National Archives catalogue number WO 171/4157 and 4158.

 

Abbreviation

978823

Adv

AGRA

Airfd

Airldg

Amb

Armd

Arty

A Tk

Bde

Bdy

Bldg

Bn

Br

Brhd

Brit

Bty

Cas

C/attack

Cdo

C-in-C

Cl

Coln

Comd

Conc

Coy

Det

Div

Elts

Eng

Est

FBE

Fd

Fwd

Gds

GOC

Gp

Gren Gds

GSO

Hy

Incl

Inf

Instr

Junc

L

Lt

LZ

Med

Mil Gov

NTR

Op

Pl

Pt

PW

RA

Rd

RE
Regt

Res

Rly

S

SP

Sqn

Tac

Tk
Tp

Veh

X rds

Map Reference

Advance

Army Group Royal Artillery

Airfield

Airlanding

Ambulance

Armoured

Artillery

Anti-Tank

Brigade

Boundary

Building

Battalion

Bridge

Bridgehead

British

Battery

Casualties

Counter-attack

Commando

Commander-in-Chief

Class

Column

Command

Concentrate

Company

Detachment

Division / Divisional

Elements

Engineer

Establish

Folding Bridge Equipment

Field

Forward

Guards

General Officer Commanding

Group

Grenadier Guards

General Staff Officer

Heavy

Including

Infantry

Instruction

Junction

Lowland

Light

Landing Zone

Medium

Military Government

Nothing to Report

Operation

Platoon

Point

Prisoner of War

Royal Artillery

Road

Royal Engineers

Regiment

Reserve

Railway

Scottish

Self-Propelled / Support (lower case)

Squadron

Tactical

Tank

Troop

Vehicle

Crossroads

 

 

Month and year : March 1945

Commanding Officer : Maj-Gen E.L. Bols, DSO

 

1st to 10th March 1945

Place: Bulford

 

Div on block leave.  Preliminary planning for Operation "VARSITY".

 

1st March 1945

Land Elts moved from area GHENT to AUBIGNY (Pas de Calais).

 

3rd March 1945

Land Elts moved from AUBIGNY to BETHUNE (Pas de Calais).

 

11th March 1945

Nothing to report.

 

12th March 1945

Orders for Operation VARSITY issued.

 

13th to 18th March 1945

Preparations for Operation VARSITY.

 

19th to 20th March 1945

Div moved to airfield transit camps preparatory for operation.  Main Div HQ est at MUSHROOM FARM Camp Nr BRAINTREE, ESSEX.

 

21st March 1945

Nothing to report.

 

22nd March 1945

Place: Mushroom Farm

 

Glider loading carried out.

 

23rd March 1945

Loading of containers on parachute aircraft.  Warning Order "P" Hour Operation VARSITY as 1000 hrs 24 Mar.  Land Elts moved to area BREE (Belgium).

 

24th March 1945

Operation VARSITY - Take off (Div HQ) 0730 hrs from RIVENHALL aerodrome.  Div HQ gliders chalk nos. 315 - 342 incl.  Main Div HQ est at farm bldgs 189479 at 1100 hrs.  GSO 2 (Ops) wounded on LZ and evacuated.  6 Airldg Bde reported that all objectives were seized as ordered by 1230 hrs.  3 & 5 Para Bdes reported all objectives taken at 1330 hrs.  Div reported mission completed at 1330 hrs.  Comd 18 US Airborne Corps visited Div HQ at 2245 hrs.

 

25th March 1945

146 SP A Tk Bty entered Div area and came under comd first lt.  Enemy c/attacks and infiltration encountered during night in area, as result of which 6 Airldg Bde ordered to blow br WEST of RINGENBURG - measures taken to liquidate same.  Typhoon sp in area RINGENBURG accepted and attacked 0700 hrs.  Further enemy attacks in same area sp by tks dealt with by inf with arty sp.  Land elts moved to conc area WEST of R RHINE.

