65 (Norfolk Yeomanry) Anti Tank Regiment: 257 Battery 258 Battery 259 Battery 260 Battery:
27 September 1944: RHQ, 257 and 259 Btys move at 0.30Hrs via Eindhoven to area South of St.Oedenrode. Regiment is under command of CRA and not 151 Bde. 258 and 260 Bty are under command 151 Bde.
1 October 1944: All btys less 258 are under command RHQ, 257 and 259 move into posn today.
5 October 1944: 260 Bty conducted a shoot by one Troop designed to remove the spire from Doornhoek church. Gun posns were taken up at 03.30Hrs and the Adj attended as a spectator. Bad visibilty with a ground mist prevented the guns firing unil 09.40hrs. During th whole shoot visibility continued poor. The range was 3800yrds and 40% hits were obtained. The tower though considerably damaged did not collapse. 116 rounds were fired.
13 October 1944: Captain J.A.Hill was accidentally killed and was buried in the churchyard of
Dinther, Captain Hill had been with the Regiment since early 1942 and his loss is a blow to the Regiment.
20 October 1944: A small adv to a line some 2000yards short of S'Hertogenbosch is to be made by the Div, commencing before first light on 22th. 258 Bty us u/c 1/6 Queens for the op and 257 Bty is in 151 Bde reserve. 259 and 260 Bty are under Regt comd CRA and are to do a certain amount of harrassing fire during the op.
21 October 1944: TAC HQ moved from present area to Vorstenbosch, main 131 Bde are also in this Village.
24 October 1944: 257 Battery is still in the Doornhoek area. 259 Battery at Nistelrode, 260 Battery move in the afternoon to area Wybosch.
25 October 1944: In the evening the Regt less 260 Bty and 1 Tp 257 Bty concentrated area Loosbroek. The whole Div is moving to the area Boxtel.
27 October 1944: Two days ago a Dutch Army Officer was sent to the Regt as an interpreter. He is attached to RHQ and has already proved of great value in the way of billeting and general liaison with civilians, even producing eggs for breakfast and chicken for dinner in the offrs mess.
29 October 1944: Regiment moved at 13.30hrs, route Boxtel, Best, Moergestel, Oisterwijk.
1 November 1944: Regt is in area a few miles NE of Tilburg. Maint, cleaning up and trg are laid on.
2 November 1944: Maint, cleaning up and painting of vehicles etc are the order of the day. Weather fine but cold.
3 November 1944: CO inspected A and B Echs of 259, 257, 258, RHQ and LAD in that order between 1030 and 1500 hrs. The Burgomaser of Tilburg gave a reception to some of the population of the city and invited 60 offrs of the Div. Major J.J. Barclay RA (2 IC) and Major J.E. Jackson RA (OC 258) attended.
4 November 1944: CO inspected A and B Echs of 260 Bty from 1030 hrs.
5 November 1944: CO held a conference for BCs at 1145 hrs at which 4 questionnaire on the improvement of A tk Eqpts was discussed. The Questionnaire (received from Higher Authority) is the first of its kind to come our way and great interest is thus centred on it. Answers form each BC were amalgamated and consolidated.
6 November 1944: The Education Offr from Div HQ is devoting a great deal of time to the Regt during the week commencing today by giving lectures to the troops on subjects selected by us. Trg classes have been started on various subjects connected with A tk work and cinemas and shows with a dance now and again provide off-duty recreation. We have managed to acquire band instruments and now have a Regimental Dance Band.
7 November 1944: Weather very windy, accompanied shortly after breakfast by a violent hail storm. The CRA visited the Regt, arriving just before Lunch, and spending some time afterwards walking round to see the men and look at the normal work in progress.
8 November 1944: Regimental Hockey Team played Div Sigs this afternoon and won 3 - 0. Topsecret orders received for a move probably on 11 and recce parties from 4 CDN Armd Div, arrived in our present area to recce for their occupation of it.
9 November 1944: 260 Bty ordered to move in the afternoon to the area at present occupied by the remainder of the Regt. The move was completed by dark. At 2130 hrs move order received from HQRA for the moves of 15 LAA Regt and ourselves who are moving as Regt Gps.
10 November 1944: Regt moved at 1300 hrs in accordance with Regt Mov Order. WT silence made control very difficult, and the last stages of the move were carried out in darkness on minor rds with many bends and turns. Most of the Regt was in the nes area at 2200 hrs and missing vehs continues to arrive during the night.
