War Diary 1944     (translated in to long hand )
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591 (Antrim) Parachute Squadron, Royal Engineers

February 1944

Commanding Officer: Major P A Wood Royal Engineers

Bulford
01 February
(Bulford Garrison, near Salisbury, Wiltshire)
First day after completion of mobilization, normal training in progress
Bulford
13 February
Officer in Command attends School of Military Engineering in Ripon on Commander Royal Engineer's course 13-22 Feb
Bulford
18 February
Exercise QUACK- Second in Command on Administration Tactical Exercise Without Troops. [TEWT]
Bulford
26 February
Address by Divisional Commander.
Bulford
29 February
Strength this day 18 Officers and 138 Other Ranks
(Home Details 15 Other Ranks)

Signed: G.Davidson / Captain



March, April and May 1944 are either missing, or were not completed.
During these months the pre D-day exercises Bizz I, Bizz II and MUSH take place.

591 (Antrim) Parachute Squadron, Royal Engineers

June 1944

Commanding Officer: Captain G.F. Davidson Royal Engineers

03 June 1944
Place: Harwell
[Time 1430: 6th Airborne Postal Unit diary: Sappers Thornton, Woodhurst and Harper with Lance Corporal Holmes attached to 591 Parachute Squadron at RAF Harwell Transit Camp.]
03 June 1944
Place:
[286 Field Park Company diary: Statement by Corporal BW Ponder (2009860): "Briefing given in the afternoon 3 Jun 44 by Major Wood Officer in Command 591 Parachute Squadron to whom we were directly responsible for the first part of the operation. The party I was with consisted of 1 Officer, 1 Lance Serjeant, 2 Corporals and 10 Sappers and Drivers.

Allotted three main tasks on landing. These were as follows:
1. Clear landing strips C & D for the second wave of gliders which were landing at 21.00 hrs D-day.
2. To clear mines if any from roads and verges from the fork road Map reference 108742 through Le Bas de Ranville and Le Mariquet back to the fork road Map Reference 108742.
3. To establish a water point giving off 20,000 gallons a day, within the area of Le Bas de Ranville and Le Mariquet."

"Instructions on Landing: These were that the senior man in each glider providing he was not injured, to report to a copse at map reference 113739 where he would find
Major Wood or the Second in Command, and report glider number of casualties if any, and also make contact with the senior members of the other three gliders, the object being to ensure that all had landed in the same area, and also so that each party would know where the others were in case they needed help to unload. He would also get orders of what to do with his equipment." ]

05 June 1944
Place: Fairford.




Place: Broadwell



 


5th June 1944
9th Parachute Battalion (with No.2 Troop 591 Para)
Place:Broadwell and Harwell


 






 

Time 2330: Whole Squadron less No.2 Troop and No.10 Section Emplaned at RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire in six Stirling aircraft for flights to the Caen-Cherbourg peninsula on Operation NEPTUNE.
Drop Zone- area of Ranville-Le Hom, west of the bridges over the Caen a Mer Canal and River Orne.

Time 2315: No.2 Troop's No.7 Section- emplaned in Horsa Glider at RAF Broadwell, Oxfordshire with No.9 Parachute Battalion for glider assault on Battery Position at Merville.

Nos.5, 6,and 8 sections- emplaned in Dakota aircraft with No.9 Parachute Battalion for a follow up parachute assault on Battery Position at Merville

Time 0800 - Word received that the operation was definitely on. Morale rose to 100%. In the afternoon compulsory rest was ordered.
Time 2000 - Glider parties (Administration jeeps & 6 pounder anti-tank guns) left for Harwell Airfield. Recce party consisting of Major Smith, Major Parry, Colour Sergeant Majors Miller and Harold, Sergeants Knight, Easlea, Pinkus and Lukins and Privates Adsett and Mason, left also for Harwell.  
[1 Officer and 7 other ranks from No.2 Troop 591 Para RE were on gliders - they did not land near enough for the assault]
Time 2115 - Main body of Battalion left transit camp for Broadwell Airfield, collected parachutes and emplaned at 2245 hrs.
Time 2310 - Path-finder aircraft took off from Harwell
Time 2312 - Administrative and Anti-tank gun gliders took off from Harwell.
Time 2312 - Main body took off from Broadwell.


06 June 1944
Place: Ranville, Calvados, Normandy, France.

Head Quarters Royal Engineers.
Place:Benouville





( D-DAY )
Time 0100:
Squadron lands by parachute on drop zone and carries out main task of clearing area of poles for a Landing Zone for the glider borne assault due at 0330. Lieutenant Thomas received bullet wounds in shoulder. 2 Other Ranks injured during parachute drop.

[Time 0105 HQRE diary: 591 Squadron (parachute) landed, several officers and other ranks missing. Captain Semple
took charge and proceeded to clear drop zones of anti-airlanding poles]

[Time 0300 HQRE diary: Head quarters Glider No.1 arrived and Glider No.2 missing. Information Officer and Sapper Guard also missing.
Casualties Missing: Adjutant, Intelligence Officer and 7 Other Ranks.
Lieutenant Lockey attached from 591 Squadron to act as Intelligence Officer]

 


 



6th June 1944
9th Parachute Battalion (with No.2 Troop 591 Para)
Place:Normandy

Time 0500: Squadron completed further landing strips and then moved into 'Bas de Ranville' area and dug in defensive positions.
Two aircraft had failed to drop their sticks on the Drop Zone and these sticks were still missing
Officer in Command and 2nd in Command were among those missing.

Time 0730: No.1 Troop and No.3 Troop salvaged containers for remainder of morning.

Time 1300: No.1 Troop laid Anti-Personnel minefield. No.3 Troop laid Anti-tank minefield. [from HQRE diary: Le Mariquet mine field under way, finished due to shortage of mines and loss of containers.]

Time 2000: 2nd in Command and his stick arrived at Squadron Headquarters and took over command.

[Time 2200: HQRE diary:
Casualties to date:
HQRE have 1 Officer and 4 Other Ranks with unit.
2 Officers and 4 Other Ranks are missing.
591 Squadron missing 2 Officers and 11 Other Ranks
591 Squadron wounded 1 Officer and 4 Other Ranks
Time 2300:  No.286 Field Park company Jeep and Trailer carrying 100 mines arrive by sea
Time 2400:  591 Squadron increase the minefield at Le Mariquet]


Time 0020 - [operation] Trowbridge (Recce) party dropped on drop zone accurately and proceeded to carry out appointed tasks. There was no losses from this aircraft.
Time 0030 - [operation] Oboe of 100 Lancasters bombed drop zone area. Some of Recce party were caught in this "Oboe" but suffered no casualties. Time 0050 - Main body of the battalion dropped over a wide area.
Time 0235 - 110 All ranks had reported at the rendezvous by this time.

