3rd County of London Yeomanry
|Missing:- October 1939
January to Jun 1940
|January 1943 ||CO Lt Col GGL Willis DSO|
|Jan 43 ||3rd County of London Yeomanry|
|1/1/43 ||KhatatbaRoutine Training.|
|2/1/43 ||Routine Training. Strength 25 officers, 2 attached officers, 514 ORs and 32 attached ORs REME, RC Sigs, ACC.|
|3 - 8 ||Routine Training.|
|9/1/43 ||Lt CJ Clissold, 2Lt EH Freestone, Lt ER Hawes, Lt PP Knight, Lt RH Penrose, 2Lt Seligmann, Lt JC Sturrock, Lt TP Walmsley arrived as 1st line reinforcements.|
|10/1/34 ||Routine Training.|
|11/1/43 ||Routine Training. L/Cpl Matthews appointed Regimental Intelligence Cpl.|
|12 - 13 ||Routine Training. Lt G Bowden and 129 ORs arrived as 1st line reinforcements. All ORs were posted to a new Squadron 'D' commanded by Capt. HM Matthews with Lt J Sale as 2i/c and Lt WH Palmer. D Squadron will be trained separately to begin with and posted to squadrons later on, as and when necessary. The new squadron is designed as a complete squadron with A/SSM, A/SQMS etc.|
|14 - 15 ||Routine Training.|
|16/1/43 ||Routine Training. 3 Scout cars arrived.|
|17 - 18 ||Routine Training.|
|19/1/43 ||Routine Training. 16 Crusader tanks received. 6 Mk I, 7 Mk II, 3 Mk III.|
|20/1/43 ||Routine Training.|
|21/1/43 ||Routine Training. 2 Crusader tanks received. 1 Mk II and 1 Mk III.|
|22 - 23 ||Preparation for move to new area.|
|24/1/43 ||Advance party left for Cowley Camp, Mena.|
|25/1/43 ||Regimental move from Khatatba to Cowley Camp.|
|26 -27 ||Cowley Camp, Cairo.|
C & D squadrons moved to new area on tracks and carried out training scheme with replenishment via desert route. Remainder of Regiment prepared new area. Rear party from Khatatba arrived late afternoon 27 Jan 43.
|28 - 31 ||Preparation of new area - Cowley Camp. Strength 37 officers, 2 attached officers, 625 ORs, 28 attached ORs REME, RC Sigs & ACC.|
|February 1943 ||CO Lt Col GGL Willis DSO|
|Feb 43 ||3rd County of London Yeomanry|
|1/2/43 ||Cowley Camp, Cairo|
Six Sherman Mk III tanks received and taken over.
|2 -4 ||Routine Training.|
|5/2/43 ||Brigadier Roddick, DSO, visited the Regiment and made a tour of the Regimental area.|
|6 - 9 ||Routine Training. Strength 35 officers, 2 attached officers, 635 ORs, 32 attached ORs REME, RC Sigs & ACC.|
|10/2/43 ||Sgt Freund RAMC lectured the Regiment on "The Hun", Sgt Freund escaped from Czechoslovakia shortly after the war began.|
|11/2/43 ||Routine Training.|
|12/1/43 ||Capt. Fison CF lectured the Regiment on "Anglo Egyptian Relations". He spent considerable time in Egypt before the war.|
|13 - 14 ||Routine Training. Two UDF officers and 15 ORs attached for training.|
|15/2/43 ||A, C, D &HQ squadrons routine training. B squadron left camp at 1400 under command of Capt. OFJB Woods with 3 troops of two tanks each, (4 Sherman & 2 Grant), being the total American tanks in the Regiment. Squadron HQ consisted of 2 Crusader tanks. A scheme was carried out embodying an advance to destroy enemy armour in the area EL SHEYEB 6079 and the parrying of a threat from the right flank during the approach march. The scheme was successful and the squadron leaguered at 609797. The squadron was replenished by A Echelon under command of Capt. RO Davis.|
|16/1/43 ||A, C, D &HQ squadrons routine training. B squadron carried out a shoot under command of Major JG Caunce. Firing point 614794 firing Southwest on EL SHEYEB. Each tank commander fired 10 rounds of 75mm HE M48 (normal charge) from Sherman tanks at ranges from 3000 to 6000 yards. A .5 Browning shoot was also carried out.|
|17/2/43 ||A, C, D &HQ squadrons routine training. B squadron returned to camp leaving American tanks to be handed over to A squadron. C squadron moved out at 0630 under command of Capt. RF Gale with 4 Crusaders Mk III, 8 Crusaders MK II and 4 CS tanks Crusader. The squadron moved 2 up on the approach march and approached EL SHEYEB 6079 with the object of destroying the enemy armour there. The 6pdr was fired by 50 all ranks and proved very accurate at ranges from 1500 yards. The squadron close leaguered at 614789 and used a form of staggered leaguer which enabled quick dispersion in case of night attack. A Echelon came into leaguer at 1930 and replenished the squadron. A Squadron took over American tanks from B Squadron.|
|18/2/43 ||B, D & HQ Squadrons routine training. C Squadron moved out of close leaguer at 614789 and carried out troop shoots with support by smoke & HE from Squadron HQ. At 1200 a Squadron Battle Practice was carried out - the 6pdrs engaged targets at 1500 yards and the 2 Light Troops under command Capt. P Pearson worked round a flank and fired a most effective cross shoot. To conclude the targets were smoked off and the squadron withdrew. The whole scheme proved very successful. The squadron returned to COWLEY CAMP and a short scheme of reporting enemy concentrations was carried out on the way.|
Points arising from the 6pdr firing:
The 6pdr is a very accurate gun.
The tracer on 6pdr is barely visible.
A Troop Leader in a 6pdr tank slows down operations.
Little mechanical trouble was experienced with Crusader 6pdr tanks - possibly the new Crusaders are more reliable.
A Squadron carried out shooting practice throughout the day for tank commanders and 1st gunners. 2 Practices were fired, each consisting of 7 rounds for ranging, 3 rounds gun-fire at distances varying from 3500 yards to 5500 yards. During the afternoon each tank commanders fired 25 rounds of .5 Browning.
|19/2/43 ||Routine training. A Squadron returned to camp area and on the way, carried out a scheme with the object of practising squadron formation 'Fire & Movement' - 'Rallying after Battle' - 'Close and Open Leaguer'. It was found that the Sherman was very manoeuvrable.|
|20/2/43 ||Routine training. Capt. Marsland, Welfare Officer 17 Area, spent the weekend with the Regiment and visited welfare facilities.|
|21/2/43 ||Brigadier Chrystal commanding 17 Area visited the Regimental area. Strength 39 officers, 2 attached officers, 629 ORs, 36 attached ORs REME, RC Sigs & ACC. 2 UDP left and a further 2 UDP officers and ORs were attached for training.
|22 - 24 ||Routine training. Capt. Lannaway, Catering advisor 17 Area, visited the Regiment. 2Lts AH Copson, JH Crews, KC Kiddle, PTW Powell and RC Roberts rejoined the Regiment from OCTU course.|
|25/2/43 ||Major JC Caunce and Capt. JL Aitken were awarded the Military Cross.C, D & HQ squadrons routine training. B Squadron carried out a 75mm HE shoot under command of Capt. OFJB Woods. No. 4 troop were advance party with 3 Sherman and 1 Grant tank. The location of the range was EL SHEYEB 6079. The shoot consisted of a series of troop shoots from turret down position in which the Troop Leader, troop Sgt and troop Cpl acting in turn as registering OP. Each practice fired was as follows:-|
Registering tank - 7 rounds to register,
Remaining 2 tanks - 3 rounds to register,
Troop 3 rounds gunfire.
Targets were placed at 2000 to 3500 yards. Lt Difford fired one shoot and 15 UDF ORs were present as spectators.
|26/2/43 ||A Squadron took over American tanks from B Squadron and practised troop shoots throughout the day. The first practice was fired from hull down positions allowing the troop leader 7 rounds for ranging, 3 rounds gun-fire and 2 rounds air burst. In the second shoot which was from turret down positions, Troop Sgts commanded and the same practice was fired.
|27 - 28 ||Routine training.|
|March 1943 ||CO Lt Col GGL Willis DSO|
|Mar 43 ||3rd County of London Yeomanry|
|1/3/43 ||Cowley Camp, Cairo|
Routine Training consisting of wireless, American gunnery and D & M. The Recce troop, which is to consist of 10 scout cars under command of 2Lt KC Kiddle, began a course comprising reporting of information, road recce, map reading and enemy identification etc.100 ORs per squadron attended an Intelligence Test which was carried out by ??????
|2/3/43 ||Routine Training.|
|3/3/43 ||Routine Training.|
|4/3/43 ||Commanding Officer's Parade. 50 ORs from A, B & HQ Squadrons attended a lecture by Major Cafferater, Legal Staff Officer to 17 Area, on "Military Legal Idiosyncrasies".|
|5/3/43 ||Capt. HM Matthews promoted Major and appointed OC C Squadron vice Major SL Buxton MC, who rejoined his regiment 17th/21st Lancers. Capt. PA Whorlow MC, appointed OC D squadron.|
Convoy party left for Turkey under command Capt. RO Davis.
|6/3/43 ||Commanding Officer's Parade. Lt PR Hargreaves promoted Capt. Wef 5 Mar 43. The following vehicles were issued to the Regiment. 6 Daimler scout cars Mk II, 1 Daimler scout car Mk IA and 1 Willys Bantam.|
|7/3/43 ||Routine Training. Strength 38 officers, 2 attached officers, 622 ORs, 45 attached ORs (RCS, RAMC, REME).|
|8/3/43 ||Routine Training. 2Lt PTW Powell, MM, appointed Regimental Int Officer vice Lt J Childs.|
|9/3/43 ||Routine Training.|
|10/3/43 ||Routine Training.|
|11/3/43 ||Routine Training. 20 all ranks per squadron attended Hygiene films at Mena Camp cinema on "Prevention of Malaria", "Fly and its Prevention" and "Louse and its Prevention".|
Lt RLJ Jones promoted Capt. And appointed 2i/c D Squadron wef 7 Mar 43. The following officers were posted to D Squadron, Lts BH Penrose, G Bowden and EH Freestone.
|12/3/43 ||A Squadron carried out an HE shoot on range ref Cairo 1/100000 Sheet 80/60 Black Hill, 610809|
|13/3/43 ||Routine Training. Vehicles to 3rd CLY 1 Matchless M/C solo, 1 General Sherman Mk III(diesel). The following AFVs were despatched: 1 Grant Mk I to 5 BOD and 1 Grant Mk I to Yorkshire Hussars.|
Strength 37 officers, 2 attached officers, 622 ORs and 44 attached ORs (RCS RAMC REME).
|14/3/43 ||Routine Training.|
|15/3/43 ||C Squadron went to ranges ref Cairo Black Hill 610809 and carried out an AP shoot from 6pdr Crusaders. The 6pdr was found to be extremely accurate weapon but difficulty was experienced in observation of fire owing to the flash and blast of the gun.|
|16/3/43 ||Routine Training. Lt ER Hawes posted to D Squadron. Vehicles sent away from Regiment - 1 Dodge breakdown to 15 TVP. Vehicles taken over by Regiment - 1 Scammel Recovery, 1 Ford 3-ton recovery crane, 1 Willys Bantam.|
|17/3/43 ||Complimentary letter received from Brigadier Chrystal DSO MC, Comd. 17 Area GHQ, complimenting the Regiment on the condition in which it left the camp at Khatatba.|
C Squadron tank party went to CTC by rail. A Squadron & HQ personnel also went to CTC by road for training.
|18/3/43 ||Routine Training.|
|19/3/43 ||The Regiment took over 10 Sherman Mk III (diesel) and these were allotted to squadrons as under:- ????|
Lt JC Sturrock promoted Capt. And appointed OC D Squadron vice Capt. PA Whorlow MC who returned to B Squadron.
|20/3/43 ||Routine Training. Strength 38 officers, 2 attached officers, 564 ORs and 46 attached ORs (REME, RCS, RAMC).|
|21/3/43 ||Routine Training. A gramophone concert of Classical & Light music was held in the evening under the auspices of the Education Staff of the unit.|
|22/3/43 ||Routine Training.|
|23/3/43 ||Routine Training. 4 Shermans Mk III (diesel) and 4 Crusaders III were issued to the Regiment.|
|24/3/43 ||Routine Training. Regiment took over 3 Shermans III (diesel).|
|25/3/43 ||Routine Training.|
|26/3/43 ||Routine Training.|
|27/3/43 ||Routine Training. Strength 32 officers, 2 attached officers, 564 ORs and 46 attached ORs (REME, RCS, ACC).|
|28/3/43 ||Routine Training.|
|29/3/43 ||Routine Training. Courses running in the Regiment - Wireless, American Gunnery, Diesel engine, Tank Commanders. Vehicles issued to Regiment - 15 3-ton GS Fords, 1 15cwt GS Dodge, 1 15cwt Water Cart, 1 Willys Bantam.|
|30/3/43 ||2 Sherman III (diesel) were issued to Regiment. Further members of HQ Squadron went to CTC for training.|
|31/3/43 ||Major AW Grant MC, assumes command of the Regiment in the absence of Lt Col GGL Willis, DSO, at CTC.Routine Training. HE shoot was carried out by 1 tank from B Squadron to demonstrate the new range drum invented by Lt P Henningham. Lt General RGOH Stone, CBE, DSO, MC, GOC BTE and Brigadier Chrystal, CBE MC, visited the range at Black Hill to watch the shoot.|
|March 1943 ||CO Lt Col GGL Willis DSO|
|Mar 43 ||3rd County of London Yeomanry - Appendix A - Party to Turkey|
|5/3/43 ||A party consisting of 1 officer and 40 ORs from 3rd CLY, 1 officer and 40 ORs from 46th RTR and 20 ORs from RAC Base Depot under command Capt. RO Davis, 3rd CLY, received orders from Ninth Army to ferry a convoy of wheeled vehicles from Tel-el-Kebir to Turkey and to hand them over to the Ministry of Defence. The convoy consisted of 3 10cwt Dodge recce cars, 14 Tractors AEC Matadors, 4 3-ton Leyland Machinery vehicles, 4 15cwt lorries W/T trucks, 16 3-ton Fordson GS lorries and 44 5cwt Willys Bantams.|
The Regimental party, self contained and with 7 days rations, moved out of Regimental area at 0440 and met the 46th RTR party under command Lt Shouler at Mena tram terminus, and were conveyed from Mena to Cairo main station on troop carrying tram flats arriving there at 0550. RAC Base Depot party joined at the station and the whole party then caught the 0715 train to Tel-el-Kebir, arriving at 0945. All vehicles in the convoy were taken over in the afternoon.
|6/3/43 ||Convoy left Tel-el-Kebir at 0705 hrs. Refuelled on East bank of Suez Canal at 1100hrs. Stayed during the night 6/7 March at Kilo 138 on the Sinai Road. There were 13 stragglers.|
|7/3/43 ||Moved off at 0600 and arrived at Aslut at 1230. The rest of the day was spent on maintenance. 1 Matador and 1 Fordson 3 ton were casualties.|
|8/3/43 ||Departed Aslut 0800 hours, route - Beesheba - Qastina - Peta Tigva - Tulkanan. Arrived Tulkanan staging camp at 1600. Stayed during night 8/9 March.|
|9/3/43 ||Departed at 0630. Route - Karkhum - Affula - Tiberius - Rosh Pinna on Palestine-Lebanon border. Stayed night at MARJAYOUN arriving at 1400. All radiators were cleaned.|
|10/3/43 ||Departed at 0630. Route through Lebanon, ANTELEBANON across BEIRUT-DAMASCUS road through RAYAK to BAALBECU where convoy stayed night 10/11 March at HOMS.|
|11/3/43 ||Left HOMS at 0630 passed through HAMA and arrived ALEPPO official destination at 1415 and staged outside town awaiting for orders.|
|13/3/43 ||Moved off at 1030 and handed over all Willys Bantams, Dodge Recce cars and W/T vans just inside Turkish border at a distance of 35 miles from ALEPPO.|
|14/3/43 ||Heavy rain, dismounted crews left for Cairo by train.|
|15/3/43 ||Moved off with remaining vehicles at 0730 and handed them over at same place as before, just inside the Turkish border. Collected 2 3-tonners from 3rd Hussars, to be returned to Tel-el-Kebir.|
|16/3/43 ||Remainder of party left in 2 3-tonners at 0630. Rote FRIKE - DJISR - LATAKIA - TRIPOLI - BEIRUT. Arrived BEIRUT at 1920 and staged the night.|
|17/3/43 ||Departed 0905. Arrived HAIFA at 1235 hours. Rest of the day spent on maintenance.|
|18/3/43 ||Departed HAIFA 0945 and travelled through LYDDA to ASLUT arriving at 1705 hours. Staged night.|
|19/3/43 ||Departed 0745. Route East bank of Canal to MOASCAR. Arrived MOASCAR 1630 and staged the night.|
|20/3/43 ||Departed 0800 hours for Cairo thence to Cowley. Arrived Cowley at 1230.|
|21/3/43 ||Two 3-tonners were returned and handed over to Tel-el-Kebir.|
|April 1943 ||CO Lt Col GGL Willis DSO|
|Apr 43 ||3rd County of London Yeomanry |
|1/4/43 ||Routine training. Clocks put forward 1 hour throughout the Middle East.|
|2/4/43 ||Routine training.|
|3/4/43 ||Routine training.|
|4/4/43 ||Routine training. Lt Col GGL Willis resumes command of the Regiment.|
|5/4/43 ||Routine training.|
|6/4/43 ||B Squadron moved off to range at Black Hill 612808 at 0715 with 5 Shermans, route, GIRAN EL FUL 623807 - Black Hill 612808.|
No. 2 Troop calibration shoot.
Half squadron shoot with 5 Shermans with a switch direct to fresh target (54 rounds HE).
Indirect shoot (21 rounds) consisting of shooting with tanks in a completely concealed position about 1200 yards behind the firing point, by means of a forward OP slightly to a flank. Although rounds did register on the target eventually, it was found to be rather an inaccurate method of shooting and wasteful of ammunition.
6 tank commanders register individually (60 rounds HE).
AP shoot with stabiliser, at 1500 to 1800 yards.
On the return journey B Squadron carried out a scheme practising the changing.
In the afternoon A Squadron held a wireless scheme for the purpose of practising procedure and reporting of information.
Lecture on "Security" appertaining to the training at CTC was given by the Regimental Int Officer to C Squadron.
|7/4/43 ||Tanks returned from CTC. A course on the stabiliser was started for the purpose of training instructors. B Squadron started a tank commanders course.|
|8/4/43 ||Lecture on Security to HQ Squadron by IO. Routine training. The Commanding Officer granted one days privilege leave to those who worked as permanent staff at CTC.|
|9/4/43 ||C Squadron carried out a shoot from Sherman tanks on the range at BLACK HILL. Ten commanders and 15 gunners fired 2 practises of HE, 10 rounds each practice.|
The following vehicles were sent away from C Squadron subject to them being issued with Shermans:
8 Crusader Mk III
5 Crusader Mk II
6 Crusader Mk II (CS)
2 Crusader Mk I.
The regiment was asked for volunteers as blood donors. The first party went to 15th General Scottish Hospital.
|10/4/43 ||COs parade. C Squadron went to range and held an HE shoot from Sherman tanks which were borrowed for the day from A & B Squadrons. Lecture on security given by IO to A Squadron. B Squadron held a Squadron Dinner in the Squadron canteen in the evening.|
Strength 31 officers, 2 attached officers, 579 ORs and 43 attached ORs (REME, RCS, ACC)
|11/4/43 ||Courses were started under the Regimental Wireless School to train instructors in the use of semaphore and the Aldis lamp. Routine training. |
|12/4/43 ||Routine training. A course on "Intelligence & Duties of Squadron 'I' NCO" began, for all Squadron Leader's operators. The syllabus included "Identification of German Units", "Handling of Prisoners of War" etc. Lt WHJ Sale MC, was appointed Unit Photography Officer.|
|13/4/43 ||Routine training. Recce Troop wireless scheme, HQ Squadron went to the small arms range to hold a practice in the firing of Bren guns.|
|14/4/43 ||Routine training. The Recce Troop carried out a Bren gun shoot from scout cars.|
|15/4/43 ||B Squadron went to range at EL KHASHAB 618805 (Cairo 80/60, 1/100000) with 6 Shermans and fired the following practice:|
10 rounds M72 ammo for targeting each tank
16 gunners fired 10 rounds M72 each at targets, range approx. 1200 - 2000 yards
6 tank commanders fired 50 rounds of .5 ammo from .5 Browning
Small arms shoot by 6 gunners and 2nd drivers from .30 Browning.
