War Diaries of 3rd Field Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery

1945

 

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January 1945

Commanding Officer: Lt.Col U Corbett DSO RHA

Place

Date

Hour

Summary of Events and Information

References to Appendices

EINIGHAUSEN

1.1.45

 

Fine day but cloudy. Great excitement was caused this morning between 0800 hrs and 1000 hrs as a number of German planes straffed up neighbouring areas: there was general activity off and on for about two hours with plenty of AA fire: at least two were seen to come to ground in the SITTARD area.

 

 

 

 

Reports are coming on from all quarters about the German aerial activity (one soldier was wounded in ‘D’ Battery.

 

 

 

 

Patrol of DLI crossed River BEEK by temporary bridge at 704725 and attempted to reach ISENBRUCH road. It did not reach the road but reported the following:- trip wires across front at 7053 7375 7282, enemy positions occupied at 7040 7285 to 7050 7267, house at 702725 definitely occupied. We fired an Uncle Target on the house at 702725, also on trench system at 7040 7285 to 7060 7287 with 5RHA on the left half, 3 RHA on the right half, and Heavy AA firing air bursts over the top.

 

EINIGHAUSEN

2.1.45

 

Fine morning with snow in the afternoon. The first batch of leave personnel left for UK this morning. One or two hostile Batteries and mortars engaged during the day, and a repeat of ‘D’ Btys fire plan ‘JACKO’ was arranged again in support of 1/5th Queens. One heavy hostile Battery, out of range of us, was engaged by Mediums and Heavy AA at PEIG 7178 (in HOLLAND).

 

 

 

 

News from GREECE confirms that the negotiations for ceasing the hostilities have broken down. Patrol encountered NE of NIEUWSTADT near 689728 from GEBROEK. Patrol went out to 657763 without hearing or seeing enemy.

 

 

 

 

Regimental sing-song held in the local hall in EINIGHAUSEN and the entries for ‘Lily Marlene’ competition were tried out; CRA was present.

 

 

 

 

The enemy Divisions on our front and those of our neighbours have obviously a directive from their higher formation that they are to carry out a series of attacks in order to prevent us removing troops for the Ardennes battle. Ammunition expenditure 127.

 

EINIGHAUSEN

3.1.45

 

A general thaw has set in and the roads are getting very wet. Last night a party of about 20 -25 HUN managed to get right up to our standing patrol at 730701, South of HONGEN approaching from the West. 1/5th Queens withdrew using SA fire and mortars. A stonk was also put down, which restored the status quo. A patrol of 1/5th Queens assaulted the copse 726702 from North and found it unoccupied (this was first nights plan ‘JACKO’).

 

 

 

 

Ammunition expenditure 489.

 

EINIGHAUSEN

4.1.45

 

Thaw continues, with rain and sleet. ‘D’ Bty held a dance in a large school in their area LEIJINBROEK.

 

 

 

 

Ammunition expenditure 428.

 

EINIGHAUSEN

5.1.45

 

Beautiful morning, bright sunshine. Early this morning 2 DFs fired for 1/5th Queens at enemy forming up; Mike target also fired – no enemy attack developed.

 

 

 

 

ROOSTEREN K6577 was the scene of a strange sequence of events; at 0100 hrs two explosions were heard in the enemy minefield at about 662785. Immediately afterwards ROOSTEREN was mortared and our own troops heard a lot of movement. This was followed by the shelling of the village by a single gun and more explosions were heard from the minefields. By 0150 hrs all was quiet. This may have been an enemy small scale raid, which got unstuck on one of his own minefields.

 

 

 

 

Ammunition expenditure 244.

 

EINIGHAUSEN

6.1.45

 

Dull day. A further report on the enemy activity early yesterday morning opposite 1/5th Queens; between HONGEN and KLEINWEHRHAGAN in the area 716703 a succession of groups of the enemy, believed to number about 100 men in all, were engaged on some work, purpose not definitely ascertained; a Spandau placed to a flank covered the party; object was probably to fill in gaps in defences between the above two places with wire or mines.

 

 

 

 

These troops came to the attention of the gunners in the course of the proceedings and observers nearby report that a stricken Herren folk registered their disapproval with blood curdling moans and groans. Another patrol found dannet wire from 748713 along line of contour to 749709. Patrol of DLI reported vehicles moving out of ISENBRUCH towards either SCHALBRUCH 7173 or HAVERT 7272. An extensive fire plan laid on for tonight, including two medium Regts, two Field Regts, and the 15 LAA, in support of a strong patrol of the DLI. Plan was not fired. Lt.Col. Wildbore-Smith, Lt.Col. Cardiff, Major Cobbold, Major Barrington and Major Tirrell came to dinners in the Mess.

 

 

 

 

Postscript – On our front enemy patrol attempted to cross the canal 662773, but was engaged by artillery and small arms fire and was seen off. Ammunition expenditure 462.

 

EINIGHAUSEN

7.1.45

 

Frosty day developing into rain in the afternoon.

 

 

 

 

Ammunition expenditure 212.

 

EINIGHAUSEN

8.1.45

 

Thick snow on the ground. A raid on an enemy position at 893674 ran on to a minefield, but we collected 5 POW.

 

 

 

 

A patrol of 1/5th Queens South of KLEINWEHRHAGEN failed to attract the enemy’s attention and returned carrying three of their party, who had frozen; a patrol round HONGEN was fired on aby Spandau from 732708. A raiding party directed on ISENBRUCH by 9 DLI was supported by ourselves, 5 RHA, 2 Mediums and 15 LAA ran onto a field of Schu and S mines, 700725; an area which had previously been recced and was believed to have been cleared probably due to the snow, which made detection difficult. The field runs from 70057255 to 70267262 30 yards in depth. The raiding party met some, but not much, enemy DF fire, and raised very little attention from ISENBRUCH itself. Ammunition expenditure 297.

 

EINIGHAUSEN

9.1.45

 

‘J’ Battery RHA are now in action after five days stand down. ‘D’ Bty RHA are now standing down.

 

EINIGHAUSEN

10.1.45

 

Very little activity on our front.

 

EINIGHAUSEN

11.1.45

 

A cold frosty day, roads very bad. 2nd Devons on being relieved by Glasgow Highlanders (52 Div) move into EINIGHAUSEN; as a result we had to squeeze up in order to get them in (i.e. 2nd Devons); some of our HQ were sent down to live with ‘D’ Bty RHA, temporary, in order to make some more room.

 

 

 

 

Rest of 131 Bde relieved by Bde from 52 Div; company of 1/5th Queens in GEBROEK, rest of the Battalion in reserve.

 

 

 

 

A party of 15 enemy working at 676742 were engaged by the Div Artillery.

 

EINIGHAUSEN

12.1.45

 

Hard frost. The Regiment established at BORNE close to 131 Bde forthcoming operation. Reliefs of 131 Bde completed by this morning, 1/5th Queens and 9 DLI each have a company in GEBROEK for forthcoming attacks tonight by a company of 1/5th Queens on BAKENHOVEN; plan for a quick barrage to support the attack received this morning.

 

 

 

 

‘J’ Bty RHA no under command Major B.A. Buckwell DSO MC RHA supplying OP with 1/5th Queens (as ‘D’ Bty RHA are resting). On our front today there was an increase of mortar and MG activity; CBO reports more shelling than there has been of late, some of the heavy guns in the rear in action again.

 

PAPEBHOVEN

13.1.45

 

RHQ moved to 637737 near PAPENHOVEN. ‘D’ and ‘J’ Bty’s RHA moved to area BRUCHTEN 6576. Fire plan in the form of a quick barraged fired at 0500 hrs in support of a company of 1/5th Queens in an attack on BAKENHOVEN 6676; attack very successful with only four casualties.

 

 

 

 

A very fine, cold sunny day. Just after dark, a determined attack was put in by the Hun to retake BAKENHOVEN, at least 40 men wearing white snowsuits infiltrated into the village, and very stiff hand to hand fighting ensued. (troops are stated to be GAF, but it is no definite). Regiment, plus Div Arty, fired a number of DFs and concentrations. At least one platoon of the Queens were surround, and a great battle ensued our OP, Capt Dolphin-Smith RHA, reported to be doing very good work, and accounting for seven Bosche killed with his own tank.

 

 

 

 

The Queens lost one killed and 16 wounded. The minefield South of the village was crossed successfully and the enemy, after firing on the streets, managed to bale out in the darkness and fog without losing an PW. Most of the houses in the South part of the village were booby-trapped and the orchards North of it mined.

 

PAPENHOVEN

14.1.45

 

Bright sunny day. A company of 1/5th Queens relieved by another company of 1/5th. News from the Ardennes continues to be good. We have taken MOUSNY 4869, WAREMPAGE 5071, BERTOGNE 5266.

 

 

 

 

Major J.M. Bayley, MC, RHA returned from leave. Major B.A. Buckwell, DSO, MC, RHA again assumed 2IC.

 

 

 

 

Major WLP FISHER, MC has arrived at LIERRE and is being fetched today. BCs conference held at TAC at 1515 hrs this afternoon on future operations.

 

PAPENHOVEN

15.1.45

 

Very cold day with snow at intervals and low clouds.

 

 

 

 

Everyone is busy preparing for forthcoming operation (BLACKCOCK). Regtl Headquarters moved to PAPENHOVEN itself 6373. ‘M’ Bty RHA moved to ILLIKHOVEN 6475.

 

 

 

 

Operation ‘BLACKCOCK’ postponed for 12 hrs owing to the appalling weather.

 

PAPENHOVEN

16.1.45

 

Weather is good today, but became foggy towards dusk. H hour for operation ‘BLACKCOCK’ 0730 (the clearing of the pocket North of SITTARD between the MAAS and the RUER).

 

 

 

 

Pjase Angel 1 commences with a fire plan consisting of a number of stonks and concentrations by 3 RHA, 5 RHA, 147 Fd Regt, 13 Medium Regt, 107 Med Regt, Bty of 7.2s, 51 Heavy Regt, battery of 155s (3 AGRA) 72 Medium Regt, two batteries of 7.2s (8 Corps) and 4th RHA. On the general area DIETEREN 6777 and concrete works at 678761. In support of the attack by 9th DLI on DIRTERN and by a company of 1/5th Queens under command of the command of the concrete works. ‘M’ Bty RHA, directly supported DLI as per usual plus one OP from ‘D’ Bty RHA with 1/5th Queens company (Capt Cork).

 

 

 

 

Many targets fired in support on and around the area; ‘J’ Bty RHA are firing a continuous smokescreen to cover the building of a bridge at 667764 across VLOED BEEK. Two German Battalion Headquarters, one at 725776, the other in the main square at ECHT, engaged by Mediums. 40 POW including one officer are reported so far. The attack was most successful, and everyone was established by mid-day on their objectives, DLI in DIETEREN and a company of 1/5th Queens in the concrete works.

 

 

 

 

The Engineers at bridge 667764 badly troubled by shelling and mist combined with the smoke; ‘J’ BTy RHA smoke screen was stopped during the afternoon.

 

 

 

 

Phase Angel 3 (the seizing of SUSTEREN 6775) is dependent on the bridge being completed, as 1st Tanks are under command of 1/5th Queens (who are doing the attack) and taking the Infantry forward SUSTEREN engaged heavily during the course of the day.

 

 

 

 

Major WLP Fishers has returned from ENGLAND, having been away since the battle of VILLERS BOCAGE. Lieut. Flint rejoined the Regiment and posted as Survey Officers to RHQ.

 

PAPENHOVEN

17.1.45

 

A slight thaw has set in. Phase Angel 3, the capture of SUSTERN by 1/5th Queens, commenced early this morning; by lunch time most of the Northern half of the town was in our hands, but the Queens have met stiff opposition especially from the line of the railway area 6875.

 

 

 

 

A counter attack in force was put in against them, but after tremendous gun-fire on the part of the Corps Artillery, mostly controlled by ‘D’ Bty Ops under Major T.J. Tirrell, MC, DCM. RHA, the attack was seen off. A number of POW have been taken, estimated at about 30.

 

 

 

 

An attack has been laid on for this afternoon to take OUS ROOSTEREN 6677 by a company of 5 KOSBs (52 Div) plus a troops of flails (79 Div). One Bn of 5 KOSB has come under command 131.

 

 

 

 

A small fire plan has been arranged, code word ‘BRAN’.

 

 

 

 

The attack went in about 1630 hrs and OUDSTEREN was taken without fire plan fired; the German Battalion Commander an 25 others being taken prisoner.

 

 

 

 

1st RBs further South, have reached 674740, 675744, 677752, they are almost in contact with 1/5th Queens. Phase Angel 2 commenced about 1630.

 

 

 

 

This entails pass the 2nd Devons with two squadrons of 2nd Tanks under command, through the 9 DLI at DIETEREN. Two columns are going to push NE, one going left to OPHOVEN 5879 to ECHT 6980, and the right column following the line of the railway due NE to SCHILBRUG 693773.

 

 

 

 

OPHOVEN was soon occupied by the right hand column and by dusk there were on outskirts of ECHT 6980. The right hand column is held up by an obstacle in the area of 697783. 8th Armd Bde (under command 7th Armd) are concentrated just North of SITTARD, ready to advance up main axis SITTARD – SCHILBURG as soon as it is open, and exploit to the East. This will be known as operation ‘BEAR’.

 

 

 

 

Many Mike targets and Victor targets, let alone Battery targets, fired during the course of the day. By 1650 hrs Claws 40 bridge completed at 675745. Approximately 100 POW taken by Division today. Amn Expenditure 5286.

 

PAPENHOVEN

18.1.45

 

General thaw has set in today. 2nd Devons entered ECHT and SCHILBURG, with patrols in HINGEN 7071. 1st Tanks patrol reached 696821 and 708813. One squadron of 5 DG believed company of KOSB in OUD ROOSTEREN. 1/5th Queens supported by xxxxxxxxxx a Regimental quick barrage attacked HEIDE 6976. 80 enemy engaged at railway station 699752, as a Mike target from two Regiments, fired three times. 59 Div attack commenced today, following places now held:- HONGEN – HEILDER – HAVERT – SCHALBRICH. Heavy guns active against SITTARD.

 

 

 

 

100 POW taken today. During the night our tanks tried to press on up the road to SCHILBURG, but the enemy held a road block at 693775, and when our tanks tried to get round it they were engaged by AP. The road to SCHILBURG now cleared, but a blow near the road block prevented our using it, and the 8th Armd Bde advanced and turned East through HEIDE. 30 more POW taken on OUD ROOSTERER, cowering in cellars.

 

 

 

 

Major WLP Fisher MC. RHA assumed command 2 IC. Major B.A. Buckwell, MC, DSO RHA left of leave in UK. Amn expenditures 3972.

 

PAPENHOVEN

19.1.45

 

A very wet and miserable day. Bde HQ and Regtl Tac moved to DIETEREN, which is in a terrible state of destruction; SUSTEREN 6775 is in a similar state. 1/5th Queens moved to SLEK, taking over from KOSB who have gone into reserve.

 

 

 

 

The Regiment moved to an area South of road ECHT – SCHILBERG RHQ, ‘J’ and ‘M; at GEBROEK 6979, ‘D’ Bey area 702786.

