National Archives catalogue number WO 171/394.






Adm / Admin









































L of C




























SO Edn











Map Reference




Assistant Director Ordnance Services


Army Educational Corps

Airborne Troops













Commander Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers

Deputy Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster General

Deputy Assistant Quartermaster General

Deputy Commander Artillery

Deputy Director Mechanical Engineers

Deputy Director Ordnance Services

Division / Divisional

Delivery Point




Estimated Time of Arrival





General Staff Officer







King's Own Scottish Borderers

Liaison Officer

Line of Communication

Landing Ship Tank

Machine Gun

Map Reference

Navy Army Air Force Institute

Officer Commanding



Other Ranks







Royal Artillery

Royal Army Service Corps





Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers



Royal Tank Regiment


Small Arms Ammunition


Senior Officer Education?

Start Point









With Effect



Month and year: August 1944

Commanding Officer: Major R.D. Sellon K.O.S.B.


13th August 1944

Place: Grantham


0615 - Seaborne Ech - approx str 84 offrs, 2,180 O.Rs. with 1,100 vehs moved - S.P. STAMFORD.  D.P. WOODFORD. thence to Transit Camps S2, S3, and S5 East end of LONDON.


Place: London


2000 - All units complete in transit camps.  Additional pet (4 jerricans per veh) and amn (9 rds 75mm or 6-pr) loaded in all vehs (cars 4 str, Trucks 15 cwt & lorries 3-ton).


14th August 1944

Place: London


0800 - Veh loading into Liberty ships commenced at EAST and WEST INDIA DOCKS, also VICTORIA and ALBERT DOCKS.


1700 - Personnel called fwd from transit camps.


1900 - Loading completed and ships move down Thames.


15th August 1944

Place: London


Maj R.D. Sellon - 7 K.O.S.B. (Comd - Seaborne Ech) and Capt Hon J.B. Coventry (Staff Capt Q) moved independently with jeep and trailer, batmen & driver from Blakehill Farm to Air strip B.14 near BANVILLE to arrange seaborne ech reception.


Place: La Mine


1500 - Comd and Staff Capt proceeded to 21 Army Gp (Main) to contact Col Poole (Q Plans).  Lt-Col. Curtis, Commander designate of whole Airborne Tps (Seaborne Ech) arrived by air and contacted during evening.


16th August 1944

Place: Courselles


1730 - Seaborne Ech anchored off beaches for night.


Place: La Mine


Comd and Staff Capt spent day making arrangements for move of Div on arrival to conc area allotted near LA MINE.  During day visits made to 21 Army Gp (Main), 21 Army Gp (Rear), HQ L of C, HQ 5 L of C S/Area, Beach HQ Courselles, and Goldsmith Transit Camp at ST CROIX-SUR-MER.  Recce carried out of conc area - area sub-allotted to Gps.


17th August 1944

Place: Mike Beaches


0830 - Seaborne Ech begins to land on beaches and go direct to Goldsmith Transit Camp.  Gp Comds and Pro. followed later by unit reps proceed ahead to carry out more detailed recce of conc area.  Move from Goldsmith T. Camp to D.P. at N.E. corner of conc area under movement control arrangements, Pro being provided by 21 Army Gp.


Place: La Mine


2000 - Div complete (except scattered elements) in conc area.


1800 - Div HQ est at Fm bldgs - 681756.


1830 - Adm conference held Div HQ - this conference to be held nightly in future.  u/Adm - HQ 5 L of C. Sub-Area.


18th August 1944

Place: La Mine


1200 - Rear elements proceeded from Goldsmith Transit Camp - whole div ech complete in conc area.  Day spent in settling in conc area - digging slit trenches, making rds etc.


19th August 1944

Place: Courselles


1000 - Polish Para Bde (Seaborne Ech) str 15 offrs 188 O.Rs with 144 vehs u/comd, land and pass over beaches to Goldsmith Transit Camp.  Met there by Comd (Seaborne ech) and Pro to guide to conc area already recced for them.  Unfortunately many vehs got separated and did not arrive Transit Camp and at end of day 53 vehs still missing - many being reported heading for front line in CAEN direction.