Another party went to 15th Scottish hospital as blood donors.
5 Crusaders Mk II were sent away from the Regiment.
|16/4/43 ||Recce troop road scheme. The Recce troop under command 2Lt KC Kiddle consisting of 10 scout cars were ordered to act as a recce screen in front of 3rd CLY, to maintain contact with the German forces retreating southwards from the Mena-Giza road. The enemy were represented by men with flags at bridges, road junctions etc. The object of the exercise was to practice the recce troop in the rapid passing of information about the enemy, ground, roads etc. The scheme was controlled by Lt Col GGL Willis DSO, who considered that sections of the Recce troop should have been allocated areas and not roads to reconnoitre, and that more speed in movement was essential in future schemes.|
Throughout the afternoon and evening the security film "Next of Kin" was shown to the Regiment. Three performances were held and one third of each squadron attended each performance. The Regiment went into khaki drill wef 16 Apr 1943.
|17/4/43 ||Routine training. Strength 31 officers, 2 attached officers, 572 ORs and 47 attached ORs (REME, RCS, ACC).|
|18/4/43 ||Routine training. Lt DS Kennard joined the Regiment and was appointed Transport Officer.|
|19/4/43 ||C Squadron went to the ranges at BLACKHILL and 10 tank commanders and 15 gunners fired HE and AP practises from Shermans.|
In the afternoon A Sqn held an inter-troop athletic sports meeting at the Fouad Sports Ground on the Mena-Giza road. The following events were held: 100 yards, 220 yards, ¼ mile, high jump, long jump and relay races. Lt Col GGL Willis DSO acted as a Judge. The afternoon was a great success. The winning troop was [?].
|20/4/43 ||Routine training. A wireless scheme was held by A Squadron in the afternoon to practice netting and procedure. A large party from the Regiment went to see the film "Desert Victory", the tickets having been obtained in block.|
|21/4/43 ||9 Sherman Mk III (diesel) arrived for the Regiment and were allotted to Squadrons as follows: [????]|
|22/4/43 ||Routine training. Party of 1st drivers from HQ and C Squadrons went to the El Khashab range with 4 Shermans and carried out a shoot for junior and potential tank commanders. The practice was entirely HE and 8 tank commanders fired 2 practises of 10 rounds each enjoying targets individually.|
|23/4/43 ||A course was started in the Regiment on the Stabiliser for potential instructors. A Squadron went to the range at BLACKHILL with 1 troop of Shermans and practised HE & AP shooting at ranges of 3600 and 1800 yards. Experiments were also made with the German Busch range finder but results were found to be unsatisfactory. 6 Shermans were taken over by C Squadron.|
|24/4/43 ||Routine training. The Regiment paraded on the Regimental parade ground in battle dress for the last time. The inspection was carried out by the CO.|
Strength 32 officers, 2 attached officers, 566 ORs, 49 attached ORs (REME, RCS, ACC).
|25/4/43 ||Party returned from Amyriya with 13 3-ton Chevs and 3 Willys Bantams.|
|26/4/43 ||The Adjutant General to the Forces, General Sir Ronald Adam KCB DSO MC, accompanied by D.A.G. General [????] and Brigadier Chrystal DSO MC, paid a visit to the Regiment to see the Regiment at work. A course was started to train the Intercommunication Troop (8 Bantams) and 8 DRs in driving and maintenance, map reading, Bren gun, message writing, first aid and map memorising. 2 Willys Bantams and 8 3-ton Chevs were taken over by the Regiment.|
|27/4/43 ||Routine training. The Recce troop under command 2Lt KC Kiddle carried out another scheme in the Delta in the area North of the Mena-Giza road. Major AW Grant MC was directing. Enemy consisted of men with flags provided by A, B & C Squadrons. Speed with regard to the passing of information was far greater than the previous scheme, but unfortunately the scheme came to a halt earlier than was expected because 5 cars were ditched on roads that were very narrow and built only of mud. The Intercom troop accompanied Recce troop and practised intercom between the directing staff and Recce troop.Lt Col GGL Willis DSO and 20 officers of the Regiment visited the Faculty of Engineering at the Egyptian University and were entertained to tea.|
C Squadron went up to range at BLACKHILL with 6 Shermans and leaguered for the night preparatory to next days shoot.
|28/4/43 ||All first crews and spare gunners of C Squadron fired practises as follows:- |
HE at targets range 3500 - 4000
AP at targets range 1800 - 2000 (Stabiliser was used in this shoot).
30 & .50 Browning range 1500 yards.
The stabiliser was used in the AP shoot and tanks fired on the move. It was not found to be satisfactory owing to the roughness of the ground.
B Squadron Echelon, consisting of [????] under command of Capt. OFJB Woods started on a 2 day scheme involving a march up the Nile Valley to FAYOUM. The object of the scheme was to practice the echelon in defence against air, ground and gas attack, at rest and on the move, to train harbour parties in harbouring procedures and echelon packet commanders in intercommunication on the move in close country road work.
Waterproofing and camouflaging of vehicles was started.
|29/4/43 ||Routine training. The Intercom troop carried out a scheme in the Delta area south of the Mena-Giza road and practised message writing, map reading and reporting on road and ground conditions.|
|30/4/43 ||Routine training.|
|May 1943 ||CO Lt Col GGL Willis DSO|
|May 43 ||3rd County of London Yeomanry |
|1/5/43 ||B Squadron held a sand table exercise to demonstrate the employment of an Armoured regiment in support of Infantry in breaking through prepared positions.|
Routine training. Intercom troop and Recce troop to Abbassia for camouflaging.
Strength 32 officers, 2 attached officers, 581 ORs, 49 attached ORs (REME, RCS, ACC).
|2/5/43 ||Routine training. 10 men from A Squadron went to MAADI for an intelligence test.|
|3/5/43 ||Routine training. Lt WHJ Sale MC began taking photographs of the Regiment's personnel for a Regimental record.|
|4/5/43 ||A scheme was compiled by Major JG Caunce MC, B Squadron for the Recce troop. The troop departed at 0730 and went to the starting point at crossroads [????]. Lt Col GGL Willis DSO acted as Troop Leader Recce troop with 2Lt KC Kiddle under instruction. Object of the exercise was the recce of roads, passing of information and exploitation of opportunity. The Intercom troop accompanied the scheme and practised map reading etc. The scheme was suspended at 1000 hours due to a native boy being knocked down by a Willys Bantam in the village of NAHYA.|
|5/5/43 ||Routine training. A Bren gun shoot was carried out by the Intercom troop. Practises consisted of firing forward and backwards from their improvised Bren mountings which were found to be very successful.|
|6/5/43 ||Work continued on tanks throughout the Regiment, in preparation for the next days scheme. The Regiment netted at 500 hours and leaguered in Regimental area at last light in desert. Leaguer formation facing West with A Squadron across the front, B Squadron on the right, C Squadron on the left and RHQ, scout cars and Intercom troop in the centre. All tank commanders were ordered to stay awake all night with the object of testing their reactions to a drug the next day.|
|7/5/43 ||Reveille 0500 hours. The Regiment advanced at 0630, order of march:- Recce troop, A Squadron, RHQ, B Squadron, C Squadron and proceeded over the desert to the Barrel Track at 62048048. The Regiment then deployed astride the Barrel track facing in a WNW direction with Recce troop 1 mile in front and as a covering screen, A Squadron leading, C Squadron left and B Squadron right. A & C Squadrons were ordered to send 1 troop each forward and to the left flank respectively to act as forward patrols. The order was then given to BREW UP. The Commanding Officer left during breakfast. Major AW Grant MC took over command of the Regiment.|
|8/5/43 ||A talk was given by the CO at 1015 hours to all personnel who took part in the Regimental scheme. The rest of the day was spent in maintenance. The Regimental Echelon returned at 1800 hours.|
|9/5/43 ||Routine training. 10 Shermans arrived for training purposes only. 6 men from A Squadron went to MAADI for intelligence test.|
|10/5/43 ||A Squadron with 8 training tanks from C Squadron held a scheme all day in area 6168068 and practised rapid changes of formation and brewing up. The Intercom troop went to the Delta area and practised map reading, message writing and reporting of information.|
|11/5/43 ||Intercom troop, Squadron I NCO and the personnel of Recce troop as passengers visited Tel-el-Kebir, to view the museum of captured enemy equipment.|
|12/5/43 ||6 officers from the Regiment, 2 from A, B & HQ reported to Abbassia Schools for a TEWT conducted by Capt. FC Crowley MM.A lecture was given by Lt WH Palmer to B Squadron on "Post Way Education Scheme".|
|13/5/43 ||Routine training. B Squadron held a sand table scheme for the echelon personnel on harbouring. HQ Squadron held a Squadron dinner at the Slade Club, Abbassia. 2Lt JA Brown rejoined the Regiment from OCTU.|
|14/5/43 ||Intercom troop and Recce troop went to a small arms range and carried out a Bren gun shoot. B Squadron tanks did a calibration and training shoot on range at El Khashab 618804.|
|15/5/43 ||Commanding Officer's Parade. A regimental photograph was taken of the entire Officers Mess. After COs parade a conference and discussion was held in the sand table tent and schemes were discussed in the use of an Armoured regiment in support of an Infantry Division in a landing on occupied enemy territory.|
|16/5/43 ||Routine training.|
|17/5/43 ||2 officers and 3 ORs attended a 1 day course at Beni Yusef on the Double Transposition Cipher. 2Lt JM Holdroyd returned to the Regiment. 8 men from A Squadron were sent to MAADI for an OCTU test.|
|18/5/43 ||Echelon personnel and spare crews of C Squadron visited Tel-el-Kebir and saw the museum of enemy equipment. A Squadron tank commanders went on a TEWT. Capt. W Sillar MC RAMC lectured to HQ Squadron on tropical diseases and anti-malarial precautions to be taken by all members of the Regiment during future operations. At 1800 hours the Regiment attended a lecture by SSM Wright of AEC on "Turkey".|
|19/5/43 ||A Squadron tank commanders visited the enemy museum at Tel-el-Kebir. B Squadron held a wireless scheme in the afternoon to practice procedure and netting, Recce troop, accompanied by Intercom troop did a scheme in the Delta area directed by Major CB Wrey and the Commanding Officer. The object of the exercise was as before reporting information and exploitation of opportunity.|
|20/5/43 ||Routine training. A further sand table exercise was held by the CO for all officers in the Regiment on the employment of an Armoured regiment with Infantry in close country.|
12 ORs from A Squadron and 20 ORs from C Squadron departed for Tel-el-Kebir under command of Lt Piggott to collect 10 Shermans. A Squadron practised driving and commanding when completely closed down.
|21/5/43 ||Routine training. First rehearsal in the afternoon for Empire Day Parade in Cairo.|
|22/5/43 ||B Squadron held a sand table exercise for junior and potential tank commanders.|
|23/5/43 ||Routine training. Second rehearsal for Empire Day parade.|
|24/5/43 ||The Regiment represented by OC Squadrons and one other officer per Squadron and 72 ORs per Squadron under command of Lt Col GGL Willis DSO attended the Empire Day Service held in Kasr-el-Nil barracks. The service was conducted by the Right Reverend LH Gwynne, the Lord Bishop of Egypt and Sudan. After the service the Regiment led the parade of 6000 troops in the march past and procession through Cairo. The salute was taken by the GOC Middle East General Sir Henry Maitland Wilson CBE KCB. The following were also in attendance at the saluting base - His Excellency Lord Killearn (His Majesty's Ambassador to Egypt), Air Marshall Sir Sholto Douglas KCB (Air Officer Commanding ME), Lt General Stone CBE and Brigadier Chrystal CBE MC. After the parade the Regiment had tea and cakes at the Empire Services Club.|
|25/3/43 ||At 0900 hours A, B, C & RHQ tanks proceeded in easy stages up the Alexandria road to Kilo 16 and turned off onto the desert to range. 3 miles short of QARET EL HADDADIN. At approx 1230 hours personnel arrived back from the parade in Cairo and the Regiment spent the afternoon in calibrating guns, and targeting. Each Squadron finished by firing one round of smoke from each tank.|
|26/5/43 ||Routine training. A Squadron held a sand table scheme for tank commanders to study the use of Armour with Infantry in close country. A lecture was given by the Regimental Wireless Officer to all wireless operators on netting and wireless procedure in preparation for a Regimental net and scheme which was held in the afternoon.|
|27/5/43 ||Routine training and preparation of tanks and vehicles for battle. Another Regimental net and wireless scheme was held in the afternoon.|
|28/5/43 ||Sand table scheme for all officers was held by the CO in the morning. Routine training. Regimental net and wireless scheme in afternoon.|
|29/5/43 ||Routine training.|
|30/5/43 ||Routine training.|
|31/5/43 ||[no entry]|
|June 1943 ||CO Lt Col GGL Willis DSO|
|Jun 43 ||3rd County of London Yeomanry |
|1 - 24 ||[1st to 24th of June missing]|
|25/6/43 ||3rd CLY personnel loaded onto 8 LSTs with mixed loads of tanks an A1 Echelon, sailed from ALEXANDRIA in a convoy bound for TRIPOLI.|
|26 - 28 ||At Sea.|
|29/6/43 ||The convoy arrived at TRIPOLI harbour where personnel were despatched to a transit camp approx 15 miles along the TRIPOLI road running North. A guard of 1 officer and 1 man per tank was left on each LST.|
|30 - 6 Jul ||This period was spent in the transit camp where the troops bathed and lived generally under very trying conditions. A few model schemes were held by squadrons and A1 Echelon personnel.|
|July 1943 ||CO Lt Col GGL Willis DSO|
|Jul 43 ||3rd County of London Yeomanry |
|30 Jun - 6 ||This period was spent in the transit camp where the troops bathed and lived generally under very trying conditions. A few model schemes were held by squadrons and A1 Echelon personnel.|
|7/7/43 ||The Regiment re-embarked on their LSTs and the night was spent in TRIPOLI harbour.|
|8/7/43 ||At approx 1000 the convoy sailed due East to meet the convoy of merchant ships and LSIs from ALEXANDRIA and PORT SAID. This convoy was met at approx 1900. The two convoys joined up and proceeded towards MALTA. As soon as the LSTs sailed all personnel were told that the convoy was bound for SICILY and last minute orders, preparations and issuing of maps were carried out. An order of the day issued by General BL Montgomery was read out to all personnel by the OC Troops of each ship.|
|9/7/43 ||At sea. The merchant and LSI convoy steamed ahead at approx 1200 hours and left the slower convoy of LSTs behind. Direction was changed during the night Southeast of MALTA towards SICILY. There was no sign of enemy aircraft or naval craft throughout the day.|
|10/6/43 ||At 0245 the assault landing was made by 15th and 17th Infantry Brigades on (ref sheet 277 100000 SICILY) GEORGE BEACH 075192 and on HOW BEACH 069179. Their first objective was the high ground West of CASSIBILE Sq 0620. This assault was successful and was carried out with very few casualties against only slight enemy opposition. At first light the LST convoy was well in sight of the Southeast coast of SICILY and it sailed at reduced speed until approx 0900 when it hove-to and lay off the coast. At this juncture naval personnel manoeuvred into position the 2 pontoons attached to the 4 LSTs and made general preparations for the landing. Tank crews and echelon personnel unshackled their tanks and vehicles and warmed up the engines. Meanwhile the only sound of firing came from the Monitor HMS EREBUS which was lying off the coast South of SYRACUSE and engaging with great effect coastal batteries, shore defences and ammunition dumps. There was still no sign of enemy aircraft. A constant air cover was provided by a squadron of Spitfires.|
At 1130 the order was received from the Beach Master for the LSTs to carry on landing. LST 414 in which there were 2 tanks of RHQ, Lt Col GGL Willis DSO, and the Adjutant 3 troop of B Sqn commanded by 2Lt JN Crews, and 2 tanks of 3 troop C Sqn commanded by Lt WH Palmer, sailed towards the beach at full speed and grounded. Some considerable time was taken in the positioning of Lily and Mary. As soon as the pontoons were in position the ships packet went ashore and proceeded to the assembly area in Sq 0623. On the way to the assembly area we passed the junior half of C Sqn comd by Capt. R Gale who had just landed and they were given orders to proceed to the assembly area and take up covering positions. So far there was no sign of enemy opposition except for 2 enemy planes which carried out a hit & run raid on GEORGE BEACH. At 1430 the junior half of B Sqn comd by Capt. OFJB Woods landed and proceeded towards the assembly area. Orders were received from 5th Division HQ to send the junior half of B Sqn to join 17th Infantry Brigade who were advancing along the coast road to SYRACUSE. The situation at 1630 was that 2 tanks of RHQ, the junior halves of B & C Sqns had landed with their respective echelon packets. C Sqn were standing by for orders. At 1810 C Sqn (Capt. R Gale) were ordered by 5 Div to proceed to map ref 056250 and contact 13 Inf Brigade. At 2002 contact was made with 13 Inf Bde in area 026299. B Sqn contacted 17 Inf Bde at map ref 123311 at approx 2010. (C Sqn story see Appendix).
At 2000 A Sqn packet, comd by Major CB Wrey landed on HOW BEACH, joined up with the junior half of A Sqn comd by Capt. AL Murray, who had landed at 1800, and moved to the assembly area where they leaguered for the night. The CO proceeded to 5 Div Tac HQ at ref 0322 and leaguered in their area. At 0100 an ammo dump exploded quite near A Sqn area and wounded Sgt Longstaff. At last light A Sqn were ordered to proceed at 0545 11th July to area 123313. (for A Sqn story see Appendix).
Tank state at 0857 hrs
| ||Landed & OK||U/S||Still on Ship|
|B Sqn||9|| ||7|
|C Sqn||15||1|| |
At 0830 Lt Col GGL Willis DSO advanced with 5 Div Tac HQ to map ref 095315. A Sqn despatched 2 Troop comd by 2Lt RC Roberts MM, to the town of SYRACUSE to help in mopping up operations. Several high ranking Italian Army and Naval personnel were captured. At this stage the junior half of B Sqn were advancing towards PRIOLO in support or 17 Inf Bde, and the junior half of C Sqn were in the area North of FLORIDIA and advancing towards TAVERNA. A Sqn were assembled just North of SYRACUSE, and the senior half of B Sqn plus the remainder of RHQ (2i/c Major AW Grant MC, and Lt K Piggott) were still on the ship awaiting landing. They were subjected to periodic bombing attacks. The senior half of C Sqn had landed at 0600 and were proceeding to make contact with Capt. R Gale. A1 Echelon were in the assembly area.
At 1230 the remainder of RHQ arrived at 095315 and RHQ remained with 5 Div Tac HQ for the remainder of the day. At 1230 wireless contact was made with Major JG Caunce MC, and his half squadron which had just landed. He was ordered to proceed to join Capt. OFJB Woods who was now 2 miles South of PRIOLO. At approx 1400 Major Caunce contacted Major Woods and assumed command of the whole of B Sqn. The advance South of PRIOLO was proving extremely slow owing to the nature of the country. Tanks were unable to deploy off the road either on the right or the left. At approx 1610 Sgt Water's tank of B Sqn was knocked out by a 50mm A/Tk gun. At 1800 hours 3 tanks of B Sqn were knocked out on the road by an SP gun, two tanks being set on fire. Major JG Caunce MC, Cpl Rayner, Tprs Kirkham, Leader, Ford and McCrae were wounded. Two further tanks were temporarily out of action. Major Caunce was evacuated after the squadron moved into leaguer in the woods South of PRIOLO and Capt. Woods assumed command. (see B Sqn story).
