National Archives catalogue number WO 171/4167.













C of E

































Map Reference






Advanced Workshop Detachment


British Liberation Army

Church of England


Commander Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers

Deputy Director Mechanical Engineers

Division / Divisional

Drop Zone

Electrical Mechanical Engineer


Field General Court Martial

General Officer Commanding

Light Aid Detachment

Landing Craft Tank

Land Element

Motor Transport

Officer Commanding

Ordnance Field Park

Other Ranks


Royal Army Ordnance Corps

Royal Army Service Corps

Roman Catholic

Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers

Radio Telephony

South East Asia Command

Situation Report

Start Point





Warrant Officer



Month and year : March 1945

Commanding Officer : Maj E.B. Bonniwell, REME


1st March 1945

Place: Massemen, Belgium


Wksp passed Div S.P. 0930 hrs.  Arrived new location MONCHY BRETON H.2414 1600 hrs.  Wksp situated in hangars of disused airfield; very good working accn.  Sleeping accn. in French barracks.  These are in a very bad condition; have been left in filthy and insanitary state by previous occupants.  OC requested HQ to allocate another area, and sent out recce parties to look for suitable sites.


2nd March 1945

Place: Monchy Breton, France


Suitable site found at AUCHY LES HESDIN H.0015; permission received from HQ to move.


3rd March 1945

Place: Auchy Les Hesdin, Belgium


Wksp moved to new location.  All personnel accommodated in billets; reasonable workshop accommodation.


4th March 1945

Place: Auchy Les Hesdin, Belgium


OC attended conference at Div HQ.  Arrangements made to carry out inspection of all Land Element vehs wireless and arms during coming week.


5th March 1945

Place: Auchy Les Hesdin, Belgium


Veh and Arms inspection of 3 and 5 Bdes.


6th March 1945

Place: Auchy Les Hesdin, Belgium


Instructions received from HQ REME that one offr and 3 ORs and required for FGCM on 4616253 Cfn. Thompson F, a man from this unit who went absent on 22 Dec 44.  Application made to HQ Div for vacancies in carrier plane or by sea to UK.


8th March 1945

Place: Auchy Les Hesdin, Belgium


List of major eqpt deficiencies submitted to HQ.


9th March 1945

Place: Auchy Les Hesdin, Belgium


Nothing to record.


10th March 1945

Place: Auchy Les Hesdin, Belgium


Major Bonniwell, ASM. McCann, S/Sjt. Ward and Cfn. Field left for UK to attend Court Martial of Thompson, F.  Capt. Bland assumed command of the unit.  An "incident" occurred in the grounds of the factory.  An attack was made by persons unknown on a dump of arms and ammunition guarded by the French Army.  6 men and an NCO were sent to the assistance of the French.  Firing continued until 0200 hrs.  The raid was successful in that they succeeded in breaking in and stealing some ammunition.  There were no casualties.


11th March 1945

Place: Auchy Les Hesdin, Belgium


OC attended conference at Div HQ to discuss arrangements for forthcoming move.  Unit now at 48 hrs notice.  Adm sit-rep submitted to Div.  Paris leave party left at 0600 hrs.  Inspection of new wireless sets began at CFP.  Another attack was made on the French store.  The raid commenced at about 1045 hrs and ceased at 1130 hrs.  Three patrols were organised but they were not on the spot before the attack was over.  However, the areas from which the supporting fire was coming were combed out and all traffic on the road stopped until 0200 hrs.


12th March 1945

Place: Auchy Les Hesdin, Belgium


Stand-by patrol arranged, on a roster, of 7 men and 1 NCO.  As it seemed likely that the attacks would continue a plan to capture one or more of the attackers was put into effect.  One or two shots were fired at about 2200 hrs but an attack did not develop.  Capt. Stafford, Educational Offr, gave a talk on the progress of the war from Christmas on.  About 100 men attended.  C of E Church Parade held at 1500 hrs.  At about 2400 hrs S/Sjt. Lowy on his way back to billets talked to a Gendarme, who was alone. for perhaps 15 mins.  It subsequently transpired that this Gendarme was unknown to the local Gendarmerie.  He was suspected of being a parachutist.  A report was made to the Town Major.  Dance held in village hall; collection of 2010 francs made for Auchy P.O.W.


