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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: 1 E. Lan. R.
Month and Year: December 1944 (Erase heading not required). Commanding Officer: Lt. Col. F.F.E. Allen
Place Date Hour Summary Reference
KESSEL 1   Patrols reporting in had no valuable information. Enemy movement was again shelled during the day.
2   Nothing new to report.
3   The bn in the early hours attempted to create a diversion because 15 (S) Div were attacking VENLO further North. The diversion took the form of H.F. tasks and movement of carriers, which provoked little enemy retaliation until 0610 hrs when H.Q. area was fairly heavily shelled by 88 mm. Bn was warned that the river would rise at 0945 hrs (this turned out to be the third false alarm, the dam further upstream not being blown by the RAF). Intermittent shell fire occurred throughout the day.
4   Before daylight, two houses were seen to go up in flames on the opposite bank for no apparent reason. Lt. Lecky joined the Bn. Enemy mov was again engaged by arty and mortars.
5   Rocket shells were again used on the bn front. Enemy arty was quite active and a number of shelreps passed to higher formation.
5 2315 At 2315 hrs a trip flare in "B" Coy area was set off and 12 to 14 men seen running off. Yet at 2330 hrs D Coy reported that it was a cat that had set off this flare.
6   Patrols again heard noises from the opposite bank which sounded like revetting of field works.
7 1130 Two enemy digging on the far bank were shot by a sniper section. At 1500 hrs 2 Gordons arrived in rear of the bn preparatory to taking over the posn. A/Tk guns had been moved out at dawn and rifle coys commenced marching out at 1800 hrs. In spite of a considerable amount of noise by the attached troops, there was no shell fire from the enemy and relief was completed by 1930 hrs.
ROGGEL 7 2100 The bn now concentrated back in ROGGEL 7397 where a platoon had for some days been holding billets open for us.
8   During the morning the bn got settled in and the Mobile Bath and the barber played an important part. A Cloth Model discussion on Co-operation between Inf and Tks, directed by Lt-Col. F.F.E. Allen was held at Bde HQ. Copy of the programme of discussion is attached as Appendix "A". Appendix "A"
8   We learned that Lt-Gen. Sir Miles Christopher Dempsey, K.C.B., D.S.O., M.C., was going to visit the bn tomorrow. A programme was arranged for the visit and the bn was busy during the afternoon in preparation. (Copy of programme for Visit is attached as Appendix "B"). Appendix "B"
8   A Central Mess was organised by the P.M.C., Capt. R.J. Hawkins, and opened for the first time for Dinner. This enabled officers to get to know each other, as many officers recently arrived had not previously had the opportunity, and it was a great success.
9 1000 The Army Commander arrived at 1000 hrs and after inspection of HQ Coy went on to see C Coy in fighting order, and Sp ready for battle, followed by A, D, and B Coys in clean fatigue. After this he addressed all officers and N.C.Os. and complimented us by saying there was no better Bn in the 2nd Army, and that he was very proud of the good work done by the Bn and the Div since our arrival on the continent. The "Windmill Theatre" was opened for the first time and the Regimental Band of the Royal Welch Fusiliers gave a first class concert of light music. App. D.1
10   Morning spent in training. Church Service at the Windmill Theatre at 1400 hrs. Concert by 202 Fd Amb at 1800 hrs. Capt. Hargreaves, Lt. Tattersall and 65 Reinforcements arrived from 50 Div.
11   Morning spent in training and General Administration. The Bde Comd visited us during the afternoon. At 1700 hrs another discussion on Co-operation between Inf and Tks on a bn level was held in the Mess and was attended by all officers.
12 1700 In the afternoon the details of the take over from 7 RWF were arranged and given out at 1700 hrs to Coy Comds.
NEER 13 1100 Coy Comds started their recces at 1100 hrs in the new area around NEER and Coys moved up between 1300 and 1400 hrs.
13 1535 C Coy moved independently being furthest away followed by B, D, A, HQ, and Sp Coys and handover was complete at 1535 hrs. Two PW were taken by 7 RWF West of the main road in NEER. They had crossed in a rubber boat which was due to return on a light signal on any of the next three nights. It was decided to have a PW back and employ him to lead out a patrol to the crossing place.
14 0230 The patrol, which left at 0230 hrs, led by Lt. Harper and assisted by Sgt. Allen, were sure that he had taken them to the right spot, although no answers were given from the other side, to our light signals, and the patrol returned without incident.
14   Spasmodic shelling in the bn area during the day but no damage caused.
14 1515 Typhoons attacked targets South of us across the river at 1515 hrs. "Windup" targets were engaged at 1517 area BIJKEL 8097. "Windup" entails every available gun firing on a pre-determined area for one minute. Patrols were again sent out to the area where the 2 PW taken with no positive result.
15 0930 Discussion at Bde HQ at 0930 hrs for Coy Comds on River Crossings laid on by 7 R.W.F. 2 PW were brought in by the "Maquis". They were believed to have crossed Night 13/14 Dec in area BRUNSSUM or HANSSUM but would not talk and were sent back to the Div Cage forthwith. Six enemy were seen at 807978 and were engaged by our Mortars and Arty. Patrols to Burnt House D Coy, Lt. Tuffnell and B Coy Lt. Phillips. Lights were flashed but again no reaction from the other side.
16 0930 During the night a Warning Order was received, and Advance Parties went to Recce new area at 0930 hrs. An "O" Gp was held at 1000 hrs at Bde HQ and the incoming unit's Advance Party arrived at 1530 hrs and commenced take over. The move to the new area was to MERXPLAS 0100 (1/100,000 Sheet 3 Belgium). OPs had nothing to report all day. There was slight shelling in the area.
