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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: 6th Battalion The Durham Light Infantry
Month and Year: September 1944 (Erase heading not required). Commanding Officer: Lt. Col. A.E. Green
Place Date Hour Summary Reference
AMIENS Map Ref. 104577 Ref Map 1/100,000 Sheet 14 1 0200 One enemy aircraft flew over Amiens, drawing intense fire from our A.A. guns. No results reported.
1 0815 The Battalion to take over guard on P.O.W. in garage in the Battalion area.
1 1015 11 P.O.W. brought in by the Maquis. 7 were from Pioneer Units, the remainder from Flak Units.
1 2000 Warning Order received – 8 DLI to move to DOULLENS 1386 tomorrow at 0700 hrs, and 6 DLI would probably move in the afternoon.
1 2130 A French youth was brought in by B Company. He had escaped from BOULOGNE, having been working there on the Flying Bomb Sites. He was taken to 151 Brigade HQ, then to 50 Division HQ, but he was unable to give any information that wasn't already known.
1   A civilian was brought in by the Maquis at the same time and taken to Brigade and Divisional HQ. He was carrying a suitcase and claimed to come from ALSACE-LORRAINE, but he was found to have a forged identity card and also a roll of film showing building and signposts in BRITTANY and Germans in uniform. Although he claimed to come from ALSACE-LORRAINE he could not speak French, yet carried a French identity card dated 1942. He was handed over to the Field Security Police for further interrogation.
Ref Maps 1/100,000 sht 10 LENS, 1/100,000 sht 6 HA 2 0100 Operation Order arrived – 6 DLI would move to DOULLENS, time to be given later. The advance Recce Recce Party would report to 151 Brigade HQ by 0615 hrs.
2 0545 The Recce Party moved off. The Party consisted of:- O.C. HQ Company Capt A.E. Short, the Intelligence Sergeant, and 1 O.R. from each Coy and A Echelon.
2 0700 C Company took over from 9 DLI the defence of the bridge at 074605, North West of AMIENS. This was to enable 9 DLI to undertake mopping up operations North of the river SOMME.
2 0930 Bn 'O' Group. Role of the Battalion - to follow up 8 Armoured Brigade and protect its right flank.
2 1130 The Battalion left AMIENS.
2 1310 The Battalion arrived in area 1386 near DOULLENS. Bn HQ was established at 134870, A Coy 127866, B Coy 131875, C Coy 138862, D Coy 140868.
2   Previous to the Battalion’s arrival, the prisoners had been handed over by the French to our Recce Party. The French also reported that enemy pockets existed around this area.
DOULLENS 3 0800 Brigade 'O' Group. 8 Armoured Bde would push on to ALOST 4066. 6 DLI would follow on, whilst 9 DLI would operate under Command 8 Armoured Bde.
3 1045 The Battalion moved off, but when only three miles out of DOULLENS, it was ordered to stop as 8 Armoured Bde was late in starting and was behind instead of in front of the Battalion.
3 1330 The Battalion began to move forward again, but progress was very slow owing to the large amount of transport using the same route.
3   En route the Battalion was diverted at PONT-A-VENDIN from the original axis owing to the bridge over the canal at WINGLES-MEURCHIN being blown.
3 1835 Halt made between PONT-A-VENDIN and MEURCHIN at 566204, and Bn 'O' Group called.
3 1900 Bn 'O' Group. The Battalion would remain in the area for the night as the 8 Armoured Bde were busy mopping up around LILLE. In our area small battles were going on between the enemy and the French, and in LILLE itself the Maquis were holding the town. A note was received from them requesting assistance. The 8 Armoured Bde would push on tonight and leaguer South of LILLE.
3 2000 One Squadron of tanks and one Coy of Infantry reported now in LILLE.
3 2030 The Brigadier arrived with instructions for the task tomorrow. B & D Coys with one Squadron of tanks in support would clean up the town of ROUBAIX, while A & C Coys would make a firm base in the rear. Patrols would be sent out as far as the canal.
