War Diary 1943
[Update: Transcriptions now complete, from original copies 24 Aug 2013] 

591 (Antrim) Field Company Royal Engineers

January 1943

Commanding Officer: Major Philip (Andy) Andrew Wood  R.E.

Woodbridge, Suffolk
01 Jan 1943
Work on Exercise KRUSCHEN continues- there is considerable frost but does not hold up works at present.
04 - 05 Jan 1943 O.C.[Commanding Officer] attends 54 Division exercise without troops Exercise "Waveny II"
06 Jan 1943 O.C. attends discussions held by C.E. [Commander Engineers] Eastern Command at Bury St Edmunds
07 Jan 1943 1 Officer and 37 Other Ranks leave as a working party for Exercise KRUSCHEN and live on the site.
10 Jan 1943 Lieut N.W. Reid R.A. 214389 is attached to this company with effect today as a supernumerary pending posting to Royal Engineers
19 Jan 1943 Lieut NW Reid R.A. left this Company to be attached to 286 Field Company R.E.
Commander of Engineers, II Corps District, visited work in progress on Exercise Kruschen
20 Jan 1943 Commander Engineers, II Corps District, visited company billets at Woodbridge, accompanied by CRE [Commander Royal Engineers] 54 Division and discussed training with O.C.
26 Jan 1943 Company Commander, 2nd in command and other officers attended T.E.W.T. [Tactical Exercise without Troops] Exercise 'BASIS' - training in co-operation of R.E. Reconnaissance Parties with Recce Regiment.
29 Jan 1943 No.P/243839 2/Lt R.A. Bridgeford at present attached to company posted and taken on to the strength of this company.
No. P/237392(?)  Lt. Lever or Laver(?) [currently] attached to 286 Field Company R.E., posted to Royal Engineers 54 Division.
31 Jan 1943 Strength: 7 Officers and 185 Other Ranks.

Signed:J.H. Masterton Capt. R.E.




591 (Antrim) Field Company Royal Engineers

February 1943

Commanding Officer: Major Philip (Andy) Andrew Wood  R.E.

Minsmere,Suffolk
01 Feb 1943
Work on Exercise KRUSCHEN continues- Exceptionally high wind - telephone communications with HQRE and Company Detachment severed.
Woodbridge,Suffolk
04 - 05 Feb 1943
O.C. and two Officers with reconnoitre parties take part in Eastern Command Skeleton Exercise "CORUNNA."
11 Feb 1943 Detail - two platoons (from) 147 Bridging Company R.A.S.C. attached to this Company for training.
2 Officers 100 Other Ranks, 55 vehicles.
Platoon (from) 249 Field Company under command for training.
12 Feb 1943 Commencement of Bridging Training with floating Bailey.
Exercise "Antrim".
Detachment from this Company 3 Officers 60 Other Ranks move to Glemham House, Marlesford for Bridge Training camps.
13 Feb 1943 Exercise "Antrim I "move of bridging equipment by day from a forward assembly area to harbour out off loading.
Glemham House, Marlesford
16 Feb 1943
Exercise "Antrim II" demonstration of floating Bailey Bridge to advance command of 54 Division.
18 to 20 Feb 1943 Exercise "Antrim III " Bridging Exercise.
In co-operation with 147 Bridge Company R.A.S.C. and 54 Division Pro(?) Company at Botesdale near Diss. Exercise designed to practice movement of equipment, marshalling assembly and building. 
21 Feb 1943 No.262521 2/Lt Green R.E. and No.262516 2/Lt Emsley R.E. posted to this company from 140 O.C.T.U. R.E. and joined for duty.
Woodbridge, Suffolk
23 Feb 1943
Detail - 147 Bridge Company ceases to be attached to this Company.
. .
28 Feb 1943

591 (Antrim) Field Company R.E. permanently alloted 54 Division auth 54 Div 0205 dated 27 Feb.

Signed:J.H. Masterton Capt. R.E.




591 (Antrim) Field Company Royal Engineers

March 1943

Commanding Officer: Major Philip (Andy) Andrew Wood  R.E.

Woodbridge, Suffolk
01 Mar 1943

O.C. leaves for Exercise "Spartan" as Personal Assistant to R.E. advisor.
02 Mar 1943 3 subalterns, 4 NCOs, 3 Motor Cycle orderlies leave for Exercise "Spartan" as R.E. Pool umpires with 'German' army.
Minsmere, Suffolk
08 Mar 1943

Company task on Exercise "Kruschen" completed.
Woodbridge, Suffolk
08 Mar 1943
2 i/c leaves to attend No.3 (Field Units) Company Command Course at SME Ripon [School of Mechanical Engineering - Yorkshire].
14 Mar 1943 O.C. returns from Exercise "Spartan".
21 Mar 1943 No. P265445 2/Lt B.H.E. Pearson R.E. joined this unit from 140 Field OCTU R.E. [Officer Cadet Training Unit]
31 Mar 1943 The strength of the Unit on this day is 8 Officers and 207 Other Ranks.