1900 - Comd visited Col Poole - 21 Army Gp (Q Plans) and informed all tpt in 21 Army Gp pooled that 93 and 250 Comp. Coys R.A.S.C. would be required in that pool and must be off loaded forthwith.  As loss of these coys would immobilise whole element, matter referred on phone to duty offr HQ Airborne Tps.  HQ Airborne Tps (Seaborne Ech) expected to arrive, but message received during evening report 'They are NOT coming'.  Mobile N.A.A.F.I. allocated to Div.  Maps covering local areas issued to all Gps.  S.O. Edn and A.E.C. instructors commenced language and ABCA classes throughout Div and produce daily news sheet entitled 'PEGASUS'.


20th August 1944

Place: La Mine


0930 to 1825 - Comd spent time on air strip B.4 waiting arrival by air of Comd Polish Para Bde and staff - did NOT arrive.  1 Airborne Div & Polish Para Bde (Seaborne Echs) under op comd - OC Seaborne Element, HQ Airborne Tps.  Minimum of tentage obtained and sub-allotted to Gps - sufficient to ensure every man has cover either in tentage, improvised shelters, barns and in or under vehs.


21st August 1944

Place: La Mine


Bare minimum additional tentage obtained 5 L of C to cover perishable articles offloaded from RASC tpt with RASC, Bdes, Div Tps etc.  Tentage obtained in nick of time, all men had cover and generally comfortable, extremely cheerful.  Continual light rain throughout day.  3 Cinema shows 'Dangerous Blondes' scheduled in recreational tent.  Due to leakage in tent, film damaged on first performance and subsequent shows had to be cancelled.


1900 - Local Cinema at LA MINE requisitioned for future film and ENSA shows.


2000 - 93 and 250 Comp Coys u/control 21 Army Gp Pool and at 24 hrs notice.  Recreational tpt to BAYEUX sanctioned (5% only NIGHTLY).


22nd August 1944

Place: La Mine


Fine day, rds and fields very muddy after previous rain - Div spent day largely improving communications, veh maintenance and general adm.  Trg programmes commence.  Polish Para Bde at last reported almost complete in conc area - only 3 vehs missing.


1100 - Message recd from Airborne Tps ordering Lt-Col. Kinvig (CREME), Capt Arnsby (SOPT) and Capt Bunzley (DCA) to return U.K.  Tpt and passage arranged and party left approx 1300 hrs.  Div Location Statement issued.


23rd August 1944

Place: La Mine


Movement Instruction No.1 issued.


24th August 1944

Place: La Mine


Recce for and improvising local ranges for trg purposes.  Welfare equipment recd and issued throughout Gps.  S.O. Edn acting as Welfare offr.


26th August 1944

Place: La Mine


Polish Para Bde Gp u/adm control HQ 5 L of C. Sub-Area through Seaborne Echelon.


29th August 1944

Place: La Mine


1000 - Message from 21 Army Gp ordering following to return to U.K. - to proceed to Star Assembly Area 955847 by 1900 hrs.  REME - wireless jeep and trailer plus crew, HQ RASC jeep, trailer, one offr, 3 O.Rs. 250 Comp Coy.  25 jeeps & trailers, 1 W.O. 29 O.Rs. fitters kits etc.  Each Para Fd Amb 8 O.Rs.  181 Fd Amb 15 O.Rs.


1100 - Message from 5 L. of C. ordering One Pl 93 Comp Coy return U.K. during day.


1645 - Both parties, under comd Capt Naylor R.A.S.C. left LA MINE for STAR assembly area - move completed 2200 hrs.


31st August 1944

Place: La Mine


0730 - Message from 5 L of C - w.e.f. 2300 hrs 30 Aug 93 Comp Coy at 24 hrs to move - vehs recalled and loading started.


2200 - Message from Airborne Tps - warning probable move first light 2 Sep.  All units informed immediately.



Month and year: September 1944

Commanding Officer: Major R.D. Sellon K.O.S.B.


1st September 1944

Place: La Mine


0800 - Units arranging for probable move.


1300 - Information received Seaborne Ech would move first light 2 Sep to Conc area SOUTH of CISORS.


1330 - Conference called at Div H.Q. at which all movement details issued verbally.


1645 - Staff Capt 'Q' and small adv party each unit proceeded to new location.


2200 - Comd received orders from G.S.O.1 (Ops), 21 Army Gp to contact 30 Corps Rear H.Q. near PACY SUR EURES - SOUTH of the SEINE.


2nd September 1944

Place: Cisors


0800 - Adv party arrived new location, carried out recon for main body.


