187 Field Ambulance - War Diary February 1940

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3rd February 1940 HAUGHTON-LE-SKERNE.

Training according to programme progressing. All men have been seen, sorted out and placed in Companies. Two Officers, Lt Almond and Lt Mashiter reported for duty – both Emergency Commissions and with no knowledge of the Army. Lt Heatherington reported as Quartermaster – this should give the Unit a great help up.

The owners in Whinfield Hall have applied to stay until 8th February 1940, Although this is a most serious inconvenience the request has been granted. The Billets are very crowded, washing facilities are nil, one bath a week is obtained by marching down to Darlington – a distance of 2 ½ miles. The weather also is extremely cold and the heating arrangements poor. Constant applications are being made re. washing places, range etc to A.C.R.E. (Presumably Area Command Royal Engineers).

12th February 1940

The owners have at last left Whinfield Hall and it is now possible to utilise other rooms, three very good and large rooms taken over as dining rooms and one as Quartermaster’s Office.

Training lectures for Officers and NCOs started at 6pm on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday – subject – RAMC administration in peace and war – lecturer Lt Col J.P. Macnamara.

Still no sign of washing appliances, nor range. No place to wash dishes, great difficulties experienced in getting clothing and equipment from Ordnance. Lt Almond RAMC, who only arrived on 1st February, was transferred to the Depot on 12th February 1940 for service with the B.E.F. This was a great loss as there are no young Officers with the Unit.

19th February 1940

Captain Leslie, RAMC reported for duty – this Officer has had nearly ten years Territorial experience as Regimental Medical Officer and will be a great asset to this Unit.

Training in squad drill, stretcher drill and first aid and the Class III Course is continuing.

First Field Day done on 16th February 1940, men seemed very interested. Main Dressing Station, Advanced Dressing Station and Regimental Aid Post were established and whole scheme explained and proper Operation Orders were made out. For further details see Appendix 1 to the War Diary set out below.

Appendices attached to the 187 Field Ambulance War Diary for February 1940.

Appendix 1 – Field Day - Operation Order No 1.

The Order concerned a move by 49th Brigade from Darlington in the direction of Middlesbrough to destroy an enemy force estimated at one Brigade.

The situation was that on the afternoon of 16th February 1940 an enemy force had landed by surprise in the Tees Bay area and, advancing rapidly, had reached a line from BISHOPTON (ref 846415) to ELTON (ref 885375) and was reported to be entrenching.

4th Battalion DLI was to act as Advance Guard leaving DARLINGTON at 08:00 on 17th February 1940.

The Order of March was:-

5th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers.

6th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers.

20th Battery, Royal Artillery.

5th Field Company, Royal Engineers.

187th Field Ambulance.

Rear Guard – 6th Battalion Durham Light Infantry.

Timings were set out for each Unit to pass the Start Point.

Captain J.B. Fulton RAMC was, for the purpose of the exercise, acting as Medical Officer to 4th DLI, accompanied by personnel from B Company (one Regimental Orderly, six “casualties” and a Stretcher Squad)

The Main Dressing Station was to be established at WHINFIELD HALL.

B Company was to form an Advanced Dressing Station in GREAT BURDON (ref 799368).

C Company was to remain in reserve at the Main Dressing Station. The lorry would also remain at the Main Dressing Station and await instructions.

The Orders were intended to be delivered verbally.

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