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Royal Armoured Corps in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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World War 2 Two II WW2 WWII

Royal Armoured Corps




   In September 1940 when Italy declared war on Britain and France, the 11th Hussars were in Egypt with the 7th Armoured Division (known as the Desert Rats). Equipped with obsolete Rolls-Royce and Morris armoured cars, the regiment were engaged in raids against Italian positions in the Western Desert Campaign. They captured Fort Capuzzo and captured General Lastucci, the Engineer-in-Chief of the Italian Tenth Army in an ambush east of Bardia.

The 11th Hussars took part in Operation Compass that was launched against the Italian forces in Egypt and Libya. They joined the ad hoc combat unit named Combe Force (lead by Lieutenant-Colonel John Combe) which cut off the retreating Tenth Army near Beda Fomm, unable to break through the defensive positions the Italians surrendered en-masse as the 6th Australian Division closed in on them from their rear.

   The 8th Battalion, Duke of Wellingtons West Riding Regiment was reformed in July 1940. In and 1941 the battalion was converted to 145 Regiment Royal Armored Corps and served in North Africa and Italy.

   The 9th Battalion, Duke of Wellingtons West Riding Regiment was re-raised in 1940. The 9th converted to 146 Regiment, Royal Armourned Corps and were sent to India and saw action in Burma. After the end of the war they went to Sumatra.

   The 9th (Donside) Battalion, Gordon Highlanders were posted to the Shetland Islands on defence duties when war broke out in 1939. On the 28th of May 1942 they arrived in India for training, and were converted to an armoured regiment, 116th Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps. They were deployed to Burma and in February 1945 having transferred to 255th Indian Tank Brigade were in action in the battle of Meiktila, Burma. In April 1945 the Battalion took part in the dash for Rangoon.

   The King's Dragoon Guards were part of the Royal Armoured Corps during the Second World War. They served in North Africa, Sicily and Italy, landing at Salerno against fierce enemy opposition. They fought through Italy and were the first Allied unit into Naples.

   11th Battalion, Kings Liverpool Regiment was formed in June 1940 and were engaged in home defence duties in Britain. In November 1941 they became 152nd Regiment Royal Armoured Corps.

   5th Battalion, Kings Own Royal (Lancaster) Regiment mobilised with 126th Infantry Brigade, 42nd (East Lancashire) Division and went to France with the British Expeditionary Force seeing action in France and Belgium in 1940. After returning to Britain, the division was converted to armour, and was renamed 42nd Armoured Division. In October 1941, 5th Battalion transferred to the Royal Armoured Corps and was renamed 107th Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps. They continued to wear the King's Own cap badge on the black beret of the Royal Armoured Corps, as did all infantry units converted in this way. 107th Regiment was disbanded in December 1943 and a few of its officers and men were sent to 151st Regiment, which was converted from the 10th Battalion King's Own.

   50th (Holding) Battalion, Kings Own Royal (Lancaster) Regiment was formed in the United Kingdom on 28 May 1940. On 9 October 1940, it was renumbered as the 10th Battalion, Kings Own Royal (Lancaster) Regiment and joined 225th Independent Infantry Brigade (Home), formed for service in the United Kingdom. When the brigade was converted into a tank brigade in December 1941, the battalion became 151st Regiment Royal Armoured Corps. When 107th RAC was disbanded in December 1943, a cadre transferred to 151st RAC, which adopted the number of 107th to perpetuate the 5th Battalion King's Own, which was a 1st Line Territorial battalion with a long history. The new 107th Regiment went on to serve in North-west Europe from 1944-1945.

   The Lothian and Border Horse Yeomanry was part of the Royal Armoured Corps during the Second World War. The 1st Regiment served in France, Normandy, Holland and Germany.

   The Lothian and Border Horse Yeomanry was part of the Royal Armoured Corps during the Second World War. The 2nd Regiment served in the Western Desert and Italy.

   The North Irish Horse was reconstituted on the 31st of August 1939 by order of the War Office, as a wheeled armoured car unit and recruitment began. On the 11th of September the regiment transferred from the Cavalry of the Line to the Royal Armoured Corps, which it would serve with throughout the war. In November they moved to Enniskillen Castle and by January 1940 were equipped with Rolls-Royce armoured cars, armed with Vickers machine guns. In the spring they moved to to Ballykinlar training camp and were re-equipped as an armoured regiment with Mk I Valentine tanks. On the 18th of October 1941 they crossed to England and were based in Westbury, Wiltshire, re-equipping with Churchill tanks. After training in England and Wales, in February 1943 they sailed from Liverpool to Algiers going into action in Tunisia. At the end of the campaign they were sent to Naples and were in action in the Italian Campaign until May 1945.

4th Sep 1939 CO Appointed

8th Sep 1939 Authorisation

9th Sep 1939 Recruitment

10th Sep 1939 Recruitment

12th Sep 1939 Accomodation

15th Sep 1939 Office Opens

20th Sep 1939 New CO.

21st Sep 1939 2nd in Command Appointde

22nd Sep 1939 Recce

24th Sep 1939 Recce

26th Sep 1939 New Recruits

1st Oct 1939 Officers Board

3rd Oct 1939 Sergeants posted

10th Oct 1939 Recce

12th Oct 1939 Co Hospitalised

15th Oct 1939 Officers Join

17th Oct 1939 Officers Join

19th Oct 1939 Signalling Instruction

20th Oct 1939 Equipment Arrives

21st Oct 1939 Decision Made

23rd Oct 1939 Decision Made

31st Oct 1939 New Recruits

1st Nov 1939 Instructors

2nd Nov 1939 CO Returns

4th Nov 1939 Courses

7th Nov 1939 On the Move

10th Nov 1939 On the Move

13th Nov 1939 Courses

14th Nov 1939 Appointments

15th Nov 1939 Appointments

16th Nov 1939 Instructional Vehicles

18th Nov 1939 Appointments

20th Nov 1939 Courses

24th Nov 1939 New Recruits

25th Nov 1939 Visit

26th Nov 1939 Equipment

30th Nov 1939 Appointments

2nd Dec 1939 Appointments

3rd Dec 1939 Visit

6th Dec 1939 Instructional Vehicles

11th Dec 1939 New Squadron

13th Dec 1939 New Recruits

14th Dec 1939 Appointments

16th Dec 1939 Appointments

18th Dec 1939 Appointments

23th Dec 1939 Strength

27th Dec 1939 Guard

28th Dec 1939 Sick Leave

29th Dec 1939 Sick Leave

30th Dec 1939 Sickness

2nd Jan 1940 Visit

3rd Jan 1940 CO Hospitalised

5th Jan 1940 Strength

7th Jan 1940 Church Parade

8th Jan 1940 Equipment

12th Jan 1940 Transfer

16th Jan 1940 Transfers

17th Jan 1940 Promotions

18th Jan 1940 Promotions

19th Jan 1940 Sickness

20th Jan 1940 ADMS Visits

22nd Jan 1940 Promotion

25th Jan 1940 Sickness

27th Jan 1940 Strength

29th Jan 1940 Sickness

30th Jan 1940 Equipment

2nd Feb 1940 Recption

4th Feb 1940 Church Parade

5th Feb 1940 Promotions

7th Feb 1940 Equipment

9th Feb 1940 Ranges

14th Feb 1940 Sickbay

15th Feb 1940 Equipment

17th Feb 1940 Organisation

18th Feb 1940 Equipment

22nd Feb 1940 Equipment

23rd Feb 1940 Equipment

24th Feb 1940 Equipment

25th Feb 1940 Rugby

26th Feb 1940 Appointments

29th Feb 1940 New CO.

2nd Mar 1940 Strength

5th Mar 1940 Recruitment

14th Mar 1940 Visit

16th Mar 1940 Equipment

18th Mar 1940 Equipment

23rd Mar 1940 Equipment

29th Mar 1940 Strength

2nd Apr 1940 Appointments

7th Apr 1940 Church Parade

12th Apr 1940 Attachment

15th Apr 1940 Courses

21st Apr 1940 Transfer

22nd Apr 1940 Ill Health

29th Apr 1940 Appointments

3rd May 1940 Appointments

4th May 1940 Appointments

6th May 1940 Lecture

14th May 1940 Recce

15th May 1940 On Duty

17th May 1940 Courts Martial

18th May 1940 Course

20th May 1940 Sentenced

24th May 1940 Stand To

25th May 1940 Relegation

28th May 1940 Under Threat

30th May 1940 Appointments

30th May 1940 Appointments

4th Jun 1940 Death Announced

5th Jun 1940 Attachment

6th Jun 1940 Postings

15th Jun 1940 Training

16th Jun 1940 Defence

17th Jun 1940 Ready

18th Jun 1940 Movements

20th Jun 1940 Road Blocks

24th Jun 1940 Attachment

26th Jun 1940 Trenches Dug

30th Jun 1940 Appointments

2nd Jul 1940 Transfer

4th Jul 1940 Notice to Move

10th Feb 1942 Transfer

11th Feb 1942 Crewing up

26th Feb 1942 Live Fire

25th Apr 1942 Courts Martial

10th May 1942 Training

24th May 1942 Training

31st May 1942 Excerises Cut Short

June 1942 On the Move

June 1942 On the Move

Jul 1942 Rumours

Aug 1942 Hospitalisation

Aug 1942 Live Fire

Sep 1942 Harvest

Sep 1942 Harvest

31st Dec 1942 Hognanay

2nd Jan 1943 New Arrivals

3rd Jan 1943 Home Detail

Jan 1943 Loading

20th Jan 1943 On the Move

21st Jan 1943 On the Move

22nd Jan 1943 On the Move

25th Jan 1943 On the Move

1st Feb 1943 On the Move

2nd Feb 1943 Unloading

4th Feb 1943 Help Yourselves

7th Feb 1943 On the Move

11th Feb 1943 Defence Force

13th Feb 1943 Water Tanks

27th Feb 1943 Attack Imminent

28th Feb 1943 In Action

1st Mar 1943 Possessions Lost

4th Mar 1943 In Defence

14th Mar 1943 Straffed

18th Nov 1944 In Action


If you can provide any additional information, especially on actions and locations at specific dates, please add it here.



Those known to have served with

Royal Armoured Corps

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

  • Ackrill James Jonah. S/Maj.
  • Adams Charles William. Trooper (d.29th May 1940)
  • Ash Walter. Cpl.
  • Ballinger Frank Henry Eli. L/Cpl. (d.11th May 1943)
  • Barker Albert. Pte. (d.14th November 1942)
  • Batey Denis George Thomas.
  • Baxter Charles. Drvr.
  • Bestwick Arthur. Cpl.
  • Boal Thomas Robinson. Tpr. (d.27th Dec 1944)
  • Bowden Albert Edward. Trpr.
  • Bradburn James. L/Cpl. (d.3rd Nov1943)
  • Briant Frank Herbert. Sgt
  • Buck Albert Edward. Pte.
  • Cantelo George Edward. Cpl.
  • Careless Alfred. Capt. (d.20th Oct 1943)
  • Careless Alfred. Captain (d.20th October 1943)
  • Clare Sydney. Sgt.
  • Connolly James. Trpr. (d.27th Aug 1943)
  • Cooke Charles Arthur John.
  • Corderoy Lionel Joseph Fursse. Trpr.
  • Donaldson Robert. L/Cpl.
  • Duggan John Anthony. Pte.
  • Dugmore William Walter. Sgt. (d.1st September 1943)
  • Dundas-Taylor James Buchan. Tpr.
  • Dunn William Arthur. L/Cpl. (d.29th Oct 1944)
  • East Sydney.
  • Frost Walter.
  • Frudd Albert. Tpr. (d.15th Sept 1944)
  • Gallagher Robert.
  • Gibbings Thomas . Sergeant
  • Gill Samuel. Tpr.
  • Gower Kenneth.
  • Graham John. Tpr.
  • Hadlow William Thomas. Cpl.
  • Hargreaves John Francis. Tpr. (d.24th Jan 1945)
  • Heath William Frank. Gnr.
  • Hedges Garfield Desmond. Tpr.r
  • Hewer Benjamin. Sgt.
  • Higgins William. Cpl. (d.18th Sep 1943)
  • Hogarth Benjamin Joseph. Sgt.
  • Jenkins Joseph. Tpr.
  • Kay William.
  • Kelly Thomas George. L/Cpl. (d.19th Sep 1944)
  • Lay William. Sgt.
  • Luxford James. Sgt.Mjr.
  • Macken John Joseph. L/Cpl. (d.22nd February 1942)
  • Martin James Joseph. Sgt.
  • McFadzean Albert. Tpr. (d.12th Jun 1940)
  • Meredith Allan J.. Tpr. (d.10th Apr 1943)
  • Miller James Douglas.
  • Morgan Norman Henry. Sgt.Mjr.
  • Newnham Eric. Trpr. (d.10th June 1944)
  • Nichols Percy Albert. Tpr.
  • Norris Walter. Trooper (d.3rd November 1944)
  • Norris Walter. Tpr. (d.3rd November 1944)
  • O'Neill Victor. S/Sgt
  • Oyston Roger Lightfoot. Capt. (d.19th Jun 1944)
  • Pearman Arthur Edward. Tpr.
  • Peden Robert. Cpl.
  • Pym Edwin Joseph. L/Cpl. (d.22nd April 1945)
  • Salmon Thomas William. Lt. (d.24th September 1944)
  • Scott James Douglas. Tpr.
  • Scott James Douglas. Tpr.
  • Scott Robert Fredrick. Tpr.
  • Sharp Robert Henry. Trpr.
  • Smith Samuel William. Pte.
  • Smith Thomas William. Sgt. (d.5th Oct 1942)
  • Stewart Stephen Ramsey. Tpr. (d.12th May 1942)
  • Stokes Norman.
  • Swales Frank. Tpr.
  • Thomas Charles. Lt.
  • Thompson John Hanson. Lt (d.19th Jul 1944)
  • Upstone Eric Bishop. L/Cpl.
  • Waterer Alfred. Tpr.
  • Weller Arthur William. Cpl.
  • Whiley Ernest. Tpr.
  • Whiting Frederick William. L/Sgt. (d.5th Apr 1945)
  • Wiles Anthony. Tpr.
  • Wilson George Edward. Pte.
  • Wroe William. Bombdr.
  • Young Jasper Peter. Capt. (d.17th September 1941)
  • Younger James.

