Accident at Tripsrath
Accident at Tripsrath
Literature from the book Battle for the ROER TRIANGLE
4th KOSB relieved 1st GH in the first days of January 1945 with 7/9th RS relieving 5th HLI in Hoven and Hochheit. On the 7th January 47 men (30 Royal Engineers and 17 KOSB) died at Tripsrath in an ammunition explosion on the road from Tripsrath south to Hochheit.
They were carrying and arming 2,400 anti-tank grenades which were to have been laid that night forward of 4th KOSB,s positions.
Something happened at the head of the carrying party which set of a sympathetic detonation right along the 120 yard long line of men each carrying a stack of grenades and exploded the main dump. The CO 4th KOSB and Commander Royal Engineers, who were observing from only a few yards away were very lucky they were not killed. Only one man survived from the carrying party. All of the KOSB casualties were Quartermaster staff, the Provo Sergeant, the CO and Padre’s batman.
Literature from book With the Jocks
ISBN 0 7509 2721 6
“The 4th Battalion KOSB were in the Geilenkirchen sector at the beginning of 1945. On the 7th January, together with a detachment of Royal Engineers, they were tasked with laying a 75 anti-tank grenade minefield between woods occupied by ‘A’ and ‘B’ Coys and the village of Tripsrath. Carrying parties from 4 KOSB brought the grenades to the unloading point, where they were armed by the REs. There was a sudden explosion at the head of the carrying party some 120 yards from the unloading point, followed by an even greater explosion at the unloading point. 17 KOSBs and 30 REs – all the personnel at the site – were killed instantly. The Commanding Officer, overseeing the proceedings, was fortunate to escape unscathed. Of the 2400 grenades, 2350 had gone up in the explosions. 10 minutes later, there was another mine incident in Tripsrath itself; 4 men of the Pioneer Platoon were killed and several injured while dealing with a small German minefield.
“All those who lost their lives were buried two days later in a large grave in the British cemetery at Brunssum. A service was held, taken by the Senior Chaplain to the Forces of the Division; this was attended by the Divisional General.”