Signed:P.A. Wood Major R.E.




591 (Antrim) Field Company Royal Engineers

April 1943

Commanding Officer: Major Philip (Andy) Andrew Wood  R.E.

Woodbridge, Suffolk
01 Apr 1943
Company employed on general Engineer Training.
06 Apr 1943 P/265445 2/Lt Pearson posted to join draft at R.E. Depot Halifax.
11 Apr 1943 P/269079 2/Lt P.L.A. Williams posted to this unit from 140 (Field) OCTU R.E. [Officer Cadet Training Unit]
22-25 Apr 1943 P/25398 2/Lt D.H. Thomas attached to Royal Navy Harwich for a short sea voyage on destroyer HMS Whitshed.
Bungay, Suffolk
27 Apr 1943

O.C. and officers on Bridge Procedure T.E.W.T. [tactical exercise without troops] run by C.R.E. [Commander Royal Engineers] 54 Division.
Snape, Suffolk
28 Apr 1943
Skeleton Exercise on R.T. [radio transmission] proceedure - all wireless sets in Division R.E. took part.
Snape
30 Apr 1943
O.C. and officers attend demolition proceedure T.E.W.T.
Woodbridge, Suffolk
30 Apr 1943
P/243829 2/Lt R.A. Bridgeford leaves Company with a NCO to run Infantry Pioneer Platoon Officer's mines and demolition course at Aldeburgh.[Suffolk coast]
Strength today is 8 Officers, 251 Other Ranks

Signed:P.A. Wood Major R.E.




591 (Antrim) Field Company Royal Engineers

May 1943

Commanding Officer: Major Philip (Andy) Andrew Wood  RE

Woodbridge, Suffolk
01 May 1943

General Battalion Training continues.
08 May 1943 No. P/269079 2/Lt P.L.A. Williams posted to R.E. Depot Halifax.
09 May 1943

273454 2/Lt W.E. James R.E. posted to this Unit

21 May 1943

Under W.O. HM20/Engrs/6982(AC 7/a) 13 May 43 his unit is converted to
591 (Antrim) Parachute Squadron RE
as part of 6 Airborne Divisional  Engineers.
[Also 286 Field Company RE and 249 Field Company RE convert to Airborne.]

22 May 1943

General reorganisation from Field Company to Parachute Squadron.
W.E. and G1098 scales.

23 May 1943 

The following officers joined this unit for duty:
253387 2/Lt C.F. Martindale
264209 2/Lt J.R. Hinshelwood

31 May 1943 

277517 2/Lt P. Mitchley posted to this unit

Strength 10 Officers, 250 Other Ranks.

Signed:J.H. Masterton Capt R.E.




591 (Antrim) Parachute  Squadron Royal Engineers

June 1943

Commanding Officer: Major Philip (Andy) Andrew Wood  R.E. 

Woodbridge, Suffolk
01 Jun 1943

General conversion to Parachute Squadron continues.
02 Jun 1943 O.C. and all Parachute Volunteers report to Airborne Forces School and Depot, Hardwick [Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire] for initial Parachute Training. 2 i/c [second in command] remained to close down Field Company. 
08 Jun 1943

Squadron H.Q. moves from Woodbridge to Beacon Barracks, Bulford.

09 Jun 1943

The following officers are posted to this unit as follows:-
2/Lt Wharton RE p/261519, 2/Lt P.R.H. McCririck P/271173.

11 Jun 1943

2/Lt Best K.H. P/277760, 2/Lt A.B. Oliveira p/277794 .

15 Jun 1943 

Capt. G.F. Davidson R.E. posted to this unit from 3 Para Sqn RE
vice Capt J.R. Masterton R.E. as second in command.

Bulford, Wiltshire.
19 Jun 1943

O.C. and parachuting personnel moves from A.F.D.& S Hardwick to P.T.S. Ringway [Parachute Training School].

20 Jun 1943

P/2782782 2/Lt L.P. Shand posted to Sqn and reported for duty.

30 Jun 1943

P/253387 Lt. C.F. Martindale on completion of 4 parachute descents was posted out to 249 Field Company R.E. (Airborne).

Signed:P.A. Wood Major R.E.
Commanding 591 (Antrim) Parachute Squadron R.E.




591 (Antrim) Parachute Squadron Royal Engineers

July 1943

Commanding Officer: Major Philip (Andy) Andrew Wood  R.E.