The names on this list have been submitted by relatives, friends, neighbours and others who wish to remember them, if you have any names to add or any recollections or photos of those listed, please Add a Name to this List

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There are 33 pages in our library tagged Royal Armoured Corps  These include information on officers service records, letters, diaries, personal accounts and information about actions during the Second World War.

Access our library



Tpr. Anthony Wiles East Yorks Yeomanry

I believe that my Grandfather, Anthony Wiles was imprisioned in Stalag 8b (344) from 1940 to 1945 (he is the only Tpr A Wiles listed - though the A Wiles listed is R.A.C). Sadly, he died in 1989.

He was captured in 1940 in France (probably as part of the BEF). He told me he was captured in a cornfield and surrendered after the Germans surrounded the field and threatended to burn them out. He talked of working in Poland, a long march (during which they were abused by the locals), being fed on Beetroot Soup and working near a river. He was fluent in German on his return and I think he served a while as a dispatch rider after the war. He brought back a few mementoes (which he said he picked up on his walk back) including a German army bayonet and flag (both of which I still have). For anyone who may remember him, he was a bandsman (accomplished trumpet player), would have been in his early 20s, was from the Hull area and was referred to as Tony.

Paul Hewitt



Sgt Frank Herbert Briant Recconnaisance Corp

I was born on 20th August 1939 and two weeks later my father went to war with the 2nd Battalion. He became a Dunkirk veteran. In March 1941 he was in the Recconnaisance Corp

and later that year he became a sergeant. In 1943 he was in North Africa and in 1944 remained with 1st Battalion although he transferred to the Royal Armoured Corp. He was later demobbed and in January 1946 drowned off Hengistbury Head with two other mates whilst fishing. As I was only 6 years old at the time I only have two memories of him therefore my question is very relevant.

I have a newspaper photo taken in the Middle East dated 6th August 1945 which shows a group of Sgts an S.S.M and a S.Q.M.S The names of these men are:- Sgts Brookes, Kenchington, Scarth, Nelson, Cresswell, Lorryman, Lance, Harding, Stratton, Briant, Penny, Hancock, Morris, Masterman, Barrison, and Cole. The SQMS's name is STRIDE and the SSM's name is DENNIS, can anyone tell me more about these men ie personal memories particularly if they involved my father.

There was another photo of my father standing in front of the Sphinx with another soldier but this photo has been lost over the years, does anyone know about that photo?

Richard Frank Briant



Capt. Roger Lightfoot Oyston 2nd Btn. Derbyshire Yeomanry (d.19th Jun 1944)

I am trying to find out about the war history of my father and also if possible to locate some existing English family members of my father - Roger Lightfoot Oyston, who died in June, 1944 on D day in Normandy.

I was born in September 1944. Three years later my mother remarried and moved with her children and new husband back to her family in Melbourne, Australia. My step-father was John Balawaider - a demobbed member of the Polish Air Force, who had been stationed in Britain. It would be of great value to me to discover any information about my father and his family. He was born in 1912, in Bridlington, Yorkshire, travelling to Australia prior to WW2, where he met my mother. They moved to Britain where my mother lived until 1947. I have a commemorative certificate bequethed by my mother that states that my father died for his "King and Country" as a member of the Derbyshire Yeomanry. My mother's name was Sheila Florance. She built up a singular career as an actress, most notably in "Prisoner" in Australia and also internationally.

Philip Michael Oyston



William Kay DCM Kings Dragoon Guards, C Sqd. Royal Armoured Corps

I served in the Kings Dragoon Guards, Royal Armoured Corps, in the middle east 1938 - 47. I was awarded the DCM in Italy. I am currently 86 years old and living in Hull, East Yorkshire and I would love to hear from anyone serving in C squadron, KDG's during that period.

William Kay



Tpr. James Douglas Scott 1st Btn. Lothian and Border Horse

Trooper 14259421 John Douglas (Dougie) served in the 1st Lothian & Border Horse Yeomanry from 1942 to 1946 and saw action in France, Germany and on Walcheren Island in Operation Infatuate. The Lothian and Border Horse Yeomanry was part of the 79th Armoured Division. This was formed in October 1942 under the command of Major-General Percy Hobart. Its badge was a bull’s head in an upturned triangle with a yellow background. The Division was made up of the following in June 1944: 27th Armoured Brigade, 35th Tank Brigade, 30th Armoured Brigade (of which the 1st Lothian & Border Horse Yeomanry was part), 1st Assault Brigade RE.

During the Invasion of Europe, the Lothian’s had 17 men killed, most of whom were Doug’s personal friends, 90 Officers and Other Ranks wounded, and 16 Officers and Other Ranks Missing in Action. 4 Sherman Gun Tanks and 36 Sherman Crab Tanks were destroyed.

Thursday August 20th 1942

Call up to army No. 12 Primary Training Centre Bodmin, Cornwall.

I left Coalville in the early morning with three more local lads. We travelled by train and arrived at Bodmin late evening, when we were met by Training Centre staff and marched to the barracks.

Once in barracks we were given army numbers. Mine was 14259421 and the rank of Private. After a meal in the Mess Room (what a meal! — putting it bluntly it looked like slops, everything in the one mess tin; starter, main course and sweet. I bought my food then from the local shops or NAAFI until my money ran out. Funny how the army food then became more agreeable!), we were taken to be kitted out - nothing made to measure — blousons, shirts, trousers, underwear, boots, puttees, webbing, mess tin, gas mask, helmet - but somehow it all managed to fit. The uniform was at first uncomfortable and coarse against the skin, but after a while you became use to it. We also found out later that it helped to attract the local young ladies who liked to see a man in uniform - useful for a shy, young man from a mining town. Next to the barrack room, bunk beds with wooden base followed by a trip to a straw barn with a palliasse and pillowcase to be filled with straw for your mattress and pillow along with two blankets - what more could you want!

Friday August 21st 1942

Reveille at 6:00 am and we met our NCO Instructors Sgt Bates, Cpl Lack and L/C Hipwell.

The next six weeks were all about marching, rifle drill, gunnery lessons ie stripping and assembling the Bren Light Machine Gun, firing the Lee Enfield .303 rifle, map reading, grenade throwing and Saturdays were inoculation days.

During this time we were given tests to decide which branch of the army we were or would be most suitable for. I was quite pleased to be selected for the Royal Armoured Corps, as I didn't fancy the infantry.

Training

Along with others I was posted to the 55 Training Regiment RAC at Farnborough. Once again most of the training was about marching and arms drill but after a while we started to learn about tank gunnery, wireless etc. Also those that could not drive were given driving lessons. As I could already drive, I enjoyed this - showing off I think you call it!

Thursdays at the 55th was the Adjutant’s Parade Day. All of the squadrons would parade on the Square with the bands playing. The Adjutant would inspect one squadron each week, and then we were marched off to our different duties.

Friday night was spent cleaning the barrack room, each man being given an allocation of polish to clean around and under their bed space. Saturday morning was inspection day with all of your kit being laid out on your bed. You were inspected, at attention, by the Orderly Officer and Troop Sergeant for uniformity and cleanliness of kit, uniform and personal grooming.

On leaving 55 Training Regiment in December 1943 I joined ‘A’ Squadron the 1st Lothian & Border Horse Yeomanry, a Scottish Regiment (it must have been the name!) who at that time were at Duncombe Park, Helmsby, Yorkshire and were in the 42nd Armoured Division. We were only there a few days when we moved out on Exercise Spartan.

This lasted for two or three weeks and when this finished we ended up at Hope Belisha Barracks, Warminster. I was put in the Reconnaissance Troop who used Bren Gun Carriers as their vehicles. Once again my previous driving experience came in handy and after a couple of tests was allocated to a vehicle as driver.

Our Troop Officer, LT Hamish Robb, used to take us off on exercises etc and often we would end up at Cerne Abbis in Dorset spending the night in the village institute and Red Lion pub where the locals would play ‘Shove Halfpenny’.

Once every week or so, four or five of us had to report to the Cookhouse in the evening to peel sacks of potatoes ready for use the next day. Not the nicest way to spend an evening, but someone had to do it. The system of serving meals was that 14 men sat a table and enough food to feed them all was brought to the table. The man at the top of the table had to dish it up and then pass it down the line. This was OK if the man dishing up was good at counting out 14 even portions, but if he wasn’t someone would end up going hungry! An Orderly Officer came around very mealtime asking if anyone had any complaints. Unless they were very serious you were best to keep them to yourself.

The Sherman Tank

I learned to drive the Sherman on Orford Ranges, a large area taken over by the government for war practice. Here, replicas were made of German beaches and strongholds, the Siegfried and Maginot Lines. I passed my test and became a DMAFV - Driver Mechanic of Armoured Fighting Vehicles.

Other times were spent on Salisbury Plains and at times were quite exciting. Here we would put into practice our training — doing mock battles, learning tactics and manoeuvres. We then moved from Warminster to Adderbury, Oxford and from there to Wickham Market in Suffolk. There we lost our Bren Gun Carriers (small, lightly armoured, personnel carriers with a mounted machine gun) in exchange for Sherman Tanks and joined the 79th Armoured Division. We were to specialise in flailing — Sherman tanks which had a boom and chains fitted to front (codenamed ‘Crabs’). The chains rotated and ‘flailed’ the ground, exploding the buried mines and hopefully clearing the way for the following infantry and us. We were also armed with a 75 mm gun and a machine gun.

After being on an Exercise (or in action), no matter how long you had been without food or rest, my first job was to refuel the tank, the gunner to clean and check his guns, and the wireless operator to make sure his set and other equipment were in working order.

The Sherman was nicknamed ‘Ronson’ because it would go up like a lighter if hit by an enemy shell. It was fast and versatile, but poorly armoured, so we learnt to get our shots in first. Later, in France, I lost good friends who were unable to get out of blazing Shermans.

The crew consisted of five men — a crew commander who was either an officer or an N.C.O. Then there was the gunner and the wireless operator also acted as a gun loader when required. In the 2 front compartments were the driver and co-driver, who on an ordinary (gun) Sherman had a mounted Browning machine gun to use if required. Everyone of the crew members had to learn at least 2 trades i.e. wireless op — gunner; driver — wireless op; gunner - driver etc. This was so that we all had a certain amount of knowledge of each other’s skills, and in an emergency could step into the breach.

Away from the Regiment I had 2 courses in gunnery, one at Lulworth Cove in Dorset, and one at Pembroke Dock in Wales, where we used to fire our high explosive rounds into the sea. We were taught how to sight and target the enemy, and how to give covering/support fire for the infantry.

From Wickham Market we moved around a bit finishing in barracks at Aldershot. Performances at the Garrison Theatre, Aldershot, always started with the compere saying “By kind permission of Capt. Harwood” (the Entertainment Officer), and then went on to say who would be performing that night, finishing with “which you can only get at your own theatre, the Garrison Theatre — Aldershot!” And was there on D-Day 6th June 1944 so had no part in the initial invasion. Unbeknown to us at the time, but we had been earmarked to support the Yanks on Omaha and Utah Beaches, but they declined, wanting to make their landing all American. We all know now how they suffered when they landed through lack of specialised armour.

The Invasion of Europe

A few days later we moved down to Gosport, loaded tanks etc onto American tank carrying ships and went over to France. This was the first time that I had ever left England. I was 20 years old and going to war.

12th July 1944. The landings for us were quiet, thankfully, not like the scenes of horror that would have met the first troops. However, there was still plenty of devastation around — destroyed vehicles, properties and of course dead soldiers and civilians. For a week or two we were camped in a field outside a village called Crepan. Rather boring just hanging around but whilst there, my Troop was disbanded and the crews joined other Troops.

July/August 1944

Lined up near Caen for our first taste of real action, everyone putting on a brave face, no one admitting how scared he felt. It was a bit cramped inside the tank, what with 5 men, personal possessions and weapons, shells, radio set, ammunition for the turret browning etc. It was a good job that I was only 5’ 3” and 9 stones at the time! With all of the hatches closed it was also smelly from the engine fumes, cordite from the gun’s, and perspiration and fear of the crew.

We moved off at night, the artillery firing red and green tracers to keep us going in the right direction. Enemy machine gun bullets and shrapnel banged against the turret — there was a lot of noise and what must have been organized confusion. When driving a Sherman with the hatches down, your own visibility is limited to what you can see through the small periscope; having to rely on the tank commander for much of your directions. Fortunately, Sergeant Stead was good at his job. Nothing serious happened to us, and I think everyone was pleased when it got light and found themselves in one piece.

On then through the Falaise Gap, the scene of very heavy fighting where the Canadian Armoured Brigades, supported by some British detachments, and the RAF had caught the retreating Germans in a night advance. All 3 of our Squadrons were involved here in giving fire support to the Canadians during their assault. No mines were encountered, but many lives were lost before we were able to take the high ground above Falaise. There were bodies and bits of bodies everywhere - broken men and horses and the remains of fighting machines. The Germans, I was later informed, lost or had captured 200 tanks, over 300 artillery guns, more than 2500 motor vehicles and countless horse —drawn transport. No matter how carefully I drove the tank, I couldn't help but go over some of the poor souls — their bodies swollen by the sun and rain would literally explode with the slightest of touches. The smell of death and destruction stayed with me for some time. Cleaning down the tank later on that day wasn’t a very pleasant job.

On then to the channel ports, encountering sporadic fighting, different Troops of the regiment taking part, but no mines were encountered so no flailing. During the next month or two we were on the move almost daily chasing the enemy but with very few encounters, and therefore, thankfully few casualties.

