3/Monmouthshire Regt War Diary

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Sean Claxton
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Posts: 27
Joined: 28 Dec 2006 12:12
Location: France

3/Monmouthshire Regt War Diary

Post by Sean Claxton » 12 Nov 2014 19:59

Hello there,

Does anyone here have, or have access to, copies of the War Diary for 3rd Monmouths for the "Goodwood" period, please?
If so, and willing to share, I'd be very grateful.

Thanks in advance,

Sean

Tom from Cornwall
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Posts: 2865
Joined: 01 May 2006 19:52
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Re: 3/Monmouthshire Regt War Diary

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 13 Nov 2014 21:43

Sean,

from WO171/1349:
16 July 1944 COULOMBS
2000 Bn move to conc area EAST of R.ORNE near RANVILLE.

17 July 1944 RANVILLE
0100 Bn arrived at conc area complete.

18 July 1944
Commencement of great armd thrust SOUTH from EAST of CAEN. Bn is spearhead of all inf in 2nd Army’s attack. Attack preceded by 2000 bomber force.
0745 Bn crosses Start Line, and is assisted by arty barrage of six medium and six Fd Regts. First objective was CUVERVILLE.
0845 Village captured and prisoners taken. Opposition slight; most trouble being MG posts. One posn of 6 MG posts wiped out by Lt C.G. SHORT (Cdn Inf) and one section. This day was a momentous one in the history of the unit, and everyone is thrilled by the sight of our first prisoners. Maj W.P. SWEETMAN, 2IC, wounded.
1210 Bn moves forward from CUVERVILLE to take its second objective – the village of DEMOUVILLE. This was captured and consolidated by 1430 hrs, which was 2 hrs ahead of the time limit allowed by the Army. Prisoners fairly rolled in, practically all from 16 G.A.F. Div, and the score at the end of the day was 87 killed, 30 wounded and 250 prisoners, which cost the unit 2 killed, 22 wounded.
1700 Unit moves forward 1500 yards to a posn holding LE MESNIL FRESNET, where the night was spent with little interference from the Boche.

19 July 1944
1710 Unit, still spearhead, continues advance to capture village of BRAS, the armour having softened up the village prior to the attack.
1820 BRAS in our hands. Opposition was much stiffer, coming up against S.S. tps.
The late evening was most uncomfortable through German shelling, mortaring, bombing and strafing. Casualties on this op were higher, the unit losing 15 killed and 118 wounded. Lt T.J.W. ROWLAND (Devons) was among the killed, and Capt T. DAVIES (MON) and Lt G.S. PARENT (Cdn) “A” Coy; Lts P.E. JONES (SWB) and C.G. SHORT (Cdn) “B” Coy; Lt R.J. HORWOOD (SWB) C Coy; Capt J.H. DAVIES (WELCH) SP Coy and Capt P.W. HENDERSON (M.O.) wounded. Unit RAP received direct hits, and re-established by Med Sgt Watkins, unit without MO until first light, when a captured German doctor was employed at R.A.P.
Cheers

Tom

Sean Claxton
Member
Posts: 27
Joined: 28 Dec 2006 12:12
Location: France

Re: 3/Monmouthshire Regt War Diary

Post by Sean Claxton » 14 Nov 2014 20:06

Thanks very much, Tom.
Most helpful.

Cheers,

Sean

Tom from Cornwall
Member
Posts: 2865
Joined: 01 May 2006 19:52
Location: UK

Re: 3/Monmouthshire Regt War Diary

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 03 Jul 2017 17:02

Hi,

I'd thought I 'd add all the rest of the diary that I have:

Source: WO171/1349 – WD 3 Monmouthshire Regt.

CO: Lt.Col H.G. Orr

1 – 5 June 1944 ALDERSHOT
Bn concentrated and awaiting orders for move. Everyone fit and anxious to go.

6 June 1944
“D” Day at last. Everybody is pleased, anxiously waiting for any scrap of news and waiting for our move.

7 June 1944
Div Comd briefed all offrs, giving the general “set up” of ops and progress.
2230 Message received for Adjt to attend District HQ 1400 hrs 8 Jun. This is it at last.

8 June 1944
1400 Movement orders received by Adjt. Bn will move in two parts, one under CO by rail, and remainder under 2IC by road.

