War Diaries of 

8th (King's Royal Irish) Hussars


(October to December)


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January to September1940



October 1940

Commanding Officer: Lt Col TG Watson

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
Reference Map 1 Oct 40   A Squadron officers and tank commanders recce area West of camp position.  
Sidi Barrani 1/100,000 3 Oct 40   Mr Hedley rejoins as Lt and Quartermaster.  
  4 Oct 40   Regiment moved out of camp to area two miles SW of Bir Hashim, a distance of 37 miles, where it leaguered in the night. Order of march: B Squadron; A Squadron; C Squadron; RHQ, at one-hour intervals. Time of start - 0630hrs, time of arrival - 1530hrs.  
      The Colonel and squadron leaders recce enemy positions.  
  23 Oct 40   The Regiment moved out of leaguer at 0100hrs, order of march same as before, at half-hour intervals.  
      Order of battle: B Sqn area 622362 with patrols in front; A Sqn area 617362 with patrols in front; C Sqn (cruisers) area 322359; RHQ in area 623363; Rear HQ in area Alam el Fakhri 625357.  
    0630hrs. The Regiment receives the signal that the 2nd Camerons were away and out of touch with the enemy. Patrols immediately sent out by all squadrons.  
    0630-0900hrs Officers and men of the 2nd Camerons were picked up in various places round the camp.  
    0900-1000hrs Various enemy patrols leave the main camp, these were all kept under observation and returned to the main camp without direct contact being made  
    1018hrs. A Squadron moved 1km North.  
    1035hrs A Squadron sent out a patrol to Pt88 661316.  
    1054hrs This patrol reports a column of 20 MET at 612363, this patrol had been reported by 11th P A O Hussars at 0953hrs; it shelled Pt88 but, on fire being opened by our guns, it withdrew, suffering no casualties  
    1235hrs Area 612363 reported clear of enemy  
    1352hs Order to withdraw received, this Regiment withdrew and leaguered in its position of 22 Oct, all vehicles reporting correct and no casualties received.  
    24 Oct 40 The Regiment returns to original campsite and all vehicles reported by nightfall  
    28 Oct 40 Training programme started by all squadrons; field firing by B Squadron.  
    29 Oct 40 Field firing by RHQ and C Squadron.  
    30 Oct 40 Field firing by A Squadron. Visit by Gen Clark, GOC Cav Div Palestine .  


November 1940

Commanding Officer: Lt Col TG Watson

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
Reference Map 8 Nov 40   Bde TEWT for COs , 2ICs and sqn leaders at Bir Nugger.  
Matruh 1/100,000 12 Nov 40   Bde TEWT attended by RHQ Sqn Ldr, 2IC and officers.  
Reference Map 15 Nov 40   Sqn ldrs’ conference in an appreciation, followed by a sand table lecture at Bde HQ.  
Sidi  Barra ni 1/100,000 17 Nov 40   Orders received that the Regt will take over position and duty of the 3rd K O Hussars. That is to say they will, to the best of their ability, keep open the gap between Nibeiwa and Rabia.  
  19 Nov 40   The Regiment moves off. Order of march: 0700hrs B Sqn; 0745hrs A Sqn; 0830hrs HQ Sqn; 0915hrs C Sqn. Route: Bir el Absas (bivouac area) 610339 - Trig Pt213 668323 - Bir el Thiba 647324 - Bir Abu Shag 637332 - Abar Istiwan 618338 - Nizwet Shala 611592. We leaguered in the last-named place.  
      Sqn ldrs and the CO went forward and recce the area  
  20 Nov 40   B Sqn take over forward patrols from the 3rd Hussars forward sqn. They supply a patrol at Trig Pt185 (591346) of one troop, a link tank at Trig Pt204 with the 11th Hussars patrol there.  
      From these points they have the whole area from Nibeiwa to Rabia under observation. The sqn leaguer at 594343. A Sqn take over the patrol at Hileqat 601350, to keep the area from Nibeiwa East under observation.  
  21 Nov 40   The 3rd Hussars move back at 0600hrs. The Regiment leaves Nizwet Shala and leaguers: RHQ, Bir Abd el Razig 608339; C Sqn 608340; A Sqn 608342.  
  22 Nov 40   Capt C E R Duff arrived from UK , where he has been instructing, and takes over command of A Sqn. With him 2Lt C D Ricardo, who is posted to B Sqn.  
  30 Nov 40   1RTR arrive to take over from us and we go to the Mumin area in reserve.  
      The time up at Razig has been uneventful, both camps have been carefully watched and all movement reported and watched.  


