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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: 2nd Bn The Royal Ulster Rifles
Month and Year: October 1944 (Erase heading not required). Commanding Officer: Lt. Col. I.C. Harris
Place Date Hour Summary Reference
BEERS 685492 1   Recce party left for BEERS 820hrs arrived 1000hrs. No move for Bn before 1515hrs. BN eventually left by tpt 1800hrs reaching new location 2210hrs. Weather was cold and stormy.
CUYK 714492 2   CO held conference 900hrs. OP established 718498 & advance of US Airborne tps was observed towards MIDDELAAR 7448. Enemy shelled CUYK periodically throughout the day. A Coy sustained 4 OR casualties - 1 killed & 3 wounded, & D Coy 1 OR wounded. Bn HQ moved to CUYK 714492 at 1500hrs arriving 1530hrs. Enemy aircraft were active during the evening when bombs were dropped on the opposite side of the river at 2105hrs and again at 2140hrs. No reports were receivedas to the exact locality. Weather cold at night but fine during the day.
CUYK 3   CO conference 900hrs. Dutch pro Nazi brought to Bn HQ at 915hrs, interogated by IO & divulged a certain amount of information regarding enemy positions which was forwarded to Bde. OP was manned during morning and evening but little activity was observed. MG fire was heard at 1227hrs coming from direction MIDDELAAR Church. CUYK was again shelled periodically throughout the day, being particulary heavy between 1130-1145hrs when most shells fell in area of OP. Enemy aircraft were overheard between 1850hrs & 1930hrs but no bombs were reported in locality. Weather cold with occasional storms.
CUYK 4   Enemy shells fell, in Bn HQ area between 530 hrs & 600. One shell hit building occupied by Bn HQ causing damage to roof but no casualties. It was decided to move Bn HQ from present location & at 945 hrs move to 707494 arriving 1000hrs. Brigadier called at Bn HQ 1215hrs leaving at 1230. Junior NCOs Cadre commenced. Weather cold but fine.
707494 near CUYK 5   Bn training . OP manned from 900hrs until dusk but no activity observed. Heavy AA fire at 1515hrs when German fighter flew over. COs conference 1900hrs. Party left for Div Club 900 hrs. Weather fine but strong easterly wind blowing.
6   CO & IO proceeded on recce leaving Bn HQ 1000hrs returning 1330hrs. At 1520hrs ME 109flew over low, appearing to have been hit by AA. Later confirmed shot down & pilot taken prisoner. A furthr party left for Div Club 900hrs. Weather fine but cold, easterly wind still blowing.
7   BN continued training. CO attended conference at Bde 1430hrs. Weather quiet mild . Another party visited Div Club leaving Bn HQ 900hrs.
707494 8   Church parades held during the morning for Ces, RCs & Presbyterians . BN footbalteam played a local Eleven at BEERS, our team gaining an easy victory by 5 goals to 1. The game was watched by a large number of spectators & Pipe Band was loudly applaudedwhen they played during the interval & after the game . B Coy moved at 1830hrs to 547477. Weather very wild, morning be rather foggy.
707484 9   Recce party left Bn HQ at 1030hrs. Advance Party of 1 Royal Norfolk arrived 900hrs Bn had bath day. Moved to new location at 1500hrs arriving at 1520. CO held conferenece 1900hrs. Weather again mild.
10   Continious rain throughout the day. Recce party left Bn HQ at 1315hrs returning at 1700hrs. At 1600hrs never came through that there would be no move for 24hrs. A party left at 900hrs for 24hrs at Div Club.
11   COs conference 900hrs. Recce party left Bn HQ 1400hrs. Weather reasonable fine with occasional storms. Further party left for Div Club & another party attended concert at MILL
721382 12   It was now decided that 3 Br Inf Div would clear the area of woody country as far as VENRAY& possibly further. During the afternoon the CO was on recconaissance with the Brigadier & the Squadron Leader of the supporting Tank Squadrons from 4e Grenadier Guards. A restricted view of the forward edge of the wood which was to be the Bde objective , was obtained from the bridge at 736322 but swiftly following darkness, and the operations of 8 Br Inf Bde, who were battling for the approches to the wood,reduced the valie of the recce. At 2000hrs the CO received final orders from Bde & at 2145 hrs gave out his own to Company Commanders. 2 RUR was to lead the Bde with the intention of capturering & clearing the large woodto the south west of OVERLOON. Within the Bn A Coy was to lead, followed by D, B, & C, each with objectives as shown on appendix. Routes were however dependant upon recconaissance which was to be carried out by leading Coy Comds & the tank squadron & troop leaders. Liaison between the representative of both arms & the issue of revise orders had all to take place after first light, so that it was unlikely that zero hour would remain at 800 as fixed.
