1 AprBn left previous night's position at 1000 hrs. Rain was teeming down, but soon lightened. Crossed Dortmund-Ems Canal on blown bridge which was passable only for tps on foot. Then by various side tracks to first objective at track junc 991911. No enemy were encountered except two enemy who were seen by two scouting officers. Enemy withdrew hurriedly before contact could be made. Then orders were received to take town of LADBERGEN 0093. With C Coy leading we took the town. Opposition was two 22 mm AA guns, and one 40 mm AA gun, supported by about a platoon of infantry. Most were killed though a few were taken prisoner. The troops ate well in this village much to the annoyance of Maj Hilborn, Capt Lukasffy, Capt Palmer and others, who carried hay-boxes of compo food all the way from the Western side of the Canal. They arrived in an exhausted condition, only to find the troops eating fried chicken, eggs, vegetables and various preserved fruits. One or two enemy shells fell in LADBERGEN during the night.
2 AprWeather clear early in the day, changing to cloudy with rain during the evening. Unit spent the day and night in LADBERGEN. During the day and night enemy were coming in in ones and twos to surrender. One DR was captured on his way to give orders to the German Commander in LADBERGEN and to inform him that he couldn't expect further reinforcements. He received a rude shock when he was shot in the leg. No one in the enemy HQ at IBURG, 2195 knew that we were even across the canal. Orders Gp at 1930 hrs gave information that were were to travel on lorries the next day to WISSINGEN 3207.
3 AprWeather - raining like hell. Unit embussed at 0800 hrs and drove without incident. 8 and 9 bns were in front and cleaned up any opposition enroute. Entered WISSINGEN 3207 at 2030 hrs and took up billets. Approximately 40 miles were covered during the day.
4 AprWeather - clear and sunny. Before unit moved off the T.O. went back along the route covered the day before, on an errand. He travelled in the CO's command car. The car was ambushed just to the west of WISSINGEN, and the driver was killed. The T.O. and one OR escaped. The speed of the advance had been so great that many groups of Germans like this one had been left behind to be mopped up by other units. Bn embussed at 0840 hrs and moved off at 0930 hrs. A great many PW were passed back along the axis. There was no time to question them. 8 Bn led on tanks and caused a good deal of havoc along the way. They were pinned down in the southern outskirts of MINDEN 8010, and it was decided to clear the town after dark.
The Bn entered MINDEN 8010 at 2345 hrs, and after a long wait it was found by a scouting party to be empty. The Bn took over the town, and all was finally reported clear at 0230 hrs, 5 APR 45. Bn HQ set up in the Victoria Hotel, the best in town, and lived in grand style for the rest of the night. A peculiar feature of the day was that MINDEN was an objective of a unit of the 9th American Army, on our right. But our Bde Comd, Brig Hill, DSO, MC pushed on, and took it before they had a change to do anything about it. The Americans had laid on 350 Fortresses to bomb MINDEN if it hadn't surrendered by 2000 hrs, but they called it all off when they found our tps in the town.
5 AprWeather - clear and sunny. Americans took over MINDEN in the morning, and unit moved to area KUTENHAUSEN 7915. Recce party which moved in first encountered several Germans who still wanted to fight, and took five of them prisoner. Main body of unit arrived at 1830 hrs, and large packs were issued, in anticipation of several day's rest.
6 AprWeather - foggy and rainy. Personnel cleaning up and resting. 100 ORs and 3 Offrs rfts arrived from England. Orders received to move off by route march next day, to embuss on tanks across the WESER RIVER.
7 AprWeather - clear and sunny. Unit moved off by march route in the morning and embussed on tanks (4 Bn, Grenadier Guards) at LAHDE 8520. Only A and B coys could be carried, so C Coy and BHQ B Party, with Vickers, and Mortars, went along on foot. No enemy resistance was met during the day, but 28 prisoners were taken. Unit arrived at WOLPINGHAUSEN 0225 at 2230 hrs, well after dark. Personnel bedded down for a few hours sleep before moving off early next morning.
