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    War Diary: 6th Battalion Durham Light Infantry

    Month and year: September 1944

    6th Durham Light Infantry war diary for August 1944 covering their advance from Amiens through Belgium to VOLKEL, Netherlands.

    National Archive Reference: WO 171/1290

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    Page 1 of 23
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    AMIENS Map Ref. 104577 Ref Map 1/100,000 Sheet 14 Amiens10200One enemy aircraft flew over Amiens, drawing intense fire from our A.A. guns.
    No results reported.
    0815The Battalion to take over guard on P.O.W. in garage in the Battalion area.
    101511 P.O.W. brought in by the Maquis. 7 were from Pioneer Units, the remainder
    from Flak Units.
    2000Warning Order received - 8 DLI to move to DOULLENS 1386 tomorrow at 0700 hrs,
    and 6 DLI would probably move in the afternoon.
    2130A French youth was brought in by B Company. He had escaped from BOULOGNE,
    having been working there on the Flying Bomb Sites. He was taken to 151
    Brigade HQ, then to 50 Division HQ, but he was unable to give any information
    that wasn't already known.
    A civilian was brought in by the Maquis at the same time and taken to Brigade
    and Divisional HQ. He was carrying a suitcase and claimed to come from
    ALSACE-LORRAINE, but he was found to have a forged identity card and also a
    roll of film showing buildings and signposts in BRITTANY and Germans in uniform.
    Although he claimed to come from ALSACE-LORRAINE he could not speak French,
    yet carried a French identity card dated 1942. He was handed over to the
    Field Security Police for further interrogation
    Ref Maps 1/100,000 sht 10 LENS. 1/100,00 sht 6 HAZEBROUCK. 1/100,000 sht 7TOURNAI.20100Operation order arrived - 6 DLI would move to DOULLENS, time to be given later
    The advance Recce Party would report to 151 Brigade HQ by 0615 hrs.
    0545The Recce Party moved off. The Party consisted of:- O.C. HQ Company Capt
    A.E. Short, The Intelligence Sergeant, and 1 O.R. from each Coy and A Echelon.
    0700C Company took over from 9 DLI the defence of the bridge at 074605, North
    West of AMIENS. This was to enable 9 DLI to undertake mopping up operations
    North of the river SOMME.
    0930Bn 'O' Group. Role of the Battalion - to follow up 8 Armoured Brigade and
    protect its right flank.
    1130The Battalion left AMIENS.
    1310The Battalion arrived in area 1386 near DOULLENS. Bn HQ was established at 134870,
    Page 2 of 23
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    2 (contd)A coy 127866, B Coy 131875, C Coy 138862, D Coy 140868.
    Previous to the Battalion's arrival, two prisoners had been handed over by
    the French to our Recce Party. The French also reported that enemy pockets
    existed around this area.
    DOULLENS30800Brigade 'O' Group. 8 Armoured Bde would push on to ALOST 4066. 6 DLI would
    follow on, whilst 9 DLI would operate under Command 8 Armoured Bde.
    1045The Battalion moved off, but when only three miles out of DOULLENS, it was
    ordered to stop as 8 Armoured Bde was late in starting and was behind instead
    of infront of the Battalion.
    1330The Battalion began to move forward again, but progress was very slow owing
    to the large amount of transport using the same route.
    En route the Battalion was diverted at PONT-A-VENDIN from the original axis
    owing to the bridge over the canal at WINGLES MEURCHIN being blown.
    1835Halt made between PONT-A-VENDIN and MEURCHIN at 566204, and Bn 'O' Group called.
    1900Bn 'O' Group. The Battalion would remain in the area for the night as the
    8 Armoured Bde were busy mopping up around LILLE. In our area small battles
    were going on between the enemy and the French, and in LILLE itself the Maquis
    were holding the town. A note was received from them requesting assistance.
    The 8 Armoured Bde would push on tonight and leaguer South of LILLIE.
    2000One Squadron of tanks and one Coy of Infantry reported now in LILLE.
    2030The Brigadier arrived with instructions for the task tomorrrow. B & D Coys
    with one Squadron of tanks in support would clean up the town of ROUBAIX,
    while A & C Coys would make a firm base in the rear. Patrols would be sent
    out as far as the canal.
    2100Battalion 'O' Group. B Coy would lead off the move at 0700 hrs on the
    following day.
    M.R. 56620440615Move postponed until 1030 hours.
    Page 3 of 23
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    4(contd) 0715Report received that the bridge at HOUPLIN 6428 on our route was blown and
    a diversion was to be expected at SECLIN.
    Information had been received during the night that the enemy was occupying
    a wood at 5926 and that a Company of the 8 DLI would deal with them.
    The F.F.I. had also reported that 1200 enemy with possibly two tanks were
    moving along a road West of our axis. The 69 Brigade had been ordered to
    take action. News received that the Battalion would not move before 1000 hours.
    0815Message received that the RAF had dropped delayed action bombs on some Flying
    Bomb Sites and that they were to be steered clear of for one week after occupation
    1030Our Recce Regt reported enemy in BEAUVIN 5724.
