24th Lancers

Discussion in 'RAC & RTR' started by SDP, Feb 17, 2012.

  1. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    If you have any past association with or close interest in the 24th Lancers and would like to re-establish contact, please feel free to get in touch via this forum or by Private Message.

    I am in contact with 24th Lancers veterans and, until we disbanded formally in 2005 at a rather spendid Reunion at the National Army Museum, was Hon Sec of the 24th Lancers Old Comrades Association. A small group of us still meet for an informal lunch in London in March each year.

    For information, I myself was not a 24th Lancer but my late father was.
  2. RobinPepper

    RobinPepper Junior Member

    My uncle was Trooper Syd Hearnah . 8/6/44 B Squadron. I was wondering if anybody knew his final movemoments / whereabouts 8/6/44 -Putot en Bessin? Loucelles?
    Many thanks Rob Pepper
    01372 721 614
  3. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    My uncle was Trooper Syd Hearnah . 8/6/44 B Squadron. I was wondering if anybody knew his final movemoments / whereabouts 8/6/44 -Putot en Bessin? Loucelles?
    Many thanks Rob Pepper
    01372 721 614

    14409041 Trooper Sydney P Hearnah was a Gunner/Mechanic (i.e. co-Driver) in 'B' Squadron when he was killed on the afternoon of 8th June 1944. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Bayeux Memorial.

    I have no further details except what is stated in the 24th Lancers Regimental History 'None Had Lances' page 86-87 where it appears he was killed at Putot-en-Bessin. The War Diary might contain some information but my copy is not currently to hand.
  4. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Hello Rob,

    I don't know how much information you already have, but... the 24th Lancers were part of 8th Armoured Brigade, which was with the 50th (Northumbrian) Division for the purposes of D-Day and for much of the fighting in Normandy thereafter.

    The Regiment was disbanded towards the end of July 1944.

    Here is is his CWGC details:

    Rank: Trooper
    Service No: 14409041
    Date of Death: 08/06/1944
    Age: 35
    Regiment/Service: Royal Armoured Corps, 24th Lancers
    Panel Reference: Panel 8, Column 2.
    Additional Information: Son of Percival J. and Blanche Hearnah; husband of Phyllis Ada Ann Hearnah, of Thornton Heath, Surrey.


  5. Pak75

    Pak75 Member

    HI All

    Daily Tank losses are not well detailed in 24th Lancers WD but it is also possible that no Sherman tanks were lost that day and your uncle was a victim of sniper fire or the omnipresent artillery if caught outside a tank. He may also have been member of crew of Stuart lost that day?

    Transcript of WD for 7/8 June:

    7/6/44 During the day further vehicles of the Regiment disembarked and by 2300 hours, the whole Regimental Assault party had landed. ‘B’ Sqn together with eight tanks of ‘A’ Sqn were used during the day for mopping up operations in the area Bazenville in which the Regiment were later to concentrate. It was revealed later that ‘B’ Sqn killed or captured over 100 German Infantrymen in this operation.

    8/6/44 At 0770 hours the Regiment had assembled in the area Martragny and prepared to advance in accordance with the Operation Order No.1 attached to this war diary. Advancing down the main Bayeux-Caen road just East of St Leger, leading elements of the Regiment were heavily engaged by A/Tk guns and a Stuart tank was destroyed. Supporting artillery engaged suspected enemy gun positions with fire but in spite of this the Regiment was unable to advance.

    A particularly active enemy position was found at Putot-En-Bassin and in the late afternoon the Regiment advanced and attacked this position. The position was found to be strongly held by 3 Bns of a Pz Gren Regt in the Hitler Jugend Div, numbers of which infantry had hidden themselves in the long grass an the orchards west of Putot and also at the tops of trees whence tank commanders were continuously sniped.

    After inflicting heavy casualties and taking approx 40 prisoners, the Regiment withdrew from this position and later were ordered to concentrate again in the area Martragny.

  6. dfielder

    dfielder Junior Member

    If anyone is interested, an excellent book is:

    Tilly-sur-Seulles 1944 by Stephane Jacquet
    This 400+ pp book is fully of maps, photographs (before and after) as well as some good information about the 24L.

    My grandfather, Frederick (Freddie) Fielder was killed on June 11 and noted in this book with plenty of other names.

    David Fielder
  7. njvetter

    njvetter Member

    My Father, Tpr Norman Vetter was killed at Putot en Bessin on June 8. He was in HQ squadron and his name is mentioned in 'None have Lances' (page 87) We visited the village for the first time last week.

    I assume he was in a Sherman, though am not clear what HQ squadron means; in what way is it different from a lettered squadron? Two of his squadron were killed, presumably by sniper fire. Nine of the Lancers were killed at this time. He has no known grave and is on the Bayeux memorial, though we did look around the local villages to see if it was possible he might have been buried there.

    I would be most grateful for any more information. Why did these guys not have a known grave - was it because, so close to D-Day, the systems were not yet in place for recording?

