This year opened with the 1st Battalion in Toronto where the men were training and trying to get used to life in the barracks while many were fighting homesickness. The Battalion moved to Valcartier in May to become part of the 5th Infantry Brigade, where they would remain for the rest of the war. In June some members of the Black Watch saw their first ‘action’ when an Italian freighter, S.S. Capo Noli, attempted to flee Montreal just after Italy’s declaration of war on June 10. The freighter was captured and secured by a party of 30 OR’s led by Captain F.M. Mitchell (Hutchinson, p.189). The War Diary makes no mention of this incident. Ironically, the newly renamed ship, S.S. Bic Island, was sunk by a U-boat in October of 1942. The Battalion left Canada on June 17, heading for Newfoundland on the S.S. Antonia. The destination was not revealed to the men until June 19 and, while many were disappointed they were not heading to England, they were relieved to be on the move. The Black Watch arrived in Botwood Harbour on June 21. The Battalion’s task in Newfoundland was to “guard and lay out the defences of the airport at Gander and Botwood, then the biggest in the world” (Ibid).

The Battalion began the first stage of their move across the Atlantic on August 11, when it departed from Newfoundland to Halifax aboard The Duchess of Richmond, destined for Camp Aldershot. On August 22 the Bn boarded H.M.T. The Duchess of York, and set sail for Great Britain. They arrived at Gourock on September 4 and immediately left for Albuhera Barracks in Aldershot, Hants. September 15 was a memorable day as Major Ibbotson and Capt. Molson captured a severely wounded German pilot who bailed from his burning plane, the for POW for the battalion. The Battalion continued training at Aldershot for the remainder of the year.

Jan 1940 Diary

Feb 1940 Diary

March 1940 Diary

April 1940 Diary

May 1940 Diary

June 1940

July 1940 Diary

Aug 1940 Diary

Sept 1940 Diary

Oct 1940 Diary

Nov 1940 Diary

Dec 1940 Diary

1940 War Diary Appendices

To 1941