1st Bn, Northamptonshire Regiment - GJA Lantaff

Discussion in 'Service Records' started by AndreaN, Jan 25, 2017.

  1. AndreaN

    AndreaN Member


    After introducing myself as a new User and already getting some incredible help and advice, I was advised to use this sub-thread to post queries on my Grandfather's Service Records which I received yesterday.

    I'm struggling to understand the early part of his service and I'm a bit confused by the terminology? Apologies if this is a bit long for an initial post....

    I have 2 documents - an Army Form E501B and an Army Form E622 signed by my Grandfather on the 26th and 28th April 1939 respectively. These are the 'agreements' to serve at any place in the UK under the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act 1907; outside the UK after the 'embodiment' of the Territorial Army and to be available for general service and liable to be transferred to any Corps and posted to any unit of the Regular Forces or Territorial Army after embodiment. The Unit is the 5th Hunts Bn, Northamptonshire Regiment.

    The Army Form B200B (attached), then shows him to be 'posted' on 19-5-39 and 'embodied' 2-9-39.
    He was then posted to 164th O.C.T.U Goojerat Barracks, Colchester 14-11-39.It also stays 'joined13/11/39 on strength'?

    I don't really understand what this all means - was he still in the TA or transferred to the Regular Army at this stage? I 'think' he is still in Unit 5 during this time, which I understand to be a Territorial Army battalion, but I thought 'embodied' meant enlisted into the regular Army?

    The next entry is 'Posted to No.2 I.T.C on 7-10-41' and after that 'Embarked for India (Draft RXAAA) on 20-2-44' (Disembarked Bombay - 21/3/44).

    He was killed in action on 8 Jan 1945 in Burma and his CWWG Records all state 1st Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment although I can't see when he joined this Bn?.

    Under the Military History Section it says:
    Home - 28/4/39 - 1/9/39 = 127 days
    Embodied - 2/9/39 - 19/2/44 = 4 yrs 171 days
    India - 20/2/44 - 8/1/45 = 323 days

    Where would he have been and what would he have been doing whilst he was 'embodied'? He married my Grandmother on 4/11/39 and my Mother was born June 1940. My Aunt was born August 1943, so clearly he was home at least some of this time! However, my mum has always said that she believes he only met my Aunt once as he was in Ireland? Training? He managed to get home for 2 days shortly after she was born and they got her baptised. My mum was 4 and my Aunt 18mths when he was killed.

    Sorry if these are stupid questions, but I don't entirely understand how it worked and I thought the Service Records would make it clearer, but it hasn't really?!

    Can anyone help me understand it all a bit better or is it just something that wouldn't have been recorded?

    Many thanks in advance.


    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jan 26, 2017
  2. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron

    Hi Andrea,

    I can't answer your questions on embodied I'm afraid, but someone will be able to. If we take the records from Colchester; on strength, simply means joining a certain unit (taken on strength). The opposite to this is TOS-taken off strength, or leaving a unit.

    Posted next to No. 2 Infantry Training Centre. Then travelled to India February 1944. Draft RXAAA is the designated code for his group on board the ship, this is just a group of letters to make up a recognition code and is not an acronym and does not stand for anything. He disembarked at Bombay which was the standard port for troopships to arrive in India. According to his records he then proceeded to the British Base Reinforcement Camp/Centre at Nashik Rd. This was the famous Deolali Camp, where almost all British Army troops were stationed for a period, until they were allocated a new unit to join. Here is a good description of the camp:

    The Madness at Deolali – Gaebler Info und Genealogie

    On the second attachment you have placed on the forum, at the very bottom of column one and again on the top of column two, it states: to 1st Battalion, with the date 29/08/1944. This is when he joined the 1st Northants I would say.

    I hope some of this will be of use and that others will be along to fill in more of the gaps.

    4jonboy likes this.
  3. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    "Embodied" means called up for full time service as TA in peacetime were not full time.

    He was posted away from 5th Battalion to OCTU at Colchester and onwards to No 2 ITC - believed to be near Norwich. I presume he would've been on the permanent staff. Perhaps he had a relevant civilian skill or it might have been the case he was posted on medical grounds as not being fit enough for active service with 5th Battalion.

