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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: 7th Bn. The Hampshire Regt.
Month and Year: September 1944 (Erase heading not required). Commanding Officer: Lt. Col. D.E.B. Talbot MC
Place Date Hour Summary Reference
Field FRANCE (Dept EURE) 1   Bn locations same.
1   During the afternoon a cloth model discussion was held at Bde HQ on the recent battle. The discussion was presided over by the Brigadier and was attended by COs and Coy Comds of 7 Hamps, 4 & 5 Dorset, O.C. 5 Wilts and offrs of attd and sp arms who took part in the assault crossing of the SEINE and the subsequent action in extending the bridgehead. CO 7 Hamps and carrier pl and B & D Coy cmdrs described 7 Hamps attack on the cloth modeI.
1   All coys took part in assault boat trg and river crossing on the SEINE.
1   It was noted during the late afternoon that 30 3 ton lorries passed down the VERNON rd from the fwd area each packed with PW.
1   A film show was provided for the tps in the village during the evening.
1   All 3 ton trucks were ordered to Bde HQ to form a maint coln for 11 Armd Div. In view of the speed of 11 Armd Divs adv towards AMIENS it was found necessary to mobilise all available tpt for sups.
1   Quiet night with no enemy activity. No cas. Copy of Wyvern News contg list of awards.
2   Bn location remains same.
2   Trg contd throughout the Bn with particular attention to river crossing.
2   Quiet night with no enemy activity. No cas.
3   Bn locations remain same.
3   A Church Parade was held near the village during the morning. National Day of Prayer. 5th year of War.
3   Div cloth model discussion took place at TILLY during the afternoon. Div Comd presided and the discussion chiefly concerned woodfighting.
3   During the night one of our 3 ton trucks which was assisting in sups for 11 Armd Div was blown up by a mine 2 miles outside Bn area. The truck was badly damaged but no one was hurt. Nothing further to report during the night. No cas. B.O. No. 8 appx 1.
4   Bn location same.
4   All Coys contd with trg. A/Tk guns were zeroed and special loading arrangements for A/Tk guns towed by carriers universal instead of Lloyds were decided on and agreed by Bde Comd.
4   Quiet night with no enemy activity. B.O. No. 9 appx 2.
5   During the morning Bde Comd visited Bn and insp Coys trg. C.O. inspected Bn tpt during the afternoon.
5   An ENSA show was provided and attended by 400 offrs NCOs and men.
5   Quiet night with no enemy activity.
6   Bn location same.
6   Coys were given a demonstration of enemy weapons firing and contd with their trg incl a cadre course for re inforcements recently joined.
6   During the evening further re inforcements arrived totalling 2 Offrs (2/Lts Bury and Morgan) and 62 ORs. A small proportion ORs were members of the original 7 Hamps Bn who had been recently wounded in action.
6   An ENSA show was provided during the evening.
6   Quiet night with no enemy activity.
7   Bn location same.
7   Coys contd with trg and CO held an insp of two Coys.
7   During the evening a further 24 ORs arrived making the Bn slightly over strength.
8   Bn location same up to 1430 hrs.
Field France 8   During the morning [CO] reported to Div HQ where he recd orders for the Bn to move to BRUSSELS where it would take over Garrison duties under comd of HQ No 10 Garrison.
8   CO and guide left TILLY at 1200 hrs and arrd at BRUSSELS at 2200 hrs having travelled 230 miles.
8   Main party left TILLY at 1430 hrs and bivouaced just East of AMIENS having covered a distance of 86 miles in the first stage to BRUSSELS.
9   CO at BRUSSELS interviewed Grn Comd 10 Grn and went over Bns billet to arrange accn. This was the ex H๔pital St Jean in Boulevard du Jardin Botanique and it showed unmistakeable signs of having been recently occupied by a German Garrison being in an indescribably dirty state.
9   The main body left the AMIENS area at 0630 hrs and arrived at BRUSSELS at 1730 hrs the route through the City being in the nature of a triumphal procession. The reception given to the Bn by the people of BRUSSELS greatly surpassed in enthusiasm that shown on the way up to VERNON and great difficulty was experienced in getting the tpt through the crowds.
