|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: The Royal Dragoons|
|Month and Year: November 1944||(Erase heading not required).||Commanding Officer: Lt.Col. H.W. Lloyd|
|FIELD||1||53 Div concentrate in the area between WEERT and MAESYCK and 'A', 'B' and 'C' Sqns are relieved of their responsibilities in this area in the course of the day. The Regt then ceased to be under comd 4 Armd Bde and came under comd 53 Div, from whom it received orders to concentrate the following day in the area of ASCH, about 9 miles SW of MAESEYCK, for further duties. Dull, with some rain. Poor visibility.|
|2||The Regt moved at 1000 hrs to concentrate in the area of ASCH, with RHA about 1½ miles SW of the town. At 1400 hrs the C.O. held a Sqn Ldrs' conference. The Regt has to be in 8 Corps reserve under 53 Div, but prepared to operate immediately in the event of an enemy counter-attack in the area S of MAESEYCK. Meanwhile, Sqns were allotted duties to recce certain roads and tracks. The role does not appear to be an exacting one, particularly as an enemy counter-attack in this area appears most unlikely. Sqns find themselves comfortable billets and everyone prepares to settle down to the long-awaited period of rest and recuperation - if only for a few days. Contacts are made for baths, cinemas and other luxuries. At about 2200 hrs a message is received that the Regt is to move at 1000 hrs tomorrow to the area of MILL, about 6 miles ENE of UDEN (a journey of about 85 miles by road from the Regt's present location), for further duties. Dull.|
|3||The Regt leaves its present location at 1000 hrs to concentrate in the area of MlLL. The C.O. attended a conference in the morning at HQ 3 (Br) Inf Div (Maj-Gen L.G. Whistler, DSO). The Regt is to come under this Div and is to operate under comd of 2 Household Cav Regt (Lt-Col Henry Abel-Smith). The Royals are to patrol the West bank of the MEUSE between BOXMEER and GROENINGEN and report on enemy movement on the opposite bank. They are to relieve The Inns of Court Regt in this area. On he right flank The Royals are supported by 3 Recce Regt and on the left by 2 Household Cav Regt. Rain during the morning, but brighter in the afternoon.|
|4||RHQ moves from MILL to ST ANTHONIS, about 6 miles SE. 'C' and 'D' Sqns send out patrols. 'A' and 'B' Sqns are in reserve. Fair. Good visibility.|
|5||'C' and 'D' Sqns continue patrolling. Considerable shelling and mortaring in Sqn areas, otherwise N.T.R. The following Officers who rejoined the Regt are posted to Sqns as follows:- Lt. A.B. Houstoun to 'C' Sqn., Lt. P.B. Browne to 'A' Sqn., Lt. B.J. Hodgson to 'C' Sqn. Dull, with some rain.|
|6||A deserter, a cpl from 11 Coy, Batt. Sturm, crossed the river and surrendered to a 'C' Sqn patrol this morning. He wore two ribbons, one denoting the Russian War medal and the other that he had been wounded three times. He had obviously had a good education and was well turned out. He gave a great deal of useful information, including the exact location of his Bn HQ and the locations of troops and positions where mines had been laid. His apparent reason for this was a grudge against one of his officers. He was kept at RHQ overnight. Signs of enemy digging in gun positions along the East bank of the river opposite our front. Several targets are engaged by our arty. Fair.|
|7||During the night, at about 0100 hrs, a German patrol which had crossed the river, sett off a trip-flare set by 'C' Sqn. The 'C' Sqn patrol which was covering the area opened fire and the German patrol fled. It is not certain whether any casualties were inflicted on the enemy. 'A' Sqn relieved 'C' Sqn at mid-day. Heavy rain during the previous night. Cloudy and a high wind.|
