Thanks to The Airborne Soldier for this diary.
General Staff Officer 2
General Officer Commanding
Main Dressing Station
Month and year: September 1944
Commanding Officer : Lt.Col. I.A. Murray
1st September 1944
Loading commenced for Operation "LINNET".
2nd September 1944
Flight planned for Operation "LINNET" altered. Squadron commanders and Intelligence Officers informed.
2130 Operation "LINNET" cancelled.
3rd September 1944
All maps concerning previous Operations returned to "T" Depot, Newbury.
2130 - Squadron Commanders and Intelligence Officers briefed for operation concerning Maastricht area.
4th September 1944
0030 - Operation cancelled. Squadron Commanders briefed for Operation "COMET".
7th September 1944
Operation "COMET" postponed 24 hours.
8th September 1944
Operation "COMET" postponed 24 hours.
9th September 1944
Operation "COMET" postponed 48 hours.
11th September 1944
Operation "COMET" cancelled.
12th September 1944
Operation "MARKET" - 1 Airborne Div. Op Instr. No.9. Information from Northern Group of Armies, Second Army and 30 Corps.
13th September 1944
1 Airborne Div. Op. Instr. No.10. Resistance in Holland.
14th September 1944
Operation "MARKET" planned. Letter re Destruction of all matter concerning Top Secret documents of previous operations forwarded to all Squadrons. Operation "MARKET" - H.Q. Commanding Glider Pilots Op. Instr. No.1.
15th September 1944
Operation "MARKET" - Commander Glider Pilots Op. Instr. No.2. Operation "MARKET" - Amendt. No.1 to Commander Glider Pilots Op. Instr. No.1.
17th September 1944
0730 - Weather cloudy.
0900 - Stood by Gliders.
1000 - Personnel seated in Gliders, ready for take-off.
1025 - First Glider away. The Commanding Officer carrying the Divisional Commander and his staff.
1100 - Flying in cloud, there are streams of Gliders on either side, above and below.
1230 - Everything, so far, going smoothly, no sign of enemy fighters.
1320 - Flak seen bursting away on starboard.
1330 - Start unloading Gliders, no enemy about, everything quiet on L.Z.
1350 - First Paratroops dropped from Dakotas.
1400 - Sky is now full of Paratroops. Five of enemy come out to surrender, being without arms.
1415 - Rendezvous at Divisional Headquarters without any interference from enemy.
1500 - Wing Headquarters take up defensive position near Asylum.
1605 - Rescue Parties go out to the crashed Gliders to extricate personnel trapped.
1630 - The enemy send over mortar fire.
1730 - The Divisional Commander decides to move out of the present area, owing to danger of the woods catching fire.
1745 - Start digging in, form a laager around Divisional Headquarters.
1805 - Stand-to. Fairly quiet night, firing in the distance in the direction of ARNHEM. Weather throughout the day, warm and fine.
18th September 1944
0530 - Stand-to.
0700 - Move to new position astride the ARNHEM-UTRECHT road at [unreadable]
0805 - Weather, warm and sunny.
0900 - Casualties coming in from the direction of ARNHEM. Heavy small-arms and automatic firing coming from the direction of ARNHEM.
1105 - Enemy aircraft overhead, recognised as F.W.190's. They start to shoot-up L.Z's. and stay over our area for about 10 minutes. No casualties as far as can be ascertained.
1210 - The Padre reports to Wing Headquarters, that when the F.W.'s shot-up the L.Z. they set fire to a number of Gliders and also a farm near the L.Z.
1400 - At present no sign of second lift.
1500 - Friendly fighters over our area, Mustangs, Thunderbolts and Spitfires.
1502 - Second lift passing over, flak bursting, no gliders seem to be hit.
1515 - Dakota's and Stirlings dropping supplies, success of drop unknown.
1525 - Organised parties are sent out to gather in the supplies.
1540 - Major Royle sniped at. A search is organised to seek out the sniper.
1600 - Move farther along the ARNHEM-UTRECHT road towards ARNHEM.
