2nd Fife and Forfar Yeomanry

Discussion in 'RAC & RTR' started by OSD, Sep 18, 2012.

  1. Graham Harper

    Graham Harper Member

    Hello, I am trying to trace some information about my Great Uncle, William Harper. I know he died on the 5th July 1944 back in the UK after being severely burned in his tank whilst serving with the 2nd Fire & Forfars.
    Can anyone tell me when he was wounded and how please?
  2. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Be hard to say when he was wounded unless you send off for his service records from the MoD.
    He maybe mentioned in the 2 F&F war diary but I doubt it.
    I've looked him up in Taurus Pursuant he's listed in the Roll of Honour.
    It says
    Tpr W Harper
    Date: Jul 44
    Place: Cheux

    Sorry can't help much more than that.
  3. Pak75

    Pak75 Member

    Didn't see this thread and request until now...

    War diary 2FF 15- 31 August:

    Aug. 15
    La Rocque; Infantry patrols were sent forward next morning and no enemy were encountered. At approx. 1700 hrs the regiment was ordered to advance in support of the Mons and seize the high ground 162 in 8234. There was no opposition to the advance except that the lanes were bad which entailed very slow movement. On reaching the crossings of the stream at 818348 mines were encountered and also the road had been badly cratered. REs went forward, cleared the road and the craters were bypassed. The regiment then moved up on to the high ground, B sqn. on the right, A sqn. on the left, as dusk fell. The regt. harboured that night in sqn. laagers. Infantry patrols during the early evening discovered booby traps and mines.
    Aug. 16
    Nr. St. Germain; 0800 The advance continued with C sqn. leading. No opposition was met and the advance continued through St. Germain du Crioult and then due South. A certain number of prisoners were collected, who surrendered voluntarily.

    On reaching the crossroads of 840307 mines were encountered. This caused delay whilst they were being cleared. The advance then continued and forward patrols reported the bridges over the R. Noneau as blown. A ford was found by B sqn. on the right of the centre line at 854287 and it was found possible by use of the scissors bridge to get another crossing in the factory area at 859290. The right crossing was used for wheels and the left crossing for tracked vehicles.

    The regt. then pushed on and reached the high ground 218 in 8727 without any opposition. A patrol from B sqn. then pushed forward and reported that the bridge at 886276 was blown. Owing to the enclosed country and bad tracks, no further progress was made that evening and the regiment harboured in that area. Lt. D.A. Reid rejoined the regiment.
    Aug. 17
    Montilly; The advance continued on one centre line, 23 H and the Rifle Bde. leading. The F&F rejoined the right centre line and crossed the river Vire at867252 and moved up to the crossroads at 898247. From this point the Bde. moved two-up, left 23H and Rifle Bde. centre line Athis 9127, St. Honorine la Chardonne 9228, thence to Tailebois in 9726. 2 FF centre line Ronfeugerai and thence up to Tailebois.

    The regiment moved one-up, C sqn. leading with coy. in support, and no opposition was reached. On reaching the crossroads 9424 orders were received to halt and the regiment was ordered to reconnoitre for crossings over the R. Rouie east of La Carneille. A sqn. with a coy in support moved down and cleared La Carneille. Slight opposition was met and enemy prisoners were taken.

    The patrols of A sqn. then reported that the bridge at 978242 was usable with the aid of a scissors bridge. This came forward and was laid, some enemy automatic fire coming from the far bank.

    At approx. 1800 hrs., A sqn. moved 2 troops across the bridge in support of a coy. of the Mons. These came under considerable small arms fire, and managed to reach the high ground at 983247. During this period heavy enemy mortar fire was brought down on the area of the road leading to the bridge and the bridge area, causing considerable casualties to our infantry. Orders were received to push further forward and it was decided to move two-up, B sqn right, in support of a coy. and C sqn. left. This attack moved through the positions held by A sqn. and came under considerable Spandau fire and bazooka fire.

    Owing to the advance of the 23H and Rifle Bde. on our left, we were not able to push on as the two regiments were coming at right angles together with a strong pocket of enemy in-between. The infantry consolidated on the ground gained and the regiment laagered just behind them.

    Casualties:- Killed, Lt. A.N.G. Munroe and 1 OR, Wounded 2 OR's.
    Aug. 18
    Near St. Honorine; Early this morning the C.O. returned and took over command. During this day, the advance was held up by the crossings of the River Orne at Poutange having been blown up. The regiment remained in the area where it had harboured, until about 1200 hrs. when we moved forward to within about two miles of the river, to be ready to cross at the earliest possible moment, and where we remained for the night.
    Aug. 19
    Near Poutange; The bridge was finally completed at about 1400 hrs and the regiment moved forward behind 23 H and 8 RB, across the river on one road. Progress was very slow on this route and at about 2200 hrs a report was received that a small number of enemy tanks was threatening the flank of the column. 2 F&F moved off into the area southeast of Habioville, mr 1523. All sqns. were deployed to meet this threat from the north, A sqn. on the right, B in the centre and C on the left. B sqn. were able to engage one Panther which they knocked out and a second one was seen to get away in the darkness at about 2200 hrs. At the same time a number of transport vehicles were engaged in the woods and were brewed up.

