6 Field Regiment Royal Canadian Artillery: 13 Battery, 21 Battery, 91 Battery
1 October 1944: Fired HF tasks during the night. Black Watch attacked and took Brecht as planned with 70 rounds per gun fire plan in support. Calgary Highlanders took Eindhoven at 1700 hours and Camerons went through and took Sternhoven at 1900 hours. Fired more HF tasks tonight. Weather cold but clear.
2 October 1944: Fired small fire plan in support of South Saskatchewan Regiment at 0630 hours. Camerons advanced from Sternhoven to cross roads and South Saskatchewan Regiment advanced along canal from Eindhoven to Lochtenberg. Fired a few concentrations on call in support an several Mike targets. One observation post deployed just across the canal from Lochtenberg to observe from behind for mortars and guns that might hold up the advance. A forward observation officer and representative with each battalion. Regment moved at 1700 hours and Regimental Headquarters established in St. Job in't Goor. Another small fire plan in support of South Saskatchewan Regiment as they moved. Fired one HF task tonight and one DF SOS against small counter attack on South Saskachewan Regiment. Weather still cold but remains clear.
3 October 1944: South Saskatchewan Regiment and Camerons advanced this morning to Brasschaat and Camp de Brasschaat respectively against slight opposition. Fired a few Mike targets in support. Regiment moved at 1600 hours to area Lochtenberg with Headquarters in school. Fired several HF tasks tonight. Captain Gulland wounded while acting as forward observation officer. Weather rainy and cold.
4 October 1944: F.M.R. advanced today to Capelle and then north. Opposition very light. Had several concentrations on call in support but only a few called for. Regiment moved at 1300 hours to area east of Het Zand with Headquarters in chateau. Very little firing all day and no HF tasks tonight. Weather clear and cool.
5 October 1944: South Saskatchewan Regiment moved in early morning back to Brecht, and 91 battery moved back to area at Lochtenberg to be able to support them. Camerons attempted to advance east from Camp de Brasschaat but held up by considerable enemy strength. Fired several Mike targets in their support. The Air observation post was also up all afternoon engaging Mike targets and enemy mortar positions. Fired HF tasks again tonight. Weather cold and clear.
6 October 1944: Fired several more targets today and it was reported each time that several more prisoners would come in. 13 and 21 batteries moved north at 1400 hours because attack on Noordeind planned for F.M.R. to-morrow morning. There is now about 5000 yards between the batteries due to the large Brigade front but 91 battery in full support of South Saskatchewan Regiment and 13 and 21 batteries both in range of all F.M.R. and Cameron requirements. All batteries are in range of most of the requirements on each others front. Captain L. Coulthard killed by enemy sniper to-day while in observation post with F.M.R's. Fired several targets this morning that brought in several more prisoners. HF tasks again to-night. Weather cold and misty.
7 October 1944: F.M.R. attack postponed due to trouble and delay caused in clearing enemy from their concentration area. Some shelling of Camerons area but air observation post could not observe anything in morning. Fired several targets which chased in prisoners. Air observation post spotted a hostile battery in afternoon and it was engaged effectively. Several HF tasks again to-night. Weather cool.
8 October 1944: F.M.R. attacked this morning supported by a squadron of tanks. Regiment fired a small fire plan and several targets on call. Also engaged several HB tasks and fired up HF tasks in the evening. Weather cold and damp. Visibility limited by mist in early morning.
9 October 1944: Engaged DF tasks in support of F.M.R's against small counter attacks. During the day the regiment fired several bombards on HB's and mortars. Also fired several targets to bring in prisoners which had some success. In the evening the Camerons moved and took over Essex Scottish area and South Saskatchewan Regiment took over Royal Hamilton Light Infantry area. Six battle groups were formed from F.M.R's, 8 Recce and an Armoured Regiment to hold the front from Brecht to Punt Heuvel. The regiment in support of the battle groups plus the Camerons. 4 Field in support of South Saskatchewan Regiment. Fired HF tasks again to-night. Weather cold and damp. Visibility still bad from first light to 0830 hours but clear during the day.
10 October 1944: Very quiet day on 6 Canadian Infantry Brigade front. Fired a few observed targets which brought in a few prisoners. Rained this afternoon but the regiment is almost entirely equipted with German fleece lined, waterproof parkas from a captured enemy dump. No change in disposition as all the units that we are supporting are on defence. Fired HF tasks again to-night.
11 October 1944: Another quiet day. Ammunition expenditure limited to 15 rounds per gun so very few targets were fired. Fired three bombards and a few battery targets on small groups of enemy observed. Fired HF tasks to-night. Weather cold and clear.
12 October 1944: Another very quiet day on our front though there is lots of activitiy on 4 and 5 Brigade fronts including counter attacks on South Saskatchewan Regiment. Fired a few targets on movement and suspected mortar positions. HF tasks were engaged again this evening.
13 October 1944: Still no activity on our front except patrol engagements. Fired very few targets again to-day. At 1700 hours recce parties moved and at about 2300 hours regiment moved. Ready at 0115 hours. Area very bare with no houses, except one small one for Regimental Headquarters. Weather cold with intermittent rain during the night.
14 October 1944: Very little firing to-day. One battery target and a few bombards only. Forward observation officers out with South Saskatchewan Regiment, Camerons, 108 Anti Tank battery, and each company of F.M.R. which form the defensive battle groups. HF tasks fired again to-night. Weather remains cool and windy.