8 AprWeather clear and sunny. Bn moved off at 0900 hrs, with C Coy, Vickers and Mortars on tanks, BHQ B party, A Coy and B Coy on foot. At LUTHE 1827 opposition was met in the form of a tank and a few infantry. Bn mounted an attack and the enemy retreated just before the town was stonked by 25 prs and mediums. The attack was carried through to RICKLINGEN 208272, where bridge 201270 was captured intact. A Coy led this attack and came under mg and arty fire from a Ferdinand SP gun, which caused 4 casualties. The bridge was found to be prepared for demolition, but RE's cut the explosives away and rendered the bridge safe. American tps of the 9 Army took over just before dark, and the Bn moved back to billeting area in LUTHE 1827.
9 AprWeather clear and sunny. Day spent in LUTHE 1827, cleaning up and resting. Large packs were again issued in anticipation of a 4 day rest, but as was usual, Bn received ordered to be ready to move the next day.
10 AprWeather clear and sunny. Bn embussed at 1000 hrs and moved off at 1030 hrs, to METEL 2340, where they debussed and marched to BRELINGEN 3241. No enemy opposition was met. Unit arrived in BRELINGEN 3241 at 1700 hrs. 4 soldiers dressed in civilian clothing were captured. One of them tried to escape and received a severe beating up for his efforts. Then, on his second attempt, he was shot dead. His papers showed that he had been a doctor, and his fellow soldiers said that he had been trying to collect German soldiers to sabotage our L of C. B Coy patrolled HELLENDORF 3542 and reported it clear. They returned, and Bn took up positions all around BRELINGEN.
11 AprWeather - clear and sunny. Personnel cleaning up and resting. German populace turned in weapons and amn. They proved to be a great nuisance because they came to "Herr Commandant" with all their petty troubles. It was a great relief when Mil. Govt officials arrived, and they could be referred to him. Bn was put on 1 hrs notice to move from 0100 hrs, 12 APR 45. Bath parade was held in the morning at Bde HQ, and Protestant and RC church parades at 1900 hrs.
12 AprWeather clear and sunny. No change. Bn put on 6 hrs notice to move.
13 AprWeather clear and sunny. Bath parades were carried on, and YMCA issued was made. Word was received at 2200 hrs to be ready to move the following morning.
14 AprUnit ready to move at 0900 hrs and moved by march route at 1100 hrs to new area in CELLE 5548. Int Sec went ahead and built bridge across creek at 485475. It was christened POKMOUCHE BRIDGE, POKMOUCHE being the home town of "Blackjack" Blanchard, a member of the Int Sec. Unit arrived at CELLE 5548 at 1830 hrs. Billets were taken up, and during this process several suspect "werewolves" and 1 suspect Gestapo agent were turned up. These were passed back to Bde HQ. Advance party left for new area South east of UELZEN 9089.
15 AprWeather clear and sunny. Unit at 1 hr notice to move. Vehicles arrived at 1630 hrs and unit moved to ESCHEDE 6962, arriving at 1945 hrs. Billets very crowded here, as several units from another fmn had already moved in. Proposed area SE of UELZEN could not be occupied since it had not yet been cleared by 6 A/L Bde, whose task it was to clear it. Early in the evening an enemy aircraft dropped a large bomb on B Coy killing 2 and wounding 2. Unit warned for move following day.
16 AprWeather clear and sunny. Unit embussed on lorries at 0730 hrs and moved off at 0830 hrs. Arrived at NETTELKAMP 919799 at 1400 hrs. It was a dusty trip and we had a very dirty looking bn when we arrived. NETTELKAMP had been occupied by 6 A/L Bde before us, and billets were left in a deplorable condition. Orders group in the evening gave warning to be ready to move at 0230 hrs.
