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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: December 1944 (Erase heading not required). Commanding Officer: Brig J.R. Sinclair, DSO
Place Date Hour Summary Reference
612717 1   At 1000 hrs Major G. Smith Cunningham O.C. 'B' Coy 5 Black Watch was ambushed while walking around his coy area in OPHUESDEN 5472 with his Coy 2IC. A German patrol had occupied a house in between the two fwd pls of ‘B’ Coy. Major Smith Cunningham was fired on and took cover. His 2IC, who took cover on the other side of the rd managed to crawl back and to organize a fighting patrol to drive the enemy out. The fighting patrol returned after an hour’s search having found the coy comd’s bonnet and bloodstains but no trace of the coy comd himself or of the German patrol. Major G. Smith Cunningham was reported as a PW two days later by radio Arnhem. At 1900 hrs an evader from 1st Airborne Div and a member of the Dutch Resistance Movement crossed the Neder Rhein in a small boat without interference from German patrols. They reported to ‘B’ Coy 1 Gordons and were evacuated to Div.
2   NTR. Intermittent rainfall throughout the day. The level of the Neder Rhein rose a further six inches. During the night enemy arty carried out harassing shoots on ZETTEN 6172 and the rd to the North. AF W 3008/9 att as Appx ‘A’. AF W 3008/9 att as Appx ‘A’
3   At 1400 hrs a heavy explosion was heard between 'C' Coy 1 Gordons area and the left fwd coy of 5 Seaforth. Neither the exact point of the explosion nor its cause could be discovered. During the night the enemy fired about 60 rounds of HF into and around ZETTEN 6172.
612717 4   A quiet day. The water level in the Neder Rhein continued to rise and flooding on the rd ZETTEN – OPHEUSDEN and to the North of ZETTEN increased. At 1400 hrs the Bde Comd gave orders to 5 Black Watch to withdraw ‘B’ Coy from OPHEUSDEN to area 6072 in rear of Bn HQ. 1 Gordons were ordered to withdraw the bn South of the R LINGE. These adjustments were complete by 2300 hrs. 152 Bde also adjusted their fwd posns.
5   By first lt the flooding had greatly increased, the flow of water appeared to be coming from the NE. It soon became apparent that unless the Bde Gp evacuated its present posns and moved South of the rly the roads would be cut and MT lost. At 1030 hrs the Bde Comd gave orders for 5 Black Watch, 1 Gordons and the CCP 174 Fd Amb to withdraw, the MT moving via the NIJMEGEN Br, and the marching tps to cross the R WAAL by assault boats from 673660. The withdrawal was carried out without difficulty or enemy interference and by 1900 hrs the Bde Gp less 5/7 Gordons were South of the R WAAL. Although the last trucks had to navigate through 18 ins of water in ZETTEN, only four vehs were bogged, including the REME recovery Scammel. These four were recovered within the next three days. 5 /7 Gordons were not seriously affected by the flooding as the water appeared to be held by the rly embankment. They were accordingly ordered to remain in their posns under comd 154 Bde. 152 Bde also evacuated their posns and the new FDLs along the rly line were taken over by 154 Bde.
612717 6   By 0400 hrs the Bde Gp less 5/7 Gordons was conc as follows:-
6   Bde HQ – KASTEEL 413423
6   1 Gordons – SELDENSATE 3943
6   5 BW – HEESWIJK 4242
6   276 Fd Coy – LOOSBROEKE 4545
6   CCP 174 Fd Amb – HEESWIJK 4242
6   The day was spent in sorting out sodden equipment, cleaning wet weapons and vehs.
413423 7   1 Gordons moved one coy to area 3745 to ease their billeting problems, otherwise NTR.
8   NTR.
9   NTR. AF W 3008/9 att as Appx ‘B’. AF W 3008/9 atta as Appx ‘B’
10   The Bde NCOs’ School opened in SCHIJNDEL 4038 under the com of Major R.G.K. Evans 5/7 Gordons.
11   5/7 Gordons were relieved in their posns on the island by one sqn of 49 Div Recce and conc in VEGHEL 4837 when they reverted under comd 153 Bde.
12   NTR.
13   Thirteen flying bombs passed over Bde HQ during the day bound for ANTWERP area.
13   The Bde Comd left for BRUSSELS for five days' leave.
14   51 (H) Div was visited by the Moderator of the Church of Scotland. At 1100 hrs the Moderator held a service at VEGHEL at which the Div Comd and parties from the units of the bde gp were present.
15   Field Marshal Sir B.L. Montgomery, K.C.B., D.S.O., visited the Div during the morning and presented medal ribbons to those members of the Div who bad been decorated during the campaign. The Bde Comd attended and was presented with the ribbon of the DSO. Parties from each bn in the Div attended the investiture which was held in the Seminary at ST MICHELS GESTEL 3440. After the ceremony the Field Marshal spoke to those present and mentioned the great part that 51 (H) Div had played in the many battles the British and Canadian Armies had fought since D Day. The Field Marshal then went to Div HQ for lunch and after his departure a conference for Bde Comds was held at which future operations were discussed.
