December 1943 to April 1944

‘Exercise “Roundabout” was mounted at the port of Leith, near Edinburgh and consisted of ten phases, starting in mid-December 1943 and finishing in April 1944. In each phase eight or ten coasters carried mixed stores from Leith to Gullane, 20 miles east along the Firth of Forth. Gullane was the location of the Beach Group Practise Camp and at the beaches there the stores were off-loaded onto DUKWs, barges or landing craft, or discharged directly from beached coasters. The stores were then transported back to Leith by road (hence the name “Roundabout”, one presumes). The Exercise provided important training for Movement Control personnel and the Sea Transport Service in short sea voyage procedure. It also provided valuable practice for docks operating personnel in the loading and stowing of mixed stores, and for Beach Groups in the rapid unloading of stores on to beaches, day and night, in all weathers.’

from “Movements”, compiled by Major J B Higham and E A Knighton, Esq, MBE, The War Office 1955, Chapter 8, Section 5

The involvement of R.A.F. beach units in this Exercise was as follows:
No. 101 R.A.F. Beach Section took part in the first phase of the Exercise, (“ROUNDABOUT I”) with No. 5 Beach Group in December 1943.

No. 103 R.A.F. Beach Section and No. 104 R.A.F. Beach Section, with No. 7 Beach Group and No. 8 Beach Group respectively, took part in the Exercise in January 1944 and No. 102 Beach Section took part in “ROUNDABOUT IV” with No. 6 Beach Group, starting near the end of the same month.

The two Sections of No. 3 R.A.F. Beach Unit participated in Exercise ‘Roundabout’ in February 1944. No. 105 R.A.F. Beach Section went first, starting on 10th February with No. 9 Beach Group, followed by No. 106 R.A.F. Beach Section, starting on 24th February with No. 10 Beach Group.

See also recollections of Exercise “Roundabout” from a Landing Barge crewman in “The Little Ships”