War Diary: 1 Highland Light Infantry

Discussion in '53rd (Welsh) Division' started by Swiper, Feb 13, 2010.

  1. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    1st Battalion The Highland Light Infantry

    1st – 30th June
    Commanding Officer: Lieutenant-Colonel T Macleod
    Location: Lynstead
    1–6th June– Normal training went on with a considerable amount of sport and games. Weather extremely good sunny and [hot].

    6th June – D Day for Operation ‘Overlord’. British, Canadian and American assault troops invaded Normandy. With effect from 0001 hours. Today all leave is stopped and the Battalion is at 6 hours notice to move to a Marshalling Area.
    It is now apparent that 12th Corps of which this Battalion forms part is to be used in a ‘Build Up’ role.

    15th June – The Advance Party comprising Captain FCS Lewin-Harris and 7 ORS with a 15cwt truck moved off to Brigade HQ at 2000 hours. They moved to the Marshalling Area as a Brigade Advance Party at 0400 hours 16th June.

    16th June – Tracked vehicles left by rail for Marshalling Area at 2230 hours, commanded by Captain J [Liojour]

    17th June – Vehicle party moved off to Marshalling Area at 0600 hours. The Commanding Officer and Adjutant accompanied the Vehicle Party (strength 285 all ranks). Marching Party moved to Marshalling area – entraining at Teynham 1400 hours, detraining Haywards Heath.
    The 2I/C Major CA Harrey and the Intelligence Officer accompanied the Marching Party (remainder of Battalion). A residue of 13 ORs commanded by Servant Danger[field] was left at Sittingbourne to bring on the [illegible] vehicles i.e. surplus to higher s[illegible] (3 15cwts, 3 Loyd Carriers, 1 Jeep 1 PV, 1 Trailer 15 cwt truck).
    Vehicle party arrived T.3 Marshalling Area, Royal Albert Docks, London at 1200 hours.

    18th June – The Marshalling Area – Only excitement was created by German ‘P’ Planes (Pilotless aircraft). 6 crashed near the Marshalling Area.

    19th June – 0640 – Vehicles including tracked vehicles moved to [illegible] Area – West India Docks.
    1400 – Commenced loading on to SS Samzona an American Liberty ship leased to Britain and sailing under the Red Ensign.
    Total complement of military personnel, 57 Officers and 554 ORs with 153 vehicles. This was made of some 23 detachments from 8 Corps HQ, 43 Division, 53 Division and 59 Division. The 1 HLI is however the largest on board.
    Captain of the Ship: Captain AN Anderson
    OC Troops: Lieutenant-Colonel T Macleod
    Ships Adjutant: Captain JS [Illegible]
    1100 – Embarked
    Location: On board SS Samzona
    1400 – Sailed
    1900 – Anchored in the estuary off South end in company with many other vessels of a similar type (MT Ships) and several LST.
    It is understood that the convoy has been held up here for several days owing to high winds on the Normandy beeches making unloading impossible.

    21st/23rd We remained at anchor off Southend the weather was dry and warm in the bright sunshine on 21st and 23rd. Severe overcrowding on the [illegible] troop decks and few facilities for cooking. All ranks remained cheerful and morale was extremely high. The morning was clustered to Officer Commanding inspection of the ship and physical training in the afternoon. Deck Horse Racing was organised and created a lot of excitement. On the 23rd two signals were sent ashore, the first for extra rations, 1 ½ cwt of soap for washing clothes and 15,000 cigarettes. The seconds for [illegible] vegetables and fruit on the advice of the Doctor.

    24th June – PT this morning as usual.
    1330 – Officer Commanding Troops and the Ship – Captain taken off to a convoy briefing conference. The morning additional ration was delivered. In the afternoon a launch came along side and bought a Field Cashier who had a payment of 5/- to everyman who wanted it. In addition it delivered 15,000 cigarettes, 300 newspapers (free issue) and 1 ½ cwt of soap.
    On the CO’s return from the briefing conference he bought a package from the Medical Orderly containing a box of laxatives. The message enclosed in the packet is the answer to our request for vegetables is attached to the diary.
    1945 – The convoy sailed (approx 18 ships)

    25th June – 0055 – We entered the Shelling are in the Straights of Dover. Military fire parties stood to until danger area was passed at approx 0300 hours. An oil tanker was seen blazing on the beach off Dover as a result of earlier German shelling, but our convoy was not attacked.
    0800 – Off Beachy head, a briskly sunny morning.
    2220 – Anchored off Courseuilles-sur-Mer, Normandy the By presents an astounding picture. A mass of ships of all types from coasters and small landing craft to large frigates and passenger boats. There are also several cruisers and a Capital Ship either the Nelson or Rodney. One cruiser and the Battleship went into action in support of the land forces.
    2300 – All ships in the Bay area [send] smoke a AA protection

    26th June – 1400 – Commanding Officer, Adjutant, and Lieutenant EH Al[illegible]disembarked with 4 vehicles. Moved to Assembly area at Colombia-sur-Mer and then to 71 Infantry Brigade Concentration area at Beny-sur-Mer. The Marching Party under the command of Major CA Harrey arrived at Beny on the previous evening.

    17th June – 1400 – The marching party, 23 officers and 504 ORs stong entrained at Teynham near Sittingbourne.
    1630 – Detrained at Haywards Heath and marched to Marshalling Area Camp J.9.

    18th/23rd June – Remained in Marshalling Area as disembarkation on Normandy beaches was postponed due to strong North-East gale. The stay of the party in the Marshalling Area was very pleasant, the ‘Hotel Service’ by the 61st Division was excellent.
    Four reinforcements joined the marching party.

    24th June – Sailed from Newhaven in three ships. Two parties in LCI and one in an LSI.
    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  2. prgreycloud

    prgreycloud Junior Member

    Hi Swiper - are copies of the war diaries kept at the regimental museums, or do you need to view them at the National Archives? I'm after East Lancs Rgt in particular!
  3. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    Some Regimental Museums have some, but they tend to be pretty useless many lack the critical Appendix! Which are essential to understand what goes on!
  4. JerryPlatt

    JerryPlatt Member

    Any chance of getting the Ist HLI war diaries from 1 April 1944 to 30 April 1945. My uncle Major Joe Hemelryk served with them as a CANLOAN officer until he was k-i-a on 14 April 1945

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