By the 22nd August 1944 the war in Normandy had moved on and the German resistance in the Falaise pocket finally ended with some 70,000 German troops either killed or captured, and the remaining German forces in full retreat across the River Seine.
While the British and Canadian Corps were advancing to the Seine, preparations were completed for bridging the river. Between Rouen and Paris the river is about 250 yards wide and all the bridges had been broken by earlier air attacks. Though bridgeheads should be gained fairly easily, the building of new crossings to maintain a large force will take some time.
In XXX Corps the 43rd Division which was given the task of crossing at Vernon; for this it was organised in three groups. The first, with the troops and equipment for bridging the Eure river and assaulting the Seine, contained 1,500 vehicles; most of the artillery, and material for one bridge, were in the second group with 1,900 vehicles; the remainder of the division and about 1,000 vehicles formed the third. The leading group, which included the 1st Battalion Worcestershire Regiment, harboured in the forest of Breteuil for the night of the 24th August and sent forward its reconnaissances, together with some engineers to repair the bridge over the Eure at Pacy.
Two four-hour timings through the American XIX Corps area (along only one route) were now given to the 43rd Division for the 25th August. This allowed the first group to assemble at Vernon by 16.00 hours that day. This time slot proved insufficient for the other two groups who had to continue filtering through during the night.