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    War Diary: 102nd Anti Tank Regiment

    Month and year: April 1944

    The 102nd Anti Tank Regiment April 1944 war diary covers the unit receiving M.10s, water proofing vehicles and exercise Fabius

    National Archive Reference: WO 171/929

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    Page 1 of 6
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    FIELD10930Adjutant visits PAMPISFORD HALL (960673) to which we have been ordered to move and finds
    that, as was thought, the area is occupied.
    1100Adv Party of 61st A/Tk Regiment arrives at "The Links" to take over from the Regiment.
    They are startled to find we are still here.
    1130Telephone message from DAQMG 30 Corps. The Regiment is not to move to PAMPISFORD HALL
    but into the grounds of the house. These are already full of vehicles belonging to the
    unit in occupation. An added difficulty is that the water supply is insufficient for
    the unit already in possession.
    1200CO (Lt-Col A.K. MATTHEWS ,R.A.) telephones CO 61st A/Tk Regt and explains the posn. He
    requests that the move of RHQ and one Battery 61st A/Tk. Regt be postponed for a few
    days until the muddle is cleared up.
    1430CO visits HQ 30 Corps to find out what is happening. They are unaware that PAMPISFORD is
    already occupied.
    1500CO 61st A/Tk Regt telephones. They must move into this area on 2 Apr.
    1530CO returns from 30 Corps having obtained little useful information, As 61st A/Tk Regt have to
    come tomorrow it is decided that we will move the L.A.D. from DULLINGHAM (Sheet 85 1" - 1 mile
    083765) and hand that accomodation over.
    1700Telephone message from RA 30 Corps. Two new areas have been allotted to the Regiment -
    HILDERSHAM (9967) or SAINTFOINS (9169). These are apparently grass fields. A reconnaissance
    will be made tomorrow.
    1710Telephone message from 61st A/Tk Regiment. Only RHQ of that Regiment will be moving to this
    area tomorrow. One battery will remain in its present location at BEACONSFIELD until Apr 6 or 7.
    FIELD21000A telephone message from HQ 30 Corps. The two areas allotted to this unit yesterday have now
    been cancelled and an area at BABRAHAM (9670) is allotted instead. Adjutant decides with AQC
    CAMBRIDGE that the area will be inspected tomorrow.
    1430CO 61st A/Tk Regt visits CO and discusses the problem. 61st A/Tk Regt are moderately comfortable
    in DULLINGHAM and PAMPISFORD, but they still have one battery to billet.
    1900HQ 30 Corps send orders that "The Links" is to be clear of this unit by evening 3 Apr.
    FIELD31030Adjutant inspects the proposed area at BABRAHAM (9760). AS a summer camp area it is better than the
    previous areas allotted and there is covered accomodation for officers and Regimental stores.
    1100A signal from HQ RA 50 (N) Division which calls for a return of the strength of Adv Parties
    and main parties by road and rail for RHQ and two Batteries. This causes surprise because there
    has been no previous intimation that 107 Bty and 289 Bty are to leave this area.
    1200Adjutant telephones SCRA to ask about the proposed move. SCRA has no information and is completely
    Page 2 of 6
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    FIELD31200in the dark himself.
    1330Capt OWEN 635 TD Bn U.S. Army arrives and is attached to the Regiment for a fortnight
    CO2 (Major D.J. Cowen) will proceed to 635 TD Bn on 6 Apr for a fortnight's attachment
    to U.S. Army.
    1400SCRA telephones Adjutant. He can get no information about the proposed move except that it
    is in general direction of LARKHILL,
    1500CO. 61 A/Tk Regt visits the Regiment to see if we have any further information.
    During the day the C.O. is in LONDON.
    FIELD40800Signal rom HQ RA, which states the Regiment is not to move until again contacted by HQ.RA.
    0815Main HQ 50 (N) Dic closes in Eastern Command and moves to BROCKENHURST, HAMPSHIRE.
