Who liberated Enschede, Holland ? Coldstream Guards

Discussion in 'The Brigade of Guards' started by patrick1974, Sep 10, 2008.

  1. patrick1974

    patrick1974 We will remember them.

    Does someone have information as to the units that liberated my home town of Enschede,Holland.I can't seem to find the exact units that were part of the liberation force.Period is from 1st of april till 4th of april 1945.Thanks in advance.
  2. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Just checked my history of the Grenadier Guards page 230.
    It was the Grenadier Group of Guards Armoured Division.
    Back with mor elater.
    patrick1974 likes this.
  3. patrick1974

    patrick1974 We will remember them.

    Thanks Owen,so the canadian grenadier guards were part of the liberation force.I hope that you can find some more info for me but thanks a lot for now:)
  4. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    I think Owen means the actual Grenadier Guards, rather than the Grenadier Guards of Canada. However, I am sure he will confirm.
  5. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Sorry for delay, had to go out.
    Can't see any Canadians involved at all, all XXX Corps troops.
    The Irish Guards Group had a look at Enschede but was going to leave it to British 3rd Div.
    I'm sure Diane aka dbf can add to that but the Greandier Guards went into the town.


    Map to follow
  6. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Map from Grenadier Guards History.

  7. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Definately a XXX Corps op, looked breify in their History, follow up troops 43rd Wessex & 3rd Div too.
    Haven't got time for a good report but Guards Armoured are the unit who liberated your town.

    Quote here regarding 5th Coldstream.
    MAY 2005 - Johannesburg - South African Military History Society - Title page
    During this period a Bailey bridge was constructed and thrown across the Rhine at Reese, and moving across it and into a Dutch enclave the battalion liberated the town of Enschede, amidst scenes of great celebration
  8. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    It was, however, unnecessary to assault across the canal since Enschede, farther to the east, had been captured by the Guards Armoured Division with all its bridges intact.

    My bold type.

    1/8th Battalion, 1939-1945

    See this on dates 1st April & 2nd April.
    Battery diary, 341 Battery, 86th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, 1944 to 1946; compiled by Lt Sidney Beck

    April 1st 1945

    The advance continued in the morning. We struck the main road again at Eibergen and made good progress through Haaksbergen. Some opposition was met on the approaches to Enschede and we occupied a position in the village of Boekelo some 2 to 3 miles West of the town. Our Typhoon bombers looked dangerous as they dived towards our column at one stage, but they were attacking some 88mm guns a little ahead of us and we breathed again as they passed low overhead. At Boekelo the R.H.Q. established itself in a house where the owner spoke English. He had a telephone which was still working and he obtained information about the situation in Enschede by ringing up various phone numbers. Some valuable information about enemy locations was thus obtained and passed back. Attempts were made to enter Enschede from the N.W. but the canal bridges were blown before our tanks could get across. At one bridge two of our tanks succeeded in getting across before the bridge was finally blown and the tank crews did some fine work mopping up the retreating demolition party. Our tanks succeeded in entering Enschede that night but were held up by S.S. troops resisting strongly in the area of the aerodrome on the N.E. outskirts.
    April 2nd 1945

    We moved at dawn and occupied an allotment and playing field area in Enschede itself. A fire plan was prepared to support an attack on the aerodrome but during the night the S.S. men had withdrawn and the road was clear. Lt Col. R. Symonds arrived and assumed command of the Regiment. We pushed on towards the German border, passed through Oldenzaal and were then held up at a canal bridge outside Nordhorn.
  9. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Just looking at Assault Division History of 3rd Division by Norman Scarfe.
    Page 233.

    Ahead , the Guards were through Kaaksbergen and Enschede, a spacious Dutch town at one end of the Twenthe Canal. The bridge was blown behind the first few tanks of the Guards, and so 8 Brigade was sent forward to clear Enschede on the 2nd. A few shots were audible , but otherwise it was a repetition of the Groenlo welcome.
    The Guards galloped on....

