3RTR July 1944 War diary and my Grandad’s curious medal award

Discussion in 'RAC & RTR' started by CuriousG, Jan 6, 2019.

  1. CuriousG

    CuriousG Member

    Hi everyone,

    Much like many people I’m looking into my Paternal Grandad’s service, I had the good fortune to have him as my best man at my wedding, and I am the proud owner of his medals.

    It wasn’t until I happened to share a picture of his medals with one of my friends that it became apparent not all was right with them!
    He had the F&G Star, Africa Star, War and Victory medals, but it turned out the Africa Star was on the 39-45 ribbon. So i acquired a genuine 39-45 Star and my friend furnished me with the correct ribbon for the Africa Star.

    Like many vets he didn't say much, but I did know he was in the RAC, and was WIA. We had some photographs of him in his RAC beret, and I acquired a few more from my dad, one of which shows him with Parachute Wings.

    Intrigued, I applied for his service records in November 2018, and they came yesterday.

    His service number was 14321551, his record shows he was in 53rd Tank Regt RAC, then 23rd Hussars, then finally the AAC.

    In the service record it says 2E21/3RTR/15/44 3RTR TOS 28/4/44
    28/44 3RTR Embarked 15/6/44
    34/44 3RTR Disembarked NWE 16/6/44
    36/44 3RTR GSW NWE 3/7/44

    He then returned to the UK injured, but then went on to serve in the UK for the next 3.5yrs

    Then there’s a load of entries with a penultimate on of “entitled to the awards of 1939-45 Star & Burma Star”.

    No mention of Africa Star! and no idea about the Burma Star either!

    His service record doesn’t indicate any overseas since he was WIA in NWE.

    Be interested in anyone’s view, will ring the medal office to check entitlements

    Does anyone have the war diary for 3RTR for July 1944?

    Cheers
    CuriousG
     
  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Best thing to do is to upload scans of his service reocrds so members can decipher them, and help answer your question(s)

    TD
     
  3. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic Patron

    The 53rd will be RAC Training Regiment.

    Looks like he was 53rd TR RAC
    Posted to 23rd Hussars (who were in the same, 29th, Armoured Brigade as 3RTR)
    But actually TOS (Taken on Strength i.e. joined) 3RTR
    Finally Army Air Corps

    Conclusion - tentative:
    The Burma Star entitlement is wrong. Somehow transposed with Africa Star
    The Wings relate to his time with the AAC

    In July 1944, 3RTR were fighting in the Caen area of Normandy and then down to Flers during the Falaise Gap period.

    Why do you need a copy of the War Diary for July? Or have I missed something. Incidentally I don't know what GSW means.

    Finally, what was his name as that can help ( my own father was 3RTR during that period).
     
  4. Bruneval

    Bruneval Active Member

    SDP,

    The abbreviation GSW may refer to Gun Shot Wound. This may be the date he received the injury?

    Regards

    Bruneval
     
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  5. CuriousG

    CuriousG Member

    No worries, I’ll do that, it does take a bit of deciphering, I wasn’t sure of how much interest the story would be, it’s quite detailed!
    Will do it asap.
     
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  6. CuriousG

    CuriousG Member

    Ah that’s interesting, I kind of came to the same conclusion iro the Burma Star, being a bit of a novice I guess you forget errors can and do happen in the records.

    He was wounded, GSW is Gun Shot Wound I think, to the buttocks of all places!
    The story we understood was they (the tank crew) were brewing up tea with enamel mugs on the exhaust when shelling started coming in, he was the last one to dive under the tank and got shrapnel to the bum!

    In terms of war diary, I was trying to get an understanding of where it happened, the WIA date is 3/7/44 - but just says NWE.

    Name was Ronald Binks, from Bolton, Lancs - I’ve got some a cracking photo of the lads he was with when he joined up he was 18 in 1942, sadly I don’t know any of their names
     
  7. CuriousG

    CuriousG Member

    Yes that’s right, GSW appears to be Gun Shot Wound, 3/7/44.

