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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: 1 Suffolk
Month and Year: February 1945 (Erase heading not required). Commanding Officer: Lt. Col. R.E. Goodwin, DSO
Place Date Hour Summary Reference
OOSTRUM 1   There was no special event during the day. The thaw continued and the state of the roads became even worse than before. Appendix J Folio 1 for posns.
1   A recce was made to find a suitable launching place for a projected fighting patrol the following [day] across the River MAAS.
2 0445 Several shells fell in WANSSUM and retaliation target Hardy I was fired.
2 1715 20 mm LAA gun was observed firing from a position at 860298, and engaged by 4.2” mortars, but observation was difficult owing to bad light.
2 2230 Fighting patrol crossed R. MAAS and returned at approx 0300 hrs. Appendix D Folio 1 and 2 gives complete narrative.
3 0500 A patrol crossed the river to search for the two missing officers but found no trace.
3 1025 Our own mortars engaged the buildings at 837311.
3   During the day a close watch was kept on the east bank of the MAAS and after nightfall standing patrols at intervals along the battalion front kept a watch for signs of a torch flashing on the far bank.
4 1500 News was received that the Bn was to go to the LOUVAIN area for rest, advance parties being required the following day.
4   Otherwise the day passed without any special incident.
5 1430 Advance parties left to organise the new battalion rest area.
6 1030 The Commanding Officer issued his orders for the move into BELGIUM, and the relief by 6th Bn Cameronians of the 52nd Division.
6 1130 When Capt RAB Rogers was returning to WANSSUM after this conference three Germans with a white flag surrendered to him on the road at 843273. They were from 6/1222 G.R. from WELL 8529 and were a recce patrol which crossed the river at 840298 with the task of watching the traffic on the WANSSUM – VENRAY road. The were due to return at 2200 hrs.
6 1330 Advance parties of the incoming unit arrived but most of them were missing owing to the bad state of the roads.
6 2200 A patrol of C Coy went to the river bank at 840298 in the hope of catching the boat which was to fetch the enemy patrol. The boat failed to appear.
7 1100 The remainder of the incoming advance parties arrived.
7 1400 The first company of 6th Cameronians arrived. The arrival of the battalion was spread over more than three hours and relief was not completed until 1745 hrs.
7 1600 The original plan of a battalion convoy was given up and transport was sent off in company blocks on completion of the relief.
8 0800 The Battalion arrived at HAECHT after an all night journey, the first part of which was over extremely bad roads. Appendix J Folio 2.
HAECHT 8   The whole day was spent in getting settled into the town. A fair proportion of the troops were in civilian billets, and for the first time since leaving England a central mess for all officers was established.
9 1020 A flying bomb went over HAECHT in the direction of BRUSSELS, heavily fired on by AA guns.
9 1430 The Commanding Officer held a conference on training and administration. He stressed the need for plenty of exercise including football, road walks and basketball. A cadre for junior NCO’s was to be held.
10   The day was spent in continuing cleaning up.
11 1130 A voluntary church service was held.
11   The policy regarding visits to BRUSSELS was that each company should have one day’s holiday during the week in which transport was provided for those wishing to visit BRUSSELS. The only conditions were that a pass was necessary and that all troops had to be clear of the city by 1900 hrs.
12   The day was spent in training and recreation. Three football pitches were available.
13   Another day of general training and administration.
14   A Cadre Course for Junior NCO’s was started under Lieut. R. Garnham.
15   General and recreational training were continued.
17 1030 Church Parade practice was held in the market square of HAECHT. The drums of the battalion were on parade.
18 1100 The Brigade Commander Brig. E.H. Goulburn took the salute at the march past of the battalion following a Church Parade. The Battalion drums were on parade.
19   The battalion began to train in the use of stormboats for river crossing operations. A street fighting area in LOUVAIN was made available for the use of the battalion. These two subjects were added to the programme of general training.
19 1900 All officers attended a demonstration of the use of stormboats at night.
20   Normal training continued and it was estimated that the Brigade would remain in the present area for a further 14 days.
22   Preparations including recces were made for a Brigade Signals Exercise. Appendix D Folio 4
22 1700 Orders were received that the Battalion would be leaving HAECHT very shortly and a conference was held. The move was to be on the 23rd.
22 1900 Move postponed 24 hours.
23 1700 Orders for the move to TILBURG, prior relieved the 15th (S) Division in the area GOCH, were given.
24 0300 The C.O. and I.O. left HAECHT for the GOCH area.