A report was received from C Sqn that the party commanded by Capt. R Gale had destroyed during the day 5 heavy mortars, one R35 French tank, one ammo truck, one farm containing mortars and infantry, several machine guns and 80 Italian prisoners were taken, With the aid of arty C Sqn also destroyed one 88mm A/Tk gun.
A Sqn leaguered just North of SYRACUSE, C Sqn leaguered in the area of FLORIDIA.
|12/7/43 ||At approx 0900 RHQ moved to 068388, 2 miles South of PRIOLO and remained with 5 Div Tac HQ. B Sqn continued the advance into PRIOLO but were held up by a natural A/Tk obstacle at map ref 053409 which was covered by A/Tk, mortar and machine gun fire. RHQ remained at 072387 throughout the day. A Echelon moved to area Sq 1331. At 1350 B Sqn continued the advance past PRIOLO and pushed on in the direction of AUGUSTA. A Sqn moved to harbour area at 81103350. C Sqn stood by in the area of FLORIDIA and captured one R35 tank which came into the town. At 1700 the Sqn moved via SYRACUSE to a harbour area East of BELVEDERE in area 093342.|
Tank state at 1915 hours 12 Jul.
Senior half of A Sqn was ordered to move to area 055409 and make contact with ? Comd 15 Inf Bde, it was intended that this half Sqn should support the Inf in an attack on VILLASMUNDO that night, however the Inf were held up at 978462 and the attack was not put in.
| ||Fit||Battle Casualties|
|13/7/43 ||In the early hours of the morning 3 Tp of B Sqn under comd 2LT JN Crews supported 2nd RSF into AUGUSTA. Capt. OFJB Woods had left the remainder of B Sqn in leaguer area 032470 and had gone forward with 2nd RSF plus 3 Tp B Sqn to take the final objective AUGUSTA. At about 0400 2Lt Crews's tank was penetrated by a 2.8cm A/Tk explosive bullet at T-roads 082510 and put out of action. 2Lt JN Crews being killed instantly and Tpr Wanless being wounded. The operation was fully successful and AUGUSTA occupied by the 2nd RSF. Capt. Woods remained in AUGUSTA area throughout the day and was joined by Capt. JL Aitken MC with the remainder of B Sqn later on.|
C Sqn moved to area 049413 where they spent the day on maintenance. A Sqn assisted 15 Bde throughout the day in area 978642. At 1700 Major CB Wrey and his half Sqn moved to support 15 Inf Bde attack across the ravine North of TENTELLA. The KOYLIs were strongly counter-attacked on the right flank and the half Sqn were heavily engaged by A/Tk guns and mortars from both flanks, six out of seven tanks were knocked out, of which 4 were completely destroyed by fire and two subsequently recovered. It was learnt later that 15 Bde put in a counter-attack and recaptured the lost ground.
A Sqn Casualties:-
| ||Sgt Darch|
| ||Cpl Carroll|
| ||Cpl Elkins (died of wounds)|
| ||L/Cpl Lee|
| ||Tpr Austin|
| ||Tpr Westgate|
| ||Tpr Henderson|
| ||L/Sgt Budgen (died of wounds)|
| ||Tpr Baker|
| ||Tpr Jones|
| ||Tpr Clark|
The Regiment less B Sqn leaguered in area ¼ miles North of PRIOLO on the right hand side of the road.At last light a plan was drawn up for the following day for a break through by the 4th Armd Bde comd by Brigadier J Currie DSO, the objective CATANIA. The 15th Inf Bde supported by 3rd CLY with the 44th RTR in reserve were to advance along centre line VILLASMUNDO - CARLENTINI - LENTINI - PRIMOSOLE BRIDGE - CATANIA. At 2230 an Airborne Bde was dropped in the area PRIMOSOLE BRIDGE at 942675 with the object of capturing it and holding till relieved by 15 Bde and 3rd CLY. The essential feature of the plan was speed and movement. It was not clear whether VILLASMUNDO was free of enemy and B Sqn was ordered to move during the night 13/14 Jul from AUGUSTA to VILLASMUNDO with one lorried Inf Coy 2nd Cameronians to attempt to capture it by first light. At approx 1530 B Sqn arrived at VILLASMUNDO having met no opposition anywhere.
|14/7/43 ||3rd CLY advanced along centre line PRIOLO - MELILLI - AUGUSTA - CARLENTINI - LENTINI - PRIMOSOLE BRIDGE. Order of march - section scout cars, C Sqn, RHQ, - section scout cars, A Sqn.At approx 0830 the Regiment passed though VILLASMUNDO and took up positions overlooking CARLENTINI from the high ground straddling the road in Sqs 9351 & 9251. The Regiment deployed, B Sqn right of the road C Sqn left of the road and pushing out to the left flank with the object of working round towards the bridge at 922522. A Sqn was held in reserve. The Regiment engaged targets at the bridge at 922522 and suspected targets in CARLENTINI. No. 1 Tp of C Sqn engaged 2 88mm A/Tk guns at 917521 and succeeded in knocking them out. 2i/c (Major AW Grant) also engaged a further 88mm A/Tk gun and knocked it out. C Sqn experienced great difficulty on the left flank because of rough and tricky ground and several tanks shed their tracks. At 1230 A Sqn was ordered to move forward on to the high ground by the farmhouse 924526 and work round to the right of CARLENTINI. They reported back that 3 88mm A/Tk guns were knocked out, one at 923551, 2 east of X-roads 911529 and then whilst advancing towards CARLENTINI the captured on prisoner of the KORNER regiment who volunteered the information that the Germans had evacuated CARLENTINI leaving behind them an A/Tk screen. A Sqn was heavily strafed and bombed while crossing the river at 917530 but no damage was done, however, 3 tanks shed their tracks. A Sqn pushed on and contacted 50 Div at T-roads 898526. At 1730 the Regiment was replenished by A1 Echelon on top of the high ground, whilst this was taking place the 44th RTR passed through. The Regiment then made a wide detour through area 925528 rejoining the main road at 912528 and continued on to LENTINI. Considerable delay was experienced whilst passing through LENTINI on account of traffic jams and the Regiment arrived at the leaguer area at 905613 at approx 2200, A Sqn did not arrive until 0330.|
|15/7/43 ||At first light the Regiment advanced to area 922657 and deployed overlooking the plain of CATANIA. Various targets were engaged by A & C Sqns in the plain throughout the morning. C Sqn were ordered to send two Troops to recce river crossings at 913665 and 870610. These were reported clear and the railway bridge at second crossing was intact. During this patrol C Sqn captured 8 Italian prisoners of 135th Coast Defence Regiment. Several guns were silenced in the plain of CATANIA during the morning by our own arty fire ably assisted by the monitor HMS EREBUS and county class cruisers. At 1330 A Sqn took over positions from the 44th RTR South of PRIMOSOLE bridge at 938674. Throughout the afternoon A Sqn engaged enemy with machine gun fire and HE and knocked out one 75mm A/Tk gun.At 1600 RHQ, B & C Sqns moved to the centre of LENTINI at 841561 as five Mark IIIs were reported to be in the area. C Sqn was sent out to stalk the 5 tanks which were clearly seen on top of a hill overlooking the plain of CATANIA. After a long detour with careful use of ground as cover the Sqn got into a position to observe the tanks more closely and discovered that they were friendly and a patrol of the 44th RTR.B Sqn remained in the area of LENTINI to deal with an SP gun and some infantry who were reported trapped and roaming about in the LENTINI area. At 2000 enemy parachutists were reported in the area of LENTINI and 6 tanks of C Sqn were ordered to X-roads Southeast of CARLENTINI at 912528 where they remained in support on the infantry until next day.At 1930 the Regiment consisted of 14 tanks (less A Sqn plus 6 tanks of C Sqn) leaguered at 889561 in support of 6th Inf Bde who had reported that the immediate area contained about 400 German parachutists who were trapped in the wood. From this position the Germans were snipping and machine gunning traffic on the road. The tanks leaguered in a close packed formation and mounted a very strong guard. Replenishment was carried out by A1 Echelon just before the tanks moved into leaguer.|
|16/7/43 ||At 0100 the alarm was raised by the guard. The infantry had reported that the parachutists had broken out across the road going straight through the infantry lines. One sub-unit of B Sqn was sent out in support of the infantry. The parachutists, however, had disappeared in the countryside. Tank crews stood-to for approx 3 to 4 hours and then bedded down an hour before daylight.A plan was made with the 6th Inf Bde to rout out any remaining Germans in the area by a co-ordinated barrage of mortar and Sherman HE fire on the wood. This was not carried out owing to the fact that the few remaining enemy were taken prisoner. The Regiment less A Sqn and 6 tanks C Sqn remained in LENTINI area until 1200 when it moved to 925655 on orders from 4th Armd Bde.|
Tank state at 1230 16 Jul 43
11Personnel casualties up to 1230 16 Jul - 1 officer and 20 ORs.
| ||Fit||Unfit||Battle Casualties|
|A Sqn||9|| ||5|
|5B Sqn||9|| ||2|
|2C Sqn||6|| ||4|
At first light 6 tanks of C Sqn under Lt WH Palmer patrolled a wide area from LENTINI to the sea and captured 5 Italian paratroopers and 3 Italian naval personnel from coastal batteries. C Sqn rejoined at 1800 and leaguered in area 935665.
A Sqn was ordered rest and maintenance throughout the day at 15 minutes notice. One troop was sent to support DLI into area 956697. Infantry failed to arrive, one objective was occupied by a troop of tanks but they withdrew at last light. At 1335 between 833665 and 844667, 200 or 300 were shelled heavily by our arty. Bridge at Sq 7866 was reported to be in our hands though there was slight enemy opposition. These were suspected to be the same paratroopers who had escaped the previous night from the LENTINI area.
1450 - party under Lt WH Palmer who had been out on patrol in the CATANIA area returned. The Regiment less B Sqn leaguered in area 935665, with RHQ one mile South at 4th Armd Bde HQ. A plan was formed to force a bridgehead across the PRIMOSOLE Bridge for the following morning. 3rd CLY under comd of 4th Armd Bde were placed in support of 168 Bde. The intention was that 2 Bns of infantry of 168 Bde would attack at 0245 17th July across the bridge. They were to be preceded by a barrage for 61 minutes.
|17/7/43 ||B Sqn took up a position short of the South bank of the river and fired small arms from Brownings continuously for 1 hour in support. B Sqn reported that the barrage was falling short of the targets at 0100 hours. One tank of B Sqn was hit by an HE shell and brewed up at 0130 but the crew escaped without injury. At 0200 the attack went in by the infantry and it was reported that they had secured a bridgehead of 500 yards. At 0500 A & C Sqns crossed the bridge and deployed right and left of the road immediately on the other side, C Sqn on the right with A Sqn on the left. B Sqn was held in reserve with RHQ at 923663. Lt Col Willis went forward in his tank to the demolished house to contact the Infantry Brigadier. He received orders to get A & C Sqns to deal with enemy on the left of the road who were in considerable force and were continuously machine gunning, snipping and mortaring our own FDLs. The CO went forward 200 yards in his tank and came under heavy machine gun and small arms fire. Lt Col GGL Willis DSO, was hit in the forehead by a small arms bullet and died of the wound about an hour later.|
Commanding Officer Major AW Grant MC.
The Regiment was then placed under command of Major AW Grant MC. From 0600 to 1100 A & C Sqn tanks attempted, unsuccessfully, to destroy the German pocket of resistance. Lt J Grimwade of B Sqn supported by Major AW Grant MC, managed to get their two tanks into a favourable position and then, by the throwing of hand grenades by Lt Grimwade and determined small arms fire, the Germans were forced to surrender. Very heavy casualties in killed and wounded were inflicted on the enemy and prisoners taken amounted to approx 150 Germans.
At 1120 A Sqn carried out a sweep of the area left of the road to clear up any remaining enemy. The rest of the afternoon was spent in support on the Inf, who had advanced the bridgehead to about 300 - 400 yards, against possible counter-attack by tanks.
At 1915 RHQ, A & C Sqns plus 1 Coy of Carriers of 156 Bde advanced across the plain to the left of the road REITANO - CATANIA to test the enemy defences. The advance was carried out under a smoke screen laid by gunners which proved very effective. The enemy did not reveal their positions. At 2030 the Regiment leaguered in area 932655 after being heavily shelled and mortared in their first area just East of PRIMOSOLE bridge.
|Killed:||Lt Col GGL Willis DSO|
| ||Lt WH Palmer|
| ||Sgt JL Ward|
|Wounded:||Major HM Matthews|
| ||Major CB Wrey|
| ||Cpl Thomson|
(For detailed accounts see A & C Sqn Appendix)
|18/7/43 ||3rd CLY moved to area 917544 to rest and reorganise.|
A Sqn 7 fit
B Sqn 9
C Sqn 8
|19/7/43 ||Tank state:- A Sqn 7 (incl 2 HQ) B Sqn 9 C Sqn 8 RHQ 2Total 26A, C & RHQ remained in area 913643 and carried out a comprehensive programme of maintenance.B Sqn was sent out to area Sq 8968 to recce crossing and to support, if necessary, 44th RTR and Inf of 15th & 17th Bde in Sq 8969. Two 88mm were reported at 824695 and 2 Mark IIIs at 887704. Enemy machine gun post and A/Tk gun at 885715. At 1040 hours B Sqn reported that bridge at 875698 was partially blown. At last light the Regiment less B Sqn moved to harbour at 935615, B Sqn leaguered at 905623.|
|20/7/43 ||At 0215 B Sqn advanced up the line of the railway and crossed the bridge at 905703. At 0300 A Sqn, C Sqn & RHQ advanced from harbour area to bridge at 905703 and crossed it. The plan of attack was that 15 Bde followed by 17 Bde were to attack towards MISTABIANCO along axis bridge 605703 X-roads PULMRENTI and thence North. 3rd CLY were to follow up in support and exploit if the attack was successful. Just before first light the Regiment deployed off the road at 885714 and hid behind haystacks. The Infantry FDLs were being held up by heavy mortar fire and the main attack was brought to a standstill. The Regiment remained in area 885714 throughout the day and were subjected to sporadic shell and mortar fire all the time. The Regiment harboured in area 870693.|
|21/7/43 ||At 0530 C Sqn moved forward to support 15& 17 Bde in area 883707 and remained in cover of farm buildings throughout the day and were treated with sporadic mortar fire again.|
|22/7/43 ||The Regiment less C Sqn consisting of 2 tanks RHQ, 9 A Sqn and 8 B Sqn moved to 884661 and took up concealed hull down positions in the bed of the river facing North.We were told that 3rd CLY would possibly be there for 10 days and that during that time efforts were to be made to further better co-operation of Inf. Parties of Inf were to visit the Regiment each evening and be shown over the tanks and discuss tank and Inf difficulties.|
|23-3Aug ||The Regiment remained in this area until 4 Aug and time was spent on reorganising, rest and maintenance with various discussions on employment of the Armoured Regiment with Infantry in close country. Comd 4th Armd Bde attended 3 of these discussions between tank commanders and various situations were raised and thrashed out.On 28th July Lt Col AA Cameron DSO MC, arrived at the Regiment and took over command.|
|July 1943 ||CO Lt Col GGL Willis DSO|
|Jul 43 ||3rd County of London Yeomanry APPENDIX - A Squadron|
|10/7/43 ||Capt. AL Murray + 2 Troop (2Lt Roberts) landed on HOW beach at 1800.|
2000 hours Major CB Wrey, Capt. PR Hargreaves + 3 Troop (Lt MM Hawkins) landed on HOW beach. Both packets moved to assembly area. 0100 hours an ammo dump exploded wounding Sgt Longstaff. Remained for night in assembly area.
|11/7/43 ||First light, Sqn less 4 Troop moved to SYRACUSE. Met Divisional General and ordered into Div reserve at 81263314.|
0730 4 Troop (Lt WHJ Sale MC) landed.
0930 4 Troop joined Squadron.
1030 2 Troop (2Lt RC Roberts MM) ordered to clean up remaining pocket of resistance in SYRACUSE which was the barracks in the town. Several naval and military prisoners of senior rank taken. Remained for the night in this area.
|12/7/43 ||1300 Complete Sqn moved to harbour area West of railway station at 81103360.|
1730 Major CB Wrey, Capt. PR Hargreaves and 1 Troop (Sgt Harris) + 4 Tp (Lt Sale MC) ordered to move to harbour area 80553409 where Major Wrey was ordered to meet commander 15th Bde. It was intended that this half Sqn should support the Infantry in an assault on VILLASMUNDO that night. Infantry were held up at 79783452 and half Sqn was not required that night. The two half Sqns remained in their separate harbour areas for the night.
|13/7/43 ||0830 Major Wrey and Lt Sale MC, collected Naval OP from North of ?????? 80023438. Lt Sale acted as link with RHQ which was at Div. Lt Sale and OP took up position on high ground at 79773463 and remained in this area till last light.|
0930 Capt. Murray + Sgt Ward (rear link) + 2 Troop (Lt Roberts) + 3 Troop (Lt Hawkins) moved to join rest of the Sqn at 80556409.
Capt. Hargreaves + 4 Tp (less Lt Sale) and 1 Tp (Sgt Harris) moved out to join Major Wrey at 80023438 who moved to 79783462 to support the infantry (15th Bde) who were held up at this position by fire from blockhouses in T-road at 79853469.
1300. 1 Tp (Sgt Harris) shelled these blockhouses which were then evacuated by the enemy and occupied by our own infantry.
1500. Major Wrey + half Sqn less Lt Sale, moved to area farm at TENTELLA 79883474.
1700. The above party moved forward to support the 15th Inf Bde attack across the ravine North of TENTELLA. The KOYLIs were strongly counter-attacked in the right flank and the half Sqn was then heavily engaged by A/Tk guns and mortars from both flanks, 6 out of 7 tanks were knocked out of which 4 brewed up, 2 were subsequently recovered.
The casualties were:-
|1 Troop|| killed||wounded|
| ||Sgt Harris||L/Sgt Budgen (died of wounds)|
| ||L/Cpl Lee||Tpr Francis|
| ||Tpr Austin||Tpr Baker|
| ||Tpr Westgate||Tpr Jones|
| ||Tpr Henderson||Tpr Clark|
| ||Tpr Rawson|| |
| ||Cpl Carroll|| |
| || || |
|4 Troop||Sgt Darch||Cpl Elkins|
2200. Capt. Hargreaves + Lt Sale rejoined second half Sqn in their harbour area. Major Wrey returned dismounted. Night spent in this harbour.
|14/7/43 ||0500. The Sqn (major Wrey, Capt Murray, Sgt Ward) + 2 Tp (2Lt Roberts) + 3 Tp (Lt Hawkins) + 4 Tp (Lt Sale) under Regimental command moved out for advance on CATANIA.|
1100. Sqn moved into fire position at area 783381 engaging enemy in the North and Northwest.
1230. Sqn was ordered to move forward on high ground by farmhouse 79243526 overlooking CARLENTINI. 3 88mm were knocked out, 1 at 79233531 and 2 East of X-road 79113529. Sqn was then ordered to move into road at 79263529 and advance on CARLENTINI at area 79233531. 2 Tp captured one prisoner of the KORNER regiment. This man talked willingly and provided useful and accurate information. While crossing river at 79173530, 3 tanks lost tracks and Sqn heavily strafed and bombed. Sqn pushed on and contacted 50 Div at Y-road 78983526. Sqn was then ordered to halt and 44th RTR passed through. The remainder of the Regiment passed through and Sqn waited for replenishment.
|15/7/43 ||0030. Capt. Hargreaves rejoined Sqn.|
0130. Replenishment was completed and Sqn moved to join Regiment in harbour area at 79103630 arriving at 0330.
0430. Sqn (Major Wrey, Capt. Murray, Capt. Hargreaves), 2 Tp (Lt Roberts), 3 Tp (Lt Hawkins), 4 Tp (Lt Sale) moved out to take up fire positions in area 79183642 with the task on engaging targets to the Northwest. Targets were engaged on CATANIA plain and several enemy guns were silenced.
1330. Sqn was ordered to take over position south of PRIMOSOLE bridge area 79383674 from 44th RTR while they replenished. Throughout afternoon Sqn engaged enemy with machine gun fire and HE and knocked out one 75mm A/Tk gun.
