War Diary: 5th Battalion COLDSTREAM GUARDS, Jan - Dec 1943

Discussion in 'The Brigade of Guards' started by dbf, Sep 25, 2010.

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    WO 166/12462
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    1943 January
    The month was devoted to intensive Platoon Training.

    1943 January 6 - 7
    Battalion and Company H.Q.s took part in a DIVISIONAL Signal Exercise.

    1943 January 15 - 16
    Battalion Exercise.
    Night approach march, night attack.
    On following morning advance and occupation of a pivot area.

    1943 January 27
    The Battalion was reorganised on the new establishment. Appendix A : Nominal Roll of Officers on New Establishment
    No. 2 Company was disbanded and split between the three Rifle Companies and Support Company.
    No. 4 Company was re-numbered No. 2 Company.
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    5th Battalion Coldstream Guards
    January 1943 - U.K.

    Lieutenant-Colonel Lord STRATHEDEN - Commanding Officer
    Major R.G. FEILDEN - Second-in-Command
    Captain M.P.G. HOWARD - Adjutant
    Lieutenant J. PEREIRA - Intelligence Officer
    Lieutenant (QM) H.W. HEWITT - Quartermaster

    Captain The Reverend R.H. TOMLINSON, R.A.Ch.D. - Padre
    Lieutenant P.J.R. DELLER, R.A.M.C. - Medical Officer
    Regimental Sergeant Major S. LONSBROUGH - R.S.M.
    Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant - W. WAKELIN - R.Q.M.S.
    Drill Sergeant C. SCOTNEY
    Drill Sergeant F. ROBERTS

    Captain D.S. JACKING - Company Commander
    Lieutenant R.G. STYLE - Signal Officer
    Lieutenant I.O. LIDDELL - Motor Transport Officer
    Company Sergeant-Major L. LAMBERT - 1st L.R.s
    Company Quartermaster Sergeant D. HAMNET
    Company Quartermaster Sergeant G. TREADWELL - 1st L.R.s
    Company Quartermaster Sergeant T. THORNTON - 1st L.R.s

    Captain G.D. CHETWODE
    Captain J. DRUMMOND-HAY
    Lieutenant The Honourable G.H. BOSCAWEN - Pioneer Platoon Officer
    Lieutenant C.W. LAMBTON - Carrier Platoon Officer
    Lieutenant D.C. QUILTER - Carrier Platoon Officer
    Captain C.P.M. WORRALL - Anti-Tank Platoon Officer
    Lieutenant E.R. HUBBARD - Anti-Tank Platoon Officer
    Lieutenant B. BLOWER - Anti-Tank Platoon Officer
    Lieutenant D. BOSSOM - Mortar Platoon Officer
    Company Sergeant-Major W. MONUMENT
    Company Quartermaster Sergeant G. TILLING

    No. 1 COMPANY
    Captain K.M. THORNTON
    Lieutenant The Marquess of HARTINGTON
    Lieutenant J.T. PAGET
    Lieutenant P.H.K. MERRIAM
    Lieutenant G.F. BOURNE-MAY
    Company Sergeant-Major H. HARRISON
    Company Quartermaster Sergeant H. STEVENS

    No. 2 COMPANY
    Captain W.S. THOMPSON
    Lieutenant Lord A. CAVENDISH
    Lieutenant P.L. FANNING
    Lieutenant E. STRAGHAN
    Lieutenant J.A. BROCK
    2/Lieutenant R. THOMPSON
    Company Sergeant-Major W. STANLEY
    Company Quartermaster Sergeant J. BELL

    No. 3 COMPANY
    Captain The Honourable A.R.G. STRUTT
    Lieutenant D.I.T. EASTMAN
    Lieutenant The Honourable D.M. WILLOUGHBY
    Lieutenant R.G. LOMER
    Lieutenant A.J. BOWKER
    2/Lieutenant C.M. PHILIPS
    Company Sergeant-Major J. DENHAM
    Company Quartermaster Sergeant R. FOWLER
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    1943 February 4 - 5
    Mere Camp, Wiltshire
    Exercise BLACKMORE.
    The Battalion moved out by dark and arrived in a concentration area at BROADWINSOR T8624 late in the night.
    Next morning orders were given for a move Eastwards to the River STOUR.
    Light enemy forces were encountered on the river, and withdrew after blowing up all the bridges.
    The Battalion was in reserve and took no part in forming the bridgehead, but was responsible for the local protection of the bridge site.
    Next morning the advance was resumed and the Brigade moved into a defensive position on the Plain.

    1943 February 13 - 14
    Exercise RUTHLESS
    A Brigade Exercise to practise the tactics of combat teams against isolated enemy detachments and the protect of harbour areas in a hostile country.
    The Home Guards provided the enemy and the Battalion practised the clearing of a town in LANGPORT T87.

