On a journey of discovery to historical sites? Download the TracesOfWar app directly on Google Play or the Apple App Store.
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: H.Q. 154 Infantry Brigade
Month and Year: October 1944 (Erase heading not required). Commanding Officer: Brig. J.A. Oliver, D.S.O., M.B.E.
Place Date Hour Summary Reference
DUNKIRK Area 1   During the night 30th Sept/1st Oct there was very little enemy activity. It was observed however, that on several occassions when German aircraft passed over the German lines at night, ground flares went up and the aircraft came down low. It is practically certain that these planes were dropping supplies to the garrison and that the flares acted as a guide.
1   At about 1430 hours Lt. Col. Leekie, 7th R.T.R., of 34th Tank Bde visited Bde H.Q. The object of the visit was to have a look round the Bde area as the 7th R.T.R. were to take over a sector of the front as part of the Czech Bde when 154 Bde were relieved.
1   Towards the end of September a request was received from the French Red Cross in Dunkirk regarding the evacuation of the civilian population from the town. This request was passed on to Army and on the 1st October Army intimated that they had agreed.
1   Intelligence summary No. 1 issued. Appendix “A”
2   On the 2nd October a letter from the Bde Comd was despatched through the French Red Cross to the German Commander in Dunkirk. In this letter the Bde Comd suggested that a truce of 36 hours would be sufficient to complete the evacuation. The German Commander was asked to state a meeting place where terms could be discussed and also to state the route to be taken by the emissary from this Bde. Appendix “B”
3   The German Commander's reply was received at 0700 hours on 3rd October and the Bde I.O., Captain W.M. Wingate-Gray, MC, and a Canadian Staff Officer from Army acted as emissaries. At Gd Predembourg Fme they met the German emissaries and from there they were escorted blindfold to the German Commander's office in the town. Captain Wingate-Gray stated that the Bde had agreed to a 36 hour truce commencing at 0600 hrs 4 October and ending at 1800 hours (5 Oct), but the German Commander said that in order to clear the defences along the road where the evacuation was to take place and to put them in order again after the evacuation was complete he would require an extension of 12 hours at either end. This was agreed to and the truce commenced at 1800 hours 3rd October and was to finish at 0600 hours 6 October. Appendix "C"
3   At 1600 hours 3rd October Captain Wingate-Gray had to go in a second time in order to take a written guarantee from the Bde Comd and obtain one from the German Commander, that there would be no acts of war or change of military dispositions during the period covered by the truce.
3   Conditions of truce issued. Appendix “D”
3   Copy of Bde Comd's guarantee attached. Appendix “E”
3   Copy of German Commander's guarantee attached. Appendix “F”
4   The evacuation started at 0600 hours 4th October and during the morning the evacuation was slow as only four to five hundred were evacuated. However, in the afternoon approximately 5,500 evacuees came through. Arrangements had been made for the evacuation of the wounded. It was found, however, that a greater number of German wounded than British came through and on the Bde Comd's order Captain W.C. Mitchell, L.O. 154 Bde went into Dunkirk to state the Bde Comd's terms to the German Commander. The terms were that the evacuation of wounded must be on a one for one basis, i.e. one German wounded for one British wounded.
5   On the 5th October the evacuation was speeded up considerably and 12,500 came through making a total of 18,500 evacuees altogether. All the evacuees came over the canal at GRANDE MILLE BRUGGE. As a result of one of the bridges on the German side collapsing the German Commander asked for an extension of the truce and en extension until 1000 hours 6th October was granted in order to give the Germans time to repair the bridge.
5   Copy of terms for extension of truce attached. Appendix “G”
6   At 1000 hours on the morning of 6th October when the truce ended Typhoons and Spitfires shot up enemy positions and our arty opened up. There was very little retaliation during the day and later P.W. reports confirmed the opinion that the enemy thought that we were launching a large scale attack and endeavoured to preserve his ammunition. During the night 6/7 October no enemy activity took place except for the usual one or two aircraft which came over with supplies. It is amusing to note that several containers of supplies including one anti-tank gun were dropped on Boulogne by mistake.
7   The General Commanding the Czech Bde along with his Staff Officers arrived at Bde H.Q. As 154 Bde was to be relieved by the evening of 4th October officers from the Czech Bde made a thorough recce and contacted their opposite numbers in the Bns.