 

 

 

 

Victor target on KLOOSTER LILO 724776 at 0100 hrs believed held by enemy. Forward boys of 8th Armd Bde at KONINGSBOSCH 7574; Northern axis held up at PEPINUSBERG 734780. Ammunition expenditure 1713.

 

GEBROEK

20.1.45

 

Frosty day. New Bde HQ recced in ECHT 6980. 1/5th Queens now established at SLEK 7077, having taken over from KOSB.

 

 

 

 

8th Armd Bde having called off Northern axis have reached BOCKET 7874 and are pushing North to WALDFECHT 7775, supported by Essex Yeomanry (147 Fd). 22nd Bde. 1st RB and 8th Hussars are being passed through 131 Bde NW to MONTFORT 7462. Commando Unit firm bases in ECHT 6980 with 9th DLI, patrols entered and took BERKELAAR 6981 with 10 POW, pushing on to HALTE STEVENSWEER 6982.

 

 

 

 

OP from ‘M’ Bty, RHA with Commando. ‘D’ Bty RHA GA has a direct hit and consequently brewed up, no casualties, but two slightly wounded on the position. There is increased enemy shell fire in the general area of ECHT and some rounds at bridge 667774. 43 Div commenced their attack today, no news so far.

 

 

 

 

Firing during day on Victor and Mike targets plus OP shoots. 11 Hussars cleared MAASBRECHT 7185. Heavy shelling during the night on ECHT – SCHILBURG area. Ammunition expenditure 926.

 

PAPENHOVEN

21.1.45

 

Enemy shelling activity continued during the day. 9 DLI and 8 Hussars battled all day to break through ST JOOSH 7181 to capture MONTFORT 7482. 9 DLI suffered heavily with about 60 casualties, and very fierce fighting ensued in the village itself, fight house by house. By first light ST JOOSH was in our hands.

 

 

 

 

This represents a magnificent epic by the DLI and 8 Hussars; one Coy Commander was killed only after having lead personally five separate charges; the 8th Hussars lost a few tanks and suffered about 18 casualties. Odd enemy guns, tanks and AFVs reported in general areas 729, 7379, 7478 7678. Enemy gun believed to be in area of railway 7162.

 

 

 

 

The bridge across VLOED BEEK at OUD ROOSTEREN nearly completed. Tac ‘M’ Bty RHA received two direct hist from shells in ECHT during the night, no casualties.

 

 

 

 

Enemy tanks engaged by fight bombers at 8272, 131 Bde remain in DIETEREN, move cancelled. Typhoons straffed and bombed MONTFORT. Col. Holliman OC 5th Tanks, was killed today. Ammunition expenditure 2141.

 

PAPENHOVEN

22.1.45

 

131 Bde remained present location. Advance continued first light by 8th Hussars, with a squadron of 11 Hussars on the right, and on the left. By 1230 hrs patrol line reached, with 11 Hussars 7067 63 NTR. At 725777 the road block; 8th Hussars reached 731801, 735805, 729816 734817, and the 11 Hussars reached 715822, 714826, 724804, 706, 705846. 2nd Devons now at 701796, 717809, 715807, 891799, 714805.

 

 

 

 

9th DLI now at 704775, 702779705774, 704781. 3rd Commando at 708788 with troops at HINGEN and 707797, 697796, 704793. The main body of enemy resistance driven from ST JOOSH during the night, but 1st RBs mopping up, took 14 POW and 3 SP guns.

 

 

 

 

Recce by 8th Hussars towards MONTFORT delayed mines. 5 DGs have two troops across the bridge at 734820 and have two troops holding AANDEBERG 748827, with company of RBs. PW states the area SE of MONTFORT to be strongly held. 1st SS Brigade Commando, are under command 7th Armd. Commanos hold ECHT and BEEKELAAR. The RAF attacked MONTFORT during the day. Main Div moved to ECHT. Regrouping of Div now as follows:- 131 Bde:- 2nd Devons. 9th DLI, 8th Hussars, 1st Royal Tanks, 3rd Commando. 22 Bde:- 5 DG, 5th Royal Tanks, 1st RBs, 1/5th Queens. Ammunition expenditure 1229.

 

PAPENHOVEN

22.1.45

 

131 Bde move to ECHT 6980. 22 Bde, two platoons 1/5th Queens, joined the Garrison of AANDEBERG. Strength now 5 platoons 7 Tanks and half a motor company. 1/5th Queens under command 5th DGs now in area ST JOOSH. Squadron 1st Royal Tanks have taken from 2nd Devons. 2nd Devons under command 22nd Bde. 9th DLI relieve 3 Commando 707789 – 710800, 705, 712791. 3rd Commando revert to command 1st SS Bde. 2nd Devons pushed two troops 5th Royal tanks in the area 736831 745855, 747831.

 

 

 

 

45 Commando (1st SS Bde) have reached 734848, 6th Commando reached 734744, but pulled back to 727846. The enemy counter attacked AANDEBERG 7482 last night; MONTFORT at the end of the day was still held, but movement out of it has been reported.

 

 

 

 

Commandos entered MASSBRACHT and BRACHTERBEEK without opposition; they found the enemy holding MONTFORDERBEEK in front of LINNE down to the station 7384.

 

 

 

 

There was heavy fighting here and the Commandos who reached the station were forced back again, but by this evening we have got a bridgehead across the BEEK at 733858; supporting armoured claimed 40 enemy dead.

 

 

 

 

This afternoon after a loud explosion was heard in ST ODILIENBURG area, an Air OP was sent up, and found that the bridge over the river ROER had been blown. There can be little doubt that the enemy intends to contest our advance towards ROERMOND in front of LEEROP switchline, at least till this is fully manned, and that he will fight with great determination. Repot reaching us of N. Holland, say that conditions are very bad.

 

 

 

 

The Russians are across the ODER on a 40 mile front. Ammunition expenditure 486.

 

GEBROEK

21.1.45

 

131 moved to the eastern end of SCHILBERG area 7178 to improve communication. 1/5th Queens have been pulled out and are resting in area of ECHT. ‘J’ Bty RHA OPs with 2nd Devons relieved by 4th RHA. ‘J’ Bty Commander and OP party returned to ECHT taking over Regtl Tac’s house; they (’J’ Bty RHA) are to be prepared to OP 1/5th Queens tomorrow. New phase in battle commenced about midday with final objective POSTERHOLT 8082.

 

 

 

 

1st Tanks in lead with OPs from ‘D’ Bty RHA, followed by 9th DLI who moved from SCHILBURG about midday to general area 7578. Regtl Recce carried out in area 7577. ‘J’ Bty RHA moved up into new position early in the evening, in order to get one Battery well up in case of having to fire smoke. It is interesting that this is the first night occupation done in the Regiment for some time.

 

 

 

 

Later this afternoon 1st Tanks met with a lot of trouble from two SPs (first reported this morning by 11 Hussars patrols) in the area of wood 7780. Five of our tanks have been knocked out. We fired a number of Mike targets followed by Victor targets into the general of the wood, controlled by ‘D’ Bty RHA OPs. 11th Hussars patrols active during the day around the general battle area. The bridge at PEPINUSBRUG opened late last night.

 

 

 

 

Squadron of 11 Hussars have got through DIERGAARD and ECHTERBOSCH. 2nd Devons have reached road NE from AANDBERG 748829. 1/5th Queens found MONTFORT unoccupied. Commando Patrols in area of LINNE; 6th Commando captured the railway station this morning. 9th DLI and 1st Royal Tanks began to establish troops PUTBROEK and plantation 7960.

 

 

 

 

Ammunition expenditure 1050.

 

GEBROEK

25.1.45

 

131 Bde HQ moved to area PEPINUS Bridge where Tac was established in a dugout kindly left by the Germans. Mines and demolitions have generally delayed our advance today, but there was practically no enemy opposition. By this evening 11 Hussars have Foot patrols into POSTERHOLT and within a few hundred yards of ST ODILIEBBURG on the ROER.

 

 

 

 

We beat the woods east of MONTFORT and had patrols out N. of ST ODILIENBURG – LINNE road. Commandos plus a Squadron o 8th Hussars captured LINNE today. The enemy appears to be manning the Siegfried switchline, at least temporary. On our right, LIECK has been occupied by friends

 

 

 

 

Tac R shows all bridges blown over the ROER except the one onto ROERMOND and that at VLODROP. Early this morning there were still a few enemy in AANDEBERG 7778, and in the trenches in front of MUNINGSBOSCH. 11 Hussars approaching POSTERHOLT 8181, from South, found a sea of mines, and all bridges blown over the MONTFORTERBEEK between them and POSTERHOLT, where they picked up mines, (with help of the sappers) built a bridge on the edge of town with civilian help, and collected 2 POW. They sent out another foot patrol which got within a few hundred yards of ST ODENBERG where they found a Spandau post. The 1/5th Queens having successfully beaten the MONTFORT woods without finding any enemy have built a small bridge over the BEEK, and are now established in REUIG 7982.

 

 

 

 

Commandos entered LINNE this morning without opposition, where they collect one PW and 23 dead. Ammunition expenditure 1135.

 

GEBROEK

26.1.45

 

Regtl Tac rejoined Regiment at DIERGAARDE. 131 remain present location, but moving to monastery at DIERGAARDE tomorrow. VLODDROCK was attacked by Typhoons this afternoon. A likely crossing place over the ROER. Today we find the enemy still holding VLODDROCK, ST ODIELIEBERG and Siegfried switchline.

 

 

 

 

Our patrols have made little progress towards VLODDROCK, the country is absolutely open and covered by 88mm guns, either in the town or just behind it. On our right 11 Hussars got withing half mile of PAARLO 8184, and 22 Armd Bde forward Tanks entered the Southern outskirts of ST ODILENBERG. A civilian report puts the strength of the enemy in VLODDROCK at 100.

 

 

 

 

Commandos with tank support from 22 Bde patrolled to general line NW to SE about 1000 yards from LEEROP.

 

 

 

 

Ammunition expenditures 586.

 

DIERGAARDE

27.1.45

 

22 Bde have cleared ST ODIELIENBERG 7884, opposition mainly from Spandau also a good many mines were encountered mostly on the surface. VLODDROCK 8382 was reported by civilian to be clear; we sent a patrol to investigate; the patrol however, was strongly engaged as soon as it left POSTERHOLT, and in the being open country was unable to proceed.

 

 

 

 

During the night, Commandos made a special raid on the island North of LINNE. The first flight landed without casualties in spite of sniping. On reaching the wood at 737874 at the West end of the island, towards the loch, a violent small arms battle broke out, and a great many grenades were thrown. This battle ensued for some time, and at the same time, both banks of the river in the vicinity of the crossing were periodically shelled from ROERMOND direction.

 

 

 

 

Owing to the very strong current all the attempts to establish a line across the river failed. It was therefore decided to make no further landing. A patrol to HEMELSE 782866 found it strongly held. On our right BRACHELEN 9568 to RANDERATH and HILFARTH 9372 were cleared. Ammunition expenditure 510.

 

DIERGAARDE

28.1.45

 

HOLST 8183 occupied by 1/5th Queens. Otherwise nothing to report from our own front. Enemy losses of MT, AFVs claimed by various commands from 1st Jan to 21st Jan are interesting:- A – destroyed B damaged.

 

 

 

 

MT AFVs

 

 

 

 

A B A B

9 USAAF 331 75 58 32

1st USTAF 184 135 51 46

 

 

 

 

2nd TAF

85 GP 80 37 -- --

9 TAC 414 144 50 29

XIX AC 706 293 73 49

86 3 Gp 63 21  -- 3

 

 

 

 

Totals 1788 894 232 159

 

 

 

 

Ammunition expenditure 1079.

 

DIERGAARDE

29.1.45

 

Last night we occupied HOLST 8183. 1/5th Queens are now firm in PAARLO 8184. Both these places were heavily shelled this afternoon. Tanks of 22 Bde in conjunction with the Commandos. South of the switchline, engaged enemy today in the HEIDE wood, and reached 769850. A strong counter attack was put in by the Bosche against PAARLO this evening at about 2330 hrs in company strength; many DFs in and around the area were fired; the Mediums, 5 RHA and the AGRA came to our aide. The attack was broken up and by 0300 hrs on 30th the situation was again firm, 8 PW taken. Capt. Gosling RHA, was at the OP.

 

 

 

 

The attack was evidently for yesterday morning, but it was postpone owing to our accurate shelling during the day, which made movement impossible. The object was to retake PAARLO at all costs, and if successful, HAALST 8184. It is interesting to note that ‘D’ Bty, RHA fired over 1000 rounds tonight in support of the Queens at PAARLO.

 

 

 

 

Ammunition expenditure 2366.

 

DIERGAARDE

30.1.45

 

Nothing of importance to report on our own front. A general thaw has set in and the snow has completely disappeared; general mud reignes everywhere. Ammunition expenditure 2108.

 

DIERGAARDE

31.1.45

 

We are all prepared to hand over our area to the Americans prior to moving to the GELEEN area for a few weeks rest.

 

 

 

 

Rumours are rife about coming British offensive in the near future. Early this morning a loud explosion was heard in VLODDROCK and reliable civilian reports state that the Hun blew the bridge after it had been damaged by our shell fire. 52 Div sent a patrol to KARKEN 2379.

 

 

 

 

Ammunition expenditure 220.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JANUARY 1945

 

 

 

 

 

ORDER OF BATTLE OF OFFICERS

 

3rd Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery

 

 

 

 

 R.H.Q.

Lieut. Colonel. J.A. Norman, DSO.

Major B.A. Buckwell, DSO. MC

Capt. G, Buchanan

Lieut. D.M. Tribe

Lieu. A.L.P. Lawrence

Capt. P. Davies, RAMC

Capt. A.W. Abrahamson (EME)

Capt. QM B. Bull

Lieut. S.L. Gant. R.Sigs. 

 

 

 

 

'D' Battery

Major T.J. Tirrell, MC, DCM

Lieut. A Gibb

Capt. B.J. Cork

Capt. J.A.C. Baxter, MC

Capt. G.D. Brice 

Lieut. J.R. Brown 

Lieut. T.T. Ritson

Lieut. W.R.B. Buckholt

Lieut. D. McDonald

Lieut. R.H. Jones

Lieut. H.A. Parsons

Capt. B.J. Cork

 

 

 

 

'J' Battery

Major J.E. Bayley

Capt. G.H.P. Lawrence, MC

Capt. J.W. Dowdeswell

Capt. R.A. Stokes, MC.

Capt. W. Dolphin-Smith

Capt. L.S. Gosling

Lieut. D.D. Brown

Lieut. M.A. Anson

Lieut. G.E. Foster

Lieut. G,L,Burke.

Lieut. W.C. Griffiths

Lieut. J.H. Brittain

 

 

 

 

'M' Battery.

Major P.H. Barrington

Capt. L.P. Hicks MC.

Capt. R.C.N.M. Oulton, MC.

Capt. C.L.M. Aspinal

Lieut. J. Ledsham

Lieut. G.H. Dale.

Lieut. G.I. Brown

Lieut. S.A. Middleton

Lieut. G.H. Holme

Lieut. J.A. Frost

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 1945

Commanding Officer: Lt.Col U Corbett DSO RHA

Place

Date

Hour

Summary of Events and Information

References to Appendices

DIERGAARDE

1.2.45

 

Nothing to report. Ammunition expenditure 760.

