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    War Diary: 102nd Anti Tank Regiment

    Month and year: October 1944

    The 102nd Anti Tank Regiment October 1944 war diary covers the unit's time in the area around Nijmegen including the HQ Carrier taking out infantry and crew of an enemy anti-anti tank gun with a 50 cal recovered from a crashed Thunderbolt.

    National Archive Reference: WO 171/929

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    Page 1 of 23
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    10600 hrs. Recce parties move off.
    0845 hrs. Div HQ column moves off via BOCKEL 5736, VOCKEL 5640 GRAVE 6353
    to area 672579. Arrive new area at 1130 hrs.
    G.I decides does not like new area so recce parties called to Div HQ at
    1400 hrs. Move again tomorrow.
    231 Bde with 288 Bty in sp moved from area MILL 6444 to area MALDEN 7055,
    at 0630 hrs. Cleared bridge at GRAVE by 0930 when Main Div followed across.
    151 Bde with 289 Bty in sp remains old location under 8 Corps. We have
    reverted to 30 Corps.
    1730 hrs. 288 Bty in sp 231 Bde move to area 735603. Bde in counter attack
    role behind American Airborne Div holding East edge of high ground 75 Easting.
    1830 hrs. Capt SPENCE visits RHQ and reports that heavy fighting has been
    going on all day on sector of 69 Bde front with the enemy attacking strongly.
    Lieut GENTLEMAN of 99 Bty was killed during the afternoon and one M.10 was little
    lost. The enemy gained a ground.
    One bn of 69 Bde cross the river to take up posns NE of bridge in a counter
    attack role remainder of Bde with 288 Bty in sp crossing during night.
    Showery cold day. Noisy night. Our Arty firing a good deal and enemy
    HQRA come on at 2345. C.O. wanted to recce and make an appreciation of
    A TK situation in Bridgehead early tomorrow. C.O. to call at HQRA at
    0700 hrs to be put in picture.
    2288 Bty give their new location across the NIJMEGEN Bridge as 715644 at
    0900 hrs.
    151 Bde with 289 Bty in SP moving up to the bridgehead.
    289 Bty report their location at 0930 hrs as 700657.
    69 Bde with 99 Bty in sp being relieved as opportunity offers throughout
    day by 231 Bde.
    Page 2 of 23
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    2 contdP Tp of 107 Bty is sent up to come under comd 288 Bty at 1500 hrs. 107 Bty
    less one TP remains with RHQ.
    Main Div HQ less as many vehicles as possible moves over bridge at 1100 hrs
    and new location is 672670 near EWIJK.
    C.O. decides to send a small Tac with Div and keep B Ech and Main RHQ back.
    Regtl Tac consisting of C.O., I.O. and 9 O.Rs moves to area Main Div at
    1430 hrs. Vehicles on Tac are 1 X 15-cwt Wireless, Staff Car, 2 Jeeps, 2 M/Cs.
    Main RHQ, B Echelon and 107 Bty less one TP move at 1600 hrs to new location
    across MAAS Canal area wood 6859.
    SC RA informs us that reinforcements as demanded are awaiting collection at
    31 RHU at ENGHEIM near BRUSSELS - 115 miles back.
    Owing to moves we are unable to send tomorrow as requested, i.o. to be at
    31 RHU between 1000 and 1300 hrs but it is decided to dispatch Capt SPENCE
    of 99 Bty with two 3-tonners early on 3 Oct to pick up reinforcements on 4 Oct
    1300 hrs. Capt MILLER of 288 Bty calls at RHO and reports one M.10 out of
    action with burnt-out clutch. He collects a spare one from RHQ. LAD will
    repair the clutch in two days.
    1300 hrs. Capt SPENCE calls at RHQ and reports 99 Bty relief almost complete.
    During last two days' heavy fighting 99 Bty casualties were :-
    One officer killed (Lieut GENTLEMANT
    Three O.Rs wounded.
    Four Carriers knocked out.
    Two 6-prs over-run.
    One M.10 knocked out.
    Sgt WHERRELL'S detachment brewed up one TIGER and knocked out a PANTHER.
    6-prs firing H.E. accounted for quite a number of enemy infantry. M.10s
    also fired & good-deal of H.E. Carrier of Tp (99 Bty) which had been
    fitted with a .50 Browning out of a crashed Thunderbolt was fired at, at
    Page 3 of 23
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    2 contdclose range, by an enemy 50mm A TK gun. The enemy missed and the Carrier
    replied with the Browning knocking out the gun and killing all the crew -
    so much for unit modifications!
    M.10 HQ was stalked during the afternoon and the Browning did further
    execution of infantry.
    Present wireless netting in Regt is as follows :-
    H Section in Staff Car operating as control at Main HQ.
    C.O's Jeep on CRA's frequency with flick to regtl net.
    15-cwt wireless at Tac on regtl frequency. All Btys on regtl frequency
    with flick to Bdes. Second set in Bty HQs on Bde frequency with
    flick to regtl frequency.