7   As the 1 Black Watch were required to move up to join the Division in the EINDHOVEN area on 8th October the 7th R.T.R. were ordered to relieve the 1 Black Watch by 2359 hours 7th October. To enable the platoon of 1 Black Watch carriers attached to Campbell Force at SPYCKER to move with its Bn on 8th October the Bde Defence Platoon relieved them by 1700 hours 7th October.
7   Operation Order No. 25 issued. Appendix “H”
7   A/Fs W. 3008 and 3009 issued. Appendix “I”
8   The remainder of the Bde were to be relieved between 2000 hours and 2359 hours 8th October. The reliefs were as follows:-
8   (1) 7 Black Watch to be relieved by 2nd Czech Armd Regt.
8   (2) 7 A. & S.H. to be relieved by Czech Motor Bn.
8   (3) Campbell Force and "A" Sqn 2 Derby Yeo to be relieved as follows:-
8   (a) BERGUES - One Sqn Czech Armd Regt (also to take over Campbell Force H.Q.).
8   (b) Two Sqns in Bde Reserve at REXPOEDE.
8   (c) HOYMILLE at bridge at 305778 relief to be provided by 1st Czech Armd Regt.
8   (d) Gd MILLE BRUGGE and SPYCKER to be taken over by Czech A.Tk bty which was to have its H.Q. in the distillery.
8   All these reliefs were successfully carried out without incident by 2200 hours 8th October.
8   Movement Order No. 26 issued. Appendix “J”
8   Route for move on 10th October issued. Appendix “K”
9   At about 0415 hours 9th October it was reported that an enemy patrol 40 strong attacked the right flank of the 7th R.T.R. but was successfully beaten off. At 0700 hours the command of Dunkirk force passed to the Czech Tk Bde.
9   The 154 Bde (less 1 Black Watch) then moved in two stages to rejoin the Division in the area ST. OEDENRODE E.4434. The order of march was 154 Bde H.Q., 7 Black Watch, 7 A&S.H., "A" Sqn 2 Derby Yeo, "B” Coy 1/7 Mx, Pl 274 Fd Coy R.E.; Mobile Bath Unit and Bde Sec OFP, “B” Coy 176 Fd Amb, 154 Bde L.A.D.
9   Bde S.P. was at road junction H:5862 in YPRES and the route for the first stage was via YPRES H.56 MENIN H.75 COMTRAI H.85 OUDENARDE J.05 ALOST J.46. The head of the column passed the S.P. at 1000 hours and the Bde group was successfully harboured for the night in the area between ALOST and BRUSSELS by 1730 hours.
10   The Bde Gp moved off on the second stage at 0800 hours. The same order of march applied as for the previous day. The route for this stage was BRUSSELS - MECHLIN – HEYSTOPDENBERG J.8979 - BOISSCHOT J.9276 - WESTERLOO J.0280 - GHEEL K.0888 - LOMMEL K.3095 - WESTERHOVEN E.3096 – STEENSEL E.3412 - EINDHOVEN E.4318 - ST. OEDENRODE E.4434.
OERLE 10   Actually en route route new orders were issued and the original intention of going to ST OEDENRODE was cancelled. The new role was to relieve the RAF Regt and to hold the line of the WILHELMINA Canal from excl railway at 380244 to incl DUN 3024 and prevent any enemy who succeed in crossing the canal from infiltrating South towards the airfield area near OERLE. The areas of responsibility were:-
10   RIGHT - 7 A. & S.H.:- Rly 3800 - East edge of bomb dump in square 3423.
10   CENTRE - 1 B.W.:- East edge of bomb dump to incl X tracks Pt 16.0 M.R. 325249.
10   LEFT – 7 B.W.:- Excl Pt 16.0 – DUN.
10   Bns were disposed to cover the tracks and approaches most likely to be used by the enemy in their areas and by day to cover the rest of these areas with O.Ps and by night by patrols. As the Bde were to cease to carry out this role on 15th October when the front would again be taken over by the Royals and the RAF Regt Bns were ordered not to be unduly aggresive in order that there would be no noticeable change in the method of holding the front. Armd C Tps “A" Sqn 2 Derby Yeo were in Bde reserve and were to be prepared to move to any point in the Bde area at 30 minutes notice.
