National Archives catalogue reference WO 171/594
L of C
Attached / Attacked
Casualty Collection Point
Commander Royal Artillery
Commander Royal Engineers
Forward Observation Officer
General Officer Commanding
General Staff Officer
Junior Liaison Officer
King's Own Scottish Borderers
Light Aid Detachment
Line of Communications
Main Dressing Station
Regimental Aid Post
Royal Army Service Corps
Radio Telephone / Right (if lower case)
Self-Propelled / Support (if lower case)
Month and year: September 1944
Commander: Brigadier J.W. Hackett D.S.O., M.B.E., M.C.
1st September 1944
Place: Home Forces
am - Comd visits all units.
2nd September 1944
IO & reps from Units visits glider parties by air at KEEVIL, HARWELL and TARRANT RUSHTON. Map: [?] and O.C. parties briefed.
2230 - LINNET cancelled. Bde remains at 36 hrs notice. No unloading of gliders or move from present location.
3rd September 1944
1500 - Div Comd O Gp at MOOR PARK for op. due to commence 4 or 5 SEPT. Area MAASTRICHT, on Belgian-Dutch frontier. Object: to cut off remnants of German Army trying to cross R. MEUSE into Germany. Tps involved: 1 A/B Div + 1 Pol. Para. Bde Gp., 82 US A/B Div & 101 US A/B Div - Comd by HQ A/B Tps. Bde area for Def Posn HOESSELT, 6 mi. due WEST of MAASTRICHT.
2100 - Bde. Comds. "O" Gp.
2359 - Lt PODZORS[?] arrives at "T" Mob Depot NEWBURY to collect op. maps.
2300 - Op. cancelled due to US Army reaching MAASTRICHT.
5th September 1944
1200 - Lt PODZORS[?] collects maps from "T" Depot NEWBURY.
6th September 1944
1000 - Div Comds "O" Gp at MOOR PARK.
1700 - Comds "O" Gp at Bde HQ for op "COMET" (originally called "FIFTEEN").
7th September 1944
am - Bde Comd visits Bns.
pm - Arrival of SUDBURGH Team under Capt H. RASTERBREUCHTE.
2359 - "COMET" postponed till 9 Sept.
9th September 1944
1935 - "COMET" further postponed. NOT to take place before night 11/12 Sept.
10th September 1944
1600 - "COMET" cancelled owing to tactical situation.
1730 - Comd sees COs at Bde HQ.
11th September 1944
Comd attends conference at Airborne Tps.
12th September 1944
Div "O" Gp. for operation MARKET.
13th September 1944
Comd holds "O" Gp for operation MARKET. Operation Order No 1 issued for op MARKET.
17th September 1944
Bde Adv. Group takes off from BARKSTON HEATH aerodrome, with 1 Bde on operation MARKET.
18th September 1944
Place: In the field. Arnhem area.
1130 - Bde becomes airborne for op. MARKET.
1420 - Bde drops.
18th to 24th September 1944
Copy of diary kept by Brigadier is attached. Appx C.
24th September 1944
Lt. Col. MURRAY Glider Pilot Regt assumes command.
24th to 26th September 1944
A report by Capt BOOTY is attached. Appx D.
26th September 1944
Bde concentrates at NIJMEGEN. Accommodation and feeding arranged by 1st Seaborne element commanded by Major JCH EYLES DAA & QMG.
27th September 1944
S.C. returns to England as adv party officer to arrange for the return of the Bde.
30th September 1944
Bde Airborne element returns to billets in England.
THIS ORDER WILL NOT BE TAKEN INTO THE AIR.
4 Para Bde O.O. No.1. 13 SEP 44.
Ref Maps:- HOLLAND 1/25000 Sheets 388, 6 N.W.
1. Enemy. As given orally and in Int Summaries already issued.
2. Own Tps.
(a) Under comd 4 Para Bde for Air Movement and after landing: 4 Para Sqn RE, 133 Para Fd Amb, 2 Para Pl 250 Lt Comp Coy RASC, 2 Sec 1 A/B Div Pro Coy, 6 A/L LAD.
(b) Under comd 4 Para Bde on landing: 2 A/L A Tk Bty, less one 17 pr tp (= 12 x 6 pr, 4 x 17 pr)
(c) In sp 4 Para Bde on landing: 2 A/L A Tk Bty
3. 4 Para Bde will occupy a def posn NORTH of ARNHEM.
4. Outline Plan.
(a) The Bde lands on one DZ and one LZ by daylight on D+1 in the Divisional second lift, with some protection during time of arrival from an A/L fmn.
(b) It then moves about 7 miles to its allotted sector (see Trace Q att) being responsible for its own protection against probable hostile interference on the way. Until the arrival of the Div third lift it will be responsible for part of another Para Bde Gp's sector (see Trace Q).
5. Phases. The Op will be in two Phases:
PHASE I: Reorganisation of Bde Gp on ground and move to def sector.
PHASE II: Occupation of def sector NORTH of ARNHEM.
6. DZ. See Traces P and R.
7. DZ RVs and routes to Def Sector. See Traces P and R (Eastern portion of route to def sectors are shown on Trace Q).
8. Other Tps. 7 KOSB will be occupying def posn probably in area 662833.
9. Bde Adv Para Gp. See Appx D att.
(a) 156 Bn, with, under comd, one sec 133 Fd Amb, will:- (i) Protect DZ area on WEST until Bde is clear. (ii) When ordered withdraw by route shown on Trace P and thence along Bde Axis to main posn.
(b) 10 Bn, with, under comd, one sec 133 Fd Amb, will:- (i) Protect rear of Bde from WEST by def posn area 625843. (ii) When ordered withdraw by route shown on Trace P and thence along Bde Axis to main posn.
(c) 11 Bn, with, under comd, one sec 133 Fd Amb, will: (i) Form a firm base in area 6682 leaving one coy forming firm base in bn RV area 634823 to protect withdrawal of 156 Bn. (ii) When ordered withdraw along Bde Axis to main posn. (iii) Be responsible for security of Bde Glider Gp from time of its arrival at Dis P 677817. Tpt should be disposed at discretion OC 11 Bn.
11. Report Lines. See Traces P and Q.
12. Junc Pts. See Trace Q.
(a) Fire from 3 Bty Lt Regt will probably be obtainable through FOO with A/L unit (see para 8 above).
(b) Adv Gp will est contact (see Appx D).
(c) 2 A/L Lt Bty not yet in action.
14. A tk.
(a) Allotment of tps 2 A/L A tk Bty: H tp : 156 Bn, G tp: 10 Bn, E tp : 11 Bn, X tp (17 prs) : Bde res
(b) On landing Bty will conc in 11 Bn firm base posn, where E tp will come into action under comd 11 Bn.
(c) H and G tps will stand in readiness either to join Bns when ordered (G tp will be got up to 10 Bn as quickly as possible) or be picked up as units (incl Bde HQ Gp) move through 11 Bn posn.
