National Archives catalogue reference WO 171/1609
Army Post Office
Ordnance Field Park
Regimental Aid Post
Report on Activities of Detachment of 261 Fd Park Coy RE (Airborne)
17 Sep. Transit Camps UK. Detachments as follows in Transit Camps.
(1) Lt SKINNER. L/Cpl ROFF. Dvr WHITMORE. Dvr DAY. L/Cpl TRIM. Spr CONNOLLY. attached 4 Para Sqn RE.
(2) Sgt PLOWER. Spr GREENWOOD. Spr ANDERSON. Spr BATTERSBY. Spr COLLINS. Dvr COOKSLEY. attached 1 Para Sqn RE.
(3) L/Sgt POTTER. L/Cpl UNDERWOOD. Spr DIAMOND. Spr BELCHER. Spr BRYANT. Spr CHUTHAM. Spr BODEN. Spr MacFARLANE. Spr PAGE. Dvr CLARKE J W. attached 9 Fd Coy RE.
18 Sep. Weather fine. ARNHEM area. All detachments left for operation around LZ approx 1500 hrs without casualties. Dets (1) and (3) joined respective units. Det (2) unable to contact 1 Para Sqn, who were in ARNHEM, and spent night approx 2 miles outside town.
19 Sep. Weather fine. ARNHEM area. Det (2) reported to Div HQ and became attached to 9 Fd Coy RE at 0900 hrs. Det (3) ordered to construct 40 crosses, and supplied Jeep and driver to assist Padre in burying the dead. Det (1) were assisting 4 Para Bde to defend LZ and were withdrawn at approx 1430 hrs. Only two members of this party were contacted by 9 Coy Dets - L/Cpl ROFF and Spr CONNOLLY. The remainder were last seen withdrawing under a culvert through a railway embankment and nothing further was seen of this party. This night Dets (2) and (3) moved by 9 Coy to second line defensive position, came under heavy mortar fire, but were not attacked.
20 Sep. Weather fine. ARNHEM area. Dets (2) and (3) with 9 Fd Coy consolidating positions. Heavily mortared. No casualties.
21 Sep. ----- Ditto -----
22 Sep. Ditto. Rations not dropped. Water cut off.
23 Sep. As before. Increase in mortar fire and shelling. Spr MacFARLANE and Dvr CLARKE J W wounded - the latter evacuated. Weather still fine.
24 Sep. As before. L/Cpl UNDERWOOD, Sprs PAGE and MacFARLANE sent forward to assist 4 Para Sqn at dusk. Spr MacFARLANE again wounded, and sent to 4 Sqn RAP. No rations received.
25 Sep. Rain. Dets ordered to withdraw across river with 9 Coy at 2115 hrs. Barrage increased at 2100 hrs. Proceeded to river. Spr ANDERSON was killed by mortar bomb, and Spr PAGE wounded en route, but arrived at RV on far bank.
The men underlined above were known to have returned to South bank and RV at NIJMEGEN.
(Signed) J N CHIVERS, Maj RE,
OC 261 Fd Park Coy (Airborne)
30 Sep 44.