15 October 1944: Engaged several Mike targets to-day on active mortars on South Saskatchewan Regiment front which are causing them considerable trouble. Fire successful but mortars will dug in and some remained active after several concentrations. Regiment fired HF tasks again to-night.
16 October 1944: Royal Hamilton Light Infantry attacked at 0330 hours and the regiment fired 146 rounds per gun on barrage and fire plan in support of the attack. Fire was reported very accurate and effective and Royal Hamilton Light Infantry took their objective with very little trouble. At 1100 hours counter attack started against their positions. Fired several DF tasks and Uncle targets in their support. At the same time forward observation officer with the South Saskatchewan Regiment was calling for Mike target on active mortar which was continually mortaring them. Continued firing on mortars and infantry and on Anti Tank Battery front until 1700 hours, during which time Mike targets were fired 17 times on South Saskatchewan Regiment front, 4 times on other fronts and DF tasks and Uncle targets 9 times on counter attack. Also during these periods several battery targets were engaged. At 1600 and 1750 hours smoke fire plan was laid down for indicating targets to typhoons which consisted of one battery firing white smoke along safety line just ahead of our forward defence lines and another troop firing on strong points with red smoke Light shelling of the area at 1700 hours during which 2 were killed and three wounded in 91 battery wagon lines. In the middle of heavy firing about 1300 hours one gun of 91 battery 'ED' sub, had a premature while the shell as being rammed, which killed three men on the gun. HF tasks were engaged again during the night and the front quietened down considerably during the night.
17 October 1944: Quiet day with a little firing. Engaged mortars on South Saskatchewan Regiment front again as some have moved and are still causing trouble. Also engaged small fire plan in support of Camerons patrol exploiting to north. Fired HF tasks during afternoon and evening. All during the evening heavy rain and very windy. Weather reminds one of the South Downs.
18 October 1944: Very quiet day to-day. Fired a few Mike targets on mortars on South Saskatchewan Regiment front and three bombards. Fired HF tasks all night. Observation posts observed all night for flashs to try and fix mortars, but little success as they wore quiet to-night.
19 October 1944: Fired several more Mike targets and bombards on enemy guns and mortars. 4th Division moved up on the right relieved F.M.R. and Camerons. Very quiet day. Fired more HF tasks tonight. Weather very windy with intermittent rains. Two rum issues in the last three days helped the situation.
20 October 1944: Very quiet day. Fired a few Mike targets and HF tasks throughout the day. HF tasks again tonight. Weather still cold and rainy.
21 October 1944: Fired Uncle target on enemy guns in Bergen op Zoom area. Camerons relieved R.R.C. and F.M.R. in reserve. 4 Canadian Infantry Brigade still on north front along 20 grid line. 5 Canadian Infantry Brigade are covering isthmus along 58 grid line. 6 Canadian Infantry Brigade north-east front. Several more bombards today and a few Mike targets on mortars. HF tasks fired again tonight on some HB's. Weather still rainy but rum issue today again helps.
22 October 1944: 4th Division moved up past 6 Canadian Infantry Brigade on right and 6 Canadian Infantry Brigade relieved 4 Canadian Infantry Brigade in early morning. 4 Canadian Infantry Brigade in reserve. Fired several Mike targets on guns and mortars to the north which are shelling 6 Canadian Infantry Brigade, especially Cameron area. Representatives and 2 forward observation officers out with each battalion for pending attack. Weather misty and cold.
23 October 1944: At 0700 hours 6 Canadian Infantry Brigade attack started with three battalions up. Fired 50 rounds per gun on machine gun targets called for in support. At 1400 hours battalions started consolidating along 21 grid line, about half way to objective. Considerable resistance encountered. At 1500 hours fired 60 rounds per gun in support of Calgary Highlanders attack to cut road, which was successful. At 1600 hours regiment commenced move by batteries. Small bridges brought up by engineers to help guns off road and over ditches into deployment area. Ready at 1800 hours and regiment now in support of 4 Canadian Infantry Brigade.
24 October 1944: At 0430 hours 4 Canadian Infantry Brigade passed through 5 Canadian Infantry Brigade and advanced out along isthmus. Two forward observation officers with Essex, which are leading battalion, and two of 4th Field forward observation officers on our frequency. Considerable resistance encountered and fired a few ML targets in support. Attack got under way again at 1000 hours ans slow advance made during the day. 6 Canadian Infantry Brigade continued advance with 5th Field in support and reached 22 grid line. Weather still cold air misty and everyone has wet feet. All ranks anxiously waiting for issue of winter clothing.
25 October 1944: 5 CIB relieved 6 CIB and all our Reps and FOO's with them returned. A few small fire plans fired in support of 4 CIB and advance continued today to approximately 50 grid line. 6 CIB preparing to go through 4 CIB tomorrow. Recce parties left and prepared at 1800 hours. Regiment is expected to move tomorrow morning. Weather damp and cold and misty most of the morning, thus making visibility bad.
26 October 1944: Fired a small fire plan in support of Essex at 0630 hours and commenced moving by batteries at 0700 hours to area Rilland. Fired a few targets today. All FOO and Rep out as 6 CIB went through 4 CIB. The isthmus is reported to be heavily mined and a carrier ran over one killing three men. Captain Pethybridge and other FOO's with S.S.R. walked with pack sets for seven miles. Minimum recce parties left at 2315 hours.
1 November 1944: Fired a fire plan of 190 rounds per gun in support of 155 (L) Bde landing in Vlissingen at 0545 hours. Engaged several concentrations on call during the day. Attack went well and most of Vlissingen cleared, bar a few strong points. Capt Pethybridge went out as CRA rep to 155 (L) Bde.