9   At 2130 hrs CO held an O Gp in the Offrs Mess at Hotel Palace and Bns duties were given out as follows.
9   7 Hamps role was that of mobile res in BRUSSELS. One coy was to be available for providing escorts for PW of whom there were a large number in the area. A det of 20 men would come under comd CMP to assist in local traffic control. Another Coy would provide guards on the following stores and depots.
Field Belgium 9   (1) Underground Tunnel Rue d'Or 621546 contg foodstuffs
9   (2)    Station de Tours et Taxis 616573 contg wines and foodstuffs
9   (3)    Whitbreads Brewery Rue Rotterdam contg wines and champagne
9   (4)    Shell Installation Avenue de Villvorde contg petrol, engine oil etc.
9   (5)    Bassin Vergot 642575 stocks of coal and wood
9   (6)    Abbey de la Cambre 634519 German Map Depots
9   (7)    Palais d’Egmont 627544 German Map Depots
9   (8)    67 Rue des Nations 640508 German Map Depots
9   (9)    112 Chausse du Bruxelles German Map Depots
9   (10) Hopital Militaire 639528 where there were a large number of German wounded, sick and nursing orderlies.
9   The intention of 10 Garrison was to prevent any enemy infiltration into BRUSSELS.
9   Tps also under Grn Comd were one Belgian Bde and the Belgian Secret Army. These tps were responsible for dealing with any pockets of resistance within 20 miles radius of BRUSSELS and for supplying infm concerning the enemy within this area.
9   Quiet night with no enemy activity.
10   Bn location same 627559.
10   During the morning Lt Count A D’Assche 6th Arty Regt Belgian Army arrived at Bn HQ to act as L.O. to the Bn in Belgium. B.O. No. 10 appx 3.
10   During the day a recce was made of the various stores and depots already mentioned and by 2100 hrs all guards were in posn.
10   At 2100 hrs Grn HQ reported that a Belgian Police patrol had been fired on in the Avenue des Nations from the direction of the Bois de la Cambre 6350. As this park ground is in the N.E. extremity of the For๊t des Soignes it was considered a possibility that the enemy might be attempting to infiltrate from the S.E.
Field Belgium 10   A carrier standing patrol was immediately organised to form a post in the area of Bois de la Cambre and A Coy formed standing patrols along the main rd 635498 – 650495 (On the S outskirts of BRUSSELS).
10   It was decided to clear the For๊t de Soignes early the next morning and for the purpose B Coy was to join A Coy standing patrols at 0630 hrs 11th Sept and, using the tk 700 yds S of this rd as a Start line clear the whole of the wooded area on the West side of the BRUSSELS – GEMBLOUX rly. The carrier pl and one sec 3" mortars were to support the operation.
10   Approx 100 personnel of the Belgian Secret Army were to assist by clearing the forest area on the NE side of the rly. A RV was arranged for the Belgian Secret Army L.O. to meet 7 Hamps C.O. at 0630 hrs.
10   Remainder of night quiet. No report of enemy activity from standing patrols. No cas. No PW.
11   Bn location same.
11   At 0530 hrs B Coy (carried by TCVs) remaining secs of carrier pl and one sec 3” mors moves to join A Coy near the S.L. arriving at 0615 hrs.
11   Liaison with the Belgian S.A. was not effected until 0715 hrs and the clearing of the Forest was begun soon after without the Belgians as they were not ready.
11   After driving through 8 miles of thick wood no signs of any Germans were found. There were a number of rumours collected from villagers but nobody was contacted who had actually seen a German during the past few days.
11   It was learned that on 10th Sept some British Pioneer Corps tps had been testing their weapons in the area of Bois de la Cambre.
11   Also a number of poachers were suspected of having fired their shotguns during the night.
Field Belgium 11   By 1135 hrs the Bn gp had passed right through the forest and conc on the HULPE rd at 6840 before moving back to billets.
12   Bn locations same. B.O. No. 11 appx 4.
12   Coys not on Garrison duties carried on with trg.
12   Div Comd visited Bn HQ during the afternoon and complimented CO on the general smartness and turnout of the Bn.
13   Bn location same. B.O. No. 12 appx 5.
13   Trg contd during the morning with recreational trg from 1400 hrs.
13   During the evening intimation was recd that the Bde incl 7 Hamps would shortly move to the area of DIESTE but no details were yet available.
