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    War Diary: 102nd Anti Tank Regiment

    Month and year: March 1944

    The 102nd Anti Tank Regiment March 1944 war diary covers the units training in the UK.

    National Archive Reference: WO 171/929

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    Page 1 of 5
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    FIELD11100Adj attends a conference at HQ 50th (NORTHUMBRIAN) Division, with representatives of
    151 and 231 Infantry Bdes. Administration details are discussed for their A/Tk shooting
    at HARLECH A/Tk Range on 10, 11, 12, 13, March.
    1200CO (Lt-Col A.K. MATTHEWS ,R.A. visits the M.10 training at BRETTENHAM (MR. 384019 sheet 76
    1" to 1 mile) on his return from HOLME. During the day 20 Carriers, Loyd are collected
    from Ford Motor Works.
    FIELD2Rear Party 99 A/Tk. Bty RA move from DULLINGHAM R.766085) to PAMPISFORD HALL (MR 9567).
    1400CO with CO2 hold a conference at RHQ with Major RG Browne-Swinburne (OC 289 Bty) and Major
    R.A. Barnett (OC 107 Bty) - Subject - "Assault Scales of Equipment and Vehicles".
    FIELD30800CO leaves to attend a conference at Adv HQ ,RA. 50 (NORTHUMBRIAN) Div which takes place
    in LONDON at 1100. During the day we collect 5 x 1 ton Trailers. These are not on
    the G.1098 but will probably be useful.
    FIELD41030CO and CO2 visit 99 Bty Rear Party at PAMPISFORD. As a result of orders received it is
    unlikely that Rear Party will stay there very long as 99 Bty will be moving to the
    BOURNEMOUTH area with 69 Bde Group on their return from INVERARY.
    1400We are ordered to collect 11 Carriers ,Universal, from BURY ST. EDMUND'S Railway Sta. Ten
    minutes after the party of Drivers leave, we are told that it is 15 and not 11. What these
    are for is unknown. On arrival, the drivers are told that the trucks are not yet in the station
    and a number of drivers return home empty handed.
    FIELD50100The official date of Mobilization of the four Btys. Our outstanding deficiencies are :-
    12 Driver Operators, 44 Driver Mechanics. We also hold a number of No.22 Wireless
    sets instead of No. 19 Sets.
    1030BC's Conference at RHQ (The LinksNEWMARKET Ref 1" to 1 mile Sheet 85 081805) Conference is
    attended by :-
    CO. Lt-Col. A,K. MATTHEWS, R.A.
    CO.2. Major D.J. COWEN, R.A.
    OC 107 A/Tk. Bty Major R.A. BARNETT, R.A
    CO 288 A/Tk. Bty Major. G.R. BALFOUR, M.C. R.A.
    CO.289 A/Tk. Bty Major. R.G. BROWNE-SWINBURNE, R.A.
    OC. 99 A/Tk. Bty (Capt. G.W. DUNKERLEY, M.C., R.A.) is absent,
    being involved in Combined Ops at CTC INVERARY . Subjects discussed include :-
    (i) Security in connection with forthcoming events.
    (ii) Future role of the Regiment.
    (iii) Training.
    Page 2 of 5
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    FIELD21700LAD from 55 (Suffolk Yeomanry) A/Tk. Regt. R.A. arrives and becomes LAD att 102
    FIELD30800Adv Party leaves for HARLECH Ranges.
    1000CO leaves to visit the M.10 Training Cadre at BRETTENHAM MANOR.
    1300CO returns.
    1700I.G. (A/Tk.) is attached to the Regiment. There is not much for him to do.
    FIELD71100CO and Adjutant visit LAD, It is discovered that the LAD have been working off a wrong
    War Establishment and their transport, especially, is wrong.
    1200CO and Adjt visit 107 A/Tk Bty at DULLINGHAM HOUSE (Ref 1" to 1 mile Sheet 85 079768)
    FIELD80800CO leaves to visit RA MT School RHYL, NORTH WALES and watch Practice Shooting at HARLECH,
    1759Main Body leave for HARIECH. This consists of Nos 1 and Gunners from the M.10 Troop.
    FIELD.91400Practice Camp Party arrive at HARLECH. Our own M.10s and all 50 (N) Div Inf Pns under
    our supervision.
    FIELD10M.10 Troop practice at HARLECH.
    1000An A/Tk Trg Film is shown to the 6 pdr Troops at the DORIC Cinema, NEWMARKET.
    Trial by FGCM is ordered for 1070732 Gnr. ANDERSON, H. for a breach of censorship regulations
    in 1942, before he joined NORTHUMBERLAND HUSSARS.
    FIELD.111000The A/Tk Trg Film is shown to those who did not See it on 10 March.
    1400We are informed that Loyd Carriers may be exchanged for T 16's for towing of 6 pdrs.
