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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 Suffolk Regt
Month and Year: January 1945 (Erase heading not required). Commanding Officer: Lt. Col. R.E. Goodwin, DSO
Place Date Hour Summary Reference
MEERLO 1 0001 The enemy greeted the New Year by indiscriminate firing of automatic weapons and light signals along the whole length of the battalion front. Some of the fire was directed vertically into the air.
1 0355 A Coy reported that a plane of unknown nationality had crashed on the East side of the MAAS. Shortly afterwards A Coy captured a German airman, followed at 0410 by the capture of two more by C Coy.
1 0420 C Coy patrol to the village at 875276 came under mortar fire and one man was wounded.
1 0950 For about two hours there was considerable enemy air activity. Four enemy planes were seen to be shot down.
1 1500 The Commanding Officer issued Trg Instruction No. 1 in connection with training to be carried out by the Bn whilst in reserve at VENRAIJ. Appx D Folio 1.
1 2210 Carrier Pl standing patrol reported that two enemy were observed at 863275 and were fired on. The enemy made off in a westerly direction.
1 2235 1 S Lan R on the left reported that 11 enemy had been seen at 853277.
1 2300 One platoon of D Coy formed a standing patrol at the bridge in D Coy area.
1 2340 The carrier platoon standing patrol reported the capture of one enemy officer and a wounded O.R. There were apparently the two who had been fired on earlier in the night. When questioned at Bn HQ the officer stated that he belonged to a party about 30 strong which had crossed the river at 1900 hrs.
2 0140 A Coy informed Bn HQ that a party of enemy about 15 strong had been observed at 858278 and that Lieut Horsburgh had been wounded. A search was made by A Coy but no traces could be found of enemy.
2 0220 One platoon of D Coy was sent to reinforce B Coy in BLITTERSWIJK.
2 0250 1st Bn South Lancashire Regt informed Bn HQ that their platoon position East of WANSSUM had been attacked and casualties suffered.
2 0330 Fairly heavy shelling occurred between BLITTERSWIJK and WANSSUM causing 4 casualties to D Coy.
2 0945 Enemy guns and nebelwerfers fired a heavy concentration on BLITTERSWIJK. Casualties were few but the village was badly damaged and the company jeep and carrier were destroyed. The shelling of BLITTERSWIJK and WANSSUM continued throughout the day, but there was no other enemy activity.
2 1930 The enemy began to shell the area of Bn HQ with single rounds at two minutes intervals; this lasted for four hours.
3   During the night the forward company areas were shelled at intervals.
3   The morning was spent in reorganising the local defence of Bn HQ, as patrols to the right by 1st Bn South Lancashire Regt had established that the enemy were still in WANSSUM wood in some strength.
3   Throughout the day shells fell at intervals on BLITTERSWIJK and around Battalion Headquarters.
4   No special event occurred during the day, although there were occasional periods of shelling both on BLITTERSWIJK and WANSSUM.
5 1430 On numerous occasions during the past few days the battalion had to rely on wireless communication as the telephone cable had been cut by shelling.
5 1500 Advance party left for VENRAY to take over the billets in the reserve area.
6 0600 1 S Lan R commenced an attack to clear the enemy from the WANSSUM wood. It was found that the enemy were in occupation of houses on the start line and these had to be cleared before the attack could commence. A fresh plan was made but was not successful. Several casualties from MG and shell fire were caused and they withdrew.
6 1100 A conference of the Bde Comd, the Comd Offr and the Comd Offr of 1 S Lan R was held at Bn HQ.
6 1600 The main body of the battalion left the MEERLO area and went into billets in VENRAIJ. Bn HQ was established at 775259.
7   During the day preparations were made for an attack by C and D Coys to clear the enemy from his bridgehead on the West bank of the MAAS.
7 1800 The Commanding Offr held an ‘O‘ Group for the above attack.
7 2100 Bn HQ left VENRAY for MEERLO and spent the night in the previous location of Bn HQ. There was no enemy activity during the night affecting the Bn.
8 0130 Tactical Bn HQ was established at 855265 in dug in positions. Appx J Folio 2.
8   A full account of the action is given in an appendix.
8 0930 The attack was successful and D and C Coy completed the mopping up of the wood.
8 1055 A message was received from the Comd 2 Cdn Corps congratulating the Bn on its success of the operation.
8   Forward companies came under mortar fire. Many reports were submitted and the fire lessened, finally clearing about 1430 hrs.
8 1615 The road to the wood from WANSSUM had been cleared of mines by the RE and the route […].
8 1850 Both C and D Coys had been relieved by 1 S Lan R, with the exception of the Standing Patrol at STAAI 853286, which was not relieved until 1915.
8 2000 The whole of our troops returned by transport to VENRAIJ.
VENRAY 9   No special event occurred during the day, which was spent in general administration.