(d) OC 2 A tk Bty will assume comd of Bde carriers from their arrival at LZ RV until they are dispersed to units.
(a) RV as on Trace P att.
(b) Op as Bde Res until arrival in main def posn, moving in rear of 133 Fd Amb behind Bde HQ.
(a) RV and move with Bde HQ.
(b) Tasks of Adv Gp Pro personnel as in Appx D att.
17. LAD. RV and move with Bde HQ.
18. RASC. 2 Para Pl will RV on Bde HQ and will op as Bde Tac Res until RASC duties arise.
(a) 133 Fd Amb RV as shown on Trace P.
(b) Move, less three secs (with Bns), in rear of Bde HQ, prepared to open CCP if circumstances dictate.
(c) Axis of evacuation: See Appx B, para 4(c).
20. Bde Glider Gp.
(a) LZ RV: See Trace R att. This RV will be marked by reps of the Bde Adv Para Gp with BLUE smoke.
(b) Dis P: See Trace R att (but note also provisions of para 10(c) above).
21. Carriers. Under comd 2 A/L A tk Bty from time of arrival in 11 Bn def posn until released to rejoin units as in para 14(d) above.
22. Bde sector will be occupied for def as shown on Trace Q att.
23. 10 Bn. Will detach one coy in first instance to occupy part of sector of fmn on RIGHT, as shown on Trace Q. When this fmn arrives on D+2 this coy will come into Bde res area 743796.
24. Fwd Def and Limit of Fwd Patrolling. As shown on Trace Q.
25. Arty. Normal allotment of FOOs.
26. A tk.
(a) A tk tps under comd bns in Phase I now in sp.
(b) X tp (17 pr) in Bde res.
(a) 4 Para Sqn in sp in area 736788.
(b) On arrival 3rd Lift (D+2) 4 Para Sqn, less one tp, will revert to comd CRE. One tp will remain in sp 4 Para Bde.
28. Demolitions. No brs will be destroyed or prepared for demolition. NO demolitions of any kind will be carried out except temporary minor rail cuts effected for local def purposes.
(a) Mines will only be laid under RE supervision.
(b) Own and enemy minefds will be reported through normal channels by quickest possible means. Enemy minefds will also be reported at once to the nearest RE unit.
(c) 75 grenades may be laid by units but will invariably be guarded and will be removed when the unit leaves the area.
30. Air Sp.
(a) Direct Air sp will be provided by RAF and possibly by USAAF at a later date.
(b) All requests for direct air sp will be forwarded to Bde HQ.
31. Bomb Line.
(a) Until 6 hrs after arrival of 4 Para Bde. 785855 - 768852 - 750846 - 737845 - 730844 - 715845 - 708851 - 695852 - 676853 - 659853 - 639853 - 628853 - 613855.
(b) From 6 hrs after arrival of 4 Para Bde. 629852 - 629842 - 630821 - 628807 - 623788 - 616772 - 614759.
32. Anti-gas. Respirators WILL be carried.
33. See Appx B att.
34. (a) Bde Report Centre will be est immediately after landing at 635838 and subsequently at rd junc 672825.
(b) Axis of Bde HQ movement: Bde Axis, see Traces P and Q.
(c) Final location of Bde HQ (Phase II) vicinity MONASTERY 747792.
(a) RT : Bde net will open on arrival at DZ RVs (details see Appx C).
(b) Line : Line comn will be est as soon as possible after arrival in main def posn (Phase II).
(c) No enemy comns, except German Fd Cable, may be destroyed.
36. LOs. Unit LOs will report to Bde HQ report centre at 635838 by D+45 mins.
(a) Ground to Air. Yellow smoke, flares, yellow celanese triangles and yellow fluorescent panels, if available. Fwd tps ONLY will indicate their posns thus, unless for some special reason such as imminent attack by own aircraft. All other tps will make their posns known to our A/C by any other means available.
(b) Ground to Ground. Yellow celanese triangles.
(c) Civilians. Friendly Dutch civilians properly enrolled for labour through the Civil Affairs Mission will be issued with blue and white armbands.
38. Light Signals.
(a) Standard Bde Success Signal: RED WHITE RED
(b) Standard Div SOS/DF Signal: RED GREEN RED
(a) Bde numerical code:
D Day refers to Div D day.
(b) Units will use the following codewords until further orders:-
A tk guns
DEELEN AIRFD 7487
Rd ARNHEM-APELDOORN 7804
Rd ARNHEM-ZUTPHEN 9208
40. Pass Words.
H hr until 2359 hrs D day
2359 hrs D day until 2359 hrs D+1
2359 hrs D+1 until 2359 hrs D+2
2359 hrs D+2 until 2359 hrs D+3
2359 hrs D+3 until 2359 hrs D+4
2359 hrs D+4 until 2359 hrs D+5
41. Synchronization of watches: BBC Time Signal before take-off.
42. ACK immediately by Signal.
[Sgd C.W.B. Dawson]
4 Parachute Bde.
Time of Signature 2225 hrs 13 Sep
Method of Issue by hand and DRLS.
Appx "D" to 4 Para Bde O.O. No.1 dated 13 Sep 44.
ORDERS FOR BDE ADV PARA GP.
(a) OC Bde Adv Para Gp. : B.M. 4 Para Bde.
(b) Remaining personnel will be detailed by units and sub-units as in Appx D1, coln (2).
2. Take-off Airfd. Adv Gp will take-off from BARKSTON HEATH. Orders for move to airfd will be issued later.
3. Allotment of a/c. See Appx D1.
4. Lt Wt M/Cs. Lt Wt M/Cs may be carried on a/c as follows:
One Sigs. One Bde H.Q.
One 10 Bn. One 11 Bn.
One or two 156 Bn.
5. D.Z. Adv Gp will drop on DZ "X", see trace 'R' with 1 Para Bde at H+57 mins on D Day.
6. DZ RV. SOUTH corner of WOOD 635792.
(a) General. (i) Mark DZ RVs for main para gps arriving on D+1. (ii) Est wireless comn between DZ RVs of main para gp shortly before the arrival of the latter. (iii) Collect all available infm regarding the process of the op up to the time of drop of the main para gps.
(b) Glider Tpt RV Party. (a) OC : Lt. F.J. de R. LOCKE, OC 2 Pro. (b) Composition. : Three NCOs Pro Sec, two NCOs and eight ORs Bde HQ Def Pl. (c) This party will: (i) Mark Glider tpt LZ RV (see trace R) with BLUE smoke. (ii) Receive, protect and marshal all Bde gliderborne tpt. (iii) Conduct all Bde gliderborne tpt to Dis P (see Trace R) and report arrival at Dis P to OC 11 Bn.
(c) 2 A/L Lt Bty Party. Will endeavour to arrange sp for 4 Para Bde, should this be required, from 3 Lt Bty, which will be in action in sp of 1 A/L Bde. Sp may be required from the time of drop of 4 Para Bde Main Para Gp until 2 Lt Bty comes into action.
