War Diaries of D Battery, Royal Horse Artillery

1945

 

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"D" Battery 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery          

War Diary for the Month of January 1945                  

 
DATE PLACE. WEATHER.

WAR DIARY.

1st.

LEIJENBROEK 

cold.

During the morning the O.P. reported a large number of enemy planes flying WESTWARDS. Shortly afterwards a number of planes flew over the gun area singly and were engaged with every available weapon. At they were all flying about zero feet some of the A.A. splinters came very close and we had one man slightly wounded. We saw three planes shot down by ground defences - in fact "B" Troop claim one of them.

At midnight we welcomed the New Year by giving the HUB a few salvos - the enemy however had decided to do the same thing.

Ammunition Expenditure to 1730 hrs 230 rounds

2nd.

LEIJENBROEK 

thawing.

The first of the home leave party left in the morning.

Fairly quiet day.

Ammunition Expenditure  63 rounds

3rd.

LEIJENBROEK 

fine.

Another uneventful day. Lieut R.H. Jones R.H.A. rejoined the Battery having fully recovered from his illness.

Ammunition Expenditure  123 rounds.

4th.

LEIJENBROEK 

some snow

later thaw.

both troops full out on improvements of gun positions for forthcoming inspection.

A quiet night.

Ammunition Expenditure  104 rounds.

5th.

LEIJENBROEK 

freezing

Work on the dug outs and gun pits continued. During the night a patrol of 1.5 QUEENS reported a hundred Germans in front of them and we fired defensive fire, after which the QUEENS reported the enemy dispersed.

Ammunition Expenditure  19 rounds.

6th.

LEIJENBROEK 

very cold.

Some targets were fired during the day for retaliation for active enemy mortars on the area of HONGEN. In the evening a fire plan was prepared in support of an offensive patrol on the 1/5 QUEENS.

Ammunition Expenditure  280 rounds.

7th.

LEIJENBROEK 

very cold.

Quiet day, spend in making final preparation for the inspection tomorrow. The C.R.A. was coming to judge the competition and everyone was confident of winning it.

Ammunition Expenditure  87 rounds.

8th. 

LEIJENBROEK 

heavy snow.

The C.R.A. was unfortunately unable to stay long enough to judge the positions, but he did stay long enough to be impressed by the work that had been put in and by the result that had been achieved.  Lt. Col. J.A. Norman D.S.O. R.H.A., Lt. Col. Freeman of the 1/5 QUEENS and Major. B.A. Buckwell. D.S.O. M.C. R.H.A. inspected and judged the Troop positions.

Ay midnight a fire plan lasting 75 minutes was fired in support of a strong fighting patrol of 9th D.L.L.s. Early reports were confusing and it was not until the next day that we received a true pictures of what had happened

Ammunition Expenditure  27 rounds.

9th.

LEIJENBROEK 

very cold

much snow on ground

The Battery stood down from reveille although the guns remained in action.

Ammunition Expenditure  625 rounds.

10th.

LEIJENBROEK 

very cold.

Owing to the intense cold engines had to be run at hourly intervals.

Ammunition Expenditure  NIL.

11th.

LEIJENBROEK 

very cold.

The O.P. again manned by us - "J" Battery had taken it over from us during the stand down, but the guns were still stood down and our O.P. had to shoot "J" Battery's guns. A quiet day.

Ammunition Expenditure  NIL

12th.

LEIJENBROEK 

very cold.

Recce parties went out in the morning in the area of BUCHTEN, and a holding party went out in the afternoon, The afternoon was spend packing up for a move in the morning.

Ammunition Expenditure  NIL

13th.

LEIJENBROEK 

cold.

AT 0900 hrs the Battery moved less "A" Echelon.

The morning was spend blowing gun pits -  a difficult task, as the earth was frozen hard.

By the end of the day however, all the guns were in pits. There was some excitement when about five targets were received one after the other in support of the QUEENS who were being counter attacked at BAKENHOVEN. However after one target after another was cancelled we were told to stand down on the last one and the excitemeny died down, giving us a quiet day.

Ammunition Expenditure  NIL

14th.

XXXXXXXXX

BUCHTEN.

cold.

Time was spent improving the gun pits.

A good allotment of entertainments was received to an ENSA show at GELEEN and also a picture show.

Ammunition Expenditure  NIL

15th.

BUCHTEN.

cold.

A very busy day preparing for the opening phase of "ANGEL". of operation BLACKCOCK. The operation was to be of seven days duration, the final objective being the river ROER. It was a show by three divisions - 7th Armd Div, 52 (L) Div, and 43rd Div. There was very good Artillery support - all three Divisional Artilleries plus two Medium and one Heavy Regiment taking part in a counter Battery programmed preceding the attack. Zero hour was orginally fixed at 2115 hrs, but was later postponed until 0730 hours. This caused further work as the fire plan was modified as it was to be a dawn attack.

