National Archives catalogue number WO 171/5135.

 

Abbreviation

165742

2 i/c

a/c

Adjt

Adm

Airfd

AP

A/Tk

Bde

Bn

Cdn

C-in-C

CO

Coln

Comd

Coy

Det

Div

DZ

Ech

Fd

Fwd

Gp

Inf

IO

MG

Mil Govt

MMG

Mor

OC

Offr

OR

Pl

Posn

PW

RE

Ref

Regt

Res

RV

SP

Sqn

Tp
Tpt

Veh

Map Reference

Second-in-Command

Aircraft

Adjutant

Administration

Airfield

Anti-Personnel

Anti-Tank

Brigade

Battalion

Canadian

Commander-in-Chief

Commanding Officer

Column

Commander

Company

Detachment

Division / Divisional

Drop Zone

Echelon

Field

Forward

Group

Infantry

Intelligence Officer

Machine Gun

Military Government

Medium Machine Gun

Mortar

Officer Commanding

Officer

Other Ranks

Platoon

Position

Prisoner of War

Royal Engineers

Reference

Regiment

Reserve

Rendezvous

Self-Propelled

Squadron

Troop

Transport

Vehicle

 

 

Month and year : March 1945

Commanding Officer : Lt. Col. G. Hewetson

 

6th March 1945

Place: Tilshead

 

2359 - Bn returned from 7 days leave.

 

8th March 1945

Place: Tilshead

 

1030 - Mor. and MMGs. Fd. firing at CRANBOURNE CHASE.  Maj.Gen. E.L. BOLS. DSO inspected the Bn.

 

9th March 1945

Place: Bulford

 

1630 - Brigadier S.J.L. HILL DSO MC. addresses Officers, W.Os and Sgts of the Bde.

 

11th March 1945

Place: Netheravon

 

A. and C. Coys dropped on Div D.Z.

 

13th March 1945

B. and HQ Coys. dropped on Div D.Z.

 

Place: Tilshead

 

As from 13 March all members of the Bn to "double" between 0830 hrs and 1730 hrs.

 

16th March 1945

Place: Tilshead

 

Commanding Officer addresses Bn on security.

 

18th March 1945

Place: Tilshead

 

0650 - Advance Party leaves for concentration area.  EPPING Camp.

 

19th March 1945

Place: Tilshead

 

0600 - Bn Sea Tail moves off to Transit Camp.

 

20th March 1945

Place: Tilshead

 

0600 - Bn moves to concentration area EPPING CAMP.

 

Place: Epping

 

1400 - Bn arrives in concentration area.

 

21st March 1945

Place: Epping

 

Bn briefed on operation "Varsity" by CO and Coy Comds, to all Coys.

 

22nd March 1945

Place: Epping

 

Pl briefing.  Maj.Gen E.L. BOLS DSO addresses Bn and 1st Cdn. Bn.

 

23rd March 1945

Place: Epping

 

0700 - Bn leaves for airfield to load containers and fit chutes.

 

1300 - Bn returns to Transit Camp.

 

24th March 1945

Place: Epping, Chipping-Ongar

 

0200 - Reveille.  Move to airfd.

 

0445 - Clear bright morning.  Emplaned and took off at 0710 hrs.  Bn in leading flight of a/c.  Flew DOVER - CALAIS - WAVRE - D.Z.  Crossed RHINE at approx 0955 hrs.  No sign of inf.  Slight flak.  Drop somewhat deferred.  Considerable flak further on.  B.Coy's R.V. giving trouble.  Maj D.J. KIPPIN killed.  Lt. A.H. COX killed.  By 1100 hrs most coys present, with majority of weapons.  Gliders came in, 9 HORSAS, 1 landed into wood, killing IO (Lt. J.K. ENGLAND). and injuring the C.O. (Lt.Col. G. HEWETSON).  No sign of HAMILCARS.  Began unloading gliders.  2 Bn gliders missing.  About 40 prisoners taken by A.B. Coys. and A./Tk. Pl.  Bde ordered move to Phase III. leaving C. Coy to clear D.Z.  Held up by SP on track.  Considerable delay.  Lt. S. PARKES wounded.  By-passed opposition, and arrived Phase III approx 1530 hrs.  Dug in.  165472.  Sea forces joined up at 1730 hrs.  Ordered to move to task III.  Moved 1830 hrs.  Met slight mobile opposition most of the way.  Bn position at approx 2300 hrs A. Coy 184475.  B. Coy 185472.  C. Coy 183471.  Bn HQ 184471.  Patrolling to American 17th on right by B. Coy, and Div HQ in front by A. Coy.  Casualties: Killed 4 Offrs and 12 O.Rs.  Wounded 3 Offrs and 43 O.Rs.  Missing 50 O.Rs.  Lt. PC ROBERTS & Rev. WT OGLIVY killed whilst attending German prisoners of war.

