151 (Ayrshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment: 123 Battery 124 Battery 125 Battery- 25 Pounder  Sherman 75mm OPs

 

Unit No.74

 

19 September 1944: 0230 – Regt repeated conc North of Canal 5 mins rate 2. This shoot reported to have been particularly successful.

1200 – BC and two OPs ex 124 Bty ordered to go with 2 FF Yeo and 1 Hereford Gp which had been ordered to cross over the Gds bridge and capture Achel from the North. Owing to traffic congestion gp did not start to cross br until approx 1800 hrs and force eventually harboured the night at Valkenswaard, BC and two OPs remaining with it.Commanding Officer attended orders at 159 Bde for op 20 Sep at 1800 hrs HQRA 11 Armd Div Op Order no 11 received 2100 hrs. Regt available on DF Tasks in sp 3 Br Div bridgehead at Lille St Hubert.

 

20 September 1944: Intention to cross bridge at Lille St Hubert and advance NE. Major Kreiser and two OPs ex 124 moved South towards Achel during the morning with 2 FF Yeo and 1 Hereford thence NE to secure bridge over Bois Duc Canal at Someren. Regt moved with 159 Bde Gp at 1400 hrs. Major Mitchell with 3 Mon reported enemy opposition, infantry with MGs and bazookas at the village of Toom, NE of Hamont. As soon as bridge at Lille St Hubert had been crossed regt was therefore ordered into crash action 1000x W of Hamont. Bde Comd ordered road to be cleared while regt moved up. Opposition was cleared without arty sp and adv continued as far as Soerendonk. In order to get additional range to cover Maarheeze  regt  moved up at last light to gun area 1000 NE of Hamont on the Belgium-Dutch frontier. Ret on DF in support 4 KSLI at Budel and 3 Mon and 3 RTR at Soerendonk.

 

21 September 1944: Intention to join 2 FF Yeo and 1 Hereford in establishing bridgehead at Someren where bridge had been blown. Recce parties went to area 2000x W of Someren 0900 hrs. Regt moved in 159Bde column 1100 hrs. No incidents during march, same lavish display of orange clothing and ribben by the Dutch. In action new area approx 1400 hrs. Arrangements made for bridging canal night 21/22 Sep.

Commanding Officer arranged for fire plan Orange to be fired at 1930 hrs by 151 AY and 77 DL Med for 15 minutes in support 2 Hereford who sent three coys on the bridge. DF Tasks arranged to ring 1 Hereford and also outer ring outside Asten on call to 4 KSLI who were tp pass through and capture Asten with 2 FF Yeo 22 Sep. Orange fired successfully and two coys 1 Hereford reports safely across. Moderately heavy enemy mortaring and shell fire was put down on the area of Someren. While taking up supplies to Major Kreiser with 1 Hereford Capt R.B. Vere Nicoll Bty Capt 124 Bty was wounded by mortar bomb. Capt Nicoll received severe leg wound as well as  miner wounds in arm and face and was evacuated.

 

22 September 1944: 1215 – Major Kreiser called for DF 4 which guarded the road running SW from Asten to the canal. This was repeated at 0120 and 0210. Enemy inf with automatics had pushed on down the road and caught the third coy of 1 Hereford before it had settled in. At 0230 situation was reported critical and DF fire was kept up at slow rate for several hours. Capt Lucas FOO with 1 Hereford was across the canal with 18 set but no contact could be made throughout the night. Capt Lucas occupied a house 50x across the canal with his coy HQ. During the night some enemy infantry entered the house. Capt Lucas managed to switch off his 18 set and the Boche came within a few feet of him without spotting him. Hearing nothing in the house the then withdrew. Flanks of bridgehead were secure but centre coy almost pushed back to canal. At 0730 hrs fire plan Lemon was shot on the village of Asten to enable 2 FF Yeo and 4 KSLI to cross the bridge and capture Asten. Lemon was probably very successful catching the enemy on the road as they moved towards the bridge. Capt Miller was with leading sqn 2 FF Yeo. Journey between the bridge and Asten made very uncomfortable by infantry with bazookas and three tanks in front of Capt Miller were hit. By midday 4 KSLI had established themselves in Asten. During fire plans between Orange and Lemon regt fired approximately 144 rpg. Tgts engaged on moaning minnies and guns which mortared and shelled Asten regularly throughout the day.

Approx 1400 hrs Capt Canvin moving SE from Asten with coy 4 KSLI fried DF 13 on coy enemy inf coming up the road. Result very effective and enemy sent to ground. In the meanwhile Capt Spence with elements 2 FF Yeo came into the area to help repel the counter attack and Capt Spence fired the regt with good effect against the Germans who had reached a point 1500x from the bridge. Result of this fire was that right flank of bridgehead held and enemy compelled to remain in Heusden area. 2 F&F Yeo withdrew within the perimeter of Asten during the night. G Bty 13 RHA u/c (AY) for DF during the night.

 

23 September 1944: 50 rpg dumped on gun posn in anticipation of heavy demands during the night. Several FDs fired on enemy patrols but no major counter attack as had been expected. Capt Spence continued to engage enemy in the Heusden area and in the woods SE of Asten, while accompanying 2 F&F in clearing up role. Guns and mortars still active against bridgehead. Patrols of 185 Bde took over sector SE of Asten from 4 KSLI in the afternoon.

 

24 September 1944: Night 23/24 absolutely quiet. CB tgt engaged during the morning, also shoot by OP from 13 RHA advancing in Ommel area. 1400 hrs recce parties proceeded to Vlierden which was being cleared by 23 H and 3 RTR. Approx 1600 hrs Regt moved to new area. Enemy still shelling Asten area and firing airburst over the Centre Line South of Ommel.  In action again approx 1900 hrs and laid on DF in support KSLI and 2 F&F Yeo who had advanced to area NW of Deurne.

Information received that Capt. R.W. Burton had died as a result of wounds, received on Sep 10. First as a CPO and later as a Tp Comdr. Capt Burton had proved himself to be an outstanding officer and he had acquitted himself well on many occasions, especially during the clearance of Antwerp by 4 KSLI.

 

25 September 1944: Enemy had apparently withdrawn during the night and advance continued. At 0840 hrs Capt Spence with 2 F&F called for targets SE of Bakel on enemy tanks and half-tracks.  These withdrew under smoke screen but one Panther appeared to have been hit on the engine cover and set alight. As this was in the tgt area Panther claimed as destroyed by the Regiment – the first claim of the campaign.

1200 hrs 123 Bty moved to new area – Vourt – 2000x NW of Deurne – to support 4 KSLI and 2 F&F who were attacking Bakel. 124 and 125 Bty remained behind to support 1 Hereford who were carrying sweep toward Helmond. No opposition met and at 1400 hrs whole Regt moved to new area 1000x NW of Bakel.

1800 hrs orders received that 4 KSLI to adv to St. Anthonis and Regt to move in 159 Bde column.

Progress very slow and night occupation necessary in new area – Stootershut – on rd Gemert – St. Anthonis.

 

26 September 1944: Recce carried out towards river Maas. Regt moved to new area close to St. Anthonis approx 1500 hrs. OPs with 1 Hereford, 4 KSLI and 15/19 Hussars reported information about enemy to the West of the river throughout the day.

 

27 September 1944: 123 Bty ordered out 0700 hrs as “sniping” Bty to area between St. Anthonis and Boxmeer from which enemy could be engaged on East bank of river Maas. Capt Spence and Capt Lucas occupied OPs in Boxmeer and Beugen respectively with Capt Canvin in reserve. Capt Miller with 15/19 Hussars recced towards Lactaria. Capt Spence and Capt Lucas engaged enemy digging in on East bank of Maas throughout the day. Airburst was used successfully. Heavy enemy shelling of the Oploo area. Good use made of the AOP for spotting enemy gun flashes.

Capt Miller fired smoke screen as protection for 15/19 Hussars who had two tanks ditched in the Lactaria area.  123 Bty returned to Regtl area 1815 hrs.

 

28 September 1944: 124 Bty went out as “sniping” Bty. Lieut Lisby and Capt Canvin occupied OPs in Beugen and Boxmeer. Capt Miller recced towards Soubeek with 15/19 Hussars. Capt Miller fired ‘U’ Tgt on  Vortum. Further Bty tgts fired on enemy in slit trenches and localities across the river. 1315 hrs red smoke fired to indicate five suspected enemy tanks dug in edge of wood SE of Lactaria. Typhoons sweeped down very well into red smoke but affect of ‘limejuice’ not known. 124 Bty returned 1800 hrs. Lieut G.R. Jackson RA joined regiment ex 31 RHU.

