14,000 Dog-tag return mission: Recce help esp welcome

Discussion in 'Recce' started by DanMackay, May 28, 2017.

  1. DanMackay

    DanMackay please delete my membership

    Hi, I am hoping some of you may have already seen me either on the BBC news or in a newspaper or two. If not a link is below. I am currently working with the BBC on a short documentary to air in September.

    Mystery as 14,000 Second World War dog tags found buried in field

    I found this website tonight tonight when researching some dog-tags relating to a few tags relating to the Recce. One very helpful member posted the award document as to why one person I was after was awarded the MM. I then discovered another dog-tag to an MM winner John Donovan 6469275, does anyone have his documents. What I am really looking for is someone who is very knowledgeable with RECCE units and members. Ideally I would be after anything that relates to any of the guys I have tags for in those units, but most of all photographs! I know its not easy, but any help will be appreciated and anything you help with will be credited on websites and future planned works also include a book all about the men behind these tags and the mission to return as many as possible, so far we have returned over 20. A drop in the ocean when you consider how many I have, but we have only been returning them for about 3 months. We also have good leads to return at least another 30.

    If anyone can help, I am happy to compose a list of names, serial numbers of Recce members.

    Many thanks in advance, Dan

    Extreme Relic Hunters

    see my website for more details of returned tags and all about the tags.
    Extreme Relic Hunters - Relic hunting
  2. CL1

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

    Hello Dan
    dozens of threads on here re Recce

    a bit about J Donovan here 56th Reconnaissance Corps post 294
    On the 19th November whilst on patrol to the North of the village of Djebel Abiod this NCO was ordered to approach a known enemy position to ascertain its strength.

    When within 800 yards of the enemy position he came under heavy machine gun fire. Whilst under fire he moved an enemy light tank which was disabled and was blocking the road by butting it out of the way with his carrier, and then continued his patrol towards the enemy position. On reaching a position some 400 yards from the enemy and having drawn fire from enemy A/Tank guns and tanks he covered the withdrawal of his patrol and then withdrew himself. If it had not been for the great coolness and determination displayed by Sgt Crutch, the required information regarding the enemy would not have been obtained.

    WD 29/10/43

    In the Field 22nd October 43


    The Commanding Officer congratulates the under mentioned personnel on their awards.

    Capt W A L Michell MC “A” Sqn
    6093913 Sgt A J L Crutch MM “C” Sqn
    647 4239 Sgt L E Whatley MM “RHQ”
    2698717 L/Sgt A Buchanan MM “C” Sqn
    6469275 Tpr J Donovan MM “B” Sqn
    3445917 Tpr H H Howard MM “A” Sqn

    WD 22/10/43

    Last edited: May 28, 2017
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  3. DanMackay

    DanMackay please delete my membership

    Hi Clive, thanks for the reply.

    I did see that snippet of info about 6469275 John Donovan. I am really hoping to find someone to dig about and share the Recce side of this project with me. I simple don't have the time to spend digging about for research, I have someone in the US the spends all her time tracking down families to return these dog-tags too. I would love to be able to find someone interested in the RECCE that has lots of knowledge that would enjoy both the challenge of finding photos and documents and knowing that when a tag is returned that anything we find out about a soldier is return over as well.

    My time is eaten up with all the cleaning of these tags, composing a huge database of them all, sorting them and storing them in a system where I can find each tag should we need to ... as well as punching them all into websites like Forces War Records to get the bare minimum of information on some. Which is how I found this site... I don't want to stop cleaning these dog-tags to write a whole list of RECCE dog-tags and the units if nobody wants to help. I am spending at least 10 hours every day on these dog-tags and so my time is precious. Any help that anyone can give is so appreciated, not just by me, but the families who receive these tags. Some of the emails I get back from families can bring tears to your eyes, its an amazing project to work on.

    Attached Files:

    Recce_Mitch likes this.
  4. CL1

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

    Hello Dan

    Donovan as an example you have a snippet from war diaries.
    Further info would be gained from his service records which unless you are a family member Joe public would not spend the £30 for that service.
    So it limits you to war diaries which do no usually mention individual names unless officer types or troops possibly killed in action or awarded a medal.Some do some don't it varies greatly.
    I am sure one of our genealogists will turn up more info re his place of birth/death which may give you a rough guide of details to return the dog tag.
    However for the many others you have you might only glean unit associated with.

    It might be an idea if you did place a list here and Im sure forum members will add info as and if they can.

    It appears perhaps you are after a modern address for a member of the family to enable a return process.

    Sorry I could not offer a quick fix.

    Recce_Mitch likes this.
  5. DanMackay

    DanMackay please delete my membership

    Hi Clive,

    With this project I have forgotten all about 'quick fixes', I can imagine myself still working on this in 5 - 10 years time. I have someone who is working through the tags to return them, so that part isn't too important as she works miracles in tracking people down.

    Yeah, paying £30 for each record to all 14,000 of them is a little out of my price range ;) it still surprises me what a clever Google search can bring up. I found Monty awarding a MM to one soldiers whose dog-tag is here. That was a nice surprise! Also found one soldiers medals sold at auction :( nice to see his MM, even if it was sold off by the family.

    I will post some names and numbers of RECCE guys tomorrow if I get chance. Hopefully someone will know something or be able to dig something up.

    Thanks Clive
  6. RCG

    RCG Senior Member, Deceased

    Have you really considered what you might be doing?
    When this first hit the news there was a thread on here.
    WW2 Dog tags found buried.

