13 Field Regiment RCA-2 Battery 22 Battery 44 Battery 78 Battery- Priest 105mm

Unit No.

 

9 October 1944: War Diary: The day was featured mainly by the fact that we were almost continually engaged in HF tasks from first light until 1600 hrs, and in fact, expended 140 rpg HE on such tasks. Major Baird was up in an AOP during the afternoon looking over the areas to the East in case of a possible move for us, and saw some of our rounds coming down. He said the fire was excellent. The 7 CIB however were engaged in sticky fighting attempting to enlarge their bridgehead over the canal and slowly improving their positions against stiffening resistance. The 9 CIB have landed and secured a fairly extensive bridgehead on the Scheldt estuary and the 8 CIB are awaiting the word to go as planned. Div instruct us to engage further HF tasks during the night in Middelburg and to the S and SE. We choose our own tasks and using one troop for a three hour period in rotation, keep the area pretty warm all night. The word comes down that we should expect some extensive firing tomorrow. The weather was grey and overcast today, with rain always close at hand but holding off. Visibility fair.

 

10 October 1944: War Diary: By midday we had expended 55 rpg on HF tasks fired during the early morning and three other tasks in support of 7 CIB before lunch. We receive word that we will be moving E to support 8 and 9 CIB in the eastern bridgehead. The regiment is on half an hours notice to move from 0900 hours and the recce parties leave for the new area shortly before this. We finally get on wheels at 1430 hours and RHQ arrives at new position at 1535 hours. The regiment is ready on theatre grid at 1735 hrs. Towards evening we receive 100 rpg HE. The visibility has been poor most of the day with an overcast sky and persistent rain.

 

11 October 1944: War Diary: Today has not been exceptionally strenuous from the gun angle although Div allocated us to an area to be harrassed during the night on which we expended 30 rpg HE. There were several office cases held, which, together with settling down in this new area, completing transfer of ammunition and moving A Echelon and LAD accounts for most of the day. At 1900 hrs the CO sent in over the air 70 tasks which are in support of the 8 CIB when their push commences tomorrow - these tasks are on call and are sent to Div by LO. Although the afternoon was overcast for a time the weather remained fine throughout the day with good visibility.

 

12 October 1944: War Diary: From the view point of actual Ops a relatively quiet day, during the course of which 8 CIB completed its move across the estuary to link up with  CIB. Consequent regroupings took place. Lt-Col Lace tee'd up three fire plans, one to support each of the battalions in tomorrows attacking phase. Div produced the necessary traces and task tables for these. About 95 rpg HE was fired of over the 4 hrs on HF tasks, and on various repeats to Tgt M 600, an enemy infantry and m/g strongpoint. This tgt also becomes our DF (SOS) task. Div allocate us squares to harrass for the night 30 rpg being allowed. We commence fire on this area at 2100 hrs to continue until 0500 on 13th. We are advised that Zero hour for the attack tomorrow will be 0900 hrs. Lieut Hogg becomes an A/Capt today, a well deserved promotion, and will go to 'C' Troop. Changable weather, perfect for the daylight hours but towards the end of the day a heavy rain fell.

 

13 October 1944: War Diary: A day of extensive firing with a total expenditure of 171 rpg. We were 'on call' throughout the day supporting the 8 CIB's attack - and were called frequently, the period between 1300 and 1600 hrs being particularly hectic. Our HF time programme was particularly aggressive in the early hours and culminated in a healthy programme commencing at 2359 hours. Although the picture of the developing attack is rather hazy it appears to be going as planned regardless of strong enemy resistance which makes the fighting sticky at times. Communication by air became very bad from about 1900 hours on, and as to date we have been unable to get line through we are forced to depend on relays to reach the CO.

 

14 October 1944: War Diary: This has been another extremely interesting day from an artillery view point, although the infantry probably would have a couple of much more colorful adjectives to describe it as the Boche has been fighting stubbornly in his numerous strong points. Regardless of Jerry's efforts, the 8 CIB are well on their objectives by last light. The Regt is Chaud roughly. Casualties were light, we understand. We did considerable firing in support of these attacks in the form of concentrations or stonks on call, and expended about 189 rps HE against drawings of 99 rpg only. Numerous DF tasks were laid on for the night, but, at any rate as far as we were concerned, were not put to use. The weather was variable again, periods of bright sunshine alternating with overcast skies. Visibilty was fair.

 

15 October 1944: War Diary: The attack of 8 CIB continues today with good results, and by last light the QOR are reported to be in general area. The R de Chaud have been reserve battalion. We had another day of active firing in support of advance, banging away 100 rpg HE on various tasks of a neutralizing nature. In the late afternoon we received 100 rpg HE to bring us up to scratch again. Capt J.W. Bennet goes to 10 CIB as CRA's rep and Lieut Rierson to the A&S Highrs. Altogether we have twelve officers out with the infantry - too many! The evening was spent fighting poor communications in an effort to get locations, DF Tasks etc., through and laid on. A dull day climatically with grey skies and intermittent rains. Visibility fair.

 

16 October 1944: The Regiment move to a new gun position near Biervliet. As the regiment was continually engaged on targets, the batteries moved one at a time, the first battery moving at 14.20hrs and the last battery coming into position and reporting ready by 22.48hrs that night. 180 rounds per gun fired that day. The push towards Ijzendijke was difficult for the artillery, as the advance was on a three battalion front. The individual attacks had to be planned so that the guns could give their support to each one because the North Shores and Queens Own were moving toward so close together, it was difficult to obtain permission to fire until the location of their forward companies was definitely known.

War Diary: The attack of the 8 CIB went well again today although enemy resistance has considerably stiffened. At last light the PBI were settling down for the night. Due to the westward progress of the battle it becomes necessary to move the regiment, and recce parties leave about 1000 hours. The move was conducted by batteries with two on the floor at all times. The 44th began rolling at 1420, followed in order by 22, RHQ and the 78 - the last named battery being in and en route by 2248 hours. It was a long move and made difficult by the crowded narrow roads posed by movement, we had a day of almost continual firing, expending 180 rpg HE on a multitude of 'on call' tgts in close support. By 2359 hrs we had drawn 200 rpg and are ready to go again on tomorrow - at the present time it looks as if we shall need it. 'A' Echelon is moving to our ex-RHQ area in the morning. A day of scattered sunshine, with grey skies and fine rain predominating. Visibility fair.

 

17 October 1944: On the night of 17th a line crew of the 78th Battery left BHQ to lay line to their OP. They took the wrong turning in the road, passed through a town up to the forward infantry positions and beyond. Enemy mortar fire and MG fire were falling close, so they left the driver and the carrier in a protected position and continued forward on foot, laying line as they went. 

War Diary: The 8 CIB continued their advance today, with the little town of IJzendijke falling to the QORs after being stiffly contested. Elements of the Regt de Chauds had reached area at last light after a sticky day's fighting. Our guns were very busy all day and we fired about 159 rpg HE in close support of the attack. By the end of the day we had only some 3500 to 4000 yds range left, so that no one will be greatly surprised if we move forward again tomorrow. Lieut Bendikson joined the unit today and has gone to 44 Bty. This is the result of the new policy whereby we are to have four officers surplus to strength attached  to us, in effect, firstline reinforcements although not called such. We hope to receive two and possibly three more officers tomorrow. A miserable day climatically, varying from grey and overcast skies to just plain ordinary rain with a driving wind. Visibility for the most part was poor.

 

18 October 1944: Next morning Gnr L.C. Rasmussen the carrier driver, returned to report nothing had been seen of the four members of his crew. When the advance of infantry cleared the forward area the next day, men of the regiment were able to follow the line to its end, They found their rifles and some kit with a spool of wire opposite a German dugout. They had laid line right up to an enemy stronghold. Subsequently it was found that of these four men Gunner Renault had been killed and Lance Bombardier Hiltz, Bombardier Porter and Gunner Spencer taken POW.

Ijzendijke was heavily shelled by the artillery and then taken by the Queens Own.They passed through Waterland Kerkje (Zeeland), towards Oostburg. The targets were now very limited as many were out of range for the guns.

War Diary: The 8th and 9th CIB continued to push on against determined enemy resistance, and equally determined adverse weather conditions. By last light the Ops map showed the QOR in area, the Regt de Chaud with forward elements and the NSR unchanged. Little shooting was required of the Regiment today and we had to be content with a paltry 58 rpg HE. Major Baird disposed of four office cases on behalf of the CO during the afternoon and, in fact, the day was featured more by matters of an admin nature than by operational exigencies. At 2330 we were advised that the regiment would be moving tomorrow. Recce parties to leave at 0800 hrs on the 19th October. Another miserable period on the weather front, with cold wind and driving rain being the order of the day.