17 AprReveille 0200 hrs. Breakfast 0300 hrs. Move off 0330 hrs. Bn moved by night with no opposition to HANSTEDT II 970886, arriving at 0630 hrs. For the first time, a mobile radar section travelled with the unit. Its function was to locate tanks, guns, mortars, etc. At 0700 hrs tanks arrived and the unit embussed and moved on RATZLINGEN 975906. 9 Bn was already in the town and having some trouble. The enemy withdrew, having suffered some casualties, and our Bn mounted an attack on RIESTEDT, to which the enemy had withdrawn. The Bn attacked, dismounted over open ground with tanks and artillery giving fire support. As the Bn moved forward the tanks moved with them, and the enemy left behind in RIESTEDT three SP guns and a number of dead soldiers. RIESTEDT was taken by 1330 hrs. The Bn dug in and placed anti-tank guns, expecting a counter attack with armour. This failed to materialize. A number of germans were observed in wood 955923 and were engaged by mortars. This discouraged them and a two man patrol went out and captured them, about twenty-five in all. At 2100 hrs enemy shelled the town, but no casualties were suffered. At 2200 hrs two men of a German patrol were captured. They were advance guard for twenty more who escaped across country when the shooting started. Our casualties for the day were 1 sgt killed, 1 sgt wounded, 1 cpl wounded.
18 AprStand to 0515 to 0630 hrs. Morning very quiet. at 1400 hrs enemy shelled B Coy posn at south end of village, dropping about 10 shells. No casualties. B Echelon arrived and large packs were issued. Enemy shelled again at 1900 hrs. No casualties. Our mortars again fired on wood 955923, where a few straggling enemy were seen. 117 PWs taken from 1600 hrs 17 APR to 1600 18 APR. C Coy sent patrol to SUTTORF 990950 and reported it clear except for a wounded German and an attendant. During the night, Capt Clancy, who had been taken prisoner on 24 MAR on the DZ turned up having escaped from a marching column of PWs. He took command of A Coy.
19 AprNo enemy activity during day or night. Unit warned to be ready to move back to HANSTEDT II 970886, the next day. 20 Germans including 1 Lt Col surrendered the next day.
20 AprWeather clear with occasionally showers. At 0700 hrs advance party left for HANSTEDT II 970886 to arrange billets. At 1015 hrs unit moved off on foot, arriving at HANSTEDT II 970886 at 1200 hrs. Unit settled down to rest and clean up.
21 AprWeather - cloudy and dull, with heavy rain in the morning. Advance party left for KOLKAGEN 772103 at 1000 hrs. A great deal of time was wasted by a woman who claims to have been raped, and who had two witnesses. All their stories conflicted, and on parade they could not all pick out the man. It was thought that this might be the first of the German attempts to obey orders to hinder us by any means possible. Lorries arrived at 1640 hrs and Bn moved off at 1730 hrs, arriving at KOLKHAGEN at 2030 hrs. Unit took up billets and prepared for a good rest.
22 AprA day of rest and recreation, with PT and games, and some weapon training. A & C coys had some weapon trg, B Coy had PT, Mortars checked weapons and Vickers set up guns against air attack. 6 Germans taken PW during day. Location KOLKHAGEN 772103.
23 AprWeather clear. Personnel cleaning up for CO's inspection the following day. 5 Germans taken PW during day. Location KOLKHAGEN 772103.
25 AprWeather clear and warm. Bde Comd inspected B Coy and B Ech, and all enemy vehicles. A and C Coy did drill and PT with games. Movie shown by YMCA in afternoon and evening. Location KOLKHAGEN 772103.
26 AprWeather clear and warm with occasional showers in the afternoon. Vickers and Mortars engaged in Brigade competition shoot. Rifle coys engaged in sports and drill. Movie shown by YMCA in afternoon and evening. Location - KOLKHAGEN 772103.
27 AprWeather cloudy. RC Padre visited RC personnel, and said Mass in the afternoon. Coys on PT, drill and seeing movies.
28 AprCloudy and raining in the morning. Clear and warm in the afternoon. Unit warned for move on 29th. Large packs returned to B Ech. Movies shown in afternoon and evening. Advance party left for HOLZEN 903200, in the evening.
29 Apr..
30 Apr..
Next page: May
Previous page: March
Previous article in the series '1st Canadian Parachute Battalion': 1st Canadian Parachute Bn (1944)