2 November 1944: Fired a fire plan of 135 rounds per gun at 0530 hours in support of 155 Bde who are attempting to finish cleaning up Vlissingen. Fired a few more concentrations on call to-day. After the fire plan this morning all the guns platforms were completely under the mud and some were sunk in almost up to the hubs. At the high elevation at which we are firing the breech does not come far from the mud level at full recoil.
3 November 1944: We are almost out of range now and as the rest of the Div is in a concentration area it looks like the 4th Field Regiment and ourselves should be moving to join them shortly. This will make no one sorry as we are standing around in the rain and mud., which is several inches deep now and have not fired a round all day. The number one question of the men is when are rubber boots and leather jerkins going to be issued. Rain again all night.
4 November 1944: Cease fire and limber up came down at 1130 hours. No move expected before 1400 hours. Guns were badly boged down in the mud and had to be winched out of the fields. Moved off at 1500 hours and arrived at concentration area Kontish Brussels Liege at 2110 hours. Took over the military barracks there once occupied by SS Troops.
5 November 1944: Day of maintenance of both equipment and personnel Kit inspection and an issue of some new clothing. 48 hour leaves continued. Guns sheds cleaned out and guns put in under cover where maintenance could be carried ot under good conditions.
6 November 1944: Maintenance continued and special attention paid to tactical signs and lighting of vehicles.
7 November 1944: Talk by Army Commander on the present and future role of Div forcast move to Nijmegen area to relieve British 43 Div. 4th Bde to relieve 130 British Bde. 5 CIB to relieve 129 British Bde and 6 CIB to relieve 214 British Bde. Role to be holding and not agressive. 91 Bty held a dance which was very successful. Recce parties left for new area. Several flying bombs landed in our area but there was no damage to our property.
8 November 1944: Preparations for move to new area. Day spent mostly in the cleaning up of the barrack area and packing.
9 November 1944: Moved off at 0130 hrs and arrived in the Nijmegen area at 1300 hours. Took over from 171 Fd Regt RA. RHQ established. Take over completed by 1515 hours but British Regt not moving our until morning. Sector quiet some enemy shelling. OP report good observation. Role is a static one with a definite limitation of 15 rounds per gun. Firing to be done by the Duty Battery from specially prepared firing positions which are changed daily. When all guns of the Regt are to engage a task it is to be as Regt salvo to prevent Flash Spotting. Reg sent to Household Cavalry who patrol west side of Maas river on our right flank. Signal layout taken over from the English unit is considered to be complicated, RCCS intend to make some changes.
10 November 1944: Infantry take over completed by 0900 hours. OP reports little activity with only occasional movements by the enemy. Spasmodic mortaring and shelling. No damage or casualties reported in the Regt. Duty Battery engaged two targets in afternoon, scale 1 on each. Both on suspected mortar positions. Relay station out to connect up with rep at Household Cavalry. 13 Bty is duty Bty in harassing fire position.
11 November 1944: Number of rounds per gun for the regiment is kept well below 15 as only a few targets are being engaged. Troops continue to improve their positions and make quarters more comfortable. OP reports spasmodic mortaring. One signaler sent on special task to England. Exercise 'Dare' carried through by the Camerons and reported by OP as successful. 21 Bty took over as a duty Bty in positions 'A' and 'D'. Wireless reception very noisy and poor.
12 November 1944: OP reports very little activity on our front. Ammunition expenditure being held to a minimum. One mortar position fired on and enemy position and movements in woods shot up. Quarterly being done on guns of one troop. This troop is our of action for 48 hours.
13 November 1944: Front reported quiet with visibility poor. Ops are to be manned 24 hours. Tried to get local laundry to do washing for the Regt, but they required too much coal. Div is looking into it. Made arrangements with the engineers to work on the shower baths and hope to have them working soon. Several shell and mortar reports sent in by Ops. Fired a counter mortar task on our front. Weather wet and cold. 91 Bty is in harassing fire positions.
14 November 1944: The front has been particularly quiet with visibility from OP poor in the early morning. General clean up of area instituted. Harassing fire position dug in and sleeping quarters improved. Engaged one mortar task and three DF tasks, the later to cover infantry patrol. Auxiliary Services projector broke down again for the third night running. Weather overcast and damp.
15 November 1944: Weather cold and clear clouding up in the morning and stayed that way all day. Visibility from OP very poor at 0945 hours. No enemy activity. Mortaring at various times all day, but otherwise quiet. Difficulties with communications by air to RCA mostly heavy interference on the frequency. Signal and survey school started to up grade some tradesmen and qualify others. Guns laid on DF SOS task ordered by RCA to cover 4 th Bde front.
16 November 1944: Visibility at OP continues to be poor. New type of enemy weapon used having a loud screem somewhat like NBW but explodes with small popping noise. Bombards carried out on mortars. Two HF targets fired on in built up area in conjunction with infantry mortars in an attempt to set houses on fire. Reported as reasonably effective, otherwise a very quiet day.
17 November 1944: Visibility again poor at the OP. Spasmodic shelling and mortaring on front all day. Camerons moved up on their front but required no arty support. Visibility somewhat better towards noon. Brigadier Mess, Director of Recruiting for Canada visited the Regiment to see the gun positions and OP, but unfortunately it was too late to go to the OP.
18 November 1944: Mortaring and shelling continues on a slightly increased scale, but causing very few casualties or damage according to OP reports. No damage or casualties in the Regiment. Red smoke fired as indicators for Typhoons. Canisters landed in the woods and only moderately effective. Calibration of guns started. New harassing fire position recce’d.
