11th November

Brigade HQ – CUMNOCK/GLASGOW.

0830 Remainder of Brigade HQ (7 Officers and 89 ORs) en-trained to embark for service overseas. Nominal roll of Brigade HQ attached.

1100 Brigade arrived King George V Dock to embark P.42

1730 A conference for all officers was held by OC Ship. Troops on board divided into six coys for administration and training.


6 Innisks – IN THE CLYDE.

Loading of the ship went on all morning. We sailed down the Clyde at 1345hrs and anchored off the bank. The ship wandered up and down the river and anchored for a while off Largs. Ship’s rounds commenced at 1000hrs and were not over until 1205hrs. The CO attended a hap-hazard OC Troops Conference for unit commanders. In the middle of the conference the CO was warned for another conference on another ship. The party left in a tender at 1330hrs and picked up other commanders from other ships and met the Corps Commander on a P & O liner. They have luxurious accommodation compared with this ship. Lieutenant’s Warren and Hill and 100 ORs of 1st Reinforcements were on the P.O. Liner. It was not thought that they would embark before December. They must have a rush!



12th November

Brigade HQ – GLASGOW.

0800 News was received of landing in Algeria by First Army.

1100 Brigadier and Brigade Major attended Corps Commander’s conference.

1400 Ship P.42 (Duchess of York) left King George V dock and joined convoy in Firth of Clyde.



13th November

Brigade HQ – GLASGOW.

1400 Brigade Commander held training conference for Ship’s Coy Commanders


6 Innisks – IN THE CLYDE.

Ship’s rounds – inspection of boat stations filled up the day. On ship’s rounds the Battalion boat stations were altered. Conference at 1630hrs of COs of 6 Armoured Division on board to re-allot PT accommodation on a sensible basis. The ship’s staff have timed allotted, allocated and issued everything as if the ship were carrying her normal allotment instead of double that amount. There is no doubt before long 6 Armoured Division and NOT the ship’s staff (military) will be running the ship. CO attended a conference at 2030hrs with Division AA QMG to put forward improvements for running the ship. Many suggestions were forthcoming.



14th November

Brigade HQ – GLASGOW.

1630 Convoy left mooring in Firth of Clyde and set sail.


6 Innisks – IN THE CLYDE. 

Ship sailed at 1600hrs. There are 18 ships in the convoy. Typical Scottish scenery was watched by large number of troops aboard as the ships proceeded down the Clyde – hills wrapped in mist. Divisional Commander spent the morning going round the convoy and met Major’s Allen and Maxwell (who had come up from Liverpool to join convoy). Lieutenant Carruthers gave a lecture to officers on Navigation – very good and very clear. After dinner there was a lecture on Hygiene in North Africa.



15th November

Brigade HQ – AT SEA.

Brigade HQ training programme commenced.

1400 Brigade Commander gave lecture on all officers in the plan of campaign.


6 Innisks – AT SEA.

Ship pitching slightly. Many men are sea-sick. Standing on B deck forward (on boat stations) is a messy business. Captain Bunch is covered in it and CO is splashed. Men are instructed to be sick at deck level so others will not get splashed. IO lectured to all officers at 1245hrs on the plan of future operations. Divisional Command lectures all officers of division at 2015hrs on same subject. So “Exercise Torch” is now public property.



16th November

1 RIrF – MAYBOLE.

The CO gave a short talk to all coys on possible future operations.


6 Innisks – AT SEA.

Calm days. Troops recovering from sea sickness. Immediately after ship’s rounds C.O. had conference of all officers and issued a mass of pamphlets and instructions. At 1345hrs CO, Adjutant and IO attended Divisional Commanders, Tactical Exercise without Troops (TEWT).  The T.E.W.T is based on possible future action after landing. It would appear that Divisional HQ with 6 Innisks, 16/5 Lancers and some Artillery is to push on 100s of miles eastward (probably from Bone). CO will command the group. CCRA gives a boring lecture lasting 65 minutes.



17th November

Brigade HQ – AT SEA.

Maps of Africa were released for distribution


6 Innisks – AT SEA.

Fairly calm day but got a bit choppy towards the evening. Most troops have completely recovered from their sea sickness – the Carrier Platoon especially seemed in great form on boat parade despite the fact two of their Sergeants, Ashworth and Miller have not yet fully recovered. CO held conference of all officers at 1330hrs to study maps and country of Algeria and Tunisia – especially the country and roads from Bone to Tunis. At 1600hrs Divisional Command held TEWT on possible operations especially dealing with the Services. Captain of Ship gave a lecture to all officers at 2000hrs on organisation of disembarkation. CO and six officers play poker after the lecture until 2245hrs. Much fun was had. CO and Captain Little seemed the biggest winners and Adjutant and MO the worst losers.



