1087831 John Mattison - Gunner - 72nd Field Regiment RA

Discussion in 'Royal Artillery' started by sri_130, May 21, 2019.

  1. sri_130

    sri_130 Active Member

    Hi all,
    My great grandfather was captured in Libya in June '42. I was hoping some research might already have been done regarding his unit and or if anyone has any details about him?

    He survived the war as a POW and according to one of his children, made several escape attempts.

    The 72nd seem to be a bit of a forgotten regiment, but I wonder if anyone has any details on what happened when/after they were captured. I've messaged a user on here, for their war diary.

    Any assistance with what the info below actually means?

    1942 1st June = captured after the fall of Tobruk.
    6/10/42 - Casualty List No. 947. (Previously shown on Casualty List No. 875 as Missing, 04/06/1942).
    WO 417/52

    A record in 1943 states his location as:
    P.O.W. Camp number 66, Capua Transit Camp, Capua, postal mark number 3400
    WO392/21

    in 1945 the first details are:
    Reported to the War Office Casualty Branch for the 24 hours ended 09.00am
    04/08/1945
    Casualty List No. 1826. Previously shown on Casualty List No. 947 as reported Prisoner of War now Not Prisoner of War. Previous Theatre of War, Western Desert.
    WO417/95_2

    Then also in 1945
    Resided Town:
    Stalag 4g, Oschatz
    Fate:
    Prisoner of War
    Information:
    POW No.248808


    Many thanks
     
  2. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Hi
    When a man was captured, his unit reported him as Missing - until info could be collated / facts confirmed.
    Once your g. grandfather had been taken prisoner, his details would've been recorded by whoever captured him and his name would have been passed on and added to lists compiled by Red Cross. These details would have forwarded to the appropriate office in the War Office Casualty Branch, in this case the one which dealt with POWs. The Red Cross would also provide official updates as to which camps/work camps a prisoner was moved to during the course of his captivity.

    So, your g grandfather was captured in North Africa, transported across the Mediterranean to Italy. Some POWs remained in Italy, others were sent onwards to other camps in Germany. When Italy capitulated the Germans managed to transport most Allied POWs still held in camps from Italy to Germany. Once there he could've been moved around various camps/work camps.

    Roughly, these steps in Casualty reporting procedure were possible:
    • Missing [this was reported to war office by Unit]
    • Previously reported Missing, now reported Missing believed Prisoner of War [Casualty Branch received reliable information eg from a witness that a man had been captured]
    • Previously reported Missing believed Prisoner of War, now reported Prisoner of War [Casualty Branch received confirmation via Red Cross that personnel is alive and POW]
    • Previously reported Prisoner of War, now not Prisoner of War [how War Office confirmed that personnel had been liberated, or had successfully escaped, or had been repatriated].


    In case you are not already aware:

    The ICRC still hold records for WW2 prisoners of war. See details via this link:
    Requests for information about people held during the Spanish Civil War or the Second World War

    Your g. grandfather may have completed a Liberation Report - but not every POW did. These documents are held at National Archives Kew and can be checked. One question on the report asks specifically for details about any escape attempts.
    War Office: Directorate of Military Intelligence: Liberated Prisoner of War Interrogation Questionnaires | The National Archives

    Either of these two records could give you details about his time in captivity (between them: place of capture, full list of camps, any mistreatment, illnesses or injuries during captivity, escape attempts), which won't be covered in his Service Records.

    Copy Service Records will however confirm much more than just his unit at time of capture.
    Request records of deceased service personnel


    For the record: this war diary at TNA Kew is for the year of his capture
    Royal Artillery: 72 Field Regiment (Fd Regt) | The National Archives
    Reference: WO 169/4592
    Description: Royal Artillery: 72 Field Regiment (Fd Regt)
    Date: 1942 Jan.- Apr.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2019
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  3. sri_130

    sri_130 Active Member

    WOW.
    I cannot thank you enough for this.
     
