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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: 7th Bn. The Hampshire Regt.
Month and Year: December 1944 (Erase heading not required). Commanding Officer: Lt. Col. D.E.B. Talbot MC
Place Date Hour Summary Reference
Field HOLLAND 1   Bn location same.
1   A standing & fighting patrol went out during the night & reported no incidents. Fighting patrol under Lt Lyons went out to destroy enemy in areas of MIDDELAARHUIS 738488 & to capture a prisoner but owing to the extremely bright moonlight they were unable to approach the objective & returned without making contact.
2   130 Bde was relieved by 214 Bde during the day Bn being relieved by 5 D.C.L.I. Bn moved across R MAAS to village of CUIJK taking over billets from 1 Worc R. Slight shelling received after arrival.
3   Liaison was effected with 2 HCR who were tactically […] in the area & instrns issued regarding the Bn role while in CUIJK. Period out of the line was to be devoted to training but Bn was to be prepared to counter attack in the event of ey attacking across River from NE & E.
4   Day spent in trg under Coy arrangements.
4   Standing patrol was est at 724491 & was contacted by 2 HCR patrols during the night. No ey activitiy.
5   Trg contd under Coy arrangements.
5   C.O. made recce for OP to be used in the event of ey attack across R MAAS.
6   Trg under Coy arrangements.
6   Recces were carried out in preparation for move back into the line at GROESBEEK.
7   130 Bde relieved 129 Bde in left sector of Div front the Bn relieving 4 Wilts at GROESBEEK & occupuying the same posns as when previously in this area during October. Relief was completed without incident.
8   Bn locations unchanged.
8   Recce patrol went out during the night to discover if tower at was occupied. Owing to the extreme darkness patrol lost direction & could give no definite information.
8   During the day recce patrols from Essex Scottish (2 Cdn Div) made recces of the area prior to taking over on 9th.
8   Bn recce gp under Maj C.G.T. Viner (A 2ic) concentrated in A Ech area.
9   Recce party moved off at 0730 hrs in Bde coln to area OORSBEEK (1/50000 Sht 48). Bn was relieved without incident during the day by Essex Scottish & moved to lying up areas South of R MAAS at HEUMEN 6953.
10   Bn remained in lying up area & orders were given for the move to OORSBEEK on 11th.
11   Bn moved embussed in TCVs from HEUMEN at 1045 hrs forming part of 130 Bde coln as detailed in 7 Hamps O Inst No 19. Bn arrived at OORSBEEK at 2330 hrs having covered a distance of 105 miles. All tps were accomodated in houses & farms recced by recce party. The villagers were found to be extremely helpful & did all in their power to make the troops comfortable.
12   C.O. attended conference at Div HQ & later at Bde where details of future operations including an attack by the Bn were discussed.
13   Trg was carried out under Coy arrangements particular attention being paid to minefield clearance & use of bangalore torpedoes & pole charges.
13   CO made recce of ground over which the attack was to take place.
14   Trg & preparations for the forthcoming action continued.
15   Trg continued.
15   Coy Comdrs made recce of start line area & the ground for the attack. Information regarding the ey was very scanty & live […] OPs were therefore established in the line with a view across the objective. These OPs remained in posn for 24 hrs but heavy rain reduced visibility & they did not observe a great deal. No movement was seen but the line of certain enemy defences was determined.
16   C.O. held discussion with Coy Comdrs during afternoon & in the evening lectured to all officers & senior NCOs on the forthcoming operation.
17   Sand model discussion was held & details for the plan of attack were decided on. Coy Comdrs later held their own Coy discussions on the model.
18   During the day O Gp was held & final preparations made for the attack. Mortar Pl fwd OP moved into position in preparation for the forthcoming attack.
19   Bn was ready to move up for the attack at 1000 hrs when orders were received that the operation was postponed.
20   Orders were received for the Bn to relieve 4 Wilts in the line in area GILRATH & this relief was carried out during the afternoon & evening. Relief was carried out without incident apart from C Coy who were shelled when moving through HATTERATH & five ORs were killed & four wounded. Owing to the very muddy state of the tracks after the heavy rain earlier great difficulty was experienced in getting maintenance colns through & in some cases food containers had to be taken forward by carrying parties.