    1800Staff Capt 'Q' 30 Corps telephones to say that the movement order is firm and the Regiment
    less two Batteries will move to BABRAHAM tomorrow 5 Apr. No one quite knows how we are expected
    to move in a day.
    1810CO (Lt-Col. A.K. MATTHEWS R.A.) telephones 61 A/Tk Regt and speaks to CO2 and it is arranged that
    we move as much as possible Thurs 6 Apr including half of each Bty and the remainder on
    Friday 7 Apr. Adv Parties of 61 A/Tk Regt will arrive 6 Apr while the Battery which is
    moving into our present location will move in on 7 Apr. This seems quite a satisfactory
    arrangement. Luckily 61 A/Tk Regt are shooting at HUNSTANTON until 7 Apr.
    FIELD50100Telephone message from HQ 30 Corps. There are no tents available at BEDFORD and they must be
    collected from NORWICH.
    0800Lorries are despatched to NORWICH to collect tentage.
    CO (Lt-Col A.K. MATTHEWS ,R.A.) leaves to attend to private affairs. During the day tents are
    collected and a large number pitched. We have been very lucky to obtain tents as on arrival
    at NORWICH the loading party found that all tentage was in process of being sent elsewhere and none
    was allotted tornis unit at all. However we have collected full scale.
    0930S.C. 'Q' 50 (N) Division telephones to remind the Regiment that it is to be out of the present accomodation
    by tonight.
    1300Staff Capt 'Q' 30 Corps telephones to give another reminder. He is questioned about the signals
    received on 4 Apr from HQ. RA. telling the Regiment not to move and replys that it must
    refer to the proposed move to LARKHILL area which is now off anyhow.
    FIELD6During the day 107 Bty and 289 Bty move over to BABRAHAM and by the end of the evening have moved
    everything except Bty HQ and the stores of the M.10 Troops whose personnel are on leave.
    0930CO2 (Major D.J. Cowen) leaves to join 635 TD Bn U.S. Army.
    1100The Adv Party of 61 A/Tk. Regt arrives.
    Page 3 of 6
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    FIELD62000Major R.G. BROWNE-SWINBURNE, recalled off leave, arrives and assumes command of the
    Regiment in absence of CO and CO2.
    FIELD.71000The remainder of the Regiment which has not already left, leaves "The Links" NEWMARKET for
    BABRAHAM, leaving behind a small Rear Party under Lt(QM).
    1200RHQ officially closes down at "The Links" NEWMARKET and the Adjutant leaves, RHQ opens
    at the same time at BABRAHAM, The day is spent in settling into the new location.
    FIELD.8The day is spent on camp improvements. Nothing of importance occurs.
    FIELD.91030Easter Sunday. 107 Bty and 289 Bty have a Church Parade in the Parish Church.
    FIELD.100930SCRA 50 (NORTHUMBRIAN) Division telephones the Adjutant. He has little to say and merely
    wants to know how we are getting on with the disposal of surplus vehicles.
    1430CO2 73 A/Tk. Regt RA telephones the Regiment. Two Btys of this Regiment are coming under our Command,
    when RHQ moves to join 99 Bty and 288 Bty in Southern Command. These two Btys of 73rd
    A/Tk Regt are moving on or about 14 Apr from their present location at FELIXSTONE. Adjutant
    replys that no orders to move have yet been received by this unit.
    1130Col. HOWARD, A/CRA 50 (NORTHUMBRIAN) Div calls and looks round the area.
    1700Telephone message from SCRA 50 (Northumbrian) Div - RHQ will move to LOWER HURSLEY CAMP (U8245)
    as quickly as possible although no dates are given. It is decided that the 'Q' Staff have
    too much to clear up to enable us to send an Adv Party tomorrow. The Adv Party is to leave
    on 13 Apr and RHQ will move on 15 Apr.
    FIELD120900M.10 Troops move out to BRETTENHAM (884019) for training in the THETFORD Trg Area. It is
    intended to train in movement and also wireless communication within the troop.