RHQ billet in a margarine factory, and a flour mill. All personnel are under cover and the electric light is working. Capt D.G. Page RA, Tech Adjt returned from hospital.
11 November 1944: WT Silence continues. Lines were laid to all Btys. 259 Bty is to come under comd 131 Bde, and moved during the afternoon. One Tp of this Bty is to relieve the A tk guns belonging to 53 (W) Div A tk Regt RA. The other two Tps are also occupying positions.
12 November 1944: An CO was received today and gives the Army plan in great detail and covers the future ops of several Corps. BCs were each shown the order, but infm is not to be passed any lower at present.
13 November 1944: CO covering the part to be played by this Div received. So far as we are concerned, 3 Tps of 257 Bty and 1 Tp (3" SP) from 258 Bty will be engaged from H - 30 to H - 90 on indirect fire in sp 131 Bde. The object of this op is to capture the lock gates at Panheel intact, so as to prevent the enemy blowing them and so draining the canal. Floating brs further North are an integral part of the big plan, and these would be rendered useless if the canal were dried out.
14 November 1944: CO held an orders gp at 259 HQ at 0930 hrs. All BCs and the Adjt were in attendance. H Hour is timed for 1615 hrs today, WT silence having broken at 1400 hrs. The 3 Tps of 257 and 1 Tp of 258 occupied their positions for their shoot during the morning. The op started according to plan and at 1650 hrs, the code worde WADI, meaning the lock gates have been captured intact was passed. RHQ remains present location, and CO is established a TAC HQ consisting of himself only in a Jeep, at 259 Bty HQ.
15 November 1944: During the shoot yesterday, 257 experienced the alarming number of 43 misfires out of a total of 332 rds 17 pr fired. This morning the Amn Examiner from Div HQ visited the Regt to inspect the "dud" amn, and the EME inspected the guns. It is thought that the cause is the amn since firing mechanisms were changed as many as three times during the shoot and also because the primers had in most cases been struck fairly, setting the cap off, but failing to ignite the gun powder.At 1800 hrs CO visited the CRA to discuss an SP A tk questionnaire recently forwarding to the Regt. Each BC has submitted his answer which the CO was consolidated.
16 November 1944: The ICO from Corps visited the Regt to examine the misfired amn. As yet, no conclusions are fully reached, but the cause may possibly be weak firings springs.
17 November 1944: Weather wet and cold. Nothing of interest to report today.
18 November 1944: Regt played Div Sigs at football today and won 3 - 0. Two men of the Regt were this afternoon apprehended in BREE in a dirty condition and not properly dressed. Unfortunately, is was the Div Comd who picked them up, and he send them to HQ RA for personal inspection by the CRA. It turned out that both these men had been reported in their Bty as absent without leave from mid-day today. However, the CRA adressed all Offrs, WOs and COs of the Regt at 1830 hrs and made an extremely cutting and very severe talk. He has placed a one
week restriction on the Regt to prevent anyone leaving his billet except on duty.
19 November 1944: 2 IC addressed RHQ personnel on the CRAs visit last night and tghe RSM then took them on redrilling with particular attention to saluting.
20 November 1944: At 1430 hrs the Div Education Offr talked to RHQ Main HQ on "Pre-vocational Education in the Army, after the cessation of active operations." The talk was of considerable interest as was evidenced by the volume of questions asked. At 1800 hrs, a debate in RHQ was held - "Strikes are permissable in wartime", A number of speakers contributed to a very instructive and entertaining 1,25 hrs but the motion was defeated by a large majority.
21 November 1944: Weather wet and very cold as it has been for some days. Nothing of interest for record today.
22 November 1944: A WO II from the AEC gave RHQ a lecture during the afternoon on "The new Educational Bill." At 1800 hrs RHQ had a discussion on "Should co-education be introduced in a new Education Bill." (It was decided that it should).
23 November 1944: Still raining. Nothing to report.
24 November 1944: RHQ had a lecture by the Div Education Offr on "How Britain is governed". Weather still most unpleasant.
25 November 1944: Improvement in weather conditions, greeted by large numbers of our aircraft flying over.
26 November 1944: Weather again crisp and bright. The ban imposed on the Regt by the CRA on 18 is lifted as from Reveille today.