1610 - Take over hotel HARTENSTEIN as headquarters, it is about three kilometres from ARNHEM. The night is fairly quiet, only spasmodic firing in the distance. Weather throughout the day, fine, warm and sunny.
19th September 1944
0550 - Stand-to.
0630 - Stand-down.
0930 - No.2 Wing make contact with this H.Q., Lieut-Colonel Place coming over himself.
1100 - Enemy aircraft overhead, F.W.190's start shooting-up our area, staying for about ten minutes, no sign of our own fighters.
1115 - Message received from Divisional Headquarters stating that our armour had reached GRAVE at 190900.
1205 - Message sent to all Squadrons and Flights regarding A.A. fire, being a waste of ammunition.
1430 - Enemy aircraft overhead, again F.W.190's. Shooting-up our positions only staying for about ten minutes.
1520 - Third Lift passing over the Headquarters. Flak very heavy. Two Stirlings and three Dakotas are hit and seen burning. Three of the Crew seen bailing out of the Stirling.
1640 - Food supplies are now low, one box of Compo rations now issued for 80 men.
1905 - Stand-to. Weather, keen very sunny.
20th September 1944
0105 - Stand-to.
0110 - Our guns opened fire on enemy positions.
0605 - Captain FLETCHER and Lieut. BOTTOMLEY as one party, Captain TAITT and Sgt. STREETER as another, out on patrol.
0610 - Commanding Officer out on recce.
0715 - Commanding Officer returns from recce.
0810 - Commanding Officer attends G.O.C's. Conference.
0825 - Commanding Officer reports back from the Conference and states that the general situation is good.
0830 - H.Q. comes under shell fire.
0925 - H.Q. still under heavy shell fire, fairly heavy casualties.
0935 - Stand-to.
1130 - Major Royle, Captains Taitt, Ogilvie and Murdoch with two Sections out on patrol.
1200 - Patrol met with machine-gun fire, Major Royle killed, Captain Ogilvie slightly wounded. A.F.W. 3010.0 not sent to Echelon as there is no means of contact.
1230 - Water supply is getting bad, no water coming through mains.
1405 - Mustangs and Thunderbolts flying over H.Q.
1410 - Supplies are being dropped.
1650 - Supplies are still being dropped by single planes.
1715 - Supplies still being dropped but mostly in enemy positions.
1920 - Stand-to. Weather continues to be sunny.
21st September 1944
0500 - Commanding Officer and Lieut. BOTTOMLEY out on patrol.
0510 - Stand-to.
0512 - Our guns commence firing at enemy positions.
0630 - H.Q. under mortar fire.
0800 - Commanding Officer attends G.O.C's Conference.
0905 - Intermittent mortar fire.
0922 - Commanding Officer and Captain FLETCHER with a Section went out to take cross-roads by the M.D.S.
0945 - Heavy mortar fire Lieut. CHITTLEBURGH, "D" Squadron, killed.
1200 - Commanding Officer and Captain FLETCHER return from patrol.
1315 - Lieut. BOTTOMLEY with seven men and Lieut. FUTTER "B" Squadron with seven men, out on a tank-hunting reconnaissance.
1317 - H.Q. again under heavy mortar fire.
1323 - Our fighter aircraft pass over.
1330 - Casualties, as far as can be ascertained, are 9 killed, 15 wounded, but owing to Squadrons and Flights being split information is very hard to obtain.
1340 - Supplies being dropped mostly out of our area, flak.
1440 - Supplies being dropped again very little in our area.
1505 - Lieut. BOTTOMLEY returns from the reconnaissance.
1600 - Supplies being dropped but like the others very little lands in our area.
1615 - Lieut. STRATHLARN and Tpr. BUCKLEY both of "D" Squadron, go out to bring in Lieut. KERSHAW, "D" Squadron, who has been wounded.
1705 - Lieut. FUTTER returns from tank-hunting patrol and reports that the enemy are running a propaganda wireless set calling on Division to surrender.
1710 - H.Q. again under mortar fire.
