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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: 4th Tk Bn Grenadier Guards
Month and Year: September 1944 (Erase heading not required). Commanding Officer: Lt.Col. H.R.H. Davies
Place Date Hour Summary Reference
CHATELIER 1   The Bn remained in the harbour area at LE CHATELIER. D/Sgt Spratley was promoted to RSM in place of RSM Fitzhugh who reverted at his own request.
2   The Commanding Officer inspected vehicles & tanks of the Bn over a period of several days.
3   Weather very bad again. Inspections postponed & no activity beyond sheltering from the rain.
4   Inspections of tanks & vehicles. Weather remained bad.
5   Orders for a move on 7th Sept to area just South of NEUBOURG, some 25 miles West of the SEINE. Recce parties sent out to harbour areas for nights 7th & 8th Sept.
5   The tanks are to move in 3 stages under command of the Commanding Officer, while soft vehicles will move on one bound under the 2nd in command.
6   Preparations for move to new area. Advance parties sent on to new area under Capt RGC Rasch. Weather very bad, raining & blowing hard.
7 0715 The tanks started on long journey to LE NEUBOURG R0384.
ALMENÈCHES 7   A distance of 41 miles was done on the first day & the harbour area at ALMENÈCHES Q4342 was reached by 1400 hrs. Several miles were done across country through thick mud. Casualties to vehicles were very light & all tanks arrived eventually. The soft vehicles set out at 2035 hrs & drove straight to LE NEUBOURG a distance of about 115 miles arriving at 0510 hrs.
8 0159 The Bn continued its road march to LE NEUBOURG this time mostly in darkness, but fortunately in moonlight.
VERNEUIL 8 0930 The harbour area 3 miles North of VERNEUIL R0138 was reached at 0930 hrs, a distance of about 46 miles. Again casualties were light, 1 tank only being left behind.
9 1030 The Bn finished the last lap of its 115 mile journey covering the 25 mile run to LE NEUBOURG in about 4 hrs. This total distance of about 115 miles was completed at the cost of 1 tank only.
9   The new area was rather more scattered than most & all Sqns had plenty room in orchards.
9   This area is inhabited largely by Belgians & rumours about German soldiers in hiding & whole scale arrests by the FFI were widespread.
10   Orders were given for the continuation of the move to the other side of the SEINE. Recce parties set out under the 2nd in cmd to an area at AMFREVILLE-LES-CHAMPS M3498.
11   The soft vehicles broke harbour at 0800 hrs in blocks of 20 at a time & started arriving at AMFREVILLE M3498 by about 1100 hrs.
AMFREVILLE 11   AMFREVILLE is about 15 miles South East of ROUEN & some 4 miles East of the River SEINE. The route was by LOUVIERS – LES ANDELYS – AMFREVILLE.
11   The tks left at about 0930 hrs & moving in Sqn blocks arrived at 1515 hrs onwards.
11   The SEINE was bridged at LES ANDELYS by a 200 yd pontoon bridge & was crossed at a high speed & with success by every vehicle.
11   The new area is once more formed largely of orchards & there is plenty of room for all Sqns. There are also some buildings available for offices & recreation rooms, & the Sergeants Mess formed for the first time in FRANCE.
12   The day was spent in maintenance & settling in.
13   Further maintenance. No move appears to be likely for some time & arrangements for baths, cinemas & recreational journeys to ROUEN are being prepared.
14   Maintenance & a general check over of arms & equipment.
15 1200 A boar hunt was held by a large part of the Battalion. There were no casualties on either side.
15   The Band of the Life guards gave a concert in the afternoon.
16   Physical training, baths, route marches filled in the time. The local population are more than friendly & many Guardsmen are being invited into their homes.
17   A church service was held at 0945 hrs. No 2 Sqn played & defeated FLEURY Football Club by 9 – 1 in the afternoon.
18   15 Tks from FDS are attached to the Bn. HQ Sqn has obtained an ARV. Many visits are being paid to flying bomb sites several of which are located round ROUEN.
18   The Sergeants Mess gave a very successful musical evening with the band of the Life Guards.
19   Routine as before. All chances of a move have been removed by the use of nearly all the 3tonners as supply carriers for the 2nd Army.
20   Drill parades – route marches – physical training & football. French lessons are being given to many Guardsmen.
21   Still no prospects of a move. Routine as before.
22   The commanding Officer & Major IJ Crosthwaite set off for BRUSSELS to visit 2nd Army HQ, now some 300 miles in advance of the Bn. The Recce Tp were sent out to comb a wood for some 5 Germans reported by the F.F.I., but nothing was seen.
23   Routine as usual. Recreational journeys to VERSAILLES started.
24   Sports afternoon at PONT ST PIERRE. Nos 1 & 2 Sqns played local teams at football. Orders for a move East on 29th September.
25   Routine as usual. The Bn was now warned to move on the 29th, wheels leading followed by the tks on transporters.
26   The advance party under Major CMF Deakin set out for HOLLAND. The night 26/27 was spent at MONS in BELGIUM. Other Recce’s for the long trek North were carried out.
27   The advance party reached our destination at GELDROP some 4 miles East of EINDHOVEN in HOLLAND & spent the next three days arranging billets. The Bn spent all day preparing for the journey.
28   Final preparations for the advance. The Bn loaded the tanks on to transporters late in the evening. All 3ton lorries in running [repair?] had returned from our jobs of convoying petrol & ammunition across BELGIUM & FRANCE.
29 0445 The wheels convoy left AMFREVILLE at 0445 & travelled across the old battlefields of 1914 to a harbour area between CAMBRAI & VALENCIENNES, which it reached about 1500 hrs. The tanks left at 0930 hrs & arrived at a harbour area 3 miles East of ALBERT late in the evening.
CAMBRAI 30 0500 The wheels convoy continued its 300 miles journey at 0500 hrs. It crossed the Belgian border at 0645 hrs & passing south of BRUSSELS entered HOLLAND at 1640 & reached GELDROP at 1830 hrs. The route from AMFREVILLE was BEAUVAIS – ALBERT BAPAUME – CAMBRAI – VALENCIENNES – MONS – NIVELLES – LOUVAIN – DIEST – GELDROP. The total journey being about 315 miles.
30 1830 The transporters halted for the night in BELGIUM near NIVELLES.
30   The rest of the evening was spent finding out the billets & arranging guards, as the enemy were not more than 20 miles away on a wide open East flank. GELDROP is at the base of the famous NIJMEGEN corridor.

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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.