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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
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
AMIENS Map Ref. 104577 Ref Map 1/100,000 Sheet 14 Amiens 1 0200 One enemy aircraft flew over Amiens, drawing intense fire from our A.A. guns.
No results reported.
0815 The Battalion to take over guard on P.O.W. in garage in the Battalion area.
1015 11 P.O.W. brought in by the Maquis. 7 were from Pioneer Units, the remainder
from Flak Units.
2000 Warning Order received - 8 DLI to move to DOULLENS 1386 tomorrow at 0700 hrs,
and 6 DLI would probably move in the afternoon.
2130 A 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 7 TOURNAI. 2 0100 Operation 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.
0545 The 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.
0700 C 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.
0930 Bn 'O' Group. Role of the Battalion - to follow up 8 Armoured Brigade and
protect its right flank.
1130 The Battalion left AMIENS.
1310 The Battalion arrived in area 1386 near DOULLENS. Bn HQ was established at 134870,
Page 2 of 23
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References 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.
DOULLENS 3 0800 Brigade '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.
1045 The 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.
1330 The 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.
1835 Halt made between PONT-A-VENDIN and MEURCHIN at 566204, and Bn 'O' Group called.
1900 Bn '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.
2000 One Squadron of tanks and one Coy of Infantry reported now in LILLE.
2030 The 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.
2100 Battalion 'O' Group. B Coy would lead off the move at 0700 hrs on the
following day.
M.R. 566204 4 0615 Move postponed until 1030 hours.
Page 3 of 23
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
4 (contd) 0715 Report 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.
0815 Message 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
1030 Our 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
1245 Battalion 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.
1500 C Coy held up at the bridge at 626297.
1505 Elements 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.
2100 Battalion 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
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
M.R. 601252 5 0810 Report from 9 DLI that white flags had been seen in the village of HOUPLIN
believed to have heen put up by the civilian population.
0905 Reports 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
0930 The F.F.I. reported that there were Ammunition and Petrol Dumps in the woods
at 6039 and 6139, but this was not confirmed.
0945 Enemy shelled HOUPLIN.
1445 Civilians reported a battery of enemy guns in WAVRIN Cemetary M.R. 556303.
1500 One 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.
1505 D 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.
1715 R.S.M. Greening admitted to hospital.
2015 14 P.O.W. taken by D Coy.
2100 The enemy in wood at 6230 surrendered, and a total of approx 75 were conveyed
in T.C.V. direct to 151 Brigade.
2130 Warning 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
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References 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- BRUSSELS 6 0700 Battalion '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.
0845 The 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,
0945 Crossed the France - Belgium Frontier, and recieved a grand welcome from the
people all along the route.
1330 Arrived in area ITTERBEEK 5354.
1530 Battalion '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,
1620 The Battalion moved off again.
1730 Arrived 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
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References 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 BRUSSELS 7 The 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.
0900 One 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.
2200 A 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.
2200 Warning Order received to be prepared to move the following morning.
Ref Maps: 1/100,000 Sht 3 ANTWERP 8 0700 Battalior 'O' Group - The Battalion to move to area HERSSELT 0076.
1/100,000 Sht 4 MAESEYCK 0730 Advance Recce Party moved off.
1/50,000 Sht 25 & 35 TURNHOUT - GHEEL. 0900 Battalion arrived in area RAMSEL 967745.
1240 Brigade 'O' Group.
1315 Battalion '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
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References 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.
1830 The Battalion at 1 hour's notice to move.
2130 Lieut. 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 967745 9 The 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.
0415 Our Advance Recce Party moved off to make a reconnaissance of a
debussing area South of the bridge.
0430 A & D Coys moved off, and B and C Coys half-an-hour later behind tactical HQ.
0615 Battalion assembled in area 072833, South of the newly completed bridge over
the Albert Canal. Fifteen minutes previously 61 Recce Regt had crossed the
0630 D 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
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
- 9 (contd) 0815 D 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.
1100 Bridge 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.
1130 Four 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.
1300 Fifty 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
1415 A Coy moved off to position at STOKT 0786. Pockets of enemy reported around
this area but R.A. proved too much for them.
1430 A Coy overran enemy mortar position at 075859.
1515 Report 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.
1815 Battalion HQ moved to 068854.
1845 A strong enemy post was believed to be at 083872, and a heavy barrage was going
to be put doun.
2000 M.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
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
South of GHEEL 0888 10 The night 9/10 September was fairly quiet except for occasional machine gun
fire and Spasmodic shelling in the area near GHEEL.
