10th Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry, War Diary June 1940

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(Source document reference - WO167/733 at The National Archives)

1st – 8th June 1940

The Divisional area was fixed at LAUNCESTON and between these dates Officers and Other Ranks arrived there from the B.E.F. Reception Areas.

9th June 1940

The strength of the Battalion was 18 Officers and 330 Other Ranks. 28 Officers and 621 Other Ranks had gone to France with the B.E.F. The 10th and 11th Battalions moved by hired buses to PLYMOUTH and were billeted in the Ballard Institute and the Mill Boy Drill Hall. All ranks had now to be given 48 hours leave spread over a period of ten days; this to commence immediately.

11th June 1940

2,500 Canadians of the Toronto Scottish and the Loyal Canadian Artillery (8th Canadian Division) en route to join the B.E.F. were fed by the Battalion under Captain Stock, Captain Lawn and the Quartermaster, Lt Oldham.

12th June 1940

A further 600 Canadians of the R.C.A.S.C. were fed before proceeding to join the B.E.F.

13th June 1940

The remaining personnel of the 10th and 11th Durham Light Infantry, and 70th Brigade Headquarters, who had not yet proceeded on leave, moved by buses to the Showground Camp, OKEHAMPTON – a Reception Camp for the Second B.E.F.

14th – 19th June 1940

Parties returned from leave daily and reorganisation of the Battalion was begun.

20th June 1940

Captain T.G. Wilkinson assumed the duties of Camp Adjutant, and took over Movement Control at the Camp. 2nd Lts Peartree and MacFeggan were appointed Movement Control Officers. Stragglers from the B.E.F. were continually arriving and being despatched to their Units.

21st June 1940

2nd Lts Ker, Chilton, Brewtnall and Fraser were posted to the Battalion from the Infantry Training Centre of the Worcester Regiment. Captain R.W. Wilkinson, 2nd Lts E.R. Wardhaugh and J.L.S. Morant and 124 Other Ranks of the 23rd Division Details Battalion arrived.

22nd June 1940

Lieut. J. Oldham, Quartermaster, received an Immediate award of the Military Cross. The citation of the award read as follows:-

“At AUBIGNY on the night of May 20th this Officer showed the greatest courage and devotion to duty, which was an example to all ranks. Ordered earlier in the day to rendezvous at HERMAVILLE, in spite of definite information he had later received that hostile armoured fighting vehicles were operating in the area, he displayed great determination in contacting the Battalion and warning them of their danger. Having actually encountered hostile armoured fighting vehicles on the road, his energy and resolution was remarkable. Through keeping his rendezvous he was largely instrumental in saving this Battalion from being isolated.”

23rd June 1940

The 23rd Division was now to be dispersed. 70th Infantry Brigade, together with 187 Field Ambulance and 33rd Field Hygiene Section was made responsible for the defence of Devon and Cornwall against air and sea attack. The 10th Durham Light Infantry assumed the duties of reserve troops in Area 2, comprising the whole of Devon.

25th June 1940

Captain A.W.L. Lawn was attached to 11th Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry.

27th June 1940

Lieut. Col. Marley assumed temporary command of the Brigade during the absence on reconnaissance of Brigadier Kirkup. Major Hall assumed command of the Battalion. 2nd Lt. Watkins and 106 Other Ranks of Headquarters Company were sent to PLYMOUTH to take over guard duties on interned ships from 8th Battalion, The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers.

29th June 1940

Captain Morrison and all other acting Seconds-in-Command in the Brigade proceeded to a rendezvous with the Brigadier.

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