1800. Sqn moved into reserve on this position.
1930. Sqn moved into harbour at 79253649. Remained the night in this position.
|16/7/43 ||Sqn ordered rest and maintenance and kept on 15 minutes notice to move.|
1000. 3 Tp (Lt Hawkins) was detached and ordered to take up position along a line from 79533675 to 79583675 in order to support Infantry (DLI) in to area 79563679. One tank lost a track at area south of PRIMOSOLE bridge. The Infantry failed to arrive the remainder of the troop plus LO pushed forward and occupied the Infantry objective. The troop remained in this position until last light and then withdrew half a mile to harbour for the night.
1500 hours the remainder of the Squadron moved to area 79173643 to rejoin the Regiment. Three repaired tanks returned to the Squadron.
2030 hours the Regiment moved and the Squadron with it, to 79315619 to harbour the night.
2140 hours a troop of three tanks commanded by Corporal Cook joined B Squadron and under B Squadron command moved to 79453673 to protect the right flank of an infantry attack by machine gunning a general area to the north and north-east. 1 tank was knocked out by mortar fire and brewed up.
|17/7/43 ||0445. Sqn (Major Wrey, Capt Murray, Capt Hargreaves), 4 Tp (Lt Sale) under regimental command was ordered to take up position in wood north of PRIMOSOLE bridge, left of road, in an anti-counter attack role in support of Infantry. After crossing the bridge Major Wrey was knocked out by A/Tk fire and Sgt Ward killed by a sniper, Lt Sale slightly wounded and temporarily blinded by a sniper hitting the .5 machine gun ammo which exploded down into the turret. Contact was immediately made with the 2i/c of the DLI who said his Bt. was pinned to ground by heavy machine gun fire and snipers. Sqn (3 tanks) took approx 30 prisoners. The Sqn was then reinforced by 2 tanks and after Lt Grimwade's attack on enemy position, moved forward and left, clearing up remaining enemy. The Sqn then helped our infantry establish their FDLs, a total of approx 40 prisoners were taken.|
0515. 3 Tp (Lt Hawkins - 2 tanks) + OP returned to position of previous day.
1100. The Bty commander of the OP appeared and ordered Lt Hawkins to move out to the right and to machine gun enemy infantry toward the coast. One tank became bogged and any attempt to recover it was shelled and mortared.
1730. Remaining tank of 3 Tp rejoined Regiment South of PRIMOSOLE bridge.
1915. Sqn infantry carriers were ordered forward on recce and advanced about 3000 yards without encountering any enemy except that the Tp on the left commanded by Lt Sale was fired on by 50mm. One tank received 3 hits which did not penetrate.
2030. Moved into harbour area South of PRIMOSOLE bridge where the Regiment was shelled and moved further South. Remained night in that area.
2200. 2Lt Roberts rejoined the Sqn in Sgt Ward's tank.
|Sgt Ward||Major CB Wrey|
| ||Cpl Thomson|
|18/7/43 ||0530. Sqn (Capt Murray, Capt Hargreaves, Lt Sale, Lt Hawkins 2Lt Roberts) under Regimental command moved to harbour area 79153044 to rest, maintain and reorganise. Remained day & night in this area.|
|Sqn HQ||Capt AL Murray |
| ||Capt PR Hargreaves|
|2 Tp ||2Lt RC Roberts + 2 tanks|
|3 Tp||Lt DH Hawkins + 2 tanks|
|19/7/43 ||Remained in same position.2000. Moved to harbour area South of PRIMOSOLE bridge under Regimental command.|
|20/7/43 ||0300. Sqn (Capt Murray, Capt Hargreaves, Lt Hawkins) moved under Regimental command to assist in the 5th div attack. Reached RV at 78863714 to find Inf held up. Hid behind haystacks without movement all day.|
2045. Sqn less 3 Tp (Lt Hawkins) moved into Regimental harbour at 78903692.
2100. 3 Tp was ordered to take up position facing West in area 7867371 in order to protect Div left flank against counter-attack. One tank became ditched. Owing to an infantry battle developing remainder of troop was obliged to take up position at 78793716.
|21/7/43 ||0445. Sqn (Capt Murray, Capt Hargreaves, 2Lt Roberts) ordered to send two troops separately to take up defensive positions. Inf found to have been held up, so 4 Tp (Capt Hargreaves) withdrawn into harbour area 78953688 and 2 Tp remained in area 78833703. 3 Tp withdrawn into Sqn harbour area. 2 Tp ordered under command C Sqn. One tank mechanical breakdown subsequently recovered.|
Remained in these area day and night.
|22/7/43 ||Sqn (Capt Murray, Capt Hargreaves, Lt Sale), (2 Tp commanded by Lt Piggott remained under C Sqn), under Regimental command moved to harbour area 78703860 to be in reserve.|
1730. One repaired tank returned. Remained in this position day and night.
|23/7/43 ||2 Tp returned under command A Sqn, 2Lt Roberts took over 2 Tp.|
|24/7/43 ||Sqn (Capt Murray, Capt Hargreaves, Lt Sale, 2Lt Roberts) remained in same area.|
Lt Sale took over 2i/c.Lt Hawkins took over 3 Tp.
|25/7/43 ||Sqn (Capt Murray, Lt Sale, Lt Hawkins, 2Lt Roberts) remained in same area.|
2100 Sqn took over from C Sqn in area 78953688.
|July 1943 ||CO Lt Col GGL Willis DSO|
|Jul 43 ||3rd County of London Yeomanry APPENDIX - B Squadron|
|10/7/43 ||Nine tanks landed at George Beach from HM LSTs 323 & 414 during the period 1200 - 1500 and proceeded forthwith under Capt OFJB Woods to come under command 17th Inf Bde which was on the river-railway-canal line along grid 30 approx.|
Progress was difficult owing to traffic congestion and much of the way was covered across country. At 092279 the bridge was found to bear only 5 tons and the REs constructed a causeway across the fosse in about 30 minutes. The OC reported to GOC 5 Div at 17 Bde HQ at T-roads 097283 at 1700 and was put under command leading left hand Btn (2nd Northants) for the final advance on SYRACUSE. B Sqn followed vanguard company and entered the town at last light without opposition except for the barracks which surrendered the next day. Leaguered in SYRACUSE.
|11/7/43 ||Resumed advance along the coast road still under comd 2nd Northants. Opposition was first met in the woods South of PRIOLO 06397 from elements of the Hermann Goring Panzer Grenadier Regiment. The infantry was unable to make progress and 3 Tp (2Lt Crews) was pushed down the road and engaged a 50mm A/Tk gun which it destroyed. Later Sgt Water's tank was knocked out by 50mm AP shot bouncing off the road into the belly of the tank. At 1400 the Sqn Leader Major A Caunce MC arrived with the remaining seven tanks of the Sqn and assumed command. At 1800 3 tanks were knocked out on the road by an SP gun, two being set on fire. Major Caunce, Cpl Rayner, Tprs Kirkham, Leader, Ford and McCrae were wounded. 2 further tanks were temporarily out of action. The Sqn leaguered just South of the woods Capt Woods assumed command.|
|12/7/43 ||Advance resumed under command 2nd RSF with 9 tanks. PRIOLO was entered at 0830 without opposition but the advance was stopped at the bridge crossing the fosse at 0504167. Leading Tp (No. 2) shelled houses and redoubts indicated by the infantry and a number of prisoners were taken. The fosse however was a complete A/Tk obstacle and the advance was only continued at 1430 after a two Btn infantry attack, following a barrage by Div Arty on the woods at grid 0243, Sgt Rhodes was wounded by HE. Advance was again resumed with B Sqn in support of 2nd Northants 040448-039477-AUGUSTA. On crossing the bridge at 039447, 2 Tp was fired on by A/Tk guns and withdrew. It was not known that part of 6th Seaforths were already across the river.|
At about 1800 2nd Northants arrived with remaining tanks and a second attempt was made to cross the bridge but A/Tk fire again opened up. OC B Sqn was ordered by comd 17th Inf Bde to do his best to support 6th Seaforths to the outskirts of AUGUSTA that night. He brought up his own tank and 2Lt Crew's and supported the vanguard Coy with these 2 tanks as far as Y-roads 069511, which were reached about 0200 when the moon went down. Fire from houses and pillboxes was subdued on the way and about 60 Italian prisoners taken. Remainder of Sqn leaguered under Capt JL Aitken MC at X-roads 032470.
|13/7/43 ||2nd RSF came through 6th Seaforths about 0200 and the CO requested OC B Sqn to support him into the final objective AUGUSTA, which he did. At about 0400 2Lt Crew's tank was penetrated by a 2.8cm A/Tk explosive bullet at T-roads 082510 and put out of action, 2Lt Crews being killed and Tpr Wanless wounded. The operation was successful and AUGUSTA occupied by 2nd RSF. Later in the day Capt Aitken came up with 6 tanks. Dispositions were reconnoitred in case of counter-attack on AUGUSTA. At 2300 Comd 4th Armd Bde and B Sqn ceased to be under command 17th Inf Bde.|
15th Inf Bde advancing from the South had been held up south of VILLASMUNDO and B Sqn was given the task of escorting one lorried Inf Coy 2nd Cameronians along the road from AUGUSTA with the object of discovering whether it was held and of seizing VILLASMUNDO from this side, the operation to be completed by first light. The road was found NOT to be held and VILLASMUNDO was occupied according to plan, 2Tp passing through and taking up position one mile north of the town across the main road to CARLENTINI. 3rd CLY came through about 0830 and B Sqn reverted to Regimental control, with a strength of 6 tanks. During the remainder of the day it was in position at 927521 and gave supporting fire to Sqns advancing through CARLENTINI. At last light 3rd CLY passed through CARLENTINI and LENTINI, B Sqn leading with 3 tanks and leaguered at ??????.
|July 1943 ||CO Lt Col GGL Willis DSO
|Jul 43 ||3rd County of London Yeomanry APPENDIX - C Squadron - OC Major Matthews|
|10/7/43 ||The convoy of LSTs anchored off shore at 0800, the beaches being smaller than anticipated. The junior half Sqn finally went ashore at 1200 on George beach and were placed under command of 2nd Cameronians of eight tanks under Capt Gale and was ordered to positions near FLORIDIA where it harboured in the orchards about 1000 yards south of the town 027307. Engaged enemy infantry south of FLORIDIA 1800. The Senior half Sqn remained on the ship and from 1200 was bombed at frequent intervals but without sustaining any loss.|
|11/7/43 ||At 0600 the junior half Sqn (8 tanks) under command of 2nd Cameronians engaged MG nest in FLORIDIA and the town was occupied by 0800 by the tanks. They then advanced to TAVERNA where 3Tp was detached to attack SOLARINO. This troop took up position in area 000330 and engaged targets in the town, setting fire to one ammo truck. The remainder of the party (2 HQ tanks and 4Tp) advanced Northwest through difficult country which contained walled orchards and rock outcrops and at 017343 destroyed 5 heavy mortars, killed a number of the enemy and sent back a party of 20 Italian prisoners. Several MGs were also destroyed in this area, 1 farm was demolished containing Inf and mortars. The 5 tanks then advanced North on to the high ground and on coming into the open at015346 4Tp was fired on by an 88mm from area 012350. Tank 4A was hit and set on fire and Sgt Lloyd, Cpl Marley, Tpr Thompson and Tpr Ford were killed. Owing to the gallant action of Cpl Marley, Tpr Brown J was able to get out although he sustained severe burns.The remaining 4 tanks withdrew, crossed the road and came up facing the 88mm on the edge of an orchard at 018346, there tank 4B was hit and Sgt Barker, Tpr Dobson and Tpr Duncan were injured. The 88mm was finally eliminated with the aid of the arty. Tanks ?, 5 & 6 then withdrew to area 026344. An R35 knocked out by tanks.|
The senior half of the Sqn (8 tanks) came ashore at 0600 and proceeded North to join the remainder of the Sqn in the area of TAVERNA. At 1400 with 2nd Inneskillen and 2nd Wilts they made a sweep forward to SOLARINO and again encountered no opposition, 2Tp going into the town which was deserted. This half Sqn less 1Tp then returned to area 026334.
1Tp remained with the infantry until last light making a sweep 5 miles West of SOLARINO but again encountering no opposition.
|12/7/43 ||The Sqn consisting of 14 tanks stood-by in the area of FLORIDIA and captured one R35 tank which came into the town. At 1700 the Sqn moved via SYRACUSE to a harbour area East of BELVEDERE at 093342.|
|13/7/43 ||At 1000 the Sqn moved to area North of PRIOLO, 049413, where they spent the day on maintenance.|
|14/7/43 ||At first light the Sqn moved North via VILLASMUNDO to area 929516. After firing at targets near the town of CARLENTINI, 1Tp was sent forward down the road and the remainder of the Sqn moved onto the forward slopes to the left of the road and were fired on by two 88's from area 912529. Tank 2A was hit and damaged in the gun mounting and owing to the rocky nature of the ground, tank 4 lost a track. 1Tp on the road was also engaged by the two 88's at 917521 and succeeded in knocking them out, but on moving forward to overrun them the leading tank encountered mines and was immobilised.|
The remainder of the Sqn then withdrew to the high ground for replenishment and at 1730 moved towards LENTINI. As the enemy had blown the bridge at 910526 in was necessary to make a long detour through area 925528 returning to the main road at 912528. There were many sharp bends in this route and two tanks shed tracks. After a long march through CARLENTINI and LENTINI the Sqn spent the night in the area 905613.
|15/7/43 ||At first light, the Sqn, consisting of 9 tanks, moved to 922657 and shelled enemy positions on the plain of CATANIA. Later 2Tp and 3Tp were sent to patrol river crossings at 913665 and 890660. These were reported clear of the enemy and the railway bridge at the second crossing was intact. 2Tp returned with 8 Italians of the 135th Coast Defence Regiment who they found in farm buildings at 903662. At 1600 the Sqn was ordered to 841561 as five Mark IIIs had been reported Northwest of LENTINI. After patrolling a wide area contact was made with 5 Shermans of 50th Div at 805595. The Sqn was recalled to the Regimental area North of LENTINI at 887566.|
At 2000 the enemy dropped a large number of paratroops in the area of LENTINI and 6 tanks under Lt Palmer were ordered to the crossroads Southeast of CARLENTINI at 912528 where they stood-by until next morning.
|16/7/43 ||From first light the party under Lt Palmer patrolled a wide area from LENTINI Eastwards to the sea, and with 2nd Inneskillen captured 5 Italian paratroops and 3 Italian naval personnel from coastal batteries. The Sqn rejoined the Regiment at 1800 and harboured South of the PRIMOSOLE bridge in area 935665. During the night snipers fired into the harbour area.|
|17/7/43 ||Before first light the Sqn moved across the PRIMOSOLE bridge and took up positions to the right of the road facing North. There was considerable MG fire from the enemy and also snipers in the trees.|
At 0900 the enemy infantry were seen to be deploying 800 yards ahead of the Sqn and 2Tp fired on and destroyed an 88mm and one truck. 3Tp were then ordered by OC 156 Bde to push forward along the road but were halted by heavy fire from the enemy and Lt Palmer sustained fatal head injuries (943768).
At 0930 after being shelled by the Sqn, the enemy infantry were seen to be retreating and the Sqn then advanced across open fields as far as the track at 945692. About 70 German airborne troops were killed and 4 taken prisoner while a large number of prisoners were taken by our own infantry which followed up. 105mm captured and destroyed. At 1700 the Sqn advanced in support of the Bren Carriers of 156 Bde who made a recce as far as the line 944700-950700. Heavy A/Tk fire was encountered from area 942714 but the Sqn withdrew without loss. The harbour area for the night was to have been 945673 but this area was subject to heavy shelling by the enemy and Major Matthews was injured by shrapnel. The Sqn then moved with the Regiment to 934668.
|18/7/43 ||The Sqn spent the day on maintenance in area 917664.|
|19/7/43 ||The Sqn, which by this time had only 7 tanks fit for action, stood-by until 1900 when a move was made to harbour area South of PRIMOSOLE bridge.|
|20/7/43 ||At 0400 the Sqn led the Regimental column in support of 15 & 17 Bdes with the intention of taking MISTABIANCO but after following the line of the river SIMETO westwards to 885714 the enemy opposition was too great and the Sqn remained in that area until last light. The harbour area that night was 890693.|
|21/7/43 ||At 0530 the Sqn moved up to support the 15 & 17 Bdes in area 883707 and stood-by in the cover of farm buildings etc. At 2000 the Sqn moved into cover along the North bank of the river SIMETO at 895685.|
|22/7/43 ||The Sqn consisting of 8 tanks stood-by on the North bank of the river in case of counter-attack by the enemy.|
|26-1Aug ||The Sqn stayed in area 876660 with RHQ the Regiment having been ordered to stop any possible counter-attack between grid lines 75 and 82 and to prevent the enemy crossing the river GORNA LUNGA and penetrating East of the railway.|
|August 1943 ||CO Lt Col AA Cameron DSO MC|
|Aug 43 ||3rd County of London Yeomanry |
3rd CLY was ordered to place B Sqn under command of 17 Bde and C Sqn under command of 15 Bde, with the object of pushing forward to the foothills South of MISTABIANCO as patrols had reported that the enemy had withdrawn. A Sqn remained in area 884661 in command of the 2i/c of the Regiment. Remainder of RHQ moved to 5 Div area at CARMITO 889625. B & C Sqns were under complete command of their respective brigades and for accounts see stories to follow.
|5/8/43 ||RHQ remained with 5 DIV all day. At 1000 hours 5 Div and RHQ 3rd CLY moved to area 870747 and established HQ there. A Sqn and A1 Echelon were brought to same area one and a half miles east.|
|6/8/43 ||RHQ remained at 870747 throughout the day. A, B, & C Sqns remained under command of 17 & 15 Bdes (see B & C Sqn Appendix). At 1600 a conference was held at Div HQ and a plan was made for the 7th Aug. Lt Col AA Cameron was put in command of a column consisting of 1 Troop 5th Recce Regiment, 1 section 245th Field Coy and B Sqn 3rd CLY.|
1 Tp 208 A/Tk Bty
1 Coy 1st Green Howards
2 3-inch Mortar Dets 1st Green Howards
1 Plt D Coy 7th Cheshires
C Sqn 3rd CLY
2 Mob ambulances.
56th Bty 24th Field Regt and 92nd Field Regiment were also placed under command. The column was to be known as CAMCOL. A Sqn was to go to a similar column known as BLOCKCOL (Lt Col Blockley). The plan was that CAMCOL should advance along road NICOLOSI-PEDARA-TRECASTAGNE-VIAGRANDE and bring pressure to bear on the enemy's right flank. BLOCKCOL was to make a similar advance along road CAMPOROTONDO-VASCALUCIA-TREMESTIERI-S.GIOVANNI-LA PUNTA. The object was to force the enemy to withdraw in order to assist 50 Div in their advance along the coast towards ACREALE. At 1730 RHQ moved to NICOLOSI and B & C Sqns rejoined the Regiment. Lt Col Cameron held a conference of all commanders in the column just before last light. Start point was to be bridge at 878904 and bands were CAMPOROTONDO - NICOLOSI (Grouse), TREMESTIERI - PEDARA (Partridge), GIOVANNI - VIAGRANDE (Woodcock). Start point was to be crossed by the leading element at 0600 7th Aug 43.
One Tp 5 Recce
One Sec 245 Fd Coy RE
B Sqn 3rd CLY
Main BodyCol Comd & 'O' Grp
1 Tp 208 A/Tk Bty
1 Coy 1st Green Howards
3-inch mortar Dets 1st GH
Plt D Coy 7th Cheshires
C Sqn 3rd CLY
During the night A replenished tanks and it was reported that 15 Bde had not got into NICOLOSI.
|7/8/43 ||Reveille 0500 hours. Netted at 0515 - 56 Bty 24 Fd, 92 Fd Comdr Green Howards, A/Tk Tp were all netted on the Regimental frequency. B Sqn flicked to own frequency. B Sqn reported they were just behind the SP at 0600 at 888904. Column held up by A/Tk mines and mortaring. 56 Bty engaged mortars. Gunners dealt with A/Tk gun at 894908. Report received from BLOCKCOL that they had reached Grouse. For further operations CAMCOL see report on Operation of CAMCOL.|
|8/8/43 ||3rd CLY again under command of 5 Div and in reserve. Regiment remained in harbour at 912904 and spent the day in maintenance and rest.|
|9 - 17 ||[Missing]|
|18/8/43 ||The Regiment moved to area one and a half miles West of MISTABIANCO, C Sqn returned to the Regiment from the MESSINA operation (see C Sqn story) the same day. The Regiment once more came under command of 4th Armd Bde whose HQ was at ACI COSTELLO.|
|19 -26 ||The Regiment spent this period in preparing its camp site and general maintenance was begun extensively on all tanks.|
|27/8/43 ||A Sqn under command of Major OFJB Woods MC, carried out a scheme with 2 troops along road 875776 towards CATANIA. The schemes were set by the Sqn leader and the lessons to be learnt were methods with dealing with rear guard action from a German tank Mark IV|
With artillery OP
Without Artillery OP.