14   Bn location same.
14   During the night 13/14 a warning order was recd giving the time for the move as "not before 1300 hrs 14th" but later in the day the time for move to DIESTE was given as 0700 hrs 15th.
14   During the evening an explosion occurred at 10 Grn HQ (Hotel Plaza) and it was believed that a number of soldiers were injured. No cas from 7 Hamps. The explosion was believed to have been from a DA bomb but there was no confirmation of this. Remainder of night quiet. B.O. No. 13 appx 6.
15   Location same up to 0700 hrs when the Bn moved embussed to DEURNE (5 miles N of DIESTE) arriving at 1330 hrs having moved 33 miles. Great delay was occasioned en route by a very large amount of tpt using the same rd.
15   Intention was to harbour at DEURNE to await orders for a forthcoming large operation.
15   Locations Bn HQ 149743 A Coy 151745 B Coy 149748 C Coy 156445 D Coy 153745 Map Sheet 46 1/50000
15   Quiet night with no enemy activity.
Field Belgium 16   Bn location same.
16   During the morning CO attd. conf by Army Corps and Div Comds respectively.
16   The day was spent largely in maintenance.
16   During the evening CO held a conf for Coy Cmdrs and gave the general outline of the forthcoming operations which purported to be the largest since D Day and was as follows:-
16   British 2nd Army with left 1st Canadian Army and right 1st American Army were to drive N and NE through Belgium and Holland with the object of cutting off the enemy in NW Belgium and N Holland.
16   2nd Army would consist of centre 30 corps with left 12 Corps and right 8 Corps.
16   30 Corps would cross the big rivers MAAS (the Dutch Meuse), WAAL and NEDER RIJN (the deltaic continuation of the RHINE) employing three airborne Divs to secure the crossings this to be followed by an Armd thrust up the main rd EINDHOVEN – NIJMEGEN – ARNHEM 43 Div were to follow up the Armd drive.
16   Air cover for the whole operation was to be supplied by 83 Gp RAF and a Royal Netherlands Bde would come under comd 43 Div.
16   The remainder of the night was quiet with no enemy activity in the Bn area.
17   Bn locations same.
17   At 0830 hrs a Bde O Gp was held at 7 Hamps HQ and was attd by normal Bde O Gp plus Coy Cmdrs. Bde Comd gave orders for the Bde to move to a transit area and held in readiness to advance.
17   A Bn O Gp was called and orders given for a move to a transit area at HECHTEL 3483 (Sheet 26 and 36) from 1435 hrs. Bn had under comd one tp 233 A/Tk Bty one pl C Coy 8 Mx and one LAA det. The Bn was lifted by 22 DUKWs.
Field Belgium 17   After the O Gp a short topographical description of Holland was given by a Royal Netherlands Offr.
17   The Bn left DEURNE at 1435 hrs and arrived at the transit area at 1730 hrs having had one carrier badly damaged en route through a bogey falling off and stripping the suspension.
17   Locations:- Bn HQ 382822 A Coy 377823 B Coy 381824 C Coy 380824 D Coy 382825.
17   There was little evidence of heavy fightIng en route except in the area of HECHTEL X rds where several bldgs were badly damaged and a number of AFVs both allied and enemy wrecked.
17   The night was quiet with no local enemy activity. Cas nil. B.O. No. 14 appx 7.
18   Bn location same.
18   During the morning CO attd a River crossing discussion at Bde HQ.
18   News was recd during the afternoon that fwd elts of Gds Armd Div had reached EINDHOVEN and found the town occupied by the enemy. The armours intention was to bye pass this pocket.
18   A Bde O Gp was called as there was a possibility of 130 Bde Gp being required to clear EINDHOVEN. The Bde was therefore put at 2 hrs notice to move and detailed movement orders were given.
18   During the evening however that 101 American Airbirne Div had dropped on Eindhoven and joined up with Gds Armd Div. 130 Bde Gp was therefore no longer at 2 hrs notice.
18   The night was fairly quiet with no enemy activity other than air. A few enemy planes flew over the Bn area just after dusk but took no action. A few bombs were heard exploding some miles to the North and it was later learned that the objective was the bridge over the ESCAUT canal. No damage resulted.