    Spare 22 Set in Main RHQ on listening watch only for infm on CRA's
    Lieut LUCAS of 107 Bty evacuated sick.
    Fine clear cold day.
    Noisy night until 2359 hrs. Enemy nuisance raiders dropping anti-personnel
    bombs over whole area A little strafing from air.
    Our Arty firing a good deal.
    C.O. called at HQ RA at 0700 and during morning made an appreciation of
    A TK posns in bridgehead. Area if anything over-gunned.
    399 Bty now relieved and back on this side of Bridge at 696608, just South
    of NIJMEGEN. 0700 hrs.
    Bty locations and RHQ locations remain unchanged.
    99 Bty ... 696608 107 Bty ... 670580
    288 Bty ... 715644 289 Bty ... 700657
    Tac RHQ ... 672670 Main & B Ech RHQ ... 670580
    Page 4 of 23
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    3 contdWet, cold day. Heavy overcast sky.
    Six O.Rs return to regt from hospital.
    4RA 50 Div Operation Order No. 33 received.
    151 Bde with 289 Bty in sp and 231 Bde with 288 Bty in sp are to extend
    bridgehead NE and East about 2,000 yards.
    One bn of 69 Bde is at two hours notice to move across the bridge from 1200
    hrs in role Div reserve. If a Tp of 6-prs is required in sp of this bn it
    will be provided by 107 Bty who for any future operations are in sp of
    69 Bde. 99 Bty reverting to regtl control and Div HQ Gp.
    All locations remain unchanged.
    O.Rs Club open in NIJMEGEN. Cinema shows daily from 1000 hrs to 1700 hrs.
    Free teas. Concerts twice daily 1400 and 1600 hrs. 99 Bty, 107 Bty and
    RHQ all send parties.
    Officers Club and Shop open in NIJMEGEN also baths and showers.
    Tea served free and dancing in afternoons.
    Wet dull day.
    Lieut C. DETAUR of 288 Bty wounded.
    Lieut DI CASTIGLIONE who has been doing L.O. in RHQ goes up to take his
    288 Bty have one O.R. wounded. 289 Bty have 2 O.Rs wounded.
    Enemy doing a good-deal of shelling and mortaring.
    During an attack on 231 Bde front the A Tk PL Comd of 1 Hants was killed
    and this led to confusion-as to where Hamps A Tk guns were. Capt WS BRAMELD DSO
    of 288 Bty went forward and took over comd of Hamps A TK Platoon.
    289 Bty located with 151 Bde at 724676.
    Page 5 of 23
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    5All Bdes of 50 Div reach objectives and bridgehead extended about 1000/1500
    yards East and NE.
    No change in Regtil or Bty locations.
    Cold bright day. Slight activity over NIJMEGEN Bridge, resulting in two
    enemy planes being shot down.
    During morning large formations of American four-engined bombers pass over
    Main RHQ flying East.
    Capt SPENCE returns from journey to 31 RHU with 20 rfts for Regt. Further
    6 rfts also come in from Supply Pt. Some of our wounded are being sent back
    from base areas without having had their kit made up and many are arriving
    without greatcoats, blankets etc. Regtl Quartermaster is finding it very
    difficult to supply the necessary items for these men as Regrt has had a good
    deal destroyed by enemy action and normally in all previous campaigns
    personnel wounded were all kitted up in base areas before being despatched back
    to units.
    Lt QM drawns two 6-pr guns and Carrier Starting and Charging from Veh Park
    some 50 miles back at Beverloo.
    Capt LESLIE visits 97 A/TK Regt 15 (S) Div and brings back two of our old
    Sgts who had been posted to them.
    Still no signs of replacements for our two lost M.10s. Corps refuse to
    authorize delivery of one M.10x at present in Corps Dely Sqn.
    One Tp of 107 Bty moves out at 1930 hrs and joins 7 Green Howards who are
    at one and a half hours notice to move into the bridgehead.
    2000 hrs. 69 Bde inform us that the 7 Green Howards move is off. Troop of
    107 Bty remains in bn area however.
    Eneny shelling and mortaring.
    After yesterday's enemy attack on 231 Bde front 288 Bty spent day
    re-organizing A TK defence of Bde front.6
    Page 6 of 23
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    6Locations still the same.
    Regt receives a bath allotment of 100 at NIJMEGEN.
    50 Div are to be relieved in the bridgehead during next 24 hours and regt
    is to concentrate in area 6454. Major BARNETT recces the area during the
    afternoon in conjunction with 2 i/c 2 Cheshires.
    231 Bde relieved by 508 RCT (US Airborne).
    As 508 RCT have no A TK guns 288 Bty have to remain in line supporting 508 RCT.
    P TP of 107 Bty came in for a bit of 'stonking'. They suffer four casualties
    wounded and have a carrier brewed up.
    Fairly heavy shelling and mortaring throughout day on 288 Bty area.
