11th Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry War Diary October 1940
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 to 18th October 1940
Collective training was carried out while awaiting the movement order for overseas.
A variety of documents were attached to the War Diary on this topic, including; Training Memorandum No 5, dated 28th September, Training Instructions dated 30th October, details of Commanding Officer’s Training Exercises Nos 1, 2 and 3, details of a Map-Reading Exercise dated 5th October, details of a Brigade Exercise for 1st Tyneside Scottish on 15th October in which 11th DLI provided Umpires, and a set of notes on Battle Procedure. It seems likely that these documents were filed in this order in the War Diary because they were the Adjutant’s copies of those papers and were collated by subject, rather than date. For details of these documents, see below.
10th October 1940
A draft of 25 Other Ranks was received from the DLI Infantry Training Centre, Brancepeth.
The Brigade Commander issued a message to all Officers of the Brigade – a copy of which was attached to the War Diary as Appendix B – for details see below.
16th October 1940
Movement Control, Southern Command, ordered an Advance Party, with stores, to leave for LIVERPOOL.
One hundred and twenty tons of stores were loaded at NEWTON ABBOTT under the direction of the leader of the Advance Party – Captain K.C. Johnstone. The Battalion was ordered to prepare for a move on 14th October.
The documents filed with the War Diary were; Alabaster Movement Instruction No 8 dated 25th September, guidance notes for Company Commanders regarding the move, Supplementary Notes for Company Commanders dated 15th October, a Guidance Note for all Officers regarding the move, dated 30th September, all of which were filed together – suggesting again that these were the Adjutant’s personal copies – details of which can be found below.
18th October 1940
A Movement Order was issued for the Battalion – the initial travel arrangements were to be by two trains – summarised on Appendix C attached to the War Diary, and details of which are found below, together with the contents of Movement Instruction No 1 dated 18th October – attached to the War Diary as Appendix D.
19th October 1940
The Battalion left DENBURY on their move overseas.
At 20:25 hours the first train departed.
At 23:15 hours the second train departed. There were six deserters and the total strength leaving was (left blank in the War Diary).
20th October 1940
At 10:10 hours the Battalion arrived at the Port of Embarkation – Princess Landing Stage, LIVERPOOL after a journey via BIRMINGHAM and RUNCORN.
11th DLI, being the lowest serial number unit, was detailed to provide the ship’s staff for H.M.T. Antonia, a Cunard liner of 14,000 tons. Other troops on board were 1st Tyneside Scottish, 187 Field Ambulance and a Detachment of the Auxiliary Military Pioneer Corps.
At 15:00 hours the Antonia anchored in mid-stream. The night was quiet and the last mail was taken off.
The first issue of Ship’s Orders was made, dated 20th October and a copy of which was attached to the War Diary as Appendix E – details of which are set out below.
21st October 1940
H.M.T. Antonia weighed anchor and started her voyage to ?? ICELAND was the destination guessed by most people. An escort of two destroyers took up station. Calm sea. Fine day. Boat drill held.
22nd October 1940
Movement Control Order No 26 was issued by Alabaster Force and attached to the War Diary as Appendix G – no details were given of how this was transmitted to the convoy, but possibly by wireless and presumably ciphered for security. The details are set out below.
23rd October 1940
H.M.T. Antonia met H.M.T. Empress of Australia at 08:00 hours at the Clyde. The Empress of Australia had the rest of 70th Brigade aboard. Fine day. Sea extraordinarily calm. The ships passed the HEBRIDES and then entered the North Atlantic.
Sea was still calm. The escort was increased by the presence of an armed merchantman and a Sunderland Flying Boat Patrol.
24th October 1940
Sea calm. Weather colder. A slight fire was discovered in the after well deck but little damage was done. A Court of Inquiry was convened.
25th October 1940
The white mountainous coast of ICELAND was sighted. The ships passed many small fishing boats, anchored in Reykjavik Harbour. The capital of ICELAND was illuminated with lights like Gala Night.
