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1st & 2nd Fife and Forfar Yeomanry


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#1 nickc

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 08:34 AM

I wanted to start a new thread on unit histories for 1st & 2nd Fife and Forfar Yeomanry, firstly because my Grandad served with the 1st FFY and i have some interesting information and pics, and secondly because i am in communication with a veteran of the 2nd FFY who is sending me pics and first hand accounts of life during his time with this unit.

I await his permission to publish this material but in the first instance I will start with a unit photo of the 1st FFY sqn C, I’m told the pic was taken whilst in NW Europe after Oct 1944.

The 1st Fife</ST1:p and Forfar Yeomanry were part of the 79th Armoured Div and used Churchill Tanks adapted for flame throwing ops

If any one can add to or amend any information then please do so

<O:pNick<O:p
<O:p

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Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, "This was their finest hour."

#2 Owen

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 08:42 AM

nickc
Good on you for starting this thread off.
Really looking forward to reading your Veteran's stories.
I will try and add anything I find to get things going.
(Most of my books are packed away waiting for house move.)
Good little story here.http://www.bbc.co.uk.../a2766684.shtml

Being in the 1st Fife & Forfar Yeomanry Tank Regiment our uniform was the same as everyone elses but with a few embellishments.
Khaki battledress comprising of khaki trousers and blouse, I had a belt for my waist as it was home to my weapon which was a revolver. The belt was actually optional in our squadron. The driver and co driver had a sten gun (small machine gun) which was quite dangerous because if you dropped or banged it accidentally it would fire a round of ammunition. There were a few near misses! The radio operator who was also the gun loader also had a Sten gun.
On our heads we wore a black beret, this originated from the first world war when the French gave the Royal Tank Regiment the honour of wearing their black beret.
Towards the end of the war whilst we were in Germany, we stayed at Geillenkirken. On arriving at the town, a unit of the Guards, (I don't know which regiment) saw the regimental badges on our shoulders and assumed that we were officers, they walked by and saluted us. We of course saluted back. It was a short while after when they got closer they realised that we were the same as them!
Our berets, collar badges and shoulder badges also had an adverse reaction from the native German people as they were very similar to a German SS Regiment who had treated their own people very badly. On entering the town, the German people gave us a very wide berth

.

Another story.Give a feel of their involvement in Operation Goodwood.
http://www.sundayherald.com/37822
2nd Fife & Forfar Yeo, 11th Armd Div.

In the early morning July mist the Sherman tanks of the 2nd Fife and Forfar
Yeomanry waddled up to the start line, their engines throbbing insistently
across the still Normandy countryside. Ahead lay the shock of battle, but
whatever fears their crews had they kept to themselves as they went through
the pre-combat checks. Radios crackled with last minute orders as the regiment's
squadron commanders went through the familiar routine of checking and rechecking
equipment. Inside the steel hulls, the troopers felt the familiar gut-wrenching
anticipation of battle, the sinking feeling in the stomach, the cold sweat
and the sudden need to defecate. The tankers of the Fife and Forfar Yeomanry
had good reason to feel anxious. They were about to take part in Operation
Goodwood, a huge armoured assault to break out from the bridgehead of the
D-Day landings and that meant engaging German tanks which were superior to
theirs in every way. With their heavy steel armour plating and their high-velocity
88mm flak gun, the German Mark VI Tiger was a formidable opponent. The only
hope for a Sherman crew was to get in close and hope that a lucky shot from
their 75mm gun would hit the achilles heel of the Tiger's side and rear armour-plating.
Otherwise they knew what lay in store: a direct hit and their petrol engine
would blaze with an intensity which would frazzle them in seconds. It was
called "brewing up" and, by the early afternoon, 13 of the Yeomanry's Shermans
had met that fate even before they had reached their first objective. Nobody
who took part in that bloody battle ever forgot the carnage.

I could see palls of smoke and tanks brewing up with flames belching forth
from their turrets. I could see men climbing out on fire like torches, rolling
on the ground to try and douse the flames, but we were in ripe corn and the
straw catches fire ...