In the afternoon a scheme was carried out to practice "fire & movement" a lightly held position which was holding up the infantry in the area farmhouse 888758.
B2 Echelon under command of Capt FC Crowley MM arrived at the Regiment from Egypt.
|28/8/43 ||A Sqn carried out a similar scheme as yesterday with 2 other troops and the CO (Lt Col AA Cameron DSO MC) set a scheme for the Sqn in the afternoon to practice movement of a Sqn group having under command one battery of Priests, one Motor Coy and a detachment of REs, through enemy country. C Sqn spent the day preparing tanks for the scheme the next day. The remainder of the Regiment continued with its maintenance and great work was carried out by the unit fitters in changing bogey wheels, many of which were in a very bad condition after travelling over the Sicilian countryside.|
|29/8/43 ||C Sqn carried out a scheme including cross country driving and attacking enemy positions.|
|30/8/43 ||2nd day of C Sqn scheme when enemy positions were attacked by "fire & movement". A similar exercise was set in the afternoon as for A Sqn's training period by the CO. A Sqn took 3 tanks down to the sea just North of ACI COSTELLO and practised AP shooting at barrels towed by rowing boats out at sea.|
The remainder of the Regiment began preparing tanks and echelon for the forthcoming inspection by the Brigade Commander.B Sqn went to do 2 days training on the same lines as A & C Sqns.
|31/8/43 ||C Sqn took 1 troop down to ACI COSTELLO and practised AP shooting.|
|August 1943 ||CO Lt Col AA Cameron DSO MC|
Time 3rd County of London Yeomanry Appendix - Report on Operation CAMCOL 7 August 1943
|0600 ||Advanced guard under command B Sqn crossed SP at 878905.|
|0605|| Leading elements of B Sqn report anti tank mines and mortaring at head of coln at 898911.|
|0615|| Enemy A/Tk gun reported at 894908 and small arms fire.|
|0620|| Above targets engaged by 92 Fd and 56 Bty.|
|0640|| MONTI ROSSI and high ground 898904 reported clear of enemy and advance resumed in face of opposition.|
|0745|| Leading A/c of 5 Recce brewed up at 893908 by suspected Tiger tank.|
|0800|| Plan put into operation to get observed fire on Tiger and to knock it out with leading tank troop of B Sqn.|
|0855|| Tiger tank reported to have moved to 900901 and again being engaged.|
|0930|| Plan made to push forward one Coy of Green Howards into NICOLOSI.|
|1150|| Forward elements going into town (NICOLOSI) having encountered continuous delaying action en route.|
|1300|| NICOLOSI reported clear, flank protection North & south of town in position with forward elements pushing on to PENDARA.|
|1305|| B Sqn reported road mined and cratered at 913912.|
|1400|| REs completed mending of road for light traffic and advance continued, alternative routed being recced without success.|
|1410|| B Sqn reported mortar fire I mile ahead of their position at 9291 and 88mm firing from outskirts of PENDARA.|
|1425|| B Sqn reported suspected Tiger on road ½ mile in front of them and arrangements made to put forward Green Howards into the town.|
|1550|| CO Inniskillings contacted with reference to take over of NICOLOSI. Arty engaging 88mm and Tiger tank West of PENDARA.|
|1615|| X-roads at NICOLOSI shelled heavily by the enemy.|
|1640|| Road ready for tanks and heavy traffic and B Sqn tanks advanced to support the infantry.|
|1800|| B Sqn reports fire coming from area 9493.|
|1810 || 92 Fd engaged this target.|
|1820 || B Sqn reports infantry progressing to outskirts of PENDARA, road reported mined and lifting operations progressing.|
|1830|| Leading infantry in PENDARA supported by tanks, enemy still putting up light opposition.|
|1840|| 1 Tp of B Sqn moved North to support 13 Bde attack on TRE-MONTI.|
|1900 || PENDARA cleared with flank protection arranged and advance Eastwards continued.|
|1904|| One A/c of Recce brewed up.|
|1905|| Tiger reported on road at 942917 and plans made to destroy it by Pheasant|
|2000|| Contacted commander of 13 Bde re handover of PENDARA.|
|2100|| First relief completed.|
|2130 || Handover completed and supporting arms returning to unit areas.|
|2200 || 3rd CLY less 1 Sqn in harbour area 912904|
|August 1943 ||CO Lt Col AA Cameron DSO MC|
|Aug 43 ||3rd County of London Yeomanry - Appendix - B Squadron OC Major OFJB Woods|
|4/8/43 ||B Sqn came under command of 17th Infantry Bde with the task of supporting it in pursuit of the enemy north of the SIMETO. Sqn Leader spent the night at Bde HQ near PASSO MARINO railway station 894673. One troop of 24 Fd Regt came under command B Sqn|
|5/8/43 ||B Sqn moved North of the river and took over area 898687 by 0500 from 44th RTR. Placed under command left leading Btn (6th Seaforths) as from 0800. Moved behind 6th Seaforths from MELON ford to assembly are 879750. Objective for the day was given as the high ground South of MISTABIANCO. No opposition but road cratered and mined. Left concentration area at 1530, Priests with 4Tp for protection remained in area. Advance continued with remainder of Sqn directly in rear of vanguard coy. After passing through a minefield at 1730 at road junction 875775 vanguard came under mortar and small arms fire from enemy consisting of one Coy of the Herman Goring Panzer Grenadiers with 6 SP guns and R35 tanks. Enemy positions were in the town and on jagged hills left and right of the road at 8779 and 8879. Priests came into action and destroyed one half-track vehicle. The enemy were seen to be withdrawing NE. 6th Seaforths attacked right and left of road and secured jagged hills. PrisonerS taken proved to be Alsations and Luxenburgers. Sqn leaguered 876774. Very large explosions and fires were visible from the direction of CATANIA.|
|6/8/43 ||6th Seaforths advanced into MISTABIANCO at first light with 2Tp in support. Bridge blown at 881794. Town surrendered without resistance at 0700. 150 Italian and 3 German prisoners, two R35 tanks and 3 SP guns destroyed. 2 and 3Tps moved to support infantry against counter-attack from any direction. Sqn HQ and Priests Tp at 875780.|
|7/8/43 ||B Sqn reverted to Regimental control and left MISTABIANCO at 1800 to concentrate at BELPASSO. Priests reverted to Bty comd.|
|August 1943||CO Lt Col AA Cameron DSO MC|
|Aug 43 ||3rd County of London Yeomanry - Appendix - C Squadron OC Major R Gale|
|2/8/43 ||There was a stand-to from 0445 - 0630 but apart from that the Sqn did the same job it had done for the past week.|
|3/8/43 ||There was a stand-to from 0515 - 0630. Orders were received that the line to be watched now was to be between grid lines 72 & 85. The Sqn was to be independent of 4th Armd Bde and attached to 15th Inf Bde. At about 2200 Major Gale went off to contact 15th Inf Bde at 862708. The Sqn kept in touch by wireless with Major Gale until about 2345 when it was decided that the Sqn would move off and join him at first light next morning.|
|4/8/43 ||At 0515 the Sqn under command of Capt Pearson moved to 862708 where they were joined by Major Gale. At 1200 2Tp were sent to support the Green Howards at 852730 and the remainder of the Sqn advanced to 858744 where contact was made with the Yorks and Lancs whom 1Tp were sent to support. Neither 1Tp or 2Tp met with much enemy opposition but advanced slowly behind the infantry until last light when the Sqn harboured in area 855770.|
|5/8/43 ||At 1330 2Tp was sent off again to support the Green Howards and at 1430 the remainder of the Sqn moved with 15 Bde through METANASTASIA to the Y-roads at 862815. 3Tp who were forward of this point and the KOYLIs recced the area 827825 and after experiencing difficulty owing to the road being mined and the ground on each side of the road being impassable, reached the point 871824 where they took up positions facing the town of BELPASSO.|
At 1800 SHQ and 1Tp (who were in reserve) advanced up the centre line to join 3Tp at 871824.
During the day 2Tp were in action for a short time against enemy tanks which they were unable to identify and who withdrew in a North-easterly direction.
At last light the Sqn moved into harbour area 866824.
|6/8/43 ||At first light 2 & 3Tp moved out of harbour - 2Tp went to BELPASSO and 3Tp to 864867.|
SHQ and 1Tp moved to 871824 where they stayed until 1200 at which time they advanced to BELPASSO, SHQ stayed in the town at 890868 until last light whist 1Tp went forward along the road BELPASSO - NICOLOSI to relieve 2Tp who came back and went to 893840 where they joined the Green Howards. 20 tanks reported at NICOLOSI. 1Tp who were in support of the Yorks & Lancs were held up by pillboxes, mortar and machine gun fire and were unable to advance beyond point 891908 on the road. At last light the Sqn harboured in the Regimental area in front of the convent at BELPASSO. 3Tp had been in reserve and at this place during the afternoon and evening.
|7/8/43 ||The Sqn remained in front of the convent at BELPASSO until 1230 when they were ordered to move forward in the direction of NICOLOSI. The Sqn was in rear of CAMCOL, a mixed column under command of the CO. The column eventually advanced to PENDARA. 1Tp did protection North of NICOLOSI. 2Tp South and 3Tp were in reserve. SHQ remained on the road at 895909.|
|8/8/43 ||The Sqn stayed at 912903 all day and spent the night in this area.|
|9/8/43 ||The Sqn remained in area 915905 having been joined on the previous evening by tanks commanded by Cpl Brook and L/Cpl Royal. There were now 12 tanks in the Sqn.|
|10/8/43 ||The Sqn remained in the same area all day except for 2Tp who were ordered to go and help the Yorks & Lancs who were in contact with about 200 enemy infantry. 2Tp went to 873956 on the road beside Mt Leo where they found that the road at 872957 had been blown, so they were unable to advance any further. After standing by for some time they returned to the harbour area.|
|11/8/43 ||The Sqn remained in area 913905. One more tank commanded by Sgt Bryant arrived making the Sqn strength 13.|
|12/8/43 ||The Sqn remained in the same area. Cpl Sanger rejoined the Sqn so that it now had 14 tanks.|
|13/8/43 ||The Sqn remained in the same area. It was joined by 2 tanks from B Sqn making it up to full tank strength (16).There was a Sqn parade at 0830.|
At 1800 the Sqn was put on one hours notice to move and Major Gale went to Bde HQ for orders.
|14/8/43 ||At first light the Sqn moved to 922978 were the tanks were waterproofed and the Sqn prepared for Combined Operations. It was now under direct command of 4th Armd Bde.|
4Tp was now commanded by SSM Ecclestone. Waterproofing of the tanks went on all night.
|15/8/43 ||Capt James departed for AUGUSTA to contact No 2 Commando and to land with them for the purpose of reconnoitring a route ashore for the tanks.|
The Sqn moved by troops to CATANIA and embarked on 5 LCTs , embarkation complete by 1630. Lt Knight and Major Gale were OC Troops on separate craft. A meeting of OC Troops took place in Navy House at 1800 and orders were issued.
The landing was in two places, Green Beach North of ALLMARINA at 265367, Red Beach at the level crossing at 255356. Half the Commando were to land at 0300 on Green beach and half on Red beach. The remainder of the force which was commanded by Brigadier J Curtis DSO MC, and consisted of one troop of Priests from 24 Fd Regt, one troop 3.7 Howitzers, one troop of 6pdrs, REs and RAMC were to land on Red beach at 0320,
The intention was to place road block at North of Capo d'Al??? And south of ALI MARINA, and when things had become organised, to exploit South to contact 50 Div and North to capture MESSINA. KNIGHTFORCE commanded by Lt PPR Knight was to go South and consisted of one section of REs and one section of Commandos.
The force was escorted by 2 LCFs and operating at sea were 3 Hunter class Destroyers, one Monitor and one Gunboat. The convoy sailed at 2000.
|16/8/43 ||It was a very moonlit night and the coast was plainly visible at 0230, unfortunately the Commando landing at 0300 had taken place 5 miles north at SCALETTA 2540. The landing was unopposed and apart from a little street fighting there was little firing.|
A delay of several hours took place while a suitable place for the LCTs was found. During this time demolitions were continually taking place in the area. Eventually we beached at SCALETTA at 0800 and by 1000 the REs made an exit and the force was ashore. Capt James assisted in the recce for an exit. During the landing there was shelling from ITALY and 88mm airbursts from the North. On landing 1Tp went to a roadblock at 275385, 3Tp to a roadblock at 296405. 3Tp suffered no casualties but were shelled and mortared for the rest of the day, this troop fired 30 rounds HE at OPs. The remainder assembled in the village preparatory to moving North. During the day several batches of prisoners were captured.
At 1700 the Sqn leader was called to a conference to receive orders about the march to MESSINA. The intention was to move by night to capture MESSINA and prevent any further demolitions. The method was to organise a column, commanded by Lt Col Churchill, CO 2 Commando and consisted of the whole force less two section of Commandos, one section of RE, FOO RN, one troop 3.7 and one sec of 6pdrs, plus, 1Tp C Sqn, Capt Pearson and 4Tp consisting of 2 tanks. This force remained behind in SCALETTA.
|17/8/43 ||The forward force consisting of Sqn Leader, Capt James, 2Tp and 3Tp moved off at 2000 from the village.|
Order of March:-
1 Tp commando on foot with RE
Sgt Bryant in tank
Lt Copson in tank
FOO Capt Allan Smith, 24 Fd
Sgt Harvey in tank
Sqn leader's jeep.
Followed by bulldozers, commandos in DUKWs, REs, 3Tp towing 6pdrs.
The wireless link was Capt James, Commandos, FOOs on Brigadiers link, remainder on Sqn link.The first halt was at a demolition of the road and railway bridge at 297413. This was a big demolition and was unpassable to all vehicles. A detour was eventually found by Lt Copson and the REs blew up several walls and bulldozed a detour round the beach, it was necessary to tow all wheels round this place. The force eventually moved off again at 0200. During the early part of the work on the detour, mortaring was encountered.
From here onwards mines were met at the following bridges, S.PAOLO, APONTI, STEFANO, CALATI, MOLETI.
At Mili MARINA 320480 the road and railway bridge were blown, this point was passed by 0700, again REs made a detour. By now it was decided that the advance was too slow and the Commandos mounted the tanks and a trailer that Lt Piggott was towing. Mines were lifted at TREMESTIERI, PITUNINA and CONTESSE. Italians were engaged by 2Tp at 325495 successfully.
At GAZZI 348530 the road and rail bridges were again blown and a further delay took place. We crossed this by 0930 and from now on the road was clear to MESSINA. On the outskirts of the town we encountered terrific reception, flowers, fruit and wine were piled on the tanks and several had V signs made of blue flowers on their tanks. At 0945 we encountered American troops in the outskirts. At 1000 the Sqn arrived on the front at 365565. Here we were shelled by guns on the mainland.
The remainder of the Sqn, having assisted a further landing of reinforcements and stores at SCALETTA arrived at 1030 in MESSINA.
The Sqn had breakfast at this point and remained here until 1800 when the town was handed to the Americans and the Sqn pulled out to an area South of GAZZI 348524 and harboured up and replenished.
At 1800 the Brigadier called and told us to return to SCALETTA beach by 1900 and the tanks were lined up for embarking.
|18/8/43 ||The LCTs arrived at 0001 and we loaded complete with a Fiat motor car captured by Lt Knight. We took with us 800 mixed prisoners.|
Sailed for RIPOSTO at 0330 and arrived on the beach there at 0800. The Sqn took up position in the West of the town and had breakfast. We established contact with RHQ at 0830 and were instructed to move to MISTABIANCO where a guide would meet us. Sqn moved off at 1100, order of march:-
HQ, 1, 2, 3 & 4 Tps, route the coastal road ACI ????, ACI COSTELLO, CATANIA, MISTABIANCO. Sgt Whorlow was left in RIPOSTO as he had sprocket trouble.The Sqn eventually arrived in the Regimental area near MOTTA ANASTASIA 8581 and settled down to reorganise and maintain.
The following message was received from the Brigadier:-
"I wish to express to you and all ranks under your Command my gratitude and admiration for the manner in which our recent expedition to MESSINA was carried out. We were a scratch force, drawn from all quarters of the Army, and yet everyone worked together as if we had been training together for some time. The dash and determination shown by all ranks, the way in which officers and men alike worked tirelessly and willingly day and night to achieve the object was beyond praise.I have received a letter from Lt General Sir Oliver Leese, GOC 30 Corps in which he says:-"I realise that you were landed on the wrong beach and congratulate you on the way in which you retrieved a difficult situation. I know how difficult your task was made by the constant enemy demolition and the shelling from the mainland, and I congratulate you on forcing your way into MESSINA so quickly.I shall be grateful if you would congratulate and thank all ranks under your command." Will you pass on these words together with my own thanks to all ranks who took part in the expedition."
(signed) JC Currie
CommanderDuring the operation we had 14 tanks in the following organisation:-
Sqn Leader, 2i/c Capt James. 1Tp Lt Knight, Sgt Hills, Sgt Clausen-Thue, 2Tp Lt Copson, Sgt Bryant, Sgt Harvey, 3Tp Lt Piggott, Sgt Whorlow, 4Tp SSM, Sgt Burgess (B Sqn).
|19/8/43 ||Complete reorganisation into correct troops took place.|
|23/8/43 ||Following courses commenced:-|
Gunner Mechanics, Driver Mechanics, Elementary D&M, Tank commanders and 6 drivers operators who went to 4th Armd Bde for instruction.
|September 1943||CO Lt Col AA Cameron DSO MC|
|Sep 43 ||3rd County of London Yeomanry|
|1/9/43 ||SicilyIn the morning a dress rehearsal for the Brigade Commander's inspection was carried out by the CO. The Regiment was lined up in Squadron columns:- RHQ & Recce, A, C & B and A1 Echelon and the march past was taken by Lt Col AA Cameron DSO MC, in that order. All the tanks were lined up in A Sqn area in the following order:- RHQ, A, C & B. The rest of the day was spent in making final arrangements for the visit of the Brigadier.|
|2/9/43 ||At 0730 Squadron markers fell in under the RSM and the Squadrons marched on at 0740, lined up in the same order as yesterday. The Brigade Commander, Brigadier JC Currie, DSO MC, then inspected the personnel of the Regiment at 0800 and after taking the salute proceeded to inspect the tanks and other vehicles. The Regimental area was afterwards inspected. The inspection lasted until midday when the Brigade Commander had lunch with the Commanding Officer. During the afternoon the Brigadier visited B1 Echelon, which was approximately 1½ miles away, and inspected personnel and vehicles, this inspection lasted about 2½ hours ending at 1630.|
The following congratulatory message was later received from Brig JC Currie, DSO MC:-
"I shall be grateful if you will convey to all Officers and Other Ranks my congratulations on the very excellent turn-out on your parade this morning and my thanks for all the very hard work that everybody had obviously put in to achieve it. In these days when many people, supported in regrettable manner by certain sections of the Popular Press, profess to decry the importance of discipline and turn-out, it is most encouraging to find that in the best Regiments there is still that spirit which ensures the truth of that saying that we all know so well, that the best turn-out and best disciplined Regiments are the best fighters. It is the unpleasant duty of an inspecting officer to try and find fault, but finding occasional minor faults does not blind one to the general standard and I wish to congratulate you on the spirit displayed and thank you all for a most enjoyable day spent with your Regiment."
|3/9/43 ||Six officers from 78 Div were attached to the Regiment for 2 days. They were distributed equally amongst A, B & C Sqns.|
|4/9/43 ||C Sqn moved to area of range SW of PATERNO (map ref 7285) and firing practises were held for new tank commanders and gunners. 13 gunners fired 10 rounds HE in an indirect shoot and a further 7 rounds each over open sights. Each troop then fired using both AP and HE. The troop leaders firing 6 rounds AP and 10 rounds HE. One troop fired an indirect shoot at targets obscured from the tanks, the fire being controlled by an OP on a flank. Lt KC Kiddle acted as OP in a scout car.|
|5/9/43 ||B Sqn moved to range at 7285 and carried out similar shooting practice as C Sqn.|
|6/9/43 ||A Sqn went to range at 7285 and fired the following practises:-|
8 rounds HE per experienced tank commanders
20 rounds HE per new tank commanders
10 rounds HE per potential tank commanders.