Major W.G. Marron D.A.A.G.(M) and Captain W. Draper S.C.(M) gave disembarking orders, to start the next morning. The Battalion was to be split over five temporary Camps while the Royal Regiment of Canada left Alafoss, ten miles from Reykjavik, to return with the convoy to ENGLAND.
26th October 1940
At 07:00 hours disembarking started. All stores and troops were taken off by lighters and trawlers. A conference was held with Lt. Col. B. Maufe, Royal Artillery, who solved some of the mystery of our future.
A Company to 687 Artisan Works Company Camp, Royal Engineers, Reykjavik.
B Company to Staging Camp, Reykjavik.
C Company to new Camp for Royal Army Medical Corps, Alafoss.
D Company to “F” Troop Camp, Royal Artillery, Alafoss.
HQ Company to Royal Artillery new Camp, Alafoss.
A and B Companies route-marched to their billets.
C, D and HQ Companies left by ‘bus.
At 21:00 hours HQ was established at Alafoss. No coal, little food, no transport – but everybody happy in Nissen Huts.
27th October 1940
07:00 hours – wash in hot stream at our door.
More stores unloaded from H.M.T. Antonia.
28th October 1940
Reconnaissance of Alafoss Camp occupied by Royal Regiment of Canada (Lt. Col T. Basler). 91 Nissen Huts had been erected. Three large Canadian Yukon Huts were in use for Orderly Room, Hospital and Recreation Room.
11th DLI were to form part of the Force Mobile Reserve, with four small coastal watching posts at FORT YORK, FORT ROUILLE, ROAD BLOCK and Helgafell.
31st October 1940
Standing Orders for Alafoss Camp were issued – a copy being attached to the War Diary as Appendix H – details given below.
Appendices and associated documents attached to the October 1940 War Diary.
Appendix A – Training Memorandum No 5 – dated 28th September 1940.
Normal training was expected to be carried out in the week leading up to 5th October, taking maximum advantage of the fact that clothing issues and other matters of interior economy should have been completed, ready for the impending move. Sections and Platoons were expected to settle down into a co-ordinated unit, with smarter drill and improved tactical training.
The particular points on which work was to be concentrated included:-
The use of Guard Mounting as an opportunity to improve smartness and the giving of orders on parade by NCOs and Officers. A note on the procedure for Guard Mounting was being issued to all Officers and NCOs.
Time was being allocated for inspections before Parade and improving the punctuality of Officers for such Parades.
An extension of the time for early morning drill to half an hour, to include arms drill, plus a further period of drill each day. Drill classes for Junior Officers to be run by the 2 i/c and the RSM on three mornings per week to cover Drill, Guard Mounting, inspections and words of command – rifle drill to be included. Sergeants to be given similar training by the RSM on the alternate mornings to “generally smarten up”. An RSM’s Parade would be held at a later time once a week on Wednesdays and an Adjutant’s Parade on Fridays.
Route marches to be held twice a week – one, of not less than 10 miles, in fighting order - to include tactical training with the Bren, Anti-Tank Rifle and Mortar, and the other to be of 5 or 6 miles in Field Service Marching Order. Weapons to be carried at all times and quick movement over difficult country to be routinely included.
Tactical training to be organised, covering – amongst other subjects – Anti-Gas Drill, including Spray, Fieldcraft, Distance judging and training in Fire Discipline.
Bayonet training to be covered also.
Company CSM’s were to give at least two lectures to NCOs, and detail all the relevant points of interior economy for young NCOs, demonstrating the correct fitting of equipment and care of gas capes, for example.
Specialist Officers were to take account of all these points in training theirn own Platoons, co-ordinated by the Commander of HQ Company.
Company Commanders were exhorted to review and plan for the training to be held the following day and ensure that all preparations were made, with teaching on the right lines and reconnaissance of the appropriate training areas. Commanders were exhorted to make sure troops did not become bored, but that their week was to be filled with a range of subjects and training experiences, including tasks at the end of route marches – such as a few minutes drill or a sprint across the parade ground – aimed at keeping the men on their toes.
