National Archives catalogue number WO 171/5254.




4 & 56

















Gds Armd












Off / Offr

O Gp

Oxf & Bucks LI




















X roads

Map Reference

4 Officers and 56 Other Ranks

52nd Regiment of Foot (2nd Ox and Bucks Light Infantry)












Defensive Fire

Division / Divisional


Forward Observation Unit


Guards Armoured










Landing Zone

Medium Machine Gun

Map Reference


Orders Group

Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry




Prisoner of War



Royal Engineers


Regimental Headquarters

Royal Ulster Rifles


Small Arms

South East Asia Command

Save Our Souls



Troop Carrying Vehicle

Worcestershire Yeomanry




Month and year : March 1945

Commanding Officer : Lt. Col. M. Darell-Brown D.S.O.


March 1945

War Diary for period 1st - 24th March was destroyed by fire on Operation "VARSITY".  During this period the Reg't was enjoying leave, training & refitting at BULFORD & preparing for the coming operation.  All flying personnel moved to transit camp at BIRCH on March 20th.


Int. Off'r. 2nd. Oxf. & Bucks L.I.


24th March 1945

Place: Birch


0615 - After an early rouse and breakfast, we were taken in transport from the BIRCH transit camp to the airfields at BIRCH & GOSFIELD, whence we started take-off at 0615 hrs.  Weather fine.  Very smooth flight.


Place: Hamminkeln Sta.


1020 - Immediately after passing over the RHINE fire from heavy Flak guns started coming up & several tugs and gliders were hit by shrapnel.  As we approached the LZ and cast off we were troubled by 20mm fire from positions round our objectives.  Many gliders crashed & caught fire because of this & very great credit is due to the glider pilots who took us down through it to land with few exceptions, in the right places.


1140 - Message sent to Bde to the effect that all objectives had been gained, bridges intact.  We were short of Jeeps & heavier weapons - 6 pdrs. & mortars.  Many Jeeps had caught fire or been holed, & it was impossible to get others out of the gliders which were under enemy observation.  All was quiet save for spasmodic spandau fire, by 1530 hrs. "D" Coy moved to its pos'n near "C" as planned & the Glider Pilots took over the farm in rear of RHQ. where they received 110 PW, who were later sent back to Bde.


1600 - Divisional & Bde Commanders arrived.  All the Div. objectives taken.  Heavy cas among Airlanding Bde.  Estimated 50% total cas. in Regiment.


1900 - Glider Pilots under Sqn-Leader Reynolds took up pos'n astride Railway south of RHQ.


2000 - Patrol from "C" Coy under Lt. Stone sent to raid Lt. Flak pos'n 216503, 2 Germans killed, 2 prisoners.  Lt. Stone wounded.


2030 - Strength of Coy's as far as can be ascertained are as follows A 4 & 56, B 2 & 45, C 4 & 52, D 5 and 58.


2320 - "B" Coy report sounds of track vehicles in RINGENBURG.  F.O.U. engaged target with medium art'y.


25th March 1945

Throughout the night this movement continued & tanks & about 30 infty approached the bridge.  "A" Coy were moved up to area behind "B" Coy.  When it appeared that the tanks were on the bridge, the order was given for the bridge to be blown.  Enemy definitely got into houses 218498.


0300 - Attack seems to have stopped.  One tank hit by 6 pdr.  Damage not known.  Mediums laying harassing fire.


0400 -  The enemy started working round to the N.  Small party infiltrated between C & A Coys.


0445 - C Coy attacked and one pl pos'n overrun.  S.O.S. Tasks called for.  A Coy counter attacked Northwards & one coy from 12 Devons moved up to occupy A Coys former pos'n around crossroads.


0530 - Tank activity started up again between RINGENBURG & the river.  2 Mark IV's definitely seen.  Shortly after 0700 Typhoons made their first rocket-firing attack.  A Coy returned to their original pos'n releasing the Devons company.  Typhoon attacks on AUTOBAHN & RINGENBURG areas throughout the day.  Continued enemy infantry activity was noticed to the N & W of D Coy, who made a clearing raid on the houses at 214508.


