War Diary of the 14th Army Tank Battalion (The Calgary Regiment)

October 1941 (Volume 9)

Place

Date

Hour

Summary of Events and Information

Stackpole Court, Pembrokeshire, Wales

1/10/41

 

The Calgary Regiment had finished all firing at the AFV Ranges, Castlemartin, Pembrokeshire, Wales and preparations were begun to move the unit and its equipment from the ranges to new quarters around Headley, Hants.

Headley, Hants

   

The advance party under Captain DH Woodside (OC ‘HQ’ Squadron) made final arrangements to receive the unit in the new quarters at Headley, Hants.

Stackpole Court

 

0745

A convoy of 25 vehicles left Stackpole for Headley under the command of Major J Begg (OC ‘A’ Squadron) carrying personnel and equipment.

   

0830

A personnel train under the command of Capt A Glenn (OC ‘C’ Squadron) left Pembroke Station for Headley.  This train carried 232 All Ranks.

   

1915

The Officer Commanding, Lieutenant-Colonel GR Bradbrooke, MC, psc, and the Adjutant Captain FT Jenner left Stackpole Court by car for Headley.
There remained at Stackpole Court only a small rear-party under the command of Lieut. CE Eldred (Technical Officer).

Farnham, Surrey

2/10/41

0055

The personnel train under Capt. A Glenn arrived at Farnham Station and were transported to Headley arriving there at approximately 0200 hours.

   

0700

The tank train carrying 16 tanks from Stackpole Court, Pembrokeshire, under the command of Major CE Page (OC ‘B’ Squadron) arrived at Farnham.  The tanks were then driven to Headley.

Headley, Hants

 

1130

The convoy from Stackpole Court under Major J Begg arrived at Headley, Hants.
The remainder of the day was spent in getting the men allotted to their quarters and getting them settled.

Headley, Hants

3/10/41

1100

The rear party from Stackpole Court under Lieut. Eldred arrived at Farnham Station and were transported to Headley.  This brought the unit completely to Headley with the exception of those officers and ORs away on schools, courses, etc.

The regimental area at Headley consisted of four squadron areas.  In the first area Battalion HQ and HQ Squadron were accommodated.  The building in this area consisted of 1 house (Headley Mount) (Ref. Ordn. Survey Sheet Aldershot Command MC 271566), 10 Terran huts and 4 Nissen huts.  There were also 2 Mess Halls and some distance away a small cottage with a large barn.
Headley Mount housed the officers’ mess and quarters, Battalion Orderly room, the CO’s Office and a small dental room.  The Terran huts were used for OR’s quarters.  The detached cottage and barn were used for the 51st Light Aid Detachment (attached to this battalion).  The Nissen huts, being very close to Headley Mount, were used for Pay Office, R.AI, QM Stores and one allotted to the Sergeants Mess.

‘A’ Squadron area was called the ‘Cresta Field’ area (Ref. Ordn. Survey Sheet Aldershot Command MC 274563).  There were the following buildings in this area: 2 houses (Cresta Field and Tonkyndyne) - these were used for Officers’ mess and quarters and the Sqn Orderly room; 8 Terran huts, 2 Mess tents and 1 cook house; 2 rooms in Windmill Lodge and a small summer-house of Windmill Lodge were also used for NCOs quarters.  In this area there was a NAAFI canteen.

‘B’ Squadron area was around two houses called Windridge and KentonKenton house became the officers' mess and quarters, Windridge and other buildings in the area were used for ORs quarters and messes.

‘C’ Squadron occupied the ‘Ludshott’ area , just west of Ludshott Common (Ref Ordn Survey Sheet Aldershot Command MC 285557).  The Ludshott area consisted of three houses: Ludshott View, Red Tiles and Pine Croft.  These were used respectively for Orderly room and Sergts quarters, Officers Mess and quarters, and QM and Tec stores.  The ORs were accommodated in 10 Nissen huts, 2 mess halls, bathhouse, and a cook house.  ‘C’ Sqn area contained a NAAFI canteen.