 

25th March 1945

Quiet day, consolidating in woods.

 

26th March 1945

1500 - Ordered to move to area River ISSEL, preparatory to further move.  Arrived 1800 hrs.  Moved again at 1900 hrs. to area S.W. of BRUNEN. took up defensive posn for night.  6 miles.

 

27th March 1945

0830 - Mounted tanks with the ROYAL SCOTS to move on to indefinite objective due EAST.  No enemy encountered.  Took up defensive posn in Upper ISSEL.  4 miles.

 

28th March 1945

0830 - Move forward to ERLE.  Fwd posn and 5 Para Bde (6 miles).  Moved again to LENBECK.  Met enemy in woods on 41 grid line, and outside RHADE.  C Coy met opposition from 88 and 20 mm.s.  Considerable casualties.  Held on ridge, put B. Coy round at flank.  Shelling LENBECK.  B. Coy met opposition in woods about 2 Coys.  Cleared 1 Coy and held firm.  A. Coy had been sent to join B. Coy under 2 i/c, to form composite force.  Went further, flanking and by-passed opposition.  Arrived in LEMBECK about 2200 hrs.  Meanwhile C. Coy was withdrawn and together with Bn HQ moved to join B. Coy.  Bn HQ had no idea of whereabouts of A. Coy.  Objective now on high ground to S of L.  Moved on from B. Coy posn about 300 yds when C. Coy ran into opposition about 2200 hrs another Coy posn with Panzer faust and A.Tk gun.  Some casualties.  Withdrew to B. Coy original posn for night.  Total mileage approx 10 miles.  Prisoners of War 300.  Casualties: 2 Offrs (Lt. A.J.K. HACKER and Lt. A. FREANE killed).  5 O.Rs. killed.  3 Offrs. and 25 O.Rs. wounded.

 

29th March 1945

0930 - Moved into LIMBECK.  Day spent re-arranging and resting.  Orders for move at 1700 hrs cancelled.

 

30th March 1945

Moved 0800 hrs in vehs to COESFIELD.  Bn in reserve, Canadian Bn leading on tanks.  Bn not used all day.  Covered about 25 miles to area GREVEN.

 

31st March 1945

0600 - Bn moved off to GREVEN and took up defensive posn on right of village.  Considerable shelling by Regt of S.Ps. 88 mm.  Lt. P. DOLLEYMORE seriously wounded (later died of wounds).

 

1200 - Moved forward to DORTMUND EMS canal.  Considerable fire from 20 mm flak guns and 88 mm S.Ps.  Mortars engaged these guns.  A. Coy crossed canal being first British troops across, and took up posn on canal bank.

 

 

Month and year : April 1945

Commanding Officer : Lt. Col. G. Hewetson

 

1st April 1945

Place: Dortmund Ems Canal

 

Reorganisation of bridgehead over Canal.  Owing to destruction of bridge supply problem a little difficult.  Main DIV axis NOT now through Bn area.

 

1700 - Moved forward about 2 kilometres to expand bridgehead.

 

2nd April 1945

Orders received that Bn would move at 0800 hrs on the following day.  B. Ech brought fwd.  Tp Carrying Tpt arrived.

 

3rd April 1945

0830 - Bn moved off.  Considerable delay in passing Bde S.P. due to hold up forward.  Finally moved on at 1230 hrs, through LINGERICH to a position SOUTH EAST of OSNABRUCK.  Bn was moving in reserve.  Took up position in this area for the night.  Ready to move at first light next morning.

