4th Indian Division Royal Artillery

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by jayUK84, Oct 9, 2013.

  1. jayUK84

    jayUK84 Member

    Hi I posted this another topic I think I put it in the wrong one, Im looking for information and hopefully pictures of my grandfather Donald Beric Davies he was a Battery Sergeant Major in the Royal Artillery 4th Indian Division primarily in the Italian Campaign and alongside the Gurkhas he was on the 35pdr Guns.

    He survived the War but died when I was young, he moved a lot after the war with his family and in the process lost photos and even a medal I would like to get some information and if possible and I know its a long shot some photos of him during this time.

    I told a story in the other thread that when he and his friend were taking a break behind the lines he suddenly felt someone touch his boots and say (not sure iv got the spelling right) "Te-ki Jonhhy" it turns out the Gurkhas were in the area and the way they would find out if you were British or German without giving away there position was to feel the laces of the boot.

    If anyone has information and pictures of my granddad it would be most appreciated.

    Thank You.
  2. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member

  3. jayUK84

    jayUK84 Member

    Hi thank you for replying I have been pestering my family to make sure if it was 4th Indian division Royal Artillery and they keep telling me he was and in Italy at monte cassino and Greece but apart from the odd battle name and the odd story here and there I don't know much about what he did or went through I did find out he was one of the main lorry drivers for the unit iv been told that he was sometimes put in front of a convoy with no lights on at night when the German planes were overhead.

    Thank You for adding more information on the 4th indian division iv got a bad feeling there isn't anyone left that might have served with my granddad but im still looking for more info on the division and my granddad.
    Mark Surridge likes this.
  4. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member

    hi Jay

    If you need anything else about Greece, just ask

  5. Maureene

    Maureene Well-Known Member

    The Tiger Triumphs: The Story of Three Great Divisions in Italy. Published by His Majesty’s Stationery Office for the Government of India 1946
    "The Fourth, Eighth and Tenth Indian Divisions will forever be associated with the fighting for Cassino, the capture of Rome, the Arno Valley, the liberation of Florence and the breaking of the Gothic Line".
    Available to read online in two versions

    http://www.ibiblio.org/britishraj/Tiger3/index.html Transcribed by Chris Gage
    http://www.ourstory.info/library/4-ww2/Tiger/triumphsTC.html ourstory.info AFS (American Field Service)

  6. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Try & get a copy of

    Lieut-Colonel GR Stevens OBE

    Naval & Military Press do a reprint, I've got an original copy.
  7. jayUK84

    jayUK84 Member

    Thank you to everyone who has replied iv already started to paint picture of the 4th indian division also any more pictures of the division especially on the royal artillery body of the 4th indian division all I need now are people who may have served with my granddad.
    Mark Surridge likes this.
  8. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place.... Patron

    A quick check of the order of battle for Italy seems to indicate the Divisional artillery of the 4th Indiian division in Italy included 1st, 11th & 31 Field Regiments 57 LAA and 149 Atk Regiments. There are only 3-4 batteries in each regiment and the BSM is the senior solider in each, and it should be quite likely to find a mention or a photo in the unit records. .

    The field regiments of 4th Indian Division were all from regular pre war units, so their traditions histories etc should be held somewhere - probably Firepower. All of these are disbanded. The last battery in the RA to carry the red eagle or "shitehawk" badge was 42 (Alem Hemza) Battery which was only placed in suspended animation recently as part of a restructuring of the UAV batteries. The history of 31 Field Regiment is excdllent and contains lots of photos and accounts of the experiences of the 4th Indian Division's artillery group.

    149 ATk was a TA unit formed from the Lancashire Yeomanry. They are still in existence and will have regimental history and archives. 57 LAA were another TA unit formed from an infantry battalion of the Kings own Yorkshire light infantry.
  9. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  10. jayUK84

    jayUK84 Member

    thank you to everyone for the help I've always been very proud of my granddad's war achievements in the royal artillery 4th Indian Division it does feel at times a forgotten division as I could only find the odd bit of info on them im still trying to fond a picture of my granddad during his time in the service and if anyone else knows where to look that would be fantastic (hopefully a site that doesn't need payment to look at its documents like certain genealogy sites).

