War Diaries of G Battery (Mercer's Troop), Royal Horse Artillery

1941

 

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January 1941

Commanding Officer: Major J. A Norman

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
CROSSHILLS     During this month the battery continued training with special reference to the type of work required with an Armoured Division,  
      The battery was now equipped with three 4.5" How. (B Troop) and three 75mm Guns (18pdr carriage) 'A' Troop. Four Lewis guns and 56 rifles.  
      The battery defence order is as follows:-  
      A. Move troop "B" + 1 gun & quad attached from 'A'.  
      B. Armd troop infantrymen "A" Troop.  
      C. Remainder form a defensive post in billets.  

 

February 1941

Commanding Officer: Maj J. A Norman R.H.A.

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
CROSSHILLS 11   2/Lt. R.A. Pitt posted from 122 O.C.T.U.  
  19.   The Division is ordered to move to Southern Command and this day the Regimental advance parties leave for CHILTION FOLIAT (Wilts)  
  22   2/Lt  Jamieson posted from 125 O.C.T.U.  
  28   Road party leave with all guns and vehilces. Stays the night 28/2 at Lutterworth & arrives afternoon 1st March  

 

March 1941

Commanding Officer: Maj J. A Norman R.H.A.

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
CHILTION  21st   Capt. N.B.C. Teacher R.H.A. is posted to 73 Anti Tank Regt on promotion.  
FOLIAT 23rd   Two 25 pdrs, were drawn from DONNINGTON. The Bty is now equipped as follows.  
      'A' Troop 2 75 mm one 25 pdr. B Troops three 4.5" How & one25 pdr.  
  28th   A troop proceeds to LARKHILL and four 75mm (one borrowed) & does depot troop for a shoot practice.  
  29th   Capt, S.R. St John posted from instructor ILKLEY O.C.T.U. as Bty Capt.  
      This month was spent in clearing up the camp or continuing training.  
      The M.G.R.A inspected the Regt and expressed himself as more than satisfied.  
      Mercer's Troop got a special mention for the Gun Park.  

 

April 1941

Commanding Officer: Maj J. A Norman R.H.A.

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
CHILTION  9th.   Divisional Exercise  
FOLIAT 18th.   2/Lt  Berkleley-Smith joins the battery on first appointment from O.C.T.U.  
  21st.   2/Lt  J.S. Fielding joins from Instructor 4th Fd. Trg. Regt. R.A.  
  24th   2/Lt  S.P. Whitley posted to 125 O.C.T.U as an instructor.  
         
      Intensive battery or regimental training continues in order to prepare orders for work with an Armoured Division.  
      Training is still hampered by the variety of guns.  
      During the month we hear with regret that 2/Lt  L.O.M. Barstow (late of 'G') was killed manning a Lewis gun against aircraft in Greecs.  

 

May 1941

Commanding Officer: Maj J. A Norman R.H.A.

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
CHILTION  6-8th   Divisional Exercise  
FOLIAT 13th   A Troop firing practice LARKHILL with 75mms (quick actions)  
  15th   B    "        "          "              "               "        "            "  
  21st   Six new 25 pdrs are taken over to complete the battery.  
  26th   The battery firing practice on WET DOWN during one of the set mobile schemes.  
  26th   2/Lt  D.G. Rawson joins on first appointment from an O.C.T.U.  
  27th   Advance party leaves for GOMSHALL Surrey.  
  30th   Battery moves by road to new station between GUILDFORD and DORKING at BURROUGHS LEA. 'A' and 'B' troops self contained at BURROUGHS CROSS and HOUND HOUSE.  
      R.H.Q. at GOMSHALL, "K" Bty at NETLEY HOUSE,  "CC" Bty at WOTTON (nr DORKING)  
      During this month training proceeded with the special reference to quick troop and battery actions.  
      The firing practices went off very well the S of A, "bogey" times being well beaten.  

 

June 1941

Commanding Officer: Maj J. A Norman R.H.A.

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
BURROUGHS  6th   Inspection by the C.I.G.S  
LEA (Surrey) 13th   Inspection by H.M. The King who complimented the battery on the excellent turn out of men and vehicles.  
  14-17th   S.E. Command "Waterloo" service.  
  16th   2/Lt  McNair joins on first appointment from and O.C.T.U.  
  18th   WATERLOO DAY. Waterloo Day was celebrated with athletic sports in the morning, a special dinner, swimming sports in the afternoon and an All Ranks dance in the evening.  
      The Colonel and other B.C.'s dined with the officers in the evening.  
         
      Troop, battery and regimental training continued during the month.  

 

July 1941

Commanding Officer: Maj J. A Norman R.H.A.

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
BURROUGHS  2-4th   8th Armoured Division Support Group exercise.  
LEA Surrey 7th   Proceed to camp at COLEMAN'S HATCH for intensive training with 23rd Armoured Bde  
  11th   "B" troop inspected by the New Zealand Prime Minister who expressed himself as highly satisfied with all he saw.  
  12th   2/Lt  Berke promoted to W.S. Lieut.  
  17th   2/Lt  P.A.L. Wilson interposed from "CC" Bty R.H.A.  
  18th   2/Lt  McNair posted to 152 Fd. Regt. R.A.  
      Divisional Cross Country run and map reading completion. The Regiment won the contest by min from 50 R.T.R.  
         
