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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.

Army Form C.2118
Unit: HQ 185 Inf Bde (incl Def Pl)
Month and Year: December 1944 (Erase heading not required). Commanding Officer: Brig. E.L. Bols, DSO.
Place Date Hour Summary Reference
HAM 1   Bde Gp settles down to manage a vast new estate covering miles of river front. The floods aid us to prevent the enemy est himself on the other side. We hold from excl CUYK to incl VIERLINGSBEEK. 2 Warwick on RIGHT; Royals now under comd and hold (with two coys of Dutchmen up) BOXMEER and ZAMBEEK. 2 KSLI hold BEUGEN and OEFFELT, 1 Norfolk hold ST AGATHA. Each unit holds two coys fwd – remainder back and at rest. The enemy does not worry us with arty – nor we.
1   185 Inf Bde Adm Instr No. 18 issued Appx 1
2 1200 New Corps Comd, Lt.Gen. E.H. Barker, CB, CBE, DSO, MC calls. COs are present to meet him.
2   ‘Evacuation and Control of Civilians’ issued ,, 2
2   This magnum opus is designed to deal with the control of civs in the area of the river – a subject that proves more difficult than three enemy corps.
2   AFW 3008 (Offrs) ,, 3
2   AFW 3009 (Bde HQ) ,, 4
2   AFW 3009 (Def Pl) ,, 5
2   AFW 3009 (LAD) ,, 6
4   G.O.C. calls. Receipt of news of UK leave provides the main topic of conversation and thought.
7   Bde Comd receives D.S.O.
7/8   Visit of Bde I.O. to GERMANY in AACHEN sector. Some selected washing of 185 Bde HQ is hung on the Siegfried Line.
9   AFW 3008 (Offrs) ,, 7
9   AFW 3009 (Bde HQ) ,, 8
9   AFW 3009 (Def Pl) ,, 9
9   AFW 3009 (LAD) ,, 10
10   Security check of all civilians in area.
10   News of our Dutch agent (Michels) death. He was sent out at MERSELO to penetrate to HORST and was found shot 500 yds short of our lines on his return journey.
10 1730 Arrival of IO from Div with the very disturbing news of Bde Comd’s departure and promotion to GOC 6 Airborne Div. The new Bde Comd - Brig EHG Grant, DSO, MC arrives at the same time. This is very unexpected and very upsetting news - but the HQ is extremely glad at the Bde Comd's promotion. A party was hastily organised to speed him on his way, etc.
11   Capt CO Blakey leaves the HQ on posting as G.III(Ops) at 21 Army Gp. The previous incumbent Capt D. Gulland arrives to take over.
12   Move of Bde Gp to GEMERT area.
12   The MAAS sector is handed over to 8 Br Inf Bde, and we are ‘free’ for one weeks rest and the further pursuit of Offrs days.
12   Bde HQ at DE MORTEL. 1 Norfolk at HANDEL, 2 Warwick at GEMERT, 2 KSLI at BOEKEL.
BOEKEL 13   Conference – Bde Comd and all units.
14 1730 Bde Comd’s Conference to introduce himself.
14 2200 Warning order from Div to take over the area of 159 Bde HQ.
15 0930 Div O Gp followed by Bde O Gp at Div HQ. Recces all day.
15   185 Inf Bde Mov Instr No. 14 Appx 11
15   ,, ,, ,, ,, ,, ,, 14 (Amdts No. 1 & 2) ,, 16 & 17
16   AFW 3008 (Offrs) ,, 12
16   AFW 3009 (Bde HQ) ,, 13
16   AFW 3009 (Def Pl) ,, 14
16   AFW 3009 (LAD) ,, 15
16   Bns and Tac Bde HQ move to new area. Bde HQ at MELDERSLO. Amdt No. 3 to Mov Instr No. 14. ,, 18
16   4 & 5 Dutch Coys under comd 1 Norfolk.
17   Main Bde HQ joins Tac HQ. Considerable air activity - most single recces jet propelled planes.
MELDERSLO 18   Considerable number of aircraft heard before first light. One British a/c jettisoned incendiaries on coy of 1 Norfolk. Enemy patrol found in own arty OP at first light driven out into adjoining wood. 1 Norfolk patrol searched wood but no enemy found. 185 Inf Bde Adm Instr No. 19 ,, 19
18   A Per bombs dropped in Bde area at night - no cas.
19   Patrol of 2 Warwick killed one member of an enemy patrol. No useful identification as man had no documents on him. A drive of all the woods in the bde area failed to produce anything more than two civs. In the evening one of the Dutch coys observed a patrol of about 6 Germans on our side of the river. A party from 1 Norfolk went out to capture them but could find no sign of them.
20   In the early morning explosions and shouting were heard in area of 2 KSLI. Investigation in the light disclosed that an enemy patrol had stumbled into an old enemy minefd. One dead German was found whose body had been booby-trapped. The booby trap was not noticed and when the body was moved a mine exploded killing Lt.Col. C.C. Millett, OBE, Comd 2 KSLI and killing and wounding several ORs. 185 Inf Bde Security Instr No. 1 Appx 20
21   Thick mist in morning enabled patrols to get down to bank of R MAAS but no sign of enemy found.
21   Lt.Col Millett buried in Bde Cemetery at VENRAIJ.
22   A document from the dead body found in the minefd revealed that the enemy on the opposite bank was still most probably 7/Grasmehl – 7 Para Div. Visit of DACG to Bde for two day stay.
23   Visit of Corps Comd, Lt.Gen Barker DSO MC. He spent the whole day with the Bde visting fwd tps and OPs.
23   AFW 3008 (Offrs) Appx 21
23   AFW 3009 (Bde HQ) ,, 22
23   AFW 3009 (Def Pl) ,, 23
23   AFW 3009 (LAD) ,, 24
24   Receipt of warning that the Germans were celebrating the Christmas early in adv to be unpleasant during our festivities. Durinig the early morning the enemy used his nebelwerfers against GRUBBENVORST (2 Warwick right hand coy). This was the first time for a long while the minnies had been heard.
24   Arrival of Capt W.J. Derbyshire to take over Bde IO. 185 Inf Bde O.L. No. 3 ,, 25
25   Christmas Day. As we are due to go out of the line shortly it was decided that the units and Bde HQ ORs should celebrate in the rest area. Bde Comd went round as many coys as possible during the morning.
26   2 Warwick begin practising ‘beating’ with a view to possible patrol or raid across the river later on.
27   Departure of Capt St L. Mann to take over duties of L.O. at Div HQ.
27   185 Inf Bd O.O. No. 3 Appx 26
28   Lt.Col. P.D. Daly (ex BM of this Bde) took over comd of 2 KSLI.
28   Thick fog has successfully blanketed our principle sources of infm - observation. A shooting party containing fd arty, LAA and mortars provoked no retaliation from the enemy this morning. 185 Inf Bde O.O. No. 4. ,, 27
HORST 835181 29   The Bde was relieved by 9 Br Inf Bde and moved into Divisional res in the HORST area.
29 1200 3 Br Inf Div came under comd 2nd Cdn Corps of 1st Cdn Army.
30   AFW 3008 (Offrs) ,, 28
30   AFW 3009 (Bde HQ) ,, 29
30   AFW 3009 (Def Pl) ,, 30
30   AFW 3009 (LAD) ,, 31
31   The Old Year was seen out and the New brought in with an offrs party at Bde HQ.

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Source: Jeroen Koppes, TracesOfWar.com, transcribing: Hans Houterman.

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.