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#1 Rob Dickers

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 11:31 PM

:)
Looking for the meaning of 'Python leave' in war-diaries.
Found it on the Peoples War site.
Rob
For info:

This was now my ‘Python’ leave.
In case you wonder what ‘Python’ leave was, the answer is that for anyone serving overseas for longer that four years, on return to England, had only ‘home postings’ and did not return to Europe. There was another form of leave called ‘Lilop’. This was leave in lieu of ‘Python’. In this case, service personnel came back to Britain, but had to return to Europe before demob.
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#2 Tom Canning

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Posted 07 October 2010 - 01:52 AM

Rob -
LIAP - was Leave In Advance of Python and was awarded - for people who had been away from the Uk for three + years - I had LIAP and returned to Austria - six months later - PYTHON and demob...

The first LIAP was drawn from the hat - and my driver was a lucky one and he went off near the middle of December '44 just before we went into the winter line on the Senio - he was gone six weeks as he sailed from and back to Naples - then back to the regiment in the North.

I went by train from Austria through Northern Italy - Switzerland - France to Dover - same on return - Many went through Germany - Holland -by truck and rail

Cheers
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#3 Alan Allport

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Posted 07 October 2010 - 02:52 AM

:)
In case you wonder what ‘Python’ leave was, the answer is that for anyone serving overseas for longer that four years, on return to England, had only ‘home postings’ and did not return to Europe.


The length of overseas duty one had to perform before triggering PYTHON rotation back to the UK changed throughout the war, and it depended on which theatre you were in. PYTHON was originally set at six years, and by the end of the war it had been reduced to four years and nine months in Europe and the Middle East and three years eight months in the Far East.

There was a major political storm in the late spring of '45 when Sir James Grigg, Churchill's secretary-of-state for war, implied that PYTHON for troops in Burma and India was to be immediately reduced by four months - something that didn't in fact happen for some time. Grigg was accused of trying to bribe overseas troops in the midst of the general election then taking place.

Best, Alan

Edited by Alan Allport, 19 May 2011 - 08:58 PM.
Noticed an error in original post

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#4 Ron Goldstein

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Posted 07 October 2010 - 05:51 AM

In August 1945 I found myself involved in the actual workings of LIAP, LILOP & PYTHON.

The following piece I posted on the BBC WW2 Archives describes it:

August/September 1945
Running a Staging Camp in Ulm in Germany
In September we (that's A Sdrn. 4th Queen's Own Hussars) landed another interesting job, that of running a staging camp in Germany. At that time there was an Army scheme in operation called L.I.A.P., which stood for Leave in Addition to Python. Python was the code name for leave that was given to troops that had done four years or more abroad and were due for home posting, whereas LIAP was now being given to those who had "only" (my inverted commas) done two years and nine months overseas service.
To get the returning warriors home, a series of staging camps were set up, starting in Italy, extending across Germany and France and finishing up at Dover. "A" squadron had been chosen to run the camp at Ulm, about l5O miles north of Munich and so off we went again, for the first time in Germany itself. On the way through Munich we passed the famous Beer Cellar where Hitler had made speeches in his early days. Lt.Walmsly and Major Paddy O'Brien stopped the truck they were travelling in and posed for me. The snap is still in my album.
We settled in very quickly.
Every evening about seven o'clock the convoy of lorries used to arrive and then facilities were laid on for the two or three hundred men to be fed, refreshed and all their needs attended to before they left the following morning at O7OO hours.
My own particular job was the cushy one of camp librarian and my duties were simple, to say the least. At the beginning of the "run" in Italy all troops were given opportunities to purchase paperback books from the NAAFI canteen. As they arrived at each staging camp in turn, they could swap on a one-for-one basis and so they had plenty to read en route. As librarian I was only on duty from seven in the evening until 9pm and then the rest of the day was my own. One other small duty was taking down the news from the BBC broadcasts and posting it on the canteen notice board.
The giggle was the fact that on some occasions reception was bad and the announcer spoke too fast. When this happened I used to fill in my own version of the news, regardless of the accuracy of the statements, but I don't think that anyone was ever the wiser and the next bulletin was always updated.
As we were now a British outpost in the heart of Germany we often had visitors turning up looking for repatriation to England, and I was often called in to interpret. On one occasion a strange young man turned up claiming to be of British origin and I was told to translate. When I found my German was not enough to cope with the situation I switched to French and Italian whereupon the young man said to me: "You must be Jewish," going on to say that the only British he knew who could speak so many languages were Jewish.
The canteen at the camp had a film projector and nightly shows were given for those in transit. Because we had a different audience every night, it must have occurred to someone that it was not necessary to change the film, and therefore the whole month that we were in Ulm the film was always "Cover Girl" with Betty Grable. As the town itself was off-limits to the camp staff, we would invariably find ourselves watching the film and consequently we knew all the script and the dance routines backwards! For months afterwards some of the lads would break into one of the complicated song and dance routines. One favourite lyric was "Who's complaining, I'm not complaining, together we'll see this thing through, Because of Axis trickery my coffee's now chicory, and I can hardly purloin a sirloin."


