23rd Mech Equip Platoon, 1941 - 5

Discussion in 'Royal Engineers' started by shaun bromwell, Dec 21, 2011.

  1. shaun bromwell

    shaun bromwell Junior Member

    Can anyone identify 23rd ME Platoon, 860 ME Coy, RE. My grandfather served between 41 and 45 in North Africa, Anzio through D-day to liberation and the end. Does anyone have any details or history on this unit? Corporal Alfred J Lovell.
    Army No: 1991896
  2. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    Shaun, welcome to the forum.

    There are various 860 ME Coy war diaries at the National Archives in London but not one specifically for 23 Section (which is not unusual).

    Here are the National Archives references:


    WO 166/3931, ROYAL ENGINEERS: COMPANIES: 860 Mechanical Equipment Company. (1941 Feb.-Nov.)
    WO 169/1932, 860 M.E. Coy. (1941 Nov.- Dec.)
    WO 169/5356, 860 Mech. Eqpt. (1942 Jan.- Dec.)
    WO 169/5357, 860 Mech. Eqpt. 4 Sec. and Det. (1942 Feb.- Dec.)
    WO 169/5358, 860 Mech. Eqpt. 3 Sec. (1942 Jan.- Nov.)
    WO 169/5359, 860 Mech. Eqpt. 24 Sec. (1942 Feb.- Dec.)
    WO 169/10780, 860 Mech. Eqpt. Coy. (1943 Jan.- Dec.)
    WO 169/10781, 860 Mech. Eqpt. Coy. 1 Sec. (1943 Mar.- July)
    WO 169/10782, 860 Mech. Eqpt. Coy. 3 Sec. (1943 Mar.)
    WO 169/10783, 860 Mech. Eqpt. Coy. 4 Sec. (1943 Mar.- July)
    WO 169/10784, 860 Mech. Eqpt. Coy. 24 Sec. (1943 Mar.- July)
    WO 169/10785, 860 Mech. Eqpt. Coy. 25 Sec. (1943 Apr.- July)

    (Downloaded from ARCRE War Diary Search Engine: Arcre - War Diary Search Engine - 2011-12-21 13:59 GMT)

    Best wishes,

  3. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    Or there's this one:

    WO 171/1861 ROYAL ENGINEERS: Mechanical Equipment Units and Sections: 23 Sec. 1944 Jan.- Dec.

  4. shaun bromwell

    shaun bromwell Junior Member

    Many thanks. I'll get on to it immediately.

  5. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    Or there's this one:

    WO 171/1861 ROYAL ENGINEERS: Mechanical Equipment Units and Sections: 23 Sec. 1944 Jan.- Dec.


    Good find Idler, that's a good candidate.
  6. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron


    I am slow in replying because I have checked through my many documents to try and find 23 platoon/section on D day. The sections of 860 ME Company that landed on Juno can be identified but not the one landing on Sword. However 860 ME Company did provide eight armoured D7 angledozers for Sword. Sources only say 'from 860 ME Company'.

    These eight armoured D7 were assigned to the eight Breaching Teams which landed at H Hour to make breaches from the beach for armour to pass. Each team had
    two Sherman Flail mine clearers from 22 Dragoons.
    three AVRE from Assault Squadrons RE
    one armoured D7 angledozer from 860 ME Company.

    There is no firm evidence but this could well be 23 section. Confirmation or otherwise would be nice. Anyone know for certain?

  7. shaun bromwell

    shaun bromwell Junior Member

    Many thanks. Maybe I'm focusing too close and need to step back to 860. One thing and excuse my niavity, the stamps on his limited correspondence state '23 Platoon' as opposed to '23 Section' but are dated earlier in north Africa if I remember. Is there a difference between Platoon and Section. I can confirm that he was a dozer driver (Excavator Operator BII) and my instinct has always told me he landed first wave at Sword. I believe he went on to the liberation of the camps after the landings, detached to some other unit I believe although it was difficult to get information as when this subject was touched upon he withdrew physically. My uncle said the same of him, its where the subject would stop.

    Thanks so much

  8. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    The 79 Armd Div hstory refers to the dozers on SWORD in the brief accounts of each beaching team, but doesn't mention where they came from. I will see if I can pick out some notes later.

    The Aslt Sqn (79 and 77 for SWORD, if I've read it right) war diaries possibly contain more detailed reports on each breaching team's actions.

    If I can find Cracking Hitler's Atlantic Wall, I'll see what it says.
  9. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    From the 79 Armd Div history and Cracking Hitler's Atlantic Wall:

    SWORD Beach

    QUEEN WHITE Lion-sur-Mer
    77 Aslt Sqn RE
    (Teams numbered West to East)
    No.1 Team Green Gap: no mention of dozer.
    No.2 Team Yellow Gap: "The Bobbin was jettisoned and the bulldozer not used."
    No.3 Team Blue Gap: "One bulldozer also struck a mine and could not be used."
    No.4 Team Red Gap: The second Crab was hit on the ramp so only one vehicle disembarked. The rest returned to England.

    CHIW mentions only a single D7 loaded on the reserve LCT that landed behind No.3 Team; none are listed in the gapping teams. Something's not quite right as No.2 Team sound like they had one available. The reserve LCT ought to have been able to carry the two AVREs and two Crabs mentioned, plus two D7s?

    QUEEN RED La Breche
    79 Aslt Sqn RE
    (Teams numbered West to East)
    No.1 Team: no mention of dozer.
    No.2 Team: both Crabs KO'd, all AVRE's 'scuppered' but "the bulldozer completed the gap".
    No.3 Team: The first gap was blocked when a DD tank fell off an SBG bridge. "A second gap was made by the bulldozer."
    No.4 Team: no mention of dozer.

    CHIW implies that dozers were not part of the gapping teams, but explains that two D7 dozers were on the reserve landing craft that landed behind No.3 Team.

    The landing tables here show how dozers were distributed on GOLD in comparison.

    Here's a rather good thread on 22 Dgns on SWORD (and JUNO) that may have additional details.
  10. mac657

    mac657 Junior Member

    Idler, i probably can't add much but my Grandad also served with 860 M.E. coy, but in 1946. I have checked the unit diaries for this period and there was very little detail in it, if i remember correctly it was just equipment scales.
  11. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    Close, but no cigar: a history of No. 2 Mechanical Equipment (Transportation) Units, Royal Engineers is on eBay (here) at the moment which might shed some light on the ME Coys' role:

    Attached Files:

Share This Page