19 November 1944: Mortaring and shelling fairly active all morning. One enemy gun spotted. Calibration of gun continued and completed in the afternoon. Fired red smoke as indicators for the Typhoons and also white smoke as a bomb line. Planes were late in arriving and had to repeat both smoke signals. Two enemy recce planes passed over apparently photographing.
20 November 1944: Front quiet with poor visibility. Some small movement in enemy area, mostly single men or in pairs. Mortaring and shelling only moderate. Two harassing fire targets fired. Red smoke laid down for Typhoons and reports of successful shooting by them. The new harassing fire positions being improved after shelling of 5 th Field Regiment. Infantry change around with F.M.R. on the right and S.S.R. left Camerons in reserve.
26 November 1944: Visibility in early morning limited by ground mist which later lifted and giving best visibility for some days. This led to arty and mortar activity on both sides. We registered eight targets, five of them by Air OP. These included enemy strong points, possible enemy billets. A right section target was fired ‘Capon’ to destroy a house suspected of being a strong point and mortar OP. Shoot was reported as successful. One officer sent for medical test for Air OP course. After dark we engaged a DF task on an enemy tracked vehicle, brought up each night, believed to be SP used for HF.
27 November 1944: Visibility very poor again. Civilians report that this is the worst year of rain in memory of man (reminds us of the Englishmens excuse for cold winters). Rained most of the day. Carried out some bombards of mortars. We reported a large fire to Div giving careful bearings. Fire was a few hundred yards from Div and looked like a petrol dump. Preparations made to accommodate 116 Regt R.A. HQ in our area. They are to be build up for three days. Idea going to give impression of great arty strength. They are to remain here for three days. One Uncle target fired on a cross road in a village.
28 November 1944: Miserable weather continues with steady rain although OP report visibility fair to good. Enemy very touchy on this front and open up heavily when we show any activity. Some target registration done during the afternoon. 116 Regt RA moved in. Their RHQ using part of our accommodation. Three officers billeted with us and eating in our mess. A fire plan laid on in support of Camerons of Canada but later cancelled due to sodden condition of ground which in parts is covered with water. Extensive HF program laid on for tomorrow.
29 November 1944: Beautiful clear day with bright sun. Harassing fire program carried out. One target very close to our own F.D.L. and infantry complained they were too close but caused no casualties. Four mortar bombards carried out for C.M.O. No noticeable increase in enemy fire caused by our harassing fire.
30 November 1944: Harassing fire continues. These tasks are engaged by the entire regiment supplemented by 116 Regt RA. It is the first time that we have fired from our regular positions with the exception of the Uncle target on 27 Nov 44. Phone message reporting birth of a daughter to Major Dale Harris. Speed with which message was delivered was greatly appreciated and much D plus 150 consumed. OP directed fire of tanks on houses on the right flank. Shoot successful and enemy seen running from slit trenches during fire for effect. Tanks used our harassing fire positions. It was an indirect shoot.
1 December 1944: Our Bde now is reserve and we have no OP deployed. 13 Bty took over harassing fire position. One officer sent as OP for C.M.O., took two Ables, two signalers and cooking equipment. He deals directly with C.M.O.’s office. The sock situation was greatly relieved by the arrival of 200 pair, the first decent shipment in “lo these many weeks”. Fourteen sent in afternoon to show in Nijmegen and Legion had a show here at night. The film was old as the hills, but a good show. German classes have petered out due to poor instructional work of the interpreter. Signal trade testing board held here. The board consisted of an officer and sergeant from one of the Fd Regts and a supervisor from Div. They held a very fair test, as these men know what what is required of a signaler in action and things important to us were stressed. No change in weather – rain.
2 December 1944: The weather changed today and the rain was accompanied by a very high wind. Service Corps officer was here today and made a sift around of the cooks who were not working well in this unit. 25 personnel sent to the afternoon show n Nijmegen, 15 to Beaver Club, 2 to the Canada Club and 8 to the Wintergardens. No shelling or mortaring in our immediate area although ‘P’ Bty reported a few shells north of their positions. Two N.C.O.’s sent on a mine and booby trap course. The signal officer and dental officer returned from 48 hours leave. They looked tired, so must have had a good time. One OR returned from a Paris 48. He had a good time and was all tired out. Repeat of last night show in the mess. Officer who went to Turnhout to see the gift shop, as advised from Div, returned to say what was left after L of C had been in, was Nil. Officers Kit Shops when we do see them are in a similar condition.
3 December 1944: Sunday as a special favour it only rained three quarters of the day. Church service, both R.C. and Protestant well attended. Trouble with lighting system. Power shut off on two of the three lines coming into camp. This shut the water pump off so the mobile bath was unable to operate. Captain Churchill passed the medical test for Air OP Course and is to leave soon. One new computer arrived for the Regiment and the quarter master is well pleased, but we surmise it’s first see first get. Auxiliary Services delivered a substantial supply of magazines with a request that they do not end up where we found one of the last lot, but if you ‘got to go you got to go’. Commanding Officer interviewed one of our OCTU candidates. Fired twice in evening on a suspected enemy HQ. Scale I from regiment each time. Many subjects put forward as to how to cure Zombies most of them drastic. At 2224 hrs we received orders from Div to engage to hostile Btys, one at 2230 hrs and one at 2232hrs, both times to be time on target. By the time all three regiments gave okay to Div and the orders were passed to three Bty Comd Posts who looked through target record form until they found the number given, then passed them to the gunners who were working in the dark in a pouring rain and up to their ankles in mud, six minutes is not enough time for targets that are not of such great urgency. The theory is definitely correct, but practically it won’t work.
