1st Special Service Brigade - Brigade Headquarters - War Diaries

5th June 1944
The Brigade left Camp C 18 and embarked for operation OVERLORD at WARSASH in LCI(S) of the 200th and 201st LCI(S) Flotilla. (Senior Naval Officer Lieut Commander L.R. Curtis RNVR).

6th June 1944 - D Day
Place: France

4 Cdo with Adv Bde HQ landed at LA BRECHE at H + 30.  They were 500 strong and their objective was the coastal bty at OUISTREHAM. 4 Cdo suffered 40 casualties while landing including the CO. C Tp of the Cdo engaged the defences and gained the main coast rd, followed by the rest of the Cdo. Fighting French Tps led the Cdo towards OUISTREHAM, coming under hy fire. They over ran the casino area and the assault on the bty commenced. After severe fighting the posn was taken. Casualties on both sides were heavy. R/T contact by Bde HQ was made with 6 Airborne Div and it was learnt that the brs which the Bde intended to use were intact. Bde HQ and 6 Cdo landed at 0840 hrs under hy gun and mortar fire. 6 Cdo took the lead when the rd was gained and the adv to the brs commenced.  Progress was slow because of the marshy ground and enemy mortar fire. The forming up pt was reached in 1 hr, by which time 3 and 45 RM Cdos had landed and they caught up with 6 Cdo. They had suffered few casualties. The brs were reached at 1230 hrs and contact made with 6 Airborne Div. 6 Cdo crossed the brs and sent their cycle Tp fwd to capture LE PLEIN. Bde HQ halted E of the river br. 45 RM Cdo passed over the brs towards their objectives at MERVILLE and FRANCEVILLE PLAGE. 3 Cdo who had been held up, crossed the brs at 1530 and were diverted to protect Div HQ. Thus the original plan was abandoned and the Bde Comd decided to hold the high ground from MERVILLE to BREVILLE. 45 RM Cdo were ordered to remain at MERVILLE for the night. Bde HQ moved to ECARDE and 6 Cdo consolidated in LE PLEIN. 4 Cdo rejoined the Bde at 2000 hrs, and dug in at HAUGER they had suffered hy casualties in fighting during the day. At the end of the day, 3 Cdo were still detached.
7th June 1944
Place: France
At 0300 hrs 3 Cdo rejoined the Bde. At 1200 hrs Maj Gen Gale Comd 6 Airborne Div visited Bde HQ and ordered 45 RM Cdo to take FRANCEVILLE PLAGE. The Cdo suffered hy casualties in the assault, and after bitter fighting withdrew to MERVILLE. Two Tps of 3 Cdo on loan to 45 RM Cdo joined them, after suffering casualties while silencing a gun bty. 45 RM Cdo were out of touch with Bde. The enemy attempted to penetrated the Div area but was repelled. 6 Cdo were being mortared and a patrol was sent to clear BREVILLE, prisoners and weapons being captured. At 1900 hrs 3 Cdo moved to LE PLEIN to join up 4 & 6 Cdos. Enemy attempts to infiltrate were reported at 2130 hrs. This was prevented. 8th June 1944
Place: France
In the early hours, runners arrived at Bde HQ from 45 RM Cdo, who were still cut off. Before assistance could be sent to 45 RM Cdo, an enemy attack in force developed during which a Tp of 4 Cdo were forced to withdraw. Eventually a counter attack by 3 Cdo restored the posn. A patrol from 6 Cdo broke up an attack, and attempts to infiltrate were prevented. 45 RM Cdo suffered heavily during the day and they were withdrawn inside the Bde posns. It was decided to hold the ridge of ground from HAUGER to BREVILLE at all costs. A large scale attack was expected. Bde HQ moved from ECARDE to LE PLEIN.