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Instructions regarding War Diaries and Intelligence Summaries are contained in F.S. Regs., Vol. 1. and the Staff Manual respectively Title pages will be prepared in manuscript.

WAR DIARY
or
INTELLIGENCE SUMMARY
Army Form C.2118
Unit: 2nd Bn The Royal Warwickshire Regt
Month and Year: October 1944 (Erase heading not required). Commanding Officer:
Place Date Hour Summary Reference
HOLLAND 1   During the early hours of the morning recce parties moved from ASTEN to recce a concentration area across the Meuse, with the object of finding a concentration area for the Battalion on the east flank of the Britisch line South of NIMWEGEN, and also to receive orders for a possible operation eastwards between the Meuse and the Rhine. 185 INF BDE and 8BR INF BDE were to concentrate north of the Meuse, and 9 BR INF BDE south of it. On arrival of the recce parties it was found that there was no immidiate likelihood of an operation and apart from having looked at Germany the recce parties confined themselves to finding a concentration area in the woods south east of MALDEN. The battalion moved up in MT at 800 hours and the concentration was completed by 1500 hour. The east flank of the allied position was at present held by 85 US Airborne Div.
2   Orders were received for 185 INF BDE to take over the southern half of this right flank protection position from the US Airborne Div. and the battalion was to be at one hour's notice to move. However, the 85 US Airborne Div. wished to put in an attack to straighten their line between the Meuse and RIETHORST before 185 INF BDE took over the area; this operation was to take place the next day, so the battalion remained in the concentration area all day and night.
3   While the attack by the US Airborne Div. was in progress recces were carried out by company commanders under some difficulty owing to this attack, to enable the battaliion to take over from the Amercan division when they were firm on the ground. The take over was further complicated owing to the fact that the battalion had to take over from three different battalions of the 85 US Airborne Div. 'B' Company were able to take over in daylight on a thickly wooded ridge immediately to the north of RIETHORST. The other companies moved up after dark to take over areas between RIETHORST and the Meuse but found the Americans still fighting to take CATERBOSCH, and it was decided that 'A', 'C'and 'D'companies should take up positions slightly in rear of the Amercan objectives. The American battalion withdrew during the night without having fully cleared the enemy out of the CATERBOSCH area. This left the battalion with 'B'company about eight-hundred yards ahead of any other unit, and the german positions to the north and east of them only one-hundred yards away, and the other three companies set back in the very open low ground between the forest and the Meuse completely overlooked by the high ground in the Reichswald forest. A few casualties were sustained during the take over. 'B'company were attacked during the night but were able to beat off the attack.
4   Not much activity during the day except for a little shelling. In 'B 'company area the battalion snipers had a good day and were able to pick off several Germans moving about in the woods. During the night small parties of enemy again tried to infiltrade through 'B 'company but were driven off by grenades and small arms. A patrol of 'B'company discovered a German OP with a wireless set very close to their positions and this was destroyed next day with Piat bombs. One other rank re-inforcement arrived. One other rank posted to unit from 1/7 Warwick.
5   Again only slight enemy activity. The battalion snipers with 'B' company again had a good day and caught a party of Germans standing round a fire in the woods and were able to get several of them. During the past two days preparations had be going on for a large scale attack through the REICHSWALD forest ( south east) which 3 BR Inf. Div. was to take part in and during the night Lt. Ch.Mavin and L Sjt N French (MM) of the carrier platoon were sent out to get right through the German lines, penetrate to the Forest, lie up during the next day and return the following night , to find out the details of ground and German defences on the frontier. Other patrols were active and engaged the enemy at MIDDELAAR and CATERBOSCH without loss to themselves. Capt. WJ Phillips rejoined the battalion and was posted to 'S'company to command the mortar platoon. Three other rank re-inforcement arrived. 'B'company had one killed and five wounded during the day caused by e emy 2- in mortars.