13th March 1945

Place: Auchy Les Hesdin, Belgium


Paris leave party returned.  Town Major visited wksp re incidents.  Field Security Section visited wksp.  Service for RC personnel held by area Padre.


14th March 1945

Place: Auchy Les Hesdin, Belgium


Unit MT inspected by OC.  Veh sent to pick up CREME from airfield.  Did not arrive.  2nd Paris leave party left at 0600 hrs.


15th March 1945

Place: Auchy Les Hesdin, Belgium


Four parties sent on visit to battlefields.  OC attended conference at Div HQ on forthcoming move.  AFsG1043 issued for all vehs awaiting spares and off road.  Statements from witnesses in Neal and O'Brien cases dispatched per ADLS to UK.


16th March 1945

Place: Auchy Les Hesdin, Belgium


Cfn. Lamb and Westley returned from attachment to CFP.  2nd Paris leave party returned.  Movement warning order received for advance parties; adv party prepared to move.


17th March 1945

Place: Auchy Les Hesdin, Belgium


OC returned from UK by air and resumed command of unit.  3 ORs are returning to BLA by sea.


18th March 1945

Place: Auchy Les Hesdin, Belgium


OC attended conference Div HQ.  Orders given for move of Div L.E. to concentration area.  Wksp to move in three stages commencing 19 Mar.  Day spent in packing ready for move.


19th March 1945

Place: Auchy Les Hesdin, Belgium


Adv party left 0730 hrs to recce bivouac area ATH.  Main party left 1215 hrs.  Night spent on main road West of ATH.  One Jeep and trailer involved in an accident en route; Cfn. Lees detained in hospital.


20th March 1945

Place: Belgium


Left ATH for SONNIS; night spent in Cavalry Barracks.  OC attended HQ conference and obtained details of operational timings for the AWD and main body.  AWD under command Capt. M.H. Bland with 25 ORs and 8 Jeeps and trailers standing by to move.


21st March 1945

Place: Belgium


Left SONNIS 0940 hrs and harboured in BOCHOLT 4988.  AWD recce party of 1 WO and 4 ORs left for operation marshalling area at A.092428 XANTERN.


22nd March 1945

Place: Belgium


HQ REME sea tail arrived from UK, less CREME.  AWD, consisting of Capt. Bland and 43 ORs with 14 Jeeps and trailers left at 1900 hrs for concentration area GELDERN; they will cross RHINE on D + 1.  The AWD was originally to consist of only 26 ORs with 8 Jeeps and trailers, but an extra allocation of veh ferrying spares had to be filled at the last moment.


23rd March 1945

Place: Belgium


2 HQ REME Jeeps and trailers under Capt. Adams, EME Tels, left 1200 hrs. to join AWD in concentration area.  1300 hrs. CREME arrived from UK and visited LAD land elements.


24th March 1945

Place: Belgium


CREME left for concentration area 0730 hrs.  Operation "Varsity" a/c seen flying to Germany between 1030 and 1130 hrs.  Orders received for wksp to move to assembly area starting 0550 hrs. 25 Mar 45.


25th March 1945

Place: Germany


Arrived assembly area GELDERN 0328 1015 hrs.  DDME Airborne Corps visited unit in afternoon.  Wksp likely to be called forward to E. of RHINE between 1900 hrs 26 Mar and 1900 hrs 27 Mar.


26th March 1945

Place: Germany


Wksp called forward from Assy Area at 2330 hrs.


27th March 1945

Place: Germany


Move postponed at 0300 hrs until further notice.  Left assy area at 1130 hrs.  Crossed Class 40 bridge over RHINE at WESEL 1538 hrs.  Moved to area 195467 at present occupied by AWD.  Move forward likely 28 Mar.


