131st Field Regiment Royal Artillery

War Diary for March 1945

Commanding Officer: Lt-Col J. N. D. Tyler, OBE, MC RA
Place Date Hour Summary References to Appendices
TILBURG HOLLAND 1-3 Regiment remained in TILBURG. Cleaning and maintenance occupied the morning, but as far as possible troops were free afternoons and evenings.
E 1834 4 A Regimental Church Parade was held. This was well attended but rain spoiled the Ceremonial march-past afterwards. Representatives from the Regiment attended a Special Memorial Service held under Divisional Auspices.
5 Expected to move today but did not.
MOL. BELGIUM 6 Moved at 1300 hours. Whole Regiment was accommodated in together in former German Barracks. Place was absolutely filthy and a great deal of cleaning work had to be done.
K 1791 7 During the period 1-14 March, efforts were successfully made to give every officer and man a 48 hour leave in BRUSSELS a fact that was greatly pleasing to all concerned.
8-10 Cleaning and maintenance became the order of the day. Efforts were also made to clean the barracks.
11 C.O. inspected Regimental area, also guns and vehicles. A Regimental Church parade was held at 0915 hours.
12-13 Continued maintenance and rest. Football matches were arranged with local teams.
14-15 More maintenance and rest. Detachments from the Regiment went on exercise BUFFALO- practising rafting guns and vehicles across the R MAAS, in preparation for forth coming operations.
16 Major H.D.Stewart, the 2IC, went on a recce to a secret destination. The Regiment was entertained by the all Belgian/Dutch ENSA show "Army Troopers" - an excellent show; we could use many more like it.
17 Guns of the Regiment were calibrated against the Theatre standard guns at LOMMEL Ranges.
18-19 More rest.
WINNEKENDONK 20 Moved at 1630 hours to this location, arriving at about 0300 hours 21 March. Preparations for battle went on.
0033 22 Preparations continued all day, and at night the guns and essential command post and HQ staffs moved forward to the gun area near VYNEN.
VYNEN 0747 23 Day passed quietly. Some German shelling could be seen and heard, but nothing came very close. The Germans shelled VYNEN Church at regular intervals of about an hour, and with considerable accuracy.
24 Our Artillery program opened at 0025 hours. Ops crossed the river RHINE in "BUFFALOs" and storm boats with the assaulting Infantry, OC 495 Bty being marooned in mid-stream with "navigational trouble" due to his amphibian breaking down, for an uncomfortably long time. Major J.A. Oliver, M.C., R.A.,OC 319 Fd Bty, was killed, together with three of his OP party, while walking with the infantry. The Regiment has lost a first-class Bty Commander, who was expert at his work and popular with all ranks. ( Alec Lysons, John Oliver, Fredrick Palmer, John Shields, Alfred Ellis)
25-28 For the next four days, the Regiment remained in action at VYNEN, supporting the troops on the far bank of the RHINE.
Nr HAMMINKELN GERMANY 1847 29 After a quiet day the Regiment crossed the RHINE to harbour about two miles west of HAMMINKELN
30 A quiet day. Maintenance and cleaning of vehicles and equipment went on in readiness for the next task.
31 The C.R.A. Brigadier L. Bolton, came to address the Regiment, thanking all ranks for their good work during operation TORCHLIGHT.