4 December 1944: A quiet rainy day. We fired three HB targets up to 0730 hrs and then nothing else all day. The lighting problem is becoming acute. RHQ has had to call in the one pressure lamp lent to ‘E’ troop because of the uncertainty of the local power system. Mobile baths were off all day due to lack of power. Major Dale-Harris leaves tomorrow on 14 days compassionate leave to England. We fired our interpreter and packed him off home. RHQ officers heaved a sigh of relief as the Germans classes he held were most boring. Commanding Officer remanded an A.W.O.L. case for Court-Martial. 18 people sent to Nijmegen to the show. Meals are getting very poor, our cooks are good, but canned stew is still canned stew even with a crust on it. Mail service continues to be very good with air mail from Canada arriving in ten days even with bad flying weather and the Christmas rush. Weather turned cold towards evening and cleared off somewhat.
5 December 1944: No firing in early morning. Night was clear and cold, warming up towards morning, but also clouded over. RCA came through with artillery board paper, both plain and waterproofed. Opinion varies on the later type, but most Ables like it. It is not very good if too many targets come in the same square as the numbers of the targets cannot be written small enough. A change in the time of the show was changed after our 24 men had left for Nijmegen which caused a bawl up there. The Legion movie in camp was years old when we saw it in Worthing, still older in Waldershire Park and all but worn out last night. Eight M L targets came in from Div. Mobile bath back in action and doing a large business. Even the partial change of clothing they are able to provide is much appreciated.
6 December 1944: Slightly less rain today, but overcast all day. Fired 8 rounds per gun today on HF targets laid on by Corps and bombards from CMO. Besides the mortar positions these targets included enemy occupied buildings, infantry positions and possible OP site. Took a local inhabitant to Field Security Section to be veted as an interpreter, but they would not touch him until passed by the local authorities. These people wouldn’t okay him as he had only one person to vouch for him. Apparently some of the unofficial interpreters have turned out to be enemy agents and everyone has to be doubly careful. The regiment was visited by the CRA and later in the day by the BM. Is has been arranged that we are to have at least seven minutes from the time an HF or bombard is acknowledged from this office before we have to engage. Makes it touch and go when we are laid on ad DF (SOS). The slightest delay might spoil the concentration, also makes a terrific target record sheet as there are approximately 140 mortars and HB on the list. These have to be worked out for 3 different gun positions, a total of 420 target records. APID to visit regiment and talk to as many officers as available. No date set as yet. We now have a air photo mosaic as well as the individual photos of this front on a scale of one set per Byt of each and one for RHQ. Legion movie reported as very old and poor.
7 December 1944: Rainy cool weather continues. We engaged seven HF targets along the same lines as yesterday. Also fired on a number of mortars for CMO. Sixteen sent to the Nijmegen shows which continue to be popular with the Regiment. Attendance is supposed to be strictly limited due to shelling, but only one of the shows, namely the Beaver Club, is strict in checking attendance. Some units must be sending more than their allotment. Jerry dropped a few calling cards in the form of 155 MM shells. 14 were dropped by 13 Bty area of which 7 were duds, 2 delayed action and 5 went off on impact. No damage or casualties in our regiment. Rum issue last night and it is surprising the number of men who do not turn up for their issue. Nothing is wasted however, as the rest do not seem adverse to a small portion over their ounce. 116 regiment RA moved out this morning. They have been good neighbors, even if they did crowd things. 6 Armd Regt asked for the use of our hall for shows. We use is every night ourselves and the afternoon is not convenient for either regiment. The Regimental Funds Board are having a headache. We spend Belgian Francs, Dutch Guilders and keep the books in Sterling. The Legion ran a bingo game in the mess which is always popular.
8 December 1944: Weather continues to be bad with rain and poor visibility, but the wind has died down. Engaged seven HF tasks laid on by Div. Our Bde went back into the line and turnover completed as far as Arty is concerned by 1500 hrs. OP front very quiet and no enemy movement observed. We have four OPs deployed. We did no observed shooting. Commanding Officer went up to stay at Bde. 25 people sent to Nijmegen show. Legion showed another old picture here tonight but is was very good. It included a US short V D reel which was very good as well. Also a sing song reel which was very popular. We are having to haul a lot of rubble to keep from disappearing into the mud. Rumours are re-leave to England and every one is keeping their fingers crossed. “C” troop 21 Bty arrived back from rest area and “F” troop of 91 Bty left for rest area. The rest area gets every man out of the mud for three days every eighteenth day. This does not include RHQ personnel as they are comfortably billeted out of the wet and mud.
9 December 1944: Heavy fall of snow in the early morning of the heavy wet type. It broke the aerial base of the RCCS sets by piling up on the mast. Visibility was from fair to good all day with little rain although it was overcast all day. More snow in the evening. OP fired a few rounds to register zone and one link shoot fired on enemy troops moving around some slit trenches. Fired five HF tasks laid on from Div and five counter mortar tasks for CMO. Two targets were engaged by someone in our OP zone. Must have been the mediums on Corps fire plan as none of the Fd Regts engaged them and mediums have no OP which observe them. Sixteen people sent to Nijmegen show and an repeat of last night’s show put on here by the Legion. The regiments are looking after transport for personnel going on leave instead of Service Corps transport from DMA. One truck leaves one of the regiments with all the personnel aboard. Official news of seven day leave to United Kingdom. Looks good and everybody is counting the days. Regiment received new type director stands which are most unpopular. It’s particularly unfortunate that they arrived just before the survey trade test as they are tricky to work and none of the men have had a chance to practice on them. Those who have used them cannot see where they improve the type of work we have to do and consider they waste valuable time in setting up.
