50 (Northumbrian) Division War Diary A.D.M.S 14 -30 June 1942

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  1. 50 (Northumbrian) Division War Diary A.D.M.S 14 -30 June 1942
    14 Jun
    1100 Division is to return GAZALA – BIR HACHEIM line. 50 Div is to break through enemy to the West and then proceed South, to the West of BIR HACHEIM and then East to Frontier wire at MADDALENA (505298) OR LIBYAN SHEFERZEN (498345). All documents to be destroyed and all stores etc kept to a minimum.

    Medical Arrangements
    151 Bde. (a) One section ‘B’ Coy. 149 Fd Amb with party (8 D.L.I.) etc making an attack to form a bridgehead for the Division to move through.
    (b) One Section ‘B’ Coy. 149 with Bde H.Q. column.
    (c) One Section ‘B’ Coy. 149 with 6 DLI column.
    (d) One Section ‘A’ Coy 149 Fd Amb with ‘Percy’ and ‘Macdonald’ columns (9 DLI Group).
    (e) Two Sections ‘A’ Coy 149 Fd Amb with other Bde and attached troops.

    69 Bde. (a) One Section ‘A’ Coy 186 Fd Amb with Column (5 East Yorks) making attack to form second bridgehead.
    (b) One Section ‘A’ Coy 186 Fd Amb with Bde HQ column.
    (c) One Section ‘A’ Coy 186 Fd Amb with other Bde troops.

    HQ Div (a) ADMS and DADMS with Div HQ column ‘A’.
    (b) Capt Sanderson, RAMC and Capt Ashworth, A.D. Corps with Div HQ coln B.

    Ambulance Cars including 4 of 10th S.A., M.A.C. to be distributed throughout various Divisional columns.

    Policy To bring casualties out with columns.
    Zero hour for bridgehead attacks 2000hrs.

    1430hrs All cases in both ADS’s evacuated to 1st S.A. Div (15 S.A. Fd Amb.). This Division (S.A.) will be forcing a passage along coast road to TOBRUK.
    2000 hrs Attack begins.
    2030 hrs Remaining Div columns started to make their way towards bridgehead.
    2130 hrs Div passing through bridgehead under very close fire from Artillery and small arms fire. Quite a number of trucks were involved in minefields and took fire lighting up columns as they moved forward.

    15 June
    Division kept going through with the exception of 9 DLI group, which could not make their way through, and decided to turn and fight through to TOBRUK. During the day the Division made towards the frontier wire in columns, groups of vehicles and single vehicles.
    ADMA arrived at MADDELENA at 2030 hrs to find Section of 186 Fd Amb opened and receiving casualties.
    Reconnaissance showed that 12 Lt Fd Amb was open at LIBYAN SHEFERZEN gap and that channel of evacuation was through 15 CCS at HAMRA (540320), or through No. 1 Mil. Mobile Hospital at CAPUZZO.

    16 June
    Division coming through wire in large or small groups.
    All 149 Fd Amb ‘B’ Coy had passed through by 1800 hrs, having suffered some casualties in wounded and missing. All ‘A’ Coy 186 Fd Amb had passed through without casualties by 1800 hrs.
    2100 hrs No information regarding ‘A’ Coy 149 Fd Amb except one section passed through – from reports it is possible several medical officers remained behind with casualties and were captured.
    ADMS and DADMS remained at MADDALENA gap retaining two sections of 149 Fd Amb there, to deal with casualties if required.

    17 June
    0800 hrs ADMS and DADMS and two sections of 149 Fd. Amb left for Div H.Q. at BIR EL THALATA (588327) with some wounded.
    1330 hrs Arrived 149 Fd. Amb. MDS at BIR EL THALATA.
    1550 hrs Proceeded to 186 Fd Amb ‘A’ Coy and ‘B’ Coy. 150 Fd Amb attached also at BIR EL THALATA.
    1800 hrs Present position re Medical Units:-
  2. Capt Macdonald/Capt. Byrne ‘A’ Coy 149 Fd Amb. Not reported in. From reports given they and some of their men are prisoners.
    Capt. Sanderson RAMC (R.E.) attached Div HQ – also reported as probably a prisoner.
    Capt. Murray, RAMC attached 9 DLI not reported in.
    Capt. Macconnachie – 6th S.A. Armd Car Regt – seriously wounded and passed through wire on 16th.

