21st September 1944

War Diary of H.Q., 1 Airborne Division

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
ARNHEM 21 Sep 0115 Phantom received message Guards Armoured Div to go flat out at first light for brs at ARNHEM, 5 Gds Armd Bde leading.
21 “ 0340 Patrol under Lt Heap with amn for 1 Para Bde did not get through.
21 “ 0415 Message to Airtps. Main rd br intact. South side held by enemy. North approaches held by us. Pontoon br not held by us. Details of defences not known. Ry br blown but NORTH approaches covered by us from NW.
21 “ 0545 Message to Airtps. Following area clear of tps. Any action may be taken ALL WEST of grid line 68, NORTH of grid line 80 as far EAST as rd junc 710800 thence EAST of grid line 71 as far SOUTH as ry cutting 710783 thence NORTH of ry until ry junc 758777. Enemy flak and gun defences on SOUTHERN approaches main br. Suggest close cooperation between tanks and air.
21 “ 0625 Sitrep to Airtps. Quiet night. Posns unchanged. Sup drop sufficent rations for one per 3 men. No reserve sten amn remainder limited but not unsatisfactory. Pet short.
21 “ 0650 Morning hatc begins.
21 “ 0900 GOC holds conference and reorganises Div into force that under Brig Hicks being responsible for the WEST side of the Div Area and that under Brig Hackett for the EAST side –
21 “ 0900
Brig Hicks.
1 Border
4 Para Sqn
Elements 9 Fd Coy
Elements 1 Para Sqn
21 Indep Para Coy
Recce Sqn
Glider Pilots
Brig Hackett
10 Para Bn
156 Para Bn
Thompson Force (Lt Regt)
with details 2 S Staffords and
Para Units
Lonsdale Force (11 Para Bn and
other 1 Para Bde details)
Fifty Glider Pilots
Major Madden (G.2 Air) now acting B.M. 4 Para Bde.
21 “ 0915 1 Border and 7 KOSB being attacked.
21 “ 0945 HQ RA report contact with 64 Med Regt RA.
21 “ 1005 Attack on 1 Border posns considerable. Heavy mortaring and shelling of Div Area. Amn dump at Div HQ set on fire.
21 “ 1025 1 Airlanding Bde Instructed to chose targets for 64 Med Regt.
21 “ 1230 Heavy mortaring and shelling still continuing with attacks from various directions, frequently supported by SP guns or tanks, which caused temporary penetration.
21 “ 1245 Resup A/C over again, but badly shot up by ME. 109 Fs.
21 “ 1600 Another resup – quite successful this time.
21 “ 1715 Polish Para Bde dropping SOUTH of river on D.Z. given.
21 “ 1730 Numerous targets, mainly attacks supported by SP guns, against our EAST flank, engaged and broken up by 64 Med Regt and Hy Bty.
21 “ 1725 7 KOSB heavily attacked again and reported overrun.
21 “ 1805 1 Airlanding Bde report that 7 KOSB have successfully counter-attacked and re-occupied their original posns, but strength now only 150 All ranks.
21 “ 1820 Div H.Q. subjected to severe mortaring again. Further dispersal of tps in the open arranged. Prospects of reinforcement by Polish Para Bde cheers tps. 200 P.O.W. in Div cage.
21 “ 1840 Eastern flank, particularly LONSDALE force again attacked. Enemy reported again occupying M.D.S.
21 “ 1905 Hy attack develops against 1 BORDER but most successfully dispersed by arty fire 100 yds in front of their positions.
21 “ 2010 4 Para Bde report 10 Bn driven in but subsequently occupied 3 houses 699784.
21 “ 2015 156 Bn report fwd positions still intact, hard fighting all day and have inflicted many casualties.
21 “ 2130 C.R.E. reports party have left to join THOMSON Force and there prepare rafts to assist in crossing of Polish Bde, when arranged.
21 “ 2144 Sitrep to Airtps. No knowledge of elements Div in ARNHEM for 24 hours. Balance Div in very tight perimeter. Heavy mortaring and M.G. fire followed by local attacks. Main nuisance SP guns. Our casualties heavy. Resources stretched to utmost. Relief within 24 hours vital.
21 “ 2359 Message from Airtps that undetermined number of A/C with Polish Bde abortive due to weather and did not drop.