1883598 Staff Sergeant John DEBLING, Royal Engineers

Discussion in 'Royal Engineers' started by SeanD, Aug 14, 2012.

  1. SeanD

    SeanD Junior Member

    Hello everyone,

    Just a quick hello to introduce myself and a question or two if you don't mind.

    My Dad served during WW2 along with his brother RSM Albert Debling. I have sent away a couple of weeks ago all the forms to Kentigern House so I am still in the "running to the sound of the letterbox closing" phase. As I'm sure most of us have done I used to listen about his various exploits but now with the foresight of age I wish I had paid more attention, and taken notes !!

    As I have currently hit a brick wall with my family tree I thought I would concentrate on my family's envolvement during WW1 and WW2 and what better place to start then my Dad. As I live only 20 or so miles from the RE museum in Gillingham my Dad and I used to go there every so often. He even donated his brothers army photo scrap book to the museum after he passed away. Do you know if they do special visits for people who are researching their ancestors ?

    Dad told me he was part of XXX Corps and was also involved with the push to Arnhem but I cannot remember what Field Company (22 something rings a bell) but at least the service records should tell me. If there is anything I cannot decypher could I possibly call upon your help ?

    I have his collection of photos of his army life (bridge building, runway laying, demolitions etc) and various other paperwork, I could scan and post them if you are interested ?
    Kindest regards,
    Sean
     
  2. CL1

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

    Hello Sean welcome to the forum

    please upload anything you have forum members will be most interested and could possibly add more detail

    regards
    Clive
     
  3. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce Patron

    Hello and welcome to the forum Sean. As Clive as suggested please post any photos you may have as this could help.
    I am afraid you may have to wait about 12 months for your fathers service records but they are well worth waiting for.
    Good luck with your research.

    Lesley
     
  4. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Hello everyone,

    Just a quick hello to introduce myself and a question or two if you don't mind...

    Dad told me he was part of XXX Corps and was also involved with the push to Arnhem but I cannot remember what Field Company (22 something rings a bell) but at least the service records should tell me. If there is anything I cannot decypher could I possibly call upon your help ?

    Kindest regards,

    Sean

    Welcome to the forum, Sean. You appear to be approaching your research the right way...

    The Orbat for XXX Corps engineers during Operation Market Garden was, I believe:

    Guards Armoured Division:
    14th Field Squadron Royal Engineers
    615th Field Squadron Royal Engineers
    148th Field Park Squadron Royal Engineers
    11th Bridging Troop Royal Engineers
    Guards Armoured Division Postal Unit Royal Engineers

    43rd (Wessex) Division:
    13th Bridging Platoon Royal Engineers
    204th Field Company Royal Engineers
    207th Field Park Company Royal Engineers
    260th Field Company Royal Engineers
    553rd Field Company Royal Engineers
    16th Airfield Construction Group Royal Engineers
    43rd (Wessex) Division Postal Unit Royal Engineers

    50th (Northumbrian) Division:
    233rd Field Company Royal Engineers
    501st Field Company Royal Engineers
    505th Field Company Royal Engineers
    235th Field Park Company Royal Engineers
    50th (Northumbrian) Division Postal Unit Royal Engineers

    Anything here stand-out?

    Best,

    Steve.
     
    mac657 likes this.
  5. SeanD

    SeanD Junior Member

    Thank you all for the warm welcome :D

    ....I am afraid you may have to wait about 12 months for your fathers service records but they are well worth waiting for.
    Good luck with your research.

    Lesley


    As long as a year, crickey, my nerves won't last that long...lol


    Welcome to the forum, Sean. You appear to be approaching your research the right way...

    The Orbat for XXX Corps engineers during Operation Market Garden was, I believe:

    Guards Armoured Division:
    14th Field Squadron Royal Engineers
    615th Field Squadron Royal Engineers
    148th Field Park Squadron Royal Engineers
    11th Bridging Troop Royal Engineers
    Guards Armoured Division Postal Unit Royal Engineers

    43rd (Wessex) Division:
    13th Bridging Platoon Royal Engineers
    204th Field Company Royal Engineers
    207th Field Park Company Royal Engineers
    260th Field Company Royal Engineers
    553rd Field Company Royal Engineers
    16th Airfield Construction Group Royal Engineers
    43rd (Wessex) Division Postal Unit Royal Engineers

    50th (Northumbrian) Division:
    233rd Field Company Royal Engineers
    501st Field Company Royal Engineers
    505th Field Company Royal Engineers
    235th Field Park Company Royal Engineers
    50th (Northumbrian) Division Postal Unit Royal Engineers

    Anything here stand-out?

    Best,

    Steve.

