1st Lothians & Border Yeomanry

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

  1. GMP

    GMP New Member

    Hi Michel et al,

    My late father, Michael James Pomeroy, served with the 1st Lothians in Normandy in 1944 and was invalided out in September of that year. He was a gunner in a Sherman Crabb. I know very little about his movements in the war and am keen to learn more. Have you seen his name mentioned in the war diary? Thank you, Gavin
  2. GMP

    GMP New Member

    Thanks - Just saw this and I appreciate your reply.
    Yes, I have his service number, thanks, and have already applied for his service records. Understandably, I think it might take a while before I can get them. I will keep looking.
  3. mcspool

    mcspool New Member

    Hello Thane, thanks for posting those photos. Can you - or anyone else - tell me more about "Bill Wyatts tank brewing up at Arnhem"?
    Bill Wyatts tank brewing up at Arnhem.jpg

    I am asking as over on Maple Leaf Up Forum we are discussing a picture of what looks to be the very same Sherman Crab with census number T148187. It was photographed by a Canadian soldier named McGrath in front of a small war museum in Ede (just west of Arnhem) in May 1945. It was dragged there from the vicinity, together with a Panther and a Char B1 to from the nucleus of a museum. The museum project was halted and the vehicles were disposed of late 1946.
    Sherman Crab Ede 1945_McGrath.jpg

    Does anybody know if these two Crabs could indeed be the same? And what are the details of the Sherman Crab of Bill Wyatt: crew, operation details when it was lost, etc.

    I've found this reference to a possible identity. One Sherman Crab was put out of action by mines at Doorwerth on 16 April:
    Thanks in advance!
    stolpi likes this.
  4. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    Low res but the same tanks . Crab M4 L1  (2).jpg Crab M4 L1  (1).jpg Panther  yu. b.jpg Panther  yu.jpg
    mcspool and stolpi like this.
  5. mcspool

    mcspool New Member

    Thank you, very interesting to see!

    Do you know when these pictures were taken? The Sherman's turret seems to have been righted by then.
  6. Tolbooth

    Tolbooth Patron Patron

    I think this may be the incident. The Lothians A Squadron WD has this entry for the 17th Apr

    "[A] Sqn, with C Sqn 141 RAC, assisted SWB and Gloucesters, Bennekon - Renkum. The birds had flown. Sgt Leishman's tk blown up on a mine and burnt out - four cas to personnel."

    And this comes from the after action report of Lt Byth, 1 Tp A Sqn

    " Tue 17 Apr 45. The Tp was to operate as a sort of roving column, clearing up villages on the left of the main area of advance, together with three Crocodiles and nine carriers. This force was called GUY FORCE. Progress was painfully slow because of numerous road blocks and ruins, but the task was successfully completed without any enemy opposition.

    We reunited with the main body at Oosterbeck and pushed on, now leading on the main axis. Still the only opposition was ruins and road blocks. Finally we encountered a minefield, which had to be flogged. Sgt Leishman's tk blew up on two R-mines, with cas to his crew: Tpr Wyatt severely burnt; Tpr Deryck wounded in foot (later died of wounds); LCpl Roberts burns on hand; Tpr Chisholm sprained knee."

    There don't appear to have been any other casualties around that period.
    mcspool likes this.
  7. Tolbooth

    Tolbooth Patron Patron


    There is another tank knocked out on the 19th April nearby in the village of Eldik which is also west of Arnhem. this was from 1 Trp B Sqn, which was my dad's unit.

    "Col Richardson of 1 Calgary Regt came over and requested assistance on behalf of one of his tps and a coy of Belgians, who were going to make a small local attack from the village of Eldikschenhock MR525707 [Today seems to be called Eldik]. The job was simply this: That the Belgians were afraid of Schumines in an area which was known to have A Tk mines in it, and requested our assistance to clear a path so that the Calgary's tks could get forward to sp them.

