HIGHLAND FIELDCRAFT TRAINING CENTRE, GLENFESHIE

DIARY OF L/CPL LEWIS ROBSON

No.9 course lasting 10 weeks assembled on Mon. 8th May 1944.

Mon 8th May 1944

Arrived at Kingussie; met by Directing Staff (DS) and trucks, and thence to Glenfeshie for allocation and issuing of mugs and plates.

Tues 9th May 1944

Reveille 0630 . Issue of maps and cases and rubberised capes. Lack of equipment rectified and kit check. Introduction by Lt. Col. Lord Rowallan.

Wednesday 10th May 1944

Reveille 0630. Got organised under Sgts. Sproat & Simpson for Muster Parade. Capt. Mendl appointed Student Pl. Commdr., Pl. Sgts & Section Commdrs. Periods for the day consisted of Map Reading, Purposeful P.T. (P.P.T.), Pl. Weapons (2 Brens, 2 Stens, & 2 2" Mortars), Crawls (Demonstration). Move. by day (practice of crawls with & without weapons and Individual Stalk. Afternoon culminated in Fieldcraft Race with Major Stevenson (Coy.Commdr.) organising Coy. competition. Capt. Mendl asked 5 snap questions to be every morning.

Thursday 11th May 1944

Reveille 0630. Periods:- L.M.G., crossing of obstacles. Observation & Kims Games (questions on country & general observation. {KIMS GAMES consist of no. of articles on board, specified time to observe, after period of waiting specified time to write down articles). Map Reading. Preparation for Battle (camouflage & concealment dem. & practice. Ideal country). Rifle WT. Cross country run 42/120. Tom Slater first in. Got feet wet. 5 snap questions as usual.

Friday 12th May 1944

Reveille 0630. Muster parade & 5 snap questions.  Lecture by Major Stevenson on Commdrs. Duties. Movement by night and Training Games (blindfolded).  Pioneering (ropes care, whipping & three simple knots).  L.M.G. WT, Rifle WT.  Appreciation of ground & movement. { Lecture involving use of maps & way to study ground (found in notes).  Selection of ways individually and practice of selection as a section attack (from one point to another without being seen - quite successful).  Lecture by Capt. Mendl on orders.  This ended the day.  Everyone rather tired.

Saturday 13th May 1944

Reveille 0700.  Got up at 0750.  Breakfast and arrival in Kingussie.  Walked out to Ruthven Castle and back and went to the pictures.  Thoroughly enjoyed the day and I like Kingussie.  I believe I saw General Montgomery in his Jeep which was recognised by a friend of mine.  Later heard that he was in Kingussie region.

Sunday 14th May 1944

Reveille 0630.  Pl. inspection by Capt. Mendl.  Very pleased with the state of room and weapons.  Attended Church service in Lecture room by the Padre (Capt. Rutherford M.C.).  Lecture by the M.O. on care of feet. Lecture on clothes to wear & kit to carry when going on a Hill Walk.  Set out from camp past Glenfeshie Lodge and by the side of the stream.  Climbed to point 2409'.  No cairn there & ground very boggy. Proceeded down the other side.  Halfway down had lunch.  Screed down the last 100' (great fun).  From there climbed Carn Dearg Mor 2813', continued along ridge to Carn Dearg Beag 2269' and then back to camp.  Stops were on the crests for Map Reading practice.  Saw Carn Toul 4241' & Ben Macdui 4296' in the distance and other Cairngorms also.  Saw Kingussie & Loch Insh from Carn Dearg Mor & about a dozen deer.  On arrival back Observation Tests & dinner.  Received Blue Cadet Flashes, which must be worn on serge at all times on proceeding out of camp.  Picture show on tonight in Lecture room but decided to write letters.