9 June 1944
0610 2IC’s party moves off to BECKTON-ON-THE-THAMES Marshalling Area.
0805 CO’s party moves off to HAYWARDS HEATH Marshalling Area.
No time wasted with 2IC’s party; all vehs to be loaded by 10 Jun and personnel 11 Jun.

10 June 1944
Hold up with our MT Ships. First convoy of vehs have reached the docks, but no ship.

11 June 1944
Issue of rations, Mae Wests and Vomit Bags. Difficult to know where to carry it all, as we are much overloaded already.
1300 Remainder of vehs move to Docks, but still no news of our ship.
1630 We have been given two LSTs instead of one MTS. Adjt cursing on Dockside having to amend all embarkation documents.
2015 First LST with 2IC as OC Tps gets under way.

12 June 1944
HAYWARDS HEATH
[Personnel] party to travel in two LCIs(L). 8 Offrs and 184 ORs in R118, 9 Offrs and 184 ORs in R119.
BEXTON ON THE THAMES
0100 Second LST gets under way. What a relief, all vehs with personnel have embarked in one piece.
0400 Anchor struck in Thames Estuary. Now have to wait for convoy. The LSTs are American, and the food for all ranks is superb – will have a job in getting the men off these ships.

13 June 1944
0700 Issue of Mae West, 24 hr packs, Vomit Bags, etc [to Personnel party].
1100 Both parties board the same LSI at NEWHAVEN harbour having been conveyed there by TCV.
1630 Ship moves from MEWHAVEN QUAY to join convoy off coast.
[Veh Party] aboard LSTs USS 2 and USS 360.
2200 Convoy has formed up and we slowly leave good old England. It is the 13th and most of us are apprehensive about passing through Dover Straits. We are warned by Capt, no lights after dark – last convoy was shelled.

14 June 1944
[Veh Party] aboard LSTs USS 2 and USS 360.
0300 Passing through Dover Straits without incident.
The day dawns with beautiful weather, and the sea is behaving itself, no call for vomit bags yet.
2130 Arrive off our beach with the hope of landing, but air raid alert has sounded and the tide has beaten off, so we lay off until morning.
[Personnel Party] aboard LSI
0230 Moves away from coast of England.
1030 Coast of FRANCE sighted.
1400 All party disembarks in FRANCE. No casualties. Party marches into Bn conc area outside PIERREPOINT, and digs in for the night.

15 June 1944
[Veh Party] onboard LSTs USS 2 and USS 360.
0930 We tocuh down in beautiful weather and everything is peaceful. This is the first sight of and visit to FRANCE for many of us. Unloading starts immediately – vehs off first.
1000 Hell. Our first taste of war. Jerry has started bombing the beach and damned accurately too. We suffer our first casualty. Pte Butcher of “A” Coy is wounded in the chest with shrapnel, but it is not serious. We move on to our first area in FRANCE.
2100 All have arrived [at PIERREPOINT] except two Carriers broken down. We quickly dig our foxholes and how pleased we are at night when Jerry only ventures out in the air. The AA barrage is so intense, spent shrapnel lands in area.

16 June 1944 PIERREPOINT
We have already learnt lesson No. 1 after last night. Dig deeper holes.
1500 There is a THUNDERBOLT in trouble; it is on fire. We can see the pilot jumping out but what bad luck, his parachute is severed by the tailplane and he comes hurtling to earth and death. He lands near “A” Coy area. Everyone’s eyes are on the plane; it is diving straight at us, it seems, at terrific speed. All is well, it misses us (not by much) and hits the village. No casualties.

17 – 18 June 1944 PIERREPOINT
All busy servicing eqpt and vehs and getting accustomed to these most trying French maps. There is occasional shelling by Jerry on an airstrip quite near us and the usual “hullaballu’s” at night, but we are quite used to it now. The IO is the busiest man, he shoots off to the front line and brings back the latest news each day and keeps us in the picture.

19 – 24 June 1944 PIERREPOINT
Bn continues to prepare for its part in the coming battle. Weather deteriorates, but everyone in good spirits and very fit.

25 June 1944
News received that the breakout from the brhead will be made in the near future and we could be taking part.



26 June 1944
The breakout commences 0730 hrs, but we are in rear of assaulting colns of armour and are not called forward until 1400 hrs, on 27 June.