Time 0250 - Strength of battalion now approximately 150 all ranks. Battalion commenced march to first objective.
Time 0400 - Commanding Officer summoned "O" Group and issued orders for the assault on the Battery.
Time 0415 - Assault commenced - immediately previous to which one glider was seen to circle the Battery position and crash land in an orchard in the area of the firm base.
Casualties 1 Officers killed. 2 Company Commanders, Adjutant & one other officer wounded. Success signal put up. Battalion commences withdrawal.
Time 0600 - Battalion reorganised prior to move to Le Plein. Strength now approximately 80 all ranks. Battery shelled by enemy.
Time 0730 - Battalion commenced move to Le Plein and was caught in bombing of hostile targets.
Time 0930 - Battalion arrived at Le Plein, took up positions in the area
Château D'Amfreville and engaged the enemy. Heavy Mortaring throughout the day. Lt. Halliburton wounded and subsequently died.

07 June 1944
Place:Ranville






9th Parachute Battalion (with No.2 Troop 591 Para)
Place:Le Plein




Time 0130 - No.3 Troop thickened up minebelt laid during afternoon and completed belt later in day. 2 Other Ranks injured due to shelling during laying.

Time 0800 - Squadron on salvaging containers and equipment from gliders.

Battalion attacked by the enemy. Considerable sniping which caused some casualties. Commanding Officer visited Brigadier Lord Lovatt, Commanding No.1 Special Service Brigade.

Time 2130 - Battalion relieved by No.1 Special Service Brigade and proceeded to Le Mesnil where temporary positions were taken up. In this area the Battalion reverted to Brigade control and were given orders to hold the high ground South of St. Come.
 
 

08 June 1944
Place:Ranville

Head Quarters Royal Engineers.
Place:Bas de Ranville
Time 0800: Squadron on salvaging equipment.
No.2 Troop (Merville Battery Assault troops with 9th Para Battalion) less 16 men reported to Squadron Headquarters.

[Time 2000: HQRE dairy:
15 Other Ranks from 591 Parachute Squadron arrived by sea with 4 jeeps, 2 trailers one compressor.]
09 June 1944
Place:Ranville

Head Quarters Royal Engineers.
Place:Bas de Ranville
Time 0800: Squadron on salvaging equipment and general engineer tasks. 3 Other Ranks killed and 3 Other Ranks injured due to shell fire.

[Time 2345:HQRE diary:
591 Squadron commence laying minefield at 2430hrs.]
10 Jun 1944
Place: Ranville





Head Quarters Royal Engineers.
Place: Bas de Ranville
Time 0800: 4 Officers Major Wood, Captain Jackson, Lieutenant Best and Lieutenant Oliveira and 27 Other Ranks now considered missing.
The crews of their aircraft reported dropping them in correct place.
Squadron on general engineer tasks.
1 Other Rank killed
1 Officer
Lieutenant Fish and 3 Other Ranks injured due to shell splinters.

[Time 0515: HQRE dairy:
591 Squadron's minefield completed.
Time 1500: No.1 Troop of 591 Squadron on mine lifting.
Time 1600: Lieutenant Fish wounded by shell fire, further casualties to 591 Squadron.]
11 June 1944
Place:Ranville

Head Quarters Royal Engineers.
Place:Bas de Ranville
Time 0800: General engineer work and salvaging containers from German minefield.  1 Other Rank killed due to S mine.
Squadron Serjeant Major and 1 Other Rank casualties due to shell shock

[Time 2330: HQRE dairies: 591 Squadron ordered to take up a defensive position near Le Hom church to relieve a company of No.13 Battalion.]
12 June 1944
Place:Ranville



Head Quarters Royal Engineers.
Place:Bas de Ranville
Time 0800: General engineer work:
(1)Shoring up Divisional Headquarters
(2) Road Maintenance
(3) Salvaging containers from minefield.

[Time 0600:HQRE diaries: 591 Squadron in position
Time 1100: Cratered roads being filled by 591 Squadron with a Bulldozer.
Time 1400: 591 Squadron on mine clearance]
13 June 1994
Place: Ranville
Time 0800: - Same General Tasks. One Troop laying Anti-Personnel mines in German minefield.
14 June 1944
Place: In the Field
[398th Composite Company Royal Army Service Corps diary: 3 Drivers seconded to 591 Parachute Squadron returned to the 398th CC RASC
15 June 1944
Place:Ranville
Time 0800: General Tasks. (1) Clearing fields of fire. (2) Digging in tasks.
1 Non Commission Officer casualty due to Battle Exhaustion.
16 June 1944
Place:Ranville

Head Quarters Royal Engineers.
Place: Bas de Ranville
Time 0800: General Tasks. One Troop laid Anti-Personnel minefield in German minefield. 2 Other Ranks injured in explosion of a shrapnel mine.

[Time 0900:HQRE diary: 591 Squadron called in from road work (i.e. clearance) to work on digging in of Tanks of the Armoured Brigade. ]
17 June 1944
Place:Ranville

Head Quarters Royal Engineers.
Place: Bas de Ranville
Time 0800: All 3 Troops on general tasks. 1 Officer Lieutenant Wharton killed. 1 Officer Lieutenant Little injured due to S mine.

[Time 1700: HQRE diary: Lieutenant Wharton killed "S" mine. Lieutenant Little badly injured by same mine.]
18 June 1944
Place:Ranville
Time 0800: No.2 Troop on general tasks. No.1 Troop laid 700 yards of Anti-Personnel mines.
19 June 1944
Place: Ranville
Time 0800: All Troops on general engineer tasks.
20 June 1944
Place: Ranville

Head Quarters Royal Engineers.
Place: Bas de Ranville





Time 0800: No.2 Troop on Road Maintenance. No.1 Troop laid 500 yards of Anti-Tank mines

[Time 1100:HQRE diary: 591 Squadron on Road Clearance.

Time 1800:Company Commanders Conference. 591 Squadron Promotion of
Captain Davidson to Major.
Lieutenant Beaumont promoted to Captain
Lieutenant Lockey returned to 591 Parachute Squadron from HQRE, Lieutenant Shand
becomes new HQRE Information Officer.]
21 June 1944
Place: Ranville

Head Quarters Royal Engineers.
Place: Bas de Ranville

Time 0800: No.2 Troop moved out in support of Brigade in line for general tasks. No.1 Troop building blast proof shelters for Field Ambulance.

[Time 1100:HQRE diary: No.2 Troop 591 Parachute Squadron up in to the line with 5th Brigade.
No.1 Troop 591 Squadron part of No.3 Squadron and most of 249 Field Company constructing dug-outs, shelters etc. for Division and Brigade and 225 Parachute Field Ambulance.]
22 June 1944
Place:Ranville
All troops on same tasks as for 21st.
23 June 1944
Place:Ranville

Head Quarters Royal Engineers.
Place: Bas de Ranville

All troops on same tasks as for 21st.

