11 Canadian Field Regiment RCA: 9 Battery-15 Battery-29 Battery- 40 Battery
On 25 March the Regiment moved forward to the villages of Dinter and Heeswijk SE of S'Hertogenbosch and began operational liaison with 49 (West riding) Infantry Division. This the Polar Bear Divison, had for months been part of the force holding under First Canadian Army the static line straggling from Beveland across The Rhine Delta to Nijmegen, and was at this juncture holding the bridgehead on the Island formed by the Rhine Division into the Nederijn and Waal. Further up the river 2 Canadian Corps was heading for Emmerich and apparently on the point of cracking the force containing that bridgehead, and the master plan seemed to involve 1 Canadian Corps conforming by closing up to the Nederrijn and preparing to take Arnhem when 2 Corps reached the Ijssel. The task of clearing the upper end of the Island had been given to 49 W.R Division with 5 Canadian Armoured Division, conforming on the left. The Regiment was allotted as additional support and initially was required to provide a rep and two FOOs to 11 Canadian Armoured Regiment which was also under command the Div for this operation. The county that the regiment was to deploy in presented few new problems afer a few months in the Po valley. It was expected, and proved true, that digging would not be practicable, that any commanding features would bein enemy hands and that roads would be deeply ditched with few exits. Demands for sandbags and camouflage nets were made and met, shovels were distinterred from vehicles and trailers and instructions issued that minimum vehicles only should be maintained at the gun position. For having come so far with comparatively light casualties, it was not time to leave anything to change, even though the quality of the opposition was questionable, a motley collection of marines, engineers, volkssturm and Dutch SS. Not their number great, but their position was strengthened by inudations, prepared defences and extensive minefields, and at thier backs they had the fortress of Arnhem, anchor of the Siegfried line. Out to the west of Nijmegen a mixed force of Belgian infantry, A Tk gunners, armour, recce and other strays were in a holding role, supported by a troop of 143 Field RA of 49 (WR) Div. Upon the Regiment coming under command the first task given was the relief of his troop and D Troop 29 Battery was selected. On 28 march, Lt-Col W.E.Greenlay took the Commander, Captain F.J. Greenwood, out to look the situation over. The gun position was in Leeuwen and was the acme of comfort, each crew having its own house complete with running water and electric light. The guns moved over on 29 March and remained away from the rest of the Regiment until 15 april. Having an immense front and up to a dozen OPs likely to call for fire, the guns kept active, and on no occassion stayed within their amn restrictions. Though their role was no great tactical significance, the troop gained experience in Canadian Gunnery.
Proceeded by working parties who had constructed gun pits and veh standings and sand bagged Command Posts the previous day, the Regiment at 16.00hrs 30 March moved trough Nijmegen, over the barge bridges across the Waal to an area just west of Bemmel. For the past two days Major F.J.B.Corbett, Captain H.G.Crocker and Captain J.D.Thompson had been living as COs rep and FOOs respectively with 11 Armoured Regiment who were stationed in Lent, opposite Nijmegen. Other preparations were the dumping of 600rpg HE by RASC vehicles,as the resource of 1 Cdn Corps were unable to locate the Regiments own platoon. Just as the second battery reported ready on thearte grid at 19.30hrs. the BMRA telephoned to have recee parties stand by as orders were coming in for a move to the Cleve area with a troop of 69 field under command, together with 143 field. The CO squeezed more detail out of the BM a few minutes later and then despatched Major L.Hemsworth to HQ RCA 2 Cdn Corps to effect liaison and bring back full information. Meantime the movement orders arrived and were in turn issued. At 03.00hrs 31 March 1945 Major Hemsworth, returnes with a SHEAF of fire plans, marked maps, target list,etc, dealing with Operation Plunder. the breakout to the NW from Emmerich. The role of the Regiment and of 153 Field Regiment was to supply support on timed programme whilst the Regiments of 2 and 3 Cdn Divs were crossing the Rhine.With recce parties hopefully speeding ahead, the Regiment plus attached troop moved over the high level bridge and Nijmegen through Kranenburg, Germany. By 13.30hrs. 1 April the regiment was back in action on the Island, returning to Command of 49 Division. The rep and FOO's with 11 CAR had scarcely missed us. HQ RA was waiting however, with task in Operation Destroyer, scheduled to start the following morning and clear the Island as far west as Heteren. At 06.00hrs 2 April fire plan openend with a road and vast expenditure of ammunition as 147 Bde moved ahead in Phase I. which was directed east to liquidate the troops holding the upper between Haalderen and Angeren. By noon this incident was considered closed with 8 casualties among our own troops, and 63 PW taken. However the launching of phase II, which was clearing north trough 'T'zand and Huissen was delayed by the large quantities of mines encountered, which were in fact the only considerable opposition in this entire operation. At 16.45hrs the advance was resumed with a further hail of HE. U targets, scale 5, were frequently called down by map reference which was a source of great amazement to command post reared in the close CMF, and in the six hours of the advance some 75rpg were expended in this manner and on a series of small prearranged fire plans. The night was quiet after 20.50hrs and again in the morning of 3 April the Infantry proceeded into Phase III, the clearing north to the Neder Rijn and west to the railway, without calling for fire to begin with. The tanks were at last able to get forward and at 10.25hrs Captain Crocker arranged a small fire plan which was really for the infantry and not the tanks. HQ RA called for more U targets and