The Training Memorandum was followed by a note of Training Instructions setting out the subject areas to be covered, the background resources to be drawn on and the equipment and facilities to be used. Many pamphlets were listed for reference and all trainers were expected to be very familiar with the relevant material. Programmes of Training were to be submitted to Battalion HQ well before the start of the week. Conferences were to be organised at Company level to review the supporting material and discuss how it was to be put into practice.
The focus over this period was the Platoon and Company in the Attack, and the related Battle Procedure. Where the weather was unfavourable for outdoor training the focus would shift to interior economy, including kit inspections. The Company designated as the Mobile Company was to take transport (buses) to the training areas, with live ammunition held inside the vehicles in readiness for them being deployed while training was underway.
A Map Reading Exercise was to be held on 5th October – details below.
The Battalion 2 i/c was to organise a demonstration on the Fighting Patrol to each of the four Companies over 7th/8th October. Exercises directed by the CO were to take place for all Companies on 10th and 11th October – details below.
Early morning parades were to continue, as described above, with the next Adjutant’s Parade being held on 12th October at 09:15 hours.
Other than the Mobile Company, no ball ammunition was to be taken on to training areas and inspections were to be held to ensure this was the case. The author recalls from the 1970s the regular checks of this kind, with each soldier displaying, at "Port Arms" an empty weapon and repeating the standard declaration “No live rounds or empty cases in my possession Sir!”
Training in silent movement, listening and seeing in the dark was to be included as night work, when afternoon training would be normally cancelled to allow this to take place.
An Appendix to the Instructions included a Map of the Training Areas allotted and a timetable of Company allocations of that space for training. Warnings were given about avoiding damage to crops and agricultural stock.
Commanding Officer’s Exercise No 1
This was a Company-level exercise designed to practice the unit in responding to reports of parachutists landing. One Company acted as the “Mobile Company” while another provided the “enemy”. On 10th October C Company were “Mobile” with D Company as the enemy, while on 11th October B Company were “Mobile” and A Company were enemy.
The exercise scenario concentrated on an attack on the Denbury Airfield (actually the Camp), and specifically the wireless station. The enemy were given a location for their landing, forming-up and reorganisation and a brief to destroy the wireless station. Rifle and automatic weapon firing was to be simulated. No heavy weapons or personal equipment were involved as far as the enemy troops were concerned, while the Mobile Company were in fighting order.
For the management of the three-hour exercise a set of Umpires were appointed and briefed, while the Director (the CO) had the assistance of a Bugler to sound relevant calls.
Commanding Officer’s Exercise No 2
This exercise was aimed at practising the Rifle Company in “mopping up” after an attack.
The objectives were; to locate the enemy, utilise support from their own weapons and 3” mortars, deal with Prisoners of War and pass back any information gained.
The scenario implied a successful Infantry and Tank advance, having bypassed small parties of the enemy while doing so – who remained in the area of advance. The task was to capture or destroy all such parties.
The Companies tasked with this responsibility were given an area to cover and a clear start line, with C Company right, A Company left and B and D Companies in reserve. A Section of Mortars was attached to each forward Company as support.
A map reference was given for the location of Prisoner collection facilities, and one for the Regimental Aid Post. Battalion HQ would move forward as the operation developed.
Commanding Officer’s Exercise No 3
The objectives for this exercise were to; test the procedure for reconnaissance, orders, and the move of Battalion HQ, and to deploy the Battalion for an attack.
The exercise was directed by Major Murray-Shireff while the CO commanded the Battalion, and was expected to last the whole morning of 16th October, with stand-to at 09:15 hours.
The scenario focussed on capturing high ground as part of a Brigade advance together with 10th DLI on the left, while 11th DLI were on the right of the advance. Following the capture of the high ground – situated in this case between IPPLEPEN and BROAD HEMPSTON – the next phase was to capture the river crossings at BUCKFASTLEIGH and TOTNES. The start point was a cross-roads at reference 276886.
