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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: HQ 153 Inf Bde
Month and Year: November 1944 (Erase heading not required). Commanding Officer: Brig J.R. Sinclair, DSO
Place Date Hour Summary Reference
s’HERTOGHENBOSCH 1   A quiet day. At 0930 hrs the Bde Comd was called to Div HQ for a conference on the forthcoming operation, and at 1145 hrs the GOC visited Bde HQ. The Bde Comd 154 Bde arrived at Bde HQ at 1600 hrs to discuss the take-over of 153 and 154 Bde on the following day. At 1400 hrs the Bde Comd left Bde HQ for area 2444 to recce the AFTWATERINGS Canal line for possible crossing places. Two patrols were sent out by 1 Gordons at 1900 hrs. One patrol reached area 269444 where the patrol leader went forward and found 20 enemy sleeping in night posns with 3 sentries. The second patrol reached 273449 where it was fired on from 20 yds to the South after which it withdrew. Operation Order No 8 issued and attached as Appendix 'A'. OO No 8 issued and att as Appx ‘A’
2   A quiet night was experienced on the bde front. Relief of 153 Bde by 154 Bde was completed by 1300 hrs with the exception of those coys of 5/7 Gordons which could not be relieved in daylight. The Bde Gp concentrated SW of VAUGHT with locations as follows: Bde HQ 289411; 5 BW 267404; 1 Gordons 233403. 5/7 Gordons relieved 2 Seaforth South of the AFTWATERINGS CanaI with Bn HQ 257433 and coys at 253439, 242430, 220439 and 213429.
289411 3   Preparations were made for Op “Guy Fawkes". At 1800 hrs the Bde Comd held a conference to discuss the operation. Operation Order No 9 issued and attached as Appendix ‘B’. Adm Order No 6 issued and attached as Appendix ‘C’. OO No 9 att as Appx ‘B’, Adm Order No 6 att as Appx ‘C’
4   During the morning and early afternoon the Bde Gp conc South of the Canal ready for the crossing. At 1635 hrs elements of 152 Bde began their crossing. At 1715 hrs the leading tps of 1 Gordons landed on the North bank and completed their crossing without incident or casualties. Simultaneously 5 BW began their crossing with which they had little difficulty, the bn suffering 15 cas from mortar fire. At 1800 hrs 5 BW reported all coys on their objectives and 1 Gordons reported all coys over the canal. At 1840 hrs 1 Gordons reported POKER captured with only 2 cas, and 5 BW reported all going well and 50 POW taken. By 1900 hrs both 5 BW and 1 Gordons were on their final objectives, having encountered only slight opposition. At 1900 hrs 5/7 Gordons were ordered to pass through 1 Gordons and by 2115 hrs were all across the Canal. 5/7 Gordons reported POKER at 2255 hrs and that they were pushing on, meeting only slight opposition. Some tpt had by now crossed the canal on rafts as Buffaloes were found to be useless owing to the steepness of the banks. AF W 3008/9 attached as Appendix ‘D’. AF W 3008/9 att as Appx ‘D’
5   At 0240 hrs the class 9 bridge was opened and tpt began to cross. 5/7 Gordons reported LEXICON captured by 0300 hrs, and 5 BW were ordered to push on to HAARSTEIG. At 0325 hrs 5/7 Gordons reported slight opposition on their advance to WHIST, but otherwise everything going well. POOL was reported clear by 5 BW at 0400 hrs and their advance to TIDDLY continuing without meeting any opposition. The enemy appeared to have withdrawn altogether from the island. At 0500 hrs 5 BW reported both TIDDLY and WINKS clear of enemy while 5/7 Gordons reported CHESS clear but that mines had been discovered on the roadway. At first light it became obvious that the enemy had withdrawn from the island and the Bde began to look around for comfortable billets. At 0900 hrs Bde HQ moved up and was established at 241489. During the day recce parties of 1/5 Queens arrived to take over the area to allow 51 (H) Div to be withdrawn for another attack. The Corps Comd paid a visit to Bde HQ at 1000 hrs.
