15th / 19th Hussars in Assche / Asse

Discussion in '1940' started by BrianM59, Apr 12, 2015.

  1. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Another timberyard view. No help, I suspect.

    Timberyard Asse.JPG
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2020
  2. battleofassche

    battleofassche Well-Known Member

    Rich, thanks for the Mk VIb pictures, had not seen these. The Assche timberyard Mk VIb looks pretty mint (Lt Lord Cliftons??). I was wondering about the Lindendries Mk VIb looks like it has a square on the turret and not a triangle but might be my eyes I'm getting old.

    So in summary if we believe the regimental history and war diaries of the 15th/19th we have 7 Mk VIbs to identify and 4 scout carriers as follows:

    3rd Troop A Squadron: (Last seen entering Assche by the main road (Assche Station)

    Command carrier: TSM Warrant Officer Class III J. Smith (possibly one of the 3 carriers pictured on Stationstraat)
    Carrier 2:
    Carrier 3:

    4th Troop A Squadron: (In Assche passed the Assche Station on Stationstraat)

    Command Mk VIb: Lt Lord Clifton (lost track abandoned) (Horsa??)
    Mk VIb 2: L/Cpl Pearce (Identified)
    Mk VIb 3: Abandoned outside Leuvien (identified)

    5th Troop

    Command Mk VIb: 2nd Lieutenant H. P. R. Lloyd-Mostyn
    Mk VIb 2:
    Mk VIB 3:

    FHQ (entered Assche by Lindendries road)

    Command Mk VIb: Major Colin Cokayne-Firth (KO on outskirts of Assche)
    2IC Mk VIb: Captain B. H. Mytton (Damaged abandoned in Assche)
    Carrier: SSM J. R. Laing (KO in Assche probably pictured on Stationstraat)

    There seems to be next to nothing in the war diaries and regimental history about 5th Troop other than it is thought to have entered Assche with FHQ. Also that Lloyd-Mostyn was the only individual from this troop to escape Assche and like Captain Taylor made his way all the way across Belgium and France to the coast and reported to Admiral of the Fleet Sir Roger Keys and then boarded a ship which was sunk crossing the channel and he was drowned. Would have been nice if he filled a report but probably not likely.

    Other A Squadron Troops (1st, 2nd and 6th) didn't enter Assche.
  3. rewdco

    rewdco Senior Member

    Steve has sent me some more pictures to post in this thread. The first one is another view of Horsa:


    And one of the best pictures of the MkVI at the station:

  4. rewdco

    rewdco Senior Member

    Another picture of my "First unknown tank (not the same brick wall as in the previous post!)". First the old picture:


    And here's another view:

  5. rewdco

    rewdco Senior Member

    So unlike what I thought in #37, this one (also close to a wall) is definitely another tank... Let's call this one "the fifth unknown tank".

  6. rewdco

    rewdco Senior Member

    And here's another one that Steve sent me:


    Looks as if this one is still OK, are the Germans driving it around?

    And could this be the same tank I wonder? Also Germans in / on the tank, and the damage to the left hand side mudguard looks similar...



    Just noticed that the second tank doesn't have an antenna... So not the same tank after all... (edited July 2nd 2015)
  7. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Probably stating the obvious here but are the tanks with foliage in #43 and #46 the same?
  8. battleofassche

    battleofassche Well-Known Member

    Jan, with regard to post #28 and #30. I rechecked the 2001 Belgium news article about George Sargent and Jef Vermeiren. The article states that Jef thought the house that George Sargent crawled into after Major CCs tank was KOed by AT guns was in the Lindendries vicinity and probably house #3 or #4 in Linden Park?. Might help with Streetview.
  9. rewdco

    rewdco Senior Member

    Hello Andy,

    No, definitely not. Different markings, and the tank in #43 stayed there quite a long time (see also #23)

  10. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I'll get my coat :lol:
  11. rewdco

    rewdco Senior Member

    Hello Steve,

    Most interesting! Just checked with Street View and indeed, it's all very close. But most houses in that part of Lindendries (except the restaurant "De Pauw / Patrick" and the white farm) and in my opinion all houses in Lindenpark are post war... Don't think there were a lot of houses there in 1940... But this could be another "confirmation" of this location!


  12. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    If the tank in Lindendries was that knocked out whilst commanded by Cockayne-Frith then it certainly wasn't the one that he crossed the border in. If his tank had earlier become unserviceable and exchanged for another (from B Squadron) then this might explain the markings.

    It occurred to me that examination of the other known films featuring 15th / 19th Hussars might give some clues.

    This is the photograph which Peter Taghon quotes as IWM F4334 and captions as Cockayne-Frith with Corporal Smith beside him crossing the border at Herseaux on 10th May :-

    Herseaux Cockayne-Frith 2.jpg

    There is no name on the front armour and it appears possible to see the 3rd Division Formation sign dating from their time as Divisional Cavalry.

    This is an A Squadron tank at Herseaux. Nice to see the coloured Field Service Cap there !

    15 - 19 Hussars Herseaux.jpg

    The Lindendries tank not only has the Square B Squadron marking but is also named which seems to have been characteristic.

    This is 'Bear' from B Squadron rushing into Leuven via the Tiensepoort prior to the railway bridge being demolished :-


    Once again the 3rd Div sign is visible. In other stills, the square sign can also be seen.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2020
  13. rewdco

    rewdco Senior Member

    Hello Rik,

    Good spot!

    I was wondering, how sure can we be that the Herseaux picture is really Major Cockayne-Frith? If it is him, I think I may have found his tank...