Bulford, Wiltshire
01 Jul 1943

2030 hrs: 228863 Lt A,C. Little posted to unit ex 148 Training Brigade (R.E. Wing)
03 Jul 1943 2030 hrs: Squadron (Parachuting personnel) arrived from P.T.S. Ringway.  [Parachute Training School]
06 Jul 1943

0800 hrs: Squadron (Parachuting personnel) proceeded on privilege and parachuting leave. 

06 Jul 1943

2/Lt R.G. Emsley (262516) posted out to 2 Corps Troops Engineers.

12 Jul 1943

T/Capt J.H. Masterton (126382) posted out to C.E.S.E. Command (AG 7 Pool).

20 Jul 1943 

Squadron (Parachuting personnel) returned from leave.  

21 Jul 1943

Training in new role commenced.
Parachuting strength 9 Officers 75 Other Ranks.

28 Jul 1943

Lt R.F. Semple (237304) promoted to A/Capt [acting Captain]with effect 7 July 43.

31 Jul 1943

1st Parachuting exercise on return to War Station. 9 Aircraft allotted.

31 Jul 1943

261519 2/Lt G. Wharton,
278782 2/Lt L.P. Shand,
277760 2/Lt K.H. Best,
271175 2/Lt P.R.H. McCririck,
277794 2/Lt A.B. Oliveira reported for duty on completion of parachute training. 

Signed: G.F. Davidson Capt. R.E.




591 (Antrim) Parachute Squadron Royal Engineers

August 1943

Commanding Officer: Major Philip (Andy) Andrew Wood  R.E.

Bulford, Wiltshire
01 Aug 1943
264209 2/Lt J.R. Hinshelwood to Hardwick (Depot & School, Airborne Forces) as R.E. Liaison Officer for 1 month.
04 Aug 1943 251680 Lieut. A.F. Jackson posted in and arrived. 
09 Aug 1943

249555 Lieut. F.G. Harbord on Photo Interpreters Course (1 week). 

17 Aug 1943

2/Lts Best, Wharton, Shand, Oliveira, McCririck rejoined unit after Parachuting course and leave.

20 Aug 1943

R.E. Band arrives.

21 Aug 1943 

Divisional R.E. Sports meeting. Trophy won by 591 Para Sqn.

22 Aug 1943

Massed Church parade- G.O.C. [General Officer Commanding] 6 Airborne Division taking salute on march past. 

23 Aug 1943

2/Lts Best and Oliveira on Exercise "FRIGATE"

31 Aug 1943

Exercise "TRAMP".  (Click for Appendix A

Signed:P.A. Wood Major R.E.




591 (Antrim) Parachute Squadron Royal Engineers

September 1943

Commanding Officer: Major Philip (Andy) Andrew Wood  R.E.

Bulford, Wiltshire
01 Sep 1943
Reinforcements coming in steadily.
Lieut. R.A. Bridgeford in Netley Hospital suffering from Gunshot wounds accidentally received during street fighting.  
05 Sep 1943 228863 Lieut A.C. Little rejoins unit after parachute leave.
18 Sep 1943

215680 Lieut A.F. Jackson rejoins from parachuting course and proceeds on leave.

24 Sep 1943

Exercise "Dragon" [Click for Appendix I ]

27 Sep 1943

O.C. and 2/Lt Mitchley acted as R.E.  D.S. on 5 Parachute Brigade Subalterns day. 

30 Sep 1943 

The strength of the unit this day is 16 Officers and 199 Other Ranks. 

Signed: G.F. Davidson Capt. R.E.




591 (Antrim) Parachute Squadron Royal Engineers

October & November 1943

Commanding Officer: Major Philip (Andy) Andrew Wood  R.E.

. Diaries have yet to be located.  

Signed:            




591 (Antrim) Parachure Squadron Royal Engineers

December 1943

Commanding Officer: Major Philip (Andy) Andrew Wood  R.E.

Bulford, Wiltshire
01 Dec 1943

Normal training in progress - field engineering, assault demolition and toughening up.
03 - 04 Dec 1943 Exercise "Frank" - parachuting exercise    [Click See Appendix A ]
09 Dec 1943

Admin inspection bt C.R.E. [Commander Royal Engineers] 6 Airborne Division.

09 Dec 1943

Squadron gained 1st place in Division R.E. cross-country race.

18 Dec 1943

Exercise "Guinea XI"- cancelled.

19 Dec 1943

Exercise "Guinea IX"-Squadron 1st jump from Halifax aircraft.

31 Dec 1943

The strength of the Squadron this day is 18 Officers and 230 Other Ranks.

Signed: G.F. Davidson Capt. R.E.



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