    This brings the total of medical officer casualties since 27th May to:- 2 wounded, 1 evacuated sick and 15 missing.
    All medical units now concentrated at BIR THALATA with exception one section 186 at MADDALENA, which will probably be withdrawn on 18th June.
    Surgical Team with 149 Fd Amb.
    1900Hrs. Conference on policy. Division to send out four large columns to harass enemy in forward areas.
    Tentative arrangements as settled with O.sC. Fd Amb.
    (a) Section with each column. Two from 186 Fd Amb to be ready by 19th June for 69 Bde columns. Two from 149 Fd Amb to be ready by approximately 21st June for 151 Bde columns.
    (b) Light M.D.S. to be established at MADDALENA which is to be point for replenishing of columns.
    (c) Method Columns to retain casualties until contact made with daily replenishment columns, which will return with casualties to MADDALENA. In exceptional circumstances cases may be sent back independently. Evacuation from MADDALENA by M.A.C. cars to be arranged by DDMS 30 Corps. Transport Two ambulance cars with each column and 4 others held at MADDALENA for reserve.
    Flint stretcher gear to be carried on 4 trucks per column. Shell dressings to be provided on each truck.

    18 June
    Units busy trying to re-fit and replenish stores etc.
    Total battle casualties dealt with by forward ADS during period 27 May -13 June inclusive:-
    149 Fd. Amb. 219 British 28 Enemy
    186 Fd. Amb. 102 British 3 Enemy

    1500 hrs Scheme to send columns out West of Frontier Wire cancelled.
    Possibility of 69 Bde occupying Playground (5633) box. Arrangements discussed with O.C. 186 Fd. Amb.
    2000 hrs. DADMS went to No.7 Adv. Med. Stores, SOLLUM with indents to make up medical equipment deficiencies.
    2200 hrs. DADMS returned, having reached rear HQ EIGHTH Army at BUQ BUQ (5636). There he saw DDMS Army, who informed him that No.7 Adv. Med. Stores had closed and that indents would be passed to Adv. Med. Stores MERSAH MATRUH. DDMS proceeded with Rear Army HQ to MERSA MATRUH on 19th June.
    19 June
    1000 hrs Capt Byrne, 149 Fd. Amb arrived with truck and section complete, but without ambulance car. He had made his own way back through TOBRUK.
    1845 hrs. Conference of Commanders – TOBRUK invested. Enemy armoured columns (estimated tanks 150) pushing out to EAST and SE of GAMBUT (461411) which is in their hands. Our intention is to hold line SOLLUM to South along an behind Frontier wire.
    Divisional Policy – (a) To send out 4 columns to harass enemy L of C. (b) Possibly occupy the Playground area.

    20 June
    0800. Conference with Os. C., Fd Amb. (149 and 186). General position given. Arrangements for columns on basis set out 17th June.
    186 Fd Amb to be responsible for section with 69 Bde column and 149 to be responsible for sections with 151 Bde columns. A.D.S. (Light) to be established by 186 Fd Amb at replenishment point to cater for all 4 columns. 149 Fd Amb to establish ADS for ‘Playground’ box if occupied (Appendix III).
    DADAS left to contact DDMS 13 Corps who should now be at BUQ BUQ, re general medical policy.
    (2) Lay out of medical units.
    (3) M.A.C. general medical arrangements
    (4) M.A.C. special arrangements i.e. for Div column and ‘Playground’ box.
    (5) Return of 10th S.A. M.A.C. cars.
    (6) Replacement of 5 Medical Officers.
    (7) Provision of ambulance cars to bring units at least up to establishment.
    1000 hrs. A.D.M.S. contacted A.D.M.S. 86 Sub-area now at THALATA.
    1400 hrs. Tactical position changed. Column schemes cancelled and one big column from 69 Bde substituted. Visited 186 Fd. Amb and arranged necessary medical service.
  3. 1600 hrs. D.A.D.H. 13 Corps made contact.

    21 June
    0700 hrs. TOBRUK captured. 69 Bde column now proceeded to BUQ BUQ with Coy of 186 Fd Amb. Evacuated all patients from Field Ambulance.
    Warning – prepare to move.
    1200 hrs. DADMS detailed to proceed with Div Tactical HQ, which is administering offensive Brigade Column. Division is to move tonight to MINOR SIDI HAMSA 7932.
    149 Fd. Amb left for new location.
    2030 hrs. Div. HQ left for new location.
    2230 hrs 126 Fd. Amb left for new location.

