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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
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
FIELD 1 1100 Adj 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.
1200 CO (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.
FIELD 2 Rear Party 99 A/Tk. Bty RA move from DULLINGHAM R.766085) to PAMPISFORD HALL (MR 9567).
1400 CO 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".
FIELD 3 0800 CO 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.
FIELD 4 1030 CO 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.
1400 We 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.
FIELD 5 0100 The 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.
1030 BC's Conference at RHQ (The Links NEWMARKET 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
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
FIELD 2 1700 LAD from 55 (Suffolk Yeomanry) A/Tk. Regt. R.A. arrives and becomes LAD att 102
(NORTHUMBERLAND HUSSARS) A/Tk. Regt. R.A.
FIELD 3 0800 Adv Party leaves for HARLECH Ranges.
1000 CO leaves to visit the M.10 Training Cadre at BRETTENHAM MANOR.
1300 CO returns.
1700 I.G. (A/Tk.) is attached to the Regiment. There is not much for him to do.
FIELD 7 1100 CO and Adjutant visit LAD, It is discovered that the LAD have been working off a wrong
War Establishment and their transport, especially, is wrong.
1200 CO and Adjt visit 107 A/Tk Bty at DULLINGHAM HOUSE (Ref 1" to 1 mile Sheet 85 079768)
FIELD 8 0800 CO leaves to visit RA MT School RHYL, NORTH WALES and watch Practice Shooting at HARLECH,
1759 Main Body leave for HARIECH. This consists of Nos 1 and Gunners from the M.10 Troop.
FIELD. 9 1400 Practice Camp Party arrive at HARLECH. Our own M.10s and all 50 (N) Div Inf Pns under
our supervision.
FIELD 10 M.10 Troop practice at HARLECH.
1000 An 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. 11 1000 The A/Tk Trg Film is shown to those who did not See it on 10 March.
1400 We are informed that Loyd Carriers may be exchanged for T 16's for towing of 6 pdrs.
1900 Orders 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.
FIELD 12 M.10 Troops practice at HARLECH,
1015 Adjutant 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.
1100 Rear Party of 99 A/Tk Bty RA leave for WEYMOUTH.
1400 6 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.
FIELD 13 M.10 Troops practice at HARLECH. 6 pdr Troops practice at HOLME.
1000 A 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
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
FIELD 13 1900 Telephone 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.
FIELD 14 M.10 troops entrain at HARLECH to return to NEWMARKET.
0930 CO2 leaves to attend a conference at Adv HQ. ,RA.,
1030 CO (Lt-Col. A.K. MATTHEWS, RA. visits the M.10 Training Detail at THETFORD on his way back
from HOLME Ranges.
2000 CO2 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.
2330 The baggage of 99 A/Tk Bty RA leaves for WEYMOUTH.
FIELD 15 1000 PAMPISFORD 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
CAMP, WEYMOUTH, DORSET.
1600 Col. HOWARD (A/CRA 50 (N) Div) visits the C.O.
FIELD 16 0830 CO. (Lt-Col. A.K. MATTHEWS proceeds on leave.
1400 Trial by FGCM of 1070732 Gnr. NDERSON, H. for offences under the Censorship Regulations.
A plea of Guilty is given.
FIELD 17 0800 The 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.
18 Orders 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.
2100 Verbal orders are received by telephone that CO2 (Major D.J. COWEN) is to report to
Adv HQ.RA. at 1400 hrs tomorrow.
FIELD 19 1030 CO2 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
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
FIELD 19 2000 CO2 returns from LONDON.
FIELD 20 1000 TheRegiment 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.
FIELD 21 1430 The 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.
1600 Orders 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.
FIELD 22 1800 CO returns from leave and reassumes Command.
FIELD 23 0800 288 Bty Adv Party leaves.
0900 Adv Party leaves for HARIECH.
1700 CO (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.
FIELD 24 0830 288 Bty Vehicle Party leaves.
1100 Orders received for Exercises "SMASH" in which 99 and 288 Btys will be involved.
1600 Orders 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
telephone.
FIELD 25 0600 Party 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.
0945 CO (Lt-Col. A.K. MATTHEWS RA.) leaves for HARLECH by road.
1030 Informed 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
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
FIELD 26 Firing at HARLECH.
1700 Adjutant 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.
2000 Signal 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. 27 Firing at HARLECH,
1030 Message direct from RA 30 Corps. Major D.J. COWEN not to join US Army until 3 April.
1100 Four 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.
1400 Lt(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.
FIELD 28 Firing at HARLECH.
1000 DULLINGHAM HOUSE is handed back to SA,QC,
FIELD 29 Firing at HARLECH.
0800 10 Carden Loyd Carriers are despatched to RETFORD.
1000 M.10 Trg Party return from BRETTENHAM MANOR in the THETFORD Trg Area - a small holding
party is left.
1100 CO 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.
1400 CO 61st A/Tk. Regt RA returns and states that he is moving into 'The Links' NEWMARKET on
Saturday 1 Apr.
1600 Adjutant 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.
FIELD 30 1000 Personnel from Practice Camp return to 'The Links' after an extremely uncomfortable journey
from HARLECH,
FIELD 31 0800 22 Carriers ,Loyd are despatched to RETFORD.
1700 Orders 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.

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