   

2130

Capt RR Taylor, Capt T Ward and Lieut DF Cameron returned from the exercise ‘Bumper’ on which they had been acting as umpires for the 25th Army Tank Brigade.

Headley, Hants

4/10/41

 

The morning was spent by all Squadrons making final adjustments in accommodation and in giving the billets a final cleaning.
Lieut MJA Lambert, ‘B’ Squadron, left for the factory course at Lincoln.

Headley, Hants

5/10/41

 

A protestant Church Parade was held at one of the churches in Headley while an RC church parade was held in Grayshott.

Headley, Hants

6/10/41

 

Training in all squadrons was begun in accordance with the syllabus attached in Appendix 5.

Headley, Hants

9/10/41

1330

A demonstration of ‘Tank Hunting’ was held just east of Headley.  A composite troop of tanks (each tank commanded by an officer) was attacked by an A/T Platoon from No.3 Canadian Infantry Holding Unit at Witley, led by Lieut H Prowse.

Headley, Hants

10/10/41

2230

A regular day of training was carried out. 
Capt LG Alexander, Medical Officer, returned from an anti-gas course at Tregantle.

Headley, Hants

11/10/41

0930

Lieut T Cornett of ‘C’ Squadron left for the factory course at Lincoln.

Headley, Hants

12/10/41

0100

Church services were held at Headley, Hants.
Lieut Wallace, ‘B’ Squadron, left to attend a Gunnery Course at Lulworth.

Headley, Hants

13/10/41

 

Cloudy, cool.  Monday being the regular ‘vehicle holiday’ all units vehicles remained in camp allowing the drivers time for maintenance.  Five more Mark IIA Star were allotted to the unit.  These are still at Witley awaiting clearance orders.

Headley, Hants

14/10/41

0800

Cloudy, cool, rain.  Major J Begg left for Waverly Post to attend a conference preparatory to drawing up a tactical exercise.

   

1000

Brigadier WJ O’B Daunt, Commander of Bordon Sub-area, inspected the camp, visiting all squadrons in the course of the morning.

   

1300

Capt FT Ward (2i/c ‘B’ Squadron) left for a one month physical training course at Aldershot.

   

1600

Major J Begg returned to camp.  Training is now concentrated on co-operation with infantry, and arrangements are being completed for this regiment to work with infantry units of the 3rd Canadian Division in a co-operational role.  It is planned that ‘C’ Squadron will be the one to take this part first, so that this type of training is being most vigorously carried on by that Squadron.

Headley, Hants

15/10/41

 

Fair and warm.  Word has been received that the Battalion is to be inspected on Thursday 16 October 1941 by Hon JL Ralston, Canada’s Minister of National Defence.  Preparations were carried on and a ‘guard of honour’ of forty other ranks was chosen to pay compliments to Mr Ralston on his arrival.

   

1600

Major C Page (OC ‘B’ Squadron) left to attend a one week ‘Company Commanders’ D&M Course at Bordon Camp.

Headley, Hants

16/10/41

 

Cool and cloudy.  In the morning, final arrangements were made for the inspection by the Minister of National Defence.

   

1545

Capt WS Hunt, OC 61st LAD, RCOC (attached to this battalion) returned from Wales where he had been assisting the other Light Aid Detachments of the Brigade at Linney Head.

   

1600

The inspecting party arrived at regimental Headquarters at Headley Mount and consisted of: The Honourable JL Ralston, Canadian Minister for National Defence; Major-General HDG Crerar, Chief of the General Staff; and Lieutenant-General AGL McNaughton, CB, CMG, DSO, Canadian Corps Commander, accompanied by Brigadier Worthington.
The inspecting party were met by the Guard of Honour and after a formal inspection of Regimental Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, were taken for a short ride on the tanks of Headquarters Squadron.  Tea was served in the Officers’ Mess and at 1700 hours the party left.  It is understood that they were remarkably pleased with what they had seen.

Headley, Hants

17/10/41

1600

Cloudy, cool.  A regular day of training.
Captain JPC Atwood MC returned from the RAC Tactical School at Bulford where he had been attending a tactics course for Army Tank Brigade tactics for the last month.