    Companies to take up defensive positions now The original plan altered to the
    following: - B Coy and 3 secs of carriers would move to area of BEAUVIN in
    support of 13/18 Hussars. The Battalion would move to area between Beauvin
    and the canal at 6528, and the coys would picquet the roads and all approaches -
    B Coy at BEAUVIN 5724, D Coy 5927, C Coy at CONDECOURT 6427, and A Coy in reserve
    at 5125. The 8 Armoured Bde with 8 DLI (who had taken over from 9 DLI) would
    1245Battalion arrived in area 601252, and Coys began to move into their allotted
    positions, Information had been coming in throughout the morning from the
    F.F.I. re positions of the enemy in the area.
    1500C Coy held up at the bridge at 626297.
    1505Elements of D Coy in WAVRIN 6030.
    Reports continued to come in of enemy guns, Infantry (the majority of whom
    were believed to be SS) and a few tanks.
    2100Battalion now established on the line of the canal.
    During the day many prisoners were handed over to us by the French in the
    neighbouring villages, and these were passed to the P.O.W. cage at 151 Brigade
    Our casualties for the day were 1 O.R. killed and 5 O.RS. wounded.
    Page 4 of 23
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    M.R. 60125250810Report from 9 DLI that white flags had been seen in the village of HOUPLIN
    believed to have heen put up by the civilian population.
    0905Reports recieved that the enemy are withdrawing generally in a N.N.E. direction.
    D Coy moved up and over the canal at DON.
    Bridge was slightly damaged but sufficiently strong to take pedestrians traffic.
    The civilians got to work promptly and repaired the bridge so that wheeled
    and tracked vehicles could get across. A terrific reception was accorded us
    as we entered WAVRIN. The enemy was still on the N.E. side of the village,
    particularly in the cemetary, and our Recce Regt moved along in support of us
    0930The F.F.I. reported that there were Ammunition and Petrol Dumps in the woods
    at 6039 and 6139, but this was not confirmed.
    0945Enemy shelled HOUPLIN.
    1445Civilians reported a battery of enemy guns in WAVRIN Cemetary M.R. 556303.
    1500One Squadron of Recce Regt from 53 Division passed through and reported WAVRIN
    clear of enemy.
    Our C Coy held up at bridge M.R. 626297, the resistance coming from area of
    wood at 6230.
    1505D Coy now reported in WAVRIN M.R. 6030.
    61 Recce Regt reported Anti-Tank gun at 615537 which fired on their patrol.
    Enemy Mortars were also believed to be in this position.
    1715R.S.M. Greening admitted to hospital.
    201514 P.O.W. taken by D Coy.
    2100The enemy in wood at 6230 surrendered, and a total of approx 75 were conveyed
    in T.C.V. direct to 151 Brigade.
    2130Warning recieved to be prepared to move early the following morning.
    It is worth noting that the F.F.I. were very helpful in this area. A party
    of 20 attached themselves to D Coy in WAVRIN and helped them to guard the approaches.
    Another party were reported to be moving up on enemy's left flank North
    of the canal and had apparently put in a small attack. Others produced many
    prisoners from the local gaol whom we conveyed to the P.O.W. cage at Brigade H.Q.
    Page 5 of 23
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    5 (contd)Another interesting feature was that in the previous campaign quite a number
    of the Battalion had been in this area, and some of them managed to pay a
    visit to their old billets and recall old times. During our two stay in the
    area, casualties had been very light, a total of 1 O.R. killed and 9 wounded.
    Ref Maps: - 1/100,000-BRUSSELS60700Battalion 'O' Group - the Battalion to move to leaguer area West of BRUSSELS,
    the 9 D.L.I group leading.
    The Advance Recce Party under Capt. Short moved off.
    0845The Battalion moved off with D Coy leading, followed by C Coy, Bn HQ, A Coy,
    B Coy, A Echelon. The route taken was via NERRIN, CONDECOURT, SECLIN, VENDEVILLE,
    0945Crossed the France - Belgium Frontier, and recieved a grand welcome from the
    people all along the route.
    1330Arrived in area ITTERBEEK 5354.
    1530Battalion 'O' Group. The Battalion to take over defensive positions in the
    BOIS DE LA CAMBRE, East and South East of the town. The enemy were reported
    to be still on the outskirts,
    1620The Battalion moved off again.
    1730Arrived in area 633499
    Getting through BRUSSELS was a very difficult problem owing to the masses of
    people swarming around and even on the transport to give us a really rousing
    See Appx (i)
    reception. Everyone wanted to show us the way through the the town (most of
    the people could speak English) and that almost necessary as the signs
    already put down by our Recce Party had been picked up as souveniers. Part
    of column did get lost in the town - at the best of times the maze of streets
    in BRUSSELS is difficult - but eventually the whole column was grouped in the
    BOIS DE LA CAMBRE and companies took up defensive positions.
    Carrier Patrols were sent out South of the area - not more than 8 kilometers.
    Page 6 of 23
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    6 (contd)Captain Daw on a reconnaissance patrol found intact an enemy ammunition dump
    South East of our area.
    It was expected the Battalion would remain in the area for 3 or 4 days.