    1945CO (Lt-Col A.K. MATTHEWS ,R.A. ) returns.
    FIELD.130800RHQ Adv Party leaves for LOWER HURSLEY CAMP.
    1000CO2 (Major D.J. COWEN) telephones from 635 TD Bn U.S. Army to state that he will return on
    Sunday 16 Apr.
    FIELD.140800Lt(QM) telephones from LOWER HURSLEY CAMP. It is evidently a most disagreeable place.
    1100A communication received from the War Office to the effect that Lt. J.W. MOORE ,MM, an
    old officer of the Regiment has escaped from a Prisoner of War Camp and is back in this
    country. Would we like him back ?
    FIELD.150800RHQ move to LOWER HURSLEY CAMP arriving in pouring rain to find the camp to be a long way
    from any satisfaction. NO organisation in the whole camp, impossible to get a telephone, so we
    are out of touch with the whole world, cannot even be supplied with a table for the Regtl
    Office. Accomodation is in American tents which is the only bright light in a very stormy
    outlook. No one wants us and no one cares about us. CO travels down later calling in LONDON.
    Page 4 of 6
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    Hour, Date, Place. APRIL 1944.Summary of Events and Information.Remarks and references to appendices.
    FIELD.160900We try our hardest to improve the Camp even obtain a couple of tables for Regtl Office
    and the promise of a 'phone but everything far from satisfactory.
    1100Major G.W. DUNKERLY M.C. (OC 99A/Tk. Bty) visits RHQ with a list of questions as long as
    a week - after a long debate we send him away happy. Two more visitors are the B.C's from
    the two Batteries of 73 A/TK Regt which are under our Command.
    FIELD,170900Still no sign of our promised phone, ,nothing exciting happening, as if it could in a dump
    like this.
    1500CO arrives after calling on his way down at School of Artillery,LARKHILL. When shown
    round the camp, he seems to show the same opinion of the place as everyone else,
    naturally the only view any sensible person could take.
    1700CO2 arrives back after his visit to our American Allies - he is most silent on his views
    of the new camp.
    FIELD180800T/Adjt and E.M.E. go back to BABRAHAM - most sensible people (NEWMARKET Meeting 18 - 19)
    1000CO is visited by the 2 B.C's of the attached Btys of 73 A/Tk. Regt R.A.
    1200Major G.R. BALFOUR, MC (OC 288 A/Tk. Bty RA) admitted to hospital with Malaria.
    19Nothing to report but orders and counter-orders received.
    200900On demand, CO visits B.M. at HQ. ,RA., finds BM is not moved back to BROCKENHURST, so waste of
    good petrol and time.
    21No thing to report except M.O. relieved of all duties presumably because he complained of
    mosquito breeding water in our lines. Camp M.O. takes over.
    221000Instructions received that CO, CO2, Adjt, and BC's will attend Briefing Conference of FABIUS
    at Div on Sunday 23.
    1200Major R.A. BARNETT and Major R.G. BROWNE-SWINBURNE, (Osc 107 and 289 Btys ) arrive from
    BABRAHAM to meet C.O. and attend FABIUS Conference.
    1600Times of briefing changed three times and place twice, then goes back original one.
    FIELD.230900Capt D.A. KOMROWER admitted to hospital with Malaria. "C" Bty now minus BC and Bty Capt
    and one subaltern.
    1000CO's Conference attended by Major Cowen, Major R.A. Barnett, Major Browne-Swinburne, and Major G.W. Dunkerley, M.C., also Capt. J.C. Gaye, and Lt(QM.
    1500CO, CO2, Major Browne-Swinburne, Major Barnet, Capr Bryant, Lt. Miller, and Lt. J.D. Marriott
    attended Briefing Conference at Div. After 3 hrs conference we learn very little.
    1430Capt. J.C. Gaye attends 231 Inf Bde Briefing Conference. Major G.W. Dunkerley M.C.
    attends 69 Inf Bde Briefing Conference.