      This month was mainly devoted to training with 23rd Armoured Bde on a Squadron, company and troop basis.  

 

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Appendix 6

 

R.H.Q., 5th. Regt. R.H.A.

        The Manor,

               Little Easton,

                   Nr. DUNMOW,   Essex

                        4th. July 1940.

Brigadier C.W. Norman,

    H.Q. 1st, Armd. Recce Bde.,

         Stanley Barracks,

            Bovington Camp,

                 WAREHAM. Dorset.

 
 

Dear Brigadier,

 

Very many thanks for your letter - just received.

 
That D.R. got through to Div. with your message, and as arranged, brought the answer to me. The answer said that arrangements were being co-ordinated with flank units, and that further orders would follow.

As the enemy attack was in full swing on the return of the D/R. and was then pushing towards the RATTE-KO road, I had no idea where you would be, and could not send him on to you. I therefore told him to stay with me until the situation has clarified. But later he disappeared.

Brig. Hamilton's H.Q. were near mine. He told me that his orders were "to thin out at 2130 hrs and to be clear of the RATTE-KP road by midnight."

I therefore conformed, not being in touch with you. The two forward guns got back without difficulty, after the tank attack had been stopped.

The withdrew the others by troops, sending all but the absolutely essential men and transport back behind the Canal at about 2100 hrs.

The blocked roads caused considerable difficulty, as you know, but we finally got all guns into action behind the canal, where one from K Bty. had been established the day before.

I was glad to hear from you, and to know that you had returned safely.

It was also a great pleasure to hear that you considered those two forward guns had done their job satisfactorily.

   
   
  Yours sincerely,
  A. Durand

 

August 1941

Commanding Officer: Maj J. A Norman R.H.A.

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
BURROWS 3rd   Lt M Niel posted to the Battery on first appointment from 125 O.C.T.U.  
LEA 8.   The Battery attended a one day Practice Camp at Lewes. Owing to bad weather the camp was cancelled after the first 3 shoots.  
      No officers from the battery shot and the detachments did not come into action.  
  9.   The Battery completed a Vehicle Competition at Tilgate organised by 8th Armoured Division (Support Group). The competitions included an inter troop quad winching competition in which the Battery scored 1st and 2nd places from the remainder of the Regiment (B Tp. 1st. A Tp 2nd).  
      The Battery also won the Bren Carrier Class.  
      (U/L/Bdr Dick, A Troop) and the 8 Cwt class (U/L/Bdr Pritchard, Bty HQ.)  
  14   Divisional Exercise IBEX  
  18-26   The Battery travelled by road to Practice Camp at WEST DOWN, staying the night 18/19th with the 21st Medium and Heavy Training Regiment RA at Larkhill, and moving into Tilshead camp for the remainder of Camp.  
      The Camp consisted of 2 days gallery shooting at which every officer in the Battery had a shoot, Troop schemes, Anti Tank Shooting, Battery Schemes and finally a Regimental Deployment  
      A Troop scored 50% hits against tanks firing a mixture of A.P. Shot and plugged H.E.  
         
      The month was spent mainly on preparation for Practice Camp.  

 

September 1941

Commanding Officer: Maj J. A Norman R.H.A

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
BURROUGHS  1st   Brig. H.M. Stanford (8th Ad. Div, Support Gp.) inspects the battery area.  
LEA  "   2/Lt  C.D.M. Peal interpostd from 'K' Bty R.H.A.  
  15th   Anti-tank firing practice on the ranges  
  22nd   Anti-parachute exercises.  
  23rd      "        "              "  
  26.   Move to concentration area for exercise "BUMPER"  
  27.   Moved to HUNGERFORD area.  
  28/29   Approach march by night under command 23rd Armd. Bde.  

 

October 1941

Commanding Officer: Maj J. A Norman R.H.A

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
BURROUGHS  3rd   "BUMPER" exercise finishes.  
LEA 5th   Bty returns with the Regt. to GOMSHALL.  
  30th   Bty moves to TILSHEAD for Practice Camp.  
  31st   Bty carries out one days firing practice.  

 

November 1941

Commanding Officer: Maj J. A Norman R.H.A

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
BURROUGHS  13   Lt. D.L. Benke to 'K' Bty R.H.A on promotion.  
LEA 20.   Inspection by Div. Cndr, who expressed himself as being very pleased with all he saw.  
  25.   2/Lt  J.S. Fielding R.H.A. promoted to Lieut.  
         
      This month was spent in improving the billets for the unit and individual training. Special attention was paid to small arms training.  

 

December 1941

Commanding Officer: Major J. A Norman R.H.A

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
BURROUGHS  Dec 2   Mobilization Order received. Bty proceeds on embarkation leave in two details.  
LEA     All ranks present for Christmas which was celebrated in the usual manner,  

 

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