 

 

2.2.45

 

Our forces are every active today in improved weather.

 

 

 

 

Operation on our front limited to patrol activity. On the whole of the Western Front, there exists something of a lull. Ammunition expenditure 585.

 

 

3.2.45

 

Nothing to report. ‘D’ Battery RHA have stood one Troop down and half of the other troop. Four 25 pdr from the Americans have arrived, this making it a six gun Battery, being administered and controlled by us. Ammunition expenditure 498.

 

 

4.2.45

 

Nothing to report. Ammunition expenditure 1117.

 

 

5.2.45

 

Nothing to report. Ammunition expenditure 553.

 

 

6.2.45

 

Nothing to report. Ammunition expenditure 417.

 

 

7.2.45

 

Commandos today stonked island 7487, and produced 11 deserters clocked in to our friends to West of the MAAS. Much activity has been seen in MELICJ 7985 area, and three large explosions were heard. Tonight, two enemy patrols of 4 or 6 men were encountered in HEIDE wood 7685. A larger patrol of 20 men with bazookas penetrated to 783843 were it was engaged by our troops after it had brewed up one of our carriers; some enemy were seen to fall. Ammunition expenditure 292.

 

 

8.2.45

 

1st Canadian Army attacked in the North this morning.

 

 

 

 

Otherwise nothing to report on our own front. Nothing to report. Ammunition expenditure 469. ‘D’ Battery RHA calibrate six guns today by ‘Camera’.

 

 

9.2.45

 

Although there is no change in our front, the enemy is showing increasing curiosity as to our attention. For the last few days he has flown regular Tac R over Corps area, A sharp artillery concentration was put down by the enemy on the area between POSTERHOLT and HOLST 8183 at 0800 hrs. 1st Canadian Army attack pushed off well yesterday morning after devasting counter battery fire from locations freshly gain 1½ hours before. Before H hour, this had largely neutralised the enemy artillery and mortars. 1200 POW so far. Ammunition expenditure 500.

 

 

10.2.45

 

At 0300 hrs a four man patrol of one company Hubner approached our position in the are 7683 ( 2nd Devons). Two of the patrol were killed and one wounded and taken POW. The enemy still shows uneasiness about our front, and his daylight TAC R of the ST ODILIENBERG 7884 area was followed up at night by one aircraft dropping flares, There has been a general rise of two feet in the river ROER. At present no further news of 1st Canadian Armys progress. PW so far 2600. Weather remains fine. Ammunition expenditure 595.

 

 

11.2.45

 

First light an enemy patrol was driven off 819834, and another of 7 between HOLST 8183 and PAARLO 8184. We fired some DFs in that area. The situation was restored. The enemy his morning blew up VLODDROP Church Tower.

 

 

 

 

Ammunition expenditure 592

 

 

12.2.45

 

A very wet day. Nothing to report. Ammunition expenditure 374.

 

 

13.2.45

 

Nothing to report from our own front. Ammunition expenditure 248.

 

 

14.2.45

 

Early this morning some local excitement was caused by the outbreak of a fire in the officers mess truck; we managed to pull out the vehicle from alongside the mess, but the house itself caught fire; after much battling by all, the fire was eventually put out. Ammunition expenditure 504.

 

 

15.2.45

 

Nothing to report. Ammunition expenditure 441.

 

 

16.2.45

 

During the night, small enemy patrols were encountered and driven off at 7984 and 7583. Lt.Col. J.A. Norman, DSO, RHA left the Regiment, having commanded it for roughly 18 months for a Gunnery Staff Course ijn England. Ammunition expenditure 392.

 

 

17.2.45

 

Nothing to report from our own front. Ammunition exp 334.

 

 

18.2.45

 

Lt.Col. U Corbett DSO, tool command and joined the Regiment from 86th Field Regt. Otherwise nothing to report. Ammunition expenditure 421.

 

 

19.2.45

 

Very fine day. Nothing to report from our own front.

 

 

 

 

Ammunition expenditure 361.

 

 

20.2.45

 

Very wet and miserable day. Nothing to report from our own front. Major B.A. Buckwell left the Regiment to return to England under the Python Scheme. Capt. Barrington takes over OC ‘J’ Bty. RHA, from Major Buckwell. Rev. Charlesworth rejoined us from the sick list, to find all his kit had been lost in the fire which destroyed the mess truck.

 

 

21.2.45

 

A beautiful day. RHQ and ‘M’ Battery moved to rest area at BAEXEM 7092, North of MAEEYCK. An American Battalion from the US 8th Armd Div has taken over from the Regiment. ‘J’ and ‘D’ remain present location with orders to move tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

131 Bde relief completed. Ammunition expenditure 363.

 

BAEXEN

22.2.45

 

Another beautiful day. ‘J’ and ‘D’ Btys moved to rest area at BAEXEM. ‘D’ and ‘M’ Btys are in a large monastery, and ‘J’ Bty are spread out over billets, also RHQ. Work and cleaning up and painting vehicles and guns in full swing.

 

 

23.2.45

 

Nothing to report.

 

 

24.2.45

 

Major General Lyne gave a percentage of officers and men of the Regiment a lecture in a previous battle, namely, the battle of the ROER triangle, in a monastery. A very interesting lecture in which be praised greatly the work of the whole Division.

 

 

25.2.45

 

Nothing to report.

 

 

26.2.45

 

Training of 12 Corps. 112 LAA Regt layers, commenced today. 8 men to each Battery.

 

 

27.2.45

 

Nothing to report.

 

 

28.2.45

 

Major P.M. Barrington, OC ‘J’ Bty RHA awarded MC for the battle of DIETEREN, L/Bdr. Yoxen, ‘D’ Bty RHA also awarded the MM.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FEBRUARY 1945

 

 

 

 

 

ORDER OF BATTLE OF OFFICERS

 

3rd Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery

 

 

 

 

 R.H.Q.

Lieut. Colonel. J.A. Norman, DSO.

Major B.A. Buckwell, DSO. MC

Capt. G, Buchanan

Lieut. D.M. Tribe

Lieu. A.L.P. Lawrence

Capt. P. Davies, RAMC

Capt. A.W. Abrahamson REME

Capt. (QM) B. Bull

Lieut. S.L. Gant. R.Sigs

 

 

 

 

'D' Battery

Major T.J. Tirrell, MC, DCM

Capt. J.A.C. Baxter, MC

Capt. G.D. Brice 

Capt. B.J. Cork

Lieut. J.R. Brown 

Lieut. T.T. Ritson

Lieut. H.A. Parsons

Lieut. R.H. Jones

Lieut. A Gibb

Lieut. D. McDonald

Lieut. W.R. Buckholt

 

 

 

 

'J' Battery

Major J.E. Bayley

Capt. G.H.P. Lawrence, MC

Capt. J.W. Dowdeswell

Capt. R.A. Stokes, MC.

Capt. W. Dolphin-Smith

Capt. L.S. Gosling

Lieut. D.D. Brown

Lieut. M.A. Anson

Lieut. G.E. Foster

Lieut. G,L. Burke.

Lieut. W.C. Griffiths

Lieut. J.H. Brittain

 

 

 

 

'M' Battery.

Major P.H. Barrington

Capt. L.P. Hicks MC.

Capt. H.C.N.M. Oulton, MC.

Capt. C.L.M. Aspinal

Lieut. J. Ledsham

Lieut. G.H. Dale.

Lieut. G.I. Brown

Lieut. S.A. Middleton

Lieut. G.H. Holme

Lieut. J.A. Frost

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 1945

Commanding Officer: Lt.Col U Corbett DSO RHA

Place

Date

Hour

Summary of Events and Information

References to Appendices

BAEXEM

1.3.45

-

Weather wet. General maintenance carried out

3.3.45

4.3.45

We day. Compulsory Church parade held in Monastery where “D” and “M” are billetted. CRA attended the parade and took the march past afterwards.

There was much local excitement in RHQ this afternoon, when we discovered through the civilian police that the house we were using for a Command Post and Officers Mess was a centre of some local Black Market. The police on searching the house found a great quantity of stolen WD goods plus some drink we last from the mess; one of the occupants was arrested.

Late this evening we received sudden orders from HQRA to be prepared to move withing the next two days; Regtl recce partiers to go to area AERSCHOT and LOUVAIN tomorrow, meeting the SCRA at 12 Corps Read which is in AERSCHOT at 1300 hours. This has been rather a fast ball, many vehicles in the Regiment have their wheels off, wireless sets and kit out etc, for repainting and maintenance.

BAEXEM

5.3.45

Following last nights sudden orders, we despatched a Regtl recce party to area AERSCHOT – LOUVAIN to meet SCRA. The Regiment were busy rest of the day collecting everything for the move; during the fresh orders were received which cancelled all previous orders regarding the move; the recce parties have been ordered to return and we are awaiting further information, still remaining at short notice to move.

We are all very disappointed that the area not going “Brussels way” after all. Once again sudden orders received for the Regiment less “J” Battery to move to the area of the Monastery at 7101 and OPHOVEN 7598; “D” Battery leading the Regiment to be passed the start line at BAEXEM XS rds by 0830 hrs.

6.3.45

The Regiment less “J” Battery moved to new area a distance about 4 – 5 mile from old area with D and M Batteries once again in a monastery at DE HEIBLOEM 7101 and RHA in OPHOVEN 7590.

“J” Bty, RHA will be moving tomorrow to an area some distance from the rest of the Regiment. They are recceing the area today

OPHOVEN

7.3.45

Two guns of “M” Battery RHA carried out a demonstration flare sheet at PAPENHOVEN 6275, the Corps Commander, CCRA and the CRA plus other Gunner Officers watched the sheet.

8.3.45

Regimental calibration carried out on LOMMEL range 3095.

9.3.45

Major TJ Tirrell MC, DCM, “D” Battery RHA awarded a second bar to his MC for the battle of SUSTEREN.. L/Bdr. Yaxen of “D” Battery RHA awarded the MM.

10.3.45

Fine day. A lecture was given this afternoon by Major Tirrell MC DCM, on the battle of SUSTERNE, CRA and Officers of the Regiment were present, a very interesting lecture.

OPHOVEN

11.3.45

Dull Day. Voluntary Church parade held at “D” Battery RHA.

12.3.45

A dull dry day. A lecture was given at “J” Battery RHA this afternoon by Major PM Barrington MC on the battle or DIETEREN.

13.3.45

Fair weather. Trade test for Technical Assistants held at “M” Battery RHA.

14.3.45

Beautiful day. Trade test for TAs finished today. News was received this afternoon from HQRA that Major J Bailey is leaving us to command 33rd Field Regiment in 3rd British Div. Major PM Barrington awarded bar to MC.

15.3.45

Another beautiful day. Regimental wireless scheme held this afternoon to practice our new wireless net, which consists of having all sets in the Regiment, less GPOs (who remain on Battery net) on the Regimental net. “J” Battery RHA succeeded in getting two of their tanks bogged during the scheme.

Great difficulty is being experiences in getting them recovered. The Officers of “M” Battery, RHA gave a party in their mess this evening.

OPHOVEN

16.3.45

A dull day. CRA visited the Regiment this morning. The two “J” Battery RHA tanks which were bogged were successfully recovered today. Majors Simmonds (5 RHA) Barrington and Fisher came to dine this evening at RHQ.

17.3.45

Fine day. Major J. Bailey left on promotions of Lt.Col to command 33rd Field Regiment. Lt.Col. U Corbett DSO went to 2nd Army HQ this afternoon to try and arranged for a new Second in Command.

18.3.45

Good weather continues.

19.3.45

A very fine day. Most of the day was spent in organising an RHQ Officers Mess party; it was decided not to hold it in a Command Post area but in a very pleasant hotel situated in a wood near BAEXEM by the side of a lake. Many Officers of the Division were present including General Lyne, CRA, Brigadiers Stirling, Brigadier Wingfield. The party was completely spoilt by a most tragic accident.

At about 22oo hrs Lieuts Dale and Duncan of “M” Battery RHA, went out onto the lake in a canoe, which was in a bad repair, whereupon they found themselves in difficulties, the boat capsised, and Lt. Duncan managed to reach the bank. But Lt. Dale was drowned. Search parties worked frantically into the early hours of the morning to try and find him, but without success.

OPHOVEN

20.3.45

Another fine day. The Regiment are busy packing up and doing the final touches for the forthcoming battle of the RHINE. A search party, consisting of two weasels under Lt. Lawrence, spent the afternoon dragging the lake for Lt. Dale, meeting with no success.

OPHOVEN

21.3.45

Good weather. The Regiment are busy preparing for the forthcoming move tomorrow.

OPHOVEN

22.3.45

The good weather continues. Lt Col. U Corbett gave an order group to the Officers of the Regiment this morning at 1200 hrs on the forthcoming operation, which will take 21st Army Group across the RHINE; for this purpose the Regiment is being split into two main groups, the forward group consisting of a very small RHA and skeleton Batteries, the rear group making up the rest less Echelons.

RHQ Recce and CPOs left for the new area this afternoon, ref 1437 just short of the RHINE. The rest of the Regiment moved at 1730 hrs arriving in the new area about 2130 hrs. whereupon everyone got down to work to dig themselves in. During the afternoon in the new area extensive smoke screens were continually being laid by large generators, make the air as thick you could scarcely see more than 20 yds; many soldiers felt ill as a result of this smoke and applications have been sent to Higher Authority to try and have it stopped

SCHREVENROT

23.3.45

The fine weather continues and is perfedt for the coming operation. The Regiment spent most of the day digging gun-pits, working out the barrage and targets for tonight, and generally settling in (see appx). Field Marshal Montgomery and General Horrocks, Commander of 30 Corps were both seen in the area today, having a last look before the leap.

The Regiment got a grand stand view of the bombing of WESEL at 1730 hrs. The silences which had prolonged throughout the day was suddenly broken at about 1700 hrs with the commencement of the great counter battery programme. There were six Field Regiments supporting the barrage we are engaged on, in support of an assault crossing of the RHINE by Commandos at the following points:- 1741, 1841, 1941 all West of WESEL. The assault will be done in Buffaloes.

At 2150 hrs the barrage commenced and finished at 2210 hrs, during the barrage WESEL was again bombed at 2200 hrs, fires were seen to start.

By 2230 hrs the Commandoes were reported to be over the river and pushing on with little opposition. 15th Scottish who are doing the 30 Corps assault are due to commence their attack at 0230 tomorrow,

SCHREVENROT

24.3.45

The weather continues to be perfect. At 0230 hrs this morning 15th Scottish Div assaulted the RHINE, supported by numerous Regiments making crossings at several points. By first light the Commando were reported near WESEL up to the line of the railway at 2340, which is a considerable distance further that expected. By 0930 hrs the secret of the forthcoming Air Borne landing was on everybodies lips, and al eyes were looking West into the sky; the great moment arrived when the first outline of the great air armada could be seen in the far distance.

Meanwhile, the Regiment were engaged on Phase “CARPET” which was a counter AA programme. The planes then arrived by their hundreds, first the huge transported full of paratroopers, and the w observed the great line of gliders followed again and again by more and more transporters. We observed a number of them to be shot down, but very few considering the massive force which was taking part.

