Abbreviations

657807

A/L

A/Tk

Bde

Br

Cmdr

Coy

Def

Div

Est

Flt

Gp

Ind

LZ

MG
O Gp

Pdr

Posn

Rd

Rly
SP

Sqn

Tps

Tpt

X Rds

Map Reference

Airlanding

Anti-Tank

Brigade

British

Commander

Company

Defence

Division / Divisional

Established

Flight

Group

Independent

Landing Zone
Machine Gun
Orders Group

Pounder

Position

Road
Railway

Self-Propelled

Squadron

Troops

Transport

Crossroads

 

Commanding Officer: John W. Place Lt-Col.

Month and Year: September 1944

 

31st August 1944

Place: Broadwell

 

Operation "LINNET" planned, but later cancelled.

 

7th September 1944

Place: Broadwell

 

Operation "COMET" planned, but later cancelled.

 

8th to 14th September 1944

Place: Broadwell

 

During this period, operations were continually being planned, postponed, then cancelled.  Owing to the swift advances of the Allied Armies, it proved exceedingly difficult to time an Airborne Operation exactly.  As a result, all pilots of 2 Wing were almost continually on tenterhooks, planning and preparing for an operation, finding it postponed, sometimes 2 or 3 times, and eventually suffering the disappointment of having it cancelled.

 

17th September 1944

Place: Broadwell

 

Operation "MARKET", a large-scale Airborne Operation in HOLLAND in support of XXX Corps of 2nd Br Army.

 

Place: Arnhem

 

1315 - The 1st Lift of 2 Wing, THE GLIDER PILOT REGIMENT landed elements of 1 Br Airborne Div on L.Zs in the area of ARNHEM. Flak very light and landing successful.

 

1415 - "F" Squadron assembled and moved to houses 657807, followed by Wing Headquarters which established itself at x rds 659810.  "E" Squadron arrived and pushed down rd towards x rds 666806.  "C" Squadron was ordered to make for WOLFHEZEN and est posns on the two rds leading in from the SOUTH.

 

1600 - Wing Headquarters moved forward to house at approx 662808, while "F" Squadron moved to wood at 672804 watching East.  "E" Squadron moved to WOLFHEZEN guarding the approaches to SW (on left of "C" Squadron).

 

1800 - Wing HQ moved into WOLFHEZEN to a house at 665805.  14 Flt acted as def platoon. Little opposition was met during the day by No: 2 Wing.

 

18th September 1944

Place: Arnhem

 

0800 - "E" Squadron moved to wood at 667807 facing NW - NE.  Wing Headquarters moved to house at 666805.

 

0830 - "F" Squadron moved EAST to wood 678803 linking up with Recce Squadron and protecting and LZ on the high ground.  Desultory mortar fire was encountered.

 

1415 - The 2nd Lift of No: 2 Wing carrying further elements of 1 AIRBORNE DIV arrives on the same L.Zs.  The landings were good.  Flak much heavier and number of aircraft were shot down.

 

1500 onwards - Pilots of the 2nd Lift arrived and joined their Squadrons.

 

1800 - Advance Party moves off to recce new posns near clearing 692790.

 

1900 - 2 Wing marches off, in order "E" "C" Wing HQ "F" Squadrons, to new posn.  Route:- x rds 679784 - x rds 692784 thence NORTH up track.

 

2000 - 2 Wing arrives and takes up posns as follows:-
"E" Squadron on line 688790 - 692793 - 693793 facing NORTH and WEST.
"C" Squadron in wood 694792 facing EAST.
"F" Squadron in area 691788 facing W & S. Wing HQ est in house 693792.  It was a disturbed night with considerable firing coming from direction of railway line, but no attack developed.

 

19th September 1944

Place: Arnhem

 

0900 - "C" Squadron moved to park at 694778 to protect 1 A/L Bde H.Q.

 

0930 - Wing HQ moved to a house at 692787, going via high ground at 689789 where several Messerschmitt 109s carried out a 30 min strafe.