Monday 15th May 1944

Reveille 0630.  Muster Parade and a room and weapon inspection by Major Stevenson.  Very particular but said it was the best room he'd seen.  After Naafi break (exception rather than the rule) we paraded for P.P.T. returned and prepared for Battle Race.  This race was across country, section weapons, mortar and bren & sten were carried.  This included along a road & finding and assembling bren across (through) up the side of the bank (very steep & loose stones) across country over/through a stream up to a hut where the section tied three knots in piece of rope and back to Coy. Office.  This was a section race and was won by our section No.7 & No.8 coming in second.  No.7 & No.8 make up No.4 Pl.  I carried the Mortar part of the way and the bren all the way we had it.  After lunch we did our second period of Pioneering and then the Padre's Hour.  The next period was LMG W.T.  And then a lecture on Appreciation by Major Stevenson.

Weapon cleaning took up part of the evening and it rained.   It has been raining and been cold here for the past two days now.

Tuesday 16th May 1944

Reveille 0630.  First period was 2" Mortar then we went on to Unarmed Combat, first aid and a platoon discussion.

The afternoon was taken up by an inter section stalk during which 7 section crossed the river by means of the river bed; this was after crawling over 100yds in wet boggy heather;  having changed there was a discussion on points and then a period on pioneering.

Wednesday 17th May 1944

Reveille 0630.  Day started off with a lecture on mess tin cooking by Capt. Mendl.   The next period was on Fire Orders & then an interesting lecture and practical work on bridge building, with lashings and wooden spars;  this was pioneering.

Mess tin cooking occupied most of the afternoon and most people had quite a good dinner.   The last two periods were on the 36 grenade & Bayonets.  The weather was still raining besides being cold and miserable.  "Snow on them thar hills".  I was Pl. Comdr. on this day and managed quite well.  Mutual reports were written hated by all the platoon.

Thursday 18th May 1944

Reveille 0630.  No muster parade.  We went out on exercise Pop-em, which I had met, as individual battle practice.  After that we had first aid, our 2nd period taken by the M.O.  He has completed the explanations on injuries and how to splint.

The next two periods were bayonets and a second period of unarmed combat.   To finish the day off we had a period on the Mortar 2" and then pioneering 5 which dealt with splicing, the end of a rope, splicing two ends together and an eye loop.  After this came pay parade as a company.  Today Capt. Mendl was interviewing each person and told them each practically the same thing, not forward enough and about going all out, all the time.  I spent the rest of the night writing.

Friday 19th May 1944

Reveille 0630.   Muster Parade and changeover of Platoons, and successfully acquired top bed.  Capt. Downton introduced himself, and then a quarter of an hour's pioneering followed by a lecture on Astro Navigation given by Lord Rowallan.   After that a map reading quiz and test.

In the afternoon we were warned to prepare ourselves to become moist, in an appreciation.  Acted as the enemy, so quite an easy time of it.  Saw No. 2 Coy's concert "Anything might happen". (Excellent)

Saturday 20th May 1944

Reveille.............. Breakfast 0730 - 0800.  Went in to Kingussie at 10 o'clock and bought a watch, went for a walk up the Gynack, a lovely little stream running through the town.  Had some sandwiches and wrote a letter and went for a walk round the town, had tea and went to see "The Lamp Still Burns", Leslie Howard's last production.  Caught the lorry back to camp and went to bed.

Sunday 21st May 1944

Reveille 0630.  No Muster Parade but a Platoon Inspection by Capt. Downton and then we went on Bridge Building with Sgt.Gilham and erected a shear bridge & a toggle rope bridge.  Two aerial ropeways were erected also;  great fun crossing the river.  In the afternoon we had a period of map reading when Capt. Downton introduced the compass to us, then we went on to fun & games.  That is playing about on obstacles, balance walks, abseilling, Commando death slide etc.  They showed us also some bivvying hints erected by the D.S.

The Padre gave his usual Church Service which was very good and then we dismissed.

Monday 22nd May 1944

Reveille 0630.  Muster Parade and Padre's hour.  Make & Mend, & Interior economy. L.M.G. 4. Hygiene, a picture called the Housefly very disgusting but very instructive, and then a few words by the M.O. on water.

After dinner a discussion about Camp Routine.  March down with everything you wanted to take with you. From 1500 hrs. we built bivouacs, three of us.  Issued with rations for the next day, and preparation of haversack rations.

Late to bed that night but slept well.  Weather quite warm but raining at odd intervals.

I was Section Commander from 1800 hrs. onward.

