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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: HQ 159 Infantry Brigade
Month and Year: September 1944 (Erase heading not required). Commanding Officer: Brigadier J.B. Churcher
Place Date Hour Summary Reference
B.L.A. 1   The Bde moved off at 0830 hrs with the objective the high ground WEST of ARRAS, the Gds Armd Div on our RIGHT directed on ARRAS. The Armd Bde leading the adv, very little opposition was met, many prisoners taken incl the Corps Staff of the 89 German Army Corps.
2   At first light the Bde was directed on LILLE area. At midday the Bde was halted outside LILLE with the Armd Bde and Div HQ on the EAST side and the Inf Bde on the WEST, the NORTH edge of VIMY RIDGE. The halt was called owing to an intended airborne landing in BELGIUM the next day, which did not materialise. Celebrations were on a terrific scale in the town; the local Maquis produced fantastic stories of enemy colns moving in all directions; 99% proved false.
3   At first light the Div was directed on ANTWERP on two routes, via TOURNAI – RENAIX. A very slow start but speed increased during the day. Two SP guns and some Inf caused some trouble in the area ATTICHES. One coy of 4 KSLI and one sqn of 15/19 Hussars stabilised the situation. The rest of the day was similar to the passage of the Royal Family on Coronation Day. The Bde halted WEST of BRUSSELS at 0030 hrs, area EYSTRINGHEN 4654. A-B
4   At first light the Bde moved off with the objective ANTWERP. By midday the Armd Bde had entered the City. All the population were mad with excitement, giving us an unbelievable welcome. The Inf Bde had more difficulty in getting into the city owing to strong points being manned. An enormous number of people came out to give us a welcome, some to the extent of hindering the adv. An order from Div came through that no guns were to be used on the city. The 3 MON were ordered to take the Docks area, and the 4 KSLI the Central Park in the centre of the town. By midnight, fighting was still continuing, many PW being taken including General Graf von Stolberg.
B.L.A. 5   By first light the 4 KSLI were firmly established in the centre of the town; mopping up continued. The 3 MON were finding stiff opposition at the Bridge, but managed to get some across and pressed on towards the dock area. The 1 HEREFORD were in reserve SOUTH of the town. By evening the town was firmly in our hands, including the dock area and sluice gates, all in good condition. The 2 DEVONS of the 231 Bde, 50 Div came under comd; 3 MON in dock area, 4 KSLI making a bridgehead across CANAL, 1 HEREFORD guarding bridges, 2 DEVONS in reserve.
6   The 4 KSLI were ordered to cover all the brs EAST of the town, all brs having been blown. The 3 MON were heavily engaged in the dock area. 4 KSLI being ordered to make bridgehead across the ALBERT CANAL, by first light they had three coys across the CANAL by assault boats. Stiff opposition was me incl five enemy Mk IV tanks. The task was extremely difficult owing to being under observation. Shelling and mortaring was put down by the enemy. The tanks caused the KSLI a lot of trouble.
6   The Sappers were ordered to build a bridge but owing to fire were forced to discontinue the task. At 1430 hrs the 2 DEVONS sent two coys fwd to help 3 MON to strengthen their posn and in late afternoon a sqn of 23 Hussars were sent fwd through 3 MON with a coy of the MONS to try to get round behind the enemy causing the trouble to the KSLI. The KSLI still continued to hold their posn, although they were suffering heavy casualties. Supplies and ammunition could not be get across to them owing to continual mortaring and shell fire.
7   4 KSLI still held their bridgehead over the CANAL but the situation had generally deterierated. The MONS in the dock area reported more activity and were able to call for arty fire on the enemy with very good effect. The Div Comd ordered the withdrawal of 4 KSLI to the WEST side of the CANAL. A fire plan in sp was prepared, the Sappers manning the boats and zero being at 1500 hrs. The relief was carried successfully without further loss although the three coys had heavy casualties whilst on the other side of the river. The 231 Bde was ordered to take over our posns and the Bde was ordered to take up posns in the Southern part of the town in readiness for a move fwd.
