178th Field Regiment War Diary - February 1942.

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Lieut J Frankenthal RAMC joined as temporary Medical Officer.

8 February 1942

122 Field Battery RA practised at OKEHAMPTON Ranges under direction of Lt Col L Rushworth-Ward M.C. RA.

22 February 1942

Captain N E Challenger RAMC joined Unit as permanent Medical Officer.

All vehicles and guns belonging to 366 Field Battery RA reported to have arrived in Scotland and to be in charge of O.M.E. (Officer – Mechanical Engineering) Scottish Command at EDINBURGH. Reported to have been extensively damaged in transit from ICELAND.

2/Lt K Bell RA took 16 Drivers to EDINBURGH to fetch 8 3-ton Lorries arrived from ICELAND for 366 Battery RA.

23 February 1942

Lieut J Frankenthal RAMC left the Regiment. 178th Field Regiment RA went to OKEHAMPTON Range for Practice under Lieut Col L Rushworth-Ward M.C. RA.

25 February 1942

516 Field Battery RA and 366 Field Battery RA returned to SCARNE CROSS CAMP to prepare for move to SOUTH WALES. 24 18/25 pdr guns complete with trailers and stores arrived at LAUNCESTON Station from 5th Division and were taken off trucks to SCARNE CROSS CAMP.

26 February 1942

10:00 hours. Advance Party under command of Captain H A A Baird RA left for South Wales. 366 Battery Advance Party routed to Cresselly House, CRESSELLY, Near KILGETTY, Pembrokeshire, and 516 Battery Advance Party under command of Lieut R Birkett, RA routed to Picton Park, Pembrokeshire. 8 25 pdr Mk II guns complete with trailers and stores belonging to 516 Battery were taken over by an officer of 167th Field Regiment RA and were put on train to be despatched to 167th Field Regiment RA, THETFORD, Norfolk, and 168th Field Regiment RA SOUTHEND-on-SEA, Essex; 4 guns to each Regiment. 8 18/25 pdrs were handed to 516 Field Battery RA; 8 18/25 pdrs were handed to 366 Field Battery RA, complete with trailers. Gun stores for these 16 guns were sent to South Wales in bulk.

See Operation Order No. 4 attached to War Diary as Appendix A.

27 February 1942

07:00 hours. Main Road Party under Command Major D F Wells RA left SCARNE CROSS CAMP for South Wales. The stores of the two Batteries and RHQ left by Goods Train at 15:40 hours. 2/Lt K G A Bell RA arrived CRESSELLY with 8 3-ton Lorries. 8 4.5 Hows. complete with trailers and stores were taken from 122 Field Battery RA and put on rail for Ordnance Depot, GREENFORD, Middlesex. 8 18/25 pdr guns complete with trailers and gun stores were handed over to 122 Field Battery RA. Main Rail Party under command of Lt Col L Rushworth-Ward M.C. RA left LAUNCESTON 22:30 hours for South Wales.

See Letter No. SC/10/1 dated 26 Feb 42. Appendix B attached. Operations Order No. 5 Appendix C attached.

28 February 1942

10:00 hours. The train having been split at WHITLAND JUNCTION, 366 Battery, and RHQ arrived at KILGETTY and were transported to CRESSELLY HOUSE by motor coach. Their stores had meanwhile arrived at TENBY and unloading was commenced.

10:20 hours. 516 Field Battery RA arrived at HAVERFORDWEST (for PICTON PARK) their stores having meanwhile arrived at HAVERFORDWEST unloading was commenced.

19:00 hours. Major R A Collins RA joined the Regiment at CRESSELLY HOUSE to take up duties of Second-in-Command.

An accident occurred to the Road Party between CIRENCESTER and GLOUCESTER involving the death of Lance Bombardier McInnes of 516 Field Battery RA and injury to three other men. Extensive damage occurred to Quads and Guns but no details are at present available. 5 Gun Towers were picked up from Ordnance Depot CIRENCESTER by the Main Road Party.

122 Field Battery RA were instructed to remain at LISKEARD until further orders, when they would join 516 Field Battery RA, probably about 15 Mar 42. The weather throughout February was cold, dry and fine.

Appendices attached to the February 1942 War Diary.

Appendix A – Operation Order No. 4.

The two page Order survived to be included in the War Diary file – this was the composition and the route to be followed by the Road Parties from 366 and 516 Field Batteries from LAUNCESTON to CRESSELLY and PICTON. (via Taunton, Bristol, Gloucester and Carmarthen). Cooks were to be included in the Parties with rations included in the loading.

Appendix B – Change of Station.

This was addressed to Movement Control in Exeter and gave the make-up of the various Parties from 122 Field Battery leaving Scarne Cross Camp for South Wales. As normal, there was an Advance Party, a Main Road Party and a Rear Party – an assessment being made of the numbers of men in each group and the vehicles to be employed. The route involved staging at Cirencester on the night of 26th February with arrival at the new location on 27th.

Appendix C – Operation Order No. 5 – Move from Launceston to Picton – Orders for Main Body.

This three-page document gave the details of the Road Party – (including the Guns, Trailers and Quads – involving 3 Officers and 78 Other Ranks – including Cooks), and the Rail Party – which was essentially everybody else not in either the Advance or Rear Parties.

Trailers were to be filled with ammunition with the balance carried by rail. The transfer of Guns between units, spelled out in the War Diary, was incorporated into these Orders. The replacement guns – the 18/25 pdrs were to be drawn from RQMS at Scarne Cross. Clear timings of the transfer of weapons were set out. The guns being handed over were to be loaded on to trains by the relinquishing Batteries. The final page was the road route.

The Regiment having been equipped this month with 18/25pdr guns, and having handed in their 25 pdrs, it was thought useful to provide an illustration of that amalgam of the two types - a 25 pounder gun barrel on an 18 pounder chassis. This is shown below, with the ammunition limber and Quad and a full gun crew in place ready to open fire.

18 - 25 pdr.jpg

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