33 Armoured Brigade

Discussion in 'Higher Formations' started by TimL, May 26, 2014.

  1. TimL

    TimL Member

    Hello - I am researching my late father, RSM O A Lester's activity during WW2. He was a regular in the Royal Tank Corps and was involved with training in the UK for the first 4 years of the war. I know that he went over to Normandy on or about 10 June 1944 (D +4). His Army Certificate of Service does not show which unit he was with, but I do have a photograph (attached) showing members of the Sgts Mess of HQ Squadron 33 Armoured Brigade, taken somewhere in the UK in early 1944. The names on the photo are fairly clear apart from the front row far right who is MQMS F Bell.
    My questions are
    1) Does anyone have any idea when & where this photo may have been taken?
    2) I can identify cap badges of the RAC, RTC, Lancers (9th?) and RAOC, but the others are a mystery - any ideas?
    3) Does anyone have any information on any of the persons in the photograph? Incidentally, my father SSM O Lester is scond from right, front row.

    Thanks, Tim Lester

    Attached Files:

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  2. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    Brigadier Scott was OC of 33 Armoured Brigade.

    Will post more up later as I've been working on 33 AB of late, although most of my focus has been on 144 RAC.

    Woodrow rings a bell as well. [Bit of a placeholder to remind me to add to this...]

    And cracking photo!
  3. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    The 33rd Armoured Brigade was also involved in the fighting in the Ardennes 44/45 (Battle of the Bulge). After that they changed over from Sherman tanks to the amphibious Buffalloos, which they operated during the Rhine Crossing (Op Plunder).
  4. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Other cap badges I can see are
    Royal Corps of Signals.
    Lothian & Border Horse
    Royal West Kents
  5. TimL

    TimL Member

    Glad I've found this site! Thanks to all who have responded so far, I look forward to any further comments.

    I vaguely remember my father talking about the Ardennes campaign and he definately crossed the Rhine in a Buffalo. It is interesting that there are blokes from the Royal West Kents and the Lothian & Border Horse in the photo - from the research I've done so far I've not come across either unit as being part of 33 AB....
  6. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    The West Kent chap is probaly from 162 Regt RAC as he has a Black Beret .
    162 Regt RAC was formed from 9th RWKR & I'm sure they retained their own cap badges.
  7. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  8. TimL

    TimL Member

    Ah I see - makes sense. Any thoughts on the blokes with the non black berets?
  9. TimL

    TimL Member

    In that case think the photo may have been taken in Farnborough (Hants) as I recall my father saying that he was stationed there shortly before D Day.
  10. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    As said before Royal Corps of Signals & 1 from RAOC.
  11. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    The 1st REGIMENT of the Lothian and Border Horse were attached to the 79th AD as a funny - therefore they could have been

    anywhere within 2nd Army….the 2nd Regiment were a Fixture in the 26th AB of 6th AD in North Africa - Italy and disbanded in Austria

    There were only three Cavalry units with two Regiments - the L & B H - Gloucesters and Derby Yeo…..

  12. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Here's the ref for the Brigades 1944 War Diary at Kew.

    WO 171/640 33 Armoured Brigade 1944 Mar.-Dec.

  13. TimL

    TimL Member

    Thanks for this reference Andy. I'm not too far away from Kew, so will pay the Archives a visit....


  14. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    There should be at least one Officer Field Return every month. They list the officers with the HQ so you may be able to ID them from that.
  15. jw021979

    jw021979 Still Learning

    I have had a look at a couple of bits that I have and from March to August 44 it looks like (and may not be accurate) the following were part of the 33 armoured Brigate:
    1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry
    144 R.A.C (East Lancashire Regiment)
    148 R.A.C (Loyal Regiment (North Lancashire)).

    August to January 1944/45 the 33 was the following:
    1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry
    144 R.A.C (East Lancashire Regiment)
    1st East Riding of Yorkshire Yeomanry

    Looks like they were all in Shermans at that time. The 33rd later changed to Buffalos (at which time they were joined by the 11th RTR).
    144 R.A.C left in february 1945 and the 11th RTR left in March 1945

    Anyone is welcome to correct any of this.

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