This is a diary Charlie kept for the first few months of 1945. some of the writing is a little difficult to read so errors are possible in some of the text
Mon Jan 1st 1945. Standing by to demolish bridge. Not a drink to be had. Dead cold.
Tues Jan 2nd. Rochefort on another sentry. Two bridges being built, messed about by bridge stores being held up by bad weather.
Wed Jan 3rd. Bridges completed. Patrol shot up, 3 injured. Weather wet and cold. Cooks truck lost but eventually we had a nights kip (sleep).
Thur Jan 4th. Moved up to attack at ........eaux. Travelling very bad through weather but everything went o.k. Hotton and Ardennes.
Fri Jan 5th. Turned out at 2am cut way through Ardennes for infantry supporting ours. Shelled and prisoners. Everything ok by end of day though.
Sat Jan 6th. Reasonably quiet. Job cancelled. Truck smashed up and new one. Reloading stores and fixing up wagon.
Sun Jan 7th. Roads and mines through Ardennes. Bitter cold and very tough going.
Mon Jan 8th ........ skid on improvised roads through Ardennes. 3 bosch dead.Things begining to move.
Tues Jan 9th. Roads and mines. Ardennes cleared and high ground taken beyond forrest. 51st took over and we pulled out at 5 o'clock many casualties.
Wed Jan 10th. Moved to liege sector. Broke down roads treacherous. Village ..........-..........-huy.
Thur Jan 11th. Arms check and inspection general clean up. Citation from Comander in Chief. ( I shall be posting a copy of this soon on this site).
Fri Jan 12th. Drill and P.T. Lecture on mines. Pretty easy day.
Sat Jan 13th. Located baths and coal for billets, had a good bath and wrote letter. Nothing much on.
Sun Jan 14th. Had to take platoon for bath, had easy time after.
Mon Jan 15th. Parade in best B.D ( battle dress i assume). Drawing kit from QM stores. Lectures on demolition and mines.
Tues Jan 16th. Parades. Half section sharpening tools and half on lectures. Griff came back and joined our section.
Wed Jan 17th. Cleaning trucks, equipment and tools. I make and mend ready for inspection by C.R.E. on sunday 21st.
Thur Jan 18th. Cleaning up prior to inspection by O.C. Orders to prepare to move back into Holland.
Fri Jan 19th. Moved to Helmond. 100 miles. Arrived 6 o'clock and had timber factory as billet. Very cold day indeed.
Sat Jan 20th. Easy day preparing for inspection.
Sun Jan 21st. Had church parrade in the factory, nothing much after.
Mon Jan 22nd. Training in the morning mines. Paid in the afternoon and got ready to go to Brussels.
Tues Jan 23rd. Went to Brussels on 48hr leave at 8.15. Arrived hotel Albert 2 o'clock.
Wed Jan 24th. Had photo taken and bought Eva (his wife) some stockings and other presents. Good food and cinema.
Thur Jan 25th. Finnished leave at 2 o'clock returned to coy at helmond.
Fri Jan 26th. Platoon inspection by O.C. Building dummy pill boxes in woods. Very cold. Arrived back at 5 o'clock.
Sat Jan 27th. Went for a run and spent day cleaning for insection. Units ordered out with East Lancs.
Sun Jan 28th. Went with East Lancs to build 2 pill boxes prior to scheme out all day. C.R.E inspection
Mon Jan 29th. Started strict training running in the morning lectures in the afternoon.
Tues Jan 30th. P.T. long run. gave lecture on mines. Lecture by officer in the afternoon.
Wed Jan 31st. P.T. Lecture on mines, knots and lashings.
Thur Feb 1st 1945. Route march and firing. Poured with rain all day.
Fri Feb 2nd. Cleaning arms. Inspection and road repairs.
Sat Feb 3rd. P.T. Run. Mine detecting lecture. Changing Gear.
Sun Feb 4th. Church service in the morning. Bath in the afternoon.