 

19 October 1944: The Regiment moved to a new gun position near Ijzendijke. The 22nd Battery and 44th Battery moved first. They had just reported ready on to new position when a target was called for. From then on to midnight the guns were kept busy. Most of the fire was for the Chauds who had been subjected to a vicious counter attack and who had lost some ground.

War Diary: Recce parties leave at 0800 hrs for our new area and at 1000 hrs we get the word to move. As we are just out of range by this time, the move is by batteries half an hour between each, the order of march being RHQ tactical, 22nd, 44th, balance of RHQ, followed by the 78th Battery. At 1055 Tactical HQ moves and by 1430 the regiment is all in the new position and ready for action - not a bad effort considering flooded roads and very poor standings. The 3th Bde is pushing forward steadily and we commence firing as the 22nd and one half of the 44th Bty report ready. By midnight we have gone through 95 rpg HE during several hours of continuous fire orders.  After a hectic day the Regt de Chaud wind up and the NSR virtually unchanged. The Regt de Chaud were the victims of a vicious counter attack and lost a little of their hard won ground. Highlight of the day in other respects is the notification that 48 hour leaves to Brussels and Antwerp are to start tomorrow. A miserable day climatically with high winds, rain and generally poor visibility.

 

20 October 1944: The guns moved forward to Waterland Kerkje, the batteries moving one at a time so that a minimum of 2 batteries were `on the ground` ready to engage targets. During this move a force of `Conga` tanks stopped near RHQ position. In the progress of refilling with TNT an accident occurred causing an explosion which pretty well reduced the area. Fortunately RHQ was preparing to move and was out of action except for Regimental radio sets. All targets called for were engaged. There were about 200 casualties in the general area.

War Diary: This has been a hectic day in a true sense of the word. We fired 160 rpg in close support of our infantry, whose positions at last light were virtually unchanged, the NSR were engaged in regrouping preparatory to taking over part of the 9th Bde lines. At about 1130 hrs HQ RCA threw a quick move at us, and recce parties went out to prepare gun posns. Shortly before moving the Regtl Net was beautifully humming with the traffic of four regimental shoots and deployment orders - there was surprisingly little confliction which we considered a good show. Another incident shortly before we moved, which made the day memorable, was a terrific explosion approximately 150 yards from RHQ, resulting in the temporary lapse of the usual CP efficiency. The explosion, it appeared (after a deluge of false rumours) was caused by the mysterious blowing up of a Conga, which was in the process of refueling. A large number of casualties were resultant to other troops in the area, fortunately RHQ escaped unscathed aside from a few superficial cuts caused by flying glass. The move took up the entire afternoon, last battery reporting ready at 2115 hours. Various reasons behind the delay including the facts that we had to keep two batteries on the ground at all times, traffic, jammed roads, and muddy sticky gun areas. RHQ is finally located. Lieuts Crutcher, Aylward, Timms and Code come to the regiment today, the first named two being old 'D'-Day-ites back again. They are attached to the 78th, RHQ, 22nd and 44th batteries respectively, and we are glad to see them all. The weather has been as trying as the day's activities with wind, grey skies, and intermittent rain being the general order.

 

21 October 1944: War Diary: During another hectic day we expended some 205 rpg, the highest expenditure for some time. Just as a point of interest, we have expended approximately 1146 rpg HE over the past eight days. Three Red Smoke targets were fired during the afternoon, and the Tiffys and Spitfires put in an appearance much to the discomfort of friend Boche. At about 1330 an enemy shell landed very close to a 44 Bty gun and we lost five good men. Sgt. Henderson, Bdrs McDonald and Patterson, Gnrs Maynard and Auger all wounded. It later develops that only three require to be evacuated. At 2120 the 22nd Bty takes on a suspected enemy ammunition dump and a large fire is observed in that direction about half an hour later. The 8 CIB continued probing during the day, but by close of business their positions had not altered very considerably,with the exception of the Recce Regt. The weather has been exceptionally fine with a bright sun and excellent visibility.

 

22 October 1944: The regiment fired 205 rounds per gun,making a total ammo expenditure for the past eight days of 1146 rounds per gun, in the afternoon an enemy mortar bomb landed beside a 44th Battery gun wounding most of the detachment of which Lance Bombardier McDonald,Gunner Maynard, Gunner Patterson, and Gunner Auger were evacuated.

War Diary: This has been a day of spasmodic bursts of activity and longer periods of lethargy. Although the firing was not on as great a scale as some of our previous efforts, we managed to get away 130 rpg HE. From the Infrantry viewpoint the 8th Bde spent the day harrassing the Boche, nightfall finding them with no appreciable gain; but the 9th Brigade made good progress and by midnight they had taken Breskens and were in Schoondijke. We got out second 48 hour leave party away this morning to Brussels, consisting of 4 officers and 10 OR's, and the first party on return reported having a dandy time. The weather has been exceptionally fine all day, with very good visibility.

 

23 October 1944: The Highland Light Infanty of Canada captured Schoondijke and enabled the North shores to pass through them.

It was while the North Shores were securing the approaches to Oostburg that Lance Bombardier Shaw won the Military Medal. As a signaller of Dog Troop OP crew with Captain Struthers he showed remarkable courage and intitiative on this occasion when radio communications between the FOO, who had proceeded ahead on foot, and the carrier broken down at a very critical stage in the attack. L/Bdr Shaw realizing the situation took the carrier with batteries and spare parts and worked his way forward passing over a route uncleared of mines until he was blocked by the wrecks of another carrier and by an M.10. From thence he proceeded on foot over a road swept by heavy enemy shell, mortar and small arms fire, reached the FOO and restored communiciations. Artillery fire was immdediately brought down eliminating the machine gun positions.

War Diary: The days administrative activities have overweighed the operational side, although we did manage to expend 100 rpg HE on various targets. The 8th Bde against determined enemy resistance continued to improve their positions. DF tasks and a healthy harrassing fire programme were laid on for the night's entertainment - needless to say this type of amusement is not enjoyed overmuch by the hard-worked gunners, although they have the consolation that Jerry shares their misery. Changeable weather again, fair and pleasant to wet and miserable in the evening. Visibility was good in the morning, and slowly deteriorated as the clouds closed in and the rains came.

 

24 October 1944: War Diary: The Regiment expended 145 rpg today on HF tasks and tgts in close support - a good average days firing. As far as the infantry picture goes, both the NSR and the Regt de Chaud made advances today, but the latter had a company cut  of by a particulararily vicious counter attack, and the survivors were forced to fall back under the CSM. The QOR positions remained virtually unchanged. The usual nigtly programme was laid on at about 2100 hrs. We are at long last over the 100% mark in our Victory Loan Drive, with prospects of improving the total even more. The weather ranged from fine and sunny to cloudy and dull, with the latter predominating. Visibility was variable throughout the day.

 

25 October 1944: War Diary: This has been a day of almost incessant firing, it could almost be said that we blasted the 8 CIB forward to the tune of about 250 rpg HE. The heaviest day's firing for the Regiment since we lost the 105's. The shooting was mainly 'on call' neutralization targets, some HF tasks, and an Oboe Smoke shoot, which used up 100 rounds Smoke. At night the usual swarm of DF tasks, together with five HF tasks, were laid on by the CO. The 8th CIB conderbly

 

26 October 1944: Supporting the attack on Oostburg the regiment fired of 250 rounds per gun. The targets mostly concs and stonk on call. One Oboe smoke screen fired which in itself required 100 rounds per gun.During the attack on the hamlet of Marolleput (Zeeland) The North Shores were held up by enemy fire. Under heavy observed enemy small arms fire and with complete disregard for his own personal safety, Captain Hogg accompanied by his able Gunner Hamilton, worked his way forward to a house from which he obtained observation over the enemy guns. He was directing fore on the guns from an upstairs window, when a shell from the flak gun penetrated the room and wounded him in the legs. However he continued to direct fire until a second shell from the 75mm gun scored a direct hit, and threw him out of the house and at the same time wounded his able. Although badly brushed and shaken he succeeded in re-entering the house and extricating his wounded able from the rubble. During this operation a third shell hit the house, and it was ultimately necessary to knock a hole in the wall to gain entrance. After assisting his signaller to safety, Catpain Hogg made his way forward to a dyke overlooking the enemy guns, which were still active. In spite of his wounds and constant enemy small arms fire, Captain Hogg directed the fire of the artillery at his disposal onto the enemy guns until they were put out of action. For his action Captain Hogg was awarded the Military Cross.

