National Archives catalogue reference WO 171/396.

 

Abbreviations

A/L

Amn

Arty

Bde

BMRA

Bty

CCRA

Conc

CRA

Div

EME RA

FOO

HQRA

IORA

Lt

LZ

MDS

Med

Mess

Offr

Op

OR

PW

RA

Rd

Regt

Rly

Sigs

SLRA

Tac

Tgt

Tpt

Air Landing

Ammunition

Artillery

Brigade

Brigade Major Royal Artillery

Battery

Corps Commander Royal Artillery

Concentrate

Commander Royal Artillery

Division

Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Officer Royal Artillery

Forward Observation Officer

Headquarters, Royal Artillery

Intelligence Officer Royal Artillery

Light

Landing Zone

Main Dressing Station

Medium

Messages

Officer

Operation

Other Ranks

Prisoner of War

Royal Artillery

Road

Regiment

Railway

Signals

Staff Lieutenant Royal Artillery

Tactical

Target

Transport

 

 

Month and year: September 1944

Commanding Officer : Brig R. G. Loder-Symonds DSO MC

 

2nd September 1944

Place: Down Ampney & Moor Park

 

Operation 'LINNET' cancelled.

 

6th September 1944

Place: Down Ampney & Moor Park

 

Op FIFTEEN commenced.

 

7th September 1944

Place: Down Ampney & Moor Park

 

Op FIFTEEN to be known as COMET/

 

10th September 1944

Place: Down Ampney & Moor Park

 

1540 - Op COMET cancelled and Transit Camp unsealed.

 

11th September 1944

Place: Down Ampney & Moor Park

 

Planning for Op MARKET commenced.

 

12th September 1944

Place: Down Ampney & Moor Park

 

Planning for MARKET continues at MOOR PARK.  Rear HQRA remains at DOWN AMPNEY.

 

15th September 1944

Place: Down Ampney & Moor Park

 

MARKET planning complete.

 

16th September 1944

Place: Down Ampney & Moor Park

 

Tac HQRA moves to DOWN AMPNEY.

 

17th September 1944

Place: Arnhem area.

 

1030 - C.R.A.  B.M.R.A.  I.O.R.A. take off for HOLLAND in two gliders.  C.R.A. and I.O.R.A. arrive safely on L.Z.  B.M.R.A. broke tow rope and landed again in England after 30 mins airborne.

 

18th September 1944

Place: Arnhem area.

 

1200 - B.M.R.A.  E.M.E. R.A.  S.L.R.A. and Sigs Offr RA took off for HOLLAND arrived 1530 hrs safely on correct L.Z.

 

1700 - H.Q.R.A. reunited on rd ARNHEM - UTRECHT.

 

Place: Hartenstein

 

1800 - H.Q.R.A. moved with Div H.Q. along UTRECHT road to grounds of hotel at HARTESTEIN.  Found first class ready made dug out with pit prop roof and walls.  Communications O.K. with Lt Bty who were still on C.R.As. command net.  A quiet night.

 

19th September 1944

Place: Hartenstein

 

Lt Btys now on Regt net.  C.R.As. net just himself and Lt Regt rear link.  No communications with outside arty.  RA Sigs Offr (Lt Marshall tried very hard all day and put 19 set on roof of hotel).  4 Para Bde suffered hard knocks this afternoon in woods NORTH of Rly.  Quiet night.

 

20th September 1944

Place: Hartenstein

 

Move into tight perimeter around HARTESTEIN began.  All Div units less 1 Para Bde S.Staffs and 11 Para Bn now in this perimeter. Mortaring begun in area by enemy.  Still no communication to outside Arty, but various rumours of the arrival on the SOUTH BANK.

 

21st September 1944

Place: Hartenstein

 

0900 - Touch made on arrival with 64 Medium Regt by A/L Bde.  FOO put HQRA 19 set on this wave and maintained first class communications on it for rest of battle.  System of step up net was used every night on the SOUTH bank of the NEDER River.  This wireless link the only really good one of the Division proved invaluable.

 

22nd September 1944

Place: Hartenstein

 

H.Q.R.A. now well down into the dugout owing to constant mortaring.  Little tpt now serviceable.  C.R.A. and Capt O'Grady spent time at 'G' Office in cellars 100 yds away.  Lt Barber wounded in shoulder either to-day or 21st but after dressing remained at duty.  Fire of 30 Corps arty obtained via 64 Med Regt was by now available and its moral effect alone was terrific both on our side and the enemy.  H.Q.R.A. from now on was largely a Fire Control Post passing the demands, which arrived from all sources, to the outside arty.

 

23rd September 1944

Place: Hartenstein

 

Another similar day.  Attacks by the enemy beaten off, counter attacks by us, much support from outside arty though the question of amn was becoming serious.  Scale 2 was almost always the maximum the could be fired on any one tgt.  Mortaring bad at Div H.Q. - the place becoming rather a shambles and shortage of men acute.

 

24th September 1944

Place: Hartenstein

 

Sniping due to infiltration added to the worries of mortaring.  C.R.A. & B.M.R.A. had a lucky escape from snipers while standing in the entrance to H.Q.R.A. dug out.  Wireless now inside dugout for safety, with aerials stuck through roof.  First class work by Cpl Stopforth in keeping remote control cables mended and by all Sigs in continuous manning of the sets.  Sgt Dear (AC) and Gnr Templeman (CRAs Batman) did sterling work by producing food and cooking it in a hole they had made, at all hours of the day.  One by now had begun to look forward very much to the approach of night.  75mm GUN amn resupplied to-day.

 

25th September 1944

Place: Hartenstein

 

A quieter day, both sides being very tired.  Proposed fire plan for withdrawal enslidexed in two huge messages and sent to C.C.R.A.  Great relief when ack was received.  Slidex keys have proved a stumbling block throughout battle owing to faulty 'tie up' in planning period.  Capt Hayward (EME RA) and Lt de Burgh (SLRA) did excellent work to day in taking mess etc. to Light Regt by now more or less cut off from H.Q.R.A.

 

2200 - H.Q.R.A. destroyed remaining wireless sets and set off towards river.  C.R.A.  B.M.R.A. and 30 O.Rs. reached it together at 1145.  I.O.R.A. a little late.  E.M.E. R.A. also OK. having gone to get Lt Regt message to withdraw.  Sigs Offr went independently to river.  Lt de Burgh was captured taken to MDS and then escaped and swam river in the morning. All others crossed by boat during night.  Sgt Dear and L/Bdr Cole (Clerks) however were unsuccessful and were made P.W.

 

26th September 1944

Place: Nijmegen

 

0500 - Most of H.Q.R.A. passed through ELST and reached NIJMEGEN.

 

0800 - Breakfast, whisky then sleep all day.  Contact made with 1st Seaborne Lift.  Air raid that night in NIJMEGEN.

 

27th September 1944

Place: Nijmegen

 

Day spent in checking nominal rolls and making plans for move back.  H.Q.R.A. conc in hotel on EAST of NIJMEGEN.

 

28th September 1944

Place: Nijmegen

 

Road move to DIEST and then to LOUVAIN where spent night in Military Barracks. Offrs Mess for all Div Arty in an estaminet in LOUVAIN.

 

29th September 1944

Place: Louvain

 

1100 - C.R.A.  B.M.R.A. visited H.Q. 21 Army Group BRUSSELS and lunched there.

 

1530 - H.Q.R.A. with remainder of Div H.Q. emplaned at BRUSSELS airport in C.47s.

 

1800 - Arrived BARKSTON HEATH Airfield and met welcome from England.  Very good meal.  RAF band, and beer.  Return to own billets.