10th Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry, War Diary September 1943

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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.

Most of this month was taken up with Battalion and Brigade Exercises. Companies have carried out schemes with Tanks. The remainder of the time has been taken up with RSMs Parades, Company route marches and administrative inspections.

Hamilton 1st September 1943

A Lecture was given by the C.O., and a discussion held with Officers and Sergeants, on the subject of Combined Operations.

6th September 1943

Battalion Exercise “SIGRI” took place in the area of SLAMANNAN. It was a Skeleton Exercise designed to test the working of Battalion HQ and Company HQ in the field.

7th September 1943

A Battalion Field Firing Exercise took place in the STRATHAVEN area. The Exercise was based on a Battalion attack, with 386 Field Battery, Royal Artillery in support.

10th September 1943

A Battalion exercise was mounted which involved a Motor Transport move to KILMARNOCK to improve Motor Transport march discipline. The scheme finished with an attack by A, B and D Companies on KILMARNOCK TOWN – which was being defended by C Company. The Battalion then returned to HAMILTON the same night by Motor Transport.

13th September 1943

A Battalion scheme was held in the STRATHAVEN area. Phase one was an attack - maintaining the attack through smoke. Phase two was a withdrawal and then occupation of a defensive position. The exercise finished up at night with fixed-line firing by 3” Mortars and Machine-Guns.

15th September 1943

All Officers and NCOs attended a lecture at HAMILTON BARRACKS, by Major Reed of 144 RAC, on the co-operation between Tanks and Infantry in the field.

16th September 1943

B Company carried out an exercise with Tanks in the area of LANARK. This was the first time the Battalion had worked with Tanks.

A travelling Wing of the Small Arms School, Hythe arrived. They were attached to the Battalion for the next three days to give instruction to the Officers and NCOs.

17th September 1943

A and C Companies carried out an exercise with Tanks in the area of LANARK.

18th September 1943

D Company carried out an exercise with Tanks in the area of LANARK.

23rd September 1943

Brigade Exercise “CONTACT 70” started. The Battalion moved up to the concentration area at EAST KILBRIDE and arrived there at about 02:00 hours on 24th September.

24th September 1943

The Battalion passed through EAST KILBRIDE and arrived at BLANTYRE at about 04:00 hours. At 08:45 hours orders were given to move, with the intention of seizing the high ground, North of SKINANNAN. The Battalion eventually arrived at SKINANNAN at about 19:30 hours, and took up a defensive position on the high ground, and was dug-in by about 02:00 hours on the 25th.

25th September 1943

The morning was spent in the improvement of the defences. At about 13:00 hours, orders were given by 70th Infantry Brigade to get ready to return to HAMILTON. The Battalion left SKINANNAN at about 13:45 hours.

29th September 1943

Battalion Exercise “BEACHCOMBER” was held in the area of STRATHAVEN. The exercise involved a march out in the afternoon.

30th September 1943

“BEACHCOMBER” continued with a night march starting from 02:00 hours followed by a night advance and finished up with an attack at about 05:00 hours. The attack was supported by Medium Machine Guns and 4.2” Mortars.

A draft of 41 Other Ranks arrived from 17th DLI.

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