 

29 September 1944: 125 Bty acted as ‘sniping’ bty. Less activity on east bank of Maas than on two previous days. Capt Lucas and Lieut Hampton at Beugen and Boxmeer respectively. CB tgts engaged on order of HQ RA. 125 Bty returned 1745 hrs. Regt reverted u/c HQ RA 11 Armd Div. Cinema show at 123 Bty during the afternoon.

 

30 September 1944: Regt in support 7 US Armd Div who were sweeping W bank of Maas from area St. Anthonis. OPs occupied posns 0900 hrs. Capt Canvin in Boxmeer – Capt Spence in St. Anthonis and Capt Miller as mobile OP with 15/19 Hussars. 7 US Armd Div commenced ops 1530 hrs. CB tgts engaged 1510 – 1530 hrs. Capt Spence reported on progress of Americans until they were out of observation in woods SE of Lactaria. Major Walton with 4 KSLI; Major Kreiser with 1 Hereford and  Mitchell with 2 F&F Yeo returned to gun posns during the morning, 11 Armd Div having withdrawn from forward posns to make room for 7 US Armd Div. Capt Canvin forced to withdraw from Boxmeer during the afternoon owing to infiltration by enemy patrols.

 

1 October 1944: 0530 – E Tp proceeded to Meijel to form Meijel Force with Coy 8 RB and Tp 23 H Task, to clear and hold Meijel. E Tp commanded for this op by Capt W.G. Lucas RA. Several targets engaged during the day in support 7 US Armd Div otherwise no activity.

 

2 October 1944: 0630 – Short fire plan fired in support 7 US Armd Div.

0900 – One gun ex 125 Bty sent to fwd posn between St. Anthonis and Boxmeer to fire red smoke tgt.

1200 – Red smoke tgt shot across the river Maas and Typhoons attacked enemy gun posns. 2 I/C carried out recce of new area South of Oploo to be occupied 3 Oct in order to support 7 US Armd Div until Venray captured. Mortars and Nebelwerfers engaged during the day. Meijel successfully occupied.

 

3 October 1944: 0600 – Four tgts shot in fire plan to support 7 US Armd Div. Survey Officer Lt. T.J. O’Brien RA in conjunction with Survey Officer 13 RHA took over Flash Spotting duties on front SE of Oploo and three posts manned by Surveyors 13 RHA and 151 (AY) Field Regt, RA.

1400 – Regt moved to new location South of Oploo area.

 

4 October 1944: Main activity on this day was that of firing red smoke to indicate tgts for Americans Lghtings. Five tgts engaged in all – area South of Vortum and in wood South of Lactaria. 110 rds red smoke fired and probably the largest red smoke screen of the war thereby created. Visibility bad and complete success not achieved by special message of thanks sent to regt by 7 US Armd Div.

1900 – Several tgts engaged called for by Americans and enemy counter attack in the Overloon area repelled. Adjutant ( Capt. N.W. Higgin RA) returned from Brussels bringing with him 53 reinforcements from 31 RHU. Capt C.K.G. Innes, RA, joined regt and posted to 124 Bty.

 

5 October 1944: 0600 – Enemy again counter-attacked Americans in woods North of Overloon and three tgts engaged. Day quiet until 1625 when enemy again counter-attacked and four tgts engaged. DF Tasks arranged by HQ RA with 7 US Armd Div. 2 I/C recced new area East of Haps in accordance with the plan to adv towards Forest of Reichswald.

 

6 October 1944: Information received that Meijel Force had been attacked during the night by enemy patrol and  E Tp gun area invaded. At approx 0515 hrs two parties of 8 Boche approached E Tp Comd Post which was in a house West of Meijel. Tracer was fired at the house which was set alight. In attempting to get out the GPO LT. D.H. Smith RA and the Tp Leader Lieut. Crawford were shot and killed. A hand grenade was thrown into the house killing a signaller and wounding the remainder of CP staff.

The BSM (BSM Wilson) ran upstairs and engaged the enemy patrol with a Bren Gun. At the same time the driver of the ‘G’ Truck killed two Germans with his Sten Gun and wounded a third and in spite of heavy small arms fire, got into his truck and drove it away from the burning house. A bazooka was fired at an ammunition truck standing alongside the CP and this too set alight. After approx 10 minutes the situation around the CP was restored mainly due to the enterprise of BSM Wilson and the courage of the ‘G’ truck driver. At the same time a few enemy had approached the gun posn and attempted to fix a  charge to one of the gun barrels. This blew off the muzzle brake but little other damage was suffered and the enemy driven off. There being no officers left on the guns posn, BDM Wilson then took charge and organized  two patrols to go out and ensure that the area was clear. The commanding officer and Major Kreiser visited Meijel in the afternoon and B Troop  under Capt Canvin were sent out to relieve E Tp. E Tp arrived back in Regtl area 1800 hrs. Three mortar shoots taken by the Air OP and successfully engaged. Orders received that survey would be carried out in Haps area 7 Oct and dumping of 500 rpg commenced. 20 men per Bty visited Helmond to see “Stars in Battledress”.

 

7 October 1944: Recce parties proceeded to new area 0900 hrs. 0900 hrs information received that 11 Armd Div would take over from 7 US Armd Div in Overloon area. OPs joined Bns who had taken over woods North of Overloon and area West of Vortum from 7 US Armd Div. Regt remained in same location for night 7/8 Oct and laid on DF in support 159 Bde. Three DFs fired before midnight on enemy talking in front of 1 Hereford Posn. Enemy arty fired about 20rds counter bty fire at 2000 hrs which straddled A Tp posn. No casualties sustained.

 

8 October 1944: Regt moved to new area between Oploo and St. Anthonis 1000 hrs in order to be in better posn to support 159 Bde. Enemy shelled Oploo – St. Anthonis road as regt came into posn. Mortars and guns engaged during day. Enemy again active on front of 1 Hereford during the night and DF again fired.

 

9 October 1944: Meijel Force was relieved and Capt Canvin with B Tp returned to Regt. At Meijel close leager had been formed during the night with Coy 8 RB in that town itself. Enemy patrolled the area every night but all patrols were driven off. As B Tp left Meijel on morning 9 Oct the rear vehicle RASC amn lorry, was shot up by enemy small arms fire. 4 KSLI and 2 F&F Yeo carried out sweep in area Boxmeer – Vortum in the morning – Lt. Hampton and Capt Spence accompanying as FCOs. Capt Spence fired short intense fire plan on river crossing near Sambeek and on house on east bank of river which was suspected enemy HQ. 125 Bty fired airburst very effectively during the fire plan. In the afternoon fire plan Boot was fired in support of 1 Hereford who carried out raid on boot shaped wood. North of Overloon 20 PW taken. At 2015 fire plan fired in support 4 KSLI raiding party which entered woods SW of Groeningen and successfully took one PW.

 

10 October 1944: Another sweep carried out by 4 KSLI and 2 F&F Yeo to the river near Sambeek – Capt Canvin and Capt Spence accompanying. 1600 hrs. Capt Canvin arranged small fire plan with Inns of Court to support them in recce of river crossing. Enemy infantry successfully shot up. At 1715 hrs fire plan shot in support 1 Hereford who were carrying out sweep of northern tip of ‘boot’ wood. Harassing fire tasks shot during the night. 125 Bty gun position was shelled with about 20 shells during the day incl a near m iss of 1ft on C Tp CP. No cacualties, except to tgt records, sustained.

 

11 October 1944: Lt. Lisby manned static OP in Boxmeer throughout the day. Boxmeer was used consistently by gunner OPs during the day and was invariably entered by German patrols during the night. Capt Canvin and Capt Spence accompanied 2 F&F Yeo on another sweep. Fire plan Plum in support patrol 1 Hereford shot at 1535. Capt Canvin shot u enemy patrol in area of the river crossing.

 

12 October 1944: Lt Plummer mannes OP in Boxmeer. Regt supported attack by 8 Bde (3 Div) (Op Castor) in Overloon by firing a Counter Bty program ma from 1100 – 1200 hrs and on barrage from 1200 – 1300. On call to 3 Div for remainder of day. Enemy shelled 125 Bty CP in a house at 2200 hrs knocking down an out house but no casualties sustained. This was thought to be same gun as previously and CBO at once brought down counter battery fire.

