1 to 6 MarUnit Personnel on leave.
7 MarUnit personnel returned from leave in the morning. Remainder of the day personnel carried out Interior Economy.
8 MarWeather throughout the day was clear and warm. Personnel started training in TOET on all weapons.
9 MarDuring the day training consisted of recap on all TOETs. In the evening HQ Coy NCOs had a lecture on signal procedure by Lt Tucker, Unit signal officer. Weather during the day was clear and fairly warm.
10 MarDuring the morning an inspection was held by all Coy Comdrs. After the inspection, general training was carried out. In the afternoon personnel were free and proceeded to nearby towns. Weather was cloudy with slight showers in the evening.
11 MarA Church parade was held for all Protestants and RCs. Personnel were free during the entire day. A movie was shown in the afternoon by YMCA.
12 MarIn the morning HQ Coy had an inspection by Maj Hilborn, HQ Coy Comd. A and B Coy went to Silk Hill on field firing exercise for the entire day. C Coy duty Coy in Camp. Signal, Mortar and Vickers Pls carried out their specialist training.
13 MarMorning insp action carried out by HQ, A & B Coy Comds. C Coy duty coy in camp. Mortar Pl went on route march in the afternoon. A & B Coy carried out battle drill training all day. In the evening a movie was shown by the YMCA supervisor.
14 MarIn the morning HQ, A & B Coys had an inspection by Coy Comds. Coy personnel carried out general training after the inspection. In the afternoon A & B Coy went on small exercise on Silk Hill. Weather was cloudy all day.
15 MarA Coy went on route march in the morning. B Coy duty coy in camp. C Coy spent the day on field firing on Silk Hill. In the afternoon Mortar PL went on 3" mortar range. HQ Coy personnel were CB in the evening for dirty quarters. Personnel of HQ Coy were told to clean up their barracks. A movie was shown by the YMCA supervisor.
16 MarA Coy spent the day on the rifle ranges. C Coy carried out battle drill training. HQ coy pls carried out training with their specialist weapons. A pay parade was held for all personnel after training hours.
17 MarHQ Coy personnel had an inspection by Maj Hilborn. Int Sec were paraded before Lt Col Nicklin and were told that models and enlargements for coming operation Varsity/Plunder were to be made, and sec was told to observe the strictest security concerning the coming operation. C Coy personnel spent entire day on the rifle ranges. General training was carried out by remainder of unit. Weather during the day was clear with cold wind. A move was shown by YMCA supervisor in the evening.
18 MarInt Sec working on model and enlargement for operation Varsity/Plunder. A and C Coys carried out general training during the day. Personnel were told to prepare large packs for shipment overseas. Weather during the day was fair with slight rain in the morning. Advance party left for transit camp, including I.O. and four "I" Sec personnel who were to work on briefing arrangements.
19 MarIntensive training on all weapons was carried out by all personnel. Int sec working on model and enlargements for operation Varsity/Plunder. In the evening personnel were told to pack kit bags and have them ready to be handed in to Quartermaster stores. Large packs were handed in to Coy Quartermaster stores for shipment overseas. A movie was shown in the evening by YMCA supervisor. All personnel were CB for remainder of unit's stay in England.
20 MarReveille was at 0500hrs. Haversack rations were issued to all personnel at breakfast. Personnel embussed on lorries at 0715 hrs and moved off to Hill Hall Transit Camp, arriving at transit camp at 1730 hrs. Int Sec completed model and enlargements at 2330 hrs. Sleeping and messing arrangments were well laid on and the only complaint was lack of hot water for troops. 8 Para Bn, 1 Cdn Para Bn and 3 Para Bde HQ shares Hill Hall Transit Camp.
21 MarWeather during the day was warm. Lt Col Nicklin gave a general briefing to all personnel at 0830 hrs. Coy Comds started to brief their personnel at 1100 hrs. All Officers were briefed by Lt Col Nicklin at 1000 hrs. The Camp Cinema was used to brief the Bn. It was necessary to brief in two sittings. The Bn was allotted three briefing huts. One showed Corps, Div and Bde plans, and two huts were allotted for briefing the Bn plan. Briefing was done mostly on enlargements of maps, and large and small air photos. Though a good deal of attention was given to the plasticine model. An ENSA show played for the troops in the evening.
22 MarWeather during the day was warm. During the entire day personnel were briefed by Coy and Pl Comdrs. Brig. Hill inspected unit briefing huts and was very pleased with the model and enlargements made by Int. Sec. Morale of the personnel was high and all personnel when not being briefed played volleyball, softball, basketball, touch football and sundry improvised sports. Sunbathing was another popular item on the schedule.
23 MarReveille was at 0400 hrs, breakfast was served and personnel embussed in trucks and moved to airport with full G1098. Unit arrived at airport at 0830 hrs and fitted parachutes. When personnel had finished fitting chutes they left all their kit bags and weapons in their respective aircraft and returned to transit camp at 1245 hrs. After dinner personnel continued briefing. Bde Comd ordered all personnel to be in bed by 2200 hrs as reveille was to be at 0200 hrs on the following day. Church parade held for RC and Protestants at 1800 hrs. Morale - top-notch.