    FIELD.241200Major R.G. Browne-Swinburne and Major R.A. Barnett return to BABRAHAM,with a sense of relief.
    Page 5 of 6
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    FIELD.2000Adjutant, (Capt. C.S. SPENCE) returns from leave.
    0900CO. (Lt-Col. A.K. MATTHEWS R.A.) goes to LONDON to visit HQ 21 Army Group and also the War
    Office in an attempt to obtain reinforcements. We are still 48 Driver Mechanics
    and 18 Driver Operators under establishment.
    1600CO2 (Major D.J. C OWEN) and Adjutant attend a conference at Movement Control.
    This refers to the marshalling of vehicles for Exercise "FABIUS" which commences
    on 2 May and is mainly a Movements Control Exercise involving the loading of
    craft. RHQ is hardly involved.
    1700Capt. A.W. TRIPPIER, MC joins.
    FIELD.261000CO visits H2. ,RA., 50 (Northumbrian) Division, 69, 56 and 231 Bdes HQs and "C" Bty.
    1100CO2 attends a further Briefing Conference. Two vehicles of RHQ appear to have been
    forgotten by the authorities on this exercise - the CO's carrier and Jeep.
    1245This Camp is suddenly, and without warning, sealed. The telephone is cut off which causes
    considerable inconvenience. All vehicles in and out of camp have to have a pass
    signed by Camp Commandant. One B.C. has the greatest difficulty in getting back
    to his battery.
    1600We are informed that we are to get M.10s from the 73rd A/Tk. Regt R.A. These have done a small mileage
    and are being replaced by M.10X, i.e. M.10 carying 17pdr guns. Unfortunately the
    waterproofing kit that we possess will not go onto these SP guns.
    1705Message from ADOS 50 (Northumbrian) Div containing orders to collect waterproofing
    kit for exercise "FABIUS". Luckily we have been able to waterproof with other
    training stores as the Movement for "FABIUS" commences tomorrow.
    FIELD.270930CO visits HQ. ,RA. 99 and 288 Btys and HQ 151 Bde. Capt A.W. TRIPPIER M.C.
    is attached to 288 Bty as the B.C. (Major G.R. BALFOUR ,MC) and Captain 'G'
    (Capt. D.A. KOMROWER) are both in hospital with Malaria. Malaria is taking a
    great toll of the Regiment. Approximately 40 are in hospital.
    1400A posting order received from O2E 21 Army Group. We are to receive 19 Driver Mechanics
    8 Driver Operators, 2 Unit Clerks and 1 Technical Storeman. A welcome addition if they arrive.
    FIELD.281100Lt-Col PERRY (OC 73 A/Tk. Regt RA) calls.
    Page 6 of 6
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    FIELD.281630OC 73 A/Tk. Regt. R.A. calls. They have nine Driver Mechanics which they are
    prepared to give us.
    FIELD.290930CO visits SOUTHAMPTON.
    1400Orders received from HQ.,RA., 50 (NORTHUMBRIAN) Division that we are to shoot
    and zero M.10's at LARKHILL on 11 and 12 MAY.
    1700Capt. J.K. BOAG (Capt 'Q' 107 A/Tk. Bty) arrives from BABRAHAM CAMP, CAMBRIDGESHIRE,
    As the telephone is still disconnected he has many problems.
    1800After strenuous efforts the telephone is again connected and the Regiment is once more
    in touch with the outside world. Further, personnel who are NOT briefed for exercise
    "FABIUS" are allowed out on a pass signed by the Camp Commandant.
    This improves the spirits of the troops.
    1900Reinforcements of 6 Driver Operators arrive.
    FIELD.301000CO goes to LARKHILL. CO2 attends a further briefing conference at Movement Control.
    2000Further reinforcements arrive.
    At the end of the month there are still so many loose ends, so many unanswered
    questions, so many deficiencies that it is difficult to predict when we will be
    ready; still it is interesting to read that GERMANY rather expects us at 0428