Today the Normandy countryside is neat and well-manicured and the scars of
the failed breakout attempt have long since disappeared. War has been sanitised
and the battlefields are sold as a tourist attraction. Even the dead play
their part. In lovingly kept cemeteries at Bayeux, Banneville-la- Campagne
and Hottot-les-Bagues the white gravestones stand in serried ranks and at
this time of year the wreaths of red poppies commemorate a generation of
young men, like those of the Fife and Forfar Yeomanry, who did not go home.

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#3 nickc

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 12:25 PM

I now have permission to publish some of Freds memories from the 2nd Fife and Forfar Yeomanry

The info is not in any date order, so it may jump about abit but any first hand experiences are worth a read in my book.

Innititially I was in the 2nd Fife & Forfar Yeomanry Regiment joining them when they were in Ypres in Belgium in January 1945 and went into Germany with them and leaving them with all the young soldiers, in July 1945 to go to Japan, and that is where I went to the 1st F&F at Recke, Germany with their Crocodiles. We left Recke early August to go to Japan and got to Brussels when the first atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, so our move to Japan was held up while the Japs were thinking about surrendering or not, and when they did we returned immediately to Recke in Germany.
The 1st F&F were a specialist regiment made specially for the DDay landings so were part of the 79th Division along with a lot of specialist armoured vehicles that really made the invasion easier for the troops. The 2nd F&F were in the 11th Armoured Division and our tanks were Shermans in France and Comets in germany a good cruiser tank and supposedly a match for the Tiger tank, but it wasn't, not by a long shot.

I went into the army under a false age adding 2 years to it so I am quite a young ex warrior being only 80 in July this year. Best wishes to you. Fred
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Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, "This was their finest hour."

#4 nickc

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Posted 12 May 2006 - 01:56 PM

Hi Nick, Thanks for the photo altho I couldn't recognize anyone in it. When I joined the 1st F&F there were still a few of the originals in it so was surprised I didn't know someone. The squadron sergt major was a man called Fitch and he always wore his 6 shooter low down on his right leg. As a small matter of interest the 2nd line wore a patch of tartan cloth behind the badge, whereas the 1st didn't. When we were crossing the River Weser our tank was photographed by a man from the London Illustrated News and the picture was eventually in the paper long time after the war finsihed and the sent us a copy. It was headlined as the latest British tank to beat the Tiger tank.

When we first received the tanks as new, we went to Dunkirk to learn how to fire the guns correctly and at that time as Dunkirk was a German fortress all our shells ended up in the town. As targets we had lined up a half dozen captured German tanks and we blasted away at them for week after week and watched all our hits bounce of the Tigers and Panthers.

Come dusk we left the ranges for billets as the ranges were patrolled at night by Germans from Dunkirk andnot a very safe place to be. At the time of the battle of the bulge, when the Germans attacked in the Ardennes in December 1944, the 2nd went there to prevent any break through of the Gerrys across the River Meuse, before I arrived at the regiment and the 1st were there also and took part in the fighting, loosing a couple of Crocodiles with casualties , I think. The Germans didn't like the Crocodiles, would flee at the sight of them. They were very dangerous to the crews as well as they couldn't reverse too good with having the trailers behind full of FTF & gas bottles.

I did get a bit of training on them as we went to an airfiled at Lingen, Ems and practised using the flame on different targets such as 50 gallon drums and old Gerry aircraft that were full of ammo and made quite a firework display when they burnt up. The jet of flame was so strong it would bowl a 50 gall. drum over at 100 yards. The fuel wa sticky too and would stick to whatever it hit. Not very pleasant.

If you want to see a good tank museum, go to Bovington, in Dorset, the best in the world. When Iwas last in England I went to a good museum at Duxford Airfield, a Battle of Britain airfield which give tank rides too and they have avery good aircraft museum to with a flying Flying Fort. That is in Cambridge.

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Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, "This was their finest hour."