prearranged concentrations between 11.20hrs and 15.30hrs, but it appeared that the forward troops were encoutering little difficulty. In fact lefe was growing so dull that Captain Crocker took his tank up on the bund and did a little open sight shooting at the only hostile mortar, silencing same. At 17.00hrs the 2IC, Major H.D.Hayden attended an "O" Group called by the CRA, and on his return called out recce parties to prepare postions in the Zand area, though it was not certain that the Regiment would occupy them. Rumours were ripe, nourished by adm phone calls to HQ RCA 1 Canadian AGRA, from which it gathered that the regiment might be allotted to 5 Canadian Armoured Div for their advance NW from Elst. The final broadside for this operation was fired at 20.00hrs, and movement later than that was no more than reinforcement and reliefs. At 08.00hrs 4 april the CO heard at a short CRA's conference, the outline plan for the crossing of the Neder rijn and capture of Arnhem. Apart from a single M target fired by a FOO, and one bombard, there was no shooting all day. The 2IC, undismayed by more rumours about changing formation, made another recce in the Zand area. Apparently expecting only a short pause until the next attack started. HQ RA set a 12 rpg daily limit and issued dumping orders for the next day.
Move orders came, to occupy the area, that ammunition was to be stacked, this area being at present occupied by 74 Field regt, this procedure gave rise to some problems, as guides were ordered to meet the RASC lorries at 07.00hrs, and there were none other the 2IC and RSO who knew where the new postion was. The latter, with his party, took on the job and on 5 April conducted some 80 lorry loads forward with increasing assistance from Battery personnel. The programme was not in the least churning up their postion while they were on process of moving out, nor by the tendency of the RASC drivers to choose independent routes. At 14.30hrs, the CPOs and GPOs went up to the new position, followed by the remainder of the Regiment at 19.30hrs. During the afternoon a rep was ordered to go a force consisting of part of 49 Recce Regt and 2 Belgian Fusliers Battalion and Major Hemsworth set out in search of the HQ. On arrival he discovered that the Westminster from 5 Div had just relieved thisforce and that command of the front had changed. This made the command situation rather obscure as 49 Div advised that the Regiment was still and would continue under them. Captain R.W.Stenback set out to establish an OP, which he located at the top of Elden where he had fair command when the smoke generators permitted. These had moved into position along the water front soon afte the infantry had cleared the area and kept pumping out clouds of smoke until the capture of Arnhem. While these officers were being sent out in the Regiments new role, the three parties with 11 CAR were recalled. The night was quiet, the only flurry being caused by the insistence of the CO 17 Field Regt that we were under his command and should lay a line to HQ 11CIB. As a compromise line was put into 8 Field (SP) which had just moved into the area west of Huissen, through which 5 Div could be reached. Major Hemsworth laid o 12 DFs for the Westminsters and them made no further calls. On the morning of 6 April two companies of the Belgians were discovered in the in the sheds opposite the Ijssel, west of the main highway, and it was their belief that the remainder of the Battalion was arriving that day. Captain RH MacDonald was warned to stand by to go there as LO, but there appeared to be some delay in their arrival, and he waited for two days before actually getting the nod. However the thinness of infantry on the ground was in no way alarming as here were no signs of enemy aggressiveness and the Westminster plus the companies seemed ample to cover the 8000 yards from Huissen ferry around the railway. This was a busy time, being called on by HQ RA for bombards, the Air OP for observed shoots, the rep at Westminster for recorded targets and during the night a Belgian sergeants who through devious channels called down and corrected fire on a factory axross the river. This became a favorite target and good results were obtained by a judicious mixture of fuzes 231, 119 cap on and DA. However one of the difficulties encountered cropped up the following day when a request from the Dutch underground filtered through asking that we cease to engage this target, a trouble frequently encountered when fighting in allied countries, as aside from killing Germans we were damaging valuable machinery. The following day, 7 April, Major Hemsworth was sent to a conference at 147 Brigade HQ, with the prospect of being attached to CO 147 Brigade HQ, with the prospect of being attached to CO 143 Field as a smoke rep. At first it appeared that the assault on Arnhem was imminent, but plans changed. At one time or another consideration was given to subjecting the town to flank attack launched from the west between Heaveadorp and Oosterbeek and a frontal assualt, before the SW approach to the ijssel was decided upon. As a result of Major Hemsworth's instruction, preparations were made to support the western crossing. Possible OPs were recced as far out as Hoogevelt and an intercom system planned. Fortuantely the plan was abodoned before the ambitious line laying programme was begun. During the day and increasingly up to 11 April when the regiment moved forward, the Air OP was up during thr afternoon and always found a suprising amount of Troop movement in Arnhem and Velp. Groups of less than a dozen rarely tempted the pilots but still 12 or 15m targets were not unusual for the "tea time hate". The pilots were not only pleasingly compimentary about the Regiments shooting,but used to fly low over the targets and count the bodies afterwards. One bloddy minded OP achieved cumulative results by blasting successive rescue parties who had not the protection of the Red Cross. On April 8 the Regiment took on a further committment, netting in a rep supplied by 8 Field to 2 Canadian Corps A/T regiment, then moving up on the east bank of the Rhine.
