24th Lancers - "B" Squadron

Discussion in 'RAC & RTR' started by Ramiles, Mar 18, 2018.

  1. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    Just checked None Had Lances and there is almost no detail about 29th June 1944 and certainly no mention of an O Group meeting except for a copy of the photo. According to what's been stated in previous posts, neither the 24L or the SRY were actually that close to Rauray anyway but a couple of miles at least to the north: sounds like 'artistic licence' has crept into the IWM captions?
  2. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic


    The Sherman appears to have a name on the transmission housing in the 'normal' position for 24th Lancers but it's impossible to read!
    The jeep is carrying a pennant on the front right of the bonnet showing the 8th Armoured Brigade Fox emblem...
    I'm also puzzled why anyone would hold an O Group meeting out in the open like that when supposedly so close to the German lines!....implies, in my mind, that this is not Rauray itself.
    Clues? Thoughts anyone?....apart from actually going to the IWM photo Library and looking at the original!

    Incidentally, I've always queried whether the chap on the left is Luddington of 24L: he looks too dapper compared to WAC Anderson and Christopherson - who have clearly been 'in action' - and looks more of a Brigade type (which may or may not be confirmed by the fact that he is wearing a 8AB Fox shoulder patch while WAC and Christopherson aren't) like Cracroft.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2018
  3. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    There might be something in Christopherson's diary edited by James Holland a few years back into "Englishman at War"

    Englishman at War: The Wartime Diaries of Stanley Christopherson DSO, MC, TD ...
    By Stanley Christopherson, James Holland

    e.g. - Englishman at War

    (Tho. the preview is not always rewarding if the relevant pages for that time are "not part of this book preview" - p404 I think is "relevant".

    It looks to me like the 24th L are moving down to Rauray and being debriefed on the situation as the SRY are about to move back. But it's fluid. Since they both could be there or "neither" - but someone "was" - hence the pictures ;-)

    I have a "mock" up somewhere of what the tank markings might look like in B&W but I am not sure - as was mentioned earlier of the effect of filters etc. and the actual conditions on the day. The sky for instance being "blue" but looking pretty white in B&W.

    So what does a "Blue HQ SRY" tank marking look like... and how does it compare to one for the 24th L...


    With some examples of the various grey "colours" on some tanks - "RED" - below...

    Red_Tac_Markings_Grayscale copy.JPG

    "YELLOW" - below...


    BLUE - below...

    Last edited: Mar 29, 2018
  4. No mention of this meeting in the regimental war diaries then. Perhaps in the Brigade WD?

    On second (or rather, umpteenth) thoughts, the conspicuous absence of any name on the hull side of the RHQ tank in B6218 could be considered as a strong indication of it not being SRY, whose RHQ tanks (and their many avatars) apparently always wore proudly their names there.

    For completeness' sake I am re-posting this photo here:
    [​IMG] THE BRITISH ARMY IN THE NORMANDY CAMPAIGN 1944. © IWM (B 6218) IWM Non Commercial License

    and here is a pot-pourri of some of the SRY RHQ tank names for comparison, although all but one are from the 1945 review in Einbeck and therefore not necessarily representative:
    SRY RHQ Tks.jpg

    I have not included the Groesbeek version of ROBIN HOOD about which I have strong doubts...

    Last edited: Mar 29, 2018
  5. I thought so as well, but the writing does not look regular enough for a name. Looking closer I rather see a loading code, something like XXXXX/LCT/YYYY, the Xs being the Mob Serial No and the Ys the LTIN, either of which would give us the answer. Even only one digit of the MSN could be sufficient!

    I've tried scanning the original magazine print I have with many different parameters, but the image is too heavily half-toned and this is the best I could get.

  6. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    The SRY ones look like a different stencil - more of a squashed square - rhombus - than squashed rectangle - rhomboid...

    For some more context, beyond the 2 war diaries I glanced into some of the letters I have transcribed from around then... (gd - Ben Symes - Sgt. 1st Troop of "C" squadron)...


    24th Lancers

    Dearest Phyl + Rob,

    A letter is better than the official card to tell you of the change in address. The initials stand for British Western Expeditionary Force.
    The weather here today is lovely. In this orchard, (it’s just like Senie’s) we get the full benefit of the sun. We are lucky to have a nice stream for the washing of ourselves and our clothes; there is a nice little waterfall, so we have a shower bath, when it’s warm enough! They did fix up for us to have a bath, we took one look at it and decided our stream was cleaner. They say there’s trout in it but I haven’t seen any.
    The food in tins is good, Pork + veg is a bit rich, Irish Stew, Steak + Kidney, not much Kidney, Rice Pudding, Treacle Pudding and in some packs there’s mixed fruit but somehow we don’t seem to get any of those. We aren’t allowed to buy French Bread, actually we don’t want it, it isn’t nice and when one gets used to the biscuits they’re OK.
    Cheerio my dead, lots of love to you both. From your loving husband Ben XX.

