1st Tyneside Scottish September 1941

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1st September 1941

Part 2 of the Inter-Platoon Competition - B Company. The details of the competition had been filed with the August 1941 War Diary.

2nd September 1941

Part 2 of the Inter-Platoon Competition - C Company.

3rd September 1941

An Inter-Battalion Scheme was held against 11th DLI at VATNSENDI. The information about the exercise was contained in Appendix 2, attached to the War Diary – for details see below.

4th September 1941

Part 2 of the Inter-Platoon Competition - D Company.

5th September 1941

Part 2 of the Inter-Platoon Competition - R Company.

The Brigade Commander held a conference on the Inter-Battalion Exercise in the recreation hut at HAFNARFJORDUR.

6th September 1941

Part 2 of the Inter-Platoon Competition - No 9 Platoon.

8th September 1941

Part 2 of the Inter-Platoon Competition - HQ Company and the Reconnaissance Platoon.

9th September 1941

Part 2 of the Inter-Platoon Competition - Nos 7 and 8 Platoons.

The Brigadier visited the D Company Camp at LAUGARNES.

The ninth Leave Party returned from the UK.

10th September 1941

The eleventh Leave Party left for the UK.

12 Officers of the Battalion attended a demonstration at the KLEIFARVATN Range by a Troop of 143 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, of the Clock Code method of direct artillery fire.

11th September 1941

The Brigadier visited C Company at GARGAND Camp and was present at the service of dinner.

12th September 1941

12 Officers of the Battalion and the Battalion’s Intelligence Section attended a demonstration at the KLEIFARVATN Range by a Troop of 143 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, of the Clock Code method of direct artillery fire.

13th September 1941

B Company moved from SKIPTON Camp to KEIGHLEY Camp, GROTTA to relieve A Company who returned to SKIPTON Camp as the Reserve Company.

15th September 1941

The Battalion’s Intelligence Section organised an exercise for O Groups (thought to have been at Alafoss) with the Reconnaissance Platoon acting as enemy.

17th September 1941

Iceland Force Exercise No 9 was held in very inclement weather in the SELVATN area. The overall aim was to exercise Intelligence Sections, of which nine took part.

A skeleton enemy of all arms was provided consisting of 1/9 Manchesters, 143 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery and 2“ and 3“ Mortar detachments, provided by the Battalion. The G.o.C. sent congratulations on the performance of these personnel.

A detachment of the US Army arrived, under Major-General Bonesteel, to take command of the US forces on Iceland. 11th DLI provided a Guard of Honour.

19th September 1941

At 10:00 hours all Platoon Commanders attended the CO’s conference on the results of the Platoon Competition.

At 15:30 hours the G.o.C. held a conference on the outcome of Force Exercise No 9.

21st September 1941

The tenth Leave Party returned from the UK. Major Walmsley resumed his duties as 2i/c and Major McGregor resumed command of A Company.

22nd September 1941

The twelfth Leave Party left for the UK. Lt A M Keith took over as Adjutant while Captain Boyne was away on leave.

The results of Iceland Force Exercise 9 were announced – the Battalion came top with a score of 59.9%, the average being 38.6%. The CO congratulated the Intelligence Section.

23rd September 1941

Search parties were provided to look for Captain Johnson and one Other Rank missing on a reconnaissance since 21st September in the FOJA Range. (As will be noted from other War Diaries, the pair were eventually found, alive but exhausted).

24th September 1941

Iceland Force Exercise No 10 was abandoned at 10:30 hours due to inclement weather after the Brigade had moved out to the Starting Point at LAXAVOGUR. The exercise was described on Appendices 3 and 4 attached to the War Diary – for details see below.

25th September 1941

Bad weather brought forward the planned move of D Company from the tented camp at LAUGARNES to the HARROGATE and BALBO Camps to 25th September instead of 27th September. The arrangements for the move were described on Appendix 5 attached to the War Diary – for details see below.

The CO held a training conference in the anteroom at SKIPTON Camp.

26th September 1941

At 08:30 hours the G.o.C., Major-General H.O. Curtis, left by air for leave in the UK.

Brigadier Kirkup assumed command of Iceland ( C) Force, with the temporary rank of Major-General, and Lt Col Marley assumed command of 70th Infantry Brigade.

29th September 1941

The CO held a conference of Company Commanders and announced the move of the Battalion to HAFNARFJORDUR to take over the garrison duties of 11th DLI, who would move to take over the defences of the Reykjavik Sub-Sector.