    1943 February 17 - 19
    Exercise LONGMORE
    The Division concentrated near OXFORD the Battalion being in the area of ABINGDON P91, the most important feature of the first night was the protection of harbour areas, and though the Divisional Admin area was attacked the Battalion spent a quiet night.
    Next day the Division advanced with the Infantry Brigade leading, [?] South in the direction of HUNGERFORD U78.
    The advance was halted on the line of the AVON canal, where the bridges were found to be blown, and the Battalion was ordered to cross the canal and from a bridgehead; this was done without opposition.
    Patrols sent out in the night found the village of WOODBOROUGH U5580 occupied by the enemy, and the Commanding Officer gave orders for a night attack.
    The attack was successful, though the enemy were at that moment withdrawing.
    During the night Anti-Tank guns were rafted across the canal.
    Next morning the Armoured Brigade crossed the river and continued the advance.
    Between the Exercises, Companies have been practising run and walk (to a standard of 6 miles in the hour) and individual training.

    1943 February 28
    The Battalion moved out on Exercise SPARTAN and left MERE Camp for the last time.
    Mere Camp, Wiltshire
    2200 hours The Battalion moved out on Exercise SPARTAN and left MERE Camp for the Concentration Area at ROCKBOURNE.
    A thirty mile night drive, with no lights on an extremely dark night, that resulted in a few vehicles going off the road.
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    1943 March 1
    0500 hours
    Battalion arrived at Concentration Area.
    The main preoccupation here is to remain as invisible from the air as possible.
    Movement by day is reduced almost to nil, and extensive camouflaging carried out.

    1943 March 2
    The Battalion is to move into a sector of the bridgehead that has been formed along the line LEATHERHEAD - GUILFORD, ANDOVER, SALISBURY
    The GUARDS ARMOURED DIVISION and the Canadian 5th ARMOURED DIVISION are on the extreme Left in an area North East of SALISBURY.
    1400 hours
    The Commanding Officer and O Group left for the new area of ROCHE COURT.
    2200 hours
    The Battalion arrived and moved in under cover of dark.
    Practically all the M.T. is parked under central arrangements inside the Park.

    1943 March 3
    Roche Court
    Most of the night has been spent in digging slit trenches, and getting everything settled in before daylight. Appendix C
    Stand To’ 0700 hours followed by breakfasts (The Battalion is still on fresh rations).
    A mobile bath unit has been in action here most of the day.

    1943 March 4
    Roche Court
    1100 hours
    The G.O.C. visited the Battalion area.
    1130 hours
    The Battalion is at an hour’s notice to move.
    Orders have been issued for an advance on BANBURY where the enemy armoured Divisions have been located.
    The Battalion is to lead on the Left Centre line which runs AMESBURY - PEWSEY - MARLBOROUGH - SWINDON.
    1600 hours
    The column has been halted just short of MARLBOROUGH where the 2nd WELSH are in contact with the enemy Recce units.
    2200 hours
    MARLBOROUGH has been cleared, but the enemy has blown up several bridges along the Centre Line and no further advance is possible to-day.
    The Battalion has been ordered into a park area for the night at ROCKLEY.

    1943 March 5
    The enemy now have some troops South of the THAMES and it has been decided to move forward and form a pivot on the North edge of MARLBOROUGH DOWNS.
    1300 hours
    The Commanding Officer and O Group have gone forward to recce the new area.
    The Battalion is to move at 1300 hours. Appendix D
    1600 hours
    A pivot area has been formed with the Battalion in the area SUGAR HILL.
    All the Divisional Artillery is in support of the pivot and the Battalion has got a Battery of the 21st ANT-TANK REGIMENT.
    The Canadian Division is on our right on the LAMBOURNE Downs.

    1943 March 6
    Sugar Hill
    The enemy are now withdrawing Northwards.
    A few armoured cars that appeared near the pivot area have been dealt with, and the main source of trouble have been air attacks during which the Battalion suffered a few casualties.
    One enemy plane was brought down by small arms fire.

    1943 March 7
    Sugar Hill
    A carrier patrol has been forward to LECHLADE and confirmed, that the enemy have withdrawn, leaving behind them a considerable line of demolitions along the line of the THAMES.
    1400 hours
    The Division and the Canadian 5th ARMOURED DIVISION are to move to ABINGDON and make a break through where the Canadian Corps has formed a bridgehead across the river.
    1900 hours
    Previous orders cancelled.
    The Armoured Divisions are now to advance due North in pursuit of the enemy’s armour.
    The Centre Line runs West of SWINDON them up by CRICKLADE - CIRENCESTER - NORTHLEACH and on to FARMINGTON.