    Many, Many Thanks.
  11. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Pay the 30 quid for his service records , then you'll know what unit he was in.
    Then you can look for pics of them.
    Never know there might be some photos out there.
    Mark Surridge likes this.
  12. jayUK84

    jayUK84 Member

    Iv done so much research on the 4th indian division still cant seem to find him it looks like I might have to go to the MOD and ask for his service record the problem is they want his service number and I don't know it neither does my mum or her sisters.
  13. David Reid

    David Reid New Member

    Jay my father John Reid was in the 4th Indian Division, 11th Field Regiment R.A., 187 Battery, F Troop. He died October 2016 and until shortly before his death still moaned that there were few references to the history of the Division and Regiment compared to others. He lost most of his friends at Monte Casino. If you get more information it might be possible from the photos mum has to see if they were ever pictured together. Got a good one of dad entering Rome.
    Mark Surridge likes this.
  14. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    I agree with your late father that the 4th Ind Div artillery has not been very well-served by the historians: considering the very large number of actions the they were involved in, there is little beyond the divisional histories--and even those tend to refer to 'the guns' as an amorphous blob instead of describing them individually. 31 Fd Regt has its own published history, mostly culled from the war diaries, but 11 Fd Regt has only Gunfire Target: Six Years with the Royal Artillery by Edward A. Oates and 1 Fd Regt has nothing whatsoever that I know of.

    My grandfather's battalion (1/4th Essex of 5th Brigade) were most often supported by 1 Fd Regt, but 11 Fd Regt were certainly doing the job at times. I'd be very interested to see anything you might be able to upload of your father and his mates.
    Mark Surridge likes this.
  15. Dave Caddy

    Dave Caddy New Member

    My Dad served with the RA in the 4th Indian Div. He was at Casino and then ended up in Greece, although not sure what Regt he was with. Strangly enough refering to the intial post in this thread my Dad also told me about having his boots felt by a Gurhka.
    Mark Surridge likes this.
  16. Dave Caddy

    Dave Caddy New Member

    Just dug through some of his papers and found he was with 80 Battery 1st Field Regt
    Mark Surridge likes this.
  17. Mark Surridge

    Mark Surridge Junior Member

    David... There is a good chance that your Father and mine were serving alongside each other...

    I have my Father's 'Army Book' and plenty of reminiscences but like so many from that campaign he didn't like to talk about the war, too, often...

    In brief, Major Robert Surridge served with the 1st Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, 4th Indian Division, Eighth Army in North Africa and Italy 1943-44...Underneath Casino, he positioned his four 25lb guns along Route 66, and gave covering fire to what he always called his 'wonderful little gurkhas' ... as they went into action, and covering fire as they returned...

    He then told this story that he found himself, by pure chance, to be the most senior officer in Athens and so want to the National Bank and chawed the cheque so that he could pay 'the troops'...just his gunners, or all the 4th Indian Division I don't know...

    I will be posting his story later today and I will be seeking any help I can glean from other members in tracking down his movements.....think he arrived in North Africa, in Bone, on 21st January 1943 on Convoy KMS.8G..but thereafter I cannot track his movements...
  18. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    You're in luck.

    See here:
    1 Fd Regt RA at Cassino - March 44
  19. Mark Surridge

    Mark Surridge Junior Member

    Dave Caddy ..'Just dug through some of his papers and found he was with 80 Battery 1st Field Regt...'

    And this week, Dave, I have discovered that my father, Robert Surridge, was also with the same regiment and the same battery at Monte Cassino....you can follow my exchanges with the very knowledgeable contributors in these forums ..
    Chris C likes this.
  20. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member


    Route 6 rather that Route 66!



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