219 Field Park Coy R.E. & 2nd or 7th Btn Leicestershire Regiment?

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by High Wood, Mar 31, 2019.

  1. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    I have recently purchased a few scraps of ephemera and some odd photographs that once belonged to a Royal Engineer. Unfortunately, the Soldier's Pay Book and Release Book had been sold before I noticed the listing. However, the few documents that I have suggest a Chindit connection with both the 2nd Battalion and the 7th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment which has confused me.

    Without going in to too much detail, here is a brief outline. The Sapper served with the 219th Corps Field Park Coy, R.E. which was a London Territorial unit. He served in North Africa and possibly Tobruk before being sent to India. There are some letter post cards dated august 1943, addressed to him at the 219th Corps Field Park Coy that were redirected to the "7th Batt Leicesters", so far so good.

    However, amongst the paperwork is service sheet for a Thanksgiving and Rededication service held on Whit Sunday 1944, on the occasion of the return of 16 Infantry Brigade from active operations, The Lesson, taken from Hebrews XI and XII, was read by one Brigadier B.E. Fergusson, D.S.O.

    Given that it was the 2nd Battalion Leicestershire Regiment that served as part of 16 Infantry Brigade, forming 17 and 71 Columns and that, the 7th Battalion served with 14 Infantry Brigade, forming 47 and 74 Columns; it would seem that there must have been a transfer from the 7th to the 2nd battalion.

    I have read that the 7th battalion was disbanded in December 1944 and the personnel were transferred to the 2nd Battalion, but as Whit Sunday 1944 fell on 28th May, this was too late for a member of the 7th Battalion to have been at a Service with the 2nd Battalion.

    Further evidence that a transfer took place is that the Sapper was issued with a new pay book dating from 3rd May 1944, presumably on his return to India.

    Any thoughts would be welcome.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2019
  2. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    The paperwork. Turner 001.JPG

    Attached Files:

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  3. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member


    I can't offer up anything really, apart from the notion that he was either posted across to 2 Leicester's, or was evacuated early from cols. 47 & 74 and was sent after treatment to join the 2nd Battalion immediately afterwards. I have copies of some personnel for Columns 47 & 74, be happy to make a search for your man.

  4. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Record of service.jpg Steve,

    events have moved on from this morning and I now have his Record of Service card. It would appear that he was attached to rather than transferred to the 7th battalion, Leicestershire Regiment as the card only shows Royal Engineers. I would appreciate you looking through your lists for me. Simon.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019
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  5. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member


    No sign of Turner in the rolls for 7 Leicester's. There was a Pte. L. Turner in 47 Column, but his service number was 5121481, so no joy I'm afraid.

  6. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member


    many thanks for taking the time to check the rolls for me.

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  7. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Shame he was not there Simon. 7 Leicester's war diary for 1944 is one of the very few with nominal rolls for column make up, so I was quite hopeful.
  8. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Downloaded from Wiki.

    1st London CTRE

    1st London CTRE's companies were dispersed after mobilisation and assigned to other HQs. 216th, 217th and 218th (1st London) Companies joined the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in France, 216th with General Headquarters (GHQ), 217th with III Corps and 218th with Lines of Communications (LoC). After the Dunkirk evacuation, 216th and 217th Companies went to the Middle East with III CTRE, which was disbanded in April 1942. 218th Company served with British Troops Northern Ireland in 1940–41, then in Gibraltar 1942–44. On 21 April 1945 the company arrived in India and moved to the Ranchi area where it served as part of 101 LoC Area. It was back in Gibraltar in 1946.
    219th (London) Field Park Company did not go to France, but remained in the London area, assigned to IV Corps after Dunkirk. Later it was sent to Egypt where it joined 6th Division 29 July 1941. The division was progressively shipped into the besieged Libyan port of Tobruk during September and October 1941 to relieve the mainly Australian garrison, and it was redesignated 70th Division on 10 October to deceive Axis intelligence. The division's role was to prepare for a breakout to meet the planned offensive by the British Eighth Army, but the engineers were also involved in strengthening the defences, building an underground hangar for the Desert Air Force, and clearing enemy minefields (making a study of the new Teller mine).
    Once Tobruk was relieved, 70th Division moved back to Egypt, and after a short spell in Syria, it went by sea to India, arriving in March 1942. In September 1943 the division was broken up and its units handed over to 'Special Force' (the 'Chindits'). 219th Company was redesignated 219th Special Field Park Company on 1 January 1944. The company as a whole appears to have remained with Special Force HQ, but detachments may have flown into Burma with the Long Range Penetration columns during the Second Chindit Operation.
    The company dropped "Special" from its title on 15 March 1945 and arrived in the Ranchi area under the command of Army Troops. It was assigned 36th Indian Division at Poona on 22 June 1945, and was disbanded in 1946.

