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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: The Hallamshire Bn. The York & Lancaster Regiment
Month and Year: December 1944 (Erase heading not required). Commanding Officer: Lt. Col. T. Hart Dyke
Place Date Hour Summary Reference
FIELD 1   Bn moved to MILL where it stayed the night en route for NIJMEGEN.
2   Bn moved to NIJMEGEN. 146 Bde remained in Div reserve with 147 and 56 Bdes in the line. 1/4 KOYLI were in sp of 56 Bde in a counter attack role in the area of 715675. The intention was that Hallamshires should take over from 1/4 KOYLI on about 6 Dec. 146 Bde would take over from 56 Bde on about 12 Dec.
3   Bn remained at NIJMEGEN. Considerable flooding of fwd areas North of the river was reported. A change of the plan outlined above was considered inevitable.
4   Trg continued in NIJMEGEN. Floods continued to rise and fed areas of 56 Bde had to be abandoned.
5   Trg continued in NIJMEGEN.
6   Trg continued in NIJMEGEN.
7   Adv parties were despatched to area RESSEN 713673 in preparation to take over from 1/4 KOYLI.
8   The bn took over from 1/4 KOYLI at mid-day. The floods had continued to rise but the bn was reasonably comfortably quartered in the small hamlets in the area. Only "A" Coy was tactically disposed, the remaining Coys being held back in res. The bn was not in contact with the enemy and no shelling took place in the, area. The sector was very quiet and the main task was the close watching of the water level. The policy was that the Div should withdraw as compelled by the water, but not to give up any ground which could be subsequently occupied by the enemy. The water rose slightly during the day and some of the rds in the bn area were awash. It was decided to reform "D" Coy under comd of Capt. C.A. Mackillop, from reinforcements being posted by 50 Div.
9   During the night a moderate snowfall occurred, causing the water to rise. One pl of "B" Coy had to evacuate its posn. The Commanding Officer carried out a recce of the area to be occupied by the bn in the "close br'head", which was to be held should it prove necessary to abandon the greater part of the "Island" as a result of flooding. "B" Coy moved to the area of the rly and rd junc 708647 and began work on defensive posns in this area. This work included tunneling through rly embankments, preparation of houses for def etc. There was no enemy activity on the bn front.
10   A slight decrease in flooding was reported. There was no enemy activity to report.
11   "C" Coy took over from "A" Coy. "A" Coy moving into "C" Coy's old posn in res. The newly formed "D" Coy moved into posn along the rd running North and South through 711679. At 1230, 20 shells fell in "A" Coy area causing no cas, but hitting the OP. A slight increase in flooding was reported. Two loud speakers were heard from the area 7076.
12   At 0215 hrs 84 shells fell in "C" Coy area. Some shells also fell in "B" Coy area. There was a slight increase in flooding. Nothing else to report during the day.
13   A slight increase in flooding was reported. Recce parties of 4 Lincs visited the bn preparatory to taking over on the 14th Dec. No enemy activity to report.
14   A slight increase in flooding was reported. 4 Lincs took over bn sector without incident, relief being completed by 1330. Bn moved to NIJMEGEN for four days trg, preparatory to taking over from 147 Bde. No enemy activity to report.
15   Trg was carried out in NIJMEGEN.
16   Trg continued in NIJMEGEN.
17   Bn holiday.
18   Trg continued in NIJMEGEN.
19   Recce gp carried out recce of 7 DWR area preparatory to taking over on 22 Dec.
20   Bn holiday.
21   Bn holiday. Coy comds carried out recces of 7 DWR area.
22   Bn took over from 7 DWR. The greater part of the relief was carried out during daylight, but part of "A" Coy could not take over until after dark. The area itself was not flooded, but the accomodation was lacking in the fwd Coy areas, most of the houses having been damaged or destroyed. During the night, a recce patrol visited the house at 741692. This was found to be unoccupied and before first light the recce patrol went out again to escort two snipers who were established in the house. The recce patrol also reported the houses at 743689 unoccupied and not flooded.
23   The bn remained in its posns at BEMMEL. Some slight mortaring of "A" Coy's area took place. At dusk, two men crawled up to the wire at the most Easterly pl of "A" Coy. The sentry threw a hand grenade and opened fire, but the patrol made off. During the night, patrols were sent to 741703 and 746698 on the bank of the RIJN WETERING. Both pats found it difficult going as cracking ice made progress very noisy. Enemy were seen at both places.