    7Major BARNETT visits Tac HQ at 0830 to find out from C.O. the form. C.O.
    unable to tell him much except that relief of Div is to be completed today
    and that 99, 288 and 289 Btys should be back across
    bridge before dark with luck.
    Recce parties consisting of Capts Q from 99, 288 and 289 Btys and Capt G
    of 107 Bty report to Major BARNETT at 1000 hrs at Main RHQ.
    1200 hrs. Areas allotted to Btys in general area 6454.
    1400 hrs. Main RHQ and B Ech move from present area back across Canal to
    within 200 yards of the place we left on 2 Oct. New location of Main RHQ
    107 Bty moves behind RHQ to area 6659.
    1600 hrs. Signal received from Tac saying they expect to arrive in Regtil
    area at 1730 hrs.
    1630 hrs. C.O. arrives at Regtl HQ.
    1735 hrs. Tac RHQ arrive and rejoin Main RHQ.
    All Btys back across bridge and report locations as follows :-
    2100 hrs. 99 Bty .. 6658 288 Bty .. 6656 289 Bty .. 6755
    Page 7 of 23
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    7 contdMajor WIGGLESWORTH and Capt SPENCE visit RHQ at 1815 hrs chiefly to swap
    a bottle of gin for one of whiskey!
    2000 hrs. Major BALFOUR and Capt BRAMELD visit RHQ.
    Regt is to be resting in present area for three or four days, and everyone
    is looking forward to getting bathed and washing done to say nothing of
    getting some well earned sleep. (99, 288 and 289 Btys particularly).
    There is also much to be done in the way of maintenance etc.
    2345 hrs. CRA rings up and speaks to Adjt. Change of plan.
    50 Div is to go back across the Bridge and take up posns again on the Island.
    69 Bde moving first followed by Div HQ and 231 Bde. 151 Bde may also cross
    but not yet known. Timings not yet known.
    As Btys are now concentrating regimentally they have to be re-allotted to Bdes.
    C.O. decides to go back to normal affiliation, i.e.,
    288 Bty with 231 Bde 99 Bty with 69 Bde
    107 Bty with 151 Bde 289 Bty Div Reserve
    A TK distribution for tomorrow is to be as follows. One Bty with each Bde
    and one Bty in reserve on Island.
    231 Bde and 69 Bde contacted by phone and arrangements made for B.Cs to
    contact by 0830 hrs tomorrow 8 Oct.
    107 Bty warned that they will cease to be in sp 69 Bde and revert to 151.
    69 Bde told 99 Bty returning to them.
    C.O. is to visit BM RA at 0930 hrs 8 Oct to be put in now picture.
    So much for our regtl concentration, rest and maintenance.
    To date since landing the Regt has not been able to concentrate, rest or
    maintain as a Regt. In spite of great efforts by all concerned there is
    much need of a few days out of the line and concentrated.
    Over tracked vehicles have done many hundreds of miles and are hard
    pressed. The general standard of replacement vehicles is the lowest it
    has ever been.
    Page 8 of 23
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    7 contdFor example (1) 289 Bty have just had their Carrier Starting and Charging
    replaced. The new one could neither start nor charge, the charging plant
    being completely rusted up and US. (2) A 3-tonner lost by 289 Bty recently
    was replaced and the replacement was minus all tools, canopy and had four
    burnt-out valves. (3) M.14 lost by RHQ on 3 Sep has just been replaced by
    a Guy Signal Truck (Gin Palace). The clutch of the vehicle was completely
    burnt out and the steering was bad, and the canvas penthouse had been
    removed. These are only three examples of many.
    The distances which fighting units have to go back for replacements and
    reinforcements are anything up to 150 miles, necessitating an officer or
    Senior NCO who cannot well be spared making the journey.
    Standard of reinforcements particularly Tradesmen is low. It has been
    necessary for us to re-test recently thirteen of our so-called Dvr Mechs.
    Ten of them failed so miserably, having no idea of their job, that they
    voluntarily gave up their trades.
    8Recce parties from RHQ and 289 Bty move off to new area at 0945 hrs.
    99, 107 and 288 Btys contact their respective Bdes.
    Major TRIPPIER 289 Bty visits C.O. at 1000 hrs. C.O. gives him area for
    his Bty and outlines tasks. 289 Bty is to be under Regtl control in area
    X rds 694675 and to be prepared to meet any threat from area BEMMEL to the
    East, ELST from the North, OOSTERBROCK from N.W. Major TRIPPIER to despatch
    message to his Bty. Recce party to recce the area 694675.
    231 Bde are to cross bridge between 1345 - 1515 with 288 Bty in sp. They
    are to take over ELST sector.
    Div HQ column is to cross bridge between 1315-1345 hrs.
    69 Bde with 99 Bty in sp are to cross between 1145 and 1315 hrs. They
    are to take over sector North and West of ELST up to Neder Rhine.