Contact was maintained with this rep, but at no time did he call for fire. Also during the day the Belgian Battalion was complete on the gorund and our LO joined them. On the morning of 9 April the smoke was blowing so that the patiently waiting OP was able to do some registration which Captain Stenback completed in short order. 40 Battery disembowelled 100 rounds of smoke and under direction of a Dutch propaganda expert, refilled them with a warning to the citizens of Geitenkamp to leave within 12 hours or else. These were fired about 03.00hrs 1o April and the "or else" followed at 13.15hrs, airburst as a prelude to aircraft bombing and stafing. Hints were given that the Regiment would move before the attack started, which became concrete orders on 11 April, the Regiment moving to Elden at 20.30hrs after a day that was qiuet except for the irrepressible Air OP. This position was continually shrouded by smoke, being right forward among the generators but as we were intially in a silent role it was possible to solve the aiming point problem in a liesurely manner. The first indication that the method of approach to Arnhem would be over the Ijssel, emanated from 49 Div on 8 April but only in general terms. Not until 10 april did the plan appear to be at all firm, but then Lt-Col W.F.Greenlay was summoned by the CRA as a smoke expert to advise on the coordination of two regiments, mortars and generators. The CRA then went with the CO to an OP in Huissen and there sketched the outline smoke plan. A control organization was evolved to consist of the CO Majot L.Hemsworth, who was to move with HQ 146 Bde, Captain T.W.MacDonald, who to find an OP with a FOO from 8 Field Regt in a factory east of Arnhem, and a wireless layout that always provided at least two channels. The main screen was produced by HQ RA but covered only the high ground to the NE and after due consideration of the gorund, objectives and prevailing winds, Accordion was born a rather unothodox but flexible system of predicted points of origin to blind the height of land to the north of Arnhem for 6000yards. Later the BM added a screen called Pitch to blind Den Brink in the event of a crossing being made into the middle of the town. Apart from the final christening of the mortars and generators as Mutt and Jeff, preparations were now complete, and on 12 April, the observing parties moved across the Neder Rijn to the area of Westervoort and waited for the shooting to start.