A few D.F.s were fired during the night. Capt JAC Baxter M.C. R.H.A. rejoined the Battery.

Ammunition Expenditure  NIL

16th.

BUCHTEN.

cold.

Counter programme started for us at 0615 hrs and at 0715 we started phase "ANGEL" I which was in support of the 9th D.LI.s attaching DIETEREN, and very early SITREPS were coming in reporting our progress. By 0930 hrs the village was captured, the infantry sustaining very few casualties. The remainder of the day we were kept hard at it firing one Regtl target after the other in support of the D.L.I.s. who were consolidating and also in suport of 11th HUSSARS who were attacking OSTEREN.

Towards evening we engaged serveral D.F. tasks but no reports of a serious counter attack came in.

The Sappers succeeded in getting a bridge across the river, and this made it necessary for our carrying party, which had been standing by to go across with our O.P. to turn out. The vehicles being able to go over the bridge.

Ammunition Expenditure  1842 rounds.

17th.

BUCHTEN.

cold.

The QUEENS moved off at 0230 hrs and at 0400 hrs we fired a small plan FRY, followed by another plan BRUSSELS. A repeat of BRUSSELS was cancelled, and we fires several Regtl Targets in support of the Infantry. At 0745 the QUEENS are reported at SUSTEREN, and by 0810 32 P.O.W. had been taken. The enemy counter attacked vigorously with several tanks and we fired D.F.s for about an hour and a half. Our tanks went in at 1000 hrs to restore the situation and shortly afterwards we were relieved to hear that the situation had passed. We fired several targets during the afternoon in support of an attack by the DEVONS and KSOBs on OUSTEREN and ECHT.

Ammunition Expenditure  1842 rounds.

18th.

BUCHTEN.

Thaw 

overnight but 

cold later

Morning was fairly quiet, but in the afternoon things became much more hectic/ Many more targets were fired, most of the "VICTOR" targets on house outside SUSTEREN towards the station. We heard later that these targets were very effective and many Germans had been killed by Artillery fire.

Ammunition Expenditure  1093 rounds.

19th.

BUCHTEN.

cold.

Recces parties went out early to an area the other side of SUSTEREN, and near PELJ. The Battery moved after lunch, after firing a small fire plan. The Battery came into action late in the afternoon, The enemy put down some harrassing fire in the area of PEIJ during the evening. WE were to fire a stonk in the area of KLOSTER LIBLOSCH but we were not called up as it was decided that we were too exposed, A quiet night.

Ammunition Expenditure  811 rounds.

20th.

Nr PEIJ

cold.

On the morning it was realised that with the enemy in KLOSTE LUBOSH "A" Troop was even more exposed than was at first thought. The enemy again fired many rounds in to PEIJ, and many fell on the gun positions. "B" Troop received the first lot of shells - and the GEORGE truck received a direct hot and brewed up immediatel, No one from the crew was hurt, but another shell wounded three men L/Bdr (VM) Whyatt. E.R., D.M. Nicholls T and D.M. Burhouse. R. - the last two being evacuated). Shortly afterwards "A" Troop had its turn - again many shells falling on the position two men, Gnrs Holton and Garbutt being wounded and evacuated.

The night was continually interrupted by a series of hostile Battery Targets.

Ammunition Expenditure  119 rounds.

21st.

Near PEIJ

cold.

Quiet morning - we prepared a Fire Plan, but it was not called for. Several "MIKE" targets were fired in the afternoon mainly on hostile Batteries.

Fired harrassing fire until 0100 hrs on four hostile Battery targets after which we had a quiet night. Special Order of the Day was received from Lt. Col. J.A. Norman. D.S.O. R.H.A.. "The C.R.A. and C.O.s of Bns which we had supported during the operation have expressed their very high appreciation of the very accurate and quick fire of the Regiment. I congratulate ALL RANKS on their excellent work in meriting this praise".

Ammunition Expenditure  565 rounds.

22nd.

Near PEIJ

cold.

The DEVONS were relieved by No. 3. COMMANDOS and the Battery was in direct support of the COMMANDOS. We all expected a rather hectic day but such was not the case and we only fired a few targets throughout the day. In the night however we were called on to fire on a target of the 5th RHA and for the first time in many month we fired ammo "cap on".

Ammunition Expenditure  355 rounds.

23rd.

Near PEIJ

very cold.

Stood by from 0800 hrs to fire smoke screen which was later cancelled. Another screen was on call from 1400 hrs but in spite of our preparation we were not called to fire it. Skeleton recces went forward and full recces stood by to go forward. Quiet night. We ceased to support No.3. COMMANDOS and were in direct support of the 1st R.T.R.

Ammunition Expenditure  84 rounds.

24th.

Near PEIJ

very cold.