Each troop shot a troop shoot of 20 rounds HE and 12 rounds AP at ranges up to 2000 yards and the day was finished by the Sqn firing a smoke screen. Crews from RHQ tank troop fired off their practises from A Sqn tanks.
|7/9/43 ||A Sqn continued firing the same practises including an indirect shoot by a flank OP. A successful experiment was carried out with firing a Sherman tank from a remote control 60 yards to a flank. The object of this experiment was to enable a tank commander on his feet to engage a target leaving his tank completely under cover.|
2Lts GW Hird, P Brodie, D Read joined the Regiment.
|8-10 Sep|| 64 ORs joined the Regiment as reinforcements. Regiment started individual training again.|
|11/9/43 ||The Regiment moved it's tanks to the Bde parade ground for the Bde Commander's inspection.|
|12/9/43 ||The Regiment under command of Lt Col AA Cameron DSO MC, paraded in front of the tanks on the Brigade parade ground. The parade consisted of all the tanks of 44th RTR, 50th RTR, 46th RTR, 3rd CLY and one Sqn of Armd Cars of the Royals.|
This parade was a most impressive sight. All tanks were lined up in Regiments, 3rd CLY taking the right hand flank of the parade. Brigadier JC Currie DSO MC, congratulated the Brigade on its excellent turn-out and bearing. After the inspection a church service was held.
|13/9/43 ||The tanks were brought back to the Regimental area and driving and maintenance courses were re-started.|
|14-17Sep ||Regimental courses and training.|
|18/9/43 ||Ten Bren carriers arrived for the Regiment. The Recce troop consisting of 9 scout cars and 10 carriers moved to CATANIA to embark for TARANTO.|
|19/9/43 ||The Regiment prepared for its move to ITALY.|
|20/9/43 ||Regiment moved to docks at CATANIA and embarked on two LSTs. Embarkation was complete by 1800. 47 vehicles of RHQ Echelon under command of Major RC Bett left MISTABIANCO at 0700 en route for ITALY by road (see Appendix attached).|
|21/9/43 ||Sailed at 0600 for TARANTO, uneventful voyage. Catering arrangements were very bad.|
|22/9/43 ||Landed TARANTO 1130 and leaguered approx 2 miles East of town. B Sqn received orders at 2359 to proceed to BARI and report to 78th Div (see Appendix attached).|
|23/9/43 ||B Sqn moved to BARI area 0630. Regiment then moved at 0730 TARANTO - MASTAFRA - MOTTALA and leaguered in an area South of GIOJA DEL COLLE map ref 4845.|
|24/9/43 ||Regiment remained in same area all day and carried out general maintenance. The echelon rejoined us in the evening.|
|25/9/43 ||Moved at 0630, GIVIA - CASAMASSINA - ADELFIA - BITTETO - BITONTO - TERLISSI - ANDRIA to area 7789 East of CANOSA. At 1600 C Sqn received orders to contact 17th Fd Regt RA at area 8207. After a little difficulty in finding a crossing over river OFAUTO they made contact at last light. B Sqn lost one tank and Tpr G Sinclair was killed.|
|26/9/43 ||Fwd columns were formed consisting of:- |
(a) Comd by Lt Col AA Cameron DSO MC
A Sqn 3rd CLY
½ Sqn of 56th Recce Regt
OP from 17th Field Regt RA
B Sqn in reserve.
The vanguard formed up at first light with Recce leading, with 1 Troop of armoured cars and six carriers. These were followed by one troop of A Sqn plus an OP in a carrier, Sqn HQ and reserve troops. Delay was caused by the difficulty in netting with command on to Regimental and A Sqn freqs. The column started moving at 0600 and continued its advance on FOGGIA via CERIGNOLA. The leading Sqn having passed through CERIGNOLA, deployed and advanced to X-roads North of ORTA NUOVO 4505 where the column halted, had breakfast and sent out patrols. Bridge over river CARAPELLA was found to be blown and from local information and the appearance of a German M/C it was apparent that contact with the enemy was about to be made. The advance was resumed and carrier crews (56 Recce) forded the river on the North side of the bridge. Local enemy machine gun fire being neutralised by the guns of the tanks of the leading Sqn. Remainder of vanguard then forded river, deployed on either side of road and continued the advance. Contact was made with 2 armoured cars from the Northern column at track junction 4309 where it was learnt that 2Tp of A Sqn commanded by Lt RC Roberts MM had destroyed an enemy armoured car. The advance continued towards the river GERVARO which was the final obstruction before reaching FOGGIA. To the left of the road covering the bridge over the river to the South was a large wood which stretched south about 1½ miles to SANTE DEL INCORONATA. Opposition was expected from the wood and was met. A Sqn deployed one troop of tanks well to the left to demonstrate against the left flank of the wood in which movement of enemy vehicles could be seen from time to time. At approx 1½ miles SE from the woods the road was registered by heavy mortar fire. One tank of A Sqn was hit by mortar fire which damaged the 75mm gun, slightly wounding the commander Sgt King in the eye. It was observed that the enemy was holding the wood in some strength and as the approaches to the wood were completely uncovered a halt was called in order to make a plan. The plan was formed in which the independent Coy of Air Landing Brigade was to go round the left flank of the wood and enter it. The movement was covered and supported by the left hand troop (4Tp) of A Sqn. 4Tp consisted of 2 tanks and the Tp Cpl sighted an 88mm gun which had come out of the wood and got into action. This troop destroyed the gun, killed the crew of 5 and blew up its ammo lorry.
At 1700 the carriers, which had been very slow, reached the river and the Independent Coy on the left got within reach of the wood. A Sqn then advanced up the river between the wood and the railway, shelling enemy MG positions and the enemy were seen to be moving, leaving the wood and getting away across the river. Light was failing by this time and it was seen that the bridge was blown. The Regiment then leaguered some two miles back at 5524.
(b) Under command Lt Col Baker (17th Field)
C Sqn 3rd CLY
A Sqn Royals
17 Field Regt RA
Detachment of 1st Airborne Div
Intention to cut the FOGGIA - MANFEDONIA road. The centre line was TRINITAPOLI, X-road 6016, junction 4832. C Sqn were ordered to cross the main road running North from CERIGNOLA as early as possible. Point 5325 was reached by 1100 after having found bridges blown at 6214 and 5423. The bridge at 6023 was also reported blown by 3Tp where one if its tanks (Sgt Clausen-Thue) was blown up on a mine thus losing a track. Two troops then moved North to find that the bridge at 5129 was also blown and were fired on by an 88mm on the North side of the river. All 3 tanks of 4Tp were ditched in the confusion and one of 2Tp. 1Tp made two attempts to recover the tanks but this was found impossible due to enemy fire. The Sqn then to leaguer at last light area 5524 having knocked out the 88mm gun and one Mark III tank and 1 ammo lorry.
|27/9/43 ||(a)The advance was continued 15 minutes before first light and the wood was reported clear by infantry patrols which had entered it during the night. At 060 the bridge was reached and found to be blown so a crossing was found which involve a detour of over 2 miles from road to road which caused some delay. The advance was then continued rapidly to FOGGIA where the road was again found to have been blown. A way round to the left was found and the town was entered, which had been very much knocked about. RHQ established themselves in the central square which was later taken over by the Independent Air Landing Bde. Lt KC Kiddle and 4 scout cars were sent forward to Recce the road into SAN SEVERO. The approach into the town was down a dead straight road for approx 5 miles and at map ref 158427 Lt KC Kiddle's car was blown up by A/Tk fire from an 88mm just on the outskirts of town. The second car was hit simultaneously, the third car tried to pull off the road and was also destroyed and the fourth car reversed for a few hundred yards, became ditched and was also destroyed. The casualties in the action were:-|
|Killed:||Lt KC Kiddle|
| ||Tpr Humphries R|
| ||Tpr Perryman D|
|Missing:||Cpl Allsopp F|
| ||L/Cpl Tanner G|
Sgt DH Fleming, Tpr Brown CE, Tpr Whitley W were the only survivors. Tpr Whitley managed to escape from the 4th car and whist going back down the road stopped the Brigade Commander from proceeding. Sgt Fleming and Tpr Brown walked back to FOGGIA and rejoined the Regiment the following morning.
B Sqn rejoined the Regiment. The Regiment went into leaguer SE of FOGGIA at 3316.
(b)Replenishing was done at first light and then C Sqn moved down centre line ONORANZO (4521) - FOGGIA led by a troop of A Sqn Royals. FOGGIA was entered at 1000. Contact was then made with the remainder of the Regiment and then went to leaguer 3316.
|28/9/43 ||Regiment remained in harbour SE of FOGGIA 3316. Carried out maintenance all day and generally reformed.|
|29/9/43 ||Maintenance etc. in same area.|
|30/9/43 ||Regiment were expecting to move all day and at 1700 were ordered to move North of SAN SEVERO area 1245. This area was reached at last light where the Regiment harboured in an olive grove for the night. The CO went to 4th Armd Bde and the task for the Regiment for the next day was to advance across country to the high ground Southwest of SERRACATRICIA (9656) and support the infantry when entering the town.|
|September 1943 ||CO Lt Col AA Cameron DSO MC|
|Sep 43 ||3rd County of London Yeomanry Appendix - A 1 Echelon|
|20/9/43 ||47 vehicles of Regimental Echelon under command Major RC Bett left MISTABIANCO at 0700 en route to Italy by road. Remainder of Echelon embarked CATANIA with tanks. Route for the road party CATANIA - ACI REALE - MESSINA. Platoon of 331 Coy RASC (Capt. Owens) under command.Arrived MESSINA 1330 and stopped in bombed out suburbs. Moved to LCM hards at 1800 and remained the night there.|
|21/9/43 ||All vehicles ferried to mainland by LCMs between 0830 and 1200 hours and concentrated with RASC platoon in dry river bed North of REGGIO.|
Due to move at 1345 but put back to 1435.Route SCILLA, RAGNARA - staging point GIARI on West coast ref D 6483.
|22/9/43 ||Starting time again put back from 0735 to 0755. Routed to CATANZARO across mainland. Arrived 1600 and LO met party with orders from 78 Div to push on to COTRONE on East coast. Arrived 1745 ref Z 7158.|
|23/9/43 ||Routed out at 0910 to cover 80 miles along coast road which was started in 1939 but not yet completed. Very bad going. Leaguered 4 miles North of CARAGLIANO ref 1517|
|24/9/43 ||Left 0800 arrived junction BARI - TARANTO road at 1530. Joined Regiment in leaguer at Point 4845, South of SARIA at approx 1800. B Sqn had already gone forward.|
|25/9/43 ||Regt less B Sqn moved of at 0630 - order of march- Recce, RHQ, A, C, A1, B1, RASC for ANDREA area. March of 93 miles, finally leaguered at O 7889 SE of CANUSO. RHQ and A1 leaguered O 6894 other side of river.|
|26/9/43 ||A1 moved across river to Regimental leaguer of previous night. Moved to O 5500 by 1000 then to O 4804 by 1100.|
2Lt J Holdroyd left with replenishment for C Sqn, detached in the North at 1430. Party delayed by mines at J 5328, 2 jeeps blown up, 2Lt Holdroyd, SSM Ecclestone, Tprs Mitchell and Tanner slightly wounded. SSM Ecclestone evacuated - 2Lt Holdroyd continued with party to C Sqn but evacuated next morning.
Remainder of tanks replenished at 1810. Replenishment party stayed in tank leaguer at J 4208. Remainder of Echelon leaguered at 4804.
|27/9/43 ||Echelon moved to J 3416 four miles from FOGGIA, at 0945 tanks concentrated 1½ miles nearer town and were replenished early.|
|28/9/43 ||No movement. Buried 4 Germans by knocked out 88mm at 3812.|
|29/9/43 ||Independent Coy of Para Bde under command of Regiment having moved forward required replenishment. A1 Comd left at 0730 to contact them in area SAN SEVERO. No success, but reported by South Staffs that Para Bde to be at APRICONA, North of SAN SEVERO. Unable to reach them due to blown railway and river bridges.|
One MO, one ambulance and 22 stretcher bearers joined A1 - some confusion about reason for posting, being normally employed with infantry.
|30/9/43 ||Ordered to be prepared to move from 1200 hours. 2Lt Champion took rations to Para Coy by new route advised by Bde. Ambulance party of previous day left the Regiment.|
1700 orders to move at once with tanks for SAN SEVERO area. Passed through SAN SEVERO and leaguered at J 1445, 2 miles from town on SERRACAPRIOLA road.
|October 1943 ||CO Lt Col AA Cameron DSO MC|
|Oct 43 ||3rd County of London Yeomanry |
|1/10/43 ||The main road bridge across the river FORTORE was blown and a Northern column (Royals) was to cross be the RIPALLA ford while the Southern column 3rd CLY was to cross fords some seven miles South of the main road at 981478. The Regiment moved out at first light to area 0346 via the town of SAN PAOLO where there was a brief halt and a Bde conference was held. It was the intention that 5th Btn Northamptonshire Regiment should enter SERRACAPRIOLA on the right flank when the high ground was taken. A rendezvous was arranged between A Sqn and the Northants at a farm called CASTLENUOVO ref 955534. The Regiment moved off at 0800, crossed the river and deployed, A Sqn right, B Sqn left, with C Sqn doing protection to the left rear in a South-westerly direction, and secured the high ground 2 miles Southwest of the town without difficulty. A Sqn coming into line on the low ground on the right which gave them good observation on the town and of the main road leading into it from the East. Some enemy movement was seen on this road and B Sqn successfully engaged and knocked out one 88mm A/Tk gun and one half-track towing a 37mm A/Tk gun. This 88mm was subsequently found out to be the one that had destroyed 4 scout cars of the Regiment on 27th Sep 43. 5th Btn Northants could now be seen advancing into the town from the right and contact was made with them. The Northants went into SERRACAPRIOLA followed by A Sqn. The commanding officer went into the town for a Bde conference. The Regiment leaguered in area 9351. The Regiment captured on the URURI road:-|
1 3-ton QM lorry
1 2-ton cooking lorry (fitted)
1 Field kitchen
1 Volkswagen containing a range-finder which was handed over to the gunners.
Whilst A1 Echelon was coming up to the ford at 981478 on the plain it was attacked by 6 enemy aircraft. One truck was ditched as a result of this attack and Tpr Joyce and Tpr Newman were wounded.
|2/10/43 ||Regiment moved off at first light, order of march:- C Sqn, RHQ, A Sqn, B Sqn, Northwest along the road through SERRACAPRIOLA where it contacted 56 Recce who went on ahead until at 9657 the column was halted by a blown bridge. After a halt of about 3 hours during which time a diversion was made, the Regiment was asked to push on, a further bridge had been blown and a crossing was found at point 9362. The advance continued in a NW direction to point 9064 and thence on to about 1 mile from SAN MARTINO. One troop of C Sqn was sent to recce a track which seemed to lead into the town, here a scout car was blown up on a mine, but both commander and driver were only slightly wounded. The tanks then took up hull-down positions facing North, but no opposition was encountered and only a few enemy vehicles were seen. 56 Recce entered the town and at last light the Regiment went into leaguer at 8963. Heavy rain came down all day and made the "going" very bad and as a result 9 of the carriers could not keep up with the rest of the Regiment, only joining it again after dark.|
A1 Echelon moved out of leaguer at first light and proceeded up the road and at 950545 it halted. At approx 0900 the echelon was attacked furiously by 7 Focke Wulfe 109's [? 190's or Me 109's] for about 20 minutes. In the fist wave a bomb was dropped which destroyed one diesel lorry. The casualties from this raid were:-
|Killed||-Tpr E Keegan|
| ||-Tpr J Brown|
|Wounded||-Cpl J Blowing|
| ||-Tpr J McCone|
| ||-Tpr E Maddy|
| ||-Tpr A Holland|
|3/10/43 ||The Regiment remained in leaguer at 8963 and the day was spent in resting and carrying out essential maintenance. There were two hit and run raids on the diversions on the road by 4 enemy aircraft. As they turned round and flew North again they flew over the leaguer and machine gunned. Tpr G Haigh was wounded by cannon fire.|
|4/10/43 ||The regiment remained in leaguer and again were machine gunned on two occasions by enemy aircraft. There were no casualties and two of the aircraft were shot down by our own fighters.|
|5/10/43 ||On the night 4/5 Oct 3rd CLY received order from 78 Div to send one squadron under command 11 Brigade and one under command 36 Brigade early next morning in the TERMOLI area. At first light on the 5th Oct the situation on 11 Brigade front was judged to be the most critical so that C Sqn who were first to cross the BIFERNO river, went to their support with all possible speed. Unfortunately after 6 tanks had crossed the ford became unpassable and owing to the size of the blow in the bridge and to continuous enemy shelling, the REs could not complete their work until 1420.|
By now C Sqn had been in action continually (see separate account) and 36 Bde on the left flank of the Division were being hard pressed on the high ground DIFESN GRANDE 8175 Northwest of the BIFERNO river. The enemy attacked with tanks and infantry and was threatening to drive our infantry off the high ground and the road leading into TERMOLI from the South thereby isolating 11 Brigade. Two enemy tanks had been destroyed by our A/Tk guns.
B Sqn who were all across by 1430 were ordered by commander 36 Bde to counter-attack immediately up the high ground and advance to the TERMOLI - S. GLACONO road. Regimental HQ and the reserve Sqn had by now crossed the river and the attack became a Regimental operation.