10   "C" Sqn 147 Regt RAC was under command and was disposed as follows:-
10   Sqn less one Tp in Bde reserve at OERLE 3516.
10   One Tp at ZEELSTCHE 3520.
10   The RAF Recce Sqn aIready in position was disposed as follows:-
10   Sqn less two Tps under command 7 Black Watch.
10   Two Tps under command 7 A. & S.H.
10   The 1 Black Watch only took over their positions on the 10th October and the remainder of the Bde went into a harbour area and took over the following day, 11th October.
10   During the night 10/11 October 1 Black Watch suffered two killed and seven wounded casualties from shelling and mortaring. Otherwise there was not much enemy activity.
11   B.G.S. 1 Corps visited Bde H.Q. About the same time the Divisional Commander arrived and discussed the policy of the Bns with the Bde Comd.
11   At 1700 hours the Bde Comd held a conference for C/Os at Bde H.Q.
11   Operation Order No. 27 issued. Appendix “L”
11   Adm Instruction No. 8 issued. Appendix “M”
12   At about 0550 hrs 25 enemy mortar bombs landed in "D” Coy area 7 A. & S.H. but no casualties were sustained.
12   During the day the RAF Regt Recce Sqn was relieved by Armd Car Tps "A" Sqn 2 Derby Yeo, the dispositions being as follows:-
12   Two Tps under comd - 1 Black Watch
12   One Tp under comd - 7 A. & S.H.
12   In addition to holding its present sector, 7 A. & S.H. were to be prepared to move as Div Reserve in support of either 152 end 153 Bdes to the following RVs:-
12   In support of 152 Bde to STEENWEG 3827.
12   In support of 153 Bde to ST. OEDENRODE 4232.
12   At 1000 hrs the Bde Comd, B.M. and C.Os of Bns attended a Div Comd's Conference at Div H.Q.
12   Very little enemy activity took place during the day.
13   During the night 12/13 October the only activity was a small enemy patrol consisting of only two men who approached the left flank of "D" Coy 7 Black Watch which when fired on withdrew immediately. 7 Black Watch then sent a patrol out to search for them but found nothing.
13   During the day the 268 Lt AA Bty engaged the Church Tower and School at OIRSCHOT where an enemy O.P. was suspected.
13   During the rest of the day and night 13/14 October no enemy activity of any kind took place.
14   During a recce of the canal area about 1300 hours 7 A. & S.H. suffered one fatal O.R. casualty from a burst of Spandau fire. At about 1630 hours 20 enemy mortar bombs landed in "B" Coy area 7 Black Watch. Later at approximately 1820 hours several rounds from a 155 mm landed in "A" Coy 1 Black Watch area. Otherwise there was no enemy activity. The night 14/15th October was quiet.
14   A.Fs W. 3008 and 3009 issued. Appendix “N”
15   On the 15th October spasmodic mortaring of the 7 Black Watch positions took place in the afternoon. The remainder of the day was quiet.
16   Persistent mortaring and occasional shelling of ”A” Coy 1 Black Watch took place from 0300 to 0430 hours. At 0450 hours an enemy patrol three strong approached “A" Coy's positions but withdrew immediately when fired on.
16   At 1000 hours our arty engaged enemy mortar positions which had mortared the 1 BIack Watch in the early morning.
16   A Bridging Demonstration at ZON was attended by the Bde Comd and C.Os of Bns at 1100 hours. Afterwards the Bde Comd visited the 158 Bde H.Q. as it was the intention of 154 Bde to take over from the 158 Bde in a few days time.
16   Advance parties from the Royal Netherlands Bde arrived and carried out recces of the Bde area prior to the relief of 154 Bde by them.
16   During the afternoon intermittent enemy shelling of the Royals took place. Otherwise little activity.
17   The first of the Royal Netherlands Bde began to arrive at 0930 hours and were harboured in areas near to the Bns of 154 Bde which they were to relieve. The organisation of the Bde differed considerably from that of 154 Bde and consisted of the following:-
17   3 Independent Coys
17   1 Recce Sdqn.
17   1 Bty Fd Arty.
17   Dutch Bde H.Q. plus British Liaison H.Q.
17   The relief started in the afternoon and by 2030 hours the relief was carried out successfully without enemy interference. The Bns were harboured as follows prior to the move on the 10th to ST OEDENRODE area:-
17   1 Black Watch – near Main 51 Div.