[HQRE diary: 591 Parachute Squadron in support of 5th Parachute Brigade at Le Mesnil, and doing defence works. No.1 Troop of 591 Squadron still constructing Mobile Dressing Station for 225 Parachute Field Ambulance.]
24 June 1944
Place: Ranville

No.3 Para
Place:Ecarde




All troops on same tasks as for 21st.


[No.3 Parachute Squadron diary: No.1 Troop take over Road Maintenance from 591 Parachute Squadron on the road from Ecarde to Le Plein with French labour.
No.2 Troop of 3 Para Squadron construct bath house in Brigade rest area.
No.3 Troop of 3 Para Squadron on rest day and baths.]
25 Jun 1944
Place: Ranville

Time 0800: All Troops on work constructing shell proof shelters for Divisional Headquarters.
26 June 1944
Place: Ranville

Head Quarters Royal Engineers.
Place: Ecarde, Map Reference 121760
 
Time 0800: All troops still working on Divisional Headquarters


[Time 1800:HQRE diary: Two Troops of 591 Parachute Squadron move to new location map reference 118757.
591 Parachute Squadron Headquarters stays where it is.]
27 June 1944
Place: Ranville


Head Quarters Royal Engineers.
Place: Ecarde
Map Reference 121760

Time 0800: All troops still working on Divisional Headquarters

[HQRE diary:All units still employed on the same jobs. Weather very showery and unsettled.

Time 1900: Concert held in Douvre-
La-Delivrande to which some of Divisional Royal Engineers went. Thought to be the first since the Division landed.]
28 June 1944
Place: Ranville
Time 0800: All troops still working on Divisional Headquarters.
29 June 1944
Place: Ranville
Time 0800: All troops still working on Divisional Headquarters.
30 June 1944
Place: Ranville
Time 0800: All troops still working on Divisional Headquarters.

Total strength this day 9 Officers and 85 Other Ranks.

Signed:Roderick F Semple, Captain Royal Engineers for Officer in Command 591 Parachute Squadron Royal Engineers



591 (Antrim) Parachute Squadron, Royal Engineers

July 1944

Commanding Officer: Major G.F. Davidson Royal Engineers

1 Jul 1944
Place: Ranville
Time 0800: Shelters at Divisional Head Quarters completed
3 Jul 1944
Place:Ranville

Head Quarters Royal Engineers.
Place: Ecarde
Map Reference 121760
Normal training in enemy mines etc

[HQRE diary: one Troop of 591 Squadron making shelters for Assistant Director Ordnance Services in side of hill, the other two Troops resting.]
4 Jul 1944
Place:Ranville

Head Quarters Royal Engineers.
Place: Ecarde
Map Reference 121760

Place:Ecarde


Normal work. One troop to front line in support of forward Brigade.


[HQRE diary:591 Parachute Squadron on making shelters for Assistant Director Ordnance Services and Commander Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers except for one Troop in support of 5th Parachute Brigade, who changed over with 3 Parachute Brigade today.]

[No.3 Parachute Squadron diary: Works as yesterday. 2 Troop complete command post. 3 Troop relieved by 591 Parachute Squadron and return to headquarters.]
5 Jul 1944
Place:Ranville

Head Quarters Royal Engineers.
Place: Ecarde
Map Reference 121760
Normal Sapper work.


[HQRE diary: All Divisional Royal Engineers employed on same jobs. The troop of 591 Parachute Squadron in the line changed with another one which started improving roads with a bulldozer.
6 Jul 1944
Place:Ranville


Head Quarters Royal Engineers.
Place: Ecarde
Normal Sapper work. Received 1 Serjeant and 31 Other Ranks as reinforcements attached only to the Airborne Division for period of stay in France.

[HQRE diary: 591 Squadron had one troop in the line.]

7 July 1944
Place:Ranville

Head Quarters Royal Engineers.
Place: Ecarde

 




 




 

Normal Sapper tasks. 2 Officers and 4 Other Ranks reinforcements attached

[Time 1030: HQRE diary: Chief Engineer No.1 Corps came on a visit to Divisional Royal Engineers
Time 1115: after visiting H.Q.R.E. he was taken to 3 Parachute Squadron
Time 1200: then onto 286 Field Park Company
Time 1300: He lunched with No.1 Special Service Brigade in Amfreville and was shown round some of the Commando's Forward Defence Locations.
In the afternoon he visited No.4 Special Service Brigade and Le Mesnil where No.1 Troop of 591 Parachute Squadron was in support of 5th Parachute Brigade.
Time 1600: Paid visit to 591 Parachute Squadron and 249 Field Company
Time 1700: Chief Engineer left.
Captain Harbord Troop Commader of No.1 Troop 591 Parachute Squadron was wounded by mortar fire at Le Mesnil today. Fortunately not seriously.
Time 2200:Watched raid on Caen by 460 Lancasters and Halifaxes. Most impressive sight.]
8 July 1944
Place:Ranville




Place:Ecarde


Place: South East of Le Mesnil

Normal sapper tasks.

Total strength this day 9 Officers and 83 Other Ranks
5 Royal Army Service Corps attached
2 Officers and 36 Other Ranks from Royal Engineers attached.

[HQRE diary:
Lieutenant Baillie transferred from No.3 Parachute Squadron to 591 Parachute Squadron to take over command of No.1 Troop.]

[Time 1115: 7th Parachute Battalion diary: Sappers (under Commanding Officer
591 Parachute Squadron) provide bulldozer for burial of cows and digging pits for jeeps. Also asked permission for Sappers to accompany 'A' Company's standing patrol this was arranged.]
9 July 1944
Place: Ranville


Place: Ecarde
Time 1700: One troop in support of forward Brigade building Machine Gun emplacements.
Remainder of Squadron building shelters at Divisional Headquarters.

[HQRE diary: Divisional Royal Engineers on same jobs today, except for a troop of 591 Parachute Squadron who were putting up signposts.]
10 July 1944
Place: Ranville

Place: South East of Le Mesnil






Squadron employed on same job as yesterday.


[Time 1610: 7th Parachute Battalion diary: Serjeant Fraser (591 Parachute Squadron) reports to Officer in command of 'B' Company for raid with the Mortar Sergeant of 13th Battalion who gives fire support on BOB'S FARM. ]

NB: Bob's Farm, was a farm held by the Germans, and named in honour of Major Robert Keene MC, Officer in Command of the 7th Parachute Battalion who was seriously wounded by an anti-personnel mine in this raid on the farm. The farm was not captured in this raid.
11 July 1944
Place: Ranville


Place:Normandy
One troop with forward Brigade. Remainder of Squadron on road maintenance employing 50 French civilians. One Troop running Non Commissioned Officer's cadre.

