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    War Diary: 65th Norfolk Yeomanry Regiment

    Month and year: December 1944

    The 65th Norfolk Yeomanry Anti Tank Regiment December 1944 war diary covers the units time in the Netherlands and Belgium.

    National Archive Reference: WO 171/921

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    Page 1 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Field1Regt is concentrated in locations as follows:-
    RHQ 513856
    257 560846
    258 520873
    259 591796
    260 533846
    The impending move is now off for ten days, according to an Op order
    received early this morning.
    WO II BIGNELL, AEC gave a talk on "The Beveridge Plan" this afternoon,
    which was received with welcome by the men. In the evening a "Quizz" -
    Offrs v ORs was held at the beginning Offrs were losing,but pulled up
    considerably to win by 1/2 point - 24 1/2 - 24.
    CO held a BCs conference at 1630, to discuss policy and training during
    out continued stay in this area.
    2CO visited 259 Bty in their new leaguer area.
    Adjt and others returned from leave looking as though the break had
    benifited them all enormously.
    3New instructions regarding future intentions received, and it now appears
    likely that a move from the present area will take place in a few days.
    257 and 259 Btys will come under comd 22 Armd and 131 Bde respectively.
    Remainder under comd CRA.
    4Reglt Football team played Div Sigs and won 4 - 1. Violent hail storm in
    morning and weather very cold.
    Page 2 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Field5The Div is now back under comd 30 Corps and the Corps Comd today
    visited RHQ where he spoke to the CO, 2 i/c, BCs and the Adjt. He inspected
    the guard on arrival and talked to each man individually. He complimented
    them on turn-out and expressed his pleasure at their smart appearance to
    the CO. The last time General HORROCKS saw the Regt, he also congratulated
    us on turn-out (vide entry in this diary for 11 Aug 44)
    6Orders regarding future moves and intentions are rather uncertain,
    but we recce a leaguer area at NEEROETEREN 5878 for RHQ, 258 and 260.
    259 move to area SITTARD 6868, and have some guns in action in
    GERMANY. The Regt is now disposed partly in BELGIUM, partly in HOLLAND,
    and also in GERMANY.
    7Order received that will form 2 TAC HQ's, one to be with our own
    HQRA, and to be with HQRA 52 (L) Div, under whose comd 258 and 260 are
    to be placed.
    260 Bty fired about 25 rpg practice on the A tk range at BOURG
    8The two TAC HQ's - one consisting of the CO and IO and the other
    of the CO2 and Sigs Offr each with attendant W/T vehs etc., moved at 0930
    hrs to area LIMBRICHT 6669. MAIN RHQ moved to HEIKANT574800 at 1000 hrs.
    CO2's TAC later moved to area 6056.
    258 fired on A tk range as did 260 yesterday.
    In order to visit troops EAST of R,MAAS, one crosses over br at BERG
    6169 from WEST to EAST, but to return, one must cross the br at MAASTRICHT
    5652. The result is a very long journey and great inconvenience. At
    present space is limited EAST of the river and Main HQ are not allowed
    to gross.
    Page 3 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Field9258 move at 0600 hrs and proceed to area 670560. 260 remain present
    location, but are ordered to move tomorrow. Those orders la ter cancelled
    and 260 will now move on the 11th.
    10Orders obtained for MAIN RHQ to move across the R,MAAS and link
    up with the CO's TAC HQ. Adjt visited TAC, and recced area SITTARD in an
    endeavour to find a suitable area. The ground is, however, very full and
    vehs must park on roads as no other hard standing exists. The IO is
    therefore going to recce area BORN 6472 in the morning to find suitable
    260 Bty again had their orders changed, and are now to remain in their
    present area until D - 1 of the forthcoming battle.
    11MAIN RHQ moved at 1300 hrs to BORN and occupied houses and a cafe at
    643725. Route : EELEN 6176 - BERG 6169 - X rds 658678 - LIMBRICHT 6770 -
    BORN 6472.
    257 BHQ now located 653716.
    258 670560.
    259 692679.
    260 still unchanged.
    CO 2's TAC HQ at 600560.
    12Court of Inquiry held at RHQ at 1400 hrs on the loss of codes which
    occurred in the Regt on the 8th Dec.