Prepared a Fire Plan in support of 2 DEVONS, but we were called to fire only part of it, and by 0915 hours MONTFORT was reported clear of enemy. A series of targets were then on call but on a few of them were actually asked for. Full recces were out, but Battery did not move and were in fact kept quite busy firing "M" Targets throughout the afternoon.

Ammunition Expenditure  757 rounds.

25th.

Near PEIJ

cold.

Moved to new area at DIEGAARDE just before lunch and the afternoon was spent digging in.

Now supporting 1st R.T.R.

Ammunition Expenditure  523 rounds.

26th.

Between ECHTERBOSCH & DIEGAARDE 

Bitterly Cold.

A Fire Plan was laid on to support the tanks and Infantry on the clearing of the straggling village of POSTERHOLZ but fire was not necessary. Communications between Battery and O.Ps became very difficult. We were firmly established in the village by nightfall.

Ammunition Expenditure  162 rounds.

27th.

Near ECHTERBOSCH  

Cold.

Quiet day. Communications difficult and line parties very busy. Much shelling of F.D.Ls during the day, and a close D.F. task put down on the earlier evening. An Army Film Unit took pictures of "A" Troop engaging an hostile Bty.

Ammunition Expenditure  94 rounds.

28th.

Near ECHTERBOSCH  

Cold.

Fairly busy day for the guns, By now they were very well dug in and most men had good dug in cover.

Ammunition Expenditure  478 rounds.

29th.

Near ECHTERBOSCH  

Very Cold.

An attack at first light by the QUEENS object of which was to clear PAARLO and the area SOUTH of it. A series of concentration were fired by us in support, and by evening "A" Company of the 1/5 QUEENS were established in PAARLO after we had fired a small Fire Plan. Much shelling by the enemy of the forward areas during the afternoon. Determined enemy attack on PAARLO during the early hours of the night. The NORTH Platoon position was penetrated and the O.P. Spandaued from about a hundred yards range. A counter-attack was immediately organised and soon after midnight the position was restored. We engaged NEBELWERFER and enemy Mortars in addition to D.F. fire.

Ammunition Expenditure  to 1730 hrs 1068 rounds.

30th.

Near ECHTERBOSCH  

Cold & Sleet..

Engaged several Regimental Targets during the day.

Ammunition Expenditure  710 rounds.

31st.

Near ECHTERBOSCH.

Fine - thaw/

Fairly quiet day. Fired D.F. Tasks at midnight. The Div Commander (Major General L.O. LYNE D.S.O.) visited the Battery together with the C.R.A. and the C.O., and walked around the gun pits.

Ammunition Expenditure  49 rounds.

 

 

 

 

 

ORDER OF BATTLE AS AT 31ST JANUARY 1945.

 

 

Battery Commander                  Major T.J. Tirrell. MC DCM R.H.A

Acting "A" Troop Cmdr .           Lieut. A. Gibb. R.H.A

Troop Cmdr "B" Troop.            Captain. B.J.. Cork. R.H.A

Battery Captain.                        Captain. J.A.C. Baxter. MC RHA.

C.P.O.                                      Lieut. J.R. Brown, R.H.A

G.P.O "A" Troop                      Lieut. T.T. Ritson. R.H.A

G.P.O "B" Troop                      Lieut. W.R. Buckolt. R.H.A

Troop Leader "A Troop            Lieut. D. McDonald. R.A

Ass. C.P.O                               Lieut. R.H. Jones. R.H.A                               

Detached  on Leave                  Captain. G.D. Brice. R.H.A

       "          "       "                     Lieut. H.A. Parsons. R.H.A

Detached  on Courses.              Captain. B.J.. Cork. R.H.A

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 1945

Commanding Officer: Major T.J. Tirrell.

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices

Near ECHTERBOSCH.

1st.

 

weather mild. Another quiet day. A little movement seen by O.P. and given due attention.

 

 

 

 

Ammunition Expenditure  49 rnds to 1730 hrs.

 

Near ECHTERBOSCH.

2nd.

 

weather mild. The recce parties of the 691 Fld Arty Bn of the U.S. Army arrived, and plans were worked out for the changeover to take place soon.

 

 

 

 

Ammunition Expenditure  162 rounds.

 

Near ECHTERBOSCH.

3rd.

 

weather mild. The American four twenty five pounders arrived during the afternoon. "B" Troop moved out of their gun position and went back to the rest position at STEINE. "A" Troop took to guns out of action and and attached the other two to the American four thus making a Battery a six gin Troop. The C.P. work at the Troop contiuned o be done by us, and the general administration of the guns was joint. Our men worked well in showing the Americans points of our equipment, and in teaching them gun drill - British style. We found we had to compromise between the two types of gun orders to make fire orders understood by all.

 

 

 

 

Ammunition Expenditure  91 rounds.

 

 

4th to

9th

Missing at present

 

 

 

 

 

 

Near ECHTERBOSCH.