1900 - Comd Offr's O Gp at Bde.  Infm re take-over during the night by 157 Bde of 52 (L) Div.


2040 - A Coy again attacked Northwards beside the road, suffering some casualties from enemy who appeared behind civilians who were displaying a white flag.  While the Cameronians were taking over during the night, there was some desultory fire over the whole Bn area, but very few casualties were incurred.


26th March 1945

0600 - Relief complete.  Regt assembled W of HAMMINKELN area 204495.


1100 - Moved off through HAMMINKELN behind Devons & RUR whose objective was high ground W of BRUNEN.  The Regt then took up the reserve pos'n who Regt H.Q. at BRAMBERGHOF 249486.  In the evening the "sea tails" under Maj A.C. Mason caught up with us.  The axis is very busy & there is the tpt of 52 Div plus a Guards armoured Bde, also S.P. guns & A.A. guns.


27th March 1945

All day at BRAMBERGHOF.  Strength of coy's, several more glider loads having turned up, in addition to tpt parties is as follows:- "A" 4 & 76   "B" 2 & 62   "C" 3 & 67   "D" 3 & 76   "S" 6 & 96.  The day gave an opportunity for a bit of rest & maintenance.  In the afternoon the Cameronians arrived once more to take over from us.  We had to remain at an hours notice to move, but owing to the crowding of the roads, the move was repeatedly postponed.


28th March 1945

0730 - Left BRAMBERGHOF.  5 Para Bde ahead of us, meeting slight opposition.  After delay caused by further traffic complications arrived at RHADE 454508 where the Regt spent the night.  The town was subjected to considerable air-burst fire at intervals during the night.  No casualties.


29th March 1945

Place: Coesfeld


0730 - R.U.R. leaving the Bde today with tanks from 4 Gds. Arm'd Bde. moved through KL REKEN & GR REKEN, thence by a cross-country route to COESFELD.  The RUR has been held up on the high ground S.W. of the town.  The 52nd. concentrated in farm 607685 & came under some Air-burst fire A & B Coys assaulted eastwards to get astride the main road into COESFELD from the south.  No opposition.  The Regt. entered COESFELD much battered from RAF attacks at 2145 hrs & areas for local protection were allotted.


30th March 1945

Place: Coesfeld


The Regt spent the whole day in COESFELD.  No activity beyond the rounding-up of deserters & suspects.


31st March 1945

Place: Greven 1/100,000. P2. 9288


1230 - Left COESFELD.  Moved along Div axis, already cleared by 5 Para to GREVEN 9288.  From here we moved up into the wooded area 947916 our Task being to protect the Divisions N. flank.  One Bn of parachutists is across the DORTMUND-EMS canal.  In getting into pos'n we met fire from AA guns & small arms fire from Flak personnel.  C Coy suffered some casualties including Maj. Molloy.  Medium art'y helped to keep the Flak guns fairly quiet but there was only a very narrow safety margin.  The whole operation was rendered very difficult owing to the lack of any maps better than 1/100,000 & by the darkness of the night.



Month and year : April 1945

Commanding Officer : Lt. Col. M. Darell-Brown D.S.O.


1st April 1945

Place: Greven area 947916


During the day large numbers of disgruntled Flak personnel gave themselves up.  There was no other enemy activity on our front.


2000 - Moved off from woods and made for the bridge over the DORTMUND-EMS canal at 982906.  Here the marching troops crossed by the precarious remains of the bridge, which was broken-backed owing to RAF bombing.  The tpt crossed by an RE. bridge further south.


2nd April 1945

Place: Dortmund-Ems Canal


We had to wait until 0730 hrs for our tpt which had been held up because the RE's bridge took longer than had been anticipated.  We passed through LADBERGEN, held up by the Cdn Para Bn & shortly afterwards "D" Coy leading came under small & Hy. AA fire from a position at 015932.  The pos'n was engaged by fire from Mediums, light art'y, mortars and MMG's.  "D" Coy then attacked.  The equipment in this pos'n included 12-10.5cm. AA guns & some 20mm.  4 Germans were killed & 5 taken prisoner, the remainder having run away.  "D" Coy then pushed on, being occasionally held up by slight opposition.  At X roads 039930, A Coy pushed through "D" & riding on Churchills of the 4th. Guards arm'd Bde. turned N towards LENGERICH, which we entered at 1700 hrs.