 

26th March 1945

6 Airldg Bde relieved by 157 Bde (52 (L) Div) 0530 hrs.  6 Airldg Bde adv to area 1325 attained by 1400 hrs.  3 Armd Scots Gds under comd 0800 hrs.  Preparation for adv of Div to EAST.  3 Para Bde relieved 513 RCT at 2359 hrs.  Land elts crossed R RHINE and joined main Div HQ.

 

27th March 1945

Adv of Div to secure line KOL LUTHERIN 3245.  3 Para & 6 Airldg Bdes report BRUNEN 2748 and MARIENTHAL 310487 clear 0330.  Main Div HQ moved and est at BRINZERKURST A 248449 at 0800 hrs.  Leading tps adv to pts 366493 and 277485.  3 Armd Scots Gds reverted to comd 6 Gds Tk Bde.  6 & 25 Fd Regts RA and 63 Med Regt RA placed under comd.

 

28th March 1945

4 Armd Gren Gds under comd.  INNS OF COURT Regt under comd at 0900 hrs for left flank protection.  Main Div HQ moved to 386492 at 1330 hrs.  ERLE cleared 0600 hrs, RHADE 442508 occupied 1420 hrs.  Air sp called on target LEMBECK 4952 at 1550 hrs - area occupied and consolidated in evening.  Tac HQ est at RHADE at 2300 hrs.  Div passed from comd 18 US Airborne Corps to 8 Brit Corps at 2400 hrs.

 

29th March 1945

Orders for adv of Div on two routes to area COESFELD 6072.  COESFELD cleared of all enemy except minor resistance in evening.  Main Div HQ est in RHADE 1100 hrs.  Visit of C in C 21 Armd Gp and Comd Second Army at 1200 hrs.  Tac HQ est at Gr REKEN 5259 at 1900 hrs.

 

30th March 1945

Orders to continue from start line NE of COESFELD.  Delayed occasioned by demolitions en route in area of town - overcome by by-passing town during day.  BILLERBECK 6975 taken at 1500 hrs.  Tac HQ moved on axis of adv and Main Div HQ moved to join at X rds 7779 at 2100 hrs.  3 Para Bde occupied area GREVEN 9188 but main brs blown.  INNS OF COURT Regt reverted to comd 11 Armd Div less one sqn.

 

31st March 1945

Adv to line of DORTMUND - EMS CANAL in area 9789.  Tac HQ moved to farm at 866864 at 1000 hrs.  Main Div HQ moved to join Tac HQ at 1700 hrs.

 

 

Month and year : April 1945

Commanding Officer : Maj-Gen E.L. Bols, DSO

 

1st April 1945

Bridging ops for cl 40 br over DORTMUND - EMS CANAL carried out during day at Schmiedehausen 978823.  Main (with Tac HQ) Div HQ moved to rd junc 940887 at 1115 hrs.  Units of 6 Airldg Bde est brhd over CANAL during night 31/1 Apr.

 

2nd April 1945

Traffic began crossing by br at 0630 hrs.  LADBERGEN 0093 occupied at 0700 hrs.  Adv on to LENGERICH 0898 continued and town captured in afternoon with leading tps on overlooking hills to NE.  Tac HQ moved in to LENGERICH 1600 hrs.  Main HQ moved up at 1900 hrs, some damage and cas caused by enemy shelling.

 

3rd April 1945

Orders for adv on OSNABRUCK and to brs at WISSINGEN 3207.  1 Cdo Bde placed under comd at 0900 hrs.  6 Bde cleared area NE of LENGERICH and 5 Para Bde by night march and attack reached objectives on high ground WEST and NW of OSNABRUCK by 1500 hrs.  3 Para Bde moved on Southern axis and seized area WESSINGEN by 2300 hrs.