 

13 October 1944: 0930 Tgt shot for 9 Bde attacking woods SW of Overloon.

1000 hrs Tgts on woods SW of Groeningen shot for 4 KSLI.

1400 hrs Capt Miller accompanied elts 2 F&F who were attempting to recover a tank. M Tgt shot in support. 1515 hrs 123 Bty shot smokescreen for 4 KSLI to assist raiding party in the area of the river crossing near Sambeek. Tgt successful and PW taken incl 3 enemy OP personnel who were manning telephone across the river. Woods East of Overloon engaged six times between 1730 – 1830 in support 3 Div. Lieut Opie manned Boxmeer OP.

 

14 October 1944: Lt. Plummer manned Boxmeer OP. Capt Canvin engaged enemy tpt across the river in the Afferden area during the morning. Tgts engaged for 3 Div at 1530 and 1730.

Recce parties proceeded to new area 1500x NW of Overloon in the afternoon. Regt under orders CRA moved to new area at 1715 to be in posn to support advance of 3 Div to Venray. OPs remained with Bns 159 Bde. Orders received that 159 Bde Gp would clear left flank of 3 Div NE of Overloon on 15 Oct.

 

15 October 1944: Fire plan received 0200 hrs. 300 rpg dumped on gun posns during morning. H hour for attack by 159 Bde 1030 hrs. Barrage fired at 1030 hrs.

1120 hrs Capt Carvin with right Coy 4 KSLI reported right coy unable to keep up with barrage. Barrage stopped on line m. Left coy progressed well and barrage cancelled at 1140 hrs.

By 1430 leading coys 4 KSLI were on line of  railway. Capt Canvin and Lt. ASshpole FOOs reported consistent enemy shelling and mortaring and mainly mortars and guns were engaged during the rest of the day.

At 1600 hrs Capt Lucas and Capt Spence accompanied 1 Hereford who were mopping up woods and going as far as railway. This task completed 1730 hrs and Herefords withdrew.

Regt laid on Df in support 4 KSLI who remained in posn by railway. Fire plan orders for attack on Venray by 185 Bde on 16 Oct received 2200 hrs.

 

16 October 1944: First party of 1 Offr (Major W.N Mitchell) and five men proceed on leave to Brussels.

0700 hrs – fired on barrage in support 185 Bde, otherwise main shooting of the day was against ‘Minnies’ and infantry on the KSLI front.

Recce parties proceeded to area half-way between De Rips and Millheeze as 11 Armd Div was now to advance on Horst and Amerika from the West on 17 Oct. Between 2030 – 2130 hrs Regt kept up continuous fire by firing each Bty in turn Scale 5 on tgts on KSLI front in order to create noise to cover withdrawal of 4 KSLI. Capt J Wright RA joined Regt ex RHU.

 

17 October 1944: 0645-1030 – Regt moved to new area in support 159 Bde though u/c CRA. 15/19 Hussars and 1 Hereford commenced their ad up the Deurne Venray road. Heavy mortar  fire met at the canal crossing and mines on the rds and verges. Capt Spence with 15/19 Hussars took on a number of shoots on mortars and infantry localities.

At approx 1400 hrs Major Kreiser with 1 Hereford arranged smoke screen fired by 124 Bty to support 1 Hereford in their advance across the open ground towards IJsselsteijn..

At 1555 hrs a series of concs arranged by CRA and incl 7 US Armd Div arty wre fired on IJsselsteijn and shortly afterwards Capt Lucas with leading coy 1 Hereford reported them in the village. Area consolidated for the night. New gun area 1000 yds West of the canal crossing recced in the afternoon and ret to move by Btys as from 0600 hrs 18Oct. Lieut J. Morrison and Lieut HA Berry joined Regt ex 31 RHU.

 

18 October 1944: 0600 – 125 Bty moved to new area. Enemy gun area engaged 0740 hrs and enemy Inf at 0940 hrs.

0900 hrs. Regt in action new area. 4 KSLI and 2 F&F Yeo passed through 1 Herefored with the object of taking Veulen. Recce parties proceeded to new area 1000 yds North of IJsselsteijn at midday. Adv to Veulen successful but strong opposition met East and South East of the village, especially in the woods and factory area.

Approx 1400 hrs. Capt Canvin with leading sqn 2 F&F Yeo had is tank hit by Panther or Jagdpanther from woods. As his was a low one a damaged track and broken bogey was the only damage sustained.

At 1500 hrs Capt Canvin observed the fire of 146 Med Regt on to the enemy tanks by going out on feet. Lieut. Ashpole remained in observation of the factory area from the East of Veulen. Regt moved to new area approx 1600 hrs and laid on DF in support 4 KSLI at Veulen and 1 Hereford in area 1000 yds SEof IJsselsteijn.

 

19 October 1944: Advance discontinued and active patrolling only. Capt Spence accompanied 15/19 Hussars on patrol towards St. Helena Hoeve and St. Hendricus Hoeve. Heavy fire met from enemy A. Tk guns in that area which Capt Spence engaged.

At 1420 hrs Capt Spence swept the area where enemy A Tk guns were still active. 15/19 Hussars lost heavily in tanks but at least four enemy guns were destroyed. Capt Spence in Cromwell borrowed from 15/19 Hussars had his ration box shot away. Capt Canvin and Lieut Ashpole remained in observation to East of 4 KSLI and 2 F&F Yeo and Capt Canvin’s tank was recovered. A premature occurred on E Tp position injuring Lieut Morrison and one other rank. This was the second premature of the campaign.

 

20 October 1944: Patrol from 15/19 Hussars again sent out. Capt Spence accompanying. Tgts mainly mortars and HBZ engaged sporadically throughout the day. Information received that Div likely to remain in present location for a fortnight – three weeks.

 

21 October 1944: Capt Lucas accompanied 15/19Hussars and occupied static OP for the day. Little enemy shelling and no movement seen. 1 Hereford relieved 4 KSLI at Veulen as first move in system of reliefs organized for forthcoming static period. OPs to accompany Bns either in op role at Veulen, semi-op role at IJsselsteijn or in reserve at Deurne. Regt to have three OPs in observation during the day – one looking E and SE from Veulen, one with armd daytime patrol SW of Veulen and one looking SE and S from IJsselsteijn area.

 

22 October 1944: 0015 – DF fired in front of Hereford on enemy patrol approaching with bazookas. Two enemy killed and two captured. Obtaining of Correction of Moment data by Airburst practiced. In future 13 HAC and 151 (AY) Field Regt to obtain this data at 0900 and 1400 hrs on alternate days. The guns were now beginning to show serious signs of wear and packings had to be attended to in many cases. Area for A Ech and as many vehicles and personnel that could be spared from gun posn recced at Vlierden.

 

23 October 1944: Very quiet day. 125 Bty moved to a fresh posn as present gun posn n close proximity to 159 Bde HQ. Additional amn dumped in gun posn and digging in completed.

1700 – All non-essential vehicles and personnel proceeded to Echelon area at Vlierden.

2207 – DF fired on enemy platoon reported to be digging in E of 1 Hereford.

 

24 October 1944: Another quiet day. Two bombards fired only. The “Yeoman” Continental Edition No. 17 issued.

 

25 October 1944: Capt Spence  out with 15/19 Hussars fired several rds of smoke in area St. Hendricus Hoeve to see if any reaction by the enemy. Slight enemy shelling in reply. 4 KSLI relieved 1 Hereford at Veulen in the evening; Major Walton taking over from Major Kreiser. Major Mitchell remained at IJsselsteijn which was taken over by 8 RB.

 

26 October 1944: Approx 0130 hrs enemy patrol approached B Tp posn, HF tgt being fired at the time. Bazooka was fired at one of the guns at close range and one man wounded. Gun was put out of action though repairable. Several bombards carried out during the day. Supply of trip wire flares was obtained and wires laid around regtl. Posn. Further visit from enemy patrol expected.

 

27 October 1944: Enemy attack on Meijel in the morning. 1 Hereford ordered to move from rest area in Deurne 1700 hrs and take posn on railway around Griendtsveen in relief of 7 US Armd Div. Major Kreiser, Capt Spence  and Capt Lucas moved with 1 Hereford. Rest area at Vlierden had to be evacuated. New area found on banks of Canal at Helmond and occupied in the afternoon. E Yorks Bn brought in to strengthen defence, took up posn around 125 Bty.

