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THE "A" SQUADRON DIARY
OFFICIAL WAR HISTORY OF THE 6 DIVISION CAVALRY REGIMENT
FROM 3 NOVEMBER 1939 - 31 JANUARY 1942.
Some years ago, whilst visiting the late Tom Mills in Queensland, he presented me with a relic of our wartime days together in the AIF. This was in the form of the old "A" Squadron Diary, which Tom thought I as editor of "Cav News" could perhaps put to good use. The diary is old and battered but still quite legible, so I intend to print certain portions of it in this and future issues of this paper, as I feel that many will find these old pages of interest. ..........Fred Wilkins
The Diary is headed thus:
Until the time of embarkation it seemed necessary to treat this diary as a Regimental Diary owing to the transfer and exchange of personnel that was taking place from time to time in the various squadrons and units. No detailed diary was kept when the Regiment was first formed. The entries in the early part of the diary were obtained from whatever source available. On embarkation the Squadron was for the first time detached from the Regiment. The various troops and crews had been established and from this time onwards the diary deals solely with "A" Squadron .
3 November 1939 Ingleburn
At 10.30 hrs 45 enlistments marched into camp at Ingleburn, in charge of Sgt EC hennessy, late Light Horse Regiment, and formerly RSM of Australian Coronation Contingent. Druing the day an additional 49 Recruits marched in. Captain D Macarthur-Onslow marched into camp with the position of Administrative command New South Wales Details Reconnaissance Regiment, Lieut, FH Brown, Lieut FJ Mullally, Lieut J Dent marched in. Camp conditions - Supply of rations and clothing inadequate.
4 November 1939, Ingleburn
After a night disturbed for many by the rain beating in through the windows of the huts, which were then unfinished, the day was commenced with Squad Drill at 1330 hrs. Medical parade was held. The MO commented favourably on the physique of the men. 12 troopers from 2/3 Btn and 14 from the 16 MG Regt marched in.
7 November, 1939
Lieut T Mills from 12 Light Horse marched in. First hospital case occurred when Trooper DF Shepherd was admitted to the Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick, suffering from Influenza. There were many cases of a milder degree in the same camp, and the facilities for dealing with such cases were quite inadequate, there being no MO or RAP. The first elementry vehicle fighting drill (dismounted) commenced.
9 November, 1939
Captain JE Abbott, late 16 LHMG Regiment marched in. 24 troopers marched in. Lieut. TP Willsallen marched in.
10 November, 1939
Training continued. AFV drill and signals mounted. First days pay was made today. 150.4.6d was distributed amongst 107 men. Many men were not included in the pay roll because they had not been issued with pay books. These men arrived from the country with no attestation forms, no pay identification forms and no medical history sheet. It would appear that the country recruiting centres did not know what forms were required.
13 November, 1939
The CO Lt-Col Fergusson insepcted and addressed the morning parade. The Regts first delivery of technical equipment arrived. All the equipment was new and consisted of 5 Hotchkiss MG's, 50 rifles and 50 pistols.
14th November, 1939, Ingleburn
Lt-Col Fergusson inspected and addressed the morning parade and during the day interviewed candidates for NCO rank. Lieut. Phillips addressed the men and explained the signalling method that would be used by the Regiment.
15 November, 1939
First route march was carried out this morning, when Capt. Abbott led the NSW detail through the surrounding district. Hotchkiss guns were used for the first time, for instructional purposes. Although the guns were new two were found to be out of order and had to be returned for repairs.
21 November, 1939
To allow for organised Crew Drill personnel were arranged on a new footing H.Q. and "A" Sqn.
22 November, 1939
Lieut. C.H. finlay and Lieut. Phillips marched in from the Southern command with their 19 troopers. 6 troopers from 2/2 Btn marched in. 16 troopers from Southern command are specialist operators.
23 Nov, 1939
Lieut. Phillips took the first P.T. parade this morning. During the day the entire camp was inspected by Lt. Gen. Sir Thomas Blamey and the Reconnaissance Regiment led the march past.
24 November, 1939
The South Australian Contingent consisting of 3 officers and 63 OR's arrived at 0930 hrs. These men formed the nucleus of what became later "C" Sqn. They also caused considerable inteest in as much as they possessed the new uniform, including the beret.
27 November, 1939
The Hotchkiss guns were used for the first time at Long Bay rifle range and the result of the shoot was very satisfactory. Lt. E.D. Mills and 12 OR's marched in from Tasmania and joined "C" Sqn. 6 Norton M/C's were delivered today. Lieut, Roberts I.O. marched in.
30 November, 1939
Specialist Operators were allotted to their Sqns and will in future train with them. Lieut. D.D. Glasgow and 36 OR's marched in from the Northern Command. These troops complete the personnel of "A" Sqn.
1 December 1939
A special squad proceeded to Sydney and took part in the march for the Lord Mayors appeal fund. True to the traditions of the AIF the march was of a very high standard and reflected great credit on the RSM and the men who participated in this march. first issue of Uniforms which were received with great pleasure amongst those who received them. The first issue from the Comforts fund consisting of sox, soap and towels.
3 December, 1939
9 December, 1939
General training in map reading, morse, Hotchkiss gun. During the afternoon a cricket match was played at Camden Park. It is a pleasure to note the increased friendliness between the Queenslanders and the NSW men, which was somewhat strained for the first few weeks.