 

4th April 1945

0730 - Bn lead off with "B" Coy leading on CHURCHILLS remainder in transport.  Uneventful journey until Canal bridge EAST of LUBBECKE reached "B" Coy took this intact together with some prisoners, and was then left to guard it, meanwhile the Bn coln had been split and led by the Bn Water Truck the remainder of the Bn entered LUBBECKE and took some prisoners.  Bn then reformed with "A" Coy leading on CHURCHILLS and pushed on to MINDEN.  A few prisoners were taken en route.  Entering the outskirts of MINDEN leading elements shelled by A.P. from tanks or armoured cars about 1500 yds to the right flank.  CHURCHILLS engaged and opposition moved off.  Entering MINDEN itself at approx. 1430 hrs the leading CHURCHILL was hit by a SP gun.  Two SPs. were spotted on the road together with some infantry.  A. Coy leading platoon was held up on the line of the road, one pl was pushed out to the right flank taking some 40 prisoners, so that the remainder of "A" Coy, "C" Coy, Comd. Group moved off round the right flank to get in behind the SP guns.  They met considerable machine gun fire from the woods on the outskirts of the town.  No arty available, and progress slow in consequence.  As soon as it became dark the city was entered and a position taken up in the main square.  Total mileage for the day approximately 35.  Prisoners approx. 80.

 

5th April 1945

0600 - Remainder of Bn pulled into city.

 

1300 - Moved to HAHLEM about two miles out to allow Americans who had been detailed to take the city originally, to enter.

 

6th April 1945

48 hrs rest promised, therefore inspections and reorganisation were begun.  However, at 1800 hrs orders were received to move next day to a position some 10 miles WEST of the river LINE in rear of 5 Brigade.

 

7th April 1945

Marched to village 10 miles WEST of WUNSDORF.  Total mileage for day 20 miles.

 

8th April 1945

Marched further 12 miles to WUNSDORF.  Bn moving in Bde reserve.

 

9th April 1945

Once more promised 48 hrs rest.  Division and Corps commanders visited Bn during the day.  During the evening orders were received that the Bn was to move forward again the next day.

 

10th April 1945

1000 - Moved in tpt to a position some 8 miles from MELLENDORF, and marched the remaining distance.  No enemy encountered.

 

11th April 1945

15 SCOTTISH Division passing through.

 

12th April 1945

0800 - Bn ordered to take out two Coys to clear woods NW of CELLE to secure Corps axis.  "A" Coy with one tp of recce moved in tpt to clear village of KOLOLDAU some 3 miles NORTH of the axis while "C" Coy together with two tps of recce, two mortar Dets. and Bn HQ Comd Gp was directed on WIEKENBERG.  A. Coy met opposition and cleared it with few casualties, taking 20 prisoners.  C. Coy also met opposition at the bridge in WIEKENBERG.  The leading Pl. and later the rest of the Coy was immobilized by enemy small arms fire since owing to the open nature of the country it was impossible to attack the village (later reported to be held by 100 enemy), without arty support.  Mortars were brought into action but soon ran out of ammunition.  Eventually "A" Coy were ordered to move towards the village from the EAST and at the same time artillery at last became available.  Enemy then evacuated the village and the Bn occupied it.  Bn handed over to 11th Armoured Div. Recce at approximately 2000 hrs.  Bn then returned to MELLENDORF.

 

13th April 1945

Bn resting.  Baths, cinema, etc.

 

14th April 1945

Moved on foot approximately 20 miles to CELLE.  March non-tactical since 15th SCOTTISH Division now in the lead.  Bn took up billets on the outskirts.

 

15th April 1945

Bn now under orders to move, to area SW of UELZEN.  Move delayed and destination altered since 15th DIVISION still held up by enemy in this area.  Eventually moved to area ENSCHEDE at 1700 hrs.  Move completed in transport.

 

16th April 1945

Move continued in tpt to area SOUTH of UELZEN.

 

1700 - Moved off through the woods to take the village of WIEREN. map ref 9680.  On arriving at the edge of the wood it was observed that the village was held as soon as it became dark.  B. Coy led the way into the village and the enemy withdrew.  No casualties.  One offr and 5 PW. taken.  Two enemy killed two wounded.