    Page 9 of 23
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    8. contd151 Bde with 107 Bty in sp is to remain in reserve South of WAAL area
    RHQ moves off 1240 hrs arrives now location MR 665669 at 1415 hrs.
    Btys report in now location as follows:-
    99 Bty ... 680708 1700 hrs
    107 Bty ... 706598 1700 hrs
    288 Bty ... 694670 1930 hrs
    289 Bty ... 694675 1900 hrs
    1500 hrs. C.O. attended a Corps Co-ordinating Conference.
    P TP rejoins 107 Bty from being under comd 289 Bty.
    9RA 50 Div Operation Order No. 34 received.
    C.O. 86 A TK Regt (12 Corps A TK Regt) Visits C.O.
    C.O. 71 A Tk Regt (53 (W) Div A Tk Regt) visits C.O.
    Gun posns and locns of Btys unchanged.
    G.R.O. instituting frost precautions, draining of vehs atc, received.
    10RHQ and Bty posns unchanged.
    107 Bty have two casualties from long-range shelling. One O.R. killed
    and one severely wounded.
    Lt QM has now drawn three Lloyd Carriers to replace 99 Bty's losses.
    It would seem as if we are now to be inflicted with this frightful veh
    as a gun tower.
    Rained all day - mud appearing in large quantities.
    11RHQ and Bty posns unchanged. Front generally quiet and static.
    Reliefs of Inf Bdes are to take place as follows :-
    Page 10 of 23
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    11. contdNight 12/13 .. 151 Bde relieves 231 Bde
    " 17/18 .. 231 " " 69 "
    " 22/23 .. 69 " " 151 "
    Reliefs of supporting A Tk Btys to take place at C.O's discretion but not
    on same nights.
    The present situation is as follows :-
    99 Bty are supporting 69 Bde
    288 Bty are supporting 231 Bde
    107 Bty are supporting 151 Bde
    289 Bty are on 'Island' in Divisional reserve.
    151 Bde are on mainland with 107 Bty. Job of 151 Bde is counter-attack role
    in almost every direction if necessary.
    Four officer reinforcements arrive. They are :-
    Lieut M.S. GERRARD - posted to 99 Bty
    Lieut T.W. FLATT - 12 " " 289 "
    Lieut H.W. SMITH - " " RHQ
    Lieut J.A.W. DILKS - " " - 107 Bty
    Actually none of the Btys are deficient but it is likely that the
    following deficiencies will occur :-
    289 Bty - ( Lieut ASHWORTH to be attached HQRA (CM Staff)
    ( Lieut WHITE to course for Air OP duties.
    107 Bty - Lieut CHICKEN to his old regt (97 A Tk (15 (s) Div)
    12C.O. discusses reliefs with all Bty Comds.
    Restrictions laid down by 12 Corps that no guns may cross from 'Island'
    to mainland except during hours of darkness makes relief rather more
    complicated and also means that the period of rest is considerably cut down.
    C.O. therefore decides that as 288 Bty are fairly comfortably dug in they
    will no be relieved meantime.
    Page 11 of 23
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    12 contd289 Bty in Divisional reserve are also fairly comfortable and fairly well
    concentrated. 107 Bty are not very comfortably concentrated in this wood.
    99 Bty are well dug in but as they are overlooked movement is greatly
    restricted and they are subjected to a good deal of mortaring and shelling.
    The following is decided :-
    289 Bty will relieve 99 Bty on night 15/16.
    288 Bty will remain in action.
    107 Bty will look for a more comfortable area and will remain
    in sp of the Bde in their area.
    This arrangement is satisfactory to all Btys and removes the necessity for
    constant crossing and re-crossing the NIJMEGEN bridge by day and particularly
    by night when going from North to South.
    Rain continues - mud gets worse.
    13RHQ and all Btys except 107 in same locations.
    107 Bty move from wood area to a Barracks in NIJMEGEN.
    151 Bde have now relieved 231 Bde and therefore 288 Bty are now supporting 231
    It was noticed that the restriction applying to our guns crossing the bridge
    from North to South did not seem to apply to 231 Bde who were seen to be
    moving their 6-prs over in daylight !
    Anti-freeze mixture now on issue. Lt QM draws 122 gallons. Our minimum
    requirements are 250 gallons.
    14RHQ and all Btys locations unchanged.
    Replacement M.10 3" was picked up from 30 Corps Dely Sqn (254). As usual
    the SP M.10 was fitted with the wrong tracks, i.e. Rubber Training Tracks.
    A new A TK Regt has apparently arrived in the theatre of operations
    (63 A Tk Regt).
    Various personnel from 63 A TK Regt are to be attached to us for "Battle Inoculation".
    Page 12 of 23
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    14 contdTech Adjt and EME supervise the issue and filling up of 289 and 107 Btys
    with Anti-freeze mixture. EME says that his instructions are that all
    'A' vehs whether full of Anti-freeze or not should be drained and re-filled.
    If this is to happen we shall not have nearly enough Glycol to do all our
    fighting vehs.