So on through Holland and Belgium to Blankenberg, a seaside town though we never saw the sea whilst there. What we did do was waterproof the tank by day to protect it from the effects of the sea water on the engine and weapons in preparation for a forthcoming advance, and at night go round to Madam Van de Sand, an old lady who had adopted the crew and would cook us lovely fish and chips, whilst we would try to give them things they were short of.

November 1944 Operation Infatuate — the Invasion of Walcheren Island

My personal D-Day was November 1st, the invasion of Walcheran Island, which was defended by about 10,000 enemy personnel; army, navy and air force. We were loaded onto landing craft with other members of the 4th Commando Brigade and the 30th Armoured Brigade, and set off for the island. Seasickness and nerves were terrible. Support ships pounded the coastal guns and defences.

The island is below sea level and surrounded by a wall, which was defended by heavy guns, and underwater and beach obstacles. Mine fields, pillboxes with machine guns and flame throwers were positioned amongst the dunes. The RAF bombed the sea defences and breached the walls so that water covered low ground when the tide was in. Unfortunately, the civilians couldn’t be pre-warned about the raid so quite a number were caught in the flooding. On the boat going over I met a lad named Bill Wilde who lived nearby and went to Bridge Road School in Coalville at the same time as I did. It was nice to see a familiar face at a time like this.

After landing on the beach, which came under heavy shelling, we had to breach the obstacles at the Westkapelle dyke, clear the mine fields and then give fire support to the Commandos assaulting the town. There was a lot of fierce fighting coming from the centre of the town, especially from around the church tower (used as an observation post by the Germans). Heavy tank fire from one of our Sherman’s put a stop to this. We then made our way to a place called Domburg where another fortified tower and concrete positions were giving strong resistance. Again, fire from a Sherman’s 75 mm gun neutralized this action. We stayed in Domburg for a few days on guard duty, but there was no trouble as the place was flooded most of the time due to the sea wall damage. Part of the squadron had gone ahead on to higher ground and we joined them later, but our tank was left behind — it got swamped, along with another when the high tide came in - maybe it's still there. When the island had been taken we came back to a place called Flushing, where a second invasion force had landed at the same time as we did. From here Buffalo Amphibious Vehicles took us back to Ostend then by road to Blankenberg. A Victory Parade was held shortly after the capture and all those who took part in the invasion were on a march past.

My next recollection is being at Nijmegen in a field near the 'Bridge Too Far' and to see the troop carrying planes and gliders being towed to Arnhem where, unfortunately, they suffered a heavy beating and were only rescued when an Infantry Regiment was sent to help out.

We went into Arnhem a few days later and all was calm by then, thank goodness. We also went to Aachen to help the Yanks in case they ran into land mines. But after a friendly fire incident when the American artillery killed two of our lads, and one or two more injured, we were withdrawn.

December 1944

Winter is now with us - snow and ice and cold nights, so where possible we are billeted in houses. Near Christmas the Yanks were engaged in battles with the Nazis in the Ardennes Forest and were having a pretty rough time of it. Our Squadron was sent to the edge of the forest in case any Germans broke through. So Christmas Day and the rest of the Christmas holiday was spent in a field doing nothing except trying to keep warm - Merry Christmas! At the end of this exercise we were taken to the baths at a German coalmine, given a good ration of rum and, as Scots celebrate the New Year rather than Christmas, things worked out quite well! Into the New Year of 1945 and for a while we were at a place called Metelan in Belgium and the crew were billeted on a family who were very good to us, and to whom I promised to write, but sadly never did.

We crossed the Rhine into Germany for a spell, and then back into Holland and were going towards their ports, when we were told the war was over. Germany had surrendered. This was great news, especially when our Troop were the first to get leave, giving Mum and Dad and the rest of the family quite a nice surprise.

Back off leave I rejoined the Squadron at a place called Warendorf. Instead of being a member of a Tank Crew I found myself the driver of a 3 ton lorry which, by the way, I got done for speeding by two Red Caps who recorded me doing 32.4 mph in a 30 mile zone, using only stop watches and 2 points of measure! This cost me having to go before the CO who found me three days pay!

From Warendorf we went to a place called Hankensbuttel in Lower Saxony, and part of the time was spent ferrying displaced personnel from one camp to another. The rest of the days were taken up with the usual army routine, drill, PT, guard duties and washing up after the cooks in the kitchen, but by and by things weren't too bad.

Later in the year we were told that our Regiment was to be disbanded and we would be posted to other units. I along with a few others was posted to the 13/18th Royal Hussars (Queen Mary's Own) who were in barracks at a town called Wolfenbuttel. For the rest of my service I was an Officer’s Batman.

I was released from regular service in the Army in March 1947.

Doug Scott



Tpr. James Douglas Scott 1st Btn. Lothian and Border Horse

Trooper 14259421 John Douglas (Dougie) served in the 1st Lothian & Border Horse Yeomanry from 1942 to 1946 and saw action in France, Germany and on Walcheren Island in Operation Infatuate. The Lothian and Border Horse Yeomanry was part of the 79th Armoured Division. This was formed in October 1942 under the command of Major-General Percy Hobart. Its badge was a bull’s head in an upturned triangle with a yellow background. The Division was made up of the following in June 1944: 27th Armoured Brigade, 35th Tank Brigade, 30th Armoured Brigade (of which the 1st Lothian & Border Horse Yeomanry was part), 1st Assault Brigade RE.

During the Invasion of Europe, the Lothian’s had 17 men killed, most of whom were Doug’s personal friends, 90 Officers and Other Ranks wounded, and 16 Officers and Other Ranks Missing in Action. 4 Sherman Gun Tanks and 36 Sherman Crab Tanks were destroyed.

Thursday August 20th 1942

Call up to army No. 12 Primary Training Centre Bodmin, Cornwall.

I left Coalville in the early morning with three more local lads. We travelled by train and arrived at Bodmin late evening, when we were met by Training Centre staff and marched to the barracks.

Once in barracks we were given army numbers. Mine was 14259421 and the rank of Private. After a meal in the Mess Room (what a meal! — putting it bluntly it looked like slops, everything in the one mess tin; starter, main course and sweet. I bought my food then from the local shops or NAAFI until my money ran out. Funny how the army food then became more agreeable!), we were taken to be kitted out - nothing made to measure — blousons, shirts, trousers, underwear, boots, puttees, webbing, mess tin, gas mask, helmet - but somehow it all managed to fit. The uniform was at first uncomfortable and coarse against the skin, but after a while you became use to it. We also found out later that it helped to attract the local young ladies who liked to see a man in uniform - useful for a shy, young man from a mining town. Next to the barrack room, bunk beds with wooden base followed by a trip to a straw barn with a palliasse and pillowcase to be filled with straw for your mattress and pillow along with two blankets - what more could you want!

Friday August 21st 1942

Reveille at 6:00 am and we met our NCO Instructors Sgt Bates, Cpl Lack and L/C Hipwell.

The next six weeks were all about marching, rifle drill, gunnery lessons ie stripping and assembling the Bren Light Machine Gun, firing the Lee Enfield .303 rifle, map reading, grenade throwing and Saturdays were inoculation days.

During this time we were given tests to decide which branch of the army we were or would be most suitable for. I was quite pleased to be selected for the Royal Armoured Corps, as I didn't fancy the infantry.

Training

Along with others I was posted to the 55 Training Regiment RAC at Farnborough. Once again most of the training was about marching and arms drill but after a while we started to learn about tank gunnery, wireless etc. Also those that could not drive were given driving lessons. As I could already drive, I enjoyed this - showing off I think you call it!

Thursdays at the 55th was the Adjutant’s Parade Day. All of the squadrons would parade on the Square with the bands playing. The Adjutant would inspect one squadron each week, and then we were marched off to our different duties.

Friday night was spent cleaning the barrack room, each man being given an allocation of polish to clean around and under their bed space. Saturday morning was inspection day with all of your kit being laid out on your bed. You were inspected, at attention, by the Orderly Officer and Troop Sergeant for uniformity and cleanliness of kit, uniform and personal grooming.

On leaving 55 Training Regiment in December 1943 I joined ‘A’ Squadron the 1st Lothian & Border Horse Yeomanry, a Scottish Regiment (it must have been the name!) who at that time were at Duncombe Park, Helmsby, Yorkshire and were in the 42nd Armoured Division. We were only there a few days when we moved out on Exercise Spartan.

This lasted for two or three weeks and when this finished we ended up at Hope Belisha Barracks, Warminster. I was put in the Reconnaissance Troop who used Bren Gun Carriers as their vehicles. Once again my previous driving experience came in handy and after a couple of tests was allocated to a vehicle as driver.

Our Troop Officer, LT Hamish Robb, used to take us off on exercises etc and often we would end up at Cerne Abbis in Dorset spending the night in the village institute and Red Lion pub where the locals would play ‘Shove Halfpenny’.

Once every week or so, four or five of us had to report to the Cookhouse in the evening to peel sacks of potatoes ready for use the next day. Not the nicest way to spend an evening, but someone had to do it. The system of serving meals was that 14 men sat a table and enough food to feed them all was brought to the table. The man at the top of the table had to dish it up and then pass it down the line. This was OK if the man dishing up was good at counting out 14 even portions, but if he wasn’t someone would end up going hungry! An Orderly Officer came around very mealtime asking if anyone had any complaints. Unless they were very serious you were best to keep them to yourself.

The Sherman Tank

I learned to drive the Sherman on Orford Ranges, a large area taken over by the government for war practice. Here, replicas were made of German beaches and strongholds, the Siegfried and Maginot Lines. I passed my test and became a DMAFV - Driver Mechanic of Armoured Fighting Vehicles.

Other times were spent on Salisbury Plains and at times were quite exciting. Here we would put into practice our training — doing mock battles, learning tactics and manoeuvres. We then moved from Warminster to Adderbury, Oxford and from there to Wickham Market in Suffolk. There we lost our Bren Gun Carriers (small, lightly armoured, personnel carriers with a mounted machine gun) in exchange for Sherman Tanks and joined the 79th Armoured Division. We were to specialise in flailing — Sherman tanks which had a boom and chains fitted to front (codenamed ‘Crabs’). The chains rotated and ‘flailed’ the ground, exploding the buried mines and hopefully clearing the way for the following infantry and us. We were also armed with a 75 mm gun and a machine gun.

After being on an Exercise (or in action), no matter how long you had been without food or rest, my first job was to refuel the tank, the gunner to clean and check his guns, and the wireless operator to make sure his set and other equipment were in working order.

The Sherman was nicknamed ‘Ronson’ because it would go up like a lighter if hit by an enemy shell. It was fast and versatile, but poorly armoured, so we learnt to get our shots in first. Later, in France, I lost good friends who were unable to get out of blazing Shermans.

The crew consisted of five men — a crew commander who was either an officer or an N.C.O. Then there was the gunner and the wireless operator also acted as a gun loader when required. In the 2 front compartments were the driver and co-driver, who on an ordinary (gun) Sherman had a mounted Browning machine gun to use if required. Everyone of the crew members had to learn at least 2 trades i.e. wireless op — gunner; driver — wireless op; gunner - driver etc. This was so that we all had a certain amount of knowledge of each other’s skills, and in an emergency could step into the breach.

Away from the Regiment I had 2 courses in gunnery, one at Lulworth Cove in Dorset, and one at Pembroke Dock in Wales, where we used to fire our high explosive rounds into the sea. We were taught how to sight and target the enemy, and how to give covering/support fire for the infantry.

From Wickham Market we moved around a bit finishing in barracks at Aldershot. Performances at the Garrison Theatre, Aldershot, always started with the compere saying “By kind permission of Capt. Harwood” (the Entertainment Officer), and then went on to say who would be performing that night, finishing with “which you can only get at your own theatre, the Garrison Theatre — Aldershot!” And was there on D-Day 6th June 1944 so had no part in the initial invasion. Unbeknown to us at the time, but we had been earmarked to support the Yanks on Omaha and Utah Beaches, but they declined, wanting to make their landing all American. We all know now how they suffered when they landed through lack of specialised armour.

The Invasion of Europe

A few days later we moved down to Gosport, loaded tanks etc onto American tank carrying ships and went over to France. This was the first time that I had ever left England. I was 20 years old and going to war.

12th July 1944. The landings for us were quiet, thankfully, not like the scenes of horror that would have met the first troops. However, there was still plenty of devastation around — destroyed vehicles, properties and of course dead soldiers and civilians. For a week or two we were camped in a field outside a village called Crepan. Rather boring just hanging around but whilst there, my Troop was disbanded and the crews joined other Troops.

July/August 1944

Lined up near Caen for our first taste of real action, everyone putting on a brave face, no one admitting how scared he felt. It was a bit cramped inside the tank, what with 5 men, personal possessions and weapons, shells, radio set, ammunition for the turret browning etc. It was a good job that I was only 5’ 3” and 9 stones at the time! With all of the hatches closed it was also smelly from the engine fumes, cordite from the gun’s, and perspiration and fear of the crew.

We moved off at night, the artillery firing red and green tracers to keep us going in the right direction. Enemy machine gun bullets and shrapnel banged against the turret — there was a lot of noise and what must have been organized confusion. When driving a Sherman with the hatches down, your own visibility is limited to what you can see through the small periscope; having to rely on the tank commander for much of your directions. Fortunately, Sergeant Stead was good at his job. Nothing serious happened to us, and I think everyone was pleased when it got light and found themselves in one piece.

On then through the Falaise Gap, the scene of very heavy fighting where the Canadian Armoured Brigades, supported by some British detachments, and the RAF had caught the retreating Germans in a night advance. All 3 of our Squadrons were involved here in giving fire support to the Canadians during their assault. No mines were encountered, but many lives were lost before we were able to take the high ground above Falaise. There were bodies and bits of bodies everywhere - broken men and horses and the remains of fighting machines. The Germans, I was later informed, lost or had captured 200 tanks, over 300 artillery guns, more than 2500 motor vehicles and countless horse —drawn transport. No matter how carefully I drove the tank, I couldn't help but go over some of the poor souls — their bodies swollen by the sun and rain would literally explode with the slightest of touches. The smell of death and destruction stayed with me for some time. Cleaning down the tank later on that day wasn’t a very pleasant job.