 

27 October 1944: War Diary: Another relatively quiet day, expenditure of ammunition being about 90 rpg HE. The 7 CIB had an amazing advance, considering all factors, with the CSR finishing up and the RWR with elements. The 8 CIB continued harassing the Boche but with no great success as far as ‘ground gained’ goes. The entertainment side of life was emphasized today, a party of gunners going to Eecloo to the Canadian Army Show (Unit A). Two more parties will be going tomorrow. The K of C continued their good work with another cinema performance during the evening in the large barn at RHQ. It has been a miserable day, with fog and rain cutting down visibility.

 

28 October 1944: War Diary: Again we have a day of moderate firing, our ammunition expenditure being in the neighborhood of 100 rpg HE only. Changes in the Tactical  picture were mainly local, as the day was devoted to straightening out the existing line. Colonel Lace advised us in the morning that 8 th Bde HQ was moving. The RAF had a field day this afternoon, Typhoons and Spits queued up for their turn at Jerry. We fired three Red Smoke targets to make things easier for the boys in blue. We expect a move tomorrow, and at 1300 hrs Major J.D. Baird goes forward with the recce parties to look over the allocated area. DF and HF tasks are laid on about 2300 hours to conclude the day. The weather man excelled himself today, producing (for a time) cloudless skies and bright sunshine, which were later replaced by about 5/10 cloud. It was a shade on the chilly side. Visibility was fair all day.

 

29 October 1944: War Diary: Our infantry swept forward today not stopping to consolidate till last night. Jerry from all appearances is on the move back to his inner defence line. From an Artillery viewpoint, we started the day off with a rush firing two fire plans and one “on call” target between 0930 and 1030 hours, for an impressive total of 100 rpg HE. But for the remainder of the day, we were only called upon to fire 15 rpg, which would have made a long tiresome day, had it not been for the move to the new area beginning at 1600 hrs. The 22 nd Bty remained in old area overnight and by 1830 hrs the Regiment less that Battery was ready with RHQ situated on a farm. Just before  midnight we are advised we shall move again in the morning. Climatically, it has been pleasant; somewhat chilly day with good visibility.

 

30 October 1944: War Diary: The recce parties left at 0730 hrs to look over the new gun area. It was reported to be o.k. so at 0800 hrs the 22nd Bty was ordered to step up to this area from the old position. They are ready to fire by 0930 hrs and at 1000 hrs RHQ Tac moves followed by the 78 th ,  residue of RHQ, and 44Bty, at an interval of about ½ hour between sub-units. By 1230 the Regiment is ready. We are once again in a suitable position to act as a reserve company for the QOR. The balance of the daylight hours are relatively quiet being devoted mainly to registration. Due to the coming Walcheren and South Beveland shows, the majority of the Artillery is being withdrawn to the Schoondijke area, to be used in support of the landing operation. Hence we require to assume responsibility for 9 CIB and temporarily come under the Command of the CO, 14 Field Regiment. The 9 CIB make a night attack and we commence firing at 2230 hrs, and continue almost incessantly through the night. This firing brings up the days ammunition expenditure to 120 rpg HE. The weather has been cold with a bitter wind. Visibility fair to poor.

 

31 October 1944: War Diary: The guns have had little chance to cool off today with 260 rpg HE hitting the air. The gunners are starting to feel the strain imposed on them by all the firing of the past couple of weeks, but they are doing a grand job nevertheless. Our fire today was mainly in support of the 9 CIB who made good progress. HLI covering the north flank of the Bde – in the outskirts of Knock-sur Mer. Tomorrow, 8 CIB are to straighten out the line by taking Sluis and pushing NW from there, - a fire plan to support this attack is laid on by the CO at 2130 hours. We are to commence fire on this plan at 0545 hrs. a healthy HF program was fired during the hours of darkness. It is beginning to look as if this operation will be over in a day or two now, after a month of very effective delaying action by Jerry, with stiff fighting throughout. Climatically, it has been much milder today, but with very grey skies and fine rain falling spasmodically. Visibility average.

 

1 November 1944: War Diary: Although we expected this to be a busy day, it did not live up to its original promise and was in fact, relatively quiet with only intermittent firing, with total expenditure amounting to 128 rpg HE. We started the NSR on their way early in the morning with a fire plan on Sluis and by last light they were firm in the town, with the Regiment de Chauds, the QOR, with a platoon in Westcapelle. The Operation seems at lat to be drawing to a close although we expect one more move, probably tomorrow, before it is wound up. The 2 i/c, Major J.D. Baird was away in Ghent today doing a recce of the area allocated to us for Operation Relax – 48 hrs of relaxation, we hope!! The day closed with the usual DF and HF tasks being laid on. The elements were kinder today; there were even periods of sunshine, visibility was good and it was mild most of the day.

 

2 November 1944: War Diary: Although we moved so that we were in a position to support both 8 and 9 CIB’s, our support was not required – ammunition expenditure for the day was nil. The 2 i/c and recce parties proceed to our new area early in the morning and by 1130 hrs the main body moved. We were allowed 2/3 on wheels so that Q and R got away, followed by P when Q reported ready. P reported ready at 1430 hrs so that  the complete move over narrow muddy roads was carried out in about 3 hours – a credit to the batteries: RHQ was located in a large comfortable house. The show seems to be about over; 8 CIB being on their final objectives in the Westcapelle area and 9 CIB pressing on through Heijst. At 2225 hrs Div called for an FOO to join the CO at destination, as yet unknown. Capt W. Steele of the 22 nd Battery is nominated and leaves shortly after midnight. We hope to learn more later. A pleasant day with mild weather and sunshine. Visibility good.

 

3 November 1944: War Diary: Today marked the close of hostilities in the Breskens pocket and by 1310 hours we were ordered by Div to come out of action and concentrate in our area preparatory to moving to Ghent. By way of warranting our move to this area we engaged four targets from 0720 hours till 0743 hours all 5 minutes slow in support of Phase IV – the 9 CIB’s final attack on Heijst which was successfully completed at 1100 hrs – total ammunition expenditure was 40 rpg HE. At 1325 hrs, the Adjutant ordered the three Btys to close down their “H” sets; only out stations being 13, 15 and 19A – our HQ set still remained in touch. Colonel Lace called a conference of Bty Commanders at 1900 hrs to deal with the coming move and Operation Relax. The remainder of the night was quiet and cold after a reasonably fair day which clouded up and turned to rain during the late afternoon. Visibility average.

 

4 November 1944: War Diary: This morning brought brilliant sunshine, and visibility was excellent. Colonel Lace held a parade of RHQ this morning and by 1300 hrs the Regiment moved off for Ghent. Order of march was RHQ, 22 nd , 44 th , and 78 th Btys. “A” Ech joined batteries for the move.  “B” Echelon will not be with us in the city. The route followed was via Sluis, Maldegem, main road through Eecloo to Ghent. It was an excellent convoy until we reached Ghent, when on failing to contact the guides who were to lead us to our area, we were forced to remain on wheels until last light. Needless to say, confusion reigned for a time with Canadians wandering the streets looking for their billets – but it was remarkable how quickly we settled down, the people of Ghent being only too eager to assist in every way possible. Major O’Shea, OC 44 th Bty was still “jeeping” about in search of two or three of his vehicles in the early hours of the morning but otherwise we were fairly complete. Captain Poussette, our hard-worked adjutant, left this morning for a 48 hour leave in Antwerp – well deserved!

 

5 November 1944: War Diary: By last light today, from reports received the entire regiment is in agreement that Ghent is a fine place for an Operation like Relax. The homes we have been allotted are very comfortable, with one of two men billeted in each. Our mess halls are in a large modern factory building, which is turning out to be the centre of activity. RHQ is located in a beautiful big house quite a distance away from the general billeting area. The day has been spent in making numerous and varied admin arrangements which are essential for the Operation. It has been cold today turning to rain at night.

 

6 November 1944: War Diary: Another day of relaxation. The 13 CFR is now quite at home in Ghent. This has turned out to be a fine rest period for the regiment, although here at HQ the paper work keeps the Adjutant’s sleeves rolled up most of the day – while some play others must work. The weather this morning was cool with a high wind and some rain but as the day progressed it became finer with the sun showing on odd occasions. Needless to day, the lads leading the city life are not particularly worried whether it rains or shines, as they all have a home now.

