Thanks to The Airborne Soldier for this diary.

 

Abbreviations

A/

Adjt

Admin

Air

A/Tk

Bde

Bn
Bty

Coy

Div

DR

GP

I/C

Lt

LZ

MDS

MG

MT

MTB

Ops

RA

RAP

RASC

Regt / Rgt

RV

Sq
SSM

TCC

Acting

Adjutant

Administration

Airborne

Anti-Tank

Brigade

Battalion

Battery

Company

Division / Divisional

Driver

Glider Pilots

In-Command

Light

Landing Zone

Main Dressing Station

Machine Gun

Motor Transport

Motor Torpedo Boat

Operations

Royal Artillery

Regimental Aid Post

Royal Army Service Corps

Regiment

Rendezvous

Squadron

Squadron Sergeant Major

Troop Carrier Command

 

 

Month and year: September 1944

Commanding Officer : Major T.I.J. Toler

 

1st September 1944

Place: Brize Norton

 

Briefing for Operation "LINNET" commenced.  This is the landing of the Airborne Army in the LILLE, TOURNAI, COUTRAY, RENAIX area.  "B" Squadron to land astride the Railway at BERCHEM.  Carrying H.Q. and 2 Coys, 2nd South Staffs. and No.1 Airlanding A/Tk Bty, R.A.  We are in "Placeforce" and are to defend QUAREMONT.

 

2nd September 1944

Place: Brize Norton

 

Operation "LINNET" postponed.

 

3rd September 1944

Place: Brize Norton

 

1030 - Station ordered to move to MANSTON today ready to operate on Sept. 4th.

 

1430 - Move cancelled at Midday and Operation "LINNET" cancelled.  Briefing for operation entailing landing by bridges at MAASTRICHT and LIEGE at HARWELL in evening.  This Operation cancelled at midnight.

 

4th September 1944

Place: Brize Norton

 

Move to MANSTON postponed on account of weather.

 

5th September 1944

Place: Manston

 

1500 - 1st Lift takes off for MANSTON in high wind.  Only two combinations fail to arrive.

 

6th September 1944

Place: Manston

 

1030 - 2nd Lift arrive at MANSTON.  Telephonic communication with base very difficult.

 

7th September 1944

Place: Manston

 

Raining very heavily.  Briefing for Operation "COMET" in station cinema.  Roof of improvised "Ops" Room leaks.  All troops very wet.  Operation to consist of 1 Air. Div. on bridges at ARNHEM, NIJMEGEN and GRAVE, "B" Squadron land near GROESBEEK and advance with 2nd South Staffs into Nijmegen.  Same loads as for "LINNET".  All Gliders deeply bogged.  S/Sgt. Hooper arrives with No.13 Platoon having had two tug failures on successive days entailing forced landings.  His third effort was successful.

 

8th September 1944

Place: Manston

 

Operation "COMET" postponed 24 hours.

 

9th September 1944

Place: Manston

 

Operation "COMET" postponed 48 hours.

 

10th September 1944

Place: Manston

 

Operation "COMET" cancelled.

 

11th September 1944

Place: Manston

 

Tugs and tug crews return to Brize Norton.  Squadron liaise with Navy M.T.B's. and A.S.R's. at RAMSGATE.

 

12th September 1944

Place: Manston

 

Five conflicting orders received between 1200 and 1600 hours regarding Glider unloading.

 

13th September 1944

Place: Manston

 

Gliders eventually unloaded.

 

14th September 1944

Place: Manston

 

Major Toler, Capt. Neale and Lieut. Barclay return to Brize Norton.

 

15th September 1944

Place: Manston

 

Briefing for Operation "MARKET" at HARWELL.  Same as Operation "COMET" but 1st Air. Div. landing at ARNHEM.  1 Flight of "B" Squadron are to proceed from ARNHEM Area after landing to increase to local protection for Corp. H.Q. at NIJMEGEN.  Remaining Glider Pilots to remain with loads.  Major Toler and Capt. Neale return to MANSTON.

 

16th September 1944

Place: Manston

 

Loading completed.  Briefing for Operation "MARKET".

