WEDDING REPORT 16th November 1996


BATTLE REPORT

Action at point PETERS CHURCH 15.30 (local) 16/11/43

OBJECTIVE:

It had been decided, after suitable reconassaince, to conduct an offensive operation in the area of PETERS CHURCH. North East corner square 1584. The intention was to cause confusion to local LofC and destruction to enemy stores (codename BEER). The necessary elements of the force were drawn from mainly local units although specialist support was brought in from other Corp areas.

REPORT:

Operations were commenced at 0800 by BRIDE section, who went on the ration party . At 0945 GROOM section collected the WI HALL key (built 1936)and picked up 2 i/c GROOM section, and headed for WI HALL.

At WI HALL preparations were made for receiving large numbers of alcoholically injured walking wounded (about 75, but cope with 100), problem number one, too few cloths requisitioned for hall, this is confirmed when RASC PARTY arrive on time at 11.00. problem resolved by use of own tablecloths from Battery Q supply.

Problem number 2 raises it's head, when the GROOM section returns to the hall and finds there is a gas leak, meaning a no heat situation. REME gas section had been alerted.

While this was occurring the BHQ was heavily in action, having committed all available forces under command to food preparation. The Brides eldest brother had gone missing with a young lady, and was not at the POINT BRIDESMOTHER RV as planned, the BRIDESMOTHER section were thus substantially delayed, in addition havoc was caused by delaying tactics from enemy positions in the area of STEPGRANDPARENTS. This section eventually arrived at BHQ some 2.5 hours late.

In addition to this the transport section had a problem with both vehicle starting and logistics, this resulted in a severe delay being caused to the EASTHAM section,(see separate signals log for wireless communication at 11.05 hours) their ETD and ETA being put back some 2 hours. This had particularly disastrous implications as this section was also providing audio communication at WI HALL through the services of ELLIOTT R.Sigs Troop operating from EASTHAM.

BY now at BHQ there was a severe shortage of personnel to provide the necessary Ration preparation without which the entire operation could have been adversely affected.

At WI HALL the GROOM section had settled all necessary arrangements for coping with casualty influx and REME had called at the RV to repair the gas leak.

CMP Field provost detachment had by now arrived 3 strong and proceeded to take over at WI HALL from GROOM section until the arrival of ELLIOT section, they then proceeded via point ALLENHOUSE, where the GROOM group were by now located, to point PUB for essential supplies, however at about 14.30 hours the CMP det. were ordered to attend at WI HALL in order to assist in food preparation, this operation now being seriously in danger of failure.

At 14.20 the GROOM group left the position ALLENHOUSE and headed for main start-line at and around point PETERS CHURCH (square 157841). Arriving on time all necessary support teams in the form of 1 usher (the other being ELDER BROTHER who was now distracted by food preparation at WI HALL)were present.

According to local reports at 14.30 the BRIDE section commenced operational preparations, but were still awaiting the readiness report from BRIDESMOTHER, thus when the operation was due to commence at 15.00 hours all relevant personnel were in place at point PETERS CHURCH except for sections, ELDERBROTHER, BRIDESMOTHER, BRIDE. Due to this delay operations did not commence until 15.25 +/- 2 minutes. As sections ELDERBROTHER and BRIDESMOTHER were not ready for battle. BRIDE section was forced to wait until they had arrived at point PETERS CHURCH before they could depart for the same startline

This delay began to create a lowering of morale in GROOM section, not helped by the already present tension of imminent action. At this point 2 i/c GROOM section, driver Prior A., was awarded a mention in despatches for his cool handling of the situation, his encouragement and diversions created sufficient breathing space for the section to control the situation and await further development. An additional concern was the light, as the entire operation was now 25 minutes behind schedule, there was a severe danger that the already overcast weather conditions would result in a complete lack of any opportunity for photographic reconassaince at the end of the first phase of the operation.

Operations finally commenced as recorded above at approx. 15.25, some 25 minutes late. The entire operation was recorded for training purposes by a film and photo section from the AFPU operating under separate wireless codes of GROOMBROTHER and NEIGHBOUR.

The operation was launched by a short sharp opening barrage from the heavy support unit located at ORGAN, at this point GROOM section advanced but were immediately checked and held at previously prepared positions in advance of ALTER.

BRIDE section then advance on the left Flank making contact with GROOM section at approximately 15.27. This section was also halted with GROOM and support section ELDERBROTHER2 in advance of ALTER alongside GROOM.

From this point all necessary tactical operations were carried out as planned and the withdrawal also went according to previously laid orders.


Following Photo recording by NEIGHBOUR and GROOMBROTHER the entire battlegroup prepared to depart to the regroup RV at WI HALL, the MT section conveyed i/c GROOM and i/c BRIDE to WI HALL for debrief while remaining personnel were embussed and conveyed to WI HALL.

Corporal HUNT J, i/c CMP field Prov. Det. was awaiting with his RP and other personnel and conducted the necessary function of guiding in the BRIDE and GROOM i/c's, at this point both i/c's plus i/c BRIDESMOTHER elected to check in their personnel and congratulate them on the successful outcome of the operation, however BRIDESMOTHER i/c had been missed from transport (inquiry in progress as this should not have occurred) and this caused a slight amount of confusion amongst personnel, order was again quickly restored by GROOM 2 i/c Driver PRIOR A. who then arranged for all personnel and for the Battalion runner to move to their allotted position, the battalion runner taking recovered items required for later unwrapping and intelligence examination to the allotted holding point.

A welcome arrival was NAAFI van driven by a civilian crew in the form of one TURPIN R, TURPIN M. and TURPIN C, who dispensed welcome refreshment.

The evening Debrief was then conducted with the battlegroup (while rations were consumed) by GROOM i/c, i/c ELDERBROTHER2 and 2 i/c GROOM.

It was felt appropriate that all personnel should be allowed an evening of celebration and the ELLIOT R.Sigs troop used their audio equipment to provide wireless recordings of popular contemporary music.

At approximately 23.45 hours WI HALL was cleared of all personnel who then either returned to parent unit locations or were moved into rear echelon for well earned R&R.;

SUMMARY

Whilst having a late start the operation was in essence a complete success, causing material damage to the enemy supplies of (CODENAME) BEER, and severe disruption to LofC in the area of PETERS CHURCH.

Lessons for future operations of this nature must include the improvement of adequate briefing of all personnel and enforcement of communication requirements between all relevant units.

Signed

Hardley-worthit Capt.

Photographs attached:

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