    Coys were in positions as follows:- A Coy 630442, B Coy 653466, C Coy 639497,
    D Coy 603469.
    BOIS DE LA CAMBRE BRUSSELS7The day was spent in cleaning up and general maintenance.
    10 per cent of each Company was allowed into BRUSSELS from 1400 hours until
    2100 hours under the charge of an Officer.
    During the day patrols were sent out South of our positions.
    0900One section of Carrier Platoon and 1 Platoon of A Coy patrolled to the area of LAMARA
    6736 where it was reported there were some enemy. Nothing, however, was found.
    The patrol then went on to OHAM 6938 where U.S. Forces were contacted occupying
    the area.
    2200A Standing Patrol from A Coy forward Platoon lay up in the area of Gde Esplinette
    and took 2 P.O.W. who were later handed over to the F.F.I. who had a post there.
    2200Warning Order received to be prepared to move the following morning.
    Ref Maps: 1/100,000 Sht 3 ANTWERP80700Battalior 'O' Group - The Battalion to move to area HERSSELT 0076.
    1/100,000 Sht 4 MAESEYCK0730Advance Recce Party moved off.
    1/50,000 Sht 25 & 35 TURNHOUT - GHEEL.0900Battalion arrived in area RAMSEL 967745.
    1240Brigade 'O' Group.
    1315Battalion 'O' Group - Two Patrols to be sent out with the object of clearing
    1678. Having completed their tasks, they would proceed to the bank of the
    ALBERT Canal in the areas 1480 and 1780 shooting up any enemy seen on the North
    bank. The intention was to make the enemy believe that another bridgehead
    was about to be made at 150810. The Patrols were to leave at 1415 hours, and not
    return before 2000 hours.
    Page 7 of 23
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    8 (contd)Composition of Patrols:- On the left: 1 sec of M.Gs., 1 sec Carriers, 1 sec
    Mortars and 1 Platoon of B Coy, all under Capt. Davey.
    On the right: 1 sec M.Gs., 1 sec Carriers, 1 sec Mortars and 1 Platoon of
    C Coy, all under Capt. I.A. Daw.
    An advance RAP was to be established at TESSENDERLOO 1477.
    The patrols saw a fair amount of enemy movement on the North side of the
    Canal, and the targets were engaged several times.
    Capt. Daw was wounded by a Spandau.
    Patrols returned about 2130 hours.
    1830The Battalion at 1 hour's notice to move.
    2130Lieut. McKelvie returned to the Battalion and was posted to D Coy.
    The plan for that night was that 8 DLI would make a wet crossing and extend
    the bridgehood already made by 69 Brigade over the ALBERT CANAL at STEELEN
    0784. A class 9 bridge was under construction by the R.Es. and would be
    ready by midnight. 6 DLI would follow on in the early morning over the
    bridge, and would extend and defend the bridgehead.
    The total casualties for the day were 1 Officer wounded.
    RAMSEL 9677459The bridge over the ALBERT CANAL had been completed by 2300 hours the previous
    night. 8 DLI had made a wet crossing and sent out patrols during
    the night, but was unable to enter SHEEL 0888 owing to slight opposition.
    0415Our Advance Recce Party moved off to make a reconnaissance of a
    debussing area South of the bridge.
    0430A & D Coys moved off, and B and C Coys half-an-hour later behind tactical HQ.
    0615Battalion assembled in area 072833, South of the newly completed bridge over
    the Albert Canal. Fifteen minutes previously 61 Recce Regt had crossed the
    0630D Coy due to cross the bridge, but delayed owing to C Squadron, 61 Recce Regt
    being held up by enemy seen in the village of DOURNBOOM 073857. A small battle ensued
    Page 8 of 23
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    -9 (contd)0815D Coy moved off but turned back - one pontoon had been sunk by shellfire.
    There had been fairly continuous shelling in the area of the bridge for
    some time - mainly airburst.
    1100Bridge again ready for use. D Coy moved forward en route to DOORNBOOM.
    Slight M.G .opposition was encountered.
    On reaching their objective, a patrol was sent out to STOKT 0786 where two
    enemy were killed and two captured together with a small mortar.
    1130Four P.O.W. brought in Identified as G.A.F. They stated that they were
    reinforced last night and were expecting to put in an attack this afternoon.
    1300Fifty enemy seen running into wood at 090853. Our M.M.Gs. killed 5 at 803838.
    Two P.O.W. brought in. Stated they were reinforments from 4 Fleiger Ersats Regt.
    had arrived two days previously from Holland, and had gone straight to their
    1415A Coy moved off to position at STOKT 0786. Pockets of enemy reported around
    this area but R.A. proved too much for them.
    1430A Coy overran enemy mortar position at 075859.
    1515Report received that 200/300 enemy had heen seen on the road at 058865 proceeding
    in direction of GHEEL.
    Three more prisoners brought in, all Poles, from 572 Cren. Ersatz Bn, one
    prisoner from 101 Gren Regt.
    1815Battalion HQ moved to 068854.
    1845A strong enemy post was believed to be at 083872, and a heavy barrage was going
    to be put doun.
