1st Lothians & Border Yeomanry

Discussion in 'British Army Units - Others' started by gerboise, Jan 28, 2009.

  1. Robblybob

    Robblybob Member

    Your reply to CliffW was of great interest to me, as it turns out that I am related to CliffW. His grandfather was a first cousin of my father. I subsequently made contact with CliffW and we have exchanged some great information, as well as some photos. My father was also in the 1st Lothians, and I have a few photos which I would like to post here, if I could figure out how to do that. I am also trying to track down any transcriptions that may be in existence of the Lothians' War Diary for 1945. I was at the National Archives last October, but did not have in my possession proof of my home address, so I couldn't get a readers ticket. I live in Canada. I've searched the Internet and also this site, but have not found this 1945 War Diary. Any information you may have would be gratefully received.
  2. Hello again Robblybob!

    Glad to hear that you've been in contact with CliffW, because his appearance in ww2talk certainly was a short one! I'm not even sure that he saw my response to his query, since he did not have the basic courtesy to acknowledge it.

    In order to post images, you should click the "More Reply Options" grey button just to the right of the "Post" black button at the bottom right of the "Reply to this topic" window.

    A page will open. Below the reply window, and just below "Attach Files", click the "Browse..." grey button (or equivalent, this might depend on the language) and choose the file (image or other) you want to upload from your computer.
    Then click the "Attach This File" white button. The file will then be shown as an attachment to your post.

    If you want to insert the file inside the text of your post, position you cursor where you want the file to be inserted and click the blue words "Add to Post" below the reply window, to the right.

    You can check if it worked by clicking "Preview Post" before actually posting with "Add Reply".

    As usual, it's longer & more difficult to describe than to do!

    If you use the "advanced uploader" (in small blue type under the "Attach This File" button) you can upload several files at the same time (when it works..).

    You can also display (or at least link to) images from another website by copying the image URL inside you post. Most image hosting or photos websites (IWM, flickr...) provide the link to be used for posting their images on forums.

    We would be very interested in seeing what wartime photos you may have of your father!

  3. Robblybob

    Robblybob Member

    Hello Michel:

    Sorry about the very late reply. My researches of my Dad's wartime experiences went into abeyance for a while. I've uploaded three photos with my Dad in the Lothians & Border Yeomanry. In the larger Army Group, I don't know where the photo was taken, but I've seen other group photos taken at the same location. It's probably a base somewhere in England. My Dad is in the back row, 13th from the left. I believe that Capt. MJL Stevenson 164119 is in the front row, 8th from the left. I also believe that Sgt Arbuthnot is in the front row, 7th from the left.

    I tried to upload a second group photo, but each time it failed, with the message "Upload Skipped (Error500).

    The photo of the single soldier is of my Dad as a raw recruit in 1940, probably in Edinburgh, in the 3rd Cavalry.

    In the smaller group photo, my Dad is again in the back row, 3rd from the left. My Dad's recollection of the group is: Back L to R: Drummond; Charlie Robinson; Harry Mitchinson; Unknown; Cruikshank; Gregg; Front L to R: Shaw; Hart; Sgt Anderson; Capt. MJL Stevenson 164119; Hay; Collins.

    Any ideas on how to solve the Upload Skipped problem?

    I also have some audio recordings I made over the years of my Dad talking about some of his experiences.


    Attached Files:

  4. Robblybob

    Robblybob Member

    My Dad's name was Cecil Henry Mitchinson, but he hated his official fore-names and was known as Harry all his life. As mentioned earlier, I recorded many of my Dad's stories of his time in the army in WW2. In one of his stories I recorded in 2006, he refers to a "close shave" he experienced in his tank, where they were under fire, which resulted in his gunner, Oates, receiving serious injuries to his legs, with blood everywhere. Oates was subsequently evacuated and Dad never saw him again & never knew what happened to him. This took place on July 18, 1944, only about 5 days after landing in Normandy.