17   7 Black Watch – DUIZEL
17   7 A. & S.H. – WESTERHOVEN
17   Bde H.Q. – EERSEL
17   As the Commander, 154 Bde remained in command of the troops in the area until 2100 hours 18th October, the Bde Comd, B.M. and a small operational staff remained at Bde H.Q. at OERLE.
18   At 0800 hours the Comd, 4th Armd Bde arrived and discussed with the Bde Comd matters of policy. The intention was that all troops in the area came under command of the Comd, 4th Armd Bde when 154 Bde left. 4th Armd Bde successfully took over all their positions by 1800 hours.
18   At 1730 hours the Bde Comd 154 Bde held a conference for C.Os of Bns regarding the move of the Bde on 19th October.
18   Operation Order No. 28 issued. Appendix “O“
Sheet 5 1/100000 ‘s HERTOGENBOSCH 19   The intention was that 154 Bde would relieve 158 Bde in the area excl ZUID WILLEMS CANAL 4538 - incl road SCHIJNDEL – ST. OEDENR0DE by 1400 hours 19th October.
19   The order of march for the move was,
19   “B”Coy 1/7 Mx.
19   7 A. & S.H.
19   7 Black Watch
19   Bde H.Q.
19   "B" Coy 176 Fd Amb.
19   Brigaded “B” Echelons.
19   L.A.D.
19   The Bde S.P. was the road junc 344116 in STEENSEL and the route was via MEERVELDHOVEN 3815 – ZEELST 3816 – HEUVEL 4018 – WOENSEL 4220 thence Div Axis to the D.P. at NEINSEL rd junc 436306. The 1 Black Watch were already in the area and were therefore not included in the march table.
19   The relief of the 158 Bde was carried out as follows:-
19   (a) 7 R.W.F. by 7 A. & S.H. in the area of squares 4437, 4537.
19   (b) 1 East Lancs by 7 Black Watch in the area of squares 4336, 4335, 4434, 4435.
19   (c) 1/5 Welch by 1 Black Watch in the area of squares 4135, 4235, 4234.
19   (d) 5 Seaforth of 152 Bde came under command of 154 Bde and were holding the positions in squares 4134, 4133, 4033.
19   (e) Bde H.Q. was established at ZANDHOEF 4431.
19   In support of 154 Bde were:-
19   1 N. Yeo.
19   Two Pls of “B" Coy 1/7 Mx.
19   126 Fd Regt R.A.
19   241 A.Tk Bty
19   By 2330 hours the relief was successfully completed without incident.
20   During the night 19/20 October all was quiet in the 7 A. & S.H. area except for spasmodic Spandau fire.
20   At about 0600 hours spasmodic mortaring on the left Company of the 7 Black Watch took place, but no casualties were sustained.
20   About 0600 hours an enemy patrol 20 strong infiltrated towards “C” Coy positions of 1 Black Watch. After a sharp encounter the enemy withdrew leaving behind 8 killed including 1 officer, and 5 prisoners, 4 of which were evacuated as wounded.
20   1 Black Watch casualties were 1 O.R. killed and 9 O.Rs wounded.
20   At 1000 hours the Bde Comd, B.M. and C.Os of Bns attended a Div Comd’s conference at ZON.
21   At about 0300 hours an enemy patrol endeavoured to infiltrate through “A” Coy 7 Black Watch but when fired on withdrew immediately. A recce patrol from 5 Seaforth who were under command 154 Bde went out at 0700 hours and reported that the area 395333 was occupied by the enemy.
21   The Bde Comd held a conference for C.Os of Bns and Supporting Arms Comds at Bde H.Q. at 1000 hours.
21   Operation Order No. 29 issued. Appendix “P”
21   At this conference the Bde Comd gave his orders for the next operation which was called “Colin”.
21   The following is a brief summary of those orders:-
21   For the operation 154 Bde had under commund:-
21   2 Derby Yeo (initially)
21   241 A.Tk Bty.
21   274 Fd Coy (with under command one Pl 275 Fd Coy)
21   “B” Coy 1/7 Mx.
21   “B” Coy 176 Fd Amb.
21   30 Kangaroos (plus 30 when released by 152 Bde).
21   In support of the Bde were:-
21   1 N. Yeo.
21   The intention of the Bde was:-
21   (1) To clear the woods South of ZUID WILHELMS Canal is Sqs 44359, 4438, 4240, 4141.