16   The Bde Comd returned to BRUSSELS to resume his interrupted leave. During the evening the BBC announced that the Germans had launched a number of large scale attacks against the American front in the ARDENNES. This news, although of considerable interest, did not at the time seem likely to have any bearing on the future of 51 (H) Div. AF W 3008/9 att as Appx ‘C’. AF W 3008/9 att as Appx ‘C’
17   NTR. The German attacks appeared to be meeting with considerable success but news was vague. Orders were received at 1600 hrs that recce parties were to recce areas around BEERS 6849 prior to the Bde Gp moving to that area on the 19th.
18   The Bde IO left for an attachment to 123 Wing of 84 Gp RAF. Bde Gp recce parties left Bde HQ at 1000 hrs under the DAA & QMG to recce the conc areas around BEERS 6849. Mov Order No 7 att as Appx ‘D’. Mov Order No 7 att as Appx ‘D’
19   The Bde Gp moved off for the BEERS area at 1730 hrs and by 2300 hrs was conc as follows:- Bde HQ 681492; 5 BW 650509; 1 Gordons 684492; 5/7 Gordons 705494.
681482 20   News was received at 0235 hrs that the Bde must be prepared to move to LOUVAIN during the course of the day to act as a back stop to the American line behind the ARDENNES battle. A conference of Bde recce parties was held at Bde HQ at 0830 hrs and the Bde Gp moved off at 1200 hrs. During the move the destination was changed, and the Bde Gp arrived in the area of BOURG LEOPOLD during the hours of darkness and was conc as follows:- Bde HQ 279822; 5 BW HEPPEN 2481; 1 Gordons TESSENDERLOO 1477; 5/7 Gordons STOOTERT 2084. Mov Order No 8 att as Appx ‘E’. Mov Order No 8 att as Appx ‘E’
279822 21   At 1300 hrs the Bde Gp left BOURG LEOPOLD and reached the area East of LOUVAIN by 2300 hrs. Tho Bde Gp was disposed as follows:- Bdo HQ 906548; 5 BW CORBEEKLOO 9055; 1 Gordons BIERBEEK 9051; 5/7 Gordons PELLENBERG 9256. At 2300 hrs a message was received from Div to the effect that 51 (H) Div was coming under comd 9 US Army and that the Bde Comd was to meet the G.O.C. at HQ 9 Army in MAASTRICHT at 1130 hrs 22 Dec. Mov Order No 9 att as Appx ‘F’. Mov Order No 9 att as Appx ‘F’
906548 22   The Bde Comd left for HQ 9 US Army at 0830 hrs. The Bde Gp followed at 1300 hrs. By 2300 hrs the Bde Gp was conc NE of MAASTRICHT as follows:- Bde HQ 613628; 5 BW 615678; 1 Gordons 611645; 5/7 Gordons 612623.
613628 23   The Bde Comd attended a conference at Div HQ at 1630 hrs to discuss the Div counter attack role. AF W 3008/9 att as Appx ‘G’. AF W 3008/9 att as Appx ‘G’
24   During the morning the Bde Comd and BM recced the areas over which the Bde might have to operate in the C/A role. On their return they learned that the Div would probably relieve 102 US Div in the area Eest of GEILENKIRCHEN about 26 Dec.
25   At 0400 hrs a message was received from Div HQ that 51 Div was coming under comd 1 US Army and would probably move to that area on 26 Dec. Unit recce parties were put on short notice to move.
25   About mid day it became apparent that the entire bde gp would move that day.
25   At 1215 hrs orders were received from HQ 51 (H) Div that the move would take pIace in the afternoon to a conc area South of LIEGE. Adv parties were to RV at HQ 1 US Army in TONGRES at 1400 hrs. The Bde Gp was clear of the Div SP, a point West of MAASTRICHT by 1730 hrs and were conc as follows by 2100 hrs:- Bde HQ 430191; 5 BW 433183; 1 Gordons 428171; 5/7 Gordons 470175; C Coy 1/7 Mx 395179; 127 Fd Regt 447176; 242 ATk Bty 445166; 105 LAA Bty 452165; CCP 174 Fd Amb 432187; ADS 174 Fd Amb 408179.
26   The whole of 51 (H) Div was now conc South of LIEGE in 1 US Army reserve with a c/a role. The situation appeared to be much more stable and as no move was expected Xmas festivities were resumed.
27   During the day the Bde Comd recced the three conc areas allotted to the Bde Gp by the GOC for its c/a role. Many flying bombs fell in the bde area during the day and night but no casualties were reported. The Bde Comd attended a conference at 51 (H) Div at 1830 hrs. Op Instr No 8 att as Appx ‘H’. Op Inst No 8 att as Appx ‘H’
28   At 0900 hrs the Bde Comd held a short conference of all COs in the Bde Gp to explain the role of the Bde Gp in the Div c/a role. Afterwards the Bde Comd and COs carried out a recce of the three areas concerned. The Bde IO returned from his attachment to the RAF.
29   NTR. Further and more detailed recces were carried out.
30   NTR. AF W 3008/9 att as Appx ‘I’. AF W 3008/9 attas Appx ‘I’
31   At 1100 hrs, during a Church Service, a flying bomb landed in the grounds of the Bde HQ chateau about 30 yds from the house. Many people were cut by flying glass and several vehs were damaged but there were no serious casualties. A message was received at 2000 hrs that the Bde would come under comd 30 Corps as immediate reserve and move to the area of SIN SIN GRANDE the following day.

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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.