    22 June
    1200 hrs. 149 Fd. Amb arrived HAMSA
    1300 hrs. Div. HQ arrived HAMSA
    1600 hrs. 186 Fd. Amb arrived HAMSA.
    Five new ambulance cars arrived.
    Distribution of Ambulance Cars –
    5 (4 of 149 and 1 of 186 Fd. Amb) with forward column.
    8 with 149 Fd. Amb at HAMSA.
    5 with 186 Fd. Amb at HAMSA.
    2000 hr. Rumour of possible move S.E of MATRUH defences.
    Both Field Ambulances have Light M.D.S. open to deal with local sick.

    23 June HAMSA 0800 hrs.
    Conference. Probability that Div role will be:-
    1. The forward column is responsible for rearguard action along road SOLLUM to the East.
    2. The rest of the Division will move to position on East of MATRUH 728343 to form offensive columns when re-equipped.
    0900 hrs. Proceeded MATRUH and contacted A.D.M.S. 83 Sub-area.
    1. Evacuation 8th S.A., CCS at present in MATRUH will be replaced soon by a New Zealand unit. 58 General Hospital at GARWLA 737337 about 8 miles East of MATRUH will probably remain open for about one week. 200 Fd. Amb has M.D.S. at EL DABA. 10th-11th S.A. Fd Amb at MATRUH.
    2. Medical Administration DDMS Eighth Army at BAGUSH
    DDMS 13 Corps location unknown but said to be Eastward of MATRUH.
    83 Sub-area – HQ MATRUH.
    M.A.C. various sections in vicinity, but no definite information available except that about 10 cars
    Of No.2 MAC are at disposal of ADMS 83 Sub-area.
    Adv Medical Stores – MATRUH – moving Eastward soon.
    Capt. J. C. Almond posted from 83 Sub-area to 50 Division and by ADMS 50 Div to 9 DLI.
    Surgical Team (No.3 General Hospital) less Capt. Gillies to be sent to No.58 Gen. Hopsl.
    Capt. P Gillies from Surgical Team posted by ADMS 50 Div to 149 Fd. Amb.
    1900 hrs. 50 Div now under command 10 Corps.

    24 June0800 hrs. Div to move area 7234 (MATRUH EAST map)
    ADMS visited 10 Corps HQ at 730350, also visited DDMS Eighth Army at BAGUSH WEST.
    Present Medical Policy
    8th S.A., CCS in MATRUH to be moved to the base within 24 hrs.
    58 General Hospital to move not later than 28th to base area.
    15 CCS is in process of moving to 725312.
    No CCS will replace the 8th S.A., in MATRUH. The work will be done by Field Ambulance of 10th Indian Div, with one or two surgical teams attached –probably those of Capt. Aylett and Capt. Orleck. All that is necessary for 50 Div is an ADS.
    1. To M.D.S. of Fd Amb of 10th Indian Fd Amb which will occupy quarters vacated by 8 S.A., CCS or direct to M.D.S. of 12 Lt. Fd. Amb at FUKA on ALEXANDRIA road, about 60 miles East of MATRUH.
    2. From MDS of 12 Lt. Fd. Amb to ALEXANDRIA via MDS of 200 Fd Amb at EL BABA and South African unit at ALAMEIN east of DABA. 150 Fd. Amb. HQ Coy has moved to QUASSASSIN in Canal area to re-form.
  4. 1600 hrs. ADMS 50 Div at point 726344.
    DADMS with Div. Column doing rearguard action along coast road.
    Coy of 186 Fd. Amb with Div. column.
    186 Fd Amb at approx. 727346.
    22 Fd Hyg Sect. at 726344.

    25 June
    0400 hrs DADMS arrived at Div HQ. “The DADMS was with column doing rearguard action along road from BUG-BUG at MATRUH. The column had company of 186 Fd. Amb attached and M.A.C. cars of 1st , M.A.C.
    0700 hrs. One section of 186 Fd. Amb which had been with Div. rearguard action arrived in Div location.
    0900 hrs. Warning Div HQ and HQs of Fd Ambs to move some 5 or 6 miles.
    1800 hrs. No move today.
    2000 hrs. Visite DDMS 10 Corps to discuss co-ordination of medical arrangements for whole of MATRUH position. Evacuation from A.D.Ss in defence area will all be to underground positions located in the town of MATRUH. The possibility of moving out any part of 149 or 186 Fd Amb was considered.
    The two Fd. Amb only total as follows:-
    149 – One HQ Coy and one Coy.
    186 – Two Coys and skeleton HQ Coy.
    The Division still consists of two Brigades well up to strength.
    2330 hrs. Coy of 186 Fd Amb with rearguard Div. Column arrived in. They had dealt with about 30 casualties and had lost 2 M.A.C. ambulance cars by air action.

