The Irish Regiment of Canada
Royal Canadian Infantry Corps
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
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.
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.
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 charge of
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
(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
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
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.
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 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.
Lieutenant Harlan David (Hal) Keely
as a militia captain