Place: La Mine


0530 - Comd proceeds independently to contact 30 Corps, but finds on arrival at M.R. given 30 Corps Rear left there 48 hrs before.  Obtained possible fwd location, some 100 miles further on, from H.Q. 43 Div - this was confirmed later at Field Marshal Montgomery's Tac H.Q. encountered by chance en route.  30 Corps contacted about 1730 hrs 10 miles SOUTH of AMIENS.  Made arrangements for sups, pet fwd move next day, probably to ARRAS area, from which Comp and party could go forward to contact Airborne Tps.


0530 - 1 Airborne Div and Polish Bde H.Q. on ground that night or early next day in LILLE area.  Comd proceeds 65 miles to Seaborne Ech in conc area and conference to arrange next day's move held.


0530 - Seaborne Ech (Main Body) move off from area LA MINE via by-pass BAYEAU - CAEN - LISEUX - EVREUX - VERNON - THILLIRURS - SUR EURES - CISORS.


Place: Cisors


2200 - Div H.Q. established CHATEAU of CISORS - only recently evacuated by German medical unit.  Whole of Ech under Comd 30 Corps.


2330 - Move completed - tps dispersed for night, mainly in and around local wood.  Party remained overnight prepared to move 0900 hrs, 3 Sep.


3rd September 1944

Place: Cisors


0600 - Comd proceeds independently to 30 Corps Rear H.Q. with Lt. Hopkins, A.P.I.S. and Lt. Drake, R.A.S.C. as 'G' and 'Q' L.Os.  On arrival at 0800 hrs, informed Operation LINNET cancelled.  - decided to remain in a temporary area 15 miles S. of AMIENS.


1015 - Staff Capt Q and Gp reps proceed independently to recce temporary area for halt clear of rd about 15 miles S. of AMIENS from Seaborne Ech would be later called fwd to ARRAS area on orders issued by 30 Corps, when rds sufficiently clear.  As already stated above, owing to Operation LINNET being cancelled, it is later decided to stay over night.


1030 - Due to inability to obtain pet at F.M.C. ordered by 30 Corps to produce it, unable to proceed as arranged at 0900 hrs - move off postponed until 1200 hrs.


1130 - Move again postponed until 1500 hrs, as pet still not obtained.


1500 - Move on to area CREVECOEUR - CONTY.  Move completed by approx 2230 hrs - scattered elements arriving during night.


Place: Crevecoeur


Scattered parties Germans rounded up and handed over to Pro Coy for onward transmission to nearest P.O.W. Cage.


2000 - Div H.Q. est in building CREVECOEUR - M.R. 918274 (previously occupied by Hitler Youth Movement).


2100 - Conference held at Div H.Q. to arrange local admin.


2115 - Message received from Comd, Seaborne Bodies, Air tps (new title decided on S.D., 21 Army Gp), originated at 1730 hrs, that Ech not now under Comd 30 Corps, but under 2nd Army (through him) for Op Comd and 2nd Army Tps direct for Admin.  No move from present (CONTY) area for 24 hrs after arrival.  Second line tpt required for work of exceptional importance (100 3-ton lorries of 93 Coy, R.A.S.C. and units) to be off- loaded and ready to move 0800 hrs, 4 Sep.


2300 - Message received instructing no move for 48 hrs, day spent on veh maintenance and settling in.


4th September 1944

Place: Crevecoeur


Div settling in area sub-allotted to them.


1100 - Message from Div L.O., 30 Corps (Lt Hopkins) instructing Ech to move NORTH of VITRY - M.R. 6304, route via DIAMOND to ARRAS and then via CAVRELLE and FRESNES (30 Corps H.Q. located S.W. of LILLE. M.R. 6425).  In view of message from Comd, Seaborne Bodies no action taken.


1200 - Lt. Hopkins arrived and in accordance with instructions remained at Div H.Q.


5th September 1944

Place: Crevecoeur


Location Statement issued Attached at Appx 'A'.


1600 - All units warned possible move BRUSSELS area evening 7 Sep, more likely morning 8 Sep (to be completed in 2 days).  R.A.S.C. tpt details for 6 Sep cancelled.


2115 - Units informed move starts 0600 hrs, 7 Sep.  Adv recce parties move BRUSSELS 6 Sep.


