1st RHA November 1941

Discussion in 'Royal Artillery' started by Pat Atkins, May 27, 2014.

  1. Pat Atkins

    Pat Atkins Patron Patron

    Can anyone help with information or pointers as to how to research the war service and last days of this young man: 850548 Bdr Ralph Seymour Howell 1st Regiment RHA, who died or was killed on 21st November 1941. He was 20 or so, and is buried in the Tobruk cemetery; indeed, all I have is from the CWGC to date.

    Any guidance about how to find out about his service and the doings of 1st RHA, or how to determine his Battery for example, would be very gratefully received. While in the past I've done a little research into the service of an RAF uncle I am a complete novice otherwise. I have started reading around the defence of Tobruk, but haven't got far enough to be of much use yet - you well may feel this is an arsey-versey way of doing things but having looked at some of the expertise on here I thought I'd jump in at the deep end! This Forum appeared to be the best place for my query, but genuine apologies if I'm wasting your time.

    Cheers, Pat
  2. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books


    1 R.H.A., with 16 25-pdrs, was supporting the breakout from Tobruk. It's F.O.O. parties were assigned to 32 Army Tank Brigade and were advancing with it, mounted in light tanks Mk. VI. Specifically, by 12.55 (pm) both batteries had been pulled out to objective TIGER, which had been taken (with heavy losses) around 09.30am. (see a map here: http://rommelsriposte.com/2010/11/30/not-a-good-day-at-the-office-%E2%80%93-1-rtr-and-the-first-day-of-the-tobruk-breakout/ ). At 13.11 hours one troop was sent further on to objective JILL.

    At 14.23 hours a troop of 1 R.H.A. is reported in action well forward, engaging infantry 'at close quarters'. Not sure if this is the troop at JILL, or another one. This report conincides with concern about a possible counter attack, and in consequence first B/O Battery (at 15.00 hours), and then A/E battery (15.30 hours) were pulled back into the perimeter, and the regiment ceased to be under command 32 Army Tank Brigade and went into support.

    The breakout area was under pretty continuous fire from the German and Italian heavy siege artillery, and my guess is that the gunners suffered losses from this.

    I am afraid I do not have a legible copy of this day from either of the two batteries.

    All the best

  3. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

  4. Pat Atkins

    Pat Atkins Patron Patron

    Many thanks to you both - this is extremely helpful. Andreas, thank you for the details of the action, all of which were new to me. Drew5233, I'd be grateful for anything from the war diary if you get the opportunity.

    I particularly appreciate you both sharing hard-won knowledge with someone who hasn't done the leg-work.

    Cheers, Pat

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