    1943 March 8
    0600 hours
    The Battalion arrived at the Concentration area, after a long and difficult night march complicated by diversions and the very short notice given of the route, harbour area, etc.
    The enemy armoured is not quite close and a pivot area is to be formed on the high ground above CHIPPING NORTON.
    1600 hours
    The Commanding Officer and O Group left for the pivot area.
    The Battalion has been allotted the ground to the North of GREAT ROLLRIGHT.
    2100 hours
    The Battalion left FARMINGTON and moved via STOW ON THE WOLD, MORTON ON THE MARSH and WHICHFORD.

    1943 March 9
    Great Rollright
    0500 hours
    The Battalion arrived at the pivot area.
    1300 hours
    The enemy armour is still not within striking distance and a further advance is to be made in the direction of BANBURY.
    The Centre Line runs due North then turns East above BANBURY.
    The enemy hold the line of the BANBURY - OXFORD canal, and their armour is somewhere near BICESTER.

    1943 March 9
    1220 hours
    The Battalion moved off.
    We are behind the 1st Battalion WELSH GUARDS who are leading on the Left Centre Line - KINETON - GAYDON - SOUTHAM.
    2000 hours
    The advance has been halted, all the bridges over the canal having been blown.
    2300 hours
    No. 1 Company has crossed the canal at NAPTON ON THE HILL, without meeting any opposition and a bridge is now under construction.
    The remainder of the Battalion are harbouring for the night in SOUTHAM.

    1943 March 10
    The Battalion crossed the bridge at first light and moved to MAIDFORD where a pivot area has been formed.
    The enemy are now only a few miles to the East and a battle is expected in the near future.
    2430 hours
    The two armoured Brigades in our Corps have been joined into one armoured Division, and the two Infantry Brigades have been put under the command of the Canadian 5th ARMOURED DIVISION.
    The Battalion is to send long distance patrols to the area of SALCEY forest to try and locate the enemy harbour areas.

    1943 March 11
    The patrols were unable to reach their objectives owing to extensive demolitions, but they had several minor engagements with enemy patrols and brought back valuable information.
    1200 hours The armour advanced to-day but in attempting to cross the canal where it runs underground they suffered very heavy casualties on a minefield, and have been reforming near BLISWORTH.
    The Battalion has been ordered to form a bridgehead over the canal near PATTISHALL.
    1600 hours No. 3 Company has successfully crossed the canal, and the Commanding Officer has given out orders for the remainder of the Battalion to cross and take up positions guarding the bridging operations during the night.

    1943 March 12
    During the night and early morning several prisoners were captured, and we have now got a fairly accurate picture of the enemy dispositions.
    1000 hours
    Exercise SPARTAN ended.
    The Battalion is to be billeted in the area of ROTHERSTHORPE till orders are received for the move to our new area in NORFOLK.

    1943 March 15
    The Battalion moved off from ROTHERSHORP at 0800 hours and arrived at the new Battalion area in NEW HUNSTANTON at 1700 hours. (102 miles)
    The whole Battalion is billeted in the town; the Company areas are:-
    Battalion H.Q. - Sandringham Hotel
    No. 1 Company - Valentine Road
    No. 2 Company - Creeve Gate
    No. 3 Company - Cliff Terrace
    Support Company - Valentine Road
    H.Q. Company - St. Edmunds Terrace.

    1943 March 19
    A party of Officers attended a lecture by General MARTETT [?], on the recent fighting in the theatres of war from which General MARTEL has just returned.

    1943 March 24
    The Commanding Officer and Company Commanders went to the Brigade H.Q. to meet General LUMSDEN, the Corps Commander.

    1943 March 30 - 31
    Exercise TEDDY BUG a Battalion Exercise to practise the new operational role, a copy of which is attached.
    There is very little training ground here and during the past few weeks there have been Spring Drills, and the Companies here have practised ‘run and walk’.
    The use of various assault courses and ranges are being secured.

    Attached Files:

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    1943 April
    There have been no Battalion or Brigade Exercises this month, and training has been concentrated on Company events.
    All Companies have had the use of the following areas:-
    HOLKHAM - Assault Course
    STIFFKEY - Anti-Aircraft Firing Range
    THETFORD - Classification Range
    Besides these, the beaches have come in very useful for practising drills for clearing minefields, cliff climbing and as a range.
    There is a programme of training films once every week, and several lectures.

    1943 April 6
    Considerable storms raging during the last twenty-four hours, have done much damage along the coast.
    One minefield has been washed out of the dunes on the foreshore onto the beach; as O.C. troops in the HUNSTANTON area, the Commanding Officer has been making arrangements for its disposal.

    1943 April 9
    Excercise MASSINGHAM.
    A one day Battalion Excercise to practise the following:-
    1. Quick occupation of a pivot.
    2. Concealment of vehicles.
    3. Quick move out of a pivot.
    4. Map Reading.
    The Commanding Officer stressed the importance of vehicles driving straight out of their camouflaged postitions and not bunching in groups before moving off the the S.PP.
    This was practised several times.

