39165 Col Leslie Edgar Alfred GWYNNE, RE - Italy: bridges location help from aerial photos

Discussion in 'Royal Engineers' started by Julian Walker, Apr 18, 2020.

  1. Julian Walker

    Julian Walker Member

    I am in the process of researching my Grandfather in Law's WW2 service and I am in need of some help from anyone that has a knowlwdge of the role of the Royal Engineers in Sicily and Italy. We have two small briefcases of lots of documents left by him which include aerial photographs of destroyed bridges, working drawings of bridges, operational orders, photographs of Royal Engineers at work, etc.

    My aim is to trace his route from landing in Sicily through his time in Italy to the end of the war where he finished up in Austria. When the COVD -19 situation has calmed down we will plan a road trip through Italy visiting some of the places where he was stationed and viewing some of the sites where he built his bridges -something to look forward to.

    I suspect the war diaries are the place to look for locations and I will need some help here but I will post a separate request in the RE section of the Forum. I will also post some reconnaissance photos and members may be able to identify from the reference on each photo the location of the bridges but I am not sure where to post these photos so advice here would be appreciated.

    Fiinally a picture of the man himself:

    Col LEA Gwynne RE.jpg
     
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  2. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

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  3. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    Julian.

    That is an Eighth Army flash and he is a full Colonel so I suspect that he was on the staff of Eighth Army - probably Engineer Branch.

    He has an OBE or MBE too.

    Your best bet is to get his Service Record from www.gov.uk

    Regards

    Frank
     
  4. Stuart Avery

    Stuart Avery In my wagon & not a muleteer.

    Don't post a separate request in the RE section of the forum! Please do keep to this thread. If you do that, then the mods will merge them. Looking forward to you posting the documents of the two small briefcases.

    It looks like that this could be a interesting thread.

    Regards,
    Stu.
     
  5. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Welcome to the forum.

    If so -
    Reference: WO 373/71/146
    Name Gwynne, Leslie Edgar Alfred
    Rank: Temporary Lieutenant Colonel
    Service No: P/39165
    Regiment: Corps of Royal Engineers
    Theatre of Combat or Operation: North Africa (Algeria, Tunisia)
    Award: Order of the British Empire
    Date of announcement in London Gazette: 23 September 1943
    Screenshot 2020-04-18 at 12.15.52.png
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2020
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  6. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

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  7. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Personal Number: 39165
    Rank: W/S Lieutenant-Colonel
    Name: Leslie Edgar Alfred GWYNNE, CBE, MiD*
    Unit: Royal Engineers


    London Gazette : 7 February 1933
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/33909/page/829/data.pdf
    Hampshire (Fortress)—Lt. L. E. A. Gwynne to be Capt. 7th Oct. 1932.

    London Gazette : 19 November 1937
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/34456/page/7266/data.pdf
    ROYAL ENGINEERS.
    48th (Hampshire) A.A. Bn.—The .undermentioned ofrrs. are transferred from Hampshire (Fortress) R.E., retaining their rank and seniority, ist Nov. 1937:—
    Capt. L. E. A. Gwynne.

    London Gazette : 11 August 1939
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/34653/page/5550/data.pdf
    ROYAL ENGINEERS.
    Capt. L. E. A. Gwynne, from R.E., to be Capt. 5th June 1939.

    London Gazette : 1 July 1941
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/35204/supplement/3740/data.pdf
    The KING has been graciously pleased, on the occasion of the Celebration of His Majesty's Birthday, to give orders for the following promotions in, and appointments to, the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire:—
    To be Additional Members of the Military Division of the said Most Excellent Order: —
    Captain (temporary Major) Leslie Edgar Alfred Gwynne (39165), Royal Engineers.

    London Gazette : 23 September 1943
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/36180/supplement/4213/data.pdf
    The KING has been graciously pleased to give orders for the following promotions in, arid appointments to, the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in North Africa:—
    To be Additional Officers of the Military Division of the said Most Excellent Order:-
    Major (temporary Lieutenant-Colonel) Leslie Edgar Alfred Gwynne, M.B.E. (39165), Corps of Royal Engineers (Lynton, Devon).

    London Gazette : 23 March 1944
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/36436/supplement/1368/data.pdf
    The KING has been graciously pleased to approve that the following be Mentioned in recognition ol gallant and distinguished services in Sicily: —
    Corps of Royal Engineers.
    Maj. (temp. Lt.-Col.) L. E. A. Gwynne, O.B.E (39I65).

    London Gazette : 22 June 1944
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/36574/supplement/2965/data.pdf
    The KING has been graciously pleased to confer "The Efficiency Decoration" upon the following officers of the Territorial Army.
    ROYAL ENGINEERS.
    Maj. (T/Lt.-Col.) L. E. A. Gwynne, O.B.E. (39165).

    London Gazette : 11 January 1945
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/36886/supplement/320/data.pdf
    The KING has been graciously pleased to approve that the following be Mentioned in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Italy:—
    CORPS OF ROYAL ENGINEERS.
    Maj. (temp. Lt.-Col.) L. E. A. Gwynne, O. B. E. (39165).

    London Gazette : 13 December 1945
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/37386/supplement/6056/data.pdf
    The KING has been graciously pleased to give orders for the {following .promotions in, and appointments to, the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Italy: —
    To be Additional Commanders of the Military Division of the said Most Excellent Order:—
    Colonel (acting) Leslie Edgar Alfred GWYNNE, O.B.E., T.D. (39165), Corps of Royal Engineers.