    In Dad's description, Dad was the wireless operator, and he said that he was out of the tank in order to cut some wires which were securing the chains of the flail when he heard a mortar flying over his head. There was a loud bang and he dived for cover at the back and under the tank. Oates fell down beside him and he was bleeding all the way up his legs with blood pouring out of him through his clothes. He, Oates, eventually managed to crawl back into the tank. The tank gun wasn't pointing in the direction of the enemy, but more towards their own troops to keep it out of the way of the flails. As he was being lowered into his gunner's seat, Oates accidentally put his foot on the plunger [gun trigger] and BANG! Dad says,"Our nerves were all to pieces there! And he fired the bloody gun! A 75 mm gun! We were all a bundle of nerves.!" Oates obviously couldn't feel or properly control his legs or feet. Apparently, the errant gunshot didn't cause any damage or injury. Dad said that he had to let base know by radio that they had a man hurt and they sent a scout car and they took him away, and Dad never saw him again. Two other crew in the tank were Sgt Douglas Cox, likely the commander, and a fellow called Douglas Ledgard, who he says was the tank driver. Dad says that Cox and Ledgard were both later killed in Holland. In another recording, Dad says he was in 3 Troop.

    Here's an extract from the Lothians War Diary for July 18:

    B Sqn moved out with regts to area South of Escoville and, after inf had cleared out the Bosche forward posns, SHQ with 3Tp [ Dad's Troop] moved forward to area Butte de la Hogue. Inf bn held up by minefield West of Touffreville and 3Tp flailed a path. 1, 2 and 4 Tps forward with their regts, no news of them. Some shelling after lane cleared and tps moved back to area just South of Escoville. More shelling and Tpr Oates, 3Tp, received shrapnel wounds to both legs and evacuated; [ my italics] Tpr Egerton also wounded slightly in arm, but not evacuated. Ech under Sgt Hay were in field North of Escoville - had severe shelling during day but no one wounded.

    And on Pages 92 - 93 of the War Diary:

    After the flogging [sic, 'flailing'?], the Tp rallied again behind the hill, not without some difficulty owing to the number of vehs on the high ground; we then moved behind the high ground to replace chains, as we expected to be called upon again very soon.During this period of replacement of chains, two salvos of 'Moaning Minnies', six per salvo, landed alongside our vehs. 14295512 Tpr Oates R W was wounded in both legs and was immediately evacuated to the 13/18H RAP. We lay behind the high ground for the rest of the day, waiting to be called on again at any moment. During this period of waiting we were shelled continuously.

    I later found online the cemetery where the gravestones of Cox and Ledgard are located. Cox is in Mook War Cemetary in the Netherlands.


    Ledgard is at Jonkerbos War Cemetery in the Netherlands:


    I felt a strange and unexpected wave of emotion when I first saw these photos, with their connection with my Dad. They were both in the same regiment as Dad, were of approximately the same age, were under attack in the same tank as Dad, but who eventually were both killed a few months later in Holland. As Dad said at one point, he was very, very lucky to have come through unscathed.

    Douglas Ledgard Gravestone.jpg Douglas Cox Gravestone.jpg
    Tolbooth likes this.
  5. FirdenSyme

    FirdenSyme New Member

    Just want to thank Thane for the photos that he has posted. My grandfather was OC A Sq and I have no photos of him (just a post-war painting), it is amazing how much he looks like my father.
    Tolbooth likes this.
  6. Thane

    Thane Member

    It's nice to know that the information on this site helps so many..I know my father would have spent many an hour on here..
  7. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    You may be interested to see this, I just managed to get hold of Trooper Oates service and paybook and while researching him I found he had recorded his story with the IWM Oates, Ronald William (Oral history) (17931) I haven't listened to all the recordings yet, but I guess he made a decent recovery as the summary has him seeing further service and volunteering for the Paras. I don't suppose you have any photos showing Trooper Oates do you (or if anyone else can help).