27 November 1944: New GOC Div addressed offrs at 1000 hrs. 50% of the Regt attended. 257 and 259 Btys today tested all their 17-prs in view of the large number of misfires experienced on 15 Nov. Each gun fired 3 rds HE and 3 rds AP. A few misfires were still experienced.
28 November 1944: 258 an 260 Btys today fired their 17-prs for testing purposes as dit 257 and 259 yesterday. At 1530 hrs the CO held a conference on impending move of the Div. At 1100 hrs, the C-in-C 21 Army Gp - Fd Marshal Montgomery presented ribbons to offrs and ORs of the Regt who had received awards in this theatre of . Major J.J. Barclay, MC, RA and Lt A. Ayling MC RA both received the ribbon of the MC. The Regt supplied a squad of 3 Offrs and 20 ORs to parade for the occasion.
29 November 1944: Tactical recce parties from each Bty went to recce the new area to which the Regt will move to relieve the Gds Armd Div in Germany. At 1000 hrs the GOC Div (Gen Lyne) addressed the remaining 50% of the offrs from the Regt (vide entry in the Diary for 27 Nov).
30 November 1944: Capt D.A. Huggons (Adjt) Major R.A. Wolley (OC 259) and Lt J. Crick left for 48 hrs leave in Brussels. CRA visited the Regt, spending the day touring Btys. Orders were received from HQ RA that 259 Bty would move tomorrow to a position about 5 miles SW of their present one to a leaguer area. Lt. Smith (LO 259 Bty) was wounded in the leg while on a visit to 131 Bde Main. The HQ was shelled slightly, in consequence of which the Bde moved back a mile or so. Cfn White, DR of LAD was buried at 24 CCS. He died as the result of a rd accident the day previous. Capt P.D. Balfour RA returned from a 2-day trip from Reims with 115 bottles of champagne.
1 December 1944: The impending move is now off for ten days, according to an Op Order received early this morning. WO II Bignell, ARC gave a talk on "The Beveridge Plan" this afternoon, which was received with welcome by the men. In the evening a "Quizz" - Offrs v ORs was held: at the beginning Offrs were losing, but pulled up considerably to win by half point - 24,5 - 24. CO held a BCs conference at 1630 hrs,to discuss policy and training during out continued stay in this area.
2 December 1944: CO visited 259 Bty in their new leaguer area. Adjt and others returned from leave looking as though the break had benifited them all enormously.
3 December 1944: New instructions regarding future intentions received, and it now appeare likely that a move from the present area will take place in a few days. 257 and 259 Btys will come under comd 22 Armd and 131 Bde respectively. Remainder under comd CRA.
4 December 1944: Regtl Football team played Div Sigs and won 4 - 1. Violent hail storm in morning and weather very cold.
5 December 1944: The Dis is now back under comd 30 Corps and the Corps Comd today visited RHQ where he spoke to the CO, 2 I/C, BCs and the Adjt. He inspected the guard on arrival and talked to each man individually. He complimented them on turn-out and expressed his pleasure at their smart appearance to the CO. The last time General Horbocks saw the Regt, he also congratulated us on turn-out.
6 December 1944: Orders regarding future moves and intentions are rather uncertain, but we recce a leaguer area at Neeroeteren for RHQ, 258 and 260. 259 move to area Sittard and have some guns in action in Germany. The Regt is now disposed partly in Belgium, partly in Holland and also in Germany.
7 December 1944: Order received that RHQ will form 2 TAC HQs, one to be with our own HQ RA, and one to be with HQ RA 52 (L) Div, under whose comd 258 and 260 are to be placed. 260 Bty fired about 25 rpg practice on the A tk Range at Bourg Leopold.
8 December 1944: The two TAC HQs - one consisting of the CO and IO and the other of the CO2 and Sigs Offr each with attendant W/T vehs etc., moved at 0930 hrs to area Limbricht. Main RHQ moved to Heikant at 1000 hrs. CO2s TAC later moved to ? 258 fired on A tk range as did 260 yesterday. In order to visit troops East of River Maas, one crosses over bridge at Berg from West to East, but to return, one must cross the bridge at Maastricht. The result is a very long journey and great inconvenience., At present space is limited East of the river and Main HQ are not allowed to cross.
