War Diary - G Branch - January 1941
1 January 1941 – Artun, Iceland.
(1) The following were issued :-
a. Amendment No. 5 to Force Operation Instruction No. 13. Copy filed as Appendix No. 1.
b. List of Force Ranges. Copy filed as Appendix No. 2.
2 January 1941 – Artun, Iceland.
(1) The following were issued :-
a. Force Operation Instruction No. 33 on role of Ski Platoon. Copy filed as Appendix No. 3.
b. Force Intelligence Summary No. 37. Copy filed as Appendix No. 4.
3 January 1941 – Artun, Iceland.
(1) A conference was held with the Minister of Communications on behalf of the Icelandic Government and attended by H B M Minister, Major-General Curtis (G.O.C.), Lt Col Davies (G.S.O.1) and Lt Col W B Jackson (Officer Commanding 49 Divisional Signals) on the subject of the suggested re-opening of VATNSENDI wireless station. Owing to the non co-operative attitude of the Icelandic Government on the question of manning of the station by military personnel the proposal to re-open it was withdrawn.
4 January 1941 – Artun, Iceland.
(1) In view of the general strike of Icelandic workmen in the Reykjavik area the G.O.C. called a conference to consider what policy should be adopted in relation to the employment of Icelandic labour and to this strike in particular. Lt Col Davies (G.S.O.1) attended as “G” branch representative. The following decisions affecting “G” branch were made :-
b. No civilian labour was to be employed on loading and discharge of vessels.
5 January 1941 – Artun, Iceland.
(1) A message (0 459) was sent to the War Office reporting the result of the meeting with the Icelandic Government on the proposed re-opening of VATNSENDI wireless station and requesting the supply of information as to the receiving end in case the deadlock was overcome or in case it became advisable to take over the station compulsorily.
6 January 1941 – Artun, Iceland.
(1) During the course of the evening 5th January, distribution of leaflets in connection with the Icelandic labour strike was made to men of various units. A copy of the leaflet is appended (filed as Appendix No. 5). In view of the terms of the leaflet, which amounted to incitement to mutiny, orders were issued to detail any person engaged in handing these leaflets out and during the day two men (Icelanders) were detained.
7 January 1941 – Artun, Iceland.
(1) The G.O.C. accompanied by the F.O.I.C. with a party which included Group Captain Ashton (RAF Adviser), Brigadier Griffith-Williams (Commander Royal Artillery), Brigadier Bliss (Chief Engineer), Lt Col Davies (G.S.O.1), Lt Col Mason (A.A. & Q.M.G.) and Major Villiers (Officer Commanding 4 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery, Royal Artillery) carried out a recce of the Hvalfjordur area with a view to its defence from air attack.
(2) Two further Icelandic men believed to be concerned in the distribution of seditious leaflets were detained.
8 January 1941 – Artun, Iceland.
(1) 10:30 hours. The G.O.C. held a conference of formation commanders and heads of services on the subject of War Office Letter 112/Gen/4750 (S.D.) dated 19th December 1940.
(2) One Officer and 34 Other Ranks from Norwegian troops in the UK were landed and quartered in ONTARIO CAMP, Alafoss pending their despatch to AKUREYRI.
(3) By a small majority the Icelandic labourers on strike decided to accept the employers’ terms.
9 January 1941 – Artun, Iceland.
(1) Detailed report by message (0 469) made to War Office on the result of the combined recce of the Hvalfjordur area with a view to its defence from air attack and an estimate made of Anti-Aircraft reinforcements and Royal Engineer work required. Copy filed as Appendix No. 6.
(2) Permission granted to the Icelandic Airways Company to fly their civil aircraft by night between Reykjavik and AKUREYRI for the carriage of mails only.
10 January 1941 – Artun, Iceland.
(1) Force Intelligence Summary No. 38 issued. Copy filed as Appendix No. 7.
11 January 1941 – Artun, Iceland.
(1) Reinforcements of one Officer and 34 Other Ranks Norwegian troops embarked on S.S. SUDIN and sailed for AKUREYRI.
(2) Letter sent to War Office advocating the appointment of a Chief Security Officer to co-ordinate security for all three services.
(3) Message (0 485) sent to Air Ministry giving the proposed location of Norwegian Squadron as follows :-
SKERJAFJORDUR (Reykjavik) One Squadron less four first line and two reserve aircraft.
AKUREYRI Two first line and one reserve aircraft.
BUDAREYRI Two first line and one reserve aircraft,
and as to their administration and repair arrangements.
12 January 1941 – Artun, Iceland.
(1) Instructions were given that the Icelanders detained in connection with the distribution of leaflets to the troops were to be handed over to the Icelandic authorities and a statement to the Press on this was authorised. Copy attached to the War Diary as Appendix no. 8.
13 January 1941 – Artun, Iceland.
(1) Instructions were given to bring the VIDEY Examination Coastal Defence Battery at GUFUNES into action and for the withdrawal of a small quantity of ammunition for the battery from North East Sector pending arrival of further supplies from the UK.
