No. 70 Beach Unit in Exercise JANTZEN

This account of Exercise “JANTZEN” concerns the involvement of No. 70 R.A.F. Beach Unit and is taken from that Unit’s Operations Record Book entries.

Weather: Fine

Arrangements made for the Sections of No. 70 Beach Unit to be attached for all purposes, except accommodation and discipline, to the Units with whom they would be working.
Office accommodation arranged with the M.L.O. jointly.

Weather: Dull and Rain.

All Sections of No. 70 Beach Unit working with the Units to which they are attached.
C.O. attended conference at Beach Group Headquarters at 14.30 hours. Certain amendments made to Operation Order no. 1.

Weather: Heavy Rain

Heavy rain until 1800 hours. C.O’s conference at 1000 hours.
Officers and Senior N.C.O.s sighted relief plan of Beaches. All Sections briefed by C.O. of Units to which they are attached as to general organisation etc.

Weather: Fine

C.O’s conference at 1000 hours. All Sections generally briefed as to their anticipated duties with their opposite numbers.

Weather: Fine

M.T. Section were called in to assist R.E.M.E. in waterproofing certain vehicles.

Weather: Fine

Rest Day. W/Comdr Faulkner visited Unit. Documents prepared for records of work on Exercise.

Weather: Fine

Conference at No. 101 Sub Area on general matters.

Weather: Fine

Equipment Section 10 mile route march with Ordnance Beach Detachment (O.B.D.).
Conference at 101 Sub Area. Warning order of readiness to move at 0900 hours 21.7.43 received at 1750 hours. Movement order received at 2315 hours for Assembly Area (MARROS).

Weather: Fine

Moved from Concentration Area to Assembly Area. Each (Beach) Section moved with its opposite Army Unit. Final conference at No. 101 Sub Area (Beach) and Beach Group Commander. Move without incident.

D Day.
Weather: Fine

Zero hour 12.30 hours. All landing of No. 70 R.A.F. Beach Unit without incident (Dry Shod). Balance of day spent in arranging Office, Bivouac Area and various dumps.
Headquarters Office arranged jointly with M.L.O. and staff working together.

D + 1 day
Weather: Fine

Tactical landings. W/Comdr. Faulkner, No. 101 Sub Area (Beach) visited No. 5 Beach Group Headquarters for operational report on landing at 0030 hours.
All R.A.F. Serials due landed without incident.

D + 2 day
Weather: Fine

No R.A.F. personnel, vehicles or stores landed during this 24 hours. Various Air Ministry Officials attended Exercise enquiring on various points.

D + 3 day
Weather: Fine

First Coaster with R.A.F. supplies arrived (Oxygen). Documents were only sent in connection with one consignment. Information regarding others had to be taken from Army Form which does not give necessary information for quick location. Contacted other Sections: –

  • The M.T. Section had little to do as no difficulties were experienced with the landing of R.A.F. Vehicles.
  • Stores. 4 Cylinders of Oxygen forwarded to stores section of O.B.D. instead of “X” Dump on instructions of No.101 Sub Area (Beach)
  • “X”. Suitable site has been found in O.B.D. Royal Engineers (R.E.s) are working on it to give hard foundation. No 2” rope available at R.E. stores to make rope slings, so endeavouring to use wire ones with protected ends.
  • Petrol, Oil and Lubricants (POL). No Petrol has yet arrived, but R.A.F. Section have been assisting Army in stacking, checking etc.
  • Station Police. The S.P. Police are working with Provost Company (PRO) as no R.A.F. personnel or vehicles are expected, they are assisting in traffic control and security.

Tonnage. 15 Cwts.

D + 4 day
Weather: Heavy rain from approximately 2100 hours

No information available from dumps as to R.A.F. Stores (Oxygen) on hand. Up to 1200 hours no returns had been made from any the dumps as to stock on hand.
Three Coasters arrived 2nd Tide at approximately 1600 hours. These contained 18 tons Aviation Petrol. 36½ tons Ammunition. 24 cwts Oxygen. These Vessels commenced to discharge at 1630 hours, and R.A.F. Petrol was landed at 1700 hours, Ammunition at 2000 hours and Oxygen at 1800 hours.
No documents were received for PU/7 (M.V. Plover). “Token” Aviation Spirit and M.T. Spirit were stowed in close proximity, and as there was no special marking on R.A.F. Spirit, Docks Operating Company were advised to keep it separate, and to advise Lorries that Spirit was destined for R.A.F. Petrol dump (Part of 237 Petrol Depot). R.A.F. Ammunition also appeared mixed. At 2359 hours no R.A.F. Petrol was in dump.
Total Tonnage. 66 tons.

D + 5 day
Weather: Fine

Three Coasters arrived first tide at approximately 0530 hours. These contained 26½ tons Ammunition. 19 tons Petrol. 25 cwts Oxygen. R.A.F. Aviation Spirit was discharged from 0700 hours onward.
At 1200 hours Petrol Depot reported “NIL” receipts. This matter was investigated by RAFLO and it was found that R.A.S.C. were claiming all arrivals as theirs, due to there being no distinguishing mark, it was difficult at the Petrol Depot to decide which was R.A.F. and which M.T. At 2359 hours quantities were agreed and tonnage allotted of ‘token Petrol’ to represent all that had been landed from first six Coasters vis 8991 Gallons. Subsequently arrangements were made to put two men from M.T. Section on Coasters arriving on a.m. tide D + 6 to work with Movement Control to ensure Lorry Drivers correctly instructed as to R.A.F. Stores, petrol, Ammunition etc.
Due to shortage and overworking of Docks Operating personnel., volunteers were called for to work on Ships and Landing Barges (L.B.V’s). All M.T. Section and Runner from Headquarters volunteered and did very good work.
Total Tonnage 57 tons.