 

7 November 1944: War Diary: The rest stage is well nigh over. The CO returns from Div and advises that recce parties will depart on the 9 th Nov 44. They will proceed to Wydgend to meet a rep from the CCRA. The eventual area will probably be in the Nijmegen salient, but time will tell. We expect to move at first light on the 10 th , but this is subject to change at any time. “A” & “B” Echelons to move together and remain together on the new area. Captain Langille will proceed in the recce and Captain Warwick will be i/c to combined Echelons. Tomorrow at 0900 hrs we recommence work and get everything in good order for the forthcoming Operation. The officers and NCO’s, as many as could be spared, attended the Corp Commander’s talk at the Opera House at 1000 hrs. He presented a clear and concise picture of our future role and congratulated the Division on the fine showing it has made in clearing up the coastal pocket. He emphasized the importance of our last ‘show’ in regard to the future operation and possible imminent termination of the war.

8 November 1944: War Diary: We were advised by Div that Ghent will be our only concentration area before going to action, and, as the move will commence on the morning of the 10 th of November – according to the movement order received at 0830, we are busy getting everything ‘tee’d’ up for the move. At 1030 hrs the batteries are ordered to have their recce parties, at the wagon lines by 0730 hrs tomorrow. We received two new officers on attachment under authority CRA 3 Div; Lieuts F.A. Barley and G.M. Green – they arrived in the morning and are posted to 44 th Battery and RHQ respectively. It has been a cool day, the threatened rain not falling until after dark.

 

9 November 1944: War Diary: Another day spent in preparation for the move to the Nijmegen area. We expect to leave at 0400 hrs tomorrow morning, the order of march will be the 78 th , 22, 44, RHQ, “A” & “B” Ech and LAD. The vehicles were lined up on the wagon lines during the afternoon and all ranks were confined to the wagon lines as of 2200 hrs. Captain Struthers of the 44 th Battery and Gnr P. Peterson of the 78 th Battery were nominated for Airborne Div Training in the UK. The day has been cold, worthy forerunner of the winter ahead with fit full rain at night.

10 November 1944: The Regiment left Belgium and moved to Nijmegen area. The entire move took about 16 hours. The area was taken over from 153 Field Regiment. Who had been supporting 101 American Airborne Division. That day Captain Gothard with his OP crew crossed the German border to establish an OP overlooking the flats beside the Rhine. 78th Battery had the most comfortable quarters, with a large house for each troop. Fox troop were fortunate enough to be able to add a piano to their comfortable home. As the line crews had to be in a central position between the guns and the OP. For example 22 Battery crews were well set up in a completely furnished home in shell battered Bergen en Dal about 500 yards from thr front line. The officers and men would often drop in there in the evening on thier way back from the OP to get a cup of coffee and relax on the chesterfields. For the last period the OPs covered the area from Wyler Meer to Groesbeek. The one on the right in Groesbeek was in a house from which the observer looked through a hole in the roof.

War Diary: This day is devoted entirely to the move to our new area, which turns out to be just south of Nijmegen. The initial starting time of 0430 hours is postponed to 0730 hours by Div, but by 1030 hours we are completely clear to Antwerp, which is a good start. From here on  through everything becomes most disorganized due to dense traffic , cutting up of convoy by provost and all the other various inconveniences of European tourists these days. However we roll into the new area about 2100 hrs and by midnight are fairly complete. The rout followed was NE from wagon lines via ‘London Up’ route to Lokeren, - St Nicholas – Antwerp tunnel – thence along ‘Red’ route across Antwerp thence via Maple Leaf through Wynechem-Costmalle – Turnhout – Pappel – Tilburg – Vught – ‘s Hertogenbosch – Heesch to Grave (regimental DP). The actual occupation of gun positions will not take place until the morning, when the British Arty we are relieving will be vacating, RHQ location mentioned is subject to revision in the cold light of tomorrow’s dawn. This has been a wearying day for all ranks, the weather being on the poor side also, altering brilliant sunshine with cloudbursts.

 

11 November 1944: War Diary: Settling down in the new area and the various admin problems provide the regiment with a full days work. The guns formally took over from the 153 Field Regiment RA during the morning. Colonel Lace held an ‘O’ group at approx 1030 hrs to give the general outline of the picture on our front emphasizing the artillery role. After lunch five Ops were deployed, one FOO with each battalion, one COs rep with battalion HQ, and Maj Hancock with US Regt HQ as CRA’s rep. The 7, 8 & 9 CIB’s are to take over the US battalions tonight. The take over commences around 2000 hrs and we fire various HF tasks from this time until nearly midnight, to provide distraction. During the evening we are advised by Div, that Capt D.G. Struthers is to be sent on the Airborne Trng Course for which he was nominated a few days ago. He leaves in the morning. The weather has been bright and clear if somewhat cold. Visibility good.

 

12 November 1944: War Diary: This has been another quiet day operationally with our ammunition expenditure being only 9 rpg. We made an effort today to calibrate the guns but this was unsuccessful due to poor visibility. As we are restricted to 12 rpg until further orders, firing is of necessity rather restrained, and is mainly devoted to HF tasks at night, coupled with occasional troop neutralization shoots as required. There is no restriction however on admin activities and much was accomplished in this respect today. A recce of civilian bathing facilities (which proved excellent) was carried out, and the day was spent in further settling down into the new area. At about 1800 hrs “B” troop departs for its HF position spending the night there and harassing five targets, over the period. Accommodation for the men in this position is very good, especially in the RHQ area, all being under roofs. Eating facilities are also excellent. Weather remains chilly with a drizzling rain at times. Visibility average.

 

13 November 1944: War Diary: Another very quiet day operationally. Our calibrations shoot is postponed again – visibility being poor. Due to the still prevailing restriction on amn expenditure we fire only 7 rpg – spread over registration, neutralization and harrassing fire tasks – “D” troop handling the HF from their sniping position. Apparently our role is to be a holding one from a fairly static position, so that the extensive firing of previous OPs in support of our infantry in the attack will not be required – for the present at least.

The infantry positions seem to be fairly well occupied by dawn with 9 Bde left, 8 Bde centre and 7 Bde right. The Regina’s and QOR’s are at present in reserve. On the administration side however, life is very hectic still, but much is accomplished by way of cleaning up the “bumph” – even if only temporarily. Capt J. Else goes from 78 Bty to the 44 as Bty Capt. The weather Gods frown still, with lowering skies, cold winds and rain. Visibility poor, usually just under 1000x.

 

14 November 1944: War Diary: Again the guns are quiet; a platry 3 rpg being expended on Registration and HF’s fired by a single gun. Line communication to all Ops is completed. The first parties for bath parade get away today, and the men seem to be quite enthusiastic about the bathing facilities, which are, for a change, of the civilian type. We receive further allocations for the 15 th , 16 th and 17 th so that the greater portion of the regiment will be accounted for. Lt J.R. Milani returns to RHQ today as Orderly Officer and Lt J.E. Powell goes to 22 Bty as ACPO. The admin bumph appears to be well in hand, for the adjutant’s  “IN” basket appears to e empty – for the present at least. Dutch climate moves along the even trend of its way; and we receive our daily offering of rain, chill, winds, and no sunshine. Visibility is poor varying from 800x to 1500x. Div move today to what is allegedly their final location.

 

15 November 1944: War Diary: Another very quiet day operationally. The guns disposed of only 9 rpg on the usual HF program, and occasional neutralization shoots from a Troop. In addition five rpg were expended on calibration of the guns. The data will be worked out tomorrow, with we hope – a reasonable answer. Capt D.N. Osborne RWR’s, ex-ADC to the GOC visited the regiment and today prior to his return to Canada for a staff course. The usual admin problem’s came in in profusion, and most of the day at RHQ was spent in dealing with them. Major Hancock’s, CRA’s rep at Bde, advises that bde will be moving tomorrow. There is to be a general reshuffling of the infantry – 8 th Bde will be in reserve with 7 and 9 Bdes up – 7 right and 9 left. The weather man frowns again today – cold, bleak and with clouds. Visibility fair.

