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    War Diary: 65th Norfolk Yeomanry Regiment

    Month and year: September 1944

    The 65th Norfolk Yeomanry Anti Tank Regiment September 1944 war diary covers the units advance from France, through Belgium into Holland.

    National Archive Reference: WO 171/921

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    Page 1 of 7
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Field1Tactical Battle Order:-
    Tac HQ with 131 Bde Main HQ
    Main HQ with 131 Bde Rear HQ
    257 and 259 Btys under comd 131 Bde
    258 and 260 Btys under comd 22 Armd Bde.
    Continued movement of the operation started yesterday, culminating in the
    crossing of the SOMME during night 1/2 Sep. RHQ Main leagured for the night
    BETTEMBOS - 788500. TAC stay at MONTAGNE FAYEL 876615 until midnight, and
    then cross the SOMME during the night. Hundreds of prisoners are being taken
    and the French Resistance Movement in considerable numbers armed with British
    and captured weapons are doing magnificent work in clearing areas behind our
    adv. They are capturing large numbers of Germans and shooting quite a few
    others. Everywhere the FRENCH are overwhelmed with joy at their liberation
    and the troops are plied with flowers, apples and so on. FRENCH, BRITISH
    and AMERICAN flags decorate every village, which unlike those of NORMANDY
    have not been destroyed by the onslaught of war.
    2At 0600 hrs a flying bomb roared over the area of RHQ Main. It is the
    first to be seen by many of us, and this op is designed to put an end to
    them. Since many of the Div come from the LONDON area, there can be no
    greater incentive to a speedy adv than to obliterate this menace which has
    destroyed or threatened to destroy their homes.
    Today, news is received that 5 Flying Bomb Launching sites have been over-run.
    They have all been in action against ENGLAND.
    RHQ Main moved to FIENVILLERS 0784, arriving there at about 1630 hrs, and at about
    1900 hrs moved to 132878 (near DOULLENS). TAC stay the night at 125000 just
    SOUTH of PREVENT, and fwd tps are past St POL.
    Page 2 of 7
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Field3Fifth anniversary of the outbreak of the present war.
    RHQ remained at last location until 1930 hrs.
    We have now covered 175 miles since 31 Aug and the day was spent in maintenance,
    etc. To date, no breakdowns or mechanical trouble have developed.
    At 1930 hrs moved to 332061 on the direct route, through AVESNES, Dispersed
    by the side of the rd at 332061 about 2230 hrs.
    4RHQ Main moved at 1430 hrs to SAINS IN GOHELLE 411171. TAC HQ are at
    MAZINGARBE 445187. At this stage, 22 Armd Bde are to move on to GHENT in
    BELGIUM, while 191 Bde remains behind to hold a br hd over the LA BASSLE
    Canal. Tomorrow, after relief by 53 (Welsh) Div, 131 Bde will follow up
    on 22 Armd Bde route. News received that Maj RN BARCLAY RA (OC 260 Bty)
    is missing.
    5RHQ moved at 1730 hrs in the Bde Gp Coln and travelled through the night
    arriving at 933464, at 0400 hrs. Leaguer here (where TAC is also in leaguer)
    until 0700 hrs, and then move on route AUDENARDEOOMBERGEN 2562 GHENT.
    6Moved at 0700 hrs and reached HUNDELGEM 200619 at 1200 hrs. Leaguer there
    while TAC are at 259629. TAC move in the late evening to area OOSTERZEELE
    The role of 7 Armd Div for the next few days is to sit on the escape routes
    that the Germans will take in order to get out of the large pocket in which
    they are now enclosed. It is expected that we shall be here for three or four
    There is unfortunately no news of Maj RN BARCLAY (260 Bty) who was missing
    during a journey to one of his Troops with supplies. Examination of the route
    he took disclosed the vehs of his party smashed up and signs that they had fought
    a battle with small arms. There was no sign of killed or wounded, and it is
    hoped that they are PW and will escape.
    Page 3 of 7
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Field7Remained present area. Much rain and a very high wind. The Main HQ
    leaguer was strew with fallen apples and pears and even a few branches were
    blown off the trees.
    CO visited Main HQ and B Ech and LAD in the afternoon.
    15 (Scotish) Div started to move up in our Div area.
    8Expect to move today to area GHENT, but late, receive orders "No move today"
    TAC HQ move in late evening to GHENT and leaguer in the square at 190790.
    The POST HOTEL provides a billet and an extraordinary war is fought from the
    lounge thereof, while machine guns are firing at the other end of the city.
    In that part of the city occupied by us, life is fairly normal, and the POST
    HOTEL is doing business as usual - incl meals.
    9RHQ Main moved at 1015 hrs to the HORTICULTURAL College at 223770.
    Maj JJ BARCLAY MC RA (2 IC) received a note from his brother Maj RN BARCLAY
    who was reported Missing on 4 Sep. The note was addressed to Maj BARCLAY
    with the name of the Regt and a drawing in red pencil of a "Desert Rat". It
    had been left with a local farmer who had handed it in when the area was overrun
    by our forces. Maj BARCLAY states that he and some of his men with him
    are PW and that as yet, it is impossible to get away.
    10Nothing of interest to report today.
    Veh and personal maint are the order of the day for RHQ. Locns remain unchanged.
    11Adjt visited Div HQ and also the Fd Cashier, in order to draw Belgian money.
    Rate of exchange 176 5/8 Belg Fcs to £1 Stg.
    In the evening, 131 Bde was relieved by POLISH Tps and withdrew to temporary
