23rd September 1944

War Diary of H.Q., 1 Airborne Division

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
ARNHEM 23 Sep 0355 H.Q. R.A. reports 50 Poles crossed by 0300 hrs and put under comd 1 Airldg Bde.
23 “ 0735 More heavy shelling and mortaring Div H.Q. area.
23 “ 0742 4 Para Bde call for arty support, in front of Gilder Pilots area 697787. Answered 0750 hrs. Lt Grose returned to 4 Para Bde to take over remnants of 10 Bn.
23 “ 0840 4 Para Bde report that 10 Bn have been forced to evacuate their houses. Glider Pilots about 697785 have been blasted from their houses by SP guns but are holding the gardens.
23 “ 0945 Sitrep to Airtps. Spasmodic shelling and mortaring during night. Movement of SP guns. Otherwise little change in perimeter. Several attacks by inf and SP guns or tks supported by extremely heavy mortaring and shelling are in progress on NORTH EAST of perimeter. 50 Poles ferried across river during night. Leading inf 43 Div have arrived SOUTH bank. Hope they will be able to cross under mist. Sup situation serious. Majority no rations last 24 hrs. Amn short – latter may be accompanying party from SOUTH.
23 “ 1105 In reply to message from Airtps. No sups have yet reached us.
23 “ 1147 1 Airlanding Bde report that SOUTH Coy 1 Border reinforced by Poles have repelled attack but Polish casualties 50% of force. Chiefly from mortaring.
23 “ 1300 Strength return from Polish Bde. Killed 14, wounded 64. Present strength 103 officers, 810 O.Rs. including tps on NORTH bank.
23 “ 1300 Comd, 4 Para Bde reports that a German officer approached him under a Red Cross flag and SP gun and threatened that unless our tps withdrew from houses in the vicinity of the M.D.S. he would be forced to blow the M.D.S. to pieces, but at 1330 hrs agreed not to do so provided we did not fire from the immediate vicinity of the Hospital. There were 30 Germans in the Hospital at this time.
23 “ 1335 1 Border report enemy attack, strength estimated one Bn. Successfully repelled and one enemy tank knocked out.
23 “ 1605 Resup by air; very small quantity picked up. Snipers now severely curtailing movement and therefore collection. Also roads so blocked by falling trees, branches and houses that movement in jeeps virtually impossible. Jeeps in any case practically out of action.
23 “ 2015 Sitrep to Airtps. Many attacks during day by small parties inf, SP guns and tanks including flame thrower tks. Each attack accompanied by very heavy mortaring and shelling within Div perimeter. After many alarms and excursions the latter remains substantially unchanged. Although..very thinly held. Physical contact not yet made with those on SOUTH bank of river. Resup a flop, small quantities amn only gathered in. Still no food and all ranks extremely dirty owing to shortage of water. Morale still adequate, but continued heavy mortaring and shelling is having obvious effects. We shall hold but at the same time hope for a brighter 24 hours ahead.
23 “ 2345 G.S.O.1 returned from visit to Polish Para Bde H.Q. Airtps and 43 Div H.Q. Div situation explained to General Browning and General Horrocks. Attended ‘G’ Group, Comd 130 Bde, where it was arranged that Polish Bde should cross tonight followed later by 130 Bde afternoon 24 Sep or night 24/25 Sep.
23 “ 2359 Div posns as on Trace ‘F’ except that remnants 10 Bn withdraw to houses astride x rds 696784.