11th Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry War Diary June 1940

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1st June 1940

The majority of the Battalion was concentrated at SUTTON-in-ASHFIELD, Nottinghamshire. Two Officers (Lt W.D. Collie – Quartermaster, and Lt C.D. Hamilton) were in charge with over 100 troops, mostly of HQ Company, and were attached to an RASC Training Battalion. Over 2,000 men from Dunkirk were in this area. While waiting for the order to assemble as a Battalion, the time was spent in foot treatment, drill, route-marching and games. A high standard of discipline was maintained by the detachment.

5th June 1940

All ranks of the 23rd Division were ordered to concentrate on LAUNCESTON, Cornwall, and the detachment left Sutton by train at 09:10 hours.

6th June 1940

Some 200 men of the Battalion reported at LAUNCESTON. Survivors of the three Battalions were grouped together as the 70th Infantry Brigade Details (Commander – Brigadier P. Kirkup). The following Officers reported:-

Captain A.R.W. Shipley Adjutant

Captain W.L. Brown Medical Officer

Captain T.O. Elliott – Padre

Lt W.D. Collie QM

2/Lt J. Brewis

2/Lt J.R. Ennis

2/Lt C.D. Hamilton

2/Lt C.A. Smallwood

2.Lt I.G. Sopwith

2/Lt R.A. Westray

The following Officers were reported sick of wounds sustained in action:-

Captain J. Welford (A Company)

Captain C.G. Winter (HQ Company)

It was understood that all other Officers were either Killed or taken as Prisoners of War.

7th June 1940

The 70th Brigade Details were ordered to Institute Ballard, Plymouth, Headquarters being at the HQ of the 5th Battalion, the Devon Regiment. Over 300 men of the Battalion had now reported.

8th June 1940

The first party left for the North on ex-B.E.F. leave.

9th June 1940

Men of the 1st Canadian Division were fed en route to the Somme fighting. They were inspected by the Duke of Somerset and Lady Astor.

The following recommendations for decorations were forwarded by the Brigade Commander:-

Military Cross – 2/Lt Westray

Distinguished Conduct Medal – Sgt Hall

Military Medal – Pte Dean and Pte Dabner.

10th June 1940

A second party left on ex-B.E.F. leave.

12th June 1940

Details of the 10th and 11th Battalions DLI moved to temted camps at OKEHAMPTON by bus, a distance of 14 miles. The remainder of the men were sent on leave.

14th June 1940

Men returning from leave were joined by the following Officers and men of the 23rd Division Details Battalion, most of whom had been left in the UK, on leave, sick or underage on the departure of the Brigade for France in April:-

2/Lt K.C. Johnstone

2/Lt E.S. Newport - both of whom had been on a Motor Transport Course.

2/Lt J. Cook

2/Lt P.A. Johnson

2/Lt J.B. Nicholson

2/Lt J.H. Rowell

2/Lt H. Waggott

11th Battalion moved to a tented camp at SOUTH TAUNTON.

21st June 1940

Major F. Taylor (RARO) Officer Commanding 23rd Divisional Details Battalion assumed command of the Battalion and 2/Lt C.D. Hamilton was appointed Acting Adjutant. Captain A.R.W. Shipley took over the duties of second-in-command.

The following Officers reported for duty:-

2/Lts G.G. Barkham

R.S. Dyson

J.H.P. Hadden

E.M. Harnetty

J. Humphries

T.M. Lang

B.R. Keymer

E.M.C. Wait.

22nd June 1940

A Conference was held at 70th Brigade HQ, OKEHAMPTON, Major Taylor and 2/Lt Hamilton attending. 11th Battalion was ordered to TAVISTOCK, 1st Tyneside Scottish to YELVERTON, 10th DLI to OKEHAMPTON. All Devon and part of Cornwall to be recce’d for possible enemy invasion landing places. 70th Infantry Brigade to be South Western Area Mobile Reserve. Transport would be forthcoming immediately.

24th June 1940

Abbotsfield, a large house in TAVISTOCK, with a tented camp was taken over from the detachment of Docks Group Royal Engineers and arrangements for the move of 24 Officers and 300 men were made by the Adjutant.

25th June 1940

The Battalion left SOUTH TAUNTON for TAVISTOCK by route march to OKEHAMPTON and then by train.

26th June 1940

Three hundred and twenty five men from the Royal Scots Fusiliers Infantry Training Centre, Ayr, arrived by train at one hour’s notice as a draft for the Battalion. They had had six to eight weeks’ training and had been hurriedly sent out from the ITC to make up numbers. Tents were drawn from PLYMOUTH.

27th – 30th June 1940

These days were spent in re-organising, refitting and training.

29th June 1930

Captain Shipley left on a Brigade recce party in Western Command.

30th June 1940

Acting Lt. Col. (Major) R.F. Ware M.C., 2nd Battalion, Durham Light Infantry, assumed command of the 11th Battalion and Major Taylor became 2 i/c. Captain A.W.L. Lawn reported for duty from 10th Battalion and took command of B Company, which was sent to PLYMOUTH to guard Vulnerable Points.