10 December 1944: Rain in early morning, later clearing. Fairly active day for this sector. We engaged ten targets including a suspected enemy OP house, digging party, movement of personnel and suspected strong points. Three counter mortar and one hostile bty also fired. OP observed typhoons attacking a house and barn and saw three direct hits after rocket attack, they strafed the area. Enemy ack ack fire seemed light and ineffective. Possible sports areas especially volley ball court being recce’d. Very difficult to find a suitable spot in this country that is accessible to the men. A certain amount of restlessness due to inactivity being noted. Repeat of last two nights show by the Legion. Twenty four men sent to the show in Nijmegen, the driver had his truck stolen while waiting there for return trip. Officers kit shop opened at Rear Div. A terrific line up but their supplies were adequate for the first time since we landed. This is actually the first time we have had a good opportunity of using the kit shop. Shirts and underwear were becoming quite a problem for officers.
11 December 1944: Weather continues mild, rain as usual although sun came out for half an hour in the afternoon. Biggest excitement do-day was getting the list of men eligible for the first leave to England. These men are all reinforcements coming to us that landed on D and D plus 7. We fired red smoke as markers for a typhoon attack on a road junction. OP report successful shoot by us and typhoons. Carried out a bombard for CMO and harassing fire sent down by Corps. A dance was all arranged for the men in Nijmegen. The men arrived to find that the local authorities had turned off the lights as part of the coal program. We offered to light the place with pressure lamps, but this was refused. Apparently last night a unit did this and there was considerable ‘free love’ being indulged in the dark corners where the light did not reach. The survey section tied in a new harassing fire position as it is believed Jerry has the old one taped. LAA and tanks are using our OP for indirect shooting. There shoots have been very successful. A census of all sports equipment is being taken to find out what we have left after our long trek.
12 December 1944: Weather continues mild with rain and sun – fifteen minutes of it. A fairly active day at the Ops. They engaged light targets ranging from enemy movements to suspected strong points. OP was again used by LAA for indirect fire and several successful shoots carried out. Legion showed a Diana Durbin picture ‘Nice Girl’, which caused a packed house. 16 men sent to Nijmegen show. Three OCTU candidates sent to selection board in Ghent – all good men. The coal that we are being issued with is mostly dust and very hard to burn unless the draughts are all open and then it’s too hot. Men returning from 48 hour leave are very tired, but they are all happy. The Commanding Officer had to reduce a L/Bdr today for a short A.W.O.L. Letter mail is very slow but parcels continue to pour in. The colonel held a BC meeting in the evening.
13 December 1944: Very quiet during the day with low hanging clouds and some rain. Visibility from OP very poor and only two observed shoots carried out. Four inch mortars did considerable firing form our area in the evening and stirred up some trouble in the form of Nebelwerfers that landed between ‘C’ and ‘D’ troop, but caused no casualties. Five mortar targets were engaged on order of CMO Infantry returned with information that a large enemy digging party was at work 500 yards from our own FDLs. We brought down a ‘M’ target scale 3 and infantry report that all rounds landed in target area. We only had a few seats in the show at Nijmegen. The Legion show here was well attended. The colonel held a meeting of BCs in the evening. RHQ ‘Subalterns Union’ is up in arms because the 2 IC passed out our rum ration we were saving for Christmas punch. Socks and underwear in good supply now. An issue of vehicle paint has been received. It will be used to restore all vehicles to the regimental standard. Up to the present we have only been able to touch up the rough spots.
14 December 1944: No rain today but heavy fog made visibility all but nil in the morning. It cleared up later and several targets were engaged by observed fire. These included enemy strong points and two houses. Two enemy tanks were reported to be on our front but OP could not spot them. Every effort was made to locate them, with no results. Infantry patrol report the working party fired on last night was again busy and we engaged them again. A truck sent to pick up leave personnel spent three hours looking for them only to find another regiment had returned them. A revision of the system is being taken up to avoid further duplication of transport.
15 December 1944: No rain and much colder. Visibility not much improved due to ground mist in the morning and haze all day, at best it was 1500 yards and most of the day 800 yards. OP had very little to report. A small amount of MG fire and mortaring. Camerons are taking over form S Sask R. Signal maintenance crew are remaining on the same lines, because there are so many lines along the few passable roads, that unless you know your own line, it is impossible to follow them. Both signal and survey schools were successful with several signalers passing their trade tests that up to this time did not draw trades pay and many of the surveyors were up graded to class ‘B’. Chief stumbling blocks in the survey was slide rule work and azimuths. Show at Legion packed. It was very good (Follow the Boys). Show at Nijmegen not so good and quota not taken up. Senior officers attended a Div Arty study day. No firing line for tonight seem to be wrong at one point. It is in the R.H.L.I. area but Div Arty are satisfied.
16 December 1944: Rain, fog and haze tended to poor visibility from OP all day. One of our OP’s was visited by both General Dempsey and GOC 51 st Highland Division. Fifteen enemy localities were spotted during the day, some from machine gun fire, other by movement or smoke from chimneys of houses. The show “Follow the Boys” was well attended in the mess hall second night running. Fourteen sent to shows in Nijmegen. Trouble with water in water trucks, rectified men using too much chlorine and not enough taste remover. It completely ruined the tea and coffee yesterday and all but spoiled the vegetables. More letter mail coming through. The medical officer is still down in the dumps, his usual four or five letters a day haven’t arrived for four days. DF (SOS) was shifted 150 yards south east at request of friends. Several more old boys returned to the unit today from hospital. Rum issue much appreciated due to rain and cold. Only two mortar bombards fired during the day, eight harassing fire targets engaged.