#5 etienne

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Posted 19 April 2007 - 09:44 AM

hello
Dear sire , here is a picture of some men from the 1st FFY sqn C his name was Joslin Gordon he stayed with my grandparrents in the end of the war.I found his family and the are comming to my in Belgium.My question is do you recognize some men on the pictures

I send the pictures on saterday, i have some problems with setting them on the net.

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#6 spidge

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Posted 19 April 2007 - 12:21 PM

Welcome Etienne.
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Spidge,


My project is the collection of over 11,400+ RAAF Headstone/Memorial photos located in 70 countries during WW2 and the 360+ from WW1. Can you assist? Do you know someone that can?
-------------------------------------------------------
My Signature photo is the Battalion history of WW2 and the patch of the 2/8th battalion. (Blood & Bandages)
My Avatar is my dad, Gunner Frederick Edwin Swallow "C" Company, 2/8th Battalion, 19th Brigade, 6th Division AIF. Critically wounded on the first attack on Tobruk, January 21st 1941.



 


#7 Donnie

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Posted 19 April 2007 - 04:06 PM

Hi there, i would also been interested in seeing the photo as my grandad served with the 1ffy. see my web-site, look under 'bob newitt'

Thanks,donnie
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#8 etienne

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Posted 20 April 2007 - 02:34 PM

Here are the pictures where I talked about.

Index of /101st/fife.and.forfar

They are all guy's of the C squadron.
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#9 Donnie

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Posted 20 April 2007 - 04:04 PM

thanks for the photos but me grandad wasnt there...shame. But thanks for posting.

Donnie
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#10 Owen

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Posted 20 April 2007 - 09:19 PM

What medal ribbon is that?
Does that look like a MiD oak leaf on it?

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#11 Donnie

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Posted 21 April 2007 - 09:44 AM

it does look like an emblem on the ribbon. do we know when these photos were taken?

donnie
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#12 etienne

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 05:45 PM

The photo was taken 02/03/1945.

Etienne
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#13 DKB

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Posted 25 April 2007 - 09:07 PM

I've got a copy of "The Sporran" - the regimental magazine of the 1st FFY from Christmas 1945. Nicks picture is in the magazine (although slightly cropped from the original) there is handily a list of the men in the picture which I've scanned and attatched here. There are other pics in the magazine but I'm not sure if they will scan well enough to pick out individuals. If anyone is interested I can give it a try.

Richard
Attached File  1stFFYsgts1945.jpg   70.69K   59 downloads
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#14 etienne

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 03:19 PM

I've got a copy of "The Sporran" - the regimental magazine of the 1st FFY from Christmas 1945. Nicks picture is in the magazine (although slightly cropped from the original) there is handily a list of the men in the picture which I've scanned and attatched here. There are other pics in the magazine but I'm not sure if they will scan well enough to pick out individuals. If anyone is interested I can give it a try.

Richard
http://www.ww2talk.c...ffysgts1945-jpg


If it's possible I would like the pictures of the magazine.

Thanks :)

Etienne
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#15 Donnie

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 07:53 PM

Hi mate i would be very interested in these pics to, Also is there any mention to a man called Robert Newitt.

Thanks, donnie ( Please use private message facility.)

EDIT Donnie, best not to advertise your email on the public forum, better to use Private messaging. Owen D.
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#16 DKB

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Posted 01 May 2007 - 11:12 PM

I will scan in the pics from the magazine and upload them to a folder in the gallery as soon as I get a chance,I'll post again when its done.
Richard
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#17 Donnie

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Posted 02 May 2007 - 03:44 PM

cheers mate

Donnie
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#18 nickc

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Posted 02 May 2007 - 08:42 PM

nice to see some activity on this subject, nice work on getting the magazine with the listings, my Grandad isnt on there and when i saw the ranks it was showing that explains it, Donnie sorry for not coming back to you after i said i wouild be i have started a new job and its pretty intensem i cant even get onto the web am that chocka, last week i received all my grandads stuff from the loft as he is in a home at mo as he is on last legs but i have the following,,

original safety goggles in a tin that they must have worn to protect eyes from the bright flame

cap badge and possibly a smaller dress badge

some excellent phots of him in the field and a couple of group shots

some currency from Germany

his discharge book

i need to some how scan these in and get them on so you can check them out, bear with me and keep the F&FY stuff coming, there is no other forum or website with the info we are building up here :)
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Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, "This was their finest hour."

