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Engineers of Market Garden

Article about: Hello, I am pretty new to this forum and my primary interet is the engineers of Market Garden, of which I am always on the look out for information and photos. I just put out a modest book o

  1. #1

    Default Engineers of Market Garden


    I am pretty new to this forum and my primary interet is the engineers of Market Garden, of which I am always on the look out for information and photos. I just put out a modest book on the U.S. engineers of the 82nd Abn Division who commanded the boats for the Waal Crossing. It is called, `Assault Boats On The Waal' and it available on amazon. com and
    My previous books are, `The Storm Boat Kings: the 23rd RCE At Arnhem 1944' and `The Wrong Side Of The River: The Polish Engineer Company At Arnhem'. Do you see a theme here?
    Thanks in advance for any help!


  2. #2

    Default Re: Engineers of Market Garden

    Best bet for some engineer research At arnhem will be the Royal Engineer museum which is at Brompton Barracks, Chatham, Kent. There is also a book called 'Follow the Sapper 'available at Amazon. Its expensive but chronicles where engineers have been during thier time as a corps.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Engineers of Market Garden

    Thanks. Unfortunately, I am an ocean away from Kent. I would love to go there.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Engineers of Market Garden

    Ah right that does pose a problem! I'm an ex engineer myself and there seems to be very few books on what engineers did in ww2 (personal experiences).

    You could try sending them an email I'm sure they would try to help you out.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Engineers of Market Garden

    Well, I am trying to change that; hence the research. My grandfather was R.C.E. and was on `The Rock' for two years during the war.

  6. #6
    ILH is offline

    Default Re: Engineers of Market Garden

    Hi John,

    I have the unit history for the 876th Airborne Engineer Aviation Battalion, IX Engineer Command, Special Combined Army With Air Force.

    This was the unit that gave the British Airborne Engineers 8 Clarke Airborne Bulldozers in exchange for some D4s. They were billeted in the 101st area when in England- General 'Nuts' Macauliffe and D Batt, 907th GFA were thier closest neighbours.

    "(36) Co. “A” left A88C at Maubuege, France for Son-Eindhoven, Holland on the 8 October 1944 and arrived on the 9 October 1944."
    "(40) Co. “A” departed Son-Eindhoven and Grave, Holland on the 19 Nov. 1944 and arrived at A83C on the 20 Nov. 1944."

    Unfortunatley the actual report has become almost unreadable (archive copying problems) for this period, but i can send you what i have transcribed- if you are interested?

    Last edited by ILH; 03-07-2010 at 07:39 PM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Engineers of Market Garden

    Hi Jim,

    Yes, I am interested in having a look at that. Thanks.


  8. #8
    ILH is offline

    Default Re: Engineers of Market Garden

    Starts well, but gets patchy..... enjoy

    Co. “A” left A88C at Maunadge on the 8 Oct. for Zom-Eindhoven, Holland. Their job was to construct a strip to fly off salvaged gliders left from the 1st A/B Army’s mission in Holland. In their own words this is what happened.
    “During the latter part of Sept. Co. “A” was on A88C near Maubeuge, France. Running right through our field was the historic Maginot Line, continuing across the countryside just a few miles within the French Border. So, it was not unusual for Co. “A” to be the host of a hundred or more French and Belgians, to whom we were no doubt a curiosity. Things reached such a climax that an enclosure of barbed wire was thrown up to give the men some privacy from prying eyes. Prior to this, It was not unusual for a man to be stared at while trying to use the luxury of a straddle trench, and of all things, by the Femmes.

    So, it was a relief to some of the company to receive the go signal from the Company Commander, Capt. C. S. Hilton, and tear themselves from the loving arms of French Mademoiselles; Some said the latest inside rumour marked the destination Holland, because he had personally heard John Jones of the medics say he had heard it from Jim Smion, who is on the inside with the company clerk, the latter having overheard a conversation between the cooking staff of Co. “A”.