27 June 1944
1700 Arrive at a posn a few miles NORTH of the ODON (river).
2100 Inf march fwd to reserve posn on NORTH side of ODON.
2200 CO calls for track and essential wh vehs. The night is extremely bad and it is very soon found to be impossible to move the coln of vehs without a number going astray. In addition the corridor to the R. ODON is so narrow that the risk is found too great and we wait until first light to move tpt. Lt W.J. Williams “A” Coy injured – run over by gun of own A.Tk Pl Regt.

28 June 1944
0600 Bn arrives in allotted area after difficult night march. “C” Coy were dropped outside COLLEVILLE during the night for protection. “C” Coy run into trouble and suffer badly. Three subalterns, Lt. C.E. Spooner, SWB, and Lts. J.E. Davis, C.C. Cassady of Cdn Inf Corps, and 61 ORs missing.
0700 Tpt arrives. Bn has already started digging in.
2100 and onwards Enemy prepares to counter-attack the two fwd bns. Terrific arty barrage disperses them and the inf holds off all local attacks.

28 – 29 June 1944 MONDRAINVILLE
Bn suffers it [sic – its?] first casualties through enemy shelling and mortaring.

30 June 1944
Sometimes the enemy fire is most sever, and Bn HQ suffers most.
Maj H.F. Richards (MON) killed,a nd two ptes killed. Capt G.W. Collins (SWB) wounded.

1 July 1944 MONDRAINVILLE
Things fairly quiet today. No fatal casualties. Enemy can be seen on hill opposite. Capt D.I. WILLIAMS disappears; later found at 179 Fd Amb and subsequently evacuated to ENGLAND.

2 July 1944 MONDRAINVILLE
“B” Coy move to left of Bn HQ. Pte. Lewis, batman to Capt Bristow, killed.

3 July 1944 MONDRAINVILLE
Shelling and mortaring intensified, and Bn HQ suffers most. Pte Davies D.O. and Pte Staples killed and seven wounded. Office truck hit, typewriter and duplicator KO’d together with many records.

4 July 1944 MONDRAINVILLE
1300-1400 Bn HQ moves to chateaux on left. Shelling continues. Ptes Estebanes and Hughes killed and three wounded.
2200 News comes that we are to be relieved.

5 July 1944 MONDRAINVILLE
1800 Bn tpt moves off in small gps without mishap.

6 July 1944 MONDRAINVILLE
0330 Bn moves out and is relieved by 5 DORSETS. No enemy action during relief.
0630 Bn reaches Rest Area at COYLOMBS [sic].

7, 8, 9, 10 July 1944 COULOMBS
Bn resting, re-arming and re-equipping.

11, 12, 13 July 1944 COULOMBS
Bn at 8 hrs notice.

14 July 1944 COULOMBS
Bde Concert Party under Capt Bristow entertain 3 Bns of bde. Three TCVs Recreational tpt to BAYEAUX.

15 July 1944
[NIL]

16 July 1944 COULOMBS
2000 Bn move to conc area EAST of R.ORNE near RANVILLE.

17 July 1944 RANVILLE
0100 Bn arrived at conc area complete.

18 July 1944
Commencement of great armd thrust SOUTH from EAST of CAEN. Bn is spearhead of all inf in 2nd Army’s attack. Attack preceded by 2000 bomber force.
0745 Bn crosses Start Line, and is assisted by arty barrage of six medium and six Fd Regts. First objective was CUVERVILLE.
0845 Village captured and prisoners taken. Opposition slight; most trouble being MG posts. One posn of 6 MG posts wiped out by Lt C.G. SHORT (Cdn Inf) and one section. This day was a momentous one in the history of the unit, and everyone is thrilled by the sight of our first prisoners. Maj W.P. SWEETMAN, 2IC, wounded.
1210 Bn moves forward from CUVERVILLE to take its second objective – the village of DEMOUVILLE. This was captured and consolidated by 1430 hrs, which was 2 hrs ahead of the time limit allowed by the Army. Prisoners fairly rolled in, practically all from 16 G.A.F. Div, and the score at the end of the day was 87 killed, 30 wounded and 250 prisoners, which cost the unit 2 killed, 22 wounded.
1700 Unit moves forward 1500 yards to a posn holding LE MESNIL FRESNET, where the night was spent with little interference from the Boche.