    It was the transfer of his mail to the "7th Leicesters" that made me think that he was attached to them but only his service papers will tell us for sure. I am cross with myself for missing his pay book. 219 004.JPG
  9. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    The whole photograph. 219 003.JPG
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  10. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Later in India. Interesting to see them wearing their cap badges on their slouch hats. 219 001.JPG 219 002.JPG
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  11. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Lovely photos there.
  12. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    There are several more to come.
  13. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    In The Wild Green Earth, Bernard Fergusson states that he flew out of Burma to Sylhet (then in India) arriving on the 3rd of May, his thirty-third birthday. The men were in the process of being flown to Comilla where a reception camp was being set up.

    Lt-Col James Wileman says in The Story of The Seventh Battalion that, In August 1944, after five months of hobnobbing with the Japs through the very damp Burmese monsoon, our decimated columns flew out from Myitkyina to Dinjan in North Assam. It is a pity that he did not record an exact date,
  14. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member


    I will take a look in the War diary.

  15. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    This photograph was taken after 219 Field Park Coy's arrival in India and judging from their head gear quite early on. There is clearly a flag draped coffin visible so it would appear to have been taken before a funeral. A search of the C.W,G.C.'s database reveals the names of two men from the 219 Field Park Coy who are buried in India. There may have been others that do not have their unit details recorded in the register and are simply described as Royal Engineers.

    The two candidates are: William Thomas Yetton, Cpl, 2090021, who died on the 13th April 1942, age 23, and who is buried in the Ranchi War Cemetery. Secondly, George Allen, Spr, 2148069, who died on the 1st August 1945 and who is buried in the Kirkee War Cemetery. I would except to see any soldiers attending a funeral in India in 1945 to have been wearing slouch hats so I think that we can rule George Allen out. YATTON.jpg
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2019
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  16. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    William Thomas Yetton appears to have died as a result of an accident, Yetton.png
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  17. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    I have now acquired some more photographs of Frederick William Turner and will eventually start a thread laying out what I now know about him.

    Here is the first of the photographs, which I believe, was taken in Egypt, possibly after Tobruk. Turn 2.jpg
  18. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Here is a second photograph taken shortly after being flown out of Burma in May, 1944. Turner Burma.jpg
  19. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    WODGE 020.JPG I have now acquired some more pieces of the puzzle which may help to throw some light on the unit that he served with in Burma.

    This is a Doctor's note showing the diagnosis and treatment prescribed by a Captain in the R.A.M.C. It is hard to decipher due to the hand writing but here is a fair transcription. If anyone would like to add anything or make corrections please feel free to do so.

    '22' Enterprise?

    1909386 Spr Turner. F.W.

    Localised inflammation of medial side of right ankle for four days. Very tender, inflamed.

    Fomentation of Sulphanilamide Grains I? First loaf? began on 22.00 Hrs. 20.4.44



    Capt. R.A.M.C.

    This ties in with what I have been told about Spr Turner being flown out of Burma with a swollen foot. If '22' Enterprise is correct it would suggest that his foot was seen by a Doctor of 22 Column of the 16th Infantry Brigade.

    Your thoughts would be welcome.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 17, 2019
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  20. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi HW,

    Please see below, the attached personnel for 2 QRWS in 1944. Two RAMC Captains, DG Harrison and AGB. Miller. Unsure which column they would have been allocated to, sorry:

    P7950279 copy.JPG QRWS RAMC 2.jpg

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