344 Search Light Battery

 

21 September 1944: Message from C Troop Cdn that Troop moving to area WESTERHOVEN and on to previous light operations. B Troop again exposed over ESCAUT canal for operations take up place on the other side. No  news form A Troop yet. B Troop advanced in support 15 Scottish Div to ares EINDHOVEN. C Troop provided movement light for Corps move along road LOMMEL - EINDHOVEN with excellent results.

 

22 September 1944: Message received from B Troop comd regarding movement and operations of Troop in night of 21/22 September. No news yet from A Troop. Orders received form 12 Corps to move  Battery HQ REME workshop to area HEERS.

 

23 September 1944: Battery REME move to area HEERS and arrive complete 1030 hrs. B Troop had one section deployed for bridging operations on canal NW of EINDHOVEN on night 22/23 September. Information received via 12 Corps that A Troop ae present cut off in area NEDERASSELT near NIJMEGEN owing to severing of corridor so no news yet of their   movements or operations. C Troop provided two lights for illumination of main routes up EINDHOVEN corridor.

 

24 September 1944: Battery remains in harbour of HEERS. C Troop move from WESTERHOVEN to area EERSEL then keeping position into 53 Div. B Troop remain in area ZEELST with 15 Scottish Div having provided two lights on  night 23/24 for illumination of traffic routes. C Troop provided light for attack by 160 Inf Bde WEEBOSCH.

 

25 September 1944: B Troop remains at HEERS. Still no possible contact with A Troop. B and C Troops expose as before with successful results. 

 

26 September 1944: Contact with A Troop nearly possible and definitely arranged for O.C. to visit tomorrow if situation continues and improves. B Troop again exposed for 15 Scottish Div in connection with bridgehead ove EINDHOVEN Canal.

 

27 September 1944: Contact with A Troop and find out that everything under control. Troop  deployed in defence of AA role of river bridge at GRAVE a task which Troop as been peforming for past four days. Troop Comd report on operations appended to this ?? Batteryy also to supply requierments and also services B.L.C. equipment. B & C Troops exposed as on previous nights for ?? tasks.

 

28 September 1944:  Battery remains at HEERS and Troop remain operationally employed as before. B Troop move to new location with 15 Scottish Div to area RACAT?.

 

29 September 1944: Troops stick operationally employed an before A Troop with 30 Corps at GRAVE. C Troop with 53 Div near STEENSEL. B Troop move to new location at ST. OEDENRODE with 15 Scottish Div. Battery still under command (less 3 Troops as stated above) RA 12 Corps.

 

30 September 1944: Further visit to A Troop by O.C. arrangements made to detach Telecom Section of REME workshops to this Troop for a few days to straighten out certain difficulties according in connection with SLC equipment. This Troop was now forfilling duel role at GRAVE in command AA defence of bridge and in protection of river with reference of various possible forms of night attack on the bridge. B Troop deployed and exposed in support 15 Scottish Div. No operations by C Troop.

 

1 October 1944: Orders received form RA 12 Corps that Battery HQ REME workshop and one Troop (at present in support 53 Div) came under command 100 AA Bde (in 30 Corps) and would move forthwith to HQ 100 Bde area NIJMEGEN. A Troop already under command 100 AA Bde report in defence of river bridge at GRAVE. B Troop provided movement light in support 15 Scottish Div with satisfactory results. C Troop no operations.

 

2 October 1944: Bty HQ REME workshop together with C Troop (53 Div) leave HEERS and STEENSEL respectively and move to area GRAVE. Situation to Batteries future committments not clear. Battery command to 100 Bde and position eventually clarified to the extent that A and C Troops of this Battery were to relieve 1 Troop 474 (Independent) S.L. Battery and 1 Troop 557 (Independent) S.L. Battery from S.L. defences of NIJMEGEN. The whole S.L. defence was taken over by O.C. Battery form O.C. 2 S.L./ LAA Battery and to consist (as stated above) of A & C Troops 344 Battery together with certain S.Ls from 2 SL/LAA Battery. Harbour area for A and C Troops recced at GRAVE and instructions given to move to NIJMEGEN following morning. In the meantime B Troop remain behind with 15 Scottish Div at ST OEDENRODE and anticipates that this Troop is becoming under command 51 Highlands Div who are relieving 15 Scottish Div.

 

3 October 1944: O.C. 344 Battery takes over S.L. defence of NIJMEGEN at this time. Troops A.& C take over and relieve the two Troops of 474 and 557 (Indep) S.L. Batteries on stated during the day. Battery HQ REME workshops move to new location in NIJMEGEN. Discussions between O.C. and 100 Bde S.L. Battery coming in the next day to relieve S.L.s of 2 SL/LAA Battery.