    London Gazette : 8 February 1946
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/37459/supplement/855/data.pdf
    TERRITORIAL ARMY.
    The undermentioned to be Cols.:-
    W/S. Lt.-Col. L. E. A. GWYNNE, O.B.E., T.D. (39165) from R.E.

    London Gazette : 21 September 1948
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/38409/supplement/5097/data.pdf
    TERRITORIAL ARMY
    The undermentioned Cols are retained on the Active List, supern. to establ. :-
    L. E A GWYNNE, C B E , T D. (39165), late RE, 17th Jan 1946

    London Gazette : 13 February 1951
    https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/39146/supplement/782/data.pdf
    TERRITORIAL ARMY RESERVE OF OFFICERS.
    The undermentioned Cols. (T.A.) are transferred to the T.A. Res. of Offrs., 13th Feb. 1951: —
    L. E. A. GWYNNE, C.B.E., T.D. (39165) late R.E
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2020
  8. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    That is impressive. MBE in 41, OBE in 43 and CBE in 45.

    F
     
  9. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

  10. Stuart Avery

    Stuart Avery In my wagon & not a muleteer.

    Hi Julian, more detail has you will read. Welcome to the forum. He gets a mention on pages 21&24. Sources: HISTORY OF THE CORPS OF ROYAL ENGINEERS VOL.IX 1938-1948 MAJ.GEN. R.P. PAKENHAM-WALSH INSTITUTION OF R.E. 1958. &
    ENGINEERS IN THE ITALIAN CAMPAIGN 1943-45.1945. Photos & map.
    rsz_20.jpg
    rsz_21.jpg
    rsz_22.jpg
    rsz_23.jpg
    Meanwhile, work continued on a high-level bridge on Highway 16, called "Sangro Bridge." This was (the longest) Bailey bridge built during the campaign in Italy. See photos & map at the end of the files. Something to be proud of. Hats off to this chap.
    rsz_24.jpg
    rsz_25.jpg
    rsz_26.jpg
    rsz_27.jpg
    Regards,
    Stu.
     
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  11. Julian Walker

    Julian Walker Member

    You have correctly identified the right man.Thank you everyone in particular for the citations for his awards which we have never seen.

    He was certainly proud of his achievement at Sangro which he mentions in his photographic diaries of his WW2 service. I have all the detailed drawings and operational report on this bridge in his files as well as for bridges over the River Po, River Tiber and a concrete ford known as Oued Mellegue at Muthul in North Africa. The quality and detail of the plans are exceptional.

    My aim is to try and obtain copies of the war diaries that cover his period of service and not being familier with the orbat of Royal Enginners i am not sure what unit war diary would cover his movements and the operations as CRE Eighth Army in Sicily and Italy.

    I have three bits of information to go on which are attached. A list of his appoitments, an extract from a small atlas he carried and a list of the locations where he was stationed.

    Any help in this area would be appreciated.

    Julian
    Col LEA Gwynne Ranks and Appoitments (2).jpg Map of Italy.jpg HQ Locations.jpg
     
  12. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    I can't be certain, maybe these could be the correct TNA files and if not others will doubtless correct me

    C.R.E. | The National Archives
    [1st Army]
    Reference: WO 175/44
    Description: C.R.E.
    Date: 1942 Mar.- Oct.

    8 Army: Headquarters: Troops Engineers | The National Archives
    Reference: WO 169/8529
    Description: 8 Army: Headquarters: Troops Engineers
    Date: 1943 July- Dec.

    Headquarters: Troops Engrs. | The National Archives
    [8 Army]
    Reference: WO 170/213
    Description: Headquarters: Troops Engrs.
    Date: 1944 Jan.- Dec.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2020
  13. Stuart Avery

    Stuart Avery In my wagon & not a muleteer.

    I would have to check the Regimental History The Royal Hampshire Regiment Volume 3. For his dates 15.2.28 to 7.10.32. If only my scanner was working.

    Stu.
     
  14. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    Looks like he was at Cassino on 7 Apr 44. Cervaro is just to the immediate south of Cassino town and overlooks it. It was a well trodden path as a Senior Officers’ viewing point.

    He was at Mignano on 12 May 44 which is the day after the start of the Fourth Battle of Cassino. Mignano is further south than Cervantes and was mostly used for stores and fiel£ hospitals.

    Regards

    Frank
     
  15. Julian Walker

    Julian Walker Member

    Thnak you

    Is anyone able to identify the location of these destroyed bridges (in Italy) which come from his files as I don't know how to interpret the RAF reference numbers:

    Unidentified Bridge 1.jpg Unidentified Bridge 2.jpg Unidentified Bridge 3.jpg
     
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  16. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Last edited: Apr 20, 2020
  17. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

  18. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    The first one is dated 17 Apr 45 so I think it is the railway bridge at Santa Maria Maddalena on the River Po.

    Regards

    Frank
     
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  19. Stuart Avery

    Stuart Avery In my wagon & not a muleteer.

    The last one is dated 24.10.43. 18.10.43. He is at Serracapriola. How far did they travel in six days? It looks like a river to me, or a dried out one? Not likely has of the time of year.

    What's the nearest bridge in a North, or east direction? Its hard work trying to have a butchers at google earth on ones phone.

    R
    Stu.
     
  20. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

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