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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: 5 Royal Tank Regiment
Month and Year: September 1944 (Erase heading not required). Commanding Officer: Lt. Col. C.A. Holliman
Place Date Hour Summary Reference
GALLEFONTAINE 1   Advance continues. Route being GALLEFONTAINE – AUMALE – X rds 7346. The Regt leagured until dark at 780515. Regt now came under Comd of 131 Bde had been ordered to cross the R SOMME ½ mile N of AMIENS and to concentrate in the area ST VAAST 0366 in preparation for attack Northwards the following day.
1 2200 The Regt moved from 780515 reaching MOLLIENS VIDAME 9085 at midnight.
MOLLIENS VIDAME 2   The Regtl Gp with 1 Coy 1/6 Queens under Comd was given as objective the village of BERNAVILLE 0284. The CL decided on, being VIGNACOURT 0371 – ST LEGER 0076 – DOMART 9978 – BERNEUIL 1280 – BERNAVILLE.
2 0715 "A" Sqn led the Regtl Gp with nothing to report except an abandoned 170 mm in the village of VIGNACOURT and continued to advance to ST LEGER. Meanwhile 1 Tp of "C" Sqn had been sent to ST OUEN. On reaching the outskirts of DOMART "A" Sqn came under Mortar and MG fire, also ST LEGER was mortared scattering the cheering locals. The coy of Queens came forward in TCVs and occupied defensive positions. "A" Sqn engaged all likely places in DOMART and soon moved on again, as they approached BERNEUIL a Regt from 4 Armd Bde also arrived from the E thus putting 400 PsW in the bag. BERNEUIL proved to be a flying bomb site. "A" Sqn pushed on and ½ way to BERNAVILLE were engaged by 4 x 105 mms, apparently firing over open sights. They were immediately engaged and after a few casualties had been inflicted the guns were abandoned and the crews made PsW. "A" Sqn pushed ahead meeting minor opposition at BOIS BEGUES 0787 and OUTREBOIS 0889 but crossed the river at 090895. The woods in this area contained about 50 enemy and fighting began. The Regt was then ordered to form a "firm base" at BOISBERGUES with 1/6 Queens. "A" Sqn withdrew from the bridge at last light.
2   Days bag - 4 x 105 mm. 30 - PsW.
3   Regt reverted to Comd of 22 Armd Bde.
BOISBERGUES 3 0800 Orders received to move to area 1396 via GANDAS 0881 and DOULLENS 1586. The move was continued to main rd ST POL - ARRAS at 240090 via FREVENT 1200 - X rds 146068 - BONEVILLE 1705 - TERNAS 2007. The 5 DGs had already passed Pt 240090 and the Regt caught up the rear of the column at MAZINGARBE 4319 having taken the following route Main Rd 24090 - AUBIGNY 3207 - HERSIN 3917 and leagured at MAZINGARBE.
MAZINGARBE 4 1400 Advance continues Regt leading Bde Gp Route: LENS 5115 – GARVEN 6120 – SECLIN 6727 – MESQUIN 7331 – HEM 7937 – TOUFFLERS 8138 , 8941 – MELCHIN 9346 and leaguer formed at last light at KERKHOVE 0152.
KERKHOVE 5-6   Orders reveived to form "firm base" at CRUYS HANTEM.
5-6 0900 This had been accomplished having passed through ST AUDENARDE.
5-6 0915 Regt ordered to original CL and advance on GHENT "C" Sqn moved off and established themselves at X rds 114670 and the whole Regtl Gp moved up behind them one SP gun encountered and "A" Sqn was immediately ordered to NAZARETH by a parallel route 1 mile from the CL. Meanwhile the SP gun moved in their direction and was "brewed up" together with 20 mm SP gun.
5-6   Enemy inf then withdrew and "A" Sqn rejoined the CL at EEKE. "C" Sqn then moved on to HUTEPOT 1775 where a rd block manned by enemy inf was placed. They were ordered to move down the rd to ZYNAERDE 1874 and then N into the city. At the same time "A" Sqn were ordered to establish themselves at the cross roads 145765 so that all approaches SW of GHENT were cut off, "B" Sqn remained in EEKE to watch the cross rds 115670. Enemy reported by civ to be in LAETHAM ST MARTIN and were anxious to surrender. 2 Tps were despatched there and 300 PsW taken. "C" Sqn by now had found a way into the suburbs of the city. It became apparent that there were a large number of enemy in GHENT and a plan was made co-ordinating "C" Sqn with coy of Queens under Comd to start at 1800 hrs. At this moment a civ intimated to Maj Crickmay OC "C" Sqn that the enemy wished to surrender, so he went forward and saw the offr at the German barrier, where he was joined by the CO, Maj Crickmay was blindfolded and led to the German General, returning to report that the General was prepared to come outside his barracade and discuss surrender with a British General. The colonel was hastily promoted, but it was obvious that the German was playing for time. Brig Mackenson then appeared but no terms were agreed upon. The party broke up at 0300 hrs.
