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

Nearly the whole of this month has been devoted mainly to Platoon and individual training. Companies have carried out night exercises once a week. A Battalion Cadre for young Officers, Junior NCOs and selected Private Soldiers has also been held.

1st February 1944

The Battalion moved by road to RIDDLESWORTH CAMP, THETFORD. The Battalion left at 10:00 hours and arrived at RIDDLESWORTH at 16:00 hours.

Thetford 2nd February 1944

The day was spent in settling in to the new Camp.

3rd February 1944

Individual and Platoon training continued.

7th February 1944

A Battalion Cadre run by Lt. J.G. Dent commenced for young Officers, Junior NCOs and selected Private Soldiers. They were instructed in the following duties; Light Infantry Drill, duties of an NCO, discipline, principles of Battle Drill, Mine training and crossing of obstacles.

12th February 1944

The Field Returns were submitted as at 12th February and showed a level of men with Home Details as 49, including 9 Immatures and 31 men of lower medical categories.

14th February 1944

The War Diary included the instruction papers for Battalion Exercise "PEP", which involved a Company of Infantry co-operating in an attack with 3" Mortars and Carrier support. The exercise was conducted with the men in full Battle Order and carrying ammunition scales, while the vehicles were all fully operationally loaded. Unfortunately, the narrative for the exercise did not survive to be included in the file.

15th February 1944

The C-in-C 21st Army Group, General Sir Bernard Montgomery K.C.S., D.S.O. visited the 70th Infantry Brigade and addressed the whole brigade. The object of his visit was for him to see as many Officers and Men of the Brigade as possible.

17th February 1944

Each Rifle Company carried out a Field Firing Exercise in the STANFORD BATTLE AREA. Each Company had two detachments of 3” Mortars and one Section of Carriers in support. The instructions for the exercise were originally attached to the War Diary but do not seem to have survived to be included in the file.

18th February 1944

Division Skeleton Exercise “PONTOON” started today (instructions for this exercise can be found attached to the 70th Brigade HQ War Diary). The 10th Battalion was represented by the Commanding Officer and the Intelligence Officer. The purpose of the exercise was to practise higher staffs in the execution of orders for a river crossing attack.

21st February 1944

Exercise PONTOON finished.

22nd February 1944

The Battalion carried out a Motor Transport drive by night. The distance covered was about 20 miles. The object of the exercise was to practise the drivers in night driving, the Police in route marking and the drivers in cross-country driving without lights.

26th February 1944

The Field Returns were completed and submitted. There were now 40 Officers against the increased establishment of 43. One new addition was Lt. M.H. Vickers, transferred to the DLI from the Royal Armoured Corps under the authority of a War Office Posting List of 14th January, effective on 19th January.

Three Officers were posted to join the Home Details - Lt D. A-E. Ker, Lt W. Taylor and Lt (QM) B. Senior.

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