 

16 November 1944: War Diary: We receive the news today that Lt-Col F.D. Lace OBE is leaving us, to take up his duties as CRA 2 Cdn Inf Div. His presence will be sadly missed but our loss is 2 Div’s gain. Lt-Col Ostrander is to be our new CO and comes to us from the 23 rd Fd Regt (SP) RCA. Aside from the foregoing, the day moves along  normal routine lines. We fire 8 rpg on the odd neutralization tgts, and do a little more registration. The infantry finish their regrouping – the 8 th CIB going into reserve, being covered by the RRR who come into the line, and by the NNS extending their frontage to the East and South. Another cold inclement day, with occasional rain. Visibility fair to poor.

 

17 November 1944: The regiment was in the Nijmegen salient for almost three months. During that time two guns positions were occupied, fiver alternative positions surveyed and another three positions were surveyed for future operations. A limited amount of firing was done. The allotment of ammo would vary from a few rounds per day to periods when there was no restriction. This period in Nijmegen proved beneficial to the Regiment and artillery in general, the guns were accurately calibrated and then checked from time to time by observed shoots.

War Diary: Another routine day of operational inacitivity. Amn expenditure 8 rpg HE on the usual brand of targets. Due to foolish errors in various troops our calibration shoot goes for naught, and we will require to do it again in the next day or so. This time it will be carefully ‘laid on’. The current series of bath parades finishes today and Lt Lavallee makes arrangements for repeat performances on Monday and Tuesday next. All ranks seem well pleased with the accommodation. Div are currently reviewing the billeting situation and causing quite a furore in the doing. The weather man is in his usual mean mood, the normal degree of cold – changing to driving rain about 1800 hrs and continuing up until 2400 hrs. visibility about 1000x.

 

18 November 1944: War Diary: Little of interest to report as  it is another quiet day. Enemy guns firing, they were successfully neutralized by a Mike tgt at Scale 3. Aside from this a little course shooting and harassing fire was indulged in, - total amn expenditure for the day approximately 8 rpg HE.

The Survey party surveyed in the gun position for the forthcoming calibration shoot which we hope will be more successful than the other day. Major Hancock assisted by Lt J. Carswell is running the “show”. The actual shoot is deferred pending a decision as to whether the calibration troop will be available to assist us.

Div lay on the usual HF tasks – to be fired by one gun only. The weather remains chilly although the rain has stopped, and the skies are clearer than usual.

 

19 November 1944: War Diary: The feature of today is the CO’s (Lt-Col Ostrander) “O” group wherein he advises we shall probably be in this area from 4 to 6 weeks, maintaining our present static role. To avoid boredom,  “slackening off”  of discipline efficiency etc., he lays on a training program. Emphasis is laid on smartness, review of training, local defence practice and anti-mine lessons. Otherwise our activity follows normal lines – with limited firing and the adjutant fighting the usual paper war. Alternative areas are recce’d by Major Baird and the CPO’s, survey to be done tomorrow morning. General area of the alternative positions. Div advise us the calibration troop will be available to us in the next few days – all guns to be calibrated to the two standard guns of 21 Army Gp. At 2330 hours, 8 rounds of medium (?) caliber fell in the sniping position of the 44 Bty. RHQ orders the HF section not to fire again until 0037 hours, and to be very ‘canny’ from then on. However, the section began firing again at 0037 with nothing more in the way of Jerry HE to bother them. The weather man smiles for a change, and we are favoured with a perfect day,  mild (50° at noon) with sunshine and light breezes. Visibility excellent.

 

20 November 1944: War Diary: A bit more excitement today as Div advise “Chips” at 1100 hrs. CO reports to 8 Bde as CRA rep. Major S.A. Blakeley (14 CFR), Capt W.M. McNabb  (13 CFR) and Lieut W.G. Wood (14 CFR), Capt D.M. Gillis (14 CFR), Capt W.L. Hogg (13 CFR), report to their various HQs. The show is only a rehearsel and the various reps and FOO’s leave this HQ in pouring rain. Fate dealt another hard blow at 1700 hrs when Div advise us that Capt A.K. Poussette, our genial adjutant will report to HQ RCA 2 Cdn Inf Div. He is to be IORA. His presence will be sadly missed, but our loss is 2 Div’s gain.

Firing today was restricted as usual – the normal Div HF program plus one Mike Target and the odd troop shoot.

The CO lays on the policy re course shooting – the Batteries to have alternating days. 22 nd starts tomorrow with the Course shooting.

Altogether a quiet day with the exception of this morning when “Chips” was on, but the 13 th is always at its fighting best when the “chips” are down!

Usual brand of weather – although it cleared up somewhat after the midday rain.

 

21 November 1944: War Diary: This highlights of the day are the various changes in officer personnel. Capt. A.K. Poussette left today for 2 Can Inf Div, where he is to be IORA. Lieut J.R. Milani takes over the duties of Adjutant and Lieut R.K. Code is posted to RHQ as OO. The CO goes to 8 Bde as CRA rep, at the 8 th have taken over their portion of the front. Very little activity operationally. The usual brand of HF and troop shoots – a paltry 6 rpg expended. The usual Dutch weather still prevails, - rain and more rain!

 

22 November 1944: War Diary: Usual weather still prevails and visibility is very poor. However, a little more shooting taking place today. A few HF tgts taken on and the odd troop shoot. Expenditure today is 5 rpg. Usual routine work in the C. Post. Lieut R.K. Code reports to RHQ as OO and Lieut Timms is posted to 44 Bty, but at present is still working at Bde with the CO.

 

23 November 1944: War Diary: Weather still holds true to expectations. Highlights of the day was the CRA’s visit to the Regt. He visited all the Btys between 1000 hrs and 1400 hrs and stayed at RHQ for lunch. He seems pleased with the Regt as a whole, with the exception of the gun pits – so the boys are digging them deeper! At 1500 hrs “R” Bty reports calibration of “F” troop is finished; this completes the Regt. Visibility prevented the calibration of “fall of shot”, so the entire job was done instrumentally. Ammunition expenditure for the day amounted to 9 rpg – mostly HF tasks.

 

24 November 1944: War Diary: Visibility still fairly bad and hampering our course shooting. A total of 9 rpg fired today mainly on troop and battery tgts. Survey of the new area is now completed and no one is very pleased with it. The water seems to be a problem and everyone hopes the dyke will hold out. No HF tasks for tonight for a change.

25 November 1944: War Diary: Inclement weather, slight rain early this morning but cleared off during the day. Visibility poor. Very quiet day only three targets fired up to 2000 hrs, viz: 1212 hrs ML 44 Sc I; 1830 hrs 371 NW 100 “P” A.B. Sc I. Counter Mortar tgt from Div MR Sc I. a few Bty tgts were taken on and “Q” Bty laid on two Red Smoke tgts, but as no aircraft appeared, no action was taken. Total amn expenditure for the day was 8 rpg. Major Hancock went to new area to find W.Ls for the Regt, but had no success. Reports received that area is flooding from the broken dam in the area. Div has advised that Engineers are available if needed and Major Hancock has asked for their help at 0915 hrs 26 Nov 44. At 2015 hrs OP 18 reports a buzz Bomb over their position at bearing of 5°. At 2045 hrs infantry report flares by 115° from an aircraft. Engaged tgt Sc I AB at 2250; and M 371 at 2300 and 0530 hrs Sc I.

 

26 November 1944: War Diary: The weather man has favoured us with a nice, clear, sunny day, ceiling unlimited with small cloud formation. Should be considerable air-activity today and good observation makes quite a bit of firing a possibility. At 1000 hrs., enemy aircraft flew over with quite a bit of AA fire going up; the Spits were soon on their tail. “Q” Bty laid on Red Smoke tgt 372 NW 100 awaiting call. Major Hancock returns from new area and reports to CO the whole area flooded. Recce party left again at 1330 and have picked a new area. Major Baird and RSM MacRae returned from their 48 hrs in Paris. Report a good time.

At 2020 hrs, “P” and “Q” shot on DF 371 NW 100 Sc I, all rounds reported on tgt. Not as much activity on the ground or in the air as we expected previously. Expenditure for the day amounted to 6 rpg. More activity from buzz bombs, a total of three passed over our position at a bearing of 80° at 2130 hrs.

 

27 November 1944: War Diary: A fair day but overcast, considerably warmer than yesterday. A very quiet day with just routine work in the Command Post. Total expenditure for the day 2 rpg. Only two tgts shot on, at Scale I each.