|8||'B' Sqn relieved 'D' Sqn at about mid-day. Orders are received from 2 Household Cav Regt regarding the evacuation of the civilian population from the villages West of the river along the front covered by 2 HCR, Royals and 3 Recce Regt. The evacuation is to start tomorrow. Control posts are established past which the evacuation of the civilians is to be checked and special pass-forms for the use of the civilians are prepared. The Regt is to be responsible for establishing one Stop Post at the road and rly crossing South of SAMBEEK. Daily logs are to be kept with particulars of all persons passing, or attempting to pass, the control posts. The following units are to come under comd 2 HCR to assist in the defence of the area:- 63 A.Tk Regt, Det 121 LAA, MG Pl and Mortar Pl 2 Mx Regt; Three Dutch Inf Coys; in support: 25 Fd Regt, 91 A.Tk Regt (Less 2 Btys). A quiet day on our front. Some shelling and mortaring. Dull and rainy.|
|9||The evacuation commences. Defence posts are now established along the whole front of 2 HCR, The Royals, and 3 Recce Regt. These are manned by btys from 63 A.Tk Regt. 2 Btys (90 mm each) are allotted to 'A' and 'B' Sqns. This affords considerable relief to the Sqn patrols, freeing them for more normal patrol work and for night ambushes and listening posts. 91 A.Tk Regt fire support with 17 pdr SP guns and several targets along the front are engaged by the Mortar Pl and Heavy MG Pl of 2 Mx Regt. Little enemy movement is seen along the front. Weather dull and rainy. During the past week there has been almost continuous rain either during the day or at night. Roads have become very treacherous and movement off the roads is impossible, in most places, for vehicles.|
|10||Lt-Gen Sir Richard O'Connor, GOC, 8 Corps, visited RHQ at 1030 hrs. Afterwards, accompanied by the C.O., he visited 'A' and 'B' Sqn H.Q's. Lieut-Col H.W. Lloyd returned from his leave to ENGLAND, arriving at RHQ shortly after mid-day, and re-assumed command of the Regt. There was increased mortaring and shelling in the area of 'A' and 'B' Sqns. Otherwise N.T.R. There was more heavy rain during the night – unsettled and intermittent rain during the day.|
|11||'C' Sqn relieved 'B' Sqn at mid-day. Shortly after first light 'B' Sqn reported noises which sounded like tracked vehicles moving on the opposite side of the river. Similar noises had been heard during the night. As, however, no movement was observed while the noises, nevertheless, continued, it was suggested that the noises might have come from concrete mixers. A quiet day on all fronts. Some small fires (which gave the appearance of "brew-up" fires and appeared at about 1700 hrs) were engaged by the arty. Dull and rainy.|
|12||W.e.f. 1200 hrs today The Royals took over comd from 2 HCR of the sector – to be known as the MAAS Sector – formerly under comd 2 HCR. Tps under comd:- 2 Sqns Inns of Court Regt, 63 A.Tk Regt, Det 121 LAA, MG Pl and Mortar Pl 2 Mx Regt, Three Dutch Inf Coys; and in support, 25 Fd Regt, 91 A.Tk Regt (Less 2 Btys). For further details see Royals Op Instr No. 4, dated 11 Nov 44, at Appendix 'A'. 2 HCR left this area at 1900 hrs. 'D' Sqn relieved 'A' Sqn at midday. Dull and rainy.||'A'|
|13||Very slight movement of enemy infantry, in small numbers, on the opposite side of the river, reported from time to time during the day. One Sqn Inns of Court Regt came under comd The Royals today and assumed responsibility for the area formerly manned by the Sqn of 2 HCR. Dull, with intermittent rain and very poor visibility.|
|14||12 and 8 Corps are to carry out operations with the object of clearing the enemy bridgehead West of the R. MAAS between WESSEM and VIERLINGSBEEK. Operations commenced at 1600 hrs today with 12 Corps advancing from WEERT and NEDERWEERT. 8 Corps will, in due course, advance on the left of 12 Corps with 3 (Br) Div on the left flank. For the purpose of these operations the responsibility of The Royals Gp will extend South to include VORTUM. The Royals Gp is to continue, for the time being, in a defensive role. On our own front the position is quiet. The ground is very wet and boggy due to the continuous rain. Foot patrols are sent out during the day and at night. Last night an enemy patrol crossed the river and advanced as far as the North edge of VORTUM. It was dispersed with SA fire, but no casualties were inflicted. During the past week the nights have been pitch dark, rendering the duties of night patrols and ambushes extremely difficult. The MG Pl and Mortar Pl of 2 Mx were withdrawn today to join the advance under 8 Corps. Dull.|