The BBC continues to give reports of the great RHINE crossing throughout the day, also announce that Mr. Churchill is with the Commander in Chief of the Army Group. By the last light all objectives reported taken by the airborne. The Air OP flew a sorties as far as the main road NE WESEL in square 2240 and saw no enemy movement on the road.

   

15th Scottish Had a Class 9 bridge completed and four ferries, a further ferry and another Class 9 bridge will be ready tomorrow ay 087467; it is hoped that a Class 4- bridge will be completed by tomorrow at 131417. Locations of forward troops by last light - 1548, 1546, 1845, 2148 amd 1848.

   

6th Airborne have captured two bridges intact over ricer ISSEL at 217457 and 217450, HAMMINKELN also captures and 600 POWs reported so far. 51 Div have established a wide bridgehead with no depth so far. Fighting in progress in REES.

      15th Scottish are pushing on tonight. Both Ariborne Divs have shot guns from their side of the RHINE. Ammunition expenditure 7325.  

SCHREVENROT

25.3.45

A fine day. The day appears to have been spent for the most part in linking up group troops and the airborne troops and consolidated gun positions to await the arrival on the other side of more and heavier guns and armour. The Regiment are now out of range. Ammunition expenditure 345.

SCHREVENROT

26.3.45

The Regiment is standing by expecting orders to move across the RHINE this evening at 2030 hrs; a quiet day spent in packing up and getting ready for the crossing. There is little news from the bridge head, it is assumed that final contacts are taking place and troops consolidating awaiting the arrival of the armour. The CO, Major Armitage (late G2 from Div) who was attached to us temporarily) Lieut Flint and Lieut. Gant cross the RHINE this morning to recce a gun area 2047. Our move was postponed till midnight, and again till early tomorrow morning, probably 0700 hrs. Lt. Meier our Dutch Liaison Officer left the Regiment on posting to England for training with the Dutch Air Force. He has been with us now for almost five months. Ammunition expenditure Nil.

SCHREVENROT

27.3.45

A dull day. By 0700 hrs this morning the Regiment were on the move across the great River RHINE by the 12 Corps Class 40 bridge square South of BISLICH 1432. At long last after 5 years everyone feels we are on the last lap. We are crossing in direct support of the 6th Airborne Div.

The march was very slow from our old area towards the bridge and we hand one halt for as long as 2 hours, The great moment came and over we went, across the last great barrier. The recce party informed us by wireless that the 6th Airborne Div had pushed on to take BRUNEN 2748 and were continuing to push NE; as a result were not now to move into the area previously recces 2747, but to continued up the axis and occupy positions in square 2548, just West of BRUNEN.

We arrived about midday and shared our area with some of the Airborne Div. During the journey up we found the Airborne landing area most interesting, how magnificently they had landed and what a fight they had had; considerable number of German dead could be seen in the area and soldiers from the Airborne were picking up their own dead in jeeps and taking them back for burial. It is of interest to note that of the Company in our house, nothing had been seen of their Company Commander or CSM since leaving England, and a full Corporal was acting Platoon Commander.

An OP was sent out from D Battery RHA to keep watch on the movements of 22nd Bde who by this time were over the river and pushing up the general axis, its two main duties were to report their progress and to take on any targets they might see. We fired very little during the day, about three targets in all. Towards the latter half of the afternoon we saw about 300 POWS coming back.

The Airborne troops moved out of our area about 1700 hrs. We now had the place to ourselves and settled down for the night. Orders were received when the CO returned from Division for a further early move in the morning. Recce parties to leave 0600 hrs.

22nd Bde were reported at last light to be along the general line of the stream 354516, we were prepared to fire a number of DFs in their support during the night; a quite night followed; nothing to report. Ammunition expenditure 192.

28.3.45

Weather perfect. The Regiment moved early this morning at 0630 hrs after a quiet night to follow close up behind 22nd Bde in their advance. Gun positions were occupied in the area 3150, but owing to the rapid advance of 22 Bde we moved again at 1100 hrs and occupied positions just short of RAESFELD 3850 which was cleared about 2 hours ago.

On arrival in our area prisoners started coming in carrying white hankerchiefs and pieces of sheets, we collected about 15 in all including one Officer. By 1415 the armour reported to be in the area 389580 just South of BORKEN 3961; we are expecting a move again today. A few shells landed in our first area this morning but none near enough to do any damage.

By 1530 hrs 5th DGs reported to have reached BORKEN. 131 Bde are moving up to a firm base in BORKEN. 1/5th Queens in RAESFELD 3852 relieved by 157 Bde (52 Div). The Regiment moved again at 0600 hrs to an area South of BORKEN. Regimental Tac joined 131 and remained 3952 for the night. 1st R Tks reported in 5449. A quiet night. Ammunition expenditure 855.

29.3.45

Dull wet day. The speed of the battle has slowed up quite considerably. 5th Tanks came under command 131 at 0800 and 8 Hussars passed to command of 22nd Bde. DLI remain under command of 22nd. 2nd Devons in BORKEN 1/5 Queens in GEMEN 4603. 5th DGs and 1st Tanks spent the day trying to get up the main road running North to SUDLOHN 5072, reached area 3964, 1st Tanks in area 4064. By 1500 hrs DLI reported to have reached 407674, several mike targets fired in their area.

The battle suddenly quickened up with the news that 5 DGs had reached SUDLOHN 4072. 2nd Devons came under command 22nd at 1900 hrs and started to move up to area 4072. 1/5th Queens are engaged in clearing the area 4064, a number of prisoners of war taken. German prisoners were to be seen today driving their own ambulances down our axis. 42 POW have been taken by the Regiment in the last 24 hours. Bde and Regimental Tac moved to 397599 hust short of BORKEN in square 3961.

Ammunition expenditure 1727.

30.3.45

Cloudy day but free from rain. 5th DGs 9 DLI captured STADTLOHN 4377 shortly after first light. 1st R Tks moved forward and tried to push North. Very little progress made and by last light tonight the were established just over the river at 437778. 2nd Devons are firmly based in SUDLOHN and rd junction 387705 passed to command 131 Bde.

Late this afternoon 1/5 Queens with 5th R Tanks passed to command of 22nd Bde for a special operation to be carried out tonight with OP from “M” Battery RHA. Intention the capture of VREDEN square 3782. 11 H patrolled over most of the front today, North, North East and North West.

A water tower at 434771 (STADTOHN) provide an admirable grandstand and a number of Regimental targets were fired from there during the course of the afternoon. By last light tonight 131 Bde had no unit under command. Bde and Regimental Tac slowly moved up to area South of SUDLOHN at 407701. Ammunition expenditure 829.

31.3.45

A dull day. 1st Tanks with 1/5th Queens close behind them enter AHAUS 5086 early this morning. During the early hours 5th R Tanks and 2nd Devons got almost into VREDEN 3782, but were held up from entering the town by a crater in the road area 3781. A Mike target fired South of VREDEN early this morning. Regiment moved up South of AHAUS square 4883.

2nd Devons and 5 Tks pulled back from VREDEN to STADTLOHN to go North, The 5th DGs to follow up 1st Tanks. The Germans are now reported to be laying mines on the front. 131 Bde and Regtl Tac moved to 433752 at 0715 this morning.

Bde and Tac moved again at 1745 hrs to an area South of AHAUS near WESSUM where the night was spent in the open. 131 Bde, DLI and 5th DGs in lead are all set for RHEINE tomorrow, Ammunition expenditure 1496.

 

 

 

April 1945

Commanding Officer: Lt.Col U Corbett DSO RHA

Place

Date

Hour

Summary of Events and Information

References to Appendices

1.4.45

The advance on RHEINE commenced early this morning, 5 DG and 9 DLI in the lead supported by J and M Btys respectively. The Regiment advanced at about 0800 hrs and can into action S.W. of METELEN just as the OPs and leading troops were entering the village. Beyond METELEN there was no opposition; the 11 H leading, the column pushed on fast till the head came under A.T. fire just NE of NEUENKIRHCEN at about 1405 hrs. At that time the Regiment was on wheels coming up fats and it quickly came into action just SW of NEUENKIRHCEN and fired a number of Mike Targets and later a fire plan to help the 9 DLI onto high ground overlooking RHEINE. Just before last light the Regiment moved through NEUENKIRHCEN and came into action near the FDLs between that place and RHEINE. Ammunition expenditure 1038.

2.4.45

Cloudy weather. This morning was spend receiving and giving orders for the next battle, organising maps etc., whilst waiting for movement orders, which were dependent on the bridge at MEESSUM across the EMS at 842041. The Regt moved at about 1300 hrs which was earlier that previously anticipated, in order to help clear the IBBENBUREN, in support of 11th Armd Div coming up from the South. Bde and Regimental Tac moved about 2000 hrs to 907067.

Ammunition expenditure Nil.

3.4.45

Dull day. 2nd Devons relieved Bn. of the Monmouths (11 AD) on the ridge 5906. in order to attack and restore the situation. A very simple fire plan was laid on, consisting of a concentration from 4 Regiments (3 RHA, Regt from 11 Armd, plus 2 Medium Regts). We fired on 957069 at 1415 hrs, J Battery RHA in direct support supplying OPs to the Devons. Just before the attack was due to start Capt Dolphin-Smith, RHA, was sniped and wounded in thestomach, near the bridge at 954054 (information has since been received to the effect that Capt. Dolphin-Smith has died of wounds).

A concentration we discovered later from POW, landed right on top of the Bosche forming up for a counter attack, Well over 150 POW were taken and many killed. The enemy being completely wiped off the ridge. Regimentam Tac joined Tac Bde at 963050 but towards dusk moved back over the canal to area 9304. 5 DGs and 9 DLI have had a hard day getting through 11 A.D. Last light found them holding 998057 with the DLI on either side of the railway. They cleared the woods area to their West this morning. Brigade from 52 Div relieved 2nd Devons on this ridge this evening. We saw quite a number of German dead being buried tonight. Amm expenditure 1536.

4.4.45

A dull day. 5 DGs and 9 DLI struggled all day in the South approached to IBBENBURN with the enemy contesting every house, Information from POW confirmed reports that we have opposite us the Permanent Staff and Cadets of the NCO and Officers Schools from Hanover. A small fire plan consisting of a number of concentrations was fired up the main road to IBBENBUREN at 985704 early this morning with the armour following close behind the concentrations.

Capt Oultons driver Gnr, Shearing FJ “M” Battery was killed whilst at the OP. Brigade and Regimental Tac moved about 1830 hrs just South of BROCHETERBECK0002. A fresh armoured group was formed with the 8 Hussars and 1/5 Queens, J Battery RHA supporting the 8 Hussars and D Battery RHA the Queens to try and take IBBENBUREB from behind.

By midnight the group has reached just short of the road and railway crossing 037073 where they were held up. Another armoured group was formed consisting of the 22nd Bde with 5 Tanks and 2nd Devons supported by 5 RHA, with ordered to push in a North Westerly direction in order to get round IBBENBUREN. Typhoons this evening attacked the ridge running West 010090 for which we fired red smoke, Ammunition expenditure 2947.

5.4.45

A dull clouding day. A number if very effective DFs were fired early this morning along the Southern approaches to IBBENBUREN. At about 0900 hrs the Brigade received orders to effect that we were not to commit ourselves in this area, but hold on until relieved today, when the Regiment would join the 8 Hussars and 1/5 Queens group, who would come out if contact with the enemy and proceed along the 11 Armd Div axis, with the 22nd Bde HQ in command of the battle,

Regimental Tac moved off with the Regiment, prepared to join 22 Bde HQ about 0900 hrs along the road – TECKLENBURG 0502 – WESTERKAPPLE 0913 – WERSEN 1413 – HALEN 1415 across the canal to area 1815.

At this point M Bty RHA were detailed to support the 1st Bn RB holding the bridges over the EMS – WESER Canal from ENGTER to East, coming into action just South of ENGTER. The Queens and 8 Hussars are now deployed on the ground defending the centre line against attack from the North, with two companies in HALEN 1415 – one company in WESTERKAPPELE 0913 and a strong patrol plus a company out at the bridge area 0718 and 1819 with OPs from D Battery RHA. A number of DFs were fired between 2000 and 2100 hrs; A civilian report to the effect that 30 German were coming to blow the bridge appeared to have some foundation, as attempts were definitely made to reach the bridge, all without success. Ammunition expenditure 1335.

6.4.45

5 DGs and 9 DLI relieved the Queens and 8 Hussars. 131 Bde HQ moved up and Regimental Tac joined them in area 2120. Whereupon the entire day was spent on the march along the following route:- ENGTER 2221 – VENNE 2921 – HUNTERBURG 3627 rd junction 4334 to just side of WAGENFELD 5739. The Regiment continued North at rd junc 4334 to DIEPOLZ 4346 – RHDEN 5046 where they occupied positions.

The Regiment was in support of a company of RBS in DIEPOLZ 4346 and the DLI and 5 DGs who were top push up the road and open an axis between DONSSTORF 553530 BARNSTORF 522575 in the morning. Ammunition expenditure 580.

7.4.45

Fine day. The original plan is changed owing to the obstructions on the route the new CL being: 7254 – SCHOLEN 6960 – BASSUM (SULINGEN). The Regiment less D Bty move to area STADT 7056, however, so rapid is the advance that before firing they move to another area South of NEUENKIRCHEN 6864/ A lot of firing to help 9 DLI and 5 DG into BASSUM and at last light a company with Capt Oulton of M Bty just short of the main level crossing. TWISTERINGEN 6167 also entered during the day. The guns move a 3rd time during the day to an area half way between NEUENKIRCHEN and APELSTEDT where they spend the night/ Ammunitionexpenditure 850.

8.4.45

Fine day. 9 DLI, 5 DG and a company of 1 RB entered BASSUM this morning on two areas (the main axis and TWISTERENGEN Road) after severe fighting in which we fired a great deal. Ammunition expenditure 1742.

9.4.45

Fine day. 131 Bde were relieved in BASSUM 6672 and TWISTRENGEN 610674 by the HLI (52 Div) with D Battery RHA in direct support. 5 DGs and the DLI passed through the HLI in TWISTERINGEN to advance on WILDESHAUSEN 4778; M Battery RHA supporting the DLI and J Battery RHA the 5 DGs. The Regiment less D Bty RHA, moved to area South of TWISTRINGEN at 0700 hrs this morning. The Regiment moved again 1500 hrs to area 5873 less D Battery RHA,

Brigade and Regimental Tac moved about 1745 hrs to KOBBINGHSN 5871. By last light 5th DGs and 9 DLI were about 2000 yds short of WILDESHAUSEN, having had a tough day in the woods South of the town. A number of targets were engaged during the day, finishing with a Mike target concentration on the enemy hold the woods South of WILDESHAUSEN. Ammunition expenditure 764.

10.4.45

Very find day. D Battery RHA moved early this morning to Regimental area and occupied a position in square 5374. 1st Tanks and 2nd Devons came under commanded 131, D Battery supporting 1st Tanks. Brigade and Regimental Tac moved to 5473.