   

1600

A party of 12 officers attended a showing of motion pictures of the raid on Spitzbergen, held in Aldershot.

Headley, Hants

18/10/41

 

Rain.  The regular Saturday routine was carried out by all Squadrons.

Headley, Hants

19/10/41

 

Cloudy, cool.  Regular church services were held.  The protestant services were conducted by H/Capt WEL Smith.
[Trooper Nip Keys of Oshawa, Ontario, signed his name in the Church Gate Stores attic]

Headley, Hants

20/10/41

1100

Cloudy, cool.
Major JA Macdonald MC (Second-in-command) returned from a Security Course.

   

1430

The Officer commanding was visited by Brigadier HLN Salmon MC of the Canadian 7th Infantry brigade for the purpose of making final arrangements for the tank-infantry co-operation exercise to be carried out during the week of the 27th October 1941.
During the afternoon there was a very interesting incident.  A ‘spy’ (SSM Norman of Headquarters Squadron in clerical garb) was sent by the OC to test the local protection etc. of Brigade Headquarters.  The ‘spy’ was very successful and some form of retaliation is expected.

Headley, Hants

21/10/41

 

Clear, warm.  A regular day of training. 
The unit equipment now consists of47 Mark IIA Star Tanks allotted 4 to HQ Sqn (complete establishment), 15 to ‘A’ Sqn (3 short of establishment), 15 to ‘B’ Sqn (3 short of establishment) and 15 to ‘C’ Sqn (3 short of establishment).
Training in driving and tactics are concentrated on infantry co-operational roles.  Regimental wireless schools for loader-operators, and gunnery instructions for tank gunners are continuing.
Major J Begg left during the day with Lieuts Lambert, Stanton and Watkin to take part in a TEWT with officers of the 8th Infantry Brigade.  This exercise was based on tank-infantry tactics and was held on ground approximately half way between Salisbury and Portsmouth.

Headley, Hants

22/10/41

 

Regular training continued.  Emphasis is being placed on tank-infantry co-operation and plans are continuing for exercises to be held with the 7th Infantry brigade in the last week of this month.
Training continues in all branches of tank work, wireless schools are being carried on regimentally, gunnery, tactics, driving and maintenance are being conducted by squadrons.

Headley, Hants

23/10/41

1500

The Regiment put on a demonstration of loading and unloading tanks on special flat-cars by means of ramp-ladders and ramp-cars.  This was put on at a railway siding at Longmoor (two miles south of Bordon Camp) for candidates of an RTC Training School.  Captain GT Valentine was in charge of the demonstration and the Commanding Officer and a number of other officers attended.

Headley, Hants

24/10/41

 

A regular day of training.
One of the most important aspects of training in a battalion of this nature is the carrying out of regular maintenance on all wheeled and tracked vehicles, the daily vehicle efficiency state is thus of great interest.  An example of such a report (the report for this day) is given below.  This shows, in addition, all the equipment on charge to the unit.
Tanks, Mark IIA Star: War Establishment (W/E): 45; On charge (OC): 47; Allotment and efficiency (by squadron): ‘HQ’ Sqn: in action 3, out of action 1; ‘A’ Sqn: in action 8, out of action 6; ‘B’ Sqn, in action 8, out of action 7; ‘C’ Sqn: in action 11, out of action 3.
Tanks ‘I’ Mark IIA Star (Close Support): War Establishment 6; On charge 2; Allotment and efficiency: ‘A’ Sqn, in action 1; ‘C’ Sqn, in action 1.
Tanks Cruiser Mark V: w/E 7; On charge 0.
Carriers, TCP: W/E 11, On charge 11; Allotment and efficiency: ‘HQ’ Sqn: in action 2; ‘A’ Sqn: in action 2, out of action 1; ‘B’ Sqn: in action 3; ‘C’ Sqn: in action 2, out of action 1.
Trucks: 15 cwt (office) W/E 1; on charge 0.
Trucks 15 cwt (W/T): W/E 1; on charge 0.
Lorries 30 cwt: W/E 0; on charge 14; Allotment and efficiency: ‘HQ’ 5; Other Sqns 3.
Lorries 3 ton: W/E 29; on charge 15; Allotment and efficiency: ‘HQ’ 3; Other Sqns 4.
Motorcycles: W/E 18; on charge 6; in action 5.
Station Wagons: W/E 4; on charge 0.

