10th Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry, War Diary February 1941

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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.

1st February 1941

The 11th Battalion DLI Concert Party left by sea on MS LAXFOSS for Akranes.

The weather was becoming milder, with less snow being experienced. Skiing training was concluding.

11th- 13th February 1941

During this period the Battalion concentrated on defence work.

Moves of sub-units were organised as implementation of the new organisation and locations was continuing.

20th – 23rd February 1941

Basketball was introduced as the ground was far too hard for soccer to be played.

The Recreation Hut was now electrified – so nightly games etc. could be organised.

24th February 1941

A further cold spell of weather was experienced.

26th February 1941

A major fire broke out in the Camp at Bordeyri at 0400 hours – the billets were gutted.

Local buildings and businesses were destroyed.

Battalion equipment and ammunition was estimated lost. The cause of the fire was unknown.

28th February 1941

At the Camp located at REYKJASKOLI, a Private soldier became disoriented while moving between huts in a blizzard and was lost, although still within the confines of the Camp, for four hours. This sort of problem happened on more than one occasion and tended to result in men developing frostbite or hypothermia.

A second fire broke out – this time at Blonduos at 06:30 hours – and destroyed the cookhouse and dining hall. The flames were fanned by fierce winds – always a danger in Iceland - and liable to make such conflagrations much worse and extremely difficult to extinguish. Little action was possible to defeat the fire as all the water was frozen. The men resorted to chucking snow on the fire, but sadly this had little or no effect.

Each hut was given rations in order to prepare food for themselves in the absence of the Cookhouse while, in addition, the blizzard made it impossible to see outside. Then the electricity to the Camp failed.

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