    2000M.M.Gs. sent to A Coy to harass the area from GHEEL to St. DYMPHNE 0988
    intermittently during the hours of darkness.
    B Coy reports being heavily shelled.
    At last light Coy locations were as follows: A Coy 079869, B Coy 072870,
    C Coy 076869, D Coy 068861,
    Casualties for the day were one O.R. killed, four wounded.
    Page 9 of 23
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    South of GHEEL 088810The night 9/10 September was fairly quiet except for occasional machine gun
    fire and Spasmodic shelling in the area near GHEEL.
    0745One enemy tank spotted in the area of 077885.
    0815Enemy tank and Infantry at 082868.
    1015S.P. gun shelling the bridge at STEELEN, apparently from the East along the
    Canal bank.
    1030A Coy report its HQ being heavily shelled and mortared.
    1145Enemy Gun, probably S.P. reported at 095858.
    115561 Recce Regt reported WINKELOM 087870 to be strongly held by enemy. A heavy
    gun believed S.P. was firing from the track running South West from WINKELOM.
    A troop of the Reace Regt was under continuous fire. Another heavy gun was
    firing South West from 095858. The troop had been ordered to retire to
    1250Our armoured cars patrolling from 097856 to 083872 encountered heavy fire
    from WINKELOM and from South of ELSUM 0788.
    1300The right hand Platoon of A Coy returned from its present position under heavy
    mortar fire.
    B Coy under heavy 88 mm gun fire and S.A. fire. Movement impossible.
    1320Plans formed for entering GHEEL.
    D Coy moved up to start line, with C Coy on the right. A & B Coys to follow
    up and enter the town, and give rear support. 9 DLI would move up on the
    right. The attack to begin at 1330 hours.
    13301 Carrier and 1 Anti-tank gun knocked out in B Coy area.
    Enemy counter-attack on A Coy - Infantry supported by mortars and Spandau fire.
    Our tanks going in to assist. Artillery support laid on.
    Capt. Corbett wounded and Lieut. Seggie took over Command of A Coy.
    1345Our tanks reached A Coy and giving assistance A Coy now succeeded in keeping
    a firm line. C & D Coys carried out their original plan with support from
    tanks, D Coy met opposition.
    Page 10 of 23
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    10 (contd)1400Major J. Atkinson (C Coy) wounded - Capt Bennett took over Command.
    1410Our tanks reported several enemy lining a hedgerow in a ground depression
    but were unable to depress their guns low enough to deal with them. D Coy
    ordered to close in on tanks and deal with the enemy.
    1420D Coy reported 30 enemy withdrawing to ELSUM. Our Artillery brought to bear.
    1435A Coy reported that 9 DLI on the right now abreast.
    1440It was decided that B Coy would pass through D Coy to maintain the momentum
    of the attack.
    1515B Coy about to begin its advance.
    1525D Coy gained its objective - North of the church and South of the station
    in GHEEL.,
    1530D Coy took 50 P.O.W. and knocked out 1 Armoured car, 1 88 gun, 1 mortar
    and 2 Anti tank guns.
    A Coy sent up to reinforce D Coy.
    154522 P.O.W. brought in, most of then were from a Gren Ensatz Bn.
    1600The bridge at STEELEN reported out of action again.
    A Coy took 14 P.O.W.
    1645B Coy took 3 P.O.W.
    1700The Comanding officer, Lieut-Col. A.E. The Green, wounded in the arm by shell
    splinter while touring forward companies in GHEEL.
    17106 P.O.W. brought in by the Mortar Platoon.
    17205 P.O.W. from C Coy.
    180025 P.O.W. from C Coy, and 5 from A Coy,
    Two of our Anti tank guns captured by the enemy.
    1930Enemy Anti tank gun firing down road from road Junation South of GHEEL
    2020Enemy counter-attack on our right flank and infiltrating behind our forward
    Companies from the Left
    One enemy tank supported by Infantry moving down road South of GHEEL.
    Spasmadic M.G. fire throughout the evening.
    Page 11 of 23
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    10 (contd)2130Major G.J. Wood (as C.O.) went to Brigade HQ which had moved up North of
    the canal.
    One enemy tank reported 200 yds North of Brigade HQ.
    Battalion to Stand to all night.
    Casualties during the day were fairly heavy
    .Lieut. Allen was killed and Officers wounded were Lieut-Col. Green, Major
    J. Atkinson, Capt. Corbett Capt Davey, Lient Howell and Lient. Batemen.
    In addition there were:-
    30 O.Rs. Killed
    67 " Wounded (4 of whom later died)
    42 " Missing (1 of whom was presumed killed)
    Major K.G. Lewis joined the Battalion from 2 Devons.
    110100Under cover of a heavy ground mist, the enemy again counter-attacked on
    right flank.
    Our tanks were unable to go forward owing to having no Infantry support (our
    Coys were cut off from Bn HQ.)
    Brigade HQ moved back over the canal.
    0730Some enemy Infantry with tanks reported South of GHEL 600 yds from Battalion HQ.
    One of tanks knocked out.