10th. and 11th

 

weather fair, some rain, Quiet days. Almost all the Battery have had the opportunity to have to days at least in the "rest area" at STEIN. We had been prepared to fire a programme in support of a mock attack for the past three mornings, but it had been postponed as the American attack on our right had not gone in.

Ammunition Expenditure;- 10th,  78 rounds, 11th,  70 rounds.

 

Near ECHTERBOSCH.

12th.

 

weather fair. We occupied an O.P. in St. ODILIENBERG. Quiet day.

Ammunition Expenditure  78 rounds.

 

Near ECHTERBOSCH.

13th.

 

weather fair. The 1/5 QUEENS took over the St. ODILIENBERG area from 1 R.B.s.

Ammunition Expenditure  43 rounds.

 

Near ECHTERBOSCH.

14th,

 

weather fair. Our American friends left for new positions in MONTFORT area and by nightfall we were a two troop Battery of six guns in all. Our O.P. engaged successfully some light anti tank guns, and if not knocking them out, thoroughly neutralised them.

 

 

 

 

Ammunition Expenditure  167 rounds.

 

Near ECHTERBOSCH.

15th - 20th

 

weather fine except for some rain during the last three days. Mainly a quiet period. Sniping guns sent out and we succeeded in neutralising several anti tank guns of light calibre - certainly knocking two out,

 

 

 

 

The CRA visited us on the 17th. Much work was put in on the gun pits. A recce has been done of the new area at BAEXEM, and a holding party sent off. All our guns had been thoroughly overhauled in the Workshops and were now in good condition.

 

 

 

 

Mobile cinema and bather parties were enjoyed. We prepared to hand over to our relieving Divison - the 8th American Armd Div.

 

 

 

 

Ammunition Expenditure  to 1730 hrs daily;- 15th, 110 rnds, 16th, 209 rnds, 17th, 180 rnds, 18th, 185 rnds, 19th, 188 rnds, 20th, 88 rnds.

 

Near ECHTERBOSCH.

21st.

 

weather fine. Packing and preparation for move.

 

 

 

 

Ammunition Expenditure  53 rounds.

 

Near ECHTERBOSCH.

22nd.

 

weather misty but mild. Moved off at 0930 hrs to BAEXEM. The router was through SCHILBERG, SUSTEREN, MAESEYK, ITTERWORT to BAEXEM. It was a steady move and we arrived in ample time to get settled in. Our new position was a large Monastry, and there was no santiary arrangments nor electric light. For the first time for a long time the guns were not in action.

 

 

 

 

Ammunition Expenditure  NIL

 

At BAEXEM.

23rd

 

weather fine. The day was spent overcoming the disadvantages of building and getting the vehicles offloading for cleaning and painting.

 

 

 

 

Ammunition Expenditure  NIL

 

At BAEXEM.

24th.

 

weather fine. We were visited by Major General L.O. Lyne D.S.O., who, in a most interesting talk explained just what had happened during the operation we had just concluded - the clearing up to the ROER.

 

 

 

 

The rest of the day was spent on maintenance.

 

At BAEXEM.

25th.

 

weather fine. Everyone working flat out on the vehicles which were now being repainted.

 

At BAEXEM.

26th,

27th

and 28th. weather fine. Maintenance and cleaning was the order of the day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ORDER OF BATTLE as at 28th February 1945.

 

 

Battery Cmnder              Major T.J. Tirrell. MC DCM RHA

Battery Capt.                  Capt. J.A.C. Baxter. MC RHA.

Tp Cmdr "A"                  Capt. G.D. Brice. RHA

Tp Cmdr "B"                  Capt. B.J.. Cork. RHA

C.P.O.                            Lieut. J.R. Brown, RHA

G.P.O "A"                       Lieut. T.T. Ritson. RHA

G.P.O "B"                       Lieut. H.A. Parsons. RHA

A.C.P.O                         Lieut. R.H. Jones. RHA       Tp Leader "A   Lt. D. McDonald. RA              

Forward C.P.O               Lieut. A. Gibb. RHA           Tp Leader "A   Lt. W.R. Buckolt. RHA

 

 

 

 

WAR DIARY for the Month of March 1945

"D" Battery 3rd Regt R.H.A

 

1st April 1945.                    

 
Date. Place. Weather.

War Diary.

1st.

BAEXEM.

raining

The weather interfered with painting, but valuable reorganisation was carried out.

Again a day of stead work.

Ammunition Expenditure  NIL

2nd.

BAEXEM.

dull.

Battery Commander and Troop Commanders on a river crossing scheme with parties of signallers carrying 23 sets.

The remainder of the Battery continued with maintenance.

Ammunition Expenditure  NIL

3rd.

BAEXEM

fine.

Maintenance and reorganisation still the order of the day.