By about 1000 hrs 4 DGs and 9 DLI were in WILDESHAUSEN 4778 and the town was reported clear: 1st Tanks captured HARPSTEDT 5779 by midday. Typhoons attacked the area 5052 where 11 SP guns were reported. Orders were received tonight to the effect that 131 Bde was to be relieved by 8 Bde (3rd Br, Div) tomorrow and that we would be moving to concentration area NIENBURG. Amm exp 689.

11.4.45

Fine day. 76th Fd Regt from 8 Bde took over from the Regiment and by midday the takeover was completed. RHQ and D Battery moved about 1440 hrs to the area 9547 by the following route:- BECKELN 5774 – TWISTRINGEN 6167 to HASSUM 6772 to rd junc 797717 to rd junc 929547. J Battery and M Battery moved last to trouble owing to trouble threatening on WILDESHASUEN 4778. Eventually they moved arriving in the new area just before dark. It was of great interest that during our march down we were able to inspect a number V2s loaded on a train which were blown up either by saboteur or RAF. Ammunition expenditure 801.

12.4.45

Fine day which was spent doing maintenance and cleaning up, also medical inspection.

Recce went out this afternoon to the area on the other side of the river.

13.4.45

The Regiment mover early this morning at 0600 hrs to area the WESER at NIENBURG thence to our new harbour area WOLPE 0253. The day was spent on maintenance continuation of inspection etc. Brigadier Spurling; Major Freeman and Capt Mitchel from 131 Bde came to dinner,

14.4.45

Fine day. The Regiment moved at 0845 hrs to an area South of RATHEM 1066 in square 0963 where we went into action in case our support should be required either by 4th Armd Bde or the Bde from 52 Div who were both fighting on either side of RATHEM. 2nd Devon supported by J Bty RHA moved through RATHEM to area 1468 this afternoon. One Uncle target fired during the afternoon on area 1767. A move was considered likely early this afternoon, but later definite orders were received to the effect that we would not move today.

Major Gillett, who has been attached to us for a short while; left the Regiment on appointment 2 IC 5 RHA. Ammunition expenditure included in tomorrows figure.

15.4.45

A fine day. The Regiment remained present location in spite of many orders and counter orders. There was a considerable amount of aerial activity in the fading light this evening, and the bofors has a real gala day. The bridge at RATHEM was slightly damaged by staffing, four pontoons being sunk.

Ammunition expenditure 162.

16.4.45

The Regiment moved at 0800 hrs to cross the River ALLER by Class 12 bridge at WESTER 0572, but after one troop of D Battery RHA had succeeded in crossing, the bridge was relegated to Class 7, whereupon the Regiment was forces to turn round and cross at RATHEM, where there is a Class 40 bridge; one enemy plane straffed the column causing no damage. The Regiment deployed on the East side of WALSRODE, RHA at 279754. Stalag XIB was liberated by the Division this morning, and many gifts of cigarettes and chocolate were collected for the camp.

131 Bde moved up and the HQ is now located at SCHNEEHEIDE 2074, with one Battalion KOSBs under command, located in WALSRODE supported by J Battery.

1/5th Queens pushed on to BALLINGBOSTAL 3376. The Devons moved north to JARLINGEN 2783 supported by M Battery RHA, the Regiment firing on an arc of 360 degrees. Ammunition expenditure 70.

17.4.45

Fine day. The Regiment moved about 1700 hrs to the area 3884 South of SOLTAU.

Bde and Regimental Tac moved to KROGE 3283. SOLTAU fell to 52 Div later this evening. Ammunition expenditure 223.

18.4.45

Fine weather continues. 131 Bde commenced to clear a wooded area to the East of the centre line for two reasons (1) protection of Div centre line (2) an alternative route. 5th Tanks are in the lead with 9 DLI in close support; the operation commenced about 0900 hrs, J Battery RHA supporting the 5th Tank and M the 9 DLI.

Bde and Regimental Tac moved about 1115 hrs, continuing up the centre line through SOLTAU finally reaching the area HEBER 4200, moving again about 1800 hrs to 4112. The Regiment moved through SOLTAU 4910, which was still burning at 1000 hrs this morning, moving again from the area 4203 to WINTERMOOR 4012.

Tac rejoined the Regiment for the night; Bde being so close. Forward tanks by last light have reached MENINGEN 4615 South of WESEL 4617. Ammunition expenditure 381.

19.4.45

Fine Day. Regiment moved early this morning to the area WESEL 4617, followed by Bde and Regtl Tac, who moved just South of WESEL 460160, 9 DLI and 5th Tanks continued the advance through SCHIERHORN 4521 to LULLAU 4523 and finally reaching BUCHOLZ 430280 by this afternoon. 5th DGs now under 131, moved into left flank position area ASSENDORF 4924, supported by D Battery RHA.

The Regiment moved again about midday to SCHERGHORN 4521, and later in the afternoon to area LULLAU 4523. Bde and Regimental Tac moved about 1500 hrs to area 4662 NE of SCHERGHORN. Very little opposition was encountered throughout the day.

22nd Bde, with 1st Tanks and 8 Hussars in the lead: continued their advance, finally reaching the area of the railway 3725. The patrols of 8 Hussars up to area 4133. Late this evening at about 2130 hrs, orders were received to the effect 5th Tanks had been ordered, as a result if “I” information to try and rush the bridges into HAMBURG. CO attended conference in JESTERBURG 4825: after the tanks has advance a short distance, the party was called off till tomorrow morning. “J” Battery RHA will move tonight and deploy in square 4725 to support our forward troops.

Ammunition expenditure 270.

20.4.45

Advance continues at first light and the leading tanks were reported to be just South of the main autobahn at 500330. Remainder of the Regiment, namely RHQ, D and M moved to area HARMSTORF 5030. Blown bridges delayed our forward tanks considerably.

5th DGs passed to command of 22nd Bde. Regtl Tac moved to area 4928 at 1400 hrs where they stayed only a short time, moving on again at 1800 hrs to BENDESTORF 4829.

Regimental Tac rejoined the Regiment at HARMSTORF 5030. Leading tanks by end of the day have reached the area 4936.

Ammunition expenditure 944.

21.4.45

Dull day. 131 Bde with 1/5th Queens 2nd Devons and 9 DLI established a firm base South of HARBURG as follows:-

1/5th Queens area 4537, 2nd Devons area 4330 and DLI HITTFELD 4934, Batteries supporting their normal Bns, 11 Hussars patrolling up the road running East to West, running up to HARBURG that is on our left. Regiment moved to area KLECKEN 4732, M Battery remaining in their old area and moving to the position vacated by “D” Battery, “D” Battery area IBBENSEN 4435 and “J” Battery NENNDORF 4434. Brigade moved to NW end of KLECKEN 4732.

“M” Battery fired a considerable number of rounds during the day; a number of enemy guns reported in area 5538.

A patrol went to embankment 546372 and saw no enemy in the NW or on the road among the houses HORSTEN 5537. Enemy in there believed to be below company strength. Mike target fired on 241650 as are occupied by SS troops. Ammunition expenditure 1212.

22.4.45

A wet day. A great deal of observed shooting was done today.

“M” Battery RHA fired over 1000 rounds after 1800 hrs tonight.

Ammunition expenditure 1713.

23.4.45

Dull day with showers. Nothing to report from our own front with the exception of normal activity. A number of hostile batteries engaged and infantry. Ammunition expenditure 1236.

24.4.45

Nothing to report. Ammunition expenditure 533.

25.4.45

Nothing to report. Ammunition expenditure 329.

26.4.45

At about 0300 hrs this morning the whole front appeared to suddenly awaken and a fierce confused battle ensued. The enemy attacked the 2nd Devons and extreme left company positions of 1/5th Queens.

We fired many DFs in the areas 450397, 466395, 432, 445406. The enemy were also engaged FORMING up in the area 433403, although they never attacked from that area. 13th Medium Regiment were also fired by us.

The battle was most fluid and lasted until 0800 hrs. Capt Aspinall and his crew were missing for some time, no news being heard of them until one of the operators reached “J” Battery Tac with the news that Capt Aspinall’s tank had been bazooked and the driver badly wounded; on closer examination later in the morning it was found, much to everyones grief, that Capt Aspinall and his operator, Gnr Jefferson had been killed and were found beneath the tank. A short funeral service was held at a cemetery near “B” Battery this afternoon ref 440336; Lieut Gosling posted from “M” Battery to succeed Capt Aspinall.

This was the first night for a very long time we have been without an ammunition point whilst in action, it having been withdrawn yesterday morning for work elsewhere. The Batteries sent their own ammunition truck to another RASC company and were topped up.

By 0800 hrs everything began to settle down again and the Hun retreated back to his former areas. Casualties figures for this mornings battle:-

Enemy:- 50 dead, bodies actually in our hands, 53 POW and 15 wounded POW.

131 Bde:- 7 killed, 2 wounded, 23 missing. Amm exp 1322.

27.4.45

Showers off and on all day. Nothing to report from our own front. Percentage of Officers and Other Ranks represented the Regt at an investiture held by the C-in-C this morning at Division in the area 4029, nobody from the Regiment was decorated. Ammunition expenditure 304.

28.4.45

Nothing to report. Ammunition expenditure NIL.

29.4.45

Mussolini is dead, killed at the hands of his own countrymen in MILAN. NRT from our own front. Ammunition expenditure 405.

30.4.45

One civilian from HAMBURG was sent out as envoy this morning; it is the intention of the Brigade to secure HAMBURG and its more important installations. Ammunition expenditure 308.

 

 

 

May 1945

Commanding Officer: Lt.Col U Corbett DSO RHA

Place

Date

Hour

Summary of Events and Information

References to Appendices

1.5.45

Fine weather. Hitler is dead. Two German Officers went out through the 1/5 Queens front to negotiated the surrender of Hamburg, at first light it was thought that they had blown themselves up on a mine, but later confirmed they had escaped. A number of General Staff Officers representing General Wolz came through the 9 DLI and were taken to Division. They came regarding the protection of hospitals but surrender was really at the back of their mind.

Propaganda loudspeakers made the following agreement as a result of negotiation made today “No shelling or bombing in the interests of humanity.”

LT/COL U CORBETT D.S.O. R.H.A. LEFT THE REGIMENT AS A CANDIDATE FOR PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION.

2.5.45 

Rumours continue to circulate and we are all anxiously awaiting the end of the war. The great news is received tonight of the unconditional surrender of all troops in Italy and most of Austria: the end of a great campaign the commencement of which the Regiment were proud to part in at SALERNO. Late this evening news also received of the complete surrender of Berlin, and continued link up with the Americans and Russians; it cannot last much longer.

General Wolz came through our lines accompanied by a number of Staff Officers and Gauleiter of Hamburg’s civilian representative, to surrender Hamburg and arrange for a meeting tomorrow with Field Marshall Montgomery.

 Ge wished to come again with the Chief of Staff to Marshall Busch and an Admiral – personal representative from Doenitz; There were sent to Division and on their return to Brigade discussions were carried out with reference to the occupation of Hamburg by 131 Brigade.

3.5.45

Information was received early this morning that HARBURG and HAMBURG had surrendered unconditionally, and that we were to start operation “FREEDOM” at 1300 hours (the occupation of the above towns by 131 Brigade).

The morning was spent packing up and getting cleaned for the great march. By 1300 hrs we were all standing by for the word to start, but there was considerable delay in obtaining the authority from Corps and probably higher up still to commence the operation. This was thought to be due to the very much higher level conferences which are taking place concerning the complete surrender of Germany.

A party of high ranking German naval officers plus an SS General passed through out lines requesting unconditional surrender of the entire German state to the Allies, on behalf of Admiral Doenitz, the new Fȕhrer!

They were duly escorted back to Division and thence to Army, where it is said their car was stolen. AT 1615 hours operation Freedom was as last begun and the great advance into Hamburg commenced on reaching the outskirts of Harburg we found well turned out German policemen controlling the streets and controlling the traffic, saluting each English officer as he passed; everywhere the streets were deserted and many faces could be seen in the windows of houses. On and on we went through streets and streets of utter destruction! This was all that was left of a great city which had had a few visits from the RAF earlier on in in the War. The 9th DLI with “M” Battery and 5th Tanks were leading the Bde advance; the entire operation was done by phases (see appendix).

Before long the whole of Harburg and Hamburg were occupied with a shot being fired, Bde HQ and Regtl Tac HQ plus numerous other attachments Royal Navy, Military Govt, Marines etc in the city’s main hotel, namely “Hotel VIER JANRESZEITEN” overlooking the stretch of water know as the BINNEN ALSTER.

“M” Battery remained in the area of HARBURG with the 9thD.L.I. “D” and “J” Batteries in the city itself, RHQ in comfortable overlooking in DIEALSTER on West side. Regtl Tac joined Bde for the march and remained with them in Harburg. Fall of Rangoon announced tonight.

MAJOR W.L.? FISHER M.C. R.H.A. took OVER DUTIES AS SECOND IN COMMAND PRIOR TO THE MARCH INTO HAMBURG.

4.5.45

Weather fair. 8th Hussars and 11th Hussars patrolling North West of the City. “J” Bty RHA moved up to support 8th Hussars on the North Western outskirts. Orders received to recce harbour area for Regt ref 4462, which we will be moving to tomorrow morning. Prisoners are coming in by the thousands.

Rumours continue to persist to the effect that the whole of the Northern pocket surrendered unconditionally.

5.5.45

Fine day. A change of plan, early this morning orders were received to effect that we would today push up to the Danish frontier by the following axis:- QUICKBORN – BAD BRANSTEDT – NEUMUNSTER – RENDSBRUG - SCHLESWIG – PLENSBURG.

The Regt passed the Start Point 0930 hours. At about 0915 hrs when everybody was ready to move, all the orders were suddenly changed and the original plan substituted, namely, to harbour in the area SCHNELSEN 4462.

The Regt duly moved to this area at 1015 hours. On our arrival we destroyed a great deal of arms which had been collected in the local Police Station.

Rumours continue regarding Germany’s surrender. The great news is confirmed today, namely, that the whole Northern pocket had surrendered unconditionally to Field Marshall Montgomery’s 21st Army Group.

6.5.45

Wet day with heavy showers. RHA found a few interpreter in the form of Belgian from Brussels who had been doing forced labour on the Russian front. We were pestered all day by civilians requiring unnecessary passes, who had to be interviewed and for which purpose the interpreter was most useful.

7.5.45

Fine day. The news that we awaited so long, came through today in the form of a confidential signal from SHAEF, namely that “The German High Command have signed the unconditional surrender of German land sea and air forces in Europe to the Allied Expeditionary Forces and simultaneously to the Soviet High Command at 0141 hours Central European time May 7th under which all forces will cease active operations at 0001 B hours 9th May” (see appendix for full text). Regtl recce parties left for area AGETHORST 1104 at about 1400 hrs to which area the Regt moved at 1615 hours.

The roads on the way up were a mass of Germans and misplaces people including Allied prisoners of war, all proceeding South. The recce party had some excitement on arriving in the new area when they had to disarm some 200 boys from the Labour Corps. To everybody’s great delight we heard on the BBC News that the war in Europe was officially declared over, and that VE Day would be tomorrow when both HM the King and the Prime Minister, Mr Churchill, would speak on the BBC.