 

4 October 1944: Message recieved from O.C. B Troop that his Troop has come under command 51 Highland Div. on from this time and that movement light was going to be provided for this Div as soon as details has been settled, no operations by B Troop on night of 3/4 Oct. Excellent future paid verbally by B.M.R.A. 15 Scottish Div to O.C. B Troop on work done during their period under command and hope remains that Div R.A. would have the use of their Troop S.L. again in the near future. A Troop 356 (Indep) S.L. Battery take over river defence of VA from 2 SL/LAA Battery. Situation now being that 344 (Indep) S.L. Battery (less one troop) is responsible for RA defence of the bridge and one Troop of 356 Battery responsible in a ground role only for defence of river and illumination of some against possible attack on bridge from floating mines, divers an similar methods of attack. This Troop not under command or in any way connected with 344 but under separate command dealing with the easter and western approaches to the bridge. 344 Battery (certain specified ?? only) to support 356 in their task but in a secondary role only from primary task being the R.A. aspect. Both A & C Troops exposed into eventually throughout the night that allthough several attacks appeared imminent none of them materialised to any extract. Heavy shelling experienced most of the night.

 

5 October 1944: Situation remains the same as reports A & C Troops  but their S.L.positions altered quite considarally and brought for the most part closer in, the whole S.L. defence being now co-ordinated and placed on an more suitable and practical lay out by O.C. Battery. B Troop still with 51 Highland Div - no operations. Night operations by A & C Troops similar to previous night. Fairly heavy shelling both by day and night.

 

6 October 1944: Night operations for night of 5/6 still on a small scale as far as S.L. are concerned the enemy at present relying on shelling rather than aircraft as a means of attack upon the bridge. Operation order issued down to detachments dealing briefly with task in hand and nature of reports requires to A.A.O.R. Quite a number of exposures by both A & C Troops on attack on bridge. Targets chiefly at medium height between 6000 and 9000 feet. A few illumimations but no aircraft brought down. B Troop come under command 53 Div and receive instructions to proceed to harbour area at NIJMEGEN - no operations by this Troop in the meantime.

 

7 October 1944: B Troop arrive at new location N.W. of NIJMEGEN bridge. The nature of their operations not yet known. Very restrickted air activity over VA. Weather including low hazy growing to fog later in te night. One or two aircraft only approached and no attacks materialised. B Troop stated not operational. Night 7/8 Oct.

 

8 October 1944: Uneventful day and no attacks made on V.A. during night of 8/9 Oct. Intermittant shelling by both site. No operations by B Troop.

 

9 October 1944: Night of 9/10. Heavy shelling by enemy during most of the night but no casualties to personnel and only minor damage to equipment all repaired by unit. S.L.s of A & C Troops engaged a few aircraft which approached V.A. between 2200 and 2300 hrs but owing to very low cloud and poor visibility only one illumination obtained. No reporst of bombs being dropped.

 

10 October 1944: Weather very bad. Nothing to report form AA aspect for light operations on night of 10/11 Oct. C Troop S.L. assistes in bridge illumination.

 

11 October 1944: Battery collected from Lyon Lights to be used experimentely for illumination of bridge at NIJMEGEN and so, if successful 6 release S.L.s of 356 Battery at present deployed in this capacity, necessary arrangements made for this. Operation order issued on the subjects. Experiment proved that light were not successful from positions originally selected and they were accordingly moved to positions on the boom itself. See how this would work. No operation by Troops and no enemy arial activity in vincinity of the bridge on night 11/12 Oct.

 

12 October 1944: Arrangements made that control of Lyon Light should be by this Battery but they would be manned by personnel of A Troop 356 Battery for the time being serving to operational commitments and personnel available. Further trials on these lights ?? for the evening, which proved that they were far more satisfactory of placed on the boom rather than on the bridge itself. Still  no operations by B Troop. A & C Troop each exposed six of seven times on aircraft operating over by V.A. but owing to cloud base being low and targets flying above it illuminations few and identification difficult. All those which were identified proved to be friendly. Night 12/13.

 

13 October 1944: Arrangements made for further experiments with the River lighting (both S.L. and Lyon) to overcome complaints from the infantry patrols of silhouetting difficulty being to strike a happy medium between illumination required for gunners to shot and possibility of there ? to search light and so light up infantry. Several methods triad out an information thereon continues in operation order appended. No enemy aricraft attacked V.A. during night of 13/14 and no report of any operations from B Troop.

 

14 October 1944: Uneventful day and no reports of enemy activity at night of 13/14 over V.A. B Troop deployed 3 S.L.s in support 53 Div in an movement light role. Night 14/15.