[249 Airborne Field Squadron diary: No.2 platoon of the 249 Field Squadron handed over its road maintenance task to the 591st (Antrim) Parachute Squadron.]

12 July 1944
Place:Ranville

Place:Ecarde


Place: South East of Le Mesnil


 

Squadron employed as for previous day


[HQRE diary: 591 Parachute Squadron had one Troop in support of 5th Parachute Brigade and two troops on road maintenance and building.]

[Time 0935:7th Parachute Battalion diary: Royal Engineers party (591 Parachute Squadron) under command of Batallion reverted to own command.
Distressing news received that Major Bliss of 12 Battalion had died of wounds but heartening news that
Major Wood (591 Parachute Squadron) was well and that two men of the 13th Battalion were found in Caen.]

13 July 1944
Place:Ranville

Place:Ecarde


 

Squadron employed on same jobs. 1 Serjeant injured by snipers' bullet.


[HQRE diary: The Troop of 591 Parachute Squadron in support of 5th Parachute Brigade were putting up a machine gun post in the front line when Lance Serjeant Foster was shot in the leg by a sniper. Very slight wound luckily.]
14 July 1944
Place:Ranville
Squadron carrying on with same jobs
15 July 1944
Place:Ranville


Place:Ecarde




Squadron carrying on with same jobs. In addition a start was made on three underground shell proof shelters at Le Mesnil.
Honours and Awards: Captain R.F. Semple awarded the Military Cross.

[HQRE diary: 591 Parachute Squadron on road maintenance and building at 5th Parachute Brigade Command Post.
Announced to-day that Major Roseveare Officer in Command 3 Parachute Squadron had been awarded the D.S.O. Distinguished Service Order
and
Capt Semple 2nd in Command 591 Parachute Squadron the M.C. Military Cross.]
16 July 1944
Place:Ranville

Place: Ecarde


Squadron continued on job of constructing shell proof underground shelter for 5th Brigade. Road maintenance carried on.

[Time 1200:HQRE diary: Commander in Chief 21st Army Group came and held an investiture at which Major Roseveare and Captain Semple were decorated.
The Commander in Chief
(General Montgomery) also spoke to all Commanding Officers.]

17 July 1944
Place:Ranville


Place:Normandy




 

 





 

Underground shelters completed. Ceased to employ French labour on the roads.

[249 Airborne Field Company Diary: Tank track moves again- this time to avoid gunners. Slews, now one more than on original track, accepted. No.1 platoon engaged on this final re-arrangement all day on what is known now as "FIR" tank track.
No.2 platoon on final vehicle route maintaining (vehicle routes now named "PALM WHEELS" and
"FIR TRACKS").
By the evening the water point work commenced by No.3 platoon was 80% complete.
Time 0900: Work to be handed over to 591 Parachute Squadron to leave unit free for road maintenance.
Final touches put to tank and vehicle tracks and notice boards.
Time 2310: word was received that the attack was on at first light.
Platoons received orders to erect final notices and check over routes at 2359 hrs.
Tomorrow the road maintenance organisation laid on by the unit will take effect.]
18 July 1944
Place:Ranville

Place:Ecarde


Squadron took over water point for area and doubled the capacity of it.

[Time 0545:HQRE diary: Operation GOODWOOD started with 5000 tons of bombs being dropped in 40 mins by 1100 Lancasters and Halifaxes.
Commander Royal Engineers and
Information Officer went and watched a most impressive sight.
591 Parachute Squadron employed on enlarging water point at Ranville.]
19 July 1944
Place:Ranville

Place:Ecarde


Work on water point carried out. Repair of bomb damage to signal shelter commenced. Excavation started for 2 Unexploded Bombs.

[Time 0001:HQRE diary: Bombs dropped in vicinity of Divisional Headquarters, 10kg Anti-Personnel bombs. One dropped on top of General Operations shelter and had no effect, one on Signals' blast wall necessitated small amount of repair work by 591 Parachute Squadron.]

20 July 1944
Place:Ranville

Place:Ecarde



 

Work as for yesterday. 2 x 50 kilo bombs disposed of.


[HQRE diary: 591 Squadron still constructing water point. Yesterday the issues went up from 16000 gallons daily to 38000 gallons in the day.
Time 1600: We had a torrential downpour of rain which went on for some time and made all track and wheeled routes into an absolute mire.
It depends on weather and quantity of traffic as to whether they will be usable at all tomorrow.]
21 July 1944
Place:Ranville
Signal shelter finished. Water Point, roads and standing being improved. Capacity- 40,000 gallons in 24 hrs.

22 July 1944
Place:Ranville


 

Work continued on water point. Remainder of Squadron bailing out their slit trenches.

Strength this day. 11 Officers and 118 Other Ranks
Plus 4 Royal Army Service Corps attached.

23 July 1944
Place:Ranville

Place:Ecarde



Place:Normandy


 





 

Repair of shelter at 6th Airlanding Brigade. Water Point capacity increased to double by installing new tanks and new pumping set.

[HQRE diary: 591 Parachute Squadron on repairing 6th Airlanding Brigade shelters and maintaining Ranville water point which achieved 34,800 gallons yesterday.]

[249 Airborne Field Squadron Diary: Platoons were reorganised on the work during the morning with No.2 and No.3 platoon on PALM WHEELS and No.1 platoon on FIR TRACKS.
PALM WHEELS progressed well during the morning but by lunch time it was clear that more labour would be required to make this road fit for heavy traffic by tonight. In the afternoon all three platoons, plus a troop from 591 Parachute Squadron under command, were working on PALM WHEELS.
Work done during the day consisted of bulldozing and shovelling mud from the tracks, filling numerous potholes, ruts and depressions.]

24 July 1944
Place:Ranville

Place:Ecarde



 

Work on all shelters completed. Maintenance on Water Point.


[HQRE diary: 591 Parachute Squadron on extension of shelters and training.]
Commander Royal Engineers Lieutenant Colonel F.H. Lowman is  wounded and Information Officer
Lieutenant LP Shand is killed.
Major J.H. Waters takes over Command of 6th Airborne Division's Royal Engineers.
25 July 1944
Place:Ranville
Squadron starts on period of training. Water Point duties carried out.
26 July 1944
Place:Ranville
Training continues in Enemy Mines, Enemy Weapons, Rafting, Watermanship.
27 July 1944
Place:Ranville

Place:Ecarde

Training continues in Enemy Mines, Enemy Weapons, Rafting, Watermanship


[HQRE diary: 591 Parachute Squadron Bomb Disposal in Divisional Area and training]
28 July 1944
Place:Ranville

Place:Ecarde
Training continues


[HQRE diary: 591 Parachute Squadron Disposal of 10 kilo S.D. (Sprengbombe Dickwandig or Butterfly cluster bomb)  bomb and training]
29 July 1944
Place:Ranville

Place:Ecarde
Squadron assumed responsibility for maintenance of main supply routes through Divisional Area.