0745 One enemy tank spotted in the area of 077885.
0815 Enemy tank and Infantry at 082868.
1015 S.P. gun shelling the bridge at STEELEN, apparently from the East along the
Canal bank.
1030 A Coy report its HQ being heavily shelled and mortared.
1145 Enemy Gun, probably S.P. reported at 095858.
1155 61 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
1250 Our armoured cars patrolling from 097856 to 083872 encountered heavy fire
from WINKELOM and from South of ELSUM 0788.
1300 The 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.
1320 Plans 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.
1330 1 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.
1345 Our 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
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
10 (contd) 1400 Major J. Atkinson (C Coy) wounded - Capt Bennett took over Command.
1410 Our 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.
1420 D Coy reported 30 enemy withdrawing to ELSUM. Our Artillery brought to bear.
1435 A Coy reported that 9 DLI on the right now abreast.
1440 It was decided that B Coy would pass through D Coy to maintain the momentum
of the attack.
1515 B Coy about to begin its advance.
1525 D Coy gained its objective - North of the church and South of the station
in GHEEL.,
1530 D 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.
1545 22 P.O.W. brought in, most of then were from a Gren Ensatz Bn.
1600 The bridge at STEELEN reported out of action again.
A Coy took 14 P.O.W.
1645 B Coy took 3 P.O.W.
1700 The Comanding officer, Lieut-Col. A.E. The Green, wounded in the arm by shell
splinter while touring forward companies in GHEEL.
1710 6 P.O.W. brought in by the Mortar Platoon.
1720 5 P.O.W. from C Coy.
1800 25 P.O.W. from C Coy, and 5 from A Coy,
Two of our Anti tank guns captured by the enemy.
1930 Enemy Anti tank gun firing down road from road Junation South of GHEEL
2020 Enemy 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
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
10 (contd) 2130 Major 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.
11 0100 Under 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.
0730 Some 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.)
0810 Two enemy tanks giving trouble in the vicinity, but our tanks unable to
advance owing to dense mist.
0815 8 and 9 DLI received orders from Brigade to clear up enemy pockets as soon
as mist cleared.
0820 9 DLI had brush with the enemy, taking 15 P.O.W. and routing the remainder.
0840 D 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
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
11 (contd) 0915 The Sherwood Rangers reported having lost 8 tanks in past 24 hours.
1000 A 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
1035 A 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.
1050 B Coy reported enemy tanks moving in outskirts of GHEEL. Heavy shellfire
brought to bear on them, and the aid of Typhoons requested.
1115 Another 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.
1120 Enemy formed up for another counter-attack on D Coy front. Our Artillery
engaged them.
1125 D Coy reported enemy infiltrating on left rear of town, and found difficulty
in keeping them out.
1135 Orders 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
1200 Two Panther tanks knocked out at 068877.
D Coy assailed on three sides by Infantey and S.P. guns.
1220 8 DLI reported that enemy pocket was believed liquidated and were making
efforts to contact our Companies.
1225 D 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
1248 The Carrier arrived at D Coy.
1250 Ammunition and food sent up to B & D Coys in jeeps under charge of Capt. Harrison.
Page 13 of 23
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
11 (contd) 1300 Enemy reported to be infiltrating into centre of the town between B & D Coys.
1330 Tanks and Infantry advanced on D Coy from the North East.
1350 Our tanks on way to D Coy held up and about to try another route.
1430 C.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.
1435 Our tanks not yet arrived at B Coy, but enemy between B & D Coys were being
dealt with.
1455 Situation serious on right flank. Enemy within 20 or 30 yds of B & C Coys.
Information was passed to our tanks for immediate action.
1510 21 P.O.W. brought in from our Carrier Platoon.
1530 Enemy Infantry still infiltrating through houses at GHEEL.
1545 Enemy reported South of GHEEL. C Coy reported enemy firing from Houses on
the right of the Company. Two enemy tanks also in the vicinity.
1600 The Typhoons appeared on the scene as requested but were unable to spot the
tanks. However they shot up enemy Infantry in considerable numbers on
1645 The two jeeps sent to Coys with food and ammunition reported safely arrived.
1745 Enemy again shelled area of bridge at STEELEN.
1800 1 P.O.W. from 11 Coy, 53 Fleiger Regt.
1845 D Coy in new position area 066861.
1915 B Coy in new position area 072857.
2000 All 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
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
12 0700 The Battalion was being relieved today, and the advance recce party moved off
to Bde HQ to recce area VORST 1379
0835 9 DLI reported fighting broken out on one of its Coy fronts.
