June 1944 - 25 July 1944

The Directorate of Claims and Hirings was responsible for the disposal of all claims other than those arising out of contract or war damage and for the requisitioning and or hiring of land and buildings within 21 Army Group area. During June and July a total of 1,185 claims were received and 728 disposed of. In the same period 1,291 requisitions of real estate were recorded.

The first Claims and Hirings District Office was opened at BAYEUX on 16 June with sub offices at ARROMANCHES, COURSEULLES, PORT EN BESSIN, LUC-SUR-MER and CREPON.

Subsequently it was found that the existence of the sub offices involved complications, particularly in the matter of records and finance, and from the middle of July onwards these offices were gradually closed and the personnel absorbed by the district offices as the bridgehead was expanded.

The Claims and Hirings detachment for Second Army reported to Rear HQ at RANVILLE on 2 July and officers were attached to Adm HQ First Canadian Army from 22 July. Elements were also attached to the various corps HQ. The presence of these officers with army and corps HQ proved to be of considerable assistance in regard to quartering, and their presence in the forward areas enabled them to dispose of certain claims which, had they remained outstanding, might have caused some ill-feeling between the inhabitants and the operational troops.

Intelligence summaries were also prepared from reconnaissance made of recently captured towns and villages with. a view to ascertaining the proportion of loss attributable to GERMAN or civilian looting or to war damage. These reports proved of considerable assistance when claims were subsequently made under more static conditions.

In this phase the technical policy regarding both Claims and Hirings remained as it had been developed in ENGLAND and laid down in the Claims and Hirings manuals issued to all the officers of the Directorate.

It was based on the assumption that FRENCH local administration would be found to be considerably disrupted, but this was not the case and it was decided that it would be able to function with reasonable efficiency within a short time.

Discussions were begun with representatives of the FRENCH Intendence with a view to the Directorate confirming itself to the service of requisition demands on the local authorities leaving the FRENCH Government to carry out all subsequent regularisation including the assessment and payment of compensation for the occupations in accordance with the normal Intendence practice. These discussions were satisfactorily concluded in August.



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