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    War Diary: 211 Field Park Company RE

    Month and year: September 1944

    The September 1944 War Diary for 211 Field Park Company covers their advance from Vernon France, through Belgium into Holland to area Nijmegen.

    National Archive Reference: WO 171/1591

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    Page 1 of 5
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    France. VERNON. 4257441Lost contact with Adv. H.Q. 2000 hrs. Guide reported from Adv. HQ now located at barracks
    AMIENS. Adv. H.Q. expecting to move to ARRAS area almost immediately. Rear HQ to concentrate
    at ARRAS area as quickly as possible. 12 E & M Section, Workshops Section to move to ARRAS area 2.
    Balance of unit at VERNON to move 3. i.e. Coy H.Q. F/Stores. 15 additional G.T. lorries (133 Coy
    RASC ) attached this unit.
    2100012 E & M Section and Workshops Section moved. Rain and mist. Arrangements put in hand as follows.
    (a) Rear Party at ARGENTAN to join Coy H.Q. today. (b) Coy H.Q. and Field Stores to move 3. (c)
    Small Real Party to remain consisting of Lt. BERRIDGE and 5 O.Rs. (F/Stores) and No. 8 Sec. 44 Coy
    Pioneer Corps; this party to control ferrying of stores earmarked for Adv. Coys and to close dump
    and hand over stock to Army. 1 - 4 ton roller. 1 - 6 ton roller and following plant previously used
    to operate mobile "Tarmac Factory" handed over to Army:- 1 Concrete Mixer. 1 Stone Crusher
    mounted on U.S.A. Frauhauf trailer. Drawn Grader out of action. Cl. I tractor being ferried from
    1800Rear Party arrived from ARGENTAN. Again shortage of transport causing acute difficulties which are
    overcome only by judicious switching of vehicles allotted specific loads in War Establishment.
    E.g. In order to transport 2 Sections of 44 Coy Pioneer Corps tomorrow, it is necessary to use vehicles
    allotted to F/Stores for carriage of G. 1098 scale of Engineer stores. Additional items to be carried
    is Engineer Plant and only suitable transport for this is Medium Tractor and Low Loader primarily
    intended to Carry G. 1098 Mechanical Equipment Scale. The only answer to this problem is to ferry
    from location to location. This is unsatisfactory and the limitations of this solution have been
    fully exposed during the present advance towards the Belgium frontier. At this moment Rear H.Q. is
    approx 100 miles from adv. Tomorrow most of the leeway will be made up, but on arrival at new
    location transport must be off-loaded and returned to VERNON a return journey of 200 miles.
    Obviously, before ferrying is completed adv. H.Q. will have moved again and unit will once more be
    widely dispersed. The only permanent solution, if this type of unit is to carry out its full effective
    active service role, is the attachment, as an itegral part of the unit, of sufficient RASC G.T.
    transport to enable moves to be carried out in lift. Otherwise unit can only fulfill a semi-
    mobile role and will be 25%, non-effective.
    1800W/Shops and 12 E & M Sect arrived ARRAS.
    Page 2 of 5
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    France, ARRAS 450130830Rear HQ moved to ARRAS. Arrived 1700 hrs. Adv. HQ moved during day to TOURNAI (9332) taking
    Balgium.W/Shops Section with them. Rear H.Q. to move again to NINOVE (3955) 20 K. west of BRUSSELS.
    NINOVE 395540830Roar HQ moved. Arrived NONOVE 1830 hrs. Adv moved again today Location not know.
    Capt. HARRIS on recce 1930 hrs to try to restore contact with Adv. H.Q.
    Belgium. BRUSSELS61850751030Departed NINOVE for BRUSSELS. H.Q. now located at BRUSSELS 618570. Unit to remain in BRUSSELS
    for several days to reorganise and settle any administrative difficulties and to prepare to renew
    6Reorganisation of unit continued throughout day. Nothing to report.
    71200Following attached 210 Fd Coy. for move forward to-day. Lt. RENNISON with MDRS. 15 G.T.
    vehicles carrying Engr. Stores (Basic Element) with 2 O.Rs. from F/Stores 1 Cl II tractor and crew
    proceed also.
    8Quiet day. Nothing to report. LAD. REME forwarded to Lt. RENNISON'S party att. 210 Fd Coy
    91200Took over from 2101 Fd Coy. R.E. water Point at MR 559598. Urgent demand for timber dogs from
    Corps R.E. 12 E & M Section employed on manufacturing same. Large German Engineer Dump located
    in BRUSSELS and inspected by O.C. and S.O.R.E. (Stores) 30 Corps. 1 Sec. 33 Coy Pioneer Coy
    detached to 128 Br. Coy. RASC.
    1009002nd section 44 Coy Pioneer Corps detached to 72 Fd Coy. R.E.
    11-Nothing to report to 1100 hrs. 1100 hrs - O.C. to Coy Comds. Conference. MEOS and F/Stores to
    move forward today. Coy HQ and 1 Sec Pioneer Coy. 12. . 1400 hrs - MEOS and F/Stores moved.
    2000 hrs - Forward party ceased to be attached to 210 Fd Coy. moved to DIEST. K129698. At App 'B'
    is copy of report of recces of Engr. Stores carried out in this area.
    1309001 O.R. severly wounded by accidental discharge of 'Sten' machine gun.
    0920Coy H.Q. and 1 sec of 44 Pioneer Coy moved to DIEST. Arrived 1200 hrs and settled in. Arrangements
    in hand to move 12 E & M Section to this location 14 ad W/Shops Section on 15.
    14103012 E & M Section moved from BRUSSELS. Arrived this H.Q. 1500 hrs. Quiet day Nothing to report.
    15CRE 30 Corps Troops (Lt. BLACK) ordered Coy. to move to BOURGE LEOPOLD area as soon as possible.