21   (2) Secure bridges crossing River DOMMEL at ST MICHIELS GESTEL 3440 and HALSCHE WATER at HALDER 3241 or crossing places and bridge holds later in the event of the bridges being blown.
21   (3) 2 Derby Yeo were to relieve the 7 A. & S.H. in the area 4437 and 4537 commencing 1200 hours 22nd October and on completion 7 A. & S.H. were to concentrate in the area East of EERDE 4536.
21   The attack was divided into three phases: -
21   (a) Phase I.
21   7 A. & S.H. with in support one half sqn 1 N. Yeo were to clear the woods South of the ZUID WILHELMS Canal in Squs 4439, 4438, 4240, 4140, 4141.
21   (b) Phase II.
21   7 Black Watch in Kangaroos with in support one Sqn and recce tp 1 N. Yeo were to pass through 152 or 153 Bde and exploit to ST MICHIELS GESTEL 3440 to carry out the following tasks:-
21   (1) If bridge at 377404 was intact, to secure all approaches both East and West of River DOMMEL.
21   (2) If bridge was destroyed but little enemy opposition was encountered en route, to secure all approaches East and West of R. DOMMEL and secure a bridge head on the West bank to allow 1 Black Watch to pass through.
21   (c) Phase III.
21   1 Black Watch with in support one half sqn 1 N. Yeo were initially to hold the firm base and be prepared to carry out the following alternative tasks later:-
21   (1) To relieve 5/7 Gordons of 153 Bde in WEIBOSCH 4237.
21   (2) In event of 7 Black Watch being successful in forming bridge head, to secure a bridge head over HALSCHE WATER at HALDER Bridge 528416.
21   (3) In event of 7 Black Watch not being successful to assault across River DOMMEL at ST MICHIELS GESTEL and secure a bridge head to allow bridges to be built.
21   (d) 2 Derby Yeo were:-
21   (1) To hold firm base in area 4437, and 4537.
21   (2) To cover right flank between ZUID WILHELMS Canal and road SCHIJNDEL - ST MICHIELS GESTEL and particularly the approaches from DUNGEN 3643 and STOKHOEK 3541.
21   The 7 A. & S.H. were not to be launched before 0800 hours 23rd October, 7 Black Watch were not to be launched before 0900 hours and 1 Black Watch not before 1200 hours.
21   The 152 and 153 Bde attacks were to start at midnight 22nd October. In all three phases of the Bde attack considerable artillery support was available.
21   241 A.Tk Bty and “B”Coy 1/7 Mx remained in Bde reserve in a concentration area South of the railway line.
21   Adm Order No. 9 issued. Appendix “Q”
21   Amendment No. 1 to Operation Order No. 29 issued. Appendix “R”
21   A.Fs W. 3008 and 3009 issued. Appendix “S”
22   During the day there was little enemy activitiy.
22   Typhoons shot up enemy positions on the afternoon of the 22nd October.
22   Addendum to Operation Order No. 29 issued. Appendix “T”
23   On the morning of the 23rd October fragmentation bombing of the wooded area at 370360 took place.
23   At 0800 hours 7 A. & S.H. were launched and at 0830 hours reached the line of the road 442390 and were held up by mines. By 1130 hours, however, 7 A. & S.H. reached their second report line 438390 but were again held up by mines.
23   7 Black Watch in Kangaroos set off at 1130 hours and reached their first report Iine at 373366 at 1215 hours. Half an hour later 7 Black Watch reported their second report line clear at BROOKSTRAAT 364385. The tank of 1 N. Yeo reported they were in contact with the enemy, encountering about 20 behind a road block at 360400.
23   At about 1250 hours Bde H.Q. moved forward to the area 445376.
23   At 1300 hours 7 A. & S.H. reported that they were overcoming the mines and pushing on to their next objective which they reached at 1335 hours. The 7 A. & S.H. then cleared the remainder of the woods by patrols.
23   5/7 Gordons then came under command 154 Bde and 7 A. & S.H. came under command 153 Bde.
23   At 1400 hours the tanks supporting 7 Black Watch reached the road junction 364403 and came under fire, which was overcome by 1440 hours when 7 Black Watch reached the road junction 364403. The 7 Black Watch continued to advance on the final objective, viz;, the bridge at ST MICHIELS GESTEL.