Place: Lengerich 0989


After a skirmish on the wooded high ground NE of the town the Regt finally took up a fairly tight pos'n around the NE edge.


3rd April 1945

Place: Hasbergen 1504


In the morning we moved on behind the Para Bds. along the road to OSNABRUCK.


1310 - Arrived HASBERGEN where apart from patrolling the woods in search of stragglers we spent a restful evening & night.


4th April 1945

Place: Stockhausen 5814


0850 - Left HASBERGEN in TCV's the Ulsters being in the lead today.  Through OSEDE & BISSENDORF & BLASHEIM to STOCKHAUSEN.


5th April 1945

Place: Stockhausen 5814


0730 - C Coy in the lead, riding on Churchills, we started to cross the river WESER at TODTENHAUSEN 8116.  Considerable opposition, chiefly in the form of "BAZOOKA BOYS" was met around KUTENHAUSEN, & two Churchills were hit.  C Coy however made their way to the river bank & we prepared for the crossing.  During these preparations we came under heavy shell-fire - chiefly air-burst from the far bank, but the SA fire was negligible & the air-bursts caused only 8 casualties.  B Coy then did the assault & cleared WIETERSHEIM.  They were followed by D & A Coy's.  C remaining on the W. bank.


Place: Wietersheim 8216


Meanwhile the RE's aided by our pioneer pl. built a raft for the essential tpt, pending the completion of a bridge further downstream.  D & A Coy's pushed on to FRILLE 8516.  During the night of the crossing the village of WIETERSHEIM were repeatedly shelled by AA guns & nebelwerfers.


6th April 1945

Place: Wietersheim 8216


0700 - "A" Coy attacked a pos'n containing 6 Heavy Flak guns on railway mountings at 862163.  C Coy came across, also the remainder of the tpt.  C Coy took pos'n around rd. junction 836165.  The day generally was quiet, except for occasional ineffective fire from an SP gun.  During the night A & D Coy's reported hearing enemy movement incl tracked vehicles to the E.  Mortars and art'y engaged DF Tasks.  Patrols made no contact.


7th April 1945

Place: Frille


Early this morning C Coy moved up to the area of DAHREN 8625 working with 11th Arm'd Div Recce.  Reason - 11th Armd Div's bridge blown, therefore they are using ours at PETERSHAGEN.  In the afternoon the fwd Coys saw movement of several tanks & infty & experienced some mortar fire.  The tanks moved round to the N & were later reported by the Devons.  Vehicle movement was heard early in the night, but later patrols heard & saw nothing.


8th April 1945

Place: Frille


Deserters who came in early were from a Battle Gp which they say now retired to RUSBEND [9013?].  The tracked vehicles heard last night, they say, were the rearguard & have now gone.


1100 - D Coy supported by the Light Regt, mortars & MMG's put in an attack on FRILLER BRINK & HEINRICHS TEICH 8716, followed by A Coy.  No opposition.


Place: Winzlar


After a wait in FRILLE were marched off at 1500 hrs & marched to WINZLAR arriving late & tired.  No operational role, the Para Bds being up to the line of the River LEINE.


9th April 1945

Place: Winzlar


A fine day, very suitable for the maintenance & cleaning up which we need.  We are told we shall be here for at least 48 hrs.  Received a draft of reinforcements - over 100 of them.


10th April 1945

Place: Heitlingen


Despite yesterdays hopes, we moved off in tpt & arrived at about 1730 at HEITLINGEN.


11th April 1945

Place: Heitlingen Sheet 3523 MR 2831.


