1st & 6th RTR June 1941 - Can anyone help further please

Discussion in 'RAC & RTR' started by Belgian Dave, Oct 31, 2013.

  1. Belgian Dave

    Belgian Dave Well-Known Member

    Whilst waiting for service records to turn up, im hunting around, finding out what I can. Something has appeared that im sure a more knowledgeable person can help me with.

    I know 1st RTR A squadron swapped with 7th RTR A squadron sometime in 1941, and then changed back later. 1st RTR also almalgamated for a while with 6th RTR in early 1942 to cover losses. Knowing that this kind of thing happened, I just had a general look around the internet at 7th and 6th RTR, and I came across an online copy of 6th RTR War Diaries.
    Out of curiosity, I did a search for my Grandfathers name, and it came up with this:

    Battle Casulties 15/16th June 1941

    Missing believed killed

    Cpl Ridpath I*

    Tpr Parker E

    Tpr Hemingway J*

    Cpl Chappell J

    Tpr Watts T*

    Tpr Chapman L

    Tpr Taylor J*

    Tpr Wade H

    Tpr Mulvey S

    There is my Grandfathers name, Tpr Chapman L. There is a note further on to say only the men with an asterisk against their name appear on the CWG lists. Were 1st and 6th mixed together at this time, if so, would a man from the 1st, operating with the 6th then appear in 6th RTR's WD?

    Of course, it could be someone with the same surname and initial, but its not such a common name?
  2. Belgian Dave

    Belgian Dave Well-Known Member

    Posted this a while back with no replies yet. Just bumping it up, sure someone can help a bit and of course it may be interesting to others?
  3. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    You may find the answer within these war diaries:

    WO 169/1409 1 Royal Tank Regiment 1941 Jan.- Dec.
    WO 169/1415 6 Royal Tank Regiment 1941 Jan.- Dec.

  4. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Belgian Dave

    It should be recalled that in June '41 was the disastrous Battleaxe Operation to relieve Tobruk - or Wavell's last Battle when the newly formed 8th Army

    was pulverized by Rommel's 88mm guns at Hell's fire corner with 1st and 6th RTR the main victims which would account for the apparent mixture of 1st & 6th RTR

  5. Belgian Dave

    Belgian Dave Well-Known Member

    Thanks Tom

    Im sure the service records, when they arrive, will help further.
    Do you think it is possible then for a man from 1st to appear in the 6th WD? I have no idea how strict the record keeping was?
  6. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Belgian Dave

    You must understand that when an army is beaten and in retreat - records can go out the window as sometimes HQ's of these beaten units which

    carry the record keepers are also wiped out - look at the 150th Brigade of the 50th TT Division at Gazala - the whole brigade was wiped out including the Brigadier

    was KIA so try some patience for the records to show up in due time...

  7. recce_trooper

    recce_trooper New Member

    On 18 January 1941 1RTR received 8 light tanks from 6 RTR including personnel under command of Capt A R Leakey, I believe these were known as D Squadron 1RTR. By May 1941 D Sqn was 15 A12 Infantry tanks from 7RTR with 27 personnel, but also 6RTR personnel were still with 1RTR at this stage. By June 1941 only 2 ORs from 6RTR were attached to 1RTR, the others 1 Offcr and 8 ORs were attached to the 7RTR party in 1RTR, bit confusing but that is Tobruk in 1941 I am afraid. At this stage 1RTR had personnel from Kings Dragoon Guards, 6RTR and 7RTR as well as 3rd Kings Own Hussar vehicles and crews. On 15/16th June 1RTR was exercising with Australian troops and receiving Operational Orders for Battleaxe, this means maybe some of 7RTR probably 3 Sqns were operating independently hence their reports of casualties. A true accounting nightmare. Hope this helps a bit.
    Drew5233 likes this.
  8. kenbarton

    kenbarton New Member

    A most interesting topic and informative replies. I'm new to this through an attempt to put my father's very limited comments about his war service into our family Genealogy. On April 25, 1941 Harold Frank Barton was Trooper with "A" Squadron, 1st Royal Tank Regiment. I've tried following his movements from Egypt to Tunis through various sources and found it as confusing as recce_trooper indicated. Dad told me he was captured at Hellfire Pass and held for a few days with other POW's. The Allies then attacked. The German Commander was undecided as to the POW's fate and Dad told me the German Commander said he was going to shoot them all. I'm told senior POW officer did nothing, so Dad remonstrated with the German officer telling him to "bugger off and leave us alone", which they did. Does anyone know of the dates this would have occurred?
  9. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Hi Ken

    Drop me a PM if you'd like to get a copy of his units war diaries. I also offer a free PoW Liberation Questionnaire check if you order a war diary.

  10. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Here is the war diary for 1st Royal Tank Regiment for June 1941, if it can help:

    Attached Files:

  11. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Out of curiosity do you have a copy for all of the 1941 from Bovington? If so how many pages does it contain?
  12. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    Probably the capture of Bardia 1/2 Jan 42 or surrender of Halfaya Pass, 17 Jan 42, during Operation CRUSADER. More likely the former, since the Germans commanded there. The highest-ranking German officer at Halfaya was Major Bach, a former padre, who probably would not have suggested shooting POWs.

    But if that was the case it would indicate he did not serve with 1 RTR at the time, since they were in Tobruk, and I doubt many POWs from Tobruk made it to Bardia.


    All the best

  13. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member


    PM me and I will send off what you need of the 1st RTR Bovington war diaries.

  14. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Hi David - I don't need any, I was just looking to compare to see if there is any/what difference there is between the originals at Kew and the transcribed diaries at Bovington. For example how do they copy the maps/trace maps and sketches?

  15. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member


    The Bovington War Diaries for 1st RTR in 1941 is a total of 58 pages. There are no maps/traces or sketches. These were done by volunteers who typed in the information from the originals. I had been in contact with one of the transcribers early and they were kind enough to over me some of the diaries. Some were also placed on the web by the same subscriber, 6th RTR for example. I think that Bovington became aware of this and stopped this practice. They do sell them and had lists posted at their site for a while. This has stopped although they claim they will do the same in the future. I purchased a number of lists early on from them and they were sent printed and bound from the digital transcriptions. The last one I bought was sent on a CD in digital form, which was an improvement.

    As you know, there is no better way of obtaining war diaries but from the source by digital photography. My associate and I have been accumulating WWII Canadian Army War Diaries by this method for a number of years from the LAC. He lives near Ottawa and had a work contract there for the past year and a half, which helped since he was a walk away from the Archives.
    Drew5233 likes this.
  16. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    WO 169/1409 1 Royal Tank Regiment 1941 Jan-Dec contains 184 photographed pages. PM me your address and I'll send you a copy to compare - I guess it would be interesting to see if the reduced number of pages is down to the info n=being compressed or if they leave some pages out.

  17. Belgian Dave

    Belgian Dave Well-Known Member

    Glad this has created some discussion.
    I have not been able to find time to visit here for a couple of months due to house move, but will be returning soon.
  18. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    I'm a bit late to the party.

    Are you still looking for help on this matter or have you managed to get what you need? I noticed there is a fair bit of erroneous info posted above which may have mislead you.

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