    1943 April 15
    The Battalion was visited by the Commander in Chief, who was shown a demonstration of sniping, and then watched the Battalion doing massed P.T.

    1943 April 20
    H.M. KING PETER of YUGOSLAVIA visited the Battalion and saw the rehearsal of the KING’s visit.

    1943 April 24
    Visit of H.M. the KING.
    The same demonstration of sniping and P.T. was given, and the KING inspected the guard and was shown around the various snipers’ posts.

    2657604 Lance Serjeant EDWIN REGINALD JOHN HINE, 5th Bn., Coldstream Guards who died on 29 April 1943
Remembered with honour NEW HUNSTANTON CEMETERY
    Grave Reference: Row O, Grave 56. CWGC :: Casualty Details
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    1943 May
    This month has been mainly occupied with Company Training; the following are the most important features:-
    1. Firing on the classification range at THETFORD.
    2. Company attack, over the field firing area at BRANCASTER STAITHE.
    3. Company night Exercises.
    4. Drills for clearing a gap in a minefield, and mine laying.
    5. The handling of the PIAT Anti-Tank projector.
    6. The handling of German Infantry weapons.
    7. Swimming.
    There has been a programme of training films each Monday morning at the local cinema.
    The Commanding Officers has held Conferences for all Officers, to bring out some of the recent lessons learnt in the North African Campaign, and several of the points discussed are to be incorporated in the next months training.
    The Battalion is at present mobilizing on the old basis of four Companies and a H.Q. Company (H.Q. Company is divided into H.Q. Company A and H.Q. Company B ), but a new establishment is to be brought into use at the end of next month.
    Major M.P.G. HOWARD is in command of the new No. 4 Company

    1943 May 31
    Excercise UNION.
    At 0800 hours the Battalion moved off from HUNSTANTON to a Concentration Area at MERTON HALL; the Battalion arrived at 1130 hours and at 1300 hours information was received that the SCOTS GUARDS during the capture of FROG HILL 3209 has sustained heavy casualties and were to be relieved by 5th Battalion COLDSTREAM GUARDS that night.
    At 1530 hours the Commanding Officer went over to the SCOTS GUARDS and reconnoitred the position; orders were given out at 1730 hours and then Company Commanders and Platoon guides made a recce of their areas.
    The Battalion moved off at dusk, on foot, with only the F transport and reached FROG HILL at about 0015 hours.
    The position was taken over - man for man - and the take over was accomplished without any interference from the enemy.
    At 0350 hours a Platoon of the enemy attacked No. 4 Company, but were driven off, and about 15 minutes later the enemy attacked Battalion H.Q. but were also unsuccessful.
    No further attacks were made though patrols from No. 3 Company met an enemy patrol and drove it off.
    The Exercise closed at 0700 hours.
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    1943 June 3
    Exercise SPLASH.
    A Battalion Exercise carried out on the lake of HOLKHAM PARK G36 in order to practise ‘Night River Crossing’ and in particular the ferrying of 6-pounder Anti-Tank guns and Jeeps by improvised methods, and the organisation of communications on the far bank.

    1943 June 8 - 10
    Companies to THETFORD rifle range where they bivouaced for the night and did night firing.

    1943 June 12 - 13
    Excercise WAGHORN.
    A Brigade Field Firing Exercise on the STAMFORD battle area G31.
    The Battalion moved into a Concentration Area at MERTON PARK and at 2000 hours the Brigade Commander gave out orders for an attack next morning on TOMMYS BELT G3311; 4th Battalion SCOTS GUARDS on the Right, 5th Battalion COLDSTREAM GUARDS on the Left.
    The various arms of the Brigade Support Group and a Battery of Field Artillery were represented but did not fire.
    The Battalion moved off on foot at 0100 hours and after a five mile cross country march formed up in the WREATHAM BELD 3411.
    At 0430 hours the attack was put in and after the capture and consolidation of the objective the Exercise closed at 0900 hours.
    During the consolidation phase the 3” Mortars engaged opportunity targets.

    1943 June 15
    Exercise CREAKE.
    A Battalion Signal Exercise.
    Skeleton Company H.Q.s only took part.

    1943 June 21
    In the event of a landing on the Continent, Battalion transport would for the first few weeks be considerably reduced.
    A Parade of all Battalion transport was held, and the Commanding Officer supervised the re-distribution of loads in accordance with ‘Light Scale’ transport.

    1943 June 25
    Exercise ALEX.
    The Battalion moved out to the STAMFORD Battle Area at 0400 hours and at 0900 hours began digging in, in a defensive locality to the South East of BODNEY LODGE G 3115.
    The enemy Recce Battalion (2nd Battalion WELSH GUARDS) made contact at 1030 hours and at 1100 hours part of main tank force was seen forming up to the North West of the Battalion area.
    After a heavy Artillery concentration had been put down on the forward Company areas, the 5th ARMOURED BRIGADE put in an attack and overran No.s 2 and 3 Companies.
    A number of tanks were put out of action, but at 1215 hours the enemy Motor Battalion (1st Battalion GRENADIER GUARDS) put in an attack on the remaining Battalion positions and by 1300 hours the Battalion had been completely over run.
    The Exercise was watched by members of the Russian, Czech and Polish Military Missions.