28 November 1944: War Diary: Weather condition considerable better today although still a very low ceiling. Visibility limited to 3000 yards.  A great number of office cases for the CO this morning – in all a total of twelve. Mostly personnel picked up by Provost on charges of improper dress and  no drivers licenses. We are cutting down on Course Shooting for the next two days. Saving up amn for something coming off  in a couple of days. Total expenditure for the day 4 rpg. Message from Div for Major Hancock to be CMO 4 Div passed to CO, who got in touch with CRA and Major Hancock remains as OC 78Bty. Major Baird is to recce an alternative position on the 29 Nov and report location to Div.

 

29 November 1944: War Diary: At 0430 hrs, the QOR make an attack and we commence firing in support; a total of  11 tgts. At 0540 hrs the attack fails and fire plan is stopped after firing only 5 of our targets. The weather is considerably better with the ceiling unlimited. A total of 5 tgts engaged today on Sector A (2 Div Front). Recce of new alternative position completed and locations sent to Div.

 

30 November 1944: War Diary: Again we are favoured with good weather but ceiling rather low. Nothing of importance to mention. A total of 5 HF targets fired on 2 Div front. Routine work in the offices as usua.

 

Remarks:

2nd November marked the succesful completion of the Operation to clear the Schelde Estuary - it has without a doubt been one of the hardest battles of the campaign fought under the most appalling conditions of ground and weather.

After Operation "Relax" in Ghent the Div moved into the Nijmegen Salient on 10/11 November. Since our role in this position is a 'holding one', a training syllabus is laid on and a maintenance routine is drawn up.

Reinforcements are arriving, and it requires much work to train these new lads to bring them up to the high standard of fighting efficiency that must be and will be maintained in this unit.

 

1 December 1944: Another lovely day. Things a bit livelier - both operationally and on the admin end. A fire plan is laid on for the afternoon for a small show - total ammunition expenditure 7 rpg including some smoke. Tiffy weather is excellent. At 1700 hrs we lay on 3 Red Smoke targets for tomorrow. The RCASC and Engineers put the 'grab' on our vehicles, as we get 'Penny Minimum' at 1935 hrs. A bit of  flop around 2300 hrs, we fire 3 DF's and sort of break things up. Usual routine work in the Command Post.

 

2 December 1944: War Diary: Usual routine work. Ammunition expenditure only 4 rpg, expended on HF targets. We look over the gun area to the north - the pits are beginning to fill up with water, we sincerely hope we don't move there -things would be grim. We fire one DF target at 2100 hrs - and shelreps are a bit more frequent. Usual routine in the Command Post.

 

3 December 1944: War Diary: A bit more activity today - somehow there appears to be a bit of tension up on 49 Div front - the CO gets word they expect a bit of trouble from there.We fire two Red Smoke targets for Tiffy's. A check on the gun areas up around the factories confirms the fact that the flooding is still continuing.

 

4 December 1944: War Diary: A relatively quiet day - usual HF program - and routine Command Post work. We get a new type of Weasel today - appears a bit more 'Seaworthy' than the other type. S/Sgt Ladwig brought it back from the dump. In Staff's words, it's quite something. "Jeez, she handles just like a car."

 

5 December 1944: War Diary: Another relatively quiet day - a few HFs and we fire Red Smoke. However, the Tiffy's were a bit ahead of schedule - but they managed to spot the targets on their own. No activity on our front - the night being exceptionally quiet.

 

6 December 1944: War Diary: The highlight of the Day was the GOC's inspection. Just six months ago today the unit cracked down on the Hun in Normandy - we have come a long way since then. It was a most informal inspection - a visit more or less and the GOC spoke of our accomplishments in the past, our jobs of the future and Leave. It was well laid on and everyting went according to Hoyle. Lieut Timms reports to 22nd Bty. Very quiet operationally. Weather dull.

 

7 December 1944: War Diary: Another quiet day operationally - usual HF program - total ammunition expenditure 11 rpg. Usual routine work in the Command Post - weather dull.

 

8 December 1944: War Diary: Dull weather still prevails, and it is very cold and miserable. Another very quiet day operationelly, we expend 7 rpg, all on the HF program. The BMRA lays on a tour of te CBO's office at 1400 hrs for the three attached Infantry officers and three Artillery officer guides - no doubt trying to drum up a little trade in 'Shelreps'. The officer personnel changes again - incoming this time. Captain E.A. Olmstead comes to us from Div, and goes to 78 as Tp Commander. We are also expecting a Captiain Russell from the 14th Field Regiment in the morning. This eases the Tp Commander situation considerably - things were getting bit 'grim',- what with Captain Waldie leaving tomorrow for the UK on the Air OP Course. This is another tough break for the Regiment but we all wish him the best of luck. 'P' Battery makes a recce of the gun area for Operation 'Siesta', and reports the gun pits now have one foot of water in them. Major J.D. Baird (USO) has a Battery rep report to RHQ at 1400 hrs today and lays on a Security program. Usual routine work in the Command Post - the paper war must go on!

 

9 December 1944: War Diary: Perhaps our wishes (??) for a White Christmas will come true - at any rate hopes or not - three inches of snow fell during the night. Another quiet day operationally, a total of 6 rpg expended - all on the HF program. Captain W.L. Hogg leaves today for a four day attachment to the RAF. A very nice break for Capt Hogg - he will derive much information from his trip, no doubt. We were supposed to get an RAF officer on attachment for the same period but as yet he has not arrived. Even the paper war has slackened off - things have been definitely quiet today. Day was cloudy and cold. Visibility poor.

 

10 December 1944: War Diary: Our 3 inches of snow has turned to slush and mud; ceiling still zero, and the possibility of air activity seems very slight. Operationally a very, very quiet day - not a single round was expended. No HF program was laid on, and poor visbility prevented any course shooting. Usual paper war in the Command Post.

 

11 December 1944: War Diary: Officer personnel changes again. Lieut Bendikson report to RHQ as RSO and Lieut Lavallee goes to 44 Bty as CPO, replacing Lieut J. Carswell, who has been evacuated due to rheumatism that has kept him on the sick list for some time now. Another very quiet day operationally - 4 rpg expended in the usual brand of HF. Visibility again very poor preventing any course shooting. Weather remains unchanged.

 

12 December 1944: War Diary: The day dawned clear and bright and it looked as though we may have nicer weather; Though in the afternoon it became foggy and visibility was once more reduced to Zero. Lieuts Timms and Wright were TOS the Regiment today from the attached list. Four prospective OCTU candidates leave tomorrow morning for the Selection Board at Ghent - Sgt B.V. Raymer (Survey Sgt), Sgt. C.H. Van Aggellen (78 Bty Sigs Sgt), BQMS R.W. Morton (BQMS 22 Bty) and L/Sgt C.R. Brown (78 Bty Able). CO holds a conference at 1500 hrs wherein he reviews the general training program,and maintenance schedule. Operationally another quiet day. Total expenditure 4 rpg - three on HF program and we also fired one CM target Scale I.

 

13 December1944: War Diary: Weather still remains foggy and last night was exceptionally frosty. Three officers report to Lt. Col Piller at Wintergarden in the morning; their job is to assist in the census of billetting accomodation. It should provide a wonderful opprtunity to look over the female population of the city, and what with Lieuts Diller, Timms and Aylward detailed for the job, there is hardly any doubt that they will take full advantage of the situation. Div lay on a fairly extensive HF program in the 49 Div area, but the biggest percentage of the targets are out of reach, so it amounts to Nil. A small attack is being made on Eindjeshof - strength 1 platoon. Our part in the show will be about fifty rounds per gun. H hour is set for 0300 hours 14 Dec 44. 8 and 9 Bde change over tonight and we fired a total of 8 rpg during the change-over to supply a little covering fire. Usual routine work in the Command Post - weather no change.

 

14 December 1944: War Diary: Fog has cleared off and weather remains cold, ceiling about 1000 feet. The fire plan got under way at 0300 hrs this morning, total ammunition expenditure 48 rounds per gun. The fire was good, as reported by the infantry, but they themselves ran into more trouble than they had expected and were forced to abandon the job, leaving one wounded in the enemy lines, in addition one killed and another wounded. Apparently the enemy had strong weapon support in the area of the objective that was not expected. A new DR arrives at RHQ -- Gnr Goodsey from 44 Bty is posted wef today. OP's are changed over today with the 12 Field Regiment, and the following officers are out from the Regiment; Capts Gothard, McNabb, Olmstead, and Pennie. Lieut Green goes to 8 CIB, as a relief for the CO, who is doing CRA's rep. Usual routine work in the Command Post.