17   Approx 12 enemy aircraft flew over the front but no bombs were dropped. They were believed to be Me 262s.
17 1330 6 Cameronians of 15 (S) Div took over our posns 1330 hrs.
17 1600 The bn embussed in TCVs and moved off to new area at 1600 hrs. The bn arrived at MERXPLAS at 0100 hrs.
MERXPLAS 18 0800 Reveille 0800 hrs. The day was devoted to administration and cleaning of stores. A considerable number of flying bombs passed over in the direction of Antwerp.
19   The day was devoted to training parades, drill, and firing weapons.
20   Warning Order was received at 0900 hrs "Stand by and be prepared to move by 1200 hrs" no location being given. "G" Recce party under comd of 2IC left at 1200 hrs for Bde but did not leave there until 2000 hrs arriving at OTTENBRUG 7943 (Louvain Sheet 56) at 0530 hrs on the 21st. Bn embussed in TCVs at 1600 hrs but did not actually move until 2100 hrs for the new area.
OTTENBURG 21 1200 Bn arrived in at 1200 hrs on the 21st, and took up defensive posn on the line of the River DYLE, Bn HQ being at 799439.
21 1400 1400 hrs an 'I' Recce Patrol went out to ensure that there was no other crossings on the R DYLE in addition to those shown on the map and to ensure that the REs were preparing them for demolition. "D" Coy had platoons on the vital bridges in the bn area.
22   The morning was spent in organising defensive layout. The Bde Comd visited the bn in the afternoon. Int OP was established at 817445. All bridges on the bn front now prepared for demolition. Comd Post was moved at 1600 hrs into the Cloister House. News was received from Bde that 168 PW had escaped from a train between BOURG LEOPOLD and BRUSSELS and all coys were informed.
23   Continuation of improving posns. Visibility very good and great air activity observed.
23 2200 2200 hrs 'O' Gp. Orders were issued for move the following day to area TONBEEK 7644 and FERME DES TEMPLIERS 7743.
TONBEEK 24 1200 Coys moved independently to new area and were all in their locations by 1200 hrs. Coy areas as follows: "A" Coy 792435, "B" Coy 773433, "C" Coy 770430. "D" Coy 768436, Bn HQ moved into the old Bde HQ at 767440.
25   There was no "Stand to" and breakfast was 0900 hrs. Coy Comds conf was held at 0930 hrs to co-ordinate the bn layout. Church Service was held Bn HQ at 1130 hrs. Christmas Dinners were organised by coys in a mill and it was possible for coys to have Christmas Dinner as a whole and the Bde Comd visited each one.
25 1300 Dinners were in all ways up to previous Christmas Day standards in England.
25 2000 All Officers had their Christmas Dinner in the FERME DES TEMPLIERS at 2000 hrs. A concert was arranged, but unfortunately the lights broke down and it had to be postponed till the 26th.
26 1245 The day was spent in improving posns and General adm. At 1245 hrs the Barn which was filled with straw next to the Officers Mess in FERME DES TEMPLIERS, appeared to be on fire with smoke coming from the roof throughout its length. The WAVRE Fire Bde and the Army Fire Service were called in and a party from "C" coy started taking out the straw.
26 1345 There were no flames and the position where the straw was smouldering was located after about half an hour and successfully extinguished at 1345 hrs. Court of Inquiry was held but the cause of the outbreak was not discovered. The concert by a Bn Concert Party was held in the village hall at 1800 hrs.
27   Day spent in training.
27 1800 Regimental Band of the Royal Welch Fusiliers gave a concert of Iight music at 1800 hrs.
28   Training during the day. Bde Comd visited the bn at 1015 hrs. A warning order for Bde 'O' Gp was received at 1700 hrs, was later cancelled, and was finally held at 2200 hrs. Bn 'O' Gp was held at 2400 hrs and orders given for move to CELLES area.
CELLES 29 0800 Advance party under the CO left at 0800 hrs. Main body left at 1000 hrs and arrived in new area at 1645 hrs. The route was WAVRE GENAPPE CHARLEROI PHILIPPEVILLE DINANT CELLES. The roads were icy and there was a considerable amount of fog about. Bn took up def posn on the line of the R LESSE in the area CHATEAU ROYAL D'ARDENNE where Bn HQ was located.
29 1900 Bde 'O' Gp was held at 1900 hrs and we were to move early the next day to the area CHATEAU ROYAL DE CIERGNON 1277. Lt Tattersall had a Standing Patrol of Carriers on the river at 054805. App. J.4
CHATEAU ROYAL DE CIERGNON 30 0800 Adv Parties went at 0800 hrs and coys moved down by march route at 0900 hrs. Bn had under comd 195 A/Tk Bty 17 pds and one PI MMGs of "C" Coy 1 Manch. Coys started digging in in posns as follows. "A" Coy 129769, "B" Coy 130780, "C" Coy 135770, "D" Coy 135780, Bn HQ in the Chateau. Bn Co-ord Conf was heId at 1430 hrs and Bde Co-ord Conf at 1900 hrs. Posns were taken over from 4 Cavalry Group, 2 US Div. Clockwise inter coy patrols were carried out during the night.
31   Coys continued to dig in under very difficult conditions imposed by the frost and rocky nature of the soil. 'O' Gp 2200 hrs, when orders were issued for Advance Parties taking over from 84 US Div.

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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.