9 December 1944: 258 move at 0600 hrs and proceed to area ?. 260 remain present location, but are ordered to move tomorrow. These orders later cancelled and 260 will now move on the 11th.
10 December 1944: Orders obtained for MAIN RHQ to move across the River Maas and link up with the COs TAC HQ. Adjt visited TAC, and recced area Sittard in and endeavour to find a suitable area. The ground is, however, very full and vehs must park on roads as no other hard standing exists. The IC is therefore going to recce area Born in the morning to find suitable accommodation. 260 Bty again had their orders changed, and are now to remain in their present area until D - 1 of the forth coming battle.
11 December 1944: Main RHQ moved at 1300 hrs to Born, and occupied houses and a cafe. Route: Eelen - Berg - X rds - Limbricht - Born.
12 December 1944: Court of Inquiry held ad RHQ at 1400 hrs on the loss of codes which occurred in the Regt on the 8th Dec. Learnt that the Op for which the re-grouping (i.e. 258 and 260 under comd 52 (L) Div) was carried out, is now cancelled. CO2s TAC HQ will therefore revert to Regtl comd and join the remainder of RHQ tomorrow.
13 December 1944: Nothing to report.
14 December 1944: CO 2s TAC HQ rejoined RHQ during the morning. Capt D.G. Page (Technical Adjt) rejoined RHQ for duty, having been attached to 259 Bty as instructor on a maintenance course for half tracked vehicles. Orders received with route and timings for 258 Bty to move to a recced position in Sittard in the morning tomorrow.
15 December 1944: 258 Bty moved in 3 blocks to Sittard and are billeted in a school. First frost this morning and ice abounds on puddles and floods. Day sunny and dry.
16 December 1944: Adjt went off to inspect newly established Div Battle School near Brussels, and the NY leave Centre. Reshuffle on front. Since cancellation of "Shears" Div s to remain in holding role on a Bde front. 22 Armd Bde with one Bty (257) under comd to remain in until 26/27 Dec. 131 Bde with 259, to come out and conc at Beek, relieving 22 Armd Bde on above date. 5 Gds Armd Bde are coming in on the right, taking over 131's old line.
17 December 1944: A quiet day, dull and raining, with NTR until about six in the evening, when we were visited with the attentions of the Luftwaffe. About six planes dropped several bombs close by, and many windows were blown in. Fortunately, there were no casualties military or civilian at RHQ. 257 Bty reported two slight casualties, Capt Balfour, who returned to duty after removal of small pieces from his back, and Gnr Simpson, who was removed to 2 LPA. No other casualties reported in the Btys. Owing to reported parachute landings, we maintained an inlying picquet. There was also slight aerial activity all through the night.
18 December 1944: Slight activity this morning at 10 o'clock when half-dozen enemy planes flew overhead. Ack-Ack was sent up, but they dit not make any hostile attacks. Received orders for one Tp of 258 to go into action. Adjt returned from his trip to Div Battle School this afternoon. Report at 2300 hrs that 100 black objects had been intercepted by Radar, flying East to West in this area. It is supposed they must be gliders, and the guard and picquet are instructed. Nothing further to report during the night.
19 December 1944: CO attended a conference at HQ RA at 0930 hrs, and at 1415 hrs held a conference with BCs at 258 Bty HQ. In view of the successfull (so far) counter offensive put in by the Germans on the American Army south of Aachen, it is expected that the enemy may very likely put in a pincer thrust from the area opposits us. It is estimated that on Pz Div is available, and A tk defence is accordingly reviewed. The General has given instructions for 260 Bty to move across the river to join up with the remainder of the Div. The Div Concert Party started their production of the Pantomine Alladdin this evening. Performances will be given each afternoon and evening this week, in Sittard. A quiet night, though our own Arty - rather more active than asual.
20 December 1944: Various changes in our layout ordered, but as often, the orders are changed. The German offensive is still going strong, though up to date reports are hard to come by. The probability of a pincer thrust from our sector still faces us. 260 Bty are given orders to move tomorrow morning, crossing the Berg Bridge at 0800 hrs.
21 December 1944: 260 Bty move to area ?. However, a great deal of confusion is caused because no definite area had been allotted to them and numerous units are trying to billet in the same place. In addition, RHQ area endeavouring to find a place near Div HQ, who have moved today from Limbricht to the coal mine. In view of the probable battle which may flare tonight, so we move at 1600 hrs to an un-recced position. Troop and vehicles are settled in by about half an hour after dark, and after a certain amount of arguing with other units who are also trying to get in. Tomorrow we must have an re-shuffle.