Map Reading Exercise for Junior Officers – 5th October 1940
This was set up in such a way that the Senior Officers operated three separate stands at which the students would be individually examined on a series of problems related to the ground and features visible before them, without the opportunity to consult the relevant maps before hand. The questions and answers were contained in the instructions to the Directing Staff. The CO intended to mark the papers and announce the best performers at each stage.
These were all practical time-limited problems with a direct relevance to operational situations of reconnaissance and reporting in particular.
Brigade Exercise for 1st Tyneside Scottish – 15th October 1940
The involvement of the Battalion in this exercise was to provide the Umpires – one Captain and four Second Lieutenants for “own troops” and the same for “enemy” – and the enemy forces – two Platoons each from C and D Companies. The Senior Umpire commanded the four “enemy” Platoons.
The bulk of the instructions were for the Umpires, setting out the points to be looked for during the exercise.
Brigadier Kirkup directed the exercise and the CO of 11th DLI – Lt Col Ware – acted as Chief Umpire, supported by motorcyclists from the Battalion for Signals purposes, and a Bugler for transmitting exercise commands.
The objective of the exercise was to practice a Battalion in dealing with an enemy airborne invasion in conjunction with a seaborne landing.
The lessons to be learned were focussed on the Battle Procedure necessary to ensure rapid reconnaissance, issue of orders and deployment (essentially the same as the exercise described above for 11th DLI as Commanding Officer’s Exercise No 3).
The narratives for the exercise describe a scenario of enemy invasion with a flow of information from Home Guard units and national news broadcasts. In this context 1st Tyneside Scottish were the Mobile Reserve for the South Devon Sub-Area, and were liaising with the local Home Guard Commander.
Notes on Battle Procedure – dated 15th October 1940
This was a procedural note from the Adjutant describing the steps to be taken to improve the flow of Orders and increase the efficiency of unit movement and deployment.
Essentially this is putting into practice the principles described in Brigade Instructions and guidance on such techniques as the 2 i/c of a unit organising its move to a forming-up, assembly or rendezvous point, while its Commander was attending the appropriate Orders or Reconnaissance Group. This relied extensively on the positive use of orderlies and good communications. In some circumstances orderlies would be tasked with organising a unit move to a particular point – ready for the next stage in Battle preparation – this demanded a degree of skill in map-reading and communications, and the confidence to liaise effectively with much more senior ranks – often from a junior NCO or Private Soldier – in passing on and reinforcing his COs orders. Section Commanders, especially of support units such as Mortars, would have to make their own reconnaissances and then liaise with their Unit Commanders regarding the orders to be carried out subsequently.
Appendix B – Personal note from the Brigade Commander to all Officers in the Brigade – dated 2nd October 1940
The text of this personal note is as follows:-
Similar to the practice I have adopted on special occasions in the past, I am, once again, addressing a personal message to each Officer in the Brigade.
Four months ago, the 70th Infantry Brigade came home via DUNKIRK.
Going into action under the most difficult conditions.
We have stood the Test.
Since June, new Officers, Regular, Territorial, E.C. (Emergency Commission) have come to 70th Infantry Brigade, many from “outside” Regiments.
New drafts have come to make up the depleted ranks.
New Arms, new equipment, more than we had in May.
A “New” but not yet the same 70th Infantry Brigade has been ordered to fulfil another task.
ARE YOU READY ?
Have we shaken off the dullness produced by Beach Defences?
Are we getting the best out of every man? Welding our sub-units together?
-ARE YOU SECTION-MINDED? – the foundation of fighting efficiency.
As an Officer of 70th Infantry Brigade , you must ask yourself these questions, must carry out a personal mental overhaul, keeping in the back of your mind the following factors :-
ENTHUSIASTIC DICSIPLINE ENTHUSIASTIC CO-OPERATION ENTHUSIASTIC INITIATIVE ENTHUSIASTIC THOROUGHNESS
The Germans have a DISCIPLINE of a type.
They are THOROUGH.
German INITIATIVE and CO-OPERATION were amazing.
The soldiers we have are better than ANY Germans.
BETTER FIGHTERS BETTER MEN
If not, it is OUR fault. No one else’s.