18   No cas. No P.W.
Field Belgium 19   Bn location same.
19   During the day orders were recd that the Bn would shortly be moving fwd to EINDHOVEN probable timing being early on 20th Sept.
19   Enemy bombers were heard to the north during the night and it was subsequently learned that EINDHOVEN was the target.
19   No cas. No P.W.
20   COs O Gp and harbour parties left HECHTEL at 0615 hrs on orders to move fwd and Bde Gp was contacted at Bde HQ. This adv gp moved as one body and arrived at EINDHOVEN at 1000 hrs having crossed the Dutch border en route just N of ESCAUT canal. A long halt was made at EINDHOVEN as enemy opposition had been encountered by Gds Armd Div further fwd. Bde Comd went fwd to contact the armour for infm. Abundant evidence of the German bombing on the night 19/20 was seen at EINDHOVEN.
20   The Bde adv gp moved on from EINDHOVEN at 1300 hrs and from the time of leaving this area an enthusiastic reception was given to the Convoy in every town and village passed through particularly ST. OEDENRODE, VEGHEL, UDEN and GRAVE.
20   The big river MAAS was crossed at GRAVE by the original bridge which showed only slight superficial damage.
20   Just N of GRAVE about 250 Dakota aircraft dropped supplies by parachute to the American Airborne tps in that area.
20   By 1800 hrs the Bde adv Gp had arrived at MALDEN just NE of GRAVE having covered 63 miles since leaving HECHTEL.
20   Bde O Gp spent the night here but the harbour party gp went back to contact the main body of the Bn which left HECHTEL at 0830 hrs and had harboured for the night just S of GRAVE at 614520.
20   During the night 3 Bde O Gps were called and a change in plan was given. The general situation was as follows:- Gds Armd Div were in NIJMEGEN (on the river WAAL) and were guarding the southern approaches to the rd bridge in the East and the rly bridge in the West. The Americans had made an assault crossing in the area of the rly bridge and were est on the N Bank of R WAAL.
Field Holland 20   At ARNHEM 1st Br Airborne Div were est on the high gd to the North and West of the Town.
20   It was 130 Bdes intention to employ 7 Hamps and 5 Dorset to clear the South Western part of NIJMEGEN as pockets of enemy were reported to be still active in this area while 4 Dorset would guard the bridge at GRAVE with the Bn less one Coy Gp. The 4 Dorset Coy Gp would take over guard of the bridge over the canal at 671605 from a Coy gp of Welsh Gds. The take over was to be completed by first light 21st Sept.
20   Enemy activity was confined to a few planes flying over the area during the night but they took no action. No cas. No P.W.
21   At 0600 hrs the main body left the harbour area and crossed the bridge at GRAVE.
21   At the same time 7 Hamps O Gp left MALDEN and met the Bn on the GRAVE – NIJMEGEN rd just S of the outskirts of NIJMEGEN.
21   At 0800 hrs CO held an O Gp in this area and gave his plan for clearing the built up area towards the brs over te WAAL.
21   5 Dorset were to clear the area NW of the main rly line running into the town and 7 Hamps would clear the area SE of this Bdy.
21   7 Hamps had under comd one sqn tks (13/15 Hussars) one tp 233 A/Tk Bty one pl C Coy 8 Mx and one LAA det. A Dutch Cpl was attd to act as LO.
21   The area to be cleared was divided into four blocks each block to be cleared by two coys. D and A Coys with attd tks and sec carriers began to clear the first area at 0845 hrs and by 0915 hrs reported task completed having encountered no enemy.
21   B and C Coys with tp tks and sec carriers took the next area nearer the centre of the town and reported "clear" by 1015 hrs also having met no enemy. D and A Coys then went on to the next area and C and B Coys passed through them on the final stage. The remainder of Bn moved along the central axis as a mobile reserve.
Field Holland 21   During the operation CO recd orders that 7 Hamps would guard the southern ends and approaches of the rd and rly brs on completion of the town clearing and liaison for this purpose was effected with Motor Bn (Grenadier Gds) of Gds Armd Div who were guarding the approaches at the time. One two coy gp and sp arms would be employed at each br and it was decided that A and B Coys under comd OC A Coy would guard the rd br and C and D Coys under comd OC C Coy wouId guard the rly br. Each gp wouId have under comd one tp tks, one sec A/Tk and one sec 3" mor.