    1943 June 29
    Battalion frontal attack using the ‘lane method’ was practised on the beach as a drill.
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    1943 July 4 - 5
    Exercise STILTON
    (The Brigade move to new area in YORKSHIRE)
    The Battalion left HUNSTANTON at 0800 hours and moving via KING’S LYNN and NEWARK arrived at a ‘Staging Camp’ at DONCASTER at 1700 hours; here the Battalion stayed the night and leaving next morning at 0900 hours travelled via YORK to SCAMPSTON arriving at 1400 hours.
    The Battalion layout at SCAMPSTON is as follows:-
    Battalion H.Q. & H.Q. Company - SCAMPSTON 3495
    No. 1 Company - WEST KNAPTON 3595
    No. 2 Company - WINTRINGHAM 3692
    No. 3 Company - THORPE BASSETT 3294
    No. 4 Company - RILLINGTON 3293
    Support Company - SCAMPSTON PARK 3494

    1943 July 9
    Exercise DERWENT
    A Battalion Signal Exercise with the Battalion wireless vehicles to practise communications with 19 sets.

    1943 July 18
    Exercise TYKE
    A Divisional Exercise.
    The Battalion moved out to a Concentration Area around WIGMAN HALL 1265 to the South of YORK where orders were given out during the night for a Divisional move to the North East where an enemy Panzer Division had been located on the WOLDS.
    The Division moved out on two Centre Lines with the Armoured Brigade leading.
    At 1300 hours the Battalion advanced via POCKLINGTON 2768, HUGGATE 3514, and WETWANG 4078.
    The enemy were found to be occupying a strong defensive position in the area of KEMP HOUSE Crossroads 4385, but after their outposts had been driven in by the Armoured Brigade they withdrew, and at 1700 hours the Brigade was ordered to move up and occupy this area.
    The Battalion held an area on the South East above COWLAM MANOR 4485, and was in position by 2000 hours.
    The Exercise closed at 2300 hours.

    1943 July 22
    Exercise HAWKE.
    32nd GUARDS BRIGADE represented a German formation with the task of interfering with the advance of a British Expeditionary force which had landed at HULL and was believed to be preparing for an advance on LEEDS.
    On the afternoon of the 22nd the Brigade occupied the crossings over the River DERWENT from FILY 5999 to ELVINGTON 7767 (That is an arc from the coast to just South of YORK).
    The Battalion held the crossings from exclusive MALTON 2791 to inclusive ELVINGTON, which involved holding seven bridges and these were held by No.s 1 & 3 Companies.
    No.s 2 & 4 Companies had the role of protecting the guns of an Artillery Battery guarding a minefield in the CASTLE HOWARD Area 1889.
    At first light enemy recce units made contact along the whole line of the river, and on finding the bridges blown withdrew.
    At 1300 hours a Company of the enemy Motor battalion (11th Armoured Division) crossed the river just North of KIRKHAM ABBEY 2186, but they were counter-attacked by No. 3 Company supported by a Squadron of tanks, and were forced back across the river; at dusk at Brigade attack was launched against the same area and the Companies on the river were withdrawn to CASTLE HOWARD.
    From here the Battalion moved at Midnight to THORNTON LE DALE 3102 where after harbouring for the night they moved on next morning to the Eastern edge of the WOLDS.
    A Brigade pivot was formed with the intention of turning the enemy from his advance to the North East.
    The Battalion held an area around HOWE Farm 5894 and was in position by 1600 hours.
    The pivot was not attacked but an armoured battle was fought nearby and patrols sent out at night had minor engagements with the enemy.
    The Exercise ended next morning.

    1943 July 29
    On the 29th the Battalion concentrated at CARLING HOWE near GUISBOROUGH 0978 for a Divisional Exercise GROUSE.
    Next morning at 0630 hours the Battalion moved South via STOKSLEY 0028 across the moors and to HELMSEY 0903. The Battalion was on the Left Centre Line moving behind the 2nd Battalion WELSH GUARDS, who at 1600 hours reported that the enemy had withdrawn to the East of the River DERWENT and all the bridges were blown.
    The Battalion then moved into an Assembly Area at SAND HUTTON 1778, and orders were given out for a crossing to be made at BUTTERCRAMBE 2084.
    This took place at dusk, the Battalion attack being supported by the Divisional Artillery and a Medium Regiment.
    Several armoured attacks were made on the bridgehead and driven off.
    At 1200 hours the Armoured Brigade was across the river and the Battalion continued its advance via SLEDMERE 4084 to a Brigade pivot area near OCTON Crossroads.
    The Battalion moved into an area around Crossroads 4788, and was in position by 1600 horus.
    The Exercise ended next morning at 0700 hours.