   

1100

A party of 1 NCO and 14 other ranks from Brigade Signals, RCCS, were attached to the unit for all purposes.  They are attached for radio maintenance and repair.

Headley Down, Hants

25/10/41

 

Word was received that Lieut W Little, Paymaster attached to this unit since its mobilisation, had received a Captaincy.
[Automatic telephone exchange opened in Glayshers Hill, Headley Down — Royal Canadian Engineers finish Erie Camp around this time]

   

1100

Lieuts Purdy and Allison proceeded to Lincoln to attend factory ‘works’ course.  This course lasts for one week and is for one officer and four other ranks each week.  [M27002 Trp Leslie A. POWERS was one of the 'other ranks' – source: Ted Simpkins, his nephew]. A large majority of the officers in the regiment have now attended this course.

   

1330

An educational tour to Portsmouth left the area under the direction of H/Capt WEL Smith, padre of the unit.  These trips to points of historical interest are very popular with the men.

Headley, Hants

26/10/41

 

Regular Sunday routine.  Protestant church service was held under H/Capt WEL Smith.

   

1330

Lieut-Col GR Bradbrooke MC, Officer Commanding, left for the AFV School, Bovington to attend a one-week course of W/T Gunnery, and D&M.
Major J Begg left for a one week Company Commanders D&M Course at Bordon Camp.

Headley, Hants

27/10/41

 

Infantry-tank co-operation exercises with the 7th Cdn Infantry Brigade were started.  The first unit to work with this regiment being the Royal Winnipeg Rifles.  In the morning a demonstration showing the organisation and equipment of an Army Tank Squadron was put on.  Then after a demonstration of various tank formations, the officers and NCOs of the Infantry Brigade were given a ride in a tank.
In the afternoon several simple tactical exercises with tanks and infantry were carried out.  At the same time orders and recces for a larger scheme for the next day were conducted.

   

2200

Regular officers’ meeting was held in HQ Officers Mess.  Major Begg described the TEWT that he had taken part in during the previous week.

Headley, Hants

28/10/41

1000

The tank-infantry co-operation scheme started.  This scheme was a simple ‘set-piece’ attach staged on Ludshott Common, with one squadron of tanks working with one company of infantry.

Headley, Hants

29/10/41

 

The Regina Rifles of the 7th Infantry Brigade arrived to carry on a similar period of co-operation with tank training.  A similar demonstration to that previously staged showing squadron’s equipment and organisation was put on.

   

2000

A dance was held in the Village Hall in Headley for the men of Headquarters Squadron.

Headley, Hants

30/10/41

 

Tank-infantry co-operation exercises were continued with the Regina Rifles.
Routine Orders of this date showed promotion of Lieut CR Eldred, Technical Officer to the rank of Captain.

   

1530

Major JA Macdonald MC, Acting OC in the absence of Col Bradbrooke, and Captain A Glenn left to attend a demonstration near Thetbury, Norfolk.

Headley, Hants

31/10/41

 

There was no infantry unit working with the battalion today, so that tanks were not being used for co-operation exercises.  Tank crews spent the day maintaining the tanks and carrying out regular training.

Calgary Regiment War Diary index


M27002 Trp Leslie A. POWERS, German POW #43060 was the driver of "Chief" the tank used by Maj A. Glenn the OC "C" Sqn. He was born 17th May 1918 in Vancouver, British Columbia and enlisted in the Calgary Tank Regiment on the 21st February 1941 in the small town of Red Deer, Alberta. He was the driver of the first tank to hit the beach at Dieppe, severely wounded and captured. He spent the remaining 33 months of the war as a POW in Stalag 9-C being liberated in the town of Winterberg in Czechoslovakia by elements of the US 3rd Army on 6th May 1945 after a six week 600 km march. – source: Ted Simpkins, his nephew.


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