6   During the morning a carrier patrol from 1 Gordons went to the br at 219514 which was found prepared for demolition, the charges being discovered. No enemy were found. The patrol contacted the carriers of 5 BW at 229511. The Bde Gp was relieved by 1/5 Queens by 1400 hrs moving back to the former positions SW of VAUGHT. Locations as follows: Bde HQ 289411; 5 BW 2640; 1 Gordons 3142; 5/7 Gordons 2942. Warning Order was received for a move of the Bde SE of EINDHOVEN.
289411 7   NTR. Movement Order No 6 issued and attached as Appendix ‘E’. Mov Order No 6 att as Appx ‘E’
8   The Bde Gp moved at 0800 hrs and was conc around HEEZE 4910 and LEEMDE 4707. Bde HQ 498108; 5 BW 479079; 1 Gordons 499113; 5/7 Gordons 478078. During the morning the Bde Comd and I.O. visited 158 Bde in the area of WEERT 5897.
9   During the morning the Bde Comd and I.O. carried out recce along the Canal VAN PEDERWEERT East of WEERT in preparation for the forthcoming operation.
10   The Bde Comd held a Comds' conference at 0930 hrs at Bde HQ. 5 BW relieved 7 RWF in area 6298 coming under comd 154 Bde.
11   The Div Comd held a conference on Op “Ascot” attended by Bde Comd, BM, IO and Bn Comds. AF W 3008/9 att as Appx “F”. AF W 3008/9 att as Appx ‘F’
12   Planning for Op Ascot. The Bde Comd held an O Gp at 1730 hrs. Operation Order No 10 issued and attached as Appendix ‘G’. Adm Instr No 7 issued and attached as Appendix ‘H’. OO No 10 att as Appx ‘G’, Adm Instr No 7 att as Appx ‘H’
13   A rainy day with nothing to report. Planning for Oo Ascot continued.
14   During the morning the Bde Gp conc in the area South of ROEVEN 6198 prior to the Operation. At 1600 hrs the attack began with a heavy arty barrage. By 1622 hrs tanks of 144 RAC in sp of our tps reported that they were in posn on the canal bank and that no opposition was being encountered. First waves of inf began to cross the obstacle at 1632 hrs and at 1725 hrs both bns reported that all their rifle coys were on the enemy bank. Between 1815 hrs and 1830 hrs 1 Gordons and 5/7 Gordons were able to report that all objectives were captured. At 1825 hrs the Bde Comd ordered 5 BW to commence Phase II of the attack at 1930 hrs. This attack developed as planned supported by 127 Fd Regt, two coys of 1 Kensingtons (MMGs) and 2 pls of 'A' Coy 1/7 Mx (4.2 in mortars). At 2036 hrs 5 BW reported the capture of their first objective and by 2218 hrs the bn was in posn. Inf opposition during Phases I and II was not serious and cas were light, the majority being caused by mortar and shell fire. No mines were encountered during the operation. Early in the operation it became apparent that in spite of the gaps blown in the canal revetment by RE the Buffaloes could not operate on account of the steepness of the far bank. The Buffaloes were, therefore, withdrawn having transported only one jeep across the canal. Rafting proved equally difficult and 5 BW succeeded in getting over only two jeeps and one Atk gun by this means. Good progress was made on the Class 9 bridge, however, and by 0100 hrs it was open to traffic. By 0145 hrs all 5 BW F1 Ech had crossed and by 0645 hrs all F1 and F2 Echs of the bde were across the canal. Satisfactory progress was made on the Cl 40 br and by 0840 hrs this was open to all traffic. POW taken by the bde during the operation numbered one offr and 54 ORs, the majority from Bn Piltz.
