9th Battalion, Royal Northumberland Fusiliers - June 1940

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June 1940 – Warrington Park Camp.

On arrival in England from DUNKERQUE on the evening of 31st May 1940, the Battalion was sent to various Reception Areas throughout the country. The CO, Lt Col Thomas, Adjutant, Major Crawhall, 4 other Officers and 127 Other Ranks arrived at WARMINSTER early on the morning of 1st June, and were attached to the 57th Heavy Training Regiment there.

On the 2nd June the CO, Lt Col Thomas, and Adjutant, Major Crawhall, left for LAUNCESTON, Cornwall, which was to be the concentration area for 23rd Division and they there made arrangements to receive personnel of the Battalion at SCARNE CAMP as they arrived.

By the afternoon of Sunday 9th June, 400 Other Ranks and 20 Officers had arrived at SCARNE CAMP and the Battalion moved in the evening to WARRINGTON PARK CAMP, three miles away on the other side of LAUNCESTON.

Instructions were received from 23rd Division on the evening of 9th June that all personnel of the Battalion who had returned from France were to be despatched on leave so that each man spent a minimum of 48 hours at his own home. From Tuesday, 11th, until Thursday, 27th, leave was staggered so that by the latter date the whole of the men entitled to leave had been away. During the above period, various small parties of the Battalion who had not yet reported rejoined the Battalion.

By this date (27th June) out of the 28 Officers and 655 Other Ranks who had been with the Battalion at MONCHY LE BRETON (France), 22 Officers and 507 Other Ranks were now present with the Battalion.

The casualties were made up as follows:-

Officers – 1 wounded, 1 killed, 4 missing.

Other ranks – 23 wounded, 6 killed, 119 missing.

On the 20th June, 66 Other Ranks who had been attached to 23rd Division Details Battalion at CHESTER-LE-STREET whilst the Battalion was in France, arrived under command of 2/Lt C. C. Bradley and were taken on the Battalion strength.

During the period (10th – 27th) all available training time was spent in administration and the limited training that could be carried out owing to lack of training stores. This training took the form of Musketry, P.T., and Bayonet Training. A supply of Ross P.1914 rifles was obtained from DADOS 23rd Division so that all Other Ranks who had lost their rifles, or had been ordered to jettison them during the evacuation, were equipped with a rifle. Sufficient clothing was also obtained so that each man was issued up to the New Scale.

Instructions were received that 23rd Division was to be broken up and on Friday, 28th, Major General W N Herbert, G.o.C. 23rd Division, visited the Battalion. The Battalion was drawn up in a Hollow Square formation and the G.o.C., after an inspection, addressed the Battalion from an improvised platform.

He expressed regret at the disintegration of the Division and thanked the Battalion for the support they had given him and for the part they had played in the Battle in Northern France.

On Saturday, 29th, instructions were received that at midnight, 30th June, 1st July, the Battalion would come under command of South West area.

At 08:00 hour Sunday 30th 120 Other Ranks arrived, posted from No.1 (Machine Gun) Holding Battalion WHITLEY BAY. These were distributed to Companies so that each Company was approximately 140 strong. They were, with few exceptions, trained Machine Gunners and had fired their M.G. Course and included in them were 26 trained Drivers i/c (Internal Combustion), a welcome addition to the Battalion. The strength of the Battalion was now 25 Officers and 715 Other Ranks.

Church Parade was held in Yeolnbridge Parish Church. The Padre, Rev. E.W.B. Cordingly, made the service one of Thanksgiving for the Battalion’s return to England, and of Prayer for the dead, wounded and missing, whose names were read out by the CO, Lt Col Thomas.

At 14:30 hours (30th June) the CO, Lt Col Thomas, 2nd in command, Major F B Cowen, and Adjutant, Major W N C Crawhall attended a conference at South West area HQ. Instructions were given for the Battalion to take over, as soon as possible, the defences of the coast from TOR CROSS to STREETE and to arrange for tank obstacles on the road between the coast and MODBURY. Immediately after the conference, these Officers made a reconnaissance of the area.