143rd Field Regiment, Royal Artillery. War Diary September 1940

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1 September 1940 HURSLEY.

Nothing of importance.

2 September 1940

Adjutant proceeded on week’s leave. Regimental Exercise set by Second-in-Command.

3 September 1940

09:30 hours. Visit of 5 Corps Commander.

Exercise with 4th Division starting 21:00 hours and ending 18:30 hours 4th September 1940. Colonel attended Corps Commander’s Conference.

5 September 1940

Nothing of importance.

6 September 1940

Colonel went on a reconnaissance to find suitable winter quarters for the Regiment.

Warning Order received of move overseas.

7 September 1940

Conference in Hursley on 3/4th September Exercise.

22:30 hours. Warning Order “CROMWELL” received from CCMA 5 Corps. At two hours notice. DR to HQ RA 5 Corps. 2/Lt St?? on motorcycle reported back to Corps Commander.

23:54 hours. No personnel may proceed on leave. Those on leave will not be recalled. Intermittent anti-aircraft fire during the night. Lights beyond Southampton area. Church bells rang 23:30 hours.

8 September 1940

01:23 hours. Case confirmed landing enemy agent by parachute and small boat. Special vigilance required – enemy may use smoke mixed with gas cover landings. If smoke used respirators will be worn until cloud proved harmless.

Despatch Rider returned from MA 5 Corps.

9 September 1940

Adjutant returned from leave. Weather fine.

10 September 1940

388 Battery proceeded on embarkation leave. Weather fine.

11 September 1940

RHQ, Light Aid Detachment and S S proportion proceeded on embarkation leave. Major ? Sanderson Allen left HURSLEY on posting to Defence Battery BUDE. Weather fine.

12 September 1940

Nothing of importance. Weather fine. Major G C K Watson appointed Acting Lieutenant Colonel and posted to CAMBORNE.

13 September 1940

Nothing of importance. Weather showery and cool.

14 September 1940

Nothing of importance. Weather showery and cool.

15 September 1940

Nothing of importance. Weather fine.

16 September 1940

Nothing of importance. Weather rainy and improved later. Warmer.

17 September 1940

Nothing of importance. Adjutant left on 48 hours leave. Lt P Williams reported.

18 September 1940

Padre posted away.

19 September 1940

Colonel went to War Office to see Major Carr Harries. Majority 386 Battery left on Embarkation Leave.

20 September 1940

“CROMWELL” cancelled from 12:00 hours. Weather showery. 2nd Lieutenant ?Pollard reported and posted to 386.

21 September 1940

12 Other Ranks posted from 12 Field Training Regiment RAO. 11 reported and were sent on Embarkation Leave. Weather fine.

22 September 1940

14:30 hours. Order “Stand To” received. Weather wet all day. Movement Order No.1 issued (see details below).

23 September 1940

16:00 hours. Order “Stand To” cancelled. Weather fine.

24 September 1940

Some air activity over area during day. Weather fine.

25 September 1940

Nothing of importance. Weather fine.

26 September 1940

386 Battery returned from embarkation leave. Some enemy air activity towards evening. Weather fine.

27 September 1940

2nd Lieutenants Compton (386), Flynn (386), Marsden (388) reported. Weather fine.

28 September 1940

Nothing of importance. Weather fine.

29 September 1940

Movement Order No. 2 issued (see details below). Weather fine, Cold.

30 September 1940

4 other Ranks reported from 2nd Reserve Regiment Royal Artillery ASCOT. Weather fine.

Appendices attached to September 1940 War Diary.

Overseas Movement Order No. 1.

The Regiment, together with its Signal Section and Light Aid Detachment was ordered to be ready to proceed overseas anytime after 00:01 hours on 28th September.

Details were given of the War Establishments on which mobilisation was to be based. 1st Reinforcements including the Sergeant Clerk were to accompany the Regiment. Anyone on the strength but not able to travel would be posted to Home Details at the Royal Artillery Depot.

Ammunition – all vehicles would be loaded to the maximum with Armour Piercing and High Explosive rounds. Additional High Explosive and all Smoke rounds would be loaded for rail transport. Small Arms ammunition, less 20 rounds per rifle carried by the rail party, would accompany the vehicles.

The Regiment would proceed by road in battle formation to the port of embarkation, each vehicle loaded with stores and personnel. A number of vehicles would be sent to another Regiment on or about 24th September – leaving the stores and personnel normally carried in those vehicles to travel by rail. All 1st Reinforcements would travel by rail.

All ranks were to wear full Field Service Marching Order, including packs and greatcoats, the pack (containing everything required for the sea voyage), with kitbags travelling by rail. The rail party was expected to be armed with 10 rifles (20 rounds per rifle) and one Bren for anti-aircraft protection.

Overseas Movement Order No. 2.

This Order went into more detail about the move arrangements, specifying which vehicles would travel in which party. Party A would include 180 men, with a significant proportion of them being drivers, mechanics and fitters plus others able to drive, and thereby help with relieving drivers on the route.

Similar arrangements were to be made for party B.

The usual details were included in respect of road discipline – density and speed.

Haversack rations were to be taken, together with a “pressed ration” for use in an emergency. Main meals would be provided at the Staging Camps. Cooks would be included within each party.

Vehicles would be fully packed with G1098 loads, fully secured. Arrangements were made for local protection, with an issue of rifles, Bren Guns and Anti-Tank Rifles to each party with appropriate ammunition. L/Bdr Clough with his medical kit would travel as one of RHQ personnel to provide First Aid support.

One the journey to the Port of Embarkation was completed, the parties would return by rail to rejoin the Regiment.

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