    Lt Reonison. proceeded to recce. W/Shops Section joining unit from BRUSSELS to-day. Decided to
    Page 3 of 5
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    Belgium. DIEST. K.129698send on to new location at present being recced. 1200 W/Shops section arrived. Lt. RENNISON
    returned - suitable location at Barracks BOURG LEOPOLD M.R. K.277830. W/Shops sent forward to
    occupy and prepare area for arrival of main body on 16.
    Belgium. BOURG-LEOPOLD160900Coy moved. Arrived new location 1200 hrs. C.R.E. visited this location and decided disposition
    of unit for next advance forward. Quiet day. Nothing to report. 1 CL.II and 2 Cl.III Angle-
    dozers with crews attached 210, 209 and 11 Field Coys respectively. Quiet day. Routine works.
    170900O.C. to Coy Comds Conference at H.Q. 30 Corp Troops Engrs. Returned 1100 hrs. Coy to provide
    detachments with 209 and 210 Fd Coys for next advance into HOLLAND. 209 Detachment to consist
    of L.A.D. M.D.R.S. and 1 Workshop Lorry (carrying circular saw). i.e. 7 vehicles - 23 O.Rs.
    210 detachment to consist of 6 vehicles being Compressor, Crane, 2 water supply vehicles, 1 tipper
    carrying Bitumen. 2 Power Rammer's. 2 Cold Emulsion Sprayers with Lt. REMNISON i/c and 10 O.Rs.
    1800Detachments outlined above joined 209 and 210 Fd Coys.
    18301 N.C.O. and took over maintenance of 2 bridges (1 Bailey 1 Trestle) over MEUSE-ESCAUT
    canal. H.R. of bridge K.350960. Quiet night, nothing of importance to report.
    18-19Nothing to report. Routine works. Water supply of BOURG-LEOPOLD repaired and put in order by
    12 E & M Section. R.E. Temporary electricity supply installed for 2 A.D. Stations RAMC in
    20-21Nothing to report.
    220800Ordered to prepare to move in RICHARD column to NIJMEGEN HOLLAND.
    1230Moved. Slow convoy, roads completely full. Arrived MR. 3495 - ordered to remain stationery.
    Later transpired that main Corps Axis to NIJMEGEN cut by enemy at VEGHEL 4535. Remained on roadside
    whole night.
    2322/23 and until 2100 hrs 23. Ordered to move immediately. Crossed Belgium-Holland frontier. Arrived
    24EINDHOVEN 0200 hrs. Convoy again halted. Clear of town by 1500 hrs. Continued move. Arrived
    Holland. NIJMEGEN. E714590NIJMEGEN. 1700 hrs. Pound new location and settled in. Considerable artillery activity in this
    area during night 24/25. Position of enemy not at all clear as he attempts counter attacks on L of C
    and bridges captured in recent airboing landings.
    Page 4 of 5
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    Holland. NIJMEGEN.25C.E. 30 Corps placed repair of assault boats as first priority. This unit ordered to give all possible
    714590assistance to 128 Br. Coy. RASC in repair of their assault boats. Very great air activity during day.
    over 100 German planes endeavoured to destroy bridge over RHINE. Detachments with 209 and Coy and 210
    Fd Coy rejoined unit.
    26Very great air activity again today. Several enemy fighters 'straffed' vicinity of camp area.
    No casualties. Electric Welding Plant of this unit required for repairing bomb damage caused by enemy
    NIJMEGEN bridge. Recce of captured enemy train at MR. 725565 carried out by Lt. G.L. AITKEN. R.E.
    Heavy air raids during night 26/27
    27Routine works. Day comparitively quiet. Considerable artillery active on both sides during night
    2827/28 and early morning 28. Shells fell on flanks of present 'leaguer' and to rear. Considerable
    air activity morning 28. Routine works carried out. 2 UXB (anti-personnel) recovered by RAP. BD.
    Squad and destroyed. 1900 hrs - 3 hr air raid on NIJMEGEN bridge. Raiders opposed by heavy flak
    More shelling during night.
    2906001 X D6 Angledoze: and 1 autopatrol which have been giving considerable mechanical trouble proceeded
    to 868 M.E. Park. Intention to exchange D.6 and autopatrol or in case of latter to obtain new tyres.
    Considerable air activity during day. Neighbouring artillery very active during night 29/30. Enemy
    shelling in early hours but none fell in this location.
    30Very fine weather. Again considerable aerial activity in this area. Light enemy shelling in
    afternoon and early evening. Routine works carried out. A Section of 23 B.D. Coy. R.E. attached
    this unit w.e.f. 1800 hrs.
    SUMMARY. This month has been one of considerable movement. At the Commencement of the period under
    review the unit was at VERNON, FRANCE, and after initial crossing of the SEINE has followed up the
    advance across the borders of FRANCE/BELGIUM and BELGIUM/HOLLAND until reaching present location at
    NIJMEGEN. Except for a short 'breather' at BRUSSELS unit has been continually mobile. As a result
    W/Shop Section and 12 E & M Section have been unable to carry out extensive works. F/Stores Sect. has
    been moderately busy. Due to lack of mine warfare MDRS has not been seriously engaged. Only one
    casualty occurred and that was accidental. In the latter stages it has been necessary to 'dig in' for
    Page 5 of 5
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    SUMMARY contd
    protection against enemy bombing, ground straffing and shelling, but on each occassion to date
    the enemy has concentrated more on our neighbours. Towards the end of the month the weather
    worsened with increasing rain and cold nights.