23   About 1600 hours 7 Black Watch reported having reached the river line and found the bridge at 347404 blown. Very little enemy opposition was encountered up to this point either by 7 A. & S.H. or 7 Black Watch and so far only 14 P.W. were taken.
23   At 1800 hours the Bde Comd ordered another Sqn of the 1 N. Yeo to look after the North flank of the town while 7 Black Watch made a crossing of the river by class III raft. This class Ill raft was completed by 2115 hours and by 2130 hours 7 Black Watch had two Coys across the River.
23   Later Class 9 and Class 40 bridges and a Bailey Bridge over the site of the old bridge were built.
23   The crossing was unopposed and only slight opposition was encountered on the other side of the River DOMMEL at 345406.
24   By 0200 hours 24th October 7 Black Watch were completely across and Bn H.Q. was established at 346406.
24   At about 0500 hours 1 Black Watch and a Sqn of tanks crossed successfully.
24   The Bde Comd then decided to push in two thrusts for the crossing of the HALSCHE WATER at HALDER and during the afternoon a Class III raft was built at 323400 and the 1 Black Watch formed a bridgehead on the other side with two Coys across. This Class III raft was subjected to heavy enemy shell fire and on the night of the 24th/25th October a Kapok Bridge and Class 9 and 40 bridges were also built. The remainder of the 1 Black Watch crossed during the night.
24   An early morning patrol by 1 Black Watch bumped into enemy infantry in the area of 320409.
24   As the country beyond the River DOMMEL at ST MICHIELS GESTEL was flooded the Bde Comd decided to develop the thrust from the crossing at 323400 only.
25   At about 0830 hours 25th October the 7 A. & S.H. with in support one Sqn 2 Derby Yeo crossed the bridge and passed through the 1 Black Watch, their objective being VUGHT.
Sheet 5 1/100000 s’HERTOGENBOSCH 25   Their axis of advance was along the road running North to VUGHT. The report lines were:-
25   Whippet – rd junc 321409
25   Greyhound – X rds 319413
25   Bulldog – X rds 318421
25   Mastiff – VUGHT rd junc 314431.
25   Considerable opposition was met in the form of shelling and mortaring and numerous snipers were lodged in the buildings en route. The first report line was reached, however, without much trouble, but much stronger opposition was met just South of the second report line which held up the 7 A. & S.H. It was later found on interrogating P.W. that the enemy were launching a counter attack approximately at the same time as the 7 A. & S.H. attack and the two attacking parties clashed.
25   The 7 A. & S.H. attack by this time were somewhat exhausted and the Bde Comd ordered them to consolidate on Greyhound until morning when the 7 Black Watch would be pushed through. 7 Black Watch were then brought South from ST MICHIELS GESTEL to a concentration area at HAL 323388.
25   During the night 25/26 October a patrol sent out by 7 A. & S.H. heard enemy half tracked vehicles moving to and from the wood 317418. An artillery programme was laid on to deal with this, the first concentration coming down at 0030 hours. 26th October and harassing fire at hourly intervals until 0500 hours.
26   At 0900 hours 7 Black Watch crossed the bridge at 323400 and instead of using the road to VUGHT as their axis, swung along the the side road to the East of the main road. No opposition was met for approximately 2,000 yards when 7 Black Watch then ran up against a road block with some infantry behind it. This was soon mopped up and 7 Black Watch successfully continued their advance after finding a way round the road block about 1005 hours. Beyond this there was little opposition apart from a few odd snipers which were dealt with as encountered. At 1020 hours 7 Black Watch came in contact with some enemy infantry and spandaus at 322422 but soon overcame this and reached their third report line, X roads 318422 at 1030 hours.
26   At 1045 hours opposition became stiffer at 318429 and an artillery Victor target helped matters considerably. By 1100 hours 7 Black Watch had reached road junction 316426 and captured VUGHT by 1300 hours. Tac Bde H.Q. then moved forward to 325406. At 1330 hours the position was a little confused as the enemy werd dug-in in the area 308438 to the West of VUGHT and heavy mortaring and shelling on the 7 Black Watch took place.
26   By 1530 hours Fort Isabella in VUGHT was reported clear by carrier patrol from 7 Black Watch.
26   About the same time 1 Black Watch who were ordered to occupy HELVOIRT Square 2740, reported this satisfactorily completed.