On then to the channel ports, encountering sporadic fighting, different Troops of the regiment taking part, but no mines were encountered so no flailing. During the next month or two we were on the move almost daily chasing the enemy but with very few encounters, and therefore, thankfully few casualties.

So on through Holland and Belgium to Blankenberg, a seaside town though we never saw the sea whilst there. What we did do was waterproof the tank by day to protect it from the effects of the sea water on the engine and weapons in preparation for a forthcoming advance, and at night go round to Madam Van de Sand, an old lady who had adopted the crew and would cook us lovely fish and chips, whilst we would try to give them things they were short of.

November 1944 Operation Infatuate — the Invasion of Walcheren Island

My personal D-Day was November 1st, the invasion of Walcheran Island, which was defended by about 10,000 enemy personnel; army, navy and air force. We were loaded onto landing craft with other members of the 4th Commando Brigade and the 30th Armoured Brigade, and set off for the island. Seasickness and nerves were terrible. Support ships pounded the coastal guns and defences.

The island is below sea level and surrounded by a wall, which was defended by heavy guns, and underwater and beach obstacles. Mine fields, pillboxes with machine guns and flame throwers were positioned amongst the dunes. The RAF bombed the sea defences and breached the walls so that water covered low ground when the tide was in. Unfortunately, the civilians couldn’t be pre-warned about the raid so quite a number were caught in the flooding. On the boat going over I met a lad named Bill Wilde who lived nearby and went to Bridge Road School in Coalville at the same time as I did. It was nice to see a familiar face at a time like this.

After landing on the beach, which came under heavy shelling, we had to breach the obstacles at the Westkapelle dyke, clear the mine fields and then give fire support to the Commandos assaulting the town. There was a lot of fierce fighting coming from the centre of the town, especially from around the church tower (used as an observation post by the Germans). Heavy tank fire from one of our Sherman’s put a stop to this. We then made our way to a place called Domburg where another fortified tower and concrete positions were giving strong resistance. Again, fire from a Sherman’s 75 mm gun neutralized this action. We stayed in Domburg for a few days on guard duty, but there was no trouble as the place was flooded most of the time due to the sea wall damage. Part of the squadron had gone ahead on to higher ground and we joined them later, but our tank was left behind — it got swamped, along with another when the high tide came in - maybe it's still there. When the island had been taken we came back to a place called Flushing, where a second invasion force had landed at the same time as we did. From here Buffalo Amphibious Vehicles took us back to Ostend then by road to Blankenberg. A Victory Parade was held shortly after the capture and all those who took part in the invasion were on a march past.

My next recollection is being at Nijmegen in a field near the 'Bridge Too Far' and to see the troop carrying planes and gliders being towed to Arnhem where, unfortunately, they suffered a heavy beating and were only rescued when an Infantry Regiment was sent to help out.

We went into Arnhem a few days later and all was calm by then, thank goodness. We also went to Aachen to help the Yanks in case they ran into land mines. But after a friendly fire incident when the American artillery killed two of our lads, and one or two more injured, we were withdrawn.

December 1944

Winter is now with us - snow and ice and cold nights, so where possible we are billeted in houses. Near Christmas the Yanks were engaged in battles with the Nazis in the Ardennes Forest and were having a pretty rough time of it. Our Squadron was sent to the edge of the forest in case any Germans broke through. So Christmas Day and the rest of the Christmas holiday was spent in a field doing nothing except trying to keep warm - Merry Christmas! At the end of this exercise we were taken to the baths at a German coalmine, given a good ration of rum and, as Scots celebrate the New Year rather than Christmas, things worked out quite well! Into the New Year of 1945 and for a while we were at a place called Metelan in Belgium and the crew were billeted on a family who were very good to us, and to whom I promised to write, but sadly never did.

We crossed the Rhine into Germany for a spell, and then back into Holland and were going towards their ports, when we were told the war was over. Germany had surrendered. This was great news, especially when our Troop were the first to get leave, giving Mum and Dad and the rest of the family quite a nice surprise.

Back off leave I rejoined the Squadron at a place called Warendorf. Instead of being a member of a Tank Crew I found myself the driver of a 3 ton lorry which, by the way, I got done for speeding by two Red Caps who recorded me doing 32.4 mph in a 30 mile zone, using only stop watches and 2 points of measure! This cost me having to go before the CO who found me three days pay!

From Warendorf we went to a place called Hankensbuttel in Lower Saxony, and part of the time was spent ferrying displaced personnel from one camp to another. The rest of the days were taken up with the usual army routine, drill, PT, guard duties and washing up after the cooks in the kitchen, but by and by things weren't too bad.

Later in the year we were told that our Regiment was to be disbanded and we would be posted to other units. I along with a few others was posted to the 13/18th Royal Hussars (Queen Mary's Own) who were in barracks at a town called Wolfenbuttel. For the rest of my service I was an Officer’s Batman.

I was released from regular service in the Army in March 1947.

Doug Scott



Sergeant Thomas " " Gibbings 'B' Squadron

Thomas Gibbings was my Grandfather, he served in the 46th Recce Regt and the R.A.C and as far as I know was at the Salerno Landings and eventually in North Africa. I would dearly love to hear from anyone with any knowledge.

David Hill



Cpl. George Edward Cantelo Reconnaissance Royal Armoured Corps

I have no recall of knowing or seeing my father, Corporal George Edward Cantelo, until the age of five when he returned home to Fulham, London, with two New Zealand compatriots.

He rarely if ever confided in me or with his subsequent offspring concerning his activities during the war. But it was no secret that he had been captured early in the war in action in North Africa. He spent some considerable time in Italian prisoner of war camps, where they were treated well but with starvation diets. My impression is that when it came time for the Italians to capitulate, the Germans shifted his location to German camps, and indeed the British Army prisoners of war list for 1939-1945 shows him as having been domiciled in Stalag 357, Oerbke, Lower Saxony, Germany. Sadly he is now deceased.

Is it possible that anyone else reading this brief account might have known him or shared in his experiences at that particular Stalag?

Derek Cantelo



Pte. Albert Edward "Nipper" Buck B Squadron Border Yeomanry

My Father, Albert Buck died last August aged 84. The family are very close and my brother and I, together with 3 male grandchildren are very keen to retrace our fathers footsteps. We have loads of memories and stories from my father and luckily I made a DVD of him talking about his war years in 2005. I also have a number of source documents , army book, 79th Armoured Division History book (which was printed just after the war) and many photographs.

We are trying to piece together the chronological order of events from D Day to the end of the war. He was conscripted into the Highland Light Infantry in 1944 and joined his older brother William Buck at Fort George in Scotland for training. He was then moved into the 1st Lothians and Border yeomanry and embarked on his European adventure after D Day. His brother William was wounded at Sept Vents in Normandy in August 1944 , but my father continued through France, Belgium, Holland and into Germany.

He drove a Sherman Flail tank for most of this time , and was transferred into the VIII Irish Hussars after the war ended and the 79th armoured div was disbanded .

I have a letter sent from a Dutch family around Christmas 1944 where he was billeted for a while. I have many pictures of the B Squadron , some of which were taken at Bovington in Hampshire before D day. There is a large group photo which my father has added the names on the back. His commanding Officer was Lieutenant Peter Carter who is mentioned in the Divisional History book. My father also told us that his squadron won the Croix de Guerre , but I am unable to confirm this from anyone .

We are hoping to retrace his steps next year and there are lots of gaps we need to fill in. I would be very grateful for any information , in particular about where the Lothians and Border Yeomanry went following the breakout of the Falaise Gap, or any information at all really.

Michael Buck



L/Cpl. Robert Donaldson Lothian and Border Yeomanry

Robert Donaldson born 1915 Edinburgh married 26th may 1945 on his marriage certificate it gave Lance Corporal Royal Armour Corp Lothian and Border Yeomanary.

The family story is that he was a prisoner of war Valery 1941.

John Sutherland Donaldson



Tpr. Robert Fredrick "Scottie" Scott 1st King Dragoon Guards

My father, Trooper Robert Fredrick Scott, was a prisoner of war in Stalag XV111A. He was taken prisoner on 28th April 1941.He was captured in Greece.

I have his war diary, entered on the first page is the following info. Regiment 1st Dragoon Guards, Regiment # 7902063, also mentioned in his diary is the following, Royal Armoured Corps, P.O.W. # 4489, 2nd Armoured division, Stalag XV111A (68/6W/231/L/GW). He left England in November 1940 and arrived in Egypt via South Africa 31st December 1940. He left Egypt 8th March 1941 and arrived in Greece 11 March 1941. He was captured and taken prisoner on the 28th of April 1941 and I believe he was moved on to S.Greece, Salonika, Yuogo-slavia, Austria, then back to Yugo-slavia, then returned back to Austria 18 May 1941.

He left "Blighty" in Nov 1940 and returned to Blighty in May 1945. and a diary though out his time and in the diary are the names and addresses of many other soldiers he spent time with. Like many of his kind he did not talk about his war experiences with his children. Dad died 5 years ago, only now do we realise how much the war affected his health and his mind.

He did escape the camp the day before it was liberated. He also worked in the fields. Unfortunately, he developed skin cancer in later years as a result of this. I was named after the prisoner he escaped with.

Ronald Scott



Tpr. James Buchan "Buck" Dundas-Taylor MID. B Squadron 2nd Lothian & Border Horse

James Buchan Dundas-Taylor is my hero, my Dad. I remember him on this April 23rd, the anniversary of the day that changed his life forever on a distant battlefront:

Buchan was my dad. He was born in Edinburgh on July 31, 1919 and went to school at Daniel Stewart's College. A few months after graduating he joined the army, it was 6 months before the outbreak of WWII. Initially he was a dispatch rider on BSA and Norton motorcycles for an armoured unit, before being accepted into training and specialisation as tank crew.

When I was a young teenager, I knew Dad hated recalling the war and didn’t like discussing it. When mum’s lounge chair was vacant, I’d sit down beside him and ask him what he did during the war. Often he’d sit silent, watching the telly or reading a book and pretending he hadn’t heard anything. He was easy to discuss things with, but when it came to the war, it was a whole lot different.

One day he eventually responded, saying he was a driver. “What, a driver!?” I’d said the very first time he told me with little tone of joy in my voice. I wanted to hear he was much more than that. I thought, no way, he was more than a car driver! My grandfather won the Military Cross in the First World War but wouldn’t speak about it either; I later got to read his diaries covering 5 years of WWI including the Battle of the Somme and found out why he didn’t like talking about it, but he had a story.

I wanted to know what Dad did and what it was like, after all, I had to grow up with a dad who couldn’t play ball with me or chase me around for fun like the other kid's fathers did. He had a wooden leg, numerous scars on his body and several shell and gunshot fragments still embedded in his limbs and body. I felt I deserved to know why he was this way. Yes, it may have been very selfish and even rude of me, and of course I would think twice about it now, but back then I was a typical teenager, inquisitive and naive.

There had to be more to this than him being a simple driver, not that there was anything wrong with a driver, but I couldn’t accept that as the summary of his war experience. “What you drove cars and trucks?” I remember asking. “I was a dispatch rider. I’d ride motorbikes at whatever speed I wanted where ever I wanted. Dispatch riders had top priority. I’d ride at high speed on my motorbike down busy Princess Street, Edinburgh weaving in and out of the traffic. Not even the police were allowed to stop me!”

He obviously enjoyed it as he told me about some of these machines, but if he enjoyed it why avoid the conversation I thought. “So you rode motorbikes in the war?” I said, having a similar conversation with him months apart in my attempts to know more. Then finally one day he added, “After I was a dispatch rider, I became a ‘Tanker’”.

However this really confused me. “What’s …a… ’tanker’?” I’d ask in ignorance. I was thinking it might be something like a trucker driver. I could often feel tension in the air between us in the conversation, but the tension meant I was getting somewhere. “Tank crew” he finally said. My mind churned over and he explained a little more. “I drove tanks and was a wireless operator, gunner and loader”. What kind of tank, and whereabouts?”. “I trained in Crusaders, Matilda’s, Sherman’s” came the response, then “Tunisia”. “Where’s that?” I’d pester. My geographical knowledge outside of my hometown was pretty weak. “North Africa.” Slowly the months of attitude started paying off and his story began to slowly reveal itself.

I asked him, “If the war started in September, why’d you join in June when there was no war?” thinking that it was really a dumb thing to do. He then told me, "I knew war was inevitable, we all did, Hitler had built up an enormous army so much bigger than ours with really modern equipment. I wanted to be trained and prepared for it, know what to do, then get it over with as soon as possible, and get back to normal life".

I looked at him, it was such a methodical answer, like a mathematical equation, I guess He survived the war and so many didn’t, so it made good sense to be trained and ready. I remembering wondering what I would have done faced with the situation. I felt a little guilty for asking as my question really seemed so dumb, but feeling guilty was non-productive if I was to get the whole story out of him. I didn’t care that my 3 elder brothers had already been here before me with these inquisitive questions, but I knew nothing and wanted to know what it was like for him to be in the war.

Dad was one of a rare number of non-German citizens to personally meet the infamous mastermind and villain of World War II. It was 1936, just 3 years before the outbreak of war, he was just 16 years old and visiting his German cousins in Hamburg, when Adolf Hitler was also in town and at the same popular Hotel. Dad spoke fluent German and incidentally, so did Hitler. Dad was cruising the upper corridors of the hotel, as teenagers do when looking for something to do in a new place, and coming the other way was a large bunch of Gestapo Officers. The Gestapo intimidated everyone, even German citizens. As they came down the hallway in their heavy black outfits, they shoved people in the corridor against the walls and held them there. Dad just stood there in the middle of the hallway waiting to be thrust against the wall as well, but they passed around him. "One good thing about being Caucasian is that we all look the same and know body can tell if you’re a German teenager or a young Scots boy: members of the Hitler Youth and the future enemies of the State all look the same in civvies. As they passed around him, the body of soldiers opened up."