(2) Report made to the Air Ministry on the state of preparation for the maintenance of flying boat and float aircraft in the island.
14 January 1941 – Artun, Iceland.
(1) A reply was made to the War Office on their request (message 96094 dated 8th January) for expedition in construction of REYKJAVIK aerodrome pointing out that completion dependent on the receipt of plant asked for, which had not arrived, and also on weather conditions which were unpredictable but that a small width of runway could be completed as a first stage.
(2) H B M Minister having forwarded a request raised by the Danish Minister for the grant of permission for a Dane to return to ICELAND on a ship sailing from Petsamo, a reply was made querying that Danish and British ships would be permitted to sail to and from PETSAMO and requesting that this security question be cleared up.
(3) A request by the ICELANDIC Airways Company that weather information might be wirelessed to their seaplane when in flight was referred to the RAF Adviser for his advice.
(4) The following were issued :-
a. List of Force Code Names to come into force on 27th January 1941. Copy attached to War Diary as Appendix No. 9.
b. Addition to Force list of ranges. Copy filed with War Diary as Appendix No. 10.
15 January 1941 – Artun, Iceland.
(1) The G.O.C. held a conference attended by heads of branches and Services and Commanders of 147 and 70th Infantry Brigades.
(2) Force Operation Instruction No. 34 on allotment of Training Ammunition issued. Copy filed as Appendix No. 11.
16 January 1941 – Artun, Iceland.
(1) At the request of the F.O.I.C. who stated that all war vessels based on ICELAND were ordered to report their movements to him, instructions were given to Sector Commanders and all Coast Watching Posts that facilities were to be made available for the transmission of reports from Commanders of war vessels to the F.O.I.C. via the Control Room.
(2) Responsibility for the security of REJKJAVIK harbour area was delegated to Commander, South West Sector.
(3) Advice having been received that two additional Coastal Defence Batteries (to be designated “Y” and “Z” Independent Batteries) had sailed, their locations were decided as follows :-
“Y” Battery to GUFUNES (VIDEY Examination Battery).
“Z” Battery to AKUREYRI at first available opportunity to relieve Royal Marine Coastal Defence Battery.
“X” Battery at present at GUFUNES to return to Reykjavik pending moving to its permanent station at HRUTAFJORDUR. Instructions were given accordingly.
(4) Force Intelligence Summary No. 39 was issued. Copy filed with War Diary as Appendix No. 12.
17 January 1941 – Artun, Iceland.
397 Coast Battery, Royal Artillery (to form “Y” Independent Battery)
382 Coast Battery, Royal Artillery (to form “Z” Independent Battery)
60 Section Field Security Corps and reinforcements and replacements for Royal Engineers, Royal Signals, Infantry, Royal Army Service Corps, Royal Army Medical Corps, Royal Army Ordnance Corps, Pioneer Corps and Canadian Troops, in all a total of 14 Officers and 436 Other Ranks.
(2) Captain P M ALPIN Royal Berkshire Regiment landed and assumed appointment as G.S.O.III (O) in place of Captain P C N Sturt.
(3) Additional list to Code Names issued. Copy attached to file as Appendix No. 13.
18 January 1941 – Artun, Iceland.
(1) One additional distributor of seditious leaflets had been taken into custody by the ICELANDIC authorities.
(2) In response to enquiry, message (0 500) sent to War Office stating that given favourable weather conditions runways of minimum width on REYKJAVIK aerodrome could be completed by the end of May.
(3) Report (message 0 501) made to Air Ministry on the siting of the seaplane base for the Norwegian float-plane squadron recommending for tactical reasons the adoption of site on the South of FOSSVOGUR on which it was stated work was being put in hand.
19 January 1941 – Artun, Iceland.
(1) Message (0 502) sent to War Office on seaborne communications between Reykjavik and Hvalfjordur urging that as the TORDENSKOLD was under-engined and of insufficient capacity additional shipping was needed.
20 January 1941 – Artun, Iceland.
(1) Information having been received from H B M Minister that sailings of FINNISH and DANISH ships to PETSAMO with cargoes of salted herrings was contemplated, message (0 504) was sent to the War Office pointing out the risks to security involved and requesting confirmation and directions.
21 January 1941 – Artun, Iceland.
(1) Major-General Curtis (G.O.C.) attended demonstration of Battalion Motor Transport under new organisation and field firing exercise arranged by Force Tactical School for the course students and carried out by 1/ 5 West Yorks and 1/ 6 Duke of Wellington’s Regiment.
(2) H B M Minister was informed that the question of the employment of Finnish and Swedish vessels for the export of salted herrings had been referred to the War Office but that there was no objection to the return of Mr Torp, the Danish subject, provided he complied with such security regulations as might be imposed on his arrival.
(3) Officer Commanding Force Signals informed that permission would be given for the broadcast of weather information to the ICELANDIC seaplane whilst flying and told to consider means.
22 January 1941 – Artun, Iceland.
(1) The Coast Watching Post at GUFUNES was withdrawn on the occupation of Coastal Defence Battery camp by coast defence personnel.