 

1100 - Urgent message from Div, "F" Sqn moved to E edge of wood 700786 with standing patrol at 702784.  There was desultory mortar fire throughout the day.

 

1600 - The 3rd Lift of No: 2 Wing, carrying elements of 1 Polish Para Bde Gp arrive.  Intense flak.  The L.Z. too was under fire.

 

2030 - The situation for the first time appeared a little difficult, and orders were issued for a fairly small perimeter to be held by the Div. "E" Sqn were ordered to hold from 693793 - 689794 facing NORTH, linking up with the Ind Para Coy on the right, and with the KOSB in front up to the rly line.  The Bde Cmdr released 30 men from "C" Squadron who joined with 30 pilots of No: 1 Wing who had been temporarily lost after landing on the 2nd Lift and had not met up with us in the darkness.  This composite body were ordered to hold from 689794 down track to 689787, linking up with "E" Squadron on the right and a coy of the Border Regt on the left.

 

20th September 1944

Place: Arnhem

 

1000 - A day during which enemy pressure greatly increased.  During the morning "F" Squadron were forced out of their wood by a much superior force of SS tps supported by SP guns.  They retired with considerable losses to Div HQ.  Heavy pressure also forced us to relinquish our hold on the high ground at 689789, "E" Sqn withdrawing into wood 694792 joining with the Independent Para Coy and the composite body moving SOUTH to join with the BORDER Regt.

 

1500 - The remnants of "F" Squadron moved into wood 692787 to fill the gap between "E" Squadron and the Borders.  A 6-pdr A/Tk gun and a Vickers M.G. helped to stiffen the "F" Squadron front.

 

1800 - Wing HQ moved to the next house.

 

21st September 1944

Place: Arnhem

 

0330 - The Div perimeter was contracted.  "F" Squadron stayed in the same posn., but "E" Squadron moved from their wood back into area 690787 on the left of "F" Sqn, with the Border Regiment on their left.  On our right were the KOSB holding posns in the houses.  Thursday was a day of continual attack in our sector.  The enemy brought down an S.P. gun into the wood at approx 690788.  In the afternoon "F" Squadron counter attacked the infiltrating Germans in the wood and drove them back.  Mortaring was severe and we had considerable casualties.  The night was fairly quiet, but desultory mortar fire kept all on the alert.

 

22nd September 1944

Place: Arnhem

 

A message from the Brigadier "We're up agin it".  Heavy mortaring and shelling throughout the day, but our posns were held intact.  Continual casualties caused our line to become dangerously thin.

 

1900 - Wing H.Q. moved to a house at 693786.  Another 6 pdr was obtained and put in the "E" Squadron sector.

 

23rd September 1944

Place: Arnhem

 

Intense shelling and mortaring.  Stocks of food and water very low.  Many casualties.

 

24th September 1944

Place: Arnhem

 

In the afternoon, a combination of shelling, mortaring, S.P. guns and a Flame throwing Tank forced us to abandon the wood.  The survivors took up posns in the houses across the rd covering the exits from the wood.  No reinforcements could be obtained.

 

25th September 1944

Place: Arnhem

 

1400 - Bde O Gp.  Orders for the evacuation of the remnants of 1 Airborne Div across the river to the SOUTH bank were issued.

 

2100 - 2 Wing vacated its posn in the Houses and moved in small parties to the river bank, suffering considerable losses through shelling on the common at 693786.  The crossing was made under fire in assault boats.

 

26th September 1944

We marched to DRIEL 6875 where tpt conveyed us to NIJMEGEN.

 

27th September 1944

1700 - Lt. Gen. F.A.M. Browning, C.B., D.S.O. addressed the survivors of the Div at NIJMEGEN.

 

28th September 1944

Move by tpt to LOUVAIN in BELGIUM.

 

29th September 1944

Evacuation by air from BRUSSELS airfield to England.