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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: November 1944 (Erase heading not required). Commanding Officer: Lt. Col. T. MacLeod
Place Date Hour Summary Reference
NEEROETEREN 1   Orders received for Bn. to take over defensive posn. from Belgian Bde in THORN 6786.
1 0745 Recce parties left to meet Bde. Comd. at NEERITTER 6486. D.1
1 1700 Bn. with 1 Oxf Bucks on left and under comd. 2 Pls. MMG, 1 Pl. 4.2 Mortars and 1 Tp 6 Pdr. Atk guns in position as follows. A Coy left, D Coy right, B & C Coys centre. Line of CANAL VAN NEDERWEERT and R. MAAS covered. Enemy held WESSEM 7086 and small bridgehead over CANAL.
1   Certain amount of help obtained from Dutch Home Guard in the guarding of brs. on L of C.
THORN 2 0400 Small enemy patrol bumped D Coy fwd Pl. It was engaged and one enemy killed, two wounded. Both the wounded were brought back. The documents of the dead man were subsequently recovered. All three were Corporals, two G.A.F., one Paratp., from the fortress Bn. It is considered that the whole patrol was accounted for.
2   Day spent in improving defensive posns, digging alternative posns. etc.
2 1700 Slight enemy mortaring caused one casualty in C Coy.
2 1800 Arrangements made with Mayor and local Dutch HG. for the future evacuation of civilians, areas in which farmers were allowed to work, and assistance in defence works.
2   Complaint sent to Bde. that rations not sufficient for present cold and wet weather.
3   Recce patrols during the night found enemy posns. South of WESSEM 7086 and in CUTTING 6987.
3   52 Re-inforcements arrived.
3 1700 Bde Comd. gave outline of plan to push back existing enemy bridgeheads on this side of the CANAL and RIVER. It was to be done in three phases. Phase one was for ‘A’ Coy to adv. and hold CHATEAU 681877. Plans were made to put this into effect with help of supporting arms on the next day.
3 1800 Two German spies in civilian clothes reported in F.2 Ech. area KESSENICH. K.1
3 2200 Believed enemy fighting patrol contacted fwd Pl. of B Coy 687872. Enemy succeeded in getting MG into position here. Very accuarate MMG fire was then brought down by 4 Pl. A Coy 1 Manch on the enemy MG. This caused the enemy to retire.
3   Recce patrols sent out during night located further enemy positions.
4 0630 A Coy successfully occupied area of CHATEAU, although the CHATEAU itself had been set on fire earlier in the night by the enemy and was burnt out. 3 cas due to shelling.
4 1500 C Coy heavily mortared. Direct hit on their HQ. 1 cas.
4 2130 Enemy patrol tried to capture section comd. in A Coy left fwd. Pl. He managed to escape with wound in leg.
4   Harassing tasks (MMG & Arty) fired during the night.
4   Recce patrols pin-pointed enemy posns. on West edge of WESSEM and in CONCRETE WORKS 6987.
5   Nearly 600 civilians voluntarily evacuated from THORN. It was stated that compulsory evacuation would not now take place.
5 1245 A Coy right pl. heavily shelled. 4 cas.
5   Considerable harassing tasks (Arty, 4.2 mortar, MMG and 3 in mortars) fired during the day. Arty fired over 900 shells on Bn front, and 3 in mortars over 500. Tasks mostly on enemy psns. discovered by patrols during previous night.
5 2115 Two deserters surrendered to B Coy. Enemy do not appear to know who is opposite them yet, and consequently their patrolling was active. They stated that our arty & mortar fire was extremely accurate and unpleasant.
5   Further recce patrols during night discovered that enemy had withdrawn from several positions presumably made untenable by our harassing fire. Enemy patrols were active two bumping C & D Coys but not coming near enough to try conclusions.
6   Further extensive harassing tasks fired. Arty fired over 1500 shells on our front alone and 3 in mortars over 600.
6   Three ambush patrols sent out during night, but unfortunately enemy had changed his tactics sending out his own patrols after midnight. Consequently our own patrols did not contact any enemy.
6 0205 Enemy fighting patrol contacted fwd. Pl. C Coy. They were fired on and retired leaving one dead.
6 0225 Enemy fighting patrol contacted B Coy. They too were fired on and it is considered some wounded as two MP.44 found in area. Pl. Sgt. of B Coy fwd Pl. slightly wounded by grenade.
7   Little immediate harassing fire from Arty. owing to restriction on number of shells.
7   Lt.Col. T. Macleod assumed Comd. of 71 Inf. Bde. Maj C.A. Harvey assumed comd of bn.
7 1650 Maj. Harvey wounded by shrapnel mine near C Coy fwd. Pl. Maj. C.R.H. Kindersley MC assumed comd. of bn.
7 2315 Fighting patrol from D Coy bumped enemy mine laying patrol at 698858 and shot it up. Other patrols during night proved negative.