3 2100 Battalion 'O' Group. B Coy would lead off the move at 0700 hrs on the following day.
M.R. 566204 4 0615 Move postponed until 1030 hours.
4 0715 Report received that the bridge at HOURLIN 6428 on our route was blown and a diversion was to be expected at SECLIN.
4   Information had been received during the night that the enemy was occupying a wood at 5926 and that a Company of the 8 DLI would deal with them.
4   The F.F.I. had also reported that 1200 enemy with possibly two tanks were moving along a road West of our axis. The 69 Brigade had been ordered to take action. News received that the Battalion would not move before 1000 hours.
4 0815 Message received that the RAF had dropped delayed action bombs on some Flying Bomb Sites and that they were to be steered clear of for one week after occupation.
4 1030 Our Recce Regt reported enemy in BEAUVIN 5724.
4   Companies to take up defensive positions now, The original plan altered to the following:- B Coy and 3 secs of carriers would move to area of BEAUVIN in support of 13/18 Hussars. The Battalion would move to area between BEAUVIN and the canal at 6528, and the coys would picquet the roads and all approaches – B Coy at BEAUVIN 5724, D Coy 5927, C Coy at CONDECOURT 6427, and A Coy in reserve at 5125. The 8 Armoured Bde with 8 DLI (who had taken over from 9 DLI) would push on.
4 1245 Battalion arrived in area 601252, and Coys began to move into their allotted positions. Information had been coming on throughout the morning from the F.F.I. re positions of the enemy in the area.
4 1500 C Coy held up at the bridge at 626297.
4 1505 Elements of D Coy in WAVRIN 6030.
4   Reports continued to come in of enemy guns, Infantry (the majority of whom were believed to be SS) and a few tanks.
4 2100 Battalion now established on the line of the canal.
4   During the day many prisoners were handed over to us by the French in the neighbouring villages, and these were passed to the P.O.W. cage at 151 Brigade Headquarters.
4   Our casualties for the day were 1 O.R. killed and 5 O.Rs. wounded.
M.R. 601252 5 0810 Report from 9 DLI that white flags had been seen in the village of HOUPLIN – believed to have been put up by the civilian population.
5 0905 Reports received that he enemy are withdrawing generally in a N.N.E. direction.
5   D Coy moved up and over the canal at DON.
5   Bridge was sliglitly damaged but sufficiently strong to take pedestrians traffic.
5   The civilians got to work promptly and repaired the bridge so that wheeled and tracked vehicles could get across. A terrific reception was accorded us as we entered WAVRIN. The enemy was still on the N.E. side of the vilage, particularly in the cemetary, and our Recce Regt moved along in support of us.
5 0930 The F.F.I. reported that there were Ammunition and Petrol Dumps in the woods at 6039 and 6139, but this was not confirmed.
5 0945 Enemy shelled HOUPLIN.
5 1445 Civilians reported a battery of enemy guns in WAVRIN Cemetary M.R. 556303.
5 1500 One Squadron of Recce Regt from 53 Division passed through and reported WAVRIN clear of enemy.
5   Our C Coy held up at bridge M.R. 626297, the resistance coming from area of wood at 6230.
5 1505 D Coy now reported in WAVRIN M.R. 6030.
5   61 Recce Regt reported Anti-Tank gun at 615537 which fired on their patrol.
5   Enemy Mortars were also believed to be in this position.
5 1715 R.S.M. Greening admitted to hospital.
5 2015 14 P.O.W. taken by D Coy.
5 2100 The enemy in wood at 6230 surrendered, and a total of approx 75 were conveyed in T.C.V. direct to 151 Brigade.
5 2130 Warning received to be prepared to move early the following morning.
5   It is worth noting that the F.F.I.were very helpful in this area. A party of 20 attached themselves to D Coy in WAVRIN and helped them to guard the approaches. Another party were reported to be moving up on the enemy’s left flank North of the canal and had apparently in a small attack. Others produced many prisoners from the local goal whom we conveyed to the P.O.W. cage at Brigade H.Q.