[HQRE diary: 591 parachute Squadron on road maintenance throughout Divisional Area.]
30 July 1944
Place:Ranville




Place:Ecarde
Squadron continued to carry out maintenance (1)Painting and erecting signs (2)Filling shell craters and potholes.

Strength this day: 12 Officers, 115 Other Ranks
plus 4 Royal Army Service Corps.

[No.3 Parachute Squadron diary: Lieutenant Baillie posted to 591 Squadron in rank of Captain with effect 8 July 1944.]

Signed: Roderick F Semple /Captain



591 (Antrim) Parachute Squadron, Royal Engineers

August 1944

Commanding Officer: Major Davidson Royal Engineers

01 Aug 1944
Place:Ranville

Place: Ecarde

 

Squadron continued to carry out maintenance (1)Painting and erecting signs (2)Filling shell craters and potholes.

[HQRE diary: Captain Clive returned to 249 Airborne Field Company and Lieutenant Thomas to 591 Parachute Squadron, both having been previously wounded, earlier in Normandy.
591 Parachute Squadron road maintenance in greatly extended Divisional Area.]
02 Aug 1944
Place:Ranville
Squadron continued to carry out maintenance (1)Painting and erecting signs (2)Filling shell craters and potholes.
03 Aug 1944
Place:Ranville
Squadron continued to carry out maintenance (1)Painting and erecting signs (2)Filling shell craters and potholes.
04 Aug 1944
Place:Ranville

Place:Ecarde
Squadron continued to carry out maintenance (1)Painting and erecting signs (2)Filling shell craters and potholes.

[HQRE diary: 591 Parachute Squadron on route maintenance in Divisional Area and improvement of Divisional Water Point at Ranville 1173.
Excavating for Tanks.]
05 Aug 1944
Place:Ranville

Place:Ecarde
Squadron continued to carry out maintenance (1)Painting and erecting signs (2)Filling shell craters and potholes.

[HQRE diary: 591 Parachute Squadron Drainage of water point at Ranville complete; maintenance of roads within Divisional Area.]
06 Aug 1944
Place:Ranville

Place:Ecarde
Road maintenance in Divisional Area. Water Point of 50,000 gallons capacity a day maintained and operated

[HQRE diary: 591 Parachute Squadron Gap cleared in Minefield serial 10317 at Sallenelles. Road maintenance within the Divisional Area.]
07 Aug 1944
Place:Ranville

Place:Ecarde
Road maintenance in Divisional Area. Water Point of 50,000 gallons capacity a day maintained and operated

[HQRE diary: 591 Parachute Squadron maintenance of Roads in Divisional Area and advance party at Divisional School.]
08 Aug 1944
Place:Ranville

Place:Ecarde
Road maintenance in Divisional Area. Water Point of 50,000 gallons capacity a day maintained and operated

[HQRE diary: 591 Parachute Squadron Route maintenance Divisional Area and shelter construction. Detachment sent to Divisional School.]
09 Aug 1944
Place:Ranville

Place:Ecarde
Road maintenance in Divisional Area. Water Point of 50,000 gallons capacity a day maintained and operated

[HQRE diary: 591 Parachute Squadron on route maintenance in Divisional Area and construction of 5th Brigade Command Post]
10 Aug 1944
Place:Ranville

Place:Ecarde

Road maintenance in Divisional Area. Water Point of 50,000 gallons capacity a day maintained and operated

[HQRE diary: 591 Parachute Squadron on route maintenance Divisional Area.
Completion of Rear Area Protection for 5th Brigade and Forward Defended Location positions 70% complete.
Command Post is 90% complete.]
11 Aug 1944
Place:Ranville

Place:Riva Bella
Road maintenance in Divisional Area. Water Point of 50,000 galls capacity a day maintained and operated

[HQRE diary: 591 Parachute Squadron Maintenance and operation of water point (output 43,000 gallons)
Forward Defended Location and Command Post for 5th Parachute Brigade completed.]

12 Aug 1944
Place:Ranville

Place:
Château d'Amfreville

Road maintenance in Divisional Area. Water Point of 50,000 galls capacity a day maintained and operated

[HQRE diary: 591 Parachute Squadron Operation of water point (output 53,000 gallons). Road maintenance in Le Mariquet area.]
13 Aug 1944
Place:Ranville

Place:Ecarde
Road maintenance in Divisional Area. Water Point of 50,000 galls capacity a day maintained and operated

[HQRE diary: 591 Parachute Squadron Water point operated, output 51,000 gallons. Road maintenance continued.]
14 Aug 1944
Place:Ranville
Road maintenance in Divisional Area. Water Point of 50,000 galls capacity a day maintained and operated
15 Aug 1944
Place:Ranville

Place:Ecard
Road maintenance in Divisional Area. Water Point of 50,000 galls capacity a day maintained and operated

[HQRE diary: 591 Parachute Squadron on Road maintenance and operation of crusher. Operation of water point.]
16 Aug 1944
Place:Ranville

Place:Ecarde
Road maintenance in Divisional Area. Water Point of 50,000 galls capacity a day maintained and operated

[HQRE diary: 591 Parachute Squadron Road maintenance, operation of crusher.]

17 Aug 1944
Place:Ranville

Place:Ecarde





Place:Normandy


 

Squadron moved forward to Troarn and commenced bridging two dykes and River Dives with Folding Boat Equipment Bridge.

[HQRE diary: Operation PADDLE- follow up of enemy withdrawal to River Dives.
591 Parachute Squadron Bridging gaps at Troarn.
All equipment concentrated by Commander Royal Engineers on Troarn crossing. Now available for others.]

[249 Airborne Field Squadron diary: In the afternoon No.1 platoon were placed under command of 591 Parachute Squadron
Time 1800: They commenced the construction of a ford across the River Dives at Troarn alongside the demolished bridge and the Folding Boat Equipment bridge built by 591 Parachute Squadron.
By midnight the ford was finished. ]

18 Aug 1944
Place:Troarn

Place:Ecarde













Place:Normandy



 




 



 

Bridging Operation completed by 1200 hrs. Work started on Ford to take Cromwell tanks.

[Time 0400: HQRE diary: Troarn bridges reported open. 591 Squadron on maintenance.
Time 0430: Bulldozer crossing breaks bridge. a Tank crossing on old abutments being made.
Time 1100: Bridge reopened.
Commander Royal Engineers establishes Main Headquarters with Main Division at 1969

3 Parachute Squadron, 249 Airborne Field Company and 591 Parachute Squadron now in Troarn area.
286 Field Park Company established advanced stores same place.
Time 2200: Divisional Royal Engineers prepare to bridge the Dives Canal at map reference 235719 to follow up infantry attack.
Canadian Army Troops Royal Engineers to take over rear water supply and route commitments.