28th March 1945

Place: Germany


Day spent in recovering vehs and guns from damaged gliders on DZ, also removing instruments from gliders.  AWD of 1 Offr and 24 ORs left for new location South of ERLE 396485 at 1500 hrs.  Move of main wksp will not take place before 1200 hrs 29 Mar.


29th March 1945

Place: Germany


Left for area South of ERLE 4050 at 1500 hrs; arrived 1830 hrs.  AWD at present in this location; will move 30 Mar.


30th March 1945

Place: Germany


A few MT jobs in for repair.  Certain Y jobs could not be completed within time available; these will be back-loaded by 8 Corps Rec Coys.  DDME 8 Corps visited wksp.  Instructions received from HQ to move to area between BILLEBECK and ALTENBERGE at 0700 hrs 31 Mar.


31st March 1945

Place: Germany


Recce party despatched to ALTERBERGE 0630 hrs.  Main body directed by HQ to harbour in area S. West of LETTE for 24 hrs owing to bridge being blown on Div route.  AWD established in ALTENBERGE.  Recovery veh sent to work on bridges at GREVEN 9188 and bridge over DORTMUND - EMS CANAL 9890.



Month and year : April 1945

Commanding Officer : Maj E.B. Bonniwell, REME


1st April 1945

Place: Altenberge, Germany


Main body of wksp arrived ALTENBERGE 1515 hrs.  AWD will remain and move to next location with Wksp.  Accn in Trailer Factory very good.


2nd April 1945

Place: Greven, Germany


Moved to GREVEN.  Town so full that considerable difficulty encountered in finding site.  Inclement weather added to difficulty of working in the open.


3rd April 1945

Place: Greven, Germany


Fair amount of work received, which will have to be pulled forward to new location as orders received from HQ that Wksp will probably move about mid-day 4 APRIL 45.  2 OR's proceeding to ALTENBERGE to obtain Gun spares took the wrong road and ran into a GERMAN pocket of resistance.  The Jeep was destroyed but both men escaped.


4th April 1945

Place: Greven, Germany


A.W.D. moved to LENGERICH 0898.


5th April 1945

Place: Bissingdorf, Germany


Wksp moved at 0900 hrs to harbour in area BISSINGDORF, on arrival message from CREME instructed unit to continue to HOLZHAUSEN 5410.  AWD moved to FRIEDEWALDE 7618.  Wksp accm in HOLZHAUSEN in a Wooden Box Factory, good wksp facilities.  Heavy MT load due to long road march over very bad roads.


7th April 1945

Place: Bissingdorf, Germany


Considerable difficulty encountered in obtaining Cromwell spares for 3 Tanks in for repair.  O.F.P. held no stock of items required.


8th April 1945

Place: Bissingdorf, Germany


A.W.D. moved to BAD REHBURG 0028.  Wkshop will move to same area some time 9 April 45.


9th April 1945

Place: Holzhausen


Recce party left for SACHSENHAGEN area 0830 hrs.  Main body left 1130 hrs.  SACHSENHAGEN found to be unsuitable and good accm found on enemy airfield at 152305.  A German Major General captured by Capt Duff and S/Sgt Lowy while carrying out recce for suitable accm.


10th April 1945

A.W.D. moved to Wkshop location.  O.C. and Capt Bland attended CREME Conference at Div HQ 1800 hrs.


11th April 1945

Recovery element sent back to old location to bring forward vehs and eqpt left behind.  It was thought at the time that these would be collected and repaired by 8 Corps REME.


12th April 1945

Very heavy veh load on Wkshops.  46 'B' Vehs in for repair.  Jeep engines and clutches unobtainable in O.F.P. of Corps O.F.P's.  Efforts being made to fly some of the urgent requirements from U.K.


14th April 1945

G.O.C. 6 Airborne Div visited Wkshops and addressed all ranks.


15th April 1945

AWD left to travel up Div axis at 0730 hrs.  Main Wksp left at 1100 hrs.  All vehs awaiting spares and 'Z' jobs left on Airfield to be picked up by 8 Corps Tps Wksp.  Wkshops harboured NE of CELLE in Factory at 617550.