1800 - Dance and Reception for Div Tps held in local garage, many local inhabitants and F.F.I. attend.  F.F.I. caused a scene by turning out all girls at pistol point, who had anything to do with the Germans during their occupation.


6th September 1944

Place: Crevecoeur


0045 - Gps informed move put fwd.  Short move to area N.E. of AMIENS not before 1300 hrs, 6 Sep.  Long move to BRUSSELS area, 7 Sep.  Normal recce parties report Staff Capt 'Q' outside LAAKEN Palace, BRUSSELS, at 061545 hrs. to meet Comd, Seaborne Bodies for instrs.  Recce parties for short move report Comd, Seaborne Ech x-rds N.1561, 1400 hrs.  Airborne Corps Tps under comd for move purposes only.


0900 - Staff Capt 'Q' and adv party proceed to BRUSSELS area.


0930 - Conference held Div H.Q. when all movement instrs issued verbally.


1030 - Main body adv recce parties for short move proceeded to area N.E. of AMIENS.


1300 - Main body, Seaborne Ech move off - S.P. - x-rds ROSSIGNOL 053416 - turn left ST. SAUFLIEU-HEBICOURT - DURY - AMIENS - D.P. x-rds 116583 (on rd from AMIENS to ALBERT)


2000 - Div dispersed for night - Div H.Q. est farm cottage M.R. 5344.


7th September 1944

Place: Amiens


0530 - Move scheduled to start at 0600 hrs - owing to refuelling difficulties, move postponed until 0900 hrs.


0900 - Main body moved off - AMIENS - ALBERT - BAPAUME - ARRAS - DOUAI - ORCHIES - TOURNAI - ARTH - ENGHEN with D.P. at x-rds 4039.  Div H.Q. est at cottage N.W. of HAL.


Place: Enghen


2230 - Whole Ech (except scattered vehs) past D.P. and in temporary locations N.W. Hal.


8th September 1944

Place: Hal


0800 - Seaborne Ech move off by-passing BRUSSELS, 1200 hrs - Ech parked temporarily on roadside outside LOUVAIN, and orders received to move into bivvy area S.W. of LOUVAIN


Place: Louvain


1500 - Ech commenced dispersing to area LOUVAIN - MOORBEEK - OVERYSSCHE - LOONBEEK 7950 - TERVUEREN - 7543.


1610 - Div H.Q. est at TERBAN MONASTERY, J.8456.


1800 - Conference held Div H.Q.


2000 - Return requested of missing vehs and list of vehs requiring local repair and those requiring replacement. 


2030 - Units warned - no move before 0900 hrs, 10 Sep.


9th September 1944

Place: Louvain


Rest Day throughout Div, except for local veh maintenance.


1430 - Civil Reception for British tps held at LOUVAIN.  Offrs attended opening ceremony.


1515 - Notification - At Unit Comds discretion 50% personnel may proceed to LOUVAIN or nearest village (NOT BRUSSELS).


2100 - Statement fwd to Comd, Seaborne Bodies of vehs requiring replacement.


2245 - Verbal message vis Comd. Seaborne Bodies L.O. - No move under 48 hrs.


1430 - Reps REME and ADOS proceeded to contact Comd, Seaborne Bodies at HQ 30 Corps, to arrange veh replacements on AFG.


1043 - Being unable contact Comd, Seaborne Bodies, information passed to REME and ADOS, 30 Corps.


10th September 1944

Place: Louvain


0700 - All Gps informed - No move 48 hrs.  Veh maintenance will continue.


0915 - All Gps informed - In view of written message 'No move before 1100 hrs 10 Sep' notification of message orientated at 0700 hrs must be held in abeyance pending confirmation.  All Gps placed at 4 hrs notice.


1500 - All Gps informed no move before 0600 hrs 12 Sep - at 6 hrs notice from 2359 hrs 11 Sep.


1500 - NAAFI rations to be drawn 11 Sep.


11th September 1944

Place: Louvain


1300 - Gps informed no move probable before 0600 hrs 13 Sep - six hrs notice to move from 2359 hrs 12 Sep.  50% offrs and men allowed out nearest village or LOUVAIN (No recreational tpt).


1307 - Gps informed Flannagan and Allen, Florence Desmond, and Kay Cavendish will give show at Div HQ 1530 hrs - 100 Each Gp may attend.


1530 - ENSA show given in grounds Div HQ.


1830 - Gps warned improbable any move for 3 or 4 days.  Six hrs notice cancelled.  Trg to commence gp arrangements.