The Com'd Offr was informed at Bde. that this Div is now to be Corps reserve.  Today we were passed by the 15th (S) Div.  Spring sunshine gave us all a chance of cleaning up & maintenance.  67 further reinforcements arrived.


12th April 1945

Place: Heitlingen


Another day of maintenance & administration, including a visit from a mobile bath unit.  The Bde Com'd addressed all our reinforcements.  We are to be at one hours notice to move as from 0800 hrs to-morrow.


13th April 1945

Place: Heitlingen


Our notice to move was cancelled about mid-day.  More rest & maintenance.  Some training & PIAT practice.


14th April 1945

Place: Heitlingen


After some waiting about & several changes in timing the Regt left HEITLINGEN in TCV's & following the main axis behind 15th (S) Div spent the night a few miles N of CELLE.  Houses there are very scarce & about half the regt had to sleep in the woods.


15th April 1945

Place: Celle


To-days activities entirely dependent upon the progress of the 15th. Div. in the advance to UELZEN.  Owing to cratering of the main road & stubborn resistance in the town, we were unable to move up the axis until the afternoon, & even then progress was slow.  We eventually took over the village of NETTELKAMP (9179) from the 9th. Bn. Cameronians.  The Regt did not arrive until about 2000 hrs.  There had been considerable fighting in the area the previous night, & during the day & it was known that P.G. troops were in the vicinity.  Patrols eastwards & N.E. during the night made no contact however.


16th April 1945

Place: Nettelkamp


At first light the Recce Pl went off to report on the enemy sit. & the bridges at BOLLENSEN 9582.  Lt. Wilmot reported that bridge was intact & he also located several S.P. guns lying up in the woods.  At 1215 hrs the Regt. led by "A" Coy with Churchills in sp. left NETTELKAMP, with the object of getting to KAHLSTORF 9885.  "B" Coy met opposition in the village whilst "A" Coy pushed through, & supported by our own mortars the 53 (wy) light regt & 25 fld regt put in an attack east of the road EMERN-KAHLSTORF, eventually getting into the latter village, where the Regt consolidated, "B" Coy was detached and sent to GR PRETXIER 9984.  During the day we were repeatedly bothered by guns & Nebelwerfers which between them caused 25 casualties.


17th April 1945

Place: Kahlstorf 9885


Vehicle movement heard early in the morning.  On the whole a quiet day.  One or two salvoes of Moaning Minnie.


18th April 1945

Place: Katzien Map 1/100,000. 0393.


Left KAHLSTORF at 0130 hrs.  Route HANSTEDT - RATZLINGEN - ROSCHE, behind the Devons who very successfully did a silent dawn attack on ROSCHE.  We then passed through to the village of KATZIEN (0393), which we occupied at 0900 hrs. without opposition.  There are enemy - chiefly recce and PzJager - troops in the woods around us but nothing in the immediate vicinity & we have been free from shelling & mortaring.  Capt. F.B. Scott went on a recce patrol to POLAU (0894) where he stirred up a few enemy on the ring contour west of the village.


19th April 1945

Place: Katzien 0393


Local patrols report adjacent woods clear of enemy.  A quiet day.  At 1500 hrs Capt. R.A.A. Smith took a fighting patrol of 2 platoons from "B" Coy, to clear the woods between here & POLAU.  No enemy were encountered.


20th April 1945

Place: Katzien


At 1330 hrs Capt. P.E. Gerahty took out two platoons of "C" Coy along the same route as was followed by "B" Coy yesterday.  To-day however, enemy were encountered, some on the main road just S. of POLAU, others in the woods due W. of POLAU.  A small battle took place during the course of which one German was known to be killed & six "soft" vehicles destroyed.  Our casualty was one N.C.O. wounded.  To-night the woods are blazing in the area in which "C" Coy discovered the enemy.  Our mortars fired 200 phosphorous bombs to get the fire going.  Several deserters having had enough of this have come in this evening.


21st April 1945

Place: Katzien 0393


This morning early a complete company surrendered to us.  They were burnt out of their positions last night, have few weapons, little ammunition & no inclination to fight.  They are an Eisenbahn Pioneer Co.  One woman in German uniform was with them.  To-day our village has been on one of the 5th Div. axis & Americans are also all around us.