December 1940

Commanding Officer: Lt Col TG Watson

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
Reference Map 1 Dec 40   Regiment moved from Bir Abd el Razig to Pt214 663323. Route: Bir Razig - 610336 - Sidi el Gali 622332 - Bir Thibu 647324 - Pt222 665317 Bir Istiwi 667325. Order of march: A Sqn; RHQ and C Sqn; B Sqn (independently).   
Matruh 1/100,000     Time of start: 1700hrs. Leaguered at 628329.  
Reference Map     Arrived 1100hrs 2nd, after halt for breakfast.  
Sidi  Barra ni 1/100,000 7 Dec 40   Warning order to move at 0600hrs 8 Dec, West. Move from Bir Istiwi to 655323 to leaguer for the night. Order of march: B Sqn; A Sqn; RHQ; C Sqn.  
Cyrenaica series 1/100,000 . 8 Dec 40   Move from leaguer to Ghot el Washka. Time of start: 0630hrs. Time of arrival: 1100hrs. Order of march: same as yesterday.  
Bardia, Solum, Gambut     At 1830hrs Regiment moved from Ghot el Washka to Pt184 615333, arriving at 1930hrs.  
Gambut 9 Dec 40 0615hrs Regiment moved to area Pt204 569341. The Regiment halts here and passed an uninterrupted day, except for a Hurricane with British markings, which dive machine-gunned RHQ and B Sqn.  
      The night was spent in regimental leaguer.  
  10 Dec 40 0830hrs Regiment moved to threaten the South flank of the enemy. Moved from leaguer, order of march - independently, to Bir Thalata. Route: Pt204 - Bir Thalata 585327. Sqn ldrs’ conference held here.  
      After the conference the Regiment moved off to recce area Bir Hasata 559628.  
      Leaving Bir Habata, the Regiment moved:  B Sqn advance guard; A Sqn right flank guard and C Sqn in reserve, going via Hagfet Ikda Ramadan 532325.   
      When we reached here we were told that the Regiment was to return that night, and not make its way up to the top of the escarpment, ie to outflank Sofafi.The order was delivered to A Sqn that a patrol was to leave for Qabr el Mahdi 564331, the object being to ascertain the contents and defences of the camp.   
      This patrol was led by Lt J A Comyn. The visibility was only 200yds, with a very strong wind blowing from the North. Thus, in order to see anything, Lt Comyn was forced to go into very close range of the camp. One tank broke down and one broke a track pin, and so Lt Comyn was forced to go in, in his own tank, to a very short distance of the camp.   
      Shellfire was directed at him, both the broken tanks withdrew, but his tank received a direct hit and, at the time, the whole crew was feared to be killed.  
      After sending the patrol to Bir Habata, the Regiment returned by the same route, arriving at leaguer at 596338 at 2100hrs.  
  11 Dec 40   Sqn ldrs’ conference at 0500hrs and orders were given for the Brigade to move to area Buq Buq. The enemy were still in the area Sanyet el Shinnidirra 567356 - Wadi Kharuba 582361.  
      The Regiment moved off at 0600hrs with B Sqn leading, followed by RHQ, A Sqn and C Sqn. Strength: B Sqn - eight tanks; C Sqn - eleven tanks; A Sqn - six tanks. Route: Wadi el Shalludi 592345 - Wadi el Kabsh 585345 - Abar Mideiwir el Arad 675354.  
      At 1300hrs we moved NW to Alam Idris 554361. We reached there at 1430hrs and the Colonel went forward to confer with Col Coombe of the 11H. The enemy were on the sand dunes North of Ilwet el Na’as 554363.  
      B Sqn was sent West along the Salum road and C Sqn remained in reserve. We moved up to just South of Ilwet el Na’as, where there were the remains of the 11H prisoners. A Sqn (three tanks) guarded these. C Sqn moved up to the depression and the guns opened fire from the dunes.   
      Our 25prs of A/E Bty 1RHA, who were under command, opened up on the ridge from which the enemy guns were firing at us.  
      C Sqn was ordered to charge the guns on the forward edge of the dunes. C went in over the ridge with guns blazing and drove the enemy into the salt dunes, where they all promptly surrendered. That night 4,000 prisoners were captured.  
