5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoons - Operation Bluecoat

Discussion in 'British Army Units - Others' started by Chris Davies, Aug 1, 2020.

  1. Chris Davies

    Chris Davies Member

    Hi there,

    As part of researching the family tree, I found that my great uncle was KIA on on or around 2 August 1944. He was in the listed as no. 317433 in the 5th, which only landed in France in July ‘44 from what I can see. They then appear to have taken part in Operation Bluecoat around Mont Pincon.

    Does anyone have more information about this his unit and Op Bluecoat, particularly on or around 2 August? The 3 online records eluding to his death show 2 August as the date of death but hold different incident dates e.g. 18 August. I’m unsure if this carries any meaning?


    One more thing to add - there is mention in family records that he may been in A Sqdn

    Oh and his name was George Hodgson
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 1, 2020
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  2. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    For the record, CWGC entry:

    Casualty Details | CWGC
    Service Number: 317433
    Regiment & Unit/Ship: Royal Armoured Corps, 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards.
    Date of Death: Died 02 August 1944

    Age 35 years old
    Buried or commemorated at BAYEUX WAR CEMETERY
    XIX. C. 18.
    Country of Service: United Kingdom
    Additional Info: Son of William and Margeret Helen Hodgson, of Boosbeck, Yorkshire.

    What are the other sources which give different date of death?
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  3. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    Researching on the internet is full of dangers and it is wise not to believe everything you read. The only way to find the real situation is to look for original documents. In this case George Hodgson was reported in casualty list 1528 dated 18/8/44 as 'Missing believed killed 2/8/44'. Subsequently in list 1534 dated 25 8/44 'Previously reported Missing believed killed now reported KIA'.

    You can see where the date of 18th came from.

    From his service number he enlisted with the 'Lancers' and the enlistment records give his attestation date of 27 January 1933.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2020
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  4. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    This is almost certain to be 5 DG on August 1st

    As the forum always changes a direct link to a section of film into a link to the whole film go to 5:19.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2020
  5. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    There was no major action on August 2nd for 5 DG so you will need the War Diary to see what might have happened.
  6. Chris Davies

    Chris Davies Member

    What a coincidence that today is 1 August...

    Out of interest, how did you determine it was the 5th Dragoon’s on the 1st?

    I have a letter from George to my gran dated 31/07. He included that he was part of “2nd troop, A sqdn” on this and spoke about expecting immediate orders to move.

    As above, date of death is listed as 02/08 but originally listed as missing presumed dead on incident reports dated 18 & 24 August
  7. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    This is the IWM description of that footage. It is not yet online at the IWM site.


    A70 108-7 Production Date: 01-08-1944

    Cromwell and Firefly tanks of the 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards move up from Juaye-Mondaye towards 30th Corps' front east of Caumont in the early hours of August 1 1944 prior to joining other units from the 7th Armoured Division in their advance towards Aunay-sur-Odon.

    The Youtube footage is 3 or 4 IWM reels mixed up
  8. Bill Howkins

    Bill Howkins New Member

    Hi Chris. My late Dad, Bill Howkins, was good friends with George. Dad was much younger and it seems that George was good to Dad. Before Dad died in 1986 he wrote a brief history of his time in the Skins. He recorded how he heard of George being killed. Dad was the driver of another tank and he heard over the radio that a tank had been hit. He learned later that Day that he had lost his mate. I have visited George’s grave along with my kids.
    Bill Howkins
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  9. Bill Howkins

    Bill Howkins New Member

  10. Quarterfinal

    Quarterfinal Well-Known Member

    Hello Chris,

    I don’t know how far you’ve got with your research, but if you haven’t already, you should try and get hold of a copy of ‘Back to the Front’ by Howard Hollingshead (1998) (ISBN 0 9529697 20) or ‘Tracks in Europe’ by Jim Boardman (1990) (ISBN 0 9515822 0 8).

    The former discusses that fateful day at Query, 2 August 1944, on page 160. Capt Derek Philo’s Cromwell had seemingly driven up to a T junction and into the killing zone of a well camouflaged 88mm. They were hit at a distance of about 100 yards as they tried to reverse back from a line of mines they had seen on the road, partially masked by dust. One nearby witness saw the round entering the co-driver’s hatch and exiting the driver’s side, instantly killing LCpl JR ‘Eddie’ Booth (driver) and Tpr G ‘Billy’ Hodgson.

    Derek Philo gives another account of this, his first encounter with the enemy, in Jim Boardman’s book at page 124. He again refers to ‘Billy’ Hodgson.

    The other crew may have been a Tubby Johnson and ‘Epps’.

    The German gun was subsequently neutralized by other tanks; its crew were described as boys.

    The context of the events is set within the associated chapters. Howard’s book also has a context of revisiting the battlefields 50 years afterwards, often with Holts’ tours. Hope this is of use.
  11. Robert Epps

    Robert Epps New Member

    Hi, sorry to hijack the conversation but I beleive the other crew member 'Epps' may have been my grandfather, Herbert Arthur Epps. I have some news clippings detailing an indicent where his crew saved a swivel bridge in Ghent, Belgium if anyone is interested
  12. KevinT

    KevinT Senior Member

    Hi Robert,

    Yes please post what you have any photos too if you have them.


  13. Robert Epps

    Robert Epps New Member

    Hi Kevin, here's the clippings, apologies for the quality. I have transcribed them in the PDF, to the best of by ability, for easier reading. I don't have any other info unfortunately, don't even know his proper rank and serial etc. Only referred to as "Tpr (Trooper) Epps" in the articles.

    Attached Files:

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