21   No enemy were encountered during the clearing of the town although several prisoners and quislings were seen being marched away by members of the Dutch Partisan Forces. By 1630 hrs the relief of the brs from Gren Gds had been completed and both Coy gps were in posn. Bn HQ was est the area of the Church at 709628. Locations A and B Coys 704630 C and D Coys 716627 Sp Coy 707606.
21   During the evening A Coy discovered seven Germans in the cellar of a house in their area. Identifications were:- 189 Fus Bn; 2 Coy 935 Gren Regt and 9 SS Pz Div.
21   During the night normal patrols were sent out by C and D Coys and a standing patrol was proivded at 722627 by A Coy.
21   During the evening a mortar carrier recd a direct hit from a shell just S of the rd bridge. Cas 3 ORs killed 3 ORs wounded.
21   During the night 2 deserters from the N side of the rivers were brought in having, according to their story swum across. Identification 10 SS Pz Div.
21   Enemy activity was confined to shelling during the night. Several 88 mm shells landed in NIJMEGEN just SE of the Southern end of the rd br in A Coys area.
21   Captured enemy eqpt found in the Bn area incl 1 x 88mm AA gun (KOd) 1 x Mk I Tk, 4 x 75mm A/Tk guns and 2 x 5 cm A/Tk guns 50 rifles 4 LMGs in addition to a large quantity of A/Tk and SA amn. Captured vehs incl 5 motor coaches, 3 x 6 wheeled lorries and one British 15 cwt truck, the last being the only veh in good running order.
21   Total cas. ORs 3 killed 3 wounded P.W. 9.
22   Bn location same.
22   At first light a patrol composed of one tp tks, one sec carrier and one Pl A Coy left bn area to clear the area NE of NIJMEGEN as far as GROENLANDEN. The patrol returned with no cas and reported no contact with enemy. During the morning infm was recd that the Bn would be relieved during the day by 7th Bn Green Howards 69 Bde 50 Div.
22   Bde O Gp was held in NIJMEGEN at 1400 hrs and orders were given for Bde to conc in NIJMEGEN area preparatory to moving further North to assist 1st Br Airborne Div at ARNHEM.
22   A Polish Paratroop Bde had landed during 21st in the area the North of ELST about midway between rivers WAAL and NEDER RIJN and leading tps had reached the southern banks of the NEDER RIJN SW of ARNHEM. 214 and 129 Bdes had crossed the WAAL on 21st Sept the former Bde now being held up by 88 mm guns and MGs in the area 676663 while no contact had been reported by 129 Bde in the area South of ELST.
22   Int sources had reported enemy strength in ARNHEM as 300 but civilian reports said 1000.
22   The general plan for assisting the airborne tps was dependant upon whether the bridge was still intact.
22   If so on the night 22nd a sqn tks together with Motor Bn of Gds Armd Div were to attempt to rush the bridge under cover of a Typhoon and arty attack. In the event of this attempt proving successful one Bn 129 Bde would cross the bridge to secure and protect its Northern end.
22   The probable route of 130 Bde would be to pass through this Bn and clear ARNHEM.
22   An alternative plan was arranged in the event of the Bridge proving to be destroyed. In this event 214 Bde followed by 130 Bde would attempt a crossing in the area of the ferry 6858, west of the bridge and together the two bdes would assault ARNHEM from he west.
22   The Bn moved from the area of the bridges at NIJMEGEN at 1630 hrs and by 1730 hrs had conc in the area 695615 in the SW outskirts of the town.
22   CO held an O Gp at 1915 hrs and infmd Coy cmdrs of the situation explaining that the Bn might get called up during the night and would probably be at two hours notice to move.
22   PW. 3 from Para Ersatz Regt Hermann Goering. Cas nil.
23   Another Bde O Gp was called at 0030 hrs and Bde Comd gave infm concerning 129 Bde. They had met stiff opposition and had two Bns in the area 7067 while 214 Bde had broken through at OOSTERHOUT after a hard fight. 5 DCLI had tps in DRIEL with sups for the Airborne on the other side of the River and 1 Worcs Regt were in VALBURG.