 

17th April 1945

Moved off again in tpt following 9th and Cdn Battalions who were leading an outflanking movement around UELZEN which was still holding up 15th SCOTTISH Division on the SOUTH-WESTERN out skirts.  Bn took up posn in area of village RATZLINGEN.  Capt DUNBAR took out a patrol beyond the 9th Bn position and laid up in the woods.  He accounted for 74 POW 6 vehs, and some nebel werfers as the enemy pulled out of UELZEN over night.

 

18th April 1945

Nothing to report.

 

19th / 20th April 1945

Nothing to report.

 

21st April 1945

Orders received that Bn was to move to area LUNEBERG the next day.  5 DIVISION passing through, in an Easterly direction.

 

22nd April 1945

After waiting for half-a-day for transport it eventually arrived at 2030 hrs and the Bn moved approx 25 miles to BARNSTEDT.

 

23rd April 1945

Day spent settling in.

 

24th April 1945

Training programme begun.  Mortars and MGs. firing.  Junior Officers Cadre under 2 i/c.

 

25th April 1945

Bde Comd. Brigadier S.J.L. HILL DSO MC. inspected the Bn and captured enemy transport.  A. Coy held a garden party in the evening.  Civilians cleared of all houses occupied by the Bn causing a certain amount of consternation on the part of the Germans of such hard treatment.

 

26th April 1945

Bde Mortar and MG competition.  Result Mortars 2nd.  MGs. 3rd.

 

27th April 1945

Orders received for Adv. Party to move to area NORTH-EAST of LUNEBURG the following day, and the Bn itself to move on 29th April.

 

28th April 1945

0820 - Adv. party under 2 i/c. moved off.  Major C.J.V. SHOPPEE accompanied by representatives of the Bn went to receive his MC, won in the NORMANDY campaign from the C-in-C.

 

29th April 1945

0830 - Bn moved off by march route 20 miles to a village NE of LOUNEBERG into a concentration area for crossing the ELBE.  Final orders issued for crossing.

 

30th April 1945

1130 - Moved off by march route up to the ELBE.  After many delays bn began to cross at 1730 hrs by the 300 ft pontoon bridge.  Bn in bde res, following up the 9th and Cdn Bns, in expanding the Bridgehead.  Certain amount of shelling and later bombing during the move off the bridges into LAUENBERG.  Continued to BOLZENBURG arriving at approx 2230 hrs.  About 120 P.W. taken in the village.

 

 

Month and year : May 1945

Commanding Officer : Lt. Col. G. Hewetson

 

1st May 1945

Place: Boizenburg

 

Resting in BOIZENBURG.  Re-organisation of posns at First Light.  Gunners with the aid of a civilian who knew its whereabouts shot up an SP gun.  More prisoners (150) collected in from various parts of the town.  Orders given during the evening for move at First Light next morning.

 

2nd May 1945

Bn moved off in tpt in Bde reserve.  Brigade objective WITTENBURG.  After leaving BOIZENBURG orders were given for a push to the coast at WISMAR instead.  There followed a move of great rapidity in which some 60 miles were covered in 10 hours.  Complete collapse of German resistance.  Thousands of prisoners streaming back down the roads.  Columns of enemy vehicles overtaken and left to someone else to clear up, until eventually the coast was reached at about 1630 hrs.  Bn were then detailed with a Sqn. of SCOTS GREYS in SHERMANS to occupy LUBOW to the S.E. of WISMAR.  This was done without opposition.  Several hundreds of prisoners were taken as they streamed westwards from the Russians.  Civilian vehs, carts, horses etc were diverted elsewhere.  At the start matters were pretty chaotic but by 2000 hrs the village was cleared and the Bn settled down for the night.

 

3rd May 1945

Place: Lubow

 

0900 - B Coy reported Russian tank coln halted on the main road to the EAST about 2 miles away.  C.O. Lt.Col. G.HEWETSON DSO went out to meet them.  No particular demonstration.  Meanwhile Bn Adm. party had moved to area WENDORF and HOBEN.  Main body moved later about 1300 hrs to this new location on the Baltic.  Positions taken up non-tactically since all fighting was virtually at an end.  Bn HQ located by the sea.