Ammunition Expenditure  NIL

4th.

BAEXEM

dull with some drizzle

We took part in Regtl Church Parade and after the Service a march past, the salute being taken by the C.R.A. (Brig. T, Lyon Smith D.S.O.

Ammunition Expenditure  NIL

5th

BAEXEM

dull some rain.

Orders were received to prepare to move either on the 6th or 7th and recces were XXXXX sent off to LOUVAINE. Hopes were dashed when we heard later that we were going to move, but to an area NORTH of WEERT.

No 1101977 L/Bdr. Yoxen. F.S. attended an investiture at WEERT was presented with the M.M. by Fld Marshall Montgomery.

Everyone spent the day packing in preparation for the forthcoming move.

Ammunition Expenditure  NIL

6th-12th.

BAEXEM

Fine.

During this period we moved NORTH to another Monsastry. The period was spent in training and preparation for forthcoming battles. vehicles and guns being thoroughly overhauled, the latter also calibrated. A second bar to the Military Cross was awarded to B.C. (Major T.J. Tirrell M.C., DCM,. RHA). Capt J.A.C. Baxter was cross posted to "M" Battery and Capt. C.M. Aitchison RHA returned to "D" Battery as Bty. Capt.

Ammunition Expenditure  NIL

13th.

NORTH of WEERT.

Fine.

Normal training in the morning and inter-troop Football in the afternoon. Lieut. R.H. Jones RHA left the Battery for U.K. having volunteered for the Airborne. Lieut. D. Sebag-Montefiore posted from 6 R.H.A.

Ammunition Expenditure  NIL

14th

NORTH of WEERT.

Fine

Normal training.

Ammunition Expenditure  NIL

15th.

NORTH of WEERT.

Fine

Wireless Scheme in the afternoon -exercise "PHONY" to demonstrate working on the Regimental wireless net with all O.Ps on the net as well as the usual stations.

Ammunition Expenditure  NIL

16th.

NORTH of WEERT.

Fine

Muster parade in the morning to examine anti-gas equipment, followed by normal maintenance.

Capt. Aitchison went with party to new battle area to organise dumping of ammunition. Football and hockey against "J" Battery in afternoon.

Ammunition Expenditure  NIL

17th.

NORTH of WEERT.

Fine

Small recce party went to new area at B9371. WEST of WESEL, and selected troop and gun positions

Ammunition Expenditure  NIL

18th

NORTH of WEERT.

Fine

A quiet Sunday. Battery Captain left with small party to supervise dumping of ammunition in new area.

Ammunition Expenditure  NIL

19th,

NORTH of WEERT.

Fine

Preparations for move.

Ammunition Expenditure  NIL

20th

NORTH of WEERT.

Fine

Muster parade for examination of anti-gas equipment. Ammunition Expenditure  NIL

21st.

NORTH of WEERT.

Fine

Packing and Maintenance.

Ammunition Expenditure  NIL

22nd.

NORTH of WEERT.

Fine

The C.O. (Colonel U. Corbett D.S.O. RHA) gave a a lecture to the muster parade of the Battery, on looting and non-fraternisation. By noon the Battery was lined up ready to move out in their several groups. "B" Echelon vehicles were sent to the Divisional "B" Echelon area and remainder were to go to Div. Concentration area. During the afternoon C.P.O and two G.P.O's went to the new gun area. The forward and rear parties started off at 1745 to new gun position at 139371, the adm. vehicles peeling off at waggon lines area. Night march was successful and digging in of the guns and command posts was started.

Ammunition Expenditure  NIL

23rd.

At 139371.

Fine.

Digging in went on until 0230 hrs. and recommences at 0630 hrs. By breakfast all gin were well dug in and camouflaged. Command Poster were kept very busy on gun programmes etc, Operation "WIDGEON", which was the RA 7 Armd. Div. Fire Plan in support of a series of assaults across the RHINE by the 1 Commando Bde., consisted of  barrage and sixty odd targets to be fired by 8 Field, 10 Medium, 2 Heavy, and 1 Super Heavy Regts. "H" Hour was 2200 hrs. AT 2130 hrs the initial covering fire (including the barrage) was commenced. We had an O.P. at 135404 whose main purpose was to watch the progress of the assault. Little opposition was offered to assaulting troops and things went extremely well.

Ammunition Expenditure  NIL

24th.

At 139371.

Fine.

Several "at call" targets were engage during the early hours of the morning. The enemy shelled the WEST bank of the RHINE a little - some unpleasantly close to the O.P., who had  busy night sending shelling and mortar reports. Things continued to go well. Today was "D" Day for the whole allied operation "PLUNDER". At 0930 hrs we started firing programme "CLIMAX" in support of Airborne landings time to start at 1000 hrs. "CLIMAX" was followed by counter anti-aircraft programme "CARPET". As soon as troop carrying DAKOTAS were overhead we ceased fire in accordance with previous instructions. The Air display lasted until 1530 hrs, it was a spectacle never to be forgotten. In all it had been a grand day.

