187 Field Ambulance - War Diary March 1941
2nd March 1941 Alafoss CAMP.
08:00 hours. A Company prepared to leave for Harley Street Camp and take over all duties from B Company 160 Field Ambulance. These duties consist of a large number of stations eg two live Medical Inspection Rooms, the station Hospital near Harley Street Camp, two Convalescent Camps.
B Company, which has been split up across the Outstations is being brought in on 4th March 1941 and is being kept together for training which it has missed.
A Company will now have a chance of doing medical work which will be good for all concerned.
5th March 1941 HARLEY STREET CAMP.
17:00 hours. HQ of 187 Field Ambulance now arrived at Harley Street Camp as part of the change-over. The new Camp is a very wet piece of ground and the huts are crowded together, but there are several advantages for the men :-
It is nearer the town.
There is a large double hut for dining.
Each hut has a partition at the end.
There is running water and shower baths in the static Camp.
On the other hand, the Officers’ Mess is much smaller and darker. The latrines are very bad. There are no standings for ambulances or cars, but these defects can be rectified.
On the whole, the Camp will be a better place for the men and they will not be so bored, but men are all over the place and the duties are heavier and thus outdoor work and Ambulance training will suffer.
On 25th February 1941, during the heaviest gale known in ICELAND for years, with a wind from 90 to 110 miles an hour, the Sergeants’ Mess hut at Alafoss CAMP went on fire. The arrangements first thought adequate, i.e. water in tins in each hut etc. were made use of, but nothing could save the hut which burned down in a few minutes.
Unfortunately, apart from the hut fire site, several peat stacks which were in the middle of the Camp on fire. These had to be taken down piece by piece and spread out on the ground away from the Camp, this took a great deal of time. Two whole days were required to stack them again away from the Camp. This peat was in the middle of the Camp and the huts were built round it - a very short-sighted policy as the compensation money will be heavy and the danger from fire ever present.
The Cookhouse was also badly damaged by having the roof blown off it by the wind.
10th March 1941
17:00 hours. Everybody is settling in well and the Engineers have promised to build new latrines and repair the Cookhouse in the static Camp which, like the Cookhouse at Alafoss, lost its roof in the gale.
On Friday 7th the Unit has to give a demonstration for the Force Tactical School in the putting up of a Regimental Aid Post, Advanced Dressing Station, and showing the equipment of a Main Dressing Station. This went well, which was good as the Unit had only just moved into the new Camp and had to set out the equipment etc.
18th March 1941
11:00 hours. Camp is now greatly improved and Unit has settled down to its new life and great hopes are entertained of arranging dances, concerts etc.
The Defence Scheme has been drawn up and consists of putting up three posts in the town as Advanced Dressing Stations about five miles out, all with decontamination centre. Also forming a decontamination centre in present static Camp and Main Dressing Station in Main Camp.
B Company will be in Mobile Reserve.
29th March 1941
11:00 hours. The Unit has been here three weeks and is settling down well. Engineers are doing well and new latrines are going up. We have had our first dances and unit concert, all went well.
Appendices attached to 187 Field Ambulance War Diary for March 1941.
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