(d) 2 A/L A. Tk Bty Party. will assist Bde Comd in ensuring that guns are dispatched to sp Bns as soon after landing as possible.
(a) All parties will RV initially at DZ RV.
(b) Subsequent action will depend entirely on the progress of the op, though the earliest contact will be made with 7 KOSB which will be defending the rd EDE - ARNHEM facing WEST. Further details will be issued later.
(c) At suitable times on D+1 parties detailed under para 7, sub-paras (a), (c) and (d) will leave the main party and carry out their tasks independently.
A/C Chalk No.
Vacancies in a/c allotted to:
Int Sgt HQ 4 Para Bde
Clerk HQ 4 Para Bde
Div LOs Batman.
OC 2 Pro Sec.
HQ 4 Para Bde Def Pl (10)
2 Pro Sec (3)
10 Bn. (10)
11 Bn. (6)
156 Bn. (16)
11 Bn Rear Link.
10 Bn to detail Stick Comd.
10 Bn Rear Link.
156 Bn to detail stick Comd.
156 Bn Rear Link.
Copy of Diary Kept by Brigadier J.W. Hackett D.S.O., M.B.E., M.C.
Commander 4 Parachute Bde
Ref maps - HOLLAND GSGS 4427 - 1/25,000 - sheets GINKEL & ARNHEM.
Monday 18th Sep.
Drop about 6 mins late. Rs. MAAS, WAAL and NEDER RIJN quite clearly seen during run in. Some flak, and own A/C hit several times by S.A. fire and once (just behind exit) by something larger in fuselage. A/C swinging and sun shining on to and off green and red lights made it difficult to tell when green went on. I did not jump in any case until we were well up D.Z. towards rd ARNHEM - EDE (i.e. towards Bde HQ R.V.). Considerable S.A. fire on D.Z., and apparently an engagement proceeding on S. or S.W. and possibly S. as well as mortar fire occasionally. Had some difficulty in collecting myself and then numbers of Bde H.Q. all of whom scattered and rather confused. No sign of Adv Gp and no blue smoke in view. After 10 minutes of so saw 10 Bn's green smoke SOUTH of main rd. Found Capt TEMPLE (G.III) and told him to set up blue smoke at about 627838 and R.V. there. House just to NORTH occupied by enemy. Was joined by Capt BOOTY (S.C.) Capt JAMES (Att Staff Officer) and Lt-Col. HEATHCOAT AMERY (attached to the Bde from A.M. Leigh Mallory's Staff), War Correspondent J. SMITH and then the B.M. He had been with 7 K.O.S.B. trying to clear D.Z., which they had achieved (in part only) by an attack on the new rd embankment on its S. end and just as we ran in.
By about 1515 hrs all Bns were on the air, but 4 Para Sqn not and no contact with 133 Fd Amb, although Capt HARKESS found them at House 627840 (now clear of enemy), where they had set up D.Z. D.S.
156 Bn well organised W. of D.Z. commanding rd ARNHEM - EDE. 10's R.V. had been occupied by enemy, but they set up an alternative to the S. and then had made good their original one. 11 Bn were organising at their R.V. 634823. Bde HQ Gp was turning up satisfactorily and adequate control was established (fwd only). 4 Para Sqn located in Sanatorium 631833. By 1530 hrs, Bde was a going concern - 75 to 80 per cent strong.
About then G.1 Div arrived and reported 1 Bde's push to the bridge had been checked. Brig. Hicks was comdg Div and I was to change our plan to allow of 11 Bn going straight off after S. STAFFS to push in to Br. and issued orders roughly as follows -
(i) 11 Bn move off at once to come under comd 1 Bde on arrival R.V. HARTESTEIN 1815 (exact time and place I have forgotten)
(ii) 156 move now to 11 Bn's R.V. area and prepared to lead adv of Bde less 11 Bn along line of ry.
(iii) 10 Bn hold hard area 624842.
(iv) 133 Fd Amb move off S. when cas situation permitted and warn me when this was likely to be possible.
(v) Bde H.Q. move soonest to old Adv Gp report centre by K.O.S.B. Bn HQ, S.E. corner of DZ (634823).
Meanwhile Bde H.Q. Def Pl and detachment from R.A.S.C. pl and other Bde personnel had been securing some sort of defensive area round Bde H.Q., with sporadic fighting against disorganised elements. A score odd of prisoners were brought in, together with two vehicles and a 37 m.m. A/Tk gun, 81 m.m. mortar, etc., and a couple of vehicles.
Bde H.Q. moved about 1700 and met HQ 7 K.O.S.B. at 634822. It also found its Adv Gp (incl Lt. F. R. LOCKE, OC Det Pro) and set up. Brew up before dusk. 4 Para Sqn R.E. had been picked up on the way.
KOSB were released now to return under comd airlanding Bde and thanked for their job before and during our arrival, which would have been harder going without them.
10 were firm and ordered to move S. behind 133 Fd Amb, when latter were able to move. Meanwhile they were to detach a Coy to take over from KOSB in area track junc, which arrived shortly after. 10 Bn was being att from time to time in a desultory manner and incurred casualties. MACKIE was killed there a great loss to the Bde.
156 were on the move, skiting DZ on SW directed on area 663806. Axis track North of and parallel to ry. My intention was to move the Bde less 11 Bn, in towards the centre of Div activity as quickly as was compatible with the retention of its coherence. 133 Fd Amb was conditioning factor now.
About 1800 hrs tpt arrived with Lt Locke, who had been sent off to guide it in. Major Haynes reported 2 AL A/Tk Bty complete less one gun recoverable next day we hoped (i.e. 11 by 6 pr plus 3 by 17 prs). All unit tpt pretty complete.
Major Page guided off 156 Bn tpt. 11 Bn was sent off to join up behind it on its move fwd. Other units were put in touch. At about dusk 156 were ordered to halt and reorganise and push on down Axis of Ry before 1st light. 133 were now clear of DZ and I met C.O. at my HQ. 10 Bn was behind and was deployed at my orders in Area Rd and Track junc 634823 with orders to rest and move along Bde Axis at 0300. 133 were to move on to join up with 181 area sanatorium WOLFHEZEN 662802. Bde HQ was only awaiting disposal of these units to move as planned along Bde Axis to house just EAST of WOLFHEZEN Ry crossing.
Main HQ had already gone leaving normal Tac HQ (Commander - BM, two rear links DRs all mobile). 4 Para Sqn RE was meanwhile moving to cross track 637814 (on Bde Axis at West end of the Bde Area) and was to consolidate in an Inf role there.
2 Para Pl RASC was forming firm base on rd (Bde Axis) in Bde HQ 646812. About 1845 (just dark) Bde Tac HQ with 133 clear and KOSB out of the way moved to area Hotel 647813 and joined Main HQ. About 2300 hrs Major Linton OC 2 A/L Bty RA arrived from Div HQ and brought further instructions. I then went to Div HQ, saw Brigadier Hicks.