12th September 1944

Place: Louvain


1030 - Permission obtained for limited amount recreational tpt to BRUSSELS, 12 13 and 14 Sep.  Throughout Ech, 22 lorries allowed daily, for period 1500 to 2300 hrs.  50% offrs and men allowed out of div.  Area at any one time, including local village, LOUVAIN and BRUSSELS.  Pro to provide patrols in BRUSSELS and LOUVAIN, to check turnout, behaviour, and passes.


1030 - Owing to grave shortage jerricans, empties to be collected and return to Pet Pt forthwith.


1745 - Amn Depot located at FORET DE MEERDAEL M.R. 8650.  RA Gp detailed provide gd for night, to await relief from 30 Corps.


13th September 1944

Place: Louvain


1630 - Informed and Gps warned - No move before 0600 hrs 15 Sep.  Gps at 6 hrs notice w.e.f. 2359 hrs 14 Sep.


1700 - At request 30 Corps, detailed list of eqpt, bedding, clothing etc submitted to Comd Seaborne Bodies, including kit coming airborne and that carried seaborne for both airborne and seaborne parties.


1800 - Visit by Col Loring (DDOS) and Col. Shorrock (DDME) HQ Airtps.


2000 - Major General Urquhart, Comd 1 Airborne Div, Lt-Col Loder-Symonds, Maj D.J. Madden G2 (Air) together with pilot arrived by plane and stayed night.


2005 - OC REME Workshops and OC Ord Fd Pk instructed to report DDME and DDOS respectively at airfield LOUVAIN 1000 hrs 14 Sep.


2055 - Gp Comds informed RV Div HQ 0845 hrs 14 Sep to meet Gen. Urquhart.


2227 - Comd Corps Tps also infd meet Gen. Urquhart - 0845 hrs 14 Sep.


14th September 1944

Place: Louvain


0900 - Gp Comds and Staff offrs addressed by Maj-Gen Urquhart - Conference Room Div HQ.


0930 - Maj-Gen Urquhart and staff offrs left Div HQ.


1200 - Gps warned - usual recce parties report Comd Seaborne Bodies, at 30 Corps REAR (N of DIEST) 1500 hrs - Kits to be taken.  LOs to report same place 0900 hrs 16 Sep.  Movement conference Div HQ 1700 hrs.  DAA & QMG 1 A/Ldg Bde report this HQ 1500 hrs owing alteration order of march.


1430 - Staff Capt (Q) left Div HQ in charge recce parties. 


15th September 1944

Place: Louvain


0700 - Main body move off via DIEST - BEERINGEN - to conc area LIAO - HELCHTEREN Sheet 3 K37.  Move completed by approx 1145 hrs.


Place: Helchteren


1210 - Tac HQ est at CAPE map ref 3575.


1210 - Infm recd from Comd. Seaborne Bodies that further elt Corps Tps now moving in our coln placed under Seaborne Ech forthwith.


16th September 1944

Place: Helchteren


1545 - Gps infd no further move to-day.  8 hrs notice wef 0600 hrs 17 Sep.  Ech split up into 3 colns for future move fwd - details at Appx 'B' attd.


2315 - All Units concerned issued with Serial Nos for movement purposes - see Appx 'C'.


17th September 1944

Place: Helchteren


1000 - Gp Comds A plus selected offrs Coln 2 and 3 met Comd Seaborne Bodies at HQ 30 Corps Rear when preliminary instrs given verbally.


1145 - Offrs attending conference 1000 hrs warned to meet same location 1730 hrs to receive detailed orders.


18th September 1944

Place: Helchteren


0745 - Adm Instrs issued by Comd Seaborne Bodies concerning move distributed to Unit level - no spare copies held this HQ.


0935 - No move for Coln A before 1500 hrs - half hrs notice from 1430.


1027 - Report centre of move to Ech SP will be est at x-rds HELCHTEREN at H - 20 mins.


1320 - Gps informed no move before 1600 hrs - unlikely to take place before first light 19 Sep.  Coln A to be formed up on side rd and tracks by 1500 hrs.  Tps confined to bivvy area.


1507 - No move before 1800 hrs.


1657 - Gps informed no move Coln A before 1200 hrs 19 Sep.


1735 - Int Summary No.1. issued. 


19th September 1944

Place: Helchteren


1150 - Code names throughout op issued to all Gps.