    We remained in defensive positions in that area throughout the night during which time quite a large number of prisoners gave themselves up.
    Aug. 20
    Habioville; This morning 23H and 8B had to make good the crossings over the railway and main road Argentan-Falaise. At 1200 hrs 2 F&F with 3 Mons passed through them and occupied the high ground pts. 186 and 182, northwest of Argentan without meeting any opposition. From there, C Sqn. went forward with the 3 Mons to clear the route through the Foret de Gouffern to the West of the Argentan-Trun road.

    This advance was very slow owing to the extreme thickness of the Forest, during this movement C sqn. succeeded in knocking out one Panther tank which was watching the main road. There were also large supplies of ammunition concealed in the forest. On emerging from the forest we went to an area southeast of Bailleul mr 2825. Together with the 3 Mons we captured a hospital with about 180 patients and some 240 other prisoners.
    Aug. 21
    Near Bailleul; The regiment remained in that area for the night. The following day we moved back down the main road to Argentan and then eastwards via La Bourg St. Leonard mr 3520 to Exmes mr 5245. On arrival here, the Inns of Court, who had been preceding us, reported enemy opposition.

    A sqn., who were in the lead, were therefore diverted along small lanes to try and get across the River Touges south of Coulmer mr 5445, whilst B sqn. continued down the original centre line. There was some stubborn resistance from enemy A/T guns and infantry holding the river. B sqn. eventually succeeded in getting one troop up to the river which they crossed all right. One tank went forward over the railway bridge which was immediately blown behind it. This was very close country and a considerable time was taken in clearing the enemy. Eventually they got down between the railway and the river to the bridge to the southeast.

    Meanwhile A sqn. had been having a sticky time in endeavouring to cross further to the southeast. They eventually succeeded in crossing the river after having lost one tank knocked out by a bazooka, of which two of the crew were wounded when the tank was hit, and the remainder were wounded when they evacuated. When they got on to the main road a further tank was hit by a 75 mm pointing down the road. In this two of the crew were killed, and the remainder evacuated.

    When Lt. Northern went back to see what had happened to the remaining members of the crew, a further AP round was fired at him wounding him. Together with a coy of the Mons, this gun was eventually knocked out.

    C sqn. was sent down the same route as A in the hopes that they would be able to move up northwestwards to assist B from the other side of the river. By the time the A/T gun was knocked out and the situation was cleared, it was too late to continue with this operation. A and C sqns. therefore remained for the night watching the main road whilst B sqn. with RHQ remained on the original centre line. There were two coys of Mons with each half of the regiment.

    Casualties: Wounded, Lt. R.C.McNinch, Lt. P.R. Northern, and 5 OR's;

    Killed 2 OR's;

    Missing 2 OR's believed to be POW.
    Aug. 22
    Near Gace; The next morning we moved at 0700 hrs in order to reach by 0900 hrs. the object on which we had been directed the previous evening, i.e. the high ground northwest of St. Andre d'Echauffour mr 6042.

    B sqn. with one coy. of the Mons pushed straight on towards this village which they found to be heavily mined, and many trees felled across the road, but there was no enemy opposition in the village. With the aid of a section of sappers, these obstructions were removed and the 23 H were passed through us to continue the advance. No further opposition was met with the exception of mines, and the whole Bde. moved into a harbour area about 4 miles west of Laigle [L'Aigle?]
    Aug. 23
    Near Laigle; We remained in this position for a few days whilst the 11 Armd. Div. rested. We spent this time in maintenance and organising.
    Aug. 24
    New officers were - Capts. A.G.E. Loran and P.L.C. Ryde, Lt. C.W.A. Wallis, and 2/Lt. F.G. Firkins. During the first three weeks the following OR's joined the regiment: 71 from 257 CDS 17 from 254 CDS
    Aug. 28
    At 0800 hrs the regiment started on the approach march towards the Seine and concentrated on the high ground northwest of Vernon mr 4575, arriving there at about 1500 hrs. We expected to spend the night there, but however at l600 hrs orders were received to push immediately across the river. The regiment started to move again at 1900 hrs but owing to congestion on the bridge did not get into our area just northeast of Vernon until 2300 hrs. We suffered no casualties on this date.
    Aug. 29
    The Bde. advanced two-up with 2 FF Yeo leading on the left route which was Tournay 4484-Guitry 4887-Hacqueville 4795-Etrepagny 5497-Longchamps 5703. Some opposition was encountered at Guitry but was only of a slight nature, and was easily overcome by C sqn. who were leading sqn.