 

4th April 1945

1 Cdo Bde moved into OSNABRUCK to clear city.  1 Cdo Bde reverted comd 8 Corps at 1600 hrs.  15 (S) Recce Regt, 100 Fd Coy RE and 61 Med Regt RA placed under comd.  Adv towards R WESER continued to secure area BLASHEIM 5601 - OBERBAENRSCHAFT 5807 and HOIZHSN 5410.  Objectives attained by 3 Para Bde & 6 Airldg Bde in afternoon and 3 Para Bde continued adv on retreating enemy towards MINDEN 8010.  Tac HQ moved up Div axis during morning and Main Div HQ followed up throughout day until both were est in BLASHEIM 567622 at 1900 hrs.

 

5th April 1945

Moves to seize brhd over R WESER in area PETERSHAGEN 8420.  3 Para Bde moved NE to area MAULBEERKAMP 7814 in morning.  6 Airldg Bde with 15 (S) Recce Regt cleared area HARRIENSTEDT 7919 and entered PETERSHAGEN.  Units est brhd across river in area WINTERSHEIM 8216 at 1700 hrs and enlarged brhd in darkness.  Tac HQ and Main HQ moved to area SUDFELDE 782193 at 1500 hrs.

 

6th April 1945

6 Airldg Bde captured LAHDE 8520 but enemy resistance stiffened with counter attacks made in area BIERDE 8920.  Attacks held.  Work commenced on Cl 9 FBE br at 837183 and Cl 40 br at 845208.  3 and 5 Para Bdes with Armd Recce Regt mopped up Div area during day to WEST bank of river.  63 Med Regt RA reverted to comd 8 Corps.

 

7th April 1945

Orders for adv from R WESER to line of R LEINE and securing of brheads at NEUSTADT 1735 and BORDENAU 1830.  Brs over R WESER completed and traffic moved over from 0700 hrs.  Tac HQ est at STEINHUDE 100300 at 1530 hrs.  5 Para Bde with 15 (S) Recce Regt reached br at BORDENAU which was intact and Cl 40 at 1800 hrs but br at NEUSTADT blew up after leading elts inf had crossed in evening.  Brheads secured.

 

8th April 1945

3 Para Bde moved and occupied area WUNSTORF  1527 in early hours.  Armd Recce Regt moved to area WIEDENSAHL in res.  6 Airldg Bde also moved to area MUNCHEHAGEN 9828 in res.  Main Div HQ moved and est at STEINHUDE 1500 hrs.  15 (S) Recce Regt secured br at RECKLINGEN 2027 and 3 Para Bde took over at 1100 hrs until relieved by US forces of 13 US Corps.  15 (S) Recce Regt patrolled to seize br near MANDELSLOH 2545 in evening in order to assist 11 Armd Div to secure same but br was already blown.

 

9th April 1945

Div consolidated in areas occupied.  15 (S) Recce Regt moved to clear BRINK 2235 and SCHARREL 2438 and occupied NEGENBORN 2841 and ABBENSEN 2743 without opposition.  One coy each from 5 Para Bde moved in to BRINK and SCHARREL.  Moves made to secure right flank of colns 11 Armd Div crossing br at BORDENAU and thence moving NORTH.  Cl 40 br completed over river at NEUSTADT at 1215 hrs.

 

10th April 1945

Orders for further moves to enlarge brhead.  3 Para Bde moved to area MULLENDORF 3440 BISSENDORF 3738 and BRELINGEN 3241.  6 Airldg Bde moved to area NE of ENGELBOSTEL 3030.  Armd Recce Regt moved to relieve 5 Para Bde in BRINK and SCHARREL.  15 (S) Recce Regt moved fwd of 3 and 6 Bdes.  146 SP A Tk Bty reverted to comd 8 Corps.

 

11th April 1945

3 Bde undertook clearance of woods on left flank to line of river ALLER.  15 (S) Recce Regt reverted to comd 15 (S) Div.  Bde gps of 15 (S) Div moved through Div area and resumed adv towards CELLE.  61 Med Regt RA reverted to comd 8 Corps and placed under comd 15 (S) Div.

 

12th April 1945

Visit to Div HQ of Comd SECOND ARMY 1100 hrs.  3 Para Bde moved 8 Para Bn to clear wood towards WIEKENBURG 4250 task completed 1900 hrs and village handed over to 11 Armd Div.