After advancing a mile along the ridge enemy infantry positions were overrun, 20 prisoners were taken and a number of MGs captured. Two tanks of B Sqn and one RHQ tank were knocked out by concealed Mark IV specials and an outflanking movement on the right was held was held by further enemy fire. By this time the light was failing and the infantry were ordered to consolidate the small amount of ground won.
| ||C Sqn||A Sqn||RHQ|
|Killed||-Lt PP Knight||-L/Cpl N Read|| |
| ||-Tpr L Wood||-Tpr H Cookson|| |
| ||-Tpr L Cutler||-Tpr W Findley|| |
| ||-Tpr R Cooper|| || |
|Wounded||-Sgt LG Hills||-Cpl J Jenkins|
|-2Lt DA Reid|
| ||-L/Cpl B Lewis||-Lt R Roberts MM||-L/Cpl C Grainger|
| ||-L/Cpl CT Price||-Lt DH Hawkins MM||-L/Cpl G Stock|
| ||L/Cpl A Richardson||-Tpr F Whitworth|| |
| || ||-Tpr K Forster|| |
|6/10/43 ||38 Bde were landed at TERMOLI on the night 5/6 October and were ordered to attack on the right flank in the morning with 11th Canadian Tank Regiment less one Sqn under command, 3rd CLY, less one Sqn, and with one Sqn 11th CTR and one Coy 5th Buffs under command, with 3rd Fd and one Med Regiment in support were ordered to continue the advance on the left flank at first light. The enemy tanks, estimated to be one squadron, were soon found to be in the same positions as on the previous evening and one more tank was knocked out. Considerable progress was made on the right flank in spite of the loss of two more of our tanks. However, by now the enemy was forced to disclose his position more accurately. Two of their tanks were knocked out and the others were subjected to artillery concentrations. As the attack of 38 Bde developed further progress became possible on the right and by the middle of the afternoon the enemy was forced to withdraw. A further 20 prisoners were taken and just as many dead were found on the ground, several MGs and mortars were captured. The enemy tanks continued firing as they withdrew but contact was eventually lost owing to the broken terrain.The Regiment leaguered in area 820760 with C Sqn again under command.|
|A Sqn||-Tpr Taylor JA|
| ||-Cpl Daniels B|
|B Sqn||-L/Cpl Hancock|
| ||-Tpr Hunter R|
| ||-Lt E Hart wounded, subsequently died of wounds.|
|A Sqn||-Cpl M Carter MM|
|B Sqn||-L/Cpl Stovell|
| ||Tpr Mennell|
|7/10/43 ||The Regiment less C Sqn went forward at first light to same positions as on previous evening but the enemy had retired all along the line. At approx 1000 the Regiment were ordered to return to the leaguer area at 820760 where the rest of the day was spent in rest and maintenance.|
|8/10/43 ||The Regiment remained in area 820760 and continued with further maintenance.|
|9/10/43 ||Resting and maintenance in leaguer area|
|10/10/43 ||Maintenance and resting. The leaguer was attacked by low flying aircraft but there were no casualties.|
|11/10/43 ||The Regiment moved to area SW of SERRACAPRIOLA at ref 968506 across country to reform and refit. B2 Echelon which had been halfway between SERRACAPRIOLA and CHIEUTI joined the Regiment.|
The AFV state at this time was 29 tanks, 10 carriers and 4 scout cars.
|12/10/43 ||General maintenance on all tanks etc.
|13/10/43 ||Tank and personal maintenance was continued and a complete kit and tool check was taken.|
|14/10/43 ||Tank maintenance, all ammo, kit etc was taken out of tanks and inspected.|
|15/10/43 ||Maintenance continued.|
|16/10/43 ||Winter clothing was issued and maintenance continued.|
|17/10/43 ||Maintenance and rest.|
|18/10/43 ||Regimental wireless course was started, also Sqn D&M and gunnery courses and Sqn training in general.|
|19/10/43 ||Regimental Sqn training and courses continue.|
|20/10/43 ||Brigade scheme directed by Bde Comd with only skeleton troops taking part was held in LUCERA - SAN SEVERO area. Lesson to be learnt - inter-com within the Brigade. Remainder of Regiment on courses and training.|
|21/10/43 ||Regimental and Sqn training continues.|
|22/10/43 ||Regimental and Sqn training continues. 13 new tanks arrived and A Sqn 6 petrol Shermans were evacuated. This made the Regimental tank state, including those in Bde workshops, to 50 tanks.|
Lt FB Wigham joined the Regiment.
|23/10/43 ||A composite Sqn shoot (indirect fire) was held one mile South of the leaguer. B Sqn supplied 11 tanks and C Sqn 5 tanks, Major RF Gale MC commanded the Sqn at Lt EJ Grimwald directed the shoot. The shoot was not successful owing to the number of farms on the range. The Bde Comd attended. Courses were cancelled for the day.|
Lts EA Thorpe, RMD Lynes, J Manners, A Zisserman, L Naude, DJ Stofberg and 39 ORs joined the Regiment.
|24/10/43 ||Rest and personal maintenance. One more new tank arrived bringing the tank state up to 51, including those in Bde Worksop.|
|25/10/43 ||Courses and training continued. Tank commanders course under Major AW Grant MC, was started. A new range was found NW of SERRACAPRIOLA.
|26/10/43 ||A very successful shoot was held by B Sqn to practice O&C and calibrating the guns. Remainder of the Regiment on training and courses.|
|27/10/43 ||A Sqn did similar shoot as B Sqn and also gave an "air-burst" demonstration to the Bde Comd. Remainder of Regiment on courses and training.|
|28/10/43 ||A Sqn completed their shoot but very heavy rain stopped C Sqn from firing. Remainder of Regiment on courses and training. A very interesting lecture on "Tough Tactics and Close Country Fighting" was given by Lt Col Grant-Taylor.|
|29/10/43 ||C Sqn held their shoot and remaining 5 tanks of B Sqn and 1 from RHQ completed their firing. Remainder of Regiment on courses.|
|30/10/43 ||An echelon scheme was carried out in the URURI area, set by Major RC Bett to practice:-|
1. March discipline
2. Echelon control
3. Changing formation
4. Day harbouring
5. Map reading
6. DRsCourses and training continues.
|31/10/43 ||Rest and personal maintenance. The weather for the past 3 days had been very bad.|
|October 1943 ||CO Lt Col AA Cameron DSO MC|
|Oct 43 ||3rd County of London Yeomanry Appendix - B Squadron|
|23/10/43 ||Sqn moves at 0630 for long approach march to BARI. Lose 2 tanks on the march through mechanical trouble. Arrive BARI at 1400 and move in to leaguer just WEST of BARI at 78 Div HQ. Sqn strength - 14 tanks.|
|24/10/43 ||3Tp under command of Lt Penrose leaves at 0630 to operate with 56 Recce Regt.|
Intention - to support them if necessary.
Remainder of Sqn left leaguer at 1200 for CANOSA. Leaguer area 7592. 2Tp under command of Lt Henningham detailed to proceed to BARLETTA area, to come under command 17 Fd Regt. 3Tp in action in the afternoon - area 6894. Lose one tank, commanded by Sgt Waters, by anti-tank fire. Tpr Foster wounded in the hip - evacuated. Remainder of Sqn arrives in leaguer area at 1800. Rejoined by remaining 2 tanks of 3Tp.
|25/10/43 ||3Tp consisting of remaining 2 tanks and one tank from 4Tp, under command Lt Penrose, ordered to report to Bde HQ at 0600 to continue advance in the FOGGIA direction. 4Tp under command of Lt Grimwade ordered to join 3Tp in the area 6294. Capt. JL Aitken MC moves off with 4Tp to command the half Sqn.|
Committed late afternoon - 3Tp losing one tank by A/Tk gunfire at 620945. Tank commanded by Sgt Seddon, the driver Tpr Sinclair being killed. 2Tp still under command 17 Fd Regt - BARLETTA area. Remainder of the Sqn moved to Regimental leaguer at 680940 where it is joined by Capt. Aitken's half Sqn.Sqn strength 12 tanks.
|26/10/43 ||Sqn has day out for maintenance and reforming. Two tanks off the road with mechanical troubles. 2Tp returns and comes under command. Move to Sqn leaguer SE of ORTA NOVA.|
|27/10/43 ||Rejoined Regiment and came under command at Regimental leaguer area 3316 SE of FOGGIA.|
|October 1943 ||CO Lt Col AA Cameron DSO MC|
|Oct 43 ||3rd County of London Yeomanry Appendix - C Squadron|
|5/10/43 ||C Sqn was ordered to cross the river BIFERNO at first light on 5th Oct. Our intention was to contact 11th Inf Bde and put an end to the enemy harassing of our infantry with tanks. Owing to the bridges being blown and the water 5 feet deep, we only succeeded in getting 2 HQ tanks and one troop over.|
Contact was made with Inf Comdr. Orders were vague and he could give little account of his forward troops. An advance was made towards CROCE but met well sited Mark IV specials at 792762. Two of our tanks were hit and set on fire, the remaining tank of this troop, by skilful manoeuvring knocked out two of these Mark IVs. We then withdrew to a covering position, as our infantry had no crews for their A/Tk guns, and showed no sign of consolidating the ground. Two more tanks had now come up to us.
At 1200 the Sqn destroyed about 20 enemy, who were digging in on our left flank. At 1300 four Mark IVs disguised as TIGERs appeared at the brickworks at 803767, knocking out the Sqn leaders tank, when we opened fire they withdrew. The remainder of the day was spent in our FDLs, but no further advance was made, heavy shelling (150mm) and mortaring took place until last light.
The Sqn leaguered in TERMOLI with 4 tanks, where we sited the tanks as pillboxes at street corners. We were now under command SS Bde.
|6/10/43 ||At 0330 we were ordered to the area of the cemetery 812785 to assist the SRs and Marine Commandos in the event of a counter-attack.|
At 0800 the enemy attacked, supported by mortars, our A/Tk guns were again unmanned. One tank had a good position near the railway and produced very accurate fire to bear on the cemetery. The attack was repulsed with heavy casualties to the enemy who withdrew.
At 1000 another attack seemed imminent, so two Sqn HQ tanks did a sortie to the cemetery, killing 20 and destroying some MGs and mortars, number unknown.
Very accurate shell fire was experienced during the day. At 1350 a message was received from SS Bde HQ asking us to support an attack by the London Irish on our front. This was done, and when our infantry was fired on by MGs the tanks engaged and silenced them. A shoot lasting 40 minutes took place until the infantry had reached their objective. We were now out of all types of ammunition and were relieved by a Sqn of Canadian tanks.
Casualties:- 4 killed, 3 wounded 4 tanks knocked out.
Enemy losses- 6 tanks.
|October 1943 ||CO Lt Col AA Cameron DSO MC|
|Oct 43 ||3rd County of London Yeomanry Appendix - A1 Echelon|
|1/10/43 ||Tanks moved out at 0500 with skeleton echelon of ammo, ES and fitters. Remainder left in leaguer under Lt B Penrose and Lt P Powell MM.|
Dispersed in vineyards at J.0747 South of SAN PAULO preparatory to attack on high ground SW of SERRACAPRIOLA. Entire party moved off at 0800 across country. Echelon fell behind at river crossing at 9947. Some tanks filled with ammo at 1300, remainder of A1 Echelon called forward at 1600 and while crossing open country was machine gunned from the air. Three casualties:- wounded - Tpr Joyce (A Sqn), Tpr Newman (A Sqn) and Tpr Robertson (HQ Sqn), the last named remained at duty. Regiment secured objective by 1100. Regiment leaguered in A1 Echelon area at H.9554. Shortage of HOP - one load arrived with B1 party at 2100. Heavy rainfall during the night.
|2/10/43 ||A & B Sqn tanks remained in area after Regiment moved at 0530 to help soft vehicles out of mud. Greater part of Echelon out of area by 0745 on road SW of SERRACAPRIOLA. At 0745 Echelon attacked by 6 FW 109's [FW 190's or Me 109's] with bombs and cannon fire. One B Sqn petrol lorry destroyed and the following B Sqn casualties:-|
| ||-Tpr Keegan|
| ||Tpr Maddie|
| ||Tpr Hollands|
| ||Tpr McCone|
All remaining vehicles without exception damaged slightly by cannon fire. Raid lasted 35 minutes. Regiment moved forward to high ground overlooking river BIFERNO south of TERMOLI. Two major diversions caused a general delay in road movements. With the head of A1 Echelon North of SERRACAPRIOLA, traffic control authorities stopped further traffic. Upon this being reported over the Regimental link, orders rapidly came back to go through on Division's authority. Met by Lt W Alltree as guide and joined Regiment at H.8967. Regiment to be prepared to move back the next day.
|3/10/43 ||Opened leaguer, desert fashion, awaiting orders to move. Lt Champion brought remainder of Echelon to SERRACAPRIOLA. Tpr Smith J, C Sqn, injured on an 'S' mine.|
|4/10/43 ||Heavy rain - odd air machine gunning attacks - nothing to report. C Sqn warned to operated next day with 78 Div.|
|5/10/43 ||RHQ, A & C Sqns moved suddenly at first light across the river BIFERNO leaving B Sqn and A1 in the Regimental area. B Sqn moved approx midday with 4 ammo lorries under Sgt Brown.|
Skeleton A1 left area at 1600 for area CAMPOMARINO N.8674.
Two bad diversions made very difficult by heavy rain, caused some delay. Fighter bomber attack at 1715, no damage. Replenished tanks at 1830 at H.8376, echelon ordered back because of local situation. Meanwhile remainder of Echelon under Lt Champion moved from previous nights leaguer to area H.8773, 1 mile south of CAMPOMARINO where it was joined by replenishment party.
|6/10/43 ||Skeleton Echelon moved first light across river to H.8474 where it remained all day. 3 fighter bomber attacks on road during the day. Replenished tanks at same leaguer as previous night and moved to M.8773 because of mud.|
|7/10/43 ||Small echelon moved to leaguer area of the two previous nights. Remainder of Echelon spent greater part of day getting out of mud with help of Scammel and tanks and moved to track on other side of road. Regiment moved back to leaguer area at 1100 hours. Heavy rain. Rum issues after heavy rain. NTR|
|November 1943 ||CO Lt Col AA Cameron DSO MC|
|Nov 43 ||3rd County of London Yeomanry |
|1/11/43 ||Location Map No. 155 (100,000) Map Ref 968506 Southwest of SERRACAPRIOLA.|
Regimental and Squadron courses and training.
|2/11/43 ||Regimental and Squadron courses and training. A party of 12 officers with Capt. JL Aitken MC i/c went up to TERMOLI area to watch the barrage and the opening of the attack on the TERMOLI front.|
|3/11/43 ||Regimental training was continued. The Regiment came under 4 hours notice and were in 5th Corps reserve.|
|4/11/43 ||Regimental training.|
|5/11/43 ||A composite Sqn was formed commanded by Major Matthews with the officers and NCOs on Tank Commanders course acting as troop leaders and tank commanders. They went to the Regimental open range and the shoots were as under:-|
20 HE to engage two separate targets (3000-4000 yards) and with the remainder to engage, over open sights, targets at 800-1200 yards.
Troop shoot (4000 yards), 7 ranging shots and then a concentration of the whole troop with 3 rounds per gun.
A Squadron shoot. The squadron leader ranged with Sqn laying down a "stonk" with 3 rounds per gun.
All shoots were very successful and were directed by Lt Grimwade. On the way to the range a short scheme was carried out and directed by the CO with the carriers acting as the enemy.
At 2230 a signal came from 4th Armd Bde warning the Regiment they would move at 1000 on the following day and were again under command of 4th Armd Bde.
|6/11/43 ||At 1000 tanks moved across country and via TERMOLI to an area NW of TERMOLI at map ref 7777 and a scheme, conducted by the CO was carried out on the way up. At 1100 A1 Echelon moved to the same area taking the main coast road and commanded by Capt. RO Davies. At 1145 B Echelon commanded by Major RC Bett and taking the same route as A1 also moved to the same area where the whole Regiment leaguered the night. At 1530 the CO went to see the Bde Comd who was with his TAC Southwest of VASTO.|
The tank state of tanks on the road was:-
|7/11/43 ||Rest and personal maintenance in the same area.|
|8/11/43 ||Maintenance. Regimental wireless course re-started. A letter was received from the Bde Comd congratulating the Regiment and officers and ORs concerned on the following Honours and Awards:-|
The Regiment was again experiencing very bad weather which made training and maintenance very difficult.
|Major RF Gale MC||Bar to MC|
|Lt HC Henningham|| MC|
|Lt DH Hawkins,||MM MC|
|Lt EJ Grimwade||MC|
|Sgt L Hills||MM|
|Cpl EAA Kenney||MM|
|9/11/43 ||Maintenance and wireless course continued.|
|10/11/43 ||Maintenance and wireless course continued.|
|11/11/43 ||Maintenance and wireless course continued. B Sqn practised shoot with 2" smoke and HE.|
Lt T Dunn joined the Regiment as reinforcement.
|12/11/43 ||B Sqn commences Sqn D&M course (period 10 days).|
Regimental wireless netting drill carried out
|13/11/43 ||Maintenance and wireless course continued.|
Warning order to move at 0930 Sun 14 Nov 43 received.
|14/11/43 ||Regiment left area 7777 (N of TERMOLI) and proceeded by road to 5196 (S of CASALBORDINO).|
|15/11/43 ||Maintenance resumed, tanks prepared for action. Position as for 14 Nov 43.|
2Lt Orchard joined the Regiment as reinforcement.
|16/11/43 ||Maintenance and general preparations for coming attack.|
|17/11/43 ||Sqn leaders and other officers went and viewed the ground while the remainder of the Regiment continued with maintenance.|
|18/11/43 ||Tank commanders viewed the ground of the coming attack. This precaution was taken owing to the very difficult nature of the ground and in addition it was decided that extra fuel should be carried on the tanks.|
|19/11/43 ||Final preparations and orders were received saying that the Regiment would move to a 'Lying up Line' for the crossing of the river SANGRO. The lying up area was just South of PAGLIETTA and involved the crossing of the OSENTO by night.|
|20/11/43 ||The Regiment broke leaguer at mid-night, order of march B Sqn, RHQ, A Sqn to the lying up area 447883 where the Regiment again leaguered. The Recce Tp with the fitters under command Capt. Jackson leaguered in area 442003. (See appendix for C Sqn)|
|21/11/43 ||A Sqn and RHQ remained static the whole day. B Sqn (15 tanks strong) moved off at 0630 under command Capt. JL Aitken MC, to cross the river OSENTO at 446001 but the diversion was not ready and they were unable to do so.|
|22/11/43 ||A Sqn moved about 1 mile south of TORINO 445936 and B Sqn moved to another lying up area 439002 and crossed the OSENTO at 446001. From here 2Tp and 4Tp moved forward to try and cross the SANGRO at 426016 but only 2 tanks of 2Tp managed to get across owing to the state of the bridge. At this time the ground was very bad and the remainder of the tanks were pinned to the road between bogged tanks at 440020.|
|23/11/43 ||A Sqn still remained static. 3Tp of B Sqn moved South along the road to contact C Sqn to cross the river by the mill 41996 but were unable to do so.|
Casualties through shelling:-
|L/Sgt Bingle TJ||B Sqn|
|Cpl Fitzpatrick H||B Sqn|
|Cpl Drakes C||B Sqn|
|24/11/43 ||A Sqn still static and B Sqn made an attempt to recover some of their bogged tanks but had no success.|
|25/11/43 ||There were no further developments on either front and the time was spent with the bogged tanks.|
|26/11/43 ||B Sqn were shelled in the morning and in the late afternoon. The Sqn with all its runners were to cross the SANGRO with a Sqn of the 50th RTR but owing to one of their tanks getting bogged no attempt could be made until the REs had mended the crossing at 410993. Another attempt was made with the bogged tanks and two tanks were recovered. RHQ and A Sqn crossed the OSENTO at 446001 and leaguered just West of the bridge.|
|27/11/43 ||B Sqn moved off at 0545 to cross the SANGRO at 410993, 11 tanks got across successfully and moved up to 402009, where they leaguered under the escarpment. RHQ and A Sqn followed and leaguered in the same area. There was some shelling of A Sqn and Tpr Casey J was injured. The Regiment less C Sqn remained there for the whole day.|
|28/11/43 ||The Regiment rested under the escarpment and were joined by C Sqn. Capt. Jackson's party crossed the SANGRO at 441028 and joined the Regiment.|
|29/11/43 ||The Regiment moved out from leaguer at 0430 to lead the Brigade on an attack up on the R.Li COLLI feature (3702). B Sqn leading, RHQ, A & C Sqns. The Regiment joined up by squadrons, with their supporting infantry companies behind them (6th Royal Inniskilling). A barrage opened at 0555, lifting 100 yards every 4 mins then halting. The Regiment advanced close behind the barrage (150 yards), in column of squadrons. B Sqn ran into a minefield at 3802 and 7 tanks were rendered immobile by mines. A Sqn deployed a troop to the left, 2 of these tanks going up on mines. C Sqn led now to the right and found a way up to the R. Li COLLI feature, and here the REs cleared a path through the minefield. The whole of these activities took place among olive trees, and the sniping was very bad. C Sqn then established a firm base on the top of the hill facing FOSSACESIA and then A Sqn passed through and faced West, linking up with A & C Coys of the RIF. A Sqn then advanced straight over the enemy defences and reached the outskirts of S.MARIA successfully. The most awkward part of the attack was crossing a boggy field where 5 out of 12 attacking tanks were stuck. On reaching S.MARIA the column halted and a patrol of 1 Plt of RIF and one troop went into the village, which was found to be deserted except for 1 German officer and 23 ORs who were hiding in a cellar, these were taken prisoner. At last light the ASH took over the defence. C Sqn leaguered with RIF, no further tanks coming up. 2Tp of C Sqn were fired at by two 75mm guns, these were destroyed without loss.|
Meanwhile, while static below the escarpment, the Recce Tp were heavily mortared and suffered the following casualties:-
|Lt EH Freestone||A Sqn Killed|
|Lt N Naude||B Sqn wounded|
|Cpl O'Neill RP||B Sqn wounded|
|LULC Canning J||B Sqn wounded|
|Tpr Dakin C||C Sqn wounded|
|Wounded:||-Tpr Richards C|
| ||-Tpr Turner F|
| ||-Tpr Pinnuck C|
| ||-Tpr Myhill S|
|30/11/43 ||B Sqn who had a large number of tanks bogged, spent the day trying to recover them. The remainder of the Regiment, consisting of A & C Sqns with one troop from B Sqn were then given the two-fold role:-|
To protect the 44th RTR left who were attacking FOSSACESIA.