Edited by Ron Goldstein, 07 October 2010 - 02:21 PM.

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:peepwalla:

 

I was "called-up", as a 19 year old, on the 1st of Oct 1942 and was one of 5 serving brothers, one of whom, Jack, was in RAF Bomber Command and was killed on March 16th 1945.

I served as a Driver/Op (Wireless Operator) with the 49th Light Anti Aircraft Rgt. (78 Div) from Apr 1943 to Dec 1944 (North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Egypt). The Regiment was disbanded in Dec 1944 and I was retrained (in Italy) by the Royal Armoured Corps. Finally, I served as Loader/Op with the 4th Queen's Own Hussars (6th Armd.,78th & 56 Div) from Mar 1945 to Dec 1946 (Italy, Austria, Germany) finishing up as Tech Cpl. for "A" Sqdrn.  I was "De-mobbed" in Apr 1947

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#5 Rob Dickers

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Posted 07 October 2010 - 01:50 PM

:)
Thanks Tom,Alan & Ron for expanding the Terms.
I once said to a Canadian Vet about something -'thats a strange name for it', he said No Rob not strange ARMY!
Rob

Edited by Rob Dickers, 07 October 2010 - 10:50 PM.

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#6 Tom Canning

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Posted 07 October 2010 - 04:32 PM

Rob -
he got that right - Rosy was wondering about the code for embarkation - same thing - Army !

Cheers
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#7 Smudger Jnr

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Posted 07 October 2010 - 06:58 PM

Rob -
LIAP - was Leave In Advance of Python and was awarded - for people who had been away from the Uk for three + years - I had LIAP and returned to Austria - six months later - PYTHON and demob...

The first LIAP was drawn from the hat - and my driver was a lucky one and he went off near the middle of December '44 just before we went into the winter line on the Senio - he was gone six weeks as he sailed from and back to Naples - then back to the regiment in the North.

I went by train from Austria through Northern Italy - Switzerland - France to Dover - same on return - Many went through Germany - Holland -by truck and rail

Cheers



TTC,

Tom, I have just checked my fathers record and he obtained LIAP and I seem to recall that he travelled by train also through Austria on the route you described.

Regards
Tom
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#8 Bayleaf

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 02:24 PM

I only discovered this forum yesterday thanks to my friend Google! We've just received my late father-in-law's records, and many of the acronyms defeat us.
So I was glad to see LILOP here which was one. But could anyone tell me what an entry on his record
"Posted to draft R.C.L.I.S."
means? It appears he embarked for North Africa the following day.
I've managed to decipher most, but this one I can't find. Any help would be gratefully received! Thanks.
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#9 Tom Canning

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Posted 11 May 2011 - 05:09 PM

Bayleaf -
no need to wonder about RCLIS - that's the code name for embarcation - for that particular DRAFT - and had to be on all your documents and kit before you were allowed on board- we never figured that out untill we were 100 miles off shore- - too late - that's why most of us landed in North Africa .....
Cheers
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#10 Bayleaf

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 04:23 PM

Thanks Tom, one less to decipher!
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#11 RealNoyesy71

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 04:28 PM

Thanks for that Rob.
Didn't have a clue what PYTHON was all about? Now I know. :)
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#12 Steve Mac

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 08:07 PM

Welcome to the forum Bayleaf!