5-6   Casualties - Killed - Tpr Friend, Wounded - Tpr Parrott C.
5-6   Losses - Enemy 1 x 88 mm 1 x 20 mm
5-6   Days bag 300 PsW.
GHENT 7   Following civ reports that enemy had withdrawn to the northern part of the city and were not S of the E to W canal on the Northern edge, part of "A" Sqn + "C” Sqn with a Coy of Queens entered the city. The remainder of "A" Sqn at LAETHAM ST LATHAM collected further PsW. There was no provision by Bde for disposal and at 2200 hrs a very restive, hungry collection of 450 PsW were evacuated under escort of tks to AUDNARDE PsW cage.
7   Casualties - Missing - Tprs Smith J & De Bourciere, Wounded - Tprs Ryder & Taylor E.
7   Days bag 450 PsW.
8   Due to civ rep that numerous enemy pockets were in area the Regt was ordered into GHENT to eliminate any chance of the enemy re-occupying the city. "B" Sqn now under Comd of 131 Bde and remained at the cross rds 115670. 1/6 Queens were holding the br at GAVERE 1366. The remainder of the Regt leaguered near the rlwy station for the night, less RHQ who moved into the Cathedral Sq for close co-operation with BHQ 1/5 Queens. During the night "B" Sqn left Tp on the X rds with 1/6 Queens unfortunately an enemy force came out from NAZARETH and "brewed up" 1 Cromwell but retired after a second tp opened fire. "B" Sqn passed under Comd of 15 Scottish Div.
8   Casualties - Killed - Sjt Bull.
8   Losses - Own - 1 Cromwell.
MASSEMEN 9   The Regt was ordered to leave "C" Sqn under Comd 131 Bde and concentrete at MASSEMEN 2871 and on arrival "A" Sqn patrolled the WETTEREN area "B" Sqn were in reserve and concentrated at OOSTER ZEELE 2368. "C" Sqn took part in some hard fighting on enemy positions at 192825 which necessitated crossing a swing br put in position by Sappers and 1/6 Queens at 192825. More tks were needed and "A" Sqn moved into area 1781 and came into support of Glasgow Highlanders of the 15 Scottish Div.
OOSTACKER 10   "B” Sqn moved from OOSTER ZEELE and with Tac HQ went into area OOSTACKER 2245 and patrols were carried out up to 90 Northing grid.
10   The enemy had concentrated W of the Main canal and possessed several Fd Guns and 3 Rlwy Guns. 2 Tps of " B" Sqn were established on Canal bank at 201850 and 220880 and managed to get range bearings on the guns firing, G Bty 5 RHA opened up and silenced the guns for the rest of the day, but they opened up again at night on GHENT when counter bty fire was unable to be carried out as close leaguer had been formed. Meanwhile "C" Sqn were completely across the Swing Br and with the 1/6 Queens cleared the factory area in 190822 2 Tps of A Sqn moved across the same br this being the only means of crossing to the northern part of the town and moving E continued to support the 15 Scottish Div. The Bosche fought hard necessitating knocking down houses one by one with 75 mm. The enemy pulled out to the 85 Northing grid at night and PsW were taken.
10   Casualties - Killed - Capt B.L. Butler
10   Wounded - SSM Hill, Sjt Watkins, Tprs Ogden and Sinden.
10   Days bag 40 PsW (many others killed).
11   Quiet day for "A" and "C" Sqns. B Sqn started in counter bty work against the guns which remained silent. Typhoons shot up the Rlwy guns. It was anticipated that the guns would open up at night, the first 88 mm firing at 21 hrs, so "stonking" was carried out all night to the tune of 150 rpg. Civ in GHENT reported that it was the quietest night they had had since the occupation.
MASSEMEN 12   Regt pulled out and concentrated at MASSEMEN and maintenance was carried out.