0855 Report received that enemy was forming up for a counter-attack at 083872.
1215 The Battalion at one minutes notice to move as from 1330 hours.
1400 Enemy heavy Mortars at 094859 engaged by our Artillery.
Battalion 'O' Group; Battalion to move to new area at 1600 hours.
1500 A Battalion of Royal Scots began to move into our area to relieve us.
1600 Battalion commenced the relief.
1735 Battalion in new area VORST 124794.
C Coy reorganised under Major Lewis.
VORST 124794 13 0230 Warning Order received to move today to area RYSSELS -PAEL M.R. 1974.
0900 Battalion 'O' Group re move
66 O.RS. joined the Battalion. They had been at B Echelon since 11 Sept.
0945 The Advance Recce Party under Capt. Short Left
1215 Battalion moved off.
1330 Battalion arrived in area 183770
Area 183730 14 0930 C.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.
15 1100 The 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
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
15 (contd) 1230 Warning Order received to move early on 16 Sept to area KATTENBOSCH 3091.
1415 Visit 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. 1460 Party 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.
1700 The 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.
2000 Several Flying Bombs passed over the area, flying in direction of DIEST. No
damage reported.
16 0900 C.Os. 'O' Group regarding the move.
1000 C.O. to attend Corps Commanders Conference
1125 Battalion moved off.
Page 16 of 23
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
16 (contd) 1135 Crossed the Albert Canal at BEERINGEN 2375 thence route as follows:- BOURG
LEOPOLD 2682 - KERKHOVEN 2787 to area South of LOMMEL 3095.
1245 Arrived in new area 311937.
1515 C Coy group moved forward just South of the ESCAUT CANAL to area 3296 to
prevent any enemy infiltration over the Canal.
1632 Two high flying enemy aircraft each dropped two small bombs in the area of
1700 Six 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 311937 17 0300 Clocks put back 1 hour.
0900 Brigade 'O' Group - dealing with our large scale Airborne Landings and Armoured
attack in HOLIAND 'H' hour to be 1300 hours.
0935 During bombing and straffing operations, two of our aircraft were seen to
collide in the canal area 2695.
1045 C Coy relieved of its canal duties by a Coy of R.W.Fs. and returned to Battalion
1200 Plan of future attack to be given out to troops after zero hour.
1400 Our 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.
18 0700 Major 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.
1015 Major 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
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Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
18 (contd) "B" Coy and 2/Lieut. Hall to "D" Coy.
1130 Battalion 'O' Group - Battalion to move out by 1200 hours.
1145 The Advance Recce Party moved off.
1300 The Battalion moved off.
1335 The Battalion arrived in new area 347966 and 1st Bn Hampshires Regt moving
1800 1 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.
1845 Lieut-Colonel J.M. Hanmer joined the Battalion and assumed Command.
1940 Enemy 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. 347966 19 0900 Major G.L. Wood held conference on administration and future role.
1100 Lieut. 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.
1700 A Horsa glider towed by a Stirling was loosed off after circling round Bn HQ
several times, and Landed North our area, near 9 DLI.
2200 Slight air activity but no bombs dropped in our area. Flares dropped approx
10 miles North.
20 0915 The 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.
1000 Conference - A Coy to be reformed. 48 Reinforcements who arrived today disposed
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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.)
1630 A 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.
21 37 O.Rs. Reinforcements arrived today and were distributed throughout the
1100 A limited number of men from all Companies journeyed to pit-head baths near
Baths were available at "A" Echelon in the afternoon for the remaining personnel.
1230 Warning Order received to move tomorrow.
1600 "A" & "B" Echelons moved to area North of Bn HQ. ("B" Echelon now under Battalion
2115 Telephone message from 151 Brigade - no move tomorrow.
22 New code names received for present operations, as the original list had been
1330 7 O.R. reinforcements joined the Battalion.
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22 (contd) Lieut. W.S. Carr joined the Battalion and posted as O.C. Sapper Platoon.
1500 200 seats allotted to the Battalion for cinema show at T.T. Cinema, BOURG
1830 Brigade to 'O' Group - Battalion to move to area GELDROP 4815. Task to protect
right flank of our Armour and secure and hold all approaches.
23 0800 Battalion 'O' Group.
