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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
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
Field 1 Regt 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.
2 CO visited 259 Bty in their new leaguer area.
Adjt and others returned from leave looking as though the break had
benifited them all enormously.
3 New 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.
4 Reglt Football team played Div Sigs and won 4 - 1. Violent hail storm in
morning and weather very cold.
Page 2 of 9
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
Field 5 The 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)
6 Orders 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.
7 Order 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
LEOPOLD.
8 The 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 HEIKANT 574800 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
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
Field 9 258 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.
10 Orders 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
accommodation.
260 Bty again had their orders changed, and are now to remain in their
present area until D - 1 of the forthcoming battle.
11 MAIN 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.
12 Court 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.
13 Nothing to report.
Page 4 of 9
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
Field 14 CO 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.
15 258 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.
16 Adjt 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.
17 A 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
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
Field 18 Slight 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.
19 CO 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.
20 Various 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
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
Field 21 260 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.
22 2 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.
23 Nothing 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
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
Field 24 Christmas 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.
25 Holy 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.
26 At 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
day.
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.
27 A 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
offerisive.
Page 8 of 9
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
Field 28 Snow 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.
29 CO 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.
30 Moderately 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.
31 CO 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
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
Field 31 And 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.

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