JULIEN on the North West outskirts. Both patrols felt their way forward into CAEN and both suffered casualties from such snipers and infantry that still remained in the town. Both Platoon Commanders were wounded and within their commands were three Killed and four Wounded. Both patrols rejoined the Bn within the next 24 hours. At 1030 hrs the 2nd Bn began the move forward which was to make them the first British troops to enter CAEN. “B” Company led the way, clearing houses systematically and climbing over and through the ruins as best they could. Little resistance was encountered and the Bn reached the Boulevardes in the centre of the town without incident. At this point we were met by numerous Frenchmen of the Underground Movement who established an immediate liaison and led our troops down towards the ORNE. The civilians came out of their houses, cheered, sang and offered presents of food and wine. Their delight and sense of release was beyond question, which was very satisfactory for ourselves who doubted whether the extensive RAF bombing would make such a reception possible.
10   Henceforward mopping up became the order of the day, and, the next day all four Companies were engaged upon clearing the houses of such snipers and machine gunners as remained in CAEN, this side of the ORNE. The enemy made no attempt to counter attack and confined their activity to mortaring our forward positions in the town.
10   During the day a firm link was established on our right flank with the 3rd Canadian Division, whose advance elements had entered the town from the West on the day before. Towards the evening a recce party of a Battalion from the 7th Canadian Brigade were at Bn HQ preparing to take over the Bn positions in CAEN.
DOUVRES (France) 11   Today, during the early morning, the Bn began to leave CAEN and proceeded to their new location at 033801 outside DOUVRES.
11   At the new location the Bn carried out administration, after nearly five weeks in the line -- they needed it to check losses of equipment, etc.
12   Out of the battle area and out of range of enemy shells the Bn gave itself over to administration, entertainment and rest. Complete check of War Office controlled stores was carried out and losses were thoroughly assessed. At 2030 hrs the Commanding Officer held a conference.
13   During the morning the Commanding Officer, accompanied by the Bn IO, visited the 2nd Army Headquarters. In the afternoon two parties from the Bn, which consisted of (one) the CO, 2nd i/c and Bn Snipers and the other (two) the IO and I Section visited the Battle Fields of LA BIJUDE, ST CONTEST and ERRON for the purpose of gaining some information of enemy positions such as A tk ditches, Machine Gun Posts and the camouflaging of same, also general layout of positions. The weather today was extremely hot.
14   The weather had changed considerably, being very dull with low clouds, giving the enemy a chance to use his aircraft but without success, two being shot down by AA gunners in our area. In the evening enemy aircraft again flew over the Bn area.
14   During the day the whole Bn had a hot bath and a clean change of washing.
15   The Commanding Officer held a conference at 0900 hrs, the Bn being informed afterwards that they were moving out sometime during the night.
15   At 1500 hrs the Commanding Officer spoke to the Bn and told them that General Sir Bernard L. Montgomery, K.C.B., D.S.O., was to have visited the Bn but at the last moment was unable to appear, so, instead, the Commanding Officer presented medal ribbons to the following Officers and Other Ranks of the Bn: Major W.D. Tighe-Wood, M.C., Capt J. Montgomery, M.C., Lieut S.M. Lennox, M.C., 7020028 Cpl C. O’Reilly, D.C.M, 7011691 L/Sjt R. McCann, M.M., 7012171 Rfn H. McGlennon, M.M., 7014577 Rfn J. Long, M.M.
15   During the Bn stay at DOUVRES the following entertainments were arranged: Films, Stage Shows and a Divisional Club which had been established at LUC SUR MER. Our men took advantage of its facilities.
15   At 2345 hrs the Bn moved out, transport was provided and the Bn arrived it its new location at 0400 hrs 16th July and proceeded to dig in.
AMFREVILLE (France) 16   The weather today was very warm. After digging in during the early hours of the morning, most of the Bn spent the remainder of the day resting. In the evening two enemy aircraft flew over the Bn area.
17   Today was very quiet and the weather very warm.
17   In the evening the Commanding Officer held a conference lasting three hours and he gave orders for an attack on TROARN. During these orders much valuable information about the nature of the TROARN country and enemy dispositions was given by officers of 9th Parachute Battalion, who, in early stages of the campaign had come to know the ground intimately.
LE MESNIL (France) 18   At 1000 hrs the Bn left AMFREVILLE for Assembly Area at LE MESNIL. -- See Appendix for today, 19th and 20th July. Appendix II & III
TROARN (France) 20 1500 Rain began and continued throughout the day and night.
21   During the day the Bn spent time improving its positions, though continuous rain made this difficult. Some shelling, though rain made everything very static.
22   Rain stopped today, but weather still dull and cloudy, so that some enemy aircraft were seen.
22   Sparodic shelling and mortaring of Bn area.
23   Slight enemy shelling today in the Bn area caused no casualties. Weather began to mend after the previous few days.
24   Much brighter today, and better weather brought more shelling.
24   At teatime - a favourite choice - mortar and shellfire both heavy, Killing one man and Wounding three.
24   During the morning two deserters came in from enemy lines, and on being questioned by interpreters, revealed much about enemy dispositions to our front.
25   A quiet day with some enemy air activity just before darkness.
27   Shelling in the early morning caused four casualties.
27   At midday, 700028, Cpl C. O’Reilly of “A” Company, 7012171, Rfn H. McGlennon of "D" Company and 7014577, Rfn J. Long of “HQ” Company attended a parade at CAZELLE at which they received their decorations from the Commander-in-Chief, General Sir Bernard L. Montgomery, K.C.B., D.S.O.
27   The usual air activity by night.
28   First signs of the Bn being relieved when the Commanding Officer of the 2nd Warwicks arrived at 1100 hrs, closely followed by his recce party.
28   Shelling experienced, again at teatime, Killing one of our men and Injuring two others.
29 1645 Today our own recce party, under the Second in Command, went off to CAZELLE to fit the Bn into a rest area, to which it was to go after relief by 185 Brigade.
30   Our advance parties went to CAZELLE during the afternoon, but later they were informed that the move of the Bn was put off for 24 hours. Meanwhile, at the Bn, news that the move was cancelled wag received during the night.
31   The higher plan had now changed, and, in the early hours, another advance party left the Battalion for BIEVILLE. 185 Brigade now remained at CAZELLE and at about 0900 hrs 4th Bn Lincolns, from 49 Division, came forward to take their place. See Appendix IV
31   During the morning the whole Bn moved in, and our own men were all clear of the position by 1400 hrs.
31   It was a very hot day, and the march from that position to BIEVILLE was a fatiguing one.
31   The Bn was in its new position by 1730 hrs.

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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.