The Royal Air Force have been given opportunities to prove this quality in which –
One English life accounts for three Germans.
A high standard.
Set yourself a high standard in every branch of your job as an Officer.
Let this high standard be “catching”.
Let every NCO and man acquire it.
These notes should help your mental overhaul. You must work out the details for yourself, and to give you a final fillip, here is an extract from SOCRATES which will stand the test of dive bombing, tanks and flame throwers.
“The Officer must know how to get his men their rations, and every other kind of stores needed in war. He must have imagination to originate plans, practical sense and energy to carry them through. He must be observant, untiring, shrewd, kindly and cruel, simple and crafty, a watchman and a robber, lavish and miserly, generous and stingy, rash and conservative.
All these and many other qualities, natural and acquired, he must have. He should also, as a matter of course, know his tactics, for a disorderly mob is no more an army than a heap of building materials is a house”
THIS IS UP TO DATE.
ARE YOU UP TO DATE?
Phil Kirkup Brigadier Commander, 70th Infantry Brigade 2nd October 1940 AET
Appendix C – Alabaster Movement Instruction No 8 – dated 25th September 1940
This instruction from Movement Control, Southern Command, covered the shipment of certain Motor Transport for Alabaster. (This was the Force name for the troops in Iceland).
The rail parties accompanying the vehicles would be returned to their units by Movement Control, Glasgow.
All the vehicles were timed to arrive at Queen’s Docks, Glasgow on 11th October 1940 as follows:-
143rd Field Regiment, Royal Artillery – three Other Ranks – two vehicles – to be shipped on F2.
11th DLI – One Officer, 12 Other Ranks – 10 vehicles – to be shipped on F3.
1st Tyneside Scottish – One Officer – 12 Other Ranks – 10 vehicles – to be shipped on F3.
Train timings for the journey were to be obtained from District Movement Controls to ensure arrival at the Docks on 11th October.
Instructions for guidance of Company Commanders for move overseas – dated 25th September 1940
The note covered a wide variety of administrative issues related to preparing to leave for duties abroad – a move to be preceded by “Z Day” – a date by which the Battalion had to be mobilised. Before then :-
Nominal rolls of men proceeding overseas were to be drawn up and maintained up to date, hour by hour. (The only such roll to have survived was indeed that of 11th DLI and it has been invaluable, despite its may typing errors, in identifying the men of the Battalion). Daily casualties of absentees were to be completed, including home addresses.
Pay Books AB64 were to be updated and maintained, while removing Battalion identity.
Mens' personal documents – Army Form B 122 – were to be maintained up to date and signed as necessary by COs.
Frequent inspections were to be held of:-
Arms – with the QM to be notified of defects needing armourer attention. Clothing – any unserviceable to be exchanged. Equipment. Anti-Gas equipment – all Respirators to be checked in the Gas Chamber. Necessaries.
The QM was to be informed of any deficiencies after each inspection – this task to be done as soon as possible. Company Commanders to ensure that all Officers had equipment, revolver, binoculars and special clothing.
Identity Disks to be in the possession of each Officer and Man – one green one red, each stamped with Number, Rank, Name and initials and Religion.
Medical Inspection – all Home Details had already been posted away – Officers to ensure that all ranks had received first dose Tetanus Inoculation.
Surplus Training Manuals to be returned to the Adjutant.
Kit and stores to be marked with the Battalion’s serial number – 27474 – and painted with three coloured lines in the order Red, Green, Red – on at least two points of each piece of baggage or stores. Battalion title was not to be used.
Kit bags –
Officers were to dress in Battle Dress, greatcoat, Officers’ Web Equipment, Anti-Gas Equipment, steel helmet, walking stick with personal gear carried in the haversack.
Other Ranks were to dress in Marching Order with their greatcoat and a blanket in their Large Pack (or Valise), Mess Tin, water bottle and groundsheet in their Small Pack (or Haversack) with a Sea Kitbag containing a change of shirt, socks vest and drawers plus washing and shaving gear, canvas shoes, pullover, gloves and cap comforter. A further Large Kit Bag contained their winter clothing – Tropal Coat, leather jerkins, snow goggles and extra socks and underwear, with all remaining kit in a second Large Kitbag. Oil bottles and pull-through were to be stored in the compartment in the butt of the rifle.