 

15 October 1944: Nothing to report as far as aerial activity over the V.A. was concerned. B Troop deployed one section in support 53 Div and provided illumination for traffic movements into extremely satisfactory results. Further experiments carried out with Lyon Lights so as not to interface with infantry patrols. Night 15/16.

 

16 October 1944: Nothing to report during the day only one aircraft approached the V.A. during the night. This was engaged but no illumination owing to is being above cloud, believed friendly. B Troop again deployed in support 53 and provides movement light for traffic movement. Night 16/17.

 

17 October 1944: Major J.D. REEKIE IS G.H.Q. R.A. Troops reference various points concerning equipment Radar and communications. The possibility of altering the 1098 sculs for mobile S.L. Batterues and war establishments. There fully discussed with him by O.C. Battery and various conclusions arrived at which Major REEKIE took back with him. Further conference at 100 AA Bde reference resiting of certain S.L. positions in view of possible floading and also more permanent protective constructions work for S.L. sites in view of approaching winter. The aircraft appeared over the V.A. and was engaged and illuminated by S.L.s. Bombs dropped to the east of the V.A. No other operations night 17/18.

 

18 October 1944: Conference with Troops Comds ? arrangements on sites and obtainly of R.E. services to help with same placements and situation generally. Also resiting of certain positions in view of danger of floading. Orders received for B Troop (still in support 53 Div) to move west of GRAVE to area BERGHEM. Three targets approached V.A. between these hrs but no hostile cut committed. Weather cloudy and misty. Their target illuminated and identified as Mosquito. Night 18/19.

 

19 October 1944:  New operation order isssued coming alterations in lay out mentioned above and further clarifying certain points. No enemy activity by day and only very slight during night 19/20. Only one enemy aircraft approaches V.A. and no hostile acts committed. One or two unidentified targets were engaged and illuminated by S.L.s but these proved on illumination to be recaptured as friendly.

 

20 October 1944: Lt D.M. ROWSE posted to Battery as reinforcement and to bring unit strength of officers up to scale. Two O.R. reinforcements also received. B Troop now in harbour area HEESCH pending operations with 53 Div. Nothing to report either by day or night of attacks against V.A. NIJMEGEN. Night 20/21.

 

21 October 1944: Two F.W. 190 made dive attack on bridge but no damage or casualties to this unit. Visit by OC. to B Troop and general inspection therefore. B Troop remain in harbour. No enemy aircraft attackes V.A. but target engaged and illiminated by S.L.s of both Troop travelling at great spead, identificaiton confirmed by L.A.A. positions to be ME 262.

 

22 October 1944: Uneventful day and no enemy air activity night 22/23. Slight intermittant shelling both during day and night. Report received form B Troop that six S.L.s were deployed to light routes to 'S-HERTOGENBOSCH and were exposed successfully.

 

23 October 1944: Nothing to report during the day and no enemy air activity over V.A. during the night. Heavy shelling however and one Leyland S.L. generator received a direct hit putting it O.O.R. No casualties to personnel. Report from B Troop that they deployed over ROSMALEN to provide movement lights for final attack 'S-HERTOGENBOSCH remained exposed all night 23/24.

 

24 October 1944: Instructions received for O.C. to visit 43 Div to discuss movement light proposals. O.C. returns and reports no recce of positions for possible future operations. Position with report to I.F.F. Radar equipment becoming daily more serious as now these positions have not been in action. Shatter again taken up strongly with brigade was in turn put a further strong plea up to ? for replacement of transformers (the component which constantly burned out). B Troop moved their H.Q. further West to area NULAND. Fairly heavy shelling of the V.A. during the night but very slight areal activity. Only three targets come over which were engaged by S.L.s. Two were unidentified owing to low cloud but their illuminated and identified ad F.W. 190. No hostile acts committed by aircraft. B Troop again exposed to provide artificial moonlight for bridging operations in area 'S-HERTOGENBOSCH and remained in action all night 24/25.

 

25 October 1944: Orders issued with report to the introduction of an Air O.P. over V.A. commencing 26 Oct. B Troop move their H.Q. location up to two sites of ' S-HERTOGENBOSCH . No enemy activity of any kind over V.A. B Troop deployed five detachments to provide light over various parts of 'S-HERTOGENBOSCH for mapping up operation and remained exposed throughout the night 25/26.

 

26 October 1944: Visit from Brigadier F.N CROSSE M.C. commanding 100 AA Bde who inspected a number of the S.L. positions. No enemy air activity over V.A. during the day and night. B Troopm move their I.H.Q. to 'S-HERTOGENBOSCH itself for further operations. 3 OR casualties on B Troop but none serious. No operations by B Troop night 26/27.