    PS I've edited the thread title .
  10. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Just had another look in 30 Corps History, they give credit to the Coldstream Group getting to Enschede first.
  11. patrick1974

    patrick1974 We will remember them.

    Thank you so much guys for this info.The reason why i asked for the canadian units is that my uncle says that there were canadians in Enschede during it's liberation,but i always thought that it were only british that liberated my town.This is a picture of a WW2 monument.It says:''For our freedom,between 1st and 3rd of april 1945,20 british soldiers gave their lives''

    Lest We Forget

    This is near the Lonnekerbridge that was destroyed by the Germans and where there was some heavy fighting.

    Again many thanks
  12. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Patrick, Owen got me to check for you, but I only have what is in the IG History and not the War Diary. Not much by way of your town, but mentions a little about the others taken before as well.


    Irish Guards History pg 565 Across the Rhine

    [Operation Plunder]

    "At five o’clock on the morning of 30th March the two battalions [2nd Armd & 3rd ] drove across the Rhine into the bridgehead held by the 51st Division. In a sense the whole war, nearly five years of it, had been leading up to this moment. In the grey light they rattled across the dirty dismal-looking river almost without looking at it.

    The Irish Group remained in reserve while the Grenadier Group led the Brigade up the main road to Aalten and Enschede. Once past the 51st Division front line, the Grenadiers ran into a series of demolitions and road-blocks manned by a few unhappy Germans. They cleared them without much delay until, about midday, they came on nine large craters in the road in front of Aalten. Then the Brigadier [D. M. Mills Roberts, DSO, MC] ordered the Grenadiers to advance on foot, and the Irish Group made its way through woods up to the inevitable canal just south of Aalten where the bridge was as inevitably blown. There was nothing to do but sort the eighty-odd prisoners they had taken en route and wait till the Grenadiers took Aalten at dusk and the sappers could come up and build a bridge. They were now back again in Dutch territory, and from far away over the level country they could see the sign of welcome - orange streamers flapping from the sails of windmills. In one of the frontier villages, Dinxperloo, the Dutch cheered and sang on one side of the road while the Germans welcomed William the Silent: “They could not have done more had he been an angel from heaven.”

    The next morning the Grenadiers continued the advance, the Irish Group falling in behind Brigade Headquarters as soon as their bridge was built. The brigade entered Groenlo in the early afternoon. The population cheered entered and wept and broke into a large dump of gin. The local resistance leader in his orange arm-band came out of a Klompenfabrik and gave a hundred bottles to the Brigade. “Echte oude Genever,” he said, “Proper pre-war strength.” The prisoners and rounded up straggling Germans as well as many scoundrels, or persons said to be scoundrels,. In all about 120 prisoners were taken that day mostly from the 8th Parachute Division and its satellites. Leaving behind the gin and orange arm-bands and the dancing inhabitants of Groenlo, the Brigade cleared this town by a night attack, the sappers built the bridge across one more river in this network of land and water, and the Irish Group prepared to take the lead.

    As soon as it was light on the 1st April the Irish Group drove up the road through Haksbergen to Enschede. “In this town are many manufactures,” said the interpreter, “this is the Dutch Manchester.” There was a sigh from nearly a hundred Manchester Micks, who would have given anything to see the approaches to London Road station in the rain.

    The Germans were expected to defend Enschede and soon it was clear that they were going to. The bridge into the town was blown and the leading squadron came under brisk fire from a railway embankment. The Brigadier ordered the Irish Group to by-pass the town on the right and to cut off the German retreat. No. 3 Squadron and No. 4 Company cleared the embankment with some casualties and the loss of two tanks. The whole Group, harassed by 88-mm. shells, skirted the town, and by nightfall it was in the rear of the Germans astride the north-east exits. During the night the 32nd Brigade attacked the town from the west and it sounded as if somebody was having a rough time. It must have been the Germans, for in the early hours of the morning a company of them, looking for a way out, blundered into No. 14 Platoon, commanded by Lieutenant Dominic Sarsfield. The Germans withdrew slightly and then returned to batter a way out for themselves and their friends through No. 3 Company. After an hour’s confused fighting the Germans gave up their attempt, leaving behind 15 dead, 17 wounded and 25 prisoners. No. 3 Company lost three men killed and thirteen wounded, including Lieutenant Sarsfield.
    There was not much left of the night: “No fraternizing after the next town. We‘re going back into Germany.”