    Lo and behold, there were the Battalion’s trucks lined up, well that is, those in fair enough condition to have made a thirty-mile run from Bn. Hqs, to Co. “A”. “Fall out in fifteen minutes, ready to move out,” shouted the 1st Sgt., One Robert ?. ?I?en, two years ago his neighbours choice from Wilmington, Indiana . “Goddam, Why the hell don’t somebody tell us these things”, shouted one soldier who had heard the rumours for a week, but didn’t take them seriously. Seems he doesn’t associate with the medics and cooking staff except on his XP days, which time he’s so goddam ‘burned up, he won’t converse with the aforementioned group of men.

    Now it seems that the officers got all excited, because they would know where the company is supposed to go. Capt. Hilton had been on a reconnaissance in the vicinity by plane, but when the one jeep was rolled onto the field at Eindhoven some days previously, it was found that there were fourteen corporals too many for a mere captain to take a jeep driver. So, the company was still in the dark about who the hell was fighting the war. Last report was our bivouac area was forty miles up inside a new corridor less than five miles wide, and a mistake in the choice of roads in that area might lead a man to active service, or perhaps no service of any kind. We were told that the Germans don’t believe in church services over American graves. What the hell kind of people are they? So, finally a command came floating across the early morning breeze. “Goddam Lt. You are going to go, that’s settled.” That must have been Capt. Hilton’s voice because he seems to have a ten-foot whip in his right hand. Thereupon a jeep flew out of the area, Sgt. Bauer, p r n S/Sgt Bauer at ‘the controls doing some low flying off to Holland. Seems there was an interpreter in the back seat who was about as useful as summer shorts in the same place. Didn’t the boys get a kick out of that when they heard he had nothing on them up in the Dutch countryside and said interpreter wasn’t too happy about the change in scenery. Seems he had done quite a bit of Social work in France, to his own benefit, of course.

    We can’t say too much about the final leave-taking from the field except that with just half enough trucks, some of the company are still standing there, while the more fortunate (And said that) were hanging on for dear life, were throwing everything but knives at the French girls. “We’ll be back,” they all sang out, but that is what they tell the girls in England too. The Sgt.s sure had to pull rank to find a seat better than on a bag of onions, and for a while it looked as though there would be enough courts-martinis to keep the regiment busy until we received a new colonel, which change takes place about every two weeks. Seems the cooks were all , well anyhow a few hours after everyone had taken off, but the only thing was, not one had told them where they were going. However, not to be outdone, they burst out of the barbed wire and burned the roads for Holland. The company sure had a lot of liberating on the way up, at a convoy road, and from there on it seems, we were about as popular as poison ivy. But then poison ivy deserved a good once in a while. But Co. “A” has never been outdone except when Co
    Over in

    Seems we can the how and according to the , we are , or according to more intelligent readers of our company, ,
    ever they are. Our rate of ying to snail’s pace soon we stopped we were about set to give piece of continually all the way from t through to our present position, when we spotted our pathfinder group. Seems they were making a of maps for the truck drivers, who were to proceed from there on their own. Away we went again at a ten mile an hour clip, line of Limeys, with every once in a while . Every truck looking like a bunch of gypsies moving to a new campin‘ area. Eindhoven at last, just recently liberated and
    English soldiers to Co.
    Aren’t ,
    Bottled up in the wood
    The blonde’s ere’s
    Ong the road, swinging
    Our new area must be somewhere.

    Seems S/Sgt. Bauer spotted appears one of the few places in the area Germans one of the officers said that the QM hadn’t gotten around here to bury the dead yet; maybe that’s our job, God knows, we’ve done everything else. Pyramidal tents are starting up and it isn’t but thirty minutes that the pyromaniacs, or whatever they call those firearm bugs, were throwing live German and stick hand grenades at each other. Just all in fun, but they might just as well explode them, because with the first visit of an inspection team we will have to police this little field anyhow.

    With darkness comes all kinds of funny noises, German ‘burp’ guns, English water cooled machine guns, and all kinds of artillery, both friendly and not so friendly. Surely there isn’t a man in the company who could tell our Chaplain he slept well that first night. When dawn broke, everyone exhaled with a sigh of relief and among those were our cooks and major Kieler. So, the first day shines in our favour, with a warm guidance in the form of our commander, who considered got important enough to warrant his being with us.