  4. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Morning Phill - I have sent you a PM.

    Best,

    Steve.
     
  5. sri_130

    sri_130 Active Member

    Back again, after unearthing some photographs. Any info that can be harnessed from these would be great.

    Here is John Mattison himself. He was born in 1909, no date for this photo but guessing it was early in his service as he looks young!

    [​IMG]

    This, shows to my untrained eye, the RA Ubique badge. What do the round buttons mean, anything or nothing?

    --

    This next one is of him again. A printed postcard. My great grandmother is in the top right. The rear of the card says 'carte postale' and includes a hand written "I dream of you dear xxxx". We'd never seen that before today and nearly moved me to tears! He died 11 years before I was born.

    Note the pyramids... was this normal practice to have your photo taken on a fake background?
    In June 1941 his regiment was in Egypt (for the first time).
    The hat seems a little odd...

    [​IMG]

    Here is John's wife, May. My great grandmother. This was printed on a postcard also.
    Interestingly the postcard has 'CANCELLED' stamped twice on the back.

    I think this might have been her reply to the one above? by the time she'd have sent it back, he was likely already captured (June 1942) maybe.
    We had no idea she took part in any service, so not sure if this is some form of fancy dress moral booster or if her insignia means anything!?

    [​IMG]



    This final chap, is an unknown. It is a professional photograph with a date stamp of 17 May 1940.
    I'm canvassing the family to see who he was. Looks quite senior in years - with war medals above the breast pocket - possibly from WW1?!
    Not sure on the hat insignia either.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. harkness

    harkness Well-Known Member

    Royal Artillery Attestations 1940:
    Mattison_ra.jpg
     
  7. sri_130

    sri_130 Active Member

    That's his service number! Fabulous.
    What does the final column actually mean? By 1946 he was considered too old? He would have been 36 or 37 by then.
    Do the letters etc mean anything?

    No date for his entry, could be same as the line above?

    Can't thank you enough for these bits of info.
     
  8. sri_130

    sri_130 Active Member

    Managed to find the abbreviation.

    Army Reserve Class Z (T)— in the case of a man of the
    Territorial Army, including those called up for service under the National Service Acts.


    So he was put on reserve status 11/3/46 and then deemed to be overage by 1954.
     
  9. sri_130

    sri_130 Active Member

    There is so much to research on my great grandad. The service record and POW stuff spills into many pages.

    I'm charting his early days in RA.
    Can anyone help with the first couple of lines in the picture attached.

    In the PTII section, 'DV' is noted. HIs A/Tank training took near 20 weeks, so presuming the DV will mean he did driver training (12 weeks) as well as his basic 8 weeks artillery training at Catterick?

    He ends up at the 4th reserve A/T regt. But is 'granted WCP? with effect 17/4/41. At least I think it is WCP?!
    Also the location of 4th anti-tank, is that Hitchin?

    He's then granted leave again, straight afterwards.... before ending up at 69th Anti-tank. Which is a bit confusing.

    [​IMG]

    If you can spot anything else of interest, let me know. I've glanced further down, but want to get as much info as possible, so going slowly!
     
  10. Richard Lewis

    Richard Lewis Member

    What looks like ‘Dv’ preceding the date in the Part II column seems to be merely an abbreviation for ‘Dated’. Other clerks have used other abbreviations in the column: ‘da’, “dd’, ‘d’.

    ‘Granted WPP” , not WEP. War Proficiency Pay was given on completion of 6 months’ service since 3 Sep 1939, as a man over 17½.

    U/A/L/Bdr = Unpaid acting Lance Bombardier.
    P/A/L/Bdr = Paid acting Lance Bombardier (NCOs paid retrospectively after 21 days U/A rank).

    AWL = Absent without Leave. The promotion to Lance Bombardier just before this has been crossed out and rank continues as Gunner.

    RW = Royal Warrant for Pay and Promotion (Section 942 deals with Forfeiture).
    AA = Army Act.