B.L.A. 8   The Bde was in its new posn, the day having been spent on maint, make and mend, bathing etc. The men were granted a 2 hrs' leave pass in the town. Reports continued to come in all day from civilians that the enemy was attempting to infiltrate South across the canal in the area WYNEGHEM. The town itself continued its ordinary life, only to be disturbed very occasionnally by shelling, which was inaccurate and sporadic.
9   The Bde was ordered to move to the area of BEERINGEN to act as Right flank protection to 30 Corps, whilst the Gds Armd enlarged their br-head. At 1115 hrs the Bde left ANTWERP on the route MECHELIN – LOUVAIN – BEERINGEN, across the ALBERT canal by the br built by the sappers, and halted for the night at LUMNEN area 2368.
10   The Bns spent the day clearing up woods etc. The Bde was grouped as follows: 3 MON, 4 KSLI, 15/19 H and 3 RTR, the 1 HEREFORD under comd 29 Armd Bde. The Bde took up posns for the night in the area HENSDEN. An attack was arranged on LAAK at 0800 hrs with 3 MON and 3 RTR. Stiffer opposition was met during the day. C-D
11   During the night patrols reported the enemy withdrawing in a NORTH-EASTERLY direction. At 0800 hrs the 3 MON and 3 RTR put in their attack on LAAK but found the village desserted. Again the day was spent clearing the enemy out of woods etc., many PW being taken from Para Battle Groups, Hubuer and Grassmehl, all manned by very yound soliders, mostly from Air Force ground jobs. During the evening the DUTCH Bde moved up SOUTH of the bde area. During the day contact was made with the 1 US Army who were SOUTH of the CANAL with recce patrols to the NORTH of the CANAL and SE of our posn.
B.L.A. 12   The Bde moved fwd protecting the Gds Armd moving NORTH towards the DUTCH frontier. The HCR were reported in HOLLAND during the afternoon. A small pocket of resistance which was reported at the Gds CL, being by-passed by them. This pocket was not cleared up during the day. The Gds were ordered to clear the village at 0800 hrs 12 Sep. 29 Armd Bde and 1 HEREFORD had a fierce battle between HECHTEL and HELCHTEREN, capturing and killing many Germans, all very yound and inexperienced (paratroopers).
13   At 0800 hrs the Gds Armd attack on HECHTEL commenced with arty sp from the 151 Fd Regt, bty Med Regt and the Gds Armd own arty. The Gds had difficulty in getting into the village. A coy of 3 MON and 3 RTR were asked to act as a stop-gap WEST of the village. 350 PW were taken, 50% from Battle Group Grassmehl and 50% from the Herman Goering Training Regt coming from UTRECHT. It is established that 200 were killed and a hundred odd escaped NE across the CANAL. In the late afternoon Bde HQ moved to a new location at WYCHMAEL 3784. 3 MON and 3 RTR HECHTEL 3483, 4 KSLI area 3977, 1 HEREFORD with 2 FF YEO PEER 4083. The 29 Armd Bde HQ plus 8 RB 3986, 23 H PETIT BROGEL 4188. The Div was ordered to stay as 30 Corps flank protection in present locations, maint to be carried out, rest and general clean-up. C, D & E
14-19   Remained in rest area, clean-up, maint, sleep etc – At 1300 hrs on the 18th an Airborne landing took place. During the week little took place. On two nights the Bde sent a Bn to BREE to prevent the Hun infiltrating WEST of the CANAL. F & G
B.L.A. 20   The Div was now under comd 8 Corps with 3 British Inf Div, being prepared to act as right flank protection to 30 Corps, to move across a bridge to be built by 3 Br Div with a final objective of railway line EINDHOVEN – HELMOND. At 1230 hrs the Bde moved off on one route. The Bde Gp consisting of 3 MON, 4 KSLI, 3 RTR, 151 Fd Regt, to move on the RIGHT route, on the LEFT route 29 Armd Bde Gp – 1 HEREFORD, FF YEO, 23 H and 13 RHA. The route was PEER – PETIT BROGEL – LILLE ST HUBERT across 3 Br Div […] class 40 br – HALMONT – BUDEL – SOERENDONK. Opposition was