You Know Who was strutting his stuff directly towards Dad and out came his hand to greet him like at a prearranged appointment. Instinctively, Dad put out his hand, after all this was the most powerful man in all Europe and he was momentarily at his beckon, plus he was surrounded by a bunch of mean looking men in fancy black suits still angry about the outcome of World War One ….and they watched his every move. They shook hands and spoke briefly for a few minutes in the hallway of the hotel. Adolf soon admitted that he couldn’t pick which part of Deutschland Dad’s accent was from, and so asked where he was from. Adolf had no idea where Glengyle Terrace was. So Dad told him it was straight opposite Bruntsfield Links, the world’s oldest golf course. Bruntsfield Links is in Edinburgh. After learning that Dad was from Scotland, Hitler praised his strong knowledge of the German language. No doubt he didn’t consider that it might come in useful down the track and help Dad knock off a few of his fancy soldiers, as he later did by ears dropping in on their radio calls during combat and knowing what they were planning.

Hitler soon lost interest in the young British teenager, obviously he wasn’t going to be able to recruit him into the Hitler Youth and pin any medals on his chest in the years to come. After barely a few minutes, they parted; which is just as well, as Dad may have let it slip that his father kicked his arse on the Western Front in the Great War!

Not wanting to let a chance go by, Dad ran down the stairs as fast as he could and bought a postcard of Hitler in the foyer, which wasn’t hard as there was a choice of Hitler’s face in close up, Hitler in medium shot, Hitler in wide shot in Uniform standing like Napoleon, Hitler this and Adolf that and little else of Germany. He bought the one of Hitler standing in uniform, and quickly made is way up to where all the Gestapo were gathered. They were not hard to find, the fancy dress get up and the line of disgruntled citizens hemmed up against the wall easily gave their location away. He wanted Hitler to autograph the postcard, and he may even have had better harassing skills than me, but it wouldn’t be enough. The large burley intimidating Gestapo surrounded him, news had obviously travelled that this teenager was from the wrong side of the English Channel. I guess it took all their combined brain cells to work this out and find a way to keep him away from Das Führer. Fortunately for them the brainpower of the combined Gestapo in the building was enough to outwit the little Scots boy, or maybe it was shear intimidating knuckleheaded brawn. Either way, it didn’t happen. The postcard is still in the family and I’ve marvelled it many times.

Dad later said to me, "If only I'd met Hitler while out hunting, I'd have shot him instead!" He’d say this with such built up anger and determination in his voice that if the future could do something that the past was unable to account for, Hitler would have stopped buckshot and WWII would never have occurred. But it did….

In early November 1942: after 3 1/2 years of armour and tank manoeuvres in and around Scotland and tarring up the fields all over England; the phoney war had long since turned into a real war; Pearl Harbour had been visited by the Japs; the 1st Battalion Lothian and Border Horse had been overrun and captured in Dunkirk; and the 2nd Regiment Lothian and Border Horse of the soon to be legendary 26th Armoured Brigade of the 6th Armoured Division, 1st Allied Army embarked on troopships on the west coast of Scotland, with them B Squadron with their swift Crusader battle tanks. Although the crew were trained for all tank crew tasks so they could replace injured or killed crew immediately, Dad main task was the wireless operator/gunner loader operator and co-driver in B Squadrons’ command tank. He packed with him a small number of small musical instruments, plus his favourite guitar. The unknown months of fighting ahead would require evening campfire sing-a-longs along the front line, and this was to spread some evening joy among the tankers talking their thoughts away from their daily dice with death.

The British-American armada was the largest in history and left in ships for an unknown destination: France? Northern Europe? Spain? The huge invasion fleet became known as ‘Operation Torch’ and was the prelude to Operation Overlord, aka “D Day” just 1 ½ years away. En route, orders were opened at sea and they learned they were landing along the northern coastline of the African continent.

What they probably didn’t know after reading the orders that of all the entire Anglo-American invasion force, they drew the short sticks and were to land at Bone, a seaport right on the Libyan side of the Tunisian border. At Bone, no one was closer to the Germans than 2nd Battalion of the 26 Armoured Brigade other than the Italians, but they were on the same side as the Germans and much like the Vichy French, they were quite reluctant to die for fascism. The rest of the invading Allied armada landed along to the west of Bone all the way to Casablanca and were confronted by Vichy French Forces who were confused on which side they were fighting, how they’d be liberated and who by (as if it wasn’t now obvious) due to the German occupation of France and all it’s territories.

I guess it soon became apparent they were very close to the Axis forces as it seemed that most of the German Luftwaffe were there to greet the tankers and the supporting regiments as they unloaded troops and tanks at the docks. The German bombing went for days. A few years earlier and a long way from the frontline in London during the Blitz, Dad had been wounded by a small piece of shrapnel, but fortunately was able to escape injury on the Germans doorstep with waves of Stuka dive-bombers, and the bigger Heinkel and Dornier bombers welcoming them to Africa.

The German Army, Deutsches Afrika Korps (DAK), occupied Tunisia, as they did all North Africa and the Middle East. Their armies were yet undefeated. Operation Torch was to wrestle North Africa from the hands of General Erwin Rommel who led Germany's ‘Panzer Army Africa’, the combined DAK and Italian Army. If this could not be done, the Germanic Army holidaying on the French Coast would inevitably overrun Britain. Therefore both sides had an important strategic agenda and winning the war in Europe was completely dependant on achieving victory in North Africa first. Operation Torch shone a light on Hitler’s cardinal rule which he was forced break, never fighting 2 wars at the same time: He’d won Europe, struck out against Russia, but failed to take the British Isles before the combined Allied armies could strike back - thanks in part to Herman Goring spending more time art-raiding French art galleries than air-raiding British arms factories.

In the 6 months of fighting on the front line, Dad saw many young soldiers come to their end: British, American and of course German. He participated in front line action with many tank battles and because he was spoke German, he was always assigned to the Troop Leaders /Sqn Leaders tank and they always had a habit of being the pointy tip of any spearhead attack such as at the Battle of Kasserine Pass (Rommel's first defeat by the combined British and American Forces). His unit fought against German adversaries such as Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg's (Tom Cruise's character in Valkyrie) 10th Panzer Division (they were on opposing battlefields at the time when Stauffenberg was wounded in the film), the battled hardened 21st Panzer Division (that like the 10th Panzer, had on their resume successful battle hardened campaigns all the way through Poland and France) and Herman Goring Panzer Division to name a few. Dad was to hide these memories away, but the sad way he chewed his fingernails completely off his fingers, even across the tender surface tops where they first appear on every finger and thumb, said to us children that some very nasty memories lingered below the surface. This fuelled my curiosity and I always felt for him when he chewed away at them every evening watching TV. Eventually he was to reveal a number of stories after I selfishly hounded him, too many to complete here on this page.

Speaking German gave some tactical advantage in tank warfare. During combat, he would tune into the frequency of enemy tanks in the distance or concealed with camouflage, and hearing their plans could counter tack their intentions. He also spoke ‘Penny Miners’, known in Australia by many wayward street kids as ‘Pig English’. It’s a rare and informal speech where you drop the first letter of every word and place it at the end of the same word. The Germans tuning into the British radio frequencies were bamboozled by this and couldn’t understand. Penny Miners is a very hard code to learn for non-English speaking people.

Often in tank battles, the fighting was in so close range and intense that they couldn’t always tell who they were bumping into, and often it was the first to get the barrel round to striking position that took the first shot. Many times when they traversed the barrel to the tank bedside them a large German cross suddenly appeared on the hull and it was “Fire!”. All British and American tanks had the large white US star on the side and this may have helped to quickly identify friendlies in close quarter tank battles. Displaying the US Star was also the best way for the British to avoid incoming fire from the trigger happy American units, but sadly that didn’t always work!

To have an appreciation of the short life expectancy of the British tank crews, a brief understanding in the armoury difference between the German and British tanks in needed. The fast and manoeuvrable British Crusader tank of the 26th Armour Brigade was only a match for the Panzer Mk.II and Mk.III battle tanks. To be fast, the Crusader design shed heavy armour and had lighter firepower that was acceptable in 1942 but was now punitive entering 1943. When they landed at Bone, the Afrika Korps were quickly resupplied with the Panzer Mk.IV, a superiorly engineered, powerful and heavily armed and it overpowered the now outdated Crusader. When 26th Armour Brigade finally upgraded to the heavily armed Sherman tanks gifted from the Americans 5 months later, they were finally equal in firepower and armour protection to Mk.IV Panzers, but then the huge Mk.VI, aka Tiger Tank, began to appear. For a Crusader to knock out a Mk.IV, it took about 4 or 5 direct rounds as they often bounced off or failed to penetrate enough, but the Mk.IV would penetrate and knock out a Crusader in 1 or 2 efficient hits. In Combat to the heavily fortified Tiger tank however, a shot from a Crusader would never penetrate the Tigers skin because the steel was so thick, they simply bounced off the hull - one sloppy shot from a Tiger, blew a Crusader into a million pieces. The crew would be history and the rare occasion there might be a survivor, they were in very poor shape. You can imagine the jubilation when B Squadron were finally issued US Shermans in March 1943. Although it was not quite on par with the Tiger, with skill, speed and courage they could destroy a Tiger tank and level the playing field. The Sherman had 2 more big advances, one additional crewmember and gun barrels that locked onto their target as they bounced over the terrain at high speed. No more trying to find smooth ground or coming to a stop like a lame duck to lock in a target.

The Panzer divisions also had advanced technology and the bigger deadly Tigers were now roaming the North African plains in large numbers supporting MkIV’s and powerful 88's (an extremely powerful and deadly accurate mobile artillery weapon). Incidentally, the big cat names of Tiger, Leopard, Panther etc were not known to the Allies at the time so when they saw a Panzer Mk.IV they yelled ‘Mark 4!” or a bigger Panzer they screamed “Mark 6!”. I imagine these few words resounded in their minds and dreams for years after the war.

Though they mostly were battling other tanks with their supporting German Grenadiers and their anti-tank equipment, the enemy kept coming from the sky as well. Early one morning as they boiled the billy and made breakfast, a flight of German Me109 fighter planes rudely interrupted proceedings and strafed their tanks, tearing up the ground around them in a low level attack; obviously unhappy that the British have much better tea. Dad grabbed the nearest Bren gun (a long and accurate .32 calibre light machine gun with tripod) and fired away on his hip as the lead fighter approached him head on, he fell to his knees to maintain his balance, no doubt thinking that being a slightly smaller target was a good idea right about then, and then fell over onto his back as he followed the fighter directly over head, firing off the last of the Bren’s magazine upside down. The Me109 went in behind a hill and a fireball appeared. Although he was quite willing to help the Germans keep their oath to die for Hitler and Nazi Germany, other than the true Nazi type, he didn’t hate them. He had German cousins he knew well and loved, and they feared they might one day face each other on the same battlefield. This was not a thought he liked to entertain. I’d like to know if that thought was reciprocated, and knowing how Dad’s sister maintained a close family ties with their Hamburg cousins after the war, one can only assume it was.

Almost 6 months and several occasions where the Anglo-American force almost failed in taking North Africa from Rommel, the completion of Operation Torch was in sight, but tragedy soon struck and Dad’s luck quickly came to an end. Less than a week from pushing the now tattered Afrika Korps right out of Africa, the 2nd Battalion of the 26th Armoured Brigade, 6th Armoured Division of the 1st Allied Army was just two days into the final push; They were headed for the city of Tunis and Dad's Sherman was again the lead command tank in the spearhead of the allied thrust in their sector. Unbeknown to the them, a string of big cats, mostly Mk.IV’s and the bigger Mk.VI’s supported by a number of 88’s, lined a distant ridge ahead with all eyes pointing eastward for the 1st sign of prey. Dad was 24 years old. It was 1630hrs in the afternoon, 23rd April, 1943.

As their American made British Sherman’s went over a small ridgeline, they saw with awkward surprise another ridgeline ahead lined with MkIV’s, MkVI’s and 88’s and all muzzles pointing directly at them. They were completely exposed and in harms way when bright flashes appeared from all the barrels simultaneously. They barely had time to scream, “Mk.IV’s! Mk.VI’s!” before they were immediately hit with a volley of fire. They were hit with 'solid shot', a solid round designed to penetrate a tank, anything inside and make its way into the magazine, engine compartment or fuel stores. They often called these Sherman tanks ‘Ronsons’, after the box of matches, as one good strike down the side and their large internal fuel tanks could be ignited. However, solid shot was better than 'molten lead', which on penetration sprayed the crew inside with deadly high velocity red hot shrapnel.

On this occasion, the force of the German volley thrust their heavy Sherman backward a few yards to just below the ridgeline, which probably saved some of their lives. However, the escape hatches were exposed to machine gun fire and it raked around the crew as they bailed out in quick succession. Dad didn’t know if any of thee who leapt from the top hatch before him had made it to the ground alive, but he was 2nd last to take his chances with the hatch exit when he finally drew his last short straw; as he exited the turret hatch, he looked down and saw the driver had remained steadfast in his seat. John Hunter, known affectionately as Jack, was a new recruit from England and had not been with the tank crew for very long, but he was well liked. Dad acted instinctively. Eye-witness accounts from his tank commander, who made it out and was sheltering from the machine gun fire, said he acted with courage and without regard for his own safety; he climbed back down into the hull of Sherman tank as it began to burn. It rocked with explosive rounds striking the hull. Inside, Jack was in a bad way, Dad felt something wasn't right, he couldn't see either of Jack's arms, then realised both of them had been blown away. He immediately lent down and grabbed Jack, grasping him tightly with both hands and all his strength, hauled him out of his seat and up the turret with him. Pulling Jack out through the turret, the tank was hit again and then Dad noticed something else wasn't right. He couldn't get his right leg to grip on the rung to step up the turret. This stopped him from exiting the hatch. He looked down ....and saw his right leg spinning round in a circle, blown off just below the knee, but held on by a single piece of fleshy skin.