Task for 19 Sep - Advance between including Rd ARNHEM - EDE incl Ry to secure high ground KOEPEL 712793 with firm left flank on rd.
Return own HQ about 0130 hrs.
Hostile bombing during night with flares, intermittent and annoying, no damage.
Orders sent to units in conformity with task. 156 to secure KOEPEL, 10 to occupy firm base, rd area 693811. 4 Para Sqn remain in posn as back stop area 638814 plus Tp A.Tk Para Pl Bde res. 133 WOLFHEZEN. Bde axis incl track N of ry. Bde HQ moved to 668805 about 0730 before brew up. Flak train at WOLFHEZEN Sta destroyed by own air indicated threat to Bdes arrival happily averted. Prisoners now about 50, sent to Div during previous night. About 12 more in hand. Last location Bde HQ had been asked for. Pl enemy very hurriedly evacuated.
I also heard from CRA mid-day that about 50 German fighters had appeared over our DZ at the time we were originally intended to drop on D plus 1. We also captured more than one prisoner from a cyclist coy which had been despatched to DZ area mid morning D plus 1 and eventually seen off by KOSB. Fortunately our drop was postponed by several hours.
Visited 156 area JOHANNA HOEVE about 0900. Coy attack was making good feature 565 696796 success. Few cas.
Their plan was then to make good the LICHTEN BEEK WOODS about 705795 and use that as a firm base for attack on KOEPEL. On their left were 7 KOSB, in 4 Bde area but status undetermined. HQ at Farm 693798. Task later to protect arrival of 1 Polish Glider Gp. 10 Bn had met heavy opposition area 694806 and asked and received permission to disengage and try a bolder west flanking movement. I wanted to draw up Bde tail, but medical factors again important. A small party was still looking after DZ cas unable to be moved to 133 first location. Main body 133 was to move from WOLFHEZEN sanatorium; when it did so (about mid-morning), I closed up 4 Para Sqn RE to WOLFHEZEN ry crossing and ordered move of Bde HQ to rd track junc 684799 at 1100 hrs.
At 1030 hrs on my return to Bde HQ from 156 Bn I met GSO 1 and CRA just arriving. GOC had got out of ARNHEM and returned to Div HQ. He requested my presence, if I was not pressed and would otherwise come to see me later. KOSB came under my comd with task of protecting landing of Polish glider tpt same afternoon area 6880. Things were now looking tidier. Visited KOSB and ordered them to stay put, and to be prepared to take over 156's LICHTENBEEK objective when captured, with one coy as a firm base for 156's next advance. One Coy KOSB was committed to glider landing zone protection, remainder of Bn firm base. A Coy, I think of KOSB had got separated a little earlier but was reported by OC KOSB to be sitting quite happily in area (I think) 685815.
Bde HQ set up new location (rd track junc 684799) about Midday. Badly strafed, no Bde cas but 7 out of KOSB caught in open moving this Bde HQ on LZ patrol.
Closed 4 Para Sqn RE up to 672804.
10 Bn were now engaged at 690810 from N and E - a few cas - but holding their own and consolidating.
Major Perkins RE OC 4 Para Sqn now reported in person. Sqn conc new location and confirmed offensive task (W of Bde area). Major Perkins had dislocated a shoulder on the dropping zone on the previous day but had insisted on carrying on once it was in place.
OC 156 reported two successive attempts to capture LICHTENBEEK feature one coy up. Both had been repelled and cas suffered. Bn had now for the moment shot its bolt. Bosche apparently very sensitive to any threat to that high ground. Enemy were using multiple mortars and some SP guns as well as normal Inf arms. I ordered him to consolidate point 565 and informed him what I just heard from Div, that A/L Bde was about to launch an attack to open crossing rd ry 699792 and he was to give main support. Time of attack 1500 hrs. About 1420 GOC arrived at my HQ and gave me an account of his adventures in ARNHEM. Little or no news of my 11 Bn.
We discussed possible retrenchment and I advised cutting losses north of ry in case we were caught by counter attack tps (which were undoubtedly now gathering) too spread out. Difficulty for my Bde area was ry. No longer commanding WOLFHEZEN crossing which might any moment be occupied by enemy unless we controlled HALTE OOSTERBEEK HOOG crossing (699792). Bde area was cut in half by obstacle which transport could not at present pass and considerable RE work only could enable it to do so. I favoured moving all S of ry and improving posn eastward taking rd ARNHEM - UTRECHT as Bde axis. This was plan 2 and would involve withdrawing 10 Bn pretty soon to resecure the WOLFHEZEN crossing to provide passage for Bde tps.
Brig Hicks arrived at my HQ and confirmed his arrangements for attack on ry crossing 699792 and asked for sp from 156 which I confirmed had been laid on. He then left.
10 Bn reported enemy attacks from NE by some inf and normal SP.
156 and 10 reported continuation of fire by one or two SP guns which had been intermittent since about 0830. 10 Bn reported 5 tracked vehs probably SP guns. 156 reported further tracked vehs possibly tks.
Bde HQ now well dug in tree area 684799 and quite capable of resisting attack unsupported. Men the better for the digging.
GOC left ? 1400 hrs. I believe he walked back over the ry to jeep due S of Bde HQ.
Information received from Div about 1500 hrs indicated some reverse or at least threats of such in area south of ry (probably, I conjectured, from force of enemy reported at river during day through RENKUM - HEELSUM) together with situation noticeably satisfactory E towards ARNHEM. I therefore ordered 10 Bn to disengage forthwith and make for WOLFHEZEN ry crossing, seize and hold it for Bde to cross if necessary.
Reports from 10 Bn then became confused and intermittent and it was clear a difficult posn was developing for them. I subsequently learned their first RV on disengaging had been found held by enemy, which caused some disorganisation and I understand their second too, which disorganised them more.
Order already passed on to units already now briefed. 1515 possible time.
At about 1600 Polish Gliders began to land in area 6880. Enemy reaction was instantaneous and violent. Pressure was put on rear of withdrawing 10 Bn across whose path the gliders were landing (i.e. exactly between them and Bde HQ and their next bound). As 10 Bn appeared deployed by coys and in very fair order through the landing gliders great difficulty was experienced in persuading Bde tps and unit tpt in Bde tps area that they were not enemy especially as there was now a fair volume of small arms fire coming from the enemy from the same direction (all high and doing no harm). Tpt got rather jammed up and rd leading past Bde HQ to WOLFHEZEN and tps in some cases opened fire. Great energy and even violence was needed [by] the officers of Bde HQ to prevent some confusion. Poles landing from gliders engaged anything in sight and were themselves in return which did little to help.
RE had reported tunnel suitable for putting tpt across ry at 668804 and were ordered defend from North and West until all was over.
156 were away and moving South of Bde HQ to a ry (679796) KOSB were away and doing the same, their orders were to RV area 205 - 672793 and revert to command A/L Bde.