    In between Exercises the Companies have had several days field firing on ranges at WHEELDALE up on the Moors, also at the classification range at STRENSALL.
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    1943 August 10
    The Battalion moved to SLEDMERE Camp 4084 on the Wolds to do training as a Battalion group.
    373 Battery, 55th Field Regiment, 2 Battery 21 Anti-Tank and 1 Section 128th Field Artillery are in the camp under the Commanding Officer.
    With the exception of two Exercises all training has been on a Battalion level, and designed to bring out the details of Battalion organisation for various operations, that cannot be gone into on larger Exercises.
    In between Exercises Companies have had the opportunity of working with the various other arms in the camps, and getting to know their weapons and organisation.
    The Battalion has also been busy aid the farmers with the harvesting which has been in full swing on the Wolds.

    1943 August 11
    Exercise STORM
    To practise a Battalion frontal attack and consolidation.

    1943 August 12
    Exercise GALE
    The objects of this Exercise were the same as for STORM but it was carried out with less control and supervision.

    1943 August 13
    Exercise PROBE
    To practise advanced guard action, battle recce and an evening attack.
    The Company acting as enemy fired live ammo into the ground, so as to give the British side the task of locating Machine Gun positions under approximately real conditions; then the battle recce having been carried out and the enemy positions established, a Battalion attack was put in at last light.

    1943 August 16
    Exercise MOON
    The object of this Exercise was to do a night attack and go into the problems of re-adjusting the Battalion positions at first light, and the daily routine of the Battalion in a defensive position with the Companies withdrawn to rest areas during daylight.
    In the evening the Battalion moved off on Exercise LAAGER, a continuation of MOON.
    At dusk the Battalion moved into a ‘tight laager’ which consists of the Battalion with complete transport parked in five columns which occupy an area about 75 yards by 200 yards.
    Various anti-raid precautions are taken and should the laager be discovered, the Battalion can advance as a whole to a new area in a very short time; this was practised.

    1943 August 19 - 20
    Exercise OUSE
    A river crossing Exercise laid on by Brigade.
    The Divisional procedure for river crossing has been altered, and not two bridgeheads are formed - in one a Class 40 bridge is built for the Armour, and in the other a Class 9 bridge for the Infantry.
    The Class 9 bridge takes only a short time to build so that the Battalion can get its transport across the river before daylight.
    It is now usual for the Battalion forming the bridgehead to attack across the river well above (or below) the proposed bridge site and then change direction to its Right or Left; this makes several alteration in organisation necessary and these were practised.

    1943 August 24 - 25
    Exercise ALLSORTS
    This Exercise was carried out on OSMOTHERLY MOOR.
    During the approach march and recce phase the Battalion was opposed by a skeleton enemy in German uniforms, dug in in accordance with German tactics and provided with documents and maps so as to build up the picture of the complete position.
    The next day at Dawn a Battalion attack was put in with the Artillery firing in support and live ammo issued to the Companies.

    1943 August 30 - September 1
    Exercise KNOX
    A Divisional Exercise.
    The Battalion moved out in the morning to an Assembly Area at FOSTON 1785, and at 1800 hours received orders to cross the River DERWENT above HOWSHAM bridge 2183.
    At 2300 hours the Battalion crossed the river and at 0700 hours the transport had all crossed by the bridge.
    At 1030 hours the Battalion advanced up on to the Wolds and late in the afternoon orders were given out for an attack on an enemy position on the high ground above HUMNAMBY 5695.
    A Brigade attack was put in at Dusk, and the Exercise closed after the position had been consolidate.

    During the time the Battallion was at SLEDMERE a Concert Party run by the YORK Police gave a show on 15 August 1943
    and the Band of the IRISH GUARDS a Variety Concert on 1 September 1943.
    Both these were very popular and good and were held in the NAAFI Marquee.
    The Army Cinema Unit gave one showing in the Village Hall and two dances were also held there on two Saturday nights.
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    1943 September 1
    Sledmere Camp
    The Band of the IRISH GUARDS gave a Concert in the NAAFI.

    1943 September 3
    To-day was a day of ‘National Prayer’ and an open air service was held in the grounds at the bottom of the camp.

    1943 September 5
    The Battalion left SLEDMERE Camp and returned to SCAMPSTON.

    1943 September 21
    Lecture on ‘The Tactical Air Force’ at Divisional H.Q.
    34 Group Tactical Air Force has recently been added to 21st ARMY GROUP, and they will be taking part in Exercise BLACKCOCK.