Tuesday 23rd May 1944

Reveille not fixed but bivouac inspection was at 0845 hrs.  Bivouac did not leak and was warm.

During this morning we fired the Bren and learnt about axemanship and method of felling trees.  The afternoon was taken up by 2" Mortar firing & the crossing of obstacles by night and day.  Preparation of hot meal at 0430.  Owing to disorganisation, meal was disjointed but quite nice.  Rather late when we finished meal but improvements to bivouac had to be undertaken.  Another late night.  Rations for next day issued.

Wednesday 24th May 1944

Reveille not fixed.  Breakfast & bivouac inspection as usual, and then we went on to Sten firing.  Very good course.  Clearing a house with snap targets popping & running with live ammo. & Pioneering review.

In the afternoon we went rafting, built the raft with petrol tins etc.  Good time was had by all.  The raft built held one man, and the river 3 - 4 ft. deep and 20' - 30' wide.  One section got over & back in 4 mins. 30 secs. approx.  Constructive criticism & then dismissed for preparation of meal at 16.30 hrs.  Rations issued; meal better timed & further improvements in bivvys.  Another late night.  Area attacked by No.2 Coy., busy with W.O.S.B.  Stayed in bed 7 nothing happened.  Night exercise didn't come off.

Thursday 25th May 1944

Bivouac Inspection.    Reveille still not fixed.  Throwing of 36, 69 & 77 grenades with close combat thrown in. In the afternoon hip firing with the rifle, along a course of bobbing and running targets - very well designed targets - & map reading thrown in. Observation test and preparation of hot meal, 1630 hrs.  Meal this time very good, well timed.  Rations issued, and then we went to the Naafi, the only time we were allowed into camp.  Bivouac was finished to our delight & comfort.

I took over platoon commander & all night we drank and ate fried bread.  Mess tin in a mess because of this.  Another late night.

Friday 26th & Saturday 27th May 1944

Reveille 0430 because of sentry duty I had to do got breakfast & everything ready to clear out when Major Stevenson wanted me.  Two sentries not on duty during the night.  Because of this we nearly spent another night out there but several other platoons had the same trouble & it would have caused a disruption of supplies.  Having been ordered not to take down the bivvys the verdict was reversed and we tore down the bivvys, cleaned the area & loaded the lorry and returned to camp.

Pay Parade was next & then lunch.  First in the afternoon came P.P.T. when we did a round each with the gloves on, boxing.  After that we had a period of Map Reading, resection & intersection etc., and then Mutual Reports.

I went into Kingussie & stayed at the Star Hotel, tried to get Dad on the phone but could not.  Got up early & had a bath, and went round the shops with Dick, wrote a letter & phoned Eva, and then went to the pictures to see "Holy Matrimony" with Gracie Fields & Monty Wooley.  Returned to Glenfeshie and cleaned my mess tins.  Fell into bed.

Sunday 28th May 1944

Reveille 0630.  Dashing about cleaning weapons for inspection & the Church Service.  These services by Capt. Rutherford (Padre) are very good.  After the NAAFI break we had P.P.T. and CSM's tasks and then lunch.  Gas training and then a lecture by the Commandant on the Chindits, an account read about one of General Orde Wingate's flying columns, and to finish off the day an interview with Capt. Downton, and compulsory attendance at a football match or digging latrines.

Monday 29th May 1944

Reveille 0630.  In the morning changeover took place and our new officer is Captain Minney ex Commando instructor.  We then went out on section field firing exercise, in which we used all weapons, and did a section attack on an enemy position using live ammo.

In the afternoon Sgt. Gilham took us on explosives (notes elsewhere) & booby traps.  When we came back to the hut it was all fitted up with booby traps & one or two exploded.  Nothing more eventful except that my rifle is gradually becoming quite clean.

Tuesday 30th May 1944

Reveille 0630.  After muster parade it was quite warm, and we went on "Fit to Drop" which consisted of jumping off the back of a lorry travelling at 15 miles per hour.  They of course graduated the speed, doing two jumps at each of the speeds, 5 mph, 8, 10, 12, and 15.  After jumping off we had to get on again, by far the worst thing.  After that we went onto "Fun & Games" (crossing obstacles) straight off one after the other.