 

17th September 1944

Place: Arnhem

 

1040 - 1st Lift takes off from Manston on Operation "MARKET".  Weather excellent over base and sea.  Cloudy over Holland.  L.Z. located and all landed within area without casualties except of S/Sgt. Hopkins and Sgt. Hooper who were wounded by M.G. fire after landing.  Two Gliders failed to arrive.  Lieut. Barclay and Lieut. Millar rope broke over TILBURG.  S/Sgt. Geary and S/Sgt. Bristow rope detached from tug over U.K.  Combination flew over on second day.  No opposition on L.Z.  South Staffs and G.P's. rendezvous at REIJERS CAMP.  Quiet night after digging in.

 

18th September 1944

Place: Arnhem

 

19 Flight have moved off with their loads (No.1 A/Tk. Bty.) the previous day and nothing further has been heard of them.  20 Flight move off with S/Staffs towards the bridge at ARNHEM to relieve the 1st Para Bde.  F.W. 190's shoot up L.Z. at approx. 1030 hours.  Many snipers en route.  By evening 20 Flight put under command of Major Timothy of 1st Para Bn. with the remainder of his men to act reserve and rearguard of 2 Coys. of S. Staffs.  After nightfall we moved up the road by the river towards ARNHEM Bridge.  High ground on N. of this road held strongly by enemy.

 

Place: Manston

 

0900 - Final briefing for 2nd Lift.

 

1215 - 2nd Lift took off on Operation "MARKET".  S/Sgt. Proctor forced landed near ASHFORD.

 

19th September 1944

Place: Arnhem

 

0300 - Lt. Col. McCardie decides to go for the bridge which he understands is held by Lt.-Col. Frost and 80 men.  Road of advance is covered by 20 mm. gun.  Zero is 0400 hours.  Major Timothy has rejoined 1st Para. Bn.  Lt. Col. McCardie released Glider Pilots to return to Div. H.Q. 0330 hrs.  20 Flight return along road under fire and reach Div. H.Q. shortly after dawn.

 

Work and rest until midday.  Capt. Neale reports all well with 2nd Lift and with Lt. Regt. R.A.  Sec. first re-supply comes in under heavy Flak.  In afternoon take up position round house at S.E. perimeter of Div.  Sq. H.Q. within house.  Dug in.  Slight shelling during night.  Mad woman runs through the position just after dusk, singing loudly.

 

Place: Manston

 

Residue of "B" Squadron personnel at MANSTON return to Brize Norton.

 

20th September 1944

Place: Arnhem

 

Capt. Miller reports in and says he is with the Lt. Rgt. by the Church at OOSTERBEEK.  Slight mortaring in morning.  See Capt. Barrie and Major Murray.  Capt. Bottomley brings an Intelligence report and tells us we are to move back into the Div. H.Q. 100 yds. behind us with Capt. Priest of "G" Squadron on our left, and our right to link up with Capt. Walchi.  S.S.M. Watt obtains German Staff Car.

 

Flight digs in in line of trees.  In afternoon Flight opens up with PIAT and Automatics at Sniper in house opposite.  P.I.A.T. very effective against house.  Supplies dropped in enemy lines - heavier Flak.  S.S.M. Watt arranges party with jeep to bring in supplies.  Water to be obtained from well.  Quiet night.

 

Place: Brize Norton

 

NORMAL ROUTINE

 

21st September 1944

Place: Brize Norton

 

NORMAL ROUTINE

 

Place: Arnhem

 

Heavy mortaring and "moaning minnies" in morning.  Sgts. Andrews and Raggett killed.  Capt. Low, S/Sgt. Watt, Sgt. McCarthy, Sgt. Consterdine wounded.  All by Mortar burst.  Wounded taken to M.D.S. by S.S.M. Watt.  All trenches covered by overhead protection.  In afternoon loudspeaker on our front called on us to surrender and mentioned Lt. Col. McCardie's name.  We replied with Bren Gun fire.  Staff car smashed by Mortar fire.  Sgts. Andrews and Raggett buried.

 

22nd September 1944

Place: Arnhem

 

Heavy Mortaring and Shelling in morning.  Supplies dropped in evening.  Rocket Typhoons attacked enemy.

 

Place: Brize Norton

 

Capt. Tallantyre and 11 Glider Pilots arrived at Brize Norton.

 

23rd September 1944

Place: Arnhem

 

Very heavy mortaring and shelling for four hours continuously.  Jeep set on fire.  Several dug outs blown in.  No one injured.  Each section in turn has been occupying house outside our perimeter.  S/Sgt. Thomson's Section now occupies the house by Major Wilson's H.Q.  S/Sgt. Thomson wounded by Mortar fire in getting to position.  S/Sgt. Baldwin taken over.  Still no definite news of Troops crossing the river other than a few Poles.  Water getting very scarce but still obtainable from well.