    Learnt that the Op for which the re-grouping (i.e.258 and 269 under
    comd 52 (L) Div) was carried out, is now cancelled. CO 2s TAC HQ will
    therefore revert to Regtl comd and join the remainder of RHQ tomorrow.
    13Nothing to report.
    Page 4 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Field14CO 2's TAC HQ rejoined RHQ during the morning. Capt DG PAGE
    (Technical Adjt) rejoined RHQ for duty having been attached to 259 Bty as
    instructor on a maintenance course for half tracked vehicles.
    Orders received with route and timings for 258 Bty, at present located
    at 650564 to move to a recced position in SITTARD in the morning tomorrow.
    15258 Bty moved in 3 blocks to SITTARD and are billetted in a school.
    First frost this morning and ice abounds on puddles and floods. Day sunny
    and dry.
    16Adjt went off to inspect newly established Div Battle School near
    Brussels, and the NY Leave Centre.
    Reshuffle on front. Since cancellation of "Shears" Div is to
    remain in holding role on a Bde front. 22 Armd Bde with one Bty (257) under
    comd to remain in until 26/27 Dec. 131 Bde with 259, to come out and conc
    at BEEK, relieving 22 Armd Bde on above date.
    5 Gds Armd Bde are coming in on the right, taking over 131's old line.
    17A quiet day, dull and raining, with NTR until about six in the evening,
    when we were visited with the attentions of the Luftwaffe. About six
    planes dropped several bombs close by, and many windows were blown in.
    Fortunately, there were no casualties military or civilian at RHQ.
    257 Bty reported two slight casualties, Capt Balfour, who returned to
    duty after removal of small pieces from his back, and Gnr Simpson, who was
    removed to 2 LFA. No other casualties reported in the Btys.
    Owing to reported parachute landings, we maintained an inlying picquet.
    There was also slight aerial activity all through the night.
    Page 5 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Field18Slight activity this morning at 10 o'clock when half-dozen enemy
    planes flew overhead. Ack-ack was sent up, but they did not make any
    hostile attacks.
    Received orders for one Tp of 258 to go into action.
    Adjt returned from his trip to Div Battle School this afternoon.
    Report at 2300 hrs that 100 black object had been intercepted by
    RADAR, flying EAST to WEST in this area. It is supposed they must be
    gliders, and the guard and picquet are duly instructed, Nothing further to
    report during the night.
    19CO attended a Conference at HQRA at 0930 hrs, and at 1415 hrs held a
    conference with BCs at 258 Bty HQ. In view of the successful (so far)
    counter offensive put in by the Germans on the American Army south of
    AACHEN, it is expected that the enemy may very likely put in a pincer thrust
    from the area opposite us. It is estimated that one Pz Div is available,
    and A tk defence is accordingly reviewed. The General has given instrs for
    260 Bty to move across the river to join up with the remainder of the Div.
    The Div Concert Party started their production of the Pantomine
    ALLADDIN this evening. Performances will be given each afternoon and
    evening this week, in SITTARD.
    A quiet night, though our own Arty - rather more active that usual.
    20Various changes in out layout ordered, but as often, the orders are
    changed. The German offensive is still going strong, though up to date
    reports are hard to come by. The probability of a pincer thrust from our
    sector still faces us.
    260 Bty are given orders to move tomorrow morning, crossing the BERG
    Bridge at 0800 hrs.
    Page 6 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Field21260 Bty move to area 660654. However a great deal of confusion is
    caused because no definite area has been allotted to them and numerous
    units are trying to billet in the same place. In addition, RHQ are
    endeavouring to find a place near Div HQ, who have moved today from LIMBRICHT
    to the coal mine at 652670. In view of the probable battle which may flare
    up with an attack at any moment, it is essential for RHQ to be near Div HQ
    tonight, so we move at 1600 hrs to an un-recced position at 654661. Troop
    and vehicles are settled in by about and 1/2 an hour after dark, and after a
    certain amount of arguing with other units who are also trying to get in.
    Tomorrow we must have a re-shuffle.
    The German advance in the south is continuing, but news of minor
    America counter-efforts is reported. The flanks are, apparently being held,
    but, far, no real attempt to seal the gap in between, is taking place.
