9th Battalion, Royal Northumberland Fusiliers - April 1940

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1 April 1940 – Gosforth Park.

Letter received from HQ 23rd (N) Division that the Battalion will attend a Machine Gun Concentration in Southern Command from 16 September 1940 to 5 October 1940.

2 April 1940

23rd Division Administrative Order No. 5 received. Major Trenam, DAQMG 23rd Division visited the Battalion re. move overseas. 23rd Division Administrative Order No. 6 received and letter from 23rd Division giving information that the Battalion would move to tented Camps in France and that no objection would be made to reasonable amounts of extra baggage etc. being taken. This Battalion’s Preliminary Instruction No. 3 issued today (copy attached).

3 April 1940

Nothing to report.

4 April 1940

Medical Administrative Instructions for move overseas received from ADMS 23rd Division.

5 April 1940

This unit was relieved from its responsibilities for Home Defence Duties at 00:01 hours today. Information received from SAQC Northumbrian Area that the 85th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery would be taking over this billet on our vacating it.

6 April 1940

23rd Division Administrative Orders Nos. 7, 8 and 9 received today, giving information as to disposal of Immatures and personnel unfit to proceed overseas.

7 April 1940

This Battalion Preliminary Instruction No. 4 issued today (copy attached).

8 April 1940

Two Warrant Officers and one NCO left the Battalion today to take up Administrative positions in the newly formed 23rd Division Infantry Details Battalion. 23rd Division Administrative Order No. 10 received today. This Battalion Preliminary Instruction No 5 issued (copy attached).

9 April 1940

23rd Division Administrative Order No. 11 received. Advance Party of this Battalion consisting of 1 Officer, 6 Other Ranks and one 15cwt truck ordered to leave on 11 April 1940 to report to Officer Commanding Advance Party, 46th Division, as in Preliminary Instruction No. 6 issued today (copy attached).

10 April 1940

2/Lt A (R?) W Ross posted to this Battalion today from MGTC.

23rd Division Administrative Order No. 12 received.

Major L C Thomas O.B.E., M.C. posted to this Battalion from MGTC to command.

11 April 1940

Advance Party of this Battalion left this morning. 23rd Division Administrative Order No. 13 received.

Notification received from 23rd Division that 74 Other Ranks are to be posted to this Battalion from No. 1 Machine Gun Holding Battalion on 18 April 1940.

12 April 1940

The Battalion Preliminary Instruction No. 7 issued today (copy attached).

13 April 1940

Administrative Instruction No. 8 issued today (copy attached).

14 April 1940

Major General Herbert – G.o.C. 23rd Division visited this Battalion today.

15 April 1940

Information received from 23rd Division HQ that 30 trained Machine Gunners would join the Battalion from Guernsey on 18 April 1940. Instructions received from 23rd Division HQ that the following Officers; Captain D Scott, 2/Lt T Robson, 2/Lt A G Smith and 2/Lt H W Green, would not proceed overseas with this unit but would be attached for disposal orders to the 6th Survey Regiment, Royal Artillery.

16 April 1940

Unit transport under command of 2/Lt T D Darling left to proceed overseas at 14:00 hours today.

17 April 1940

23rd Division Administrative Instructions No. 14 received giving 22nd April as date of leaving Gosforth for overseas. This Battalion Instruction No. 9 issued today (copy attached).

18 April 1940

46 Other Ranks arrived to join this unit from No.1 Machine Gun Holding Battalion.

Train timings for move overseas received from 23rd Division HQ.

19 April 1940

Instructions received from HQ 23rd Division that Lt Col S H Gallon will revert to unemployment with effect from 18 April 1940.

This Battalion Instruction No. 10 issued today (copy attached).

20 April 1940

15 Other Ranks attached to this unit from MGTC returned there today.

11 Other Ranks awaiting Medical Boards and 2 NCOs detailed for OCTU attached to 6th Survey Regiment, Royal Artillery with effect from today.

