5th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment

Discussion in 'North Africa & the Med' started by Giles12, Nov 15, 2011.

  1. Giles12

    Giles12 Junior Member

    I know little of my Great Uncle's war. Captain Herbert Noel Wallace was awarded a posthumous MC for action on 23rd March 1943. I have a copy of his citation, but apart from this one day I know nothing other than he died 2 weeks later on April 6th.

    Has anybody got access to Regimental diaries or other material that I might be able to cross-reference?
     
  2. RemeDesertRat

    RemeDesertRat Very Senior Member

  3. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Welcome to the forum Giles12,

    Steve (handle 'RemeDesertRat') has provided you with a link that I contributed to, albeit my 'piece' was just some background information.

    I have a lot of information on the 5th Bn East Yorkshire Regiment and will have a look tonight when back home from work to see if there is anything I can add.

    I will post again later!

    In the meantime, you may wish to send a PM (personal message) to Diane (handle 'dbf') to see if she has any more information in addition to that in the linked thread.

    Best,

    Steve.
     
  4. Giles12

    Giles12 Junior Member

    Many thanks Steve. i look forward to hearing from you later.

    Giles
     
  5. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Hello and welcome to the forum. Your great uncle would have received the MC whilst he was alive. Only the VC, GC and MID's were awarded posthumously during WW2.

    Regards
    Andy
     
  6. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Many thanks Steve. i look forward to hearing from you later.

    Giles

    Hello Giles, me again!

    Diane posted a great message about the award of your Great Uncle's MC at Mareth (Known as 'Wadi Zig Zag'), at Message #1 in the thread Reme (Steve) referred to. I won't repeat any of this.

    The possible interesting references I have found is in a book "The Story of The 5th Battalion The East Yorkshire Regiment" TA by L M Garwood (Highgate).

    1) On pages 194 and 195 he is shown as a Temporary Captain and Officer Commanding a Rifle Company, both, on 28th March and 27th June 1942;

    2) At Wadi Akarit on the 6 April 1943, the 5th Bn had crossed a ditch and reached its objective. Major Wallace had been in the forefront of this action. Then on page 92:

    "Later in the evening, as food arrived and was being sent out to companies, a German aircraft dropped three bombs on the headquarters of the battalion, resulting in the deaths of Major HN Wallace, Captain AA Blackwell, Lieutenant and Quartermaster AS James, Lieutenant JA Atkinson, and Privates A Blackmore, E Bolton, and JW Bousfield."

    There are no other references therein that add to this information.

    I hope that this adds to the information you have.

    Best,

    Steve.
     
  7. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Another inetresting fact is that he served with Captain Alexander Somerled Angus Bosville Macdonald, who was involved and wounded in the actions on the same day and immediately prior to your Great Uncle winning his MC.

    Captain Macdonald succeeded to the barontecy as Sir Alexander Bosville, The Macdonald of the Isles.

    'Somerled' was the first king of the Scots. Captain Macdonald was both a Macdonald and English, as am I, and his family owned land at Rudston, East Yorks; which is probably why he joined the East Yorks Regt, rather than a Highland Regt.

    He served with the 5th East Yorks, 69th Infantry Brigade, 50th (Northumbrian) Division; the latter is where my family served in the main.

    Best,

    Steve.
     
  8. Giles12

    Giles12 Junior Member

    Once again Steve, many thanks.

    Giles
     
  9. Bill Leck

    Bill Leck Junior Member

    I wonder if anyone can help with the following queries ?

    My father 4344876 Sgt WM Leck served wth the 5th Batt EYR from 1939 until 1946. Various sources state that the 5th Batt. was a T.A Unit. However my father was a regular soldier. Did the Army 'seed' T.A. Batts with cadres of regulars to help with training and increase the level of experience ?

    Secondly, my father was wounded and captured by the Italians on or about (according to his Service Record ) 24 July 1942. Is there any way I can trace what action this occurred in ?

    Thanks in anticipation for any information
     
  10. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    I wonder if anyone can help with the following queries ?

    My father 4344876 Sgt WM Leck served wth the 5th Batt EYR from 1939 until 1946. Various sources state that the 5th Batt. was a T.A Unit. However my father was a regular soldier. Did the Army 'seed' T.A. Batts with cadres of regulars to help with training and increase the level of experience ?