8 2300 Patrol from A Coy sent out to LOCK 691878 to get information for the possible operation of attacking the LOCK and blowing the gates to drain the CANAL. They found enemy positions, that the banks were steep, and the water 4 ft. from the top of the bank and therefore not “wadeable”.
9 0215 C Coy Recce Patrol located new enemy posns. along CANAL bank in area 705870.
9 0700 Capt J.J. Thornton, his […], F.O.O. (Capt Norman) and his signaller ambushed on way to C Coy fwd. Pl. and taken PW.
9 1000 Planning began for attack on LOCK. It was realised that the object was a much bigger one than had at first been thought, and it was not considered possible to achieve the object with the available forces then under comd. Orders were then received for the plan to be dropped.
9 1515 Recce patrols arrived from 6 Queens who were to take over from us.
9 2000 Lt.Col. T. Macleod re-assumed comd. of Bn.
11 0230 Bn. relieved by 6 Queens and moved to VELDHOVEN 4890.
VELDHOVEN 11 1530 Preliminary conference of Bde. on future ops. Bn spent day in adm. and re-organisation.
12-13   Spent in Trg. and planning for Op. “Mallard”.
13 1730 Bde “O“ Group for final plans for Op. “Mallard”.
14 1400 Bn “O” Group. E.1. E.2. E.3. H.1. D.2. D.3.
15   A Cl 40 could not be built in time, the bn’s attack was postponed until next day.
16 0500 Bn. Group, the infantry in Kangaroos, left ZINC WORKS to carry out its part in Op. “Mallard”.
16 0715 Bn. Group in posn. ready to cross CANAL VAN NEDERWEERT, but owing to the faulty construction of the Cl 40 bridge it was found impossible for the Kangaroos to cross in time. Coys therefore adv. on foot supported by tanks. No active opposition from enemy but many mines and craters found.
16 1330 All Coys on objective. Two PW (one a deserter) taken.
17-20   Bn. static in defensive posns. in Bde. Reserve.
19   Lt.Col. T. Macleod prceeeded on 48 hrs. leave. Comd. of Bn. assumed by Maj. C.H.R. Kindersley MC.
20 1800 Bde. “O” Group to discuss final plans for attack by 1 Oxf Bucks and 4 RWF to clear enemy from West side of R. MAAS opposite ROERMOND.
21 0800 A & D Coys come under comd. 1 Oxf Bucks and went fwd to take up defensive posns. A Coy BRICKWORKS 736905. D Coy HORN 752913.
21   Lt.Col. T. Macleod re-assumed comd. of Bn.
21 1700 Draft from Som. L.I. of 31 ORs.
22 1000 Bde “O” Group concerning plans for 1 Oxf Bucks to clear enemy from ground down to FERRY 752895 and for this Bn to take over their posns. E.4.
22 2200 Take over started. 1 Oxf Bucks met little opposition to their adv.
HORN 23 1100 Take over complete. Water continued to rise during a day of steady rain. Pl. position in HATENBOER 761898 was subsequently abandoned.
23 1800 D Coy relieved B Coy in BRICKWORKS 767904. They had to wade knee-deep in water to get there.
24   Water continued to rise during the day and slowly to engulf the forward posns. It was finally decided to abandon the posn at the FERRY and just keep one Pl. at BRICKWORKS 766903.
24 1145 C Coy heavily shelled. 6 cas (one died of wounds).
24 1420 Bn HQ heavily shelled two direct hits being scored.
24 1820 Bn HQ again shelled, one direct hit, one cas.
24 2000 Pl of C Coy relieved D Coy, but owing to floods they could not occupy BRICKWORKS. Occupied instead Hses. just to North. A further rise of the water again restricted the tenable area and the holding force was reduced to one section.
24   Heavy counter-battery by mediums kept down enemy shelling during the night.
25   Draft of 32 ORs from Royal Fusiliers. Water continued to rise.
26   Little activity on part of enemy. Water still rising – within 50 yds of Bn HQ.
27   Following honours awarded for the battle of MIDDELBEERS and OOSTELBEERS:-
27   Major C.R.H. Kindersley MC – D.S.O.
27   Major Hon. J.H.M. Borwick – M.C.
27   Sgr. Paton – D.C.M.
27   L/C Boyle – M.M.
27   L/C Hawkins – M.M.
28 1100 Bde. “O” Group where orders given that as Bde. front was to be extended, two Coys of this Bn. would take over from 4 RWF.
28 1400 Recce of new areas by B & C Coys.
29 1100 Presentation by Field Marshal Sir Bernard L. Montgomery KCB. DSO. of honours awarded during present campaign. He announced that Home leave would start as from 1 Jan 45.
29 1800 B Coy take over complete. Now in posn BROEK 7692.
30   Floods subsided by several feet. Draft 12 Camerons received.
30 1000 C Coy take over complete. Now in posn. HEUGDE 7592. Indirect fire by 6 Pdr. Atk Guns on ROERMOND brought down enemy DF fire.
30   Bn. celebrated St. Andrews Day with very successful dinner at which Bde. Comd. was chief guest.

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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.