    Draft RFAHK. Just random letters to denote movements. See Draft recognition codes.

    Hope this helps,

    Richard
     
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  11. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Can you provide his name and number - there are other databases to look in that might help

    TD
     
  12. Richard Lewis

    Richard Lewis Member

  13. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    UK, World War II Royal Artillery Tracer Cards, 1939-1948
    Name: John Mattison
    Enlistment Date: 17 Oct 1940
    Discharge Date: 1954
    Regiment: Royal Artillery
    Military Unit: 51 Trg Regt RA (Anti-Tank)
    Service Number: 1087831
    61820_006916_0074-01808.jpg

    UK, British Prisoners of War, 1939-1945
    Name: J Mattison
    Rank: Gunner
    Army Number: 1087831
    Regiment: Royal Artillery
    POW Number: 248808
    Camp Type: Stalag
    Camp Number: IV-G
    Camp Location: Oschatz, Saxony

    TD
     
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  14. sri_130

    sri_130 Active Member

    Wow thanks Gents.
    Yes that's him, John Mattison.
    There's another page to his service history, casualty form and all sorts. It's like it's the tip of the iceberg.

    So greatful for that TD. It's not something I have found yet, so will add to the collection. I best start reading what a tracer card is/was!
     
  15. sri_130

    sri_130 Active Member

    I've attached a picture of the service sheet for my Great grandad.

    He was trained in Anti-tank (Catterick 51st Atk trng rgt, Hitchin 4th resrv atk regt) then went to the 69th Atk regt in Colchester.
    After that, he is shown as "posted to attached 1st Reserve field regt RA for Draft RFAHK" with a location of Writtle - yet the 1st rsv regt was actually based in Burton, which is shown also as the next entry.

    I'm a bit lost as to what 'posted to attached' means. Writtle isn't far from Colchester. So it would explain the proximity. But, he's posted to a field regiment... but trained in anti-tank. Is that normal?

    2 and a bit weeks later, he is leaving for Egypt anyway. So is it likely he went from Colchester, to Writtle and then Burton and then on a boat?!

    I guess my next question is, how to find where he embarked?? There's not much to go on, regarding the 1st reserve field regt?

    Arriving in Egypt he is back in a Atk regt (x list) but then not long back in a field regt! He is then captured at Gazala and is a POW, less than 2 months after arriving. He was not in theatre very long at all.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  16. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Hello
    Perhaps the war diary might assist with regards embarkation
    Not sure if anyone would have them but a couple of forum members offer a copy service from Kew at a reasonable fee.

    regards
    Clive
     
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  17. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

  18. sri_130

    sri_130 Active Member

    Further questions...

    He was trained in Anti-tank (Catterick 51st Atk trng rgt, Hitchin 4th resrv atk regt) then went to the 69th Atk regt in Colchester.
    After that, he is shown as "posted to attached 1st Reserve field regt RA for Draft RFAHK" with a location of Writtle - yet the 1st rsv regt was actually based in Burton, which is shown also as the next entry.

    I'm a bit lost as to what 'posted to attached' means. Writtle isn't far from Colchester. So it would explain the proximity. But, he's posted to a field regiment... but trained in anti-tank. Is that normal?

    2 and a bit weeks later, he is leaving for Egypt anyway. So is it likely he went from Colchester, to Writtle and then Burton and then on a boat?!

    I guess my next question is, how to find where he embarked?? There's not much to go on, regarding the 1st reserve field regt?

    Arriving in Egypt he is back in a Atk regt (x list) but then not long back in a field regt! He is then captured at Gazala and is a POW, less than 2 months after arriving. He was not in theatre very long at all.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  19. sri_130

    sri_130 Active Member

    I managed to find the convoy and actual ship.
    Onto the 65th Atk and 72fld regiment.

    Here is the POW info in the casualty form. If anyone cares to review and decipher.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     

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