    Seems as though the army engineers had beaten us here, but we are to help them anyhow, so away we go to construct a strip. According to all the rumours we hear at dinner, the airborne Army landed in this area and have left behind them several hundred gliders. We have moved so often now that we are all nicely settled down and after-work souvenir hunting , great stuff. Seems everyone is the proud owner of a German pistol, bayonet, or rifle, and we believe the area would be safer with the Germans back in it. The English Soldiers are everywhere but the cooks tell us there are more of them in town than anywhere else, Cany your beat that, they have been to town already. Just arrived here last night, or so the word comes through very reliable sources, the medics we believe it is? Those of the more intelligent of our personnel tell us they can distinguish between the outgoing and incoming ‘mail’ as they call the artillery blasts, but we won’t want anything to do later either.

    Our second night suit us and his weapons squad are manning two fifty calibre and one thirty calibre machine guns have a line of resistance. Most of the men are on guard, and now the First Sgt. Is using T/5’s. What is this war coming to? We can hear those technical corporals bitching from here, and wish they’d shut up so we can go to sleep. Then in comes Pvt. Drum about ten one evening who tells the officers that the Germans have just made a breakthrough in our sector. ‘Why he heard the British soldiers telling about it and also saw them organizing a stronger guard.’ Don’t know why our officers had to put on a double guard, God knows, no one slept last night anyhow, and at the time we thought it would be Co. “A”’s last stand. And our wives would be right now looking at those new car catalogues back home. Let’s see, it would be just about five in the afternoon back in New York, six in Chicago, and seven in Kansas, wonder if that woman is behaving herself as she tells me in every letter? But then what if she doesn’t, Pvt. Drum, said there was a major Break-Thru, and Hell, we haven’t even a battery for our bazookas. Someone could easily get promoted right now, providing he can invent a secret weapon. Hope all the brave guys are satisfied now. Comes morning and a bunch of tired guys tumbled out of the sack, although most of the honest ones never were in it during the night. That perspiration must have kept us warm.

    C rations for breakfast, what kind of is this? Why some one told us that he had heard our troops were part of a task force in this area, and would be supplied direct from England by troop carrier. The Latest rumour has it that the British will only allow one American plane into their Eindhoven field each day, and yesterday the plane was loaded with sight-seeing colonels. A few days of this and those colonels can come by here and see us slowly starving to death. Three days and our C rations are gone. Things look the darkest in the company’s history. Can you beat it, seems there was a cow walked into the area and fell down and broke its leg and had to be shot. Well anyhow, that’s what Pvt. Webb of the cooking personnel said. At a time like this, even the officers never question that man’s integrity, or whatever they question in sometimes a rather forceful manner. Our company Clerk, who seems to know more about test-calling than the cooks demonstrated skill and deftly called their steaks. Even the cow again over the company. Heard
    Zaras ever camp today and will be relieved soon and sent to
    Too heavily under the Germans assault.

    As finally of 1 rations, and we y, food is coming , our or of the gr , very and one major is giving up, seems the other company are moving out of their and moving and other ones. They were sure having a tough life . This company hasn’t been out of tents since , but , who wants to sleep in a bed and inside a heated building anyhow, What would we do with a bathtub, company have never ? to ? escape after , maybe that’s why my are !

    The rumours have it again and since we’re g ahead, or so one theory goes. Can’t move up more, or latest Limeys will run out. Can’t see details of very from Bayeux to here and have any men he left to . perhaps that’s why the have them stopped up front. Seems like we have been here than it was on our first day. The Germans blew the top off the church with their artillery and the gunners were at their posts. We’re sort of glad we’re leaving this area. Well, its all settled, so the smart boys say, Sgt. Is going to be the Engineer Commandant of and we’re going .