 

27 October 1944: Further recce by O.C. for positions for further movement light operations. Visit by 2 i/c to B Troop to clear up on position afer enemy shelling and necessary steps later on. Conference at Brigade reference possible illuminations of routes for certain prospected movement north of river WAAL. No operations by B Troop night 27/28. One unidentified aircraft flew overV.A. but weather conditions very poor and no illumination possible.

 

28 October 1944: Uneventful day. A number of aricraft flew ove V.A. during the night 28/29 some of which were identified as friendly others unidentified owing to low cloud but none of them appeard hostile and no hostile acts committed. No report from B Troop and no operations.

 

29 October 1944: Uneventful day and no enemy air activity over V.A. during the night 29/30. No operations by B Troop.

 

30 October 1944: Instructions received from 100 AA Bde with reference to steps to be taken if  enemy decided to float ground North of river WAAL. This necessitates movement of these of the S.L. positions form North & South of the River. Fresh recce made by Troop Commander and warning orders issued to positions effected. No enemy air activity over V.A. during night 30/31. No operations by B Troop but warning orders received by them with reference to possible future move S.E.

Lt TRUPHET posted to Battery and placed on strenght of B Troop.

 

31 October 1944: B Troop move to new location area BREE still in support 53 Div. No enemy activity over V.A. during night of 31/1st Nov. Long discussions by O.C. with 100 Brigade with reference to future accomodation problems in the town, the action to be taken as far as this unit was concerned which would see ? the moving of also possible B echelon transport and personnel South of GRAVE,and also possible future changes in Batteries committments.

 

1 November 1944: Conference with Troop Commanders and O.C. REME workshops and putting over and making necessary preparations and arrangements to put into force proposed changes to deal with accomodation situation generally. No enemey air activity over V.A. during night of 1/2 Nov. One target engaged and illuminated and identified as friendly. No report of any operations by B Troop.

2 November 1944: Visit by O.C. with Troop Commander concerned to formations and units (inclusing American) affected by possible evacuation of land North of River WAAL and necessary adjustments made in scheme to provide movement light to arrive in this operation. The unidentified aircraft flew over V.A. and was engaged by S.Ls and guns. No illumination owing to cloud and no hostile act committed. Night 2/3. No operations by B Troop.

 

3 November 1944: Uneventful day and nothing to report A, B and C Troops for night of 3/4.

 

4 November 1944: Visit from Brigadier HIRE (Brigadier A.A. Middle East) and Lt Col BRACKET to discuss artificial moonlight with O.C. Battery.

Visit by O.C. to 356 (Indep) S.L. Battery for the purpose of lecturing and instructing their officers in the artificial moonlight and movement light role. No operation yet by B Troop in their new location. Quite a number of aircraft engaged over the V.A. at various heights during the night. Several shoot illuminations were obtained and most of the aircraft seem to be friendly. S.Ls still several handclipped have by being unable to use their I.F.F. owing to many sets still being out of order with burnt out transformers on reported and stressed previously to lighter authority but spares still unobtainable. None of these aircraft made any attack on the V.A. but substantial Radar interference experienced. A few Rockets (believed) also engaged during the early part of the night 4/5 Nov.

 

5 November 1944: A few enemy aircraft in the vicinity of the V.A. during the night of 5/6 Nov but no hostile acts committed. One of these targets illuminated by A Troop claimes to be Heinkel 111 others on identification ground in the majority friendly and Mosquitos. No operations by B Troop.

 

6 November 1944: Fair amount of aerial activity over V.A. during the early part of the night. Several targets flew oer at heights ranging between 10-20.000 ft but no hostile sets committed. A number of these targets identified as friendly, one illuminated and several covers obtained by S.Ls. Nothing to report from B Troop Night 6/7. Lt FLOOD posted from Battery to R.H.U. OSTEND.

 

7 November 1944: Arrangements set in motion for champing over fuel consumed by S.L. Leyland generators from 80 octane petrol to petrol spirit ? as experiments recently carried out by REME workshops prove this to be a considerable saving in miner repairs en replacements at the same time giving longer life to be engines which ar having to do stationary better performance. This change over will probably have to be gradual owing to large quantity received for initial outlay and limited supplies available. No enemey activity over V.A. either by day or night 7/8.

 

8 November 1944: Uneventful day and no enemy air activity over V.A. during night 8/9.

 

9 November 1944: Warning order received from 100 AA Bde that Battery less one Troop moving 11/12 Nov to 12 Corps ares. Details of exact time and place of move not yet available but necessary preparations set in motion as far as possible. Battery being relieved in its commitments at V.A. NIJMEGEN by 356 (Indep) S.L. Battery R.A. No enemy air activity over V.A. during night of 9/10. Nothing to report from B Troop who however anticipate operation beginning during the next few days in which they will be required to provide artificial moonlight., Lt ROWSE posted from Battery to 10 Garrison EINDHOVEN their making the Battery one down in strenght of officers.