 

Place: Brize Norton

 

H.M. Queen Mary visited Brize Norton Aerodrome.  Gliders under command of Capt. Tallantyre carried out Demonstration landing.  Lieut. Palmer reported for duty as Admin Officer vice Lieut. Futter, absent on Operation "MARKET.  S/Sgt. Baavke returned to Base from Operation "MARKET", having forced landed in Channel.  S/Sgt. Goldsack and Sgt. Foster returned to Base from Operation "MARKET" having forced landed behind enemy lines and been assisted in their escape by the Dutch Resistance Movement.

 

24th September 1944

Place: Arnhem

 

Shelling and Mortaring very heavy.  More trenches blown in.  P.I.A.T. smashed by Mortar fire.  Major Toler takes over No.1 Wing vice Lt. Col. Murray commanding 4th Para Bde. vice Brig. Hatchett.  Very heavy mortaring and shelling of Div. H.Q.  Wood on South of our position vacated by Bde. H.Q. without informing us.  Enemy infiltrate into this wood.

 

Place: Brize Norton

 

S/Sgt. Goldsack and Sgt. Foster proceeded to Moor Park for interview by Col. Baird, H.Q. Airborne Forces, relative their recent escape.

 

25th September 1944

Place: Arnhem

 

Shelling and Mortaring not so heavy.  S/Sgt. Baker killed by bullet.  S/Sgt. Gowen wounded by splinter through roof of dug out.  Order for withdrawal at 1300 hours.  20 Flight to withdraw with Div. H.Q. Section under Major Wilson.  Remainder of "B" Squadron at Lt. Rgt. position under command of Lt. Rgt. R.A.  Withdrawal to start at 2045.  S.S.M. Watt, Capt. Priest, Lieut. Futter, to arrange piquets on Eastern route to river.  All quiet at start.  Very heavy automatic fire in wood South of Division probably for diversion by 30 cwts.  Very wet and dark night.  Route to river O.K.  Everyone bunched at last hedgerow by river and enemy put three Mortars in centre of bunch causing many casualties.  Boats commenced ferrying and several were sunk and occupants drowned, carrying heavy equipment.  After crossing the river Flight R.V. at DRIEL with no further casualties other than S/Sgt. Norris who was taken to R.A.P. on S. side of the river.

 

Place: Brize Norton

 

1400 - 8 crews of Capt. Tallantyre's Flight proceeded to TARRANT RUSHTON.

 

26th September 1944

Place: Nijmegen

 

At NIJMEGEN.  Joined up with Seatail.

 

Place: Brize Norton

 

Lieut. Howarth (Yorks and Lancs Regt) reported for duty as A/Adjt.  Advance party proceeded to R.A.F. Station, Earls Colne, party consisted of: Sgt. Roberts, (i/c) L/C. Macilquham (Clerk), Tpr. Hayward (D.R.), Tpr. Webber, Tpr. Adams, Tpr. Hollis (all G.D.)

 

27th September 1944

Place: Nijmegen

 

At NIJMEGEN.

 

Place: Brize Norton

 

S/Sgt. Harrison W.F. and S/Sgt Cotterill reported back to Base from Operation "MARKET" (ex ARNHEM).

 

28th September 1944

Place: Louvain

 

Squadron embussed in R.A.S.C. transport for Brussels.  On passing through the "corridor" N. of EINDHOVEN, enemy burst through within 100 yds.  Spent night at Barracks at LOUVAIN.

 

Place: Brize Norton

 

Moving of stores etc, to Earls Colne.

 

29th September 1944

Place: Brize Norton

 

In transport to Brussels airfield.  Emplaned in Dakota of 9th T.C.C. landed at LYMPNE due to bad weather.  Took off after lunch and landed at RAMSBURY.  Transport from Brize Norton to take us to base.

 

1900 - Major Toler, Lieuts. Futter and Norton and 54 N.C.O's. of Squadron arrived from ARNHEM, having been landed at RAMSBURY and been collected by M.T. from that 'drome.

 

30th September 1944

Place: Brize Norton

 

Debriefing of personnel ex ARNHEM carried out by Major Toler and Lieut. Norton.