    Have you been provided with his Active Service Casualty Forms - AF B103? It is the most useful form to use to track a soldiers movements. You've attached the Central Registry Index Card - AF B102 - which contains abbreviated details of some - not all - details usually recorded on his B103's.

    Steve Y
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2017
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  4. RCG

    RCG Senior Member, Deceased

    7th Oct 41 to 20th Feb 44. Is a long time for no other entries to be on his records.

    Northampton regiment has long association with Ireland.


    21st March 44 at Deolali camp.

    29th May 44. X(IV)a list Draft Camp. (X(IV)list is reinforcements).

    This raises the questions did he remain at Deolali for two months? and was the draft camp at Deolali?

    12th June 44 posted to 1st Bn.

    24th August 44. X(II) listing. (All ranks evacuated beyond regimental first aid post).

    So must have been slightly wounded as he was back with 1st Bn 29th Aug 44.
    bamboo43 likes this.
  5. AndreaN

    AndreaN Member

    Thank you so much for all your replies.

    So, it would appear he was serving 'full time' from 2-9-39 until his death in 1945. However, as RCG mentioned above, I found it a bit strange that there appeared to be such a gap between October 1941 and embarking for India in Feb 1944?

    Tullybrone - what makes you think that he would have been 'permanent staff' at the ITC? due to the length of time he was there? I'm not aware of anything that might suggest that he was medically unfit - he had hard, physical, manual labouring jobs before joining up, but I guess he could have been injured? Am I right that the 164th O.C.T.U was the Officer Cadet Training Unit? He wasn't an Officer, so why would he have been there? I guess he could have been instructing in something?

    Steve - Thank you for the info on Deolali - quite a painful read, but I wasn't aware of that. I believe he suffered from Malaria and he complained about the terrible heat and lack of water, so it all sounds pretty desperate. Sorry that I missed the dates that show when he was transferred to 1st Bn. I think I was going a bit number blind by then...

    I don't believe that I have the AF B103 that you mention, but I will double check when I get home. I think I scanned in all of the pages that had relevant information on. Some of the pages were pretty empty (other than information about his family). The covering letter said that this was all that they held. I will check that I haven't missed anything critical though.

    I'll try and find out from my mum a bit more about the Ireland connection - From the link RCG kindly provided I see it says:

    "2nd Battalion was in Northern Ireland on the outbreak of the Second World War (1939-45) and immediately joined the British Expeditionary Force to France. It was evacuated in June 1940 and spent the following two years in Britain re-training and re-equipping".

    I don't believe he was ever in France, but the part about re-training and re-equipping would seem to align?

    I do have a whole bag full of letters that my Grandad sent my Gran from India - they are quite difficult to read (the writing is tiny where he has tried to use every bit of the 'Airdraft'), but I will try and get them in some order to see if I can glean any more info about his time in India/Burma. I think, though, that he says little about where he actually is (I presume they had to be careful about what they could say).

    I very much appreciate all your help and assistance. I would never have made some of the connections that you have all referred to so I certainly have a lot more leads to follow up now.
  6. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    From his record he was Extra Regimentally Employed (ERE) from his posting to OCTU until his posting to 4th Battalion just prior to embarkation for India. There is no evidence in the papers you have posted that he was in any Northants Battalion from late 1939 till early 1944.

    ITC is an Initial/Infantry Training Centre - recruits under training would not have been there for 2 years - more likely 3 months.

    Such units need a permanent staff to "run them" whether as instructors or storemen/clerk/cook etc.

    I doubt a pre war TA soldier with less than 6 months service would've been an instructor at an Officer Cadet unit. He would more likely have been employed in a support role as outlined for an ITC.

    If the B103's have not been provided I would get back on to Glasgow. Other members have had success after querying lack of B103. Just a simple error for a clerk to not copy all the forms in the file.

    Steve Y


    Have the family got his medals?
  7. AndreaN

    AndreaN Member

    Thanks for your patience and further explanation Steve. That is much clearer.

    The only thing that made me think he was always with Northants (but in different Bn's) was the TA unit he joined in April 1939 was the 5th (Hunts) Northamptonshire Regiment and the Unit column in the early entries say '5'?