 

28 October 1944: 0700 – Tgt Dainty fired by div arty on request, Major Walton in retaliation for enemy shelling of Veulen. Regt moved to previously recced alternative posn 1000 yds West of IJsselsteijn in the afternoon.

 

29 October 1944: 0330 – Fire plan Drake fired to support raiding party by 4 KSLI. 123 Bty OPs relieved from support 4 KSLI by 13 RHA and joined E Yorks  who had moved to area of railway between Deurne and Griendtsveen. Capt Canvin with E Yorks had some observation on enemy who were attacking Liesel and Loon. Rest period terminated as 11Armd Div again in fully op role and all personnel and vehicles less A Ech moved from Helmond up to gun area. Enemy aircraft attacked Helmond approx 2100 hrs and in attempting to bomb canal bridge hit A Ech area causing casualties – one man killed and one wounded and two vehicles destroyed. Regt in support by DF of E Yorks and 6 KSOB (15(S) Div) as well as 159 Bde. Calibration by camera carried out in gun area during the day. New posns recced 2000 yds East of Deurne to be occupied if 15 (S) Div required further support for attack on Liesel. This not required.

 

30 October 1944: Capt Canvin with 15/19 Hussars moved South from railway towards Liesel and shot M tgt on three enemy armd cars at 0900 hrs. Also observed enemy movement East of Liesel throughout the day but unable to engage as this was inside 15 (S) Div boundary.

2030 – Enemy patrol approaching 1 Hereford posn along railway engaged by Capt Innes.

 

31 October 1944: Quiet night. Capt Canvin again out with 15/19 Hussars. Major Walton with E Yorks moved 2000 yds South in the morning to protect left flank of 15 (S) Div. Little activity on 159 Bde front but at 1930 rs another patrol approaching 1 Hereford was engaged.

 

1 November 1944: 0630 – Regt fired retaliatory rounds against enemy who were shelling 1 Herefords at Griendtsveen. Capt Canvin out with patrol of E Yorks Se of Deurne had good observation of attack by 15 (S) Div and Tk Bn Scots Guards towards Deurne Canal.

1430 – Regt fired on enemy Bn HQ reported by PO.

 

2 November 1944: General bombard shot. Three tgts engaged with AOP otherwise nothing to report.

 

3 November 1944: Another quiet day. During the inactive period it was possible to send troops back to Helmong for a bath and cinema or Ensa Show on most days. Airburst shoots were taken daily on orders CRA to find Correction of the Moment and to check data of school of Artillery for airburst shooting.

 

4 November 1944: Night 3-4 E Yorks took over from 1 Hereford area Griendtsveen. Major Kreiser and OPs ex 124 Bty remained at Griendtsveen with E Yorks. Major W.N. Mitchell and OPs ex 125 Bty proceeded to Veulen to be in support 1 W.G. who were taking over from 4 KSLI.

 

5 November 1944: Major W.B. Walton and OPs ex 123 Bty joined 4 KSLI at IJsselsteijn. Capt W.G. Miller went out with patrol 2 FF Yeo SW of Veulen during the day.

1810 – 123 Bty fired for 3 minutes in support patrol 1 WG SE of Veulen. Also again at 2315 hrs.

 

6 November 1944: Capt Miller again out with 2 FF Yeo.

1345 – Enemy gun area engaged with AOP.

2015 -  125 Bty shot small fire plan in support patrol 1 WG. Between 2130 and 0230 hrs. Major Mitchell called for spasmodic bursts of fire in support patrol 1 WG which had bumped enemy platoon on road to St. Helena Hoeve. WG patrol killed approx 10 Boche without loss.

 

7 November 1944: DF 311 protecting E flank of Veulen posn opposite factory checked by observation of Capt Wright. New DF task registered by Capt Miller SE of Veulen.

At 1815, 1900 and 1945 hrs enemy trenches and hides in the woods SE of Veulen engaged. Heavy shelling of IJsselsteijn fork roads area during the morning.

 

8 November 1944: 0827 – Suspected Nebelwerfer area engaged by Capt Miller.

1500 – Ret shot fire plan incl smoke screen in support patrol 1 WG. 1815, 1900 and 1945 hrs. same dose repeated for enemy in woods SE of Veulen. 124 Bty OPs moved with 1 Hereford to take over from 4 KSLI at IJsselsteijn. 123 Bty OPs moved with 4 KSLI to Deurne for the night.

 

9 November 1944: Regt limited to 29 rpg per day. 15 for casual shooting, 14 for CB. CB to be reduced to minimum.

1240 – Suspected enemy outpost near Veulen engaged. 123 Bty OPs with 4 KSLI moved to Griendtsveen to relieve E Yorks.

 

10 November 1944: 1410 – SP gun spotted by Air OP engaged.

1750 – 7 mins rate 1 fired on farm SE of Veulen which changed hands between 1 WG and enemy at intervals during the time 1 WG at Veulen.

 

11 November 1944: Usual activity on Veulen front. Small parties of enemy approached 1 WG and regt engaged.

2135 – SP gun shooting at 4 KSLI in Griendtsveen and bombard carried out. 3 Mons relieved 1 WG at Veulen.

 

12 November 1944: Major Mitchell and OPs ex 125 Bty relieved by OPs ex 13 RHA at Veulen and returned to gun area.  4 KSLI again shelled during the night and 123 Bty fired a series of tgts arranged by Major Walton on known enemy localities by way of retaliation. Heavy rain falling for several days made tracks around gun area very muddy and treacherous. Flashes from V2s being set off from Germany could be observed from gun posn at nights.

 

13 November 1944: Burning scout car belonging to Inns of Court observed by Capt Spence from OP South of IJsselsteijn.

1600 hrs – M Tgt registered South of IJsselsteijn to cover patrol of 1 Hereford at 2310 hrs.

 

14 November 1944: Bombards carried out at 1015, 1525 and 1540. 3 Deserters surrendered to 159 Inf Bde. Regt received 60 propaganda shells and fired 21 of these on 7 enemy localities, selected by 159 Bde. Propaganda shell shot just before dusk to enable Germans to pick the leaflets up after dark without being observed by NCOs.

 

15 November 1944: 2 IC recced new gun area West of Griendtsveen to be occupied for 159 Bde attack on Amerika. Lt Read joined regt ex RHU.

 

16 November 1944: Svy carried out in new gun area. Otherwise nothing to report. Lt. Milne joined regt ex 31 RHU.

 

17 November 1944: Major W.N. Mitchell and OPs 125 Bty returned to Veulen and took over from OPs ex 13 RHA.

 

18 November 1944: Thought that enemy might have pulled back and regt prepared for quick move. Patrol reports showed that enemy still in posn on our front.

1700 -  Regt fired conc on SP gun East of Veulen. Three men from Major Mitchell’s OP crew wounded at Veulen by shell fire during the night. Lt. Curling and his GPOA injured by mine while visiting new posn area West of Griendtsveen. Sapper given task of clearing mines from new gun area.

 

19 November 1944: Heavy ‘moaning minnie’ fire against Veulen during the morning. Regt warned for move to rest area near Zeilburg 20 Nov.

 

20 November 1944: Regt pulled out to rest area near Swimming pool at Zeilburg commencing 0930 . Complete in rest area by 1300 hrs. 13 RHA occupied our posn. Both wireless sets at RHQ closed down for the first time since leaving Laigle West of the Seine on 26 aug 44.

 

21 November 1944: Fire plan for OP Nutcracker (159 Bde attack on Amerika) received 0600 hrs. CO visited RHQ and gave orders to BCs at 1100 hrs. Day of the operation dependent on progress of 15 (S) Div towards Sevenum. OPs of 123 Bty and 124 Bty given Weasles in order to cross bog East of Griendtsveen. Weasles fitted with wireless sets. Tks to be left behind and brought up when road clear. Regt received orders to move into action in new posns 1500 hrs. In action by last light. Y Truck of 125 Bty blown up on mine on verge of road whilst moving to new posn. One man killed and three wounded, three being GPOAs. Truck was burnt out and all stationary, tgt records, gun history sheets etc of 125 Bty lost. Major Kreiser, Capt Lucas and Lt Smart moved with 1 Hereford to preliminary attack posn South of Amerika. 150 rpg dumped on guns posn. Major W.N. Mitchell and Capt A.G. Miller joined 2 FF Yeo who were to follow inf if situation and rd permitted.

