The War in Dorset - September 1942
The Small Scale Raiding Force was involved in raids on Les Casquets lighthouse in the Channel Islands and St. Honorine near Bayeux, Normandy. In Operation Dryad on 2nd/3rd Septembera the successful raid on Les Casquets lighthouse destroyed the ‘U’ boat wireless transmitting station, capturing seven German soldiers, as well as vital code books and Naval information.
Tarrant Rushton airfield was constructed between Blandford and Wimborne, near Badbury Rings in Dorset. The aircraft was to field the first arrivals on French soil on D Day and 1st British Airborne set off for 'the Bridge Too Far' that was Arnhem from here.
Whirlwind aircraft from Warmwell in Dorset sank two armed trawlers in the Channel on 9th September.
On 11thSeptember five people were killed by a single German bomb dropped on the Bournemouth Road in Parkstone, Poole; near where Chotie and her family lived.
A Poole flying-boat, the Clare, came down in the Channel after a fire, killing six crew and thirteen passengers on 14th September.
(From 'Dorset’s War Diary - Battle of Britain to D Day’ by Rodney Legg, Dorset Publishing Company 2004 and ‘Poole and World War II’ written by Derek Beamish, Harold Bennett and John Hillier and published by Poole Historical Trust in 1980)
During September 1942 43rdReconnaissance Regiment was still based in Dover, although that month they received orders to mobilise, complete with first line reinforcements. All reinforcements, including Dick, arrived during the month.
Inter-Squadron Exercises were held at the beginning of the month “bringing out many useful lessons in Section and Troop tactics and instituting considerable enthusiasm.”
Intensive First Aid training commenced early in the month, designed to train all ranks during the winter.
(From the War Diary of the 43rd Reconnaissance Regiment held by the Archive and Reference Library, the Tank Museum, Bovington, Dorset.)
On 2ndSeptember 1942 Dick passed his Trade Test as a Driver Mechanic
Copy of Record
TRADE TRAINING REPORT FORM
REPORT ON STUDENT c) End of course
TRAINING ESTABLISHMENT ADDRESS:
THE DREADNOUGHT GARAGE AND MOTOR ENGINEERING WORKS (HOVE) LTD
STUDENT’S REGTL. No 5731671 RANK Trooper NAME Williams R.K.
ORIGINAL UNIT 43rd Recce. Regt. COURSE (Trade) D.M.
Duration of course From 23rd July 1942 To 2nd September 1942.
SUITABILITY FOR TRADE - Very suitable
CONDUCT AND INTEREST - Good
PRACTICAl ABILITY - Very Good
THEORETICAL KNOWLEDGE - Good
SUMMARY Passed Complete Class 2 Test in Army Trade of DM*
Will make an excellent D.M. Requires plenty of work.
Date 2/9/42 S.F.Webb. Lieut O.M.E.
*DM = Driver Mechanic. Reconnaissance called for many more drivers and mechanics than standard infantry to successfully reconnoiter the battlefield. (From ‘The British Reconnaissance Corps in World War II’ by Richard Doherty, Osprey Publishing 2007.)
Copy of Record:
SERVICE AND CASUALTY FORM
Passed trade test and qualified for appointment as Drv. Mech. Tp. ‘D’ Cl.II
3rd September 1942 – a National Day of Prayer was held for the third Anniversary of the Declaration of War.
Letter - Thursday 3rd September 1942
5731671 Tpr Williams
HQ Squadron, 43rd Recce Regt. Recce Corps
By the time you get this letter, I shall be back at Dover, but remember not to mention please or put anything but the address above.
I hope this will reach you before the 6th* – and so will wish you a very happy Birthday, and only wish I could be with you. I have sent something – or rather it’s being sent – nothing much I’m afraid, but I wish you every happiness, with it.
I went to the opera three times during the last week, the only nights I could get off and saw ‘Bohème’, ‘Trovatore’ & ‘the Barber’**. It was the Carl Rosa of course with Joan Hammond and Parry Jones. Very good. I met an Italian there (naturalised) and spent a very enjoyable night.
Well, Darling, I’ll write again when I get to the other end, so all the very best, Precious
PS. Have just started to run for the train…
*Chotie’s 19th Birthday on 6th September 1942.
**All famous Italian operas - Giacomo Puccini’s 'La Bohème’, Giuseppe Verdi’s ‘Il Trovatore’ (The Troubadour) and Gioachino Rossini’s ‘Barber of Seville’. The Carl Rosa were a touring opera company. Parry Jones was a Welsh tenor. Joan Hammond,
an Australian soprano, became internationally famous after the war.
***Benetti – mentioned again in letter sent in February 1943.
© Chotie Darling
On 7th September 43rd Recce had a demonstration of the Army Cadet sign system for all wireless operators, Dvr Ops (driver operators?) and officers. (From the War Diary of the 43rd Reconnaissance Regiment held by the Archive and Reference Library, the Tank Museum, Bovington, Dorset.) Dick mentions being on exercise on the 7th in his next letter.
7th September 1942 - Rommel withdraws from his attack on the El Alamein line at Alam Halfa Ridge in Egypt.