1712 - Polish Paratroops are dropping on the South side of the River.
1730 - Commanding Officer and Captain FLETCHER set out on visit to forward positions. Commanding Officer sends out the following message :-
To all Squadron and Flight Commanders:-
"Situation well in hand. Nine fire tasks given to 30 Corps Artillery to neutralize enemy fire. Guards Armoured Division trying to get up tonight but may not get through until morning. Supply drop successful. Local enemy opposition consists, few S.P. guns and quickly gathered units from 50 different divisions. We are superior in numbers. Several S.P. guns have been knocked out in last twelve hours. Several Germans are surrendering along the River. The Poles have dropped. You are doing a splendid job, keep it up and most important, keep cheerful".
1755 - H.Q. under shell fire again.
2025 - Captain FLETCHER returns.
2100 - Commanding Officer to G.O.Cs Conference.
2115 - H.Q. under mortar and shell fire. Night fairly quiet, weather misty during the morning, brightening up during the day.
22nd September 1944
0520 - Stand-to.
0522 - Commanding Officer explains that the next 24 hours are critical as the Armoured Division is not expected today, and it is essential that our position is held.
0535 - Commanding Officer and Captain FLETCHER visit Sections.
0545 - H.Q. under shell and mortar fire.
0555 - G.2. reports that the Poles are holding the ferry on the SOUTH side of the River. We are not holding this side and we are not in enough strength to attack.
0650 - Commanding Officer and Captain FLETCHER return.
0730 - H.Q. under heavy shell and mortar fire.
0900 - H.Q. been under continuous heavy shell and mortar fire since 0600 hours.
1040 - Commanding Officer, Captain TAITT and Lieut. BOTTOMLEY went out to bury Major ROYLE.
1045 - Shell and mortar fire continuous, casualties are heavy.
1120 - Major TOLER, "B" Squadron, Captain OGILVIE and Lieut. STRATHLARN, "D" Squadron, reported.
1130 - Message received from Intelligence stating that the 43rd Division attacked ARNHEM at 1000 hours and that the Household Cavalry had linked up with the Poles.
1140 - Captain FLETCHER set out with a Sgt. from No.2 Wing to our House where there are a number of men without an officer.
1150 - Commanding Officer sends out the following message to all Squadrons and Flights:- "43 Div. attacking main bridge, ARNHEM on Two Brigade front, 1000 hours. 2nd Household Cavalry contacted Polish Para. Bde."
1215 - H.Q. again under heavy fire, one shell bursting in an adjoining room causing damage.
1245 - Commanding Officer goes out visiting sections. The whole of our area is under heavy shell and mortar fire.
1400 - Captain FLETCHER reports back.
1515 - Commanding Officer returns.
1715 - H.Q. under shell and mortar fire again.
1800 - Stand-to.
1815 - H.Q. still being subjected to shell fire.
1825 - Position much the same, no supplies were dropped today.
1835 - Captain PRIEST and Lieut. BEWLEY "G" Squadron, report that although they have been subjected to shell and mortar fire, local movement is quiet.
1840 - Sgt. STREETER sets out to give Commanders the password for the following day.
1950 - Sgt. STREETER returns.
1955 - Mortar fire has started again.
2005 - Counter battery fire by our guns. Weather misty in morning, brightening up during the day.
23rd September 1944
0415 - H.Q. under shell fire.
0525 - Stand-to.
0550 - Commanding Officer and Lieut. BOTTOMLEY set out on visit to Sections.
0700 - Weather bad, pouring with rain.
1040 - H.Q. been under very heavy shell fire and mortar fire since 0800 hours.
1145 - Still under heavy fire, shrapnel in Wing H.Q. Office.
1205 - Our casualties are heavy and supplies are low.
1310 - H.Q. still subjected to heavy shell and mortar fire.
1325 - Captain BARCLAY reports that his Section has been under heavy fire all morning and he has a number of casualties within his Section.
1342 - Lieut. STRATHLARN reports that his section has been under continuous shell and mortar fire since 0700 hours.
