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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: 1st Bn The HLI
Month and Year: September 1944 (Erase heading not required). Commanding Officer: Lt. Col. T. MacLeod
Place Date Hour Summary Reference
GOURNAY 1 1015 Bn continued adv. under comd. 7 Armd Div. Objective not defined.
1 1140 Adv. held up by 15 Div Recce Regt moving same C.L. Also some confusion caused by Canadians coming in from left.
1 1445 Adv. continued on new centre line further to right. Several flying bomb sites passed. Reported that they contained delayed action bombs.
1 1815 Adv. again held up by Canadians.
1 2000 Adv. continued.
1 2130 Bn. harboured in area AVESNES-CHAUSSOY 7960. Reported that 7 Armd Div had obtained bridgehead at PICQUINY and Bn warned that they would probably cross there. 12 PW captured during the night. Further enemy reported in surrounding woods but they caused no trouble.
AVESNES-CHAUSSOY 2 1030 Move forward as Bn Battle Group to cross SOMME and occupy high ground beyond.
2 1430 After confused move owing to congestion on rds Bn in conc. area.
4 0200 F.F.I. met our fwd tps reported enemy West of AUXI-LE-CHATEAU and main bridge in the town blown, the other mined. Information rather confused. Pioneer Officer removed charges from br. by himself in about 20 minutes.
4 0210 D coy reported rlwy. br. in our hands.
4 0330 Town occupied.
4 0700 4 Armd. Bde. took over from Bn.
4 1330 Bn adv. again with objective of mopping up area LORCIES 5028 – wood 5225 – HAISNES 5023 – AUCHY 4823 – rd junc 4727.
4 1830 Bn. diverted and in conc. area FROVILLERS 3012.
FROVILLERS 4 2100 Bn. continued adv. with presumable objective BETHUNE.
5 0630 Bn. took over bridgehead from Queens at GIVENCHY 4825.
5 0900 In conc area VEILIE CHAPELLE 4333 with rest of Bde Group fwd in ESTAIRE.
6 1000 Bn started adv. to WERWICQ 6952.
6 1730 No opposition until COMINES where vanguard coy (B Coy) located enemy in station. D Coy and Carriers pushed round on left flank North of the town where further opposition was encountered. One carrier Sgt. fatally wounded.
6 2000 Enemy opposition cleared. B & D Coys pushed on to WERVICQ.
WERVICQ 6 2200 Bn in occupation of town. Orders given to push on to MENIN 7[…]54. Members of local resistance movement contacted. They sent fwd. a recce patrol to MENIN which returned to report that there was a certain number of enemy still in the town.
7 0430 Adv. started.
MENIN 7 0700 Town occupied, little resistance experienced.
7 1945 As it was thought that enemy might try to break out to the East, Bn. was sent to take up defensive position at GULLEGHEM 8159 and HEULE 8358.
GULLEGHEM 7 2230 In position.
8 0800 Bn. adv. to seize bridgehead over canal at and West of ISEGHEM 8267.
8 0845 Operation cancelled and Bn ordered to return to GULLEGHEM thus performing the manoevre henceforth to be known as a “Duke of York”. The Int. Sgt. rode on to ISEGHEM and reported the town clear of enemy.
9 1210 Bn. embussed for drive to ANTWERP. “A”. Movement Order.
9 2100 Bn in military barracks South of ANTWERP. Since having the last rest area in MONTEBARD the Bn has travelled approx 480 miles. Veh. cas. due to breakdowns have only amounted to 2 Loyd carriers and 4 M/C. Apart from these the Bn. arrived with its tpt. complete.
ANTWERP 14 2330 Bn took over defensive position from 1 E Lan R in docks area 688002. Slight shelling but otherwise enemy quiet. “B”. Operation Order.
15 2100 Recce patrol comd. by Lt. I.C. Maclean crossed canal on rt. front. Found that there were no enemy in the POLDER and that they seemed to have withdrawn to village about 1500 yds away.
16 1300 Bn HQ and A Coy shelled accurately and persistently. 8 cas plus 4 belonging to recce party of relieving bn.
16 2315 Bn relieved by Canadian Essex Scottish and moved to conc area south of ANTWERP.
17 1400 Bn moved to conc area near BAELEN 2089 with a view to crossing ESCAUT CANAL when bridgehead secured by 158 Bde. “C”. March Table.
BAELEN 18   158 Bde having met fairly heavy opposition in gaining bridgehead, 71 Inf Bde, who were to cross after 160 Bde, was held up. Div object was to come up and protect left flank of Allied airborne tps which had landed in NE HOLLAND and borders of GERMANY.
19 0430 Bn. adv. to cross canal, take and hold EERSEL 3109 and DUISEL 3010. Appendix “D”. Op Instr.
EERSEL and DUISEL 19 1010 In posn. on objectives having encountered no opposition and the bn. having liberated its first towns in HOLLAND. During the rest of the day and night there were the usual alarms, excursions and reports from the local patriots. Contact was made with American airborne tps.
21 0530 Bn relieved by 1 E Lan R and moved to conc area in brickworks 360126 near STEENSEL.
STEENSEL 21 1230 Bn. ordered to advance and capture MIDDLEBEERS 2721 and OOSTELBEERS 2822. Under comd. were A Sqn. 53 Recce Regt., 1 Pl (MMG) 1 Manch and the usual Arty support. The plan was to advance on two centre lines – C Coy Advance Guard Group on right and A Coy Advance Guard Group followed by the rest of the Bn on left. C Coy had to be prepared to take WINTELRE 3318 on the way if not already taken by 4 RWF who had been attacking it for 24 hrs.