15   At 0200 hrs Tac Bde HQ moved over the canal and was estalished at 632992 beside 5/7 Gordons. The Bde Comd visited all the bns on their objectives and congratulated them on their excellent performance. At 0840 hrs the class 40 bridge was completed. 5/7 Gordons began clearing the woods area 6498 at 1100 hrs and had completed their task by 1200 hrs, having met no opposition. At 1100 hrs 154 Bde with 1 BW leading passed through directed on LEVEROI 0896. At 1120 hrs the GOC visited the Bde Comd and informed him that there would be no further work for the bde gp that day. Accordingly 5/7 Gordons were ordered to conc East of the Wooded area 6496. At 2000 hrs the GOC informed the Bde Comd that 153 Bde would push through 154 Bde on the following morning and capture ROGGEL 7397 pushing North to the line of the UITWATERINGS Canal 7601 7700.
633987 16   At 0740 hrs Tac Bde HQ moved off HEIJTHUIZEN 7196 and at 0800 hrs 1 Gordons mounted on Kangaroos pushed fwd through 7 BW capturing ROGGEL 7397 without opposition. The enemy appeared to have withdrawn so one sqn of 144 RAC was ordered to push on up the track to EEL and try and regain contact. At 1130 hrs they reported some disorganised enemy in area 759004. One coy of 5 BW who by now had moved up in rear of 1 Gordons was immediately mounted on one sqn of tanks and advanced up the track to 753999. The remainder of the bn followed and by 1400 hrs was established with coys at 752998 752002 755004 and 761012. 5/7 Gordons passed through 1 Gordons at 1330 hrs and by 1500 hrs had occupied areas BRUMHOLD 758985 and OPHOVEN 756979 without incident. Main Bde HQ moved up at 1400 hrs to the KLOOSTER at 738978. During the afternoon 1 Gordons pushed on to area 775995. Codewords for operations issued and attached as Appendix ‘I’. Codewords att as Appx ‘I’
738978 17   During the night 5 BW and 1 Gordons patrolled forward to the canal line. 1 Gordons patrol to 776005 was shot by enemy on the North bank and the officer commanding the patrol killed. 5 BW also reported enemy in the woods at 755017. At 0900 hrs the Bde Comd was called to a conference at Div HQ where he learnt that 5 Cameron had forced a crossing of the canal at 723044. 153 Bde was, therefore, ordered to make a crossing on its front at the earliest opportunity. A conference was held at 1 Gordons HQ at 1330 hrs at which it was decided to cross the canal at 2100 hrs. 1 Gordons were ordered to cross on a two coy front in areas 775005 and 781001 and 5 BW to cross on a one coy front area 755018. 5 BW were allotted 12 assault boats and 1 Gordons allotted 26 boats. At 2000 hrs Tac Bde HQ was est in a house at 758986. At 2140 hrs 1 Gordons reported both crossings going well with some POW taken, opposition being slight. By 2315 hrs the whole bn was across and had taken all its objectives and 30 POW with a loss of only two men wounded. By 2359 hrs 5 BW still had no troops across the canal. Operation Order No 11 issued and att as Appx ‘J’. OO No 11 att as Appx ‘J’
18   5 BW encountered extensive minefields on the approaches to their crossing and the state of the tracks made it impossible to ferry the assault boats up to the canal on carriers as planned. In addltion enemy snipers were active on the North bank. Consequently it was not until 0300 hrs that their leading tps were able to cross. Meanwhile the bn had suffered some cas from shelling, sniping, and the ubiquitous Schu and Teller mines. At 0120 hrs the AVRE br was complete on the 1 Gordons front (775004) but the tracks leading up to it prevented anything but tks and Kangaroos from reaching it. At 0550 hrs 5 BW were all across and had mopped up the North