|15||The advance of 12 Corps has gone well. This morning two bns were reported across the WESSEM CANAL, East of WEERT and two bns across the CANAL DU NORD, NE of WEERT. Our tps are now advancing towards GRATHEM. Meanwhile 8 Corps is now advancing and has occupied MEIJEL, which was evacuated yesterday by the enemy. So far there has been only slight opposition, but heavy mine-laying and boggy ground makes the going slow. Later in the day 53 Div (12 Corps) captured GRATHEM and 51 (H) Div (12 Corps) captured HEIJTHUIJZEN. On our own front there was the usual patrol activity, otherwise N.T.R. Dull, but no rain.|
|16||During last night an enemy patrol crossed the river and advanced to the outskirts of SAMBEEK, where it was driven off by a post manned by 63 A.Tk Regt. The patrol got away, but suffered one wounded casualty. 'B' Sqn relieved 'D' Sqn at midday. At about 1900 hrs an enemy patrol comprising 1 cpl and 6 men attacked a post manned by 63 A.Tk Regt South of CUIJK. The post engaged the patrol, hitting three and capturing the remaining three. 63 A.Tk suffered no casualties. The patrol came from 1 Coy, 202 Luftwaffe Regt, a new formation which moved recently to GENNEP. Further South the advance of 12 Corps and 8 Corps continues to make good progress. The enemy has fallen back to the line of the CANAL DE DEURNE and CANAL DE DERIVATION. HORN, about 2 miles North-West of ROERMOND, is captured by our tps who advance to within a mile of ROERMOND before nightfall. Fine, bright sunshine. No rain.|
|17||This morning the factory at BOXMEER was heavily shelled. 63 A.Tk Regt suffered the following casualties:- 7 O.R's killed, 5 O.R's wounded. 'A' Sqn relieved 'C' Sqn at midday. The H.Q. of 'A' Sqn The Royals, was mortared this morning. There was one casualty - Tpr Pook, who was killed. The advance further South continues. 7 Armd Div (1/6 Queens) occupies WESSEM. Our tps are closing up to the left bank of the MEUSE, meeting surprisingly little enemy opposite ROERMOND. Major K.G.F. Balfour assumed comd of 'D' Sqn, taking over from Major V.H.H. McCalmont. The latter assumed comd of H.Q. Sqn, formerly commanded by Major Balfour.|
|18||A quiet day on our on front. Shortly after dark 'A' Sqn, operating in our Southern sector, sent out a patrol to lay mines. At about 1900 hrs a mortar landed in the midst of the patrol, which was then about a mile SW of SAMBEEK. The entire patrol were casualties. Cpl Holttum, Cpl Myles, Tprs Francis, Green and Moore were killed and Lt. R. de S. Lawrenson and Tprs Garner and Robinson injured. It was pitch dark at the time and the enemy cannot have known the patrol's position. It is considered that it can only have been an unlucky coincidenoe that the patrol was hit. Fine at first, but rain later in the day. Visibility good.|
|19||During the last few days there has been more activity along the opposite bank of the MAAS along the whole front of The Royals Gp. There has been more active patrolling by the enemy at night. A good deal of digging has been observed and his shelling and mortaring have increased and is becoming more accurate. At about 1400 hrs today several large shells, probably 105's, landed in the outskirts of ST ANTHONIS in which is located RHQ and 3 (Br) Div (Rear). Our own counter-battery fire has slackened considerably. Ammunition is in rather short supply and 25 Fd Regt are loth to engage targets as liberally as before. Little enemy movement was seen on our own front today. Two V.2's were reported. Fair. Good visibility.|