D + 6 day
Weather: Fine

First arrivals of ‘Composite Loading’. Three further Coasters arrived on a.m. tide having on board on R.A.F. account 24 tons of Ammunition. 19 tons Petrol. 1 cwt Oxygen. All this traffic destined for dumps in F.M.A. As checking reports from Docks Operating Company both late and inaccurate, arrangements made to utilise M.T. Labour, which was available, as rough checkers. This arrangement was made with M.T. Officer and only subject to his not requiring them for other purposes. M.V. LIBRA (24/SU/5) returned to loading port with approximately 25 tons Ammunition on board, including some 500 lb. Bombs.
Total Tonnage 43. tons.

D + 7 day
Weather: Fine

Three Coasters arrived on a.m. tide, and one by p.m. tide, having on board on account of R.A.F. 24 tons Ammunition. All this traffic forwarded to F.M.A. dump. Signal received from Headquarters No. 7, Base Sub Area to forward quantities of 100 Octane and 80 Octane together with Lubricating Oils to CYFFIC Airfield. Arrangements made with Captain Macpherson. Liaison Officer R.A.S.C. for this to be forwarded together with supplies from No.71. Beach Unit. Checkers were detailed to watch this. All Ammunition removed from B.M.A. dump in accordance with neutral arrangements.
Total Tonnage. 22½ tons.

D + 8 day
Weather: Fine

Two out of three Coasters arrived a.m. tide, having on board on account of R.A.F. 30 tons supplies. On the p.m. tide a further four Coasters arrived, on two of which there was a total of 40 tons of R.A.F. supplies.
“XRAY” Beach was closed due to a Petrol Barge breaking its back and Petrol spreading over the water. In consequence of this, three Coasters and a number of L.B.V’s were diverted to UNCLE/VICTOR Sector. 100 Octane Petrol continued to be delivered direct to CYFFIC Airfield together with Lubricants and M.T. Petrol. Ammunition and Oxygen forwarded to B.A.D. Two out of three Coasters arrived a.m. tide, having on board on account of R.A.F. 30 tons supplies. On the p.m. tide a further four Coasters arrived, on two of which there was a total of 40 tons of R.A.F. supplies.
Total Tonnage 58 tons.

D + 9 day
Weather: Fine

Coaster (TROMP) swung broadside onto Beach and left dry. No R.A.F. Material on board. Four Coasters arrived a.m. tide, all containing R.A.F. supplies.
Message received at 1205 hours from F/Lt Haynes that receipts of Petrol would cease at 1200 hours 31.7.43 at Aerodrome. Could not act on this information, but contacted Captain Macpherson C.R.A.S.C. at 1310 hours who confirmed that quantities for D + 9 and D + 10 day would be reduced, but had no advice of any cancellation. At 1400 hours C.R.A.S.C. confirmed no further Petrol to go to Depot. This confirmed by W/Cmdr. Faulkner. No. 101. Sub Area (Beach) and instructions issued at 1430 hours to Beach checkers that all R.A.F. 100 Octane and Lubricants to go to No.131 Petrol Depot.
Discharge of Coasters proceeded satisfactorily. Had it not been for having checkers available it is doubtful if the particular operation of ensuring that R.A.F. Petrol did go to the Aerodrome and not to the Petrol Depot could have been accomplished satisfactorily. Due to congestion it was decided to delay the convoy of three Coasters due on a.m. tide D + 10 day. Delay principally due to lack of L.B.V’s.
Total Tonnage 91 tons.

D + 10 day
Weather: Wind, medium/strong S.E., increasing to gale force

Six Coasters still remaining for discharge containing part R.A.F. Material. No discharge into L.B.V’s possible due to medium/strong S.E. wind, which also precluded any Coasters from re-beaching. Later in the day wind increased to full gale force precluding working of L.B.V’s or beaching of Coasters p.m. tide.

D + 11 day
Weather: Fine

Weather moderated, but all Beach Exits washed away by storm on 1.8.43. R.E’s worked throughout day repairing Exits and replacing track. Only 1 M.T. Coaster on p.m. tide, due to only one buoy being available.

D + 12 day
Weather: Fine

Two Coasters arrived a.m. tide and beached. Both had R.A.F. material on board. All R.A.F. supplies ex “JANS BRONS” landed by 1500 hours. Cargo ex “BLUSH ROSE” completed into L.B.V’s. Two further Coasters arrived p.m. tide, both containing R.A.F. supplies approximately 140 tons Ammunition and Bombs.

D + 13 day
Weather: Moderate gale in evening. Heavy rain at night

Three Coasters arrived on a.m. tide, two of these contained R.A.F. 100 Octane Petrol and M.T. ‘live’ 80 Octane. In view of difference in marking, no difficulty was experienced in separate discharge during daylight. In the early evening a moderate gale sprang up and seven L.B.V’s and Coaster “YEWMOUNT” were beached on the Beach. No further Coasters due to arrive and “EXERCISE JANTZEN” considered completed when Coaster “YEWMOUNT” discharged and cargo salvaged from damaged barges. All Beach Exits washed away.

D + 14 day
Weather: bad

Work continued in the early hours discharging Petrol by hand to shore of cargo ex “YEWMOUNT” and damaged barges. Exercise completed with above. Warning order received from No.101. Sub Area (Beach) to move to AYR.

Source used for this page:
Operations Record Book of No. 1 RAF Beach Unit (later) Squadron including No 70 & 71 Beach Units – found in, ‘Air Ministry and Ministry of Defence: Operations Record Books, Miscellaneous Units’ AIR 29/438 at The National Archives.