Bde HQ Gp was now to be prepared to operate as an inf det and was despatched to Pt 232 682797. I stayed at old location with Capt Blundell I.O. and Capt James commanding a det def pl to get all tpt clear and see that tps were out.
Lt Barron 2 A/L A.Tk Bty stayed too and with great commonsense brought a Polish A Tk gun (abandoned) into action, and put a useful scare-the-crows shoot against the advancing Bosche. The latter were taking all they were given and were not difficult to check. I do not know figures but I believe this rather confused move under pressure resulted in the loss of a fair amount of tpt and notably a tk guns.
WOLFHEZEN crossing was partly occupied when 10 Bn arrived but they crossed in fair order and got into posn just South about 1800 hrs.
4 Para Sqn RE passed most of Bde tpt through the tunnel and some (I understand) over the level crossing at WOLFHEZEN. Some was utterly bogged in heavy sand and plans made to recover it next day, which in some cases could not be carried out owing to enemy encroachment and in others (e.g. Bde HQ recce jeep) only resulted in the loss of further tpt trying to tow it out next morning.
Then Germans to the North of the ry quickly overran the Polish Gliders and pressed on to the line of the ? when we held them at dusk. They were not many (2 pls to a coy) but active and strong in automatics. Bde HQ det largely from Def Pl under Capt James and Lt.Col. Heathcoat-Amory (att from AM Leigh Mallory's staff) were responsible and inflicted cas suffering some too (Pte Donnelly late 8 H was killed) several more killed and wounded. A spirited counter attack led by the BM just before dusk gave some breathing space.
Posn at dark 19 Sep - Bde HQ Gp dug in as a def locality area pt 232. 156 Bn about 270 strong holding the perimeter about 678799 to the South and up to about 674797. 10 Bn about 250 strong 200 yards south of WOLFHEZEN crossing. I wanted to pull them in but they were rather disorganised and receiving permission to reorganise there during the dark. 4 Sqn RE between the tunnel and level crossing on south of ry.
A POW announced that an attack was impending between 0300 and 0400 from about two coys North of the ry with SP guns and he thought a few tanks.
There was some harassing shellfire during darkness and a fair amount of movement with hostile SA fire together with much movement of a very small number of tracked vehs quite close, all ranks stood to, but no attack developed.
I discussed at some length with Div by RT advisability of moving during the night towards our final location. I wanted to get integrated into the Div & fear anie Cooper business in the trees. I was quite happy to stay but would have preferred to move to a villa near final location at say 2300 hrs, by then 10 Bn would be fit to do so in good order. Div deprecated a move but said I was to send recce parties in by night and follow at first light. I saw nothing to be gained out of recce parties in the dark and it was agreed in the end that I should move the Bde at first light.
Wed 20th Sep
Routes for move was to be area 232 thence track to last 'N' in Hotel WOLHEZEN - BREEDE LAAN - to junc with main rd ARNHEM - UTRECHT.
Order of march - 156, Bde HQ Gp and Bde Tps, 10 Bn.
An advance group with small protective element was made up from all units to precede 156 if possible. Situation regarding enemy, fluid and very uncertain. Country; woodland intersected by roads and ridges. Locations and situation in rest of Division hardly known at all. My intention was to get on axis main rd ARNHEM - UTRECHT and take up posn facing Eastwards astride it East of HARTESTEIN near which I believed Div HQ still to be. Comns not good rear back to Div intermittent. Btys low and no opportunity so far to charge. Capt KENNET OC Bde Sigs was still with me but 2 i/c Lt. SCARFE was missing.
Bde under way about 0615, still needing a little space to move out from night disposition and assume order of march.
Adv Gp under Capt Temple proceeding along first part of Bde axis as above came under fire about 682785 almost at once. Capt Temple wounded right arm. Disposed some form of protective screen in reshuffle with Bde HQ personnel under Capt James and moved adv gp and Bde tps back and in behind 156 down other tracks; some sporadic shooting which I believe to be caused by German patrols rather lost. Bde got under way satisfactorily in design order of march and onto BREEDE LAEN axis moving southwards, some more a tk guns seemed to get left behind.
About 0715 hrs (fairly precisely) 156 were fired on by MG42 and 34 cms right front area 678786. They made strenuous efforts to clear it but as their outflanking movements revealed more and more opposition and a second coy was drawn in extent of enemy disposition was indicated was not the odd patrol I had thought but a force moving EAST along axis either WOLFHEZEN - main rd - or HEELSUM main rd, whose left our adv gp must have bumped on first moving off. I now deployed 10 Bn to protect right rear and continued trying to push along original axis. Enemy now in action with mortars and A Tk guns against any buildings we used.
Div Comd came up on the blower at about 0740 ordering me to Div HQ at 0700 hrs. I gave him situation. We were completely engaged and free movements from us to him was impossible.
Brisk probing all round revealed a weakness to our East where I took charge myself to exploit. B.M. led several small exploiting attacks and we killed a number of Bosche (one at least to Bde Cmds rifle). There was a constant and fairly heavy volume of SA fire from several directions at once (now about 0745 hrs) on throughout the day. Bde HQ was under this fire the whole time and clerks signallers deserve high praise for their composure. This was however nothing to their stout handling of rifle and bayonet when we were really put to it for a few hours later in the day. The most satisfactory part of this mornings operation was the number of Germans we killed and then adv over. It was a ratio of at least 5 to 1.
Everything well in hand and control adequate though our movements were a little constricted. Announced change of plans to Unit Comds. 156 no longer to try to push fwd on old axis but hold there while 10 Bn took over the adv and pushed along new axis (from track junc 682787 to rd track junc 687783). 10 Bn were slower than I would have liked starting org was not over strong. Lt Col Smythe had been wounded by a bullet in the right arm afternoon before and Major Warr in comd. Comns bad and when they did start they pushed on without much regard to the rest of the coln which lost touch with them and ultimately god divided in two.
Fire was heavy now on S & SW and there was frequent LA fire from N. Good progress was made clearing Eastwards but much sporadic fighting cropped up clearing small parties of Bosche in wood.
As soon as 156 could get clear of BREEDE LAEN I asked through Major de Gex (2 i/c Lt Regt - since 1200 hrs day before with me) and got a troop stonk along it either side of new Bde axis to discourage pursuit. Repeated. Good results - presume these relieved but OC 156 reported movement track vehicles.
Firing all round grew in intensity asked for A Tk guns. OC 2 A Tk Bty said had none left some had been hopelessly stuck day before others abandoned owing to lack of tractors but am not yet in posn to know why there were not at all left in Bty.
About midday B.M. wounded rt shoulder continued to function most gallantly. Lt.Col. Heathcoat-Amory wounded shoulder and leg. Other casualties.
10 Bn now reported on rd VALKENBERG LAAN moving S but gap between Bde HQ and them we were slowing up.
About 1215 tank appeared reengaged at 400 yds on rt. but volume of SA fire discouraged it about 1225 another came to within 300 yds of tpt on left before blowing track off on 75 grenade. Only A Tk weapon one PIAT with one bomb. These tanks were Mk IIs I think and fortunately rather windy to begin. Later they got bolder.