    Here we are entering the muddiest road we have one trip, anyone could have easily is . Guess our officers spotted it on their reconnaissance. Lovely place! But after we settled down we realize it is a swell place for a field and the town is only a half-mile away. The only thing is, the women are sure homely, look something like a nurse, except the women wear wooden shoes. Our food is coming in fine, and we’ll stay up front for duration of the war if the boys in the next hall continue to do such a swell job. The artillery is still the same, but seldom keeps us awake, and we seldom hear German small arms fire. According to the latest communiqué, the German Air Force is almost completely wiped out? Wonder why those two German pilots up there don’t read the papers and smarten up? They have mostly all jet-propelled jobs and those English typhoons look like George Bernard Shak in a foot race with Jesse Owens. No doubt these Germans would make like football players, while one sends all the typhoons out of the area, another comes in and looks us over. We doubt if they found out who was laying the field, they’d t e for o of ia le’s hot-cakes. Terrible thing, terrible thing, they’re so misguided, well anyhow, that’s what our back home say, and we’re not to treat them rough. Well, we haven’t been close enough to tell they’re German except those in the cages marked ‘PW cage Ger’.
    All the hedgerows are last disappearing on this field, and we’ll soon have a strip built large enough to get gliders out. Saw a couple of the officers on the strip, walking the centre line back and forth. If they change their minds once more, they’ll have to get new stakes, the old ones are worn out from the eling. But we really have a fine strip here now, and even the worst of our are proud of their job. Another day and up we’ll never our job, but until Major Kieler returned ver ves and the rumour is, we can go to sra er. Oh, happy day!

    Have been watching the , bomb every evening, but finally last night took the 64 prize. Seems the had come and gone and everyone y in bed when along comes three German shells, really screaming over our area. Several men could have been arrested for speeding, one, we have heard, dove into a foxhole with nothing on but a clean pair of shorts. But even with the speed of his youth, the aged Cpl. already the choice position, that of being on the bottom. Not to be outdone, another contestant in the foot race dove gracefully onto both of them. And who was that fellow, who, shortly after the excitement yelled, “Looks like a company formation, everyone in the goddam foxholes, he, he, he, he!” Some day he’ll be a c tian let us hope, and stop at us believers.


    A c tian

    Co. “B” departed from A85C on the 16 Oct. and arrived at A83C on the 16 Oct and were joined by Co. “C” on the 22 Oct. H&S started moving to Fontaine-Notre Dame, France on the 24 Oct. and completed moving on the 26 Oct. The one remaining detachment of Co. ”B” returned to the CP on the 29 Oct. As of the 29 Oct. the companies were disposed as follows: H&S Co. at Fontaine-Notre Dame, France; Co. “A” was at Grave, Holland with one small detachment at Zom-Eindhoven, Co. “B” and Co. “C” were at A-83C, Provy, France.

    Co. “A” was, but again lets hear their story as they tell it in their own words—

    Our unit at Grave, Holland now included all EM and 5 Officers. Three EM were from the 876th clerks Co., believed it or not 876th.

    Weather was fairly good and as last as the hedgerows disappeared, Cpl. Naquin tamped down the earth with air compressor. Sgt. Lebs or his squad had some expert sod cutting and now proceeded hedgerows ly lways were left to cover.

    About this time, at the end of October, we were moving rubble with our dump trucks, well, at least with those capable of making the fifteen mile round trip to Nijmegen. Seems one of our attached drivers never took his truck out of low gear so needed his bedroll and K rations for so long a drive. Our hats off to Pvt. Smith of H&S Co. who is one good driver and a real worker. Also Pvt. Ayres and Lewis of this unit.

    Seems as though ‘Frog’ Milner had a slight ‘bump’, as he called it in Nijmegen, but from all reports ‘Frog’ gave a slight understatement. Seems the truck was a total wreck. Although we’re not too sure of the story, it seems ‘frog’ was in Nijmegen making a left turn to get in a blasted area for rubble. A Limey, who the Germans had flushed out minutes previously with a rather accurate artillery, was leaving town and rather hurriedly too: Not long ago some famous poet wrote on a subject “Never the Twain shall meet”, but this idealist person didn’t know the state of ‘Frog’s truck, nor did he understand the Englishman’s call for speed. So meet, and meet they did, with a loud crash - one scrap truck. If we have any more accidents, I guess our next move will be by bicycle. Still have two of those in supply, although the tires are flat.

    One day S/Sgt. Flanagan and some of his men went into Nijmegen for rubble. They were promptly shelled, bombed and to top it all off a German plane fell near them. When they returned to our field they said that they knew the rubble was not so important as all that and if anyone wanted more of it, they could goddam well get it themselves. What kind of attitude is this? Don’t you know there’s a war going on Sgt. Flanagan?