    1943 September 23
    Battalion moved out on Exercise BLACKCOCK which is to last till the 2 October. (Details will be given in the Diary for October)

    The Battalion snipers have been in pairs, to four deer forests in ARGYLL, and ROSS-SHIRE, where the Commanding Officer arranged a week’s stalking for them under the stalkers.
    14 stags were shot by the various N.C.O.s and snipers who took part.

    The Anti-Tank Platoon have paid another visit to HARLECH where the Anti-Tank Platoons of the BRIGADE have been in camp for a week’s firing on the range there.

    The Intelligence Section spent two days at WHITBY, where a special course has been run under BRIGADE arrangements.

    *1943 September 23
    Exercise BLACKCOCK
    The Battalion moved out in the morning to the area of SWAYTHORPE from 5188 to prepare the defences of the Battalion sector for the 25th when the Exercise begins.
    The four Rifle Companies represent the F.D.L.s of 608 Brigade which is holding a portion of a bridgehead formed in a semi-circle to the East of HULL, where 4th Army are concentrating to make a breakthrough towards LEEDS.
    The Brigade which the Battalion represents is in fact the only formation in the bridgehead actually on the ground, and as the Battalion is at present under command of 8 Corps. [sic]
    The Battalion has received orders to rejoin the Division which is being moved through the gap and on to the Northern edge of the Wolds to deal with a threatened enemy armoured counter-attack.

    1943 September 24
    The Battalion is now completely dug in and Companies are busy wiring and laying mines.

    1943 September 25
    The Exercise begins at 1800 hours this evening.
    Patrols to probe the enemy defences are being provided by the formations who are going to do the ‘breakthrough’ ie 15 Division and 6th GUARDS TANK BRIGADE.

    1943 September 26
    The enemy in the area of OCTON Crossroads are still improving their defensive positions, and from the Battalion Observation Posts several minefields and an Anti-Tank ditch are visible under construction.

    1943 September 27
    Very little of the enemy can be seen by day now, and by night they have not been very active, though our own local patrols have had a few encounters.

    1943 September 28
    The ‘breakthrough’ commenced to-night with a barrage put down by 140 guns at 1730 hours.
    At the same time 46 Brigade are attacking to make a breach through the enemy minefields.

    1943 September 29
    After the successful breaching of the minefield, at first light, 44 & 227 Brigades were passed through and they now hold a position ten miles out from the bridgehead.

    1943 September 30
    0800 hours
    The Battalion has received orders to move from its position by WEAVERTHORPE and lead the Brigade in a move round the North edge of the Wolds so as to prevent the enemy crossing back over the River DERWENT.
    1500 hours
    The Battalion has received orders to occupy a position to the South West of LANGTON.
    1800 hours
    The enemy armour has been defeated by the 5th Brigade and recce reports state that the enemy have now withdrawn to the West of the River DERWENT.
    2400 hours
    At Dusk No. 1 Company was moved up to the area of KIRKHAM Bridge and crossed the river by a weir.
    The enemy’s suspicions were aroused and they put up a considerable number of Verey Lights.
    However later things quietened and No. 2 Company were able to cross.
    It has now been decided that this bridgehead cannot be held, and the two Companies are to be withdrawn back across the river.

    * N.B. The original documents seems to have been given the wrong month (October) from the 23rd/Start of Exercise Blackcock. I have amended the month to September in my transcript. This seems to be the only reasonable explanation; otherwise the timeline would make no sense at all since the Exercise was due to finish on Oct 2nd.
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    1943 October 1
    HOWSHAM Bridge has been decided upon as the site for the bridgehead, and after an initial crossing has been made by 15 Division, this evening, this Brigade and 227 Brigade are to cross and enlarge the bridgehead at first light to-morrow.

    1943 October 2
    0400 hours
    The Battalion left the Concentration Area on foot, followed by the Battalion fighting vehicles in one convoy and the remainder of the transport in another.
    0700 hours
    From the F.D.L.s of 44 Brigade a successful attack was launched and the bridgehead extended a further mile from the river.
    0900 hours A counter-attack by tanks has been beaten off and the Battalion position around BARTON consolidated.
    1600 hours Exercise closed.

    1943 October 6 - 19
    Drill and Weapon Training course for N.C.O.s.

    1943 October 11
    Second Anniversary of the formation of the Battalion.

    1943 October 18 - 19
    18 N.C.O.s to RIPON (School of Engineering) where a course of instruction in Mines has been arranged.

    1943 October 18 - 19
    Rifle Companies to FYLINGDALE MOOR to watch the 1st Battalion COLDSTREAM GUARDS give a demonstration of tank firepower.

    1943 October 21
    Lieutenant-General Sir Arthur SMITH visited the Battalion
    Programme of visit attached.

    1943 October 23
    The Commanding Officer and a party of N.C.O.s and men went to MANTON to represent the Battalion at the Regimental Presentation to the Colonel of the Regiment on the 25th Anniversary of his appointment.