Company Commanders were to ensure that a specimen kit was to be prepared for each Company as a demonstration item. All equipment was to be checked for correct fitting, especially as marching was expected to form part of the move.
A further note was to be prepared on entraining drill.
Companies were allowed to take “comforts” already in hand while others, such as games and wireless sets, were being taken centrally for distribution once the destination had been reached.
All Accounts should be brought up to date and bills settled from suppliers before embarkation, with Imprests totalled, summarised and Company Ac/s prepared for closing.
Cash balances were to be banked and a cheque sent to the Command Cashier. Outstanding bills were to be settled by arrangements made with the Regimental Paymaster and the suppliers concerned.
Feeding en route would the subject of arrangements made by the Messing Officer with the Quartermaster – including taking a Dixie for every 25 men for collecting hot water on the journey.
Light Machine Guns and Anti-Tank Rifles were to be taken, with mountings, in the train compartments with 750 rounds of Small Arms Ammunition per gun and 100 rounds for each A/T Rifle, on the scale of one A/T Rifle per Company and three Bren Guns per Rifle Company, plus four A A guns with HQ Company.
The Quartermaster and the Motor Transport Officer were to be prepared to close Ledgers in respect of fuel and clothing at short notice – with surplus clothing being disposed of under instructions to move.
Baggage Parties, under the command of designated Officers – normally consisting of a Sergeant, three NCOs and 21 men would be ordered by the Adjutant or O.C. Train as necessary.
Soldiers were to be given an opportunity to lodge their Wills with the Officer i/c Records via the Orderly Room.
Instructions for the disposal of transport would be issued separately.
Supplementary Notes for the guidance of Company Commanders – dated 15th October 1940.
These additional notes dealt with a variety of issues including:-
The care of Bren Guns and Anti-Tank Rifles while on the move abroad. All men to carry full oil bottles and flannelette for weapon cleaning, with weapons kept greased and thoroughly oiled on the journey.
A blanket to be issued for inclusion in his Sea Kitbag.
Barrack checks to be held before the move to ensure that all buildings were clean and in good repair, with a full inventory of equipment and fittings, ready in all respects for the next occupying unit.
Surplus kit and equipment to be handed in to Stores.
All men should by this stage have their full complement of equipment and clothing – deficiencies to be made good immediately as no further issues would take place before departure. Platoon Commanders were held responsible for ensuring that their men were fully equipped and clothed.
A note was made of the messing arrangements for the move, including haversack and NAAFI rations for the train journey.
Notes for all Officers on the move – dated 30th September 1940.
This note set out the COs expectations of the manner in which the move would be conducted – in a way which would be efficient, tactical as required, and reflecting positively on the reputation of the Battalion.
Given the scale of Officers in post, there was “no excuse for any inefficiency or slackness”, while each Officer was reminded that the care of his subordinates was his first and constant consideration. Much of the material concerned the practical preparation of information, guides, markers and so on to ensure a smooth and silent embarking and disembarking process, accompanied by a high degree of readiness for air attack or other emergency.
The cleanliness of the trains, and any rest facilities used en route, were given particular importance – again as reflecting on the good name of the unit.
Alabaster Movement Instruction NO 10 – dated 16th October 1940
This Instruction referenced earlier mobilisation orders and contained an Appendix of units moving, with the details of their Port of Embarkation and entraining station.
Ship A3 (initially identified as HMT Antonia) – containing 11th DLI, 1st Tyneside Scottish and 187 Field Ambulance was to depart from Princess Landing Stage, Liverpool.
Ship A4 (initially identified as HMT Almanzora) – taking Brigade HQ, the Brigade Light Aid Detachment and the Brigade Signal Section, together with 10th DLI, 143rd Field Regiment Royal Artillery with its Light Aid Detachment and Signal Section, the 11th Reserve Motor Transport Company RASC and the Survey Training Centre – was to depart from Gourock on 20th October.