17th April 1945

Place: Celle, Germany


Moved to area SOUTH of UELZEN 885813.  AWD at 924817.  Wkshops in open, no covered accm available, weather very good enabling work to continue.  3 Cromwells removed for repair.


19th April 1945

Place: Uelzen, Germany


Lieut BIRD arrived as reinforcement Officer from Guards Armd Div.


21st April 1945

Place: Uelzen, Germany


R.T. net between CREME and Wkshops opened.  AWD net not yet operating.  O.C. carried out recce for new Wkshop site in area NW of UELZEN.  Suitable factory found at WESTERWEYHE 860925.  Will move 1200 hrs 22 April 45.


22nd April 1945

Moved to Factory at WESTERWEYHE 1330 hrs.  Accommodation and general wkshop facilities good.  A.W.D. rejoined workshop.


29th April 1945

RAOC officer and 5 OR's joined wksp to form an all stores section.


30th April 1945

Moved to concentration area WICHMANNSBURG 8507 prior to being called forward to cross River ELBE.



Month and year : May 1945

Commanding Officer : Maj E.B. Bonniwell, REME


1st May 1945

Place: Germany


Left WICHMANNSBURG at 0530 hrs for area LAUENBURG crossing R. ELBE by Class 9 bridge.  All vehs over Cl. 9 proceed under Div control over class 40 bridge.  Main party crossed R. ELBE approx. 1400 hrs.  Harboured area LAUENBURG ready for rapid move forward.


3rd May 1945

Left LAUENBURG 1530 hrs and proceed up Axis to WISMAR 4595, arriving approx 2330 hrs.  Temporary harbour for night.


4th May 1945

Moved to DORNIER Aircraft Works north of WISMAR.  Good wksp accn in hangars on airfield.


5th May 1945

Large quantities of MT work received.


7th May 1945

Field-Marshal MONTGOMERY landed on airfield for conference with Marshal ROKOSSOVSKY and G.O.C. 6 Airborne Div.


8th to 9th May 1945

V.E. DAY.  All personnel other than those on urgent work had 2 days holiday.


11th May 1945

3 Para Bde and R. Scots Greys carried out March Past in WISMAR.  G.O.C. took salute.


17th May 1945

Advance party of 1 WO.I and 4 ORs left for UK by air from LUNEBERG airfield.  4 RASC 3-tonners attd to wksp for move to UK.


18th May 1945

Wksp, left WISMAR for LUNEBERG airfield.


19th to 20th May 1945

2 Offrs and 60 ORs emplaned for UK.


20th May 1945

Veh party consisting of 2 offrs and 115 ORs left LUNEBERG and harboured area SULINGEN.


21st May 1945

Place: Belgium


Veh party harboured GOCH.


22nd May 1945

Veh party harboured LOUVAIN.


23rd May 1945

Veh party proceeded to Transit Camp OSTEND.


24th May 1945

Ostend - all recovery vehs returned to Ord.  Remainder of unit tpt will be shipped back to UK.


25th May 1945

Veh party consisting of 18 Jeeps and 8 3-tonners left for CALAIS at 0100 hrs to embark on 2 L.C.T.  Embarking delayed until a.m. 26 May.  Remainder of tpt left OSTEND for CALAIS at 1300 hrs.


26th May 1945

Place: France


Morning ferry too full to accommodate vehs.  Vehs loaded into ferry at 2330 hrs.


27th May 1945

Place: France


Ferry sailed from CALAIS 0915 hrs, arrived DOVER 1115 hrs.  Veh convoy proceed to Figsbury Barracks, Winterbourne Gunner, Salisbury, arriving 2230 hrs.


28th May 1945

Place: England


Air Party who arrived 20 May proceeded on leave 26 May; sea party will proceed on leave 30 May.  Personnel eligible for SEAC will have 28 days leave, remainder 14 days.


30th May 1945

All personnel except small rear party of OC and 6 ORs proceed on leave.