    C.O. lays down that all vehs will be tested and if specific gravity of
    mixture at present in radiators is correct and if the mixture in all other
    respects (i.e. cleanliness etc) is equal to new mixture it is not to be changed.
    15RHQ remains in same location.
    289 Bty relieve 99 Bty. Relief completed by 160400. Pouring wet night.
    Slight hitch occurred during relief as it was discovered artificial
    moonlight was being used in 69 Bde sector to facilitate movement in Rear
    Bde areas in the dark. Apart from this and filthy wet night relief took
    place without casualties or incident.
    HORA informed us that a replacement M.14 is now available. Lt QM collects
    same. 50 two-men bivouacs are also available and Lt QM collects.
    This is first issue of shelters so far and is long overdue.
    Winter clothing has not yet been issued contrary to notices which have
    appeared in sections of the popular (?) press at home.
    Today's issue of one M.14 now makes us one 15-cwt surplus; this has to be
    sent to HQ RA where they are trying where they are trying to get the
    Counter Mortar section up to some new W.E. which no-one seems to know
    much about.
    Allotments for entertainments and baths have been and are on a fairly
    generous scale. A 50 Div OR's Club has been opened in Colonial Barracks
    NIJMEGEN where in spite of the odd shelling the following are available and
    are enjoyed. Free tea and wet and dry canteen - Cinema - Theatre -
    Concert Party, reading rooms etc.
    Page 13 of 23
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    15 contdThe only trouble is the inability of everyone to get reasonable notifications
    of allotment. The usual time for allotments to be received is 2230 hrs for
    performances at 1000 hrs.
    It is reported from a reliable source in HQRA that Lord Haw Haw in his most
    recent broadcast stated that only one Division in the British Army had ever
    really made a prolonged effort in this war and that was 50 (Northumbrian)
    Division which had "slogged its way backwards out of France, across the
    Western Desert, through Tripolitania, Tunisia and Sicily and was now still
    being called upon to slog its way back to Germany S.O. far without success,
    through Holland, having got there via Normandy, Northern France and Belgium".
    After this broadcast the difficulty is stopping the troops from believing
    everything Haw Haw says!
    16All Btys and RHQ still in same locations.
    In afternoon at 1430 HORA sent for C.O. to attend a conference at HQRA with
    CRA and CCRA.
    50 Div is now to revert to 30 Corps who are taking over from 12 Corps the
    defence of 'The Island'.
    53 (W) Div who have been responsible for East and SE defences are being
    withdrawn and 50 Div is to take over their part of the front. A Bty of
    86 A The Regt (12 Corps A The Regt) is to come under our comd.
    170930 hrs. C.O. visits. 86 A Tk Regrt to find out what Bty is coming under
    our comd. Reply is 86 A Tk Regt have no orders on the subject and therefore
    unable to help meantime.
    Lt-Col NORMAN-WALKER C.O. 71 A Tk Regt visits C.O. 86 A Tk Regt and arranges
    with him to send B.C. of Bty which is likely to come under our comd to our
    RHQ as soon as possible.
    Page 14 of 23
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    17. contd1115 hrs. C.O. holds BC's Conference attended by Maj AW TRIPPIER MC,
    Maj GR BALFOUR MC. C.O. puts B.Cs in picture as follows :- The two Bdes
    of 53 (W) Div at present holding posns on 'The Island' are being relieved
    by 50 Div. 61 Recce Regt is coming back under comd of 50 Div. 61 Recce Regt
    will take over posns at present occupied by 69 Bde plus northernmost coy
    of 151 Bde. 151 Bde will extend their present area NW and SE taking over
    from 6 G. HOWARDS to NW and 6 RWF (53 Div) to SE. They will contact 508
    RCT of 101 American Airborne on the right. 508 RCT remains in present locn.
    231 Bde will be returning from Reserve South of river and will take over
    from 71 Bde of 53 Div. Right flank R WAAL - left flank 508 RCT.
    69 Bde less one bn which will be in Div Reserve area ELST, will be going
    South of river to rest.
    The following tps are to be in sp; 2 sqns 44 RTR (151 - 61 Recce)
    1 sqn CLY (508 RCT); 1 Sqn CLY; (231 Bde); 1 sqn CLY
    1 sqn 44 RTR (Div Reserve). This was all cancelled later and all the armour
    left the island.
    1145 hrs. BC of 128 Bty 86 A TK Regt arrives in middle of conference.
    The A TK layout will be as follows on a Divisional basis.
    289 Bty will have one Tp 6-pr s in area 9 DLI which is the bn of 151 Bde
    taking over from 6 G Howards of 69 Bde. The other 6-pr Tp will be in
    reserve not on ground but with posns recced to support 61 Recce Regt and
    other posns recced to give depth to 9 DLI posns.
    M.10 Tp will be in reserve in present Bty HQ area.
    BC 289 Bty to contact OC 61 Recce Regt on their arrival and to have his
    Bty HQ near HQ 61 Recce.