6   Little activity during the day. Church tower at HEIKANT which was thought to be used as an OP by the enemy, was taken on by SP guns and two direct hits were scored on it. During the night Lt Mavin and LSjt French returned from their patrol with the information required. A magnificent effort of which they were both rewarded with the Divisional Commander's Commendation Cards. 'B'company again had a small brush with the enemy, who tried to rush their forward positions. One other rank re-inforcement arrived.
7   Slight activity during the day. 'B' company snipers again had a good day. Patrol activity during the night.
8   No activity during the day. 'B'company was releived during the afternoon by a company of 1 Norfolk. During the five days that 'B'company had been stuck out of this unpleasant position in close contact with the enemy on three sides they had, by continuous aggressive action, established complete superiority over the enemy and had inflicted heavy casualties on him. On relief they went sent back for well-earned rest. During the night 'company of 1 Norfol , which was under command, drove off yet another attempt by the enemy to infiltrate into their positions. Eight other rank re-inforcements arrived.
9   During the past few days plans for the offensive towards the REICHSWALD Forest had been changed constantly and it was now decided to call the operation of altogether. This was mainly due to the strong German threat to the right flank of the British corridor based on VENLO and VENRAY, and 8 Corps of which 3 BR Inf. Div. was part, was to be diverted to clear this threat. The Div. was to concentrate South of the Meuse and the battalion was releived during the afternoon and the evening by a battalion of 43 Div. and moved to a concentration area north of MILL - Square 6444- during the night.
10   The battalion remained in the concentration area all day. In the afternoon Lt ID Adams arrived and was posted to 'C'company . Other rank was posted to 1 Norfolk from the battalion.
11   The battalion remained in the concentration area all day. In the afternoon recce parties were sent forward to take over a forward concentration area from 8BR Inf BDE for the battalion to move into the following day.
12   The battalion moved into the concentration area vacated by 8 BR Inf BDE at WANROY - Square 6741- during the morning. 8 BR Inf BDE had moved down to attack and capture OVERLOON and the woods south of it, and the 185 Inf. BDE was to pass through them to capture VENRAY the following day.
Holland 13   During the previous day 8BR Inf BDE had captured OVERLOON but had been unable to make progress through the woods south of it and orders were received for 185 Inf BDE to clear these woods. Company commanders and the Commanding Officer went forward in the early hours of the morning to contact 8 BR Inf Div and receive orders for the attack.The battalion moved up to a forming up point at HAZENBROEK, just five-hundred yards north west of OVERLOON. The attack was to be carried out with 2 Warwick on the right astride the mainroad and 2 KSLI on the left with objectives - south edge of the woods - On this objectived being cleared, 1 Norfolk to pass through and advance on VENRAY. The attack started at 1235 hours behind concentrations put down a series of reportlines as called for by the two leading battalions. 'A' Company - Right forward company; 'C' Company - Left forward company. 'A' company supported by two troops and 'C' company by one troop of a battalion of the Coldstream Gurards Churchill BDE. There were also two troops of Flails working with the tanks. As soon as the advance started companies came under heavy fire from enemy mortars and artillery, but at first no opposition from small arms, and the leading companies made a good progress followed closely by 'B' and 'D' companies in reserve.'C' company on the left started to meet small arms opposition in the thick woods about half way to the objective and progress became very slow. 'A' company, however, were able to get through the woods without much difficulty, but then came under heavy fire from small arms and one or two German tanks or SP guns when they got into the open ground south of the woods. The tanks eventually got up to the leading companies and the opposition was dealt with. 2 KSLI on the right also met opposition in the thick woods and made very slow progress, and by the time both battalions were on their obejctives it was so late that it was decided not to put 1 Norfolk through until the next day. The battalion dug in for th night with 'A' and 'C' companies on the south edge of the woods in Square 7630, 'D' company astride the main road about five-hundred yards behind 'A' and 'C' companies and 'B' company in the area of the brick works in Square 7531.
Casualties during this day's fighting were as follows:-
Killed - LT DB Brown and two other ranks.
Wounded - Lt HTC Merryweather and eighteen other ranks.
