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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: November 1944 (Erase heading not required). Commanding Officer: Lt. Col. I.C. Harris
Place Date Hour Summary Reference
783284 1   COs conference 900 hrs. Quiet and uneventful day weather dull and inclined to be wet.CM OP sent in 5 shell & 7 mortars reps. Two patrols went out during night 31/1, a contact patrol with Norfolks and a recce patrol from D Coy whose object was to establish firm base at 798289 and find out if enemy where in area 803288. Recce patrol went to 802290 and 4 enemy crossing railway from east to west but otherwise nothing to report. patrol had a tradic ending , owing to misunderstanding the forward recce party were fired upon by the people at the firm base, killing a Serjeant.
2   CO held conference 900 hrs. Another quiet day. CM OP submitted 12 shell and 12 mortar reps but no shells or mortars fell in Bn area. A recce patrol provided by C Coy went out during night 1/2 to discover if enemy occupied houses at 792285 & if there were mines in area of wood 791285. Patrol did not reach houses as they heared noises coming from there & noticed that tracks in the vicinity were in constant use. Track was prodded form 200 yds from 792284 but no mines were found. A & D Coys supplied mine laying parties, A Coy carrying out their task according to plan but D Coy were not so fortunate. An enemy patrol was encountered causing 2 casualties so the party withdrew without laying mines. Weather during the day was dull and cold.
3   A quiet night. COs O Gp 830 hrs followed by a recce party, consisting of CO & Coy Comds leaving Bn HQ at 930 hrs to make a recce of a position east of OVERLOON & returning at 1330 hrs. Representatives of South Lancs arrived at BN HQ 1500 hrs, inspected Coy posns.& left at 1645 hrs. CO held a further O Gp at 1830 hrs. Counter Mortar OP had a comparatively slack day owing to less to less enemy mortar & shell activity, sending in 4 shell & 4 mortar reps. Standing patrols were out during night 2/3 but had nothing to report. Weather again cold , rain begining to fall at 1830 hrd & continuing through the night. An RC's service was held at RAP at 1200 hrs.
784321 4   BN began at 900 hrs to move to new locations opposite SMAKT, at present occupied by 1 KOSB our posn being taken over by South Lancs. The complete changes over was effected by 1200 hrs. Enemy shells & mortars fell in forward Coy area during afternoon & early evening & CM OP established in Bn HQ area, submitted 1 shell & 9 mortar reps. Standing patrols were out during night 3/4 but had nothing to report. Weather cold & dull.
784321 5   Another quiet night. CO held conference 900 hrs. Brigadier visited Bn HQ 930 hrs & made a tour of the Coy posns. Baths were arranged for the Bn&MO held foot inspection. Enemy shells & mortar fell in Bn area at interval throughout the day, CM OP obtaining 10 shells & 8 mortars reps. 3 standing & 1 recce patrol were out during night 4/5 but revealed nothing of importance. Patrols did observe two green verey lights fired by enemy which may have indicated his shells were falling short. Weather during day cold & dull. A party left Bn HQ for 48 hrs in BRUSSELS.
6   Rain fell througout night. A Coy Lincolns were relieved by C Coy during the morning. An exceptionally quiet day, no enemy shells or mortars falling in Bn area, CM OP submitting no reps. 2 standing & 1 recce patrol were out during night 5/6. The recce patrol from A Coy & B Coy's standing patrol had nothing to report but D Coy's patrol heared a noise which sounded like a small rail car, coming from the railway in front of them. Again a very cold day but dry.
7   Once again a quiet night. COs O Gp at 1400 hrs. Representativesvfrom Lincolns arrived at Bn HQ at 1500 hrs prior to taking over Bn posns. Another very quiet day CM OP again having nothing to report. Weather was rough with occasional storms, very cold. 2 standing & 3 recce patrols went out during night 6/7. 1 recce patrol reported hearing voices coming from 793312, another recce patrol, reportedbridge at 791312 as concrete & intact & bridge at 791307 concrete & blown. Other patrols had nothing to report.