The next thing was "Stick-em";  this was the most concentrated expenditure of energy I have ever done.  We completed the course in 4 mins. 40 secs., which was very good.  There were 4 syndicates of 4 doing this at each time, the Bren firing close to you, & the best time for one syndicate was 3 mins. & odd secs & up to then the fastest time had been 4 mins. 10 secs.  They reckoned the total time & knocked off 10 secs. for every hit on the target. This took us up to dinner time.

Padre's hour, Platoon discussion and then W.T. quiz.  After that we went for briefing for Exercise Woodcutter.  Because of a general's inspection we had to clear the camp up, mild "Bull"..  Prepared for the exercise and so to bed.

Wednesday 31st May 1944

Reveille 0630.  Got everything packed & stacked ready to move off under Capt. Mendl by 0835 hrs.  Our platoon was supposed to be a German force of parachutists and was taken by lorry some distance from the camp where we set off to march a little way to wood where we had been dropped at.

Here we received the briefing and patter for the exercise, made our appreciations & moved off towards Feshiebridge.  Here we stopped for lunch and hunted for our weapons.  After lunch bashed on to Alvie Forest & took up positions near the stream junction.  We were attacked by another force, British, and they were successful.  After criticism of the day's work, rations came up and we set about cooking our meal and building bivvys.  The weather had been smashing up to now but during the night started raining.

On Wednesday morning we set off to German orders and at the German slope singing "Deutschland, Deutschland".

Thursday 1st June 1944

Reveille 0630.  Got up to find it had been raining & everything fairly well soaked, but nevertheless made breakfast of porridge, bacon & beans & fried bread, cut up our haversack rations and wiped most of the rust off our rifles and weapons and left for the lumberjacks camp nearby.

Went into the camp singing and were dished out with new axes & saws and set off to cut down the forest. Soon the trees were falling in all directions to the cry of "TIM B - E - R" in true Newfoundland fashion.  At dinnertime we had the unexpected pleasure of a dinner provided by the Newfoundlanders who know what a dinner is.  After that we had an intersection race to see which section could fell the most logs in a given time and 3 Section, my section, won it.  After clearing up and handing the axes back after a hard day's work, we went back to camp and cooked our dinner, smothered our rifles in oil and went to bed hoping it wouldn't rain in.

Friday 2nd June 1944

Were aroused at 0330 to do sentry duty until 0430; during that time we, Savage and myself wandered round, lit our fire, got the other sentry to keep it going and retired to bed.  Allen got up, as he hadn't been on guard, at Reveille 0530 hrs. and made our breakfast of porridge & boiled egg for when we got up at 0615 hrs. ready for us to eat.  Washed & shaved & packed by 0730;  we destroyed the bivvy & cleaned weapons, this time chipping the rust off. My rifle, because I had had it in bed with me, was quite clean.

Paraded for inspection and waited for the word go.  We set off at 0905 hrs. from Alvie Forest and covered the 12 miles or so between there and camp in 2 hrs 22 mins., a really tremendous bash, carrying brens & mortars.

The Naafi was open and hot showers were laid on, very nice after the bash.  I carried the Bren the bigger part of the way and the mortar quite a distance.  The section took a terrific beating but we won the race out of 12 sections, and got a pint of beer each {half Naafi beer}.

Interior economy and cleaning the weapons took place after that, and then Pay Parade.  We got our passes and had tea and cleaned the mess tins and went into Kingussie.

Booked a room at the Star and rang up Marjorie, got through but the line was very indistinct.  Very nice to hear her voice again.  Had some sandwiches and retired.

Saturday 3rd June 1944

Called three times but got up at 0840 hrs., breakfast at 0920 hrs. and then went and did some shopping in Kingussie, got a fountain pen and a few other things, and then had lunch.

After lunch I wrote some letters and then rang up home, got through quite easily, & then had some tea, went to see "Dixie" which was quite a nice picture.  Came back to camp & finished off mess tins & rifle for the inspection on Sunday morning & so to bed.