bank of the river, taking 4 POW, the remainder of the enemy having withdrawn. At 0600 hrs 5/7 Gordons were ordered to pass through 1 Gordons using the AVRE br, this being done by 0800 hrs and by 0900 the bn had reached KEUP 7802 without opposition. Bde dispositions 0900 hrs as follows: 1 Gordons area 7799; 5 BW area 7601, 5/7 Gordons area 7702. Tac Bde HQ rejoined Main HQ at its old locn at 1000 hrs. At 1200 hrs 154 Bde passed through 152 Bde and captured PANNINGEN 7704 and HELDON 7903 without any trouble. During the day 5/7 Gordons were heavily shelled in their posn. At 1500 hrs they came under comd 154 Bde, and 7 BW in the area NEER 7757 came under comd 153 Bde. AF W 3008/9 att as Appx ‘K’. AF W 3008/9 att as Appx ‘K’
19   During the night an enemy patrol crossed the river MAAS on the 7 BW front and burnt down three houses which might have been of use to us as OPs. Adv parties of 7 RWF arrived at Bde HQ at 1400 hrs with orders to recce the 7 BW area with a view to taking it over on 20 Nov. 7 A&SH of 154 Bde moved down through the woods and occupied the area KESSEL KERSELHOCK SPURK. A patrol from 7 BW moved up the rd to the blown br just South of KERSELHOCK and reported the area South of this br clear of the enemy. Bde Comd’s message to Bde Gp att as Appx ‘L’. Bde Comd’s message to Bde Gp att as Appx ‘L’
20   At first It 5/7 Gordons moved down through the woods and relieved 7 A&SH in the area KESSEL KESSELHOCK. At 0830 hrs the Bde Comd and OC 5 BW visited 5/7 Gordons in their new area. Tracks up to the posn were badly blocked by traffic and the recce was not completed until 1400 hrs. OC 5 BW received orders to move one coy up to relieve the fwd coys 5/7 Gordons to enable 5/7 Gordons to clear the enemy from the area South of the woods in sqs 8103 8203 8303 and 8403. 7 BW were relieved at 1400 hrs by 7 RWF of 53 (W) Div and moved on the completion of their relief to the North of the UITWATERINGS canal, coming under comd 154 Bde.
21   At 0830 hrs 5/7 Gordons reverted under comd 153 Bde and began their operation to clear up sqs 8201 8202 8301 8302 8401 8402 of enemy. Tac Bde HQ moved up to area HELDEN 7903 to control the adv of 5/7 Gordons. One coy 5 BW were carried up in Kangaroos and relieved 5/7 Gordons in KESSEL 8200 by 0900 hrs. At 0915 hrs 5/7 Gordons reported that they were held up by mines in the area 810023. By 1300 hrs 5/7 Gordons had cleared the wooded area 834025 against some small arms opposition from the North. This fire was pinning down coys which had attempted to adv over this open ground towards HOUT 8402 and the NE and further adv was postponed until dark. 5 BW was in occupation of all 5/7 Gordons old posns in the KESSEL BROCK KESSELEIK areas. At 1400 hrs Bde HQ moved to 798030 as HELDEN was being heavily shelled.
798030 22   Another rainy day. 5/7 Gordons adv during the morning with no opposition and occupied HOUT 8402. Patrols sent out frome here reported no enemy between the bn posns and the inter-bde boundary South of BAARLO 8505. The Bde area was shelled intermittently throughout the day from the previously located enemy gun posns on the East bank of the R MAAS. At 1200 hrs a Warning Order was received from Div HQ to the effect that 160 Bde would be relieving 153 Inf Bde in the near future. Recce parties from 160 Bde arrived at 1400 hrs and were directed to the bns, 2 Mons to 5/7 Gordons and 6 RWF to 5 BW.
23   Another wet day. At 0800 hrs a warning order was received from Div stating that the Bde Gp would be relieved by 160 Bde AM 24 Nov. Further recce parties from 2 Mons arrived at 1000 hrs to take over from 5/7 Gordons. The day was quiet apart from some shelling.