 

15 December 1944: War Diary: The usual cold weather still remains, and this morning the ground was frozen quite solidly ... perhaps the tanks will be able to move now. Received word from Div this morning that Serial II ... the Ammo Return only has to be submitted once per day so the period of juggling only takes place at 1600 hrs in the afternoon. We do a little HF fire on our own front today ... total expenditure 6 rpg. A fairly quiet day, with the usual admin Bumph still rolling in.

 

16 December 1944: War Diary: No change in the weather. Captain "Skip" Wilson, our genial friend in "C" Flight, does a little work for us today ... registers DF 313, as observation from the OP is very poor on this target. Two V2's passed over our position today at 1800 hrs - just as long as they pass over we don't worry too much. Enemy activity a little bit heavier - 8 shelreps were sent in to the C.B.O. CO is to report to the CRA, at 1000 hrs tomorrow and Major Baird to report to the BM, at 1030 hrs re a recce that is to take place. Total ammunition expenditure for the day is 10 rpg - otherwise things are fairly quiet in the Command Post.

 

17 December 1944: War Diary: At last, a break in the weather, it turned warmer and visibility is good. A little enemy activity this morning with three ME 109's flying over at approximately 1045 hours. Our own A.A. accounted for one, and the pilot was captured alive. We expend a total of 20 rpg's today - mostly in support of the forward platoon of the QOR's, who were over-run by the enemy. One officer from the Queen's was lost. Major Baird completes his recce and reports to Div that the new area is ok. CO holds a conference at 1930 hrs in the evening. A small show takes place on the QOR's front this evening, they are out to take back what they lost last night ... unfortunately they are pinned down by mortar fire and have to come back. The 14 Field Regiment does some firing to support them during the period 2200 to 0400 hrs at 15 minute intervals. Div advise us that we no longer have to report Buzz Bomb activity. A bit more activity today for a change, and the usual routine work in the admin end goes on.

 

18 December 1944: War Diary: Weather and visibility continue to improve and it should be very fine day. Indeed a very quiet day - the CO attends conference at 8 CIB - we fire 10 rpg on HF program - and even seldom answer the telephone - which is a definite change.

 

19 December 1944: The batteries moved to a new gun area near the monastery where RHQ was situated. Guns and ammunition were dug and ammunition was dumped on the position in preparation for the big attack. The details were very secretive but everyone knew that this was the beginning of the much talked of push across the Rhine. The Regiment was situated about 1500 yards from the front line in a strategically important area where heavy fighting would likely take place following an enemy penetration. Eventually it was decided to strengthen the regiments forward gun positions so that they would be a small stronghold in themselves. Throughout the winter there was considerable patrol activity by our infantry in order to obtain prisoners. Most of these patrols were aided by the artillery with some sort of fire plan or harrassing fire programme. Enemy patrols did, at least on one occasion, penetrate to the gun position but none were caught.

War Diary: Visibility still remains good, and the weather is staying fairly mild. A bit of a "Flap" is expected up front, so the CO lays on a couple more DF's to be fired on call -- we needed them and the enemy show was soon broken up. Otherwise, a very quiet day, with the usual paper war going at a pretty steady pace. Total ammunition expenditure is 10 rpg.

 

20 December 1944: War Diary: No change of any consequence is the weather. The Batteries move out to their alternative area to do a fire plan but is was called off... probably due to the increased enemy activity down on the American front. Another relatively quiet day, with the exception of the move which was carried out in usual good form. Total ammunition expenditure for the day is 6 rpg.

 

21 December 1944: War Diary: Still no change in the weather, perhaps we shall be fortunate for Christmas. The weather turns cloudy and foggy later on in the day and visibility is reduced to about 100 yards. The CO speaks to each of the Batteries in turn in reference to the attack of the Germans in the American sector, and stresses the importance of security. The CO stresses the fact that this is the major offensive that the higher command has been expecting, and paints a general picture of what is likely to come. Usual HF program is laid on by Div, total ammunition expenditure is 10 rpg.

 

22 December 1944: War Diary: Weather turned very cold again during the night, and the ground is white with frost this morning ... visibility improves somewhat during the day and is up to about 1000 yards by the middle of the afternoon. Major Baird lays on a policy for local defence and the system of patrols that will operate on the order of RHQ. Ammunition expenditure 5 rpg - a relatively quiet day both operationally and from an admin angle.

 

23 December 1944: War Diary: The highlight of the day was the news from Div Arty that the Regiment has two more MC's and two more MM's awarded to the following members for their gallant conduct in operations in the past. Quiet spoken Capt W.L. "Willie" Hogg, and Capt W.M. "Mac" McNabb were awarded the MC and Bdr Sulis and Gnr Gingell were awarded the MM. Both Sulis and Gingell are now SOS the unit, but their awards were for the gallant and distinguished services during the Scheldt "show".  Two more V2's pass over the area again today, at about 3000 feet with the A.A. blazing away in fine style - no hits! Usual routine day with preparations for Christmas going full steam ahead. Ammunition expenditure 14 rpg, mostly on HF fire. Weather clear and cold.

 

24 December 1944: War Diary: Another very quiet, frosty morning - enemy activity was much heavier than usual during the night - more shelreps to the CBO. The HF program much heavier than usual - a total of 25 rpg being expended. Christmas Eve celebrations or otherwise produce two casualties from 10 Med Regiment, RA, and are evacuated by Capt W.A. Shea, the unit MO. The adjutant left today on a short leave to Ghent - the lucky fellow. The usual routine work in the Command Post - with Major J.D. Baird, the 2 i/c reverting to the job of adjutant. Weather cold, visibility fair.

 

25 December 1944: War Diary: A beautiful, clear, bright day for Christmas. 78 Bty and RHQ had a most splendid dinner, and we were visited today by the CCRAand CRA. The following bowl was really flowing; Casualties were slight. It is expected that the Adjutant is enjoying his short leave in Ghent. Credit must be given to Supervisor Ryan for the Christmas arrangements it was definitely a good show. Normal HF fire was carried out with no increase in enemy activity on this sector. Weather remained clear and cold all day - truly a lovely Christmas.

 

26 December 1944: War Diary: Weather bright and cold through the night, and remaining clear through the day. Leave party left for Brussels and Ghent today. Capt W.M. McNabb, MC., 22  Bty is SOS today following a motor accident. More activity during the night - with several planes overhead. A bit of a flap on during the night a we order contact patrols out. A parachute was seen bearing 265° - and a JU 88 passed over RHQ at 200 feet. Normal HF program, with no increased activity on our front. Everyone is  more alert though, with the "flap" on in the US sector - we certainly are not going to be caught with our "pants down" if it can be avoided.

 

27 December 1944: War Diary: A very clear, bright night. Div reports the crew of the aircraft that was hit have "bailed out". No HF fire during the night for a change. L/Sgt Hayes is nominated for a Mines and Booby traps course - and will attend the RE school at Knocke-sur-Mer. We receive a report from Div that information from A.A.O.R. is received stating that "nuisance raids" can be expected tonight from various types of enemy aircraft operating from 0 - 6500 feet. Other than the above there was no activity on the Div front.

 

28 December 1944: War Diary: Weather still remains clear and cold. We fire a plan in support of the raid of the North Shore Regiment. From reports received we learn that the raid went according to "Hoyle", but no PW's were taken - no one was home. The patrol returned safely - no casualties. The arty fire from our guns was excellent. Only one MG opened up on the patrol all the time they were out. It was impossible to engage this weapon as it was much to close to our own troops. The roads are terribly icy and road traffic is reduced to a minimum. Speed limit is reduced to 12 mph. "Q" Bty hold their Christmas dinner today which is a huge success. Guests from RHQ were the CO, Adjutant, Padre and IO. The meal was excellent and great credit is due to Cpl Gates and his staff of cooks. No HF fired during the night, normal during the day. No increased enemy activity - weather remaining clear and cold.

 

29 December 1944: War Diary: Change in the weather this morning - heavy clouds, and generally overcast. 44th Battery hold their Christmas dinner. The CO was a quest, and while there made a presentation to Gnr Brown, of the Commander-in-Chief's Certificate for good service. A relatively quiet day with the normal HF program, both during the night and day.

 

30 December 1944: War Diary: Weather once again clear with considerable frost, night bright and cold. Some 25-pr rds fell short near O.P. 11 no casualties. Capt "Skip" Wilson, Air O.P. was to register 2 PF's today but had to call it off. Viz was poor. Lieut Bendiksen the RSO lays on a bath program, we get a good allotment so everyone is quite content for a while. RC Church Parade laid on for Sunday at 1000 hours. Normal HF program during the day, none at night.