    24th Lancers

    Dearest Phyl + Rob,
    It’s three or five days since I wrote so unless I put a move on I shall get ticked off.
    Yesterday one arrived from you, I was glad to know you were getting mine at last.
    The reason there was a big gap was because we all knew that the job was about to start, we knew exactly what to do etc. All it needed was for some nit wit to have a code and he’d blow the whole gaff, it’s nice to know the authorities were awake to those things even if it did mean a bad few days for everyone.
    It was nice to know you are both improving, but even so you really must go to the Doctor, they tell me the earlier you go the better.
    Spud is where you suggested, he hurt his arm and Eric broke his leg. I must write to Spud at his home address at the first opportunity or I shall get told off from there too.
    It’s amazing how little one knows of this sort of thing. The ordinary man can’t possibly have any idea at all. One could write a thousand books a week on it and leave plenty out.
    So glad to hear you saw Gaynor, give her and Trevor my regards.
    I expect you found it very quiet, my what a lovely word, quiet. Living on your own for a week, how did Rob like it?
    That’s about all for this time so will have some dinner, bravo for M + V.
    All my love to you both from your loving husband Ben xxx.

    24th Lancers
    Sunday July 2

    Dearest Phyl + Rob,

    Your letter dated 26th arrived today, many thanks my dear I’ll just answer what you say as I read it through + I can assure you I don’t worry about you + Rob, thinking of you continuously + very often wishing I were at home with you but that isn’t worry.
    It’s very nice to know you have perked up, just keep that way + you’ll be O.K.
    It’s also very nice to know the folks are easier with you + I do hope they won’t upset you again.
    You surely aren’t very surprised at the Dr.,after all he doesn’t seem to know very…

    …much and in any case time will tell, + don’t go falling about the place just because I’m not there to take care of you.
    You won’t have much trouble getting from Mrs.G’s to Senie, the only trouble will be getting to Weston, even so you know the best trains + you should enjoy the journey.
    So Spud did write, I’m glad about that. I was with him immediately after he hurt his arm “You would be here, says he” so I held his hand, help(ed) him drink some tea. I miss him an awful lot I don’t mind telling you. I have written to his home address, about eight of us wrote the letter, you know how difficult it is to get stuff pass the censor; anyway we managed to convey plenty to him, not of any military…

    …value to the enemy of course.
    We keep cheerful enough. The hours of work are sometimes very long, but then it’s summer + lots of daylight. We are doing good work too, good enough to get a letter from Monty to the Regiment, + he sent ten cigs a man, we get 8 per day + 40 per week so we just manage.
    This old blighter isn’t enjoying it though so don’t you get that idea. You know what I think of a job of work, well, this is one of those, not that it’s like a job, there are too many parts I don’t like + goes against the grain but there is something bigger than me + greater than I can understand behind all this. I’ll tell you all about that side of it…

    …sometime, I ain’t one to talk about Crusades or any old stuff the papers’ write, it’s up to each one of us to see this thing from his own angle + I’ve seen lots of things in a different way + from a different angle now. One gets a lot of contentment after settling a problem that’s been niggling for years,
    It’s getting too blooming dark to see now so I’ll have to give young Beddow his pencil back + go to bed. We had a grand shower in a field today, a milk churn with holes in the bottom.
    Cheerio + chin up from your loving husband Ben XX.

    P.S. They say in the papers they don’t want us to spend, we haven’t had any pay yet!!!!
    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  7. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Michel, (a funny thing ;-)

    1st April (I guess after all ;-) - and "just before 12pm UK time (If I am quick ;-)

    I don't know if you have access to the book "None Had Lances" ?

    There's a ref in the index there to "Drake D.J." on p166 - the text on page 166 of NHL has no mention of Lt. Donald Drake. Only that picture of "HQ tanks harboured in orchard near Rauray, 29th June 1944" - with the chap bending down there.

    So I thought "any chance that that's a picture of "Lt.Donald Drake" then?" (Spoiler - probably not ;-)

    There is a picture of "Donald J. Drake M.C." on p217 of NHL - in the citations bit - with a description there of how he got his M.C. on 11th June 1944.