Best,

Steve.
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#13 Steve Mac

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 08:29 PM

Tom/Ron,

Was PYTHON, LILOP and LIAP compulsory, or could surviving experienced soldiers forgo their entitlement OR ask to return immediately to active duty? Or was it sometimes turned down by the Army?

Some of the reasons given for the 50th (Northumbrian) Division being returned as a training division in the UK in December 1944 was because it had suffered enough, done its bit and was fought out... and because it had been at the sharp end for probably longer than any other British Infantry Division (rather than Commonwealth - thinking here of the 9th Australian Division which was in the line a long time) a lot of its surviving experienced soldiers were entitled to PYTHON, LILOP and LIAP, or a mixture thereof.

Although 50 Div was mothballed one of its battalion's, the 9th Bn Durham Light Infantry, was rejigged with troops not entitled to PYTHON, LILOP or LIAP and joined 7th Armoured Division as motorised infantry, serving all the way through to the end; others found themselves as replacements in other Divisions. Would the old hands have been allowed to stay or be ordered to stay with the 9th Bn Durham Light Infantry to give them a backbone of experienced soldiers, both Officers and men?

Your thoughts gentlemen please?!

Best,

Steve.

Edited by Steve Mac, 19 May 2011 - 08:37 PM.

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#14 Alan Allport

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 08:54 PM

Dear Steve,

Since 50th Division returned to the UK in October 1943 and remained there until the Normandy landings eight months later, its PYTHON 'clock' in effect was reset. PYTHON only really applied to units that served continuously overseas in the Mediterranean, Middle and Far East.

Best, Alan
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#15 Tom Canning

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 09:07 PM

Steve -
never actually heard of anyone turning down an opportunity for home leave- but I suppose it was possible - and I can't see the Army objecting as we were short of men in all theatres from August/September '44 -

I was on a Hospital Ship bound for Blighty in the September when the word came that all experienced battle types should be patched up and sent back into the line - so a couple of dozen of us were thrown off at Catania and patched up there...and later sent back..

The case of 50th Tyne & Tees was a bit different inasmuch as Monty was right to disband them when he did - they were out of steam - and had very little left - a quick look at their casualties tells the whole story from the BEF -the Desert- Tunisia - Sicily and yet another D. Day - frankly they performed better than 51st and 7th Armoured although 7th AD had longer in the desert - 50th lost the 150 bde at the Gazala Gallop and were never replaced - so it was right that they were rested...the 9th DLI - I think I'm right in saying that they were a composite of 10th & 11th DLI which took a pasting at Epsom
Cheers
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#16 Ron Goldstein

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 10:55 PM

Steve

Was PYTHON, LILOP and LIAP compulsory, or could surviving experienced soldiers forgo their entitlement OR ask to return immediately to active duty? Or was it sometimes turned down by the Army?


I doubt if many would turn down the opportunity to take home leave after so long away from home, I certainly did not.

The pic below, taken from the next compartment to me as our homeward bound train rattled through Austria, brings it all back to me.

Ron

Attached Files


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If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?
And if I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?
Rabbi Hillel circa 30 BCE


:peepwalla:

 

I was "called-up", as a 19 year old, on the 1st of Oct 1942 and was one of 5 serving brothers, one of whom, Jack, was in RAF Bomber Command and was killed on March 16th 1945.

I served as a Driver/Op (Wireless Operator) with the 49th Light Anti Aircraft Rgt. (78 Div) from Apr 1943 to Dec 1944 (North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Egypt). The Regiment was disbanded in Dec 1944 and I was retrained (in Italy) by the Royal Armoured Corps. Finally, I served as Loader/Op with the 4th Queen's Own Hussars (6th Armd.,78th & 56 Div) from Mar 1945 to Dec 1946 (Italy, Austria, Germany) finishing up as Tech Cpl. for "A" Sqdrn.  I was "De-mobbed" in Apr 1947

http://www.blogger.c...947129038825503


#17 Steve Mac

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 09:37 PM

Dear Steve,

Since 50th Division returned to the UK in October 1943 and remained there until the Normandy landings eight months later, its PYTHON 'clock' in effect was reset. PYTHON only really applied to units that served continuously overseas in the Mediterranean, Middle and Far East.