1600 - Supplies dropped from Dakotas, most of them fall outside of our area. Very little flak. One Dakota seen to go down in flames, crew baled out.
1615 - Mustangs and Thunderbolts circling our area. No Flak. Mortars still firing on Divisional Headquarters. The only time our fighter aircraft are seen in this area is when supplies are being dropped.
1630 - Heavy mortar firing, H.Q. receives direct hits.
1715 - Snipers are firing into the entrance of H.Q.
1820 - Stand-to. Weather, fine.
24th September 1944
0530 - Stand-to. Weather, fine and clear.
0600 - Commanding Officer informs us that 50 Poles were able to cross the river during the night.
0700 - H.Q. under heavy shell fire.
0730 - Ammunition dump hit by shell fire.
0800 - M.E.109's shoot up H.Q. area.
1000 - M.E.109's over our area again, shooting up targets, no sign of any of our fighter aircraft.
1200 - Change in the weather, it is now raining.
1230 - Typhoons fly over our area.
1500 - M.E.109's flying over our area and shooting up our gun emplacements.
1635 - Air battle between Spitfires and M.E.109's. 3 M.Es. shot down.
1705 - Havocs bomb ARNHEM area.
1820 - Typhoons shooting up enemy positions. Night fairly quiet, occasional mortar fire.
25th September 1944
0515 - Stand-to.
0530 - SOUTH-EAST area of H.Q. under heavy shell fire and mortar fire.
0615 - Weather is bad, it is raining very hard.
0805 - H.Q. under heavy mortar and shell fire.
0830 - Commanding Officer takes over Command of 4 Para. Bde. Brigadier Hackett being wounded.
0935 - M.E.109's shooting up our area.
0950 - More M.E.109's shooting up our positions.
0955 - Major Toler "B" Squadron takes over Command of No.1 Wing.
1000 - A further 90 Poles have crossed the previous night from the SOUTH bank of the River, it was decided to reinforce the NORTH-EAST corner of the Perimeter, up to now held by Glider Pilots, with these troops. Guided to this position by Lieut. BOTTOMLEY and Sgt. STREETER. Whole party immobilised in houses by heavy machine gun fire. Polish Commanding Officer killed and one other rank wounded. Move successfully completed under cover of darkness later in the day.
1100 - H.Q. again under heavy shell fire.
1130 - Ammunition dump set on fire by enemy shelling.
1245 - H.Q. under continuous shell and mortar fire.
1600 - Planes made for general evacuation of area.
2030 - Wing H.Q. party leave Divisional H.Q. to proceed to the NORTH bank of the RHINE.
2100 - Everything going smoothly, no encounters with enemy troops, it is pouring with rain.
2105 - Heavy shelling by 30 Corps Artillery from the SOUTH bank of the RHINE, on enemy positions.
2120 - Column under machine gun and mortar fire.
2135 - Column is broken by another party converging on us.
2205 - Bank of the RHINE reached, awaiting for the boats to cross.
2215 - Mortar fire along the banks of the River, some casualties. Boat loads of men getting safely across.
2230 - The enemy still mortaring along the NORTH Bank of the River. Evacuation continues throughout the night.
26th September 1944
0100 - Reached a Sorting Centre, everybody given hot-food and drink.
0130 - Transported in "Ducks" and Jeeps to Rest Centre in NIJMEGEN.
0730 - Hostel in NIJMEGEN where some of the Division are resting is bombed by enemy fighter-bombers. Enemy aircraft over NIJMEGEN at frequent intervals throughout the day. Heavy A.A. fire.
1640 - Move to new barracks in NIJMEGEN. Heavy A.A. fire heard at frequent intervals throughout the night.
27th September 1944
1000 - Advance party leaves NIJMEGEN for GRAVE to emplane for the United Kingdom.
1425 - Emplaned in Dakotas for Brussels.
1505 - Disemplaned at BRUSSELS.
1610 - Emplaned in Dakota for UNITED KINGDOM.
1911 - Disemplaned at HARWELL in the UNITED KINGDOM.