    I was looking for differences between the tanks. Obviously damage is a typical difference, but we can't compare the Herseaux pictures with the later Assche pictures based on damage... Then it occurred to me that the white rectangle is "different" on every tank. The shape (length / width), the position in relation to the other parts of the tank (especially in relation to the rivets, and yes, I've been rivet counting here!), ... I think we can consider these white rectangles as "fingerprints": they all look the same at first sight, but if you compare them, they are different enough to identify somebody... Now have a look at these rectangles:


    Same rectangle isn't it? Even the overpainted civilian number plate in the right hand upper corner (darker colored rectangle) looks the same...

  14. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I don't know Jan. If it is his tank, then it doesn't show much in the way of damage. Although the square can rule some out, I wouldn't guarantee that there were no two the same.

    The Taghon picture is an IWM classic and it would seem reasonable that he was a well-known figure and could be identified...

    In the Herseaux picture, it looks to me as if the right-hand track cover has been damaged / modified...I can't see this in the timber yard photo.

    We've still got a puzzle relating to the Lindendries picture (if that's where it is)...What was a B Squadron tank doing there. I don't believe that any crew got out when it 'brewed-up'. The turret and crew compartment have multiple penetrations.
  15. battleofassche

    battleofassche Well-Known Member

    I went through the war diaries and regimental history for the movements of B Squadron on May 18. Although they were not in Assche they did move from Brusseghem to Crokegem (Krokegem) on the morning of May 18 and arrived there at 11:30. Krokegem is about a 1km north of Assche and on modern maps is built up and connected to Assche. During this movement they skirmished with the Germans in Brusseghem and outside the town in corn fields. Sometime during this movement the Mk VIb of L/Sgt Long was lost or KOed and not seen again. The war diaries and history differ in what happen to his tank. The war diaries indicate the tank was lost in the skirmish with the Germans near Brusseghem (but his name appears to be crossed out in the war diaries). The regimental history (written later) just says his tank was lost somehow during the movement to Krokegem and never seen again. There is no other account of any Mk VIbs being lost close to Assche in the morning or early afternoon of May 18 by B Squadron.

    B Squadron moved from Krokegem about 1-1:30 toward Leuvenstraet and this was when they lost the bulk of their tanks and scout carriers.

    Given that B Squadron appears to have names on their tanks is it possible that Horsa is a B Squadron tank and that of the "lost" L/Sgt Long. It was unclear from the diaries and history which troop Long was in. 2nd and 3rd Troop appear to be the tank Troops but the war diaries indicate he was part of 1st Troop but that appears to be crossed out.

    With regard to the Lindendries Mk VIb it doesn't appear that B Squadron was in that area although definately A Squadron was.
  16. battleofassche

    battleofassche Well-Known Member

    Whoops that should be Krokegem ;)
  17. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    The 'Lindendries' location is of course a 'possible' rather than a certain. I have to say that the rather more undulating terrain around Krokegem and the raised fields might indicate that the tank lies some way out of the town.

    The unfortunate Lance Sergeant Long is buried at Adegem and there appear to be two crews there (the other with 2nd Lieutenant Brace of C Squadron who was lost near Wolvertem). That these were concentrated there post-war suggests that they were not originally interred alongside those killed in Asse proper. ?

    I'm inclined to suspect that this mystery tank is some way from Asse centre and bearing in mind the extent of damage, it is likely that there were no survivors and as it was from B Squadron, Long's tank seems most likely.

    Name Rank Service Number Date of Death Age Regiment / Service Service Country Grave /Memorial Reference Cemetery / Memorial Name Docs.

    BRACE, EUSTACE FRANK FEILDEN Second Lieutenant 95557 18/05/1940 20 Royal Armoured Corps United Kingdom XII. F. 1. ADEGEM CANADIAN WAR CEMETERY

    CUNNINGHAM, ALEXANDER MCQUEEN Trooper 321810 18/05/1940 20 Royal Armoured Corps United Kingdom Coll. grave. XII. F. 2-4. ADEGEM CANADIAN WAR CEMETERY

    COOKE, VICTOR ALEXANDER Trooper 321305 18/05/1940 19 Royal Armoured Corps United Kingdom Coll. grave XII. F. 2-4. ADEGEM CANADIAN WAR CEMETERY

    LONG, BERTRAM HENRY Lance Serjeant 545035 18/05/1940 30 Royal Armoured Corps United Kingdom Coll. grave XII. F. 2-4. ADEGEM CANADIAN WAR CEMETERY

    MURPHY, LESLIE JOHN Trooper 321278 18/05/1940 20 Royal Armoured Corps United Kingdom Coll. Grave XII. F. 2-4. ADEGEM CANADIAN WAR CEMETERY

    MUIR, JAMES ARTHUR Trooper 555527 18/05/1940 23 Royal Armoured Corps United Kingdom XII. F. 5. ADEGEM CANADIAN WAR CEMETERY

    There is a Memorial plaque in Brace's home church which rather usefully indicates that he was indeed buried at Brussegem.


    However, as he was with C Squadron, I do feel that the probability points towards this burned out tank as being Long's. If only there was something a little more recognisable in the background.
    mvdv84 likes this.
  18. battleofassche

    battleofassche Well-Known Member

    Thanks Rich, one more possible ID, time to dig up more pictures.
  19. battleofassche

    battleofassche Well-Known Member

    Jan, good point with regard to the white squares used for identification marks and aiming points for German AT guns. Although they were suppose to be 9 inch squares and on the front, back, near side and off side the exact position probably varied from tank to tank. As you mention this makes for an additional means to id tanks. I have some info on these markings and some military modeling articles that discuss Mk VIb markings but you most likely have already seen them.

    Cheers Steve
  20. battleofassche

    battleofassche Well-Known Member

    Post #41 Second unknown tank, "Lindendries" Mk VIb.... is that a 1 on the turret next to the rectangle.. if so then not a B Squadron 15th/19th tank.

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