    1900Orders are received from HQ.RA. 50 (NORTHUMBRIAN). Division that the Rear Party of 99 A/Tk Bty
    are to move from PAMPISFORD to WEYMOUTH. Where abouts they go from WEYMOUTH is not
    disclosed. They are to move on 12 Mar.
    FIELD12M.10 Troops practice at HARLECH,
    1015Adjutant visits HQ RA. He is informed that T.16's are a new towing vehicle made
    in USA and there are none in this country. No one appears to know exactly what they are.
    1100Rear Party of 99 A/Tk Bty RA leave for WEYMOUTH.
    14006 pdr personnel leave for HOLME A/TK. Range. The best layer per gun is taken and some of the best Nos.1.
    During the day the CO travels from HARLECH to HOLME.
    FIELD13M.10 Troops practice at HARLECH. 6 pdr Troops practice at HOLME.
    1000A S.D.R. reports from HQ RA 50 (N) Div with orders for the move of the remainder of the
    baggage of 99 A/Tk Bty by rail on 14 Mar. On telephoning Movement Control, Cambridge, the timings
    etc., are obtained. It is, however, impossible to find out when the baggage is to be loaded
    because Movements say it is the duty of RTO Cambridge, to deal with that and RTO Cambridge has not
    been given any orders at all. Eventually, it is discovered that it is all a mistake and RTO COLCHESTER
    is the officer to contact.
    Page 3 of 5
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    FIELD131900Telephone message from Adv HQ RA in LONDON, CO or CO2 is to report there on 14 Mar for
    a Conference. Also informed that Loyd Carriers are unlikely to be replaced by T 16's as
    there are none in the U.K. at the moment, but the unit may be equipped with Carriers,
    Mortar. As CO is away at Practice Camp, CO2 will go to LONDON. Capt G.W. DUNKERLEY, MC
    is regranted Temporary Rank of Major (wef 25 Feb) vice Major J.N. BARDSLEY who has gone
    on I.G's Course.
    FIELD14M.10 troops entrain at HARLECH to return to NEWMARKET.
    0930CO2 leaves to attend a conference at Adv HQ. ,RA.,
    1030CO (Lt-Col. A.K. MATTHEWS, RA. visits the M.10 Training Detail at THETFORD on his way back
    from HOLME Ranges.
    2000CO2 returns from LONDON and a late session ensues with the CO. Newloading tables for the
    Regiment have to be produced and forwarded to Adv HQ RA first thing tomorrow morning.
    2330The baggage of 99 A/Tk Bty RA leaves for WEYMOUTH.
    FIELD151000PAMPISFORD HALL (9567) is handed back to S.A.Q.C.. Capt. R.L. Masters R.A of 99 A/Tk Bty
    calls into RHQ at 'The Links' on his way from INVERARY, and gives an account of the Btys
    activities at the C.T.C. He informs Regt that the new location of 99 Bty is CHICKERELL
    1600Col. HOWARD (A/CRA 50 (N) Div) visits the C.O.
    FIELD160830CO. (Lt-Col. A.K. MATTHEWS proceeds on leave.
    1400Trial by FGCM of 1070732 Gnr. NDERSON, H. for offences under the Censorship Regulations.
    A plea of Guilty is given.
    FIELD170800The Regiment uses the Divisional Watersplash at CLARE (MR 233737),in order to train drivers
    in the method of driving through water and also to test out the practise waterproofing
    that has been done. The result is not good. We have another allotment on 19 Mar and it is
    hoped that the results will be better. Reason - lack of trg facilities.
    18Orders are received that 288 A/Tk. Bty are to move South to the area of LYMINGTON (U.7010)
    with 231 Inf Bde to which they are affiliated. Except that the move will take place on or
    about 24 Mar no details are known.
    2100Verbal orders are received by telephone that CO2 (Major D.J. COWEN) is to report to
    Adv HQ.RA. at 1400 hrs tomorrow.
    FIELD191030CO2 leaves for Adv HQ.RA. 2 Inf A/Tk Pls of 56 Inf Bde shoot at HOLME A/Tk Ranges
    and are watched by Major R.G. BROWNE-SWINBURNE (OC 289 A/Tk.Bty) to whom they affiliated.
    During the day, further vehicles are put through a Watersplash at FOWLMERE (MR 334079). The
    results are an improvement on 17 Mar but eventually all vehicles are 'drowned'. Obviously
    little trg could be done between 17 and 19
    Page 4 of 5
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    FIELD192000CO2 returns from LONDON.
    FIELD201000TheRegiment is informed by HQ.RA. that the dates for Practice Camp at HARLECH are now
    26. 27. 28. 29 Mar and NOT 25. 26. 27. 28 Mar as previously ordered. Efforts are made
    during the day to find who is responsible for moving 288 Bty.
    FIELD211430The Regiment is inspected by General Sir ROBERT GORDON-FINLAYSON, Representative Colonel
    Commandant of Royal Regiment of Artillery. This is not a formal inspection and normal work continues
    while the Colonel Commandant walks round the billeting area. At the end of the inspection
    Troops are paraded and addressed by General GORDON-FINLAYSON on the subject of R.A.