MALINES 13 1100 Regt moved to area 1½ miles NE of MALINES route TERMONDE 4576 – BOOM 6482.
14-20   Maintenance, reorganisation and rest.
14-20   Major S.P. Wood posted to the unit.
WESTERLOO 21   Regt placed under Comd of 15 Scottish Div and moved to WESTERLOO 0280 via HEST OP VEN BERG 8979 and remained in open leaguer.
22   Regt moved crossing the Dutch border. Route: GHEEL – MOLL – 1690 – LOMMEL 3095 LUYK GESTEL 3101 – WESTERHOVEN 3706 , STEESEL 3411 MEERVELDHOVEN 3815 – EINDHOVEN. Leaguer formed in the Phillips Factory Park ½ mile W of Eindhoven.
23   Visit from GOC 15 Scottish Div, otherwise no event.
24   Regt now back under Comd of 22 Armd Bde.
ST ODENRODE 25   Regt advanced to ST ODENRODE 4331 via BEST the western half still in enemy hands and defensive positions taken up in conjunction with the 501 American Airborne Regt. Meanwhile 5 DGs had moved fwd to clear the enemy who had cut XXX Corps CL at the same time more Americans were to advance from Veghel.
VEGHEL 26   Regt ordered to pass through 5 DGs and in conjunction with US Airborne took up defensive positions in VEGHEL. Completed by 1500 hrs.
LOOSBRECK 27   Regt received orders to proceed to NISTELRODE 5047 via UDEN.
27   "C" Sqn contacted a Sqn of the Gds Armd Div and Coy of Gren Gds there and deployed NNW of the village.
27   "A" Sqn were directed S and found crossing at 453425 unsuitable for tks so were re-directed to LOOSBRECK 4545, from here Tps were sent out 1½ miles W & SW.
27   Regt leagured in NISTELRODE.
28   Regt moved to take position in LOOSBRECK "B" Sqn moved into the village and covered the installation of RHQ and "G" Bty 5 RHA. "A" Sqn proceeded to area RUKVEN 4344 and established patrols at 412440 - 413455 covering area SW. 5 Tp under Capt Babbage organised a foot patrol of 6 men from the crews and covered a distance of 2000 yds in a NW direction 2 enemy inf were seen and in the pursuit which followed the patrol, on reaching 429488, found themselves in a Coy position. They killed 3 Bosche but One NCO was taken prisoner. The enemy reacted and started moving to this area. The patrol withdrew reporting Coy HQ at 429488 which was heavily "stonked".
28 1600 8 Tp "B" Sqn contacted enemy at 455478 killing 4.
28   Casualty - Missing - Sjt Greenwood
28   Losses - Enemy 7 Killed.
NISTELRODE 29   Regt had orders to cut main rd HEEST – s’HERTOGENBOSCH in area PAPENDIJK 4350. Difficulty was experienced in crossing the BARRIERE WETTERING canal but after careful recce 2 Tps of "B" Sqn crossed the br at 423472 and moved Northwards towards rd. "C" Sqn received orders to return to NISTELRODE and deal with enemy making a nuisance of themselves at LAGEWIST 4749 and GROES 4650 their plan being to drive them on to "B" Sqns 2 Tps.
29 1430 "B" Sqn was very near main rd with a 3rd Tp on the right flank at BERKT 4548. No 7 Tp on the W flank KO’d a 75 mm and disorganised some enemy inf and the tp on the right also took on and inflicted cas on further inf. Meanwhile "C" Sqn were a little slow and the enemy pushed Northwards. At last light the road from PAPENDIJK east was clear and the road N for about 1 mile. LAGEWIST and GROSS was also clear. Regt leaguer formed in LOOSBRECK.
29   Losses - Enemy 1 x 75 mm at least [20?] Killed.
LOOSBRECK 30   First light "C" Sqn returned to NISTELRODE area "B" Sqn to KATHOVEN 4246 taking 2 PsW "A" Sqn in Position SW of LOOSBRECK.
30   Following civ reports a German patrol was captured near VINKEL 4247 5 Tp was ordered to main rd and in conjunction with 11 Hussars captured a further 9 PsW.
30 1100 Regt ordered to return and concentrate in LOOSBRECK and stand down.
30   Losses Enemy - 22 PsW.
30   Ref Maps GSGS 4336
30   1:100000
30   9E, 9F, 9D, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 18, 19, 3 and 4
30   GSGS 2541
30   1:100000:
30   4, 5, 2 and 6.

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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.