Best, Alan


So, most of 231st Infantry Brigade (the 1st Malta Brigade), although not in the thick of the fighting in N Africa like 150th, 151st and 69th Infantry Brigades', would have been entitled to PYTHON, or am I missing something in the detail!?!

Best,

Steve.
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#18 Tom Canning

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 09:51 PM

Steve mac-
the 231st bde were in Malta for some time and took part in the Sicily invasion- this is when Monty took a shine to them and they were sent home to join in the D.Day invasion - their Commander in both Malta and Sicily was a chap called Urquhart - who had something to do with Ahrnem with the 1st Airborne or paras.....

Didn't really matter who did the fighting - it was all about being away from home that made the qualifications...Malta was no easy posting...

Cheers
Cheers
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#19 Steve Mac

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 10:00 PM

The case of 50th Tyne & Tees was a bit different inasmuch as Monty was right to disband them when he did - they were out of steam - and had very little left - a quick look at their casualties tells the whole story from the BEF -the Desert- Tunisia - Sicily and yet another D. Day - frankly they performed better than 51st and 7th Armoured although 7th AD had longer in the desert - 50th lost the 150 bde at the Gazala Gallop and were never replaced - so it was right that they were rested...the 9th DLI - I think I'm right in saying that they were a composite of 10th & 11th DLI which took a pasting at Epsom
Cheers


Hello Tom,

Two things:

1) I read everywhere that 50 Div out performed the 51st (Highland) Division and 7th Armoured Division (the Desert Rats), their fellow 8th Army Divisions, in Normandy. This suggests that they were still more fit for purpose that the latter two Divisions; and no slight is meant by me to these two famous Divisions. I have not heard, read or otherwise understood what happened in the space of a couple of months in which 50 Div had done very well to lead to it being rested - it was like an insult to a 'backbone' division; and

2) I have not seen that the 10th andd 11th DLI had been rejigged into a composite 9th DLI, indeed quite the opposite. But many thanks for the 'heads up' on this; I've obviously got a lot more homework to do!

As for your rehabilitation following a battle injury - is this not a variation of 'mend and make do'? Joking aside, that's a tuff break... but you appear to be doing well on the Army's tough love though!!!

It appears Ron got a better variation of 'long leave'; message #16 refers?!

Best,

Steve.
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#20 Steve Mac

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 10:09 PM

Steve mac-
the 231st bde were in Malta for some time and took part in the Sicily invasion- this is when Monty took a shine to them and they were sent home to join in the D.Day invasion - their Commander in both Malta and Sicily was a chap called Urquhart - who had something to do with Ahrnem with the 1st Airborne or paras.....

Didn't really matter who did the fighting - it was all about being away from home that made the qualifications...Malta was no easy posting...

Cheers
Cheers


Hello Tom,

Our posts crossed...

That was my point. At least two of the three battalions (and possibly all three) that made up the 231st Infantry Brigade were in Malta/N Africa from the start of WWII and served there through to Italy in late September 1943, hence PYTHON should have been due to the 'old hands'.

'Urquhart'? Who? I understand he suffered from vertigo and didn't like parachute jumps/flying; so where did the Army put him?!

Best,

Steve.
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#21 Ron Goldstein

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 10:26 PM

Just had a look at the 4th QOH Regimental diaries and notuced something that I had previously overlooked.

29/3/1945
A Sqn carried 6th RWK in exercise HOSANNAH, the Armd protection supplied by 9th Lancers.49 WOs, Sgts and ORs departed on PYTHON. Shoot carried out by B Sqn 105’s on enemy positions. 1Tp engaged enemy positions on SENIO bank at 355336 with success.


What I find of significance is that on the day that I joined the regiment, who I would remind you were in the line at the time, 49 "other ranks" were pulled out of the line to go home on Python leave.

It is only now that I realise that my tank commander, SSM Busty Thomas did not take up his entitlement at the same time, probably because it was put to him that he could not then be spared.