24   The bn remained in its posns at BEMMEL. The day was quiet, but there was enemy patrol activity in the evening. Between 2000 and 2100 movement was twice reported in front of "A" Coy. DF task was fired to deal with this. At 2300 the Carrier Stdg Patrol reported hearing movement between themselves and "A" Coy HQ as if someone was breaking through a hedge. In point of fact a German patrol had crawled down the East side of the orchard at 754682, then turned SE into the rd running NW and SW at this pt. They then made their way SE to the right hand pl of "A" Coy, where they were engaged with grenades and rifle fire. Four boche were killed in this encounter. Our own patrols reported many enemy at 747697, where much talking, hammering etc was heard. Another patrol observed a man digging on the South side of the canal at 749693.
24   Casualties. ORs – 3.
25   The bn spent a quiet Christmas morning in the line. During the afternoon there was some enemy shelling and one man of "D" Coy was killed. During the evening, there was again a considerable amount of patrol, or similar, activity along the whole of the RIJN WETERING. Men could be heard talking and hammering. Planks were being moved about and the crunching of ice as they crossed the dyke could be heard. These activities were several times engaged with 3" mortar, 4.2 mortar, MMG and arty DF tasks. Eventually quiet was restored on the bn front. One patrol was sent out by the bn. This endeavoured to find a crossing place on the canal at the right of the bn sector. The patrol made its way to a pt with subsidiary dyke about 50 yds short of the main dyke. Talking was heard at the junc of the main and subsidiary dykes. The patrol moved on NW, tapping in to the main dyke at each subsidiary dyke. At each place talking was heard on the line of the RIJN WETERING. A crossing was not found.
25   Casualties. ORs. Killed - 1.
26   Once more the morning was quiet. The afternoon was enlivened by an unusual incident. 11 Boche presented themselves on the dyke with a Red Cross Flag. They were reluctant to adv but eventually did so assisted by 3" mortar smoke dropped behind them. Eventually they came over, were blindfolded, and led into "A" Coy's locality where they protested that they had come to collect the four dead who had participated in the patrol on 23 Dec. This story was not credited and they were brought back. Preliminary interrogations showed that there were four genuine medical personnel among them, the remainder being ordinary inf. The whole affair was regarded with the gravest suspicion in view of the considerable recce activity on this front and more particularly in view of the persistent rumours and threats of attack. The party were sent back for further interrogation. It appeared that HUIS DE KARBRUG and the rest of the canal must be unoccupied because the enemy had been very quiet during the whole of this op. Consequently, it was decided to seize the opportunity to make good the line of the canal as an outpost posn. A sec of "D" Coy moved up to the near side of the br at HUIS DE KARBRUG and a sec of "A" Coy moved fwd to the canal in front of their posn, to est themselves in the bank between the two dykes. Snipers preceded both parties and seized both the outpost posns without difficulty. On the right however, the sec was unable to get in posn as the ice would not bear the weight of a fully equipped man. The sec took up a temporary posn South of the dyke and eventually returned to the Coy area. On the left, the sec reached the near side of the br but was unable to cross it as it came under fire from 746698 751698 and 748696. It had been intended to reinforce this section up to pl strength, but in view of this fact it was decided to leave it as a sec outpost. The Pl Comd. Lieut. Bassett going up with a telephone. At about 1900 hrs 6 enemy approached the post from the North coming down both sides of the rd. The outpost fired on them and they ran away. Later at about 1930 hrs the enemy put in an attack with about 20 men straight down the rd. Covering fire on to the br was provided by the 3 MG posts already located. The house in which the sec was located was not bullet proof and one cas was suffered. The outpost fired on the enemy who split up and started to come round the flanks of the posn. Arty DFs were fired around the posn and MMG fire was brought to bear on the rd running North from it. 4.2 Mortars were fired on the houses at 751698. This fire was not very effective, as the enemy were already too close. The C.O. gave permission for the outpost to withdraw. This they did bringing the wounded man with them.
26   4 Lincs succeeded in establishing an outpost at 741703. 1/4 KOYLI attempted to establish an outpost at 763677 but were unable to do so as the water made it impossible to cross the dykes, furthermore, the enemy were on the other side. 4 Lincs recce patrol penetrated to 742711, which was clear.
26   Casualties. ORs. Wounded - 1.
27   A quiet day was spent. A fighting patrol was laid on to take a prisoner from the Brickworks and destroy the br leading over the dyke into it at 746698. The patrol was to go out via the Lincoln stdg patrol and return direct along a route to be laid out by "D" Coy. A hitch arose when "D" Coy reported that they were unable to prepare the desired route as the minefield through which it passed, was covered with ice and the mines could not be found. Accordingly an alternative route was begun passing to the West of the minefield. No sooner was this begun than 4 Lincs reported that their outpost was being attacked. An enemy patrol walked into the outpost, losing four men killed and two wounded. The outpost then withdrew. The SP for the fighting pat having been lost, the patrol was cancelled.
