25-pdrs of 430th Battery, 55th Field Regiment, near Hechtel in Belgium, firing in support of Guards Armoured Division in the bridgehead over the Maas-Schelde (Meuse-Escaut) Canal, 16 September 1944. (B9985)
25-pdrs of 430th Battery, 55th Field Regiment, near Hechtel in Belgium, firing in support of Guards Armoured Division in the bridgehead over the Meuse-Escaut Canal, 16 September 1944.(B9986)

55 (Wessex) Field Regiment: 373 Battery 374 Battery 439 Battery- 25 pounders Sherman 75mm for OPs

 

Unit No.


18 September 1944: Regiment took position 4 miles south-west of Nijmegen, prepared to shoot into the town and if neccesary anywhere. The American airborne needed artillery support, and the regiment had an American liaison officer with them. Captain Riddell of 439 Battery was with the Airborne Troops as OP. There was some stiff engagements in and around Nijmegen, and the great prize was the bridge, these arrangements were fustrated by the timley act of a Royal Engineer officer who cut the contact wires on the South side of the Bridge.

 

1 October 1944: Captain P.O.Riddell was wounded by a shell when he was on the roof of a house which he was using as an Observation Post. Captain D.G.Thorne was also wounded during a spirited action which he fought against attacking enemy tanks and infantry, first with his tank, and then when that had become bogged, with gunfire, for this action he was later awarded the Military Cross.

 

6 October 1944: Regiment relieved by 116 Field Regiment and moved back to rest south of Nijmegen.

 

1-5 January 1945: Same location - Tirlemont. In corps reserve. Training.

 

6 January 1945: 1200 - Regiment moved from Tirlemont to Nijmegen area.

 

7 January 1945: 0930 - Regt arrived hide out area for OP 'Veritable'.

0938 - Task tables received for OP  Veritable + issued to Btys.

1600 - Regt deployed: RHQ SE of Nijmegen.

1800 - Regiment ready on Theatre Grid.

 

8 January 1945: 0440 - Regt synchronised.

0500 - Fire Plan 'Veritable' commenced.

0625 - E Tp No 4 gun out of action - premature 2 cas (not serious) - gun in action again by 1100 hrs.

0900 - Smoke screen commened.

1045 - Two F Tp guns out of action - buffer trouble.

1330 - Ordered to continue smoke till further orders.

1340 - 10 rpg Besmok collected from Wischen.

1348 - Stopped on smoke screen.

1358 - 50 rpg Besmok collected from Malden.

 

9 January 1945: OP 'Veritable' continued - Corps Total PW to 1900 hrs 2580.

 

10 January 1945: Same location.

 

11/22 January 1945: No shooting - battle moved out of range.

 

13 January 1945: Moved out of action to Nijmegen to harbour.

2330 - CO to O Gp at 32 Bde HQ.

 

14 January 1945: 0600 - Recce parties moved off.

1045 - Regt left Nijmegen.

1300 - Deployed Aalden.

1505 - Fired CB tasks in support 51 (H) Div - OP 'Keith'.

1530 - Fired on 'Helmsdale' in support of 32 Gds Bde Attack.

1755 - Bns reach objectives.

1855 -  DF Tasks.

 

15 January 1945: 1115 - Fire M + U Tgts in support of 32 Gds Bde and 51 (H) Div

 

16 January 1945: 1330 - Fire Plan in support of 5 Cold OP 'Cold'. 1 Gun H39 out of action temporarily.

1730 - Fired 'Wyvern  in support of 5 Cold. Fired M + U tgts in support of 32 Bde.

2000 - Fired 'Apple' in support of 152 Bde OP.

2200 - Fired 'Banana' in support of 152 Bde OP.

2345 - Fired 'Cherry' in support of 152 Bde OP.

 

17 January 1945: 0400 - Fired 'Dark' in support of 1 WG OP.

1230 - CO gives orders for move. Recce parties immediately ... at 1500 hrs - route Aaldonk - Zelderheide - Hekkens.