 

13th April 1945

5 Para Bde Gp moved to area CELLE 5950.

 

14th April 1945

Main Div HQ moved to area 675605 est at 1700 hrs.  3 Para Bde and 6 Airldg Bde Gps moved to area CELLE.

 

15th April 1945

61 Med Regt and 251/63 A Tk Bty moved to Div area and came under comd.  6 Airldg Bde moved to area 9082 - 9280 - 9076 and relieved 46 Bde 15 (S) Div 1800 hrs.  Tac HQ moved to NETTELKAMP 920797 1900 hrs.

 

16th April 1945

Adv to cut off UELZEN 8989 from EAST on right flank of 15 (S) Div commenced.  6 Airldg Bde captured LEHMKE 9585 - KAHLSTORF 9885 and HANSTEDT 9788.  3 Para Bde concentrated to pass through 6 Bde and resume adv NORTH.  Tac HQ moved to KALLENBROCK 913784 1200 hrs.  Main HQ moved to KALLENBROCK 1500 hrs.

 

17th April 1945

Tac HQ moved to LEHMKE 9585 at 1100 hrs.  3 Para Bde passed through 6 Airldg Bde northwards.  RATZLINGEN 9790 taken and RIESTEDT 9593 secured 1000 hrs.  Main Div HQ moved to ESTERHOLZ 940840 at 1245 hrs.  3 Bde captured MASENDORF 9494 at 1330 hrs and occupied MOLZEN 9393 later.  Armd Recce Regt moved in sp of 3 Bde and recce'd to NE of front.  ROYALS under 8 Corps protecting right flank est at 924658 and patrolling EAST.  One tp 146 SP A Tk Bty came under comd 144 SP A Tk Bty for sp 4 Armd Gren Gds.  Orders to secure small brhd over R WIPPERAU from incl TEVENDORF 0591 - KATZIEN 0393.

 

18th April 1945

6 Airldg Bde commenced adv to EAST during night.  ROSCHE 0292 taken 0500 hrs - HATZIEN 0393 and TEVENDORF 0591 secured later.  5 Para Bde moved up to occupy HANSTEDT 9799 KAHLSTORF 9885 at 0730 hrs and NATELN 0390 and BATENSEN 0388 at 1800 hrs.  Armd Recce Regt operated to EAST of 6 Airldg Bde and ROYALS continued tasks to SE of rly UELZEN 8989 - SALTZWEDEL 3078 as far as 08 easting.

 

19th April 1945

3 Para Bde handed over MOLZEN 9393 and MASENDORF 9494 to 44 Bde 15 (S) Div and moved tps to STOCKEN 9794 and NATELN.  5 Recce Regt moved into Div area and came under comd 0745 hrs.  Patrolled throughout day on left flank of Div.

 

20th April 1945

5 Recce Regt reverted to comd of 5 Inf Div on the move of the latter to fwd conc areas NE of UELZEN.  Bns of 3 and 5 Para Bdes adjusted areas to allow passage of tps of 5 Inf Div.  Armd Recce Regt continued active patrolling EAST of Div area to 10 easting and maintained contact with enemy.

 

21st April 1945

Night patrols fwd of 5 Para Bde and 6 Airldg Bde resulted in little contact with enemy.  29 US Inf Div moved through areas of 5 Para Bde and 6 Airldg Bde and continued clearance of area with fresh Army Gp bdy.  Conc areas for Div notified SW of LUNEBURG 7820.  3 Para Bde Gp moved during afternoon.

 

22nd April 1945

Preparations for move of Div to conc area SW of LUNEBURG 7820.

 

23rd April 1945

Main and Rear Div HQ moved to MELBECK 785125 at 1200 hrs.  6 Airldg Bde Gp and Div Tps moved to conc area - moves completed 1500 hrs.

 

24th April 1945

Nothing to report.  GOC and Staff attended conference at 8 Corps on op ENTERPRISE.

 

25th April 1945

Air Commodore DARNELL and Staff arrived to discuss plan for op AUDACIOUS.