    I remember Dad talking about the "Guards Armour Divvy" but I also remember him mentioning about the 50th. Tantalisingly close. I have a couple of badges which might tie it down a bit. One is a round blue badge with a red diamond and within the diamond is a blue parrot. The other is a round badge which is divided into 3 segments red, green and blue and within the badge itself is a white triangle. I'll post them along with some photos this weekend.

    S
     
  6. Recce_Mitch

    Recce_Mitch Very Senior Member

    Sean welcome to the forum, by all means post away, we would all be very interested in what you have.

    Cheers
    Paul
     
  7. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Thank you all for the warm welcome :D

    As long as a year, crickey, my nerves won't last that long...lol

    I remember Dad talking about the "Guards Armour Divvy" but I also remember him mentioning about the 50th. Tantalisingly close. I have a couple of badges which might tie it down a bit. One is a round blue badge with a red diamond and within the diamond is a blue parrot. The other is a round badge which is divided into 3 segments red, green and blue and within the badge itself is a white triangle. I'll post them along with some photos this weekend.

    S

    Hello Sean,

    Here you go... This belonged to the 48th (South Midland) Division:

    [​IMG]

    The 48th did not serve outside of the UK after 1940, but as a first line division it probably provided a lot of replacements for other divisions embroiled in the fighting. So it could be the case that your dad served in the 48th but was transferred to another outfit.

    The 48th included the following Sappers - all '22 somethings':
    224 Field Company RE
    225 Field Company RE
    226 Field Company RE
    227 Field Park Company RE

    I look forward to you posting those photos!

    Best,

    Steve.
     
  8. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Hello and welcome to the forum-give me a shout if you ID the unit and I'll point you towards the units war diaries.

    Cheers
    Andy
     
  9. SeanD

    SeanD Junior Member

    Wow, spot on Steve. Thank you. Just goes to show it's not what you know....
     
  10. SeanD

    SeanD Junior Member

    My Dad's service records came today after only 3 weeks.... ironically on the same day as my mum has died this morning at 9.30am.

    "Why am I even posting and bearing this to people I have just met ?" I hear you ask.

    Well, I suppose I need to grieve in my own way and posting helps to take my mind off things. I just need to keep mentally active because as soon as I stop... well... you get the picture.

    Sorry I won't be able to post those photos just yet, I will get round to it.....

    Brief synopsis:

    Attested 1940 48th Div C Company N & H (?) TBRE Colchester
    1940-41 226 Field Comp
    1941-42 269 Bty 68 Fd Regt RA
    1942 Severe injury posted to Y list
    1942 Posted to 2 MTTD
    1942 Posted to No 1 SME (some bits I cannot read)
    1943 Posted to HQ Coy No1 SME attached to 30th Batt East Yorks Regt
    1943 Attended No 2 ASC Edinborough
    1943 Posted 289 Field Park Coy
    1943 I quote "Struck off the strength of this coy and posted to 689 AW Coy"
    1944 -1945 Lists him now with 689 Road Construction Coy

    </ramble>
     
  11. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce Patron

    Sean
    I am sorry to learn of your mum's passing this morning. My condolences go out to you and your family.

    Look forward to seeing your photos when you feel you are able to do so.
    Would you post the service records also as some of the queries you have will probably be answered by forum members.

    Lesley
     
  12. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    My Dad's service records came today after only 3 weeks.... ironically on the same day as my mum has died this morning at 9.30am.

    "Why am I even posting and bearing this to people I have just met ?" I hear you ask.

    Well, I suppose I need to grieve in my own way and posting helps to take my mind off things. I just need to keep mentally active because as soon as I stop... well... you get the picture.

    Sorry I won't be able to post those photos just yet, I will get round to it.....

    Brief synopsis:

    Attested 1940 48th Div C Company N & H (?) TBRE Colchester
    1940-41 226 Field Comp
    1941-42 269 Bty 68 Fd Regt RA
    1942 Severe injury posted to Y list
    1942 Posted to 2 MTTD
    1942 Posted to No 1 SME (some bits I cannot read)
    1943 Posted to HQ Coy No1 SME attached to 30th Batt East Yorks Regt
    1943 Attended No 2 ASC Edinborough
    1943 Posted 289 Field Park Coy
    1943 I quote "Struck off the strength of this coy and posted to 689 AW Coy"
    1944 -1945 Lists him now with 689 Road Construction Coy

    </ramble>

    Hello Sean,

    I'm very sorry to hear of your mum's passing, my condolences to you and your family.

    The 689 General Construction Coy, RE, served with No 16 AF Construction Group HQ during 1944/45; and was disbanded in September 1945. This may be your dad's connection with Operation Market Garden and XXX Corps.

    I will search for more information and post again if I find something... Hope this helps take you mind off things...

    Take care, Sean.

    Best,

    Steve.
     
  13. SeanD

    SeanD Junior Member

    Thank you all for your kind thoughts....


