Guards Xmas party for RCAF airmen 1943

Discussion in 'The Brigade of Guards' started by MaisyeTheLanc, Nov 25, 2023.

  1. MaisyeTheLanc

    MaisyeTheLanc Press On Regardless

    I am hoping for some help from some Guards experts to help me flesh out a story from my Dad's time in Bomber Command in 1943/44.
    In the winter of 1943 my Dad and his crew (five in all) were posted to #6 Battle School at Dalton. It was sort of a mini commando course, teaching escape and evasion, German and French phrases, use of the Sten gun etc etc. Dad and his comrades arrived in early December, and the schools Operations Record Book states that any personnel with nowhere to go on Xmas day had been invited to celebrate with the 1st Armoured Battalion Coldstream Guards and 2nd Armoured Battalion Irish Guards.
    Can anyone supply me with, or point me in the direction of a "daily diary" or any record of this visit (December 25th, 1943) from either of these two units? And where were they based at the time? It must have been somewhere nearby...?
    Any help greatly appreciated!
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  2. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

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  3. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Well found Steve.

    Clint - Both the battalions mentioned had been converted from Infantry to Armoured so it's very likely they were in close proximity for training. I couldn't find anything specific about their Xmas arrangements for 1943.

    The CG History [pg 57] states:
    In July the [GUARDS ARMOURED] DIVISION moved to the Wolds straining area in YORKSHIRE, the First Battalion being camped in Duncombe Park, Hemsley. There for nearly a year the battalion remained - months during which the routing of gunnery practice, waterproofing instructions, and battle-courses were continually broken by small-scale exercises in the Wolds and visits to the tank gunnery ranges at Kircudbright and practice in infantry co-operation (on one occasion at least the Battalion's infantry partners being the Fifth Battalion).

    I'm assuming that 2IG were also at Duncombe Park in December 1943, because their Regimental History starts the 2nd Armoured Battalion's story with:
    "The 2nd Battalion had not fully appreciated the delights of Duncombe Park and the Nissen way of life until, in early April, 1944, they moved to a tented camp off the Yorkshire wolds."

    2nd Armoured Battalion, Irish Guards
    "With hardly time to settle, the Battalion was on the move again - this time by train to Yorkshire. The tanks being so much higher now, were loaded on to railway wagons called War Wells, which gave the drivers no trouble despite the Big Dipper effect when rearing up over set of bogey wheels as they drove along the train.

    The destination was Duncombe Park near Helmsley, once more in Nissen huts, but in more attractive surroundings than Shakers Wood. Training went on non-stop, but with the wide rolling Yorkshire Wolds as the training ground, it was back to desert warfare again.

    Although the Italian Campaign started that Summer, by now it was obvious that the Guards Armoured Division would be needed for the invasion - or Second Front as it was called - and the main question was how soon was that to be. Christmas came and went and then one February day in 1944 when on yet another enormous exercise, the news came through of the 1st Battalion's terrible casualties at Anzio."
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2023
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  4. MaisyeTheLanc

    MaisyeTheLanc Press On Regardless

    Thank you both very much, it is a good start for me. I see Duncombe Park is just a short drive from the Battle School at Dalton, so that makes sense.
    Just as an aside, my Dad and his crew "met" their Guard hosts again...I see that both units were heavily involved in the thick of things after D-Day, and Dad and crew took part in numerous raids in support of ground operations, including Goodwood and Totalize. I like to think some of fellows who hosted them at Xmas were on the ground cheering them on as they made their bomb runs against the Waffen SS that summer. A flight of fancy on my part perhaps.
    Thanks again for the info,
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