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War Diary: 1st Battalion Buckinghamshire Regiment

Month and year: September 1944

The 1st Battalion Buckinghamshire Regiment September 1944 War Diary. Receiving new drafts, entertainment (local cinema, NAAFI), escort duties and many officers and ORs attached away.

National Archive Reference: WO 171/1269

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Page 1 of 11
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
PLANET 1 0900 New draft paraded and inspected by Commanding Officer. 48 different
regiments represented. Most of draft were wearing funny hats of every
size and description and at the queerest angles. Commanding Officer talkred
to draft and includes a few pointed words about the wearing of Caps GS in
this Battalion.
am Draft under Capt Eyles, is equipped as far as possible from unit resources.
pm Notified that further draft is due to be collected from 36 RHU today.
Transport laid on to collect baggage. 36 RHU contacted and arrangements made
for draft to march over (4 miles)
First draft split up into coys and nominal roll issued to all coy comds.
1700 Second draft arrived - 123 strong. Capt Bruce put in charge. Draft
arrived in somewhat better shape than the first lot.
Appx "A"
2 0900 Commanding Officer inspected second draft as before and spoke to them
Draft fitted out as far as possible from unit resources.
1000 Commanding Officer, Adjutant and QM visit 101 BSA at PORT-EN-BESSIN re
final take-over and allocation of accommodation. Arranged for our cooks
etc to take over the messes from midday.
1200 Advance party sent to PORT-EN-BESSIN under Capt Eyles.
pm Second draft consisting of 40 different regiments split up to coys - nominal
roll issued to coy comds.
Appx "B"
1400 Coy Comds conference ref nove to Shuttle service essential with limited transport available,
Decided to move Bn HQ first the following day, Sun Sep 3rd, then coys in
order "A" "B" "C "D" "HQ". Men to march, OC "HQ" Coy to provide transport
equally to coys who were to shuttle their own stores across.
QM stores to be taken over today and cleared by tonight.
1600 Various callers from 4 L of C and 36 Beach Brick all anxious to hand over
files to Adjutant. Total files so far handed over from 101 BSA amount to 43!
Page 2 of 11
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
A quick glance through them to see that all are entirely superfluous,
except one - the entertainment file, once again, which covers a distribution
far greater than the peak days of Beach Grouping. The whole organization
seems 'bumph bound' Après tant d'ànnees!
3 0830 Bn HQ moves to PORT-EN-BESSIN followed by coya etc
0900 Commanding officer and Adjutant visit 'Q' at HQ L of C to try and hasten
delivery or obtain release rather, of caps GS to fit out the new drafts.
After some time necessary authority was obtained and after seeing various
people at 17 AOD they managed to fill commanding officer's car with 500
assorted GS Caps! A promise is also obtained for badges and buttons
and urgent teleprints sent off, so within seven days we may get some in.
Caps GS handed over to QM with considerable satisfaction, it being considered
a major triumph to be able to out do the king of outdoers! even though it
meant the using the commanding officer's car in a somewhat unusual role -
that of load carrier!
PORT-EN-BESSIN pm Bn settles in in its new home,
4 am New standing orders issued and re-allotment of seats for local cinema.
Tents produced by 'Q' for sleeping accommodation for all men.
Appx "C" and "D"
pm Normal routine.
5 am Further draft of 1 offr (Lieut Rees) and 8 ORs, arrives. Allotted to Coys.
Informed that RAF GANG SHOW is to entertain us in local NAAFI this
Programme issued for all units in area.
Appx "E"
pm Adjutant visits REFORSEC 21 Army Group with 3008 and 3009 and puts the
exact man position to them, showing who are attached away and what A.1 men
are still with the Bn. Informed that all our carrier drivers attached at
present to 6 Airborne Div are to be posted to 101 Rft Gp, also informed
that further draft of 150 men are due into RHUs from England today.
2000 RAG GANG SHOW performed after much rapid improvisation as regards lighter sets-
tilly lamps used as footlights - GREAT SUCCESS. Goog time had by one and all!