    Secondly, my father was wounded and captured by the Italians on or about (according to his Service Record ) 24 July 1942. Is there any way I can trace what action this occurred in ?

    Thanks in anticipation for any information

    Hello Bill,

    You sent me a PM a couple of days ago whilst I was away on business, I got the usual e-mail telling me so but it does not appear today in my PM's - very strange indeed.

    The answer to your first question is 'yes'. Once WWII started and especially as replacements were needed, regulars found themselves transferred from regular battalions within a regiment to TA battalions. As the war progressed transfers were made from one regiment to another, and some of this en block.

    It looks like he was taken prisoner after the Gazala gallop, when the 8th Army retreated east into Egypt and the Alamein line. The date fits with the First Battle of El Alamein, which was a defensive battle for the 8th Army orchestrated by Gen. Auchinleck and which raged for most of July 1942 i.e. up to the 27 July.

    I will have a look at this more closely for you later and revert with more specific detail.

    Best,

    Steve.
     
  11. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Regular Soldiers were serving with TA units before WW2 started - It still happens today for a variety of reasons. The lowest rank is normally a SSGT and the senior can be a Lt Col.

    Ref any detail I would look at the battalions war diaries at the National Archives or get a copy of the regimental history (If one exists).
     
  12. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    The battalion history is "The Story of The 5th Battalion The East Yorkshire Regiment TA" by L M Garwood (Highgate); as mentioned at Message #6 above. It is that book that I will look in, amongst other sources, to find more specific detail later!

    Best,

    Steve.
     
    Desert Dog likes this.
  13. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Hello Bill,

    The 69th Infantry Brigade, of which the 5th Bn East Yorkshire Regiment was part, was situated in the area of Ruweisat Ridge between 1st and 29th July 1942 and heavily involved in the First Battle of El Alamein.

    "The Story of The 5th Battalion The East Yorkshire Regiment TA" by L M Garwood (Highgate), pages 53 to 55, cover the action in which your father was probably wounded and captured. The fighting was against German soldiers, not Italian, but it may be that it was Italian's who were allocated to 'tidy up' the battlefield, etc.

    The 69th Infantry Brigade was put under the command of the 7th Armoured Division - The Desert Rats - on the 20 July 1942, with orders to attack strong enemy positions. The Brigade was well under strength and soldiers from the 7th Bn Green Howards were used to strengthen the 6th Bn Green Howards, so a battalion of the 201st Guards Brigade was placed under command for the purpose of this attack.

    When the 201st Guards had achieved their tasks, the 5th East Yorks and 6th Green Howards task was to attack the Taqa Plateau from the south. If successful the 4th Armoured Brigade would pass through and seek to exploit the area behind the Germans and drive them out of the area.

    At 1.30 am on the 22 July 1942, they moved forward and at daylight were established on the southern edge of the plateau, with the 5th East Yorks on the left. However, at daylight they came under withering MG fire from the German positions and could make no further progress. They were then subjected to continuous artillery and mortar fire throughout the day, suffering a considerable number of casualties. At 16.00 pm they were counter-attacked, the enemy being supported by tanks and armoured cars. A hard battle was fought, with heavy casualties, the enemy being eventually driven off by artillery and mortar fire.

    Patrols sent out during the night found that the enemy was being reinforced in strength.

    On the 23 July they were then subjected to more artillery and mortar fire, and casualties were very heavy. As there was no hope of further progress the attack was called off at 21.00 pm and they began to withdraw under the cover of darkness. The departure was unnoticed by the enemy, and the arrived at Garet El Himeimat at midday on the 24 July.

    It appears that your father may have been too badly wounded to be moved, so was left for the German doctors to look after, or he was separated from his unit or trapped and missed the withdrawal.

    The 5th East Yorks were on the move again the following day and back in action on the 27 July 1942.

    I will look at other of my sources and if I find any further information I will post again.

    Best,

    Steve.
     
  14. Giles12

    Giles12 Junior Member

    I have found an interesting source to be
    BBC - WW2 People's War

    A chap called Tommy Ward served in theattallion & mentions the action Steve refers to above:
    The Gazala battle was fierce and there were severe casualties with the 5th East York’s having only 170 men left from a contingent of 800 and the 4th East York’s being nearly wiped out. I felt extremely lucky to survive and sadly lost many friends.