0900 Brigade '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.
0930 Battalion 'O' Group
1000 The Advance Recce Party moved off.
1130 The Battalion moved off.
1145 Crossed the Belgium - Holland Frontier.
1445 The Battalion arrived in area VLOKHOVEN EKKART 4423.
1530 Message received from 151 Brigade - To remain here for the night.
1550 Another Armada of planes towing gliders passed overhead.
Ref Map 1/100,000 24 0730 The Advance Recce Party moved off,
Sht 5. a'HERTOGENBOSCH 0745 Brigade 'O' Group re move to BREUGEL 4526.
0815 Battalion 'O' Group.
1045 Battalion moved off.
1115 Battalion arrived in area BREUGEL.
1330 O.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.
1700 C Coy moved off to occupy area LIESHOUT 5126.
1730 Report received from 151 Brigade that 40 enemy had been seen in area 445350
Page 20 of 23
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
24 (contd) and one tank had been knocked out by 74 Filed Regt.
1845 Our Carriers reported the three bridges at M.R. 547278, 539290 were destroyed.
Enemy were still on our side of the Canal.
1850 Carrier 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 4526 25 0500 "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.
0530 D Coy to join 9 DLI and take up position at 447313.
0800 Active Patrolling to continue today along the Battalion front.
0830 D Coy now established with 9 DLI.
0900 8 DLI reported 10 Tiger tanks at 6024, believed on the point of pulling out in a
North East direction.
0930 Report 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.
1150 Civilians in BEEK stated thar there were no enemy on the other side of Canal,
the nearest being 4 K.m. away.
1400 C Coy sent Patrol of 1 NCO and 2 ORs over the Canal. They penetrated as far
as the river 551278 and found no enemy.
1500 Carrier Patrols being sent out to ascertain if bridges at 554283, 549278,
548278, 539294, 543291 and 552294 had been blown.
1600 Carrier Patrols reported they had penetrated to the outskirts of GEMERT 5730.
All bridges intact with exception of those at 549278 and 548278.
1810 Information received of probable move to MILL 6444.
2000 R.Es. to build bridges one at DONK and one at BEEK. We provided covering
Page 21 of 23
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
25 (contd) 2100 One 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.
2130 Two Carrier Patrols brought up to 549277 and 543291 to provide cover and
early warning for R.Es. against any possible enemy.
26 0500 Two Officer Patrols sent out to contact standing Patrols over the Canal.
Both had nothing to report.
0715 I.O. and 'I' Sergeant went out to recce route to LIESHOUT for expected move.
0730 Report received that 2nd Devonshire Regt had gone to MILL.
0900 Lieut. Seggie assumed 2 i/c Anti tank Platoon.
Lieut. Young appointed Platoon Commander of A Coy.
1200 Information from Brigade that there would be no move today.
1730 Brigade 'O' Group - Battalion to move to area VOLKEL 5640. The Advance
Recce Party to report to 151 Brigade by 1630 hours.
1900 Battalion 'O' Group - D Coy to return from 9 DLI.
2100 The Recce Party arrived at the Battalion.
27 0900 Battalion moved off to new area.
0900 Battalion arrived area VOLKEL, Bn. HQ established at 569405, with Companies
in close proximity.
1500 B.B.C. reported Allied landing in ALBANIA.
1700 Carrier Patrols searched woods and tracks as far as 62 Easting, and found
area clear of enemys
VOLKEL 5640 28 No move expected today.
0900 5 Officers and 15 O.Rs. joined the Battalion todays all from 59 Div Reinforcement
1500 Capt. Movely posted as O.C. Mortar Platoon.
Lieut. H. Wilkinson posted to A Coy as 2 i/c
Page 22 of 23
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References 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.
1540 Four reinforcements arrived, all men who had been wounded in Normandy.
1630 C of E Church Parade.
29 0730 No move expected before 1200 hours - possibly none at all.
0900 Coy Commanders Conference - Administration.
1100 Coys proceeded independently on 5 mile route march.
1400 Party of 50 went to T. T. Concert Party at GEMERT 5730.
1530 Visit from G.1., 50 Div.
Field Marshal Montgomery passed through area.
1800 Another party of 50 to T.T. Concert Party.
30 0900 The C.O. carried out Admin Inspection of "A" Coy.
1100 All Coys proceeded on a short route march.
1400 C.O. carried out Admin Inspection of "D" Coy.
1500 R.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.
1730 3 Carrier Sections under Lieut. Seggie sent to area of woods between main road
UDEN - ZEELAND and OVENTJE to search for possible enemy.
1830 Carriers reported no enemy seen.
1845 Carriers 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
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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.