19 July 1944
1710 Unit, still spearhead, continues advance to capture village of BRAS, the armour having softened up the village prior to the attack.
1820 BRAS in our hands. Opposition was much stiffer, coming up against S.S. tps.
The late evening was most uncomfortable through German shelling, mortaring, bombing and strafing. Casualties on this op were higher, the unit losing 15 killed and 118 wounded. Lt T.J.W. ROWLAND (Devons) was among the killed, and Capt T. DAVIES (MON) and Lt G.S. PARENT (Cdn) “A” Coy; Lts P.E. JONES (SWB) and C.G. SHORT (Cdn) “B” Coy; Lt R.J. HORWOOD (SWB) C Coy; Capt J.H. DAVIES (WELCH) SP Coy and Capt P.W. HENDERSON (M.O.) wounded. Unit RAP received direct hits, and re-established by Med Sgt Watkins, unit without MO until first light, when a captured German doctor was employed at R.A.P.



20 July 1944
Capt Carrick, new MO, arrives from 179 Fd Amb. Bn relieved by Canadians and are ready to disengage 1600 hrs. However, an armd threat prevents this, and our own A.Tk guns knock out three Tigers out of a force of seven. Remainder withdraw, and disengagement commences 1630 hrs. Unit move back to area LE MESNIL FRESNET, and on the way is strafed and dive-bombed again.

21 July 1944
1045 Bn moves back to rest area at GRUCHY without incident.

22, 23 July 1944
[Nil]

24 July 1944 GRUCHY
Lt DFH Herbert (Berks) and GC Williams (WELCH) and 99 ORs reinforcements.
Night Neighbouring areas heavily bombed and strafed by the Bosche, and we come in for a small share.

25 July 1944 GRUCHY
Bn at 3 hrs notice.

26, 27 July 1944 GRUCHY
[Nil]

28 July 1944 GRUCHY
Bn prepare to leave GRUCHY for area near CAUMONT.

29 July 1944 GRUCHY
Depart GRUCHY 0400 hrs; arrive conc area 0800 hrs.

30 July 1944 Nr CAUMONT
Attack scheduled 0600 hrs; started 0655 hrs. 3 MON and 23 H leading 11 A.D. on right flank protection to 15(S) Div. Hard going and heavy fighting. BOCAGE. Adv 7 miles and encamped night in area ST JOHN BAPTIST. Capt BRETZ (Cdn) wounded.

31 July 1944
Adv continued and reached UPMINSTER, 2100 hrs. Wood clearing.















1 September 1944 AMIENS
1000 Advance resumed, and by evening reached HERMANVILE astride ARRAS – ST POL rd.

2 September 1944 HERMANVILLE
Capt N.C. CAMPBELL (SWB) rejoined Bn.
1100 Advance continued, skirting ARRAS and encamp night in area of VIMY RIDGE.

3 September 1944 VIMY RIDGE
0900 Bn resumes advance and crosses FRANCE/BELGIUM border approx 1800 hrs. Drive continued through night.

4 September 1944
0600 Halt for meal and short rest.
0900 Advance resumed as leading Bn in drive on ANTWERP. HOBOKEN district reached at approx 1700 hrs. Orders received to attempt seizing of Docks area.
8 killed and 12 wounded, incl Lt J.A. Hislop (Canadian).

5 September 1944 ANTWERP
Rifle Coys consolidating in DOCK AREA. Some shelling and sniping. 1 killed, 10 wounded. Bn HQ established in railway station near docks.

6 September 1944 ANTWERP
Positions held in Dock area. “C” Company defending vital sluice gates controlling docks.

7 September 1944 ANTWERP
0700 Violent counter attack by enemy against “C” Coy position held, inflicting heavy losses on enemy. Lt R.J. Horwood (SWB) and 4 Other Ranks killed; 24 Other Ranks wounded. Bn being relieved from posns by 5 [sic] DORSETS. Bn HQ moves into city.

8 September 1944 ANTWERP
Relief completed and Bn in Mobile Column role with base at ANTWERP.

9 September 1944 ANTWERP
1200 Bn moves to take up position in sector of Guards Armd Div and encamp night on ALBERT Canal at BEERINGEN.

10 September 1944 BEERINGEN
Across ALBERT Canal and Rifle Coys proceed to clear enemy pockets. Encamped night at HELCHTEREN.