 

26th April 1945

6 Fd Regt passed from comd to comd 5 Brit Inf Div 1440 hrs.  Planning for op 'AUDACIOUS' cancelled.  Orders given for 5 Para Bde Gp to move to Div conc area on 28 Apr.

 

27th April 1945

5 Para Bde Gp moved into Div conc area.  Orders issued for op 'ENTERPRISE'.  Op Instr No.22.

 

28th April 1945

Visit of C-in-C 21 Army Gp to Div HQ and Investiture held 1200 hrs.  5 Para Bde cleared woods in Div area of remaining enemy.

 

29th April 1945

8 Corps op 'ENTERPRISE' commenced 0200 hrs.  15 (S) Div and 1 Cdo Bde crossed river ELBE and est brhd.  3 Para Bde and 6 Airldg Bde Gps moved to final conc areas under Op Instr No.22 Trace "P".  Following tps came under comd Div:-

    (a) 15 Inf Bde Gp including under comd:-

                208 A Tk Bty RA

                det 254 Fd Coy RE

                one hy mortar pl 7 CHESHIRE

                one coy 158 Fd Amb.

    (b) 4 Armd Gren Gds with under comd one tp 146 SP A Tk Bty RA

    (c) 92 Fd Regt RA.

 

30th April 1945

Div took over cl 9 Br at LAUENBURG 8734 at 1400 hrs and tps began to move over (15 Inf Bde leading serial).  1 Cdo Bde came under comd 6 Airborne Div in area LAUENBURG.  1 Cdo Bde advanced to area BARTTISDORF 8646 LUTAU 8741 BUCHMORST 8835.  3 Para Bde advanced to area BOIZENBURG 9835.  6 Airldg Bde reached area BUKHUSEN 9236.  5 Para Bde conc in staging area THOMASBURG 9519.  Tac HQ moved over R ELBE and was est in BUCKHORST.  Div HQ moved across river and joined Tac HQ at 1900 hrs.

 

 

Month and year : May 1945

Commanding Officer : Maj-Gen E.L. Bols, DSO

 

1st May 1945

Place: Boizenburg

 

Remainder Div Tps completed crossed R ELBE by 1600 hrs.  15 Bde Gp with units under comd reverted comd 5 Inf Div at 1500 hrs.  6 Airborne Div passed from comd 8 Brit Corps to XVIII US Corps (Airborne).  Div HQ moved to BOIZENBURG 986355 at 1400 hrs.  3 Para Bde consolidated in area BOIZENBURG and contact made with 8 US Inf Div at ZAHRENSDORF 0437 at 0930 hrs.  5 Para Bde moved across R ELBE and conc in area NE of LAUENBURG.  1 Cdo Bde reverted to comd 8 Corps.  4 Armd Gren Gds with 146 SP A Tk Bty RA reverted to comd 8 Corps.  92 Fd Regt RA reverted to comd 8 Corps.

 

2nd May 1945

Place: Wismar

 

Orders for adv to WISMAR.  3 Para Bde with under comd one sqn ROYAL SCOTS GREYS on right and 5 Para Bde with Airborne Armd Recce Regt on left.  ROYAL SCOTS GREYS less sqn to be prepared to move up if necessary.  Opposition negligible - disintegrated enemy forces surrendered in increasing numbers - WITTENBURG and GADEBUSCH occupied in morning and 3 Para Bde with sqn ROYAL SCOTS GREYS entered WISMAR at 1400 hrs, the first Brit tps to reach the BALTIC.  5 Para Bde entered WISMAR 1700 hrs.  Tac HQ moved on right axis and est at GADEBUSCH 1315 hrs.  Main Div HQ moved up right axis and est in WISMAR at 2030 hrs.  Tac HQ moved up to join Div HQ.  Vast numbers of PW on all routes making own way to PW Collecting Pts est at GADEBUSCH - WITTENBURG - BOIZENBURG.  Maj JEPSON RA GSOII (Int) killed at GADEBUSCH by enemy sniper 1700 hrs.  6 Airldg Bde moved up to area NE of GADEBUSCH.  336 Eng Bn US placed in sp.  3 Para Bde est contact with RUSSIAN forces EAST of WISMAR at 1400 hrs.  GOC had formal meeting with a Bde Comd of 3 Russian Tk Corps at HQ 3 Para Bde at 2100 hrs and agreed lines to be held by ourselves and Russians for the night.