Sunday 4th June 1944

Reveille 0630 & inspection of mess tins & weapons at 0830; last minute rush as usual.  Next came the service, but unfortunately the Padre was in dock & was missed by all.

Platoon lines of advance took up the rest of the morning.  First in the afternoon was P.P.T. and then a period on W.T.. Interior economy & briefing for exercise Bumper.

Rain poured down all day & made everyone thoroughly miserable, because if we are down for a period of something out of doors we do it consequently we come back soaked.

Had dinner & then wrote up the log & some letters.

Monday 5th June 1944

Reveille 0630 hrs.   Hut cleaned 7 kit stacked and we moved off at 0915.  This scheme was called "Exercise Bumper" and it consisted of Platoons bumping the one in front and gaining points.  This went on all day with various tasks to do on the way such as bridging rivers and setting booby traps etc.

That night we slept in a deserted bothy quite comfortably.   Cooking inside.

Tuesday 6th June 1944

Reveille 0600 hrs.  We cooked breakfast, washed in the Spey and then paraded and left for camp.  The idea of this scheme was to have each person in the section memorising part of the route home & to cross country without looking at the map.  It rained solidly the whole time and we were soon wet through.

Halfway over the course we built a fire although everything was sodden & Capt. Minney & Sgt. Soames brewed some cocoa and it was delicious.  We arrived home about 1600 hrs. & had a hot shower & a meal & felt considerably better.   Wrote two letters & went to bed;  a pretty bad bash.

Wednesday 7th June 1944

Reveille 0630 hrs. but we didn't get up until 0700 hrs.  Some of us had bad stomachs myself having to get up in the middle of the night.  Felt pretty lousy all day, went to the M.I. room and Corporal gave me something to take;  felt better.

That morning weapon cleaning, exterior & interior economy took up the time.  We paraded for briefing for exercise "Loch Einich" which is supposedly the worst scheme to be done here.  We were overjoyed to find that as there was no No.2 Company at the moment & that the 2nd Front had started we weren't allowed to leave camp because of the need for a standing party for mobile column.  This also provided complications for the two days off we are having on Friday & Saturday.  We were told great efforts had been made to get us a weekend's leave but unfortunately nothing could be done about it;  instead we are to have two free days & two with very little work to do.  Great things happening about passes for the period.  Students cursing CSM Weir for refusing incorrectly written passes.

Went to bed early & wrote up the log & some letters.

Thursday 8th June 1944

Reveille 0630.  Everyone feeling under the weather and being very pleased that "Loch Einich" was off. Instead we went on to Crossing of Obstacles and did the Commando Death Slide, which is a rope high up on one side of the Feshie and low down on the other.  The idea is to fasten the toggle rope round the main rope, pass it round underneath one's shoulders and then launch oneself off into space.  The point to remember is that the rope has to be greased or the toggle rope has to be soaked.  Every time one man goes down the heat burns through one strand of the toggle rope and smoke can be seen on the way down.  It really is great fun provided that you see that a different place is used on the toggle rope each time.  On one side the rope is up a tree about 30 feet or more above the river.  A period of W.T. and then we went on to P.P.T. where we had an all in game resembling rugby but with one rule, no kicking the ball & about 60 people playing.

Due to the fact that General Franklin was coming the afternoon was spent in interior economy.  When he arrived and spent about an hour there was a cry of "Outside Coy Office everyone" and the first twenty were marched away to give demonstrations on the Obstacle Course.  He had actually come to see us training & brought a bevy of generals with him.  He is GOC Home Forces.

We paraded for In line Picquet at 1900 hrs. and were lashed into shape as a platoon.

After that I went to the Naafi & then to see "Clive of India" with Ronald Coleman & Loretta Young.  The picture was very good & so to bed.

Friday 9th June 1944

Reveille 0700.  We got up at 0740 and had breakfast, paraded at 0915 and by dinnertime had moved the latrine, quite a job.  In the afternoon I went to see the Commandant & had a little chat with him.  He wished me good luck and shook hands, as he did with everyone else, and then I went back to the barrack room and looked busy but did nothing and had a little sleep.  After tea we had a parade for In line Picquet.