The Regiment started shooting in the Battle of Arnhem at 21.50hrs 12 April on a short CB neutralization programme, and towards midnight more and more pre-arranged tasks were called for by HQ RA. The result was the the Regiment had expected to fire smoke almost solely, sent for 24 lorry loads HE at 04.00hrs, 13 april and the early morning ammn count showed that nearly 300rpg had gone mysteriuosly overnight. At 06.30hrs it was gloomily admitted that the wind was unfavourable for smoke, and that when the groud mist clearned there would be heavy demands on the guns. At 08.45hrs the first call came from the CO to start with 8 Field and after a few adjustments the regiment settled down. The wind made the use of the generators impractical and at 10.30hrs a leaf of accoridon was turned on for 20 minutes, after which the next westerly leg on the screen was tried for half an hour. At 11.15hrs the BM laid on a short troop screen at a hill north of Arnhem for ten minutes for unrevelaled reasons. At 11.50hrs Major Hemsworth had rwached the outskirts of Arnhem and took over control while the CO prepapred to cross. 147 Brigade asked for more cover from the North the regiment shifted to the Div screen at 12.00hrs at the modest rate od 1rpm per point. Meantime HQ RA called for occasional HE targets to avoid montony. At 13.45 it appreared that further smoke changes were necesaary and the east half of Accoridon was played at varing rates until 17.00hrs. Early in the afternoon there were indications of iminent gun trouble, for despite rotation of guns through rest, constant swabbing and close watching by artificers, the pieces were overheating sufficiently to blister the paint not only off the barrels themselves but the jackets. Around 16.00hrs breeches started jamming, and more changes were made in the screen in an endeavour to achieve results with fewer guns. Satisfactory screening was maintained by much manipulation of guns and points of origin without unduly straining the equipments, until 20.35hrs. The since the morning 690rpg had been fired. Hard work was put in on the guns interrupted to midnight by occasional HE tasks. During the evening 8 Field moved off, and was to be replaced by 98 Field Regt RA which was supposed to occupy by night and be prepared to engage the smoke task in the morning. However they had a long journey against traffic, and did not have their recce parties on deck until 09.00hrs 14 April, when our RSO passed line to them. Even when their guns were deployed, they had very little smoke and despite many efforts none was forth coming. Our own amn situation was poor, having on hand only a third of the previous day's expenditure, part of which was low driving band, and to all intents and purposes double the committment. The loudest of cries failed to bring the release of more amn until midafternoon but the most careful watching could not make the smoke last after 13.15hrs, at cover for any emergency. The machinery of provision worked in due course, and by 17.30hrs the Regt was able to open up again and 98 Field was also supplied later on. In both cases screens were started up and fired until 19.45hrs, by which time the infantry had a secure hold on the town and expected to clear the hills during the night. The Regt hopefully looked forward to rest for a change, and all was propitious until 21.00hrs when order were received to move that night under command 1 Canadian Div in the area to Zutphen.
In accordance with the orders received at 21.00hrs, 14 April, Captain H.G.Crooker was despatched at once to HQ 1 CIB, recce parties prepared to move and the OPS were recalled. Arrangements were laid on for the recall of D Troop from the weeds and the move of B ech, which had been sitting on the SW edge of Nijmegen for two weeks. The amn situation was tdied up and at 03.00hrs 15 April the Regiment proceeded via Cleve, Emmerich, Ruurlo, Lochem and Zupthen to the ponton bridge at Gorsell, crossed the Ijssel and deployed in front of Apeldoorn. Although the Regiment reported ready on theatre grid on 10.30hrs, no task were received until the evening when a few bombards and HF were fired. Captain J.D. Thompson was despatched at the rquest of the sappers, to man a post near the bridge under construction at Zutphen and endeavour, by supplying CB information, to put an end to the shelling that was delaying their construction. The principal feature of the night, and of successive nights while with 1 Div, was the sudden burst of activity in CPs about midnight when anything up to thirty of forthy DF tasks would come in, a total of 268 DFs being worked out in the ten days under command, none of which were fired. Next morning, 16 april in anticipation of a set piece attack being required on Apeldoorn, 100rpg were dumped. Resistance crumpled during the afternoon however, and the only targets alloted were a CB programme and six HF tasks thar involved considerable expenditure. The rare snatches of tactical information indicated that the infantry were forging ahead rapidly and at 10.00hrs 17 april we were informed we were out of range and recce parties would move at once. At 11.30hrs the Regiment moved forward through streets lined by cheering civilians to Beekbergen and after clearing some of the floral tributes off the sights and picking the orange streamers out of directors managed to deploy. RHQ appropriately located in an insane asylum.
Shortly after the Regiment reported readt at 13.20hrs CRA 1 Div arrived and ordered the Regiment to get in touch with 1 and 2 Field by R/T in order to handle their committments while they moved ahead. Communications were established, but no fire was requested. As the tactical picture was very blurred officers patrols were depatched at 15.00hrs to report back by 16.30hrs Lieutenant H.W.Buck went north from 9 battery and after going about 5 miles north of Apeldoorn and circling from there about 3 miles either side of the main road, he concluded that he was the only soldier from either army in the area. Captain R.W.Steinbeck went west from 29 battery and discovered PPCLI who olny knew that they were moving ahead nicely and had'n't the remotest idea whether their flanks were secure. but presumed so. Lt G.W.Howden went south from 40 Battery and found from Seaforths that the road to Arnhem was now open but thye were meeting opposition still around Hoenderloo, although 5 Armoured Div was believed to be further out in the west. All this did not greatly clarify matters but the battle seemed to have become a rout. At 20.20hrs HQ RCA advised the Regt was out of range but that recce would not go out until the following morning. The Regiment concentrated on wheels collected all surplus amn in one place and proceeded to assist the civil population to celebrate their liberation. From this occasion until passing from command of 1Div on 27 april, the only rounds fired were on camera calibration agains 21 Army group standard guns, which had pursued the Regiment around from Nijmegen. Nevertheless the Regt moved forward and remain in action, occupying positions successively east of Barneveld on 18 april on the NW outkskirts of Barneveld on 21 April and on 25 april a couple of miles furher west, during which day the infantry closed up to the river Els. Twice there were possiblities of a difficult situation developing, first at Barneveld where 29 battery did not work out several DFs as they were in the next field, the second when an infantry CO pointed out re the proposed gun area, that his battalion was going in on the night of 24 april to firm it up and did not recommend that our recce parties move in to spend the night there. At 11.25hrs 26 april the bucolic atmosphere was shattered by orders to move under command 3 Div far south of Emden, at 15.00hrs advance parties set out on the 180 mile trip. Next day, 27 april, the Regiment proceeded at 07.00hrs via Barneveld, Zupthen ,Deventer, Dijssen and a succesion of depressingly narrow back roads marked Pearl route to Winschoten and Nieuwe Schans and over the border.