    26 June 0800 hrs.Possibility of move North to coast about 4 miles East of MATRUH.
    1200 hrs. Situation changed. Div to retire. HQ and reserve Coys of both Fd Amb to move with Rear Div HQ to vicinity of FUKA 7932. One Coy to remain with each Brigade.
    1600 hrs. Fd. Amb. HQs started to move East. ADMS and DADMS to move to vicinity of Kilo 26 (MR7433).
    1800/2359 hrs. Very considerable air activity (both sides, but RAF greater) in immediate vicinity. Road being attacked.

    27 June 0600 hrs. Very disturbed night with air activity all around.
    0800 hrs. Capt. Hannah with 149 Section arrived in, having got detached from battalion in night attack on camp.
    Medical Arrangements A.D.S.- (186)- 73983348. 151 Brigade – Fd. Amb.Sections (149) with battalion groups.
    1. From 151 Bde Amb Sections and from 69 Bde RAPs to ADS (186).
    2. From ADS to MDS 12 Lt. Fd. Amb. FUKA via staging point 50 Div near Kilo 57.
    ADS (186) to draw replacement cars from staging point.
    R/T message sent to rear Div to establish staging point.
    Capt. Hannah to stand by to await return to battalion when location established.
    1200 hrs. Message from DDMS 10 Corps dated 26th stating 10 cars M.A.C. (10th S.A.) and that evacuation was DABA not FUKA as previously notified. It appears that arrangements in rear are uncertain, so ADMS set out to the East to clarify the position if possible.
    1300 hrs. Contacted DDMS 10 Corps, just arrived in BAGUSH. Informed him of position and asked him to send 10 M.A.C. cars to 149 Fd. Amb. at 8032.
    1330 hrs Contacted 10th S.A. MAC at Kilo 57.
    1400 hrs. Found Capt. Doyle (186) with 3 Fd. Amb. cars at Kilo 57.
    1430 hrs. Arrived FUKA and searched for MDS of 12 Lt F.A.. Could not find it anywhere so that it is clear 50 Div must arrange own evacuation.
    1730 hrs. Arrived 8032. Rear Div. HQ, 149 and186 Fd. Amb. HQs.
    1. Told 149 Fd. Amb. to establish MDS (light) on road 8032.
    2. Confirmed 12 Lt. F.A. had moved Eastward.
    3. Sent forward 3 Amb to Adv. Div. HQ and one Officer to replace one at 186 ADS.
    4. Confirmed 200 Fd. Amb. still at DABA.
    Evacuation now is:-
    186 ADS – staging section (186) Kilo 57 – light ADS (149) 8032 – MDS (200) DABA – 14 CCS EL ALAMEIN – General Hospital – ALEXANDRIA.
    1230 hrs. 10 cars of 10th S.A., MAC arrived.
    1245 hrs. Patients started coming through from 186 ADS.
    1900 hrs. Capt Almond (RM O 9 DLI) reported in. His battalion had been heavily engaged during the night and he had made his way with some wounded and a party of his battalion Eastwards. He reported to DDMS
  5. EIGHTH Army at DABA who told him to find ADMS and report. As enquiry shows DLI are all dispersed, (roughly 100 at Rear Div. HQ). ADMS instructed Capt. Almond to remain meanwhile with 149 Fd. Amb.
    2330 hrs. Amb. Car which had been sent back to ADS 186 Fd. Amb. returned. Driver stated he had been stopped by a sergeant 15 miles West of 8032 who stated enemy had cut road 15 miles still further West.