Ammunition Expenditure  2786 rounds (Including 466 of the "Peter" fused shell).

25th.

At 139371.

Fine.

A fairly quiet day. Late in the evening a warning order that a move was likely the next day.

Ammunition Expenditure  to 1730 hrs 112 rounds.

26th.

At 139371.

Fine until evening.

At 0800 hrs C.P.O. with representatives from each troop moved of with the Divisional recces party under the C.R.A. Waggon line vehicles from rear area joined the remainder of the Battery at the gun position. The time of the move of the move was postponed several times. The recce party moved over the RHINE at XANTEN and finally arrived at 186476 where the C.R.A went to get orders. Eventually six troop positions were selected  and four surveyed in with Battery Command Post at 206473 just SOUTH of HAMMINKELN, An extremely heavy thunder storm in the late afternoon turned the ground into mud.

Ammunition Expenditure  NIL

27th.

Battery at 139371.

Dull.

The Regiment finally moved off to 0700hrs. and the gun area was not reached until 1330 hrs. Meanwhile the recced party had moved on and at 0830 hrs, by stages, arrived at teh gun area 860471 (just WEST of  BRUNEN). The gun position was on the front edge of orchards with a ridge in front. An O.P. went out with 11 HUSSARS and experience much shelling from S.P. guns and some 20 M.M fire. Progress was very slow, Our O.P. initiated some Regimental targets. During the evening orders came down for an early morning move.

Ammunition Expenditure  64 rounds.

28th.

At 860471.

WEST of BRUNEN.

Fine.

Recce parties moved off at 0540 hrs, met the C.O., and so0n had position surveyed at 315502. The Battery moved at 0630 hrs, but were some time before arriving at Battery position on account of the amount of traffic on the roads. We did not fire in this position - "B" Troop had some enemy 105 M.M. shells on their position from a S.P. gun. At 1030 recce parties were on the move again - our second position of the day was at 356526 - two miles EAST of REASFELD. Here we spent some hours and fired Regimental concentration - both harrassing fire on BORKEN and on S.P. guns with a few Air O.P. targets. In the evening a fast move was made to 585575 - two miles SOUTH of BOREN. We had a zone of 210 degrees to cover. At last light we were again supporting 1/5 QUEENS after being part of the day with the 8 HUSSARS.

Ammunition Expenditure  419 rounds.

28th.

At 385573.

Light Rain.

No Battery move today. Progress quickened after noon when a Fire Plan was put down on the Railhead crossing 395675 and the road block covering WESEKS was soon cleared.

During the evening communications were very bad.

Ammunition Expenditure  466 rounds.

30th.

At 385573.

Fine.

By 0300 hrs Recce parties were off again followed shortly by the Battery. The Battery came into action at 394718 and were allotted a 360 degree field of fire (in fact we did turn our guns right round to engage in a Divisional concentration). We put down a lot of fire on Targets around STADTRONN - the town that been reached overnight. Some harrassing fire from S.P. guns around Battery position. During the afternoon a recce was made in the neighbourhood for some more suitable position, and one was found at 416716 and at last light the guns moved in leaving A Ech in old area.

Ammunition Expenditure  466 rounds.

31st.

At 416716.

EAST of SUDLOHN

Fine.

Fired a Regimental Target just before first light during the morning moved to a new area at 483858 by the Hamlet of WULLEN. The Battery supported the recce advance along the main road NORTH EAST of AHAUS, and many targets were engaged. Later our O.Ps supported an attack on OTTENSTEIN. In the early evening the Battery advance to a new area at 541896 - NORTH of AHAUS with the intentions of supporting an attack on METELEN. We had local Infantry protection allotted to us for the first time in this battle. The C.R.A. congratulated the Regiment on its good work.

Ammunition Expenditure  521 rounds.

ORDER OF BATTLE AT 31st MARCH 1945.

 

 

 

Battery Commander.

Battery Captain.

Troop Cmdr "A" Troop.

Troop Cmdr "B" Troop. 

C.P.O.

G.P.O "A" Troop.

G.P.O "B" Troop.

Ass. .C.P.O.

Forward C.P.O.

Tp Leader "A" Troop.

Tp Leader "B" Troop.

 

Major T.J. Tirrell. MC DCM, RHA.

Captain. C.H. Aitchision RHA.

Capt. B.J.. Cork. RHA

Capt. G.D. Brice. RHA

Lieut. J.R. Brown, RHA

Lieut. T.T. Ritson. RHA.

Lieut. H.A. Parsons. RHA

Lt. D. McDonald. RHA 

Lieut. A. Gibb. RHA

Lieut. D Sebag-Montefiore RHA.