Saturday 10th June 1944

Reveille 0700.  We didn't get up 'til 0740 and after breakfast we made roads & fences round the camp.  This went on up 'til 1530 hrs. when I went to sleep until 1630 when I had tea with half a tomato.

Prepared for a dash the following morning into Kingussie & then went to the Naafi & had three suppers, and so to bed.

Sunday 11th June 1944

Rose at 0740, had breakfast, washed, shaved & got ready by 0900 hrs.  Sang at the top of our voices and woke Kingussie up at 1000 hrs. on a Sunday morning, installed ourselves in the Star Hotel & then wandered round the town.

Wrote some letters and walked round the Golf Course.  In the morning we went to Church.  Played Table Tennis in the afternoon and went for more walks.  Had a bath & went to bed.

Monday 12th June 1944

Rose at 0830 and had breakfast, wandered round the town and caught the bus to Grantown.  Unfortunately Grantown's annual holiday & we were stranded for two hours.  Had a good lunch and got back to Kingussie about 5.

At Aviemore one MP Sgt. & two L/Cpls besides a brigadier, where from I don't know, but checked all passes.  Got back, had supper & went to the pictures "Salados Amigos".  Got back to camp safely & so to bed.

Tuesday 13th June 1944

Reveille 0630.  Muster Parade & Changeover.  Was allocated to No.1 Platoon under Capt. Sinclair.   Had P.P.T. & Pioneering revision & map reading under PT & DS.  In the afternoon we had a lecture of the Col. & Coy. Commander;  great tightening up of discipline generally.

Wrote some letters & so to bed.

Wednesday 14th June 1944

Reveille 0630.   We got a move on, room cleaned & on our way for a Platoon Exercise by 0830 & bashed across 6 miles of country, made a mess of the scheme& did a compass march back about 8 miles.

Saw Capt. Minney that night & a good report.  Supper & so to bed.

Thursday 15th June 1944

Reveille 0630.  Room really pukka & weapons.  Set off on hill walk B.O. & rifles, soft caps.  Climbed Mullach Clach a Blair, 3338' & saw about 50 deer in one herd & many more.   Had lunch in the Feshie Valley having screed down 700 ft. of scree, & after dinner climbed up again & screed down again.  Then made tracks for home.

Cleaned weapons for Captain Armourer's inspection, went to the pictures, found I had seen it so came out again.

Friday 16th June 1944

Reveille 0630.  We went out on abseiling and spent the morning with Major Chew rock climbing & abseiling in the Coire Garblach.

Fieldcraft & movement occupied the rest of the afternoon with section & individual stalks.

Saturday 17th June 1944

Slept at the Star Hotel and wrote some letters and odd things.  The Band of the Seaforth Highlanders was playing for "Salute the Soldier Week".  Went to the pictures and saw "Let's face it"; very funny.

Sunday 18th June 1944

Reveille 0630.   Platoon Inspection and no Church Parade; a break and Field Geometry, taken by Sgt. Gilham, which is a practical application of simple geometry.   Briefing for Exercise Loch Eininch at 1400. After lunch we went out on a lecture and situation of a Platoon in defence. Weather was glorious.  Issued with Arctic clothing & emergency rations.

Monday 19th June 1944

Reveille 0001 hrs. , breakfast 0015 hrs. and on Parade at bridge 0155 hrs.  We were given route and compass bearing to Loch Einich.  Climbed the Mullach and thence across country.  Got to Loch Einich at 0500 hrs.  Climbed down into the basin which is terrifically steep, 2000' goes down for a very short distance across.

Stayed down for a short while and then climbed out again.  Proceeded across Carn Ban Mor and down a path to a wood Allt Fhearnagan.  Cooked our breakfast and returned to camp.  Cleaned weapons and make and mend period.  Lunch and then we all retired to bed for an organised rest.

A Weapon inspection and we paraded for In Line Picquet that night.  Went to bed early feeling terribly tired.

Tuesday 20th June 1944

Reveille 0630.  Muster Parade amd the a period on orders and appreciations.  A period of W.T. followed and during this period an Exercise Deare was held.  The DS rushed around giving confusing orders. No-one realised for the first few minutes what was really happening.