There was no blood from the loss of his leg. The large metal fragment that had cut through it was so red hot it cooked all the flesh on remaining lower part of his limb as it passed through, instantly sealing the blood flow. Wounds like this give off smoke, and it would have been an alarming site. The DAK were now pouring molten lead shot in to the tank, a strange stroke of luck? Maybe, because sealing the blood stopped his major arteries from failing, which would have instantly depleted his body strength and he would have fallen to the bottom of the tank entombing him and possibly Jack in the growing inferno. He was already covered in blood with multiple gun shot wounds to his arms and torso, which litter a whole page in his army medical record. A shell fragment had ripped into the palm of his left hand crippling it. It would remain there for the rest of life, unable to be surgically removed without amputating his hand and never allowing him to clasp or clench his hand for the size of it.

According to his tank commander, Dad's only thought was to get the Jack out. Smoke would have been coming from more than one of the burning wounds and burnt fatigues of both men. He was still in the turret and pulled Jack out from the top. Gunfire still raked the turret adding to their wounds. He then rolled Jack over the side of the tank away from the machine gun fire. Finally Dad rolled off the turret onto the ground beside him, where they were just out of sight of the shooters. As the tank brewed, Dad lay on his back, breathless, dazed and confused by the sight of his leg and the bleeding from every other part of his body. Thankfully, a brave medic arrived almost immediately. The tank commander was to later tell my grandmother, Dad yelled at the medics in no uncertain terms to leave him alone and attend Jack first, his condition was far worse than he. Soon after, Dad watched a medic use a simple pair scissors to cut away the remaining skin attaching his lower leg and he told me the last thing he remembered was the leg separating itself onto the ground, and then he passed out.

More tragically, Trooper John Hunter died the next day from the severity of his wounds. His name appears on the honour roll, along with the many others killed in that final push to finally rid the Afrika Korps and Nazism from Africa. As a teenager, I pestered dad to tell me about how he was wounded and finally he caved into my juvenile demands. I felt shocked and moved by his story but also difficult to process it. It affected me more deeply as my thoughts revisited it, and even more so a few years later after Dad passed away when I had the opportunity to read some of eyewitness accounts and letter praising him for his courage under fire. He was mentioned in combat dispatches to military command and there may have been talk of a gong. My grandfather who won the Military Cross in the WWI, said his actions warranted the Victoria Cross, but VC’s had to be witnessed by a high-ranking officer and it was not. This was no loss to Dad but somewhat a relief as wouldn’t have to recall the account of 23rd April. As it was, he could never bring himself to ever wear his war medals. I believe he would never have wanted this action and Jacks death made trivial by a piece of dress medal no matter what it was. All he longed for was the world to return to peace and normality and to get on with living life. He was very nearly one of those not to return and with that I have also often wondered many times of Jack Hunter and his family, and of their very sad grief. I think this is something Dad harboured deeply in his mind, for the rest of his life, and I am sure he went through it in his mind many times searching in vain for a different outcome ...and why he continually chewed his fingernails completely off all his fingers.

After being shipped by stretcher to the west of England, he was soon visited in hospital by his sister, glad he was alive, but very tearful for the condition it left him. Dad was very proud of this service, but not that you would ever know it. He never contacted any of his unit after the war. Instead, he appeared to have a deep sense of failing: he said he was looking forward to taking Tunis and having a victory parade with the Africa Korps defeated; it also appeared he wanted to personally clean out all the Nazi’s from Germany and he could have fantasised a reunion with Herr Hitler with he and his Sherman tank; there was a sense from him that he let the team down by getting wounded and this upset him; and of course not being able to save Jacks life. He spent a year on his back recovering from the severity of his wounds before finally being discharged with 5 years of ‘exemplary’ service, and allowed to go home on crutches.

He told me he didn't want to work with people anymore, but with animals. He studied at Edinburgh University (where he met mum through the University SRC) and graduated as a Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (MRCVS) and eventually became a renowned Surgeon, defying the sceptics on the Medical Board who tried to deny him his dream because they didn’t believe he could never operate surgical equipment properly with his left hand. He married, immediately started a family and worked all over Scotland, England, and Ireland and then ironically once again the British Government posted him to Africa, but this time to Nyasaland (now Malawi) in the central east of the Dark Continent. Here he led research to combat a deadly virus that was wiping out local animals and livestock. This was a little reminiscent of the popular BBC TV series, Wild at Heart. It took 3 to 4 years to win over this disease, and I believe I was part of that celebration in discovering the vaccine remedy as I was born just weeks before we left the country!

Not wanting to live in a cold climate again, he had been looking at a calendar that hung from the wall in the kitchen as they planned to leave Africa. It showed a peaceful fisherman's shack surrounded by coconut palms on a beautiful romantic isolated beach. He said to mum, "That's where we are moving to!" and they looked at the bottom fine print, it said the beach was in Far North Queensland, Australia - the other side of the world and in the southern hemisphere! Unfortunately I can no longer remember the name of the actual beach, but he dragged a family of 7 all the way from Africa to Australia (via a final visit to Scotland) in the early 1960's over a simple picture on a wall calendar! He found and bought his beach house (which incidentally had the name "The Shack" framed on the front) that stood just a few yards from a hot sandy beach and it remains in the family today.

He loved music, especially Calypso. He enjoyed international music from all over the world like Trinidad, Jamaican and Irish music. He liked the Seekers, Nana Mouskouri, Harry Belefonte and others of the 50/60’s generation. He could play any instrument by ear, you name it - he could play it like a true musician, and often turned our home into a musical extravaganza. He loved to dance, but was prone to falling over because of his wooden leg. I first saw he and mum really take to the dance floor at the wedding of my eldest brother in 1974, and the crowd cheered them on and one could see the glint in his eye he had for mum. He still spoke of annoyance of having lost his favourite guitar in that last tank action when he was wounded. He never spoke of the war unless heavily drilled about it by over inquisitive sons. He hated racism and bigotry. He loved animals, respected people, liked brandy, scotch, a good port and other beverages; fishing by a stream or from a small boat miles off shore in the ocean, and being at our very much loved beach house on the waters edge he found on the Central Queensland Coast - where his ashes were spread. But most of all, he loved mum.

In the last few years of his life, he was planning to backpack around China with mum as soon as I finished high school. I was about to commence my final year at Senior High when the wounds he's received in combat finally began to take their toll. His body was still sprinkled with that shrapnel he received under fire on 23rd April, 1943, and some were not so small chunks and it remained in him to the day he passed away.

He passed when I was 16, leaving my mum a war widow barely in her 50's. It was early in the morning and the day after he performed one of his best operations on an albino feline the previous afternoon, saving its life. Mum later told me he was really proud of himself that day with the outcome of the operation as albinos often died in or shortly after surgery. I also remember getting home from school that afternoon, Dad leaning over the kitchen table, with his hands stretched out on the table to rest his aching back. His wooden leg was always a burden on his spine. He was not looking the best and he looked at me with a certain look. I didn't understand what it meant at that moment, but I do now, he knew his time was very near and China might have to wait for another lifetime. He knew what was happening, but I didn't. I remember seeing him as I went to bed later that night sitting in his chair watching TV with mum and I remember him early the next morning, when my mother cried out from their bed for my help, and how we both tried in vain to revive him.

He will always be my hero.

Hereward



S/Sgt Victor O'Neill Royal Armoured Corps

My Dad, Victor O'Neill had served in the 1st World War in the 2/6th Dragoon Guards. He was demobbed in 1921 and then joined the RAC for the 2nd World War. He was captured in Crete in 1941 and was taken to Stalag 8b in Ciezyn, Poland. His POW number was 22148.

Ray O'Neill



Tpr. John Graham Royal Armoured Corps

John Graham was my grandad. I know very little about what he did during the War. I do know that he served in the Royal Artmoured Corps and fought in North Africa and Europe. I have copies of travel warrants for lots of places in Italy and can plot his route all the way from Cairo to Milan then from Milan to Calais and Dieppe. My Grandad joined up in 1939 but I have no records before 1943.I am trying to find out what he did from 1939 to 1943 and will update this when I know more.

Ian Goodwin



Tpr. Percy Albert Nichols Royal Armoured Corps

My Great Uncle Percy Nichols was captured in the Middle East somewhere and spent most of the war in Stalag 4A. The story I have heard is that he was one of only 4 survivors in a tank battle.

Adrian Young



S/Maj. James Jonah Ackrill 7th Battalion The Buffs

Jim Ackrill

Grandad and some of his regiment

Tank in streets of Holland

This photo was taken by a Dutch Person and sent as a souvenir

Jim Ackrill seved with the Buffs.

Sandra Starling



Cpl. Arthur Bestwick Reconnaissance Corps Royal Armoured Corps

My dad Arthur Bestwick was POW in Stalag IV-A, camp location Hehenstein, Hesse. I am not sure how long he was held in the camp, but he was a POW from 18 March 1941 to to June 1945. His unit was the Royal Armoured Corps, Reconnaissance Corps. I believe he was a Cook or Chef and may have therefore been put to work in a kitchen, not sure. If he had been used as a chef, he may have come into contact with all camp POW's. I am waiting for the International Committee of the Red Cross to provide me with more information.

Sandra Storey



Tpr.r Garfield Desmond "Gary" Hedges Royal Armoured Corps Reconnaissance Corps  

Gary Hedges

Gary Hedges and friends

Gary Hedges and friends

Garfield Desmond Hedges was known as Gary, he attested at a Territorial Army Centre in Bristol on the 11th of January 1944 to The Reconnaissance Corps. Army No: 14443768. He served with the R.A.C. 11-01-44 to 07-08-45, Yorkshire Hussars 08-03-45 to 24-09-45, 15/19 Kings Royal Hussars 25-09-45 to 24-12-47 and his Demobilisation was on 01-10-47 from Aldershot Barracks.

It is unknown where Gary Hedges did his basic training, but he ended up at Catterick Barracks in Yorkshire for driver training and then became a trainer himself, for the Universal (Bren-Gun) Carrier. Possibly made a Lance Corporal, but we think due to what was then called word blindness (Dyslexia) Gary refused further advancement as he was offered a commission. We believe Gary was still in his initial training during D-Day 6th June 1944. Gary lost many friends in Operation Market Garden in Ahnem as he was continuing to train troops on Universal Carriers (Bren-Gun Carrier). We think Gary Hedges joined his Regiment in January 1945 in Germany and was with the advance units and liberated Bergen-Belsen Concentration camp on 15th April 1945.

Gary told us a story later in his life that, when he was there all the troops gave their rations to the prisoners, but found that because the prisoners were so weak, they died from the rich food, so they then tried giving blood transfusions and again, most of the troops present gave their blood. A little while later, the Army Medical personnel used a special famine food with added glucose and the ex-prisoners began to improve. There was also typhus epidemic present and the prisoners were eventually de-loused using D.D.T. as an effective pesticide. Those prisoners who were too weak to move by themselves were put on benches and washed by S.S. nurses, before being moved away from the infected area. (Most of the S.S. nurses contracted typhus and died.) After all of the prisoners had been de-loused and washed and stabilised, they were moved to the Displaced Persons Camp (D.P. Camp) which was housed in a former tank (Panzer) barracks. This housed 11,000. people, most of whom emigrated to Palestine. Gary Hedges and his fellow troops were also involved with the Displaced Persons in Northern Germany and ordered to de-louse many people using D.D.T. pesticide.

After VE Day (Victory in Europe) the Reconnaissance Regiment was disbanded. Gary Hedges was then transferred to the 15/19 King’s Royal Hussars and sent to Palestine in 1945. He was present when the King David’s Hotel was bombed by the Jewish group the Irgun, 13 soldiers were killed on the 22 July 1946. Which was used as the administrative centre for Palestine. 91 people were killed in total and 1 Irgun member was shot and later died. The Irgun were a militant right wing Zionist underground organisation who acted under the political direction of the Jewish Resistance Movement and under the Jewish Agency who were against the Palestine mandate. The British rule over Palestine followed the end of WW1 and removal of the Ottoman Empire in the region. The British were there to keep the peace between the Arabs, Christians and the Jewish Nations. He continued in a policing role and was possibly present during the terrorist outrage, when 2 British soldiers (Sgt Paice & Sgt Martin in July 1947) were kidnapped by the Irgun and later hanged in a polishing factory and the bodies then hung in a Eucalyptus Grove and an I.E.D. placed in the ground under the bodies which later activated when the bodies were cut down, causing facial injuries to one British Officer. Gary Hedges continued to serve until 1947 when he said he returned to Britain and shovelled snow, (1947 was a bad winter for snow) before being demobbed.

3rd Reconnaissance Regiment was formed from 8th Battalion Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, who landed in France on 6th June 1944 and served in North West Europe 1944-45. On 11/01/1944 the 26 regiments of The Reconnaissance Corps were transferred to The Royal Armoured Corp, (RAC) retaining their own cap badges and it was not until spring 1945 that all units had finally discarded the Recce Corp’s khaki beret for the RAC’s black beret which should have adopted upon joining the RAC.

The Recce Corps had been formed in January 1941, officially on the 14th, but some units (initially termed battalions, but later regiments, a term some of the battalions had been calling themselves anyway following the cavalry tradition) dated their formation from January (1st and 8th). Originally conceived as The Infantry Reconnaissance Corps, it had been raised to fill the gap for armoured reconnaissance in infantry divisions, there being insufficient cavalry to do so. Generally, the battalions / regiments of The Recce Corps served with the infantry divisions which bore the same number e.g. 1st Reconnaissance Regiment served with 1st Infantry Division, 3rd Reconnaissance Regiment with 3rd Infantry Division, 46th Reconnaissance Regiment with 46th Infantry Division.

The 11th Armoured Division, known as The Black Bull, was a British Army division formed in 1941 during the Second World War. The Division was formed in response to the unanticipated success of German panzer divisions. It was responsible for several major victories in Normandy after D-Day, and it participated in the rapid advance across France, Belgium, and the Netherlands and the Rhine crossing. The Division was disbanded in January 1946 and reformed towards the end of 1950.

