2nd battalion Transvaal Scottish-Major James Stanley Winn Rooke (Stan)

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by Susan Hamilton, May 14, 2021.

  1. Hi, I am looking for any information about my grandfather, James Stanley Winn Rooke (Stan) who was a major and served in 2nd battalion or 2TS during 1941 and 1942. He was seconded to the British forces in 1941 and served in East Africa. My mother told me he was in Tobruk when it fell and that he was in a POW camp in Italy or Germany but I have yet to confirm this as he died many years ago. He was born 1 July 1906 in Durham, England but spent most of his life in Johannesburg. Many thanks. Susan
  2. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Hello Susan,

    I have the prisoners of war lists for Italy (compiled August 1943) and Germany (September 1944) and your grandfather doesn't appear in either of them.

    I suggest you contact the records office for a copy of his service record:


    They are located at:
    Schweikert Building
    20 Visagie Street
    Telephone: (012) 339-4600
    Fax: (012) 339-463

    KIind Regards,

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  3. Hi Vitellino, How kind of you to reply so quickly and also to check the prisoner of war lists. He arrived back to South Africa in 1945, I think, and the Transvaal Scottish have a record of him which I have shared as above. But it is very sparse. Will try your suggestion. He died in 1972 in Johannesburg. Apparently he came back devastated from the war and found his wife (my grandmother) had found someone else and he was left with 2 young children (my mother, one of them) to raise by himself post war. Many thanks for your kind input. Susan.
  4. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    HIs service records will be the way to go - I cant find him amongst Allied POW's in Germany and nothing shows in the London Gazette

    Some of the family trees though show his details incorrectly i.e. born in South Africa and as far as I can see no one has added his birth details

    England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915
    Name: James Stanley W Rooke
    Registration Year: 1906
    Registration Quarter: Jul-Aug-Sep
    Registration District: South Shields
    Parishes for this Registration District: View Ecclesiastical Parishes associated with this Registration District
    Inferred County: Durham
    Volume: 10a
    Page: 874

    England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975
    Name: James Winn Rooke
    Gender: Male
    Baptism Date: 18 Jul 1906
    Baptism Place: St. Michael, South Westoe, Durham, England
    Charles Winn Rooke
    FHL Film Number: 2082491
    Reference ID: 125

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  5. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    There are other threads here on his unit, the 2nd Battalion Transvaal Scottish, which might help explain their wartime movements:
    1) Transvaal Scottish POW
    2) Refers 3rd Bn, also captured: Corporal Edward Lee Gamble (1917 – 2003) - Third Transvaal Scottish Regiment.
    3) Transvaal Scottish PoW Post 2 refers to sources on the regiment
    4) The Jocks possibly already in a thread
    5) 2nd Bn POW journey: POW from North Africa
    6) ditto: South African POWs in Italy

    There is a WW2 diary of service with the Bn.: https://www.chapter1.co.za/product/sku/abne The price is in $, when it is based in RSA?
    Last edited: May 15, 2021
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  6. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Trouble is he may have stayed with his British unit after East Africa and so far I dont believe we know what that unit was, or he may have moved back to his original SA unit ............. its why his service records are vital to understand what happened to him, especially as his name doesnt seem to appear on POW lists

  7. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    This is from WO 392/21 of which I have both a digital and paper copy and he's not in it.

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  8. Thank you for your reply. This is correct. James Stanley Winn Rook was born 1 July 1906 at 39 Milton Street, South Shields, Durham, England to Charles Winn Rooke and Hannah Belle Athey. I have been been collecting information for about 30 years but am searching really for his time in the Transvaal Scottish 2 during WW2 as it was also pivotal to changing his life in so many ways as I suppose was sometimes a shared experience for others. So if he wasn’t a POW, I wonder exactly where he was situated during the years 1940-1945?
    I will email for records in South Africa as a starting point. He died 4 July 1972 in Krugersdorp, South Africa.
    I have copious war records of my grandfather on my father’s side and he was easy to find as well on ancestry where I am a member. But nothing of James Winn Rooke in the military records on ancestry.
    I did write to the Transvaal Scottish years ago and had a one sentence reply that he was a major who served in TS2 in 1941 and 1942 and was seconded to British forces in 1942 and served in East Africa. They also said they had nothing more. I have court records of him being back in South Africa in 1945 and 1946.
    Also am sure he was in North Africa during the war as many relatives mentioned that but I have yet to confirm this. Will keep looking. Thanks again.
  9. Thank you. I am relieved that he wasn’t a POW apparently but still looking for exactly what happened to him during 1940-1945. Will search more.
  10. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Since James Rooke was not an officially listed POW it appears he either evaded capture at Tobruk (possible, though slim I fear) or more likely he was posted away from his battalion before Tobruk, so avoided the debacle at Tobruk.

    Until the Italian surrender in July to September 1943 (it is complicated) there were Italians in Ethiopia / Eritrea who had not surrendered, fighting on of sorts; most of the Italians forces had surrendered in May 1941. So there was a British-led military presence until then, from memory mainly African troops and they would need officers. After September 1943 Ethiopia / Eritrea became a quieter "backwater", though British-led troops remained in places till the end of the war. See as a starter for this background: Italian Ethiopia - Wikipedia
  11. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Obtaining his service record would provide the key and answer your question

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  12. I have now been sent his detailed service record which is 7 pages in length. Confirmed that he left Durban on SS Duchess of Richmond in 1943. Most of the documents are however impossible to decipher with numbers/letters/abbreviations which even my husband with extensive military knowledge couldn’t work out. We have now enlisted someone else who can help out! Many thanks for your interest and assistance.
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  13. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Please let us know what you find out, Susan,
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  14. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron


    There is expertise here that can help decipher service records, so please post the seven pgs. here. Yes, the South African records may be different and we do have some South Africans here.

    Note, there was an officer shortage for British colonial military formations and several nations assisted, such as Southern Rhodesia (I knew one who served with an Indian Army Gurkha infantry battalion) and the Poles, who sent hundreds from memory to serve with West African formations, a number of which ended up in Burma.

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