Enemy had now closed in around Bde HQ I.O. killed (Capt Blundell) OC 156 reported wounded 2 i/c and Adj 156 missing. I directed Major Powell 156 to clear a cup shaped depression containing up to 30 Germans right in our path. Tanks had now closed in and set some of our transport alight. Had some difficulty in getting Lt Col Heathcoat-Amory out, strapped to stretcher on jeep next to blazing amn. B.M. now mortally wounded by bullet in head. The behaviour of Major Dawson BM was beyond praise. He dropped with the Adv Gp on D Day and fought with those in ops to clear DZ engaging in their final charge. He was a tower of strength during the period of confusion on the previous afternoon and he personally led counter attack and did much to get Bde HQ away intact and keep the Bosche away till dark. During the day he not only did his job as BM but led several small attacks when immediate action was necessary. When wounded quite painfully in the rt shoulder he functioned as before and was killed eventually trying to rally Bde HQ as it was being scattered by tanks.
Major Powell gathered handful of his coy, rushed the depression driving out the Boche. I moved around trying to rally remnants to it, but by now two or three tanks and German infantry moving freely though the coln and scattering it and all coherence lost. In the depression I mustered Staff Capt Booty, Major Powell, Major Page and about 30 156, about 12 10 Bn about 12 Bde HQ etc and a score of others. I appd Major de Gex A/BM. There was no water or food, insufficient weapons, little amn. Many of us were using German rifles. Capt Barron (A/Tk) Lt.St. Aubyn (156) and Capt Temple (though wounded) all most useful and gallant officers here. Throughout the afternoon the enemy made frequent and determined infantry attacks with one tank to destroy us. We made frequent counter attacks to widen scope and recover freedom of movement. Tank never pressed this attack to within range of our 82 grenades and repeated attempts to stalk it failed as inf were always close round it. They frequently pressed to within grenade of us on NW & S but were always held off.
Major Page was wounded, fought on and was then killed. Capt Barron was wounded bullet hand and shoulder (I then took his British rifle in exchange for my German one). Other cas. Radius of posn about 30 yds roughly circular. I had walked right up to the Bosche looking for George Blundell who was lying dead 30 yds from them thinking they were Poles. When cornered I told them to surrender but was alone and they saw me off.
Towards nightfall I had decided after consultations with Major de Gex to break through in direction Div HQ with whom we had no contact since 1000 hrs. Enemy apparently determined to liquidate posn before dark and now pressing in more than ever. We made a dash for it Major de Gex and self leading and got through with a few cas to posn Coy Borders at 687786 (I think). There I organised in to 156 det and Bde HQ det and disposing in def posns met OC 4 Para Sqn RE with half his unit intact and remainder believed nearly K.Od elsewhere reported to Div HQ. This was a beautiful little charge and chase of Geoffrey Powell and the band from 156.
Div Comd ordered me to take over next morning comd of east side of Div perimeter from about 695785 round the river in the neighbourhood of church 697774. Major de Gex reverted to Lt Regt to my regret. Capt Harkness BRASCO was at Div HQ with an assortment of men and Lt.Col. Smythe with about 40. 10 Bn later increased to about 70. 156 det (about 50 strong Major Powell in comd) were lodged immediately in the area it was proposed they should defend (houses 694786) I visited them before they moved in and Bde HQ det at SONNERBERG and then slept at Div HQ which was in its same location (693784). They got all our tpt here and all our wireless comns.
Thur 21 Sept
Asked for and obtained Major Madden RA (G II Air 1 Air Div) as BM. Established HQ at 696784.
Comns problem. Line laid to Div and subsequently to 10 Bn and 156 as 68 sets became available they were passed out. We had none in the Bde by now.
Order of Battle 4 Bde.
1. Bde HQ some signallers plus element of Def Pl.
2. 156 Bn
3. 10 Bn
4. 11 Bn (Major Lonsdale i/c)
5. 1 Bde remnants (with Capt Taylor Bde I.O.)
6. Det S Staffords (Major Cane i/c)
7. Det Glider Pilots (Capt Olgivie)
now about 40
now about 60
now about 65
now about 80
now about 150
now about 70
now about 35
These figures very incorrect and need checking with what records Booty may have managed to preserve. Staff Sjt Pearson Chief Clerk is in Hospl here with me but cannot communicate.
MDS occupying hotels on either side of X rds 697784 on the East and one or two houses on either side running East from crossroads had been in enemy hands but 10 Bn had occupied 4 houses just to the east of them on the afternoon 21 September and they were now ours.
11 Bn det which had got separated from the main body of the Bn on 19 September was well organised under Major Lonsdale, who was also the channel of comd for the 1 Bde and S Stafford det. They had no news of main body of 11 Bn.
The rest of the narrative is more jumbled and less important since events are pretty well known (or should be) in division.
Locations and areas of resp.
11 Bn church 696773 - W S and E.
S Staff E of ch from east rd 697774 to river 1 Bde from rd track junc 696774 to indeterminate bdy with 10 Bn. 10 Bn astride main rd 6784.
Glider Pilot det from X rds at 69784 (hence forward known as MDS X rds) to rather indeterminate bdy with 156 in area 694787 on whose left were Recce Sqn and KOSB.
Some Recce Sqn appeared to be also on 156 right.
I went round this area morning 21 September and made some adjustments.
Very heavy mortar fire on Church in 11 Bn area and Major Madden acting BM was killed about 1000 hrs while assisting Lt.Col Thompson OC Light Regt just wounded by another bomb. My driver Pte Ward received slight splinters from another and my jeep was wrecked. Continued rounds to S Staffs Lt Regt 2 Bty (Major Linton) and Div on foot.
During afternoon organisation of Bde was continued. I was not happy about the gap between 10 Bn and the 1 Bde dets on their right.
156 Bn were attacked in their houses during afternoon by small number of infantry from North but saw them off. Glider Pilots reported movements in wood at 697787 and patrols 10 Bn were also attacked. 10 Bn were also attacked in their houses but held firm during the morning and early afternoon. During the late afternoon a heavy attack with at least one SP gun developed on these houses (10 Bn) which was pressed home. L of C was cut and a patrol from Bde HQ Def Pl which went up after dark rptd free German movement round these houses. It was assumed they had been lost and reported so to Div but no had come back and they were not the surrendering sort. I still had hope. During the day fire was obtained from a Fd Regt in 30 Corps and useful shoots put down on main rd E of 10 Bn houses and wood to NE of MDS where there was much movement. Safety factor a severe restriction here owing to long range of shooting. A further shoot against a map target from information given by Dutch civilian about activity round a large isolated hotel near Arnhem contributed to an attempt to regain some offensive initiative.
During the evening the Div Comd held conference and announced retrenchment on N of Div area. 21 Ind Coy would come under Comd as a result at 0200 hrs and a party of RASC under Capt Cramner-Byng at 0300.