8.5.45

VE Day and all the celebrations it entailed; these celebrations included the lighting of many fires towards dusk and well on into the night.

9.5.45

Regt Recce parties moved early this morning to the area HUSUM 9363 to which area we moved at 1100 hrs. On arrival a party of 70 odd Officers and men from the German Artillery Command were disarmed. Numerous German vehicles within the Regt, which we had picked up throughout our advance were confiscated by Div Provost today. The role of the Regt from now on will be disarming and conducting of the German Army into Peninsular A which lies South of HUSUM. The three Btys are located on the main road running South from Husum to FRIEDRICHSTADT; with “M” Bty in the Southern outskirts of Husum and RHQ, “D” Bty in the area and “J” Bty in the area .

10.5.45

Nothing to report, expect continual flow of German prisoners

11.5.45

Towards the Peninsula.

12.5.45

233 Inf Div now safely sealed up in Peninsula A.

13.5.45

On finding an enemy Battery less their guns hidden in some woods a few milesfrom RHQ in the area MILDSTEDT. Lt. Lawrence plus 2 ORs from RHQ disarmed them. Making them blow up all their ammunition which resulted in an immense explosion which could be heard for miles around. They then proceeded to get them on the road and direct them down to the Peninsula.

14.5.45

REGIMENTAL CHURCH PARADE HELD IN HUSUM THIS MORNING THE C.R.A. WAS PRESENT AND TOOK THE SALUTE AT THE MARCH PAST.

15.5.45

Nothing to report. The flow of prisoners continues.

CRA paid the Regt a visit and talked to the Officers and WOs of RHQ and each Bty in turn on the question of Regtl discipline.

16.5.45

Peninsula A now filled, approx. 50,000 troops are held there.

It new remains for the Regt to see that no one escapes and that only straggles as opposed to complete units are admitted.

17.5.45

Fine weather continues. A number of alterations and rules for the Regtl posts guarding the Peninsula have been issued. (see appendix)

18.5.45

The GOC (General LYNE) visiting the Regt this morning and spoke to all Officers, WOs and Sergeants, the CRA was also present. Party was sent from RHQ to area of KAPPELN on the East cost of the Peninsula to spend the day by the sea.

19.5.45

Fine weather continues, Another party from RHQ sent to the sea.

20.5.45

Fine day. Voluntary Church Parade held in HUSUM. The acting CO (Major Fanshawe) evacuated to HEIDE with jaundice.

Lieut ALP Lawrence posted from RHA to “M” Battery. Lieut WC Griffiths posted from “J” Battery to RHQ.

21.5.45

Today was a Div holiday, being Whit Monday. The acting CO Major Fanshawe, was evacuated to the FDS, probably for ten days.

22.5.45

This morning the CRA visited the Regiment. He inspected all Batteries, and expressed himself very satisfied with the state of guns, vehicles and billets.

23/26.5.45

Nothing to report.

27.5.45

The Regiment played football match with 23rd Hussars. A good crowd came to support both sides. This was the first Regimental game we had played for many months, and we were badly beaten. Warning order to move on Friday.

28.5.45

Further details of move arrived. We are to move tomorrow to an area nine miles South of ITZEHOE. 11 Armd Div will take over responsibility for guarding the peninsular.

29.5.45

The Regiment moved at 1030 this morning, the first Battery passing the start point at FRIEDRICHSTADT BRIDGE at 1100 hrs. The new area is in and around the village of HORST. RHQ and ‘M’ Battery are in the village, ‘D’ Battery and ‘J’ Battery are two miles to the South and East respectively.

30.5.45

Nothing to report.

31.5.45

This morning at 1100 hrs the Divisional Commander, Major General Lyne, address the Regiment in the STADTHEATER in ELMSHORN. He talked about past, present and future events. Most interesting was his summing up of the very important and decisive role played by 7 Armd Div in the attack from RHINE to the fall of HAMBURG, and its capitulation in the North to 21st Army Group. In the afternoon, RHA moved into more suitable billets in the village and ‘D’ Battery moved to the outskirts of ELMSHORN,

  

 

Appendix

 

 

 

SPECIAL ORDER OF THE DAY

By

Major-General LO LYNE,CB,DSO

Commander, 7th Armoured Division

(To be read out to all troops on parade.)

The war with Germany is won. It has ended with the complete and final defeat and destruction of the German Armed Forces.

No Division in the British Empires has contributed more to the result that the 7th Armoured Division.

Through the long years of fighting in the Middle East, in Tunisia, in Italy and throughout the campaign in North-West Europe, our Division has always been in the thick of it.

Your rapid advance from the Rhine to the Elbe, and the hard fighting which made this possible contributed very greatly to the brilliant success of the whole campaign.

I wish to congratulate every officer and man in the Division upon their fine achievements, and to thank them personally for their loyalty and unflagging enthusiasm.

Difficult days may lie ahead of us in the transition period from war to peace, but will overcome these as you have overcome all difficulties in the past.

It will be a great honour in the future to be able to say:

I was a Desert Rat”.

 

 

                                                                               (sgd)    L.O. Lyne.

                                                                                           Major-General,

                                                                                              Commander.

 

Main Headquarters,

7 British Armoured Division.  

7 May 45.

 

 

June 1945

Commanding Officer: Lt.Col. WL NEWELL DSO RHA

Place

Date

Hour

Summary of Events and Information

References to Appendices

 The whole of this month was spent in the area of HORST.

Early in the month it was rumoured that the Division was going to BERLIN, and this proved later to be true.

On 4th, Lt. Colonel WL Newell, DSC, RHA, arrived to assume command of the Regiment. He had previously commanded 6th Regt. RHA. Major P.B. Gillett, who had been actin C.O. returned to 5th R.H.A.

Great efforts were made this month to give the guns and vehicles a youthful appearance. Paint presented a problem, until it was solved by taking over a complete German paint factory in the district, which then worked exclusively on producing a standard shade of green paint for the Divisional artillery. Painting was being completed by the end of the month, and vehicles and guns looked well.

On Saturday 30th June, advance parties were ordered to be ready to move to BRUNSWICK at 0930 hrs next morning. The main body of the Regiment is going to move three or four days later.

Not all of the Division is going to BERLIN. The force is to comprise 131 Inf Bde (less 9th Bn DLI) one Guards Bn and one Canadian Bn. We are the only Regiment of artillery to go,

 

 

 

July 1945

Commanding Officer: Lt.Col. WL NEWELL DSO RHA

Place

Date

Hour

Summary of Events and Information

References to Appendices

 HORST

1-7

-45

Regtl advance party left today for BERLIN under Major RAR Fanshawe 2IC.

2-7

-45

The CRA, Brigadier Lyon-Smith, visited the Regiment today to say goodbye. He is leaving to take up a new appointment in England.

3-7

-45

Signal from advance party in BERLIN saying “Be prepares to spend a week or two in the open”’ Apparently billeting arrangement were not as far ahead as had been suspected.

5-7

-45

Regiment left HORST at 0700 hours. The CRA took the salute in EIMSHORN as we passed through. After a quiet march we arrived BRUNSWICK 1630 hours,

6-7

-45

Spent in BRUNSWICK area. Day of maintenance.

7-7

4-5

Moved off 0600 hours on second half of journey to BERLIN. Good quick march along the BRUNSWICK-BERLIN Autobahn. Arrived at billetting area – Reichssportfeld – at 1700 hours. We did not have to sleep in the open.

The advance party had worked wonders in a short time; and the billets, although still none too clean, were nevertheless inhabitable.

BERLIN

8-7

-45

The GOC, General L.O. Lyne and Brigadier 131 Bde. Brig. J.M.K. Spurling, visited the stadium to view Regiment’s accommodation during lunch time.

9/12

-7-45 

Intensive preparations for GOC’s parade on 12th. Drives practised keeping line abreast, kit and equipment were cleaned up, and guns made to shine like new pins.

13-7

-45

Parade for march past GOC. The day was fine. The parade was led by Brigadier Spurling, 131 Bde, followed by the Regiment. The guns looked brilliant.

The GOC, Major General Lyne, took the salute, and with him at the saluting base were representatives of USA, France, and Russia, and the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force.

14-7

-45

Non-Fraternisation band lifted, with restrictions.

15-7

-45

New CRA, Brigadier FD Moore, assumes command today.

16/17

-7-45

Nothing to report.

18-7 

-45

Medal ribbons of 1939-45 Star, Italy Star and France and Germany Star issues.

19-7

-45

Field Marshalls Sir Alan Brooke, Sir Henry Maitland Wilson, Sir Harold Alexander, Admiral of the Fleet Sir Andrew Cunningham and Air Chief Marshall Sire Alan Portal visited the Olympic Stadium, and looked at the Regiment’s guns, also General Patton of the US Army visited the Stadium and stopped to inspect the Regimental Guard of Sgt. H Wallace of ‘D’ Battery. He compliments them on their drill and xxxxxx turnout.

Field Marshall Sir Harold Alexander particularly complimented the Regiment on its guns.

20-7

-45

Final Gun Drill practice and preparation for Victory Parade.

21-7

-45

Victory Parade. Regiment inspected by CO at 1815 hours, and moved off to take up its position for the parade. At 1000 hours as salute of nineteen salvoes was fired in honour of the Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Winston Churchill. MP. The parade was then inspected by the P.M. together with many other very important personages (See App. 1).

The march past, again led by the Regiment, finished about 1110 hours with DRs from the Regiment bringing up the rear. (See App. II).

In the afternoon Mr. Churchill opened the “Winston Club” in Berlin.

23-7

-45

At the request of the P.M. today was observed as a complete days holiday.

26/31

-7-45

The last few days of the month were spent in guards on food dumps etc and in commencing football, swimming and athletic practice in view of the sports coming in the next month,

 

 

 

 

APPENDIX I.  

 

  

Half Track No.1

  

 

  

 

The Rt Hon Winston CHURCHILL, CH. MP.

Field Marshall Sir Alan BROOKE, GCB, DSO, ADC.

Field Marshall Sir Bernard MONTGOMERY. GCB. DSO.

Major General LO LYNE, CB, DSO

Half Track No.2

 

 

 

 

Admiral of the Fleet Sir Andrew CUNNINGHAM, Bt, Kt, GCB DSO.

 

Marshall of the Royal Air Force sure Charles PORTAL, GCB, DSO, MC.

 

General of the Army GC MARSHALL.

 

Fleet Admiral EJ KING.

 

General of the Army HH ARNOLD.

 

Field Marshall Sir Harold ALEXANDER, GCB, CSI, DSC, MC, ADC,

 

 

Half Track No.3

 

 

 

 

Field Marshall Sir Henry MAITLAND WILSON, GCB, GBE, DSO, ADC,

 

General Sir Hastings ISMAY, KCB, DSO

 

The Rt Hon CR ATTLEE, CH, MP

 

Air Chief Marshall Sire W Sholto DOUGLAS, KCB, MC, DFC.

 

Admiral Sir Harold BURROUGH, KCB, CBE, RN.

 

 

Half Track No.4

 

 

 

 

The Rt Hon Lord BLATHERS, CH.

The Rt Hon Lord CHERWELL, FRS

Sir Walter MONKTON, KCMG, KCVO, MC.

Sir Edwards BRIDGES, GCB, MC.

Sir Alexander CADOGAN, GCMG. KCB.

The Rt Hon Sir Archibald CLARK-KERR, GCMG

 

 

Half Track No.5

 

 

Rear Admiral WE PANRY CB.

Major General FE PARKS.

Colonel General A GORBATOV.

General de BEAUCHAMP.

Lieutenant General Sir Ronald WEEKS, KCB, CBE, DSO, MC, TD.

Group Captain NM SOMERVILLE.

 

 

Half Track No.6

 

 

 

 

Sir William STRANG, KCMG, CB, MBE.

Lord MORAN, MC.

Lieutenant General Sir Gordon MACREADY, KBE, CB, CMG, DSO, MC.

Captain OO MAUND, DSO, RN.

Miss Mary CHURCHILL

Mrs, EDEN.

 

 

Half Track No.7

 

 

 

 

Major General NG HOLMES, CB, CBE, MC.

Major General LC HOLLIS, CB, OBE, MC.

Major General TS AIREY, CB, CBE.

Major General RE LAYCOCK, CB, DSO.

Major General DA WILLIAMS, CBE.

Brigadier C. RAVENHILL, CBE.

Brigadier CM WALES, MC.

Brigadier FD MOORE.

 

 

Half Track No.8

 

 

Major General BARINOV Norman C. BROOK Esq. CB.

Brigadier General COLLIER FR HOYER MILLAR Esq, CMG, CVO

Colonel CHEVALIER. WG HAYTER, Esq.

Commander THOMPSON

RJ DIXON, Esq. CBE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 1945

Commanding Officer: Lt.Col. WL NEWELL DSO

Place

Date

Hour

Summary of Events and Information

References to Appendices

 Berlin

1-16

During this period the Regiment became well settled in Berlin, with plenty of guards coming our way, such as guarding Siemenstadt Cable Works, Food dumps etc.

The Southend Club for the men, with swimming and boating facilities was developed and steamer trips on the several lakes in Berlin became quite a feature.

Entertainment was provided by the Jerboa Theatres and several cinemas. German Cinemas, theatres and house were also helpful in providing entertainment as the non-fraternisation ban in this respect was lifted.

The chief interest, though lay in sports developments. A Football League was arranged between the Btys and the Squadrons of 8 Hussars and similarly a considerable development of hockey took place with several Regimental Hockey matches against 8 Hussars and 5 R.H.A.

Athletic Sports Meeting was arranged for the Regiment and quite an amount of training was done for this. The Swimming Baths were both in great use during this period preparing for a Regimental meeting to be held shortly after the Athletics Meeting.

 16

Regimental Sports meeting in the Olympic Sports Field.

This was organised chiefly by Sgt, Gaskell APTC and proved to be a very successful event. ‘D’ Bty won the day with ‘M’ second. ‘J’ Bty being Bty on duty claimed lack of personnel available as an explanation of their apparent lack of success.

 20

Regimental Swimming Sports in the Olympic Pool. Again ‘D’ Bty were the victors, Sgt Webber giving a particularly good display. At the Meeting a team from the German Olympic Swimming Organisation gave and exhibition of diving.

 28

A contingent of Officers headed by Major J.C.K. Denny joined from 6 RHA. Previously to 6 RHA they had been on 1st RHA. Major J.C.K. Denny who was originally a member of 4 RHA, now became 2 IC, vice Major R.A.R. Fanshawe, who left to assume command of 20th Regt RA on 29 Aug.

 
 

R.H.Q. OFFICERS

AUGUST, 1945.

 

        Lieut. Col. W.L. Newell, DSO, RHA.

        Major R.A.R Fanshawe RHA (later Major J.C.K. Denney RHA)

        Capt. R.A. Stokes, MC RHA.

        Capt QM, B Bull RHA.

        Lt. H.G.V. Evans RHA. (Survey Offr vice Lt. A. Flint.)

        Lt. A. Gibb RHA.

 

-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-

 

D Bty OC Major Tirrell MC DCM RHA.

J - OC Major P.M. Barrington MC RHA.

M - OC Major K.P. Hicks RHA.