Page 3 of 11
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
6 am Dental inspection for all new drafts.
Visit by Comd Offr to 2 Army Rest Camp who are moving shortly, and arrangements
made to borrow 20 tents to accommadate our new drafts who are expected
pm Arrangements made with 2 Base Hospital Laundly who now run showers to
bathe the Bn so that each man gets one shower a week from now on.
7 am Visit by Adjt to 21 Army Gp to enquire re further drafts. Managed to
obtain an 'Order' for 84 bodies from 36 RHU. Also picked up posting order
in respect of a major (Major KERSHAW) who has been posted to this Bn -
not likely to arrive for quite a while as he is with the GORDONS at present
and will come down the line no doubt in easy stages as and when the posting
order reaches the front line!
pm Visit to 36 RHU, gave them copy of posting order for draft and arranged to
collect draft at 0930 hrs 8 Sep. 1 officer included in draft who is
Lieut Hare (our original rear party officer) when we left England.
8 1000 New draft arrives plus Lieut Hare. Allotted immediately to coys (40
different regiments this time). Kit checks etc carried out by coys.
Appx "F"
pm Commanding Officer visits 21 Army Gp and HQ L of C to clarify position
once again re new. It appears L of C are preparing WE but unable to
contact correct department unfortunately. Officers promised shortly.
Authority given for striking off strength to 101 Rft Gp all carrier drivers
attached to 6 Airborne Div - 40 in all plus 2 REME fitters.
Conference of coy comds, QM, RMO to discuss adm details. In view of lack
of tpt decided to cut down even more on stores - such as jerricans,
camouflage nets and the like. Also decided on permanent mess ordenlies,
in view of change of personnel from A.1 to categories.
1500 RAF GANG SHOW repeat performance at 1500 hrs and 2000 hrs. Full houses
on both occasions.
Page 4 of 11
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
1800 Informed by DAQMG 36 Beach Brick that Bn must assume responsibility for
discipline of odd body of men in charge of Police Dogs who patrol pipe line
at night. At present under 9 BPSC who have not facilities to instil
necessary discipline. Decided to send one Sjt to be in Charge - Sjt Knott-
assisted by one - CoI Rogars.
9 am Normal Routine. Comd Offr and RMO to to ST DULIAN to try and locate graves
of Capt Hope and men of 'A' Coy who fell there. Unable to locate graves.
pm Discovered that Regimental Band are billeted close by with 2 Army Rest Camp
Adjt contacted Adjt of Rest Camp to try and borrow band for concert here for
Monday and Tuesday next. Band promised.
35mm projector at last installed in 'BARN' Cinema - great improvement in
Entertainment value. Slightly offset by cancellation of all Sunday
Appx 'G'
Cinemas operated by AKS. Bad thing, smacles of Trade Unionisms. Diarised
forward for points to note after the War!
Units come and go with startling rapidity. Very difficult to keep pace.
Distribution Lists tend to be out of date even before the DR has completed
his run. Units who have failed to comply with orders for the past five years
are continueing the good work and dashing in and out of the area without
telling a soul, until they want something, like an allotment to the cinema.
"Forward" is the big cry just at present and units are complying with a
surprising alacrity with never a backward glance nor yet a note for the baker
saying "gone away." Very trying.
10 am Advised by 36 Brick that we were to produce two parties each of 1 NCO and
11 men as prisoner escort to UK to report to ARROMANCHES by 1100hrs today.
HQ Coy told to detail original D day men still with the Bn. Sjt Fowler
sent on party with instruction if possible to collect bugles and dance band
instruments from Aylesbury!
Page 5 of 11
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
pm Bandmaster Feltham arrived to fix up arrangements for the concert. Decided
on indoor performance in the NAAFI.
11 am Further party for prissoner escort ordered from HQ Coy.
Entertainment programme for bandconcert issued.
Advised that Stars in Battle Drass will visit this area, Thursday, Friday.