(2) The Finnish ship IMMO RAGNAR reached EYJARFJORDUR and was detained under an armed guard pending the receipt of further directions.
(3) In view of certain rumours now circulating among the troops a message was sent requesting all formations and units to investigate the origin of these rumours.
23 January 1941 – Artun, Iceland.
(1) A message (X. 587) was received from the Air Ministry confirming that the proposals for the location of the air base for the float place squadron on the South of FOSSVOGUR made to them, were approved.
24 January 1941 – Artun, Iceland.
(1) The Finnish ship “WIRTA” went aground about three miles South West of GROTTA light on her approach to Reykjavik. As she had not reported in accordance with general instructions orders were given that those on board were not to be permitted to land or if they did land were to be kept in custody.
(2) The following were issued :-
a. Force Intelligence Summary No.40. Copy filed with War Diary as Appendix No. 15.
b. Note on allocation of Educational Training Grant. Copy filed with War Diary as Appendix No. 16.
25 January 1941 – Artun, Iceland.
(1) Instructions were received from the War Office (Message 98606 dated 25th January) that the shipments of salted herrings to SWEDEN via PETSAMO were to proceed subject to proper port security arrangements.
(2) Additions to list of Code Names coming into force on 27th January were issued. Copy attached to War Diary as Appendix No. 17.
26 January 1941 – Artun, Iceland.
(1) On the instructions of the War Office a patrol by four machines from 98 Squadron, RAF, was made over DENMARK STRAIT between the general limits of 67 degrees North and 65 degrees 20 minutes North and ICELAND and 25 degrees 30 minutes West between the hours of 13:05 and 14:05 and 14:55 and 17:30. Nothing significant was seen. A report on this was made to the War Office (message 0 516).
(2) Instructions were given for permission to be given to the Finnish vessel IMMI RAGNAR to proceed from EYRARFJORDUR to SIGLUFJORDUR accompanied by an armed guard.
27 January 1941 – Artun, Iceland.
(1) The aircraft patrol over DENMARK STRAIT was repeated today and nothing significant seen. A report on this was made to the War Office (message (0 518).
(2) Major-General Curtis (G.O.C.) held a preliminary conference at the Force Tactical School on the Force TEWT on the reorganised Division.
(3) Major-General Curtis (G.O.C.) and Major Heard (G.S.O.II) attended TEWT on combined landing operations arranged by 70th Infantry Brigade.
28 January 1941 – Artun, Iceland.
(1) A further patrol by 98 Squadron, RAF, was carried out over DENMARK STRAIT in the same area as yesterday but nothing was seen. The result was reported to the War Office.
(2) Major-General Curtis (G.O.C.) held a further conference on the Force TEWT at the Force Tactical School.
(3) Amendments and additions to Force Location Statement No. 11 issued. Copies filed as Appendices No. 18, 19 and 20.
29 January 1941 – Artun, Iceland.
(1) A further patrol was carried out by 98 Squadron, RAF over DENMARK STRAIT between latitudes 65 degrees and 67 degrees North and longitudes 23 degrees 30 minutes and 28 degrees West. Nothing significant was observed. A report (message (0 524) was sent to the War Office.
(2) The Charge D-Affairs British Legation having forwarded a request from the Icelandic Government that permission be given for the Finnish ship “ASTRID THORDEN” to sail from GOTHENBERG with the hot water pipes ordered for Reykjavik town and now released by the German Government, a reply was sent that permission was being sought. A message (0 519) has been sent to the War Office.
(3) Instructions were sent to HQ 146 Infantry Brigade on certain individuals for whom it was desired to find a passage to Scandinavia on S.S. IMMO RAGNAR and that the ship was not to sail before these passengers arrived.
29 January 1941 – Artun, Iceland.
(1) A report was received that a Swordfish aircraft from a naval vessel landed at SEYDISFJORDUR at 13:45 hours yesterday owing to shortage of petrol and reported that naval operations were being carried out off the South East Coast of ICELAND. In view of this Sector Commander North East Sector was instructed to remain at AKUREYRI and not to leave for the Force TEWT as previously arranged.
30 January 1941 – Artun, Iceland.
(1) A message (99139 of 29th January) having been received from the War Office on a proposed Iceland passenger ship service from the USA to UK via Reykjavik, H M Charge D’Affaires was requested to forward his views on (a) harbour facilities in Reykjavik and (b) security arrangements with American authorities as to passengers.
(2) A further message (0 525) was sent to the War Office on the question of communications between Reykjavik and Hvalfjordur area emphasising the need for a submarine cable and for increased signal facilities and personnel for that area and North East and Western Sectors.
31 January 1941 – Artun, Iceland.
(1) Major-General Curtis (G.O.C.) held a TEWT at Force Tactical School on the organisation and employment of the new Infantry Division for Brigade Commanders, heads of services and representatives of all arms. The exercise continued during the morning and evening and is to cover four days.
Appendices attached to the Iceland Force G Branch War Diary for January 1941.
None of the Appendices were copied or photographed if they were indeed included within the War Diary.
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