    Giles
     
  15. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    I have found an interesting source to be
    BBC - WW2 People's War

    A chap called Tommy Ward served in theattallion & mentions the action Steve refers to above:
    The Gazala battle was fierce and there were severe casualties with the 5th East York’s having only 170 men left from a contingent of 800 and the 4th East York’s being nearly wiped out. I felt extremely lucky to survive and sadly lost many friends.

    Giles

    A good find Giles!

    The 4th Bn East Yorks and the 4th & 5th Bn's Green Howards - making up the 150th Infantry Brigade - were overrun at Gazala on the 1 June 1942. Rommel had been so impressed with the 150th Infantry Brigade's defence of their box that he stopped by after the battle to congratulate their CO, Brigadier Hayden, only to find that he had been killed in action near the end of the fighting.

    Those that were not killed were taken prisoner and the 150th Infantry Brigade was removed from the nominal roll. Very few troops escaped, but most of those of the 4th East Yorks that did were absorbed into the 5th East Yorks.

    The story of the 150th Infantry Brigade at Gazala and the Fighting French at Bir Hacheim is well worth studying/reading.

    Best,

    Steve.
     
  16. Bill Leck

    Bill Leck Junior Member

    Hi Steve and Giles,
    Please accept my apologies for not replying earlier but have been out of the country for the past two weeks.
    Thank you both and especially Steve for the most interesting and complete information, it would appear that different from the Record of Service statement my father was injured and captured on the 23rd July.
    I have in my possession a spoon sent to my mother from Stalag IVB on which my father engraved the Division badge, the EYR cap badge and a list of places served including Cyprus and Iraq. Your mention of the book of the 5th East Yorks has prompted me to buy a copy to hopefully fill in the many blanks in his life from 1939 until his capture.

    Thank you again

    Regards
    BILL
     
  17. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Hi Bill, if you can get to the National Archives at Kew I would consider copying the following unit war diaries. They will give you a day to day account of what the unit was doing amongst other things.

    WO 166/4283 5 East Yorkshire Regiment (The Duke of York's Own). 1939 Aug.- 1940 Mar., July - 1941 May

    WO 167/852 5 East Yorkshire Regiment (Duke of York's Own) 1940 Apr.-June

    WO 169/1754 5 East Yorkshire Regiment (The Duke of York's Own) 1941 June

    WO 169/5076 5 East Yorkshire Regiment (The Duke of York's Own) 1942 Jan.- Dec.

    If you can't get there Bill drop me a PM or click on the Red link below in my Royal Corps of Signals signature.

    Cheers
    Andy
     
  18. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    You are welcome, Bill.

    The War Diaries Andy refers to above cover the whole period from just prior to the outbreak of WWII - for the Commonwealth - to 31 December 1942, excepting July to December 1941.

    If you obtain the War Diaries you will notice that the 5th East Yorks were in the 23rd (Northumbrian) Division from just prior to the outbreak of WWII to circa the 30 June 1940 and then in 50th (Northumbrian) Division from 1 July 1940 for the duration. The 23 Div was the 50 Div's second line, or duplicate and although in Flanders with the BEF, were involved in different actions.

    The 23 Div included 69th Infantry Brigade - 5th Bn East Yorks, and 6th & 7th Bns Green Howards - and the 70th Infantry Brigade - 10th & 11th Bns Durham Light Infantry and 1st Bn Tyneside Scottish (ex- 12th Bn Durham Light Infantry, but transferred to the Black Watch Regt). When the 23 Div was broken up on circa 1 July 1940, the 70th Infantry Brigade transferred to the 49th (West Riding) Division. If you feel the need, you will find quite a bit of information about these units via the 'Search' facility on this forum.

    Andy - Do you know what happened to the War Diaries covering July to December 1941?

    Best,

    Steve.
     
  19. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

     
  20. englandphil

    englandphil Very Senior Member

    Good afternoon, I would appreciate any info relating to the following Widnes Casualty who served with the South lanc's and then 5th Battalion East Yorks.

    Private Paul Lynan
    3660365, 5th Bn East Yorkshire Regiment
    Died aged 22 between 28th & 29th June 1942.
    Buried at El Alamein War Cemetery.

    Paul Lynan joined the South Lancashire Regiment in 1940, and after a period of training he went overseas, and served with the 8th Army at Tobruk.

    I believe that he was originally posted as missing, as news of his death was not recieved until February 1944.

    Phil
     

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