24 MarReveille was at 0200 hrs. Personnel had a good breakfast, embussed on lorries at 0445 hrs and proceeded to airport arriving at 0615 hrs. Personnel put on their parachutes, emplaned and took off at 0730 hrs. The flight from England to DZ in Germany lasted approx 2 hrs and 10 mins. The flight was quiet and uneventful. Unit jumped at 0955 hrs and was widely spread due to the high speed of the aircraft when crossing the DZ. Aircraft did not slow down or lift their tails. Flak was fairly heavy over the DZ and several A/C were seen to go down in flames. On landing, most of the Bn encountered severe MG and sniper fire, which accounted for most of the casualties.
There was very little artillery fire. Most of the casualties were on the DZ proper, which was covered by mutually supporting German positions. A good many were dropped EAST of the DZ because of the speed of the planes, and though enemy fire was not so intense, snipers were fairly active. Coys reach RVs in good time, and the Bn objectives were cleared by 1130 hrs. Positions were dug, and the Bn held against probing German patrols, who were either captured or killed. C Coy, at the North end of the perimeter, came under severe fire from 100 or 200 yards away, and were constantly repelling probing attacks by numbers of German paratroops. In the centre and South end A and B Coys respectively held the wooded country. B Coy took large numbers of prisoners. Bn prisoners constituted quite a problem because they numbered almost the strength of the Bn. It was fortunate that Germans were killed by the hundreds, otherwise it would have been impossible to corral and guard them in the early hours of the operation. In the late hours of the afternoon enemy artillery fired, quite inaccurately on the Bn perimeter. At 1500 hrs recce elements of the 15th Scottish Division linked up with the Bn, and were warmly welcomed. During the night 24/25 three were wounded by enemy shelling. Casualties for D Day were:
Killed 2 Officers, 25 Other Ranks
Missing 1 Officer, 3 Other Ranks
Wounded 1 Officer, 34 Other Ranks
Among the casualties were Lt Col J.A. Nicklin, Commanding Officer, killed. Lt J.J. Brunette, killed. Capt J.A. Clancy, Missing. Lt J.L. Davies, Wounded.
25 MarArmoured column of the 15th Scottish Div arrived in Unit posns at 0430 hrs. Personnel were happy to see the tanks and bren carriers. C Coy was still being bothered during the night by occasional German, and repelled a short counterattack. Infantry troops marched into unit lines at 0800 hrs. Unit area shelled during the day. Casualties suffered were 2 killed and four wounded.
26 MarDuring the night it was very quiet. A Germany recce plane was shot down by Spitfires, the pilot was captured by C Coy. Squads of personnel from coys were detailed to sweep the DZ for unit equipment and casualties. Lt Col Nicklin was found dead hanging from a tree in his parachute. At 100 hrs unit received word to move to Bde Assembly area, MR 193964, sheet 4205, 1/25000. Unit arrived at area at 1630 hrs. Unit moved at 1630 hrs to MR 226453 arriving at 1845 hrs. A meal was served and unit moved to 250473 and spent the night in barns and houses.
27 MarUnit started to advance at 0530 hrs, no breakfast was served. No enemy resistance was met until unit arrived at MR 304471 at 0945 hrs. The mortar and Vickers pls set up weapons and fired on the enemy in the woods. Arty fire was also brought down on the enemy. At approx 1100 hrs a squadron of tanks and armoured cars arrived. Enemy resistance disappeared soon afterwards. 18 PW were taken. CSMI Cooper was seriously wounded and died of his wound. Advance continued and objective taken at 1315 hrs. Coys took up defensive positions. During the night unit personnel slept in barns and houses in the vicinity of objective at MR 315478.
28 MarUnit started to advance at 0800 hrs. During the advance no enemy resistance was met. Enemy ACK ACK guns fired airburst over unit. AT MR 445505 C and A Coy attacked the ACK ACK guns in wood MR 482509. The ACK ACK guns were destroyed and unit advanced to Lembeck. Coys took up defensive positions on the outskirts of the town.
29 MarWeather during the day was cloudy with a lot of rain. All personnel in Lembeck and resting. No enemy activity during the day and night. Mr Moffat issued 1 pkg peanuts, 1 chocolate bar and 20 cigarettes to each man in the unit. At 1700 hrs personnel were told to be ready to move by 1900 hrs. Unit was to move to Coesfeld by lorries. At 1930 hrs move was cancelled until 0700 hrs the following day. Personnel spent the night in Lembeck.
30 MarWeather during the day was clear with strong wind. Personnel had breakfast and embussed in RASC lorries at 0830 hrs and moved off to COESFELD at 0915 hrs. A and B Coys debussed and climbed on tanks and the advance continued. It was quite an experience for the Rifle Coy personnel at it was the first time the personnel has ever ridden on tanks. The tank crews congratulated unit personnel on their splendid cooperation, most commendable because of their inexperience in this type of work. Capt McGowan was killed and 5 ORs were wounded during the day. A Coy attacked GREVEN and crossed a bridge which was thought to be the objective. A short while later a great explosion was heard which was found to be the actual objective.
It was unfortunate error in map reading which caused the Coy to stop on the first bridge as they could have gone on to the second bridge with little trouble. However, in taking the town, A Coy did great execution, and suffered very few casualties. The remainder of the Bn moved in shortly afterwards. There was quite heavy enemy shelling during the night which caused some casualties.
31 MarWeather cloudy with some rain during the day. At 1300 hrs unit started to advance on foot. During the advance enemy fired airburst - 2 casualties suffered. 8 and 9 Bns were heading the advance and after some delay the unit passed through them and took up posns on the West side of the DORTMUND-EMS Canal at 977907. Several casualties were caused by heavy enemy shelling during the night.
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