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William Jowitt - Normandy and the Liberation of Europe

He landed just west of Courseilles on Mike Red Sector on Juno Beach and headed inland towards Creully where Montgomery had his 21st Army Group Headquarters and where Phantom had their Squadron HQ.

juno-3 D-Day Canadian Assaults Map.jpg

He landed just west of Courseilles on Mike Red Sector on Juno Beach and headed inland towards Creully where Montgomery had his 21st Army Group Headquarters and where Phantom had their Squadron HQ.

At Tierceville where he camped in the hedgerow at the fringe of a large field  between the village (top right in map below) and Creully, They encountered problems with snipers – most notably a French woman located in the Church Tower overlooking the British camp. (Church shown right with the view down on to the British Camp)


British Camp

From there it was just a few fields walk to Montgomery's tactical HQ at Chateau Creullet where Phantom were supplying him with reconnaissance information directly from the battlefield and from where Bill was deployed supporting A Squdron's patrols out on the front line.

Monty's van was parked along the gravel road under the three trees

to the left of the chateau. 


Monty received visits from Winston Churchill on June 12, De Gaulle on June 14, Eisenhower on June 15 and King George VI on June 16 while Bill was working from there. The English newspaper reporters, accompanying the king, were so explicit about Montgomery's location that German officers in Lisbon reading the English papers passed the information back through channels bringing German artillery fire down on the chateau grounds.


Diary 10th June - Living on 24hr ration packs not very nice. Wrote letter home. Saw Dougie. Tierceville.

During this time Bill supported A Squadron patrols as the front line moved towards Caen.  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 - Bill stoical diary entry simply recalls...."heard Usher, Hall and hardy hit by a shell. Usher had it"

By the end of June, Bill was supporting A squadron patrols listening in on Operation Epsom - close enough to Caen to witness what he called the "barage ala monty". On 7th July he witnessed a Mustang crash close to Caen, just 2 days before the city was liberated.

After Caen was taken, Bill noted call outs to 2 Patrol in Douvre dedeliverande and 12 Patrol at Ranville.

Diary 20th July – Called out to 12 patrol Ranville. Rained very hard roads flooded

Diary 21st July - Still raining - went out to 6 Patrol - lots of mud and jeep stuck in

mud in a shell hole for 3 hours.....

Diary  3rd August - Moved to 21st Army Group HQ

Diary 5th August - Yanks in with us now. Saw MacKenzie and Nicks of L.

Diary 9th August – sent into Noron la Poterie and had a cup of Coffee

He was then seconded to "B" Squadron to support patrols tracking the Canadians who had established their HQ at Amblie as they advanced south.


Diary 11th August -   Moved to B with Dougie White in the chara – to Amblie 1st Canadian HQ

Diary 15th August - heard that RAF had bombed one of Phantoms patrols,

near Falaise sector Two injured.

His diary continues to tell of how Phantom moved forward steadily north, relocating every day enabling them to track the front line. Bill remained with B Squadron as their Patrols -named after birds- continued to move towards Calais, relaying information as the liberation of Northern France continued. From his diary it seems he would "go out" to the patrols to resupply batteries and deal with any technical issues, driving in a jeep or by motorcycle.

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 to 2 Corp HQ as standby IM went via Rouen Rondonierres

between Cressy and Auffay

Diary 3rd September - Moved with 2 corps Moyenneville. Plenty of people to greet us.

War 5 years old today. Blimey. Soon be over the Somme – not very far from Abbeville.

Diary 5th September -Moved to Montreuil. Reports of 2nd Army in Brussels. This place was

Haigs HQ in last war.

Diary 7th September Moved to Colembert then repaired Froggy wireless set – I ???

a cognac and glass.  Jerries left here 2 days ago sleeping in

RE 2 Div Aussies billet  of last war  Orders dated 2.1.18

Diary 8th September- Moved to Cassel not far from Belgium  SS Troops knocking about

sleeping in haylofts


Papers in the National Archive show how the Suadron moved constantly "switching" their

base as the front line advances so they could stay close to the front line. 

Bill tells of recces into villages to pick up cognac and looted cologne - and then on 12th September

he reached the LIque Forest about 20k from Calais where they occupied the high ground where

they monitored the fall of Calais (September 29th) to Canadian 1st Army and the seige of Dunkirque

by the 2nd. For example while Calais was surrendering on 29th and Dunkirque under fire, Bill went out to Kestrel at Esquelbeq just south of Dunkirque.

The next day after a move towards Ghent he was sent out from HQ, now at St Martin,  to Ghent passing through Ypres Steenvorden and Poperinge.The advance then stalled and Bill spent October and the beginning of November in the Ghent/Antwerp area before moving to Breda in Holland where he was billeted the Torck Pram Factory where tha Signal Office had been established in a school opposite.

In December - on 7th - he went on 48hr leave to Ghent where he stayed with Mr and Mrs Van der Linden with whom he made friends, visiting them after the war.


He  spent Christmas 1944 at Breda, still billeted in the pram factory. He recalled his own Christmas Dinner

Turkey, Pork Apple Strudel for dinner. 2 glasses of gin and orange from Q in IM Shop. Beer just merry.


and the Boxing Day Party that the Squadron held for local children and how much food they ate.

​Blow out for kiddies and did they eat Presents given to them by Major Dalby as santa Claus A good time had by all.


On January 5th he travelled to RHQ in Brussels prior to going on leave and then on the 7th January 1945 he travelled back to England on leave

Arrived at Calais Transit camp about 6am Money changed had breakfast and dinner embarked about 3pm landed 5pm Folkestone. Kings X 8pm across London by bus caught 10.20 for home. Arrived home by 6

He returned to Belgium by 18th January and spent time helping out at RHQ  before rejoining B Squadron

on 24th January, travelling with captain Laurie's Jeep Patrol.

Birthday card from Mary returned back to B with Capt laurie’s patrol . Rode in L jeep very cold Tilberg

Then during February he returned to his work supporting B Squadron Patrols in Holland - Tern near S'hertogenbosch on 2nd February, Eagle at Nijmegen - just 3000 yds from the front line. and Gull on 14th. all monitoring the crossing of the Rhine.

By 17th April he had reached Borne at Hengelo in northern Holland.


During this time he carried out

many patrols,  but it was "Operation Wilhelmshaven” 

on  April 25th some two weeks before the town was liberated, that he must have remembered most, as he wrote about it in detail.

Click here to read about it


By June 6th, he was in Apeldore and on the 18th he was told he was to be part of the Burma Squadron and was called back to Richmond Park with his best friends "Ticker" Tone and "Tiny" Leach, to be trained for action in the Far East. He joined the new squadron at RHQ in Bad Oeynhausen in Germany on June 24th, and a week later he travelled home via Oostend and Tilbury and enjoyed a month’s leave before further training.  He kept his cloth Jungle warfare guide as a reminder of that time, which was filled with a strange mixture of relief being off the front line but trepidation of his imminent posting.


Lighter moments in the Phantom Richmond Park Camp in front of the bandstand that was relocated to Regents Park in 1970 and which was damaged by the IRA bombing there in 1982.


Then in August 1945, came VJ Day which marked the end of the war and Phantom never saw the Pacific. Instead Bill was posted to Bunde in Germany to be involved in peacetime operations and where he waited to be demobbed.

Click here to find out what happened next.

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