721382 13   Reveille was at 300 hrs & the Bn left ST ANTHONIS at 400 hrs marching to an Assembly Area at 741332. Breakfast was eate great effect great effect.n here & was very much welcomed after a tiring march in the dark. At 600 hrs the CO was at 8 Br Inf HQ to learn the last dispositions on the enemy from the Bns in contact. Then he met Company Commanders, the battalion on that sector of the front with which we were most concerned. Here the CO met the tank commander & some "marrying up"was achieved before all parties went forward to recce routes. Recces had to be carried out with care because mines had been encountered by 8th. Inf. Bdr. on the previous day , & it was consequently important to find a route which would permit the passage of tanks and infantry. At 830 hrs the CO gave final orders & at 900 hrs A Coy let the assembly area for its first objective .Bn Hq moved forward behind it to a house at 753332. Soon after A Coy had moved off intensive mortaring & shelling came down but it seemed to be defensive rather than observed fire, falling along the line of the OVERLOON-OPLOO road rather than upon our man as they moved forward. Major Sweeney MC kept his Company well on the northern side of the road, working on the right handed & crossing the roa d at the point where the wood was the nearest to it. Meanwhile the tanks drove forward across the road & kept up an impressive covering barrage of machine gun fire upon thewhole line of the wood to the west & south. Flails too were closed by behing, prepared to deal with any mines which were discovered, A Coy had had a few casualties crossing the open ground but once in the wood they were to a large extent covered from activities of the Bosche. Now there were fresh difficulties dictated by the nature of the country. This wood varied in thickness from being in some places impenetrable, to others where the undergrowth had been cut down by shelling & dry rot. Tracks leadindthrough the woods were soft and sandly like the rest of the wood so thatthe speed of marching personnel & vehicles was much reduced. Another problem was the mapping of the area; tracks & woods on the map bore little relation to tracks & woods on the ground & even with a revised trace of this particular wood, it remainrd extremely difficult to fid direction. At 945 hrs A Coy reported its objectives gained & D Coy under Major Bird left soon after this. Gradually a few prisoners began to come in but it soon became clair that the mainbody of the Bosche had withdrawn from the wood & that this prisoners were stragglers. Consequently D Coy , its objectives reported carried, was instructed by the CO to push forward to the original objective of C Coy & under Major the Longouil now moved forward to take over D objective. At one point in their advance B Coy came to clearing & right hand final objective. At one point in their advance B Coy came to a clearing & were fired on by a bazooka & small arms. No casualties were sustained but by the time B Coy had deployed to deal with this threat the Bosche had fled. The Coy made good its objectives without further incidents. Subsequently some Bosche were observed in a little strip of wood opposite the position & Bren guns opened up with great effect. Soon after this two Pz KW Mk IV was observed withdrawing south east across the front , unfortunately out of Piat range. The tanks could not assist here because they had been quiet unable to follow the infantry through the wood to these positions. Bn HQ moved to the edge of the wood (751309) at 1800 hrs. Difficulties of administration began to arise. No vehicles could reach the forward Companies.because the tracks had not yet been cleared of mines & because they were so soft, but inany case only carriers could have made the yourney. Food, water, blankets & greatcoats had to manhandled up to the company positions by relays of working parties. Additionally all ranks had to dig in, & through the soil was soft it was late before all preparations were completed. Little sleep was had by the Bn that night. Casualties during theday had not been heavy & these few were caused principally by mortar fire. A Coy suffered some in the in the initial advance , & later D Coy lost Lieut Curran, slightly wounded in the head.
14   Today the Bn remained in its positions in daylight. Much of the day was spent in pulling out of the sand trucks which had been bogged on the move of the previous evening. The forward Companies were able to return in small numbers at the time the furtherst point that the transport could reach with saved manhandling the food forward. Several salvoes of mortar & artillery fire landed in the BN area during the day. One particullary severe burst hit the A tk Pl HQ, slightly wounding the commander Capt Gray & seriously wounding Lt Hapkins who subsequently died of wounds. During the day 2 Lincolns passed through us &carried out a most succesfull attack upon the woods about 500 yds south ofof D&B Coys in positions. Under cover of darkness A&C Coy moved down the wood to assist the Lincolns in holding it during the night & following day. Unfortunaly just asA cow were entering this wood a dead salvo froma Nebelwerfer landed right amongst them, killed 2 men & wounded 10 more.