 

4th May 1945

Place: Wendorf

 

Quiet day.  Bn settling in, acquiring horses, carts, etc. for further use.  The C.O. of the Canadians Lt.Col. EADIE, his 2 i/c, and Adjt, arrived to consume most of the Bn liquor at the Command Post.

 

5th May 1945

Orders received to set up Adm. at the new area.  Picquets were posted to stop civilian movement to direct Allied ex-PWs, displaced persons, and German PWs.  During the morning three RUSSIAN Majors arrived in the area and, after much drinking, departed together with OC HQ Coy Maj A.J. BOOKLESS, the Doctor, and Padre for more jollification in their own lines to the detriment of Maj BOOKLESS and Capt O'REAGAIN.  The Commanding Officer was present at the reception in their own lines, but declined to attend the RUSSIAN mess.  Bn beginning to organise bathing, boating, riding.  Major CHARLES AMGOT CO and 2 i/c of Canadian Bn came to dinner.

 

6th May 1945

Nothing to report.

 

7th May 1945

"C" Coy held an outstanding dinner in their mess, for all Coy comds and Bn HQ.

 

8th May 1945

V.E. day.  Commanding Officer attended 9th Para Bn guard mounting on the Military Government and then proceeded to Bde HQ 1200 hrs for a drink and later to the Canadian Bn for lunch and more drink.  Quiet day in general, except for firing of a large number of verey lights in B Coy area in the evening.  The RUSSIANS celebrated the occasion by firing solid shot from a distance of some 4 miles from a large calibre gun landing just outside the Bn area.

 

9th May 1945

Nothing to report.

 

10th May 1945

The Commanding Officer visited picquets.

 

11th May 1945

Victory parade in WISMAR.  Brigade march past salute taken by Maj.Gen E.L. BOLS DSO.

 

P.M. - Bde Comd Brigadier S.J.L. HILL DSO MC inspected captured enemy transport.  In the evening the Bde concert was held.  Ptes NOLAN, BALL and CHALLIS represented the Bn in the organised part of the performance, and the Commanding Officer together with the COs of the 9th and Canadians and the Sqn. RE. took part in the disorganised part of the performance.  In an impromptu         the concert was much appreciated by everybody.

 

12th May 1945

"C" Coy mounted guard on Military Government taking over from the Canadian Para Bn.

 

2000 - Commanding Officer, 2 i/c, Adjt to dinner at Mil. Govt.  Bn football team played SCOTS GREYS and won 3-1.

 

13th May 1945

B. Coy mounted guard on Mil. Govt taking over from "C" Coy.  The weather having been continuously hot for five days excelled itself on this day.  Day spent chiefly in the sea by members of "B" Coy and Bn HQ who were fortunate enough to have their billets in that area.  A Coy stationed in the barracks in WISMAR still dealing with the dispersal of large numbers of ex PWs.  Major CHARLES and Col. EADIE to dinner.  "B" Coy was detailed to send a Pl to guard the theatre during the RUSSIAN performance.  The guard was congratulated by Maj.Gen R.N. GALE, OBE MC. on their turnout.

 

14th to 17th May 1945

Preparation for move to concentration area prior to flying back to UK.  During this period Capt. D.C. SCAIFE ex of this Bn a G.3 Air, achieved some credit by flying two barrels of BASS to the Bn.  This provided each man with about pt of warm, flat, beer, which was nevertheless appreciated.

 

18th May 1945

1000 - Bn moved back across the ELBE to LUNEBERG concentration area where it spent the night in the woods in the area of the airfield.

 

19th May 1945

Place: Luneberg

 

After waiting some considerable time on the airfield the Bn took off flying back via BRUSSELS to land in the UK, and landed in the neighbourhood of NEWBURY at approx 1800 hrs.  Trucks then proceeded to TILSHEAD Camp with swastikas and nazi flags streaming from the back.  So ended the last tour of the continent of 8th Bn (MC) THE PARACHUTE REGIMENT.

 

22nd May 1945

Place: Tilshead

 

Lt.Col. G. HEWETSON awarded the DSO.  Major G.R. FLOOD awarded the MC.

 

24th May 1945

Bn on block leave.

 

1800 - Vehicle party arrived at TILSHEAD.

 

28th May 1945

Vehicle party proceeded on leave.