 

10 November 1944: Orders received from 74 AA Bde (who have relieved 100 AA Bde at NIJMEGEN) for Battery less on Troop to move to area MAARHEEZE. 356 (Indep) S.L. Battery taking over this Batteries commitments on the mornig of 11 November. Enemy air activity on a larger scale night 10/11 Nov. The target identified on illumination as a Heinkle 111 and engaged by L.A.A. Fairly considerable cloud made illumination and identification of other targets difficult. Nothing to report from B Troop.

 

11 November 1944: Officers report to R.A. 12 Corps for orders recce parties dispatched for harbour area at MAARHEEZE. B.H.Q. REME workshops and A & C  Troops leave NIJMEGEN arrive area VALKENSWAARD 2230 hrs. Harbour for the night. Officer reportes that on Troop were required for an A.A. role at WEERT the other Troop to provide movement light for 51 Highland Div.

 

12 November 1944: Conference O.C. reports to 12 Corps. A Troop Commander reports to A.A.O.R. at WEERT. C Troop commander reports to CRA 51 Div. B Troop remains in support 53 Div. Position now appeares that A Troop lately to join C Troop in support 51 Div very shortly and Battery to come under direct command R.A.A. Corps. No operations by Troops on night of 12/13 Nov.

 

13 November 1944: B.H.Q. REME move to new harbour area N.W. of VALKENSWAARD. A Troop now deployed round WEERT and C Troopall set with recces made ready to deploy in support 51 Div. No further repot from B Troop. A Troop now relieved of AA role round WEERT and go to join C Troop in support 51 Div the following day with orders to deploy operationally the next night (14/15 Nov). No operations by Troops this night 13/14 except decoy work by C Troop.

 

14 November 1944: Visit by O.C. to C Troop and 51 Div to the exact position. Battery Capt to 100 AA Bde and ? now submitted for a find G.S. 3 Ton 4x4 Wagon to replace Leyland generator brought up at NIJMEGEN as no other Leyland of other suitable S.L. Generators available either here apparently in England. This will mean B.H.Q. now carry only one spare generator instead of two for the time being.

Orders received that Battery now placed under command 12 Corps direct. Both A & C Troops deployed and provided movement light for operations by 51 Div across canals to N.E. and S.E. of WEERT. Operation went very successfully and searchlights targets contributed to the success and remained exposed (4 lights per Troop) throughout most of the intensitivity of the night. B Troop exposed to assists in bridging operations and traffic movement in support 53 Div.

 

15 November 1944: Visit by Battery Capt to all three Troops and check up generally A Troop move in support 49 Div and leave 51 Div so that present position is that Battery H.Q. & REME workshops are under command R.A. 12 Corps and the 3 Troops under command respectivily 49, 53 & 51 Divs all in 12 Corps. A very satisfactory and workable set up for the unit at last. C Troop move to area NEDERWEERT and exposed night 15/16 in support 51 Div. A & C Troops also allotted tasks in connection with movement light ? successful. Leyland generators beginning to become troublesome and no remaining spare onw now O.O.A.

 

16 November 1944: Visit by O.C. to Troops. Reinforcements at last beginning to come through. Battery advised of the ORs who are on their way but not yet available for collection. All three Troops deployed and reported as before.

 

17 November 1944: Strong letter by O.C. to R.A. 12 Corps stressing the seriousness of the position regarding generators and again putting forward alternative suggestions for a W.E. for Battery engaged solely onan artificial moonlight role. All three Troops deployed and remained exposed throughout the night carrying out tasks respectively allotted by Divs.

 

18 November 1944: Battery H.Q. move to area WEERT leaving REME workshops at VALKENSWAARD to complete certain jobs in hand. Arrive 1100 hrs Report received on recent operations carried out by Battery Troop. Nine O.R. reinforcements received and posted B Troops. All these Troops again deployed and exposed carrying out Div tasks. A, B & C Troop H.Q.s move forward respectivily towards River REUSE.

 

19 November 1944:  Two more O.R. reinforcements received from R.H.U. A & C Troops deployed artificial moonlight as before. B Troop provided illumination for bridge building operations.

 

20 November 1944: Uneventful day. No operations by A Troop. Both B & C Troops deployed and exposed throughout the night, the lights of B Troop being used for decoy purposes towards ROERMOND to mislead enemy into true position of 51 Div in whole support C Troop were providing movement light.