10   The Commanding Officer issued an Operation Order dealing with operational commitments of the Bn whilst in reserve at VENRAY. Appendix D Folio 2.
11   The Anti Tank Platoon went to the range at BOURG LEOPOLD and fired 144 rounds.
12   As on previous days general training and administration was continued.
13   In the morning recce parties left VENRAY for OOSTRUM, prior to taking over from 1 S Lan R.
14 1100 There was a Commanding Officer’s Church Parade led by the Padre of the Bn, after which the salute was taken by the Brigade Commander.
14 1800 The Bn Concerts Party gave a very enjoyable performance, produced by the Signals Officer.
15 0930 Advance parties left VENRAIJ to take over from 1 S Lan R.
OOSTRUM 15   Bn HQ was established at 808275 and the company localities are indicated on the map. Appendix J Folio 1.
15   No enemy activity occurred during the relief which was completed before last light.
15   Patrolling during the night was limited to the establishment of Standing Patrols at the places indicated on the map.
16   The day passed quietly and owing to the bad visibility no enemy movement was observed.
17   Another very quiet day. Our observation posts observed a certain amount of enemy movement on the East bank of the MAAS.
18 1100 The Commanding Officer issued an order dealing with Artillery Retaliation policy. Appendix D Folio 3.
18 1500 Two boats observed at 830303 were engaged by 4.2” mortars and believed destroyed.
19 0200 A party of five enemy approaching the Standing Patrol ad 845290 were engaged at close range and made off in a northeasterly direction. The wood 840290 was searched by B Coy but no trace was found.
19   During the day the level of water in the streams at GEIJSTEREN and WANSSUM rose about a foot owing to heavy rain and melting snow.
19 2240 A party of 12 enemy were seen by our Standing Patrol at DE KOOI. They were unable to engage them and nothing more was heard or seen of the enemy.
20 1430 Our 3” mortars fired 20 rounds on farm buildings 851297 which were occupied by the enemy. Hits were scored.
20 1610 Six 75 mm shells fell in WANSSUM, causing no casualties. Target Hardy I was fired in retaliation.
21 0745 10 shells fell in WANSSUM and Hardy I was again fired.
21 1200 Our 3” mortars engaged enemy positions at 847295. During the day heavy snow fell.
22 1515 For about half an hour shells fell on WANSSUM. No casualties were caused. A total of about 25 rounds were fired.
22 1600 Three inch mortars engaged buildings 838310.
22 1700 A few shells again fell in WANSSUM without causing casualties.
22   There was nothing to report during the night.
23 1030 About eight enemy shells fell near GEIJSTEREN village. Target Hardy I was fired in retaliation.
23 1405 Our own mortars fired 20 rounds into the area 859291.
23   There was no enemy activity during the night.
24 1025 The company locality at WANSSUM was subjected to intermittent shelling for about twenty minutes,
24 1250 The Mortar Platoon fired twenty rounds at enemy position 841309.
24 2145 The Standing Patrol at the KASTEEL observed the muzzle flash of a machine gun at 834305 and directed artillery fire onto it.
25 0730 The battalion right boundary (with 1 Royal Norfolk) was readjusted so that the wood 8528 became the responsibility of 1 Royal Norfolk. A Coy became the WANSSUM garrison, D Coy were established in OOSTRUM, and B Coy (less one platoon at WANSSUM) were into reserve at VENRAY.
25 1445 Boat observed at 836303 was engaged and damaged by three inch mortar.
26 0200 Patrol of 2 E. Yorks crossed R. MAAS from 826306. While they were on the East bank an enemy patrol crossed at about 828303 and inflicted two casualties on their firm base party.
26 1730 The means for preventing enemy patrol crossing the MAAS by night were changed. Standing Patrols each of about 14 men were established at 826306, the KASTEEL 834299, 845290, and STAAI 852286. Based on these there were also double sentry posts at intervals along the river bank with the object of giving warning of the approach of enemy patrols. In addition mobile reserves established in GEIJSTEREN and WANSSUM which would strengthen any spot threatened by the enemy.
28 1630 Mortars fired on farm buildings at ELSTEREN 849298.
28 1710 Eight mortar bombs landed in C Coy area without causing casualties.
28 1945 Recce patrol of Lieut Cray and 2 OR’s crossed the River MAAS at 847293. They met an enemy patrol about seven strong at 848295 and were fired on. They were under fire during their return journey and whilst recrossing the river but succeeded in regaining the West bank without casualties, although the boat could not be got out of the water.
28 2330 After the return of the patrol the house at 845290 was shelled but no casualties were caused.
29   A very quiet day with no enemy activity.
29 1220 Our own mortars engaged enemy positions at 846307.
30   Another quiet day. No enemy shells fell in the battalion area and our own mortars did not fire.
31   After eleven days of deep snow and very severe frost, a thaw set in this morning.
31   There was no enemy activity during the day or night.

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Source: Stichting Adoptiegraven-Venray, 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.