23   It was learned that the enemy had succeeded in capturing the Para Bde of 1st Airborne Div in ARNHEM.
23   Forecast for future ops was as follows:-
23   129 Bde were to strengthen their present posn while Gds Armd Div would hold the area of the rly to the South. 214 Bde would attack ELST from the area of VALBURG at about 0900 hrs 23 and strengthen the right flank of 43 Div along the line of the rly. 5 DCLI would be brought east to the line of the rly to assist in rt flank protection.
23   130 Bde Gp would adv to the area of DRIEL 6875 and attempt (1) to contact 1st Airborne tps cut off on the N side of the river. (2) to reach the river and occupy the southern bank from DRIEL west to rd junc 652752.
23   5 Dorset with under command one sqn 13/18 Hussars would reach the area DRIEL, get tps fwd to the river and contact the Polish airborne tps there.
23   7 Hamps with under command one sqn 13/18 Hussars would hold area rd June 652752 and contact 43 Recce Regt on left and 5 Dorset on right.
23   4 Dorset with remaining two sqns tks would occupy area HOMOET 6672.
23   CO called O Gp at 0200 hrs and gave his orders for the move fwd. The route laid down was NIJMEGEN – rly bridge – OOSTERHOUT – VALBURG – HOMOET to the final coys posns which were forecasted as follows:- A Coy area rd junc 652752 B Coy rd fork 657752 C Coy track junc 651746 with D Coy giving left flank protection – 300 yards West of A Coy posn. Bn would be lifted by DUKWs.
23   Two 6 pr A/Tk guns were to be loaded on to DUKWs and available to cross River for Airborne tps.
23   Tasks were divided into two gps and were laid down as follows:-
23   (1) B Coy would link up with 5 Dorset and have standing patrol on rd running Est at village 666151. The factory area at 663754 would be kept under observation.
23   D Coy would patrol through the village of HETEREN to the West and have a standing patrol on the eastern outskirts of this village.
23   C Coy would have a standing patrol in the area 651746.
23   Task (2) entailed contacting the airborne tps on the opposite side of the river by OPs.
23   MMGs and 3” Mors would assist in the general defence of the Bn area.
23   DUKWs would conc in the area orchard 652746 and recces for crossing would be carried out in the area A and B Coys.
23   At 0640 hrs the Bn moved off and arrived on the objective by 1430 hrs. Little opposition was encountered on the way but fwd tps were held up for a short while on several occasions by slight shell fire from the flanks. A small number of S.A. shots were heard from the flanks and carrier stops were put out for protection during halts. There was one casualty and no enemy were contacted by the Bn.
23   Tps debussed in the area of the orchards just S of the river and soon after Typhoon and Thunderbolt aircraft dive bombed and strafed the area of the factory bldgs at 656756 just opposite the Bn posn on the north bank of the River. Enemy fwd posns were within 300 yds of Bn fwd posns and OPs.
23   At 1640 hrs fifty Stirlings dropped sups by parachute in the Airborne brhead on the North bank of the River between the Bn posn and ARNHEM. A number of parachutes dropped in the enemy area.
23   Inf and RA OP’s were established along the river bank and enemy AA sites, MT movt an dug in posns were seen. The posns immediately opposite the Bn area was heavily shelled by Fd RA.
23   During the night patrols made contact with the Poles and 5 Dorset on the right.
23   A few enemy shells landed on the right on the Bn area during the night. A young member of the Dutch underground movement was brought along with the Bn from NIJMEGEN.
23   Cas. One O.R. wounded PW nil.
24   Bn locations. Bn HQ 651746 A Coy 652752 B Coy 657752 C Coy 651746 D Coy 649751.
24   During the day enemy territory was kept under observation by OPs and snipers and posns were heavily shelled by our Arty and 3" Mor. Inf and MT movt was observed on the Rd running W from ARNHEM along the line of the river and Bn snipers killed six enemy during the day.
24   Intermittent shelling of the Bn area by SP guns located on the high wooded gd just N of the Bn posn contd throughout the day. These guns were engaged by Arty one being claimed as KOd.