It also ocurred to me that he (and probably I alongside him) could have been killed in the closing stages of the war through his decision not to go home on leave :(

Just a thought for today, 66 years after the event.

Ron

Edited by Ron Goldstein, 21 May 2011 - 04:28 AM.

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If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?
And if I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?
Rabbi Hillel circa 30 BCE


:peepwalla:

 

I was "called-up", as a 19 year old, on the 1st of Oct 1942 and was one of 5 serving brothers, one of whom, Jack, was in RAF Bomber Command and was killed on March 16th 1945.

I served as a Driver/Op (Wireless Operator) with the 49th Light Anti Aircraft Rgt. (78 Div) from Apr 1943 to Dec 1944 (North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Egypt). The Regiment was disbanded in Dec 1944 and I was retrained (in Italy) by the Royal Armoured Corps. Finally, I served as Loader/Op with the 4th Queen's Own Hussars (6th Armd.,78th & 56 Div) from Mar 1945 to Dec 1946 (Italy, Austria, Germany) finishing up as Tech Cpl. for "A" Sqdrn.  I was "De-mobbed" in Apr 1947

http://www.blogger.c...947129038825503


#22 Verrieres

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 10:34 PM

Watched this one with interest never knew what either meant to be truthful...one thing bothers me with this leave business example ;- Durham Light Infantryman joins 1932,Serves in India 33-34,Sudan 1935-37,China 1937-39,Hong Kong 1939-40.Egypt 1940-42,Malta 1942-43,KOS 1943 ...10 years overseas,eight continuous returned to England with 21 other men January 1944,HOME,16 of these men are posted to 50th Division,Why?(we are told they were experienced NCOS and they were needed to steady the replacements ..Possible? Yes but the Battalion they had left had just escaped Kos with less than 100men?Would they not require experienced NCOs) June 1944 D-Day June to October 6 are Killed/Wounded in Action.When 50th Div is sent home the remainder(Survivors!) are posted to 9 DLI ?...if they had done their time originally anyone know why they were posted back overseas after completing 8-10 yrs abroad?I`ve never been able to fathom this one out was that Lilop?.

50th Division were tired Steve take a look at their casualty lists for Normandy see how many `True` DLI numbers are listed sadly not many mate a lot went into the bag in the desert and Sicily took a heavy toll.The soldiers from that Division still fought on in other units very few actually went home...the Division was broken and a lot used as replacements.


Tom...Nearly right mate 9th DLI soldiered on with large numbers of replacements coming from the disbanded 10th and 11th Battalions together with 8th and 6th DLI personnell but they were far from a composite battalion.I believe a lot of 11th DLI went to the Cameronians


Jim

Edited by Verrieres, 20 May 2011 - 10:40 PM.

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#23 Alan Allport

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 11:14 PM

So, most of 231st Infantry Brigade (the 1st Malta Brigade), although not in the thick of the fighting in N Africa like 150th, 151st and 69th Infantry Brigades', would have been entitled to PYTHON, or am I missing something in the detail!?!


Hi Steve,

I'm not sure if I entirely understand the question ... but as I understand it, the situation was this. Until 1944, there was no guaranteed rotation from overseas at all, no matter how long you'd been there. If your unit happened to return to the UK for operational reasons, all well and good; but if not, then you stayed put. Then PYTHON was introduced. The idea was that personnel who had been continuously stationed overseas for a long period would have the right (subject to service requirements) to be rotated back to the UK.* Length of qualification for PYTHON varied. It began as six years, then fell to four years and nine months for those in Europe/the Mediterranean and the Middle East, and three years and eight months if you were in the Far East. At the end of the war the qualifying period was shortened further.

Does that help?

Best, Alan

* This didn't preclude the possibility that you might be posted overseas again eventually - only that you would have at least one period of home service in-between.