[Time 0400: 249 Airborne Field Company diary: Officer in Command received orders from Commander Royal Engineers to take over maintenance of Folding Boat Equipment bridges at Troarn from 591 Squadron.
No.1 platoon was detailed for this job and the laying of Sommerfeld approaches.
[Sommerfeld Tracks were a type of chicken wire fencing laid flat on the road surface to aid traction and drainage.]
No.2 platoon stood by all morning for possible further work at Troarn.
Captain Neilson and a reconnaisance party remained forward with orders to attempt to reconnoiter demolition at map reference 237719 at first light.
No.1 platoon who had handed back bridge maintenance to 591 Squadron, moved up at 2200 hrs to St. Richer in support of No.2 platoon in case the approaches of the proposed bridge site were heavily cratered.

19 Aug 1944
Place:Troarn

Place:



 

Maintenance of Bridge and Ford.


[Time 1900: HQRE diary: Ordered to improvise infantry bridge for night assault crossing of Dives Canal.
Time 2359: Improvised Bridge in place. 249 Field Company on road maintenace and Improvement of route Dives Canal.
591 Parachute Squadron on Improvement of River Dives' fords at Troarn, route and bridge maintenance and Water point.]
20 Aug 1944
Place:Troarn

Place:St. Samson
Maintenance of bridge and ford and established Water Point.


[HQRE diary: 591 Parachute Squadron on Improvement to Ford in Dives valley at Troarn Water point.
Fords now passable to all loads.]

21 Aug 1944
Place:Troarn

Place: Beaumont en Auge

Lieutenant P.R.H. McCririck killed in action 21 August .


[HQRE diary: 591 Parachute Squadron on Bridge and Ford maintenance, Troarn road maintenance. Water point at St. Samson.]

22 Aug 1944
Place:Branville




Place:
Lieu St.Laurent

 





 


 

 


 

 






 

 






 

Squadron move forward to Branville. Verge clearing. Engineer reconnoiter carried out.
One section in support of No.1 Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles on assault of River Touques. [Have included the war diary entries for the 1st Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles for next few days as one section of 591 is with them.]

[No.1 Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles diary:
Time 0700: Brigade prepare to move at 30 minutes notice.
Time 0815: Operations Group Battalion objective is spur of hill just East of Blonville-sur-mer.
Time 1130: Battalion leaves location, proceeding through the Devons position.
Time 1210: Battalion objective is changed. Now to push on to Deauville. No opposition: leading Company to push on West, no halting whatsoever.
Time 1800: Battalion in Tourgeville. Still no opposition. Warm reception by civilians all along the way.
Time 1818: Operations Group Battalion to push on to Deauville. Reconnoiter and Leading Company to reconnoiter road ahead and the bridge across the River Touques.
Civilians report all bridges but one blown. F.F.I.
(Les Forces Francaises de l'Interieur) man offers guide to Deauville - knows mines.
Occasional shells from a Self Propelled Gun, shelling near road North of Tourgeville.
Reconnaisance Company reports all roads leading South West through town are covered by Machine Gun fire from across river.
'D' Company and Forward Company halted because of enemy Self Propelled  shelling accurately on road.
Operations Group Decided to find an alternative route into Deauville for transport- 'B' Company to lead.
Message received that proposed route is mined.
McGann reconnoiters route and Battalion position in Deauville; later also 2nd in Command.
Route clear of mines at least on road itself. Transport proceeds on this route.
Time 1930: Major Johnson Officer Commanding 'C' company reported killed.
Time 1935: 'B' Company reporting in with Dutch O.P. Battalion in position.
Time 2000: Message from Brigade- we can have assault boats (18) if required- sent for.
Time 2200: Signals report jamming of sets. Some shelling of road area Benerville.
Meteorology: Hot and sunny day throughout.
Casualty: 1 Officer killed Major E.F. Johnston(66181), 1 Officer wounded Lieutenant P.D. Laird (300335)and 9 Other Ranks wounded.]

23 Aug 1944
Place:Branville

Place:
Beaumont en Auge


Place:
Lieu St. Laurent


 






Place: La Poterie

 



 


 







 










 

General reconnaissnce carried out of River Touques.

[HQRE diary: 591 Parachute Squadron on Verge checking on main route Dozule to Pont-l'Évêque.
Troarn Bridges handed over to Canadian Engineers. Water Point Troarn closed.]

[Time 0600: 1st Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles diary: Fairly quiet night. Occasional shelling. Recommoiter patrol out during night.
Time 0900: At first light patrol bridges and ascertain whether it is possible to get infantry without trucks across in any manner whatsoever.
Time 0915: 'D' Company have received civilian report that enemy have evacuated area near bridge.
Time 0945: 'A' Company patrol crossed river and reached railway through orchard at approx map refernce 480083 and retruned.
Reconnoiter report bridge at 459115 is passable for marching troops only. Enemy Machine Guns and Shells have fired across river.
Time 1315: Battalion moves out.
Time 1640: Battalion Headquarters established at map reference 465069.
Time 1300 to 1600: Crossing reconnoitered by Operations Group. Sappers are preparing footbridge and assault boats.
Orders issued to patrol- to cross the Sappers bridge at map reference 468078, and make for orchard 479081
and thence to area of church at Bonneville-Sur-Touques; if clean, to remain there;

if enemy encountered without being observed, to lie low;
if attacked by vastly superior forces to get back.
Patrol consists of Lieutenant O'Hara-Murray and No.10 Platoon.
General plan- to infiltrate Battalion across by platoons. Transport following and to move to map reference 488138.
Time 1640: Patrol has crossed river ('A' Company patrol).
'A' Company (on arrival at new location) reported severe mortaring whilst leaving old position and resulting in 5 casualties.
Time 1700: Enemy reported in orchard 478082, strength unknown.
Time 1710: Patrol- enemy seen about 478082 maybe 1 platoon. Patrol observed.
Time 1730: Exchange of mortar firing. Some enemy sniping.
Time 1743: 'A' Company patrol all back and report.
Time 1930: Operations Group Battalion to move back slightly, out of mortar range.
Task to patrol and find out where enemy positions are for Brigade plan.
Time 2100: Battalion in new position. Battalion Headquarters in map reference 460064.
Meteorology: Very hot during forenoon deteriorating to rain in late evening.
Casualty: Lieutenant D. McGrath(288791) wounded, 1 Other Rank killed, 1 Other Rank died of wounds. 4 Other Ranks wounded.]

24 Aug 1944
Place:Branville


Place: Beaumont en Auge

Place:
Lieu St. Laurent






 

 





 


 

 





 



 


German Bridging Equipment collected and bridging of River Touques at Roncheville commenced at 1200hrs.
Time 1800: Bridge open. Great help by Les Forces Francaises de l'Interieur (F.F.I.)