Holland 14   1 Norfolk continued the advance at the first light, moving through the battalion astride the main road, while 9 BR Inf. BDE attacked the woods in Square 7529 on the right. Both 1 Norfolk and 9 Br Inf BDE met very heavy opposition during the day and by 1800 hours 1 Norfolk had secured the high ground north of the MOLENBEEK and the 9 BR Inf BDE were established in the north part of the woods Square 7529. The battalion was then ordered to advance and secure the ground between 1 Norfolk and 9 Br Inf BDE. 'B' and 'D' companies were pushed through 'A' and 'C' companies to carry out this task and by dark were dug in to the right of the Norfolks overlooking the MOLENBEEK. 'A' and 'C' companies and battalion headquaters remained in their original positions. Casualties sustained during the the day were as follows: - Maj GFJ Jerram - wounded, Other ranks - five killed, fourteen wounded.
15   The battalion remained in their positions during the day while plans were made and orders issued for the continuation of the attack on VENRAY the next day. The divisional plan was as follows:-
185 Inf BDE on the left. Objectives:- BRABANDER and the monastery at ST SERVATIUS
8 Br Inf BDE passing through 9 Br Inf BDE on the right. Objective:- VENRAY
185 Inf BDE plan was as follows:-
2 Warwick on the right and 1 Norfolk on the left: to effect a crossing over the MOLENBEEK and attack the following objectives:- 2 Warwick - BRABANDER and 1 Norfolk - the woods in Square 7828
2 KSLI to pass through on these objectives being taken and capture ST SERVATIUS monastery.
2 Warwick and 1 Norfolk each supported by a squadron of tanks.
2 Warwick plan was as follows:-
'B' company on the left and 'D' company on the right were to form a bridgehead over the MOLENBEEK, both an anti-tank and infantry obstacle, using pontoon bridging.
'A' and 'C' companies were then to move through and capture VENRAY behind a barrage.
The tanks were to cross the beek with their own bridges and follow up 'A' and 'C' comapnies as soon as it was light enough for them to do so.
During the night a 'D' company patrol led by Lt RG Bennett was sent out to find out more about the MOLENBEEK and enemy dispositions on the other side of it. This patrol came back with all the information required but unfortunately Lt Bennett was killed.
Holland 16   The pontoon bridging did not arrive until 0300 hours in the morning, so 'B' and 'D' companies eventually started to move at 0430 hours to cross the MOLENBEEK. This was to be done in silence, if possible, artillery only being called for if required. Both companies made crossings over the beek in spite of heavy enemy artillery and mortar fire and large number of schu mines. 'D' company also encountered heavy small arms opposition from the farm buildings on the other side of the beek but they very effectively dealt with this opposition, killing a large number of enemy and taking fourty prisoners. Before they were able to stabilise this position their leading platoon was again attacked and a sharp hand to hand fight ensued, before they were able to drive off this attack. As soon as the bridgehead was firm, 'A' and 'C' companies moved through 'B' and 'D' companies and the barrage started at 0700 hours for the further advance on BRABANDER. 1 Norfolk on the left were unable to make any progress owing to heavy opposition from the woods on their left, but 'A' and 'C' companies pressed on under heavy mortar and artillery fire and small arms opposition. Meanwhile a squadron of tanks had been making a very difficult passage over the MOLENBEEK, great difficulty being experienced in getting the bridge across. However they eventually were able to get most of the squadron across and these went up to join 'A' and 'C' companies as quickly as possible. With the help of the tanks 'A' and 'C' companies were able to deal with any opposition in their path and by about 1500 hours 'A' company was established on the cross roads in the centre of BRABANDER and 'C' company in the area of the hospital about 778277, having destroyed a large number of enemy and taken a certain number of prisoners. 'B' and 'D' companies had followed them up and were now established along the lateral road in Square 7728. The battalion was now ordered to consolidate in these positions, as neither 1 Norfolk on the left nor 8 Br Inf BDE on the right had been able to make much progress and the battalion was far in advance of anybody on its right or left. 2 KSLI now moved up behind the battalion to attack the wood which had been 1 Norfolk objective from the south west but by the time they had moved up it was too late to start this operation before it got dark. The battalion had been succesful in taking its objective in spite of all difficulties; the only battalion in the Division to do so, but they had very heavy casualties in achieving this success. Casulaties during the day were as follows:-
Officers - killed: Lt RG Bennett. Wounded: Maj FC Butterworth, Capt AC Gilbert, Capt CW Moxham, Capt CW Jarvis, Lt F Nankivell.