|20||12 Corps and 8 Corps, advancing steadily, are gradually pushing the enemy back to the MEUSE. The RE's, who have been on the right flank, manning the area of VORTUM, are, together with other elements of 3 (Br) Div, withdrawn in order to operate further South and assist in the attack against the MEUSE bridgehead. As a result, The Royals Gp is extended w.e.f. 0800 hrs today to include VORTUM. Two other Sqns of Inns of Court Regt came under comd The Royals today. The following are now under comd:- 63 A.Tk Regt; Det 121 LAA, Inns of Court Reg (Less one Sqn), 2 Dutch Coys. In support: 25 Fd Regt, 91 A.Tk Regt (Less 2 Btys). It will be observed that there are only two Dutch Coys under comd (See 12 Nov). The third Dutch Coy has not arrived. The usual enemy movenent was reported during the day opposite our own front. Last night a post of 63 A.Tk Regt at OEFFELT drove off a German patrol and later collected 3 Schmeizer Machine Pistols. Today a wounded S.A.F. Serjeant from 2 Coy Reigels gave himself up to our post at BEUGEN, in the Inns of Court Regt area. He said he was leader of a patrol 5 strong which crossed the river last night NE of OEFFELT. He said that two of the patrol were killed and he was wounded. Fine during the morning, but rain and cloud later in the day.|
|21||OEFFELT (In the Inns of Court Regt area) was heavily shelled today. About 30 or 40 shells, probably 105's, landed in the village and 1 house was demolished. An enemy patrol was also observed in the area of OEFFELT this morning, but managed to get away. Lieut. A.C. Goodall, MC, 'C' Sqn, went forward with his operator Tpr Marshall 04, to man an OP in a house close to the river near BOXMEER. He was due to return to his Sqn by nightfall. At 1730 hrs he reported over the air that he was about to return. He did not return and nothing further was heard from him. Fair. Some rain in the afternoon.|
|22||A patrol from 'C' Sqn left at first light to search for Lt. Goodall, MC. The house from which he had been watching was found to be empty and no clue of any kind was found to show what had happened. No shots or firing had been heard either yesterday or during the night from that area. In the circumstances there is reason to suppose that he was ambushed by an enemy patrol as he left the house. The house had been used previously for an OP. Last night a German patrol attacked the North post at BOXMEER manned by 63 A.Tk Regt. The patrol was driven off by SA fire from the post. One German was killed and one believed wounded, as the empty wrapping of a first field dressing was found. 63 A.Tk Regt suffered no casualties. Heavy rain during most of the day. Little enemy movement seen.|
|23||Enemy shells fell on the outskirts of ST ANTHONIS, within ¼-mile of RHQ, at 0600 hrs this morning. 'A' Sqn relieved 'C' Sqn in the BOXMEER – SAMBEEK area. 'B' Sqn relieved 'D' Sqn in the VORTUM area. It rained heavily all day, visibility being not more than a few hundred yards. More shells fell in the outskirts of ST ANTHONIS at 1815 hrs. Meanwhile, further South, the American 7th, 3rd, 1st and 19th Armies and the 1st French Army, are advancing. The most spectacular advance is that of the 1st French Army, which is now on the RHINE between BASLE and MULHAUS – the latter town being reported liberated this morning.|
|24||It rains during most of the day. Most of the West bank of the river along our front is extensively flooded. Visibility very poor. N.T.R. On other fronts the advances continue. The main obstacles on the 12 Corps and 8 Corps fronts are the weather and the boggy ground. But the MEUSE pocket is nearly cleared up, the only area remaining in enemy hands being West and North-West of VENLO. The French forces, operating under US 7 Army, captured STRASBOURG today and are spreading into the ALSACE Plain.|
|25||The rain continues all day and visibility is very poor. There is extensive flooding on both banks of the MEUSE, but more especially on the West bank, where it extends along the whole of The Royals Gp front. Around BOXMEER and VORTUM the water is 6 ft deep in some places. There was some shelling this morning in the areas of OEFFELT and VORTUM and an enemy SP gun was observed on the East bank of the river NE of OEFFELT.|