    The next morning the Irish Group led the advance dawn on through Oldenzaal and then turned eastwards for Germany."
    patrick1974 likes this.
  13. Buteman

    Buteman 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA


    Click on this link to a site called the Liberation of the Netherlands in pictures. No units mentioned, but there are a couple of Enschede. Might be of interest.

    (Link no longer available as at Oct 2019)


    PS - Does anyone know who liberated Delft. Was it one of the Scottish Units and if so, which one?
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2019
    patrick1974 and von Poop like this.
  14. patrick1974

    patrick1974 We will remember them.

    Thanks a lot Robbert for the link provided.:)
  15. Philip Reinders

    Philip Reinders Very Senior Member

  16. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Another little snippet for the file ... hope it is interesting. From GAD History by Verney:

    The 5th Brigade
    On the 31st the Grenadiers resumed the advance. GRENLO fell, thanks to a route being found by the armoured cars, but five miles short of ENSCHEDE serious opposition was encountered and by nightfall their progress was halted, having had a number of casualties of whom Captain Hon. S. D. Loch and Lieutenant T. H. Birchall were wounded.

    The 32nd Brigade
    March 31st - April 3rd 1945
    Following the 5th Brigade, the leading Group, that of the Coldstream, was not able to get clear to open another centre line on the left until the afternoon of the 31st. Then, however, all went well for twenty miles, and it was not until they reached NEEDE that the first opposition was met. Here, in the evening, several tanks were knocked out. Such bridges as were found, proved to be too weak to carry tanks, so the Group was forced to halt for the night.

    On the following morning the advance was resumed. The leading Squadron rushed a bridge across the Twente Canal with their leading Troop under Lieutenant I. L. Janrdin, but the bridge was blown as soon as he got across. Several tanks were destroyed just short of the bridge, where Lieutenant the Hon. R. T. Boscawen was severely wounded, and Major J. F. Priestly decided to pull his Squadron back a short distance. Two of the tanks that had rushed the bridge were destroyed, but the survivors managed to get back. The third tank worked its way towards ENSCHEDE and in due course rejoined the Group. The town was taken by the Coldstream in the afternoon after some hard fighting.

    The Twente Canal was the scene of another gallant action, this time by Lieutenant W. G. Allen and his Troop of armoured cars. The bridge was strongly defended by a multitude of weapons, all of which were plain to the Troop Leader, but he decided to rush it with a view to cutting the firing-wires before it could be blown. He crossed with this two armoured cars, but the bridge was blown immediately behind him. In the fierce fighting that ensued he himself was badly wounded and his Corporal-of-Horse and another non-commissioned officer killed.

    On April 2nd the Scots-Welsh Group passed through the Coldstream at ENSCHEDE, cleared the airfield there, and advanced to NORDHORN, where they found all three bridges blown. Some tanks, however, managed to get across the ruins of one, and by evening the town was occupied.
  17. Philip Reinders

    Philip Reinders Very Senior Member

    You should not spoil him to much D
  18. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    From Welsh Guards at War, Major L. F. Ellis

    1st April 1945
    The had been a lot of hanging about near Enschede while the Coldstream Guards were taking the place and as night was falling they had been sent forward to reconnoitre the nearby airfield. The leading tanks of two troops had been knocked out by anti-tank guns which they had come on unexpectedly in the dusk, and in both cases the troop leader and his crew had been wounded and taken prisoner. When night fell both troops were withdrawn and an attack was planned for the morning.
    On April the 2nd Reveille was at five o’clock and two hours later the attack on the airfield was launched by a squadron and a half of tanks (No. 1 Squadron and two troops of No. 3) carrying men of the 2nd Battalion Scots Guards. The enemy had cleared out during the night, leaving the three anti-tank guns which had caused such damaged in the dusk of the previous evening and a lot of other equipment. By ten o’clock in the morning the Battalions were on the road again, making now for Oldenzaal.