met in the villages NE of HALMONT which was cleared by 3 MON and 3 RTR. PW were taken from 10 SS Pz Bn and 21 Pz Grenadier Regt of 10 SS Div, also a mass of SS tps from various battle groups. The PWs report their orders were to withdraw EASTWARDS towards GERMANY. By last light the Bns were were in the following posns – 3 MON, 3 RTR at SOERENDONK, 4 KSLI and Bde HQ at DUDD, 151 Fd Regt around NULBE. Main Bde HQ – just WEST of HALMONT. In fact the Bde was spread over two countries – HOLLAND and BELGIUM, the frontier being at HALMONT. During the afternoon, the IO 4 KSLI, Capt. Bourdillen, was killed by being blown up by a mine whilst going to look for a harbour area in his carrier. H – I
21   Re-grouping was ordered by Div. 3 MON and 3 RTR to come under comd 29 Armd Bde and 1 HEREFORD and 2 FF YEO to come under comd 159 Inf Bde. 1 HEREFORD and FF at first light were in area ZAMEREN 5912, on the edge of the ZUIDWILLEM CANAL. The 4 KSLI and Bde HQ and 151 Fd Regt moved up to the area VAARSEL 5711 just WEST of ZAMEREN, the route being through SOERENDONK – MAARHEEZE – LEENDE – HEEZE. During the afternoon a plan was made for a brhead to be made across the canal. A cl 40 br to be built by the Sprs. H hr was arranged for at 1930 hrs, the HEREFORDS making the initial assault with a Fd Regt and Med Regt and 4.2” mortars supporting, to be followed by Sprs building the br, the 4 KSLI and 2 FF to be passed through to ASTEN, followed by a sqn of INNS OF COURT to fan out across the other side and find out the form. At 1930 hrs the assault commanced and three coys crossed without any enemy opposition. Fire sp was given by the Fd Regt and Med Regt and 4.2” Mortars. At 2100 hrs the Sprs commenced their bridging.
B.L.A. 22   At 0200 hrs the HEREFORDS reported that the enemy were infiltrating into their posn. Owing to the darkness and fog it was very difficult to get a clear picture. Enemy were reported all around the brhead at 0300 hrs. The sprs reported br 50% completed but had ferried two carriers and two six pdr A Tk guns across. The posn seemed critical at a certain stage as an enemy Coy counter-attacked and penetrated as far as the Canal Bank. Later the posn was cleared with continual use of DF tasks. One coy of 4 KSLI was brought fwd to make a firm base of the WEST side of the Canal. At 0730 hrs the br was opened. The 4 KSLI were across the Canal lock-gates before this time and as soon as the first sqn of 2 FF YEO arrived across the canal the posn soon became firm. They pushed out of the village of ASTEN 6113 and by midday the town was held patrols of the INNS OF COURT were sent out to find the form. Approx: 250 PW taken from 30 P Bn and 65 Inf Bn and various odds and ends who had just arrived from BREMEN. The Comds of these units were also taken. By night the Bde took up the following posns – 2 FF and 4 KSLI in ASTEN, 1 HEREFORD tightly holding the two Cl. 40 brs (second being built during the day), with the 15/19 H close to the HEREFORDS. The 29 Armd Bde moved to the area ZOMEREN with 23 H and 8 RB in readiness for crossing of the bridge in the morning. The 3 MON and 3 RTR left NW of HELMOND 5522.
23   At 0700 hrs 23 H and 8 RB crossed the br with orders to move in the direction of DEURNE. The 4 KSLI and 2 FF YEO continued to held ASTEN but were ordered to extend to a larger perimeter and push the enemy back. The HEREFORDS continued to hold the br crossing. During the day the 231 Bde from 3 British Div was making up to take over but owing to their late arrival and slowness of 23 H and 8 RB, also the 3 RTR and 3 MON, the 231 Bde double-banked our posns, the WARWICKS in ASTEN and 2 KSLI with 1 HEREFORD in the br area. Certain 88 mm and SP guns held up the adv owing to the tks being confined to the rds more than to the actual guns. Little activity took place during the night.
