Starting a thread on 56 Recce. I am researching it because my father was in 56 Recce from 9.2.1941 til 13.6.1944 when he was invalided out of the army due to war injuries. His name was Thomas Heald Mitchell No. 1873128.
Quotes from my father
"You had to be smart to join the Recce. As soon as I entered the interview room they fired a maths question at me to which I immediately replied with the correct answer."
"In the campaigns of North Africa, Sicily and Italy, the soldiers were always on the move (Reconnaissance Unit) and did not sleep in a bed or under shelter for months. The men of 56 Recce were just as well disciplined and as well turned out as any Guardsman, I should know, I served with both"
This poem traces the activity of the 56th Recce Regt.
Poem by Ex.Cpl.E.T. (John) Newton.
CHAVASSE'S LIGHT HORSE
In the year of 1940 the War Office said you must form
A brand new Regiment so the Recce was born
The "Black Cat" Division was therefore told
"Send men to the Recce fold
Loaded with Rifle and Kit we went to
Cranbrook, High Halden, Bethersden in Kent
We gathered together Cap badges by the score
Later reduced to one - The Recce Corps
Training with Mortars, Radio cars and carriers
we learnt to scout and run like harriers, by
the end of the year we were somewhat skilled
In our job it was to observe not get killed.
Our move in August 1942 was sudden
To a camp in Scotland called Buddon
There we were told the facts
We were to join the Division “Battleaxe”
At that time little did we know
How soon we were to meet the foe
The First Army we were to be
Our job was the 78 Div. Recce
In October 1942 we sailed down the Clyde
Algiers was to be the end of that ride
Later when North Africa came into view
Jack Forshaw set off with his motley crew
For a Recce along those roads and hollows
Seeking the Jerries to “Feel their collars”
Five days later we came to Algiers Docks
Watched by the Arabs in what looked like frocks
Later "B" & HQ moved to the fray
Which was then around Medjez way
Doc Du Bed valley harboured “A” Sqdn.
Always remembered, never forgotten
Names like Mateur, El Arousa and Medjez remain
Longstop, Kasserine, Tally Ho Corner and Goubellat Plain
May 1943 brought peace and we went to the
coast to enjoy the sea
Sousse will be remembered for its heat
Our stay alas too short to enjoy the treat.
Monty then said, “To Sicily you go”
Wonder what he would have done if we had said “NO”
LST's took us to the beaches and we started
to enjoy grapes and peaches
Unlike Africa this fight was a short haul
But names like Centuripe, Bronte, we recall.
Again fate beckoned and we
Commenced a further journey to Italy
Taranto, Bari, Foggia went under the wheels,
Later we moved up and down “them there hills”
Termoli is a name the Regiment well knows
Its here the Division stuck in its toes
"C" Sqdn. crossed the Sangro and had a rough ride
Cassino then cast its horrible spell
To all concerned it was just sheer Hell
The weather improved and the Rapido we crossed
No longer by the Monastery were we bossed.
After a month we came to Trasimeno
And at Cortina we finished and now for a “beano”
Egypt with sun, sand, wind and wogs
Gave us a chance to use our best togs
Also the Sphinx we still recall these things
Groppis, Brown Trams, Pay books on strings
Italy called again and so we went
Along familiar roads where we’d spent
Our time chasing the Tedeschi
Until we came to a town called Assisi,
Florence beckoned but we went past and
those hills we walked at last.
The rains came down and made quagmires
Wish we could have had some fires
Snow followed and those patient mules
Came up to provide us with our meals
Then we moved to the banks of the Senio
Soon we were across and through Lugo
Then on to Portomaggiore and the River Po.
The end of hostilities was then very near
And for us we moved to Austria
The journey we started in 1942
Was now almost through
And instead of surviving in Bivvies
We were soon to be in Civvies.
So let us not forget those men
Whom we would never see again
Troopers, NCO's and Officers too
Who are now memories to me and you
So may I ask you all to stand
And with your glasses in your hand
Toast past and present members of this Happy Band
Gentlemen the “56th Recce Regiment”.
Edited by Recce_Mitch, 13 July 2013 - 06:17 PM.