1 April 1945: Sunday: Overcast all day with a drizzle of rain in the morning and windy in the afternoon. The Regt came out of action at 1100 hrs this morning and moved back to the gun area North of Nijmegen which we vacated yesterday. The Regt was ready on theatre grid at 1315 hrs. Operation ordes for Exercise "Destroyer" were received. H hour for the fire plan is 0600 hrs tomorrow. The intention is that 49 Div with 5 Cdn Armd Div conforming on the left is to clear the ground North of the Rijn of the enemy. Dinner tonight consisted of more liberated beef.
2 April 1945: Monday: Overcast with high winds in the morning and afternoon. The wind died down in he late afternoon and evening. Exercise "Destroyer" commenced at 0600 hrs when the guns opened up. 147 Bde led the way and by noon had completed Phase I with a loss of 3killed and 5 wounded. 63 PW were taken. The opposition was fairly light but the ground was heavily mined which held up the advance and did not permit Phase II to start until 1730 hrs. Capts Crocker and Thompson who were FOOs with 11 Cdn Armd Regt in support, were well up with the leading troops all day. They did not do any shooting; however, with the fire plan and several U-Tgts a good number of rounds went up the spout.
3 April 1945: Tuesday: Scattered clouds during the day, showers in the early evening. Capt. Thompson returned in the morning, his squadron of 11 Cdn Armd Regt having completed their part of the operation quite successfully. He reported the show a very easy one. The 2 i/c, Major Hayden, with the CPOs recced an area for the Regt in 49 Div's new gun area in case the Regt remains under command 49 Div. It is thought we will come under command 5 Cdn Armoured Div shortly but this is not known definitely as yet. To date there has not been much of a battle, at least not what the Regt is accustomed to.
4 April 1945: Wednesday: Overcast all day. The CO, Lt-Col Greenlay, attended an orders group held by the CRA, 49 Div, at 0800 hrs this morning. He learned the general plan of the coming operation (the crossing of the Rijn), but is still very hazy as to the role the Regt will play. One day 49 Div want us and the next day 5 Div want us. As a result we don't know where we stand. The 2 i/c, Major Hayden, recced a position for the 74 Fd Regt in the area of Zand.
5 April 1945: Thursday: Overcast with intermittent showers. No shooting was done today. Lieut Coyston went to 74 Fd Regt this morning to make arrangements re taking over their survey if we move in there. He phoned at noon for the CPOs to come up and take over the records as the 74th were about to move. The 2 i/c, Major Hayden, and the CPOs left, and in the middle of the afternoon orders came for us to move at 1930 hrs. The order of march was RHQ, 20, 40 and 8. The Regt was reportes as ready at 2100 hrs. We are on the outskirts of Zand and there are billets for everyone. It is very indefinite as to just who's command we are under at the moment. Major Hemsworth and Capt. Stenback reported to the Westminsters who have taken over part of 49 Div front and are under command 5 Cdn Armd Div. Since noon today there has been 80 loads of Smoke dumped in our present position.
6 April 1945: Friday: Cloudy with showers off and on all day. It has been a very quiet day for all members of the Regt. A booby trap in the form of a potato masher tied to a small evergreen tree with a trip were crossing to a larger tree was found in front of RHQ. The CO, Lt-Col Greenlay, walked to RHQ 8 Fd Regt (SP) in the afternoon to visit Lt-Col Birks. In the evening both the CO and the 2 i/c, Major Hayden, visited Lt-Col Birks. Major Giroux returned from leave last night and relieved Major Hemsworth as CO's Rep with the Westminsters this morning.
