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London, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
A mythical beast - a female wargamer! I got back into wargaming in the summer of 2011 after a very, very long break. My current interests are Ancients, ACW, 30YW and SciFi gaming.

Monday, 23 September 2019

Arnhem 75th, Day Seven: Bash On Recce! Part Four

Phew! I'm back on schedule and the posting dates will match the event dates! There is also much less in the war diaries to report. As the battle goes on, entries seem to become more amusing.

I'll also be covering the squadron's TOE in the second half of this post.

Saturday 23rd September 1944

HQ and Support Troop

0700 - "Usual hymn to the morning Sun comes down in the form of mortar fire - heavier today than anything previous."

0900 - Brigadier Hackett arrives; discusses matters with Capt Allsop in his trench.

0930 - German voices in woods opposite HQ. Heavy MG fire prevents movement in position.

1430 - several close misses from mortar fire; Capt Allsop gets minor wound from shrapnel.

A Troop

Light mortar fire; Lt Galbraith's tally of sniper kills is growing.

1200 - SP gun is slowly demolishing houses on south side of street. Fall back to next road south through gardens and establish new strong point. Capt Grubb injured and taken to RAP; Lt Galbraith assumes command.

1400 - heavy fire for MGs and snipers. Enemy closing in; driven off after many small engagements. One casualty.

D Troop

0700 - heavy mortar and artillery barrage, with intense small arms fire from 0830

0900 - enemy advance takes and holds houses on north side of road.

1000 - strong attacks are supported by Mark VI tanks. Nearby 6 pounder engages them, but one tank destroys it, killing the crew.

1100 - forward position destroyed by shelling. Sgt Pyper and Tpr Smith withdraw to Troop HQ.

1500 - Attack from east beaten off. This is followed at 1600 by simultaneous attacks from east and west. Shells hit position causing 2 casualties. Withdraw at 1630 to new position 150 yards south. Troop now down to Capt Park, Lt Pascal and 13 ORs. Heavy mortar fire causes two more casualties.

1700 - ordered to retake previous HQ strong point. This is done with support of A Troop at 1730. Position is reinforced with additional trenches; Under heavy fire, Tpr Smith collects ammunition and supplies from abandoned forward position.

Squadron TOE for Arnhem

Squadron HQ

CO - Major Freddie Gough
2ic - Captain David Allsop
Adjutant - Captain JG Costeloe
Liaison Officer - Captain H Poole
Intelligence Officer - Lt Trevor McNabb
SSM - WOII A Meadows

3 Jeeps - 2 on gliders, 1 sent ahead with seaborne element

HQ Troop
OC - Captain HA Platt
MO - Captain TDV Swinscow, RAMC
QM - Lt T Collier
Catering Officer - Lt AA Lickorish
Signals Officer - Lt FW Ladds
Lt HE Pearson
Lt G Wadsworth
SQMS - S/Sgt GE Holderness

9 Jeeps - 4 on gliders, 5 sent ahead with seaborne element. All with 10cwt trailers.

In addition, Squadron HQ and HQ Troop had 45 other ranks at Arnhem including 3 from RAMC, 2 from REME, at least 1 from Army Catering Corps and (I believe) some from Royal Signals.

Support Troop

OC - Lt JA Christie
plus 2 Troopers

1 jeep sent ahead with seaborne element

Polsten Gun Section
Commanding - Corporal DHK Mason
plus 2 Corporals, 6 Troopers

2 jeeps with trailers and Polsten guns

Mortar Section
Commanding - Sgt L McCreedie
plus 2 Corporals, 1 L/Corporal and 9 Trroopers

2 jeeps with trailers carrying 3" mortars.

Most of the jeeps listed included a single Bren gun team. Some also carried a PIAt or a 2" mortar.

Three Recce Troops, each with four sections of 2 jeeps. the HQ section jeeps had a single Bren gun team, the Section jeeps had two Bren guns each. Each section also had a sniper rifle; the rest of the men were armed with Sten guns.

A Troop

HQ Section
OC - Captain M Grubb
Sgt H Venes
plus 1 L/Corporal and 5 Troopers

1 Section
Commanding - Lt J Stevenson
L/Sgt M Riches
plus 1 L/Corporal and 7 Troopers (NB - includes the one who failed to jump)

2 Section
Commanding - Lt Dougie Galbraith
L/Sgt G Williams
plus 1 Corporal, 1 L/Corporal and 6 Troopers

3 Section
Commanding - Lt DR Guthrie
L/Sgt -RJ Hewer
plus 1 L/corporal and 7 Troopers

C Troop

HQ Section
OC - Captain JA "Butch" Hay
Sgt FC Winder
plus 6 Troopers

7 Section
Commanding - Lt RC Foulkes
L/Sgt WC Stacey
plus 1 L/Corporal and 7 Troopers

8 Section
Commanding - Lt PL Bucknall
L/Sgt T McGregor
plus 1 L/Corporal and 7 Troopers

9 Section
Commanding - Lt CB Bowles
L/Sgt D Christie
plus 2 L/Corporals and 6 Troopers

D Troop

HQ Section
OC - Captain JCR Park
Sgt J Pyper
Plus 1 Corporal, 1 L/Corporal and 5 Troopers

10 Section 
Commanding - Lt J Marshall
L/Sgt E Jenkins
plus 1 L/Corporal and 8 Troopers

11 Section
Commanding - Lt WF Hodge
L/Sgt G Storrie
plus 1 L/Corporal and 7 Troopers

12 Section
Commanding - Lt AF Pascal
L/Sgt W Bentall
plus 1 L/Corporal and 7 Troopers

Tomorrow, well I think you've got the pattern down now. I might add another short bit about the squadron. Or maybe not.


  1. Reading these Arnhem posts suddenly reminds me Jeremy Clarkson's VC old documentary. Have you seen that?

  2. Enjoying following these, you've set yourself quite a task though!

  3. @ Moif - I hadn't until today, but someone had posted a link to it on YouTube yesterday morning and I had it in my queue/ It was a very well done episode about a rather interesting character. Mind you, the VC citation wasn't entirely accurate from what I've read; the real story seems to have been even more impressive though :)

    @ Tactical Painter - thanks! There's just so much that I've had to leave out to keep the blog posts to a reasonable length. I've got all the posts written though and scheduled to post every day until the end :)

  4. Well done Tamsin! Especially that TOE might come in handy at some point.

    1. Cheers, Nick! I have already used the TOE to knock up a force list for CoC, it's in the Files section of the FB group :)