10th Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry, War Diary December 1939

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1st December 1939

“HQ” Company, commanded by Lt. P. Wrightson, relieved “A” Company of 11th DLI at Darlington and assumed the role of First-Line Troops under the Civil Defence Scheme.

2nd December 1939

8 Other Ranks transferred to the Royal Engineers’ Tunnelling Company at Chatham.

“E” Company – the Militia Company of the Battalion - returned to Bishop Auckland, having fired their Rifle Course at Whitburn.

5th December 1939

45 Other Ranks were posted to 10th Battalion from 6th Battalion as Category “C” men and were moved to Windlestone Hall PoW Camp to await their transfer to a Home Defence Unit. The DLI Enlistment Books make regular references to transfers to the 13th (Home Defence) Battalion of the DLI.

2/Lt. G.E. Robinson was promoted to Acting Captain.

The following Officers were posted from the Artists’ Rifles to 10th Battalion DLI:-

2/Lt J.H. Davis

2/Lt. N.J. Seymour

2/Lt. J.R.K. Steele

2/Lt. M.R.H. Watkins

A Concert was held in the Jubilee Hall, Bishop Auckland, by an E.N.S.A. Concert Party.

6th December 1939

A Boxing Match took place between the Battalion Boxing Team and a Team from the Infantry Training Centre (presumably No. 4 I.T.C. at Brancepeth). The result was a narrow victory for the I.T.C. at 18 points to the Battalion’s 17.

7th December 1939

All the Officers took part in a reconnaissance of the Coast and Sub-Area allocated to the Battalion in the Civil Defence Scheme.

One soldier went on a Motor Transport Course to Aldershot.

8th December 1939

The Commander of 23rd Division carried out an administrative inspection of the Battalion.

9th December 1939

Two soldiers departed to a Carpentry Course held at Spennymoor.

10th December 1939

Lt. L.D. Haggie was posted to the Battalion from the Regular Army Reserve of Officers (R.A.R.O.) and was posted to the detachment at Windlestone Hall.

11th December 1939

Five Officers attended a Course run by 70th Brigade at Chester-le-Street.

Capt. C.M.L. MacCoy temporarily assumed the duties of Adjutant.

13th December 1939

The Battalion, less “A” Company (carrying out Civil Defence responsibilities in Darlington), moved from Bishop Auckland to South Shields and occupied billets there.

The movement orders covering this deployment are attached to the War Diary as Appendix “A” and extend to three pages. This is a good example of a typical move of this kind, setting out;

(a) the timing for the Advance Party (in this case under Capt. Kipling).

(b) arrangements for the heavy baggage to be transported.

(c) the Main Body to march to Bishop Auckland Station wearing marching order equipment, steel helmets and greatcoats, and carrying kitbags.

(d) Battalion command arrangements (Capt (Brevet Major) F. Hall) and responsibilities for the train (2/Lt. Morant).

(e) timings generally.

(f) guides to be provided by the Advance Party at the destination.

(g) Billet locations – Westoe Rd Schools, Mowbray Rd Schools and Stanhope Rd Junior Schools, to which kitbags would be taken by transport from South Shields Station. Heavy baggage would be taken direct by transport between the two locations.

(h) arrangements for the Rear Party of ten men – who would be accommodated and fed by 52nd Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery, as would a party of 95 men due back from leave. They would travel by train on 16th December with their baggage following by transport, and would, again, be met by a guide at South Shields.

17th December 1939

The Battalion was visited by the Assistant Director of Medical Services (A.D.M.S.).

20th December 1939

Captain (Brevet Major) F. Hall,

Captain C.M.L. MacCoy and

2/Lt. T.G. Wilkinson

were posted to the Battalion.

21st December 1939

20 Immatures (under-19’s) transferred to the Battalion from 6th Battalion and were posted to “D” Company.

22nd December 1939

“A” Company rejoined the Battalion from their duties in Darlington.

23rd December 1939

“C” Company assumed the duties of the Civil Defence Company (and were presumably posted to Darlington).

25th December 1939

Christmas Dinner was served for the Battalion at Westoe Road Schools. The Commanding Officer addressed the men and read messages of Christmas Greetings from the Minister for War and the Brigade Commander.

30th December 1939

“D” Company assumed the duties of the Civil Defence Company.

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