7 April 1945: Saturday: A bright, clear day though somewhat cooler than yesterday. Major Hemsworth reported to HQ 147 Bde at 1430 hrs where he received orders re his job as smoke control officer for Operation "Anger" (crossing of the Rijn). The CO, Lt-Col Greenlay, reported to 49 Div for a CRA's conference at 1730 hrs but found that the conference had been cancelled. The Operation orders for Operation "Anger" arrived today. The Regt is scheduled to fire smoke throughout the operation. In the evening the RQMS, Capt Rea, brought his brother, Capt Fred Rea, who is with Army HQ, up for a visit. A bottle of rum mysteriously appeared with the Rea brothers, and it just as mysteriously disappeared.
8 April 1945: Sunday: Sunny and bright all day. The morning was extremely quiet. No shooting was done. About the middle of the afternoon the Air OP called for a 'M' target. He fired eight of them inside of half an hour and a few more at intervals until the late evening. The pilot reported great numbers of people in the town and on the roads around Velp. He reported our fire very accurate and causing casualties. Later HQ RA 49 (WR) Div phoned and said that the Air OP pilot had called them when he landed and said that we had put on an excellent shoot both for speed and accuracy. The CO; Lt-Col Greenlay, accompanied by Lieut Pettigrew attended a GOC's conference at Main 49 (WR) at 1730 hrs. He learned that the plans had been changed considerably, the attack now going in on the east of Arnhem instead of the west. This is going to cause a few days delay during which time this Regt is once again going to take over 74 Fd Regt's position, only this time it is in the Westminsters FDLs and we will be in a silent role until H hour.
9 April 1945: Monday: Sunny and clear most of the day, though occasionally overcast. The morning was very quiet except for an occasional troop or Bty target from Capt Stenback. Lt-Col Greenlay held an orders conference at 1400 hrs which was attended by the Bty Comds and Bty Capts. He went over the 1 Cdn Army plan and then in more detail the plan of 49 Div and 1 Cdn Corps. Two 'M' targets were fired by the Air OP. 7,000 rds of HE free our gun positions are being dumped along the side of the road ready to be picked up by 4? Div RASC. 74 Fd Regt are leaving 7,000rds on their position which we are taking over when they vacate.
10 April 1945: Tuesday: Bright and warm. A warning to the people of Geitenkamp that they should evacuate the town was sent in form of smoke shells filled with 200 leaflets each, and burst over the town at 0030 hrs. No more shooting was done until 1330 hrs when some airbursting was done over Geitenkamp. The Air OP engaged groups of men with both Bty and Regtl shoots in the late afternoon. The CO, Lt-Col Greenlay, accompanied by Lieut Bishop, went to HQ RA 49 Div at 1730 hrs, and learned that he is to be i/c smoke for the coming ops. The CRA led the way to an OP in Huissen where he and Lt-Col Greenlay discussed the various angles to blinding the enemy from observing our troops when the crossing is made. Lt-Col Greenlay and Lieut Bishop returned to the Regt for supper, after which the CO held a quick conference with Major Hemsworth, Capt Crocker and Capt T.W. MacDonald and then with Major Hemsworth returned to HQ RA for further discussions on smoke.
11 April 1945: Wednesday: Another clear, warm day. Part of the fire plan for Operation "Anger" came in this morning. However, very little of it was applicable to this Regt as we are committed totally to smoke after 1st light on D plus 1. The smoke dope didn't come in until evening. A few targets were fired for the Air OP in the afternoon. Orders were received for the Regt to move to our new position, vacated last night by 74 Fd Regt RA, at 2030 hrs. As we are in a silent role until D Day the night has been and is expected to be, very quiet.
12 April 1945: Thursday: The Regimental area has been in a dense fog all day. We have been in the middle of a smoke screen. Major Hemsworth and an FOO from 8 Fd Regt joined 146 Bde this morning as part of the smoke control party. The CO, Lt-Col Greenlay and Capt T.W. MacDonald pushed off at 1800 to the concentration area on this side of the IJssel river in preparation for crossing shortly after the attack goes in and establishing a smoke control OP on the other side. It was learned about 1500 hrs that this was D Day and the attack went in as per Operation "Anger". Gnr. White, was wounded about 2300 hrs by a shell splinter in the lung and was evacuated. Considerable shelling and mortaring has been received. A rocket battery is deployed in the Regtl gun area. No one had seen or heard one fired before and when the first salvo was fired there was a mad rush for slit trenches and into the corners of the rooms, anywhere. The Adjt had visions of a new weapen, - V3.