17 December 1944: Visibility poor in the morning improving towards noon and very poor again by 1600 hours. Rain and some fog – not very cold, but dampness very penetrating. Arty support for attack by Fus M.R. laid on. All are concentrations on call and 50 rpg allotted for this. Not much enemy activity and only four observed shoots, two on houses, one on slit trenches and one to register part of fire plan. Slightly more enemy aerial activity, two planes reported over. Mortaring and shelling on reduced scale.
18 December 1944: Weather clear with some rain, clearing at night. Expended 30 rpg in support of FUs MR’s unsuccessful effort to get prisoners. Engaged one bombard for CMO and one ML target later on right flank. New auxiliary service supervisor taking over today, our’s going to 8 Cdn Recce Regt. He seems like a good man. Two jet propelled enemy planes flew over today very low and moving very fast. Ack ack fire not even close. Commanding Officer visited y a Brigadier and CRA of 51 st Highland Division. We are having 748 rpg dumped tonight and early tomorrow morning. Much speculation as to what is going to take place. As per instruction, those who know say nothing. 24 men sent to shows in Nijmegen. No Legion show here tonight. Visibility at OP poor in the early morning, but improving towards noon and closing in toward evening. Not very much activity. We engaged eight targets, seven houses and one in Reichs Wald forest, all effective. Christmas pay parade started with 91 Bty today, other Btys tomorrow. 548 rpg yet to arrive, ‘Q’ Bty already have theirs.
19 December 1944: Weather cloudy with rain and fog. Clearing slightly in the afternoon and evening. The Adjt went on leave this afternoon and the OO has decided that all leaves for Adjts should be cancelled. Fire plan laid on to support S Sask R attack to get prisoners. Arty involved three field Regts and one Bty of LAA. Six targets for field of which two effect us. Corps harassing fire task engaged and four mortar bombards carried out. ‘P’ and ‘R’ Bty ammunition arrived and set down on position with minimum of trouble. This is the largest dumping ever undertaken in winter conditions. All trucks went right to gun positions despite the mud.
20 December 1944: Attack of S Sask R put through and one prisoner captured. We fired 42 rpg HE and 10 rpg smoke. The guns were given take post at 0200 hours and opened fire at 0240 hours. Long wait before opening fire was due to the lack of any opposition while the infantry were taking up their positions. The stand easy came at 0535 hours. The OO is now sure that the Adjt shouldn’t get any leave. Two bombards were carried out for the CMO and one hostile Bty. ‘R’ Bty will move tomorrow to new position south to support 8 Recce. OP will be deployed by 4 Fd Regt until our Bde goes into reserve when we take over. The Bty does not want to move as they have made their dugouts here very comfortable. This ‘moaning’ about moving always happens no matter how bad a position is when we take it over. Three days and it’s home and usually quite comfortable.
21 December 1944: Very poor visibility from OP with fog and haze. ‘R’ Bty completed move and find new quarters comfortable. Colonel Dobell has issued orders that no firing except on DF (SOS) will be undertaken without reference to him or the 2 IC. The reason being that we do not want to disclose the presence of Arty in the area. We are through to ‘R’ Bty by line, but it is very weak. R/T communication is poor and the have a relay station ready to go out in case of line failure. It would appear that the importance of Artillery Regimental and Battery Wireless Communications is not appreciated by those allotting frequencies as we always get a very noisy frequency, which at times is unusable. The sending out of a relay station is a common procedure although we are rarely out of normal range for which our sets are designed. Corps HF tasks were fired and our counter mortar tasks for CMO. We have averaged ten shell or mortar reps a day for the past two weeks. First show given by new Legion officer with borrowed equipment. This has not arrived yet. Troops put on the alert for possible para troop landings.
22 December 1944: The Adjt is back on the job and the OO is much relieved. Weather much better. Colder but no rain and much clearer. Visibility at the OP poor in the early morning but up to 2000 yards by 1000 hours. Not very much enemy activity although he continues to be very touchy both by night and day and opens up with small arms on the slightest pretext. Five bombards for the CMO carried out. All troops are to be warned of the possibility of para troop landings and local defense to be set up. Guards have been warned and all personnel must carry personal arms. We fired scale three twice on enemy vehicles and men on advice from forward infantry. Second fire come down just where required, but visibility closed down to nil. We recorded as target so as to be ready to repeat it quickly. Harassing fire carried out all day on the Corps program. ‘R’ Bty does not engage these targets. Some Christmas supplies came in today – apples and celery.
23 December 1944: Cold and clear with roads drying up and freezing. Turning very cold and freezing at night. Very little to report today. Turn over of OP to 4 Fd Regt. Officers proceeded without a hitch. Infantry of 4 CIB taking over tonight. The party run for the local children went off splendidly. The Legion provided a ‘Mickey Mouse’ film which was most popular. One of our men acted as Santa Clause. There were about 125 children at the party. Christmas turkey arrived today. The cooks figure 28 men to a medium sized bird. The 4 ounce per man is figured on undressed weight. A suspicious character was turned in to Field Security by 91 Bty. He was found wandering around the gun position and was not liked by the local population. He is 72 years old and looks very harmless. Just the kind Jerry would use. We are now manning OP for 91 Bty.