 

22 November 1944: H hr for attack 0715 hrs. Regt fired four concs commencing 0715 hrs. Capt Canvin and Capt Ashpole moved with leading coys 4 KSLI on either side of the railway.

0830 hrs Major Walton reported one coy held up by AP mines but other coy continued to advance and regt was stopped firing on barrage along wood by the railway 1000x West of Amerika after having fired only two lines. Only one German and mines met by 4 KSLI. In the meanwhile Capt Lucas and Lt Smart with leading coys 1 Hereford reported they had advanced to attack posn 1000x South of Amerika without opposition.

1020 hrs Major Kreiser arranged fire plan “Chewing Gum” to be on call with 151 AY, 13 RHA and 79 Med (Scottish Horse) while 1 Hereford advanced into Amerika. Fire plan not required and Major Kreiser reported 1 Hereford  through Amerika to the North at 1330 hrs. 1 Herefords continued advance to wood and regt on DF in support of them and 4 KSLI who had occupied Amerika. During the afternoon 123 Bty were moved up to previously recce posn on Eastern outskirts of Griendtsveen. Recce parties ordered to proceed to Amerika area at 0715 hrs 23 Nov if bridges over the rd craters had been completed by the engineers.

Major Mitchell and Capt Miller ordered to move to Griendtsveen at first light, Capt Miller to join squadron of 15/19 Hussars which was to join 4 KSLI for further advance.

 

23 November 1944: Bridges  not completed as quickly as expected and recce parties could not leave until 1215. Tanks not permitted to use the newly bridged rd and Major Mitchell and Capt Miller remained in Griedtsveen with 15/19 Hussars, also the tanks of 124 Bty OPs.

1030 hrs – Major Walton reported 4 KSLI in Meterik without opposition.

1315 -  4 KSLI occupied Schadijk and 1 Hereford area 1000x to the West of it.

1515 – Regt less 123 Bty commenced move to new area 500x North of Amerika. Bad road was successfully negotiated and 124 and 125 Bty in action by last light covering 4 KSLI and 1 Hereford in Schadijk area. 123 Bty remained in action at Griendtsveen for the night.

 

24 November 1944: 0930 – 123 Bty rejoined regt and came into action off Amerika-Horst road.

1330 – recce parties moved to new area West of Meterik, regt to move there to get additional range to support 3 British Div and 15 (S) Div in theTierraij area. Regt moved 1445 hrs. DF tasks in support 15 (S) Div in Horst. Capt A.G.O. Ashpole evacuated from 4 KSLI to have operation for hernia.

 

25 November 1944: 159 Bde withdraw to rest area near Helmond and CO and OPs rejoined regt at Meterik. Regt remained on call to 15 (S) Div. During night 25/26 Nov enemy a/c raided Meterik area dropping anti-personnel and heavier bombs. One bomb landed in 123 Bty wagon lines and one man was killed and four wounded. The gun area was situated just inside the enemy Amerike-Horst defence line. The extent to which the Germans had dug underground command posts and achieved very successful camouflage was most instructive. From on enemy OP a good view could be obtained of the log road to Veulen which had been constructed during the previous weeks an over which our vehicles had driven to get to Veulen.

 

26 November 1944: Quiet day devoted to maintenance. Regt remained on call 15 (S) Div. CRA visited gun posns in the morning. The OP tanks which had been left at Griendtsveen on account of the road being banned to tks were brought up to gun posns.

 

27 November 1944: At 1330 hrs orders received for occupation of new posns South of Tienraij 28 Nov to support 159 Bde who were to hold line of river Maas from area Grubbenvorst – Blitterswijk. Svy and recce of new area carried out p.m. 27 Nov 44. Regt ceased to be on call 15 (S) Div. Commanding Officer (Lt. Col. A.P Trevor RA) conducted Capt Booth Apis 11 Armd Div around Horst – Amerika – Meterik line in order to see the defences which had not been revealed by air photographs.

 

28 November 1944: Regt moved by btys to new area South of Tienraij commencing 0900 hrs. OPs contacted bns and took over from OPs 15 (S) Div at 1400 hrs. 123 Bty OPs joined 8 RBs and OPs established at Broekhuizervorst and Oijen. 124 OPs joined 1 Hereford OPs established at Houthuizen and West of Grubbenvorst. 125 Bty OPs joined 3 Mon and OPs established at Lottum. Second OP to be established at Broekhuizen when enemy cleared out of the village. CO arranged DF tasks (45 in all) to cover the 12000x front and to be on call to 11 Armd Div Arty and 4 and 8 Agra. As it was anticipated that this gun posn would be occupied for some considerable time, btys were widely dispersed and particular attention paid to camouflage and track discipline. Wireless was to be used as little as possible and lines were laid to OPs.

 

29 November 1944: The policy being to shoot as little as possible from the permanent posns, four alternative bty posns were recced and surveyed East of the main posn in the Swolge Heide. These to be occupied by one ‘sniping’ bty daily. 123 Bty OPs had good observation on river line East of Broekhuizervorst and Oijen and reported enemy digging, OPs movement etc on the East bank. Enemy  observed ‘fiddling’ with boats on the river and the sound of a Diesel engine heard on the sunken tramway running parallel with the East bank. It was only possible to occupy an OP at Oijen by night.

2030 – Fire plan for 30 Nov received. Intention was to support attack of 3 Mon on the castle and on Broekhuizen where the enemy were still holding out.

 

30 November 1944: 50 rpg collected 0900 hrs. Attack commenced 1000 hrs. Regt fired stonks from H – 4 to H + 10 and H + 53 to H + 63. Major Mitchell and Capt Caffyn accompanied 3 Mon.

Very heavy shelling and mortar fire form E Bank. Fighting very confused Capt Caffyn was with a sqn 15/19 Hussars and watched them shoot up the castle from the wood to the South. Enemy infantry shooting from the cellars held up 3 Mon for a long time. At 1347 Major Mitchell reported elements of 15/19 Hussars were in the grounds of the castle and cleaning it up and at 1352 he reported that CO 3 Mon having left him several hundred yards South of the castle became a casualty during the attack.

In the meanwhile Capt Caffyn had moved to a point just South of the village of Broekhuizen and at approx 1600 hrs entered the village with the reserve coy of 3 Mon.

At 1500 hrs 123 Bty had fired on Oboe smoke screen along the East bank of the river on the orders of the Commanding Officer to support the attack on the village. New DFs arranged by Commanding Officer. Capt Caffyn contend to report on the cleaning up of the village during the rest of the day and night in which most of the enemy were taken prisoner. During the day Lt. Jackson (123 Bty) manning the OP at Broekhuizenvorst was shelled out and had a fortunate escape when a shell splinter ripped his clothing bus did not wound him. New OP found in the Oosterbos area 1000x to the West.

 

1 December 1944: 0550 – Capt Caffyn  reported 3 Mon had intercepted enemy party attempting to get back across the Maas and six prisoners taken. 125 Bty went out to forward posn at 0830 as sniping bty. Three shoots conducted during the day on areas of enemy movement and suspected OPs in the Lommel and Hasselt areas. Capt Canvin reported that the German orderly officer went the round on the defences on a white horse. Bombard carried out on SP gun worrying the 8 RB in the evening.

At 1215 small number of officers and ORs attended farewell address at Meterik by 8 Corps Commander (Lt. Gen.Sir Richard O’Connor, KCB, DSO, MC).

Information received of the award of four Military Crosses to the Regiment, to –

Captain P.S.Y. Garrett (killed in action at Aubussons) for directing fire against tiger tanks which attacked 4 KSLI at La Grande Bonfait. 

Major W.N. Mitchell for his gallantry at Bas Perier in the pivot held by 3 Mon when, being the only OP officer left in the pivot, he directed the DF fire which helped to repel a heavy enemy counter attack.

Captain R.G. Vere-Nicoll for his work at Bas Perier when, having been attacked by enemy infantry and wounded in the shoulder he continued to direct the arty support for 2 FF Yeo.

Lt. R.E. Hampton for his coolness in dealing with exploding ammunition and burning vehicles when 123 Bty were shelled on La Valle ridge near Burcy.

 

2  December 1944: Captain Lucas engaged enemy coy HQ and Captain Spencer enemy OP South of Lommel in the morning. 123 Bty ‘sniping’ Bty.