    288 Bty will have one 6-pr Tp in each of the areas of 6 DLI and 8 DLI.
    M.10s to be in reserve.
    Page 15 of 23
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    17 contdBC 288 Bty to link up with 289 Bty on left and whatever other Bty is put
    under our comd on his right. Confirmation is still lacking as to what Bty
    if any of 86 A TK Regt is to come under our comd.
    107 Bty will move up with 231 Bde and take over from Bty of 71 A Tk Regt
    supporting 71 Bde of 53 Div.
    99 Bty will remain in present area on 'Island' as Divisional Reserve.
    BC of 128 Bty 86 A TK Regt will do a recce in area between 107 and 288 Btys
    and will support 508 RCT. He is to tie up his flanks with 107 and 288 Btys
    and to co-ordinate with the Americans. Two Tps are to be deployed and one
    Tp kept in reserve in area of his Bty HQ - 128 Bty is a Bty of towed 17-prs.
    The C.O. further decides that it is essential that some form of relief is
    provided for the Regt not only because the men are tired having been too
    long in action or at a very advanced state of preparedness, but because
    essential maintenance must be done.
    The C.O. therefore makes the following arrangements :- 107 Bty Echelon
    will remain in Barracks NIJMEGEN, to keep the space previously occupied
    by 107 Bty reserved.
    For this present exercise Tps will be 3-gun Tps. Each Bty with the
    exception of the Reserve Bty on the 'Island' will send two 6-prs and
    one 10 South to the Barracks in NIJMEGEN. These guns will be formed into
    a Bty of 3 Tps (2 X three 6-prs - 1 X three M.10s). A Capt from 99 Bty is
    to take cond. Capt Q of 107 Bty is to administer and one Subaltern from
    the Southern Bty and one from the Northern Bty are to act as Tp Comds.
    Personnel and vehicles only (not guns) will be changed under Bty
    arrangements every four days.
    This arrangement will mean that each member of a gun det in each Bty will
    spend four days in approximately every sixteen days under cover, and should
    have a reasonable rest. At the same time vehicle maintenance will be done.
    The C.O. lays down that in addition the troops resting will parade daily
    Page 16 of 23
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    17. contdfor gun drill, laying practice, maintenance and miniature range.
    By 1400 hrs no news has been received as to which Bty of 86 A TK Regt if
    any, is coming to our comd. HQRA are informed and ring up G at 30 Corps
    who inform them that the Bty which is to come is 128 Bty but at present it is
    under comd CROSSEFORCE who are under comd Gds Armd Div.
    CROSSEFORCE when asked by BC 128 Bty to release him refused to do so
    without orders. These orders were supposed to have been given by 12 Corps
    who have now pulled out.
    Time is now getting short. The relief is supposed to be completed by 0600
    hrs tomorrow and although the recce of the area has been done by BC of 128
    A TK Bty, Lt-Col MATTHEWS does not think that such recce is sufficient to
    expect a night occupation by 128 Bty - the country is difficult, the roads
    are narrow and thick with mid with deep ditches on both sides.
    As by 1530 hrs there are still no orders regarding the Bty which is to
    come under comd a mitual arrangement is arrived at by our C.O. with C.Os
    71 A TK Regt and 86 A TK Regt. It is to the effect that both of these
    Regts will leave one Bty less two Tps in posn for the night.
    1630 hrs. As still no orders are received regarding the Bty it is decided
    on authority of G 30 Corps to order the BC of 128 Bty to move his reserve
    Tp from present location and to occupy its new positions. The remainder
    of the Bty will move in at first light and SP Tp of 86 A TK Regt will move out.
    107 Bty report in by 1730 hrs
    288 Bty " " " 2300 hrs
    289 Bty " " " 2315 hrs
    Tp of 128 Bty " " " 2300 hrs
    18Change over completed by 128 Bty by 1000 hrs.
    Bty locations reported as :- 99 Bty 694684
    107 Bty 721656
    Page 17 of 23
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    18 contd288 Bty ... 694670
    289 Bty ... 694675
    128 Bty ... 712679
    Bty Comds are with the Bdes etc as follows :-
    107 with 231 Bde
    288 with 151 Bde
    289 with HQ 61 Recce
    99 in reserve
    128 with 508 RCT (American)
    Owing to the continual rain and heavy traffic road conditions in Holland
    and on the 'Island' particularly are giving much cause for concern. Orders
    are received to reduce traffic to a minimum and for units to reduce amount
    of MT on the 'Island' to a minimum. We reduce our total number of vehs
    on the island to 26 per Bty plus 14 in RHQ. We indicate however that we
    can reduce to a total of 112 vehicles, i.e. 26 per Bty and 8 for RHQ.
    On receipt of codeword 'NOAH' we are to reduce to maximum of 112 vehs.
    Other considerations affecting the issue of NOAH are that it may be possible
    for enemy to flood 'Island'.
    Above figures do not include 128 Bty who have a further 26 vehs. The
    figure of 26 vehs per Bty including Gun Towers is 7 per TP and 5 in Bty HQ.