Appx 'H'
and Saturday this week. Programme issued to all units giving vacancies.Appx 'I'
pm Regimental Band gives two performances 1500 and 1930hrs. Both houses
packed. In small hall the dance band with so much brass threatened to do
serious injury to ones eardrums and it was feared that a lot of the new draft
might have to be even further downgradad after the performance! However
apart from a few jangled nerves all was well and everyone enjoyed it very
much. A short history of the Regiment was given by the Bandmaster while
introducing the Regimental Marches for the benefit of the newcommers.
Warned by 36 Brick that a further ten parties would be required for escort
duties tomorrow.
12 am 10 parties not now required on the 14 Sep 44.
Warned by 36 Brick that one Company complete is to proceed to AMIENS and
report to 21 Army Group MAIN on arrival - to proceed fully equipped as soon
as possible. Adjt ordered 7 3 tonners which were promised at once.
pm Transport finally arrived at 1700hrs and orders now received for Coy at full WE
to proceed to BRUSSELS and NOT AMIENS to do guard duties. 'D' Coy selected
and strenuous efforts made to complete the Coy with clothing and equipment
and cap. badges., flashes etc.
Obtained from 17 AOD direct cap badges, previously ordered, by sending special
DR whole fitted out by 1800hrs. Decided to stay here overnight and leave
at 0830hrs next day Wednesday 13 Sep 44.
Comd Offr visited 36 Brick re duties for UK and met Deputy Comd L of C.
mentioned to him that Coy sent to BRUSSELS was not at WE as we had not got
the bodies. DC agreed that was quite in order it was arranged to send
off balance when new drafts arrived.
Page 6 of 11
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
1500 Regimental Band gave last performance - nearly all civilians in the
audience - chiefly small children. Everyone delighted. Some French
Councillor made a speach in French afterwards indicating - so it was
believed - that all had enjoyed the show:
13 0830 D' Coy move to BRUSSELS.
1200 36 Brick phoned to say that Coy must move complete to WE. Indicated to
them that (a) Coy had already gone 26 men light and (b) it had been arranged
for the balance to go later when drafts came in.
1600 12 L of C rang up very aggitated, to know why we had not sent 'D' Coy off
at full WE. Explaned carefully full reasons and said that everything was
quite alright were sending them later. 12 L of C not very happy
about it and doubted whether everything was alright.
Comd: offer visited 21 Army Group REAR and HQ L of C. asked everyone about
Officer position and proposed new WE. Found a Major Campbell at HQ L of C
who was just starting on it. Arranged for him to come over on Saturday
16th to go through it in detail. Suggested that OC 5 Kings should be
consulted too. This was agreed to and it was promised that a copy of
proposed WE should be sent to us in advance to study.
pm Major H.C. Le Neve Foster assumes duties of 2IC to Battalion.
Captain G.L.E. Eyles " " Coy Comd 'B' Coy.
14 1000 4 parties required for rescort duties - selected from 'A' Coy.
'Invoice' received for further draft from 43 RHU for 26 bodies also 20 men
from 36 RHU and 54 from 37 RHU making Grand Total of 100 bodies.
pm Adjt visits all RHUs concerned and O2E ar REVIERS and tries to find out if
any officers are available, Everyone at O2E promises officers as soon as
1500 Stars in Battle Dress' perform - very mediocre. Attendance at evening
show not so good.
Page 7 of 11
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
15 1000 4 more parties called for escort duties - 'A' Coy. Some of original party
returned not having been able to get any shore leave except three hours!
Keeness for job waines throughout Battalion
Draft from 43 RHU arrives - sorted to Coys - 15 Regiments.
pm Adjt visits O2E and queries all these B7s arriving - 101 so far. SP Branch
say they should not be here, something must have gone wrong somewhere, They
will probably be changed later. Adjt pointed out how much easier lifer would
be for all concerned if mistakes like that were ruled out at the start. Joke
much appreciated. HQ L of C phoned re proposed new Garrison Establishment
Major Campbell bringing it over WE arrived. Copies made and distributed
to Coys for study.