    Capt E C Harley, Lt T R Stewart and Col Richardson went forward and made a recce, and later Lt Stewart went out with three Crabs to do the job. One tk, Cpl Edwards', was unfortunately blown up on an R mine and the following cas were incurred: Tpr Cardle J, head injuries and burns (died of wounds later); Tpr Smith C D, bruises and slight shock; Tpr Dempster A, burns and cuts to left arm.

    Lt Stewart and Capt E C Harley, who were there, decided that 1Tp could do nothing further and the remaining tks came back and rejoined the Sqn in harbour. The tk itself was a Z cas (for a full account of this see Lt Stewart's report ).

    Later in the afternoon Maj J D Henderson, Capt E C Harley and Sgt Gregory P all had a look at the tk and decided it was too big a job for the ARV, and assistance would be required from the Calgary Regt to get the Crab off the road.

    No Schumines had been blown and the Belgian sappers then cleared the remaining R mines by hand."

    Lt Stewart's action report has this too;

    "On 20 Apr 45 we towed the damaged tk clear of the road junction and removed all the kit from it, as it was impossible to bring it back owing to the difficulty of getting it up onto the high dyke road."

    It does sound as though this particular tank was not recoverable and may be the one that ended up at Ede, although the one on the 16th is closer.
    mcspool and stolpi like this.
  8. mcspool

    mcspool New Member

    Hello John,

    Thanks for your input, very helpful! Eldikschenhock is most likely Eldikschenhoek, now called Echteld which is 8 km. west of Eldik.

    I concur with the Cpl Edwards' one being a likely candidate as it was left where it was knocked out. Sgt Leishman's could have been recovered and later left when spares were taken off. The Sherman Crab shown above was clearly damaged beyond repair.

    Would be interesting to read more from Lt Stewart's after action report.

    I think Michel will chime in shortly, too.
  9. Tolbooth

    Tolbooth Patron Patron

    Lt Stewart's report on the action of 19th April (note it give the census number of Cpl Edwards tank as T147804 - not sure this helps or further muddies the waters);

    "Action by 1Tp B Sqn on 19 Apr 45

    Flailing Report by Lt T R Stewart

    On 19 Apr 45 CO 1 Calgary Regt called on us to do a flailing job for 1 (Belgian) Bde. Capt E C Harley and myself went with him to recce the ground as far as possible. The posn was that the Belgians had their forward coy at MR520705 and could get no motor tpt along the dyke road running East and West through that reference, as it was cratered at 529705. They wanted us to clear the secondary road about 400yds North and running parallel to the dyke, as they suspected Schu-mines and there were also R-mines on it.
    We recced the road and thought it quite a suitable operation, as the immediate vicinity was now cleared of enemy and it appeared a straightforward job. Tk T147804, with Cpl Edwards as crew comd; Tpr Dempster, dvr; Tpr Cardle, co-dvr; Tpr Thomson, operator; and Tpr Smith C D as gnr, was the one chosen to lead.
    He had flailed for about 200yds without hitting anything, when he came to the road junction at 529706 when, taking the first 'shie' off the corner, he blew one R-mine, the second 'shie' set off another, and when he moved forward to continue down the road, a third mine blew up under the right hand track, blowing in the floor of the tk under the co-dvr and setting it on fire.
    The crew baled out with the exception of Tpr Cardle, who had been knocked unconscious. It took a few minutes to find him, owing to the smoke and heat, but he was eventually removed and carried off on a stretcher to the Belgian RAP, along with Tpr Dempster and Tpr Smith. The fire was extinguished and, as it was now considered unwise to flail any further, the remainder of the tks returned to harbour.
    On 20 Apr 45 we towed the damaged tk clear of the road junction and removed all the kit from it, as it was impossible to bring it back owing to the difficulty of getting it up onto the high dyke road.

