187 Field Ambulance - War Diary January 1941

From 70 Brigade
Jump to: navigation, search

5th January 1941 Alafoss CAMP.

11:00 hours. During the last few days there have been no events of importance. The Unit is doing a large number of fatigues on a building site. Routine lectures and parades as far as possible. Four men per Hospital – four to 30th General Hospital and four to 38th General Hospital are being sent down for a month’s hospital course. This is very popular.

The following Education Classes have been started; French, German and Shorthand as well as Nursing Orderly Grade II lectures – twice a week by Medical Officer and once a week at 30th General Hospital by Sisters.

About 30 NCOs and men are attending Nursing Orderly lectures, about twelve French and German and six Shorthand. Hard to get men interested in education with the exception of Nursing, which they like, especially in the Hospital.

7th January 1941

11:00 hours. One Officer and 34 men of the Norwegian Army arrived and were attached for rations, and the Officer for accommodation. The men were accommodated in the Canadian Camp but messed with the Unit. The Officer messed in the Officers’ Mess of the Field Ambulance.

11th January 1941

09:00 hours. The Norwegians left for the North (probably the Winter Warfare School at AKUREYRI). Their Officer was a highly intelligent type who had been involved in the Norwegian campaign and also in suicide squad landings in France.

18th January 1941

12:00 hours. 70th Infantry Brigade Operation order No 1 received – complete details of Mobile Column.

A Company, which has been practising this, have now been detailed for First Echelon, HQ Company, made up as A Company have been detailed as 2nd Echelon.

B Company, which owing to the details at Outstations is only at half strength, is being left behind with the remainder of HQ to form a Main Dressing Station in Camp and will come under command of the local defences.

A Stretcher Bearer Course for Outstation stretcher bearers started.

24th January 1941

10:00 hours. A Company has had repeated practices in loading lorries, moving out and forming an Advanced Dressing Station, the penthouses attached to the sides of the 30cwt trucks have been used to form these Advanced Dressing Stations, a great deal of practice in hand carriage using stretcher slings to fix patient to bearer, has been done. This practice has been made possible by fine, bright weather since the beginning of January.

This Company have become extremely efficient and can now load in 15 minutes and put up and down an Advanced Dressing Station in approximately the same time.

The fine weather has also enable Route Marches to be done and units have been marched all over the hills in Battle Order.

It has also been found that Balaclava helmets must be worn as the wind is very cold on even the finest days, and it is better to be only lightly clad eg only cardigan under Battle Dress and to have in reserve leather jerkin rolled up on back, which can, if necessary, be taken off at halts to keep one warm.

The reason for this is as follows; one gets extremely hot even on coldest days when marching in Battle Order up hills and one is sweating. Halting, one rapidly becomes very cold and so one has a period of alternate heat and cold. This can be remedied by not being too warmly clad on the march and have a reserve, eg the jerkin or a greatcoat, for a halt. Halts should never be for more than 50 minutes.

The Brigade notes for the Mobile Column is that greatcoats will be worn and jerkin rolled on back, but men in this case move by lorry. It is very hot for marching. During practice route marching or carrying wounded the present Brigade method of carrying the haversack on the back with the water bottle in it has been found unsatisfactory, and to some extent in the way when carrying wounded.

Full Orders have now been issued to all Officers re Mobile Column and discussions have taken place as a result of which it would be an easy matter for this Unit to move out quickly.

Appendices attached to the War Diary of 187 Field Ambulance for January 1941.

Field Return of Other Ranks – 4th January 1941.

This Return shows exactly the same position as that of 2nd November 1940.

Field Return of Officers – 5th January 1941.

While the total of Officers remained at nine (indicating a shortage of one Lieutenant) it was noted that Lt J.P. Corr RAMC who had rejoined the Unit from his attachment to 11th DLI and was temporarily attached for Rations and Accommodation from 11th October 1940 had reverted to being attached to 11th DLI with effect from 4th December 1940. Lt Bain remained in 30th General Hospital and Major W.L. Brown(e)had been admitted there on 31st December 1940. Lt Needham was still attached to 10th DLI.

Field Return of Other Ranks – 11th January 1941.

This Return shows exactly the same position as that of 2nd November 1940.

Field Return of Officers – 18th January 1941.

The total had reduced to eight Officers as Lt Bain had been discharged from 30th General Hospital and embarked for the UK on 14th January 1941 – being struck off the Unit strength the same day. For the first time the Return includes the dates on which the Officers joined the Unit.

Field Return of Other Ranks – 18th January 1941.

This Return shows exactly the same position as that of 2nd November 1940.

Field Return of Other Ranks – 25th January 1941.

This Return shows exactly the same position as that of 2nd November 1940.

Field Return of Officers – 26th January 1941.

Major Brown(e) is not shown as being in Hospital so it can be assumed that he had been discharged and returned to the Unit.

To contact the author by e-mail with any queries, or to send information - click here.