    The Germans have captured much petrol, ammunition and other booty. It is
    not known quite how far their forward elements are from LEIGE, but not far.
    On our front, co-ordination of the defensive Iayout continues and
    second lines of defence in depth are being prepared against the likely
    full scale enemy offensive.
    222 i/c spent the day with 131 Bde, so that, if a battle does start, he is
    in a position to take cond of the A tk layout on that Bde's front.
    2 Lt Cols from the War Office visited the Regt for the second time,
    to discuss equipment and alterations to design.
    23Nothing of great importance took place today. In the evening RHQ
    made the draw of names out of a hat for the order in which eligible personnel
    proceed on leave to UK. Eligibility is based on six months unbroken
    service in this theatre on 1 Jan 1945. The list is headed by L/Bdr GAMBLE
    the Regtl Post Orderly.
    Page 7 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Field24Christmas Service at RHQ at 1000 hrs. A
    A white frost this morning, and the puddles and mud which abounded
    yesterday are frozen solid. The day is cold throughout, but bright and sunny.
    EA flow daylight reaces over forward positions.
    25Holy Communion service at 0800 hrs for RHQ.
    CO visited all men in the Btys during the day, and 2 i/c visited 'B'
    Ech for the men's dinner. At MAIN RHQ the officers served the men's
    dinner and spent most of the afternoon washing up the mass of crockery
    borrowed for the occasion! Everyone had a happy time though the
    circumstances put a limit on the amount of drink allowed to be consumed.
    Local inhabitants came in during the evening for dancing.
    26At 0530 hrs the enemy attacked in about company strength, the standing
    patrol of the 11th Hussars at GEBROK 6575. 260 Bty have a section of guns
    with this patrol. The patrol withdrew inflicting casualties on the enery.
    Our casualties were one man slightly wounded and an M.10 radiator damaged.
    The patrol went out again during the day. Adjt visited all Btys during the
    At 1600 hrs RHQ held a party for the local children, and the men held
    their Christmas sweet and chocolate ration for distribution.
    In the evening the Regtl Dance band played for the men's dance.
    27A quiet day with nothing to report from our front.
    News from the ARDENNES battle front is of air attacks on the enemy
    causing great damage to his equipment. The spear head of his advance are
    considerably blunted. The weathor has been very favourable for the Alliod
    Air Forces for 3 days in contrast to the first few days of the enery counter
    Page 8 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Field28Snow fell during last night and this morning. The roads are
    extremely dangerous, and visibility precludes any air operations which have
    been so useful in the south for the last few days.
    A FGCM took most of the day at RHQ. The accused was one of our own
    men, and the prosecution and defence were conducted by legally qualified
    officers. JAG was in attendance. A number of officers attended as
    members under instruction.
    The CO went to BRUSSELS this morning for 48 hrs leave.
    29CO 2 attended a Conference at 131 Bde HQ at 1700 hrs, and a revised
    plan Was propounded for a 131 Bde attack if and when certain moved are made
    by the enemy. The operation is very much in the planning stage and its
    execution depends on various indefinite circumstances. The present role
    of holding the front in this sector continues.
    Roads still extremely dangerous with their covering of ice. All Drs
    work in the Regt is being carried out in 4 wheeled vehicles.
    30Moderately heavy snow fell for about 4 hours today, following a thaw
    which had just started to make the roads reassonably safe. Again, everything
    is now frozen.
    31CO returned from leave last night having had a well earned, and very
    refreshing change.
    The canals are now frozen to such an extent that ice skating is in
    full swing with the civilians. No doubt enory patrols will endeavour to be
    enterprising enough to try knocking at the back door!!
    Page 9 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Field31And so, the Old Year ends - a year marked for the Regt by arriving in
    the UK on 6 Jan, embarking for NORMANDY in the early days of June, and
    finally, spread over the 3 borders of BELGIUM, HOLLAND and GERMANY. The last
    seven months may well be remembered with pride at the achievements which
    have crowned every soldier's efforts, even though that pride is tinctured
    with the sad thoughts for lost comrades, which has led to a very changed
    but none the less proud Regiment.
    With the dawn of 1945 no more sincere wish or determination exists,
    than to finish the war as finally and as quickly ,as possible.