    Sorry if I'm being a bit dense, but I think I'm slowly getting my head round it. I googled 164th OCTU and, as you say, they had a large number of Other Ranks Permanent staff. I wonder what he would have been doing. He was a farm labourer / chicory factor worker prior to the war, so I can't imagine he would have made a very good chef or clerk! I'll try and do a bit more digging!

    I'll double check I don't have the B103 and if not, get back to Glasgow. Is there any other forms you think I should normally have received?

    Yes - my cousin has his medals.

    Thank you for all your help.

  8. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    Absolutely no problem Andrea. Your very welcome.

    My father enlisted into a TA Battalion in 1935. I received his E501 - a 3 page attestation document.

    He enlisted into regular army in 1937 so I also received his 3 page regular army attestation.

    I also received several B103 pages.

    There is a good example of what Glasgow can provide in this thread -


    Steve Y
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2017
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  9. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce Patron

    Andrea-I would ring Glasgow and INSIST they go back and check the records again. In the past we have had members not receiving all the records of their family and sometimes the MOD are too idle to check again. You've paid your 30 quid so make sure they check the file again. These are the sort of FULL records you should have, especially the army B103 forms others have talked about
    Ernest Illingworth, Army Records | WW2Talk

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  10. RCG

    RCG Senior Member, Deceased


    When you get time read these sites, as it gives a good insight of the Burma war.


    Your Grandfather may have died in the area around Monywa near Mandaly.

    Confirmation that the 1st Northamptshires were there (unfortunately no date given).

    In Percy Bowpitt’s story in which he tells of his journey through training then to India and Burma.

    In reading it, it appears to be the same journey your grandfather took.

    Quote: Horncastle, a small country town in Lincolnshire was home to the 2nd Infantry Battle School to which we were next sent.

    Was this his name for the 2nd Infantry Training Centre?

    BBC - WW2 People's War - Army Days
    AndreaN likes this.
  11. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron

    Thanks to RCG giving me something to go on (Monywa), I managed to track down the villages of Hlwede and Budalin on a map. See attached. The villages are in the very centre of the image. The town of Monywa is almost directly south of the villages and Mandalay away to the south-east.

    The maps come from the Library of Texas, link to the Burma maps here:

    Burma AMS Topographic Maps - Perry-Castañeda Map Collection - UT Library Online

    You want the map reference NF46-8 Shwebo, click on the smaller resolution map to zoom in.

    Budalin:Hlwede NF46-8 2.jpg
    AndreaN likes this.
  12. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    From 'The History of the Northamptonshire Regiment : 1934 - 1948 - W.J. Jervois.

    The 48th in Burma. The Offensive, 1944 - 1945.

    It appears that the battalion were attacking Budalin on 7th / 8th January 1945. There is mention of the death of Lieutenant Stoddart and one of his men being killed and that total fatalities for the 8th were three with six wounded. Afbeelding (208).jpg Afbeelding (209).jpg
    smilingsxith and AndreaN like this.
  13. AndreaN

    AndreaN Member

    Thank you so much. This is everything I could have hoped for and more, Percy's story certainly seems to be the same journey my Grandfather took. If you are interested, I do have the letters that were sent to my Gran when my Grandad was killed. He died on 8th January 1945, The first from Capt Cherrington sent on Jan 15th 1945 includes the following:

    "I am unable to give you the information regarding the place where it happened, but I will tell you as soon as such information is allowed to be passed through the post. I am going to tell you the truth as to how your husband was killed"........... It goes on to say "The Coy had just made a successful attack on an enemy position and had consolidated its gains. The enemy counter-attacked but were driven back. It was during this counter-attack that your husband was shot. The bullet passed through his left elbow and into his left side just under his ribs. He was evacuated to my HQ by the Coy stretcher bearers and given morphia by my 2nd in command and he said he felt comfortable after this had been given. The stretcher bearers reported to me about 15 minutes afterwards that Pte Lantaff had died and that the only words he had spoken before he died were 'I am sorry to be so much trouble to you'. Pte Lantaff was a thundering good soldier, an extremely hard and conscientious worker, he proved himself to be extremely brave under fire........"