13 April 1945: Friday: Considerable ground mist in the morning, clearing up by noon for the rest of the day. From about 0030 hrs when the Regt was called upon to shot scale 15 on a pre-arranged target until daylight when the smoke started the Regt was kept busy throwing H.E. over. Due to ground mists smoke wasn't required until about 0830 hrs but once started it was continued all day. Major Hemsworth crossed the River IJssel with 146 Bde about noon and directed the smoke screen from there. The amount of Tac information passed back has been very small but we gather that the fighting has been very sticky. Progress has been slower than expected, but steady.
14 April 1945: Saturday: Misty in the early morning, clearing for the rest of the day. After a fairly quiet night, the smoke was once more started about 0900 hrs. The ammunition situation became pretty desperate by 1100 hrs and the screen had to be stopped entirely about 1330 hrs due to lack of smoke. It seems that 49 Div had some difficulty in getting it up from the Army dump. The Regt has fired 20,000 rds of smoke since yesterday morning. Smoke started rolling in about 1600 hrs and the screen was started again and kept going until 1900 hrs. At 2100 hrs orders arrived for the Regt to move to the Zutphen area and come under command 1 Cdn Inf Div. The OP parties were called in Lieut Pettigrew reported to HQ 1 Cdn AGRA as Staff Learner.
15 April 1945: Sunday: Overcast in the morning, clearing in the afternoon. The Regt pushed off at 0300 hrs, led by 40 Bty with 9, RHQ and 29 following in that order. The route led us through Nijmegen, Cleve, Emmerich and Zelhem. The Regt was met at the DP by the 2 i/c, Major Hayden, who led it in to the gun area. The position had been recced and survey done by 1 Div when we arrived. The tactical situation is very vague. However, harassing fire and CB is being done. An attack on Apeldoorn was set for tonight but has since been cancelled. Capt Thompson went to a bridge site (being built) at Zutphen to send in shelreps as it was being shelled.
16 April 1945: Monday: Bright and clear. Avery quiet day. A few CB bombards were fired before daylight and nothing else all day.
17 April 1945: Tuesday: Another fine, warm day. Orders for recce parties to move were issued by Div Arty at 1000 hrs. The Regt moved at 1130 and reported ready at 1320 hrs. The move today turned out to be somewhat of a novelty for all concerned. Last night the Boche pulled out and both the infantry and the armour have been on the chase today, and very little damage has been done to civilian property. The Dutch people have large flags flying and were lining up ready to move again in the morning. There have been great celebrations in the village of Het Hougeland in the outskirts of which we are located. Any soldier walking the street is immediately surrounded by very friendly and happy civilians and taken to a dance or thanked profusely for freeing them from the Nazi's. The celebrations of the civilians and a generous EFI issue of whisky and gin, combined with the fact that we are out of range and not liable to fire orders has made the evening a very pleasant one for all. The morning may not be quite so pleasant for some of the more strenuous participants.
18 April 1945: Wednesday: Clear, birght and warm. The heat caused many people to doff jackets today. The order for the recce parties to move did not come until 1140 hrs and the Regt moved at 1230 hrs led by 29 Bty with 40, 9 and RHQ following in that order. It was a long move and took approx 2,5 hrs. The Regt reported ready on Bty grid at 1605 hrs. The oppositions has been almost negligible but there is still a lot of ground behind us which has to be mopped up and there is going to be a short pause while this is done. The move today was very similar to that of yesterday in that the roads were lined with civilians waving flags and cheering. It is hoped that the Regt may be able to calibrate tomorrow. However, as things are still fairly fluid it is doubtful as to whether a safe area can be found.
19 April 1945: Thursday: Clear and warm throughout the day. No shooting was done at all during the day. The B.M. called to inform us that the Regt is released to calibrate tomorrow and the firing platform is to be in Sq. We will shoot into the Zuiderzee. The first return on sale of 8th Victory loan was forwarded to AGRA today. Total sales to date are $ 4,900.
20 April 1945: Friday: Clear and warm. Recce parties for the calibration shoot left at 0600 hrs. The Btys left in the order 9, 29 and 40, calibrated and returned, all being completed by 1400 hrs. The recce parties were ordered to a new area at 1600 hrs. The Regt is moving at 0600 hrs tomorrow. The advance seems to be slowing down, and 1 Div told us we are likely to be in our next area for some time, and to get comfortable. Capt J.B. Francis left for Brussels via Nijmegen today, where he is to be married. He is picking up his bride-to-be, N.S. Grace Ewing, at No 1 Cdn Gen Hospital, Nijmegen en route.
21 April 1945: Saturday: Intermittent showers throughout the day. The Regt moved as scheduled at 0600 hrs this morning and was completely in action at 0710 hrs. No firing today. The guns are around the North West outskirts of the town of Barneveld, and the people have been very good in giving up rooms for command posts and billets.
