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    War Diary: 5th Battalion Duke Cornwall Light Infantry

    Month and year: May 1944

    The 5th Battalion Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry (DCLI) May 1944 War Diary covers the units training, including anti tank training and breaching minefields.

    National Archive Reference: WO 171/1280

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    Page 1 of 19
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    The month of May 1944 was for the Bn a month
    of intensive preparation for overseas movement. In
    particular all "Light scales" vehicles underwent
    the preliminary stages of waterproofing, and several
    trials were carried out with regard to vehicle
    loads. Final checks of all clothing and equipment
    took place, and the Bn disposed of all stores
    surplus to G 1098 scale.
    A great deal of time was devoted to sport
    with the two fold object of fostering an Inter-Coy
    Competative spirit and reaching a high standard
    of physical fitness. Inter-Coy competitious took place
    in football athletic sports and boxing.
    Entertainment was provided by a Class "B" Ensa
    Page 2 of 19
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    CROWHURST PARKshow every Tuesday evening, and film shows every
    Wednesday and Thursday evening all Coys were
    able for the first half of the month to make
    use of "recreational transport facilities which
    enabled men to visit Hastings at least once a week.
    Training was for the most part confined to
    shooting, laying and clearing of mines, passing
    transport through a minefield, marching and
    patrolling. There were however two exercises
    involving (i) a Brigade attack with air support, and
    (ii) a Brigade in a defensive posn for 24 hours.
    Three cadres were run for N.C.O's which included
    drill, regimental duties, regimental history, and
    discipline. The last cadre was attended by four
    Page 3 of 19
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    CROWHURST14 offrs (Major James [2i/c], Capt Coode [O.C."S"Coy], Lt
    Birchenall [Pnr offr] and Lt Willcocks [Int offer] and
    21 OR's (incl the Int see and representatives of the
    Pnr Pl and A/Tk Pl) visited an exhibition of enemy
    and allied tanks, weapons and equipment at the
    Imperial War Museum, Lambeth. The visit was of
    great training value and much appreciated.
    5 DCLI Adm Instr No 1 was issued. ThisAppx "A"
    adm order covered the preparation to be carried
    out before the Bn received the code word ordering
    "Concentration" It included the order of battle of
    offers, N.C.O's, and the nominal roll of "R" Coy.
    1-2a cadre for junior N.C.O's which had started
    on 30th April was continued under Capt JBB Aimers.
    3-6The Bn, less the A/Tk pl, marched to the
    Page 4 of 19
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    CROWHURST3-6South Downs training area to take part in a
    Brigade exercise with air support on the 5th May.
    On the night 3/4 May the Bn bivouacked in the
    area of LAUGHTON (6 miles east of LEWES). On the
    night of 4/5 May the bivouac area was PEACEHAVEN,
    where through the kindness of the 6th Bn Som L.I.
    our men were able to sleep under cover as the
    march to the South Down's area had been non-
    tactical, all ranks were allowed to proceed out
    on the evening of the 4th with the result that
    many Officers and men were able to visit Brighton
    and Newhaven on the 5th May, the Bde exercise
    took place, which was not as successful as had
    been hoped. The squadron of planes which had
    been expected to Co-operate was represented by
    Page 5 of 19
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    CROWHURST3-6four planes, which failed to fire the pre arranged
    recognition signal calling for the display of
    coloured triangles by the leading troops, after
    having arrived late. After the exercise, the Bn
    marched back to CROWHURST bivouacking at LAUGHTON
    on the night 5/6 May. It was estimated that
    those who had taken part in the exercise
    marched over 70 miles in the four days 3-6 May.
    4-6The A/Tk Pl proceeded to LYDD ranges for practice
    firing. The Commanding officer watched the shooting
    on the morning of the 4th and the Divisional
    Commander also paid a brief visit.
    7The Bn had the day off
    8The day was devoted to administration by Coys.
    all Light Scales vehicles were painted with a five-
    Page 6 of 19
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    Crowhurst8pointed White Star.
    In the evening a dinner-party was held in the
    offers Mess at which the officers of "R" Coy were
    the guests of the Mess, as R Coy was being posted
    away from the unit on the following day but one.
    9All personnel in the Bn who had not tested
    their respirators for three months did so under
    arrangments made by the Bn gas offer (Lt Portrait)
    1730The Bde Comd addressed all offers in the grounds
    of Battle abbey. His chief reason for summoning the
    offers of the Bde was to impress on them the
    very great need for security during the forthcoming
    weeks and If emphasize each officer's personal
    responsibility in this connection. He also referred
    to Defence tactics, discipline, man-management
    Page 7 of 19
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    CROWHURST.9and morale.
