Weather still very fine.
Remainder of rest tee-ing up for move forward, which is imminent. Commanding Officer speaks to all ranks, tell them the future 8th Army Plan and reads out two messages, one from General Alexander, Commander Allied Armies in Italy (AAI) and the other from General Sir Oliver Leese, 8th Army Commander.
We are told that the AAI are opening the attack on Europe prior the attack on Europe prior to the invasion. The attack has the codeword ‘Honker’ and D Day is today, the attack starting the late evening.
Pm The regiment gets orders to move up to the Regimental Concentration Area (H069044) and moves off wheels leading at 0415 hrs on 12 May 44.
The regiment now concentrated at H 069044. B Squadron are put at one hour’s notice to move with 38 (Irish) Infantry Brigade Group and the regiment less B Squadron at 4 hours’ notice.
The Regimental B Echelon remaining in present location until D plus 3 and then moves under command 26 Armoured B Echelon to Piedimonte d’Alife. Lieut Aylmer is in charge of B Echelon.
Lieut CJG Brooke goes as LO to main 78 Division and the IO returns to the regiment.
GOC 78 Division General Keightley CB OBE visits the regiment at 1500 hrs and sees two squadrons.
Two new tanks arrive in harbour, one for Brigadier Scott (38 Brigade) and the other for Colonel Dawney, 2.i.c 26 Armoured Brigade.
At four hours’ notice during the day. B Squadron under command 38 (Irish) Brigade, 16/5 Lancers less B Squadron under command 78 Division. During the evening 26 Armoured Brigade came under command 78 Division and 16/5 Lancers came under command 26 Armoured Brigade.
Regiment put under orders to move up at 0400 hrs.
Regiment moves from concentration area at 0400 hrs in order RHQ, B, C and A Squadrons, fitters, TA and MO only and A2 remaining present area until ordered forward.
Pass over Oxford bridge and meet 26 Armoured Brigade HQ at 86218; B Squadron relieves C Squadron 17 Lancers, who move over to the right and to relieve C Lothians. C Squadron move up between B Squadron and 17/21 Lancers.
Occasional heavy shelling and mortaring. No casualties, one tank suspension damaged. Visibility always very bad.
B Squadron put under command38 Brigade to support 6 Innisks and move off at 0630 hrs. A and C Squadrons heavily mortared when moving out of harbour, no casualties.
A Squadron and CO to 38 Brigade HQ for orders. B Squadron supporting 6 Innisks.
Infantry held up on Line Grafton. Lieut-Col JNR Loveday immediately tries to contact CO of 6 Innisks and LIR to get a plan and get going again. At X tracks, an Orders Group was taking place when a stack of 150 mm came down in the area. Colonel Loveday was badly wounded and died before getting back to the ADS. The Colonel of the LIR was also wounded and Sgt Fields and Trooper Moseley, Driver and co Driver.
Position still obscure. Major Gundry assumes command.
LIR objective gained. Many SP and Anti Tank guns engaged and knocked out. Prisoners were taken. A and B Squadron claim SP and enemy tanks, and later C Squadron get a good shoot.
At about 1800 hrs, news came through of a stray enemy infantry counterattack. Visibility very bad with mist. Squadrons immediately put out C right, A centre and B right and rear, being responsible for rear. A lot of consumed fighting and order for harbour was not sent out until 0200 hrs. Brigadier Mitchell DSO wounded in the hand.
C Squadron remain and harbour in area Seal (833174). The LIR being out in front. A and B Squadrons are drawn in and harbour very late. After refuelling, replenishing. Reveille at 0600 hrs except for B Squadron and one troop C Squadron, who are supporting RIrF in their attack. SL 818175 – 823178. Objectives pt 82 (815187), successfully taken and consolidated. At about 0740 hrs, report that Major RP Gill has been wounded and it is then confirmed that he had been killed. Meanwhile A Squadron tie up with 6 Innisks and advanced in an area north east of Piumarola. Lothians on the left advancing in a north westerly direction past Piumarola. Reports of a Mk IV, squadron engaged by SP guns. Also encountered heavy enemy shell fire from the area 185215. B Squadron exploited to pt 82 (815195). A Squadron do well.
Squadrons drawn in at dusk. Just after dusk, enemy planes dropped flares and bombed the area, two near misses.
C Squadron on a small job with LIR mopping Piumarola. Squadron crossing Start Line at 0800 hrs. No enemy seen. Three A/Tk guns found abandoned in the village. A and B Squadrons resting in harbour area. C Squadron return early pm and the remainder of the day spent at rest. Captain JA Dubs to Major and commanding A Squadron. Major DDP Smyly to 2.i.c.Major GH Illingworth to command B Squadron and Captain AT Beaumont to Major commanding HQ Squadron. At about 1700 hrs, hear good news that 17/21 Lancers and Derbyshire Yeomanry are at Aquino Aerodrome, so 26 Armoured Brigade put at one hour’s notice to exploit and prepare to move at 0600 hrs, 19th May.