 

31 December 1944: War Diary: Weather clear and cold with quite heavy frost. A very clear night. Fire plan is rec'd for operation "Punch". We were ordered to "Stand Down" as the operation was cancelled. A grim show!

Sgt Clenell left for England on a course. The lucky fellow. A bit more activity operationally, we fire red smoke for the Tiffy's and Capt Wilson registers two DF tasks - visibility being good.

The social highlight of the year was the officers dance in Nijmegen. The 'red and brass' included, Brig Todd, Brig Lace, Brig Suttie, Col Clifford, (our former CO) - in the grim days of Brettville and Caen was also present. He appeared to be enjoying himself immensely but who didn't? - well the poor old "Adj" held the fort.

To-day marks the end of 1944 - much has been accomplished - "much lies ahead - much work, much shooting, much sweat and tears - but we don't mind - MUCH!

 

8 January 1945: The most noteworthly operation of the winder from an artillery point of view was Operation "Plum". This operation was a daylight raid of company strenght by the North Shore Regiment. The artillery support alloted to this Operation was the largest support any single infantry company had reveived, their role was:

No.1 To neutralize the enemy mortars and small arms fire.

No.2 To cutt off the approaches to the area by shell fire so that reinforments could not be brought up during the raid.

No.3 To engage enemy artillery which might open up during the raid. As enemy artillery activitity had to date been small, and as the raid was not last only an hour, it was felt the enemy artillery was not likely to hamper proceedings and so this phase was considered of minor importance.

The alloteted was as follows. Three field regiments and two medium regiments were to fire in counter mortar and counter smaal arms role. The field regiment would each fire a stonk on parallel lines with the medium regimenyd bringing down concs behind and among the stonks. The regiment was to fire on the stonk closest to our own troops in case something went wrong and it had to changed quickly. The raid was carried out in the afternoon over ground freshly covered with snow. The infantry wore white snow covers and used flame throwing carriers for the first time. Lt J.A.Clark was acting as a second observer from a static OP on the high ground behind, five minutes after the operation started all line communications of the regiment had been cut by enemy mortar fire, but the radio sets were operating to carry the necessary orders. Sgt Kyle, Bdr Brown and Gnr Leicht were wounded while working on the line that day.

Most of the days at the gun positions were very similiar. The daily visits of the ration trucks with the mail were always an important event along with the nightly issue of rum to the men. The front line city played a strange part in the life of the Nijmegen salient. The city already much battered by an allied air raid which was made during the German occupation, was still subjected to shelling anf buzz bombs attacks. It is estimated that the area was within range of about 200 enemy guns which were well coordinated from a high level so that large concentrations of fie could be brought down at one time.

Operation "Veritable" was the name for the offensive of 30 British Corps attacking through the Reichswald forest with the intention of pushing the enemy from the East bank of the Rhine. The artillery for the commencement of the Operation consisted of 1040 gun, not counting the ack-ack regiments. They were to work together for about 12 hours, firing on all known enemy gun positions and strong points within range. The Regiment was to take part in the initial artillery preparation in immediate support of the 8 C.I.B. attack evening.

 

1 April 1945: Late at night the Regiment went into a concentration area in a forest beyond Zeddam, back into Holland an everyone was glad of it.

 

2 April 1945: The following morning the guns moved again,we went into position at Kilder to support the advance of our troops. The Queens Own were now enaged, with Captain Lennox and Captain Ward calling down targets as they moved through Wehl on the road to Laag Keppel (Gelderland). On one occasion here Captain Lennox called for his carrier which was some distance behind relaying fire orders from the 18 set over the more powerful 19set to the guns. The carrier coming up missed the road turning and drove past the forward infantry. A German SP Gun fired at them three times before they had a change to swerve off to the right behind a building.

 

3 April 1945: The guns moved by batteries near town of Achterwehl in sight of the church tower of  Doesburg. The 22nd Battery OPs were in the vicinity of Rade and Oldburgen overlooking the well fortified positions of the enemy. Captain Ethier and Captain Burrows had a good OP overlooking Doesburg.

 

4 April 1945: The guns moving by batteries to positions near Baak. From here the Regiment fired many Mike Targets on the enemy across the river near doesburg and took part in a large harassing fire programme in support of 9 C.I.B. who were advancing to Zutphen. A great amount of firing was done from this position. Enemy artillery was active too, making the 44th Battery position, which was located near a church, a very hot spot. L-Sgt Thompson,Gnr Gursky and Gnr Pugh were wounded by a heavy calibre shell while walking from dinner.

 

7 April 1945: The regiment moved to gun positions near Joppe and started off firing with many battery targets taking in an arc of fire from 80 too 360 degrees. The battery positions were widely spread out with the 22nd Battery at the rear of the area.The 44th Battery command post here was particularly comfortamble being situated in the literary atmosphere of a private library. By the 3rd day of the attack on Zupthen the town, including the factory area, had been cleared. The OP´s then moved up to the edge of Ijssel river and engaged targets on the far bank. Captain Campbell and Captain Rumble had an OP in the top of a five story warehouse on the water´s edge. Entry to the building was made by running down the street for about 300 yards in full view of German snipers who did some very effective shooting.

 

10 April 1945: That night Gunner Barton and Gunner McMally were wounded at the OP by shell fire.

 

12 April 1945: The Regiment moved to a village below Wesepe (Gelderland).

 

13 April 1945: The Regiment moved to Heino, as their targets were now out of range, it was not necessary to fire. The same afternoon the Regiment moved again to position themselves for the attack on Zwolle, late in the evening, just in time to record zero lines before darkness fell, the regiment deployed near Wijthmen. Late in the evening, the guns halted and went into positions south/east of Meppel, again the guns did not fire.

 

14 April 1945: The guns moved next morning beyond Meppel and parked along the side of the road many hours. When the regiment finally did get under way, the convoy travelled quickly going through Heerenveen to gun positions near Joure (Friesland).

 

16 April 1945: RHQ moved into Bolsward late in the morning and quickly swamped the cigarette market.Able troop of the 22nd Battery was immediately ordered into action. The Chauds had moved south from Sneek in the direction of Woudsend, with the guns of the 78th Battery trailing along the road ready to go into action. They were held up by blown bridge and forced to turn around. Captain Ethier, who had parked in his carrier near the destroyed brisge, had quite a going over for a few minutes by mg fire from across the river. He reported the carrier to be absolutely bullet proof. That night the battery deployed in the old position at Joure.

 

17 April 1945: The guns of the 78th Battery were no longer needed there and moved from Joure to the 22nd Battery Longerhou. 44th Battery moved towards Koudum, the battery deployed to cover the patrols working to Stavoren.

 

18 April 1945: The Regiment moved to Makkum. At midnight, operation `Plunder` which began with the crossing of the Rhine,officially ended.

 

19 April 1945: The Regiment went out of action and moved to Gorredijk.

 

21 April 1945: The Regiment moved to Germany.

 

15 May 1945: The Regiment moved to Lunteren, the area was already occupied by 49 West Riding Division.

 

20 May 1945: The Regiment moved to Zeist where everyone was comfortably billited in private homes, most of wich had been taken over by German soldiers during the occupation.

 

22 May 1945: The Regiment was together with some other units temporarly put in charge of a force guarding convoys and staging camps of German units in their way back into Friesland. The force was responsible for guarding staging camps at Abcoude and Halfweg and providing escorts along the entire route from Abcoude to Ijmuiden. These duties of guarding and patrolling lasted a week being completed on May 29.

 

6 June1945: Parade at Utrecht.The leading vehicles of the Regiment in the parade were two jeeps of RHQ. Following the leading jeeps came the guns of the 22nd Battery,the 44th Battery, bringing up the rear was 78th Battery.

 

10 June 1945: All the guns and the carriers were turned in.

 

13 June 1945: The Regiment moved back to Lunteren area.

 

7 september 1945: The Regiment moved back to Canada.

 

 

Major Harry L. Thorne of the 13th Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery (R.C.A.), standing in front of a Priest M-7 105mm. self-propelled gun, Normandy, France, 25 June 1944. Dean, Michael M., Photographer (copyright Library and Archives,Canada)
Two soldiers of 44 Battery one of them being W.L.Hogg
(photo Mrs J.Van Hooren)