    She also received a letter from Rev Cooke which included "you have every right to be proud of your husband for his platoon did more than any other in the Battalion in the capture of a certain town in Burma. In fact they were the first patrol to contact the Japs after a march of over 200 miles. Two days later a determined attack had to be made on a certain position. This was successful and led to a quick capture of the town, Unfortunately your husband lost his life with that of his Platoon Commander a Mr Stoddart and another of his companions. They were brought back on the following day and I buried your husband alongside Mr Stoddart as it should be.......",

    The next letter is from Rev Cooke again on 14th March and this says "now that some of the security rules have been raised, I can tell you a little more. He was actually killed in the battle for Budelin which is a town on the railway which lies near to where the river Chidwin joins the Irrawaddy. He was actually buried just outside the village of Hlwede which is just to the north of Budelin, The site I chose was a small paddy field and the authorities liked it so much that it is to be the local military cemetery until the permanent one is agreed on after the war. This is the place the photograph of which Capt Cherrington was going to send you. Unfortunately, Capt Cherrington himself has since been killed and I am not sure what will be able to be done. The officer who was going to take the snap has now gone back to England. I cannot do anything as we're now on the other side of the Irrawaddy, a long way from Budelin. I will see what I can do....."

    I'm not sure whether the story of my Grandfathers final words would have been true, but I know my Gran took great comfort from it and she always said that this was exactly the type of thing he would have said.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2017
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  14. AndreaN

    AndreaN Member

    Oh my goodness - two more posts whilst I was typing mine. I can't thank you enough. I'm so grateful for you finding all this for me. I'm quite overwhelmed at how kind everyone is. I never dreamt all this information was out there. I can't wait to share it with my family.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2017
  15. RCG

    RCG Senior Member, Deceased

    Don't you just love it when a plan comes together.:D
    AndreaN likes this.
  16. AndreaN

    AndreaN Member

    I know! Fantastic eh?

    In reply to the earlier help I received with regards to Service records. I have checked what I received from Glasgow. I definitely don't have a B103. What I have is:

    -the 4 page Army Form E501 (Attestation from when he joined the Territorial Army on 28th April 1939)
    - plus two other forms that relate to this - an Army Form E501B and an Army Form E622
    - two sides of the Central Index Registry card
    - 4 sheets making up the Army Form B200b

    I will contact Glasgow to ask if they can double check that there is no B103.

    I now know so much about his death, I feel a bit greedy expecting more, but I would still love to know more about what he was doing from 1939 until he went to India.
  17. AndreaN

    AndreaN Member

    Oh and I nearly missed it (it was in a separate envelope), but they have also sent me what looks like the original photograph!
  18. lionboxer

    lionboxer Member Patron

    What a cracking thread this is! Just shows how much can be gleaned from this Forum.
    Just to add my twopenneth... 1st Northants were part of 20 Indian Division and they received their reinforcements from 20 Reinforcement Camp where my father was a CSM with the permanent training staff. After its evacuation from the Siege of Imphal in May 1944 20 Rft Camp was located on the Mainamati Ridge near Comilla in present day Bangladesh. I'm pretty sure your Grandfather would have passed through here enroute to his battalion when he was drafted to join them. Quite how long he would have been in the camp for I'm not sure, probably depended on what casualties the Northants had taken.
  19. AndreaN

    AndreaN Member

    It's been fantastic!

    Thanks Lionboxer. Last night I sat and put my Grandad's letters in order. My Gran had kept those sent between Feb 44 (just before he embarked) through to Dec 44 (just before he was killed). He was definitely in Deolali and he also mentions several moves and other battalions. I don't want to get it wrong by relying on memory, but I'm pretty sure one was 20 Indian. I'll double check....
    Thank you.
  20. Skoyen89

    Skoyen89 Senior Member

    Hi Andrea
    I have a copy of the list of wounded for the Silchar Track put together by the Commanding Officer Lt Col Taunton and he is not on it. The Northamptons were taken out of the line in late June 1944 after having been fighting since January 1944 and in August 1944 they were resting. It is possible he joined them at Wangjing (near Palel) and he was then ill and so was put on the Xii List when he spent time in hospital. It is unlikely he was wounded then with the Northamptons.

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