24 December 1944: Weather again cold and clear, although the haze is hanging over the lower parts and interfering with visibility from the Ops. Another quiet day with no Corps harassing fire laid on. Four HF tasks fired for Div. Christmas arrangements now completed. Officers had their dinner this evening. Fowl, pork, potatoes, peas, dressing, Christmas pudding, mince tarts, candy. As super extra, captured cigars and cognac. The padre held service and communion in the morning and both were well attended. The local defense against paratroops was reviewed and tied in on a Regimental Bases. The front is well covered, but to the rear we are vulnerable particularly with 91 Bty detached.
25 December 1944: Clear bright day and very cold. The ground is well frozen. Haze continues to bother OP officer. Breakfast was at 0900 hours. It consisted of half an orange, fresh bacon which is a treat after the canned variety and sausage with some pork in them which was a very great change from the issue sausage. Wastage is heavy on the ersatz sausages as few of the boys eat them unless they are very hungry. Padre held another service and communion which were both well attended, considering that one Bty is detached and we are in action. The main item of interest was the men’s Christmas dinner. The officers served as usual. It consisted of the same menu as the officers had yesterday. The 2 IC was bar tender and all had as much beer as they wanted. Colonel Dobell and the RSM gave very short speeches. Several of the boys were ‘feeling no pain’, it’s hard to know where they dug up the cognac. We were very lucky to have a quiet day with no firing other than the six Corps harassing tasks and three mortar bombards. The jeep used by attached RCCS to run DRLS was in an accident, both driver and passenger having to be evacuated. One officer was sent on a road recce to spot possible guns areas. We are waiting to move to a new area to act as Corps reserve in case of a German thrust from the North of North-West.
26 December 1944: Bright cold day and no sign of thaw. Visibility very restricted by haze. A very quiet day and people recuperating from Christmas. Still no time set for our move. Fired seven bombards for CMO. Fourteen personnel sent to the show in Nijmegen. A lively interest shown in a Quiz Book sent from Canada. 13 Battery held their Christmas dinner today. 91 Battery held a children’s party for the village of Haps and Gennep.
27 December 1944: Weather continues cool to cold with a heavy mist. Visibility from OP nil all day and front quiet. We are still on twelve hours notice, but no hint as to any move. The ‘At home’ went very well. The CRA and Brigadier were present. Considerable scrounging around among the Christmas parcels was necessary to get the ingredients for the punch. A very unfortunate accident happened at 91 Battery. A child darted in front of a 15 cwt and was killed. We fired the four bombards for CMO one hostile Bty and the HF tasks as laid down by Corps. Good reports are being received from those going to the swimming pool in Nijmegen. The Legion representative seems like a live wire. He has not received his equipment as yet which means no shows. Ten personnel were sent to the show in Nijmegen. Two men left for England for sanitary duties and water duties courses.
28 December 1944: Cold in early morning and the roads very icy. Slightly warmer during the day with low hanging mist. Visibility from OP at best 1000 yards. Four bombards carried for CMO and four HF targets for Div. Twenty eight sent to shows in Nijmegen, the one at the Canada Club being the more popular. Twenty eight also sent for a swim. RCCS are having trouble with their switch boards. This being a static position more phones are required and both exchanges are in operation, as a result it is impossible to do proper maintenance on them without disrupting communications. No spare relays are issued to them which adds greatly to their difficulities.
29 December 1944: Much cooler today and visibility very good until 1530 hours when fog developed. OP report a fair amount of enemy activity. Our artillery set the church in Middelaar Gennep on fire at 1145 hours and it was still burning at 1300 hours. One good enemy OP ‘gone west’. Thirty three sent to shows in Nijmegen. The Legion borrowed a projector for the next three nights and the show tonight very well attended. Otherwise a very quiet day. The most talked of subject in the regiment these days is ‘English Leave’.
30 December 1944: Weather cold and clear although OP report trouble with haze which drifted across the front. Front quiet with occasional bursts of machine gun fire and some mortaring. A very quiet day.
31 December 1944: Most important news of the day is Colonel Dobell’s announcement that he is leaving us. It comes as a blow to everyone and we are most unhappy about it. We have always had utmost confidence in his leadership and new men learned quickly that he was a man with a thorough knowledge of his work who still remembered that his men were human beings. We were put on twelve hours notice to move at 2150 hours. No details as yet. Weather continues clear and cold with good visibility from OP. Air OP shot in four harassing fire targets for ‘R’ Bty on 8 Recce front. He also shot up four enemy hay stacks thought to conceal enemy ack ack guns and made arrangements to shoot in tomorrow’ s HF tasks. We engaged six targets for CMO and one hostile Bty. Ten HF targets fired by ‘P’ and ‘Q’ Bty. Leave to England list is in and everyone is getting excited about it. January will see all personnel away that landed prior to the regiment. We have about thirty five with priority and all but the 2 IC and his driver, have come as reinforcements from regiments of third Div or from Coys of CBR Gp that landed before us. Church parade was not very well attended and 2 IC is of a mind to make it a compulsory parade. It is difficult to know the answer to small church parades. We have a very good padre who is very well liked by the men, yet the church parades are small. Sunday is so much like any other day that unless it is marked as extra special no one realize that it is Sunday. It has been suggested that any extra rations the men are to get in rations should be held for Sunday to mark it as a special day as was the custom at home. Show by the Legion was particularly good. ‘Going my way’ with Bing Crosbie. Fourteen went to the show in Nijmegen