Return to St. Valéry
Vehicles enter Rouen on their way to St. Valéry, 2 September 1944.
Imperial War Museum - BU 1519
With the "Breakout" battle complete the 51st Highland Division has several days to recover before the advance continued. From Lisieux they advanced East crossing the Seine dealing with the enemy rear guard. The intention was to isolate the port of Le Havre
It was Montgomery's wish that the Division should recapture St Valéry and he asked the Canadian Army commander to arrange this.
Carrying on they arrived at St.Valéry on 1st September where the 5th Seaforth and 5th Camerons met each other in the Station Square.
The Divisional Commander, Major General Rennie, put his Headquarters in the Chateau at Cailleville which head been General Fortune's Headquarters in 1940. He also deployed 152 and 153 Brigades as their predecessors had been positioned in 1940.
September 3rd was made St Valéry day. The massed pipes and drums of the Division beat Retreat at Caillevile. Major General Rennie addressed the gathering.
Photograph showing men advancing towards Le Havre. 10th - 12th September 1944.
Queens Own Highlanders Museum
It remained to take Le Havre. For this operation the 51st Highland Division were returned to 1st Corps. The operation to take Le Havre was to be a two division attack with 51st Highland Division and 49th Division.
The initial plan had the 51st Highland Division attacking from the north along the strongly defended coast but the GOC successfully argues to approach from Montevilleirs with 49th Division attacking from the east.
The operation was called "Astonia" and took place on 10th September. Le Havre surrendered on the 12th September. The next ten days were spend in garrisoning the city before the next series of operations.
On 23rd September 154 Brigade was given orders to be detached, to under direct command of the 1st Canadian Army, to invest Dunkirk and prevent a German breakout. The 154 Brigade Dunkirk task, which lasted until 9th October, is detailed in the History of 154 Infantry Brigade in North West Europe.
The square at St. Valéry. Pipers of the 51st Highland Division play to a packed square after liberating the town in September 1944.