    1943 October 27
    The Battalion moved to WEST LUTTON Camp on the Wolds to carry out training in tank and Infantry Co-operation. Programme of events attached.

    Attached Files:

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    1943 November
    During the month Company Training has occupied most of the time with practice in ‘Mock-up L.C.A.s’ and work on scrambling nets, in preparation for next month’s ‘Combined Ops’ Training; also Field Firing and Route Marches.
    For Subaltern Officers and N.C.O.s there has been a Battle Drill course, and for Company Commanders a course on Wireless.

    1943 November 2
    The Battalion returned to SCAMPSTON from camp at WEST LUTTON after a week’s training in ‘Tank and Infantry Co-operation’ with the 1st Armoured Battalion COLDSTREAM GUARDS.

    1943 November 3
    All Officers attended a lecture by Lieutenant-General Sir Oliver LEESE, K.C.B., on his recent experiences in the MIDDLE EAST.
    Each Battalion in the Brigade has been given a subject to demonstrate, showing some aspect of the role of Infantry in an Armoured Division.
    The Demonstrations were watched by all the Officers and N.C.O.s in the Brigade, and were carried out as below:

    1943 November 5
    1st Battalion WELSH GUARDS - ‘Clearing a minefield’

    1943 November 9
    5th Battalion COLDSTREAM GUARDS - ‘River Crossing’

    1943 November 12
    3rd Battalion IRISH GUARDS - ‘Battalion in the attack’

    1943 November 16
    Demonstration of German weapons by a representative of the Ministry of Supply.

    1943 November 18
    Films of Exercises BLACKCOCK & HARLEQUIN were shown to the Battalion.

    1943 November 19
    Formation boxing championship won by GUARDS ARMOURED DIVISION.
    The Battalion had three representatives in the team.

    1943 November 23
    The Battalion was visited by the G.O.C. Northern Command.

    1943 November 24
    Battalion cross-country run.
    No. 4 Company recorded the highest number of points.
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    1943 December 1
    Scampston, York
    Battalion moved out from billets at Scampston, for journey to the Combined Operations Training Centre at CASTLE TOWARD.

    1943 December 2
    Castle Toward, Argyll
    Arrived by train at WEYMYSS BAY, and then moved over to CASTLE TOWARD in L.C.T.

    1943 December 3
    In the morning Officers and N.C.O.s attended lectures on:-
    Army & Naval aspect of Co-ops’ and
    The action & role of Follow up Divisions’
    In the afternoon the whole Battalion crossed over to ROTHSAY to see films on co-ops.

    1943 December 4
    Companies practised:-
    ‘Climbing on Scrambling Nets’
    Embarking & Disembarking from L.C.A. mock-ups’ and
    Boat pulling’
    Officers and N.C.O.s attended a lecture on ‘Beach Organisation’
    In the afternoon the whole Battalion watched a demonstration of types of craft used in co-ops.

    1943 December 5
    The Battalion practised loading into L.C.A. & L.C.V. followed by a practise more through a prepared beach area.
    Lecture for Officers & N.C.O.s ‘Landing scales’ and ‘Landing tables’.

    1943 December 6
    Battalion practise landing on prepared beach, and move through transit area to Assembly Area.
    Companies went through drills for embarking and disembarking from L.S.I. by day.

    1943 December 7
    Officers and N.C.O.s attended lectures on ‘Procedure for Follow up Divisions after Landing’ and ‘Loading, unloading and handling of vehicles in beach areas’.
    Companies - L.S.I drill by day, and by night.

    1943 December 8
    Exercise KEDGE
    The Battalion embarked by day on H.M.S. St. HELIER, then made a landing on a prepared beach from L.C.V., and moved on to an Assembly Area.
    Officers and N.C.O.s lecture on ‘Air aspect of co-ops’.

    1943 December 9
    Companies practised L.C.I. drill and man-handling of vehicles from L.C.T.
    In the evening the Battalion embarked on the L.S.I. St. HELIER and an L.C.I. in preparation for Exercise TRIDENT.

    1943 December 10
    At 0430 hours the St. HELIER and the L.C.I. moved to an R.V. off BUTE and shortly before first light the L.C.I. and craft from the St. HELIER beached.
    The serials then moved through the Transit Area, and on to the Battalion Assembly Area some eight miles inland.
    After digging in and preparing the Assembly Area the Exercise closed.

    1943 December 11
    The Battalion marched from CASTLE TOWARD to DUNOON then crossed by ferry to GOUROCK, after a short wait in the Transit Camp at GREENOCK the Battalion then marched back to GUROCK and entrained for YORKSHIRE.

    1943 December 13 - 19
    Selection tests and Personal rating.
    Officers and N.C.O.s on Night Fighting course.

    1943 December 25
    For programme of Christmas activities see appendix

    1943 December 28
    Rifle Companies - Night Compass March

    1943 December 30
    Battalion cross-country run.

    Attached Files:

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