Roland transferred into the Hallamshire battalion of the York and Lancaster Regiment from the Wiltshire Regiment.
The Hallamshire battalion, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Trevor Hart Dyke, had 4 rifle companies, each commanded by a Major and a mechanised support company of six 3 inch Mortars, 12 Universal Carriers, a Wasp flame thrower, six 6 Pounder Guns. An assault pioneer platoon h was equipped to detect and clear mines and trained to make rafts and carry out minor construction work.
The Hallamshire’s arrived in Northern France on D-Day+3 [9th June 1944] at Ver-Sur-Mer and soon moved inland to join the front line, as part of the 146th Infantry brigade, and on On June 12th the Hallamshire’s relieved the 7th Green Howards. [Elements of the Green Howards had been billeted in Winscombe prior to D-Day.] They then stayed in the line for 33 days continuously fighting through the Bocage, taking heavy losses.
The Hallamshires rested, re-organised and re-equipped at Ducy St Marguerite for a week in preparation to be sent back into the line for the Battle of Caen. Replacement officers and men were sent over from holding camps in Britain. The 146th Infantry Brigade was being moved from Bocage country to the open plains south east of Caen.
This is the Battalion war diary for the day of Roland’s death
10th August 1944
“Patrols reported enemy positions in woods to the east of the village of Chicheboville [about 20km south east of Caen.] The Carrier Platoon carried out some excellent patrolling during the morning. One carrier was lost, but afterwards retrieved.
Exploitation eastwards was attempted with the support of two troops of tanks. One platoon was used under command of Lieutenant Chamberlain. The new infiltration tactics used by the battalion were utilised. When half the Platoon was across the open ground between Chicheboville and the woods, enemy ‘Defensive Fire’ came down for 10 minutes and 11 out of the 12 men were casualties. The tanks successfully neutralised all LMG fire and on the cessation of the ‘Defensive Fire’, Lieutenant Chamberlain was able to withdraw the wounded.
In the afternoon orders were received to verify that the enemy still held the woods east of Chicheboville. In view of the open ground to be crossed and the ‘Defensive Fire’ previously met this was not an easy task. Smoke was put down across the front and tanks used to neutralise enemy LMG fire from the woods to simulate a frontal attack. A patrol under Lieutenant Bardwell then crossed 1000 yards to the north where a certain amount of cover was available. His patrol came under LMG fire in the woods after he had crossed the open ground. One casualty was suffered in thus obtaining the information required. Enemy was hoodwinked, his ‘Defensive Fire’ coming down as expected were the smoke screen was laid.”
Casualties: Officers. Capt E.G.Wake Wounded. Other Ranks. 6 Killed. 16 Wounded.
The battalion was relieved by 1 Leicesters in the evening.