5   Another interesting feature was that in the previous campaign quite a number of the Battalion had been in this area, and some of them managed to pay a visit to their old billets and recall old times. During our two day stay in the area, casualties had been very light, a total of 1 O.R. killed and 9 wounded.
Ref Maps:- 1/100,000 BRUSSELS 6 0700 Battalion 'O' Group – the Battalion to move to leaguer area West of BRUSSELS, the 9 DLI group leading.
6   The Advance Recce Party under Capt. Short moved off.
6 0845 The Battalion moved off with D Coy leading, followed by C Coy, Bn HQ, A Coy, B Coy, A Echelon. The route taken was via NERRIN, CONDECOURT, SECLIN, VENDEVILLE, BAISNEUX, TOURNAI, BIZENCOURT, NINOVE, SHEPDAAL, BRUSSELS.
6 0945 Crossed the France-Belgium Frontier, and received a grand welcome from the people all along the route.
6 1330 Arrived in area lTTERBEEK 5354.
6 1530 Battalion 'O' Group. The Battalion to take over defensive positions in the BOIS DE LA CAMBRE, East and South East of the town. The enemy were reported to be still on the outskirts.
6 1620 The Battalion moved off again.
6 1730 Arrived in area 633499. See Appx (i)
6   Getting through BRUSSELS was a very difficult problem owing to the masses of people swarming around and even on the transport to give us a really rousing reception. Everyone wanted to show us the way through the town (most of the people could speak English) and that was almost necessary as the signs already put down by our Recce Party had been picked up as souvenirs. Part of the column did get lost in the town – at the best of times the maze of streets in BRUSSELS is difficult – but eventually the whole column was grouped in the BOIS DE LA CAMBRE and Companies took up defensive positions.
6   Carrier Patrols were sent out South of the area - not more than 8 kilometers.
6   Captain Daw on a reconnaissance patrol found intact an enemy ammunition dump South East of our area.
6   It was expected the Battalion would remain in the area for 3 or 4 days. Coys were in positions as follows:- A Coy 630442, B Coy 653466, C Coy 639497, D Coy 603469.
BOIS DE LA CAMBRE BRUSSELS 7   The day was spent in cleaning up and general maintenance.
7   10 per cent of each Company was allowed into BRUSSELS from 1400 hours until 2100 hours under the charge of an Officer.
7   During the day patrols were sent out South of our positions.
7 0900 One section of Carrier Platoon and 1 Platoon of A Coy patrolled to the area of LAMARA 6736 where it was reported there were some enemy. Nothing, however, was found. The patrol then went on to OHAM 6938 where U.S Forces were contacted occupying the area.
7 2200 A Standing Patrol from A Coy forward Platoon lay up in the area of Gde Espinette and took 2 P.O.W. who were later handed over to the F.F.I. who had a post there.
7 2200 Warning Order received to be prepared to move the following morning.
Ref Maps:- 1/100,000 Sht 3 ANTWERP 1/100,000 Sht 8 0700 Bn 'O' Group – The Battalion to move to area HERSSELT 0076.
8 0730 Advance Recce Party moved off.
8 0900 Battalion arrived in area RAMSEL 967745.
8 1240 Brigade 'O' Group.
8 1315 Battalion 'O' Group – Two Patrols to be sent out with the object of clearing wood at DE SCHOOTERSCHE BOSSCHEN M.R. 1276 and at TESSENDERLOO 1577 and KERKENSBERG 1678. Having completed their tasks, they would proceed to the bank of the ALBERT Canal in the areas 1480 and 1780 shooting up any enemy seen on the North bank. The intention was to make the enemy believe that another bridgehead was about to be made at 150810. The Patrols were to leave at 1415 hours, and not return before 2000 hours.

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Source: 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.