1st Tyneside Scottish January 1941

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1st January 1941 BALDURSHAGI.

Lt Col Oxley addressed all Companies in turn and sent greetings to detachments at Brautarholt, Saurbaer and Selfoss.

2nd January 1941

A Battalion TEWT took place (The Battle of KEFLAVIK) on a Cloth Model at the Canadian camp at Alafoss.

3rd January 1941

The TEWT was repeated with different syndicates.

A Battalion lecture was given by Major Chatterton Army Education Corps on “Why Germany cannot win the War”.

5th January 1941

A conference was held at 70th Brigade HQ regarding the employment of troops to replace civilian labour – who were on strike.

6th January 1941

The Battalion supplied one Platoon daily to replace the civilian labour on GUFUNES Road.

7th January 1941

A lecture was given by Capt Gould, Army Education Corps on “The meaning of Hitlerism”.

8th January 1941

The Brigadier inspected the Camp, and then addressed all officers on subject of training.

10th January 1941

The G.o.C. (Maj Gen Curtis) visited the GUFUNES Coast Watching Post.

12th January 1941

The G.o.C. was entertained to tea in the Mess.

13th January 1941

2/Lt Kennedy and one Platoon of D Company relieved the Selfoss detachment and 2/Lt Highmore and his men rejoined the Battalion. The instructions were set out on Appendix 1 attached to the War Diary – for details see below.

14th January 1941

A Ski Platoon was organised under 2/Lt T D Ross – Administrative Instruction No 4 dated 9.1.1941 was attached to the War Diary as Appendix 2 – for details see below. Elsewhere on the Website will be found a piece of work on the social and employment background to this Platoon.

A Company – less one Platoon already based at Saurbaer – under the command of Captain W.G. Brennan, with 12 Platoon from B Company under command, relieved C Company at Brautarholt. C Company rejoined the Battalion. The arrangements were set out on Appendix 3 attached to the War Diary – for details see below.

A lecture was given by Capt Gould, Army Education Corps on “The collapse of France”.

15th January 1941

Operation Order No 5 was issued – the scheme for the defence of VATNSENDI Radio Station Hill. This was attached to the War Diary as Appendix 4 – for details see below.

16th January 1941

The CO, Adjutant and the Quartermaster (Lt-Qm Findlay) visited 1/6 Duke of Wellington's Regiment HQ at Skipton Camp Reykjavik, to discuss the planned inter-Battalion relief. They reconnoitred billets and the positions at the Harbour, Keighley Camp, Craven Camp, and Bingley Camp.

17th January 1941

The CO, Adjutant and QM of 1/6 DWR visited BALDURSHAGI Camp and continued discussions. The two COs visited Brautarholt and the Adjutants and Quartermasters visited VATNSENDI.

The GSO II of Iceland Force (Major Heard) visited the Camp.

18th January 1941

The CO and the Assistant Adjutant (2/Lt Boyne) attended a conference about the impending relief at Brigade HQ. The Platoon on road work duty at GUFUNES were withdrawn as the strike had ended.

20th January 1941

The Staff Captains from 70th and 147th Brigades visited the Camp.

21st January 1941 A lecture was given by Captain Wise of the Field Security Section on “A day in the House of Commons”. Captain Wise was a Member of Parliament.

23rd January 1941

At 09:40 hours B Company turned out as KALDARDANES REINFORCEMENTS and carried out an attack exercise on the road from BALDURSHAGI to Selfoss, South East of LOGBERG.

The Brigadier and Brigade Major (Major Roper) were spectators.

At 16:30 hours the Battalion’s GUFUNES Coast Watching Post (SW 14) was withdrawn and 536 Coast Regiment, Royal Artillery, assumed the task.

24th January 1941

The Assistant Director of Medical Services (Col J E Rusby MC) visited the Camp.

25th January 1941

Brigadier Lammie of 147th Brigade, and his Brigade Major, visited the Camp. Burns Night Dance took place in the Officers’ Mess.

27th January 1941

A 70th Brigade TEWT on Combined Operations, based on the SUVLA Landing in 1915 was held at the Canadian Camp, Alafoss. The Battalion Syndicate taking part was Major Walmsley, the 2i/c, Assistant Adjutant 2/Lt Boyne and C Company Commander Captain A Walton.

A Company Commanders' conference was held on the forthcoming inter-Battalion relief.

28th January 1941

The CO, 2i/c and Captain Walton visited Keighley Camp.

29th January 1941

The CO, 2i/c and the Officer Commanding D Company visited the Harbour.

30th January 1941

The CO, 2i/c and the Officer Commanding A Coy visited Craven Camp.

At 13:00 hours C Company turned out as KALDARDANES REINFORCEMENTS and carried out an attack exercise on the road from BALDURSHAGI to Selfoss, South East of LOGBERG.

31st January 1941

A Company Commanders Conference took place on Health and Hygiene.

Appendices attached to the January 1941 1st Tyneside Scottish War Diary.

Appendix 1 – Administrative instructions for the establishment of a Ski Platoon.

This note outlined the idea behind the establishment of this detachment and described the role they were expected to play, and the training which they would be undertaking. The key role was that of reconnaissance and the associated ability to use local resources – such as Icelandic horses - and operate independently away from supporting services. The men were to be able to live outdoors – using igloos – and travel on skis and snowshoes. A good standard of marksmanship was also expected.

Appendix 2 – Administrative instructions for the relief of the Selfoss detachment.

These instructions were essentially the same as those issued on previous occasions except this time a full platoon was deployed – giving a total of 1 Officer and 45 Other Ranks, including three drivers, two stretcher bearers, two Signallers and a Motorcycle Orderly.

Appendix 3 – Administrative instructions for the relief of the Brautarholt detachment – issued 8th January 1941.

Again, these were similar to those included in earlier documents as regards the arrangements themselves, but on this occasion A Company, under their Company Commander plus one Platoon of B Company under 2/Lt W B O’Hanlon would relieve C Coy from 09:00 hours on 14th January 1941. The Commander of HQ Company was to arrange for the relief of the specialist personnel. The detachment Commander, the A Company Commander, would be granted the powers of a detachment commander in accordance with the relevant paragraph of King’s Regulations 1940.

Appendix 4 – Scheme for defence of VATNSENDI Radio Station Hill.

Troops allocated were one Platoon (then from R Coy) consisting of one Officer and 36 men with one Anti-Tank Rifle, one 2” Mortar and rifles – no apparent allocation of LMGs was made.

Aim - to deny the enemy the high ground around the station and, secondarily, to keep the station intact.

Prepared positions were established for three sections and alternatives were made available. The Orders designated which posts would be used first and which were for reinforcements or as alternatives.

AFV Blocks had been constructed on road approaches from the west, and from VATNSENDI – to be activated on orders from Force HQ. A permanent garrison of one Officer and 27 men was to be maintained on the hill. All posts were expected to be held to the last man and the last round.

Additional reserves of ammunition were 4000 rounds of .303, 50 rounds of .55 (for the Boys Anti-Tank Rifle), 12 High Explosive Grenades and six each of red green and white Verey lights. 14 days rations were to be maintained on the hill for an emergency. The telephone to be used for communications with a signal line between Battalion HQ and Station 2.

The detachment was expected to be under the command of Force HQ if emergency arose.

Appendix A to the Operation Order was filed in the War Diary and described in detail the alarm signals to be used in the event of an enemy attack by land, sea or air, and the Code Words to be employed in those circumstances.

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