185th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, War Diary February 1944

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1 February 1944 Walberswick.

Regiment located at WALBERSWICK carrying out individual training. The equipment at this time consisted of M7s, 105mm guns on self-propelled mountings. Regiment carrying out driving practice with M14s recently received.

The Regiment changed over to the system of Field Documentation in accordance with the pamphlet “Documentation – Units of 21 Army Group whilst situated in the United Kingdon 1943”.

2 – 4 February 1944

Exercise ARCHER carried out on Dunwich RANGE – a scheme designed to practice Officers in the control of the fire of a battery, observation of fire and fire discipline. Shooting took place on 2nd, 3rd and 4th February; one battery firing each day from 09:00 hours to 17:00 hours, with appropriate breaks throughout the course of each day, including set “hours” at the disposal of the C.O.

3 February 1944

Owing to the changeover from Self-propelled Field Regiment establishment to that of 25 pdr Field Regiment, the Regiment was regarded as a non-mobilised unit with effect from 3 Feb 1944 (WOUM 79/MOB/5431/140 AG5 Mob of 3 Feb 44.)

4 – 7 February 1944

The Regiment continued its period of individual training. On 7 February authority was given for the re-organisation of the Regiment with effect from 7 Feb (W.E. VIII/515/1 to II/190B/1).

Field Return of Other Ranks dated 5th February 1944. See below for contents.

10 February 1944

At midnight the 10th the Regiment was ordered to change location and move to SHERINGHAM, Norfolk on the 13th. Consequently on the 11th a small pre-advance party was despatched to contact the 79 (Scottish Horse) Medium Regiment, then in occupation at SHERINGHAM. This party comprised the Second-in-Command, Major R Hudson, the RSM and the RQMS.

12 February 1944

A larger party left on the 12th to assist in taking over the new location. Two batteries and Regimental Headquarters were to be domiciled at SHERINGHAM and the third battery 191 at CROMER.

13 February 1944

The remainder of the Regiment moved by road on the 13th with the exception of an adequate rear party which was to remain behind at THORINGTON HALL in order to hand over M7 and M14 equipments to the 3 Canadian Division and 90 Field Regiment.

14 – 15 February 1944 SHERINGHAM.

The Regiment carried out a period of settling in at a new location combined with what training was available without equipment.

16 February 1944

Entire Regiment paraded at Sprowston Hall, Norwich for a visit of the new Commander in Chief General Sir B L Montgomery KCB, DSO.

17 February 1944

Major R Hudson proceeded on an 8 weeks’ course at the Senior Officers’ College, Cambridge. Major P G Paul took over the duties of Second-in-Command.

18 – 21 February 1944

Exercise PONTOON was carried out, in which a skeleton RHQ party and one Observation Post per Battery took part. The objects of the Exercise were (a) to study the technique of attack over water obstacles, (b) to exercise staffs in the preparation of orders and passing of information, (c) to practice wireless security. See Appendix C attached to War Diary. (This Appendix was not included in the file).

20 February 1944

The 25 pdr equipments and complete gun stores arrived on the 20th and were distributed to the three batteries. Tractors Field Artillery did not arrive.

21 February 1944

By the 21st the handing over of equipment at Thorington Hall was completed and the last of the Rear Party re-joined the Regiment in the new location.

20 – 28 February 1944

With the arrival of new equipments much work was entailed and batteries were committed to its various aspects.

24 February 1944

The Technical Officer, Captain M W L Berry RA was posted from this Regiment to the 90th Field Regiment RA.

26 February 1944

Field Return of Officers dated 26th February attached to the War Diary. See below for details.

28 February 1944

A Circus from 757 Field Company, Royal Engineers visited the Regiment and gave instruction and practical demonstrations of various mines to as many Officers and NCOs as were available.

29 February 1944

The C.O. and Second-in-Command today carried out a reconnaissance of training areas in the regions of the new location.

Appendices attached to the February 1944 War Diary

Field Return of Other Ranks dated 5th February 1944.

The return showed a strength of 687 men against the War Establishment of 650 – meaning a surplus of 1 Bombardier and 38 Gunners, and a deficit of 2 Sergeants and 4 Gunners. In addition, one Warrant Officer Physical Training Instructor and 2 RAC Troopers were attached. The latter may have been the Instructors for the tanks used as Armoured Observation Posts.

Field Return of Officers dated 26th February 1944

Page 1 of the Return showed 41 Officers in post, against a War Establishment of 41. This meant there were 2 Lieutenants and 1 2nd Lieutenant surplus to the Establishment, less 1st Reinforcements. There had been no changes in Officer personnel during the preceding week.

Page 2 listed all the Regiment’s Officers and this list has been used to refine the personnel list on the Website.

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