26   The lay out of the Bde was, therefore, as follows:-
26   Bde H.Q. at 288412, 1 Black Watch in HELVOIRT, 7 Black Watch in VUGHT and 7 A. & S.H. in the area of the hospital 319410.
26   7 A. & S.H. did some mopping up in the surrounding area without incident.
27   Litte enemy activity occurred during the day. “A” Sqn 2 Derby Yeo were ordered to patrol forward to the line of the canal and find out whether the bridges at 249442 and 279442 were intact. This was carried out successfully and it was found that the bridges were blown.
27   Armd Car standing patrols were left in the area of the demolished bridges, one armd car being knocked out by a Bazooka and one R.E. killed by spandau fire. An artillery stonk was brought down on the enemy positions North of the canal which had some effect as enemy infantry were immediately observed to be running away.
28   7 A. & S.H. and 7 Black Watch moved to concentration areas West of HELVOIRT in order to make room for a Bde of 53 Div whose intention was to make an assault crossing of the canal in the area of the two bridges, reported blown by 2 Derby Yeo.
28   At 1400 hours the Bde Comd held a conference for C.Os of Bns. At this conference the Bde Comd gave details of the next phase of operation “Colin” which was to push on westwards through LOON OP ZAND and endeavour to close the enemy escape routes over the River MAAS. The route was via cross roads 224359 – cross roads UDENHOUT – road junction 187400 - cross roads 175401 - LOON OP ZAND road junction 158398.
28   1 Black Watch were the first Bn to be committed and in support of them they had one Sqn of 1 N. Yeo. After the 1 Black Watch came in order of batting 7 A. & S.H. and 7 Black Watch. “A” Sqn 2 Derby Yeo reverted to Regimental command after having been relieved by a Sqn from 53 Recce Div.
28   A.Fs W. 3008 and 3009 issued. Appendix “U”
29   At 0905 hours 1 Black Watch in Kangaroos with one Sqn of tanks crossed the S.P. at cross roads 224359 and Tac Bde H.Q. moved forward to KUIL next to Div H.Q. 1 Black Watch were initially harboured in the area SCHOOLSTRAAT just North of KUIL and at 1230 hours 7 A. & S.H. were ordered to move into a harbour area there also. About 1140 hours 1 Black Watch received Kangaroos to do this advance and T.C.Vs were sent to 7 Black Watch from 153 Bde.
29   The report lines for the advance were as follows:-
29   Grouse - cross tracks 129422
29   Partridge - cross roads 118433
29   Pheasant - road junction 109438
29   Teal - cross tracks 100440
29   Mallard - track junction 087446
29   It was not known how strong the enemy were in this sector and in any case 1 Black Watch were the only Bn to be committed initially.
29   1 Black Watch reported having reached the first report line at 1500 hours and at 1525 hours they reported the second report line at 118433 clear. About 1600 hours the leading tank was knocked out by a S.P. gun and blocked the route. This caused some delay but the tank was eventually by-passed successfully.
29   At 1600 hours 7 Black Watch moved forward to a concentration area at SCHOOLSTRAAT. At 1730 hours 7 A. & S.H. were ordered to move from their concentration area. At 1830 hours 1 Black Watch reported the third report line Pheasant at 109438. The opposition was much less now and by 2030 hours they reported Teal 100440. Two enemy S.P. guns were observed moving up the road in front of them from the South. The Bde Comd then ordered 1 Black Watch to remain in their positions at Teal for the night. About 2210 hours 7 A. & S.H. were all successfully on Pheasant 109438 where they remained for the night. Throughout the night 29/30 October all was quiet with only occasional shelling. The total number of P.W. captured by 1 Black Watch was 70.
30   At 0900 hours 30th October 1 Black Watch continued their advance and reached their objective Mallard 087446 without further opposition at 0915 hours.
30   At 0940 hours 1 Black Watch reached the River line at 070456 and reported the bridge blown. Considerable enemy opposition was still being encountered in this area and resistance South of the railway - to which 1 Black Watch had been ordered to clear - did not cease until about 1400 hours. 7 Black Watch were then brought forward at 1115 hours and were ordered to clear northwards to the line of the river from NIEWE VAART. Their advance was without incident or opposition and the bridge at 099493 was reached at 1400 hours and reported blown. 7 Black Watch then established its H.Q. at NIEUWE VAART with the Coys in position at the cross roads 098477, 098409 and 097453.
