War Diaries of 4th (Queen's Own) Hussars



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January 1940

CO: Lt Col EGG Lillingston

1-31/1/1940 Market Weighton. Normal training carried out during this month. Training very much restricted owing to exceptionally severe weather conditions during the latter half of the month. Traffic almost at a standstill by the 30th. No unusual occurrences during this month.


February 1940

CO: Lt Col EGG Lillingston

14/2/1940 Market Weighton. GOC 2nd Armd Div visited the Regt in billets.
19/2/1940 Lt HR Owen died in royal Infirmary Manchester.
26/2/1940 One Sgt posted to AFV School as instructor.
27/2/1940 Major J A L Powell posted to North Irish horse to take over command.
28/2/1940 Normal training carried out during the month, weather conditions gradually improved to normal by the 14th. Trial turnouts for Home Defence, carried out at intervals throughout the month.


March 1940

CO: Lt Col EGG Lillingston

1/3/1940 Market Weighton. Bde signal exercise.
4/3/1940 Officers of TA Units attached for a two week course of Admin duties.
25/3/1940 Officers of TA Units attached for a two week course of Admin duties.
31/3/1940 Normal training carried out during the month. Practice turnout parades carried out whenever possible.


April 1940

CO: Lt Col EGG Lillingston

1/4/1940 Market Weighton. Seven ORs posted to Pioneer Btn
3/4/1940 The Regt reorganised to War Establishment of an Armd Regt
23/4/1940 9 Tanks, one 8cwt truck, 7 30cwt trucks and 5 ORs posted to 3rd Hussars.
30/4/1940 Normal training carried out up to the 19th; from then on complete overhaul and inspection of vehicles for the 3rd Hussars carried out. From 26th onwards taking over and overhauling vehicles and arms from 3rd Hussars.


May 1940

CO: Lt Col EGG Lillingston

1-8/5/1940 Market Weighton. Normal training carried out. Practice turnouts for operational role etc.
9/5/1940 Regt put at 4 hours notice to move to Poole area. Personnel recalled from leave and confined to area within 1 mile of billets.
15/5/1940 Advance party proceeded to Poole under Bde arrangements.
24/5/1940 Certain personnel of advance party rejoined from Poole. Div move still in abeyance. Training continued as far as possible, much restricted owing to preparations for move.


June 1940

CO: Lt Col EGG Lillingston

1/6/1940 Market Weighton. Air raid instructions revised and re-published.
3/6/1940 Remainder of advance party rejoined from Poole. Move to Poole cancelled.
4/6/1940 Training resumed.
14/6/1940 Reinforcement of 44 arrived from 51st Training Regt.
17/6/1940 Orders received from HQ 1st Armd Bde for move to RUSHDEN, staying night 20/21 at CLUMBER.
18/6/1940 Advance party proceeded by road to RUSHDEN, Bde HQ.Regt prepares to move.
19/6/1940 Preparations completed, all billets vacated and prepared for handover to incoming unit. Orders for move under operational conditions issued.
20/6/1940 Regt moved out. Proceeded to CLUMBER for overnight stay in CLUMBER Park.
21/6/1940 Day spent in maintenance.
22/6/1940 0545 - Regt moved out.1300 – Regt arrived WELFORD. Advance party only arrived a few hours before and had not had time for full recce. Pouring with rain all day.
23/6/1940 Final recce of area and selection of billets. RHQ and HQ Sqn HUSBANDS BOSWORTH, A Sqn The HEMPLOE, near WELFORD, B Sqn WELFORD GRANGE, C Sqn WELFORD village.
24/6/1940 Re-distribution of Sqns to allotted areas. Remainder of month settling in.
26/6/1940 Orders received for Regt to fire, in 2 parties, on the artillery range STIFFKEY.
29/6/1940 Regtl Camp Staff proceeded to STIFFKEY. First party to fire to STIFFKEY
30/6/1940 First party firing. Second party proceed by road to STIFFKEY.


July 1940

CO: Lt Col EGG Lillingston

1/7/1940 HUSBANDS BOSWORTH. First party returned from STIFFKEY. Second party firing.
2/7/1940 Second party and Camp staff return from STIFFKEY. Regtl training carried out daily, except as shown below. Preparation for operational role.
8-9/7/1940 2nd Armd Div harbouring exercise.
15-16/7/1940 2nd Armd Div harbouring exercise.
22-23/7/1940 2nd Armd Div exercise.
24/7/1940 1st Armd Bde inspected by the Rt Hon Winston Churchill. The Regt marched past the Premier.
25-26/7/1940 1st Armd Bde exercise, practise operational role.


August 1940

CO: Lt Col EGG Lillingston

13/8/1940 HUSBANDS BOSWORTH. Seven days privilege leave recommended for the Regt..
14/8/1940 Regtl advance party left for NEWMARKET.
16/8/1940 Regt moved out on route for NEWMARKET. Harboured for the night.
17/8/1940 0930 – Regt arrived into billets July Race Course, NEWMARKET. Remainder of the day spent in settling in.
18-22/8/1940 Regt settling in and recce Regtl area.
23/8/1940 HM King George VI inspected 1st Armd Bde. Regt on parade. The King spoke to several members of the Regt.
29/8/1940 Bde scheme. Harboured for the night.
30/8/1940 Regt remained in harbour all day until 1800 hours when it moved out and harboured elsewhere for the night.
31/8/1940 Regt returned to billets.


