178th Field Regiment War Diary - December 1942.

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2 December 1942 ULVERSTON.

Brigadier Brunker leaves after staying two days with the Regiment.

3 December 1942

C.O. attends “attack” discussion at 49 Division HQ.

8 December 1942

Draft of 89 Other Ranks arrive from 9 Field Training Regiment, RA.

12 December 1942

8 new Officers joined the Regiment on first being commissioned from 121 OCTU:

2/Lt S Astin

2/Lt M H Bryant

2/Lt C P R Dunn

2/Lt H H Elce

2/Lt J Ganderton

2/Lt F E H Palmer

2/Lt C H Wanham

2/Lt W T Winn-Jones.

13 December 1942

Visit of Mobile Cinema.

17/18 December 1942

C.O. attended TEWT at Divisional HQ.

19 December 1942

Orders received from 70th Infantry Brigade regarding move to Felixstowe and transfer to 54th Division. All administration for move to be done by 70th Infantry Brigade.

26 December 1942

10:00 hours. Advance Party for Felixstowe, under command of Major V Gerstenberg RA, start at 10:00 hours. Weather dry and warm. Major Gerstenberg arrived at Felixstowe at 20:00 hours and stayed with 92nd Anti-Tank Regiment RA. Main Party staged Doncaster.

27 December 1942

17:00 hours. Advance Party arrived at Felixstowe at 17:00 hours. Baggage train loaded with 9 Carriers, 22 Trailers and 80 tons baggage during the day.

28 December 1942

07:00 hours. Main Body under command of Lt Col K M Wright RA left Ulverston at 07:00 hours. Brigadier King present at Start Point to say Goodbye.

18:30 hours. WELLINGTON. Main Body arrives Wellington Staging Camp at 18:30 hours. weather wet and cold all day. Accommodated in tents. Light Aid Detachment 3-tonner hit by private car. Civilian suffering shock.

29 December 1942 WELLINGTON.

09:00 hours. Main Body leaves Wellington at 09:00 hours and arrives Lutterworth Staging Camp at 15:30 hours. Accommodation very good. Weather good but colder.

30 December 1942 Lutterworth.

09:00 hours. Leave Lutterworth 09:00 hours and arrive Stevenage at 15:00 hours. Weather bright and getting colder.

Train party under command Captain R Crichton-Brown left Ulverston in morning.

31 December 1942 Stevenage.

09:00 hours. Main Body leaves Stevenage 09:00 hours and arrives at Felixstowe 13:30 hours.

15:30 hours. Felixstowe. Snow fell during night making roads very unsafe. Train Party arrived Felixstowe in morning.

Appendices attached to December 1942 War Diary.

Movement to new location – Warning Order – dated 19 December 1942.

This document set out the move to 54th Division, based at Felixstowe and instructed that the Regiment should be ready to move by 26th December.

The set-up of the advance party was described, timed to leave the Drill Hall in Ulverston at 10:00 hours. Provision was made for 11 Other Ranks per Battery, plus a Despatch Rider, with 2 NCOs per Battery in addition. RHQ would send 5 Other Ranks – including Q personnel, plus an NCO, plus the Quartermaster, One Corporal Signaller plus 6 Other Ranks in their own 15cwt plus a Despatch Rider. Each sub-unit to supply one Cook. Four other Officers were to be included and detailed orders would be issued later.

The Rear Party would be commanded by Captain Crichton-Brown assisted by two other Officers and would include two Q personnel, four signallers and a cook. Each Battery to supply one 15cwt while RHQ supplied a Light Utility, a signals 15cwt and one motorcycle.

Exercise “TWIST” – move of Advance Party from Ulverston to Felixstowe.

These were the more detailed orders mentioned on the first sheet and confirmed that Major Gerstenberg would travel independently, while Captain Skipper commanded the Advance Party in his absence. Timings were given for reporting to the Staging Camps. Doncaster’s was at the Race Course. Route cards were attached. Speed 20 mih ( mph), and Density 30 vehicles to the mile.

Rations arrangements depended on men carrying their own supplies, and hot meals being provided by the Staging Camps.

On arrival at Felixstowe the Party would be looked after by 92nd Anti-Tank Regiment. Corporal Venn of 366 Battery was to take enough cooking utensils to cater for 60 Other Ranks. Each man would have four blankets wrapped in ground sheets for the night of 26/27 December when accommodation would be tented. Men would take all their kit in the transport. Officers’ Mess Kit sufficient for six of them would be taken. Vehicles would travel full of fuel together with cans holding first-line reserve.

Rifles and ammunition would be taken at a modest scale.

The route was set out on page three – 100 miles on day 1 and 180 miles on day 2. Ten minute halts would be made every two hours plus a midday halt.

Movement Order – Ulverston to Felixstowe – dated 26 December 1942

This Order covered the main Body – essentially a separate convoy per Battery, with RHQ travelling with Signals Section. Men would travel in Field Service Marching Order including FS Caps and Overcoats. The detailed route was set out – staging at Wellington (130 miles), Lutterworth (60 miles), Stevenage (64 miles) and Felixstowe (78 miles). Ten minutes halt each hour with an hour’s halt at 12:00 hours. Traffic control by Despatch Riders and Section Officers on motorcycles.

Hot meals to be provided by Staging Camps. Messing Officer to collect rations en route at Supplies Depot Haverthwaite. The Regimental Colour Party would be commanded by Captain N M Wilson and include 6 men per Battery and two from RHQ, carried in two 3-ton Lorries – this number to include Cooks and a Batman. This Party would travel under its own arrangements.

Accommodation at Ulverston would be handed over including accommodation stores. The Rear Party would move into Tod Busk Camp once main accommodation had been handed over. The Officer commanding the rear party would organise the move of the Train Party with Staff Captain, 70th Infantry Brigade.

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