    (sgd) T R Stewart

    Lt, OC 1Tp B Sqn"


    This is one of the few photos my Dad kept and shows Jimmy Cardle. He has written on the back "Jimmy Cardle, killled one week later"
    Jimmy Cardell, killed one week later.jpg
    mcspool likes this.
  10. mcspool

    mcspool New Member

    John, it is very helpful as the Sherman Crab at Ede has now been identified as T148167.

    So we can strike Cpl Edwards' tank off the list and focus on Sgt Leishman's tank.
    Tolbooth likes this.
  11. CliffW

    CliffW Junior Member


    I note you mention Harry Mitchinson in this picture. My grandfather is William (Bill) Mitchinson of the same regiment and a Flail tank SQM. I would love to hear more about Harry as my mother says that her dad's cousin Harry was in also a L&B and they met at some points during the war. I can send you more details and photo's of my grandfather if interested. cliffw@me.com

    Kind regards,

    Cliff W

    Attached Files:

    Tolbooth likes this.
  12. katburns

    katburns Member

    Hi, just joined and am not sure how to post other than by replying, apologies if this is wrong. My Grandad James Stephen Kindlen no. 7920093 commanded the tank Colin Campbell and was awarded the military medal for his actions on 18th Jan 1944 at Stein nr Sittard. WO 373/53 describes what he actually did that day but just wondered if there was any mention of the op that was going on at the time or any other mention of him in the war diaries? Other details are 52 (L) division 12 Corps but don't know what that really means. Any help greatly appreciated. I have a photo of him in the turret with his crew.
    ecalpald, Tolbooth and AB64 like this.
  13. Tolbooth

    Tolbooth Patron Patron

    Hello Katburns and welcome to the forum.

    There's not many mentions of your Grandad in the Lothians war diary - just the award of his MM really. There's no action report for 18th Jan so can't really suppply any more details than are in his award citation.

    upload_2021-3-12_9-50-36.png upload_2021-3-12_9-51-9.png

    The Regiment was taking part in operation BLACKCOCK and 4 Trooop, C Sqn (your Grandad's) being attached to the 52 (Lowland) Division. I think this is the action involved;

    C Sqn, 1 Lothians, plus one tp A Sqn, one tp AVREs, two tps SRY (Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry) gun tks formed an assault force under Lt Col O'Flynn to make two lanes from Tuddern to Lind and Stein to allow 156 Bde, plus one bn 157 Bde, to capture Lind, Stein, Havert, Harzelt, Saeffelen and Breberen, in that order.

    Moved off at 0630hrs across SL (Start Line) at Tuddern. Movement Light and Bofors were provided as aids, also Capt Stevenson had recced the route for approx [?]00yds past Tuddern and put out lights at 0400hrs 18 Jan 45. It would have been quite impossible to find the CL (Centre Line) without these aids and the success of the operation up to the river was mainly due to the very thorough recces made by Stevenson, one of which he did in daylight the day before, dressed in white so as not to show up in the snow.

    Both lanes went through successfully until 3Tp, on the right, ran into a minefield, blew up two tks and bogged one. 1Tp then passed round them but they also bogged. The left lane, led by 4Tp, was successful, the only mines blown were Schumines. The first bridge was destroyed by shellfire but the second was successfully laid and, after a lot of hard work by members of the Tp, the bridge was made fairly serviceable. All this was done under intense shellfire. One tk got across but became bogged on the other side of the river. At approx 1700hrs we were released and harboured for the night at Tuddern.

    The photo you have of COLIN CAMPBELL is quite a well known one and, if I remember correctly, was taken after the asssault on Le Havre.

    It's worthwhile applying for his service records but at the moment the delay is horrendous due to lockdown
    ecalpald and katburns like this.
  14. katburns

    katburns Member

    Hi John,
    This is great, thanks very much for looking and finding this, gives me a better idea of what they were up to. My Grandad didn't really talk about the War much but the explosion mentioned in his citation affected his hearing from then on but he never told us what actually happened.