    50 enemy reported in rear of 8 DLI directed on the Canal. (8 DLI had
    moved up on our left the previous night.)
    0810Two enemy tanks giving trouble in the vicinity, but our tanks unable to
    advance owing to dense mist.
    08158 and 9 DLI received orders from Brigade to clear up enemy pockets as soon
    as mist cleared.
    08209 DLI had brush with the enemy, taking 15 P.O.W. and routing the remainder.
    0840D Coy in good spirits - last night with its tank support the Company had knocked
    out 1 x 150mm gun, 1 Armoured car and 1 tank.
    Page 12 of 23
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    11 (contd)0915The Sherwood Rangers reported having lost 8 tanks in past 24 hours.
    1000A patrol with a PIAT sent out to try and deal with enemy tank on road near
    Bn HQ. The tanks were later knocked out by one of our Shermans and was later
    reported to have been towed away by a second enemy tank accompanied by 10
    1035A Tiger tank observed 200 yds from Bn HQ moving into position behind a house,
    and it was knocked out immediately by one of our Shermans.
    1050B Coy reported enemy tanks moving in outskirts of GHEEL. Heavy shellfire
    brought to bear on them, and the aid of Typhoons requested.
    1115Another enemy tank knocked out by a Sherman on the GHEEL road.
    D Coy reported urgent medical help required for several cases, but nothing
    could be done.
    1120Enemy formed up for another counter-attack on D Coy front. Our Artillery
    engaged them.
    1125D Coy reported enemy infiltrating on left rear of town, and found difficulty
    in keeping them out.
    1135Orders received from 151 Brigade that D Coy could pivot back on B Coy and
    take up position between B Coy and 8 DLI, but only if conditions became too
    1200Two Panther tanks knocked out at 068877.
    D Coy assailed on three sides by Infantey and S.P. guns.
    12208 DLI reported that enemy pocket was believed liquidated and were making
    efforts to contact our Companies.
    1225D Coy urged to hold on, as another Squadron of tanks was coming to its
    Bn HQ heavily shelled.
    The M.T.O. Capt. Tyndale went off in a Carrier to try to get to GHEEL
    1248The Carrier arrived at D Coy.
    1250Ammunition and food sent up to B & D Coys in jeeps under charge of Capt. Harrison.
    Page 13 of 23
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    11 (contd)1300Enemy reported to be infiltrating into centre of the town between B & D Coys.
    1330Tanks and Infantry advanced on D Coy from the North East.
    1350Our tanks on way to D Coy held up and about to try another route.
    1430C.O. went to meet Brigadier at 9 DLI HQ. Intention was to withdraw the Companies
    from GLEEL to positions South of GHEEL and North of BN HQ The Coys would
    filter out in small numbers.
    1435Our tanks not yet arrived at B Coy, but enemy between B & D Coys were being
    dealt with.
    1455Situation serious on right flank. Enemy within 20 or 30 yds of B & C Coys.
    Information was passed to our tanks for immediate action.
    151021 P.O.W. brought in from our Carrier Platoon.
    1530Enemy Infantry still infiltrating through houses at GHEEL.
    1545Enemy reported South of GHEEL. C Coy reported enemy firing from Houses on
    the right of the Company. Two enemy tanks also in the vicinity.
    1600The Typhoons appeared on the scene as requested but were unable to spot the
    tanks. However they shot up enemy Infantry in considerable numbers on
    road RETHY - GHEEL.
    1645The two jeeps sent to Coys with food and ammunition reported safely arrived.
    1745Enemy again shelled area of bridge at STEELEN.
    18001 P.O.W. from 11 Coy, 53 Fleiger Regt.
    1845D Coy in new position area 066861.
    1915B Coy in new position area 072857.
    2000All Coys now in. Approx 30 of D Coy were left in GHEEL civilian hospital
    Others were missing some probably in hiding in GHEEL and expected to turn up
    P.O.W. taken during the day were 1 Officer, 25 O.Rs.
    Our casualties in addition to yesterdays were:- O.Rs. killed - 2, wounded - 18,
    missing - 9.
    Lieut. Seggie was also missing, but returned the following day with 7 O.Rs
    Page 14 of 23
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    120700The Battalion was being relieved today, and the advance recce party moved off
    to Bde HQ to recce area VORST 1379
    08359 DLI reported fighting broken out on one of its Coy fronts.
    0855Report received that enemy was forming up for a counter-attack at 083872.
    1215The Battalion at one minutes notice to move as from 1330 hours.
    1400Enemy heavy Mortars at 094859 engaged by our Artillery.
    Battalion 'O' Group; Battalion to move to new area at 1600 hours.
    1500A Battalion of Royal Scots began to move into our area to relieve us.
    1600Battalion commenced the relief.
    1735Battalion in new area VORST 124794.
    C Coy reorganised under Major Lewis.
    VORST 124794130230Warning Order received to move today to area RYSSELS -PAEL M.R. 1974.
    0900Battalion 'O' Group re move
    66 O.RS. joined the Battalion. They had been at B Echelon since 11 Sept.
    0945The Advance Recce Party under Capt. Short Left
    1215Battalion moved off.