24   At 0900 hrs the Bde Comd attended a conference at Div HQ on the future movements of the Bde. The Bde Comd, Bn Comds, BM and IO left the HEIJTHUIZEN area at 1400 hrs and proceeded to NIJMEGEN Island to make arrangements for the relief of the bns of 327 and 502 A/B Regts by 153 Inf Bde. Tps of 160 Bde began to arrive at 1000 hrs to take over 153 Bde sector on the East bank of the R MAAS. By 1400 hrs the leading tpt of 5 BW moved on to conc in the area 7299. They were followed at 1600 hrs by 5/7 Gordons who conc area HEIJTHUIZEN 7296. 1 Gordons who were not being relieved moved out independently and conc in the area 7398. Bde HQ moved to 708974. Lt-Col the Hon H. Cumming-Bruce DSO left 1 Gordons in the evening to take over comd of 44 Inf Bde of 15 (S) Div. Operation Order No 11 issued and att as Appx ‘M’. OO No 11 att as Appx ‘M’
708974 25   The Bde Gp recce parties arrived at ZETTEN 6072 at 1030 hrs having motored up from the HEIJTHUIZEN area. The day was spent in recce of the 327 A/B Regt and 502 A/B Regt areas. Only the minimum of tpt was allowed to cross the NIJMEGEN Br so the Bde Gp debussed in the town South of the br, the bns marching up from this point. The enemy shelled NIJMEGEN while our tps were passing through, 5 BW and 5/7 Gordons having two and three cas respectively. By 1800 hrs all the marching personnel had reached their new bn areas. The take-over was begun immediately and was completed by 2300 hrs without incident. Bde HQ was located at 614712. AF W 3008/9 att as Appx ‘N’. AF W 3008/9 att as Appx 'N'
614712 26   153 Inf Bde took over control of the Island sector as from 0700 hrs. Disposns were as per Trace att as Appx 'O'. The day was spent in settling in to the new posn with nothing to report apart from spasmodic shelling around the ZETTEN village 6072 area. Trace att as Appx ‘O’
27   During the morning Bde HQ moved up to the School at 612717 which had been vacated by HQ 327 AB Regt at 0700 hrs. There was nothing to report during the day. The preliminary Op Instr was issued for Op Noah which was the evacuation of the Island in case of flooding. Op Instr No 6 issued and att as Appx ‘P’. Op Instr No 6 att as Appx ‘P’
612717 28   During the morning there was slight shelling on 1 Gordons and 5 BW areas which caused no damage or cas, otherwise NTR. At 1300 hrs Lt-Col Grant Peterkin arrived to take over comd of 1st Bn The Gordon Highlanders.
29   At 0700 hrs an enemy patrol attacked a carrier outpost of 5/7 Gordons 569698. A short fire fight followed in the course of which 5/7 Gordons sustained three cas and had one carrier set on fire. The German patrol withdrew at 0705 hrs taking its cas with it. A demonstration in the detection and disarming of Schu mines was was held at Bde HQ at 1400 hrs. Admn Instr No 8 issued and att as Appx ‘Q’. Admn Instr No 8 att as Appx ‘Q’
30   A rainy day, during the course of which the water level of the NEDER RHINE rose a further 12 ins. Bde recce parties recced areas to the SE of s’HERTOGENBOSCH into which the bde gp would move when Op Noah commenced. The BM, Major B.G.A. Napier MC, left Bde HQ for an attachment to the RAF Sqn at an aerodrome near BRUSSELS. Flight/Lt P. Gibbs RAF was att to Bde HQ for four days to study inf problems. At 1300 hrs a patrol from 5/7 Gordons went to 544696 where it lay up for 30 mins. Some MT and tracked vehs mov was heard from area 535704 and an MG firing from 543716, otherwise there was nothing to report. At 2200 hrs 1 Gordons withdrew its outpost in the factory at 5774 as flooding made the posn untenable. Op Instr No 7 issued and att as Appx 'R'.

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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.