    You're right about when the photo was taken, Grandad wrote on the back "returning from Le Havre". Do you know what that means, where were they going?.
    This is the only other photo I have.

    Grandad on RHS 2.jpeg
    Tolbooth and ecalpald like this.
  15. Hello katburns,

    Welcome to the forum and thank you for posting the photos.

    This last photo must have been shot during the winter 1944-1945. The men are wearing the warm "Pixie Suit", and the trees are leafless.

    Do you happen to know the turret number of COLIN CAMPBELL? It should be either 90 or 93. It might be visible on the last photo?

    Also, did your grandad ever mention its colour, and the colour in which the name COLIN CAMPBELL was painted?

    COLIN CAMPBELL was initially part of 4 Troop, "C" Squadron and apparently remained in this Troop at least until 18 Jan 45.

    Last edited: Mar 13, 2021
    katburns and ecalpald like this.
  16. Tolbooth

    Tolbooth Patron Patron

    The photo was taken after the assault on LE HAVRE had started and the Lothians tanks were pulling back after the intial clearing of minefields. Here's the entry from the WD

    "10 Sep

    Sqn moved to scattered assembly areas for the attack on Le Havre in sp of 144 Regt RAC, with 51st Highland Div.

    Minefields were to be breached by B Sqn during the night of 10 Sep 44. 4 and 3 Tps, operating with A and B Sqns, 144 Regt, 1 Gordons and 5/7 Camerons respectively, were to pass through lanes at first light, objectives being defended localities West of the Foret de Montgeon. 1Tp were in sp of the reserve sqn, C Sqn 144 Regt and 5 Black Watch.

    11 Sep

    The armd columns' advance through the lanes was somewhat delayed due to the wrecked vehs in the lanes. 4Tp led the armd column through the lanes at 1100hrs; four hours after schedule.

    The column was engaged in the lane and targets were engaged by the flails. Little opposition was met in the forest. Once through the wood, 4Tp were immediately ordered to commence a lane into the first strongpoint. Targets were once more engaged by the tp and, very shortly, white flags were observed to be hoisted on the gun sites. The flailing was ceased and approx 100 prisoners were handed back to the inf.

    The Sqn consolidated for the night on the West side of the forest."
    katburns likes this.
  17. katburns

    katburns Member

    Hi Michel,
    I've blown the photo up as much as I can but can't see a number on the turret. The flail part just beyond my Grandad's (far right) shoulder has a number but that looks like 52?

    No, he didn't mention the colour of the tank or the name sorry. He really didn't talk about the War, I only have the photos as I happened to be there when he was having a clear out otherwise they'd have ended up in the bin!
  18. katburns

    katburns Member

    Hi John,

    Great, thanks for this.

  19. Hi Kat,

    Thank you for your answers. The number 52, in white over a red square, is the Arm of Service Serial of 1 LOTHIANS, used together with the 79 Armd Div Formation Sign.

    Here is another (not very good) print of the photo of COLIN CAMPBELL, but at least the bottom part of its turret number can be seen below the rolled tarpaulin:
    No.90 or 93 'COLIN CAMPBELL' 1LBY - Concord AAW 7002 - D-Day Tank Warfare_Page_28.jpg
    Because COLIN CAMPBELL belonged to 4 Troop, C Squadron, the number should be among 90 to 94. The rounded shape of the bottom part of both digits on the photo means either 90 or 93. Since No.90 was most probably the Troop Leader's tank, a Lieutenant, if COLIN CAMPBELL was your Grandad's tank from the start, and since he was a Corporal, then it should be No.93. But that's of lot of "ifs"... :)

    katburns, Tolbooth and ecalpald like this.
  20. katburns

    katburns Member

    Hi Michel,

    I didn't know that.... your black and white photo is actually slightly clearer than mine (sepia), I can see the numbers you're talking about on yours but not mine. Thanks for including the caption at the side, I can add that to my photo.

    Thanks everyone for all the info, really glad I found this forum.


Share This Page