18th November

6 Innisks – AT SEA.

This has been the roughest day so far. We are now off the Bay of Biscay. “Boat Stations” were converted to “Action Stations” in consequence. CO and all officers study W/T procedure from 1330hrs to 1430hrs. CO is told to work out a river crossing scheme for General’s TEWT at 1600hrs. He only gets half hour to do it in. The TEWT was very interesting. At 2000hrs the start of four lectures for all officers of 6th Armoured Division – Medical – S. & T. Ordnance – and Repair and Recovery. The atmosphere in the Lecture Room did much to kill interest.



19th November

6 Innisks – AT SEA.

A day of no lectures and no TEWTs. Everyone at last gets some time to himself and in most cases was well utilised. Officers and Sergeants are issued with small compasses etc. in various disguises for help in escaping. The weather is much warmer. Calm sunny day.



20th November

1 RIrF – MAYBOLE.

1100 Orders for move of main body was received.


6 Innisks – AT SEA.

Beautifully warm and sunny day. Troops sun bathe on deck. Land in sight in the morning, turns out to be the West Coast of Africa. So we are going to enter the Straits of Gibraltar from the south. Divisional Command asks C.O. to give a discourse on “Picking up a Minefield”. He produces his own idea which he talks over with the officers at 1330hrs and demonstrates at the Divisional Commander’s TEWT at 1600 hrs. It is accepted without comment. Everyone exchanges their money for BMA (British Military Authority) money. It is paper money in units of £1, 10/-, 5/-, 2/6 and 1/-. English money of lower denomination has been retained and can be used. A lecture is given at 2000hrs for all officers 6 Armoured Division by all branches of R.Es aboard. We passed the Rock of Gibraltar between 2300 and 2400hrs. It was just faintly visible. Several officers played poker, the MO and Little were the best winners. The two colonels, the CO and Colonel Orr (1 Field Ambulance) both lost!



21st November

6 Innisks – AT SEA.

We have been sailing due east through the Mediterranean.  The sea is calm and weather fairly warm. From 0830 to 1100hrs officers study ISIS. reports of Algeria and Tunisia. Co. and Captain Daly attended very elementary HQ Division Exercise on wireless procedure. The four American ships in the convoy left us at 1515hrs for Oran. The north coast if Africa could clearly be seen then. We were believed to have been 15 miles from the shore. We are due to land at Algiers tomorrow. Nobody knows how this will be done and orders are forthcoming. All kit bags are supposed to be dumped on promenade deck aft. 4138 kit bags to be sorted out after disembarkation! Nothing will be known until we arrive apparently, as disembarkation is the responsibility of Port Disembarkation Staff. All officers have spent many hours censoring an abundance of letters.



22nd November

Brigade HQ – ALGIERS.

0830 Duchess of York (P.42) arrived outside harbour.

1100 Duchess of York docked at Mole des Pairageurs.

1300 Personnel of Brigade HQ disembarked.

2000 Brigade HQ marching personnel arrived at bivouac area. HQ set up at Farm 795012. No 6 Innisks at same location.

During the day Brigade Commander and Brigade Major visited 5 Corps and First Army HQ.

Captain Griffin and Lr Osborn remained at Jardin d’Essai with vehicle party (33 ORs).

Major Rae remained in Algiers with baggage party.


1 RIrF – LIVERPOOL.

0150 B, C and D Coys moved by train and embarked in Ship No P3 at Liverpool.

2000 Embarkation of the bttn was completed in Ship P3, which had on board about 3,600 troops..

22nd to 27th – AT SEA

Spent in getting settled down in ship. The bttn assumed guard duties for the voyage.

Attached roll shows appointments held in bttn on embarkation.

Ship lay in Mersey, sailing at midday on 27th November 1942.

The bttn then spent the time to the end of the…. and as much training as practical.


6 Innisks – ALGIERS.

After many orders and counter orders and much disorganisation, the main party disembarked at 1400hrs, having tied up in Algiers at 0900hrs. After disembarkation the party started to march in the general direction of an unknown destination, various guides were encountered, all of whom had a different ideas as to the distance to be marched, All ranks were greatly over laden, carrying full pack and haversack, plus blanket, Brens, A/Tk rifles, rolls of maps, office boxes, medical panniers etc. Total distance marched 10 miles under very difficult conditions. Battalion bivouacking in a field near an orange farm. Country very pleasant and very flat. At sunset the temperature drops suddenly. Germans start bombing Algiers about 1800hrs GMT and continue to do so through the evening. Major Allen with A and B Coy arrive about 1900hrs and then D Coy and at 0130hrs C Coy, all having marched from Algiers. Brigade HQ is situated in the same areas as the Battalion. There was a good deal of confusion about detailing drivers for off loading vehicles. Each ship detailed parties and it is now found we have left 4 officers and 119 ORs to off load 84 vehicles. Our vehicles are on two ships J.11 which is off landing at Bone and J.3 off landing at Algiers.