National Archives catalogue reference WO 171/1237







C of E














Airborne Division




Church of England


Division / Divisional

Dispersal Point


Motor Transport

Officer Commanding

Other Ranks

Physical Training

Royal Army Service Corps
Roman Catholic



Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers




Month and year: August 1944


"War Diary" for The Seaborne Element sent from France.  Lt. J. Parker who is in charge of the 2nd Bn The Parachute Regt. "B" Echelon.


12th August 1944

Place: Grantham


A.M. - Personnel packing Kit and preparing to move.  Kit and Equipment loaded into transport.


1915 - Party of 1 Officer and 67 ORs plus 1 R.A.S.C. driver T/A. set out for HQ 1 Para Bde arriving approx. 2000 hrs.


13th August 1944

Place: London


0400 - Reveille.


0600 - First lorry of Bde convoy move off.


0615 - First 2nd Bn lorry moves off.


Place: London


1800 - Convoy arrives at Transit Camp in Canning Town London area.  Evening meal served and 24 hrs ration packs issued.


P.M. - English money changed into Francs and pay drawn where required.  An Air Raid during the night and early morning of the 14th.  A number of P. planes landing in the vicinity but not near enough to cause damage to personnel or to Camp.


14th August 1944

Place: London


0700 - Reveille.  Personnel spend day in final packing resting and swimming in Canning Town Lido adjacent to Transit Camp.


1700 - Party move off to West India Docks in R.A.S.C. Tpt. after an early tea.


1755 - Party embarks on the S.S. SAMNESSE together with other Elements of 1 A.B.D.


15th August 1944

Place: London


A.M. - Boat commences to pass through locks into the "Thames", but later returns to Quay.


0925 - Boat casts off and passes through lock into the "Thames".


1800 - Convoy moves off after anchoring off "Shoeburyness".


16th August 1944

Place: France


1940 - Convoy arrives in the vicinity of "CAEN" beach-head.  Anchored for the night.  Raid by German fighter aircraft.


17th August 1944

0400 - Reveille.


0530 - Party Standing by to move off.


0800 - Commencement of lorry unloading from holds, personnel cleaning below decks.


P.M. - Lorries and personnel landed during the afternoon.  Last party leaving boat at 1825 hrs.  Road party marched to assembly area and after proceeded to Tpt at Div Camp area Map Ref 6876 sheet France Scale 1/100,000 ST LO VIRE Sheet 6F.


18th August 1944

AM - Parties digging in.  Lorries unloaded to ease springs.


19th August 1944

A.M. - Deeping of Slit Trenches and general improvement of Camp area.


1000 - Camp inspection of area by O.C. 1st Bde Gp.


1300 - Swimming party to Beach head.


20th August 1944

A.M. - Voluntary Church parade for C of E & R.Cs.


1400 - Liberty Truck to "Bayeux".


21st August 1944

A.M. - Owing to heavy rain personnel remained under canvas.


22nd August 1944

1400 - Voluntary French lessons by C.S.M.I. Education 1 A.B.D.


23rd August 1944

A.M. - P.T.


1400 - Lecture by Capt Edge Div Education Officer 1 A.B.D.


24th August 1944

A.M. - P.T.


1630 - 15 personnel go to Div film show.


1800 - French lessons.


"General Notes".

        News.  News received daily from Wireless allotted to 1 Para Bde Gp.  Daily Newspapers received at intervals.

        Mail.  Very little Mail received during this period.

        ALL M.T. personnel engaged in general overhaul and cleaning vehicles.



Month and year: September 1944


1st September 1944

Place: Bayeux


1430 and 1815 hrs parade to see Ivor Novello in Love from a Stranger.


2nd September 1944

0800 - Bde Convoy moves off.  Travels distance of 155 miles and spends night in quarry at 674918.


3rd September 1944

A.M. - Standing by awaiting orders to move off.


1700 - All rifles charged Convoy moves off.


2030 - Bn arrives at CATHEUX after travelling 50 miles billeted in Barns.


4th to 5th September 1944

Bn awaiting orders to move.


6th September 1944

1315 - Bn move off in Bde convoy travel 35 miles arrive CONTAI at 1625 hrs.


7th September 1944

1320 - Move off 121 travelled.


8th September 1944

0100 - Arrived at bivouac area 3 miles West of BRUSSELS.


0830 - Move off.  1020 to 1430 hrs halt on outskirts of LOUVEIN.


1600 - Arrived at billets in BERTHAM.  Personnel allowed out on pass to 2230 hrs.


9th September 1944

Awaiting orders to move.  Personnel allowed out on Pass.


10th September 1944

Place: Bertham


0930 - Parade by Gp Commander followed by an informatory talk.


P.M. - 50% personnel allowed out on Pass.


11th September 1944

A.M. - M.T. on maintenance.  3 O.R.s acted as escort to the Coffin at the Funeral of Captain Poelmans of the Belgian Army, a member of the local resistance movement who was shot by the Gestapo on the same day that they left.


1300 - 20 personnel go to see E.N.S.A. show with Flannagan and Allen and Florence Desmond.


12th September 1944

A.M. - General Routine.


1200 - Inspection of vehicles by R.E.M.E.


1445 - Recreational Transport to BRUSSELS.


13th September 1944

A.M. - General Routine - M.T. on maintenance.


14th September 1944

A.M. - General Routine - M.T. on maintenance.  Div Comd flies from England and visits Bde Gp.


15th September 1944

0700 - Move off via DIESTE to Dispersal Point.


1150 - Arrived at D.P. 8 miles past HEUSDEN.


1230 - 14 Men parade for Baths.


16th September 1944

1400 - Baths for 30 men.


17th September 1944

1000 - Baths for remainder.


P.M. - Cleaning and Issue of Automatic Weapons.


1530 - Parade for Situation Talk by Bde Gp Comd.


18th September 1944

Standing By awaiting orders to move.


19th September 1944

Standing by.


20th September 1944

0700 - Move off to point on the Main Eindhoven Road.


P.M. - Slit Trench digging.


1915 to 1945 - Stand to.


21st September 1944

0515 to 0550 - Stand to.


1930 - Convoy moves off.


22nd September 1944

0845 - Convoy halts awaiting further orders to North of EINDHOVEN.


1400 - Sections take up defensive positions to counter infiltration from Panzer Division to NNE.


1715 to 2000 - Stand to.  Patrols out during the night and early morning 23rd.


23rd September 1944

0515 to 0600 - Stand to.


1630 - Move off to area of VJEDHEL.  Vehicles camouflaged and slit trenches dug.


24th September 1944

0515 to 0600 - Stand to.


1915 to 2000 - Stand to.


25th September 1944

0515 to 0600 - Stand to.


1630 - A number of senior NCOs proceed to NIJMEGEN to received 1 Airborne Div personnel from the line.  Great amount of air activity during afternoon between Allied and German fighters.


26th September 1944

General Routine.


27th September 1944

Preparation for move.


28th September 1944

0720 - CLUB Route via DIEST to LOUVEIN arriving at 1550 hrs.


P.M. - Personnel surviving from Arnhem join Seaborne Element.


29th September 1944

Sorting of personnel, preparations for movement of personnel and lorries for move.  Advance party flies to England.


30th September 1944

1030 - 17 Arnhem survivors and 24 Admin personnel fly to England.