    Ammunition is to be dumped by guns.
    19Btys and RHQ remain in same locations.
    Everything is quiet except for spasmodic shelling and mortaring particularly
    in BENNEL area (107 Bty).
    Weather remains wet and cold. Road conditions continue to deteriorate.
    The C.O. informs us in the Mess after dinner that he has just spoken to
    CRA who has told him that he is leaving us to become CAGRA 59th AGRA.
    Page 18 of 23
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    19. contdThis is a sudden blow to us all and everyone feels a bit depressed as he
    has been with the Regt since just after Akarit and has led us successfully
    in two invasion assaults, both rather wet from his point of view as his
    L.C.T. struck a mine on both occasions and only just made the hostile shore.
    20Btys and RHQ still in same locations.
    Road conditions getting worse. C.O. suggests to HQRA that in view of very
    poor going and unlikelihood of tank attacks that all M.10s with the
    exception of four should be taken off the 'Island'. He further suggests
    that all the Crusaders (with the exception of one per Tp) of 128 Bty should
    also be withdrawn. He considers it necessary to leave one Crusader per TP
    of 128 Bty to unditch Quads. HQRA inform us that owing to breaking up of
    roads replenishment is to take place every two days. Movements is to be
    cut down to a minimum and only Jeeps are to be allowed out without their
    authority on even dates.
    During morning C.O. sees all BCs at R.H.Q. and imparts the sad news of his
    impending departure tomorrow.
    Major BALFOUR MC and Capt BRAMELD DSO call in at RHQ Mess in evening and
    have a farewell drink with Lt-Col MATTHEWS DSO.
    Aachen falls :
    21No change in locations of RHQ or Btys.
    Corps Comd and new Div Comd (Maj Gen L.O. LYNE) addressed an assembly of
    officers and NCOs in the TT Theatre NIJMEGEN.
    The new Div Comd outlined some of his future policy for the Div.
    Entertainment - Billets - forming of Div Battle School - improvement of
    morale - dress saluting.
    Corps Comd outlined battle since the break-out from Escaut Bridgehead
    Page 19 of 23
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    21 contdand indicated that he thought 50 Div was not so good as it was and would have
    to start pulling itself together.
    Lt-Col A.K. MATTHEWS DSO RA left this morning to take up his now appointment
    as CAGRA 59 AGRA. He gave a short address to the personnel of Main and Tac
    RHQ before leaving and wished us all the best of luck. No other Commanding
    Officer has been appointed yet so Major R.A. BARNETT MC RA assumes temporary
    Major RA BARNETT MC visits guns of 288 Bty.
    Everyone is extremely sad at the unfortunate accident causing the departure
    of our old Div Comd, Major General GRAHAM. He was, as Field Marshall
    Montgomery said "A very gallant old war horse".
    Maj-Gen GRAHAM sprained his leg badly in a fall in the blackout.
    22No change in locations of RHQ or Btys.
    Liuet MARRIOTT does recce in village of SLIJK EWIJK 6566 with a view to
    finding billets for Tac and Main RHQ.
    A Major F.W. WARD RA arrives to do an attachment. He is sent to 99 Bty.
    23Tac and RHQ start moving at 0800 hrs from present location to billets in
    A Dutch civilian tells Lieut MARRIOTT that 75% of the population of the
    village are going to be evacuated off the 'Island' owing to the danger of
    the enemy flooding the 'Island'.
    1700 hrs. One Major (2 i/c) One Capt and eleven Sgts arrived for Battle
    Inoculation. They have come from 63 A Tk Regt (Oxfordshire Yeomanry).
    63 A TK Regrt arrived from England about a fortnight ago with personnel and
    small arms only. All the officers and NCOs are doing attachments to other
    Page 20 of 23
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    23. contd.A Tk Regts in or near the line to gain experience.
    We have divided them up as follows :-
    R.H.Q. - Major
    289 Bty - One Capt - 3 Sgts.
    107 Bty - 4 Sgts
    99 Bty - 4 Sgts.
    24No change in RHQ or Bty locations.
    Brigadier of 231 Bde suggests that if possible something should be done to
    arrange the A Tk guns in his area so that more use can be made of any houses
    that are available for shelter.
    107 Bty Comd does a recce with that aim in view.
    Corrugated iron and wood are indented for for the purpose of constructing
    waterproof dug-outs. 107 Bty particularly requires material as they are
    in exposed positions to the weather. Some guns of 289 Bty also require
    dug-outs but as they are under observation construction of dug-outs is
    going to be tricky.
    Capt J. MILLER of 288 Bty takes over the running of the Composite (resting
    and training) Bty from Capt R.L. MASTERS. RSM ROCKETT replaces Sgt BULL
    in the Composite Bty.
    26Arrangements are made for the withdrawal of the reserve 17-pr Tp of 128
    Bty to a billet area in NIJMEGEN.