21   Intermittent shelling of the Bn area occurred throughout the day & our own arty was very active.
21   During the night a patrol went out to recce Panhandle Wood 853677 [which?] journey was made without incident & no enemy were located in the area. On returning the patrol ran into a field of S mines & five members of the patrol were killed. Four including the Patrol Leader (Sgt Cozens MM) were wounded & one man escaped without injury. The wounded were recovered & evacuated but it was to be impossible to recover the bodies of those killed.
21   Heavy shelling & mortaring of fwd Coys occurred.
21   An ey patrol approached A Coys posn (Rt fwd) but withdrew after exchange of grenades & small arms fire.
21   Two deserters came into our lines during the evening. The first was from 104 P.G. Regt. He was 19 years of age & had only the little finger remaining on his left hand. His injuries had been received in Italy in May of this year. The second was from 351 V.G.R. an elderly man who appeared even more unintelligent than usual.
22   Some shelling occurred during the day.
22   During the night an attempt was made to recover the bodies of those members of the patrol killed yesterday. Two of these were brought in but the third was entangled with another mine which exploded when the body was moved & two officers (Maj JL Braithwaite MC & Capt CB Clarke) & five NCO’s were wounded.
22   Contact was made with 5 Wilts on Bns left. Two deserters from 351 VGR came into our lines during the early morning.
23   Mortaring during the evening causing two cas but otherwise a quiet day. Further patrol went out to recover the remaining bodies but on approaching it was noticed that the posn of the bodies had been changed & investigation showed that more mines had been placed around the bodies & at least one body booby trapped. The project was abandoned as an ambush was thought likely.
23   Contact patrol to 5 Dorset on left was fired on by ey patrol. The Patrol Leader (2/Lt Gibbs) was killed & one NCO & one man missing.
24   Some shelling during the day.
24   D Coy from res posn changed over with A Coy without incident.
24   Pl of C coy occupied Panhandle Wood 853677.
24   Pnrs carried out a great deal of mine clearing in Bn area during night & contact was made with flanking units.
25   Shelling & mortaring during the day.
25   During the night remaining bodies were recovered from the minefield grapnels being used to pull them clear.
25   Contact was made with flanking units. Mines at 880674 were lifted by Pnr Pl. Recce patrols were briefed but owing to the very bright moonlight were unable to carry out their task.
26   Slight spasmodic shelling & mortaring throughout the day. During the night B Coy from left fwd posn changed over with C Coy in reserve. During the course of the relief the enemy stonked the triangular wood 833678 while both relieving & Pl being relieved were in the wood together. Luckily only 4 cas (all walking wounded) resulted.
27   Recce parties from 7 Som L.I. recced Coy areas prior to relief on 28th.
27   During the evening D Coy reported an unusual weapon firing on their front. It appeared to be a type of nebelwerfer & fired some forty projectiles none of which exploded.
27   Contact was made with flanking units during the night & mines were lifted in the Bn area.
28   Commander 30 Corps (Lt Gen Horrocks) visited Bn HQ during the afternoon. His visit coincided with an unusually heavy stonk in the vicinity of Bn HQ. No cas were caused. Relief by 7 Som L.I. was carried out without incident except for one slight casualty & Bn moved into billets in villages of TEVEREN & GROETENRATH.
28   During Bns tour of duty in the line at GILRATH a weasel was issued on loan to take stores forward to Coys where tracks were paricularly bad & this vehicle was handed over on relief. It was found that no other vehicle incl carriers could get through the mud.
29   Troops visited cinema & Ensa shows provided for the Res [Batl?] & Coys carried out trg.
30   C.O. with certain officers & a percentage of ORs attended an investiture by Fd Marshall Sir Bernard Montgomery at BRUNSUM when Lt HA Taylor received the ribbon of the Military Cross.

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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.