 

21 November 1944: All three Troops fully active and very successful engaged on night 21/22. A Troop provided movement light for infantry attack. B Troop exposed in connection with clearing the enemy from a wood and also from West bank of river MAAS opposite ROERMOND. C Troop exposed in support 51 Div and compatulated by CRA on excelent performance. Both A & C Troops particularly the taken subjects to shelling and bombing. Two of C Troop positions received direct attacks from enemy aircraft. No casualties to personnel but 2 M/cs written off and three Leylands superficially damaged. The Battery equipment now definitely beginning to show (as had been pointed out before on several occasions) signs of strain owing to nightly continnous and lenghtly exposing. The present equipment never being intended to survive the intense heat produced and long stationary running hours. By hasty and improvised repairs and various other ? S.Ls and managing to deep in action but unless rest equipment becomes available on less strain and more overhead allowed to recisting items it cannot be long before the crack up begins. R.A. 12 Corps consistant of the facts and various suggestions being considered (including the bringing into use of an extremely fresh W.E) to cope with the inevitable situation developing.

22 November 1944: Weather conditions appalling all day, A Troop provided one S.L. for illumination and four for infantry movement. C. Troop again deployed in support 51 Div as before.

 

23 November 1944: Weather stillvery bad, and nothing to report during the day. A Troop deployed for traffic route illumination BERINGEN HELDEN also area MAASBREE. B Troop illuminates stretches of river MEUSE to illuminate evening crossings after dark and also  secondary task provided movement light for 53 Div. No operations by C Troop this night. Replacement Leyland long received in respect of one of the deficiencies.

 

24 November 1944: Submission to 12 Corps R.A. by O.C. on request and after considerally research work and review of whole situation based Batteries experiences in the field for the past frou months of suggested fresh WE for a field S.L. Battery R.A. (mobile) and A Field S.L. Battery workshop REME to deal with S.Ls engaged on artificial moonlight and to overcome the difficulties in which this unit now found itself as a result of unsuitable equipment as too many years standing. C Troop came under command 49 Div and during the night combined with A Troop in provising  illumination for patrols on the Div front and route lightning area MAASBREE. B Troop performed similar task to previous night.

 

25 November 1944: Uneventful day. All 3 Troops performed similar tasks to the previous night. A & C in support 49 Div and B in support 53 Div.

 

26 November 1944: B.H.Q. leave area WEERT and move to new H.Q. area HELDEN and arrive complete at 1300 hrs. REME workshops move to ares BEMMINGEN. C Troop move to new location ares SEVENUM. All three Troops in action as on previous two nights.

 

27 November 1944: Owing to increased enemy air activity during night of 25/26. B Troop deploy in A.A. role one section North and one Sout of 53 Div H.Q. Battery no hostile attacks developed night 26/27. C Troop no operations but A Troop again deployed for traffic movements.

 

28 November 1944: A Troop comes under command 53 Div and C Troop reports to 112 LAA Regt on 49 Div leaving the area. Both Troops deploy in AA role A Troop area HEYTHUIZEN and C Troop area MAASBREE-HELDEN. The position of the movement being that all three Troops are deployed in A.A. role, A & B with 53 Div and C in support 112 LAA These deployments in fact in the nature of 'gesture' deployments in view of heavy enemy air attacks on night of 27/28 Nov and to deal with any possible recurrences. There were none on night 28/29 and no operational exposures took place.

 

29 November 1944: Situation remains unchanged except that A Troop Commander reports to 15 Scottish Div in view of his Troop coming under command the next day and future provision of artificial moonlight for this Div for which his Troop will be responsable. No operations by Troops still their deployed in A.A. role.

 

30 November 1944: Further Leyland generator received this bringing Battery up to strength in that respect with two spare S.L. lorries held in Battery H.Q. in reserve. Position with regard to Leyland S.L. . points replacement appears to be imposing considerably.

 

1 December 1944: A Troop under command 15 (S) Div for provision of movement light. B Troop under command 53 (W) Div for similar purpose but at present deployed in two sections at ROGGEL and BAEXEM respectivily in A.A. role, C Troop under command 344 Battery but in support 112 LAA Regt for defence of AGRA in area. No enemy air activity and no operations by Troops this night.

 

2 December 1944: Uneventful day with very bad weather. No operations by A or B Troops but C Troop exposed and provided movement light for infantry patrols.

 

3 December 1944: Consultations with R.A. 12 Corps on to immediate future of Battery in view of operations situation. Rest period suggestes for both men and equipment. Nothing is report from B and C Troop but A Troop provided route lighting in support 15 (S) Div throughout the entire night.

