I said I hoped that some of us would eventually serve together but we never did; occasional airmail lettercards arrived for a while keeping me posted on their progress but sadly they had been separated and ended up with various units in the Far East.
Then my time came to be sent on embarkation leave, but half way through my stay in Peebles a telegram advised it had been cancelled and to report back in due course. My return to the 9th KOSB was to take up an appointment as their Signals Officer, but this lasted only a few months as the battalion was disbanded and I was subsequently posted to the 7th/9th (Highlanders) Battalion The Royal Scots. They were one of three battalions in 155 Infantry Brigade which was part of the 52nd Lowland Division, known as the 52nd Mountain Division. We had a number of Norwegian officers and non-commissioned officers in the battalion and they were supervising our instruction in high altitude warfare which included snow training, skiing and fighting in mountainous terrain. I was issued with wind-proof clothing, string vests, mitts and gloves, special boots and soft ski caps; speedily told that frost-bite was a military offence and that rapid fire had to be controlled at high altitudes as gasses could distort barrels! The division had an Indian mule company which supplied us with mules and handlers to carry our operational equipment, signalling gear, 3-inch mortars, and also the Division's mountain artillery guns.
52nd Mountain Division badge
52nd Lowland Division
I readily settled into the ways of the battalion and was appointed 'understudy S.O.', then after a couple of months commanded 18 Platoon in 'D' Company whilst waiting for a vacancy on the Infantry Signals Officers Course at Catterick. When I returned to the battalion after successfully completing the course I was appointed Battalion Intelligence Officer (I.O). It was explained that in the event of battle casualties the S.O. would replace the Adjutant and I would become S.O. My Intelligence Section of a sergeant, corporal and six men were required to know about the arms, equipment, formations and unit identities of the German Army and be fully informed about the deployment of our own troops. Later I also became the battalion's sniper officer and when the battalion occupied defensive positions it fell to me to deploy snipers in 'hides' across our front. This worked well because it provided additional observation points to watch as well as harass the enemy using telesopic sighted rifles. I had a sergeant and corporal to help position the snipers who had been recruited from amongst the best shots in the rifle companies.

 


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