11 Field Coy 1939-1945

11 Field Coy

11 Fd Coy was part of 2 Div from Sep 1939 - May 1940, and deployed to France in 5 Bde in the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in Sep 1939 In Apr 1940, Coy was relieved by 208 Fd Coy and retrained for action in the Middle East.

In 1941-42, the Coy took part in the Western Desert Campaign. On the night of 23-24 Oct 1942, during, the Battle ofAlamein, a Section of 11 Fd Coy was acting as the flank protective force on the right flank of 44th Reconnaissance Regiment, the advanced guard for 7* Armoured Division. The Section encountered
some scattered mines, which were dealt with by the "snail" lorries of 211th Field Park Company, as they advanced towards a major minefield known as 'January' Sappers using only their eyes to pick out mines, preceded the convoy of Lorries, and upon reaching January the main belt was lifted without the use of de-tectors This was a method 11 Fd Coy had practised very carefully as a result of some disappointments in the use of detectors in a previous minor operation. The RE Journal states that breaching was completed some hours before 7th Armoured Division had completed their task.

The Carrier Platoon of 1/7th Queens was lead through the gap in January by the Engineer Section, under Lt Hoskyn, who told the PI Comd "It's all right now YOU can go through". The Carrier Platoon Commander later said, "To tell you the truth there was so much mortaring and other stuff flying about that I didn't think it was on to take the carriers through - but after that I had to!". The Sapper subaltern, who was wounded later that night, was awarded the Military

Having served in North Africa in 1943, 11 Fd Coy joined 30 Corps Troops in NW Europe m 1944. Following their success on the Normandy beaches, the next thought on the minds of the Allied engineeis was crossing the River Seine At least on the front allotted to the British Annies, every bridge had been demolished. Speed in getting across the River was of the utmost importance before the enemy could recover his poise, thus the responsibility resting on the engineers was great.

The task had been long foreseen and prepared for, and as early as 16th August 1944 stores and equipment were being brought forward to temporary dumps.

Two bridging columns had been formed, each with enough rafting and bridging equipment for an assault crossing by one corps on a divisional front. When the leading brigade group set off on the 90 mile march to the River, an RE recce party soon discovered that the bridge over the River Eure, over which the column was to pass, had been destroyed. It was agreed that 11th Fd Coy should build a Bailey bridge over the river, which they duly did.

The advance of 30 Corps continued, with 11th Fd Coy attached to the Guards Armoured Division who were leading. D Day for Operation MARKET  GARDEN was fixed for 17th Sep. The plan was to seize crossings over the major waterways of the Maas, Mass-Waal Canal, Waal, and the Neder Rjin, by the
use of airborne troops, and then to push through armoured columns, backed up by infantry formations to consolidate the corridor, to join hands with the airborne troops. The Operation was not completely successful, but the stakes were high and a gamble had to be taken.

The failure to capture the bridge at Amhem was due to the presence in the area of unexpectedly strong forces, and unfavourable weather conditions which prevented the rapid reinforcement of the airborne troops and their supply by air. But the capture intact of the bridges at Nijmegen was a success of the first importance.

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