As mentioned earlier, 11th DLI provided the ship’s staff for A3 while the 143rd Field Regiment performed the same role on A4.
Appendix D – Movement Instruction No 1 dated 18th October 1940
This Instruction set out the details of the train movements to the Port of Embarkation and the arrangements for the sea voyage.
The Battalion left in two trains on 19th October and 20th October respectively from Newton Abbott – the first under the command of the CO was intended to leave at 21:55 hours, while the second, in the charge of Major Murray-Shireff was due to depart at 00:10 hours.
Sea Kitbags were to be stacked by 18:00 hours ready for vehicle transport to the trains.
The men of HQ, B, C, and D Companies were due to parade for the first train at 19:45 hours for the march to the Station.
The second trainload of A and E Companies, plus 187 Field Ambulance, were due to parade at 22:00 hours to march to Newton Abbott.
The CO of HQ Company was required to detail two anti-aircraft crews for each train – accommodated separately at the front and rear of each train - while their comrades occupied six-man compartments in the coaches. Medical boxes and the other Bren Guns were to be carried in chests on the train, immediately accessible if needed.
Three Officers – 2/Lts J Cook, G.G.A. Barkham and E.M. Harnetty were posted to Home Details and left by a morning train on 19th October – 2/Lt Cook being responsible for the kit of men currently in hospital, who would be posted to Home Details in due course.
An Appendix was included on the details and procedures for handing over Barracks, blankets and bedding.
A second Appendix was an extract from the Standing Orders for Officers Commanding Troop Trains and dealt with discipline and conduct on board, as well as Passive Air Defence and actions in an emergency.
An amendment to the Instructions changed all the timings to earlier departures, by some hour and a half.
Appendix E – Ship’s Routine Orders – dated 20th October 1940
As the Battalion responsible for providing the ship’s staff the task of issuing these daily orders fell to 11th DLI. The added benefit of having such a document is that various personnel are named alongside the duties they were performing – thus adding to the names on the unit databases.
The Orders specified staff duties on board and set out the routine timetable for the daily activities, with the appropriate bugle calls to be used to signal the events concerned.
Reveille was at 06:00, Guard Mounting at 08:00 and Dinner at noon. Time was even allowed for drawing a beer ration.
The section on discipline emphasised that lifebelts were to be worn all the time. Details were given of emergency action and boat drill. Officers were not to be saluted on board, nor were men to get up if any Officer passed them, unless spoken to. Certain areas were declared out of bounds, and gambling was strictly prohibited (an order probably followed more in the breach than in the observance!). Private radios were to be handed in and not used on the voyage.
Appendix F is missing and was probably the Ship’s Orders for the next day or so.
Appendix G – Movement Control Order No 26 – dated 22nd October 1940.
The two troopships, carrying the Brigade – less 10th DLI which had arrived earlier in Iceland – were due to dock at Reykjavik at 08:00 hours on 24th October 1940. An Appendix was included indicating the sequence of disembarkation.
This order names the ships as Empress of Australia and Almanzora – which implies that Antonia had been replaced with the Empress – no information is given as why this was the case. In other documents the ships are named as Empress of Australia and Antonia - thus confusing the situation further. The author is aware that the Empress of Australia was certainly the ship carrying this unit, as it referred to in later documents as a "pleasure liner".
Working parties, involving the Docks Company, Royal Engineers, to handle stores unloading were organised – G1098 items were to be placed in a transit cage pending their movement to the various Camps. Pickets of Military Police were organised.
The moves of the Battalion as regards disembarkation have already been referred to above.
Appendix H – Standing Orders – Alafoss Camp – dated 31st October 1940
This lengthy document contains 27 separate topic paragraphs – mostly of an administrative nature, dealing with subjects as diverse as Laundry, Compassionate Leave, Anglo-Icelandic Relations, Mail and Fishing.
The longest section was concerned with Motor Transport – including clarifying road signs and speeds and the various responsibilities of drivers. Another lengthy section concerned mail and the censorship arrangements.
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