24   The factory area was again strafed and dive bombed by Thunderbolts and enemy light AA guns were very active. Seven RAF aircraft were known to have been shot down.
24   During the evening orders were recd to the effect that 7 Hamps would support a crossing by 4 Dorset and assist in getting sups across the river.
24   Sups would be brought to the bank by DUKWs, off loaded by C Coy on to assault boats and taken over the river by B Coy who would off load them on the far bank. The crossing was to take place to the West of 4 Dorset crossing just W of the Airborne bridgehead. 4 Dorset task was to est a br head on the far bank and join up with the Poles and 1st Br Airborne tps.
Field Holland 24   A and D Coys would cover the left flank of the crossing by fire from their posns on to the factory area opposite.
24   B and C Coys took 8 x 3 ton lorries to a fwd posn to unload and take to a fwd dump. 6 lorries were unloaded by 0300 hrs 25th and B Coy started to ferry these stores across behind 4 Dorset to unload on the far bank. They started to withdraw at 0430 hrs 3 tons of stores having been taken across comprising mainly ammunition.
24   Only four boats had been available owing to boat cas and the strong river current.
24   Cas. 1 Killed 1 wounded.
24   PW 1 deserter from 40 re-inforcement unit.
25   Bn locations same.
25   Observation of enemy gd contd throughout the day and Bn area was again shelled intermittently by SP guns on the rd running W from ARNHEM. These guns and other tgts were engaged by arty. One SP gun claimed KO. An enemy OP on the far bank near the factory area was engaged by 3" Mors and snipers.
25   Aircraft activity was considerable:- During the day the area of the br head was attacked by 12 FWs with cannon fire and in the afternoon 30 Me 109 F circled the brhead and Bn area but took no action. They were engaged by LMG fire but none were brought down. There were no Bn cas.
25   Early in the evening about 2 sqns of Marauder aircraft bombed an area N of ARNHEM. They were attacked by a few enemy fighters and one Marauder and one enemy a/c were seen to crash in the area of 5 Dorset.
25   A Bde O Gp was called at 1630 hrs a decision having been made to bring back the Airborne, Poles and 4 Dorset tps on the other side of the river during the night.
Field Holland 25   At 1800 hrs CO called O Gp and gave orders for support of the operation by fire from Coy posns to cover the left flank of the crossing. Lt AA guns were employed to fire tracer to indicate the bounds of the crossing to the tps taking part.
25   During the night approx 2600 tps were ferried back to the Southern bank incl about 50 plus of 4 Dorset. Enemy activity in the Bn area was confined to slight shelling.
25   Cas. 1 killed 7 wounded PW Nil.
26   Bn locations same.
26   Close observatIon was maintained from Bn front but little enemy movt was seen during the morning.
26   Air activity was again fairly considerable. Early in the afternoon 2 FWs flew low over the Bn area and were engaged by Spitfires. Both were shot down. Shortly afterwards Typhoons rocket bombed an area on the north bank opposite D Coy posn.
26   During the afternoon various enemy posns were spotted from a fwd OP on the S bank of the river opposite RENKUM. Considerable MT activity was seen in the area between this village and ARNHEM and a plan was made to man this OP at first light 27th with snipers and a FOO and direct arty on the targets seen. These incl apart from MT movt a possible HQ and an enemy OP.
26   During the early evening enemy a/c were active over rear of Bn area a bomb being dropped close to Bde HQ. No damage was reported. 17 pr SP guns were directed on a possible enemy OP and set it alight.
26   During the night a further attempt was made to ferry the remaining 4 Dorset from the N bank into our own lines by rubber boats. 7 Hamps orders were to support the attempt by engaging with fire any enemy interference.
Field Holland 26   Night fairly quiet with only slight shelling of the Bn area during the early hours of 27th.