1150 - Int Summary No.2 issued.


1235 - Gps informed no move A before 1700 hrs.  Executive order probably extremely short notice.  No official halts from during night or if held up.  Normal recce parties report Div HQ 1700 hrs.


1515 - Gps notified no move to-day.  Probable move first light tomorrow.  Recce parties need not now report 1700 hrs.


1940 - Message from Comd Seaborne Bodies 'Be prepared to move 0600 hrs 20 Sep'.  Rfts Corps Sigs ETA tomorrow (50 vehs 235 personnel) will now move coln B.


2000 - Instructed Gp Comds Coln A to be ready to move 0600 hrs 20 Sep.  Normal recce parties will r.v. Tac HQ 0545 hrs.  Comds colns B and C informed of ETA Sigs and to make all arrangements.


1900 to 2303 - Definite move order.  Comd Gp leaves location 0550 hrs 20 Sep passing Div HQ 0600 hrs.  Other gps follow as arranged.  No move coln B daylight 20 Sep.  Probable no move Coln C before 22 Sep. 


20th September 1944

Place: Helchteren

0550 - Col A moved off via 30 Corps SP map ref 355961 and was instructed to park temporarily 5 miles NORTH of ESCAUT CANAL on rd to EINDHOVEN.


0800 - Gps warned verges of rd N of CANAL not clear of mines.  Mine detection parties to be provided before verges usable.


0810 - On instrs at Corps SP that crashed glider located about 1 m fwd, party proceeded to salvage amn etc reported there.  Mortar and .303 SAA collected from Horsa glider LH 956 and party rejoined coln.


1100 - Coln infd held up due to enemy mortaring small br in EINDHOVEN.  Armour going fwd to clear way before coln moves on.


1220 - Gps informed remain present location for night - 43 Inf Div passing through to clear rd ahead.  Comd Seaborne Bodies visiting Gps 1230 onwards to discuss defence arrangements.


21st September 1944

Place: On the rd about 5 mls North of Dutch Frontier


0600 - The Order of March of the Seaborne Echelon is now as follows:

        (a) Coln A halted on rd HETCHEL - EINDHOVEN with its tail just NORTH of the DUTCH frontier.

Comd Gp
Medical Gp
RASC Amn Vehs Gp
1 Para Bde Gp
4 Para Bde Gp 
1 Airldg Bde Gp
Div HQ Gp
Corps Sigs Gp

        (b) Coln B Left behind in HETCHEL area, but moved up in rear of coln A on evening 21 Sep.

Corps Tps Gp 
Div RASC ( less Amn Vehs)

        (c) Coln C Left behind in HETCHEL area.

Polish Para Bde Gp
Div Tps Gp


0600 - Gps placed at 1 hours notice to move.


1945 - Coln A moved off along route EINDHOVEN - ST ODENRODE - UDEN - GRAVE Bridge - NIJMEGEN.  This was a very difficult night move at high density with no head or side lights and much traffic congestion on the rd, particularly at EINDHOVEN, so bad that to get through at all it was necessary to double and even treble bank.  There was considerable enemy activity and shelling quite close on each flank from EINDHOVEN on wards. 


22nd September 1944

Place: On the rd about 5 mls North of Dutch Frontier


0300 - Comd Medical and RASC amn Gps managed to get past all obstructions and halted at about 0330 hrs with head at TCP at ESCHAREN, about two miles SOUTH of GRAVE Br, having sustained a few veh casualties through accidents en route, (one or two of these vehs were subsequently destroyed at VEGHEL by enemy action).  RA Gp and remainder of Coln A however got held up in EINDHOVEN behind a Hy AA Regt and moved up behind them.  Coln A was split.  The AA Regt was attacked by German Tanks at VEGHEL and considerable number of vehs destroyed, but fortunately the head of the RA Gp was just SOUTH of the CANAL at VEGHEL, and they, and the remainder of the coln, escaped attack in the enemy break-through on the route.  A Report on this break-through as received from RA Group is attached at Appendix "G".


Place: South of Grave Nijmegen


1400 - Staff Capt and recce parties proceeded to recce S.E. of NIJMEGEN.


1545 - Comd Medical and RASC amn Gps proceeded via GRAVE Br to the concentration area allotted, only 600 yds from the German frontier.