22 April 1945: Sunday: Sunshine with scattered showers throughout the day. Today has been very quiet and no shooting has been done. 50% of the personnel were free to go to a movie in Barneveld in the afternoon and evening. Lieut Pettigrew paid a visit from 1 Cdn AGRA this evening. RHQ command post took on an atmosphere somewhat like an officers club in the evening when several unexpected guests from the Btys arrived to assist the RHQ officers with their EFI rations.
23 April 1945: Monday: Bright and warm all day. The battle in the sector certainly seems to have come to a standstill. Not a round was fired by us or any other Regt in the area. Capt R.H. MacDonald and Lieut J.D. Stohn attended meetings at AGRA this afternoon. Capt MacDonald is representing the Regt on the AGRA sports committee and Lieut Stohn on the tabloid sports sub-committee. The Sports time table commences 2 May 45 and carries through until the Army finals next fall.
24 April 1945: Tuesday: Clear and warm. The infantry advanced a few thousand yards last night against mild opposition, and with no arty support from us, as part of a plan to close up to the canal immediately East of Amersfoort. As a result of this recce parties went out at 1400 hrs to recce a new area and the Regt is to move at 0800 hrs tomorrow morning, 50% of the personnel were again permitted to go into Barneveld in the afternoon and evening. RHQ Command Post again took on an officers club atmosphere for a short time in the evening but the EFI supplies ran out and the visiting firemen returned to their respective Btys rather early.
25 April 1945: Wednesday: Clear and warm. The Regt moved today at 0800 hrs this morning and were ready on Regtl grid at 0840 hrs. No shooting was done today, and the time has been spent in settling in and making accommodations comfortable. All Command Posts are in houses.
26 April 1945: Thursday: This morning was very quiet again, and there was no shooting. At 1130 hrs the B.M. informed us that we were to come under command 3 Cdn Inf Div tomorrow. The route is to be Barneveld, Hoenderloo, Zutphen, Deventer, Nieuweschand,Weener and to the D.P. The Regt is to cross in the S.P. at Hoenderloo at 0800 hrs where the 11 Cdn A Fd Regt Platoon RCASC, which is under command, will join the convoy. Recce parties left at 1500 hrs. Orders for Lieut Goodwin to report to HQ RCA 4 Cdn Armd Div, to take on the job of B.M.'s stooge (L.O.) arrived. He is to report tomorrow. The Rotational Leave to Canada List came in about 2300 hrs. 34 ORs from the Regt receive leave. The majority are NCOs. The present standing in 8th Victory Loan War Bond sales is $ 15,350.
27 April 1945: Friday: Overcast, with fairly steady rain. The Regt moved as per schedule at 0800 hrs and arrived at the gun area at about 1800 hrs. The total mileage was about 180 miles. This is a typical 11 A FD Regt position. RHQ is immediately behind a dyke from the top of which you can look across the River EMS into enemy-held ground. The guns are spread out, varying from 200 to 800 yards back of the dyke. There is no infantry in front of us and we have to keep lookouts with Brens all along the top of the dyke. The personnel slated for rotational leave to Canada were left behind in the old 'B' Echelon area with Capt Arnott, the paymaster, who is going to look after their documents, and Capt Crocker, who is going to see that they get away. Five men who had already left on the advance party, plus the members of the signal section who are to return, were warned to get themselves ready when the Regt arrived, and are leaving in the morning.
28 April 1945: Saturday: Clear an bright all day. The fire plan in support of 3 Cdn Inf Div attack on Leer came in in the morning, and we commenced firing at 1430 hrs. All ranks in RHQ and E Troop, plus those who found their way up to the dyke from the remainder of the Regiment, had a wonderful view of the bombard on Leer, both by aircraft and by the artillery. It is reported by experienced OP officers that the bombard on Leer was one of heaviest they have seen.
29 April 1945: Sunday: Intermittent showers in the morning, with clear weather in the afternoon and showers again in the evening. The morning and afternoon were quiet, and the attack stopped while 7 Bde relieved 9 Bde. It started again this evening with H-hour for fire plan Rosie I at 2130 hrs. Harassing fire has been laid on for tonight.
30 April 1945: Monday: Intermittent showers throughout the day. The attack continued during the day and the Regt fired the odd small fire plan. Recce parties were put on one hour's notice to move as of 0800 hrs 1 May 45. At 2220 hrs we were informed that we would be going into support of 1 Polish Armd Div and that insofar as 3 Cdn Inf Div were concerned our recce parties could stand down.