    1330Battalion arrived in area 183770
    Area 183730140930C.Os. Conference re Administration and Routine whilst in this area. Not
    expected to move for three or four days. Films and Concert Parties were
    arranged. General cleaning up was to be made, and as much rest obtained
    as possible.
    151100The Corps Commander (Lieut-General Horrocks) visited the Battalion in an
    informal capacity. The purpose of his visit was to congratulate the Unit
    on its firm stand at GHEEL for 36 hours and the denying to the enemy the
    Canal which was their objective. In his opinion 151 Brigade was second to
    none and when it had an object in view it always obtained that object.
    Around GHEEL, the Brigade experienced the bitterest fighting since MARETH.
    Page 15 of 23
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    15 (contd)1230Warning Order received to move early on 16 Sept to area KATTENBOSCH 3091.
    1415Visit and address to all ranks by the Brigade Commander. He spoke of the
    fine work done by the 151 Brigade in recent fighting: how they had beaten up
    the BOCHE well and truly, taking many prisoners and killing more enemy than
    at any time previously since setting foot on the Continent Above all, he
    remarked on the fine spirit and how cheerful the Brigade was when coming out of
    Battle - and one which had been such a bitter struggle.
    Speaking of what lay ahead and which we all hoped would be the final blow at
    the enemy, everyone must be on his guard when he got into Germany; civilians
    must be avoided and best treated as potential murderers.
    In whatever battles lay ahead he was sure they could be carried out as successfully
    and as completely as in the past.
    In conclusion, be thanked the Battalion for all it had done, and especially
    the men of the Rifle Companies, they being the men who won the battles.
    He wished the Battalion the best of Luck and every sucess, and a speedy end
    to the war.
    Ref Map 1/100,000 Sht 9 LIEGE.1460Party went to DIEST 1168 to attend ENSA Variety show, "IRISH FOLLIES"
    Baths were also provided at "A" Echelon, and a limited number also were able
    to attand a mobile bath unit.
    Capt. Bennett assumed Command of Mortar Platoon.
    1700The Advance Recce Party moved off to recce new area, and to remain there during
    the night to reserve the area owing to the large number of troops in our area.
    2000Several Flying Bombs passed over the area, flying in direction of DIEST. No
    damage reported.
    160900C.Os. 'O' Group regarding the move.
    1000C.O. to attend Corps Commanders Conference
    1125Battalion moved off.
    Page 16 of 23
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    16 (contd)1135Crossed the Albert Canal at BEERINGEN 2375 thence route as follows:- BOURG
    LEOPOLD 2682 - KERKHOVEN 2787 to area South of LOMMEL 3095.
    1245Arrived in new area 311937.
    1515C Coy group moved forward just South of the ESCAUT CANAL to area 3296 to
    prevent any enemy infiltration over the Canal.
    1632Two high flying enemy aircraft each dropped two small bombs in the area of
    1700Six new Officers joined the Battalion and were posted as follows:-
    Lieut. R. Quickenden and Withenshaw to B Coy.
    Lieut. Kamofsky and 2/Lt. Hunt to C Coy.
    Lieuts Lyms and Sykes to D Coy.
    South of LOMME area 311937170300Clocks put back 1 hour.
    0900Brigade 'O' Group - dealing with our large scale Airborne Landings and Armoured
    attack in HOLIAND 'H' hour to be 1300 hours.
    0935During bombing and straffing operations, two of our aircraft were seen to
    collide in the canal area 2695.
    1045C Coy relieved of its canal duties by a Coy of R.W.Fs. and returned to Battalion
    1200Plan of future attack to be given out to troops after zero hour.
    1400Our 3" Mortars moved to area 323970 with the task of mortaring the wood area
    5198 where enemy had been reported. Barrage to begin at 1410 hours.
    180700Major G.L. Wood (acting C.O.) the I.O. and Company Commanders moved off to
    contact 1st Bn Hampshire Regt and to make a reconnaissance of their area M.R.
    3496 prior to taking over.
    1015Major G.L. Wood went to Brigade HQ re our future role and the taking over of
    the Hampshires area.
    Two Officers and 70 O.Rs. joined the Battalion - Major D.F. Crossthwaite to
    Page 17 of 23
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    18 (contd)"B" Coy and 2/Lieut. Hall to "D" Coy.
    1130Battalion 'O' Group - Battalion to move out by 1200 hours.
    1145The Advance Recce Party moved off.
    1300The Battalion moved off.
    1335The Battalion arrived in new area 347966 and 1st Bn Hampshires Regt moving
    18001 P.O.W. brought in from B Coy. Identified as from 21 Parachute Ersatz Bn.
    Came from Holland and had been in the area for 14 days, and nothing to eat
    for the past two days.
    1845Lieut-Colonel J.M. Hanmer joined the Battalion and assumed Command.
    1940Enemy aircraft carried out extensive bombing of the bridgehead area using HE
    and A.P. bombs. The bridges were not damaged. The Adjutant, Capt. R.S.
    Loveridge, was slightly wounded but returned to duty after treatment.
    EASCAUT CANAL M.R. 347966190900Major G.L. Wood held conference on administration and future role.