B.L.A. 24   The Bde was prepared to push on NE towards DEURNE. The INNS OF COURT sent out patrols to find out patrols to find out enemy strenght. The Armd Bde pushed on to VEIRDEN and LIESEL 6614. Opposition was met all the way. SP guns still continued to put down harrassing fire on the rd between ASTEN and the bridge. Enemy were sending up reinforcements to try and contain the brhead. At 1800 hrs the HEREFORDS and Bde HQ and 151 Fd Regt moved up to the area VEIRDEN 6217. The Armd Bde was in and around DEURNE 6520. A Bn of 3 Br Div and the 15/19 H were in LIESEL. During the night patrols were sent fwd and reports came in that enemy tpt, half-tracks, tks and SP guns were moving NE from the direction HELMOND – BAKEL and MILHEEZE.
25   At first light the Bde Gps moved off, 23 H and 8 RB moving in a NORTHERLY direction; 1 HEREFORD and 2 FF YEO towards HELMOND; 4 KSLI and 3 RTR towards BAKEL. During the day enemy resistance weakened and it was thought that the 180 Div was withdrawing. The adv continued during the day, some PW being taken, DEURNE and HELMOND being taken over by 3 Br Inf Div. By last light the Div were in the ST ANTHONIS area 7138 with 15/19 H, 4 KSLI, 3 RTR and 3 MON at DE RIPS 6630, 23 H and 8 RB area 6433. 1 HEREFORD and 2 FF YEO and Bde HQ with one coy 1 HEREFORD and one sqn FF YEO NORTH of GEMERT 5831. At approx 1800 hrs the Bde suffered some very unfortunate casualties when four half-tracks belonging to Battle Group Heinke of 10 SS Pz Div, trying to escape from ST ANTHONIS, shot up a 'O' Gp consisting of Brigadier Harvey DSO, MC, his BM, Maj Thompson – both suffering severe wounds, Lt-Col H.C. Orr of 3 MON and Lt-Col Silvertop – both being killed. During the night no reports came in and the Bde remained firm.
B.L.A. 26   During the night nothing was reported. The INNS of COURT sent our patrols at first light to R MAAS. The towns BEUGEN and BOXMEER were reported occupied by the enemy with tanks and half-tracks and Inf. “Limejuice” was sent for and accepted for BOXMEER. “Limejuice” report nothing seen in town but shot up some half-tracks and vehs and Inf to the SOUTH. Soon after the INNS of COURT entered the twon followed by a sqn of the 15/19 H. Reports of small encounters came in all day. Certain PW were taken incl an Offr of the 10 SS Pz Bde who reported they had only 10 tks left in the Bde. He pointed out the location of his remaining tks. The Bde remained form for the night – 4 KSLI and 15/19 H area ST ANTHONIS 7138 – 1 HEREFORD and 2 FF YEO area 7040 with area from OPLOO and the centre line SOUTH. Standing patrols were sent out during the night.
27   The Bde remained in present locations, keeping OPs working over-looking the MAAS and calling for fire on likely targets. The Huns, using SPs and 88 mm shelled the area. Our guns were put on counter-bty.
28   The Bde remained in present location, INNS OF COURT sending out patrols, the 4 KSLI and 1 HEREFORD manning OPs in BERGEN and BOXMEER. The 15/19 H also patrolling and being a general nuisance to the enemy.
29   The Bde was ordered to move back and hand over to 7 Armd (US) Div and conc in area EAST of GEMERT. Bde HQ moved at 1600 hrs.
30   4 KSLI and 1 HEREFORD moved during the day. Rest and general clean-up was carried out.

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Source: Jeroen Koppes,

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.