    Benevelent Funds.
    1600Orders are received for the move of 288 Bty. Adv Party leaves 23 Mar. Road Party leaves 24 Mar.
    Tracked vehicles move by rail on 24 Mar. The majority of officers and gunners will
    proceed to HARLECH with the rest of the Regiment and proceed to LYMINGTON after Practice Camp.
    FIELD221800CO returns from leave and reassumes Command.
    FIELD230800288 Bty Adv Party leaves.
    0900Adv Party leaves for HARIECH.
    1700CO (Lt-Col. A.K. MATTHEWS ,R.A.) and Adjutant visit the LAD at DULLINGHAM (0876)
    Contact with RTO, Cambridge discloses the fact that 288 Bty carriers will not be
    leaving NEWMARKET until 26 Mar owing to a shortage of flat waggons. M.10's are to travel
    by transporter.
    FIELD240830288 Bty Vehicle Party leaves.
    1100Orders received for Exercises "SMASH" in which 99 and 288 Btys will be involved.
    1600Orders received that Major D.J. COWEN, (CO2) is to be attached to U.S. Army for a fortnight
    commencing 27 Mar. This is most inconvenient. CO speaks to Colonel HOWARD, A/CRA 50th
    NORTHUMBRIAN) Div who suggests that direct contact is made with the CRA at Adv HQ in
    LONDON. Attempts to do this are fruitless as no reply can be obtained from Adv.HQ RA on the
    FIELD250600Party leaves for HARIECH Practice Camp by rail. Each Bty sends Nos. 1 and 4 gunners per gun per
    6pdr and Nos 1 and 3 gunners per M.10. In addition 50 fatigue men are necessary for
    Camp fatigues.
    0945CO (Lt-Col. A.K. MATTHEWS RA.) leaves for HARLECH by road.
    1030Informed by RTO Cambridge that the train for tr vehs of 288 Bty will leave 0900 hrs 26 Mar.
    During the day Rr Party of 107 Bty move into the accommodation vacated by 288 Bty at 'THE LINKS'
    NEWMARKET (Ref sheet 85 1" - 1 mile 081805),evacuating DULLINGHAM HO (Ref Sheet 85 1" - 1 mile 079769)
    Page 5 of 5
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    FIELD26Firing at HARLECH.
    1700Adjutant telephones 635 Tank Destroyer Bn, US ARMY to which Major. D.J. COWEN (CO2)
    is to be attached and is informed by Americans that attachment is postponed until Apr 3.
    2000Signal from Adv HQ. RA.50 (N) Div in reply to query sent on 25 Mar - Major D.J. COWEN
    is to proceed on attachment to 635 Tank Destroyer Bn.
    FIELD.27Firing at HARLECH,
    1030Message direct from RA 30 Corps. Major D.J. COWEN not to join US Army until 3 April.
    1100Four officers of 61st A/Tk. Regt RA arrive and announce that they are going to take over
    our accomodation. Adjutant expresses surprise and they go away again.
    1400Lt(QM) visits SC.RA 50 (N) Div to receive instructions for disposal of Loyd Carriers
    held as Div Arty Reserve Pool. Whilst at HQ RA he mentions the visit of Officers of
    61st A/Tk Regt and is told that there is a move afoot to move 107 Bty, 289 Bty and RHQ
    to THETFORD - a move of eight miles - to allow 61st A/Tk Regt in here.
    FIELD28Firing at HARLECH.
    1000DULLINGHAM HOUSE is handed back to SA,QC,
    FIELD29Firing at HARLECH.
    080010 Carden Loyd Carriers are despatched to RETFORD.
    1000M.10 Trg Party return from BRETTENHAM MANOR in the THETFORD Trg Area - a small holding
    party is left.
    1100CO 61st A/Tk. Regiment calls at RHQ, to inspect accommodation. He is certain that he is
    moving into the billets of this regiment although we have been told nothing about it.
    1400CO 61st A/Tk. Regt RA returns and states that he is moving into 'The Links' NEWMARKET on
    Saturday 1 Apr.
    1600Adjutant informs HQ RA 50 (NORTHUMBRIAN) DIV that 61 A/Tk Regiment intend to move in on
    1 Apr. HQ.RA. state that the fight is still on as there is nowhere for us to go to.
    FIELD301000Personnel from Practice Camp return to 'The Links' after an extremely uncomfortable journey
    from HARLECH,
    FIELD31080022 Carriers ,Loyd are despatched to RETFORD.
    1700Orders received from HQ.RA. 50 (N) Div. Two Btys and RHQ at present at 'The Links' Newmarket are to move to
    PAMPISFORD HALL (960673). Regiment reply that this is already occupied by 2 Btys of 61st A/Tk.Regt RA.
    As the object of this move is to allow in RHQ and 1 Bty 61st A/Tk Regt to 'The Links', the move
    seems pointless. Further it is not possible to move by tomorrow night as ordered.