    9-11a second juniors N.C.O's cadre was run by Capt
    9a number of inter-Coy transfers were put into
    affect in order to Complate the establishment of "R"
    Coy prior to it being posted away on 10th May.
    An ENSA (Cat. "B") concert was shown in the NAAFI
    tent. The artists were entertained in the Officers'
    mess after the show.
    10"R" Coy was posted away from the Bn, and
    its members were taken on the strength of various
    Reinforcement Holding Units.
    The A/Tk Pl visited FOULNESS A/Tk range,
    where the shooting showed a very great improvement
    over that of the previous week. The Div Comd and Bde
    Comd were present during some of the practices.
    Page 8 of 19
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    CROWHURST110915The 2nd in Command (Major R.W. James) gave a lecture
    to all drivers, DR.'s, the Pioneer Platoon and the Jul???
    section on the drill for the passage of F ech
    transport through a minefield by day and by
    1100All drivers were given the experience of driving
    through a menefield gap by day. The pionner platoon
    had breached a gap in an imaginary minifield
    and placed the necessary marking signs in position.
    2200The same exercise was repeated by night using
    coloured lamps and tape to mark the edges of
    the minifield gap.
    12A and B Coys had the day off.
    At about 1300 hrs, information was received to
    the effect that the Prime ministers of Great Britain
    Page 9 of 19
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    CROWHURST12Canada, South Africa , Australia and New Zealand would
    be passing in Cars that afternoon about a mile and a
    half from the Camp. More than half the Bn was
    able to line the route and cheer the Prime Ministers
    as they passed.
    5 Canadian officers who had been loaned to theMAJ J.H.J. Gauthier
    British government under the "CANLOAN" scheme arrived forCapt. C. Deluca
    attachment to this Bn for about a fortnight.Lt M.W. Hardy.
    An ENSA concert party called The Nightlights"Lt. B.D.J. Comolli
    gave a performance in the NAAFI tent after whichLt. M.C.P. Rush.
    the artistes were entertained in the Officers' Mess.
    141200There was a Bn Mess Resting, after which the Co.
    spoke to all Officers. He wished special attentoin to be
    paid to drill and saluting and would arrange for
    periods of instruction for offers in Regtl Custom and
    Page 10 of 19
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    CROWHURST14History, and also "How to inspect a man's kit"
    15A photographer visited the Bn and look photographsSee Appendix "B"
    of all Coy groups, the Officers' Mess, the Sgts Mess
    and various Pl and see groups.
    In the afternoon a Bn Athletic sports meeting
    was held th a field near to the Camp. It was
    organised by the Bn Sports offer (Major F.A.L. Vuwdrey).
    The band played during the afternoon and many
    officers and OR's wives were able to attand as well
    as certain local people who had received invitations.
    The meeting was run on an inter-Coy basis and
    a programme of events is attached.
    In the evening the officers and Sgts had a social
    evening together. The Sgts first visited the Officers'
    Mess, and the party takes adjourned to the Sjt's
    Page 11 of 19
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    CROWHURST15mess, where entertainment was provided in the form of
    various competitions
    161400The 2nd in-Command (acting in place of the Commanding
    officer who had suffered a back injury in the
    Athletic Sports Meeling) carried out a recce for "Ex Tig"
    which was to take place on the 25th and 26th May.
    1930An ENSA concert party "Moods and Modes" gave
    a performance in the N.A.A.F.I. tent
    170730The 2 i/c held a Tng Conference at which he allotted
    ranges and settled datails of Mine training for all Coys.
    1130The Co gave a talk to the Bn on the german
    system of holding the Continent" and described the
    type of German soldier that we should be likely to
    meet in the near future.
    18a platoon from the 1st Bn Worcs Regt gave a demon-
    Page 12 of 19
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    CROWHURST18stration to all Rifle Coys of "Fighting through the
    objective". It was exceedingly well carried out and
    embodied the latest teachings from the School of
    the 2nd-in Command carried out a further recce for
    Exercise Tig.
    all Coys had training by the Pioneer officer in
    all types of mines
    1800Major G.A.L. Vawdrey delivered a lecture to all
    offrs on "Regimental Custom" in the offers Mess
    1945The Band played Oh the lawn outside the Offer Mess.
    during dinner.
    19The Bn had the day off
    20Hythe New Range was allotted to the Bn and
    120 men who had not hitherto completed their
    Page 13 of 19
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    CROWHURST20classification with the rifle did so.
    In the afternoon the Bn look part th a Bde
    Athletic Sports Meeting in the grounds of Battle abbey.Programme attached
    The results were quite close, but the Bn was notAppx "C"
    quite up to the standard of the other two Bns.
