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Army Form C.2118
Unit: 8th Bn. The Rifle Brigade
Month and Year: September 1944 (Erase heading not required). Commanding Officer: Lt. Col. J.A. Hunter.
Place Date Hour Summary Reference
AMIENS ARRAS 1   The advance continued and we reached a position on a line with ARRAS which we bye-passed to the left.
HULLOCH 2   A short advance through built up areas to HULLOCH, E Coy in the evening had a successful battle at long range against some German tps digging in NORTH of us and destroyed 2 anti-tank Guns.
BELGIUM 3   The anniversary of the outbreak of the war was a fitting day on which to cross into BELGIUM, and it was at 1100 hrs that H Coy with 23 H reported DOG (the frontier). Only traffic congestion held us up and we covered 85 miles in the day to reach by dark a point on level with BRUSSELS, which was the Guards Armd Div objective. Cas Lt. M.C. Anderson & 2 OR's killed. 5 OR's wounded.
ANTWERP 4   Early next morning G and H Coys with 3 R.T.R. and 23 H. pushed on to ANTWERP our divisional objective. Progress was not so fast as previously but in the end G coy with 3 RTR crossed the main br. into the city. (which had been saved by a member of the resistance movement) and pushed a group right through to the dock area which was found to be almost undamaged. Cas 14 OR's wounded.
ANTWERP 5-6   Coys concentrated in their Armd Regt Gps SOUTH of ANTWERP. Some attempt was made to begin the reconditioning of the vehicles whcih was so urgently needed after our 450 mile advance from LAIGLE, but we were not entirely free from operational commitments. A few enemy appeared on the WEST bank of the Scheldt nto knowing we were there, and G Coy mortars had one excellant shoot directed from the top of a hotel in ANTWERP at the same time there were numerous pockets within the Div. area, and A Echelon collected 50 P.O.W. one morning.
ANTWERP 5-6   But the main trouble was in the MERYEN and WYMEGEN area N.W. of ANTWERP where the enemy took advantage of the halt of our adv. to organise a comparatively strong force. But the chief feature of our short stay in the ANTWERP area was the incredible enthusium and generoisity of the people. The Belgians had all through shown themselves to be more enthusiastic than the French, but in ANTWERP any member of 11 Armd Div could do no wrong, and we all left with invitations to return at the first opportunity. See Appdix A
7   An attempt was made to continue the advance NORTH but the force on the NORTH bank of the Leopold canal was too strong and we withdrew. The Guards had meantime established a br head over the canal to the EAST at BEERINGEN. K. 2475
DIEST 8   29 Armd Bde was moved to the area DIEST with the intention of protecting the right flank of the Guards Armd Div. Cas. 1 O.R. wounded.
9   The rest of the Div joined us, and we crossed the canal harbouring at BEERINGEN. Major T.A. Bird DSO, MC and bar came to take over the post of 2 i/c from Major I.M. Risdon who went to take Major Bird's job as Instructor at BARNARD CASTLE.
HELCHTEREN 10   We close leaguered for the night and in the morning found the enemy had withdrawn EAST. We ourselves turned north of PEER and went to PETIT BROGEL K 4088 without much trouble
HELCHTEREN 10   The Bn was grouped as a whole with 23 H and we continued the advance EAST against heavey opposition. Major Bird was wounded almost immediately, and there was extremely heavy fighting all day in the area of HELCHTEREN K 3576. H. Coy was in the leading Sqn-Coy gp and suffered heavy casualties, F Coy went round the right flank to loosen up the position and were luckier. But by the end of the day we had taken 200 PW and killed at least 100 of the enemy. Cas. Lt. D. Howorth & Lt R.J. Ellis Killed. 9 OR's killed & Major T. Bird, Capt Straker, Lt. Dixon and 19 ORs wounded.
PETIT BROGEL 12-16   There we halted and rested, our first real rest since LAIGLE. Patrols went out to the line of the next canal where the bridges were found to be blown, and a few enemy patrols crossed the canal from the otherside, but otherwise all was quiet.Cas Lt F.M. Hopwood & 3 OR's wounded.
GRAND BROGEL 17   Move to GRAND BROGEL K 4486 where the rest continued while the 1 st Airborne Army dropped at EINDHOVEN, NIJMEGEN and ARNHEM and the Guards Armd Div linked up with them at EINDHOVEN
HEEZE 20   Still in a Gp with 23 H. we move out to continue the advance on the right flank of the Guards. There was little opposition and we reached HEEZE E.4911 in the night.
GERWEN 21   Advancing NORTH we ran into a strong enemy position at GERWEN E 4924 east of EINDHOVEN. The enemy belonged to 107 Pz Bde which had orders to recapture EINDHOVEN. 26 H3 destroyed 2 Panthers and G Coy made a valiant attempt to clear GERWEN which would have succeeded if the light had lasted another 1/2 hr.Cas 9 OR s wounded.
22   The enemy again withdrew during the night to the EAST, we patrolled NORTH and EAST as far as the WILHEMINA and ALWAATERINGS canals respectively meeting only a few enemy and finding all bridges blown.
ZOMEREN 22 1700 We were moved SOUTH to conc behind a br. head 2 F & F Yeo had made over the BOIS DUC CANAL at ZOMEREN E 6013. Cas 3 OR's wounded.
OMMEL 23   Slow progress was made against heavy opposition, G Coy being mostly involved, but heavy casualties were inflicted on the enemy, and OMMEL E 6216 was taken. Cas 3 OR's wounded.
DEURNE 24   Considerable resistance was encountered at VLIERDEN 6318 next morning. In the end H Coy attacked it and with the assistance of a propaganda loud speaker netted 60 P.W. By 14.30 hrs we had reached DEURNE E 6521 there we halted while 2 F & F Yeo Gp was pushed through. Cas 2 OR's killed, Lt. J. Coryton and 5 OR's wounded.
25 1330 We passed through again as far as the area of RIPS E 6730 where we halted and 3 RTR Gp went through. At RIPS we stayed for another rest, Coy-Sqn Gps being strung out along the road. We had an exposed EAST flank and patrols maintained contact with the enemy about a mile to the EAST of the road. We also came under fire from the Guns of the SIEGFRIED LINE.

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Source: 11th Armoured Division.

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.