Edited by Alan Allport, 20 May 2011 - 11:26 PM.
Clarification

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#24 Steve Mac

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 11:37 PM

Watched this one with interest never knew what either meant to be truthful...one thing bothers me with this leave business example ;- Durham Light Infantryman joins 1932,Serves in India 33-34,Sudan 1935-37,China 1937-39,Hong Kong 1939-40.Egypt 1940-42,Malta 1942-43,KOS 1943 ...10 years overseas,eight continuous returned to England with 21 other men January 1944,HOME,16 of these men are posted to 50th Division,Why?(we are told they were experienced NCOS and they were needed to steady the replacements ..Possible? Yes but the Battalion they had left had just escaped Kos with less than 100men?Would they not require experienced NCOs) June 1944 D-Day June to October 6 are Killed/Wounded in Action.When 50th Div is sent home the remainder(Survivors!) are posted to 9 DLI ?...if they had done their time originally anyone know why they were posted back overseas after completing 8-10 yrs abroad?I`ve never been able to fathom this one out was that Lilop?.

50th Division were tired Steve take a look at their casualty lists for Normandy see how many `True` DLI numbers are listed sadly not many mate a lot went into the bag in the desert and Sicily took a heavy toll.The soldiers from that Division still fought on in other units very few actually went home...the Division was broken and a lot used as replacements.

Tom...Nearly right mate 9th DLI soldiered on with large numbers of replacements coming from the disbanded 10th and 11th Battalions together with 8th and 6th DLI personnell but they were far from a composite battalion.I believe a lot of 11th DLI went to the Cameronians
Jim



Hello Jim,

Was your uncle Billy one of the unlucky NCO's in Para 1 of your note? If so, this is exactly what I am trying to get to the bottom of... was PYTHON et al universal, compulsory, etc. Ron's message #21 above suggests not!

I know that 50 Div was tired and that its casualties were high - twice as many as the 9th Australian Div, which also had a bloody hard war. However, I still do not know why a division that had out-performed the 51st (Highland) Division in Normandy and had subsequently done very well, was suddenly mothballed.

Yes, it had lost the 150th Infantry Brigade at Gazala in 1942, but the 51 Div had lost the best part of two brigades in France in 1940. So, I don't think that factor is relevant to it being mothballed.

Churchill wanted its casualties replaced by a battlion of Commandos i.e. fresh troops, but Monty wouldn't have it.

Instead, a lot of the tired troops were dispersed to other divisions, for what purpose? They were still tired and possibly not in as an effective division as 50 Div.

Overall, I am trying to understand how PYTHON et al worked in reality and why 50 Div was mothballed. The answer to the first matter is evolving, but I am still nowhere near understanding the latter twist to the same theme (the main official reason for it being mothballed was the 'leave' entitlement of a long serving Division).

Best,

Steve.

Edited by Steve Mac, 21 May 2011 - 08:45 AM.
used battalion instead of brigade - Freudian slip!

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#25 Steve Mac

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 11:45 PM

Hi Steve,

I'm not sure if I entirely understand the question ... but as I understand it, the situation was this. Until 1944, there was no guaranteed rotation from overseas at all, no matter how long you'd been there. If your unit happened to return to the UK for operational reasons, all well and good; but if not, then you stayed put. Then PYTHON was introduced. The idea was that personnel who had been continuously stationed overseas for a long period would have the right (subject to service requirements) to be rotated back to the UK.* Length of qualification for PYTHON varied. It began as six years, then fell to four years and nine months for those in Europe/the Mediterranean and the Middle East, and three years and eight months if you were in the Far East. At the end of the war the qualifying period was shortened further.

Does that help?

Best, Alan

* This didn't preclude the possibility that you might be posted overseas again eventually - only that you would have at least one period of home service in-between.


Alan,

Your original post, message #14, suggested that 50 Div was not entitled to PYTHON. I was merely pointing out at message #17 that a lot of the 231st Infantry Brigade probably were.

Best,

Steve.
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#26 Tom Canning

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Posted 21 May 2011 - 12:09 AM

Steve -
what you might be missing here is the fact that XXX corps- VIII Armoured Bde and 231 Bde's were home for close to eight months in some cases prior to D Day - enough time to get in a bit of leave - and start again - whether or not was PYTHON - LILOP - or LIAP.

