The Irish Regiment of Canada
Royal Canadian Infantry Corps
War Diary

Editor's Note:   This page contains a trans­crip­tion of the war di­ary of the Irish Regi­ment of Ca­nada, an in­fan­try reg­i­ment from Tor­on­to, for the dates of the bat­tle of Ot­ter­loo.  Mi­nor spel­ling and punc­tua­tion er­rors have been cor­rec­ted and large num­bers of ab­bre­via­tions and ac­ro­nyms have been spel­led out.  The con­ven­tion of using full cap­ital let­ters for proper nouns has not been fol­lowed here.  Mili­tary ranks and unit names have been spel­led out but the ab­bre­via­ted mili­tary de­cora­tions af­ter the names of in­di­vi­duals have been omit­ted.  The photo­graph and cap­tion at the bot­tom of this page did not ap­pear in the war di­ary.  The scan­ned war di­ary pages used for this trans­crip­tion can be found at the fol­low­ing web loca­tions as veri­fied on 2012 06 27.
(map reference: 65529111, Sheet 379E, 1/25000)
In the early hours of the morning, the Irish Regiment of Canada received orders to prepare to move to Otterloo soon after first light.  At 0730 hours the commanding officer, Lieutenant-colonel L.H.C. Payne, held his orders group, gave the order of march, and the regiment was on the move in troop carrying vehicles by 0815 hours.  We debussed at map reference 665914 Sheet 379E, about one mile from Otterloo, and proceeded into town on foot as tanks of the 8th New Brunswick Hussars were still clearing the town.  Tactical headquarters was established at 65529111 Sheet 379E with A Company clearing the south from their company headquarters at 654908, B Company to the east and rear with headquarters at 656912, C Company to the north with headquarters at 654914, and D Company to the west with headquarters at 650913 A patrol from B Company in the charge of Lieutenant H.D. Keely bumped a strong force of enemy at 659980 (Sheet 379W) and Lieutenant Keely was killed.  In the resulting battle numerous enemy were killed and 32 prisoners of war were taken.  Lieutenant Keely was an excellent officer and very well liked throughout the regiment and his loss will be keenly felt by all ranks.  The town and surrounding area were reported cleared of all enemy by 1400 hours and A Company had picked up 10 more prisoners of war, all from 346 Infantry Division.  A patrol to Harskamp (map reference 641944) consisting of one troop of Governor General's Horse Guard's tanks and one platoon of infantry from C Company ran into the enemy and suffered one casualty.  Enemy snipers continued to fire away from the surrounding woods at our outposts and, as darkness fell, the patrol to Harskamp took up position at the road junction at map reference 652925, with orders to finish clearing Harskamp Barracks at first light.  At 2030 hours Brigadier I.S. Johnson was at tactical headquarters giving the commanding officer the tactical picture on the divisional front and telling us that the divisional headquarters would be in our area for the night.
Weather - Warm.

(map reference: 654912, Sheet 379E, 1/25000)
At 0030 hours this morning, an enemy patrol of one officer and 25 other ranks suddenly came racing into Otterloo, yelling like a gang of fanatics and firing their automatic weapons madly.  It was evident that they had a definite objective because they made straight for the tactical headquarters and opened fire through the windows.  The commanding officer, Lieutenant-colonel L.H.C. Payne, was rather rudely awakened by a burst of automatic fire through his window and was pinned in his room for a few minutes.  In the ensuing battle we suffered four casualties and the enemy left several dead scattered about the area before they departed for the south end of town where A Company took a toll of them, wounding the officer in command of the patrol.  At 0100 hours C Company reported enemy movements to the north of their position and enemy guns began to shell Otterloo.  At 0130 hours B Company reported enemy movements to the north of them and it soon became evident that large numbers of enemy were concentrating in front of B and C companies from map reference 650917 to map reference 667915 supported by horse drawn artillery and 8.1 centimetre mortars.  At 0200 hours divisional headquarters asked if the Irish Regiment of Canada could send a platoon of infantry to support them and Lieutenant J. Maltby and his platoon from A Company was dispatched.  Lieutenant G.H. Clawson and two sections of infantry came in from D Company to help support tactical headquarters and the commanding officer withdrew the standing patrol at map reference 652925 into the C Company area to tighten his defences.  At 0430 hours the enemy made their attack preceded by an artillery and mortar barrage, most of it aimed at tactical headquarters and B Company.  Captain N.H. Shaw and the acting regimental sergeant-major, Company Sergeant-major Bill Hemmings, were wounded by shell fire, as well as several other men at tactical headquarters before the attack was well underway.  Several troops of 17th Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery, near C Company were over-run but the main attack came in on the B Company area.  The enemy filtered through and around tactical headquarters and penetrated to the area of the 2/11 Battery of the 3rd Medium Regiment, Royal Artillery, in the rear of our position.  At daybreak the commanding officer sent a section of WASP flame-throwers to B Company and they proceeded to burn out any intentions the enemy had of proceeding further into town.  The arrival of six Churchill tanks from the east belonging to the Corps of Royal Engineers also helped and the enemy fled in a disorganised mass, with our tanks, machine guns, and rifles taking a very heavy toll.  It is estimated that there were 800 enemy taking part in the attack and the flame-throwers accounted for 50 with 150 more falling before the our infantry and supporting arms.  Irish Regiment of Canada casualties were three other ranks killed and three officers and fourteen other ranks wounded.  Twenty-two enemy were taken prisoner.  By 1000 hours our patrols had scoured the surrounding area and C Company had picked up 16 more prisoners of war and three 7.5 centimetre infantry guns.  At 1030 hours a squadron of 8th New Brunswick Hussar tanks and B Company of the Cape Breton Highlanders arrived to help beat off the attack, but the excitement was all over and they returned to their own headquarters.  Major-general B.M. Hoffmeister called at tactical headquarters to express his congratulations to the commanding officer for the marvellous job done by the regiment in beating off the attack and to thank the commanding officer for sending the platoon of infantry to help divisional headquarters.  Divisional headquarters captured well over 100 prisoners of war during the attack. At 1130 hours the commanding officer held an orders group and C Company was ordered to move and consolidate at the road junction at map reference 653919 and A Company to move to the area of map reference 658912 Tactical headquarters moved 100 yards to new headquarters at 654912 At 1530 hours one company of the Perth Regiment reported to the us in case the enemy attacked again tonight.  At 2200 hours B Company reported that a patrol from the Seaforth Regiment of the 1st Canadian Division had contacted their outpost at 662924 and we felt fairly certain that the enemy would not come back tonight.  During the battle this morning the commanding officer, Lieutenant-colonel L.H.C. Payne, received a slight wound in the legs but remained in action.
Weather - Warm.

portrait of Lieutenant Harlan Keely as a militia captain
Lieutenant Harlan David (Hal) Keely
as a militia captain