[HQRE diary: 591 Parachute Squadron adapt German bridging equipment to form bridge at Roncheville 4906, open 1830 hrs.]

[1st Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles diary:
Time 0600:
Quiet night.Very heavy rain. During the night a message had been sent out to all Companys that captured enemy equipment must be returned to Battalion Headquarters.
Brigade estimated that main enemy line of defence was along railway line, and that strength of enemy in Divisional Area was between 1 and 2 thousand;
On our Battalion front 4 Companys each containing 200 men;
a prisoner of war taken over the river believes his forward Battalion to be in area of
Pont-l'Évêque
.
Time 0900: The four patrols sent out last night achieved a penetration of approximately 1000 yards. 3 of them met the enemy, 1 man believed drowned. Maquis report enemy withdrawal.
Time 1000: The Oxford and Buckingham Light Infantry on our left are well across river in strength and have met no opposition.
The Belgians are crossing into Trouville. The Battalion is ordered to cross the river, immediate objectives are
Bonneville-sur-Touques,
Quartier de Folleville
Englesqueville,
Further objective St. Philibert.
Belgians entered Trouville at 0800 hrs. British Troops are crossing to Trouville by North Bridge.
Battalion Transport is to cross river by South Bridge, marching troops in area Bonneville.
Time 1230: Battalion marching troops across river. No opposition.
Time 1400: Battalion at Englesqueville (Patrol declared this clean at 1345 hrs) Time 1430: Battalion at Bonneville.
Time 1500: Battalion leaves Bonneville for St. Philibert.
 
 Forces Francaises de l'Interieur active.
Time 1615: Battalion in St. Philibert having encountered no opposition. Battalion Headquarters at map refernce 525124.
Meteorology: Forenoon misty. Continuous rain afternoon and evening.
Casualty: 1 Other Rank is missing. ]

25 Aug 1944
Place:
Pont-l'Évêque


Place:
Saint-Benoît-d'Hebertot




Place:
St. Philibert


 


 


 


 

 




 


 

 





 



 



 




 





 


 





 

Squadron moved forward to clear demolished railway bridge of main route of advance. Maintenance of bridge at Roncheville.


[Time 2130: HQRE diary: Bailey Bridge 50 feet D/S at Pont-l'Évêque completed.
591 Parachute Squadron on clearance of demolished railway / road bridges at map references 578057 and 622010.
Time 2200: Bridge at map reference 622010 cleared for two way traffic.]

[1st Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles diary:
Time 0600:
Quiet night. Some rain. Signals still troubled by interference.
Time 0830: Brigade ready to move by 1100hrs. Devonshire Regiment reported in Honfleur last night.
Time 1030: Route given out. Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Regiment are moving through us to Manneville and then proceeding towards East.
Our Battalion to follow up Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Regiment. Commandos in area near Beuzeville.
Time 1350: Battalion has halted behind Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Regiment who have encountered opposition,
Machine Guns, shellfire, from valley West of Manneville-La-Raoult.
Probably 100 enemy near the bridge which is intact.
1 Company Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Regiment across.
Enemy holding Manneville. 2 Companys Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Regiment over river.

Devonshire Regiment held up at map reference 620166 area.
1st Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles are to go through the Oxf and Bucks and come in behind the enemy threatening the Devonshire Regiment.
After winning Manneville, Oxf and Bucks Regiment to send patrols to Les Parquets.
Road 618167-666118 is possible enemy defence line. Route, general direction Berville-sur-Mer, given out.
Time 1600: Brigade message- we are NOT to push on through Oxf and Bucks Regiment until they have cleared Manneville.
Time 1645: 3 Companys Oxf and Bucks Regiment over now. 1 Company in area 617125.
Time 1745: 1 Company Oxf and Bucks Regiment saw 1 Company enemy horsedrawn transport disappear.
McGann has reconnoitered a route to Manneville from Bridge which shortens way by 2 miles.
Time 1930: Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Regiment still engaging enemy around Manneville.
Plenty of small arms fire. Battalion has moved about 2 miles further up and is now halted leading Company railway bridge.
'D' Company moves over river bridge in response to Commanding Officer of Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Regiment desire for support in event of counter-attack.

Time 2050: Informed from German Non-commissioned Officer from 630 East Battalion- enemy on our front is 500 strong including 120 Germans.
Weapons included two 50-mm Anti-Tank guns, two 20-mm Flak guns in ground role, 15 Light Machine Guns, 5 Medium Machine Guns, one 75mm Infantry Gun sited in North corner of road in Manneville village, and eight 81mm mortars.
He says his Battalion is ordered to withdraw tonight- times of withdrawal are never issued until last possible moment- his Officers have vanished, not having been seen all day; the troops are too afraid to surrender.
Battalion includes Headquarters and 4 Companys, 30 Germans are recent reinforcements. Location of enemy 1km South of Manneville to the coast.
Expect to cross River Seine tonight.
Time 2200: aim of Battalion is to push on to Berville-sur-Mer at all possible speed.
Devonshire Regiment have 1 Platoon across river near coast and are pushing on towards Berville.
Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Regiment after Manneville to push due East to the River Seine.
1st Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles route as before. Company localities at Berville given Transport to move under command Officer in Command Anti-tank Company in morning on instructions from Chief Officer.
Meteorology: Very fine all day.
Casualty: NIL. Our advance made against no opposition .

26 Aug 1944
Place:
Pont-l'Évêque




Place:
Saint-Benoit -d'Hebertot

Place:
Manneville




Place: Berville


Place: La Judee
 


 

1 Troop attached to leading elements in push to Pont-Audemer.
Obstructions met on way cleared by Les Forces Francaises de l'Interieur. Push finished.
Squadron started to concentrate and bring up its Quartermaster stores from 30 miles back.

[HQRE diary: 591 Parachute Squadron on road maintenance in Beuzeville area.]

[Time 0030: 1st Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles diary: Battalion moves on having been informed Manneville is cleared by Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Regiment.
Time 0200: We pass through Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Regiment positions.

Time 0935:
Battalion reaches objective Berville-Sur-Mer with no further incident.
Road cratered 1.5 miles before Berville.
Time 1600: Battalion established La Judeee. Read secret order (1200)
1st battalion Royal Ulster Rifles will concentrate at Les Houx 6617 and La Judee 6617.
Meteorology: Fine weather all day. Nothing to report.]

27 Aug 1944
Place:Beuzeville



Place: La Judee


 

Squadron concentrated in area of Beuzeville.
Established water point.
Carried out repairs to road diversions.
Work continued on main railway bridge which was blocking main Corps route

[Time 0600: 1st Battalion Royal Uster Rifles diary: Quiet Night
Time 1800: Brigade reports that Maquis have taken control of Quillebeuf and that enemy have shown white flag.
Maquis have asked us to stop shelling.
Time 2000: Information Officer investigating whether enemy were observing us from opposite banks of River Seine found no such evidence.
Time 2359: Summary- a quiet sunny day spent in rest and maintenance.]
28 Aug 1944
Place:
Pont-l'Évêque

Place: La Forge


Work handed over to Corps troops and Squadron rested.
Prepared for return to England.