Appx 'J'
16 1000 Draft from 37 and 36 RHUs arrive and distributed to Coys. 40 different
Appx 'K'
Sjt Fowler returned from UK with bugles and instruments!
Cpl Dowie-Hood our Bugle Cpl instructed to work away training our new buglers
1100h Comd Offr calls conference to discuss new WE
1200 2 more parties called for escort duty to UK.
1500 Conference with CO, CO 5 Kings and Major Campbell from HQ L of C on proposed
Garrison WE.
pm New entertainments programme issued.Appx 'L' and 'M'
17 1100 Adjt attended welfare Conference at Brick HQ everyone appeared satisfied,
Kit (Sports) would be distributed when available. No startling developements
escept that we were to have no ENSA in future just 'RAF Gang-Shows' and
'Stars in Battle Dress'
pm Normal Routine. Advised three new officers are to join us from 37 RHU.
We are to collect tomorrow.
18 am 36 Brick phoned to say full WE for 'D' Coy must go including full complement
of officers. General Naylor Comd L of C visited us and saw CO. Point of
officers for 'D' Coy raised and General Naylor said 'don't worry about WE
what you've got! 36 Brick informed accordingly. Everyone at last contented!
Page 8 of 11
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
18 pm Two Officers arrived Capt Cabeldu and Lieut Merryfield. The 3rd officer's
posting has been cancelled as he is to be Camp Comdt at O2E.
19 0845 Remainder of 'D' Coy leave for BRUSSELS
Posting Order for Lieut Merryfield cancelled. Officer to be returned to
37 RHU. for other appointment. 2 more parties detailed for escort duty -
making a total of 144 away now.
Adjt visits O2E and gives exact deficiency strength. WE now require 132
Ptes to complete to new WE (proposed).
pm Naval Concert party give two shows in NAAFI. Excellent.
20 0730 Comd Offr leaves in 'Bread Van¹ for BRUSSELS. Visits "D" Coy. Likely
to be away until Sunday. 24 Sep. Major Foster assumes command of the Bn in
his absence,
1100 Letter from HQ L of C stating Bucks will not find drafts for escort duty
any more except in emergency.
1200 HQ L of C phoned to say they have authorised two more parties for Escort
Duty and no more. This is now likely to end.
One party from "C" Coy returned - not being required.
1400 All parties back from UK now except last party of 12 from "C" Coy.
1600 Two drafts arrived from 37 and 56 RHUs - 18 in all. Posted to coys.
All Ptes, as requested.
2000 RAF GANG SHOW No 1 - excellent entertainment. Welfare Offr 36 Brick phoned to
say we can keep GANG SHOW for tomorrow as well.
Allotment issued accordingly.
to Appx "N"
21 am Normal routine. 'Invoice' for 12 more bodies received - to be collected
pm Adjt visits 5 Kings to check up on names of those who have previously served
with Oxf and Bucks now with the Kings and mutual transfers arranged. At
present we have 5 men of the Kings but they have not any Oxp & Bucks.
Visit to O2E REFORSEC at Riviers. Posting order obtained for the 5 men
to the Kings also further draft of 1 offr and 98 ORs who are to be collected
23 Sep 44.
Page 9 of 11
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
21 pm This will now leave us deficient of 43 ORs and 10 Offrs. Also arranged to
get struck off strength the six officers attached away to 1 Corps etc.
Welfare offr 36 Brick states that our Local cinema is to be taken away from
us and to 14 (Br) Convalescent Depot at COMMES. This deprives the
odd 2500 men of celluloid entertainnent, complaint lodged.
Padre of 14 (Br) Conv Depot arrives and arranges for allotment to be given
to troops in area. This will relieve the strain a little.
22 1000 2 Ptes arrive from 47 RHU as Draft - no draft order received from O2E.
Taken on strength.