747293 15   Bn HQ moved forward to position evacuated by C Company. Four more prisoner had found them s came in from C Coy who had found them in a farm near their forward position. All Coys positions were shelled & mortared during the day. During the day CO received orders that 2RUR would next day move forward passing through the Lincolns to capture & occupy KLEINDORP to the south of the Lincolns wood. This would be carried out while 8Br Inf Bdewere attacking eastwards from the wood towards VENRAY. After dark Bn HQ & the remaining CoysB & D moved down to positions in the Lincolns wood and dug in for the night. Bn HQwas at 747293
16   D Coy debouched from the wood at 930 hrs towards KLEINDORP. All the enemy's attention was taken by the combined infantry & tank attack of 8 Br Inf Bdeacross the river BEEK towards VENRAY so that D Coy were able to move into KLEINDORP without difficulty. The CO had established a foward HQ at the southern edge of the Lincolns wood which now began to be heavily shelled & mortared. Not until 400 hrs therefore did the CO sand B Coy forward to support D, who during the morning had been quite at peace. Patrols from D Coy had been down to the BEEK and found no enemy this side of it. At about 1600 hrs the CO was in that 9 Br Inf Bde on the left & the 11 Armoured Division which was driving in from the right. A&C Coys who were about to move into KLEINDORP were held back & recce parties left for the new area almost immediately. Our new area was east of OVERLOON, while the attack on Venray was being mad the e. The Bn itself moved as soon as darkness fell. The trackshad been torn by tracked vehicles & flooded by rainbut in spite of this we were in our new positions by 2130 hrs.
17   Preparations to attack the woods to south east position. Reconaissance was made by the CO during the afternoon & evening. It was thought that the attack might be made that night but in the evening it was postponed probablyuntil the following night. Weatherwas again wet with a high gusty wind throughout the day.
18   Further reconnaissance by CoyComds made with the CO in the morning & afternoon after a conference at 900 hrs. Bd O Gp at 1900 hrs revealed a change in plan. 9 Br Inf Bde was relieve 185 Bde in their positions north east of VENRAY. 185 Bde were to be rested & active operations on this front were to give place to operations elsewhere. During the day Wing Commander Browne DFC commander of one of the yphoon Wings that had supported us in recent operations visited the Bn & was photographed by a representative of the Northern Irish Whig. It was a wet day but the Wing Commander was nevertheless given a great reception by the Bn. In the afternoon the first leave party of 1 officer & 10 ORs left the Bn for 48 hrs in Brussels.
783284 19   Advance Party left Bn HQ 800 hrs. Advance party of KSLI arrived at Bn HQ 900 hrs. Marching personnel moved off at 1130, vehicles at 1230 hrs, both arriving new location 1330 hrs. Enemyshells fell in Bn area at 1440, 1445, & 1840 hrs. A relief system was arranged in Bn HQ whereby only the minimum number of people stayed at Bn HQ, the remainder returning to A Echelon, & changed every 48 hrs. One prisoner was found in B Coy area, Weather again stormy.
20   Cos conference 900 hrs. Counter mortar OP established at 787282 One prisoner belonging to 147 Marsch BN gave himself up to B Coy at 645 hrs. A very quiet day with a decided improvement in the weather which was quite fine.
21   COs conferencee 900 hrs.Shells fell in Bn area at 1545 hrs. At 1810 hrs a civilian reported people buried in the house at 789278. A party was sent out to investigate & on arrival two cilvilians dead & four wounded. The interepreters who had joined the Bn at CUYK were recalled. Weather again fine. A patrol was sent from A Coy during the night 20/21 to ascertain if houses at 793277, 7962279 & 799282 were occupied,& patrol confirmed as occupied.
22   COs conference 900hrs. "I" OP established at 790288. An official Dutch interpreter joined the Bn. Baths were arranged for the Bn. An uneventful day with very occasional mortaring & shelling. Weather fine but rater cold. Two Recce & one Standing Patrols went out during the night to find out if enemy were in woods 791294, 797293 or occupying buildings 793282, but no enemy were seen.