    The advance continued with B sqn. They encountered some opposition and had one tank knocked out from the factory southwest of Etrepagny, where there were a number of infantry who held us up for some time. C Sqn. were told to try and push on in the area Le Thilen-Vesein 5197. Here there was further opposition and C sqn. also had one tank knocked out from a position along the railway. By this time 3 R.Tanks had managed to get into Etrepagny from the east. B Sqn. were therefore ordered to bypass and push through Etrepagny whilst A sqn. dealt with the factory area with F Coy 8RB. This was successfully mopped up without loss.

    On reaching Doudeaville 5499 B sqn. again came in contact with anti-tank guns and had two tanks knocked out from the wooded area just north of the village. C sqn. endeavoured to get round the flanks. Two anti-tank guns were knocked out and the advance continued on to Longchamps, in the outskirts of which were a number of infantry who caused some slight delay, but were all mopped up without loss.

    Casualties were as follows: Killed - 7 OR's. Missing - 2 OR's POW - 1 OR Wounded - 2 OR's.
    Aug 30
    This day the centre line was as follows: Le Mesnil 505-Neufmarche 6409-St. Germer 6810-Villers sur Auchy 7015-Songenos 7522-Marvillers 7726-Previllers 8628-Hetomesnil 8830. Near the start of the route we passed two abandoned Panther tanks which had been brewed up. A number of enemy vehicles were shot up as we crossed the main road, and a large number of prisoners were taken, but we encountered no real opposition. On arriving at Hetomesnil we expected to harbour, but received orders to push on through the night to Amiens. The route given was over twisting and long narrow lanes which caused some delay but no opposition of any sort was encountered, although in the village of Conta there were a large number of the enemy who were evidently scared by the noise of the tanks and did not emerge until the following day when a Bn. attack had to be put in before an Inf. Bde. could get through.

    The light improved as we were reaching Amiens, and we were able to shoot up a number of vehicles, and on reaching the outskirts of the town the Recce Tp. shot up a number of staff cars. Amongst the prisoners that emerged from this party was none other than Gen. Ebrebuf, Commdr. of the 7th Army. The night march was led by Cpl. Byrne, without making a mistake.
    Aug. 31
    The regiment took up the position on the high ground watching northwestern, western, and southwestern exits from Amiens, where again they shot up a number of vehicles. Crossings were also recce'd over the river Somme. A bridge was found intact at Le Montier where there was a large number of infantry. Cpt. Creighton of B Sqn. took the first tank across into the built-up area and about 100 prisoners were collected in this area before the advance was able to go on to Coiay, where the night was spent.

    Casualties: Capt. D.C.F. Chute, accidental hand injury, and 1 OR wounded.

    New officers were Lt. GCA Hales, Lt. A Forester. The following OR's also joined the regiment - 46 OR's from 254 CDS.

  4. Pak75

    Pak75 Member

    For Graham Harper:

    The 2nd Fife and Forfar participated in Operation Epsom which was their first action.
    Around Cheux on 27th June the regiment battled 4 PzIVH tanks of the 8th company 12th SS which were hull down behind the embankments of the Salbey Stream south of Haut du Bosq and lost several tanks.
    From then on losses of 2FF are not so well detailed and they advanced across River Odon to Hill 112 but did not have many casualties. The regiment was not in battle July 1 -15
    So I would guess your relative was killed in this action, but i have been known to be wrong...!

    Please pick up a copy of Ian Dalglish's excellent 'Operation Epsom' for more detail.
    Unfortunately a Harper is not mentioned in WD or regimental history by RGB Sellars, but then that is not unusual as ORs rarely get a mention.

  5. fishwife

    fishwife Junior Member

    I am looking for a needle in a stack of needles. It's a picture that was taken by a tank commander (may have been Lt Col A B J Scott) of the 2nd Fife & Forfar Yeomanry on May 2nd, 1945 when they liberated a group of POWs who had been marched across Germany from January to May 1945. My father was at Stalag Luft III and many of them ended up on farms near Lubeck in May. My father was on a farm near Wulmenau which is close to Lubeck.

    He scrawled a short letter to family on that day to let them know he was ok. It read "An hour ago we were liberated by Scottish tanks near Lubeck. Am in excellent health – morale way up! Hope to be home in a week’s time ". Also he wrote a letter home after the liberation describing the events. This is a paragraph from the letter "It looks as if I’ll have to wait a while before returning to Denmark. If I hadn’t been so keen to get back to England in a hurry I would have jumped on the tanks that liberated us and gone with them through Denmark. They were some of my happiest moments in my life when I climbed up on the first British tank and had my picture taken by the tank commander together with a whole tank load of yelling and crying Kriegies. It was around noon. We had seen our tanks in the distance earlier in the morning then suddenly everybody started to run (we were at a large farm near Lubeck) then I heard them shout 'the tanks, they are here' and I ran also and when I got there all I could see of a tank was a dirty big gun sticking out in front, the rest of the tank was covered with Kriegies. A week later I was in England from the 2nd of May to 9th of May we were in trucks going west."