    Leaguer Areas in the area at present occupied by Main HQ.
    Page 4 of 7
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Field122 IC went to area MECHELIN (or MALINES) to recce a conc area for the Regt.
    At 1415 hrs RHQ complete, 257 and part 259 moved to this area via TERMONDE
    WELLEBROECK, MALINES to 811724. RHQ billet in the BOIS FLEURI Hotel.
    258 and 260 do not move until am tomorrow.
    13Baths, cinema, visits to BRUSSELS, etc are arranged at a CO's Conference
    at HQRA at 0900 hrs. BC's Conference at 1400 hrs. Maintenance of personnel
    and vehs goes apace. It is thought we may be here for 7 - 1.0 days.
    14Same form as yesterday. At 1730 hrs, the Div Comd talked to COs and Adjts
    on the battle past and future, and a likely forecast of conditions we are
    likely to meet in GERMANY, where everyone is probably going to be hostile.
    15At 1400 hrs 2 IC talked to RHQ personnel on the conditions likely to be met
    in GERMANY.
    At 1800 hrs there was a drink party for offrs of the Regt at RHQ. A few
    civilian friends who have offered hospitality to the Regt also came along after
    dinner; a dance was held in 259 Bty billet.
    16Regt put on 2 hrs notice to move, in the evening. CRA's Inspection expected
    to take place on Monday, if we are still in the area.
    17A day of FGCsM was held at 258 Bty HQ. Legal Staff Offrs conducted the cases
    a DJA was present. A number of offrs (incl 2 IC, OsC 257 & 260 and the Adjt)
    attended as members under instruction. Two cases have been disposed of and the
    court continues tomorrow.
    18Nothing to report today. Regt has reverted to 6 hrs notice to move and
    leave parties to BRUSSELS and MALINES continue.
    Page 5 of 7
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Field19CRA inspected the Regt during the afternoon and was generally pleased with
    what he saw.
    20Warning Order received that the Regt probably required to move tomorrow.
    Later, orders were received that the Regt would move to area WESTERLOO 0280
    at 1000 hrs in the morning.
    212 IC and rep from each Bty RV at WESTERLOO 0900 hrs and recce new
    conc area. At 1000 hrs Regt moves on route KEERBERGEN - PUTTE - WESTERLOO
    arriving at about 1200 hrs. RHQ leaguer at 044811.
    22Regt ordered to move at 1400 hrs to conform to the remainder of the Div
    which is in the MEERHOUT area. RHQ leaguer in new area at 107852.
    One Tp of 260 Bty carried out a shoot at 076922 at first visibility
    this morning, with the object of removing the upper part of a granary which
    gives the only observation over a certain sector of the front. The object
    was duly achieved with 9 AP and 99 HE rounds 17 pr.
    23A TEWT was carried out by offrs and Sgts of RHQ to pool ideas on local
    defence against German civilians when we move into Germany.
    CO and Adjt visited BRUSSELS in the afternoon.
    Orders for an early move tomorrow, received by 2200 hrs.
    24Regt moved at 0700 hrs in a Div move to area RIETHOVEN 3603. Order of
    March, 260, RHQ, 257, 259, 258. Route MEERHOUT 1484 - MOLL 1690 - LOMMEL 3095
    - LUYKSGESTEL 3101 - WESTERHOVEN 3706. RHQ leaguer in a farm at 388098,
    arriving there at 1030 hrs.
    The CRA visited RHQ in the afternoon with a probable forecast of ops which
    he stated would very likely mean a re-grouping very early tomorrow morning.
    Page 6 of 7
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Field24Weather today wet, and continual heavy rain fell all night. It is
    difficult (particularly in HOLLAND) to find standings fo the tpt hard
    enough to prevent it bogging down in wet weather.
    CO attended an Order Group at 131 Bde HQ at 2100 hrs. On his return
    BCs of 258 and 260 Btys ordered to report to 1/7 and 1/5 Queens respectively
    to tie up routes and timings for a first light move. Later in the night,
    258 were placed under comd 131 Bde HQ and 260 under comd 8 H. The task of
    the Div (which is really only 131 Bde and 8 H, as two of the Armd Regts are
    under comd other Divs at present) is to clear and keep clear the Centre
    Line used for maint of the Airborne Tps who have been dropped further NORTH
    and of 30 Corps who are now with them. The op starts at first light in the
    morning. Regt less 258 and 260 Btys remains present area.
    25Weather again wet and there is a great deal of mud. It is also turning
    pretty cold. Regt less 258 and 260 still remain present area. Orders
    received that we may move tomorrow.
    26No move today. Weather again wet. News received that the CL has been
    cleared and 2000 vehs allowed to proceed.
    27RHQ, 257 and 259 Btys move at 0930 hrs via EINDHOVEN to area SOUTH OF
    ST OEDENARD. RHQ lauguer at 428315.
    Contrary to normal procedure, and due mainly to congestion of space, the
    Regt less 258 and 260 is under comd CRA and NOT 131 Bde. 258 and 260 Btys are under comd 131
    Bde. RHQ, TAC and MAIN are therefore leagured together in their own area.
    257 and 259 are in leaguer areas and are NOT committed. Weather again very
    wet and cold. Maj JH BOAG MC RA (formerly 2 IC in NORTH AFRICA is
    reposted to the Regt and assumes comd 260 Bty,
    Page 7 of 7
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Field28IOOs from Corps HQ visited the Regt this morning to discuss the subject
    of de-coppering amn for the 3" guns. We have for some time been asking for
    such rounds but are told that they are not available.
    29RHQ, 257 and 259 moved at 1315 hrs to area 5039. RHQ leaguer at 502398.
    CO called to CRA' orders at 2130 hrs. This resulted in 258 Bty being relieved
    by a Bty of 53 Div.
    30Remained in present area. Weather still wet on and off, and cold.