1800 - HQ established ERICA HOTEL (740598).  Rest of coln still held SOUTH of enemy break-through at VEGHEL.


23rd September 1944

Place: South of Grave Nijmegen


1830 - RA Gp, followed by remainder of Coln A and Coln B reach concentration area S.E. of NIJMEGEN.


2300 - Concentrations of Colns A and B completed.


24th September 1944

Place: South of Grave Nijmegen


0900 - Major HODGES, DAQMG, 1 Airborne Division arrives at HQ at ERICA HOTEL, having crossed the lower RHINE from the battle WEST of ARNHEM.  He and Capt COVENTRY go forward that evening to DRIEL on the SOUTH bank of the LOWER RHINE to supervise the despatch of sups and NAAFI Packs in DUKS, to the hard pressed airborne personnel.


25th September 1944

Place: South of Grave Nijmegen


0900- Major SELLON sent to a conference at Airborne Corps HQ to decide on adm arrangements for the withdrawal of the survivors of the Division from ARNHEM.  Arrangements have to be made to feed, re-clothe and house about 2,000 survivors, and for this purpose two large buildings are taken over; the larger a school which could cater for approx 1200, and the smaller, a school building known as "The Pagoda" for approx 800.


1500 - Extra rations, rum, blankets, stretchers and clothing are obtained from 30 Corps resources, and the two "hotels" are staffed and organised.  Major JESSOP, 1 Para Bde and Major EYLES, DAA & QMG 4 Para Bde, Seaborne Echelon at the school, and Major BALMER, DAA & QMG 1 Airldg Bde with personnel from 1 Airldg Bde at the Pagoda.


2200 - All arrangements are complete for reception of survivors, including preliminary documentation to find out the names and units of survivors.


2330- First survivors begin to arrive.


26th September 1944

Place: Nijmegen


0600 - Last survivors arrive.  Owing to the number exceeding the estimate of 2,000 given, it became necessary to take over another building, a Police Barracks, which is staffed by seaborne personnel of RA Gp.


1700 - General BROWNING sees survivors on parade.  Normal Div HQ Staff assume control of survivors and Seaborne Echelon which, however, keeps its separate identity in view of its future move back to U.K. by sea.


2100 - Coln C arrives concentration area and Polish Para Bde Seaborne Echelon ceases to be under command.


27th September 1944

Place: Nijmegen


In concentration area SE of NIJMEGEN.


28th September 1944
Place: Louvain


0700 - Seaborne Echelon moves to a new concentration area in and around LOUVAIN, followed later in the day by airborne survivors.  HQ established at MON CRESOR Monastery.


29th and 30th September 1944
Place: Louvain


In concentration area in and around LOUVAIN.  All personnel survivors and some seaborne personnel required urgently in U.K. fly home from BRUSSELS Aerodrome, leaving the bulk of Seaborne Echelon personnel and all vehs to come home by sea.  Orders got out P.M. on 30th for move on 1 Oct by road to ARROMANCHES, the "Mulberry" port on the coast of NORMANDY NORTH of BAYEUX.  This would involve a 3 days road move.  Later however orders are received NOT to move on 1 Oct as it is probable that embarkation will be from OSTEND instead.



Month and year: October 1944

Commanding Officer: Major R.D. Sellon K.O.S.B.


1st October 1944

Place: Louvain


Major HODGES, DAQMG, 1 Airborne Division who has remained as Staff Officer with Seaborne Echelon in place of Capt COVENTRY who returned to U.K. by air, proceeds to recce a concentration area at DAHAAN, just NORTH of OSTEND.  He returns to LOUVAIN p.m.


2nd October 1944

Major HODGES, recce parties and 1 and 4 Para Bde and RASC Gps move to DAHAAN.


3rd October 1944

Place: Ostend


0900 - Loading on LSTs starts.


Place: Louvain


0830 - Remainder of Seaborne Echelon move to DAHAAN concentration area.  Major SELLON flies to U.K. to arrange reception and dispersal of Seaborne Echelon on arrival at TILBURY.


4th October 1944

Place: Ostend


Loading on LSTs continues.


Place: Tilbury


First party arrives TILBURY in LSTs and moves to "S" 4 Transit Camp for night, before moving next day to unit locations.


5th, 6th, 7th October 1944

Loading at OSTEND continues daily, and parties disembark at TILBURY, passing through "S" 4 Transit Camp to unit locations.