    Many thanks for confirming
     
  8. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic Patron

    .....in which case he will appear on one of the Casualty Lists. Not my forte but, hey, there are others out there - you know who you are.....
     
  9. CuriousG

    CuriousG Member

    Many thanks for all your replies, i had a read of the war diaries from June ‘44 I spotted on another thread.

    It’s quite cathartic and emotional, he was my own hero if I’m honest.
     
  10. CuriousG

    CuriousG Member

    This is a picture, not sure where, ringed is my grandad Pte Ronald Binks
     

    Attached Files:

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  11. CuriousG

    CuriousG Member

    I went back to have a look at the casualty lists, but perhaps have confused myself.

    Are casualty lists for KIA, MIA, rather than WIA.
    When I first looked last year I didn’t have his service number, but he doesn’t appear.

    Unless there are different lists of course?

    I was looking at this one British Army casualty lists 1939-1945 - The National Archives

    Apols for the noob question!
     
  12. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    I would guess that depends on how serious the injury was and whether or not they had time to take him to a FD station or needed him for action etc

    TD
     
  13. CuriousG

    CuriousG Member

    Cheers TD, that's an interesting point, I am just in the process of scanning the service records, just looking at the Service and Casualty Form, the Medical section says on 5/11/1942 he was category A1, by 15/2/1945 he was B2, so would perhaps explain why he wasn't sent back overseas, due to the GSW Buttocks I guess. The more I'm looking at the forms, the more I am noticing.
     
  14. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic Patron

    RAC cap badges so that would most likely be 53TR which was based at Tidworth.
     
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  15. CuriousG

    CuriousG Member

    Here's the Casualty and Service Record for my Grandad's service, my Mrs is a bit of a dab hand at reading some of the handwriting.

    I'll have a look through the rest of the forum as I've noticed a number of books mentioned about 3RTR.

    Things I'd not considered when I first posted... but now I'm thinking about:

    Was he actually in a tank? (we think he was a driver - but can't be sure)
    What did he do?
    Are there any stories of his unit and comrades, and what happened to those comrades?

    I think I've been bitten by the bug of finding out!

    Thanks for any information you can share, and I'll post what pictures I have of him, and his comrades!

    I also have his enlistment and discharge papers.
     

    Attached Files:

  16. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic Patron

    I've got copies of the War Diary and appended form showing the numbers - not types - of 3RTR casualties for each date. I will upload them later tonight unless I get distracted. Feel free to remind me if I forget!
     
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  17. CuriousG

    CuriousG Member

    Cheers SDP, that would be great, much appreciated, I'll look out for them, I'm a patient soul so no worries if you don't get around to it tonight.
     
  18. CuriousG

    CuriousG Member

    I thought I'd complete the set of pictures I've got by uploading them.

    The group photo shows him a few years older, which would account for his Para Wings in the AAC.

    For historical interest, the wedding photo is when he was still in the RAC pre deployment to NWE - he got married in his uniform as his mother apparently sold all his clothes on the assumption he would be KIA.
    Small lad is my Grandad's younger brother, and far right, and far left are my Grandma's younger sisters.
    Some fascinating stories on here, hopefully this is of interest.
     

    Attached Files:

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  19. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic Patron

    I see he is wearing his TR lanyard on the wedding photo. Each TR had a different colour so you might be able to second guess/confirm the 53TR connection etc.
     
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  20. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic Patron

    War Diary extracts herewith:

    IMG_3878.JPG

    IMG_3879.JPG

    IMG_3877.JPG

    Apologies about the weird lines on the images: they are photos of my other computer screen and it was quicker doing it this way than going to the rigmarole of copying and transferring files etc

    The map references will most likely be found on sheet Caen 7F/1. Copies are dotted around this forum and (free) digital downloads are available on the internet. Give me a shout if you need further input

    The signature on the Casualty summary is the CO of 3RTR, David Silvertop who was later killed after the Liberation of Antwerp.
     

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