Other ranks - killed 6, wounded 50, missing 1.
Holland 17   The 8 Br Inf BDE continued their attack on VENRAY on the battalion's right and 2 KSLI succeeded in taking the original 1 Norfolk objective. - the woods in Square 7828 - during the day. To fit in with these, two companies - 'B' and 'D' comapnies - were moved through 'A' and 'C' companies to the north end of VENRAY. This move was effected with only a little opposition from snipers and a certain amount of shell and mortar fire. During the night a patrol from 'D' comapny under Lt DE Hosker went into the monastery at ST SERVATIUS and found it unoccupied by the enemy. During the day Maj TL Brock was wounded and Capt JR Allan assumed command of 'A' company. Eighteen Other Ranks were wounded during this day.
18   At 0800 hours the battalion started their advance on the monastery at ST SERVATIUS with 'B' and 'D' companies leading. 'D' company were able to reach their objective, the south east corner, without opposition except mortar and shell fire, but 'B' company came under heavy MG fire when they were about four-hundred yards from their objective, the north east corner, and were pinned down. Two troops of tanks were sent up to 'B' company to help them deal with this opposition but owing to mines the were delayed considerably and it was not until 1500 hours that 'B' company were established on their objective. In the meantime 'A' and 'C' companies had moved up through positions on the west of the monastery and battalion headquarters was established in the centre of the monastery by 1600 hours. Casualties during the day were as follows:-
Officers - killed: Lt DE Hosker, wounded: Lt FH Clayton.
Other Ranks: killed: 6, wounded: 16 and missing: 2.
Three sergeants were absorbed into War Establishment from 1/7 Warwick, The 8 Br Inf BDE had now cleared VENRAY and were established in the south of it, and the battalion was firmly established in the monastery area with A tk guns in position. The battalions' part in the operation was now completed.
19   The monastery proved to be an exceptionally fine target for German artillery, which was active throughout the day, and nobody was sorry when the battalion was releived by a battalion of EmYorks in the afternoon and returned to a concentration area in OVERLOON. Casualties during this day were as follows:-
Other Ranks - killed 0, wounded 6 and missing 2.
Holland 20   The battalion spent the day in OVERLOON re-organising and cleaning up and improving the rather bare accommodation afforded by the ruins of OVERLOON. Forty-eight hours' leave to BRUSSELS was started for a very small number of Officers and Other Ranks of the battalion.
21   Large numbers of men of the battalion were got away on Div Club allotments and entertainments of various sorts. Promotions were made as follows:-
T/Capt AC Gilbert (wounede) - promoted A/Maj
T/Capt WJ Phillips - promoted A/Maj
T/Capt HC Illing - promoted A/Maj
T/Capt PA Johnson - promoted A/Maj
W/Lt M Wood - promoted A/Capt
W/Lt FG MacRae - promoted A/Capt
W/Lt CH Mavin - promoted A/Capt
W/Lt RP Strutt - promoted A/Capt
W/Lt DE Plater - promoted A/Capt
Rifle Company Officers of the battalion were now distributed as shown below.
