123 (6th Bn The City of London) Light Anti Aircraft Regiment: 405 Battery 408 Battery 409 Battery 

 

20 September 1944: The recce party and 409 LAA Battery group proceeded to Overasselt where 409 LAA Battery recieved orders to defend Grave bridge on the R.Maas. This was a temporary deployment as Nijmegen had not yet been taken. The recce party was set up an HQ at Malden south of nijmegen, one the way up the column was aatcked by 12 FW's 190. There was no casualties. 409 Battery engaged enemy a/c. The remainder of the regt reached Valkenswaard and was frrozen. It was expected to move on that night but orders were received to be ready to move at 06.00hrs. J Troop 409 Bty captured 8 prisoners at Grave.

 

21 September 1944: Signals Off attended 'O' group Bde comd at which orders were given that 409 LAA Bty were to be relieved that day by 27 LAA Regt and they were to proceed to Nijmegen by 17.00hrs. H .Troop captured 7 prisoners at Nijmegen. The remainder of the Regt left harbour areas at 19.30hrs having been standing to, to move since 06.00hrs. At Eindhoven the column was frozen for an hour and the Airborne Seaborne Tail moved up and double backed on the road. The column travelled through the night and reached Veghel at 06.30hrs.

 

22 September 1944: The Regt less 409 Battery was engaged in an encounter when with the enemy he cut the communication lines of 30 Corps at Veghel. full report of the encounter is attached at App B. Lt L.F.Milum and Lt S.Jordan wounded and evacuated to hospital in Veghel.

 

23 September 1944: The Regt less 409 Battery who were deployed at Nijmegen remained in Veghel as the road was still out. It was opened during the afternoon and the Regt less 409 Bty left Veghel at 20.00hrs. Heavy shelling of Veghel conitnued throughout the day and further casualties were sustained. 405 Bty had 3 wounded and 408 Bty had 1 Off wounded, 10 ORs killed and 6 ORs wounded. Lt F.N.Smith wounded through shell fire and evacuated to the hospital.

 

24 September 1944: 405 Bty and 408 Bty less E Tp deployed in defence of Nijmegen. They were deployed by 05.00hrs. Considerable Air Activity was experienced on the VA during the day.

 

26 September 1944: 2 ORs killed by shell fire and 3 ORs wounded. All from 409LAA Bty.

 

28 September 1944: 2 ORs killed one OR missing believed killed 5 ORs wounded all from 408 LAA bty by a bomb which immediately adjacent to gun posn.

 

29 September 1944: FW 190 made a false landing near J Tp Sect HQ, pilot taken POW by J Tp.

 

30 September 1944: J Tp 408 Bty AMTM role engaged some mines which were floating down stream.

 

3 October 1944: 321 Battery deploying 18x 20mm Hispano guns in positions in close AA defence of road bridge came under command of 123 LAA Regt for admin only.

 

4 October 1944: The following equipment was received from 165HAA Regt for establishing Regt Radar position 1 GLII, 1 PF and 1 S.A.P Eqpt did not go into action this day.

 

5 October 1944: Radar Equipment in action for the evening operations, Fairly heavy shelling of area by night.

 

6 October 1944: Rdar Eqpt from 165 HAA Regt withdrawn as from 18.00hrs. It is to be replaced by eqpt belonging to 90 HAA Regt at present deployed at 368/113 Bty.

 

8 October 1944: The Radar Eqpt from 90 Regt was withdrawn to the parent Regt on their being deployed in AA Defence of Nijmegen.

 

13 October 1944: 405 Bty were to be deployed at Maas-Waal and 408 and 409 Bty to be deployed at Grave.

 

15 October 1944: 405 Bty interchanged commitments with 379/113 Bty at Maas-Waal canal Bridge. 370 Bty taking over commitment in eastern part of Nijmegen.

 

17 October 1944: Regt HQ and 408 Bty completed relief of 112 LAA Regt at Grave. RHQ established and advance HQ at Radar position and Regt Rear HQ at Overhasselt. Advance HQ comprised CO, and Adj plus 6 Signals personnel, 1 Clerk, 1 DR, 2 Batmen and 1 Cook.

 

19 October 1944: Regt Adv HQ merged with Rear HQ and the whole moved to the town of Grave where various rooms were taken over for Officers, Stores, Billets. 405 Bty HQ moved to new HQ in Nijmegen.