22nd April 1945

Place: Katzien


A very wet & unpleasant day.  During the morning we were honoured by a visit from Major Gen. Gale and Div. Com.  Advance parties under Maj. Edmund left to reconnoitre billets in our new area.


23rd April 1945

Place: Ebsdorf 7995


The Regt. left at 0800 hrs. by march route arriving EBSDORF at about 1500 hrs.  We are all billeted in the town and expect to be here for about eight days.  The period is to be devoted to maintenance & training and the second-in-command is to start cadres for N.C.O.'s & potential N.C.O.'s.  In the evening a Dutchman reported to "B" Coy the location of a very large quantity of valuables belonging to the Netherlands Govt.  Bonds, currency, cutlery & jewellery were found hidden in a cellar.


24th April 1945

Place: Ebsdorf 7995


A fine day devoted to maintenance & recces for training.  Also baths.


25th April 1945

Place: Ebsdorf 7995


Cadre for N.C.O.'s & potential N.C.O.'s started chief inst'r. Maj. Edmunds.  Coy's engaged in training, medical inspection, football etc.


26th April 1945

Place: Ebsdorf 7995


Fine weather continues.  The Bde. Com'dr. spent the morning looking at the training & other activities within the Regt.  Football & Films in the evening.


27th April 1945

Place: Ebsdorf 7995


Weather has broken.  Training continues.  Warning received that Recce parties will be sent to area of LUNEBERG tomorrow.


28th April 1945

Place: Ebsdorf 7995


The C-in-C visited Division & presented medals won since the last presentation in Normandy.  Advance parties moved to new location.


29th April 1945

Place: Suttorf M5 100,000.  MR. 9320.


Regt. moved by march route to SUTTORF.  Conc. in preparation for crossing ELBE.


30th April 1945

Place: Suttorf


After repeated changes in timings, the Regt marched out at 1700 hrs & crossed the ELBE by the Class 9 Bridge.  Then turned East following the 3rd. Para. Bde. to HORST 9235.



Month and year : May 1945

Commanding Officer : Lt. Col. M. Darell-Brown D.S.O.


1st May 1945

Place: Nostorf 9438


D. Coy in the lead, the Regt. marched unopposed via BUKHAUSEN to NOSTORF, arriving at about 0400 hrs.  196 P.O.W. came in during the day, or were rounded up in the neighbouring farms & woods.


2nd May 1945

Place: Schwartow 1037


At 0200 hrs we left NOSTORF by march route.  A Coy leading.  The way lay mostly along very rough & unreconnoitred tracks.  At a point just west of the railway at 984388 the leading vehicles became bogged.  The Regt. therefore went on without its tpt. and arrived at SCHWARTOW at dawn.  No opposition was encountered.  Meanwhile Maj. Edmunds & Maj. Everett reassembled the vehicles and led them down harder tracks to BOLZENBURG (9835) and thus up again to rejoin the Regt.  There was clearly no enemy anywhere near us and the Parachute Brigades started off in tpt. along the main road northwards in the early morning.  The 52nd. had time for a short rest and a hot meal, but in the afternoon we were ordered to follow on behind the parachutists.  This we did by means of our own unit & captured tpt.  On the roads we passed through crowds of liberated allied P.O.W. and later on became involved in the streams of German troops walking & riding back along the main axis.  The Wehrmacht was clearly surrendering en masse, & nobody had much time to deal with them.  One platoon of A Coy was dropped off at WITTENBURG (2251) to start organising a temporary P.W. camp.  Owing to the crowded roads, the uncertainty as to the positions of the troops in front of us and the darkness of the night, the progress of the column became very slow.


3rd May 1945

Place: Lutterstorf. Sheet 1/100,000. No.K.6. MR 4089.


Eventually in the early hours of the morning we found our advance parties & billeted ourselves in the area of LUTTERSTORF.  Everybody was by this time feeling the effects of three consecutive night-moves & had great difficulty in keeping awake.