    The 689 General Construction Coy, RE, served with No 16 AF Construction Group HQ during 1944/45; and was disbanded in September 1945. This may be your dad's connection with Operation Market Garden and XXX Corps.



    So that would explain this little item.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Dad kept lots of paper items too. Among the ubique ;) D-Day letters from Montgomery and Eisenhower is a newspaper cutting about the work done by the Royal Engineers from a war correspondant from the Daily Herald....

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The story mentions a place called Uden in Holland and I have a set of quarter size clogs that was given to my Dad by a family he befriended and they all signed it and drew pictures on them.

    One of the stories he told was that while they were building a landing strip one of our aeroplanes tried to land on it even though it wasn't half built yet. They all marvelled at how the pilot skillfully brought it down safely and they went over to the plane to congratulate him. The pilot asked how far away the front line was and when they told him less than 5 miles away he said "Bugger that... !!" and got his aircraft turned around and took straight off again which immediately changed their view of him.

    Here is an image of my appreciation to my Dad. Sorry it's a bit out of focus but I was trying to keep my ugly mug out of the shot....

    [​IMG]

    It shows the parrot badge that you identified but also the other round one with the three segments I described. And for the keen eyed amongst you there is a missing item and I am aware. Never found it, but I have the full set of the items.
     
  14. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    ...So that would explain this little item.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Dad kept lots of paper items too. Among the ubique ;) D-Day letters from Montgomery and Eisenhower is a newspaper cutting about the work done by the Royal Engineers from a war correspondant from the Daily Herald....

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The story mentions a place called Uden in Holland and I have a set of quarter size clogs that was given to my Dad by a family he befriended and they all signed it and drew pictures on them.

    One of the stories he told was that while they were building a landing strip one of our aeroplanes tried to land on it even though it wasn't half built yet. They all marvelled at how the pilot skillfully brought it down safely and they went over to the plane to congratulate him. The pilot asked how far away the front line was and when they told him less than 5 miles away he said "Bugger that... !!" and got his aircraft turned around and took straight off again which immediately changed their view of him.

    Here is an image of my appreciation to my Dad. Sorry it's a bit out of focus but I was trying to keep my ugly mug out of the shot....

    [​IMG]

    It shows the parrot badge that you identified but also the other round one with the three segments I described. And for the keen eyed amongst you there is a missing item and I am aware. Never found it, but I have the full set of the items.

    That is a grand collection, Sean. A fitting tribute to your dad. :) Do you have his 'tin' medals?

    So, we now know he attested in 1940 and post training was with 226 Field Coy, RE, divisional troops of the 48th (South Midlands) Division, until sometime in 1941.

    There follows a few postings and a severe injury before...

    He is posted to the 689 General Construction Coy, RE, serving with No 16 Air Field Construction Group HQ from sometime in 1943 to 1945; and serving in NW Europe in 1944/45.

    Do you intend to research the period between 226 Field Coy, RE, and 689 General Construction Coy, RE ? If so and you would like some assistance, it would be good if you could post a copy of his service records - but only if you are happy to share them!

    Best,

    Steve.
     
  15. SeanD

    SeanD Junior Member

    Alas no, I don't have his tin ones.

    I would love to find out as much as I can about his war experiences and I would be very grateful for any assistance you can give. Here are the copies of his war record....

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  16. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Hi,

    If you can get to the National Archives you may want to look at the following diaries. I would look at the dates (Months) as I suspect some may not be when your father was with them:

    WO 166/3695 ROYAL ENGINEERS: COMPANIES: 226 Field Company. 1939 Sept.- Dec., 1940 June - 1941 Oct., Dec.

    WO 167/980 226 Field Company Royal Engineers 1940 Jan.-Mar., May

    WO 166/6989 ROYAL ARTILLERY: FIELD REGIMENTS: 68 Regiment. 1942 Jan.- Oct.

    WO 167/490 68 Field Regiment Royal Artillery 1940 Jan.-May

    WO 169/9492 68 Field Regiment 1942 Nov.- 1943 Dec.

    WO 166/12784 30 East Yorkshire Regiment (The Duke of York's Own) 1943 Jan.-Sept.

    WO 166/12140 289 Company 1943 Jan.-Dec.

    WO 171/1682 689 Coy 1944 Jan.- Dec

    WO 171/5615 689 Company 1945 Jan.- Dec.

    WO 171/9455 689 Company 1946 Jan.

    Just click the red link if you can't visit or don't want to, I would recommend a visit though.