28   Once more the bn spent a quiet day in its posns. At night, a recce patrol crossed the nearer of the dykes and walked along the bund, provoking no enemy reaction. On the right of the bn sector, another recce patrol saw enemy in the poplar trees at 757683. This was apparently a working party. The patrol moved to the North end of the orchard at 754682 and shot up the enemy with their Bren guns. Smoke was also put down South of the dyke. There was no reaction. A patrol from "D" Coy succeeded in marking and bridging a route through the orchard at 744696 where the snipers were to be installed next day.
29   The bn spent a quiet morning and afternoon. Snipers were installed without difficulty and as will be seen later, had a successful day. At 1700 hrs, "A" Coy reported that a smoke screen was being put down on their front along the RIJN WETERING. Shortly afterwards they reported that the enemy were advancing toward the canal in some strength but had not yet crossed the canal. DF from arty, mortars, both medium and heavy, and MMGs were called for and brought down just as the enemy, adv in extended formation, reached the canal. Some of the enemy were observed to move NW along the canal, putting out smoke canisters. Very soon the whole scene was obscured by smoke and little more was seen of the enemy who had begun to cross the dyke. DF continued to be brought to bear on the enemy and harrassing fire was put down in his rear.
29   At this pt the snipers, who had been operating on the left flank returned reporting that they had succeeded in getting into the Brickworks from where they had sniped enemy in the houses on the far side of the dyke. These enemy had come out to take down the shutters and had been killed immediately. A further boche who came out to see what the trouble was, had been wounded. The snipers also reported activity, including a mortar, in WEERTSBERG, and veh movement in the area to the North of that place.
29   By 1800 hrs "A" Coy, were able to report that the smoke had cleared and that nothing was in sight. Ten minutes later "A" Coy reported that more smoke was falling in front of them. MMGs were fired into the smoke. By now a combination of mist and smoke covered the entire bn area and visibility fell at one time to 30 yds.
29   "D" Coy Stdg patrols now reported that tapping could be hears in front of them, while a mine exploded in the area of the "sniper’s house" in front of them. At this time, two patrols were out, one led by Lieut. Gallagher to the dyke in the right hand sector, and another straight up the rd to the br. The latter returned with inconclusive infm not having reached the br and not really knowing where it had reached on account of the bad visibility. Activity was however, reported in the area of the br. Another patrol was sent out to investigate the br area. Lieut. Gallagher returned from his patrol and reported that there were definitely enemy on the North side the dyke, particularly at 754680. He, too, reported muffled hammering to the West.
29   At 2150 hrs another mine exploded in front of "D" Coy, and a patrol was sent out to investigate. The other patrol of "D" Coy reached a pt about 50 yds short of the br and reported that although the houses on our side of the dyke were unoccupied, there was considerable activity on the far side. Men could be heard working and a block and pulley was being used. This area was heavily mortared and machine gunned.
29   There was little further activity. "D" Coy reported that their patrol had found no sign of the enemy in front of them and the mystery of the mines remained unsolved.
29   The enemy was undoubtedly behaving in a very strange fashion on the bn front, and at this stage, the only appreciations that could be adv were (a) that the enemy intended to attack the bn sector and with the line of the dyke as his start line, had seized to make it secure in the afternoon. The activity in the area of the br probably pointed to an attempt to repair the crater in the North br for use in the attack. The various hammerings which had been heard during the past few days, were construed as the construction of foot bridges to cross the dyke. Or (b) that he was simply trying to divert our attention.
29   Casualties. ORs. Wounded - 1 (Remained at duty).
30   The bn spent a quiet morning and afternoon. A successful fighting patrol was mounted in the area of the br over the dyke. This patrol was led by Lieut. Simmil. The plan for the patrol and a report on the action are attached at D.16 and F.1. The enemy reacted to the patrol with spandau and mortar fire, without, however, causing casualties. The rest of the night was quiet. A recce patrol to the East end of the dyke found a stdg patrol in posn in the poplar trees.
30   During the day, snipers operated South of the br and scored a direct hit on the top half of a German who showed himself above the dyke.
30   Casualties. ORs. Wounded - 3 (One remained at duty).
31   Another quiet day was spent by the bn at BEMMEL. The coming of the New Year was heralded by the boche with verey lights, spandau fire, and hy arty conc on the "B" Coy "cabbage patch", a favourite target. An expenditure of a hundred rounds or so caused no cas. Our recce patrols to the dyke after midnight, found a stdg patrol in the poplar trees. A horse and cart was heard near the br and a spandau fired. During the day the snipers again operated near the br and in the brickworks. They were fired on from the rooms of the house NE of the Brickworks across the dyke. They fired back into the rooms and silenced the enemy. It is not known whether they caused casualties.

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Source: Jeroen Koppes, TracesOfWar.com, 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.