    28 June.
    0045 hrs Officer of 11 RHA arrived and confirmed road blocked near BAGUSH. Appears from times involved that our ambulance despatched to ADS at 1200 hrs 27th may have been involved.
    0045/2000 hrs. Considerable activity, mostly to West and South West.
    0700 hrs. Officer commanding a S.A. force Pioneer battalion arrived. Stated that in a bombing raid early this morning at ABU HAGGAG 779326 his unit had suffered severely.
    “buried 60 men and we have 30 wounded”
    Sent off ambulance cars with Capt. Byrne (149) to collect wounded and also to reconnoitre cautiously toward Kilo 57 to find if Capt. Doyle still in position.
    0830 hrs. Lt. Seymour and 2Lt. Goodman, 10 S.A. , M.A.C. arrived. Lt. Seymour had set out with convoy at 1930 hrs from BAGUSH for MATRUH. At 2030 he had encountered returning British Armd Cars about Kilo 40, West side of BAGUSH minefield. The M.A.C. convoy was shelled and one car destroyed. He then turned off road and made East with some wounded from Armd. Car unit.
    Lt. Goodman had been in vicinity of Western BAGUSH defences at 0400 hrs and at that time British tanks had come into position from East.
    Both reported they had not seen Capt. Doyle’s section at Kilo 57.
    0900 hrs. Orders for Rear Div to move.
    1130 hrs. 149 and 186 Fd. Amb moved. Light section left at 8032 until 1630 hrs. Contacted DDMS 10 Corps. Evacuated all patients from section.
    1300 hrs. Reached DABA (840316) –found there:-
    200 Fd. Amb. complete –open.
    12 Lt. F.A. –ditto-ditto-
    29 Indian Fd. Amb. – open
    1st MAC – Most of them American Field Amb car Unit.
    Total about 20 MAC cars.

    Arranged with DDMS 10 Corps that as I had no control over any of these units and wished to be certain of evacuation I would establish MDS of 149 Fd. Amb.
    Decided other units except large proportion MAC cars should move Eastwards.
    1330 hrs. 149 MDS opened at 240316. 186 Fd. Amb. HQ, HQ of 10th S.A., MAC moved on to location of Rear Div HQ which was fixed for the night at the South of the road opposite Kilo 75-73.
    1900 hrs. Arrived at site.

    29 June
    0800 hrs. Made contact with 30 Corps HQ and 10 Corps HQ. In view of situation – fighting around FUKA – decided to withdraw heavy elements of 149 MDS to Rear Div area and leave sections in position.
    1200 hrs. Heavy elements of 149 HQ Coy arrived at Rear Div and also various odd vehicles of 10th S.A. MAC. 149 MDS had passed about 100 battle casualties through up to 0800 hrs – from all units, not only 50 Div.
    1400 hrs. Warning of move to new concentration area, about 5 miles SW of EL HAMMAH railway station.
    1500 hrs. Moved both Fd. Amb. to new location.
    1800 hrs. Elements of Division, which had again fought its way out after being surrounded, began to arrive.
    2000 hrs. Light section from 149 Fd. Amb from DABA arrived
    2300 hrs. The following medical officers and men were with forward Divisional Group [handwritten –have returned]
    Capt. Johnson 149 Fd. Amb. and a section.
    Major Macpherson/Capt. Perkins, 186 Fd. Amb and two sections.

    The following Medical Officers & men have not reported in:-
    Major Gale – D.A.D.M.S.
    Capt. Hannah, (149 Fd. Amb.) and section.
    Capt. Bradford, (186) and section.
    Capt. Headon, (149) and section.
    Capt. Mackenzie.
    Capt. Smith, (186) and section.
    Capt. Anderson (186).
  6. Capt. Jenkins - 2nd Cheshires.
    Capt. Joy - 6 D.L.I.
    Capt. Houghton - 8 D.L.I.
    Capt. Fleming – 74 Fd. Regt.
    Capt. Baron – 4 Green Howards.
    Capt. Webster – 7 Green Howards.
    Capt. McInnes – 5th East Yorks.
    Capt. Gunn – 124 Fd Regt.

    30 June
    0800 hrs. No more R.A.M.C. in. MDS of 149 Fd Amb open one mile North of HQ Div had 25 battle casualties admitted during the night.
    0830 hrs. Contacted both Fd. Amb. In view of very small numbers of Division concentrating decided that two Fd. Ambs should concentrate near Div HQ leaving only one section meantime in 69 Brigade area. One MDS (149) only to open.

    Checked on 29th. by contact. Shown in sketch.
    1000 hrs. Capt. Mackenzie (186) and Capt. Joy (6 DLI) reported in
    1500 hrs. Warning order Div HQ and all Div elements except those concerned in forming Battle groups will move to AMRIYA area.

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