    1100Lieut. J.A. Young and Lieut. R.M Berry joined the Battalion, the former being
    posted to the Anti-tank Platoon and the latter to C Coy.
    1700A Horsa glider towed by a Stirling was loosed off after circling round Bn HQ
    several times, and Landed North our area, near 9 DLI.
    2200Slight air activity but no bombs dropped in our area. Flares dropped approx
    10 miles North.
    200915The Div Commander paid an informal visit to the Battalion. He said there
    was no likelyhood of moving today, but perhaps late tomorrow. We could now
    relax as there were plenty of troops etc., in front of us now and the enemy
    had withdrawn.
    The day was spent in maintenance, particularly of vehicles in preparation for
    the next move.
    1000Conference - A Coy to be reformed. 48 Reinforcements who arrived today disposed
    Page 18 of 23
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    20 (contd)of as follows:- 16 to A, B & D Coys, Major Crosthwaite to be O.C. "A" Coy,
    Lieut, Seggie to be 2 i/c Coy, and 2/Lieut. Hall to be Platoon Commander.
    R.S.M. Greening rejoined the Battalion from hospital.
    In the forthcoming move, the order of march would be as follows:-
    D Coy Group, B Coy Group, 'O' Group (less D & B Coy Commanders),Bn HQ, 1 Platoon
    2 Cheshires, "A" Echelon, "B" Echelon, 1 Det 149 Fd Amb, A Coy Group, C Coy
    Group, with Northumberland Hussars dispersed around A & B Echelons as protection.
    The Corps Order of March would be as follows:- 8 Armoured Brigade, 231 Brigade,
    43 Division, 50 Division (69 Bde leading and 151 Bde following.)
    1630A great Armada of Airborne troops in Dakotas commenced passing over in a
    Northerly direction and continued for approx 1 1/2 hours. They were probably
    reinforcements for the airborne troops in the NIJMEGEN area.
    Details of patrols night 19/20 Sept:- 1 L/Cpl and 1 sec from B Coy contacted
    left hand platoon of 8 DLI at 362984.
    1 L/Cpl. and 2 ORs from C Coy patrolled to corner of wood at 324985.
    Both Patrols had nothing to report.
    2137 O.Rs. Reinforcements arrived today and were distributed throughout the
    1100A limited number of men from all Companies journeyed to pit-head baths near
    BEERINGEN 2375.
    Baths were available at "A" Echelon in the afternoon for the remaining personnel.
    1230Warning Order received to move tomorrow.
    1600"A" & "B" Echelons moved to area North of Bn HQ. ("B" Echelon now under Battalion
    2115Telephone message from 151 Brigade - no move tomorrow.
    22New code names received for present operations, as the original list had been
    13307 O.R. reinforcements joined the Battalion.
    Page 19 of 23
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    22 (contd)Lieut. W.S. Carr joined the Battalion and posted as O.C. Sapper Platoon.
    1500200 seats allotted to the Battalion for cinema show at T.T. Cinema, BOURG
    1830Brigade to 'O' Group - Battalion to move to area GELDROP 4815. Task to protect
    right flank of our Armour and secure and hold all approaches.
    230800Battalion 'O' Group.
    0900Brigade 'O' Group: Now under Command of 8 Corps.
    Battalion Order of March to be D Coy, S Coy, 'O' Group, Bn HQ, 1 Platoon 2
    Cheshires, Northumberland Hussars, "A" Echelon, 1 Det 149 Fd Amb, A Coy,
    C Coy.
    0930Battalion 'O' Group
    1000The Advance Recce Party moved off.
    1130The Battalion moved off.
    1145Crossed the Belgium - Holland Frontier.
    1445The Battalion arrived in area VLOKHOVEN EKKART 4423.
    1530Message received from 151 Brigade - To remain here for the night.
    1550Another Armada of planes towing gliders passed overhead.
    Ref Map 1/100,000240730The Advance Recce Party moved off,
    Sht 5. a'HERTOGENBOSCH0745Brigade 'O' Group re move to BREUGEL 4526.
    0815Battalion 'O' Group.
    1045Battalion moved off.
    1115Battalion arrived in area BREUGEL.
    1330O.C. C Coy and 2 secs Carriers went out to area LIESHOUT M.R. 5126, the Coy
    Commander to recce the area, ones sec Carriers to patrol as far as BEEK 5427
    and the other sec as far as DONK 5329 to find out if bridges over the Canal
    were intact.
    1700C Coy moved off to occupy area LIESHOUT 5126.
    1730Report received from 151 Brigade that 40 enemy had been seen in area 445350
    Page 20 of 23
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    24 (contd)and one tank had been knocked out by 74 Filed Regt.
    1845Our Carriers reported the three bridges at M.R. 547278, 539290 were destroyed.
    Enemy were still on our side of the Canal.
    1850Carrier Standing Patrols were established in DONK and BEEK on the canal side
    to prevent enemy infiltration over the Canal.
    Locations of the Battalion were as follows:- Bn HQ 450257, A Coy 454266,
    B Coy 460267, D Coy 452262, and C Coy at LIESHOUT 5126.