8   Another quiet night. At 830 hrs D Coy observed 6 enemy crossing their front , opened fire & scared the enemy off. Occasional shelling in Bn area by enemy Infantry gun. CM OP obtained & submitted several shell & mortar reps. Standing & recce patrols were out during 7/8 but had nothing to report. Weather again cold with hail & rain. O Op 1600 hrs see move order No 12
726380 9   Bn relieved by 2 Lincolns, change over begining at 930 hrs & completed by 1600 hrs. BN came out of the line to a rest area, a mile south east of ST ANTHONIS. Move was carried out in appaling weather, rain, hail & sleet which was almost continuous throughout the day. A party left for BRUSSELS at 830 hrs. During night 8/9 2 standing & 2 recce patrols were out but revealed nothing of importance. see o.o. No 10
10   Rain throughout night continuing cold & stormy during day. Admin being carried out during Bn's rest period. Several parties visited cinema & ENSA shows during afternoon & evening.CO held conference 1730 hrs.
11   Weather cold but fine. REME inspection of Bn vehicles. Parties visited TAF, inspecting Tempest & Typhoon aircraft. Party to Corps Rest Camp.
12   Weather cold & stormy. Bn had bath day. Church parades were held for RCs & Ces. Party left at 830 hrs for 24 hrs at Div Club.
13   Weather again cold & wet. REME inspection of Bn motor cycles . War office controlled stores check. Party left for Div Club. Representatives of 2 Lincolns visited billets prior to taking over Bn position. Recce party to new location left Bn HQ 915 hrs returning at 1200 hrs. O Gp 1500 hrs.
771324 14   Inter Bn relief carried out, Bn taking over posn occupied by 1 KOSB, about half a mile in rear of the position oposite of SMAKT. Move began at 830 hrs & was completed by 1300 hrs. During the afternoon Field Marshal Sir Bernard L. Montgomery KCB DSO visited Div HQ & distributed decorations awarded for recent battles. The four members of the Bn receivingdecorations were Capt Montgomery MC, C/Sjt Sharkey DCM, Cpl Reid MM, and Rfn Charles MM. A group photograph was taken of the recipient s with the C-in-C & GOC, the recipients subsequently receiving a photograph. A party left for Div Club at 820 hrs. CM OP established at Bn HQ submitted 3 mortar reps. Weatherstill cold & stormy.
15   CO & 2 i/c carried out an inspection of Coy posns during morning. At 1700 hrs CO & IO went to Bde O Gp and it was disclosed that a renewed attack was to be made upon the enemy bridgehead west of the MEUSE. The attack was to be initiated from the south nof each Division taking part was to attack in a north in a north easterly direction with the object of assailing the enemy defences from a flank. With 3 Br inf Div this this meant that 9 Br Inf Bde who would probably launch the attack , had to move to posns south of VENRAY, relieve unis of the !! Armoured Div and this Bn was allotted the area of HEIDE - VEULEN, partially occupied by 3RTR. A party left for Div Club before proceeding to BRUSSELS. Another party visited a cinema show in HELMOND. CM OP sent in 4 Mortar and 1 shell rep. Weather cold but fine.
16   Enemy shells fell in Bn arrea at 200 hrs. CO held conference 900 hrs and then spoke to all coys on the war situation since D Day and up to present time. - the favourable way in which Bn casualties compared with other units - importance of Christianity and also BRUSSELS leave. 2 i/c and IO went on recce of new area during the afternoon. A very quiet day no shell or mortar reps being submitted. Parties went to Div Club and a concert at GEMERT. Weather again cold but fine. A white frost overnight.
17   Enemy shells fell in Bn arrea at 700 hrs. CM OP had a slightly busier day obtaining 8 shell and 1 mortar rep. Again parties were despatched to Div Club & concert at GEMERT, also a party left for Corps Rest Camp. Authority for promotion of Sjt Dyer of A tk pl to commissioned rank came through today. Another white frost overnight, weather cold throughout day, rain beginning to fall at 1630 and continuing all night.