 

September 1945

Commanding Officer: Lt.Col. WL NEWELL DSO

Place

Date

Hour

Summary of Events and Information

References to Appendices

 Berlin

1-7

Life much as before, i.e. guard duties, such as in last month, but now we had to look after the Mil. Gov area of CHARLOTTENBURG under the direction of the CHARLOTTENBURG Mil. Gov. Det. This involved sending an armoured car patrol out twice a day in the CHARLOTTENBURG district and answering call for assistance my Mil. Gov.

These calls came but invariable turned out to be frivolous and not infrequently an effect by Germans to discredit our Allies. Only one case of civil disturbance ever proved well founded, and that concerned Polish and Russian D.P’s on their way back to Poland and the East.

 8.

Allied parade in the CHARLOTTENBURG Chaussée with Armoured and Infantry units of British, French, Russian and American Garrisons of Berlin. Marshal Zhukov took the salute.

The Regiment did not take part in this parade apart from sending 2 Officers and 40 men to line the route.

This parade was the first occasion the troops of the occupation powers had a parade together. Members of the Regiment found it a change to be able, for the first time, to watch.

 23.

Allied Athletic Meeting held in the Olympic Stadium. Teams from the British, French and American Garrisons took part. The Americans won easily but the British team gained several success, two notable victories won by men of 3 R.H.A.

Gnr. Scott D. ‘J’ Battery, in the 200 metres (22.7 secs)

Gnr. Mindel J. R.H.Q, Long Jump. ..23.4. Feet.

Other members of the British Team, of which each successful competitor received a medallion, supplied by 3 R.H.A. were:-

L/Bdr. Pitts J. ‘D’ Battery

Gnr. Langley D.E. ‘J’ Bty

Dvr. Elevins ‘M’ Battery

 29.

American Football game between 83rd US Airborne Division (Berlin US Garrison) and 36 Infantry Division from 7th US Army. This game tool place in the area of the Stadium and was watched by a very large crown of British and appreciative American soldiers.

On both the two latter occasions the guns and gun park were given an extra clean and polish in view of the large number of Allied soldiers who came to the sporting events. The American football match was the last official occasion the Regiment’s guns appear on the Regimental gun park at the Stadium in Berlin. Attached is a copy of the Berlin Diary.

 

R.H.Q. OFFICERS

SEPTEMBER, 1945.

 

        Lieut. Col. W.L. Newell, DSO, RHA.

        Major J.C.K. Denney, MC, RHA.

        Capt. R.A. Stokes, MC RHA.

        Capt QM, B Bull RHA.

        Lt. H.G.V. Evans RHA.

        Lt. A. Gibb RHA.

 
 

‘D’ Battery B.C.

        Major T.J Tirrell MC DCM RHA.

 

‘J’ Battery B.C.

        Major P.M. Barrington MC RHA.

‘M’ Battery B.C.

        Major K.P. Hicks RHA.

  
 

 

 

 

BERLIN 1945

Towards the end of June it was decided that the Regiment would be going to Berlin as part of the British Garrison, and on June 31st a recce party was called for from the Regiment to proceed with 131 Brigade Advance Party.

Accordingly, on Sunday 1st July the 2IC and one officer per Battery left Horst half past nine in the morning to rendezvous with 131 Brigade at Wenden, north of Brunswick, at four in the afternoon. The 2 IC and one officer were all that were allowed to go with 131’s Advance Party ay 0500 hrs on the 2nd July they left Brunswick area arriving in Berlin after an 8 hour journey.

          The Reichssportfeld or Olympic Stadium built for the Olympic Games in 193, was the accommodation allotted to the 3 RHA, with the Haus de Deutschen Sports to be shared with the 8th Hussars. This allotment resulted in an excessively dismal message being sent to the Regiment to 8th Hussars saying, in effect, that the place was so filthy that the majority of troops would have to live in the open for some days. However, by dint of mobilsing several hundred German civilians, much of the rubbish and the dirt was cleared from the rooms intended as living quarter, so that when the Regiment did arrive 4 days later the buildings were inhabitable.

          The remained of the advance party arrived on Wednesday the 4th and as a result of their intensive effort all buildings were fit for occupation though almost entirely devoid of glazing showing both battle scars and signs of having been well lived in.

          In the Regimental area at Horst, preparations were also going on at only slightly less pressure that those of the Advance Party. By the beginning of the first week in July all vehicles in the Regiment had been repainted, canopies repaired tyres blackened and soforth, but the main effort was reserved for the guns. The result of some weeks effort was that by 4th July the Regiment was ready to start the last lap to Berlin.

          In order ‘M’, RHQ, ‘J’ ‘D’, the Regiment set off at 0630 hrs 5th July 1945 travelling from Horst via Hamburg, Luneberg, Uelsen to villages Wenden a few miles North of Brunswick, where the night of 5th was spent and the day and night of the 6th. The morning of the 7th the Regiment set off at 0600 hrs. From Brunswick the route followed the Autobahn via Anglo – Soviet post at Holmstedt, Friendship Bridge, across the R.Elbe hear Magdeburg and so into Berlin, through Spandau and Charlottenburg to the Olympic Stadium.

          The Regiment entered Berlin with ‘D’ Battery leading, followed by RHQ, ‘J’ and ‘M’, at half past three in the afternoon Saturday 7th July 1945, having started on its journey in the Western Desert June 10th 1940.

          The week or so following the arrival the main effort of the Regiment with many German civilians under command, was directed on to clearing the Regiments area which included the complete Stadium. Olympic Swimming Pool where ‘D’ Battery was housed, a 2nd Swimming Poll between the two wings of the Hasu des Deutschen Sports, where ‘J’ ‘M’ and RHQ lived, and a 3rd pool, an indoore one in the wing, 2 running tracks with jumping pits, etc and considerable grounds suitable for football and hockey pitches. It was clear sports facilities were more than adequate. The main entrance to the Stadium was used for a Regimental Gun and vehicle park with guns lined up, 12 either side of the actual entrance to the arena. At right angles to the guns and between them and the main gates on either side of the square 24 Quads were line up. The six OP Tanks were line up outside the main entrance, 3 on either side immediately behind the two sentries of the Guard.

          The day following the Regiments arrival the G.O.C., General LO Lyne and Brigadier Spurling of 131 Brigade visited the Stadium to see the accommodation which, although much remained to be done, was on the whole better than the gloomy messages from the Advance party had led the Regiment to expect. At the end of the first week of occupation most of the living quarters were as clean as they ever would be, and, by the end of the first fortnight, as regards external appearances, the Regimental area was completely cleared.

          On the 5th July the Regiment was warned for a parade for a march past the Divisional Commander on Friday the 13th July so that the preceeding Tuesday and Wednesday were spent in final touching up of guns and vehicles taking part in the parade which took place in the Charlottenburg Chausse at 1100 hrs. 3rd Regiment R.H.A. was lined up on either side of the Der Grosse Stern with 5 R.H.A. on the left and then 8th Hussars, 11th Hussars and other mechanised units on either side of the Chausse. The GOC commenced his inspection at 1100 hrs driving at 3 m.p.h. in half track down the Charlottenburg Chausse to the Brandenburger Tor and back, them down Berliner Strasse where the detachment of the Navy, and Battalions of the Infantry units were paraded. After the General had inspected the parade the mechanised Regiments formed up for the march past at 1145 hrs, which was led by the Regiment in the following formation: the CO in a dingo in the centre, 6 dingoes (2 from each Battery) ‘D’ Battery, ‘J’ Battery, ‘M’ Battery. Each tank led its own troop of guns, troops parallel one on each carriageway. The rear was brought up by 8 15 cwts in line and 6 half tracks similarly. The order of march with the Division was the same as that for the Victory Parade (Appx A). General Lyne took the salute, with him were representatives of Royal Navy. Air Force, France, USSR and USA.

          During the week which followed the 7th Armd Division parade, the Potsdam Conference started, and the number of Allied visitors to the Stadium became greater daily. Many of these were high ranking officers taking part in the Potsdam Conference and among those who visited the Regiment in the course of visiting the Stadium were Field Marshalls Sir Alan Brooke, Sir Henry Maitland-Wilson, Sir Harold Alexander, Admiral of the Fleet Sir Andrew Cunningham. Air Chief Marshall Sir Alan Portal. Sir Harold Alexander complimented the Regiment on the standard of turnout of vehicles etc, and particularly that of the guns. In that week the Main Guard frequently turned out 3 – 4 times in an hour to Generals of the United Nations. General Patton of United States 7th Army stopped to inspect the Guard. This action created a marked impression. He complimented Sergeant H. Wallace and his Guard or ‘D’ Battery, R.H.A. on their drill and turn out.

          At the beginning of the week the Regiment was warned that a special Victory Parade would take place for Right Honourable W.S. Churchill, MP, 21st July 1945 in which 3 R.H.A. would fire a salute. All the week before, Regimental gun drill took place at 0900 hours daily. The arrangements for the parade and march past were much the same as for the GOCs parade with the exception of the salute and timing. The CO inspected the Regiment at 0615 hrs, the Regiment set off at 0830 hours and was in position by 0915 hrs. The gun position was in front of the Der Grosse Stern facing West in the direction from which the VIPS arrived to take there place on the saluting base. The guns were in line ‘D’ right, ‘J’ centre, and ‘M’ left, 1 yard interval, vehicles before on either side if the Grosse Stern. The Adjutant as Regiment GPO stood on a Dingo, centre rear of the guns, the CPOs of each Battery were place centre rear of their own Battery.

The form of the salute was as follows:-

 

Round 1 - Adjutants order ‘Fire’                    Regimental Salvo 24 guns.

 

Round 2 -5 8 11 14 17 ……………….          ‘D’ Bty Salvo 8 guns D’CPOS Order Fire

 

Round 3 - 6 9 12 15 18 ……………….         ‘J’    “        “    8   “     J    “          “         “

 

Round 4 - 7 10 13 16    ……………….         ‘J’    “        “    8   “     M   “         “         “

 

Round 19 -   -----------------------------  Regimental Salvo 24 Guns Adjts “    “

10 seconds interval between Salvoes, 3 seconds before firing Adjutant or CPO concerned gave cautionary ‘Stand By’ – the ‘Fire’ The first salvo was scheduled for the precise moment the Prime Minister’s foot was place on the Rostrum and was fired at ..10.00.. hrs, communication between the Saluting Base and the Adjutant was by telephone and the timing of first salvo proved perfect.

The complete fire order series for the salute given out by the Adjuntant was as follows:-

            “Detachments Rear.

             3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery – Attention.

             Take Post.

             3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery will fire salute of 19 guns.

             1 round Regimental salvo/

             Stand by for salvo

             Fire’.

 

In succession thereafter the CPOs gave

 

            ‘D’ Battery (J) & (M) Stand By.

            ‘D’ Battery (J) & (M) Fire’,

 

‘D’ Battery CPO reported ‘round 17 fired Sir’ to Adjutant and following Round 18, Adjutant gave

‘Stand by for Regimental Salvo.

Fire.

Detachments Rear’.

 

The salute went off very well and the guns lined up for it looked magnificent.

The inspection took the same form as the previous parade except the number of VIPs was much greater and filled 6 half tracks (see Appx B) representatives from the Allied Nations and Servics being present on considerable quantity. The march past commenced at 11.45 hrs with 3 R.H.A. leading but in different formation. On this occasion the CO was in a dingo in the centre, 6 dingoes in line, 6 Cromwell Tank OPs each with its troops of guns in column or router, i.e. Bty column of sections, 6 15 cwts, 6 ½ tracks. By 12.10 hrs the Regiment was back in barracks with all completed. The same after the Winston Club was opened by the Prime Minister and by his request the Monday was spend as a full holiday.

During the period from the Victory Parade until the Regiments departure from Berlin many events of considerable general interest took place of which the following is a brief summary:-

16th Aug –      Regimental Athletic Sports on the Olympic Sports Field won by ‘D’ Battery, RHA.

20th Aug -       Regimental Swimming sports, won by ‘D’ Battery, and an exhibition of diving by Members of the German Olympic Swimming Organisation on the Loympic Swimming Pool.

Aug-Sept. - Football knock-out competition between Batteries of 3 and 5 RHA.     ‘J’ Battery reached the semi-final but were knocked out by ‘K’ Battery (5-4) making and all 5 RHA final.

                   Football and hockey leagues were organised between the Batteries and Squadrons of 3 and  RHA and 8th and 11th Hussars.

8th Sept.  -   Allied parade in the Charlottenburg Chausse with Armoured and Infantry units of the British, French, Russian and American Garrison of Berlin. Marshal Zhukov took the salute. The Regiment did not take part in this parade apart from sending 2 Officers and 40 men to line the router. This parade was the first occasion the troops of the occupation powers had paraded together. Members of the Regiment found it a change to be able for the first time, to watch.

23rd Sep. -   Allied Athletic Meeting held on the Olympic Stadium. Teams from British, French and American Garrisons took part. The Americans won easily but the British team gained several successes, two notable victories being won by men of 3 R.H.A.

                        Gnr. Scott D. ‘J’ Battery, in the 200 metres (22.7 secs)

                        Gnr. Mindal J.   R.H.Q.    Long Jump .. 23.4… feet.

                   Other members of the British Teams, of which each successful received a medallion, supplied by 3 R.H.A. were

                                    L/Bdr. Pitts J.          ‘D’ Battery

                                    Gnr. Langley D.E.   ‘J’ Bty

                                     Dvr. Blevins            ‘M’ Battery

29th Sep. -  American Football game between 83rd US Airborne Division (Berlin US Garrison) and 36 Infantry Division from 7th US Army. This game took place in the arena of the Stadium and was watched by a large crowd of British and appreciate American soldiers.

3rd Oct -     Association Football Match between West Ham United and a team from British Army of the Rhine (all were professional players). For many of the over 10,000 spectators in the Stadium this game must have been the first professional soccer seen for several years. It was a very good game and ended in a draw 2 – 2.

--------------------------------------

The Regiment formed up in Battery column on the Olympic platz at 0830 hrs 4th October 1945 and in the order of RHQ, ‘D’, ‘J’, ‘M’ left Berlin for the new area north of Itzehoe – Holstein.

 

 

 

 

October 1945

Commanding Officer: Lt.Col. WL NEWELL DSO

Place

Date

Hour

Summary of Events and Information

References to Appendices

BERLIN

3.10.45

Association Football Match between West Ham United and a team from British Army of the Rhine (all were professional players).

For many of the over 10,000 spectators in the Stadium this game must have been the first professional soccer seen for several years. It was a very good game and ended in a draw 2 – 2.

4.10.45

The Regiment formed up in Battery column on the Olympic Platz at 0830 hrs 4th October 1945 and in the order RHQ. “D”. “J”. “M” left Berlin for a new area north of Itzehoe – Holstein.

5.10.45

Regiment stage the night 4/5th in Gifhorn and then proceeded to new area RHQ and “D” in Schenefeld, and “J” and “M” Hademarschen. Nothing could have been more of a contrast to our Berlin situation than the villages of Hademarschen and Schenefeld.