8th October 1944

Major HODGES and last party arrives TILBURY and disperse.



Appendix "G"




        211800 Roadside (4535) - Informed group would move immediately.

        212000 The Group moved off up the main axis towards NIJMEGEN.

        On passing through VALKENSWAARD an ack-ack group which had overtaken our column while parked by the roadside, started to move again thus causing double banking.  On reaching EINDHOVEN the R.A. Group was held up by the traffic control officer and the ack-ack group were passed through ahead thus cutting the 1st Airborne Division Echelon column.  Movement was extremely slow and after many halts the column reached a point near cross-roads at 456352 approximately 2 miles south west of VEGHEL (4837).

        At approximately 220830 hours a traffic control officer informed the Group Commander that the Group was 'frozen' and that 69 Bde, of 50 Div was having priority on the road.  On passing down the road from ST ODENRODE to the present point, considerable small arms fire had been heard on the north west side of the road and there were guns in action near the verges north of ST. ODENRODE.  The available anti-tank guns were brought into action and defence posts established.  At about 1100 hours the small arms fire increased in intensity and appeared to be approximately 500 yds to the north-west of the road in some fairly thick woods.  A general "Stand To" was ordered and a party went out to investigate.

        The 101st U.S. Airborne Division were providing flank protection to the main axis in the area, but as their Division was covering some 25 miles, they were very thin on the ground.  Furthermore, adjoining units stationary on the road had also sent patrols to the end of the wood and it was also reported that some infantry from 69 Bde who were also passing, debussed to investigate north-west of our positions, though this was not confirmed.  The party were instructed not to proceed into the wood itself as the force available was quite inadequate for wood clearance.  This party was sniped on several occasions both with automatic weapons and single shots, without casualties being suffered.  A post was left covering the exit from the wood and at approximately 1300 hours half the Group was ordered to "Stand Down".  At about 1500 hours an armoured car from the Royal Dragoons stopped at the head of our column and it was understood that that unit in conjunction with 44 R.T.R. were in support of 101st U.S. Airborne Div.  In view of the difficulty of getting information as to the position in the immediate vicinity of the Group a 22 set was netted into the armoured car wireless net.  It was also arranged that the armoured car and a scout car which had arrived on the scene would go into the wood together with a patrol found by Group HQ.  This was done and upon reaching a point some 500 yds from the road, Cpl HOWARD of HQ, saw, fired at and hit a German whom he saw some 80 yds away.  Fire was also directed from Stens into the area and 28 Germans came out of the hedgerow and gave themselves up.  It was thought that the 29th man was dead but the burial party who went back some of an hour later only found some traces of blood.  At this time another German gave himself up voluntarily to personnel of 2nd Light Bty.  The weapons captured included 3 M.G. 38s.

        Night 22/23 - on the information available it appeared from the prisoners that there were considerable numbers of Germans still in the woods in the area.  Later the same evening about 350 were captured by the 101st Division N.E. of our position and were seen marching on the road to VEGHEL.  Contrary to expectation the night was without incident, though units nearer VEGHEL suffered casualties through enemy gunfire.

        The Group had remained "frozen" after the passage of 69 Bde because the road was cut by an enemy armoured force approximately a mile north of VEGHEL and a number of vehicles of the proceeding group were destroyed with casualties.  Throughout the morning of the 23 Sep VEGHEL was shelled intermittently and no information had been informed of when a move was likely though the Group Commander had an interesting time hearing the Adjt of the 44 R.T.R. calling up an armoured column who were coming back down the main axis from NIJMEGEN, there apparently being at the time no other wireless communication between VEGHEL and the armoured force approaching from the north.

        At 1530 hours approximately, a Lt Col of the 69th Bde, who appeared to have come from the north-east was stopped as he passed the head of the R.A. Column and he stated that he was probably the first vehicle through the enemy road block which had now been disposed of by the armoured column from Guards Armoured Division.  10 mins later a subaltern traffic control officer informed the Group Commander that the road was again open and that the Group would move off immediately in the rear of the remainder of 69 Bde, but this order was countermanded by the Lt Col responsible for traffic control and the Group moved off within 20 minutes.  Only a few isolated vehicles had got through to GRAVE (6253) before the R.A. column, though there was no incident except slight enemy sniping.  The road was found clear all the way and the Group arrived in its new area at 7459 just south-east of NIJMEGEN at 1830 hours.