War Diary - CRE - October 1940

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1 October 1940 – Reykjavik

Field Firing practice on Kleifervatn Range by Royal Regiment of Canada and Royal Artillery – artillery fire accurate and effective.

2 October 1940

ENSA Concert Party in ICELAND have first performance in Reykjavik on 27th September followed by others on successive days : greatly enjoyed by all ranks.

3 October 1940

Construction of concrete hangar for Walrus aircraft of Fleet Air Arm on SKERJAFJORDUR ordered by G.O.C.: return of Section 294 Field Company, G1098 and 30 Other Ranks from AKUREYRI.

4 October 1940

Inspection by G.O.C. and G 1 of Pill Box mock-up at Alafoss – modifications ordered to increase interior space.

Opening broadcast in English on Reykjavik station to British Forces by G.O.C. Major-General H O Curtis. Service to be continued with news and music daily.

5 October 1940 - Reykjavik

Inspection of Section Posts and Strong Points of 147 Infantry Brigade with Brigadier by CRE and Officer Commanding 294 Field Company.

6 October 1940

A fine clear day with sun and little wind, after a day of continuous rain: snow on hills down to about 1500 feet.

7 October 1940

Another equally good day. Work commenced by Royal Artillery, supervised by NCO and 2 Other Ranks of 294 Field Company on emplacements for 2 static 3.7” Anti-aircraft guns to be moved from AUDSHOLT position to SKELETON HILL.

Each fort 11’ 0” diameter and 5’0” deep, having steel channel and pillar framework embedded in concrete (7 ½ tons cement, 15 tons sand, 22 ½ tons aggregate per fort).

9 October 1940

Above work satisfactorily completed.

Reconnaissance of REYKJAVIK civil aerodrome for extension to suitable RAF landing ground. A suitable runway considered practicable.

11 October 1940 – Reykjavik

Work commenced on first pill-box at Hafnafjordur. (all entries 26th September and 4th October). First wet day after 5 clear and sunny ones.

13 October – Reykjavik

Arrival of CHIEF ENGINEER, Brigadier Bliss, by S.S. HENGIST. Adjutant takes a toss practising for motorcycle reliability trial, but escapes with wrenched knee and small bone cracked which puts him to bed for about three weeks, during which time the author of this history steps into the breach.

15 October 1940

Arrival of Inspector-General of Training (General Lord Gort).

18 October 1940 – Kleifarvatn

Inspector General attends Field Firing Exercise – Chief Engineer and Commander Royal Engineers also present.

19 October 1940 – Reykjavik

16:00 hours. Inspector General leaves for Akranes and North East Sector.

21 October 1940 – Reykjavik

Arrival of “ARGUS” to take back “Walrus” amphibians of Fleet Air Arm which have rendered yeoman service while in Iceland as they did in Norway. Reason for removal - winter conditions, but clear autumn weather which has prevailed since Inspector General’s visit makes this seem premature.

Hostile aircraft seen by ship off East Coast in SEYDISFJORDUR area.

First meeting of revived ANGLIA Society, to promote ENGLISH – ICELANDIC relations on a non-political basis, attended by His Britannic Majesty’s Minister, Mr Howard-Smith, Prime Minister and other Ministers of Iceland and a numerous gathering of both nationalities.

28 October 1940 – Greece

08:40 hours. ITALY invades GREECE after ultimatum delivered at 08:00 hours.

31 October 1940 – Reykjavik

Works completed by 294 Field Company during the month:-

1. Roadwork VATNSENDI, Alafoss, Fleet Air Arm Force HQ.

2. Preparation of piers for demolition Hafnafjordur.

3. Concrete Pill-box Hafnafjordur.

4. Force HQ Command Post.

5. Battle HQs 1/5 West Yorkshire Regiment, 1/6 Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, 147 Brigade.

6. Observation Posts for 273 Field Battery and Naval Coast Defence guns.

7. Camouflaging Power Station and buildings.

8. Own Camp Structures, Alafoss.

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