William Jowitt - Liberation of Europe
Bill was attached to "A" squadron waiting at Southsea, Portsmouth. He was part of the second echelon supporting the 2nd Canadian Army who had landed on Juno Beach. Bill landed in Normandy on the evening of D Day +3 having boarded an LST at 11am. He was heading for Creully where Montgomery had his 21st Army Group Headquarters and where Phantom had their Squadron HQ.
His Diary is sketchy but tells the story of how his squadron tracked the action as France was liberated:
Diary 9th June (from the LST) "trucks on the top deck and tanks on the lower deck. When ship rolled trucks rolled more on springs – uncomfortable. Saw no Jerry ships or planes - terrific air cover.
He landed just west of Courseilles on Mike Red Sector on Juno Beach.
His unit travelled inland to Tierceville where they encountered problems with snipers – most notably a French woman located in the Church Tower overlooking the British camp.
From there it was just a few fields walk to Montgomery's HQ at Cruelly from where Bill was deployed supporting patrols and Squadron HQ.
Diary 11th June - Living on 24hr ration packs not very nice. Wrote letter home. Saw Dougie. Tierceville.
By 22 June he was sent to support patrols listening in to 7th Armoured Division which took part in the Battle for Caen which was taken on July 9th. During this time Phantom lost a man - Albert Henry Usher
Diary 20th July – Ranville
Diary 9th August – sent into Noron la Poterie and had a cup of Coffee
He was seconded to "B" Squadron and his diary continues to tell of how Phantom moved steadily north, tracking the front line.
Diary 11th August - Moved to B with Dougie White in the chara – to Amblie
Diary 15th August - heard that RAF had bombed one of Phantoms patrols, near Falaise sector Two injured.
Diary 30th August - Moved to Brionne and found German Bayonet (which we still have)
Diary 1st September - Reports of 2nd C in Dieppe – went out and had pint of cider.
Dieppe was liberated on September 1st by the Canadian 2nd Infantry Division
Diary 2nd September – moved out to 2nd Canadian HQ went via Rouen staying between Auffray and Cressy – just south of Dieppe
Bill remained with B Squadron as their Patrols continued to move towards Calais, relaying information as the liberation of Northern France continued.
Then he moved onto Belgium and into, Holland where he spent Christmas 1944 at Breda, billeted in a pram factory. He remembers the regiment organising a Christmas party for local children and sent a regimental Christmas card home.
On January 7th 1945 he travelled back to England on leave before returning to Phantom where he progressed into Germany.