1330 – The Adjutant (Capt N.W. Higgin, RA) contacted BC from 3 British Div at Meerlo in order to see check rounds from Regt on area East of Wanssum where enemy thought to be still holding out.

100 rpg dumped on gun posn for fire plan in support 3 British attack 3 Dec on these enemy posns.

In the afternoon, enemy appeared to have withdrawn and fire plan cancelled.

2155 – Capt Miller with coy 4 KSLI who had relieved 3 Mon in Broekhuizen reported Spandau and mortar fire and enemy gun which shelled the village with single rounds every five minutes for approx 1½ hrs.

 

3 December 1944: Capt Miller reported that three bogged enemy vehicles had gone from the river bank opposite Broekhuizen. Activity night 2/3 presumed to be the enemy recovering these vehicles.

1600 -  camouflaged vehicle engaged.

 

4 December 1944: 0923 – Enemy locality engaged with troop.

0945 – Captain Lucas engaged enemy GP.

1315 – Enemy digging in engaged by Captain Miller.

1800 – Two enemy localities engaged, one by this regt and one by 79 Med (Scottish Horse) on request Major Kreiser with 1 Hereford. This was retaliation for shelling of Captain Spencer’s OP West of Grubbenvorst. Enemy had put five shells through the roof of Convent School.

 

5 December 1944: 0823 – Captain Miller reported capture of a PW who had been in the Broekhuizen area for four days. Enemy OP engaged. 13RHA took over OP responsibilities for 159Bde sector and reliefs carried out night 5/6 Dec. 24 men from the Regt posted to the infantry. Commanding Officer (Lt. Col. A.P. Trevor, RA) took IOs of 11 Armd Div round the German def posn NW of Meterik.

 

6 December 1944: 5 tgts engaged Scale 1 during the night as retaliatory fire on request of Captain Miller. All wireless closed down on return of OPs. Guns remained in action in permanent locations. Bombard fired on Nebs in afternoon on order HQ RA. One troop to be taken out of action for maintenance during the OP rest period of seven days.

 

7 December 1944: No activity.

 

8 December 1944: No activity. Regt Christmas Cards received.

 

9 December 1944: No activity.

 

10 December 1944: 1600 – Tgts engaged five times by regt as reataliatory fire for enemy shelling of Horst and 159 Bde area on night 9 Dec.

 

11 December 1944: Nothing to report.

 

12 December 1944: 0800 – Regt fired on area of enemy working party reported by Dutchman who had swum across the river to give the information. 151 (AY) OPs took over from 13 RHA during the afternoon. New OP occupied at Wesserhof in support Bingforce (ICR and Dutch coys) as substitute for OP at Broekhuizenvorst. State of tracks of gun posns very bad. Use of tpt reduced to minimum and road maintenance carried out with assistance from 75 A Tk Regt.

 

13 December 1944: 0006 – Bombard carried out on mortar firing against 1 Hereford. Corps Commander Lt. Gen. E.H. Barker, CB, CBE, DSO, MC visited OP occupied by Captain Lucas during the morning. Visibility poor throughout the day. Mortar bombards carried out at 1700 and 1720 hrs.

 

14 December 1944: 0030 – Mortar bombard sot. REs carried out work of sandbagging OPs. Slight enemy shelling of 1 Hereford area.

 

15 December 1944: Information received that regt would move to Roermond front 17 Dec. 13 RHA OPs took over responsibilities during afternoon and night.

2042 – Soon after the evacuation of OP at Wesserhof by Lt Norman the house was attacked by enemy raiding party and set alight. Regt fired DF for RHA OP who had taken over, and the enemy driven off.

 

16 December 1944: 0830 – Recce parties proceeded to new gun area West of Baexem on Roermond front and remained there for night 16/17 Dec. OPs joined Bns in the afternoon.

 

17 December 1944: 1145 – Regt moved to new area in Div column. Enemy air activity during move and regt’s LAA guns fired approx 30 rds. 124 and 125 Btys ready in action in new area approx 1630 hrs. 123 Bty proceeded to rest area near Weert. New posn taken over complete from 133 Fd Regt (53 Div). Major Kreiser and 124 Bty OPs established in area Horn with 1 Hereford. OPs from 6 Fd Regt continued to be responsible for support of 3 Mon in area Heel – Beegden and IO only ex 125 Bty joined 3 Mon. Regt responsible for general line of river Roermond – Wessey.

700 rds of smoke taken over from 133 Fd Regt – is to be fired (Fire plan Duck) to produce smoke screen for 30 mins to enable fwd inf posts opposite Roermond to be evacuated in the event of flooding of river Roer and Maas by breach of damns on the Roer.

 

18 December 1944: 0910 – Two ME 262s passed over gun area. Two bombs dropped near 124 Bty. No casualties. Det 58 LAA Regt claimed one hit. CO arranged new set of DF tasks for 3 Mon. Warning received that enemy might drop parachutists in the area.

 

19 December 1944: 0915 – Bombard on mortar short. Tgt shot five times Scale 1 between 2230 and 2100 hrs – area thought to be occupied by enemy for shooting small arms across the river at night.

2345 – 6 Fd Regt reported they were moving at dawn. Major Mitchell and 125 Bty OPs ordered to take over support of 3 Mon morning 20 Dec.

 

20 December 1944: Spandau fire on 1 Hereford front reported during the night.

0700 – Tgt fired four times on request 3 Mon to catch enemy raiding party going back across the river in boats. 123 Bty put at 6 hrs notice to move up to gun area.

 

21 December 1944: 100 rpg dumped at guns posns. Gun posn recced for 123 Bty to be occupied 22 Dec. Bombards on mortars carried out between 2230 - 2300 hrs. Captain L.C. Heptinstall attached to regt ex 124 Fd Regt.

 

22 December 1944: 123 Bty rejoined regt from rest area in action by 1200 hrs. Regt laid on three tgts (suspected spandau  posns) from 1730 hrs onwards to cover mining party of 1 Hereford on river bank opposite Roermond.

2050 – 1 Hereford party met fire from other side of river and enemy thought to be sending patrols across. DF and counter mortar fire kept up until 2230 (approx 30 rpg fired). Remainder of night quiet.

 

23 December 1944: In view of report that enemy were celebrating Christmas on 23 and 24 Dec, Commanding Officer arranged Div Arty Fire Plan ‘Santa’ to be fired at 1300 hrs and to be calculated to interrupt the Christmas dinner in the enemy forward areas. Fire Plan included tow airburst tgts Scale 5.

 

24 December 1944: 0825 – Major Kreiser reported that during the night there were wounds of  ‘Singing vomiting and firing spandaus into the air’.

Quiet day – heavy frost. Mortars engaged 2100 hrs.

 

25 December 1944: 0620 – Enemy patrol active in area of bridge West of Roermond. 124 Bty fired SOS. Christmas dinner eaten successfully – mostly in the barns adjoining the Dutch farms. Owing to possibility of enemy attack Christmas, in accordance with Div Comd’s orders, was celebratged ‘in moderation’.

2000 – Enemy patrol engaged by 124 Bty in 1 Hereford area.

 

26 December 1944: Visibility very poor and no activity. Fire plan arranged to support patrol of 1 Hereford at 1800 hrs – patrol going to clear area where enemy suspected to be lying up. Patrol returned 1950 hrs without finding enemy and no calls for Fire Plan.

 

27 December 1944:Fire Plan arranged to support raiding party of 3 Mon at 0600 hrs which was going across river Maas to collect a PW. Patrol returned without making contact and Fire Plan not fired. 123 Bty OPs with 4 KSLI took over from 124 Bty OPs who went into reserve with 1 Hereford. Information received that regt would be relieved on Jan 1 and go to Deurne as Corps reserve Regt.

 

28 December 1944: 0530 – Four tgts fired on enemy localities as retaliation for mortar fire previous evening.

2100 – Barges on river engaged.

 

29 December 1944: Very quiet day. Visibility poor. Approx 17° of frost during the Christmas period. CRA 11 Armd Div, Brigadier B.F. Fowler, DSO, MC, visited gun posn.  Recce parties 25 Fd Regt arrived 1230 hrs preparatory to their occupation of posn on Jan 1.

 

30 December 1944: Slight thaw making roads and tracks very treacherous. 2 IC and Bty Capts proceeded to Deurne barracks to recce accommodation at present occupied by 25 Fd Regt. Little activity on front.