The Component Units (On 6 June 1944) : British 29th Armoured Brigade, 3rd Royal Tank Regiment, 23rd Hussars, 2nd Fife and Forfar Yeomanry, 8th battalion The Rifle Brigade, British 159th Infantry Brigade, 4th battalion The King's Shropshire Light Infantry, 1st battalion The Herefordshire Regiment, 3rd battalion The Monmouthshire Regiment, Divisional troops, 2nd Northamptonshire Yeomanry, 13th (Honourable Artillery Company) Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery, 151st (Ayrshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, 75th Anti-Tank Regt, Royal Artillery, 58th (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders) Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery, 15th/19th The King's Royal Hussars.

Michael Bentine (Comedian & Writer) wrote this on his encounter with Belsen: We were headed for an airstrip outside Celle, a small town, just past Hanover. We had barely cranked to a halt and started to set up the ‘ops’ tent, when the Typhoons thundered into the circuit and broke formation for their approach. As they landed on the hastily repaired strip – a ‘Jock’ [Scottish] doctor raced up to us in his jeep. ‘Got any medical orderlies?’ he shouted above the roar of the aircraft engines. ‘Any K rations or vitaminised chocolate?’ ‘What’s up?’ I asked for I could see his face was grey with shock. ‘Concentration camp up the road,’ he said shakily, lighting a cigarette. ‘It’s dreadful – just dreadful.’ He threw the cigarette away untouched. ‘I’ve never seen anything so awful in my life. You just won’t believe it 'til you see it – for God’s sake come and help them!’ ‘What’s it called?’ I asked, reaching for the operations map to mark the concentration camp safely out of the danger area near the bomb line. ‘Belsen,’ he said, simply. Millions of words have been written about these horror camps, many of them by inmates of those unbelievable places. I’ve tried, without success, to describe it from my own point of view, but the words won’t come. To me Belsen was the ultimate blasphemy. After VE. Day I flew up to Denmark with Kelly, a West Indian pilot who was a close friend. As we climbed over Belsen, we saw the flame-throwing Bren carriers trundling through the camp – burning it to the ground. Our light Bf 108 rocked in the superheated air, as we sped above the curling smoke, and Kelly had the last words on it. ‘Thank Christ for that,’ he said, fervently.

On 11th of April 1945 Himmler agreed to have the camp handed over without a fight. SS guards ordered prisoners to bury some of the dead. The next day, Wehrmacht representatives approached the British and were brought to 8th Corps. At around 1 a.m. on April 13, an agreement was signed, designating an area of 48 square kilometres (19 square miles) around the camp as a neutral zone. Most of the SS were allowed to leave. Only a small number of SS men and women, including the camp commandant Kramer, remained to "uphold order inside the camp". The outside was guarded by Hungarian and regular German troops. Due to heavy fighting near Winsen and Walle the British were unable to reach Bergen-Belsen on April 14, as originally planned. The camp was liberated on the afternoon of April 15, 1945. Bergen-Belsen displaced persons camp was a displaced persons (DP) camp for refugees after World War II, in Lower Saxony in north-western Germany, southwest of the town of Bergen near Celle. It was established by British forces near the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. The site used abandoned German army Panzer barracks for housing facilities, and after November 1945, Jewish refugees were given their own section. The camp was the largest DP camp in Germany with 11,000 residents in 1946 and the only exclusively Jewish facility in the British sector.

Kim Hedges



Walter Frost 2nd Dragoon Guards (Queen's Bays)

My granddad, Walter Frost, was captured in May 1940. He was in Thorn prison camp and then Marienburg. He was from Gateshead.

Kev Hedley



Tpr. Allan J. "George" Meredith Derbyshire Yeomonry (d.10th Apr 1943)

Allan Meredith was born into extreem poverty in 1916 in Cork, where his mother lived while father served in France. His mother was in poor health and later died in Wales in 1924 leaving Allan in the care of his 14 year old sister and the Salvation Army. He survived and worked through the hard times until war came and Allan joined The Derbyshire Yeomanry A scrap of a letter dated 1942 described him being in an Army camp somewhere in UK, bored and waiting for something, he knew not what! All he longed for was "roast duck and peas like Auntie Bell cooked" and to see if he could get the nice little girl from the International Store to go out with him. In 1943 the news came to his Father that his only son was killed in Tunisia This is my Tribute to the Uncle I never knew.

Pauline



Norman Stokes 107th Tank Regiment, B company Royal Armoured Corps

My Grandfather, Norman Stokes was a tank driver of "Babbler" a Churchill Mk VII, in B company of the 107th Regiment of the 34th Tank Brigade. He joined up in about 1943 after being kicked out in '39 for lying about his age. He participated throughout Normandy, and amongst other things; He dropped the tank down an open quarry during night manoeuvers, had the footplate of his driving position blown off by a mine (along with that side track) and was shot at by the Americans when they mistook the Churchill for a German tank. He has always has said he ran over more German soldiers than he shot and was banned from boxing in the army for life when someone cut in the meal line. This is just one hundredth of the stories I've been told over the years, but that's another story. He was a real inspiration to me, and probably the greatest person I know.

Chris Marshall



Cpl. Robert Peden Lothian and Border Horse

This picture may have been taken in the camp but has nothing positively identifying it. My father is 4th from the right standing with the fair hair. I do not know who any of the others are.

My father, Cpl Robert Peden, Lothian and Border Horse, as far as I can gather, was captured at St Valery and spent all or most of the war in Stalag VIIIB/344. I have a number of family photos with the camp stamp on and recall him telling me that at one point Douglas Bader was there for a while before being transferred elsewhere. In keeping with many POW's, my father was reluctant to talk about his time as a prisoner. On the few occasions that he did drop his guard, he told me of soup containing a horse’s eye, making spirit from potatoes and being allowed to leave the camp to go to a nearby village to collect a piano. This was to allow the POW's to entertain themselves and he brought it back apparently with the aid of a wheelbarrow.

I think that he did mention becoming a 'trustee'. He did once talk about being on a forced march where men died but I do not know any of the detail. I have a photo with 'Friewaldan May 1943' written on the back As far as I can gather, Freiwaldan is in Austria so I suspect that my father may have been in another camp at some point.

If anyone knows any of the others in either of the photographs or can help fill in the gaps in my knowledge I would be most grateful. My father passed away in 1996 and I have no other means of increasing my knowledge of this time in his life.

Ian Peden



Trooper Charles William Adams 7th Tank Regiment Royal Armoured Corps (d.29th May 1940)

Charles William Adams was the son of Charles William and Ellen Adams of Jarrow. He died aged 23 during the evacuation of troops at Dunkirk. Charles is remembered on the Dunkirk Memorial. His name was missing off the old plaque in the Town Hall in Jarrow.

Vin Mullen



Tpr. Thomas Robinson Boal 23rd Hussars Royal Armoured Corps (d.27th Dec 1944)

Thomas Boal died aged 19, he was the son of David and Lily Boal (nee Robinson) of Jarrow

Thomas is buried in Brussels Town Cemetery.

Vin Mullen



Capt. Alfred Careless Special Operations Executive (d.20th Oct 1943)

Alfred Careless was born in Jarrow in 1913. He was the son of Thomas and Jane Careless (nee Lesner) of Jarrow, and husband of Nora Patricia Careless (nee Hunter) of Wadsley Bridge, Sheffield.

Alfred is buried in Tirana Park Memorial Cemetery, Albania.

Vin Mullen



Trpr. James Connolly 107th Regiment Royal Armoured Corps (d.27th Aug 1943)

James Connolly died aged 23. The son of William and Sarah Connolly (late McCluskey nee McCrudden) of Primrose, he was born in Jarrow. He served with the 5th Btn The King's Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster) and 107th Regiment Royal Armoured Corps

James is buried in Dely Abrahim War Cemetery.

Vin Mullen



L/Cpl. Thomas George Kelly 48th Royal Tank Regiment Royal Armoured Corps (d.19th Sep 1944)

Thomas Kelly died aged 31, he was born in Kingston in 1913.

Thomas is buried in Gradara War Cemetery and is commemorated on the WW2 Roll of Honour Plaque in the entrance of Jarrow Town Hall.

Vin Mullen



Sgt. Thomas William Smith 1st King's Dragoon Guards Royal Armoured Corps (d.5th Oct 1942)

Thomas Smith was born in Jarrow in 1913. He was the son of Thomas William and Mary Smith of Jarrow and the husband of Edith Smith (nee Hunter) also of Jarrow. He died aged 20 and is buried in Ramleh War Cemetery. Thomas is commemorated on the WW2 Roll of Honour Plaque in the entrance of Jarrow Town Hall.

Vin Mullen



Tpr. Stephen Ramsey Stewart 7th Queen's Own Hussars Royal Armoured Corps (d.12th May 1942)

Stephen Stewart was born in 1915 in Jarrow, son of Theodore and Isabella Robson Stewart (nee Ramsey). He died aged 27 and is remembered on the Rangoon Memorial. He is also commemorated on the WW2 Roll of Honour Plaque in the entrance of Jarrow Town Hall.

Vin Mullen



Lt John Hanson Thompson 3rd Royal Tank Regiment Royal Armoured Corps (d.19th Jul 1944)

John Thompson was born in Jarrow in 1916, he was the son of Thomas C Thompson and Jane Thompson (nee Hanson) of Primrose, Jarrow. He died aged 28 and is remembered on the Bayeux Memorial He is also commemorated on the WW2 Roll of Honour Plaque in the entrance of Jarrow Town Hall.

Vin Mullen



L/Sgt. Frederick William Whiting DCM. 15th (Scottish) Regiment Service Reconnaissance Corps (d.5th Apr 1945)

Frederick William Whiting was the son of Frederick Henry and Caroline Whiting and husband of Irene May Whiting. He served with the 15th (Scottish) Regiment Service of the Reconnaissance Corps, Royal Armored Corps. He died aged 25 in April 1945 and is buried in the Hanover War Cemetery.

L/Sgt. Whiting is commemorated on the WW2 Roll of Honour Plaque at the entrance of Jarrow Town Hall.

Vin Mullen



Tpr. Arthur Edward "Archie" Pearman C Sqn 15th Recce Regt.

Archie Pearman was conscripted in 1940 to The Royal West Kent's. He was also a Driver Mechanic in 15th Recce, C Squadron. After the war he may have served as a driver in Essen and also possibly in Nuremberg, I have no info as to what he was doing in either location. He also served as a driver at the No.1 District Censorship Station in Bonn from the end of the war until 1947, his discharge papers confirm this. Does anyone have any information about him?

Adrian Pearman



Trpr. Lionel Joseph Fursse Corderoy MID. Royal Armoured Corps

Lionel Corderoy was captured in Greece and held at Stalag 18a (POW number 5888). He fell in love with the dental nurse at the camp and they remained together until they passed away in 2013.

Update: Corporal LJF Corderoy, Royal Tank Regiment, was Mentioned in Despatches - Theatre of Combat or Operation: The London Omnibus List for Gallant and Distinguished Services in the Field. This was announced in the London Gazette on 14th February 1947.




L/Cpl. Frank Henry Eli Ballinger 48th Royal Tank Regiment Royal Armoured Corps (d.11th May 1943)

Frank Ballinger went to North Africa with 48th Royal Tank Regiment, RAC in November 1942. He was killed in action on 11 May, 1943 during the final offensive against the Axis force near Medjez-el-Bab, Tunisia. He is memorialized in the Medjez-el-Bab military cemetery SW of Tunis. Frank was killed just 17 days before his son, John Arthur, was born in Cardiff, South Wales.

The 48th RTR was the first unit to capture a German Tiger 131 tank near Medjez-el-Bab in April 1943. The Tiger was apparently abandoned by its crew after being hit three times by Churchill 8pdr shells. The Tiger is now on display at Bovington Tank Museum, Dorset.

Peter Bellamy



Trpr. Albert Edward Bowden B Squadron 1st Lothian and Border Regiment

As a 7 year old, I inadvertently changed the whole direction of my father's army service during WWII. Born in 1905, Bert Bowden was called up at the age of 35 and trained with Lothian and Border Regiment as a tank driver in Shermans, up until D Day. He was home on embarkation leave in May 1944 and I went down with chicken pox. Upon his return to his unit and immediately prior to D-Day he developed Shingles and was sent to an isolation hospital, missing all the excitement of the invasion day. He never caught up with the Lothians again and was bitterly disappointed to lose touch with all his mates from those 4 years.

He was posted to the 2nd Fife and Forfar Yeomanry and went to France with them in the August. Wounded on 29th August that year when a sniper threw a hand grenade into his Sherman tank in North West Europe. He was hospitalised with burns at a Field Hospital in Ghent. The rest of his war, he rejoined Fife and Forfars and progressed to Germany via Niemeghen in the winter of 1944. He was happily discharged from Hoy in Germany and had a long and happy life until he was 80 in 1986.

Beryl Clarke



Pte. John Anthony Duggan 9th Battalion Sussex Regiment

My grandad Jack Duggan was posted to Burma with the 9th Battalion Sussex Regiment to "fight the Japs". We know he loved animals, and he boxed. I am trying to find some photos or if any ones fathers spoke of him. He was from east London, and when he came home married Theresa, had 3 children and settled on the Isle of Dogs.

Jack



Tpr. Albert Frudd 141st Armoured Regment Royal Armoured Corps (d.15th Sept 1944)

I never knew Albert Frudd, but did meet his parents. He served with the Royal Armoured Corps 141st Regiment (7th Battalion, The Buffs.) I have no information other than his service number and regiment and that he died on 15th September 1944. I have visited his grave at Bayeux and he is buried by the side of L/Cpl D.F. Moore same regiment and battalion killed on the same day. They may have been comrades in the same tank. If anyone has any tips on where I can get any information please contact me.