    From The Scots Guards 1919-1955, David Erskine
    29th March 1945
    With the morning came the capture of Isselburg by the 5th Brigade, and soon afterwards the news that the Household Cavalry Regiment were three miles north of that town. At 1130 the Scots/Welsh Group moved off following the Coldstream on a centre line to the left of the 5th Brigade. Progress was very slow owing to the badness of the roads, but Dinxperlo on the Dutch frontier was reached by one o’clock and “Plunder in its wider sense had to be temporarily forgotten”. After two-and-a-half hours the Brigade moved on again and, by-passing Borculo, leaguered for the night just north of Beltrum. But “why weren’t we in front with our fast Cromwells instead of the Coldstream and their lumbering Shermans, speed was the point … it was maddening”. The “lumbering Shermans” still led in the dawn start next day, but the route was through villages lined with rejoicing Dutchmen and “we tasted some of the joys of liberation with our fellows had experienced last summer”. During the morning the squadron through the Coldstream captured the approaches to Enschede and passed one squadron through the town, and in the afternoon the Scots/Welsh Group passed through them and received a great welcome in the crowded streets, losing its way in the process and suffering a certain amount of anxiety, for German tanks were still in and about the town. But nothing untoward occurred, though one Company Commander had some difficulty in explaining that it was not the Germans but his own tanks that he was trying to find, and, after Lieutenant H. Brooking Clark had liberated his mother-in-law, the Group found its way on to the road to Oldenzaal.
  19. Verrieres

    Verrieres no longer a member

    More of the same really but a possible Canadian link at the end to the Town.

    1stApril 1945

    East of the Canadians, Lt-Gen Dempsey's divisions had covered a good
    deal of enemy territory since crossing the Rhine. 3O Corps especially had
    made great gains against varying opposition to secure a firm flank for
    General Crerar's northward thrust. The Guards overran Groenlo on 31 Mar and
    by midnight had 5 Gds Armd Bde in Eibergen, while on the left 32 Gds Bde
    finding Borculo strongly held, swung north-east to Needed. Eibergen fell on
    the morning of 1 Apr and a passage was forced through Haaksbergen to within
    two miles south-west of Enschede at 1400 hours. On the same day 32 Gds Bde
    moving fast from Neede had reached by 1100 hours a small bridge on the
    Twente Canal. Some tanks managed to cross the water barrier, but only to have
    the bridge blown up behind them. They became heavily engaged and were soon
    all knocked out. The Guardsmen then shifted to the eastern end of the canal
    and, by-passing Enschede, drove on towards Hengelog with the object of
    screening Enschede from the north-west. The Irish Guards Group entered
    Enschede during the afternoon of 1 Apr, and by last light had cleared the
    town, taking many prisoners. The enemy, however, still held on to the
    airfield north of the town, although this area was now almost surrounded by
    other elements (Welsh Guards) of the brigade

    ........The 1st Canadian Armoured Carrier Regiment were disbanded in May1945 most of the units vehicles were concentrated around Penhem in Germany with only its Headquarters remaining in the Dutch town of Enschede.During its existence it had conveyed soldiers from no less than 38 different English Infantry regiments...

    Hope this helps rather than confuses
    dbf likes this.
  20. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Well found Verrieres.
    Think this may be relevant also.

    “An excellent website with regard to the many Armoured vehicles used in WWll. While all armoured vehicles played an important role in WWll of special interest is the Kangaroo Regiment, or the 1st Armoured Personnel Carrier Regiment, a regiment that was formed and disbanded in The Netherlands.”

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