 

31 December 1944: Commanding Officer attended conference at Corps HQ to arrange details of op role whilst regt in Corps reserve. Air OP registered 123 Bty on barges in bend of river SW of Roermond.

1850 – Movement orders received for move to Deurne 1 Jan.

2125 – Captain Canvin with 4 KSLI reported enemy patrol of 12 men across river West of Roermond. Regt fired scale 2 on DF tasks covering Roermond  bridge – also 190 Fd Regt of 15 (S) Div.

2220 – Captain Canvin reported situation. Another enemy patrol of 9 men having been dispersed by mortar fire.

2225 – 124 Bty fired 1 gun rate very slow for five minutes to cover evacuation of one wounded soldier of 4 KSLI.

 

1 January 1945: New year “seen in” without incident except for report on enemy firing flares on the other side of the river Maas.

02.00hrs- 125 Bty shot scale 5 on rover bank opposite Wessem where inf had reported enemy mining or digging. Considerable enemy activity  during the morning. Two Me109s flew over gun posn at zero feet at approx. 0900hrs and were engaged by dets of 58LAA.

Btys 25 Field Regt arrived to take over gun area at 1100hrs and occupied posn bty at a time.

 

12.00hrs –C.tp made available for AOP to engage Barges in river bend, two tgts having been registered on 31 december. C. Troop continued shooting until 13.50hrs firing a total of 25rpgs with majority in target area.

 

14.00hrs Regt ,moved to rest area at Deurne arriving 16.00hrs

Regt now 8 Corps reserve field regiment under command CCRA.

Op role taken over from 25 Field Regiment. Regt at 4hrs notice to move in event of enemy crossing Maas between Boxmeer and Maeseyck. Ops to be ready to occupy any of approx. 70 Ops along the river line. Survey Data of eight gun posns taken over from 25 Fd Regt and two additional areas surveyed by survey party during rest period. IO despatched each night to remain at RA 8 Corps.

 

2 January 1945:  Painting of vehs and guns and general maintenance commenced. With the exception of night. Nov 44 this was the first time the Regt had been out of action since leaving L’aigle, Normandy on Aug 26, 1944.

19.00hrs Commanding Officer addressed all officers of the Regiment and gave details of operation role in rest area. Commanding Officers address followed by officers party in RHQ mess.

 

3 January 1945: Nothing to Report.

 

4 January 1945: 11.00hrs Information received from RA 8 Corps that enemy had sent strong patrol across river near Wannsum. Possible gun area NE of Horst recced by CO and 2IC. Regt not required to give assistance.

 

5 January 1945: Nothing to Report

 

6 January 1945: Nothing to Report

 

7 January 1945: CCRA 8 Corps, Brigadier A.H. Matthews,RA visited Regt and stayed to tea.

 

8 January 1945: CRA 11 Armd Division, Brigadier B.J. Fowler, DSO, MC, RA visited Regt and remained for lunch, Commanding Officer inspected 123and 124 Bty’s for cleanliness of eqpt and clothing.

 

9 January 1945: Commanding Officer inspected THQ and 125 Bty . Recce parties consisting of 2IC and CPOs proceeded to previous Regt area near Baexem to arrange take over from 25 Field Regiment. Ops ex 123 and 124 Bty joined Bns 15(S) Division 7 Seaforths and 2 KSLI respectively) who had taken over responsibilities on 159 Bde Sector.

 

10 January 1945: Regt moved back into action in previous gun area, starting 08.00hrs , in action 11.30hrs and hand over successfully completed.

 

11 January 1945: 00.30hrs, Scale 2 fired on sounds of enemy shouting on other side of the river. Coldest night experienced so far -21F frost. Little activity during the day.

 

12 January 1945: 02.00hrs Harrasing fire target shot on possible enemy crossing place. Sporadic enemy shelling of Beegden and Heel in the morning. Retaliation shoot carried out by HQRA on request Major Kreiser.

 

13.20hrs Captain Spence engaged suspected enemy location as troop target as retaliation for fire of enemy Neberlwerfer at 13.10hrs.

 

13 January 1945: 04.40hrs Spandau and mortar fire from the  East of the lock. Regt fired scale 3, tgt succesfull.

10.00hrs 100rpg dumped as preparation for 12 Corps attack towards R Roer.

 

14 January 1945: 08.30hrs 123 Bty engaged enemy patrol concealed by the mist and thought to be about to cross to 2 KSLI area.

 

15.40hrs Section target observed by fwd inf on barge mounted with MGs engaged near the island in bend in river. Regt on call from 17.45hrs onwards on 16 tgts arranged by Major Kreiser with 2 KSLI. Patrol from 2 KSLI made raid in area lock. Capt Spence with inf moved to posn approx. 700yards from river and prepared to call for fire.

 

22.22hrs Op successfully completed, no fire required. Commanding officer Lt/Col A.P. Trevor RA proceeded on leave and 2IC Maj A.F. Stanton RA assumed command.

 

15 January 1945: 125 Bty recced fwd posn, preparatory to moving forward to get extra range for 12 corps Op Blackcock (clearing up to R Roer NE of Sittard) regt on call 7 Armd Div, though in sp 159 Bde sector.

 

13.00hrs Infm received that 15 Jan D Day for Op.

17.50hrs Op postphoned.

21.35hrs H Hr for Op Blackcock to be 07.30hrs 16 Jan.

 

16 January 1945:  Regt fired CB programme in sp Op Blackcock., Major Mitchell and 125Bty Ops relieved, Major Kreiser and 124 Bty Ops with 2 KSLI., No further shooting throughout day and knight. Flying officer and RAF sergeant attd to Regt for two days to visit gun posns.

 

17 January 1945: 14.00hrs, 123 Bty engaged MG posts on East bank of R Maas.

15.40hrs Tgt in area Berkelaar engaged in Sp 7 Armd Div.

23.10hrs Aircraft flares and small bombs dropped near 123 Bty. No cas sustained, identity of aircraft not known.

 

18 January 1945: Two bombards in sp 7 Armd Div North of Echt, carried out during morning.

17.10hrs 123 Bty engaged approx. 80 enemy reported moving S from Roermond in batches of 7 accompanied by dogs pulling sledges.

17.50hrs Regt kept up harassing fire on rd running SE from Roermond.

23.10hrs V tgt engaged Scale5 in area Linne, movement of vehs reported. Regt fired total of 100rds HF on Linne during the night.

19 January 1945: 14.00hrs 125 Bty moved to forward position to cover phase Dolphin (capture of line Linne-Montfort)  of attack by 7 Armd Div.

22.00hrs Regt fired total of 100 rounds on each of 3 tgts in Linne area.

 

20 January 1945:  02.00hrs 123 and 124 Btys available to sprt strong patrol of 2 KSLI going to investigate “island” in bend over river. Patrol got onto Island and found enemy standing to and returned approx. 05.20hrs. No shooting during the day.

20.30hrs V tgt shot in area Sint joost.

 

21 January 1945: 1 Hereford having made a noise on west bank of river to get the enemy standing on the island, two M Tgts were shot scale 1 to hit the pronomotary of the island in the bend in the river. 100rds harassing fire put down NE of Linne during the night.

16.33hrs Enemy guns and mortars engaged with Air OP.

18.00hrs Series of harassing fire shit in sp 7 Armd Div on area 1000 NE of Montfort.

19.00hrs Captain N.W. Higgin RA relinquished apt of Adjt which he hsd held since Jan 1944. Capt Higgin posted to 124 Bty as Bty Capt vice Capt C.K.G Innes . Capt Innes was posted to 123 Bty as Tp Comd. Captain L.G. Heptinsall RA who joined Regt on attachment, assumed apt of Adjt.

 

22 January 1945: 100rds harassing fire punt down on area 1000yrds NW of Montfort during the night. The following personnel of the Regt were decorated by or received awards from Field-Marshall Sir Bernard Montgomery KCB, DSO; CinC 21 Army Group at Bishop College, Weert, Holland

 

Major W.N. Mitchell Military Cross

Lieutenant R.E. Hampton Military Cross

Lance-Bombardier R. Sim Military Medal

Gunner J. Prott Military Medal

RSM  J.S. Pocock C-in-C Certificate for Good Service

BQMS J. Merry C-inC Certificate for Good Service

 

Major A.F. Stanton RA and 1 officer and 9 ORs from the Regiment were present at the ceremony in addition to a/n.