Lt. W.R. Buckolt. RHA

     

Ammunition Expenditure for month 4723 rounds (including 3 rounds Smoke) Fired 542 "Peter" fuzed rounds.

     

 

 

April 1945

Commanding Officer: Major T.J. Tirrell.

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices

541898

NORTH of AHAUS

1st.

 

weather fine. From 0630 hrs recces were standing by, but did not move until after breakfast. Once the road block was cleared the armour could move along the road quickly - and by 1100hrs the Battery was in action WEST of METELIN. We did not expect to fire from this position - and by soon after noon we were moving on again, this time as a Battery.

 

 

 

 

A good speed was made again until the head of the armour was just short of RHEINE, our objective. Some opposition was met from the high ground a mile SOUTH of that town, including anti-tank guns.

 

 

 

 

"J" Battery were dropped into action at once and we followed almost immediately, selecting gun positions at either side of the road at 739037. The gun area was treated to a Battery target and then engaged on pin point targets. Meanwhile opposition was still being met on the high ground and a small fire plan was carried out to clear this area with attack from the SOUTH.

 

 

 

 

It was soon over - and in the afternoon a quick move was made through NEUENKIRCHEN to 773056, two miles S.W. of RHEINE.  This was a clear area, although the ground was soft and guns became stuck easily.

 

 

 

 

Ammunition Expenditure  308 rounds.

 

773056

S.W. of RHEINE.

2nd.

 

dull morning with heavy rain at times - afternoon fair to fine.

A quiet morning spent stand to for move. It was anticipated that some distance would be travelled to and for this purpose were were organised into groups.

 

 

 

 

 

 

      REST IS MISSING  

 

 

"D" Battery 3rd Regt. R.H.A

WAR DIARY.

             May 1945.

 

Battery Commander

Major. T.J. TIRRELL MC. DCM. RHA.

 
Date. Place.. Weather..

WAR DIARY.

1st

IDDENSEN

449351

Fine with some showers

Negotiations were going on for the surrender if HAMBURG, and there was not firing during the day. Active enemy guns have been fired upon during the night. The CRA paid the Battery a visit during the afternoon and explained something of the horrors of BELSEN Concentration Camp.

Ammunition Expenditure  128 rounds.

2nd.

IDDENSEN

449351

Fine

Plan of action outlines if unconditional surrender of HAMBURG takes place. The DLI to the Dock area with "M" Battery in support, followed 1/5 QUEENS with "A" Troop to occupy the civic centre, then the DEVONs with "B" Troop and the remainder of the Regiment to the residential area to the North.

However no move today.

Ammunition Expenditure  84 rounds.

Plus some Propaganda shells.

3rd.

IDDENSEN

449351

Very heavy rain at times.

Moved to EDDELSEN (483347) where we came into action and were ready to move again at short notice into HAMBURG. The general situation was very vague, although it was known that envoys has passed through our lines this morning. We were preparing to stay the night when orders came for a move and the Battery moved into a Park in the centre of HAMBURG.

"A" Troop - which was to have been in action at the Town Hall - came into action at 495544 in the park off MITTEL WEG followed shortly by "B" Troop. Precautionary D.F. Tasks were calculated. Our O.Ps with the 11 HUSSARS were on the Main Roads leading out of the City NORTH and WEST, whilst we remained in contact with the 1/5 QUEENS in the centre of the City.

Ammunition Expenditure  NIL

4th.

HAMBURG

498544

Fine.

The Battery had a quiet day in the Military sense, although there was plenty to see and do. A recce was made during the evening for harbour area for future use near SCHNELSEN (4565).

Ammunition Expenditure  NIL

5th.

HAMBURG

Some heavy rain.

At 0800 hrs the German Forces in N.WEST GERMANY (including HOLLAND & DENMARK) surrendered. Orders to move came through early and we expected to make the DANISH Border by the end of the day. However, Orders were changes and we proceeded to Harbour Area recced yesterday.

We were at 3 hours Notice to move - later changed to 6 hours.

6th.

Nr. SCHNELSEN

449634.

Wet.

Maintenance and overhaul of equipment.

7th.

Nr. SCHNELSEN

Fine.

The following message was received in the morning:-

"Confidential. following message received fro SHAEF. Para 1.

Representative of the GERMAN High Command signed Unconditional Surrender of all GERMAN LAND, SEA and AIR FORCES in Europe to ALLIED EXPEDITIONARY FORCES  and simultaneously to SOVIET High Command at 0141 hrs Central European tine 7th May 1945m under which all Forces will cease active operation at 0001 B hrs 9th May 1945.

para 2. Effectively immediately all offensive operations by ALLIED EXPEDITIONARY FORCES  will cease and Troops will remain present positions moves involved in occupation duties will continue. Due to difficulties of communication there may some delay in similar orders reaching enemy troops so full defensive precautions will be taken.