After that we had a period of Orders and Appreciations.  Lunch and then recreational training took up the afternoon.  We played interplatoon seven a side rugby.  I scored one try for 1 Platoon.

At 1545 we were briefed for Exercise "On Parade".  We were told that parade time was 10.30 hrs. in Dalwhinnie the following morning.  Three of us got there at 5.30 having had some sleep and by catching a lift on a goods train.

Wednesday 21st June 1944

We paraded at 1030 hrs. and then followed a scheme which was quite big, the Coy. was out from Blair Atholl right across country to beyond Grantown, a place called Tomintoul.

Having been shot in the hand with a blank in Kingussie, I went on to Alvie Forest and spent the night there with the Platoon.

Thursday 22nd June 1944

We did a Coy. advance from Alvie Forest to the three bridges across the Feshie in the region of Torwood Camp.  This we did and defended the bridges.  The scheme finished early in the afternoon and I had to report sick.  But the M.O. said my hand was alright.

Went to the pictures to see "A Hunting We Will Go". Laurel & Hardy.

Rations were E Mountain Packs on this scheme;  14 men for 24 hrs. with boiled sweets, chocolates & cigarettes.

Friday 23rd June 1944

Reveille 0630.  But no-one got up 'til 0715, and then Platoon & Coy. Discussions followed for the rest of the morning. CLANG CLANG.

A weapons inspection and then PPT followed.  Pay Parade finished the afternoon off and I went sick with my finger again.  At the same time I asked him about my foot which had a sore on it.  He have me Att B and no Exercises.

Went over to the YMCA at night;  strangely enough it is taking all the custom away from the NAAFI.

Foot very sore at night.

Saturday 24th June 1944

Reveille 0630.  The day was started with an inspection of the room by the Coy. Commdr. and then preparation for Exercise Scare. This was an interplatoon exercise where one platoon had to scare another by a plan.

Ours was completely successful, having had three teargas cannisters in one hut.   Major General Whitlock DMT came round and with his help, he didn't know about it, we carried the plan off successfully.  No. 2 Platoon rather vindictively tried to make things very uncomfortable for us but didn't quite succeed as we had done.

There was a period of Open Time during which Capt. Sinclair made us clean weapons and then a period of PPT

Sunday 25th June 1944

Reveille 0630 hrs.  Muster Parade & then a period of open time and then a period on WT or TOETS.  The next period was one on the Commandant's experiences in France put on the programme as War Review.

Lunch and then a period of recreational training during which all those who weren't playing or in the concert had to collect wood & saw it up.  We knocked off early and went for dinner.

We got ready and went into Kingussie although the liberty truck had gone through me getting my finger dressed.  I got a lift on a lorry going later.

Monday 26th June 1944

Stayed at the Star and had a bath.  This was Kingussie's annual Holiday unfortunately but we went to the pictures that night and after a nightmare ride with a hitcher we got back about 11.30, got sorted out & went to bed.

Tuesday 27th June 1944

Reveille 0630. Muster Parade was held after Platoon Inspection in the Lecture Hall when we were allocated to our new platoons. Fortunately I got into Capt. McNeil's of the A&SH with Sgt. Bruce as Section Sgt. (Ex-Commando).

After we got straightened out a period of pioneering took place and then a platoon discussion.  After that we went to the Lecture Hall to listen to a lecture by Lord Rowallan on animal & bird life which was very interesting.

In the afternoon we had briefing for "Exercise Navigation" & then a discussion & preparation, and so early to bed.

Wednesday 28th June 1944

Reveille 0600.  We started out in threes & I was one of the last syndicates to leave.  After getting onto the wrong track and getting back onto the right one as many other people did we bashed on to Gaick Lodge where the YMCA van was waiting.

It was all a matter of following the clues and striking the sgts.

Thursday 29th June 1944

Marched back along the road and then after a rifle inspection we cut back across country to camp. Developed sinevitis on the way out & back.  Nothing much more after that.

Friday 30th June 1944

Reveille 0630 . Muster Parade and then a period of PPT during which I went to see the Commandant.