    My post.
    <But now we're desperate to return the dog-tags we've found and I will travel nationwide, if that's what it takes.">

    Easily done put them back in the field.
    As they were never issued how can any family say they were their relatives tags?
  7. DanMackay

    DanMackay please delete my membership


    We have returned over 20 and every veteran and family is so grateful, it has brought people out from suffering from dementia to relive memories with families that they never mentioned before, even if for only a few moments. So, yes, this is a project well worth all the time and effort that goes into it.

    These tags were made for a specific reason, I can't disclose that at the moment as its a big part of the BBC documentary, however it is a very important part of history. We tell each person we return/issue the tags too and they are amazed that this alternative part of history almost included them or there relative. Despite these tags never being issued, all these soldiers fought. In all theatres and the earliest soldier enlisted when the Connaught Rangers existed, pre 1922!

    I think its a very sad way of looking at the word to suggest reburying them, when they bring so much joy and are now important items now held by veterans or family members.

    I was getting hundreds of emails a day by excited people with there fingers crossed asking if I had family members dog-tags. 99% of all request were a no, but a couple were a yes! If anyone wants me to check a name or serial number let me know.

    In case you missed some of the testimonials from our website, here the few I posted on there.

    "We want to thank you very much for returning my Dad's dog tags. Dad now has dementia & my Mum going the same way, however the tags have brought the memories flooding back as my Mum remembers stories that Dad obviously told her over the years!
    This is something that has popped unexpectedly into our lives at a time when my parents are struggling with the issues and indignities of old age. Yesterday my Dad was entertaining us with some memories of life in the army, he was very young and obviously quite a character as indeed he was all his life. It is great to see him reliving those distant days and good for us family to remember those good times when we struggle with them these days." Liz

    "Keep up the good work, I am part of a WW1/2 committee for our town and we all think what you doing is fabulous" Lynne Beardmore

    "I am not an emotional person, but I can't dry my eyes. My granddad was my hero, and unfortunately we lost him just a short while ago now. I can't thank you enough!"

    "Many thanks for your reply, keep up the good work" Dave Speck

    "Good Luck on your searches it all sounds fascinating bit like Sherlock Holmes" Beverley

    "good luck with the job your doing I think its a great thing you and the team are trying to do" Chris Humble

    "... there are still people out there to whom remembrance matters" Jenny Hardcastle

    "Thank you for your time and all your hard work it is appreciated" Angelika Baddeley
  8. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Hi Dan,
    Do you have any form the Guards' block allocations?
  9. DanMackay

    DanMackay please delete my membership

    Yes all of them, but only a token few of each.
    2 Grenadier Guards
    8 Coldstream Guards
    2 Scots Guards
    1 Irish Guards
    2 Welsh Guards

  10. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    I have some Rolls up on the forum for each of the regiments. Would be particularly interested in checking for the IG.
  11. DanMackay

    DanMackay please delete my membership

    Here you go :)

    2723880 BILLINGSLEY RG
  12. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Nope, not on my lists.
  13. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic Patron


    Are any of the tags marked to 24th Lancers or 3rd Royal Tank Regiment?
  14. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce

    Hello Dan

    A few of us Recce boys (and a girl;)) are still very active on the forum, especially for 56 Recce. As suggested previously, please post numbers and names and we will see what we can do.

    I met one of the original 56 Recce chaps, Frank Barratt from Hull a couple of years ago:

    Frank was one of the original 100, 56 Recce recruits who were called up in January 1942, along with my father. He told me they were called the ten-sixty boys, a name which always stuck with them (their army numbers began with 1060....). They all travelled to Colchester, and were transferred to Chadacre for their initial training.

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  15. DanMackay

    DanMackay please delete my membership

    Hi, yes there are a small sprinkling that I have Id'ed as those, mainly from FWR files about woundeds/PoW's etc So I am sure there is a lot more of them, just I have no idea which tags!

  16. DanMackay

    DanMackay please delete my membership

    Hi Lesley,

    I will try and find time tonight to post some of the names an numbers of some of the '1060 boys' (love that name, '1060's' is how I always refer to those tags, its amusing to know that I wasn't the first though). There are 109 '1060' tags, and lots that were transferred or attached to Recce. As for how many there are in total, I couldn't even hazard a guess right now.

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  17. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic Patron


    Any names? Would be good if relatives still living.
  18. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    All right, I confess I was doubtful but this has whet my appetite slightly.

    How long do we have until the secret is revealed?
    Do you have a duplicate/unissued set for Everett: 6013556, because I'm holding the originals in my hand.
    4jonboy and CL1 like this.
  19. DanMackay

    DanMackay please delete my membership

    The mini documentary is planned to air in Sept. However I may let you in for a treat in advance, lets see how we all get on ;) I'm not sure why everyone is so sceptical over these tags or what I am doing with them. It is an honest attempt at getting these to where I feel they belong and I will be completely honest in saying that I would like help in returning them, of course I can do it all on my own, but I would rather add some speed to the process as some of these veterans who's tags I have won't be around for that much longer so time is of the essence.

    Now, I will say that these tags were made to replace the fibre tags that we all associate with WW2 British tags. Sadly though nothing is listed for that serial number. Was this soldier RAC, RTR or Recce? If so then there is still a chance they may turn up, lots to clean and list still.
  20. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Thanks for checking for me.

    I think that the instinct to scepticism comes from the fact that you don't have to have been interested in the popular end of Second World War history for long before you find a) a lot of self-publicists and b) a good number of people out to make money by misrepresenting the past. "The Untold Story" is usually a warning sign--don't let 'em stick it on your program.

    The fact that you are interacting fairly openly with us here places you outside those murky circles unless your revelation is properly speculative bonkers.

    Could be worse--have any of you chaps ever dipped your toes into the swamp of Ripperology?
    Last edited: May 30, 2017
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