Para 3. Down to and including Divs., Tactical Air Commands, and groups, Base Sections and equivalent NO repeat NO release will be made to Press pending an announcement by the Heads of the three Governments.

Signed EISENHOWER.

We were lined up ready to move when this order was received and the announcement was immediately made to the men.

Our move took is to the village of NIENBUTTEL (105055).

8th.

NIENBUTTEL 

Fine.

Today is VE day. A well attended Church Service in the morning and all listened to Mr. CHURCHILL'S Speech at 1500 hrs making the Official ANNouncement to the Nation. Naturally little works was done and there was a certain amount of rejoicing, sing songs, bonfires, etc, lasting well into the night.

9th.

NIENBUTTEL 

Fine.

Harbour parties moved off early, followed by the Battery to new area SOUTH of HUSUM, router via HEIDE and FRIEDRICHSTRAT to HUSUM road. As the Battery was on the main road junction to SIMONSBERG (The Hun control points) we had a large guard on our control point.

10th.

921600

Fine.

Our Gun Park was set up in proper style and Vehicles lined up. Our Control point continues - and several hundred GERMANS passed through.

11th.

921600

Fine.

Welcome exchanges of clothing today.

Control point duties continued

12th.

  to

22nd,

921600

Weather fine except for 21st.

Up to the 16th our duties as Control point and disarming GERMANS continued. At 0600 hrs on the 17th the occupation of Peninsula "A" ceased. It was our task to prevent an enemy escaping by land, and where possible, by sea; also to prevent unauthorised persons gaining access to the Peninsula. To do this the Regiment manned eight posts - the Battery being responsible for Nos, 4 & 5. Re-organisation of billets continued. "A" Troop were accommodated in a large barn by the road-house which formed our Headquarters and the reminder were tented. A Sgts Mess was set up.

Maintenance of equipment and vehicles continued. On the 12th there was a Regimental Church Parade, attend by the CRA at HUSUM. On the 13th teh Battery went to the sea shore for bathing. Cinema and bath parties were run during the week, and a Battery Guard under Lieut. D Sebag-Montefiore RHA did a 48 hour duty at Divisional HQ. The Whitsun weekend was declared a holiday and only essential duties done. A Battery Library was started - and a sports committed set up. On 17th Capt. G.D. Brice RHA Left for a "MINE Course in England, and on the 19th Lieut, H.A. Parsons RHA went to BRUSSELS on an Educational Course.

23rd.

921600.

Heavy rain later in day.

Parade early that usual to prepare for CRA's inspection. He was very pleased with what he saw. Lieut. A. Gibb RHA left the Battery and posted to RHQ.

Played our first football match against "K" Battery 5 R.H.A. - a good game resulting in a draw (2 - 2).

24th.

 to

28th.

921600.

Weather mainly fine but with heavy rain attimes.

Peninsua Guards and General Maintenance continued. On the 24th Colonel  Sebag-Montefiore ( a former Battery Commander of "D") paid us a visit and stayed with us overnight. On the 26th a warning order was received that the Regiment was due to move shortly, and the 28th was spent in packing and preparation. Recce parties had been sent to new area (around HORST).

29th.

921600.

Fine

Moved at 1030 hrs to new area via HEIDE, ITZEHOE and HORST. Our new quarters were NORTH of ELMSHORN with a school for "A" & "B" Troops billets (its playground making their gun and vehicle Park) and a large farm for HQ Troop, Cookhouse etc., and a private house for Officers Mess.

30th.

256776.

North of ELMSHORN

 

Day spent in Maintenance.

31st.

256776

Fine/

Moved a short distance to a more suitable area for a lengthy stay at 256755. Here each Troop had a separate house in a pleasant Avenue, most of the house being partly furnished. "HQ" Troop had a large house, and most of its ground floor was used for Cookhouse, reading rooms, etc. Each part being made self contained by locking communication doors. Vehicles and Guns were lined up between the trees.

   

 

Ammunition Expenditure for the Month was 212 Rounds.

 

 

 

 

 

ORDER OF BATTLE at 31st May 1945.

 

B.C.                            Major T.J. Tirrell. MC DCM, RHA

Tp Cdr "A"                 Capt. G.D. Brice. RHA

C.P.O.                        Lieut. J.R. Brown, RHA

G.P.O "A"                  Lieut. T.T. Ritson. RHA.

Tp Leader "A"            Lieut. D Sebag-Montefiore RHA

Tp Leader "B"            Lt. W.R. Buckolt. RHA

Bty. Capt            Captain. C.H. Aitchision RHA.

Tp Cdr "B"         Capt. B.J.. Cork. RHA.

Ass. .C.P.O.        Lt. D. McDonald. RHA 

G.P.O "A"           Lieut. H.A. Parsons. RHA

   

Field (BLA).

6th June 1945.

 

 

June to December 1945

Missing 

 

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