|26||A bright sunshiny day. N.T.R. on our front. The Allied armies continue to advance. In the North 12 Corps and 8 Corps have nearly cleared the whole of the MEUSE pocket and have closed in on VENLO. There are still a few small enemy groups on the West bank of the river NW of VENLO. Further South, 30 Corps and the American 9th Army are meeting very stiff resistance in their advance to the River ROER and the Germans are strongly defending LINNICH and JULICH the two main towns on this river. The whole of 6 Panzer Army has now been located between the RHINE and the ROER and Gen Eisenhower has stated that it appears that the German High Command intends to "fight it out" West of the RHINE. Still further South the American 7th Army is widening the front behind STRASBOURG and the French 1st Army is pushing Northwards up the West bank of the RHINE from MULHAUS. The German forces operating in the VOSGES Mountains are in danger of being trapped and are said to be withdrawing.|
|27||N.T.R. on our own front. 'C' Sqn relieved 'A' Sqn in the BOXMEER – SAMBEEK sector. 'D' Sqn relieved 'B' Sqn in the VORTUM sector. Slight advances are made on all Allied fronts further South. Gen Patton's 3 US Army is reported to have reached the SAAR RIVER South of MERZIG. This places him just inside GERMANY and on the edge of the SIEGFRIED LINE. 7 US Army under Gen Patch succeeds in widening the STRASBOURG corridor and the French 1st Army under Gen De Tassigny advances further Northwards. Fine. Good visibility. The following Officers who recently joined the Regt are posted to Sqns as follows:- 2/Lt. R.A. Gatehouse (recovered from wound received in FRANCE) – 'D' Sqn; 2/Lt. W. Young – 'A' Sqn; 2/Lt. E.W. Youngman, DCM – 'D' Sqn.|
|28||A bright sunshiny morning and very cold, but at midday it clouded over and at 1300 hrs it started to rain again. It rained hard and ceaselessly for the rest of the day, visibility being reduced to a few hundred yards. On our own front N.T.R. The MEUSE pocket is now cleared of the enemy, all but a few pockets round VENLO. The mopping up of these pockets has been prevented mainly by the weather. The ground has been so boggy that it has been almost impossible to use any armour in the operations of clearing the MEUSE pocket and our air support has also, of necessity, been reduced, in this theatre, to practically nil. There will shortly be some regrouping on this front. O.C. 185 Bde (3 (Br) Div), Brigadier Bols, visited RHQ this morning.|
|29||A fine clear day with bright sunshine. Otherwise N.T.R.|
|30||The fine weather continues, but "Meuse Force" or "The Royals Gp" breaks up. For 18 days the Regiment has been responsible for he line of the R. MAAS from excl CUIJK to incl SAMBEEK – extended to VORTUM as from 14 Nov. This covered a distance of 8 or 9 miles as the crow flies and (allowing for the many bends in the river) covered a river frontage of about 12 miles or more. Details of the units under comd and in support have been given. W.e.f. 0800 hrs this morning, Inns of Court Regt, 63 A.Tk Regt and 91 A.Tk Regt ceased to be under comd 3 (Br) Div and left the area. The area formerly held by The Royals Gp now comes under comd 185 Bde, which moved its H.Q. to WANROIJ. The Royals accordingly come under comd 185 Bde w.e.f. 0800 hrs this morning. The front, along the bank of the river is now held as follows :- On the right 2 Warwicks cover the area VORTUM – VIERLINGSBEEK (They relieved 'D' Sqn in the VORTUM area this morning. 'D' Sqn came back to rest in the area of MILL). The BOXMEER – SAMBEEK area is the responsibility of The Royals with to Dutch Coys under comd. (The Dutch Platoons in BEUGEN and OEFFELT moved this morning to join the remainder of their Coys in BOXMEER and SAMBEEK). The areas BEUGEN and OEFFELT are held by 2 K.S.L.I. and on the left 1 Norfolk hold the remainder of the river line as far North as (excl) CUIJK. Nothing of importance occurred during the day, but last night an enemy patrol, which had crossed the river somewhere South of CUIJK attacked the billet of a standing patrol of the Inns of Court. They appeared to attack from the West, surprised the guard and captured him and two O.R's sleeping in a shed. They then entered the billet and fired a LMG, wounding 1 O.R. Fire was returned and they made a lightening getaway, but not before they had bazookaed a Daimler Armd C. 'C' Sqn is now the only Sqn of The Royals operating and remain in the BOXMEER – SAMBEEK sector. 25 Fd Regt, RA, have now moved from the sector. Arty support now provided by 7 Fd Regt, RA.|
Helaas geen map gevonden.
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.