24 0630 Main body of the battalion left for the staging area at TILBURG, and arrived at 1115 hrs.
25 0900 Operational recce parties arrived in the GOCH area prior to relieving units of 44 and 46 Inf Bdes.
25 1600 Bn began to arrive in the marshalling area.
25 2030 Bn HQ established at 937422. Appendix Folio
25 2230 Although the roads were in bad condition the relief was completed smoothly.
26 0300 A and B Coys sent patrols to examine the line of the stream. Just after leaving their platoon position the patrol of A Coy met three Germans and fired at close range. One wounded PW was taken, who later died,
26 0600 The patrol of A Coy reported SOPHIENHOF probably occupied.
26 0900 The Bde Comd gave out orders for an attack to take place the next morning. The role of the battalion was the completion of Phase I – the capture of the line Lime which included localities Port, Gin and Brandy. For code words and report lines see Appendix J Folio 3
26 1530 The Comd. Offr. gave his orders for the attack.
26   It was to start at 0700 hrs and to be accomplished in three phases, following closely upon each other. First D Coy was to move via the bridge at ‘BEER’ and capture Brandy, then B Coy were to capture ‘Port’, followed by C Coy taking ‘Gin’. There was one troop of Grenadier Guards Churchill tanks in support of each coy. Preliminary concentrations on Brandy and Port were to be fired by several regts of artillery. The whole operation was to be completed by 1000 hrs so that Phase II of the Bde plan could be put into operation.
27 0615 Tactical Bn HQ was established at 937423.
27 0715 D Coy began to move forward and crossed the bridge at BEER at 0745. The going through the wood was very difficult for tanks and the Coy. Comd. decided to go forward without them and meet them later. A bulldozer worked on the track close behind the forward troops.
27 0755 B Coy closely followed by C Coy began to cross the bridge at BEER.
27   During all this time the enemy shelled the approaches through the wood though not as heavily as had been expected.
27 0820 D Coy met their tanks again and established themselves on the edge of the wood opposite Brandy, from which heavy machine gun fire was coming.
27 0850 Gin and Port were captured without opposition.
27 0915 D Coy entered the northernmost houses of Brandy and captured about 20 P.W. One Churchill was knocked out by an enemy Bazooka.
27 0950 RAP moved up to houses near BEER.
27 1015 The remainder of the Brigade began Phase II.
27 1055 D Coy reported the final clearance of the houses at Brandy with a further 20 PW. The coy had sustained several casualties including Maj Mayhew.
27 1400 The remainder of the operation had met with varying success, 2 E. Yorks on the right had captured the bridge 946390 intact, and had reached all their objectives. 1 S.Lan.R. who had passed through 1 Suffolk had not been able to achieve much progress owing to difficult going and heavy opposition.
27 1700 The Bde Comd warned the Comd. Offr. that in view of the little progress made by 1 S.Lan.R. the bn might have to clear the woods as far as Haymarket before the end of the day, but more probably the following morning.
27 1945 2 E. Yorks reported enemy counter attacking their bridgehead over the MÜHLEN FLEUTH at 946390, and that situation was critical.
27 2100 Comd Offr went to Bde HQ for conference and to receive order for operation the following morning.
27 2350 2 E. Yorks reported enemy counter attack driven off after four hours in which the Divisional Artillery had fired more than 20,000 rounds of defensive fire.
28 0415 The Comd Offr gave orders to A Coy to move forward and establish themselves astride the road at 964403 by 0700 hrs. After that B and C Coys were to take up position in the woods south of the road 957397. Owing to the good progress of the 9th Inf Bde further left, it was anticipated that the enemy in the area might have withdrawn.
28 0830 Tactical Bn HQ established at Brandy and A Coy had been in position on their objective without opposition.
28 1000 B Coy passing through A Coy to their objective, followed by C Coy.
28 1103 B Coy made contact with 4 RWF who had taken over from 2 E Yorks at Duck.
28 1145 All Coys began consolidating their objectives without opposition.
28 1225 B Coy called for fire on a SP gun at 954392 which was shelling them.
28 1305 B and C Coys reported shelling on their areas, and casualties.
28 1430 News received that the Bn were to be relieved during the evening by a unit of 53 Div. The second in command made a recce of a concentration area in rear.
28 1730 Comd Offr of relieving unit arrived to recce area. Relief is expected to begin at 1900 hrs.
28 2130 Relief began and was completed without incident.
28 2340 Bn HQ was established in new area at 936434 with coys consolidated in small area.

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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.