      RHQ leaguered in area Ilwet el Halfa 559359 with two A Sqn tanks, A/E Tp  and Blackburn's Tp 3RHA (A Tk guns). B and C Sqns guarded the prisoners. C Sqn were dive-bombed at 2100hrs.  
      Casualties: Tpr Westcott killed and several wounded.  
  12 Dec 40   The day was spent in getting rid of the prisoners and the Regiment leaguered in area Ilwet Aby Mahzud 566331.  
  13 Dec 40   The thin skins of the Regiment left the leaguer at 0700hrs, went South up the escarpment and stayed just West of the East pass.   
      The tanks moved off at 1100hrs and went by the western pass up the escarpment, turned West and the whole Regiment leaguered at Pt 196 534388.  
  14 Dec 40   0630hrs. The Regiment moved off in order to take over the role of protecting Gap 40 in the frontier wire. B Sqn to Gap 40 and looking at Capuzzo and NE to the Musaid area; C Sqn to Gap 45 to contain Sidi Omar.   
      The 25prs of A/E Bty, with Bofors escort, to 503357 to shell Sidi Omar  
      B Sqn patrol North of Gap 40 saw four lorries at 1400hrs. Set one afire, but were driven off. The lorries, however, retired and the patrol returned.  
  15 Dec 40   Patrol activity as usual. 3rd K O Hussars took over the patrol and position of B Sqn, who moved into reserve with RHQ.  
  16 Dec 40   RHQ moved North to Hagfet el Qinigine 503358. At 1300hrs RHQ was machine-gunned by nine Savoias flying at about 100ft.   
      Just before, C Sqn at Gap 45 was bombed by large-calibre bombs, but suffered no casualties.  
      The Regiment leaguered at Cairn 205 507363, ready to move to the West at first light next morning.  
  17 Dec 40   0645hrs we moved to Gabr el Medwar 503277 and arrived at 0745hrs, a distance of nine miles. At 1730hrs we moved to area Bir Uzin 491389 to leaguer.  
  18 Dec 40   The Regiment broke leaguer at 0630hrs, RHQ to 495393, C Sqn to 492394, B Sqn to 492393, with patrol at 486395.  
  20 Dec 40   0900hrs warning order received for short move.  
      1100hrs orders were received to move to area Gabr Bzeu 484403, in order to take over the role of 1RTR, which was to deny the use of the road Bardia - Tobruk to the enemy. We leave at 1400hrs and arrive at new position at 1500hrs.  
      The Regiment goes into leaguer. Positions: B and C Sqns either side of the track at Gabr Bzeu; RHQ, B/O Bty AA guns and Blackburn ’s Tp (A Tk guns) at Hagfet el Carmus 485400.  
  21 Dec 40   Positions unchanged but at 1300hrs B Sqn move North of the escarpment to 484408, since it was found that the escarpment was impassable except at the road, and small points which could not be found at night.  
  22 Dec 40   Position unchanged.  
  23 Dec 40   Position unchanged.  
  24 Dec 40   The Regiment was visited by Lt Gen O’Moore Creagh, GOC 7th Armoured Division  
  25 Dec 40   Position unchanged.  
  26 Dec 40   RHQ was machine-gunned by two CR42s, flying out of the sun at about 100ft.  
  27 Dec 40   Position unchanged.  
  28 Dec 40   Position unchanged.  
  29 Dec 40   Position unchanged.  
  30 Dec 40   6RTR take over our role and we prepare to move West.  
  31 Dec 40 1015hrs. The Regiment moves West to take up a position in order to delay a force operating from Tobruk to relieve Bardia, on the road, the action to take place at the 440 grid line, but patrols to observe on the 430 grid line.  
      Route: Leaving North and South track at 48284090, West parallel to escarpment and South of Bardia - Tobruk road, to Bir el Hamsa 44934149.  
      RHQ to Bir el Hamsa 44934149; C Sqn Sghifet el Chanegh 45204135; B Sqn 44504172 with patrols forward.  
      RHQ unarmoured vehicles with C Sqn.  
      Blackburn ’s Tp 3RHA (A Tk guns) with B Sqn.  
      One sec 151 AA Regt RA with B Sqn.  
      One sec 151 AA Regt RA with RHQ unarmoured vehicles.  
      The AA Tp under Lt Hope RA.  
      Leaguered at: B Sqn 44504172; RHQ and unarmoured vehicles at 45244129; C Sqn formed a protective screen to RHQ  
      Reference maps for December:  


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