    Good luck
    Andy
     
  17. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Hello Sean,

    This is what I can see…

    28 Feb 1940 - Attested and sent to No4 Training Battalion, Royal Engineers, Colchester
    04 July 1940 – Posted as a Sapper, 226 Field Coy, RE, 48th (South Midlands) Division, Monmouth
    29 Nov 1940 – Appointed Unpaid Acting Lance Corporal
    02 May 1941 – Appointed Unpaid & Paid Acting Corporal
    31 July 1941 – Appointed Wartime Substantive Corporal
    29 Dec 1941 – Attached to 269 Bty, 68th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, Skegness. Note. Interesting that your dad was only attached to the 68th Field Regt, so was still RE and that the 68th was also with the 48th (South Midlands) Division
    28 Feb 1942 – Injured severely in accident and was in the County Infirmary at Louth until 21 March 1942.
    24 Aug 1942 – Discharged from 226 Field Coy, RE, and transfers to 2 MTT Depot. Note. I believe this is a transit depot i.e. he is between postings
    12 Sep 1942 – Posted to No 1 School Military Engineering, DBRE, Ripon
    03 May 1943 – Posted to HQ Coy No 1 School Military Engineering, permanently attached to 30th Bn East Yorkshire Regiment
    27 Apr 1943 – Attended No 2 ASC, Edinburgh. Note. I believe this is a training course
    25 May 1943 – Posted to 289 Field Park Coy, RE, 49th (West Riding) Division, Edinburgh. Note. "Struck off strength”. This is just army jargon: TOS = taken on strength, SOS = struck off strength, so he belongs to the unit and then he doesn’t
    17 Jun 1943 - Posted to 689 Artisan Works Coy, RE, Stourbridge; which was redesignated 689 Construction Coy, RE, on 25 November 1943. Note. 689 General Construction Coy, RE, served with No 16 Air Field Construction Group HQ in NW Europe in 1944/45
    3 Aug 1943 – Appointed Unpaid Acting Lance Sergeant, Eastbourne
    01 Jun 1944 – Embarked for NW Europe
    13 Apr 1945 – Injured in motor cycle accident – broken leg
    22 May 1945 - Appointed Unpaid & Paid Acting Sergeant
    11 Sep 1945 – Injured in accident – broken left cheekbone (Zygoma)
    18 Nov 1945 – Appointed Wartime Sergeant
    26 Feb 1946 – Released to Army Reserve

    All his service was in the UK until he embarked for NW Europe on 1 June 1944, returning to the UK on 12 December 1945. His path in NW Europe was likely: Normany, N France, Belgium, The Netherlands and NW Germany.

    His medals are: 1939/45 Star, France & Germany Star, Defence Medal and War Medal 1939/45.

    I hope this is useful.

    Best,

    Steve.
     
  18. SeanD

    SeanD Junior Member

    Thank you ever so much Steve and Andy. Absolutely fantastic....

    No 4 Training Battalion, Colchester [​IMG]

    Off duty (my Dad far right in shorts.... oh dear) [​IMG]

    I think this was in Tilley-sur-Suelles. [​IMG]

    Apparently one of the tricks the retreating Germans used to do was put pressure mines or explosives under toilet seats and when someone saw the luxury of a proper sit down toilet it was not a pretty sight.

    Selection of images...[​IMG]

    Officers and NCO's 689 Coy Germany 1945 [​IMG]

    My Dad (on the left) and his brother RSM Albert Debling RE [​IMG]

    The grave of one of the commanding officers. [​IMG]
    I think I'm right in saying that they lost a couple very early after D-Day. One officer was scouting ahead in an armoured car and decided he had gone too far ahead of the main party. His driver attempted to turn the vehicle around and backed it into a farm driveway but it had been mined by the Germans. Not sure if this is the officer involved.

    The caption on this photo was "We take 'em alive" ... [​IMG]

    While they were building an airstrip in Flensburg 1945 a German bomber flew over. Everybody ran for cover but it lowered it's wheels, landed on the airstrip and the crew got out and surrendered. Just had enough I suppose. Pilot far right.

    Hope you liked those photos. I'll post some more later if you like.
     
    4jonboy likes this.
  19. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce Patron

    Lovely photos Sean. Thank you for posting

    Lesley
     
  20. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    ...
    ...43rd (Wessex) Division:
    13th Bridging Platoon Royal Engineers
    204th Field Company Royal Engineers
    207th Field Park Company Royal Engineers
    260th Field Company Royal Engineers
    553rd Field Company Royal Engineers
    16th Airfield Construction Group Royal Engineers
    43rd (Wessex) Division Postal Unit Royal Engineers...

    ...Anything here stand-out?

    Best,

    Steve.

    Hope you liked those photos. I'll post some more later if you like.

    Hello again, Sean,

    First quote is from Message #4, the No 16th Airfield Construction Group, RE, was part of the 43rd (Wessex) Division at the time of Operation Market Garden.

    Second quote, yes please! That's a fine collection of photographs you have there!!

    Best,

    Steve.
     

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