    Now on the 29th Oct. our first planes landed, both artillery spotters for the 82nd A/B Div. Next day a major Oliver came in from Brussels and T/5 Ewing ran a gas station for the Maytag washing machine with 80 Octane. It was his job in civilian life in Cleburne, Texas, before the war, so he was well informed on how to do it.

    The Colonel has been so he gave us passes to Brussels. Lt. took the first group down and ‘Old man ??eder’ was our truck driver. Those hopes to return soon, but don’t we all been armed the of Brussels fairly , but we
    Would be was correct and anyone who didn’t get ,
    “mustering out station”. , , reg e us, ll, short, slim, fat, and just good-looking bloke. there wasn’t a -- seems that had between us the girls. One night this is rather expensive
    fellows, listen,

    and for
    tried looking

    We started to feel of weather about 10 Nov. “ing rain and of e. move and
    and to give one artificial live.
    ? and wounds

    Our we‘re thinking seriously of using carrier pigeons. Trying to
    To start out
    And .

    Good News! The Canadian 1st Army is relieving the Limeys and a man with ordinary sense stays off the highways. Canadians no longer keep a guard on the bridges and the civilians are getting awfully nosey around here. Most seems to be from Grave, where there are beaucoup collaborators.

    Planes landed bringing in more Air Corps personnel Thursday, 15 Nov. at 3:30 that afternoon an enemy shell hit across the field. A couple of Air Corps men promptly struck the ground and some helpful guys who ran over to aid were promptly struck by the next two shells.
    So it wasn’t long before the field was littered with wounded, our
    Of them vic girl, who, of course, shouldn’t have been there in the first place. Most of our men were on the field and showed good battle sense by hitting the earth, and it is rumoured that some dug up the sod trying to get below the shrapnel line. The next and last three shells cleared the field and fell into the river or an unknown destination beyond our . Right here and now the cooks decided they would start living a cleaner life then heretofore. It is rumoured that one of the cooks, we promised not to tell who, never words again. And he makes good gravy too! Understand one of the cook’s helpers tried to get under a 20 gallon cooking pot. Always wondered what’s in that coffee, and now we’ve got a .

    The medics proved any, and regardless of the ambulance’s arriv , the casualties with everything seemed to go wrong, that with , card, and the civilian proved to be an extremely unruly patient who took away from . Regardless, Dr. Braswell, T/5 Bloyd, T/5 Birk
    our pr one of ied ?

    ? well. Seems
    Berlin and Pvt. First
    Not to be for a
    But it wasn’t money have changed
    . And
    and ‘
    t get Pvt. Will’s eyes they were going for ance to a frog. T’s right , we’re too.

    Lt. White was in France and with the Germans, and perhaps it is so, seems came, he is in France again. This time the shells fell at 2:20 pm, Sunday, 18 November, and ? . One of the Air Corps men just up and disappeared with a direct hit. Two more were injured, and again the medics are on the ball. Co. “A” that rabbit’s lost, and gets away with no casualties, but the party we’re receiving is getting to be no fun.

    Understand Cpl. Mocknick is living out of, in, and under his steel helmet. He is now a firm believer of that old piece of scrap iron, but here is one wh ain. Seems one of the Air Corps men was hit by a handful of shrapnel but his helmet took it with no more than a rough dent. That boys tricky, he could probably earn a living by playing the ponies.

    Capt. Hilton is worried and plans are being made to evacuate this area, and our about finished anyhow. Food and weather are both getting very poor. Seems the rain is so bad that planes are not flying in from England, rations are getting hard to get. On the 19th November we start moving with luck to France. Again on the 21st more men

  9. #9

    Default Re: Engineers of Market Garden

    I see what you mean about the rough bits. Interesting read though. Thanks!

  10. #10

    Default Re: Engineers of Market Garden

    Btw: I just put out another book in the series. It is called, `Basic Function: The 4th Parachute Squadron, Royal Engineers At Arnhem'. It is on and
    This makes 3 books now in the series. The other two are `Assault Boats On the Waal', which is also on Amazon and Lulu, and `The Wrong Side Of The River', which will be reprinted soon.


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