 

4 December 1944: Further suggestions ? to Battery's future and it now appears that A & C Troops with witdraw at a time and a place is be ordered later for maintenance overhaul and rest, B Troop remain with 53 Div. A & C Troops will be in 12 Corps reserve. A & C Troops both exposed three beams each for movement in support 15 (S) Div. Nothing to report from B Troop.

 

5 December 1944: Nothing to report during the day. A & C Troops again both provided movement light in support 15 (S) Div. No operations by B Troop.

 

6 December 1944: Orders received from R.A. 12 Corps to move Battery H.Q. REME workshops less one Troop to area NEDERWEERT fo harbouring rest on maintenance on 8th Dec. Recce of proposed place made by O.C. and subsequently away to far above to be moved on Dec 7th. Visit from B Troop Commander reporting to the effect that his Troop allthough in support 53 Div was virtually resting and that he had arranged with the CRA to harbour his Troop for rest and maintenance of equipment in area STROUBE where it was conveniently placed if called upon a short notice. A Troop again exposed for traffic route illumination in support 15 (S) Div. No operations by B or C  Troops.

 

7 December 1944: Battery move to area NEDERWEERT and later over accommodations on holding party for REME workshops and A & C Troops. Arrangements completes for arrival and move of workshop and Troops. REME to move Dec 8, A Troop to move Dec 9 and C Troop Dec 8. No operations by C Troop but B Troop exposed for one hour during the night for the purpose of unit change over, and A Troop exposed during the early point of the night for 5 (S) Div.

 

8 December 1944: REME workshops arrive in NEDERWEERT. C Troop arrive in NEDERWEERT. Letter received from Lt Gen N.M. RITCHIE commanding 12 Corps congratulating the unit on its work done in movement light role and recording his appreciation of the success of units operations. No operations by B & C Troop, but A Troop exposed throughout the night in support 15 (S) Div.

 

9 December 1944: O.C. to conference at 2 nd Army with report his proposed new establishment for a Field Mobile S.L. Battery. Both A & C Troops come into 12 Corps reseve and are now under command to Battery under 12 Corps A.A. direct. A Troop arrive in NEDERWEERT complete. Battery REME workshops and A & C Troops now concentrates these for rest maintenance training and overhaul. B Troop deployed S.Ls for operations area ROERMOND in support 158 Bde 53 (W) Div.

 

10 December 1944: Church parade at Battery H.Q. maintenance and overhaul of equipment planned and commanced. B Troop  exposed throughout the night with H S.Ls in connection with mopping up enemy bridgehead on railway bridge over river MAAS at ROERMOND. Training directive for Troops during overhaul ad rest period issued.

 

11 December 1944: Continuation of cleaning overhaul & maintenance of equipment. B Troop had two detachments deployed at BAEXEM for illumination of area around railway bridge of ROERMOND. Also arrangements made and approved by CRA 53 Div to deploy from detachments to BREE for period of 48 hrs in connection with movement light demarcation.

 

12 December 1944: Maintenance continues. Arrangements set in motion for one of certain ranges near BOURGE LEOPOLD and mines instructions. B Troop deployed 2 S.Ls  as on previous night.

 

13 December 1944: O.C. REME workshops to 2nd Army Rear for conference to proposed new W.E. for Field S.L. Battery REME workshops. Seven O.R. reinforcements received. B Troop deployed as on the previous night.

 

14 December 1944: Training & overhaul continues af per programme. B Troop deployed 2 S.Ls as before and in addition 5 S.Ls area BREE in connection with movement lights. Demonstration   mentioned above, this being a rehearsel only.

15 December 1944: Officer & Sgt Reps to Mines Museum at BOURGE LEOPOLD. B Troop deployed 2 lights as before.

 

16 December 1944: Remaining Officers & Sgts to Mines Museum at BOURGE LEOPOLD. Training and overhaul conttinued throughout the day. B Troop carried out movement light demonstration in area BREE, various infantry operations being stayed in complete darkness, then with S.Ls behind giving light and finally with S.Ls exposing towards spectations showing how difficult it is to perceive movement of Troops when facing beams. Orders received from 12 Corps R.A. that on Recce party to fresh accommodation wast to be prepared to move on 17 Dec. B Troop reverted from under command 53 (W) Div to 344 S.L. Battery.

 

17 December 1944: Orders received from R.A. 12 Corps for recce party to proceed forth with to area GENVAL. O.C. to 12 Corps to be given operational picture, position then given that Battery complete with all three Troops  to move to area GENVAL during the coming week. Recce party departs. Visit from O.C. B Troop and arrangements made for the move of this Troop to NEDERWEERT on 18 Dec to rejoin Battery already harboured there. No operations by any Troop all three now being in harbour.