Mon Feb 5th. Briefed for attack and battle plan against siegfried line. Preparation.
Tues Feb 6th. Ration and water had to be drawn by each man, washing forbidden. move by night to Nijmegan. Bombed by Luftwaffe.
Wed Feb 7th. Attacked S.E. Nijmegan. 7 Divisions, our division to clear Reichswald Forrest. Roads had to be made.
Thur Feb 8th. Roads. Shells, morters, bombing. Situation very difficult but well in hand.
Fri Feb 9th. Attack going well, many prisoners including civilians fighting in civvy clothes. Opposition fairly stiff.
Sat Feb 10th. Went on course. Broke journey at Eeklo (Belgium). Trip 200 miles.
Sun Feb 11th. Arrived at R.E. training school at Knokke near Ostend 1300hrs. Got bed made and ready for course.
Mon Feb 12th. Organization of works course.
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Sun Feb 18th. Day off went to the pictures. Spencer Tracy in the murder man.
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Wed Feb 21st. Course ended.
Thur Feb 22nd. Truck came at 1200hrs, armoured vehicle. We got 60 out of it and had a quick trip. Stopped at farm for the night.
Fri Feb 23rd. Moved at 9 o'clock. Arrived back at coy at Kleves. Forest had been cleared with few casualties 1 dead, my section O.K. Took section to Goch and remain till coy came later.
Sun Feb 25th. Working in Goch. Bridges and roads. Place was in chaos. Shelling in the evening.
Mon Feb 26th. Working in Goch. Many huns were killed.
Tues Feb 27th. G1098 Check ( THE UNITS STORES) and loading up. Hun pushed forward a little.
Wed Feb 28th. Standing by for assault crossing.
Thurs Mar 1st. 1945. Pushed on to Weeze. Built bridge . Many mines.
Fri Mar 2nd. Completed bridge. Made road diversions and then had couple hours sleep.
Sat Mar 3rd. Pushed on to a village near Geldern. Built bridge at Geldern as it was taken.
Sun Mar 4th. Linked up with Yanks other side of Geldern. Hard going all day.
Mon Mar 5th. Went near Issum to clear road block in enemy territory and assault bridge. Finished bridge on my own everyone ran in panic.
Tues Mar 6th. Alone in front of Yanks. Shot at, shelled and mortered. Very lucky to get away with it but got back O.K. and then moved.
Wed Mar 7th. Built bridge at Issum. 2 Baileys ......... got back at 2.30 on thursday morning.
Thur Mar 8th. Cleaning up ready to come out of the line for a rest.
Fri Mar 9th. Came out of the line. Back to Walbeck. This place was Stalag 7 before being occupied.
Sat Mar 10th. Tool check, cleaning, Saw film Bathing Beauties with Red Skeltern.
Sun Mar 11th. Church parade. Done washing, wrote to army gift shop and photo studio
Mon Mar 12th. G1098 inspection. Moved men to village of Walbeck. Good billets. Me, Nobby (Branch) and Jack in a room. Truck sprayed.
Tues Mar 13th. Cleaned up junk and so settled in and made ourselves comfortable. Rest of division went to Brussels But R.E held back possibly for the Rhine.
Wed Mar 14th. Called out at 9 o'clock to unload 6 lorries of bailey at Weeze.
Thur Mar 15th. Started class 70 bridge 140ft site ........... .......... .......... debris. Cease work at 6.30
Fri Mar 16th. Preparing site for bridge bench seats.
Sat Mar 17th. Building bridge proper. Had toothache.
Sun Mar 18th. Went to dentist had tooth filled. Bridge declared open.
Mon Mar 19th. M.O. Passed Vaccinations as O.K. Went to see two films but neither showed up.
Tues Mar 20th. Rifle inspection. Had bath. Nobby (Branch) Ernie (Barrett) Jack went to Brussels.
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Sun Mar 25th. Crossed Rhine.
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