21 1215 Adv. started.
21 1500 Held up outside OERLE 3516 while final assault by 4 RWF on WINTELRE went on.
21 1630 Adv. continued with a certain amount of shooting divided between ourselves, the enemy and the Dutch.
21 1645 C Coy held up by 7.5 cm Atk. gun at 323187. The enemy were forced to withdraw and the gun captured. Adv. continued steadily both fwd. Coys. meeting opposition. The country was difficult, tracks marked on the map practically non-existent, and the night pitch dark.
21 2200 C Coy held up by strong enemy position in wood. Enemy had 20 mm gun which seemed to fire alternatively along the ground and into the air. At this point Bn. HQ on the left C.L. were ahead of C Coy.
21 2300 A Coy held up at Br. 285203. When this was cleared, Recce Sqn. harboured for night.
22 0400 Bn HQ established at 278209, 600 yds from MIDDLEBEERS.
22 0500 Both leading Coys having adv. successfully against determined enemy rearguard actions, were held up outside their respective villages. B Coy moved up to Bn. HQ.
22 0515 D Coy moved through A Coy and cleared buildings at 275212. These buildings were vital to future operations.
22 0620 C Coys attack on OOSTELBEERS started.
22 0720 Attack successful but another hour spent in mopping up.
22 0730 Recce Sqn. ordered to move through A & D Coys, with B Coy in support, and enter village. This they were unable to do owing to rd. bloack.
22 0830 Sqn. of Cromwells (5 DG from 7 Armd Div) arrived to help in attack on MIDDLEBEERS. They were to break a way through rd. block after it had been softened by 17 pdr. Atk. gun. In doing this one tk. was blown up by a mine thus further blocking the road.
22 1500 Bn attack om MIDDLEBEERS launched. B Coy gained first X rds. in village, D Coy covered left flank. A Coy passed through B Coy with objective triangle of rds. at North end of village. This objective was taken, but the Coy was subsequently forced to withdraw. One pl. (comd. Sgt. McDonald) was isolated and never seen again. It was subesequently learnt from PW. that it had withstood three direct assaults, in the second of which bazookas had been used and in the third a 7.5 cm gun. The 15 survivors were all wounded when taken PW.
22   The Bn. occupied these positions for the night.
23   All during this day C Coy was heavily mortared and shelled in OOSTELBEERS. MG fire was heavy and they had several direct skirmishes with the enemy.
23   The plan of the Bn, with 5 DG under comd., was to push fwd. in MIDDLEBEERS and secure a bridgehead at 269224. The enemy had however infiltrated back into the village and the day had to be spent in mopping up, the MMG’s doing particularly good work.
23 1600 D Coy sent fwd a fighting patrol of 1 Pl. comd by Lt. McEwan to try to find the lost pl. of A Coy. This patrol did very well but of course found no trace of the Pl.
23   The night was spent in mortaring and shelling on both sides.
23   Patrols were sent fwd. and by morning it was found that the enemy had withdrawn slightly.
24 0400 The tks. left for another job.
24 0830 A Coy 4 RWF came under comd.
24 0915 B Coy ordered to push fwd. to X tracks 272221 and FM. 269219.
24 1100 Rd. to OOSTELBEERS opened by Carrier patrol.
24 1600 B Coy on objective after heavy opposition. Final dispositions in MIDDLEBEERS were:- B Coy fwd., A Coy on right of village, A Coy 4 RWF on left of village, and D Coy on left flank.
24   A further night’s patrolling showed that the enemy had withdrawn no further.
MIDDELBEER & OOSTELBEERS 25 1100 OOSTELBEERS taken over by 4 RWF and C Coy moved to OOSTELBEERS. A Coy 4 RWF ceased to be under comd.
25 1500 Adb. Bn. HQ moved into village.
25   The day was spent in patrolling and reorganizing.
25   To date in the battle for the two “Beers” the Bn had accounted for 33 MG, 5 Bazookas and 7 Fd Guns, taking 68 PW. with 27 enemy dead counted on the ground. 4 vehs. were also captured. Our casualties were 7 dead, 31 wounded and 21 missing.
26 1100 Bn. HQ shelled intermittently. Cas 1 dead 4 wounded.
26 1600 Bn. again became responsible for the defence of OOSTELBEERS and so C Coy took over from 4 RWF.
27-28   Two days in the defensive positions spent in patrolling towards STEENFORT 274227 and HUIGVOORT 262214. This established that enemy had not withdrawn at all. Mortaring and shelling on both sides. Our snipers had great success and forced the enemy to withdraw from several outpost positions.
27-28 1700 Mr. J.A.H. Verhaden arrived as interpreter.
29   A quieter day till the evening when B Coy and Bn HQ were shelled and mortared. Extensive harassing tasks on enemy posn (suspected Coy) in wood 270230 by MMG, Mortars and Guns. Mines laid by patrol (Comd. Lt. I.C. Maclean) behind enemy lines at 258212.
30 0800 Raid by enemy of D Coy fwd position which was weakly held owing to the fact that member of previous night’s patrol were resting. (Cas. 1 dead 1 Sgt wounded 1 PW.)
30 1500 Very successful Recce Patrol (Comd Sgt. Griffiths) to STEENFORT. Signs of enemy occupation in one house which had 14 cases of 8.1 cm mortar bombs in it. Carrier belonging to Recce Regt. also found.
30 1800 Raiding patrol (comd. Lt Harbour) captured 100 mortar bombs from house in STEENFORT but found carrier of Recce Regt. was burnt out.
30 2300 More patrols were sent out during the night and houses at 268211 in front of D Coy fwd posn. were boobytrapped.

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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.