Instructions No. 11 issued today (copy attached).

21 April 1940

Lts T V H Beamish, A Ainsley, J Thornhill and 2/Lt C L Irwin posted to this Battalion and arrived from the MGTC today.

22 April 1940

Battalion prepared to move, baggage loaded during the day. Battalion less Immatures and medically unfit entrained as under:-

HQ, W and X Companies and Y Company less 2 Platoons under command of Major L C Thomas O.B.E., M.C. left Killingworth Station at 20:45 hours.

Z Company and 2 Platoons of Y Company with 25 tons of baggage under command of Major F B Cowen left Killingworth at 23:45 hours.

23 April 1940

1st Train Party halted at Oxford for breakfast at 06:00 hours and arrived at Southampton at 09:00 hours, embarking immediately on SS Fennella. 2nd Train Party halted at Leicester and arrived at Southampton 12:30 hours embarking also on SS Fenella.

SS Fenella sailed at 15:00 hours proceeding down Southampton Water and dropping anchor off the Isle of Wight with 8th and 9th Battalions Royal Northumberland Fusiliers on board.

24 April 1940 – Cherbourg.

Weighed anchor at 00:45 hours and sailed for Cherbourg arriving after eventless crossing at 07:00 hours. Disembarked and marched to Gare Maritime, entraining at 16:00 hours. The train journey to La Hutte started at 18:06 hours.

25 April 1940

Arrived at La Hutte at 02:37 hours and detrained at 06:00 hours. Made contact with 2/Lt Darling and Battalion transport, who had arrived on the evening of the 23rd. Marched to Assembly Area at Prace a Juille. Established Battalion HQ at Chateau Prace.

26 April 1940

Troops resting. Battalion transport started at 08:00 hours on journey to Monchy le Breton under 2/Lt T D Darling.

27 April 1940

Nothing to report. Troops resting.

28 April 1940

Church Parade held at Chateau Prace. Battalion entrained at 19:30 hours at La Hutte Station together with the 8th Battalion RNF for journey to Monchy le Breton. Train drew out of La Hutte Station at 23:11 hours.

29 April 1940

Halted at Satieville Station 07:15 hours for breakfast. Halted at 15:00 hours at Amiens Station for tea. Arrived at Dieval Station at 19:00 hours and detrained. Captain Hart with Battalion Advance Party met and conducted the Battalion to Monchy le Breton where it went under canvas.

30 April 1940

Morning spent in settling in. Air sentries posted and Anti-Aircraft Light Machine Guns mounted and manned. Major General W N Herbert, G.o.C. 23rd Division visited Camp at 12:15 hours.

Appendices attached to the April 1940 War Diary of 9th RNF.

The 23rd Division Administrative Orders should have been found on the Divisional Website Page. However, please see the page here [1] for an explanation of their status.

The Battalion Preliminary Instructions and Orders, mentioned in the text above, have, unfortunately, not survived to be included within the War Diary, with the exception of a single page, setting out the basic information on the formation of the 23rd Division Details Battalion.

This part of Preliminary Instruction No. 4 describes the establishment of the Details Battalion, under command of Major F Taylor, 11th DLI, of which the Immatures of 9th RNF would form No 4 Platoon of A Company under 2/Lt C. C. Bradley, and the men considered unfit to proceed overseas would form part of No 9 Platoon of C Company. Personnel were attached to this Battalion for the purposes of pay, clothing, rations, accommodation, discipline and training.

Those men who were:-

Detailed to proceed to an OCTU.

Officers and Other Ranks awaiting Medical Boards.

Officers and Other Ranks already medically boarded but where disposal instructions were awaited.

Officers and Other Ranks attending Courses which did not terminate before 15th April 1940.

Officers and Other Ranks due to attend courses commencing prior to 15 May 1940 -

were all to be attached to 6th Survey Regiment, Royal Artillery.