September 1940

CO: Lt Col EGG Lillingston

5/9/1940 NEWMARKET. HRH The Duke of Gloucester paid informal visit to 1st Armd Bde. Spent an hour walking round Regt area. Regt at normal work.
6/9/1940 Div scheme.
7/9/1940 Regt returned to billets from scheme after codeword CROMWELL had been received. Regt standing-to, all ranks confined to billets.
9/9/1940 Regt paraded by Sqns for route march wearing skeleton equipment. Respirators worn by all ranks for first hour of march.
10-22/9/1940 Confined to individual training. Range firing with rifle and pistol.
23/9/1940 Most of the Regt attended a gas spraying exercise by the RAF
24/9/1940 B & C Sqns took part in a Tank v Tank scheme.
26/9/1940 Advance party left for winter quarters at HUSBANDS BOSWORTH.
27/9/1940 Bde Comdr delivered lecture to all Officers at Dutton Lodge. Remainder of month spent in preparation for move.


October 1940

CO: Lt Col EGG Lillingston

5/10/1940 NEWMARKET. Regt received orders to mobilise.
6/101940 F Echelon left for HUSBANDS BOSWORTH at 0830 hours. Remainder of Regt left at 1230 hours. Main party proceeded on embarkation leave.
7/10/1940 Preparations for move overseas.
15/10/1940 15 ORs arrived as reinforcements.
22/10/1940 49 of Regts Tanks loaded onto trains.
24/10/1910 3 of Regts Tanks loaded onto trains.
25/10/1940 Scout cars left for port of embarkation. 3 Sgts, 3 Cpls and 7 Tprs embarked with these vehicles as AA guard.
26/10/1940 B vehicles of first flight left by road for port of embarkation.
30/10/1940 Advance party, 3 Officers and 137 ORs entrained.


November 1940

CO: Lt Col EGG Lillingston

1/11/1940 HUSBANDS BOSWORTH. Major General Sir RWR Barnes DSO MC, Colonel of the Regt, paid a farewell visit, accompanied by Major ER Sword.
2-11/11/1940 Preparations for the move.
12/11/1940 Baggage party of 1 Officer and 60 ORs left with Regtl heave baggage for port of embarkation.
15/11/1940 Regt, by Sqns, assembled centrally in Sqn lines preparatory to embussing for Welford station.
16/11/1940 0030 – Regt assembled at Welford station – weather wet, cold and miserable. Hot cocoa and buns issued to the men. 
0630 – Regt commenced to entrain. 
0700 – train left for port of embarkation. 
1330 – train arrive Marsh Lane Station LIVERPOOL. Regt detrained and marched to Gladstone Docks.
1630 – Regt proceeded to embark on Orcades (Orient Line).
17/11/1940 1030 – Ship pulled out of docks to sea.
18-28/11/1940 First week Regt settling in and getting acclimatised to life on board – very few ill – followed by Sqn training in the form of lectures, compass, Morse, semaphore and MG classes.
29/11/1940 Pulled into harbour FREETOWN, SIERRA LEONE. No-one allowed ashore. Mail and cables for home taken ashore. Voyage to date had been uneventful as far as attacks were concerned. On the other hand, a very pleasant voyage.


December 1940

CO: Lt Col EGG Lillingston

1/12/1940 Sailed from FREETOWN. Sqn training and lectures continued with.
3/12/1940 Crossed the Equator.
12/12/1940 Ship put into DURBAN. Shore leave granted to all ranks till 2359 hours
13-15/12/1940 Regt, by Sqns, taken for route marches. Shore leave granted from noon to 2359 hours daily. All ranks received cordial welcome from European residents of the town, being taken for car rides, visiting places of interest.
16/12/1940 Ship left port, when Sqn training was again continued with. Deck quoits and tennis competitions held.
23/24/12/1940 Boxing competition. Regt obtained several of the prizes given.
25/12/1940 1030 – voluntary church service, which was well attended, held in the lounge.
1200 – Christmas Dinner which consisted of soup, roast pork, roast potatoes, peas, greens and apple sauce, followed by Xmas pudding and custard and fresh fruit. All ranks issued with a bottle of beer, and all below the rank of Sgt, 2 bottles of mineral water in addition. 
1430 – concert for the troops on D Deck. 
1600 – Xmas Tea of Xmas Cake and tea and fresh fruit. 
1700 – The King’s speech relayed over the ship’s speakers to all ranks. Ship passed Perim. 
1900 – Supper, consisting of cold ham & beef, fresh salad, bread and butter and cocoa. A cheerful Xmas was enjoyed by all, in spite of everyone having to be on the alert, the ship being in dangerous waters.
28/12/1940 Arrived and anchored for a few hours at PORT SUEZ
29/12/1940 Entered the Suez Canal in the early hours of the morning. Preparations for disembarkation began.
30/12/1940 1200 – anchored at EL KANTARA. Difficulty in mooring the ship owing to strong wind blowing. 2000 – Regt commenced disembarkation and after disembarking remained alongside the railway for about three hours. Tea and buns issued by the NAAFI during this period of waiting
31/12/1940 0730 – Regt detrained EL QASSASIN and marched to No 8 TAHAG camp. Remainder of day spent drawing bedding and settling in. The whole voyage was exceedingly pleasant and was enjoyed by everyone. No enemy action encountered whatsoever. The food and accommodation on the ship was all that one could have wished for, and the whole of the ship’s company went out of their way to make all on board comfortable and happy.


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