    Superficially I could seem some relationship between the chap bending down in that orchard and the picture of Donald Drake - so I was about to look a bit closer - to compare - finding the IWM one a little bit too grainy perhaps and thinking about the "original" negative etc. when I took a chance and looked at some of the similar numbered pages in NHL - i.e. p16, p66 etc. in case the index ref. for Donald Drake on p166 of NHL was some kind of typo.

    Found him eventually on p116 of NHL - seven lines from the bottom of that page - "Donald (new line) Drake" - and no ref. whatsoever in NHL to p116 for "Drake D.J."

    So at least "I have chased that goose" - I still see, or saw, something of a similarity between that chap bending down in that orchard and Lt.Donald Drake 24th L though ;-)
  8. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic


    Brilliant montage. I presume C13 means Hursley Park to the north of Southampton?
    Michel Sabarly likes this.
  9. norton 407545

    norton 407545 Well-Known Member

    After a bit of playing about with a close up of the lettering on the front of the tank. This is the best I can do ( I only have basic tools on my phone) I almost got excited because I thought I had made out the word Hercules and that was before I remembered it was an HQ tank however now I think I've decided the last two symbols are the wrong way round for it to spell hercules..

    Attached Files:

  10. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    Needs a visit to the IWM Photo Collection and even then it might not be defined enough to read if my previous experience is anything to go by.
  11. KevinT

    KevinT Senior Member

    Where can I find that image? It looks like HAWKEASY or something like that.


  12. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    I was thinking I could see "WARHORSE" ;-) Until I looked a bit closer.

    Now from a certain angle I think it might look like "NEW LEASE"


    Link to original picture in this thread above, image taken from the front of the tank to the rear - just over the shoulder of the man (Major Luddington) on the far (upper) left of the group: 24th Lancers - "B" Squadron

    I think the picture is a tiny bit clearer here... but it's still a shade off. It's almost (to me) as if it could say "LAWRENSE" - though "LAWRENCE" - for "LAWRENCE of Arabia" maybe, would probably make a bit more sense.


    Another possibility I have considered, perhaps, the 24th L HQ Squadron had a tank called "PESTILENCE" and if this were replaced with a new tank with the same name I'd assume "PESTILENCE II" , "PESTILENCE III" etc. Though with what looks - a bit like - a "LENCE" at the end there - I wondered if even "NEW LENCE" - for "NEW PESTILENCE" - though it looks a bit more like an "AW" nr. the start than the "EW" in "NEW" - Or even just " W A W R E N S E " ;-)

    Though it's possibly just as clear as day what it actually was on the "original" negative ;-)
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2018
  13. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic


    Its IWM B6219 (reference post #19 in this thread)

  14. KevinT

    KevinT Senior Member

    image.jpeg This is 8th Armoured Brigade and looks like RICKSHAW. I wasn't sure how to add this to Michels album. This is from the IWM photo collection.


  15. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    There are some nice pictures of "B" Squadron 24th L tanks at Bridlington, I think, that a few people have access to and could add there and a picture of some "B" squadron Officers and Sergeants on p34 of NHL taken at Lakenheath, Suffolk, 20th January, 1943, with some vehicles (just visible ;-) in the distance, in the far background to the left and right.

    This picture of njvetters (ref: 24th Lancers )


    .....is rather similar to that of the "B" Squadron on p34 of NHL. And, speculatively, is perhaps either of the Recce Troop of the 24th L - or perhaps even of "C" Squadron. With I suppose also some of their "Officers and Sergeants".
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2018
  16. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    Pestilence would be consistent with the known theme for HQ Squadron tanks being named after the Four Riders of the Apocalypse even though Pestilence isn't actually one of the four generally acknowledged 'Riders'. There were certainly more than four tanks in HQ Squadron so there is a need for additional names.
  17. I very strongly doubt that it is possible to find out what the writing on the tank might be, at least not from the photo I posted, because it is a scan from a heavily half-toned magazine image. The result of a scan without de-half-toning is thus:
    B6219 - no de-half-toning.jpg

    There is no way that the de-half-toning process can restore the smaller details of the original picture, when they are smaller than the half-toning pitch. On the contrary, it usually generates artifacts, i.e. more or less random shapes that have no relationship with the original ones, and can lead to mistaken interpretations.

    In short, don't waste your time reading words into this photo, it's hopeless! :D

    SDP likes this.

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