Place: Bad Kleinen 4681


After breakfast we moved off again to BAD KLEINEN.  The Parachutists having met the Russians at WISMAR there is now no more fighting to be done.  However, there was no immediate rest for everybody owing to the hordes of Germans.  Throughout the day the better part of two German divisions came in.  Some had been marching many days & could go no further.  Many were wounded, some came from hospitals & convalescent companies.  In addition to the WEHRMACHT there were long processions of German civilians mostly travelling on large horse-drawn waggons.  We were therefore called upon to provide guards and escorts both for the prisoners & for the civilians who could not be allowed to proceed further west where they would have clogged the lines of communication.


4th May 1945

Place: Bad Kleinen


During the day the flow of prisoners & civilians continued.  Gradually the marching prisoners were sent back.  German hospitals were organised for the more seriously wounded & for the civilians.  When not required for guards & escorts the members of the Regt. had an opportunity for rest.


5th May 1945

Place: Bad Kleinen


The remainder of 'A' Coy have been sent back to reinforce the platoon at WITTENBERG where a P.W. cage has been formed.  One platoon of 'B' Coy and one of 'C' Coy are now billeted in the game keepers lodge in the woods south of the village.  They are responsible for the control of the civilians camped in this area - estimated at about 10,000.


6th May 1945

Place: Bad Kleinen


Our area is now completely clear of P.W.  This morning at 1100 hrs. 14 representatives per coy attended a Div. Thanksgiving service at WISMAR.


7th May 1945

Place: Bad Kleinen


A Guard of Honour under command of Maj. R.A.A. Smith. MC to-day attended the meeting of F.M. Montgomery and F.M. Rokossovsky at WISMAR.  Congratulations on their turn-out & smartness have been received from many quarters.


8th May 1945

Place: Bad Kleinen


Fine weather continues.  Our varied activities include athletics, rowing, sailing, swimming and occasional short route-marches.  The area is searched for arms & suspects twice a week.  To-day we provided guides to help in the dispersal of civilians from the camp.  These are being moved in batches of about three hundred each to various villages & hamlets in the neighbourhood.  A Coy have returned from WITTENBURG.


9th May 1945

Place: Bad Kleinen


A Regimental team played the 1st. RUR at football, RUR won by 2 goals to nil.


10th May 1945

Place: Bad Kleinen


Censorship restrictions have now been relaxed & we are allowed to state our present whereabouts in letters.  S Coy beat HQ Coy by one point in a Regimental Sports meeting.  Regular allotments for seats at two cinemas in WISMAR have been received.


15th May 1945

Place: Bad Kleinen


Normal peace-time routine continues.  Fine weather & plenty of recreational facilities.  The chief business in hand is the working out of release groups.  An advance party from the artillery of 5th. British Div. arrived to look at our area with a view to taking over.


17th May 1945

Place: Bad Kleinen


A small advance party under Maj. Edmunds left BAD KLEINEN early for LUNEBURG, whence they flew back to England in the afternoon.  The remainder of the Regt. left later in tpt, arriving at LUNEBURG at about 1800 hrs.  We were accommodated for the night in the Cavalry Barracks.


18th May 1945

Place: Bad Kleinen


Leaving LUNEBURG at 0400 hrs, we were taken in TCV's to an airfield near CELLE.  The unit tpt under Maj. P.K. Everett was left at LUNEBURG, whence it will start on its journey to ANTWERP.  At the airfield there was considerable delay & eventually about half the Regt. took off in Dakota aircraft, landing at Greenham Common near NEWBURY, where trucks were waiting to take us to BULFORD.


19th May 1945

Place: Bulford


The remainder of the Regt. arrived.


20th May 1945

Place: Bulford


Preparations for leave, and considerable documentation.  Those having the demobilisation number of 27 and below are eligible for S.E.A.C.  These and others who are volunteers are to have 28 days leave.  The remainder will go in separate batches for 9 days.


23rd May 1945

Place: Bulford


Regt. proceeded on leave.