 

18 December 1944: Arrival of B Troop complete at NEDERWEERT. Reparation in view of somewhat continual and considerally increased evening air activity of Defence plan for area NEDERWEERT against possitive paratroop attacks similar to these made by the enemy on Southern sections of the front.

 

19 December 1944: Visit form L.O. 12 Corps with inf that probably Battery complete ?? to receive movement order later in the day. Movement order and warning order received for Battery to proceed to area SITTARD to take over commitment form 356 (Troops) S.L. Battery. Necessary arrangements made.

 

20 December 1944: O.C. & Troop Commander recce parties leave for 356 S.L. Battery H.Q. Battery & REME workshops complete leave for area SITTARD and arrive 1300 at Dis P. Situation there disclosed that A Troop were to be in support 7 Armd Div, B Troop in support 52 (L) Div and C Troop under command 106 A.A. Bde for the defence of the MAAS bridges. double back with 356 B.H.Q. pending the latter's departure.

 

21 December 1944: Visit by O.C. to CRA 7 Armd Div. CRA 51 (L) Div and Brigade Commander 106 AA Brigade confirming and combinding Troop tasks. C Troop move to T.H.Q. area MAASTRICHT. B.H.Q.  move to H.Q. area GELEEN a more central administration position and also operationally better placed. REME workshops arrange to move following day to area BEEK.

 

22 December 1944: Issue of location statement showing operational locations and commitments of Battery & Troops form which it will be seen that A Troop allthough still under command 7 Armd Div and in fact deployed in an A.A. role round SITTARD. B Troop deployed night 21/22 area TEVEREN H S.L.s to assist in lighting for laying of a minefield but did not in fact expose as the were not required, this Troop now concentrated and standing by to assist in an infantry role in an emergency should it arise, C Troop still in position area BORGHAREN for defence of MAAS bridges.

Battery receives a further fine (5) O.R. reinforcements bringing strenght up to now within 7 of present WE. Visit by O.C. & LAA Battery deployed round SITTARD to tie up operative instructions and engagements. No operational exposures Cy Troop night 22/23 and no enemy air activity in the area.

 

23 December 1944: Visit from CCRA 12 Corps. No operational exposures by Troops. B Troop in  harbour concentrated pending possible requirements in either infantry or S.L. role.

 

24 December 1944: Nothing to report.

 

25 December 1944: Visit to all Troops by O.C. & 2/IC. In view of circumstances and operational commitments a very mary and successful Christmas had by all. No operations by A or B Troops. C Troop had one beam exposed to provide illumination for CRE's bridging repair parties. Certain amount of air activity over MAAS bridge but no actual attacks made. Christmas visit from C.C.R.A.

 

26 December 1944: B Troop still concentrated. No operations by A Troopround SITTARD. C Troop illuminated an ME.410 during the course of slight enemy air activity over MAAS bridge.

 

27 December 1944: Increased enemy air activity over MAAS bridges. Several targets engaged by C Troop at heights from 10 to 15,000 ft and illuminations obtained on ME 262. JU 88 and HE 111 Aircraft.

 

28 December 1944: Situation with report to A & B Troops remains unchanged. Arrangements instructed for A Troop to assist in early warning by plotting targets coming into the area SITTARD after receiving initial warning of possible approaching targets through LAA operations room. Although a few enemy targets flew over bridge at river MAAS no illumination possible owing to low and persistent ground mist.

 

29 December 1944: Weather condition again very bad. Fog, frost and low cloud making searchlight operations of no avail. Enemy aircraft very few and for between.

30 December 1944: Weather extremely bad, snow began to fall all out 1500 hrs. Slight enemy air activity over MAAS bridge. Ju 88 flew in the vicinity and eventually over the target. It was engaged by C Troop and illuminated the whole time whilst flying over the V.A.

31 December 1944: Confirmation received during the day that the Ju 88 illuminated on previous night by C Troop was shot down. Considerable enemy air activity over MAAS bridge at BORGHAREN (where C Troop deployed) and SITTARD (A Troop deployed). At BORGHAREN the majority of the aircraft on being engaged was illuminated and turned away, these proved to be Ju 88s. Later in the night another aircraft approached flying very low, this was illuminated and brought down by the beams, it was a Ju 88. Still further enemy air attacks developed later in the night but these also turned back on being engaged by S.Ls. The result of the night's cost being that the bridge remained undamaged, the majority of targets approaching the V.A. were illuminated and one crashed as a result - CAT.I. At SITTARD A Troop engaged targets almost continuously between 2300-0300 hrs. Targets illuminated proved to be F.W. 190s and Ju 88. Targets trow violent evase action in most cases but were unable to escape illumination. Both Troops reported fairly extensive use of "window' during the engagements.