Snow fell overnight on FOJA.

30th September 1941

Iceland Force Exercise No 10 was cancelled due to inclement weather. See details on Appendices 3 and 4 below.

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

Appendix 1 – Details of the Inter-Platoon Competition.

This set of papers had already been filed with the August 1941 War Diary and can be read there.

Appendix 2 – Administrative Instruction for the Inter-Battalion Exercise - 3rd September 1941.

This exercise tested the defences of VATNSENDI Radio Station, with 1st Tyneside Scottish acting as the enemy and 11th DLI defending the hill and the radio station.

During the exercise R Company was deputed to deal with the normal defence scheme responsibilities in Reykjavik.

As was usual with these exercises, ball ammunition was withdrawn and maintained in sealed boxes on Company transport in case of genuine emergency. No bayonets were to be fixed. The full scale of communications equipment was to be available for the exercise.

The supplementary information indicated that the Brigade Commander was directing the exercise and that Umpires were provided by 10th DLI. Detailed timings and routes were supplied for each of the sub-units to reach their allotted positions. The intelligence assessment identified the scale of enemy forces and the location of their positions – especially those positioned to defend VATNSENDI HILL.

The attacking force were presumed to be parachutists – details of the planned routes of advance for each of the sub-units were set out.

Appendices 3 and 4 - Iceland Force Exercise No 10.

This was an exercise which had to be cancelled due to adverse weather conditions – it was clearly a large exercise with extensive movements but, again, transport had to be re-used to ensure troops were moved as per the exercise timetable – this points out the relatively low level of the integral number of vehicles in the Battalion at that time.

The exercise had been predicated on a seaborne invasion, supported by naval forces including an aircraft carrier.

The Operation Order No 1 – Appendix 3 – indicated that landings had taken place and that the Coastal Defence Guns at Saurbaer and UTSKALAHAMAR had been put out of action with enemy troops in occupation and a mobile reserve last reported in the GEITHALS area. The Infantry Brigade which had landed was continuing its advance on Reykjavik, despite opposition.

1st Tyneside Scottish, as the right column of BLUEFORCE was tasked to secure the area of the Western slope of Helgafell with a two-stage advance – first, to secure the area of Saurbaer and the high ground to the East and, secondly, to continue the advance to Helgafell.

A Company, embussed, with one Section of No 4 Platoon and one detachment of No 3 Platoon under command (Anti-Tank and Mortars respectively) would move along the coast road and report the bounds clear en route. One Troop of 507 Field Battery would move in the rear of A Company and provide support as appropriate.

The remainder of most of the Battalion would follow A Company down the coast road with the other supporting troops – including Artillery and Machine Guns. Air sorties would be organised in support. The accompanying Light Anti-Aircraft Battery would position detachments along the coast road to provide defence against air attack.

Details were given of the transport to be used and the usual instructions on rations, water and sanitation arrangements.

A further Administrative Instruction (Appendix 4) on the exercise was issued and dealt in more detail with transport and other logistical arrangements – including a “special ration for BLUEFORCE” (this consisted of biscuits, chocolate or cheese, a tin of bully beef, a tin of meat and vegetable stew and a hexamine cooker). Units would also carry two days’ “preserved rations” and each man would carry his own “emergency ration”. Companies would draw the preserved ration from their seven days’ stock which was held at all times and Quartermasters were to replace these stocks on the completion of the exercise.

Vehicles were to be fully fuelled and to carry two cans of petrol each – 30cwt trucks were to be loaded to capacity. Breakdowns were to be reported to the Light Aid Detachment who would arrange evacuation as necessary. One water truck would travel with the Battalion – filled to capacity – while the other remained in Camp. All water tins were to be filled.

Dress for the exercise would include Tam O’Shanter – as the troops were “enemy” – denims over Battle Dress, Field Service Marching Order with slung water-bottles and leather jerkin rolled at the back with straps. Greatcoat and one blanket would be carried in the B Echelon transport in each man’s large pack.

Any serious illnesses or injuries would see the cases evacuated to No 30 General Hospital. Stretcher-bearers would accompany each sub-unit.

App 5 – Administrative Instruction No 10 – issued 22nd September 1941.

This document provided the details for moving the Battalion to HARROGATE and BALBO’s CAMP on 27th September 1941. Advance Parties would be accommodated at the Camps the previous day.

The Quartermaster was to be present to take over the tentage after the existing Camp had been struck, and to oversee the handing over of accommodation stores in the new Camps.

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