1200 Draft of 7 arrive - posted to coys.
'Invoice' for 98 ORs received.
pm Adjt visits 46 RHU and obtains nominal roll of 98 ptes on draft - only 97
1600 Comd Off returns from BRUSSELS. Whilst there he saw 21 Army Gp and
discovered that 'D' Coy were in fact acting as defence coy to 21 Army Gp
Main. Brought back list of 38 ORs who could not perform duties adequately
through various causes - all categories included among 'Crocks' Orders
to send replacement of fit men.
23 1000 Comd off visits HQ L of C who appreciate position and call for lists of men
unable to do guards and look reasonably smart etc; HQ L of C promise to
clarify the policy and to try and get a decision as to whether we are to receive
men fit for guards or alternatively that we are only given jobs to do which
merely call for ability to lie down and eat as at present the two just don't
1130 Conference for coy comds and RMO. Lists to be prepared by coy comds inAppy 'O'
conjunction with RMO and suitäble names for 'D' Coy to be submitted.
New draft of 97 arrive, RMO says at least 50 % are US and will obviously
have to go. Life proving rathor a burden just at present!
1400 New draft seen by Comd Offr. Seem quite bright mentally though RMO's
opinion definitely confirmed physically.
Page 10 of 11
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
15 New cinema instructions issued.Appx "P"
24 am Normal routine. Voluntary church services.
Adjt takes copy off 'unfit' men to HQ L of C who promise to get a ruling
on future policy.
pm Brigadier Strange Camd 12 L of C, visits Comd Offr. Wonders when we
can get on with Platoon training. Not quite au fait on the whole.
A Garrison Battalion is obvlously still a bundle of mystery.
25 am Instructions issued to coys for the move of certain men as replacements
for 'D' Coy.
Appx "Q"
CSM Birch returns with transport from BRUSSELS. Satisfactory journey.
Very pleased at being detailed to go again with the next batch on
Wednesday morning. Though surplus to establishment and awaiting posting
is anxious to wear Bn flashes etc and keen to stay with us. A definite
pm Adjt visits REFORSEC at REVIERS. Gets posting order for 9 men - already
reported on adversely by our RMO - to go back to 37 RHU to be
S.P.d. Explains that Bn is now. 16 subalterns and 51 ORs short of
proposed Garrison WE. Promised they will be forthcoming as soon as possible.
1600 Lt BORTON ex 5th Bn Oxf Bucks arrived on posting - posted to "B" Coy.
Theatre instructions issued for coming week.
Appx "R"
26 am Normal routine.
pm An additional ENSA show is billed for Sat next. Instructions issued.
REFORSEC phoned to say that officers are likely to be posted to us
Appx "S"
shortly now.
27 am One hours drill parade under the RSM laid on for all coys - one coy per day.
pm New draft of 29 ORs arrive. Posted to rifle coys.Appx "T"
1700 Capt Tait arrived from 37 RHU posted to "A" Coy.
Page 11 of 11
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
1940 Jeep stolen from vehicle park. Seen by CMP locally being driven in
the manner of Jehu's chariot, ie furiously, without lights. 4 Americans
presumed drunk seen in the Jeep. Presumption of insobriety based on the
vehicle being driven on an extremely zig zag course. Said vehicle later
knocked a DR off his Motor Cycle - luckily without harm. CMP hot on
the tail. It appears from previous similar experiences that Kleptomania
is inclined to be prevalent among the local U.S. forces stationed
hereabouts - especially after a party.
28 am Authorities notified of loss of jeep and extra guards put on the MT park.
pm Normal routine. 'Stars in Battledress' gave two shows as arranged.
29 0830 Comd Offr addressed whole Bn on saluting in view of special drive now being
made throughout the theatre.
pm Normal routine.
30 am Normal routine.
pm ENSA party at NAAFT Institute - very mediocre except the three girls
who were judged by all to be 'A.1'.
Revised Standing Orders for the Bn issued.
Appx "U"
Total Bn strength excluding permanently attached at end of Sept is
Officers 21
ORs 778
WE for Garrison Battalion still unconfirmed.
3008 and 3009 enclosed as Appendices.Appx "V"