    This picture may have never been processed, or it may have ended up in a museum or archives, or even in a private collection of that particular tank commander. If anyone has any leads it would be much appreciated.
  6. Casblue

    Casblue Member

    Thanks for the Regimental Diary, would anyone have from 24 November to the end of December 1944?


  7. Graham Harper

    Graham Harper Member

    Thanks very much to Owen and Pak75 for their support. I have enough detail now to narrow my search for details of my Great Uncle's wounding in France in 1944.
  8. Little Black Devil

    Little Black Devil Active Member

    Hello everybody,
    I would like to find the 2nd Fife and Forfar casualties list (KIA and WIA) in Normandy.
    Where could I find it?
  9. dr.kmccauley

    dr.kmccauley Junior Member

    Just wondering if anyone knows how many men (approximately) were in the 2nd Fife and Forfar unit around 1944? Also, if possible, how many were in each squadron? I can't seem to find this anywhere on the internet and I'd be grateful for your input.
  10. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    KIA are listed in the Divisional History 'Taurus Pursuant'. You could also search the CWGC website.

    An armoured regiment contained approx 600 men at any one time when at full strength. Those were split between the three fighting Squadrons, HQ Squadron and the various echelons.
    Annemiek Wintraecken likes this.
  11. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    What month?...I have the regiments Officer and OR Field Returns for 1944 and 1945
  12. ww2Loz

    ww2Loz Member

    Hi. My father was part of the 2nd Fife and Forfar Yeomanry from January 1945 until the end of the war and i understand he took part in the Battle of the Bulge through to meeting the Russians at Lubek. He was a Driver/Operator in a Comet tank and I simply want to find out the route that the 2nd F and F took during this time as I plan to retrace his steps. Can anyone help point me in the right direction to find this information please? Thanks
  13. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    If he joined them in January 1945 he could/would have seen the final phase of the Battle of the Bulge as FFY were part of 29th Armoured Brigade in the 11th Armoured Division at that time.

    A reasonable, and quite cheap, way of getting started would be to get a copy of the book 'The Black Bull' by Patrick Delaforce. That explains - although it has errors - the route etc of 11AD during that phase of the War. Basically, after the BoB they moved back to the Ypres/Poperinghe area to collect their Comet tanks and, at the end of March, moved over the Rhine at the Weser bridgehead and then headed over the German plain past Osnabruck and Hannover up towards the east of Hamburg and ended the War up towards Lubeck.

    The Divisional history 'Taurus Pursuant' is also a good read and contains maps of their general progress.

    The War Diary is also a 'must have' if you want to trace their precise route.

    Question : to you have any photos showing the Comet tanks ?
  14. ww2Loz

    ww2Loz Member

    Thank you, that's great...I've got 'The Black Bull' thanks but this seems to refer to a lot of the different units so was trying to see if there was anything more specific to the FFY........thank you for the heads up re Taurus Pursuant...when you refer to the War Diary, is this by anyone in particular or something i get from a specific place? I have a couple of pics but they aren't great quality I'm afraid! I will try and load them up to see what you think. Thanks
  15. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    See attached pics from another interesting book, although possibly more difficult to obtain...

    Attached Files:

  16. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    And from same book... including Comet tank... but certainly not new to SDP!

    Attached Files:

    amberdog45 and SDP like this.
  17. ww2Loz

    ww2Loz Member

    These are brilliant thank you so much :)
  18. ww2Loz

    ww2Loz Member

    Hi these are the pics i have and I have done what I can to make them ok to view....let me know what you think. My Dad is the one on the right in the last pic and the one on the left in the 2nd pic.

    Attached Files:

    SDP and 8RB like this.
  19. ww2Loz

    ww2Loz Member

    .....and one more! I'd love it if anyone recognised the people in the pic !

    Attached Files:

    KevinT, SDP and 8RB like this.
  20. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    War Diary:
    War Diaries were written by all Regiments/Battalions and were exactly what they sound like...a Diary. This means that a daily record was kept of all key events and places. Some were written in almost blow by blow detail and some were relatively brief but they all tend to include place names and map references and the names of officers. That in turn means you can trace quite precisely where they all were at any one time.

    The original copies of War Diaries are kept at the National Archive in Kew. If you can't get there in person there are people on this Forum who can send you copies at a reasonable cost. It might/will also be worth contacting the Tank Museum at Bovington - ask for the Library - because they may well hold a transcript of the FFY War Diary as well as a second copy (although, if my own experience with a different Regiment is anything to go by, the Bovington copy doesn't contain the Appendices.

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