18   Enemy shells fell in Bn area between 630 and 700 hrs. Coy Comds on recce of new area at 1400 hrs returning at 1700 hrs. O Gp at 1800 hrs. CM OP sent in 3 shell & 3 mortar reps. Party visited concert in GEMERT during the afternoon. Weather fine. move order no 14
19   Bn moved to new area by march route, the first coyleaving at 1010 & Bn in posn by 1400 hrs.It was unpleasant march owing to the muddy stateof roads & tracks but vehicles made the journey without any casualties. A CM OP was established on arrival & submitted several mortar & shell reps. Weather fine.
20   CO's conference 900 hrs. Mortars fell in Bn area causing two casualtis. CM OP obtained 15 shell & 8 mortar reps. Party visited HELMOND and saw a play, another party left for 24 hrs at Div Club. Weather troughout day.
21   Shells landed in Bn area between 615 & 645 hrs . CO held conference 900 hrs. Church services were held for RC's at 1030 hrs. Baths were arranged for the Bn.An O Gp was held at 1800 hrs. BN was again shelled from 2000 hrs to 2350 hrs causing two casualties in D Coy. CM OP sent two in 2 shell & 7 mortar reps. A patrol was sent out by B Coy under Lt Ewart to find out (a) if bridge at763209 is suitable for marching tps & vehs (b) Width & depth of ditch from br 763209 to 763213 (c) condition of track from X rds 758216 to br 763209. The required inf was obtained under the most difficult conditions . Weather milder than of late but inclined to be stormy.
22   Bn area shelled fairly fequently between 300 & 500 hrs. CO held conference at 900 hrs & then attended Bde O Gp at 1000 hrs. It was learned that patrols from 2 Lincolns had visited objectives, which were to be taken on the following day, & reported them clear of enemy. An O Gp was held at 1500 hrs. Comparatively little shelling or mortaring was expierenced during the day, only 3 shell & 1 mortar rep being submitted . Rain throughout the day. see o.o. No 11
23   Quiet night,. Previous plans altered owing to 1 KOSB & 2 Lincolns taking the Bn objective but Bn stood by at 1 hrs notice to ove during the day because it was thought that we might be required to pass through the KOSB & go forward to more advance objectives, but mines& road blocks hasd slowed their progress& although they met no enemy, it was darjness before they had reached our original objective. Shells fell Bn area between 1830 & 1900 hrs. Again a wet day & Bn was fortunate in being able to remain under cover for the whole day. see move order no 15
24   CO held conference 900 hrs. Bn at 1 hrs notice to move. At 1000 hrs new was received that Bn would move at 1200 hrs to KLEINERLOO, recce party leaving at 1145 hrs. Bn moved to new area & Coys were in posn by 1430 hrs. Two American airman were brought to Bn HQ at 1700 hrs by member of local resistance movement. Aitman were shot down while attacking VENLO almost 2 months ago & had been hiding since. Bde O Gp was held at 1800 hrs & Bn O Gp at 1930 hrs. A party left for 48 hrs at the Corps Rest Camp. Weather stormy throughout day particulary so while move was taking place.
822233 25   Enemy mortar fell in Bn area during night. C Coy moved from MOLENHOEK to 8552244. A very quiet day, no enemy shells or mortar falling in Bn Area. A party left Bn HQ at 1500 hrs to spend the night at Div Club and then proceed to BRUSSELS on the 26th. C Coy & theCarrier Pl were both forward of their posns during the night 24/25. Their posn was close to the line of hte BEEK & theirrole was to prevent any infiltration ofthe enemy across the WANSSUM canal before the tps moving northwards from HORST could cover the ground to our east. The Carrier platoon had a particullary difficult night , it was extremely dark & as a small body of men some distance forwardof our nearest posns the utmost vigilance had to be maintained by every man throughout the night , as enemywere either by the Carrabout half a mile further north.During today 15 Scottish Division occupied TIENRAI & subsequently pushed north to BLITTERSWIJK on the MAAS thus v=clearing all enemy to our immediatly east. We were thus released from our commitments on the BEEK & C Coy & the Carrier pl were withdrawn to their original posns. Weather again stormy.