'A' Coy: T/Capt JR Allan and A/Capt RP Strutt
'B' Coy: A/Maj PA Johnson and A/Capt DE plater
'C' Coy: T/Capt PV Dorman, A/Capt FG MacRae and W/Lt ID Adams
'D' Coy: T/Maj F Bell (MM), A/Capt CH Mavin and W/Lt EP Withers
A special order of the day was issued by Comd 8 corps as follows:- "I would like to congratulate you all on the very fine performance you have put up during the recent operations against VENRAY. All of you have taken your share in this success, but I must particularly congratulate 185 If BDE on the magnificant performance of bridging the beek north of VENRAY with all the elements against them. In this fighting you have shown grit and determination, and you have gained the knowledge that you are a better man than the enemy. It is probably the first action of a good many of you, and I feel that you have made a great start and have thereby gained my full confidence."
A draft of thirty-two re-inforcements - Other Ranks - arrived during the day. All ranks took baths at the mobile bath unit.
Holland 22   Lt-Gen Sir Richard N O'Connor, KCB, DSO, MC, Comd 8 Corps, visited the battalion during the morning and spent about one hour going round.
23   The day spent in re-organising, drill parades and entertainments.
24   The battalion still at OVERLOON.
25   During the day orders were received for the battalion to take over from S Lancs in VENRAY and recce parties visited S Lancs.
26   The battalion completed taking over from S Lancs in VENRAY bu 1200 hours without incident. There was still a very large number of civilians in VENRAY.
27   No incidents during the day and only a very little shelling on the area. The Germans were not in close contact with the battalion at any point, although they were holding the road from VENRAY to OOSTRUM and had positions four-hundred yards in front of 2 KSLI, who were in the ST SERVATIUS monastery area. Patrols went out during the night to the area of the OOSTRUM BEEK but found no sign of any Germans in that area. However, German patrols had been active on other parts of the front.
28   A small amount of shelling during the day. A start was made during the day with evacuation of civilians from VENRAY. Patrols went out during the night but had nothing to report.
29   Evacuation of civilians continued. A small amount of shelling during the day.
30   Evacuation of civilians from VENRAY completed. Usual shelling during the day. During the night a German patrol attempted to penetrate but was beaten off by the Standing patrol found from the Carrier Platoon.
31   A Quiet day. During the night a patrol under Lt EP Withers crossed the OOSTRUM BEEK and got as far as DE BLAKT, about 2000 yards in front of our positions and reported that is was occupied by the enemy. Normal shelling and patrol activity.
31   The following awards were received duringthe month:
Bar to DSO: Lt-Col DLA Gibbs (DSO)
DSO: Maj TG Bundock (MC) (Killed in action 6 Aug 44)
MC: Capt WT Barrat (wnd = wounded), Lt JA Clarke (wnd), Lt J Martin-Webb (wnd)
MM: 5124119 L sjt E Darnborough (wnd), 5107539 Cpl J Greenwood (wnd), 6465297 Cpl V Garret, 14400302 Cpl E Brown (Missing), 5781311 Pte C Harris (wnd).
31   Divisional Commander's Commendation Cards:
Lt-Col DLA Gibbs (DSO), Maj M Ryan (wnd), Capt SJ Williams, Capt CW Jarvis (wnd), Capt (Rev) J Austin, LT JA Clarke (MC) (wnd), Maj F Bell (MM), Capt CW Moxham (wnd), Capt CH Mavin, 5109824 Cpl W Sheidon, 5125498 Cpl R Wright (wnd), 5119443 Pte C Johnson (wnd), 7341060 Pte S Nicholis, 5887097Pte J O'Halloran, 5105748 Pte J Parkes, 5110869 Pte E Clarke, 5107737 Pte G Hooper, 5114733 Pte A Welch, 5343393 Sjt T Knight, 5124119 L s E Darnborough (wnd), 6465297 Cpl V Garrett, 14400302 Cpl E Brown (missing), 5107539 Cpl J Greenwood (wnd), 14615850 Cpl J Kenney, 5120733 Pte F Stone (wnd), 5120911 Pte S Yates (wnd), 4265478 L s N French (MM)

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Source: Jeroen Koppes, TracesOfWar.com, transcribing: Theo Vervoort.

Disclaimer: This War Diary is based on its original, but typos might be corrected. Locations are calculated, so might not be in the correct place. For historical research, always check the originals.