23   At 600 hrs mortar shell fell in Bn area. CO held conference at 900 hrs. At 1530 hrs mortar shells fell in Bn area causing 4 fatal casualties. A priest , Nurse, Bn interpreter & a member of A Coy who were burying a civilian at 786284. The counter mortar OP submitted a number of shell & mortar reps to CMO Bde. Weather still fine.
24   COs conference 900 hrs. A very quiet night. Between 1230 & 1245 hrs shells fell in Bn area causing a certain amount of delay& annoyance in serving dinnner. Two patrols were sent out during the night 23/24, one by A Coy & another by B Coy. A Coy patrol revealed comparatively little, enemy voices were heard but no enemy seen. C Coy patrol located enemy between 793289 & 794287. Weather again fine.
783284 25   Another quiet night. CO held conference 900 hrs. At 700 hrs two prisoners were taken by C Coy, who proved to be deserters from Regt Brehmer. A further prisoner, a deserter from Regt Brehmer. A further prisoner , a deserter from Regt. Hardegg gave himself up to A Coy. Bde Comd visited Bn&inspected Coy positions. A second party left for 48 hrs leave in BRUSSELS. Shells fell in Bn area, at 1145 hrs. Mortar activity slight. CM OP submitting 6 mortar reps. Four patrols went out during night 24/25, one from A Coy, one from B Coy & provided by C Coy. One of C Coy's patrols reported two enemy sentries at 795286, the other patrols revealing little of importance. Fine weather continues.
26   Again a quiet night. COs conference at 900 hrs. During the evening several civilians came through enemy lines & were taken to Bde for interogation . CM OP sent in 10 shell & 2 mortar reps but day was comparatively quiet. Two patrols were sent out during the night 25/26, one by C Coy whose object was to recce forward to find suitable firm base for fighting patrol to capture sentries seen on the previous night. The other patrol provided by A Coy established a liste ing post at 790279 but had nothin to report. Weather still fine
27   Mortar shells fell in Bn area 630 hrs. COs conference 900 hrs. At 1245 hrs mortarshells fell in Bn area causing 3 casualties in C Coy. More civilians came to BN HQ having passed through German lines & were sent on to FSP. CM OP submitted 8 shells & 1 mortar rep. to capture a sentry from enemy position 795287, reported to enemy in that area. A standing patrol to occupy area of house at 790279, saw no enemy. A contact patrol met a Norfolk patrol at 785279. Fine weather continued.
28   Another queit night. COs conference at 900 hrs. Very little shelling during the day . CM OP submitted 4 shell & 3 mortar reps. Fragments of a mortar bomb which fell in Bn area were sent on to CMO Bde to proved to be portions of the probellant chamber of 21 cm NBW bomb. This was the first conclusive evidence that 21 cm NBW bombs had been dropped in Bde area. Four patrols were sent out during night 27/28, one patrol from A Coy went to rd junc 786283 but had noting to report. A patrol provided by C Coy went out with the object of establishing a firm base in area 796285 then patrolling east to locate enemy & if possible capture a prisoner. The limit of penetration east was buildings 800282 were patrol could hear vehicles in wood 792285 . A NBW fired from this area at 2235 hrs. Patrol had to withdraw early owing to bright moonlight. The patrol from B coy went to rd & track junc 793291 but had nothing to report. D Coy provided a contact patrol, who met a Norfolk patrol. Weather fine but cold.
29   Again a quiet night. CO hed conference at 900 hrs. Many civilians passed through the German lines into our own lines & were despatched FSP. Our OP reported that several civilians & a German soldier were making their way to position occupied by 2 Lincols . Enemy guns &maortars were a little more active than usual but Bn area was only shelled once. OM OP sent in 9 shells & 6 mortars reps. Party rejoined Bn after Bn after 48 leave in Brussels . Weather still fine but cold.
30   COs conference 900 hrs. Again a quiet day. Bn had bath day. Two standing patrols were out during night 29/30 but had nothing to report. Weather was fine but very cold during the day & rain fell during the evening.
31   COs conference 1000 hrs. Another quiet & uneventful day, CM OP having very little to report. A Dutch interpreter joined the Bn. A further party left for the Bn for 48 hrs leave in BRUSSELS. During the night 30/31 a patrol went out from B Coy to find out if there was any enemy along south edge of wood 799293 but no enemy were seen or heard. Weather very dull & rather cold.

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Source: Jeroen Koppes, TracesOfWar.com, transcribing: Theo Vervoort.

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.