30   At 1030 hours the Bde Comd visited the 7 A. & S.H. and directed them on GEERTRUIDENBERG. The report lines for the 7 A. & S.H. were:-
30   Whippet - cross roads 0644467
30   Greyhound - Rd junction 048471
30   Bulldog - Railway crossing 033475
30   Mastiff - Railway crossing 020485
30   7 A. & S.H. began their advance one Coy being in Kangaroos at 1400 hours and by 1450 hours the tanks with 7 A. & S.H. reported that they had reached Whippet. At 1535 hours it was reported that two tanks were brewed up by bazookas 200 yards short of the road junction 048471. Here there was much more opposition than was expected. Heavy mortaring and shelling was encountered in addition to bazookas and S.A. fire. One or two artillery Victor targets were fired in order to soften up the opposition and at 1900 hours the opposition was still very stiff. As by this time it was dark the Bde Comd ordered the 7 A. & S.H. to remain in the area of Whippet (cross roads 064487) until first light. During the night 30/31 Oct a certain amount of shelling by two 150 mm guns came down on the forward Coy area, but only one casualty was sustained.
31   At 0730 hours 7 A. & S.H. resumed their attack supported by a Sqn of tanks. The axis of advance was with two Coys forward astride the railway. The opposition was very stiff and it was later found on interrogating P.W. that the enemy was about to launch a counter attack at the same time. Strangely enough this was the second time this happened to the 7 A. & S.H. By 0745 hours the cross roads at 064467 was reached. At about 0810 hours the forward Coys were being fired on from the area of the factory buildings and the 7 A. & S.H. then got their 3 inch mortars into action. At 0915 hours most of the opposition was on the left forward Coy. Mortaring and spandau fire was particularly heavy in the area 048471. At 1030 hours a carrier patrol from 7 Black Watch reported the bridge at 068467 was not blown but the bridge at 073467 was blown. Several artillery concentrations were brought down on the area just beyond road junction 048471 in order to assist the 7 A. & S.H. forward. By 1100 hours the 7 A. & S.H. reached Greyhound road junction 048471. The Bde Comd then ordered 7 A. & S.H. to consolidate in the Raamsdonk area 048471. Casualties suffered by the 7 A. & S.H. were approximately 25 killed and 25 wounded.
31   The Bde Comd then ordered the 7 Black Watch to pass through the 7 A. & S.H. and capture the final objective which was the area of the area of the railway crossing 020484. The 7 Black Watch report lines were:-
31   Terrier - road junction 043478
31   Alsatian - road junction 028478
31   Airedale - 022481
31   Mastiff - railway crossing 020484
31   Heavy artillery concentrations opened at 1550 hours and 7 Black Watch in Kangaroos plus one Sqn of tanks began their advance at 1600 hours. The Bde H.Q. moved forward to the area 083457 at 1500 hours.
31   At about 1600 hours the Corps Commander visited Bde H.Q. and was shown the progress made so far. At about 1620 hours an enemy S.P. gun in the area 043415 was about to fire on one of our tanks when the leading Kangaroo was ordered by Lieut. Donaldson to ram it which it did successfully. One Kangaroo was, however, knocked out by the S.P. gun before it was finally silenced. This caused a block on the road and the Bde Comd went forward to the C.O. 7 Black Watch and the route was changed round the South of the railway. Progress after this was rapid and at 1740 hours the leading Coy met heavy spandau fire opposition at the railway crossing 033476. However, at 1900 hours the advance continued after the leading Coy had successfully dealt with the spandau post and by 2100 hours the final objective was reported captured without further opposition. Throughout the night the only activity from the enemy was occasional shelling of the rear areas. 7 A. & S.H. sent a patrol forward to the road junction 043478 at 2200 hours to mop up any enemy that might have been left there. The bridge 017484 was reported blown and an early morning carrier patrol on 1st November reported the bridge over the MAAS at 138409 also blown.
31   The 7 Black Watch did extraordinarily well in this attack and its success was in a measure due to the dash and speed with which the operation was carried out. Approximately 200 P.W. were captured and the casualties of 7 Black Watch amounted to only 23. This finished operation “Colin” which started on the morning of 23rd October.
31   Bde Comd 's account of batttle at RAAMSDONK. Appendix “V”

next month

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.