In Hademarschen “M” and “J” remained separate but “D” and RHQ remained joined for the purposes of messing, guard etc. A D.P. camp of Poles at Holstenneindorf and a Polish PWX Camp at Hademarschen both came under our jurisdiction and control for which we had to supply a considerable amount of transport for fuel baths and so forth,

10.10.45

In this area sports facilities were as scarce as they had been abundant in Berlin and the only sports carried on were Battery and Troop football matches. General entertainment facilities were equally non-existent as these villages had nothing more that the village hall in which a mobile cinema could show its films.

The people of these villages too were cool towards the English and considerable different than those in Berlin.

During the early part of the month many returns had to be rendered on the strengths of certain age and service groups and eventually it became an order from BAOR that the Division would re-organise itself by 30 Nov 45 keeping only men lather than 32 age and service group and at that only those who were unprotected by Python rights (Python protection was ruled as being 2 yrs 6 months unbroken overseas service on Nov 1st 45). This affected all ranks except those in 22 age and service group and earlier who would remain with the Regiment surplus to establishment until their demobilisation date.

In effect it meant that two officers would remain (Major TJ Tirrell and Lt. Ritson both “D” Bty) not one WO, 3 Sgts, 4 Bdrs and approx 126 ORs, chiefly those who joined the Regiment in Fakenham or during the BLA period.

Of the Regiment at the beginning of October 85% were either ealier than age and service group 32 or were ineligible to remain owing to Python protection; further the bulk of these 85% were men who had joined in the Spring and Summer of 1942 or 41, and hand therefore seen much service with the Regiment.

The total number of all ranks left was 135 (2 & 133), this being a lower percentage than any other unit had in the Division. Owing to the sharp break entailed by such a re-organisation we were allowed to retain a cadre of officers and NCOs of approx. 40 in number to help tide over the period until new personnel found their feet.

It was felt that this means there would be some degree of continuity between those who fought in the Regiment in the Africa, Italian and NW European campaigns and those who would serve with the Regiment in the post war years.

It was with the greatest regret that the men were told that they could not last out their time until demobilisation but would be posted by end of October to other units. No changes in the whole of the war years assumed such proportions and despite universal regret operational necessity made it vital.

23.10.45

Anniversary of Alamein celebrated.

24.10.45

First change over of personnel NCOs and men took place.

The following numbers were posted to Regts shown:-

                      25th Field Regt, RA - 20

                      32nd    “     “     “      - 20

                      86th     “     “     “      - 20

                      94th    “     “     “       - 15

                     112th    “     “     “      -   3

                     126th    “     “     “      - 15

                     127th    “     “     “      - 15

                     128th    “     “     “      - 15

The following were received:-

                     190      “     “     “      - 129

28/29/

30.10.45

Further changes as follows:-

  Posted out to:-                                                  Posted in from:-  

      4 RHA           -   55                                      4 RHA           --    49

 131 Fd Regt RA -  22                                    131 Fd Regt       --    23

 151 Fd Regt RA -  40                                    151   “     “         --    41

   20 LAA           -   16                                    20 LAA              --    16

   98 Fd Regt RA -  45                                    98 Fd Regt RA   --    45

  106 AA Bde      -    3                                    106 AA Bde        --     3

  109 AA Bde      -    2                                    109 AA Bde        --     2

Other postings in and out in the last week of October and early part of November were as follow:-

             OUT                                                                      IN  

     143 Fd RA      -      1                                   32 Fd Regt, RA         --    1

       25  “   “         -      3                                    91 Fd Regt, RA        --    2

       79  “   “         -      1                                   257 Corps Del Sqn    --    3

       94  “   “         -      1                                   108 HAA Regt, RA   --    7

     128  “   “         -      2                                   CMOS HQ RA 7 AD --    4

       91  “   “         -      2                                   51 Med Regt, RA       --    1

     112  “   “         -      1                                   11  “        “        “        --    1

     126  “   “         -      2                                   56 Hy Regt, RA         --     1

       80  “   “         -      1                                   79 Fd Regt, RA          --    1

       68  “   “         -      2                                   80  “      “        “          --    1

       69  “   “         -      1                                 128  “       “        “         --    2

      10 Med Regt  -      1                                 127  “       “        “         --    1

      127 Fd Regt   -      1                                 126  “       “        “         --    2

      84 Med Regt  -      1                                 112  “       “        “         --    1

  

             OUT                                                                      IN  

      52 Hy Regt     -      1                                   94 Fd Regt RA          --    1

      11 Med Regt  -      3                                    69 Fd Regt RA          --    1

      56  Hy Regt    -      1                                   143  “      “     “           --    1

      51  Hy Regt    -      1                                   68 Med Regt RA        --    2

      32 Fd Regt     -      1                                    10 Med Regt RA         --    1

      107 Med Regt -     1                                    84   “       “      “           --    1

                                                                          52 Hy Regt RA            --    1

                                                                          25 Fd Regt RA             --    3

                                                                          HQRA Gds Armd Div --    1

The last major transition took place in November but for convenience of reference is included in October as well as November i.e.:-

       Posted to 86th Field Regt RA (Herts Yeo)          48

           “  from  “        “       “     “         “      “             153

No officer changes too place until November.

 

Line up for October of Offices & WOs as follows:-

                 C.O. Lt.Col. W.L. Newell, DSO, RHA

                 2 IC Major JCK Denny, MC, RHA

                 Adjt Capt. R.A. Stokes, MC, RHA

                 A/Adjt Lieut. A. Gibb, RHA

                 Survy Lieut. H.G.V. Evans, RHA

                 QM Capt. B. Bull RHA

                 M.O. Capt. F.J. Cockersole, (RAMC)

                 E.M.E. ---------

                 Sigs. Capt. Wright, (R.C.Sigs)

               “D” Bty                                                                     “J” Bty

Major TJ Tirrell, MC. DCM, RHA               Major P.M. Barrington. RHA

Capt. DH Fitzherbert. RHA                          Capt. G. Buchanan, RHA

Capt. B.J. Cork. RHA                                  Capt. G.L. Burke, MC, RHA

Capt. G.D. Brice. RHA                                Lieut. H.A. Nisbett, RHA

Lieut. J.R. Brown. RHA                               Lieut. D.H. Tribe, RHA

Lieut. T.T. Ritson. RHA                               Lieut. J. Ledsham, RHA

Lieut. D. MacDonald. RHA                         Lieut. D.D. Brown, RHA

Lieut. G. Ogden. RHA                                 Lieut. J.D. White, RHA

                                        “M” Bty.

                      Major L.P. Hicks, RHA  (17.10.45. Capt. GW. Goschen posted to Regt.

                      Capt. A.J. Strahan, RHA       Took over command ‘M’ Bty immediately

                      Capt. P Downie, RHA               & promoted to Major 25.10.45) 

                     Lieut. D.M.J. Clarke, RHA

                     Lieut. S.A. Middleton, RHA

                     Lieut. V.H. Wolfson, RHA

                     Lieut. J.C. Pearson, RA

                     Lieut. J.R. Wood, RA

 

 

 

November 1945

Commanding Officer: Lt Col WL NEWELL DSO RHA

Place

Date

Hour

Summary of Events and Information

References to Appendices

Schenefeld

2-

11-45

Men of age and Service Group 20 were despatched to 34 R.H.U, Hamburg for onward transmission to Tournai Transit Camp and thence to England for Demobilisation.

This group, which totalled 10, included several who had joined the Regiment in Africa:-

                                  B.Q.M.S Hayter “D” Bty.

                                  L/Sgt. Berry “M” Bty.

                                  Gnr. Ogilvy “D” Bty.

                                  Gnr, Skelby “J” Bty

                                  Gnr. Watson “J” Bty.

                                  L/Bdr. Slade “J” Bty.

                                  Gnr. Watkins “J” Bty.

 3/7-

11-45

Spent in sorting new intake and preparations for future training and reconnaissance by 2 I/C of new Regtl area in EIMSHORN.

8-

11-45

Lt.Col. W.L. NEWELL DSO, RHA, left the Regt for home posting and marriage

He was ineligible to retain commandof the Regiment as he was Python Protected, after a period of leave he had been given command of an AA unit near Coventry.

He commanded the Regiment from 7 June 45 and therefore for while it was in Berlin.

November 1945

         Major J Denny in absence of

Commanding Officer: Lt Col RJ Streatfield DSO (on leave)

Place

Date

Hour

Summary of Events and Information

References to Appendices

Schenefeld

9-

11-45

The Regiment moved from HADENMARSCHEN to SCHENEFELD to EIMSHORN huts inside Kreis Pinneberg - the 15 (Scottish) div area.

D & J Batteries are close together at the N.E. end of the town with M & RHA about 1 mile away at the other end. D & J mess separately, but RHQ and M combine. The Billets, gun and vehicle parks are a great improvement on the semi squalor of the previous villages, and give reasonable scope for training which is now to be the main object in life.

14-

11-45

Today took place the last major change over of personnel when 6 Officers, 2 W.Os and 46 ORs were posted to 86 Field Regt RA (Herts Yeo). In replacement came 158 elibibles including 5 Officers, 2 WOs and 151 ORs.

Fortunately in the draft were a good number of NCOs which had become the crying need of the unit. Of all the drafts received rom Regts this one gave the best impression. (For names out and in see Appx “A”.)

Eimshorn

18-

11-45

Age and Service Group 21 were despatched today for Tournai. Like Age and Service Group 20 this group, totalling 25, included many old members who had served in Africa for some tme:-

                                  BSM. Scholey “D” Bty

                                  L/Sgt. Lennox G “J” Bty.

                                  Sig, J Ferguson “J” Bty.

                                  Gnr. Morrision “J” Bty.

 

November 1945

Commanding Officer: Lt Col RJ Streatfeild DSO

20-

11-45

Lt. Col. R.J Streatfeild DSO arrived to take over command of the Regiment previously he commanded 190 Field Regt RA – 15 (Scottish) Div. during NW European Campaign.

20/23-

11-45

Anniversary of Sidi Rezegh, no celebration took place on any of these days owing to the incomplete state or re-organization of the Regt. It was postponed to Dec 5th.

It is intended that day on which Lt. Ward Gunn wone his VC will be “Sidi Rezegh Day”. i.e. Nove 22nd.

23-

11-45

Major J.C.K Denny left the Regt on Class “C” Release to return to Tasmania,

25-

11-45

Major RT Addington MC from 13 R.H.A. came and took over command of ‘J’ Bty from Major P.M. Harrington M.C. who left to go as 2 I/C 151 Field Regt RA.

Eimshorn

25-

11-45

In the first half of the month the time was spent in “shaking down” and getting settled in Einshorn. YMCA started up chiefly for our benefit and 48 hrs leave to Denmark and Amsterdam also helped the general welfare.

By the middle of the month the situation reach was, apart from age and service group 22 and earlier and cadre personnel, that the Regimental Strength was 26 surplus i.e. 661We were surplus in Dvrs I.C. Dvr/Ops, Sigs, Dvr/Mechs and Tech. Assistants but still deficient in Sgts and slightly so in Bdrs, of WOs we still needed two.

Officers were a considerable worry as we only had about half the required number of Subalterns. The last week of November saw the Regt. rapidly settling down to training with courses for gunners, junior and senior NCOs, Dvr/Mechs, Tech Assts and Sigs reclassification either in operation or planned for the near future.

29-

11-45

Age and service Gp. 22 men went for demobilisation today. Total was 25 and includes some old stagers such as:-

                                  BSM. Clavering “D” Bty

                                  BQMS Freeman “M” Bty

                                  Sgt. Wilford “D” Bty

                                  Sgt. smith J.W “J” Bty

                                  Bdr. Morgan “M” Bty

                                  Bdr. Cuthberton “M” Bty

 

These were almost the last to go for demobilisation. Although a few cadre members have fairly early age groups, it can be said that with their departure went the last of the war time 3 R.H.A.

 
 

               Line up of Officers in NOVEMBER.

Posted Out.                                                   Posted in.

 

Capt. Nisbett          ‘J’ Bty.               86 Fld.  Capt. M Sayers   - ‘M’ Bty

Lt. D. White           ‘J’ Bty.                   “        Capt. K Ohlson   - ‘M’ Bty

Lt. DD. Brown       ‘J’ Bty.                   “        Lt. Ropner          - ‘M’ Bty

Lt. J. Ogden            ‘D’ Bty.                 “        Lt. Boylan           - ‘M’ Bty

Lt. W.R. Buckholt  ‘D’ Bty.                  “        Lt. Allen   - ‘D’ Bty

Lt. Wolfson            ‘M’ Bty.                           Lt. Weeden    - ‘M’ Bty

Capt. Straham         ‘M’ Bty.                          Capt. Jackson  - ‘M’ Bty

Lt. Gibb                  ‘RHQ.                             Capt. Hughes   - ‘J’ Bty

Lt. Ledham             ‘J’ Bty.                             Capt. Niblett   - ‘J’ Bty

Lt. G. Foster            ‘M’ Bty.             13 RHA Capt. Studdert

Lt. D.J Clark           ‘M’ Bty.                                      Kenney - ‘J’ Bty

Major Barrington     ‘J’ Bty.                  “          Lt Delaforce - ‘J’ Bty

Capt. Buchanan        ‘J’ Bty.                             Lt. Mitchell   - ‘J’ Bty

Major Hicks            ‘J’ Bty.                 181 Fld Lt. D Martin   - RHQ

                                                                         Capt Steward  -  ‘D’ Bty

  

-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-

  

OFFICERS OF 3rd REGIMENT, RHA

NOVEMBER, 1945.

 

C.O………………………   . Lt. Col. RJ Streatfeild DSO RHA.

2 I.C……………………….. Major J.C.K. Denney MC, RHA.

Adjutant……………………. Capt. R.A. Stokes, MC, RHA.

Survey Officer…………….... Lieut H.G.V. Evans, RHA.

Q.M……………………….. Capt. Q.M. Bull RHA.

M.O……………………….. Capt. J. Cockersole RAMC.

Sigs Officer……………….. .. Lt. L Crann .

E.M.E…………………….... Capt. Handley.

O.C………………………… Major T.J. Tirrell MC, DCM, RHA.

O.C………………………… Major R.T. Addington MC. RHA. (vice Barrington)

O.C………………………… Major Goschen DSO. MC. RHA. (vice Hicks)

 

-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-

 

 

 

December 1945

Commanding Officer: Lt Col R J Streatfield

Place

Date

Hour

Summary of Events and Information

References to Appendices

 EIMSHORN

1

 REGIMENTAL LOCATION ) EIMSHORN, Schleswig-Holstein

1

OCCUPATIONAL DUTIES and General Routine re-sorting in progress.

3

CHAPLAIN 4 CL Rev J Miller-Craig joined Regt.

5

REGIMENT held a dinner in Cimemoration of the battle of SID REZEGH

21-22 Nov 41 at Crusader Club HAMBURG.

 

Lieut

R.E.

Crosthwaite RA joined the Regt. – “M” Bty

11

Lieut R Lankasheer RHA joined the Regt. – “J” Bty

18

Lieut J.A. Cood R.A. – “J” Bty and Lieut J.B. Weston RA – “M” Bty joined the Regt.

23

The CRA – Brigadier F.D. Moore RA – visited the Regt.

25

Christmas festivities – CO and Adjt. visited the Regt.

31

A New Years Eve dance held by the Regt in EIMSHORN – attended by CO and all officers.

 

 

 

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