11 September 1944 HELCHTEREN
Bn HQ remains at HELCHTEREN and Rifle Coys continue clearing enemy pockets.

12 September 1944 HELCHTEREN
Move forward to clear village of HECHTEL. Capt H.J. Thornycroft killed.

13 September 1944 HECHTEL
Halt for maintenance.

14 September 1944 HECHTEL
Orders received to move to conform with new Corps boundary on return to 8 Corps. Receive 30 reinforcements under VICMOVE arrangements.

15 September 1944 HECHTEL
Bn moves to WYCHMAEL within 8 Corps Boundary.

16 September 1944 WYCHMAEL
1200 Return under command of 8 Corps.
1800 Maj F.H.G. Higgins (Ox and Bucks) joins Bn.

17 September 1944 WYCHMAEL
2000 Lts W. Thirnbeck (Canadian), B.W. Laws (Norfolks), G.S.C. Weldon (8 Hussars) and 2/Lts H.J. Dunkley (Surreys) and H.E. Oakley (Warwicks) join Bn.

18 September 1944 WYCHMAEL
[nil]

19 September 1944 WYCHMAEL
Orders received to prepare to move under command of 29 Armd Bde.

20 September 1944 WYCHMAEL
1145 Bn moved off. Crosses ESCAUT Canal at 3 (Br) Div bridgehead at LILLE-ST-HUBERT and crosses BELIUM/HOLLAND border. Bivouac night near SOERENDONK.

21 September 1944
Adv resumed to GELDROP and Rifle Coys go beyond town on road to HELMOND.

22 September 1944
Adv reaches HELMOND, but bridges over ZUID WILLEMS blown. 4 Other Ranks killed; Lt Thirnbeck (Canadian) and 9 Other Ranks wounded.

23 September 1944 HELMOND
Route altered, return through GELDROP to cross canal at ASTEN. 1 killed, 6 wounded. 42 Reinforcements (incl 13 of own wounded) joined Bn.

24 September 1944 ASTEN
Crossing secured and advance to clear DEURNE. Lt G. Foster (Green Howards) and 2 Other Ranks killed; 2/Lt H.J. Dunkley and 10 Other Ranks wounded.

25 September 1944 DEURNE
DEURNE taken over by LINCOLNS of 3 (Br) Div and Bn advance to ST. ANTONIUS. Lt.Col H.G. Orr seriously wounded, and died later at C.C.P. Maj W.P. Sweetman (2IC) assumed command of Bn. 4 O.R.s wounded.

26 September 1944 ST.ANTHONIS
Ordered to leave village in hands of 159 Inf Bde and withdrew to WESTERBEEK.
1300 Move to WESTERBEEK. 16 Other Ranks (incl 8 of own wounded) joined.

27 - 28 September 1944 WESTERBEEK
Patrolling by Coys; “A” and “B” Coys at OPLOO.

29 September 1944 WESTERBEEK
Patrolling maintained by Coys and Carrier Pl. “A” and “B” Coys at OPLOO.
1700 Some shelling in “A” Coy area; 2 Other Ranks killed and 4 wounded.

30 September 1944 WESTERBEEK
0500 Shelling in area of Bn HQ and HQ Coy – no casualties.
American 7th Armd Div taking up positions near our area during the day.
Lt.Col. R.C. Stockley (R.N.F.) arrives to take over command of Bn.
Patrolling maintained by Rifle Coys and Carriers. Lt. D.F.H. Hebert (R.Berks) killed on patrol in early morning, and one Other Rank wounded.

Sean Claxton
Member
Posts: 27
Joined: 28 Dec 2006 12:12
Location: France

Re: 3/Monmouthshire Regt War Diary

Post by Sean Claxton » 16 Jul 2017 16:16

Thanks Tom

Out of interest, does anyone know the identity of the pilot referred to in the 16th June entry?
None of the P-47 MACRs for that date really match so (understandable) mis-identification I guess.

Cheers

Sean

Angus50
Member
Posts: 2
Joined: 05 May 2021 15:12
Location: Scotland

Re: 3/Monmouthshire Regt War Diary

Post by Angus50 » 05 May 2021 19:37

Many thanks Tom.
My Grandfather was Captain John Mytton Thornycroft who was killed in Hechtel on the 12th September 1944. Not sure why it is recorded as H.J.Thornycroft. He was buried initially next to Don boscal school in Hechtel, his grave is now at the commonwealth war cemetery in Leopoldsburg. Thank you for sharing the war diary, as was interesting where his battalion had been prior to the battle of Hechtel.
Kind regards.

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