26   Cas Nil PW Nil.
27   Bn locations same.
27   At 0400 hrs the OP Gp referred to on 26th was ready to move off when news came through that about 50 enemy had crossed the River just West of RENKUM. 20 had returned to the North bank leaving the remainder digging in just west of elts of 43 Recce Regt posn. The OP Gp was therefore cancelled and C Coy was ordered to stand to ready to move. At about 0830 hrs Recce tps reported enemy attacking them from the West and C Coy was sent off with one tp tks to deal with them. The enemy were encountered near the village of RANDWIJK just W of HETEREN. C Coy took up a posn in the area of the E rd junc and engaged them inflicting many cas and pushing them back towards the river bank where the enemy turned South. A this time it was learned that a Bn of 214 Bde was attacking from the South and in view of this it was considered unnecessary to re inforce C Coy with another Coy. C Coy therefore est a firm base in the area of rd junc with 2 secs of D Coy occupying the HETEREN X rds. This area was shelled and mortared at intervals and some cas were sustained.
27   Contact with 7 Som L.I. (the bn of 214 Bde attacking from S) was est by 43 Recce Regt and were in possession of the SW outskirts of the village by 2000 hrs having taken several PW and inflicted cas on the enemy.
27   During the night C Coy arranged local defence with carriers and Recce Regt and made contact with D Coy tps at HETEREN. During the night a patrol report was recd that 12 enemy had crossed the river on B Coys rt. Arty DF was brought down in this area and the enemy withdrew to the opposite bank. Nothing more was heard of them.
Field Holland 27   Enemy posns located during the day were shelled by fd and med arty and four large fires were seen in the village of RENKUM.
27   Casualties:- Officers One wounded (Lt Clarke) One missing (Capt Ward). ORs. Two killed 2 missing 22 wounded.
27   PW. One from 26 Sich Regt (The German Home Guard).
27   Snipers killed one enemy machine gunner during the afternoon.
28   Bn locations same.
28   During the morning C Coy moved into the Bn area from the area of RANDWIJK as 7 Som L.I. were in possession of the remainder of the village and had taken over its defence. C Coy est a pl locality at the X rds south of HETEREN 640747 with two pls in the area of Bn HQ. They brought back twelve PW.
28   During the afternoon 7 Hamps area of responsibility was extended to incl HETEREN on the left to tk running N -- S 674755 about 600 yds West of DRIEL. B Coy was therefore moved further east along the river embankment and took up pl posns at 657752, 764751, 666751 with a standing patrol at the rd a tk junc 674755, A carrier stop was posnd at 649753. On the left D Coy area extended to incl HETEREN. Pl localities were est at 645755 (E end of village) 648754 and 649753 with a standing patrol at the x rds in the village.
28   Close observatlon along the whole Bn front (which was now 3000 yds wide) contd throughout the day but little enemy activity was seen. One enemy signaller was killed by a sniper.
Field Holland 28   Ey posns were shelled by Fd and med arty throughout the day and there was some retaliation in the Bn area.
28   During the afternoon a civilian from HETEREN brought in a man who had apparantly deserted from the German army on Sept 11th.
28   Contact patrols were sent out to both flanks during the night.
28   PW. 15 ORs from II Bn 26 Sich Regt (A Regt formed from Poles, Czechs and Dutch for local defence of the Reich).
28   During the afternoon a patrol for 7 Som L.I. found Capt Ward 2 i/c C Coy alive but seriously wounded and evacuated him through RAP channels.
29   Bn locations same.
29   Early in the morning the enemy mortared D Coys area. No Bn cas.
29   Close observation of the front was maintained by OPs and snipers who reported a reduction in enemy activity. Altogether very little enemy movt was seen.
29   During the day B and C Coys dug alternative battle posns to cover any threat from the eastern flank and recces were made for alternative OPs.
29   During the night contact patrols on both flanks were sent out.
30   Bn location same.
30   OPs and snipers maintained close observation of Bn front during the day. Very little ey movt was seen directly opposite Bns posns but an enemy OP and billet were spotted in the area of RENKUM. Tp movt by tpt was also observed in this area.
30   Snipers claimed one ey killed and another wounded probabIy killed near RENKUM ferry.
30   Harrassing shoots were put down by Fd arty 4.2” and 3”mors and MMGs at irregular intervals throughout the day.
30   During the afternoon a short ey mor conc (probably 8 cm) was put down in B Coys area. Two casualties were sustained.
Field Holland 30   Intermittent shelling of the Bn area contd while aircraft activIty both our own and enemy was considerably reduced.
30   The Bns area of responsibility was again extended making a frontage of approx 4000 yds.

next month

Source: Joris Nieuwint, The Battlefield Explorer, 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.