    128 Bty effect an internal relief and ther reserve Tp moves over the Bridge
    to billet area. The reserve TP remains in wireless touch with the Bty.
    99 Bty relieves 288 Bty during the afternoon and by 1830 hrs the relief
    is complete. 288 Bty are now in reserve on the 'Island'.
    Page 21 of 23
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    26Locations:- RHQ ... SLIJK EWIJK 659669
    99 Bty ... South of REET 694684
    107 Bty ... LENT 721656
    288 Bty ... West of VREDELUST 694670
    289 Bty ... LIENDEN 679706
    128 Bty ... BOUNLUST 712679
    Echelons, RHQ and LAD.
    99 Bty ... WEURT 674637
    107 Bty ... Barracks NIJMEGEN 717611
    288 Bty ... NEERBOSCHE 665615
    128 Bty ... HEES 688618
    Composite (Trg and Rest) Bty ... 717611 Barracks NIJMEGEN
    128 Bty (Reserve Tp) Billets NIJMEGEN 733618.
    27No change in locations of RHQ or Btys
    Lieut QM draws duckboards and corrugated iron for construction of dug-outs
    and gun pits. These will be issued to 107 Bty.
    Lt QM goes to OFP to draw Battle Dress for Regtl bulk indent. We refuse to
    take delivery as the suits are in such bad condition. All are three parts
    worn and are dirty.
    The Battle Dress position in the Regt is not good. Since landing we have
    only had one bulk issue of 80 suits. That is 80 suits since about May.
    Many suits are completely worn out and in some instances personnel are
    reduced to wearing denims.
    107 Bty consider employing an M.10 to shell a house on their front said to
    contain enemy but after discussing the plan with inf it is decided in
    view of heavy 'stonks' brought down on the slightest movement, to call it off.
    Page 22 of 23
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    28508 American RCT relieved by 151 Bde.
    Lieut LUGAS rejoins 107 Bty from 31 RHU.
    Some shuffling of guns contemplated in area of 107 Bty (151 Bde and 231 Bde).
    Nothing to be definitely decided until relief of 508 RCT is completed.
    It is hoped to relieve M Tp of 107 Bty who have been supporting 508 RCT.
    This is thought to be possible in view of fact that 151 Bde have 18 A TK
    guns and 508 RCT had only eventually managed to muster 8.
    506 American RCT relieves 61 Recce Regt North of ELST and 289 Bty remain
    supporting 506 RCT.
    29Lieut-Colonel R.W. JELF RA arrives at 1700 hrs to take over comd of Regt.
    Lt-Col JELF comes from appointment of GSO I 49 Div.
    30During afternoon Lt-Col R.W. JELF visits 99 Bty in company with Major
    R.A. BARNETT MC. C.O. calls at all TP HQs and visits several guns in
    action. C.O. has tea at 99 Bty HQ.
    99 Bty now have a miniature range in action and are combining a bit of
    training with their present holding job.
    Brig of 231 Bde suggests thining out of A TK guns should take place in view
    of their exposed positions and the continued bad weather. Arrangements
    are made for our C.O. to visit Brig of 231 Bde tomorrow morning.
    31C.O. leaves RHQ at 0530 and with I.O. visits the forward guns of 289 Bty.
    C.O. lunched with General in 'A' Mess.
    C.O. visited Brig of 231 Bde during morning. No alteration of our
    guns decided on.
    Page 23 of 23
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    312100 hrs. HQRA Operation Order No. 36 received.
    contdThis rather complicated order covers the Operation NOAH which has been
    prepared in event of flooding in case it becomes necessary to evacuate
    the 'Island'.
    The order calls for the movement of Northumberland Hussars as a Regt plus
    128 Bty of 86 A Tk Regt. C.O. considers that Btys should move independently
    and thus save valuable time. He decides to see HQRA tomorrow morning
    about this point.
    During afternoon HQRA inform us that all RA 'B' Echelons at present handily
    situated just on South bank of WAAL are to move a few miles further SW to
    area HERNEN 5663. All RA 'B' Echelons will be together in that areas.
    Recce party of 2 i/c and Bty 'B' Echelon reps is laid on for tomorrow
    morning - RV 0900 hrs at Bridge 671603.
    It is thought that if this move takes place we shall lose the space in the
    Barracks in iat present occupied by B Echelon 107 Bty and the
    Composite Bty (Resting and Training).
    It is thought that the only way we will be able to arrange for the training to
    carry on in NIJMEGEN will be for us to attach personnel to the newly-formed
    Div Battle and Training School. As during all this Regt's campaign we have
    always run our own show we are hoping to be able to fix up to do this still.
    C.O. speaks to SCRA on the subject of accommodation in NIJMEGEN and
    arranges that SCRA will endeavour to arrange with Comdt Div Battle School
    that we are allotted space in the School for our own training and that we
    operate it as a self-contained show under the Comdt's benevolent eye.
    During noon C.O. visits 107 Bty Echelon and the Composite Bty in