The German advance in the south is continuing, but news of minor American counter-efforts is reported. The flanks are, apparently being held, but, so far, no real attempt to seal the gap in between, is taking place. The Germans have captured much petrol, ammunition and other booty. It is not known quite how far their forward elements are from Leige, but not far. On our front, co-ordination of the defence layout continues and second lines of defence in depth are being prepared against the likely full scale enemy offensive.
22 December 1944: 2 I/C spent the day with 131 Bde, so that, if a battle does start, he is in a position to take comd of the A tk layout on that Bde's front. 2 Lt Cols from the War Office visited the Regt for the second time, to discuss equipment and alterations to design.
23 December 1944: Nothing of great importance took place today. In the evening RHQ made the draw of names out of a hat for the order in which eligible personnel proceed on leave to UK. Eligibility is based on six months unbroken service in this theatre on 1 Jan 1945. The list is headed L/Bdr Gamble the Regtl Post Orderly.
24 December 1944: Christmas service at RHQ at 1000 hrs. A white frost this morning, and the puddles and mud which abounded yesterday ar frozen solid. The day is cold throughout, but bright and sunny. RA flew daylight recces over forward positions.
25 December 1944: Holy Communion service at 0800 hrs for RHQ. CO visited all men in the Btys during the day, and 2 i/c visited 'B' Ech for the men's dinner. At Main RHQ the officers served the men's dinner and spent most of the afternoon washing up the mass of cookery borrowed for the occasion! Everyone had a happy time though the circumstances put a limit on the amount of drink allowed to be consumed. Local inhabitants came in during the evening for dancing.
26 December 1944: At 0530 hrs the enemy attacked in about company strength, the standing patrol of the 11th Hussars at Gebroek. 260 Bty have a section of guns with this patrol. The patrol withdraw inflicting casualties on the enemy. Our casualties were one man slightly wounded and an M 10 radiator damaged. The patrol went out again during the day. Adjt visited all Btys during the day. At 1600 hrs RHQ held a party for the local children and the men held their Christmas sweet and chocolate ration for distribution. In the evening the Regtl Dance band played for the men's dance.
27 December 1944: A quiet day with nothing to report from our front. News from the Ardennes battle front is of air attacks on the enemy causing great damage to his equipment. The spear heads of his advance are considerably blunted. The weather had been vey favourable for the Allied Air Forces for 3 days in contrast to the first few days of the enemy counter offensive.
28 December 1944: Snow fell during last night and this morning. The roads are extremely dangerous, and visibility precludes any air operations which have been so useful in the south for the last few days. A FGCM took most of the day at RHQ. The accused was one of our own men, and the prossecution and defence were conducted by legally qualified officers. JAG was in attendance. A number of officers attended as members under instruction. The CO went to Brussels this morning for 48 hrs leave.
29 December 1944: CO 2 attended a conference at 131 Bde HQ at 1700 hrs, and a revised plan was propounded for a 131 Bde attack if and when certain moves are made by the enemy. The operation is very much in the planning stage and its execution depends on various indefinite circumstances. The present role of holding the front in this sector continues. Roads still extremely dangerous with their covering of ice. All DRs work in the Regt is being carried out in 4 wheeled vehicles.
30 December 1944: Moderately heavy snow fell for about 4 hours today, following a thaw which had just started to make the roads reasonably safe. Again, everything is now frozen.
31 December 1944: CO returned from leave last night having had a well carned and very refreshing change. The canals are now frozen to such an extent that ice skating is in full swing with the civilians. No doubt enemy patrols will endeavour to be enterprising enough to try knocking at the back door!!
And so, the Old Year ends - a year marked for the Regt by arriving in the UK on 6 Jan, embarking for Normandy in the early days of June, and finally, spread over the 3 borders of Belgium, Holland and Germany. The last seven months may well be remembered with pride at the achievements which have crowned every soldier's efforts, even though that pride is tinctured with the sad thoughts for lost comrades, which had led to a very changed but none the less proud Regiment.
With the dawn of 1945 no more sincere wish or determination exists, than to finish the war as finally and as quickly, as possible.