21 Indep Coy 160 strong under Major Wilson moved in during early hours to occupy from rd junc 695780 to incl MDS X rds. Task was to hold defensive posn and work forward. Det Div RASC under Capt Byng was put in same time from incl track junc 695776 to incl rd junc 695780 with orders to make every effort to move forward and to take in next N to S parallel rd about 250 yds eastwards.
Half of 4 Para Sqn under Lt Brown who had been fighting hard with 21 Indep Coy outside Bde Area came under comd about 0200 hrs and was given Bde res role with counter attack task from Bde HQ posn westwards across the green in front of Div HQ.
After light on Sep 22 it became evident that 10 Bn had retained two of their houses east of the MDS. The later afternoon attack had resulted in the almost complete collapse of all of them from the SP gun and fire from an anti tank gun at short range. Houses all round had been set on fire. The house in which Lt.Col Smythe in spite of his wounded arm and Major Warr had been holding out had then been stormed. Both were severely wounded. (I have since seen Smythe in hospital in ARNHEM paralysed from the waist down and Major Warr who has had one arm amputated). Lt Saunders of 10 Bn had been killed.
The occupants of the other house had however come to the surface again and re-established themselves. There were now no 10 Bn officers and 10 Bn remnants were comd by Capt Barron (2 A.Tk Bty) wounded in hand and shoulder on 20 Sep see above) and FOO Lt White. The conduct of these dets of 10 Bn are worth of high praise they were subject to almost continual attack usually proceeded by mortar preparation supported by SP guns at very short range for two days and nights. When 21 Ind took over from them night 22/23 they were subject to the same sort of attack shortly after daylight 23 and probably through not yet having really settled in were turned out.
Line comn re-established to 10 Bn and after frequent cuts to 156.
I visited 21 Coy. MDS (saw Lt.Col. Marrable) RASC det (who were rather far back for my intention and whom I ordered forward) 11 Bn, 1 Bde Lt Regt and Recce Sqn during morning 22 Sep. Major Powell came in. Met hvy Mortar fire on church area (11 Bn) and on Recce Sqn HQ and own HQ a great deal from mortar and what seemed 105 or 75, possibly from SP. Visited Glider Pilots in their houses at 697787. German infiltration had been taking place and sniping was free. Attacks on 10 Bn and 156 were almost constant during this day 22 Sep and use of SP guns got bolder during the day.
A message was received from the MDS that a German Officer had appeared in a SP gun with a red cross on it and said that unless we evacuated MDS area entirely it would be fired upon. I referred this to Div Comd and for the moment it appeared unjustified to evacuate which I communicate to Lt.Col Marrable.
Heavy mortar fire on my HQ during the morning and growing intensity of attack on 10, 156 and Glider Pilots with considerable volume of SA, A Tk gun and SP fire all over the area made situation unpromising. Rain during part of the day made it downright miserable. No ground however was lost though resources by nightfall had grown thin, particularly in automatic weapons and amn and PIATs. Frequent destruction of houses meant frequent breakage of weapons and there were no replacements. No rations during the day and water scarce. Own cas during day about 30. 1 Bde were attacked during the afternoon while a short lull was enjoyed on the northern end. One or two tks and one or more SP guns supported inf. The FVs apparently moved NORTH to SOUTH along houses at 697784 to 786 blowing holes in them. Inf following them were held by our own. At least one SP gun remained in neighbourhood and improved its position during dusk. During the day 21 Indep Coy claimed one SP gun with a PIAT. LONSDALE force claimed one (both flamers) 156 winged one.
To unify 21 Coy front I decided to relieve 10 Bn remnants with them. Relief carried out by 230200 and remains of 10 Bn 50 strong with no officers of their own, under Lts Barron and White were given some sleep in Bde HQ area after some grim battling. Capt Barron had no business to be in those houses at all. Only one or two of us knew the way up and I allowed Barron to guide up some reinforcements. He stayed wounded arm and all. Throughout the night it appeared that SP guns were working forward many blazing houses on our N, NE and E front gave them plenty of light. I organised several PIAT stalking parties but...
Shortly after first light 21 Coy were attacked in 10 Bn houses on heavy scale, similar to that of the previous day, with SP guns reducing houses to rubble and inf then infiltrating. They were driven out. Bde front line to the East was then over run. Bde which was accepted by this time as entirely normal, Bde HQ personnel in splendid order.
I visited 21 Coy and Glider Pilots. Lt Grose recalled from JLO at Division, though of 11 Bn, and was put in charge of remnants 10, who were put in defensive posn in house 696786 just N of main rd.
Mortar and shellfire on Bde HQ locality developed about 0830 and continued with varying degrees of intensity and some lulls during the day. Volume of SA fire from N, NE & E greater and from closer in. Attacks on 156 and GP with their small intermingled det of Recce Sqn were indicated by mid-morning. There had been much movement during the night in wood NE of MDS and built up area WEST of it. Infiltration between houses on our line held Northern front became established fact by midday but strong pts still grim.
In common with most dets defending houses agst SP & A Tk guns nearly every strong point had left its house and dug in the garden nearby. Houses are a snare unless you can keep the SP and A Tk guns at arms length and round the corner. 10 Bn proved this and 156 did so again and Glider Pilots and Recce Sqn dets support it.
Supply drop p.m. 22 total failure. Still no rations, water scarcity serious in some dets; weapons strained all round and amn far from plentiful.
Mid morning GOC ordered me to establish comd post inside Div HQ perimeter. I extracted the minimum personnel from def posns in front line and set up 200 yds further back. Lt BOSWORTH from Div Sigs now functioning as Bde Sigs Offr in place of L/Cpl RAIEMEYER and then Sgt. PATTERSON borrowed from 21 Coy (original member 4 Bde Sigs Sec). This offr doing very well competing with extreme shortage of equipment and frequent cutting of line by shell and mortar fire.
Demands of tps for infm about relieving forces now long overdue increasingly hard to satisfy. It was clearly only a case now for sticking it and this was apparent to everybody. Spirit of men beyond praise but some (e.g. 156) near the limit from strain, cumulative lack of sleep and food. Major POWELL's handling of this body deserves high recognition.
During the afternoon I arranged a force from Lonsdale force 40 strong with 2 PIAT and at least 4 automatics to be at call for reinforcement or counter attack and discussed with Major POWELL its use in his area. He professed his ability to hold on if sent 2 PIATS. I detached 2 from L force and sent them with 20 rounds.
Most of this afternoon I spent improving and helping to man Bde HQ def locality against which an even heavier volume of fire was developing. (Looking through this narrative I am struck with how much of it is in terms of Bde HQ fighting as such. This represents a true picture. There was little to be done at this stage in the exercising control over what was left of the Bde. Bde HQ however represented one of the stoutest defensive links in the whole.)
RASC def in the centre had a slight reverse but recovered and I was now pretty confident about the line from incl MDS cross rds southwards. From there round to our western bdy on the N it was giving more cause for anxiety.