26   A very quiet night . C Coy reported having seen rockets fired from posn 810230 at 620 hrs. C of E Service was held at 1100 hrs, the Brigadier attending, and Rc Service held at 1200 hrs. Therre was enemy air activity between 1800 & 2000 hrs when a few bombs were dropped in Venray area. Weather quiet fine.
855254 27   CO's conference 900 hrs. News came through at 1100 hrs that Bn would move during night to MEERLO. Bn eventually moved at 1600 hrs, A & C Coy in BLITTERSWIJK, B Coy in MEGELSUM & C Coy in MEERLO. Bn was shelled between 2300 & 2345 hrs causing 4 casualties, at the same time B Coy area was shelled causing 2 casualties & a cwt completely destroyed. Some useful information was obtained from memebers of local resistance movement about enemy still in this area, which was forwardedto Bde. Weather fine but cold.
28   I OP established 872273 at 830 hrs. Bde O Gp 930 hrs. No shelling in Bn HQ area but OP reported considerable shelling & mortaring in A & D Coy areas. A Patrol went to 854266 & clashed with enemy, after an exchange of shots & grenades enemy moved to house 855268. A patrol to MELLING was fired on by 2 MGs & rifles from 855271.Another patrol reported farm at 864273 occupied by 4 enemy & a spandau firing from there. A party left for A Echelon prior to proceeding to BRUSSELS. Weather fine during the morning but rain throughout afternoon & evening.
29   Quiet night. Occasional shelling during day in Bn HQ area. Enemy snipers & MGs active on A coy's forward Pl front causing 3 casualties . A who stated he had swam the MAAS on previous evening was sent in by A Coy interrogation & subsequently taken to Bde. Track between MEGELSUM & BLITTERSWIJK flooded at 869259 to a depth of 2 feet, water still rising . I OP manned at 920 hrs received a direct hit at 1115 hrs, causing 1 casualty. Weather fine. During the day a plan was evolved to eject the enemy from the remaining bridgehead he heald between east WANSSUM & the MAAS, the CO held conference with Coy comds & gave orders as per appendix. Much valuable time was spent in recconaissance & comds at every level at plenty of oppertunity to observe the ground over which they were to fight. see o.o. No 12
855354 30   Zero hour was at 500 hrs and soon odd bursts of spandau and shots of rifle fire were heard from advanced Bn HQ. At 545 hrs first reports came through from the two leading Coys. Both had successfully breached the belt of wire which marked the outher ring of enemy defences. C Coy on the left found some R mines attached to the wire but these were disarmed by our Pioneer Pl & breach made without difficulty. Opposite D Coy, however , the wire & had attached to it some concealed charged, they were inaccessible without moving the wire & so the Pioneer section working with D Coy had no alternative but to set them off. The explosion made an alarming noise but the strong wind must have concealed the sound and the explosion made an alarming noise but the strong wind must have concealed the sound and the first Platoon passed through. It was clear from the nature of the weather and the ground that this attack would not be an easy one. The night was clear and a strong wind kept the sky free of clouds & allowed a bright moon to shine down with unabated intesnity. The ground on both was extremely flat, & opposite C Coy quiet devoid of cover sp that in the moonlight the advance would plainly be frought with difficulties. At 545 the leading Platoon having advanced along WANSSUM RD came under heavy machine gun fire from the orchard on the left of the rd & houses on the right hand side. This little settlement is named HELLING & soon it proved to be strongly held.The Coy Comd, Majot Murphy, appreciating what had happened from his Headquarters by the wire , ordered the second Platoon to work up the left flank along the edge of the flooded BEEK. This Platoon had worked forward with succes to a point almost level with the first Platoon on the rd when it too was pinned by close range MG fire from the western corner of the orchard. Plainly the German had the ground well traversed by fire & that the moonlight allowed him a complete view of our tactical manoeuvres. There upon Major Murphy decided to withdraw these two platoons to the original joining up position in order to bring mortar & artillery fire to bear upon the stubborn position. Great work was done by the company runner Rfn Beattie in transmitting the message to the two platoon Comds under