12.00hrs 5 tgts shot in the Montfort area in support of 7 Armd Div.

14.00hrs Capt Innes Foo with 7 Seaforth moved forward to factory area to observe river line near Roermond throughout the day.

 

15.00hrs Capt Innes undertook destructive shoot on house occupied by the enemy on East bank, using 72 Medium Regiment. Several hits on tgts observed. 125Bty shot 36 propaganda shells on Linne during the afternoon. Shells contained leaflets showing German failure in the Ardennes. Capt E.J.N. Canvin RA proceeded to UK for training as Air OP pilot.

 

23 January 1945: 50 rds harassing fire shot in area E of Merum, during the night. 124 Bty shot propaganda shells into Herten, Merum, and Roermond during the morning.

19.55hrs Enemy Spandaus fring agains 1 Hereford as it was anticipated that these would be used by the enemy in pulling out of Linne.

22.00hrs Harassing fire put down on road NE of Roermond as sounds of transport moving into Roermond reported by 7 Seaforth.

 

 

24 January 1945: 100rds harassing fire during the night on main road running S from Roermond.

08.15hrs Single tgt shot rate 2 for 20 mins in sp attack on Linne by Commandos.

13.00hrs 124 bty shot propaganda shells on Merum, leerup and Roermond. Det army.

15.00hrs Film unit filmed the firing of the propaganda shell.

 

25 January 1945: 07.45hrs Fire plan (16rpg) fired on Linne in sp second attack on the town by Commandos (155bde).

11.00hrs infm received that adv party would move 26 jan to Div Rest area near Dixmuide, Belgium. 7 Seaforth relieved by 9 Para Bn 6 th Airborne Div area Horn, and Regts Ops also withdrawn, LO ex 123 Bty remained with 9 Para Bn.

 

26 January 1945:  Adv party consisting of 1 officer per bty/RHQ and total of 50 ORs proceeded to area Gits near Dixmuide Belgium.

Quiet day no targets engaged.

 

27 January 1945:  Fire plan in sp attack by Commandos on Island received. Commanding Officer Lt/Col A.P. Trevor RA, returned from leave in UK and resumed command.

23.47hrs Regt commenced shooting on Fire plan.

 

28 January 1945: 00.15hrs Fire plan completed.

09.12 Regt steady to shoot fire plan again as Commandos unsuccesful in night attack.

12.17hrs Regt stood down on Fire plan. One gun and det and 1 off ex 123 Bty proceeded to Lommel Arty Range, Belgium for practice shoot with 44 RTR of 4 Armd Bde. Object of practice to synchronise indirect arty fire with direct HE fire from tanks.

29 January 1945:  Red smoke at factory near Merum during the morning, two tgts shot scale 10 on factory area. Lt R.A.Goex proceeded on attachtment to RAF, Mitchel Sqdrn and subsequently flew with bomber force attacking Emmerich in Germany.

 

30 January 1945: Propaganda shell fired by 124Bty on the Island Merum and Ool, Two U tgts shot approx. 12.00hrs, otherwise quiet day.

 

31 January 1945: All offcrs on advance party for op Squirrel less Captain N.W. Higgin RA returned to Regt. Thaw set in.

 

1 February 1945: Heavy thaw continued.

 

2 February 1945: 46 Commando relieved 1 Hereford in area Heel and come under command 6 Airborne Div, Regt under command 6 Airborne Div and in sp 46 Commando w.e.f 12.00hrs, 2 February. Capt J.D. Rolfe and one OP ex 123 Bty joined 46 Commando at Heel. Regt remained under 11 Armd Div for adm.

18.57hrs Infm received that Op Squirrel cancelled and adv parties being recalled. Lt Rose rejoined Regt having been evacuated with sickness on 30 Oct.

 

3 February 1945: In view of state of roads due to thaw, all vehicles banned using them except, Jeeps, MCs and Staff Cars. Regt on call to 7 Armd div for DF tasks on their sector E of River Maas.

 

4 February 1945: Very quiet day. 23.40hrs 123 Bty engaged enemy MGs shooting at own troops holding lock from the Island.

5 February 1945: HF programme against enemy holding out on Island arranged for night 5/6. Object to prevent enemy bringing up supplies to the island garrison. Between 18.40-08.4hrs 123 Bty fired a total of 218rds on the island.

 

6 February 1945: 09.30hrs Commanding Officer attended conference for gunner Cos at 11 Armd div to obtain details of future ops. Propaganda shells fired on area Merum at last night. Leaflets gave details of latest Russian success on the Eastern Front. 123 Bty fired another HF programme on the island throughout night 6/7 february.

 

7 February 1945: CO and 2IC recced gun area NE of Horst for Op Ventilate (proposed attack across R.Maas North of Venlo) with special reference to dumping of 600rpg in view of boggy state of ground. Appreciation of situation regarding proposed gun area of Regt and 25 Fd Regt and dumping of ammunition written by Lt/Col A.P. Trevor and submitted to 8 Corps.

12.15Hrs Regt shot HF programme.

 

8 February 1945: 02.00hrs Capt Rolfe with 46 Cdo reported that 11 deserters had come across the river from the island during the day, incl a CSM. Pws testified to the demoralising effect of regts constant HF shoots but stated that few Germans had been killed owing to their well built earthworks. PWs were distinctly browned off and also stated that the remainder of the men on the island were only prevented from deserting  by the strong personality of the officer in charge of the island garrison. OP from 123 Bty at Beegden, engaged any enemy who showed themselves on the island during the day.

 

9 February 1945:  Commanding officer evacuated to hospital sick. 2IC Major A.F. Stanton received MBE on 1 february  assumed command.

14.20hrs Fireplan Deceitful received from 6 Airborne Div. This was to be part of deception plan of 8 Corps Arty to mislead the enemy into thinking a crossing was being made between Roermond and Venlo whilst 9 US army attacked across the river roer (Op Grenade). Regt to fire 200rds on Gebroek from H+30 to H+60 H.Hr to be 07.15 10 Feb,

20.00hrs H Hr from deceitful post phoned to 07.15hrs 11 Feb.

 

10 February 1945: Major Stanton proceeded on recce area Posterholt in view of new plan involving take over by 11Armd div of area at present held sour of Roer by 7 Armd Div.

Regt take over from 3RHA. Major Stnaton and his driver, Gunner Bourton became the first Ayrshire Yeoman to enter Germany, crossing the border at Waldfeucht.

18.15hrs Infm received that Fire plan Deceitful post phoned indefinitely.

 

11 February 1945:  Quiet day. 123 Bty engaged enemy dug outs on the island. Conference for BCs held in the morning to give known details of possible future ops.

 

12 February 1945: 46 Cdo relieved by Birmingham Highlanders (Coy 5 Para Bde) in area Heel-Beegden. Major Mitchell and OP ex 125 Battery relieved Captain Rolfe and OP ex 123 bty in this area.

Appreciation of sp given by Regt 46Cdo as at Appx “A”. Conference of recce parties held at 14.00hrs to give details of gun area to be taken over from 7 Armd div.

 

13 February 1945: Gun and det loaned by Regt to 8 Corps for rafting trails on R Maas. Recce parties proceeded to new gun area across R.Maas. Owing to flooding of river caused by blowing of Roer dams by the enemy, complete recce parties not permitted to cross the pontoon bridge at Maeseck which seemed likely to be destroyed. Survey officer and Signals officer only allowed across and Survey data of new area obtained.

19.00hrs Infm received that 11 Armd Div at 24hrs notice to move to Reichswald Forest area to reinforce attack of 1 Cdn Army.

During the past 10 days, owing to thaw and consistent rain making tracks largely impassable, 124 and 125Bty were almost inaccesible to wheeled vehicles. 124 Bty utilished Dutch farmer cart to bring up rations from road. As far as possible all tgts engaged by 123 Bty which could get ammunition to the guns most easily. 124 and 125 Btys compelled to repair tracks with rubble and logs in case of quick move.

 

14 February 1945: Nothing to report.

 

15 February 1945: 15.00hrs, Conference for harbour parties at Tilburg, who subsequently went to Bursu in endeavour to find conc area for regt. Enemy “Lockforce” engaged . Rowing boat observed in that area, but all attempts to destroy in unsuccessful.

 

16 February 1945: Quiet day, Regiment prepared to move to Wortel, Belgium.

 

17 February 1945: Regiment moved from Baexem to Belgium.