Report by Lt. Clibborn

Transcript of a report to the Essex Regiment by Lt Clibborn after the particpation of No. 3 Independent Company in the expedition to Norway as part of Scissors Force.


No3 Independent Coy
The Town Hall
Hamilton
Lanarkshire
11.6.40
 
The Adjutant
2/4 Essex Regt
Langton Park
Co.Durham
 
 
No3 Independent Company arrived in Scotland yesterday in the Norwegian convoy, which was announced in the newspapers & wireless as having arrived safely.
 
Personnel of 2/4 Essex Regt are safe & well. There were however some casualties. Killed Pte Bixby [view]. Wounded Sgt White [view], also mentioned in despatches, Cpl Parker, L/C’s Bookham and Barnbrook, Pte Lowry, Pte Massey.  Pte Dunn was slightly hurt, but returned to duty some days later. Pte Massey is the only one who was not already convalescent before we left Norway. Wounded men did not return with the main body & have presumably been sent to a convalescent home in this country.
 
These casualties are out of all proportion to those sustained by No 3 Coy as a whole. Our Platoon happened to be sent out on duty in M.T. & were machine gunned by an enemy recce plane, on a narrow road, clear of snow itself but bounded by deep snow on either side. Sgt White displayed great bravery & initiative in attending to wounded and although wounded himself, driving them approximately 35 miles to the base. Pte Bixby was driving the ‘bus and was killed outright. Pte Massey was shot through both legs during a withdrawal. All other casualties occurred during the incident described above.
 
Our job was never that of an Independent Company, in fact our original scheme was cancelled before we sailed. We worked all the time as ordinary infantry & as such took part in four engagements. All were rearguard actions against greatly superior forces. In the first two actions we were at strategic bridges with the 5th Scots Guards & our job of holding up Jerry for a time after blowing these bridges was carried out according to plan and with very few casualties. The last two battles found us in reserve positions, or some distance from Jerry, though with nothing between us. In the third action we were subjected to an hours continuous aircraft machine gunning as we lay in reserve  in a wood. Strangely there were no casualties, though bullets struck up the earth all around us, and smacked into the trees. We got used to this sort of thing when we had had it about 3 times. Some of the marches were pretty cruel, but the 2/4 Essex men kept up well & were cheerful & full of grit. Under fire they behaved very well and obeyed all orders.
 
Our weapons were obviously unsuited to the country, though the BREN gun was deadly.  Jerry used ‘Tommy guns’ a great deal, never at close quarters where we were concerned, which was probably lucky for us. As it is our opinion of his shooting is very low.
 
Our zone of operations was within the Arctic Circle, in the Saltdal, which lies south east of the town of Bodo, now a mass of ruins.
 
Officers and men are now all very fit & are stationed at Hamilton awaiting our next move.
 
I have spoken over the telephone with CSM O’Connor this afternoon & found out you had moved. Hoping to see you all again if possible.
 
WC Clibborn 2Lt
 
Source
Gary Cootes (on forum) & Essex Regiment files ER3356.1/2
 

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