About 1700 hrs a Red Cross emissary came from the MDS to say that the Germans had now about 30-40 fighting tps in the MDS itself (about 80 yds fwd of Bde HQ locality) and a German Major had delivered an ultimatum :- unless we evacuate the Bde HQ plantation up to inclusive a small building used as an RAP, the whole MDS and Bde HQ area would be subjected to a series of mortar concentrations. I had till 1930 hrs. I ordered its evacuation by 1900 and doubled up the defenders from the E end on those in the W or upper end.
Discussed in the evening with GOC and CRA privately (on GOC's invitation) the possibility of withdrawal from N and NE. I expressed doubts in view of poverty of comns and slight degree of control of my ability to withdraw anything from there at the stage at which Div Comd might require it but hoped to pull in part at least of Bde HQ det from their locality to cover a withdrawal on a solider elements further SOUTH in Bde area. I briefed Capt Harkess now comdg Bde HQ locality and Capt Booty A/BM accordingly but no one else.
Major POWELL came in after dark and Major WILSON, and I arranged with them and Lt.Col MURRAY OC 1 Wing G.P. Regt a shortening of line by giving NE corner and holding further back among houses to N of the rd. As these houses were partly Boche held the issue was not as straight forward as could be desired. A LO from GP det came in about 2000 hrs and was given a "Walkie-Talkie" by OGILVIE, one of two produced by MURRAY.
Owing to casualties from tree bursts, had now dug new comd post and sig exchange in open, 200 yds SOUTH in Div Maint Area. Occupied it about 1900 hrs with Chief Clerk, fwd link operator, one exchange operator, A/BM and two orderlies, leaving the remainder of Bde HQ personnel in their weapon pits.
During night secured two shoots from 30 Corps 25prs on wood NE of MDS and believe they may have relieved pressure.
A small proportion of Polish Bde had been ferried over the river during the previous night and more had followed under mist during day. Div Comd agreed to make 200 available to me to take over my Northern sector. It was arranged that adv reps from them would meet me at 0830 at my Comd post.
About 2200 hrs I parted from Major POWELL who was returning to his sector and guided Major WILSON down through old Bde HQ locality to where his sector began, saw Capt HARKESS returned to CRA's shelter which ? few yds from my comd post and relieved congestion there besides being roomier. All was relatively quiet during the remainder of night though a good deal of German movement was evident.
[unreadable] Sqn HQ and discussed with Capt ALLSOPP guiding of Poles into sector. He gave me a runner... when their reps arrived at my comd post, not many hundred yds from Recce Sqn HQ. Shelling and mortaring now heavy while returning to Bde HQ. I was hit by splinters from a close burst in the stomach and left thigh about 100 yds from Div HQ. Runners leg broken. At first lull walked to Div RAP. Sent out party for runner, then had GOC warned of my mishap. Handed over as best as I could to Lt.Col MURRAY (1 Wing GPR) in Div HQ RAP about 1400 hrs. I was put on a jeep and driven with others into ARNHEM where I am now.
Capt Kessels RAMC removed the stomach splinter and sewed up 14 perforations in the lower intestine that night. I shall soon be as good as new.
St. Elizabeth's Hospital
2 Oct 44
Signed J. W. Hackett
REPORT MADE FROM LOG KEPT BY CAPT H.B. BOOTY
At 1415 hrs 21 Indep Para Coy reports enemy forces moving North up road from 695780 - No news of RASC Pl and it is thought it must have been by-passed.
Lonsdale Force asked to provide a counter attack force if necessary, which was laid on by 1430 hrs but not immediately available owing to heavy shell fire.
The enemy infiltration was reported to Div with a suggestion that a crump be put down at 697780. Awaiting confirmation from Major WILSON, O.C., 21 Indep Para Coy that this is alright.
At 1445 hrs Major WILSON reports situation obscure, and own troops probably mixed up with enemy. He suggest crump 200 yds forward of RASC Pl late position.
At 1515 hrs 21 Indep Para Coy report 2 SP guns firing 200 yds east of M.D.S.
1455 hrs CRA agrees to shoot on enemy but not SP guns owing to proximity of M.D.S.
At 1520 hrs the German ultimatum to move all troops clear of MDS for 200 yds was refused.
At 1525 hrs the crump commenced.
Between 1530 and 1630 hrs fighting was very confused on both 156 Bn front & 21 Indep Para Coy front. Enemy managed to infiltrate amongst the Para Pl who stood firm. Glider Pilots on right of 156 Bn are reported by 156 Bn to have pulled back.
At 1630 hrs Major WILSON reported that he had destroyed a number of enemy. Some of the RASC Pl on right had joined him.
By this time enemy infiltration had brought Div HQ under sniper and occasional M.G. fire. Bullets appear to be going directly over this trench. Brigadiers batman - Pte CAMERON gets hit in arm whilst collecting rations. Keep him in slit trench until dusk and then evacuate in safety to Div RAP.
By evening we held positions much as before and the night was quite quiet.
On 25 Sep 21 Indep Para Coy confirm that they definitely destroyed a tank the previous afternoon.
156 Bn gets heavily mortared and believe an attack to be coming in on their left. Div HQ area was heavily shelled from 0800 hrs for an hour or so.
Lt-Col MURRAY arranged for crump on wood north of Lonsdale Force, which force was going to clear wood. Major LONSDALE considers he cannot do it without suffering heavy casualties and thereby breaking up his perimeter.
The crumps put down by C.R.A. however were not wasted and must have prevented enemy infantry attacks.
During the morning Lonsdale force report 3 SP guns and 1 tiger tank attacking their area approx 695776. Arty fire on woods continues and this seems a better way of wearing down the enemy than taking a force from Lonsdale's valuable force. Col MURRAY issues instructions that there is no hurry for them to go in.
At 1015 hrs small parties of enemy infiltrate under cover of smoke into Para Pl positions and by 1155 hrs Major WILSON reports position stabilised and that any enemy who infiltrated were either dead or withdrawn.
At 1030 hrs Col MURRAY attends a 'O' Gp at Div HQ - this results in a Bde 'O' Gp at 1300 hrs.
Major WILSON sends warning that he may be late or may not even be able to get there owing to snipers. Major LONSDALE reports it impossible to get anyone through.
Col MURRAY issues orders for the evacuation of the bridgehead. Times of passing rd junc 693774 were issued (not remembered now). Any heavy equipment to be broken up or destroyed before leaving.
At 2100 hrs Bde HQ party left under Capt HARKESS. Bde HQ and Sig Sec joined in in the rear. The timetable was not kept and there appeared to be various people from various units all muddled up in one long line.
Most of the Bde HQ was across the river by 0100 hrs 26th. Some casualties due to mortar fire, just before reaching the river.
[Signed H.B. Booty] Captain,
NOTE: Lonsdale Force referred to in this report was composed of:- 11 Bn remnants, 1 Bde remnants, Det South Staffords. Commanded by Major RTH LONSDALE, DSO, MC.