    Attached Files:

  8. Robblybob

    Robblybob Member

    Hi Alistair: Thanks for this note. I just found the WW2Talk e-mail with the link to your message in my Spam folder. Yes, I also found the taped interview of Oates, all reels, on the IWM web site quite some time ago. It was interesting comparing his account of the mortaring incident with the recorded account by my Dad. Some of the key aspects of the incident are the same, but there are other aspects which are different, including the identity of some of the crew. According to my Dad, the senior crew member on board the tank during the attack was Douglas Cox. He was not only a Serjeant, but he was also the holder of the Military Medal for acts of bravery and determination during attacks on the Lothians in 1940 as part of the BEF. Cox was an experienced and accomplished soldier whose profile does not fit with the description of the commander of the tank given by Oates. I have a copy of the citation for Cox's 1940 MM award which I obtained from the National Archives in Kew. Cox was later killed in action in February 1945 in Holland during another brave foray in a Sherman flail tank.

    What brings you to research Oates?

  9. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    Hi, I had the same thoughts in reading the 2 versions of the incident - similar but different - I guess people view the same things slightly differently and also have there own way of telling the story - in Oates recordings he seems fairly confident, he did kind of give the impression of taking control when all around him were losing it. My interest in Oates (and from that the whole crew) is that I collect militaria with a focus on service books and recently got hold of Oates paybook and a few other bits on Ebay so as always when I get a new book I started the research which brought me to this thread (one I've read in the past with interest). Amongst my other books I have a BEF Lothians casualty book Casualty Service and Paybook Collection

  10. Robblybob

    Robblybob Member

    Is there any way of identifying where and when this photo was taken? How are you able to say what kind of vehicle this soldier is sitting in? The reason I ask is that my father was a radio operator in the Lothians, and the soldier in this photo bears a remarkable resemblance to my father.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2016
  11. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    cos it looks like one :)


  12. Robblybob

    Robblybob Member

    Thanks for the quick response, Owen. Yes, I see the similarity with the rim of the passenger compartment & the canvas enclosure. I've just cleaned off all the dust spots in the posted photo in Photoshop. Cheers!
  13. Robblybob

    Robblybob Member

    Is there any information available on the identity of the Lothians radio operator in photo 14.jpg? My father was in A Sqn for part of his time in NW Europe, & this soldier bears a remarkable resemblance to him.
  14. AlistairMac

    AlistairMac Member

    Looking into my late father-in-law's war service, we have his Army service record and know that he was a tank driver in the 1st Lothians and Border Yeomanry and served in North West Europe from 12/07/1944 to 14/09/46. We would like to find out more about his time there and wonder if anyone can help.

    John Alexander Steven Tait
    Army Number: 14406344

    Any information would be gratefully received.
    Tolbooth likes this.
  15. Tolbooth

    Tolbooth Patron Patron

    Hello Alistair and welcome.

    I'm sure someone on here will be able to help - they're a very knowledgeable lot

    Have you any idea what squadron or troop he was in?

  16. AlistairMac

    AlistairMac Member

    Thanks John. I'm afraid that the content of my original post is the sum of our knowledge at the moment.

  17. AlistairMac

    AlistairMac Member

    Hi John.
    You got me thinking and I had another hunt through his service record. I found a testimonial from a major B. H. ?????, Major Commanding "A" Squadron, Royal Armoured Corps Depot, Catterick 15 May 1946 describing John as a member of a tank crew in the Lothian Border Horse RAC. Another possible step forward so thank you for getting the grey matter working again.

  18. AlistairMac

    AlistairMac Member

  19. Tolbooth

    Tolbooth Patron Patron

    Yes, this should be accurate as it's from the Lothians War diary. I knew my fathers tank was called Tolbooth so was able to place him in No. 1 troop, B squadron.

    I did a quick search through the copies of the war diaries from The Tank Museum but couldn't find any reference to a Tait - Other ranks are not often mentioned by name.
  20. AlistairMac

    AlistairMac Member

    Finally starting to get somewhere (I think?) John A S Tait joined "A" squadron on 28/05/43 then transferred to "C" squadron on 04/01/44

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