The main reason that 50th outperformed 51st and 7th Armoured had a lot to do with the man at the top - who were replaced very soon after D Day -O'Conner in charge of VIII corps was "let go" later as he could not handle a corps after nearly three years as a POW after being captured after his famous victory at Beda Fomm in wiping out a whole Italian army - Ritchie in XII did better and lasted after his unsuccessful leadership of 8th Army at Gazala - whereas Leese didn't do so well with 8th Army in Italy - and was moved out to Burma. Horrocks did extremely well as a corps Commander in the Desert - Tunisia - until wounded and spent a year in hospital coming back to take on XXX corps.
So a great deal depended on the man at the top - such as Dempsey a corps commander in the Desert and Sicily - to 2nd Army...
Cheers
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#27 RosyRedd

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Posted 21 May 2011 - 08:18 AM

Then PYTHON was introduced. The idea was that personnel who had been continuously stationed overseas for a long period would have the right (subject to service requirements) to be rotated back to the UK.* Length of qualification for PYTHON varied. It began as six years, then fell to four years and nine months for those in Europe/the Mediterranean and the Middle East, and three years and eight months if you were in the Far East. At the end of the war the qualifying period was shortened further.

Does that help?

Best, Alan

* This didn't preclude the possibility that you might be posted overseas again eventually - only that you would have at least one period of home service in-between.


If someone qualified for Python post war, could they still have returned home during the war under Python or was this a one off thing?

Jules.
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#28 Alan Allport

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Posted 21 May 2011 - 11:54 AM

If someone qualified for Python post war, could they still have returned home during the war under Python or was this a one off thing?


I expect it would have been a one-off thing - remember that PYTHON was a relatively short-lived programme (it began in 1944 and I think was wound up at the end of mass demobilisation) and the qualifying period was pretty long.

Best, Alan
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#29 Verrieres

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Posted 21 May 2011 - 05:23 PM

Hello Jim,

Was your uncle Billy one of the unlucky NCO's in Para 1 of your note? If so, this is exactly what I am trying to get to the bottom of... was PYTHON et al universal, compulsory, etc. Ron's message #21 above suggests not!

I know that 50 Div was tired and that its casualties were high - twice as many as the 9th Australian Div, which also had a bloody hard war. However, I still do not know why a division that had out-performed the 51st (Highland) Division in Normandy and had subsequently done very well, was suddenly mothballed.

Yes, it had lost the 150th Infantry Brigade at Gazala in 1942, but the 51 Div had lost the best part of two brigades in France in 1940. So, I don't think that factor is relevant to it being mothballed.

Churchill wanted its casualties replaced by a battlion of Commandos i.e. fresh troops, but Monty wouldn't have it.

Instead, a lot of the tired troops were dispersed to other divisions, for what purpose? They were still tired and possibly not in as an effective division as 50 Div.

Overall, I am trying to understand how PYTHON et al worked in reality and why 50 Div was mothballed. The answer to the first matter is evolving, but I am still nowhere near understanding the latter twist to the same theme (the main official reason for it being mothballed was the 'leave' entitlement of a long serving Division).

Best,

Steve.


Hi Steve,
Yes sadly he was.From what I was told he didnt want to return to the UK he was a regular soldier who`d served in both regular battalions and was happy to remain so..but wasnt given the choice .Then he was posted to 6DLI (an original territorial battalion) and sent over to France and killed my Grandmother was very bitter and believed had he been with his own Company in 1st DLI he would have been OK. (Mothers reasoning I know).

I noticed another reference the other week to `28 other ranks to be posted to repatriation camp (Time expired) ITD ??` is this something completely different again I initially assumed they may have been wounded but with `Time Expired` does this fall under any of the leave catagories

Jim
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#30 Alan Allport

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Posted 21 May 2011 - 05:56 PM

I noticed another reference the other week to `28 other ranks to be posted to repatriation camp (Time expired) ITD ??` is this something completely different again I initially assumed they may have been wounded but with `Time Expired` does this fall under any of the leave catagories


'Time expired' I think refers to regular soldiers whose term of service (usually 12 years: 7 years in the colours and 5 years 'reserve') had run out. During the war this didn't necessarily mean that they were released from the Forces - they usually had to wait their turn in the demob queue along with everyone else. But it may have been grounds for repatriation back to the UK.

Best, Alan
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