10th Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry, War Diary April 1944

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For a more complete picture of activity this War Diary should be read in conjunction with the 70th Infantry Brigade War Diary for the same month.

This month the Battalion took part in Divisional Exercise “BUMP” and benefited in many ways from an exercise which was as near active service conditions as training areas at home will permit. At the end of the month the Brigade was honoured by a visit from His Majesty, King George VI who inspected the Battalion accompanied by the Brigade and Divisional Commanders.

Thetford 1st – 8th April 1944

First Aid training was carried out for all ranks – both theoretical and practical.

On the 1st of April the Field Returns were completed and submitted. The Other Ranks return showed a complement of 886 men against an establishment of 966 - with one WOII surplus and 81 men short of that requirement. Sgt Beaman, the P.T.I. was was no longer shown as attached to the Battalion so had presumably been posted elsewhere. A list of men whose return to the Battalion was particularly requested was quite lengthy.

As regards Officers, it was noted that 2/Lts Coffey and Green had both been posted to the Battalion from the Middlesex Regiment, and had in fact joined, but then had their postings cancelled.

2nd – 6th April 1944

Divisional exercise “SEEK” took place in the areas of DISS and BRETTENHAM HEATH. The object of the exercise was to practise the Divisional Reconnaissance regiment in quick deployment. 10th Battalion Carriers acted as enemy.

5th April 1944

A series of training films were shown in Camp.

7th – 8th April 1944

Battalion Exercise “MOONLIGHT” took place. The object of the exercise was to practise the Battalion in a night attack, the evacuation of casualties and the replenishment of ammunition.

11th April 1944

At 11:00 hours Divisional Exercise “BUMP” started. The Battalion moved by road to the concentration area outside WOODBRIDGE. The main objects of the exercise were to; practise the Battalion in general administration in the field, the ferrying of the Battalion in unit transport, and the evacuation of casualties.

12th April 1944

The Battalion left the concentration area at 08:30 hours in Brigade column, which made slow progress to the bivouac area East of LEISTON. In the early evening, the enemy (146th Infantry Brigade) started an Artillery concentration on our left flank.

13th April 1944

At 07:30 hours the Battalion moved to Sizewell BELTS by march route and concentrated for an attack on GOOSE HILL. At 10:00 hours the Brigade attack went in, and 10th DLI captured GOOSE HILL and SUMMER HOUSE HILL, after which the Battalion concentrated in new positions. During the night, B and C Companies sent out patrols.

14th April 1944

The enemy maintained intermittent shelling of our positions.

The Mobile Bath Unit was in operation.

15th April 1944

For the purpose of the Exercise, the 2 i/c was "wounded by snipers" and evacuated beyond the Regimental Aid Post.

A C Company patrol returned with two prisoners.

Enemy snipers were active throughout the day.

B and C Companies withdrew.

16th April 1944

The Battalion prepared for an attack on the Dunwich Field Firing Area. At 19:00 hours the attack started and, on the objectives being captured, the Battalion dug in.

Exercise Cease Fire was declared at 21:00 hours.

17th April 1944

At 09:30 hours the Battalion left for RIDDLESWORTH CAMP by road, and was back in billets by 13:00 hours.

19th April 1944

Daily P.T. before breakfast commenced as a routine.

24th April 1944

Platoon training continued.

25th April 1944

Each Rifle Company practised Platoon and Company attacks with a Troop of Sherman Tanks in support. Many useful points were brought out, for example, that it was better for the Tanks to operate on a different axis to that of the Infantry.

27th April 1944

The Battalion was inspected by His Majesty, King George VI.

28th April 1944

All Companies practised river crossings by both day and night on improvised rafts and in Assault Boats Mark III.

29th April 1944

The Field Returns were completed and submitted as at 29th April, with the Other Ranks return showing a major change from the start of the month, with a complement of 991 men against the establishment of 966 - a net surplus of 25 men. This implies that a net 105 men had been posted to the Battalion during the month. In respect of Officers, there were 42 in post against the establishment of 43 - represented by one Captain surplus and two Lieutenants short. Captain R.H. Gilston - a CANLOAN Officer, had joined the Battalion on 25th April.

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