John Frudd



Trpr. Robert Henry Sharp 1st Lothian Edinburgh Horse Yeomanry

Harry Sharp enlisted into the Army in 1938 at the age of 17 years. He lied about his age, joining the 15/19 Hussars in York. On the outbreak of WW2 he was transferred to the 1st Lovian Edinburgh Horse Yeomanry as a tank driver. Went to France in 1939 with the 51st Highland Division which was part of the B.E.F. Was the only survivor after his tank was destroyed by a German Tank. Was captured at St Valery after the surrender of the 51st Highland Division which was the Dunkirk rear guard unit. When taken prisoner Harry was wounded in the ankle/foot. As POW was forced to work in a Polish coal mine. Based at Stalag 8b.

Harry before he died, age 91, began to talk of the horrendous times he endured on the march from France to Poland having to cross the River Danube on many occasions. He also stated that the Germans saved his leg when they put maggots on his wound. The British Medics were going to amputate his leg prior to his capture.




James Younger 40th Tank Regiment Royal Armoured Corps

My Grandfather Jimmy Younger served with the 40th Tank Regiment I have a document. That's all I have of him besides civi pics.

Shane Younger



Denis George Thomas Batey Royal Armoured Corps

My grandfather Denis Batey who is still alive after serving in the Second World War, and being held in Stalag 4F at Hartmanzdorf, but he doesn't like to talk about it. I was wondering if anyone knew him. Any information would be greatly appreciated thanks.

Michael Batey



Sgt. Sydney Clare Royal Armoured Corps

Sgt. Sydney Clare was a member of the Royal Armoured Corps and the Reconnaissance Corps. His POW number was 11228 and he was held at Stalag XXB which was at Malbork, Poland. He died in the 1980's.

Gill



James Douglas Miller 6th Airborne Armoured Recce Rgt

I was a member of the 6th Airborne Armoured Recce Regiment from 15th May 1943 until 9th July 1947.

James Douglas Miller



Tpr. John Francis Hargreaves Nottinghamshire Yeomanry (d.24th Jan 1945)

John Hargreaves served with the Nottinghamshire Yeomanry in the Royal Armoured Corps

Robert Mills



Cpl. Arthur William Weller 2nd Reconnaisance Regiment

Arthur Weller was my grandfather but he never talked about the war, all I know is that he was in Burma and he was in the RAC.




Trooper Walter Norris 147th Rgt. Royal Armoured Corps (d.3rd November 1944)

My husband's father, Trooper Walter Norris was wounded at or near Roosendaal and died on 3rd November 1944. He is buried at Roosendaal-en-Nispen, Netherlands. Does anyone remember Walter or does anyone remember serving in or around Roosendaal at this time?

Karen Marlowe-Norris



Trpr. Eric Newnham 24th Lancers "C" Sqd. Royal Armoured Corps (d.10th June 1944)

I am seeking information about my uncle Trooper Eric Newnham of "C" Coy, 24th Lancers, who was killed in action on 10th June 1944, during the battle for St. Pierre, Normandy whilst in support of the Durham Light Infantry.

Jim Newnham



Kenneth Gower Royal Armoured Corps

My father, Kenneth Gower served with the 8th Army in North Africa and Italy. He entered the Army at Peckham Downs in 1940 in the territorial unit before transferring to the Royal Armoured Corps in 1941.

Dave Gower



Charles Arthur John Cooke King's Dragoon Guards

My father was a POW at Tittmoning Castle (Oflag 7D) during WWII. He had served in India.

Louise Cooke



Tpr. Ernest Whiley No. 9 Protective Squad Royal Armoured Corps

My great uncle served with the 8th Army in North Africa and Italy. The information he wrote on the back of a photo was `Tpr Earnest Whiley, 8th Army, No 9 Protective Squad RAC (and) CMF'.

Ann Marie Meyer



Gnr. William Frank Heath Attchd. Queen's Bays Royal Dragoon Guards

My dad served in many campaigns including El Alamein, where he was a gunner in the tank corps. His regiment was the Royal Dragoon Guards and I believe he was attached to the Queen's Bays.

Terry Heath



Lt. Charles Thomas Royal Dragoons

My grandad was in the 8th Army. He was in the Royal Dragoons, which I think he served with in India prior to the war.

Martyn



Sgt. William Walter Dugmore 2nd Btn. Royal Scots Greys (d.1st September 1943)

My great uncle, William Walter Dugmore, served with the Royal Scots Greys, Royal Armoured Corps, 8th Army. He was killed on 1st September 1943, aged 26 between Tripoli and El Alamein. He is buried in Tripoli War Cemetery, grave 7.C.19.

Jeff Hartley



Sydney East Royal Armoured Corps

My grandfather-in-law was a dispatch rider in the 8th Army Desert Rats. We have a photo of him with RAC on his lapel.

Karen Fisher



Pte. Albert Barker Attch. 32nd Army Tank Bde. Royal Army Ordnance Corps (d.14th November 1942)

My great uncle, Albert Barker, was a driver with RAOC and attached to the 32nd Army Tank Bde in North Africa. He was killed on 14th November 1942 when, as a POW being transported in an Italian ship, the ship was sunk by an Allied aircraft. Does anyone have any knowledge of this?

Joe Fletcher



Sgt. James Joseph Martin MM 1st Btn King's Dragoon Guards

My father Sgt James Joseph Martin, 1st King's Dragoon Guards, Royal Armoured Corps (Luton) was awarded the Military Medal for service in Egypt. The award was posted in the London Gazette of 16th February 1943. Other corps members awarded with him were:
  • Cpl. William Thomas Hadlow (Chatham)
  • Sqd Sgt Mjr. Norman Henry Morgan (London)
  • Sgt. Benjamin Joseph Hogarth (Bradford)
  • Sgt. William Lay (Birmingham).

    He sailed on the HMT California in 1939 and was in a cabin with `Johnson'. He was at Tobruk, El Alamein and Cario and went to Cape Town on the hospital ship Queen Mary in 1943.

    Does anyone know why they received their MMs?

  • Ann Ghailan



    Cpl. William Thomas Hadlow MM 1st Btn. King's Dragoon Guards

    Cpl Hadlow was awarded the Military Medal for service in Egypt. The award was posted in the London Gazette of 16th February 1943. Other corps members awarded with him were:
  • Sgt. James Joseph Martin (Luton)
  • Sqd Sgt Mjr. Norman Henry Morgan (London)
  • Sgt. Benjamin Joseph Hogarth (Bradford)
  • Sgt. William Lay (Birmingham).




  • Sgt.Mjr. Norman Henry Morgan MM 1st Btn. King's Dragoon Guards

    Sqd Sgt Mjr Morgan was awarded the Military Medal for service in Egypt. The award was posted in the London Gazette of 16th February 1943. Other corps members awarded with him were:
  • Sgt. James Joseph Martin (Luton)
  • Cpl. William Thomas Hadlow (Chatham)
  • Sgt. Benjamin Joseph Hogarth (Bradford)
  • Sgt. William Lay (Birmingham).




  • Sgt. Benjamin Joseph Hogarth MM 1st Btn. King's Dragoon Guards

    Sgt Hogarth was awarded the Military Medal for service in Egypt. The award was posted in the London Gazette of 16th February 1943. Other corps members awarded with him were:
  • Sgt. James Joseph Martin (Luton)
  • Cpl. William Thomas Hadlow (Chatham)
  • Squad Sgt.Mjr Norman Henry Morgan (London)
  • Sgt. William Lay (Birmingham).




  • Sgt. William Lay MM 1st Btn. King's Dragoon Guards

    Sgt Lay was awarded the Military Medal for service in Egypt. The award was posted in the London Gazette of 16th February 1943. Other corps members awarded with him were:
  • Sgt. James Joseph Martin (Luton)
  • Cpl. William Thomas Hadlow (Chatham)
  • Sgt. Benjamin Joseph Hogarth (Bradford)
  • Squad. Sgt Mjr Norman Henry Morgan (London)




  • Lt. Thomas William Salmon 49th West Riding Rgt. Royal Armoured Corps (d.24th September 1944)

    Lt Salmon died on 24th September 1944 and is buried in Row 3, Grave 7 at Turnhout Communal Cemetery.




    Cpl. William Higgins Royal Scots Greys (2nd Dragoons) (d.18th Sep 1943)

    William Higgins was from Glasgow and a corporal with the Royal Scots Greys. He was killed in action on 18th of September 1943 and is buried at Salerno War Cemetery, Battipaglia.

    James Lewis-McGuire



    Cpl. Walter Ash Royal Armoured Corps

    My uncle, Walter Ash, was a tank commander in WWII. He was at Luneberg Heath as part of Monty's bodyguard. His cap badge was a mailed fist and I would like to know which regiment he belonged to. He joined up in 1943 aged 19.

    David Sugden



    Tpr. Walter Norris 147th Btn. Royal Armoured Corps (d.3rd November 1944)

    My husband's father, Walter Norris, died aged 30 on Friday 3rd November 1944 and is buried at Roosendaal-en-Nispen, Netherlands. Does anyone remember Walter or can anyone give any information on him? Does anyone remember serving in/around Roosendaal in October/November 1944?

    Karen Marlowe-Norris



    L/Cpl. Eric Bishop Upstone Royal Armoured Corps

    My Uncle Eric Upstone served in tanks with the Royal Armoured Corps. Looking for anyone who knew him.

    Pat Pond



    Pte. George Edward Wilson 107th Rgt. Royal Armoured Corps

    George Edward Wilson was my dad, and he died on 26th September 1981 of a brain tumour. I know next to nothing about his army career. I do remember sitting on his knee saying, "Tell me about the war dad". He started to tell me he drove tanks, then my mum told him to shut up about it when it started to get a bit, shall we say, gory.

    It was only a few years ago that my uncle (dad's brother) told me he had been in the D-day landings and, he thinks, the Desert Rats. I had no idea.




    Robert Gallagher 1st King's Dragoon Guards

    The only thing I have of my grandfather, Robert Gallagher's, military service is this photo of him with his unit. On the back of the photo is written: "1st King's Dragoon Guards, Nov 22 1940." He is 2nd row, 3rd from right.

    I do not know his service number or rank. His medals were lost after he passed. All I know for sure is he served in North Africa and survived the war. He passed in November 1972. I am posting this hoping that some of these brave soldiers are still with us and also that others might find their relative in this photo.

    N. Moorhead



    L/Cpl. John Joseph Macken 7th Armoured Brigade Royal Armoured Corps (d.22nd February 1942)

    John Macken died in Burma aged 23, his brother Thomas was in the Royal Navy and died one year later (also aged 23), when his submarine was sunk. Neither man has a grave, John is remembered on the Rangoon Memorial, and Thomas on the Chatham Naval Memorial. They were the only two children of John Macken, who lost a leg in Flanders in WW1.

    Maura Santos



    Captain Alfred Careless attd. Special Operations Executive Royal Armoured Corps (d.20th October 1943)

    Captain Alfred Careless was the son of Thomas and Jane Careless; husband of Nora Patricia Careless, of Wadsley Bridge, Sheffield.

    He was 31 when he was killed when his plane crashed into a mountain in Albania. He is buried in the Tirana Park Memorial Cemetery in Albania.

    s flynn



    Drvr. Charles Baxter 141st Regiment Royal Armoured Corps

    I never really had any contact with my father as he was divorced from my mum when I was three. She much later told a story about my dad driving his tank down a street in Canterbury (Notley Street?) and cracking up both pavements. He narrowly escaped court martial as D-Day was looming. His close mate was Jack Clarke and my father's name was Charles Baxter of Norwich in Norfolk, UK.

    I don't know much more about him and wonder if he is known in any records or memories. I am now in my mid seventies and would love to tell my great grandchilden something of their great great grandad. Any help would be very much appreciated.

    David Baxter



    Tpr. Joseph Jenkins 45th Royal Tank Regiment Royal Armoured Corps

    Found from paraphenalia following his death, his service record states Joseph Jenkins served with the Royal Artillery from 17/6/1940 to 19/9/1940 and the Royal Armoured Corps, 45th Royal Tank Regiment from 29/9/1940 to 10/3/1946.

    Chris



    Pte. Samuel William "San" Smith 1st Derbyshire Yeomanry, HQ Squadron Royal Armoured Corps

    My father, Samuel Smith, was a very quiet man and my mother said he became more inward after his return. While away he did not forget his family as shown by the messages I include.

    Ray Smith



    L/Cpl. William Arthur Dunn 5th Btn. Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards (d.29th Oct 1944)

    My grandmother's brother, Lance Corporal William Arthur Dunn, passed away on 29th October 1944 and is buried at the Bergen-Op-Zoom War Cemetery. Unfortunately we have no photos of him to share.

    Tracy Edwards



    Tpr. Samuel Gill Royal Armoured Corps

    Sam Gill and friends in Egypt

    My uncle Sam Gill spent some time at Stalag IVb having been captured at Tobruk fighting against Rommel troops. He also travelled to other camps, amongst them Stalag IVg Oschatz, Germany. I am reading notes that he left at his passing away about his experiences in these camps. He was away from home in Sheffield for about four and a half years.

    Terry Gill



    Capt. Jasper Peter Young 3rd King's Own Hussars Royal Armoured Corps (d.17th September 1941)

    Captain Young was the son of Jasper Bertram and Olive Pauline Young of East Morden, Dorsetshire. He was 24 when he died and is buried in the Nicosia British Cemetery in Cyprus, Plot J. Grave 5.

    S Flynn



    L/Cpl. James Bradburn 59th Reconnaissance Regiment Reconnaissance Corps (d.3rd Nov1943)

    My grandfather, James Bradburn, was injured in France 1943 and died in a military hospital in Dover. My grandma, after giving birth to my mum, went through the blitz to go and see James. Whilst there she was told by the nurses that it would really help if he can see his daughter he keeps crying out that he has a daughter. So my grandma risked the journey again bringing my mum. He did get to see my mum but to this day my mum has never seen a picture of her father. I hope someone might be able to help me find a photo for her?

    Suzanne Cubbon









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