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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
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    PLANET10900New 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.
    amDraft under Capt Eyles, is equipped as far as possible from unit resources.
    pmNotified 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.
    1700Second draft arrived - 123 strong. Capt Bruce put in charge. Draft
    arrived in somewhat better shape than the first lot.
    Appx "A"
    20900Commanding Officer inspected second draft as before and spoke to them
    Draft fitted out as far as possible from unit resources.
    1000Commanding 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.
    1200Advance party sent to PORT-EN-BESSIN under Capt Eyles.
    pmSecond draft consisting of 40 different regiments split up to coys - nominal
    roll issued to coy comds.
    Appx "B"
    1400Coy 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.
    1600Various 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
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences 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!
    30830Bn HQ moves to PORT-EN-BESSIN followed by coya etc
    0900Commanding 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-BESSINpmBn settles in in its new home,
    4amNew 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"
    pmNormal routine.
    5amFurther 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"
    pmAdjutant 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.
    2000RAG 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
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    6amDental 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
    pmArrangements 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.
    7amVisit 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!
    pmVisit 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.
    81000New draft arrives plus Lieut Hare. Allotted immediately to coys (40
    different regiments this time). Kit checks etc carried out by coys.
    Appx "F"
    pmCommanding 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.
    1500RAF GANG SHOW repeat performance at 1500 hrs and 2000 hrs. Full houses
    on both occasions.
    Page 4 of 11
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    1800Informed 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.
    9amNormal 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.
    pmDiscovered that Regimental Band are billeted close by with 2 Army Rest Camp
    at COMMES.
    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.
    10amAdvised 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
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    pmBandmaster Feltham arrived to fix up arrangements for the concert. Decided
    on indoor performance in the NAAFI.
    11amFurther 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'
    pmRegimental 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.
    12am10 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.
    pmTransport 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
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    1500Regimental 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:
    130830D' Coy move to BRUSSELS.
    120036 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.
    160012 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.
    pmMajor H.C. Le Neve Foster assumes duties of 2IC to Battalion.
    Captain G.L.E. Eyles " " Coy Comd 'B' Coy.
    1410004 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.
    pmAdjt 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
    1500Stars in Battle Dress' perform - very mediocre. Attendance at evening
    show not so good.
    Page 7 of 11
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    1510004 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.
    pmAdjt 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'
    161000Draft 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
    1100hComd Offr calls conference to discuss new WE
    12002 more parties called for escort duty to UK.
    1500Conference with CO, CO 5 Kings and Major Campbell from HQ L of C on proposed
    Garrison WE.
    pmNew entertainments programme issued.Appx 'L' and 'M'
    171100Adjt 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'
    pmNormal Routine. Advised three new officers are to join us from 37 RHU.
    We are to collect tomorrow.
    18am36 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
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    18pmTwo Officers arrived Capt Cabeldu and Lieut Merryfield. The 3rd officer's
    posting has been cancelled as he is to be Camp Comdt at O2E.
    190845Remainder 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).
    pmNaval Concert party give two shows in NAAFI. Excellent.
    200730Comd 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,
    1100Letter from HQ L of C stating Bucks will not find drafts for escort duty
    any more except in emergency.
    1200HQ 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.
    1400All parties back from UK now except last party of 12 from "C" Coy.
    1600Two drafts arrived from 37 and 56 RHUs - 18 in all. Posted to coys.
    All Ptes, as requested.
    2000RAF 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"
    21amNormal routine. 'Invoice' for 12 more bodies received - to be collected
    pmAdjt 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
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    21pmThis 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.
    2210002 Ptes arrive from 47 RHU as Draft - no draft order received from O2E.
    Taken on strength.
    1200Draft of 7 arrive - posted to coys.
    'Invoice' for 98 ORs received.
    pmAdjt visits 46 RHU and obtains nominal roll of 98 ptes on draft - only 97
    1600Comd 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.
    231000Comd 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
    1130Conference 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!
    1400New draft seen by Comd Offr. Seem quite bright mentally though RMO's
    opinion definitely confirmed physically.
    Page 10 of 11
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    15New cinema instructions issued.Appx "P"
    24amNormal routine. Voluntary church services.
    Adjt takes copy off 'unfit' men to HQ L of C who promise to get a ruling
    on future policy.
    pmBrigadier 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.
    25amInstructions 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
    pmAdjt 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.
    1600Lt BORTON ex 5th Bn Oxf Bucks arrived on posting - posted to "B" Coy.
    Theatre instructions issued for coming week.
    Appx "R"
    26amNormal routine.
    pmAn 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.
    27amOne hours drill parade under the RSM laid on for all coys - one coy per day.
    pmNew draft of 29 ORs arrive. Posted to rifle coys.Appx "T"
    1700Capt Tait arrived from 37 RHU posted to "A" Coy.
    Page 11 of 11
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    1940Jeep 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.
    28amAuthorities notified of loss of jeep and extra guards put on the MT park.
    pmNormal routine. 'Stars in Battledress' gave two shows as arranged.
    290830Comd Offr addressed whole Bn on saluting in view of special drive now being
    made throughout the theatre.
    pmNormal routine.
    30amNormal routine.
    pmENSA 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"