[Time 1300: HQRE diary: Railway bridges at 575056 and 627086 handed over to 174 Fd Coy RE.
Companies carried on road maintenance. All troops rested as far as possible.]
29 Aug 1944
Place:
Pont-l'Évêque

Place: La Forge

Work handed over to Corps troops and Squadron rested.
Prepared for return to England.

[Time 0900: HQRE diary: Message received that 6th Airborne Division is returning to England on 8th Sept 1944.
Day spent in organising return to England, packing stores etc.]
30 Aug 1944
Place:
Pont-l'Évêque

Place: La Forge
Work handed over to Corps troops and Squadron rested.
Prepared for return to England.

[HQRE diary: Message received that No reinforcements will return with the division.]
31 Aug 1944
Place:
Pont-l'Évêque

Work handed over to Corps troops and Squadron rested.
Prepared for return to England.

Strength on this day. 10 officers and 93 Other Ranks

Signed: Roderick F Semple /Captain Royal Engineers



591 (Antrim) Parachute Squadron, Royal Engineers

September 1944

Commanding Officer: Major G.F. Davidson Royal Engineers

1-3 Sep 1944
Place:Beuzeville
Squadron prepares for return to England. Lieutenant Dawson and Lieutenant MacWatt posted out of Division.
4 Sep 1944
Place: Arromanche
Squadron moves to transit camp at Arromanche. [The War Diary contradicts eye-witness accounts which state the squadron left France at Honfleur rather than Arromanche and is a lot closer to Beuzeville.]
6 Sep 1944
Place: Arromanche
Squadron embarked at Arromanche Harbour and sailed midday.
7 Sep 1944
Place: Bulford
Disembarked at Southampton and return to old billets at Bulford.
Captain Harbord rejoins.
Lieutenant Baillie posted to 3 Parachute Squadron
8-10 Sep 1944
Place: Bulford
Squadron starts refitting. 46 Other Ranks posted from Home Details.
11 Sep 1944
Place: Bulford
Squadron proceeded on leave for 14 days.
16 Sep 1944
Place: Bulford
Lieutenant Merrell, 2nd Lieutenant Adamson join the squadron
22 Sep 1944
Place: Bulford
Lieutenant Cox (288185) posted to clu(?) unit
24 Sep 1944
Place: Bulford
Squadron returns from block leave.
25 Sep 1944
Place: Bulford
Squadron resumes normal training and carries on refitting.
28 Sep 1944
Place: Bulford
Lieutenant C.P. Goodwin (261530) posted to this unit.
30 Sep 1944
Place: Bulford
Unit completes mobilisation

Strength this day (no further notes)

Signed: Roderick F Semple /Captain Royal Engineers



591 (Antrim) Parachute Squadron, Royal Engineers

October 1944

Commanding Officer: Major G.F. Davidson Royal Engineers

01 Oct 1944
Place: Bulford
Squadron carries out normal training.
04 Oct 1944
Place: Bulford
Exercise YORK (see Appendix A)
05 Oct 1944
Place: Bulford
Squadron did its first jump since D-day
10 Oct 1944
Place: Bulford
Lieutenant G.S. Wade (155917) and 2nd Lieutenant J.B. Wood (327539) posted to this unit.
16 Other Ranks taken on strength this unit.
17 Oct 1944
Place: Bulford
Lieutenant W.E. James (273454) posted to this unit.
1 ACC posted to this unit.
2 Other Ranks posted to this unit
18-31 Oct 1944
Plae: Bulford
Squadron carries out normal training. Now up to full strength in operational parachutists

Strength this day 18 Officers and 173 Other Ranks.

CLICK Appendix A=Exercise YORK

Signed: Roderick F Semple /Captain Royal Engineers



591 (Antrim) Parachute Squadron, Royal Engineers

November 1944

Commanding Officer: Captain G.F. Davidson Royal Engineers

1-10 Nov 1944
Place: Bulford
Squadron on normal training.
11 Nov 1944
Place: Bulford
Major G.F. Davidson relinquishes command of Squadron
Major A.J. Jack assumes command of Squadron
12 Nov 1944
Place: Bulford
Squadron resumes normal training
13 Nov 1944
Place: Bulford
Squadron inspected by the Commander Allied Airborne Army.
14 Nov 1944
Place: Bulford
Preparation for moving to Yarmouth Street Fighting Area
15-17 Nov 1944
Place: Yarmouth
Squadron moves to Yarmouth and carries out two days street fighting
18 Nov 1944
Place:Near Cambridge
Move from Yarmouth to Transit Camp near Cambridge for Exercise EVE.
19 Nov 1944
Place: Cambridgshire
Exercise EVE postponed
20 Nov 1944
Place: Cambridgeshire
Exercise EVE carried out under perfect conditions.
24 Nov 1944
Place:
Squadron proceeded on leave for 10 days.
30 Nov 1944

Strength this day 18 Officers and 174 Other Ranks

CLICK Appendix A=Exercise EVE

CLICK Appendices B to E=Exercise EVE

Signed: Roderick F. Semple /Captain Royal Engineers



591 (Antrim) Parachute Squadron, Royal Engineers

December 1944

Commanding Officer: Major A.J. Jack Royal Engineers

1-3 Dec 1944
Place: Bulford
Squadron on bulk leave.
4-6 Dec 1944
Place: Bulford
Squadron prepares to move and moves to the School of Mechanical Engineering at Ripon.
7-20 Dec 1944
Place: Ripon
Squadron carries out bridging training in following types of equipment:
(1) Close support raft
(2) Anti-tank gun raft
(3) Dry and Wet Bailey Bridge
(4) Folding Boat Equipment
(5) Mark II Folding Boat Equipment
21 Dec 1944
Place: Bulford
Squadron returns to Bulford
22-23 Dec 1944
Place: Folkestone
Squadron prepares to move overseas
Move to transit camp at Folkestone
25 Dec 1944
Place: Folkestone
Embark on SS Canterbury for North West Europe
26 Dec 1944
Place: Ostende
Disembark at Ostende and move to Deerlijk near Kortrijk/Courtray to await arrival of vehicle party.
29 Dec 1944
Place: Deerlijk
Vehicle Party arrives having been held up by fog in the channel.
30 Dec 1944
Place: Stave
Move to assembly area behind Menen(?)
31 Dec 1944
Place: Stave
Re-organisation and checking stores

Strength this day 12 Officers and 143 Other Ranks

Signed: Roderick F Semple /Captain Royal Engineers




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