heavy MG fire. On the right however it was unfortunate that just after receiving this message Sjt Hammersly, the Platoon Comd, was wounded & evacuated , and it seems fairly certain that the order to withdraw never reached one section of his platoon or the Pioneer Pl Comd, Lt Shimmin, and his seven pioneers who had closely followed up to the right hand platoon. At all events only five men from the platoon and no Pioneers returned to the forming up position. Subsequently Major Murphy observed five riflemen being taken back under German escort. One carrying a Red Cross flag and another a stretcher from HELLING to WANSSUM. Later Lt Shimmin and Sjt Rafferty were also seen going back under German escort, and that afternoon a civilian told ud that he had witnessed the passage of 15 British soldiers through WANSSUM, 3 of whom were walking wounded. Six graves were subsequently discovered in the orchard at HELLING where our dead had been buried by the local Dutchmen. C Coys casualties in this action were 6 killed, 4 wounded and 12 missing, while the Pioneers Pl lost 1 Offr and 7 ORs missing. On the left, D Coy under comd of Major Bird were more succesfull. At 415 the Coy moved tto BLITTERSWIJK and its defensive commitmens fromnorth to west were taken over by A Coy and at 545 the leding platoon passed through through the wire and set off towards the first objective , the some 300 yards west of the breach in the wi The re. A Spandau opened up in the direction of this party at close range but hurt nobody, and Lt Campbell the comd led his men forward in a charge upon this position but found it abandond complete with spandau and panzerfaust. The platoon under Lt Hancock had aa similar experience in the left hand edge of the wood. Coming under intense MG fire from the wood, they advanced into the wood using the same tactics of throwing a grenade and then rushing the position. This was done by the great initiative and dash, but has the wood came thicker so progress became slower, and when they finally reached the objective it was to find that the enemy had fled. The third platoon was now ordered forward by the coy commander, and, having survived without a casualty a severer spell of German harassing fire along its line of aproach, this platoon under Sjt Brown advanced without further difficulty to the coys first objective. Nor wasthere any further trouble in gaining the second objective, a wood some distance north west of the Windmill. The third objective , a wood to the leftto the second was , however, not so easily gained. Two or three German positions were located and attacked with 2 Mortars and FIAT fire but not until two platoons had launched a joint attack was this stubborn resistance broken. Not until the end did the Germans leave, but then they left in a great hurry abandoning weapons and equipment. Now it was fully daylight it soon became clear that although the Boche had given ground before the determination of D Coys attacks, he retained a perimeter defence of WANSSUM, which he had as yet no intention of giving up. D Coy were now established firmly in the western end of the woods south of WANSSUM - BLITTERSWIJK road but two or three wooded areas to the north of the road were known to contain Boche. Between WANSSUM and D Coy the enemy ejected from the woods , had reorganized his defenceof withdrawal from the vicinity of HELLING. Equally plainly no further movement in daylight was possible for our troops, in view of the flat and open character of the ground There fore a plan by Lt. Col. Harris to renew attack by night, employing a third coy which was attack in the north westerly direction from a point south west of Coy wood. Extensive recconnaissance was carried out by its Comd Capt Gaffekin and his platoon comds but not much of the ground could be seen and the frequent doses of mortar and shell fire increased difficulties. More information and assistance was in fact obtained from air photographs. Finally a plan was evolved (see Appendix). Meanwhile C and D Coys had continued to be offensive. Accurate mortar fire and several "Mike" targets were put down on HELLING. D Coyspent the rest of the day sniping at the Germans, Rfn Hopper killed or woundedsix with a sniper's rifle and Rfn Roberts two more. On his side the Boche continuously our positions and occasionally harassed them with MG fire.

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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.