11th Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry War Diary March 1940

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6th March 1940

At East Herrington

The Battalion paraded for inspection by the Brigade Commander, Brigadier P. Kirkup D.S.O., O.B.E., M.C., T.D.

9th March 1940

At Chester-le-Street.

One CQMS, one Sergeant and 24 Other Ranks reported to 70th Brigade HQ as part of the Brigade Anti-Tank Company.

11th March 1940

Lt L.S. Manning reported from No. 15 Casualty Clearing Station, Redcar, to open a Dental Clinic at Chester-le-Street and was attached to the Battalion for billeting and rations.

2/Lt I.G. Sopwith posted from the ITC Brancepeth and attached to the Battalion on 11th March 1940.

12th March 1940

The dates of Officer postings shown in the February War Diary on 24th February were corrected in this month’s Diary as follows (the changes have also been made on the database of names from 11th Battalion):-

2/Lt Morrison 28/2/1940

2/Lt Moscrop 28/2/1940

2/Lt Prestidge 28/2/1940

2/Lt Kidd 24/2/1940 - attached.

2/Lt Gilbey 26/2/1940 - attached.

The following men proceeded on 7 days’ Embarkation Leave:-

Major C.H.R. Gee

HQ Company – 7 Other Ranks

A Company – 1 Other Rank

B Company – 2 Other Ranks

C Company – 27 Other Ranks.

13th March 1940

At Whitburn.

The Classification Shoot for A, D and the Army Intake Company was hindered by bad weather (not an infrequent problem at this Range). HQ, B and C Companies proceeded from their billets to Whitburn Range by march route.

Captain A.R.W. Shipley from the ITC, Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, was posted to the Battalion on 13th March 1940.

14th March 1940

HQ, B and C Companies proceeded from Whitburn Range to their billets by march route.

Captain C.G. Winter proceeded to the School of Military Administration at Hythe for a Course of Instruction. During his absence, 2/Lt W. A. Husband assumed the duties of Adjutant with effect from 13th March.

15th March 1940

A Company proceeded on 8 days’ Embarkation Leave.

16th March 1940

B Company proceeded on 8 days’ Embarkation Leave, as did half the strength of C Company.

The Brigade Commander’s Conference was attended by the CO and the Acting Adjutant.

19th March 1940

A draft of one Sergeant, one Lance Sergeant, one Corporal, three Lance Corporals and 8 Other Ranks reported from the ITC at Brancepeth and were posted to the Battalion 19th March 1940.

20th March 1940

At Lambton Park.

A visit and training inspection of the Battalion by the G.o.C. in C. Northern Command, General Sir William H. Bartholomew G.C.B., D.S.O. took place.

21st March 1940

Captain H.E. Brown was posted to the Battalion from 1/5th Durham Light Infantry (54th Searchlight Regiment).

22nd March 1940

The NCOs and men who had been posted to Brigade HQ on 9th March were returned to the Battalion on the disbanding of the Brigade Anti-Tank Company.

23rd March 1940

HQ Company (less the Signals Platoon) proceeded on 8 days’ Embarkation Leave.

25th March 1940

Administrative Order No. 1 was received from 23rd (Northumbrian) Division.

2/Lt K.C. Johnstone proceeded on a Motor Transport Course at the L.P.T.B. Depot at Chiswick.

26th March 1940

2/Lts I.G. Sopwith, Q.H. Gilbey and M.A. Kidd, having previously been attached to the Battalion, were formally posted to the Battalion from ITC Brancepeth on 26th March.

Major C.H.R. Gee M.C. proceeded on the Senior Officers’ Small Arms Course at Small Arms School, Hythe.

Sixteen Other Ranks of the Battalion’s Signals Section entered for classification as Signallers – 14 passed – a success rate of 87.5%.

27th March 1940

Administrative Order No. 2 was received from 23rd (Northumbrian) Division.

2/Lt J.B. Nicholson proceeded on a Physical Training Course at the Army Physical Training School, Aldershot.

29th March 1940

Administrative Order No. 3 was received from 23rd (Northumbrian) Division.

30th March 1940

Administrative Order No. 4 was received from 23rd (Northumbrian) Division.

31st March 1940

The remaining half of C Company, with D Company and the Army Intake Class proceeded on 8 days’ Embarkation Leave.

Major Gee returned from his Small Arms Course at Hythe.

Five Officers and 20 Other Ranks proceeded on a Course of Instruction in Pioneering at Stokesley Camp.

Protection of shipping – teams, each of two men with a Bren Gun, Motley mounting and ammunition suitable for anti-aircraft defence were sent for duty with 43rd Battalion, Royal Tank Regiment, Newcastle-on Tyne as follows:-

28/2/1940 – two teams

4/3/1940 – two teams

5/3/1940 – two teams

7/3/1940 – one team

11/3/1940 – three teams.

(As has been mentioned in other War Diaries for this period, this is apparently the first recorded instance of Light Infantrymen serving in action on the decks of Trawlers.)

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