#19 Donnie

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Posted 03 May 2007 - 03:42 PM

Hi nick, good to hear from you again.

Sorry to hear about your grandad mate, I got onto the tank museum at bovington and they do sell the war diary for 1ffy and also have a massive photo archive of the 1ffy.

Donnie
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#20 nickc

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Posted 04 May 2007 - 07:21 AM

mmm need to get there mate, New job means more cash so i will probably buy the war diary at some point for 1ffy, also goning to get his service record when i have filled in the SAR form, cant wait to get these images up on here, no acces to a scanner tho so may have to buy one of them too....are you able to look through the diary as a visitor or do you have to buy it before you can read through it?

N
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Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, "This was their finest hour."

#21 nickc

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Posted 04 May 2007 - 07:23 AM

..... also anyone know how i can check these tinted safety goggles that i have , i have looked on the web and cant find anything, they have a blue tint to them and im assuming they are an anti glare for the flame at night maybe??????
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Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, "This was their finest hour."

#22 Donnie

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Posted 04 May 2007 - 03:41 PM

Not sure that you can veiw them for free, this is the E-mail i recieved from them.

"The shop has passed your enquiry on to the Archive. We have the 1st Fife
& Forfar War Diary, but it is for the whole regiment, not just "A"
Squadron. We can send you a copy of this for 23.50 pounds plus 1.95
postage & packing. You can pay by cheque to the Tank Museum Ltd or by
credit card, either by phone or a couple of e-mails.

Regards"


I would have bought it a while ago but i am still paying for some medals i bought.

Donnie
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#23 nickc

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Posted 06 May 2007 - 03:18 PM

Donnie

hi, i got some more stuff from my Grandads this w/e and i got the following

war office maps of europe

original prints showing the 79th Arm Div sweeping through europe and where units went

F&F Y listings of each town/village they went to inc dates

also a map of UK in German, not sure if this was captured ?

i will scan some in this week and type out the chronolical info unlesss you already know it??

Nick
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Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, "This was their finest hour."

#24 Donnie

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Posted 06 May 2007 - 04:05 PM

No i have no idea where they were during the war and anything you would pass on to me would be great, You are so lucky to have all of this memorabilia from your grandads war service. They only thing i have relating to my grandads service is 1 photo and nothing else. Do you have your grandads medals, mine never wanted his.

Donnie
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#25 DKB

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Posted 06 May 2007 - 05:54 PM

I've scanned the pics from the magazine but can't get them to upload here, I must either be doing something wrong or haven't the privileges so here's a link instead.

Index of /richard.dickens1/fife

Hope you find them interesting
Richard
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#26 Donnie

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Posted 07 May 2007 - 12:27 PM

Hi mate, thanks for the photos. Not many on "A" Squadron so me grandad wasnt there. Do you know where i can get copies of "The Sporran".

Thanks,Donnie
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#27 DKB

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Posted 07 May 2007 - 06:39 PM

Hi Donnie,
As a low print run 40s publication not many remain, I was lucky enough to find one on ebay, but its probably worth trying specialist booksellers.
Cheers
Richard
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#28 Donnie

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Posted 07 May 2007 - 07:21 PM

Cheers mate,

I will look into it

Donnie
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#29 nickc

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 07:28 AM

A couple of images 1st FFY sqn C and more to follow

the group shot appears to be taken after the war due to bottles of wine imaybe and the 3 guys image shows my Grandad on the right. :)

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Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, "This was their finest hour."

#30 nickc

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 12:09 PM

Dont know much about these 3 images, i guess the action shot is a croc in training? i have a list of names on the back of 1 of these images which i will type out later

enjoy

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Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, "This was their finest hour."




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