To cut the road ROCCA - FOSSACESIA.
The attack by 44th RTR was entirely successful, and the Regiment were not engaged except for a half-tracked vehicle destroyed at 377085 by C Sqn who also took 50 prisoners, 20 horses, 1 mortar, 4 LMG and 1 range finder. The Regiment leaguered for the night at 390051.
The Recce Tp still under the escarpment, were attacked by enemy aircraft and suffered the following casualties:-
The Echelon which was close by the Recce Tp had the following casualties:-
|Killed:||Sgt Briggs J,|
| ||Cpl Kirby EE|
|Wounded:||2Lt SW Orchard,|
| ||Cpl Matthews I|
| ||Tpr Leach H,|
| ||Tpr Ley LF|
| ||Tpr Barham R.|
Tpr Harris C -Killed
Tpr Henigen E -wounded.
|November 1943 ||CO Lt Col AA Cameron DSO MC|
|Nov 43 ||3rd County of London Yeomanry - Appendix - C Sqn|
|20/11/43 ||Sqn moved with 16 tanks at 0200 to cross the river OSENTO at 442913. It was found impossible to cross here, and the Sqn was turned around and ordered to cross near TORINO. One tank lost a track in this manoeuvre. Then the OSENTO was reached and it was realised that the Division was not ready, but the Sqn was ordered to cross and 9 tanks were stuck.|
|21/11/43 ||Day spent in unsticking the Sqn, then at last light the Sqn was harboured overlooking the river SANGRO. At 2000 orders were received to cross at dawn. One tank had gear trouble and was left behind, a further one turned over near CASALBORDINO, three of the crew being casualties. Cpl Howard was wounded in the neck by a shell.|
|22/11/43 ||10 tanks crossed the SANGRO, the remainder being stuck in the mud on the far side. These tanks were now in support of the ASH under the escarpment at 395004. Heavy shell fire was encountered on the crossing. Later in the day Sgt Bryant destroyed an MG nest near the ARGYLLs. The enemy at this time were only 200 yards from our harbour. Casualties through shelling:- 2Lt Hird, Tprs Coleman and Brothwell.|
|23/11/43 ||Sqn harboured in same area, being serviced by mules during the night.|
|24/11/43 ||Remained with the ASH.|
|25/11/43 ||Moved to support the BUFFS 2000 yards along the ridge, one troop and one disabled tank remained with the ARGYLLs.|
|26/11/43 ||Day spent with the BUFFS, one tank developed engine trouble leaving us with 8.|
|27/11/43 ||Remainder of the Regiment crossed the SANGRO.|
|28/11/43 ||Sqn moved to join the Regiment who were in the ASH area.|
|November 1943 ||CO Lt Col AA Cameron DSO MC|
|Nov 43 ||3rd County of London Yeomanry - Appendix - A1 Echelon|
|12/11/43 ||Orders received at 1130 for CO, IO, Sqn Leaders or 2i/cs to report to Bde at SCERNI ref 4790 for recce next day A1 Ech Comd represented echelons. Arrived at Bde 1630|
|13/11/43 ||Party less A1 Comd & IO recced River SANGRO. Remainder reported to DAQMG 78 Div and recced new Regimental area at T-roads ref 5096, 1 mile East of CASALBORDINO. Party returned Regimental area. Regiment ordered to move 1000 14 Nov 43.|
|14/11/43 ||Regiment less advance party at 0930. Order of march:- Tanks, Recce, A1, B1. Arrived at new location 1315. B1 to area 5896 3 miles North of VASTO.|
|15/11/43 ||Very heavy rain. Minimum wheeled movers only. Necessary to tow jeeps in some cases by oxen.|
|16-18 ||Preparations for battle of SANGRO.|
|19/11/43 ||All officers briefed. Forward wheeled and tracked party of 6 Armd cars and 10 carriers under Tech Adjt, Capt Jackson, moved at 2100 for lying up area at 4500 across river OSENTO.|
|20/11/43 ||Operations indefinitely postponed due to weather conditions.|
|22/11/43 ||Ground having dried out somewhat, A1 Echelon less Comd 15cwt, towed out of leaguer and moved to roadside standing on POLLUTRI road at 5195. Here a forward B1 under Lt Rowe had been moved 2 days previously.|
|23-25 ||Regimental A1 Echelons to move under Bde Comd. This period spent waiting for telephone orders. Supplies to those tanks across the river delivered by mules.|
|26/11/43 ||RHQ at 4597 2 mile South of TORINO. CO's conference at 0830 orders for revised plan. 3 NCOs of Royal Canadian Dragoons attached echelon.|
|27/11/43 ||Capt Jackson's forward party crossed river and joined tanks. Major RC Bett, CRT arrived A1 at 2000 with orders to prepare further priority party of 6 vehicles to cross before A1. 5 ammo lorries under Sgt T Brown moved to Bde pool in CASALBORDINO.|
|28/11/43 ||4 scout cars, B Sqn fitters Armd car, 1 Signal Armd car and 1 water cart passed TCP1 ref 4694 at 1915 to cross river under command of Sgt Fleming.|
|29/11/43 ||Bde ordered A1 Echelon consisting of 30 vehicles to pass TCP1 at 1615. Order of march:- 50th RTR, 3rd CLY, 44th RTR. When 2 miles South of TORINO, ordered by RHQ to remain South of the river as situation did not permit of A1 linking up with the Regiment that night. Echelon parked off road where possible, Bde and HQ Movements notified.|
Traffic Control ordered Echelon at 2015 to move to PADDINGTON Harbour area ref 4500 across river OSENTO. Arrived there and ordered to be clear by first light.
No further orders or location being available, A1 Comd decided that Cpl Gunn, who had made a previous crossing, should guide Echelon to the Regiments previous area in the "Tuning Fork" ref 4001, north of river SANGRO. Moved 0030, arrived area approx 0315. Mines and deep ditches rendered leagurering a party of 30 vehicles off the road impracticable. Vehicles were therefore paced out to 90 yard intervals. Echelon dispersed by 0600.
|30/11/43 ||0950 hours, force of enemy fighter bombers bombed and strafed area of Echelon and Bde Ammo Pool which had crossed two days previously. Regimental Echelon casualties:-|
1 ammo, 1 diesel and 1 petrol lorries were destroyed, 1 watercart badly holed and several lorries suffered minor damage, mostly to tyres.
|Tpr C Harris||-died of wounds|
Attack was followed by slight enemy shelling and 2 periods of mortaring by "Sobbing Sisters". No further damage. 5 Ammo lorries from Bde pool returned to comd.
|December 1943 ||CO Lt Col AA Cameron DSO MC|
|Dec 43 ||3rd County of London Yeomanry |
|1/12/43 ||At first light positions of observation were taken up by A Sqn to support 44th RTR and LIR into ROCCA, which was entered with little opposition. The Regiment then withdrew and leaguered at 383037 and a composite Sqn under Major Wood MC, was formed.|
|2/12/43 ||Personal and tank maintenance all day. Attempts, some successful, were made to retrieve the bogged tanks.|
|3/12/43 ||A column under command Lt Col AA Cameron DSO MC, consisting of 3rd CLY, 98th Fd Regt RA, 6th Royal Inneskillings and a section of RE moved off at 0530 to capture S.VITO. The forward body, under command Major Woods MC, consisted of two troops of tanks, one Recce scout car leading, and representatives of other arms. The route was along the road through S.MARIA to road jnc 330023, then North to S.VITO. The column advanced rapidly until opposition was first met a mile short of the town. Here a brisk engagement was fought with German infantry, who retired leaving a number of dead, 30 prisoners were taken. After this the column entered S.VITO where they were heavily shelled and mortared. The main PESCARA road was found to be cratered and impassable. After the infantry had cleared and taken over the town the Regiment retired and leaguered in billets at 363096. Major Gale MC, brought up the remaining tanks of the Regiment to this place.|
|4/12/43 ||Personal and tank maintenance at 363096.|
|5/12/43 ||Regiment rested all day. A recce of the river MORO was carried out by Lt Zisserman for a crossing of the MORO. This was repeated at 2300 but no satisfactory crossing was found. The Regiment broke leaguer at 2359 and moved towards the MORO. They leaguered the night at 338102.|
|6/12/43 ||The Regiment's intention was to cross the MORO and give support to the SEAFORTHS and HASTINGS regiments. B Sqn were sent off to the right flank to try and cross the river in area 3412 but were unsuccessful. RHQ, A & C Sqns intended to cross near the demolished bridge at 337116. The Regiment deployed along the ridge at 346110. One troop of C Sqn moved down the road to attempt the crossing, but failed, all 3 tanks being bogged. Another troop was ordered to make the attempt, but they also were bogged. The tanks in the river were subjected to severe shelling and mortar fire. The Regiment remained in observation all day, supporting the forward infantry by fire.|
|7/12/43 ||The Regiment remained in observation all morning, but visibility was poor. Enemy shelling and mortaring continued. At about 1500 the Regiment withdrew to 354062, where the leaguered.Casualties:- |
|Killed||Tpr F Kingsbury|
| ||Tpr B Sullivan|
|Wounded||Cpl G Fiske|
| ||Tpr HA Reed|
| ||Tpr HG Tinson|
|8/12/43 ||Personal maintenance and again the EME started recovery of the tanks that had been bogged during the past 2 weeks.|
|9/12/43 ||Maintenance etc continued.|
|10/12/43 ||Maintenance etc continued.|
|11/12/43 ||Maintenance etc continued.|
|12/12/43 ||Maintenance etc continued. Regiment had to place one Sqn on 1 hours notice.|
|13/12/43 ||Regimental scout car and carrier D&M class started and Sqn courses started. Remainder of Regiment on maintenance.Composite Sqn, under command of Major Woods MC, came under command 50th RTR in support of 5th Indian Div|
|14/12/43 ||Training continues.|
|15/12/43 ||Training continues.|
|16/12/43 ||Training continues.|
|17/12/43 ||Training continues.|
|18/12/43 ||Training continues. The carriers and scout cars had a scheme set by Major Grant MC, with the scout cars playing the part of the enemy. The object and lesson to be brought out were:-|
Tactical movement of recce vehicles along the road.
Passing back information.
Lt G Clarfelt and 2Lt JD Mason attached to the Regiment.
|19/12/43 ||Rest and personal maintenance.|
|20/12/43 ||Training. A tank commanders course was stated under the supervision of Major Grant MC. The Regiment was again called upon to have a Sqn stand to and be prepared to move on the following day.|
|21/12/43 ||Training. At 1300 a composite Sqn commanded by Major Matthews moved off to area 257040 and came under command of 5 Div in support of 15 Bde.|
|22/12/43 ||Training. B Sqn moved to area 266054 where they remained until 9 Jan 44. They were not committed except for one troop which had to make contact with the Green Howards at 257073 and during the move one tank hit a mine but there were no casualties.|
|24/12/43 ||Training and the afternoon was devoted to making final preparations for Christmas Day.|
|25/12/43 ||At 1100 the SSMs and SQMSs were entertained in RHQ Officers Mess. The usual custom was observed and officers served at the men's dinner and the CO, 2i/c and Adjutant visited all messes in turn.|
|26/12/43 ||Rest and personal maintenance.|
|27-31Dec|| Courses and training.|
|December 1943 ||CO Lt Col AA Cameron DSO MC|
|Dec 43 ||3rd County of London Yeomanry - Appendix - A Sqn|
|15/12/43 ||The situation across the MORO in many ways resembled that which had obtained on the SANGRO. 8th INDIAN Div, South of 1st CDN Div, had succeeded in making a bridgehead about 1½ miles deep and 2½ miles broad, consisting of various battalion localities from the Royal West Kents in ROYALTI on the North (right), to the Mahrattas on the South (left). The flanks of the bridgehead were rendered more or less secure by deep wadis on each side. Parallel to the river on the high ground to the West lay the ORTONA lateral road, held and freely used by the Germans to maintain positions commanding the low ground within the bridgehead and the river crossings, and with observation on the road along the escarpment out (the Eastern) side of the river, along which all traffic had to proceed. A railway ran alongside the ORTONA lateral. 50th RTR were in leaguer in the central (rearward) sector of the bridgehead, with squadrons and troops farmed out to the various infantry localities. Hitherto all attempts to reach the lateral had been unsuccessful.|
At first light the Frontier Force Rifles, with C Sqn 50th RTR in support, tried to cut the lateral in the central sector (point 198). This attack had little success. A Sqn 50th RTR was in the right sector in support to the Royal Fusiliers and the Gurkhas. The latter had got a very small party across the road, but were in any case reduced to a strength the equivalent of two companies. B Sqn 50th RTR, with only four tanks, was leaguered in the left sector, well back and behind the Mahrattas, who were on a high ridge running parallel to the lateral at a distance of about 600 yards. Mr Brodie went as personal LO to the Army Commander. Lt Manners took over 2Tp.
The plan for the next day was to attack from the Mahrattas ridge and seize the hamlet known as Pt.232 on the lateral, RWK were to carry out the attack supported by A Sqn 3rd CLY. Accordingly at 1430 the Colonel of the RWK made his reconnaissance, while OC B Sqn 50th RTR was asked to report by 1530 if it was possible to get tanks up to the starting point on Mahrattas hill. He had already given his opinion that this was impossible, but was ordered to make a further recce, accompanied by Major Woods. The recce was carried out in a drizzle and the party, which actually got within 400 yards of the objective, was soundly mortared. There was not time to pick a tank run and a general estimate of the possibilities was all that could be attempted. The ground was heavy plough and boggy. The final ascent to the Mahratta ridge was very steep. There were three continuous banks which appeared to constitute an anti-tank obstacle. There were a number of vineyards with concrete poles and low wires such as get entangled in bogie wheels. It was necessary to turn left on a steep gradient and proceed along the edge of the ridge, to the start point. Lt Col J Sleeman (Comd 50th RTR) was informed by OC B Sqn, with concurrence of Major Woods, that the chance of success was 30%. On this it was decided to make the attempt with the proviso that the RWK would retire if A Sqn had not made the start point by first light. At his evening orders the CO of the RWK stated that he had been ordered "not to risk the lives of the Royal West Kents" by his Divisional Commander. He wanted A Sqn to start getting up the Mahratta ridge at midnight but on consultation with Col Sleeman, Major Woods decided to start the climb at 0400. The attack was to go in under barrage at 0500, first light was at 0700.
A 38 set belonging to the infantry was netted in overnight to Lt Hawkin's tank and worked well throughout the operation.
|16/12/43 ||Reveille was at 0330 and the Squadron was on the move by 0400. It was bright moonlight with a cloudless sky. After entering the field below Mahratta ridge the Sqn Leader and Lt Dunn walked ahead of the Sqn picking a zigzag route through the numerous obstacles. Sgt Mutton, with wire cutters, clipped a way through the vineyards. This was a most exhausting process and by 0500 only five tanks had reached the high ground, and these were still hampered by wire. The noise of the barrage could now be heard and soon the infantry reported that they were on their objective, and a fire could be seen from the direction of Pt.232. There was a lot of sniping and wild shooting but all the tanks (15) finally arrived at the starting point and were joined by an FOO in a Sherman. Another unforeseen obstacle was met, for the leading troop hit a wadi between the start point and the objective. Lt Henningham made a wide cast to the left and by first light positions were reached according to plan, 3 Coys of infantry astride the rail and road at Pt.232, Lt Henningham giving protection to the North (right) and Lt Dunn to the South. The balance of the infantry and tanks, with the CO and the Sqn Leader, remained on the starting point giving cover by fire.|
Swinging left down the road, 1Tp saw some movement in a house and engaged. They knocked out and set on fire two Mark IV Special tanks and destroyed a long barrelled 75mm A/Tk gun and its tractor. A platoon of infantry were then up to comb the houses, finding a motor cycle and motor cycle combination damaged, and a half-tracked personnel carrier and 2.8cm tapered barrel anti-tank gun abandoned. The count of prisoners was now 12, rising to 36 by noon and about 60 by last light.
In addition a short barrelled Mark IV tank and a Mark III tank with flame thrower were abandoned intact in the hamlet by the crews. Sgt Mutton became bogged but continued to engage. Cpl Allison became bogged and received direct hits from mortar fire which damaged the 75mm and wounded Tpr Cubitt, who was evacuated. The position was consolidated and a firm base established astride the lateral. Four tanks which had been hooked in Sicily were sent back down the hill under Lt Manners and towed up the infantry 6pdrs, Lt Hird's troop was sent at 1300 with a platoon of infantry to discover whether the village of CONSALVO, about a mile across the road, was still held. After going a short distance, the leading tank was knocked out and set on fire by a 75mm, whether a tank or a gun is not known. Of the crew, one was killed and two wounded. The Sqn leaguered on Mahratta ridge. Sgt Barnshaw's tank, which had been left in leaguer that morning with mechanical trouble, came up after moonrise. Replenishment (ammo only) was effected by his and Sgt Rhode's tanks, as the leaguer was unapproachable by wheels. Lt Henningham's 3Tp remained in Pt.232 in support of RWK.
|17/12/43 ||In the morning the Sqn, less 3Tp, supported 3/15 Punjabis in an attack on a cross-roads one mile South of Pt.232. The attack went in at 0445, the objective being found recently abandoned. The Sqn arrived on the objective by first light. A pause was now made until midday, when an attack was made by two companies and two troops on CONSALVO. The country was very thickly treed and the Shermans were unable to give effective support to the infantry, who became pinned and began to suffer casualties. Communications worked badly as the Punjabis operators spoke Urdu. A third company was sent around the right with a troop in support but made no better progress. Mortaring and HE were severe, and the FOOs could get no observation. Firing also developed from the left flank which was quite open, and it began to rain - the going was very bad. CO 3/15 Punjabis decided to call off the attack and make a firm base around the cross-roads. All orders for the withdrawal had to be issued of A Sqn net, as the infantry by now had no communications. The Sqn, including 3Tp, leaguered behind Mahratta ridge near the road. Three bogged tanks (and one battle casualty) were left out in FDLs.|
|18/12/43 ||The Sqn broke leaguer at 0545 and was back in battle positions by first light. There was little activity but periodic harassing fire. Lt Dunn was evacuated and 2Lt MacGregor, newly arrived from the Middle East OCTU, took over his troop. In the afternoon the Punjabis entered CONSALVO, which had been abandoned, without aid from the tanks. 3Tp supported RWK into a hamlet a mile to the North. The Sqn was ordered to be withdrawn and at last light returned to its leaguer area of Dec 15th to wait until 2130, at which time it was to start re-crossing the MORO bridge. At 2100 they were ordered to return to the lateral and to go North, through the Canadian's lines, to St. Leonardo and to cross by the bridge over which the Regiment had fought on Dec 6th and 7th. The march up to the lateral was led by the Fitter's 15cwt and was made in pitch darkness along a narrow winding road. Lt Manners and a B Sqn tank were ditched. On reaching the lateral about midnight at Pt.198 the Sqn was halted and ordered to go no further until first light, as the Canadians had not been warned of their approach. Lt Henningham went on in a scout car to recce the route to St. LEONARDO.|
|19/12/43 ||The Sqn moved on at 0500, Capt Murray suffering from severe mechanical trouble. Lt Hawkins MC MM, who led, had his gun traversed rear. Lt Henningham was met at St. LEONARDO. The whole party passed through the Canadian lines in safety, crossed the MORO, and brewed up. At ST. VITO the Canadian police refused to allow the tanks to use the bridge and half the Sqn was made to use a diversion, in which Sgt White had come to grief on a previous occasion, before they relented. All tanks reached leaguer safely except for those left the other side of the MORO.|
Capt Murray, Lt Hawkins MC MM, and Lt Manners went on leave. Lt Clarfelt was attached to the Sqn.