 

5 November 1944: Bde Comd warned CO that 408, 409 and RHQ were to move back to Nijmegen on or about 7 November to relieve 112 Regiment who were returning to 12 Corps.

 

6 November 1944: The plan was that 408 and 409 Btys were to relieve 112 LAA Regt at Nijmegen and the defence of Grave was to be taken over by 109 LAA Regt.

 

7 November 1944: 408 Battery at Grave were relieved by a Bty of 27 LAA Regiment, and 409 Battery were relieved by a Battery of 109 LAA Regiment.

 

10 November 1944: Regiment came under command of 74 AA bde upon their relief of 100 AA Bde who went to Valkenswaard area. Shelling of area, one shell landed at 409 BHQ. no cas, One at gun posn in G.Tp. One man wounded.

 

14 November 1944: 74 AA Bde advised CO that 123 LAA regt were to be relieved by 4 Cdn LAA Regt. Being Div tps they only had 3 btys of 3x6 gun tps.

 

15 November 1944: 408 Battery had a direct hit on its Bty HQ. 5 ORs wounded, damage 2 x 15cwt W/T trucks and 2x 3 tonner lorries.

 

18 November 1944: Visited 100 AA Bde and received orders that the Regiment were to move to conc area near Hechtel (Belgium).

 

21 November 1944: Regiment left Nijmegen area at 09.00Hrs and proceeded to dispersal point at Hechtel.

 

26 November 1944: Regiment moved from Belgium to Holland, 408 and 409 Battery to Helmond and 405 Battery to Deurne.

 

17 December 1944: Enemy air activity on large scale coinciding with German Counter Attack on American 1st Army Front.

 

20 December 1944: Notification received that Lt J.Hirsch  Belgian LO had been awarded the MC and Sgt A.J.Brunning 408 Bty and Gnr E.G.Edwards RHQ both awarded the MM for actoions of Gallantry at Veghel on 22 Sep 44.

 

23 December 1944: RHQ moved from Deurne to Helmond.

 

 

Personal account of Sergeant D.Brooking 405 Battery

Denis A Brooking

Personal Diary

Introduction

I have two of Dad’s (Denis Brooking) personal diaries, for 1944 and 1945.  The first entry in the 1944 diary is for 14 th July 1944 , but this excerpt includes only the time the Regiment (123 rd Light Anti Aircraft Regiment) spent in Holland .  Dad was a sergeant in 405 Battery .

1944 ·        Sunday 17 th September

Start of 2 nd Army drive to coast of Holland via Eindhoven , Veghel, Nijmegen & Arnhem .

·        Tuesday 19 th September

Ready to move in afternoon.  Move postponed in evening.

·        Wednesday 20 th September

Moved off early morning.  Sent off road at dinner time, via Escaut Canal .

·        Thursday 21 st September

Continued move late at night.  Via Eindhoven and arrived in Veghel at 7 am (i.e. 22 nd ).

·        Friday 22 nd September

Hot coffee given us by inhabitants.  Jerry shelled town all afternoon & evening.  Slept in narrow trenches.  Fairly quiet night.  Road cut by Jerry north of Veghel.  408 & RHQ badly knocked about.

·        Saturday 23 rd September

Continued shelling all day.  Pulled out of town to small farm.  Started move late.  All guns & vehicles OK.  3 casualties.

·        Sunday 24 th September

Arrived in Nijmegen in early morning.  Billeted in big school.

·        Thursday 5 th October

Moved to Tulchschool in Nijmegan.  Very comfortable except for shelling at night.

·        Saturday 7 th October

Moved to St Canisins College.  Not quite as comfortable but not to (sic) bad.

·        Sunday 15 th October

Move to Neerbosch.  Billeted in farm.

·        Tuesday 17 th October

Spent night in proposed new HQ.  Good evening with evacuated family.

·        Wednesday 18 th October

Spent night in new HQ Sante Maria College

·        Thursday 19 th October

Bty HQ moved into College.

·        Saturday 4 th November

Meet the children of Dutch friends again.  On duty at heavy site.

Paris 1945 Arc de Triomf, Sergeant Denis Brooking 4th from left
copyright J.Brooking