From 1100 to 1300 there was a period on mines given by Sgt, Gilham. Lunch, pay Parade and then briefing for exercise Ben Macdhui after a kit check.  The rest of the day was spent preparing for the exercise.

The M.O. wouldn't let me go on the scheme. Briefing was very amusing.

Saturday 1st July 1944

Reveille 0630.  I saw the fellows off and then reported to the Sgt. Major for wood cutting.  Wrote some letters & cooked Spam & eggs for supper.

Sunday 2nd July 1944

Reveille 0730.  More woodcutting. More letters.

Monday 3rd July 1944

Reveille 0700.  More woodcutting & then firelighting for the people coming back.  Everyone came in at the double which says much for their stamina.


NOTES

Care of feet.

Given by the M.O. 14th May 1944

Feet: Bathe in cold water or spirits.  Toe nails should be cut straight across.  Achilles tendon fragile to hill walking so walk on heels before toes, i.e. put heels down first.  Athletes foot, dry cracked skin, irritation between toes, can be serious.  Corns , callouses & bad blisters should be attended to.

Socks: Keep feet & socks & boots as dry as possible.  Carry a spare pair of socks and change as soon as possible.  Keep socks free of holes & seams.  Soap inside of socks & feet; soap serves as lubricant.

Boots: Any hard patches should be dealt with.  Lace boots tightly while at HFTC & use plenty of dubbin.  If boots are wet, dry in air unless unavoidable to use fire.  New boots, walk up a stream & get thoroughly wet, lace tightly & go for a walk.


APPRECIATION

From Capt. Mendl:

Mnemonic to remember how to look over ground is the word ground:

G. General R. Relief. O. Observation. U. Undergrowth N. Non passable (not heard of at HFTC) D. Defilade

"Sweat saves blood" "Brains saves sweat & blood" "Dead ground live men"

Surprise;                                       Alternative route;                                       Don't bunch (formations)

From Major Stevenson:

Appreciation is necessary to formulate a plan for attacking & killing the enemy. Look at the problem, appreciate & form the solution. Gather all the information possible by using the above list before deciding, use the word therefore and one can't go wrong.

G.B.S.

GROUND If no cover from fire, cover by fire.

BULLETS

SPEED Ground helps speed etc & vice versa



PIONEERING

This deals with the subject of ropes, cables and hawsers, their care, storing and the various knots used with ropes.

The construction of hawsers

Starting with fibres, these are twined into a strand & the strands into cords and the cords into ropes.  Ropes are would into cables.  These are all wound in a right hand twist.  Hawsers are made up from cables and are wound in a left hand thread.  To  take twists out of a rope drag the rope across a grass field with grass about 4" to 6" high.  Coil up remembering twist in rope, and then pass the last end through the coil & pull.


KNOTS

Reef Knot

Right over left and then left over right.  This is used for joining two ropes of equal size.  The size of a rope is found by the circumference, not the diameter.

Sheet Bend

This knot is formed by making a loop with the short end of the rope nearest you and then passing the second rope up through the loop and behind, bring to the front and pass under the same rope. This is used for joining two ropes of unequal thickness.


Double sheet bend

This knot is formed in the same manner as the Sheet bend but with another loop round.  It is used for the same purpose.


Clove hitch
For fastening a rope to a spar.  Either end will stand a strain
without slipping either lengthways or downwards

Round turn & two half hitches

Used for tying a rope to a spar.  Made by passing rope-end round the spar twice and then securing as shown.

Timber hitch

Used for securing the end of a rope to a spar.

Bowline

A loop that will not slip to tie round a person being lowered from a building etc.  Form a loop then in the standing part form a second and smaller loopThrough this pass the end of the large loop and behind the standing part and down through the small loop.

Sheep Shank

Used for shortening ropes . Gather up the amount to be shortened, then make a half hitch round each of the bends.

Fisherman's Knot

Used for tying together two wet or slippery lines.

Square Lashing

Begin with clove hitch under horizontal spar; follow round as shown, pulling tightly at each stage.. After several complete turns frapping turns are made at right angles to main lashing.  Finish off with clove hitch at right angles to last turn.