 

3rd May 1945

Place: Wismar

 

Inter Div bdys adjusted by Corps on adv of 7 US Armd Div on left flank.  Eastern bdy between XVIII US Corps (Airborne) and Russian forces agreed and all bdes adjusted location of units to conform.  Collection of PW and clearance of div area continued.  GOC visited Gen PANFILOV Comd 3 Tk Corps at his HQ.

 

4th May 1945

Place: Wismar

 

Final adjustments made to unit locations made to conform with areas of responsibilities for MIL GOV duties.  Collection and sorting of PW continued.

 

5th May 1945

Place: Wismar

 

25 Fd Regt reverted to comd of 8 AGRA and moved from div area.

 

6th May 1945

Place: Wismar

 

Visit of Comd Gen XVIII US Corps (Airborne) on occasion of Thanksgiving Service in WISMAR.

 

7th May 1945

Place: Wismar

 

Meeting of Field Marshal Montgomery and Marshal Rokossovsky at Main Div HQ 1130 hrs.  351 Fd Arty Bn reverted to comd XVII US Corps.

 

8th May 1945

Place: Wismar

 

VE Day - NTR.

 

9th May 1945

Place: Wismar

 

Nil.

 

10th May 1945

Place: Wismar

 

C-in-C 21 Army Gp and Comd 8 Corps arrived WISMAR airfd at 1130 hrs and accompanied by GOC 6 Airborne Div visited HQ of Marshal ROKOSSOVSKY.

 

11th May 1945

Place: Wismar

 

Nil.

 

12th May 1945

Place: Wismar

 

Nil.

 

13th May 1945

Place: Wismar

 

Comd 1 Brit Airborne Corps visited Div HQ.

 

14th May 1945

Place: Wismar

 

Warning Order issued ref relief of 6 Airborne Div by 5 Brit Inf Div 16 and 17 May.

 

15th May 1945

Place: Wismar

 

Warning Order issued no move before 17 May.  Warning Order issued no move before 20 May.

 

16th May 1945

Place: Wismar

 

Nil.

 

17th May 1945

Place: Wismar

 

6 Airldg Bde relieved by RA Gp 5 Brit Inf Div.  6 Armd Recce Regt relieved by 5 Recce Regt less one sqn.  RE Gp and RA Gp 6 Airborne Div relieved by Div Tps of 5 Brit Inf Div.

 

18th May 1945

Place: Luneburg

 

Div HQ moved to LUNEBURG 18 May: 5 Div assumed comd of sector with under comd 5 Para Bde 1200 hrs.

 

19th May 1945

Place: Luneburg

 

Div HQ Air Party left LUNEBURG airfd for UK.  Arrived UK.  Div HQ opened at BULFORD.  Div HQ Veh party left LUNEBURG for first staging area SULINGEN W 7254.

 

20th May 1945

Place: Sulingen

 

Div HQ veh party left SULINGEN for second staging area GOCH E 9043.

 

21st May 1945

Place: Goch

 

Div HQ veh party left GOCH for third staging area LOUVAIN.  Div HQ commenced 28 days leave.

 

22nd May 1945

Place: Louvain

 

Div HQ veh party left LOUVAIN for fourth staging area OSTEND.

 

23rd May 1945

Place: Ostend

 

Div HQ veh party commenced embarking OSTEND at 0930 hrs for UK.

 

24th May 1945

Place: Ostend

 

Div HQ veh party embarked for UK.

 

25th May 1945

Place: Tilbury

 

Div HQ veh party disembarked TILBURY 1200 hrs arrived BULFORD 2130 hrs.