    BREUGEL 4526250500"C" Coy sent out two Officer Patrols to contact the Standing Patrols at BEEK
    and DONK.
    The Patrol to BEEK then went to road canal junction 546264 and the Patrol to DONK
    also went to road and canal junction 536296. Both Patrols had nothing to report.
    0530D Coy to join 9 DLI and take up position at 447313.
    0800Active Patrolling to continue today along the Battalion front.
    0830D Coy now established with 9 DLI.
    09008 DLI reported 10 Tiger tanks at 6024, believed on the point of pulling out in a
    North East direction.
    0930Report received that approx 150 men and 2 x 88 mm guns were in area HELMOND
    5523 and that 4 S.P. guns, 6 tanks and 60 enemy were in area 4434.
    1150Civilians in BEEK stated thar there were no enemy on the other side of Canal,
    the nearest being 4 K.m. away.
    1400C Coy sent Patrol of 1 NCO and 2 ORs over the Canal. They penetrated as far
    as the river 551278 and found no enemy.
    1500Carrier Patrols being sent out to ascertain if bridges at 554283, 549278,
    548278, 539294, 543291 and 552294 had been blown.
    1600Carrier Patrols reported they had penetrated to the outskirts of GEMERT 5730.
    All bridges intact with exception of those at 549278 and 548278.
    1810Information received of probable move to MILL 6444.
    2000R.Es. to build bridges one at DONK and one at BEEK. We provided covering
    Page 21 of 23
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    25 (contd)2100One P.O.W. handed over to I.O. by R.Es. at BEEK. Found hiding in barn.
    Identified as 4 Coy 1st Pioneer Ersatz Bn.
    2130Two Carrier Patrols brought up to 549277 and 543291 to provide cover and
    early warning for R.Es. against any possible enemy.
    260500Two Officer Patrols sent out to contact standing Patrols over the Canal.
    Both had nothing to report.
    0715I.O. and 'I' Sergeant went out to recce route to LIESHOUT for expected move.
    0730Report received that 2nd Devonshire Regt had gone to MILL.
    0900Lieut. Seggie assumed 2 i/c Anti tank Platoon.
    Lieut. Young appointed Platoon Commander of A Coy.
    1200Information from Brigade that there would be no move today.
    1730Brigade 'O' Group - Battalion to move to area VOLKEL 5640. The Advance
    Recce Party to report to 151 Brigade by 1630 hours.
    1900Battalion 'O' Group - D Coy to return from 9 DLI.
    2100The Recce Party arrived at the Battalion.
    270900Battalion moved off to new area.
    0900Battalion arrived area VOLKEL, Bn. HQ established at 569405, with Companies
    in close proximity.
    1500B.B.C. reported Allied landing in ALBANIA.
    1700Carrier Patrols searched woods and tracks as far as 62 Easting, and found
    area clear of enemys
    VOLKEL 564028No move expected today.
    09005 Officers and 15 O.Rs. joined the Battalion todays all from 59 Div Reinforcement
    1500Capt. Movely posted as O.C. Mortar Platoon.
    Lieut. H. Wilkinson posted to A Coy as 2 i/c
    Page 22 of 23
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    28 (contd)Lieut. A Moody posted to "B" Coy.
    Lieut D.F. Barclay posted to "C" Coy.
    Lieut. P. C. Capstick posted to "D" Coy.
    All the above from Royal Welsh Fusiliers.
    Baths arranged by Capt. Field at "A" Coy HQ.
    1540Four reinforcements arrived, all men who had been wounded in Normandy.
    1630C of E Church Parade.
    290730No move expected before 1200 hours - possibly none at all.
    0900Coy Commanders Conference - Administration.
    1100Coys proceeded independently on 5 mile route march.
    1400Party of 50 went to T. T. Concert Party at GEMERT 5730.
    1530Visit from G.1., 50 Div.
    Field Marshal Montgomery passed through area.
    1800Another party of 50 to T.T. Concert Party.
    300900The C.O. carried out Admin Inspection of "A" Coy.
    1100All Coys proceeded on a short route march.
    1400C.O. carried out Admin Inspection of "D" Coy.
    1500R.A.F. Station reported that an had been fired on from area OVENTJE 5744
    whilst taking off.
    Party of 30 proceeded to T.T. Concert Party.
    17303 Carrier Sections under Lieut. Seggie sent to area of woods between main road
    UDEN - ZEELAND and OVENTJE to search for possible enemy.
    1830Carriers reported no enemy seen.
    1845Carriers returned from patrol with nothing to report.
    Capt. Bennett proceeded to "B" Echelon to take over the training of selected
    personnel who would be left out of battle for a period of 10 days.
    Page 23 of 23
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    30 (contd)Notes:- (i) The Total Casualties for September 1944 were as follows:-
    Officers - Killed 1
    Wounded 8
    O.Rs. - Killed 33
    Wounded 93 (of whom 5 died)
    Missing 51 (one presumed killed)
    (ii) Maps; On many occasions, the use of captured German of
    1/50,000 scale had to be resorted to, as the only mans available
    for issue were those of 1/100,000 and 1/250,000 scales.