178th Field Regiment War Diary - January 1942.

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178th Field Regiment, Authority:- War Office letter 20/Arty/6039 (A.G.6a) dated 8.1.42. The Regiment to comprise 122 Field Battery, Royal Artillery, already located at Liskeard. 366 Field Battery Royal Artillery recently returned from Iceland, and 516 Field Battery, Royal Artillery, of Rosemarkie, Ross-shire.

Location of the Regiment with the exception of 122 Field Battery, RA who remain at Liskeard is Scarne Cross Camp, Launceston, Cornwall.

10:00 hours. Advance Party of 516 Field Battery RA arrive at Scarne Cross Camp and find it is only partly completed and that living conditions leave much to be desired. Party consists of Captain R H Simpson RA, 2/Lt B B McCarroll RA and 10 Other Ranks. The following R.H.Q. personnel also arrived. Lieut (QM) B G Marsh RA and 39 Other Ranks.

20 January 1942

17:00 hours. Lt Col L Rushworth-Ward M.C. RA arrived Scarne Cross Camp to assume Command of the Regiment.

21 January 1942

06:00 hours. Rail Party of 516 Field Battery RA arrived consisting of Major D F Wells RA, 2/Lt Davidson RA, 2/Lt J R Douglas RA, 2/Lt W H H Bayne RA, 2/Lt G M Dalgety RA and Captain J W Smith RA and 101 Other Ranks.

22:00 hours. Advance Party of 366 Field Battery RA arrive consisting of Captain R Law RA, 2/Lt H D Mackenzie RA and 12 Other Ranks. They travelled by road and brought one vehicle (3 tonner).

Lt Col L Rushworth-Ward M.C. RA commanding the Regiment ascertained that 178th Field Regiment came under Command of 73rd Independent Infantry Brigade (Cornwall Coastal Area).

22 January 1942

15:00 hours. Visit from Brigadier Royal Artillery, Brigadier K B Benfield D.S.C. M.C.

23 January 1942

Rear Party of 516 Field Battery RA arrived consisting of Captain A D Stobe RA and 21 Other Ranks.

24 January 1942

06:30 hours. Rail Party 366 Battery RA arrived consisting of Captain H A A Baird RA, 2/Lt I A Dannreuther RA, 2/Lt C W Coulsey RA, 2/Lt A C Wallace RA and 156 Other Ranks.

18:30 hours. Road Party of 366 Field Battery RA arrived consisting of 2/Lt K G A Bell RA, 16 vehicles and 4 motor cycles.

26 January 1942

Visit from CCRA 8 Corps, Brigadier C M Christie M.C.

28 January 1942

Major C T Hackett RA arrived ex leave.

31 January 1942

18:30 hours. 516 Field Battery RA Road Party arrived consisting of Lieut R Birkett, 2/Lt J D Petley and 25 Other Ranks. 8 Quads, 8 Guns, 8 Limbers, 2 private cars and 4 motor cycles. Report on journey see Appendix 1 attached.

From the date of formation i.e. 19.1.42 to the end of the month, weather conditions have been very unsettled, and it has rained daily, with the exception of 31.1.42 which was bright and clear.

Appendices attached to the January 1942 War Diary.

Report on Road Party 516 Battery.

This two page document is a very comprehensive account of the rather fraught journey of this Road Party from Rosemarkie to Launceston over the period 19.1.42 to 31.1.42.

The Party consisted of 2 Officers and 28 Other Ranks with 8 Quads, 8 Guns, 8 Limbers, 2 civilian cars and 5 motor cycles. On the first day the Party arrived at Cameron Barracks, Inverness, complete at 18:00 hours.

From 20th January onwards the Party were plagued with difficult road conditions – ice, snow, and blizzards. On 20th Driver Martin came off his motorcycle and sustained head injuries – being hospitalised as a result. The pole of a limber broke and the limber was left at Kingussie Railway Station. One motorcycle was wrecked by being run over by one of the cars – conditions icy and blizzarding – as a result all the motorcycles were transported on the gun trails. Orders received on 20th to suspend travel.

Mechanical problems occurred, preventing vehicles travelling and causing difficulties in keeping the Party together. After reaching Carstairs orders were again received to halt movement – this was in force for several days until a thaw set in. The Party reached Carlisle at 18:00 hours on 26th January.

Repairs again delayed one of the Quads but all reached Catterick at 20:00 hours on 27th January. Ignition trouble delayed one Quad the following day but all reached Doncaster by 16:00 hours on 28th January. One fitter stayed with a Quad to repair petrol problems on 29th but the Party reached Lutterworth by 17:00 hours. The Party journeyed to Bristol the following day with an uneventful trip.

On 31st the Party, less one motor cycle with clutch problems, set off at 08:30 and the Party finally arrived complete at Launceston at 18:30 hours on 31st January, having come across Traffic Control for the first time on their extended journey at Bridgwater.

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