    5 DCLl. Movement Instruction No 1 was issued
    in which were set out the Unit Light Scales StaffAppx "D"
    Tables, and complete Vehicle loading Tables.
    5 DCLl. Op Instr No 2 was issued dealingAppx "E"
    with the operational role of the Bn whilst in the
    Concentration area
    21"A" and "C" Coys visited Hythe New Range to
    Complete LMG classification
    22B and D Coys visited Hythe New Range to
    complete L.M.G. classification
    Page 14 of 19
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    CROWHURST22the A/Tk Pl had further range practice at Langley
    Pt A/Tk range
    22-24The 3rd N.C.O's Cadre was run by Capt J.B.B. Aimers
    This Cadre was attended by a few officers.
    22Lt Cullin (Public Relations) visited the unit and
    met all afficers in the mess. He will report on all
    units of 214 Bde for the Press.
    221615RQMS appleton gave a lecture on Regtl History
    to the NCO's Cadre which was attended by all offers
    and W.O's.
    5 DCHI Movement Instr No 2 was issued, dealingAppx "F"
    with Rd Mov and traffic instructions within 21
    Army Group area
    5 DCLI Adm Order No 2 was issued, dealing withAppx "G"
    the exchange of sterling for foreign Currency before
    Page 15 of 19
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    CROWHURST22Embarkation and instructions for the closing of all
    23All Coy Comds and Int??? offr accompanied the
    CO and 2 i/c to a dinner party given by the
    offrs of 173 Bty (affiliated Bty)
    24CO. and 2 i/c spoke to all members of the Bn
    who were going to take part in the Bde Exercise
    TIG on the 25/ 26 May, to practice the occupation of,
    and routine in a defensive position)
    25-26The Bn took part in Ex TIG "Enemy" was provided
    by a Coy of the 1st Bn Worcs Regt which carried
    out recce patrols by day and fighting patrols by
    night. Major James (Commanding the Bn for the Exercise)
    viewed the Bn posns from the Ach GP and was very
    satisfied by the Concealment and camouflage. For
    Page 16 of 19
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    CROWHURST25-26the first time On any exercise a Bn News-sheetAppx "H" and "I"
    was produced for the information of the tps.
    1800The Co held a conference of all offrs, at which
    he informed them that wef. 0900 hrs 28 May the
    Bh would be at 6 hrs notice to move. This order
    would mean restriction of passes to some degree
    and also smaller Bh bounds.
    The Padre gave a talk on Burials and documentation
    in the field.
    275 DCLI. Admin Instru No 3 was issued which laldAppx "J"
    down the degree of readiness, the Bh bounds, and
    regulations with regard to passes.
    1800The Mas??? Pl were given an allocation of the South
    Downs area and carried out practice firing.
    One L Sec Sigs (with 15 CWT Wireless) and one
    Page 17 of 19
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    CROWHURST27Bearer sec from 213 Fd Amb reported to the Bn for
    permanent attachment
    28a full-scale "practice move" out of the Camp
    area was held at which all Vehicles were loaded
    and personal held ready to move. The Bde Comd
    inspected all vehicles, accompanied by the CO.
    291000CO, 2 i/c, all Coy Comds, hior??? offr, Lut??? offs and
    Lut??? Sgt attended a lecture by the Div. Comd at
    the Embassy Cinema, TENTERDEN The C.R.A. spoke
    about "Counter Mortar fire" after which the Div Comd
    summed up, and then spoke about certain aspects
    of forthcoming operations. He disclosed the estimated
    degree of air superiority which the allies could
    hope to have, and expressed his confident belief
    in victory.
    Page 18 of 19
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    292045The CO. held a conference on "Loading" at which the
    maximum loads were laid down for all classes of
    30In the morning further loading trials took place
    and all vehicles were weighed in HASTINGS.
    In the afternoon the Final of the Inter-Pl football
    Competition was played and which was won by 17
    pl D Coy. The Co. gave prices to the winners at
    the conclusion of the match.
    5 DCLI. Adm Instr No 4 was issued whichAppx "k"
    dealt with the loading of Vehicles, Sups in the
    marshalling Area etc.
    31The Co. attended a talk by the C-in-C 21 Army
    Gp (General Sir Bernard Montgomary) given to all CO's
    in 12 Corps
    Page 19 of 19
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    31a fire occurred in the camp in which one tent
    was completely burned out. It was caused by a
    British plane jettisoning a patrol tank which
    burst into flames on impact with the ground. No
    casualties were sustained
    1945The offrs of 173 Bty (affiliated to this unit)
    were invived to dinner. The band played on the
    lawn outside the officers Mess.