    Norman Vetter
  8. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    I've got all the regiments war diaries up to Aug 1944 - drop me a PM if I can help. They are not very thick/detailed.
  9. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    Only additional information I have is:

    7910468 Trooper N Vetter was a gunner/operator (gunner/wireless operator) in HQ Squadron.

    The structure of HQ Squadron is shown on page 236 in 'None Had Lances' where you will see it was a quite large component of the total Regiment and including cars, Scout Cars, trucks and Stuart light tanks used for recce purposes (and therefore by definition normally at what the lads always called The Sharp End). The fact that he was a gunner/operator implies either a light tank or scout car and I note on page 87 of None Had Lances that a Stuart tank was lost that day. Can't be certain of course but its reasonable to presume until proved otherwise that he was in that tank.

    As regards his final resting place, names on the memorial means those with no known grave meaning that he is either buried somewhere in an un-named grave but with the usual headstone or no remains have been located. I understand that graves were also only named if there was positive proof of identification which, in the case of tank crew, was all too often not possible.

    Steve Pannell (Hon Sec 24th Lancers Old Comrades Association until we disbanded in 2005)
  10. njvetter

    njvetter Member

    Dear Steve

    Thank you so much. That is very interesting indeed. I had not looked in the back of 'None had Lances' and assumed that he was in a Sherman. I have a picture of him during training with 6 other soldiers and a very small tank, I assume a Stuart. I am not sure if I can upload photos onto this forum, but would be happy to send you a copy. I was always puzzled about how they fitted seven men into such a small vehicle!

    I would love to know more - too busy with family all those years and my mum did not want to talk about it. But seeing the Mulberry breakwaters in place and the German trenches on the cliffs to the west of Gold last month brings it home, somehow. We looked around the hamlet of Putot-en-Bessin, where he was killed. No marked graves in the churchyard there. The Canadians have a memorial, which briefly mentions the 24th Lancers holding off the Germans to the West during their re-taking of the place. You probably have the detail of that as it is on the internet. No mention of the incident in 'None have lances' where they fired on the British initially, thinking the tanks had been captured.

  11. njvetter

    njvetter Member

    Actually, now I look more closely at the photo, there are seven of them standing in front of a Bren gun carrier, not a tank.
  12. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic


    The photo with the Bren carrier is likely quite early in their history judging by other information I have received over the years.

    I think there is a brief mention of the Canadians firing on 24L somewhere in None Had Lances; seem to remember it was because the Canadians didn't expect to see others so far forward.

    You can post images here by going to the more reply advanced option when typing a post and attaching the image accordingly. Would be delighted to help in any way I can.

  13. njvetter

    njvetter Member

    Thanks Steve

    Yes, 'None have lances' is my main source of information and seems fairly accurate. The Canadian memorial in Putot mentions the 24L briefly as 'blocking the German advance from the West, but it must have been quite a fierce 60 mins or so that afternoon with nine killed and 6 wounded for the 24L. Four squadrons had casualties, including my dad's HQ squadron which suggests a number of tanks taking part. I have read elsewhere that on two 24L tanks were involved, but this does not seem to fit. The book mentions, separately from my dad's death, 'The Reconnaissance Troop lost one Stuart tank driven by Tpr S G Drake. I am not really clear if he was in that tank, which were part of HQ squadron, or in another vehicle.

    Here is the photo of him (he is far right in the photo) at some time in training.

    Many thanks again, it is fascinating.

    Attached Files:

  14. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic


    Is the photo dated or inscribed in any other way? It has an early feel to it

  15. njvetter

    njvetter Member

    No markings I'm afraid, but I do have another, probably taken at about the same time

    Attached Files:

    Ramiles likes this.
  16. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    No familiar faces unfortunately.....photo has a Newmarket/Lakenheath feel about it but that's also just a guess.
  17. nick bullock

    nick bullock Junior Member

    Hi Norman

    Facinating to see your pictures, my grandfather was HQ squadron 24th Lancers. CW Bullock tpr,

    Kind regards

  18. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    Nick. Interesting. Any idea when your grandfather served with 24L ?
  19. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    Your perception is good inasmuch as the seven with the bren carrier one of whom has an RTR /RAC number starting with 79**** indicates 1941 whereas as the other has a GSC number starting with 144***** which is late spring/ summer of

    1943.....HQ squadron was of the whole regiment whereas the Squadron HQ's were of the sabre squadrons and much smaller with usually four Tanks only

  20. Tim H.

    Tim H. Junior Member

    I have a sneaky feeling the feller on the far left of that second larger group is Fred Bartlett, and that it is an early picture. I have a copy of a photograph given to me by Tony Hughes of a group of 8 Lancers in Bridlington in 1943 which includes my Dad, Fred and Tony who went to Normandy as a crew. Tony was not able to identify the others in the group for certain, but I had the impression they did not include the two crew of their tank who lost their lives on 26th June 44 near Le Manoir.


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