64509 Captain Colin John Russell Yeo, Royal Artillery

Discussion in 'Royal Artillery' started by Drew5233, Apr 4, 2014.

  1. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Can anyone help?

    I've found this chaps OBE but it looks like he was awarded a MC as well according to the London Gazette. I've tried a few various searches on TNA within WO 373 but having no joy. Knowing some of you are far better than me at using search engines I thought I'd throw it out to you ladies and gents.

    All I need is the Kew ref if one exists - I'm happy to search for it within my files.

    He was with 23rd Field Regiment (51 Div) (checking the diary next) and captured at St. Valery so I suspect he may have been awarded it post war for something he did in May or June 1940. I don't think he would have got it for anything E and E related.

  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Taken from WO 167/477 23rd Field Regiments War Diary, Sept 1939
  3. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

  4. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Found his CBE which clearly shows a MC

  5. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    London Gazette info:
    The Military Cross
    Captain (temporary) Colin John Russell YEO (64509),
    Royal Regiment of Artillery (Harpenden, Herts.)

    Because of his status (Lord Lt of Sussex or close to) I am surprised not to find an 'official' obituary for him :(

  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Hi Richard - definitely got it at the end of the war as it's dated 11/10/45
  7. Tanky

    Tanky Junior Member

    Note bit on CBE Citation: MC 11/10/45 P/W 51 HD.

    So my original guess that he may have got it for activity during time as POW is possible!
  8. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    For reference and information:

    UK, British Prisoners of War, 1939-1945 about C J R Yeo
    Name: C J R Yeo
    Rank: Captain
    Army Number: 64509
    Regiment: Royal Artillery
    POW Number: 1329
    Camp Type: Oflag
    Camp Number: VII-B
    Camp Location: Eichstätt, Bavaria
  9. Tanky

    Tanky Junior Member

    Tricky, it is worth reading the Wiki entry on Oflag VII- B.
  10. Tanky

    Tanky Junior Member

    He has a full obit in the Times and he did escape from Oflag VII B, which could explain the MC but also states in obit that he was awarded MC for his part in fighting in 1940:

    Brigadier C. J. R. Yeo

    Published at 12:00AM, February 26 2004

    Commander of UN forces in Cyprus during a time of tension between the Greek and Turkish communities in the early 1960s
    FOLLOWING outbreaks of fighting between the Greek and Turkish communities in Cyprus over their different interpretations of the 1960 Constitution at the end of 1963, a degree of stability was restored by British troops. The extent of the violence called for reinforcement of the resident British garrison by elements of the 3rd Division, under command of Major-General (later Field Marshal Sir) Michael Carver, and of the 16th Parachute Brigade. This ad hoc peacekeeping force was subsequently converted to one under United Nations auspices by Security Council Resolution 187 of 1964.
    Units from Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Ireland and Sweden arrived to relieve British units over the ensuing months, and General Gyani of India was appointed force commander. The situation remained volatile, however, especially where Greek and Turkish communities shared villages or occupied adjacent suburbs of the towns. General Carver stayed on in Nicosia as Deputy force commander and Chief of Staff until, on renewal of the UN mandate for the force at the end of June, Brigadier Colin Yeo was flown out from England to replace him.
    Yeo was the Commander Royal Artillery of 44 (Home Counties) Division of the Territorial Army in Sidcup, but was not without diplomatic experience. He had been the military adviser to the British High Commissioner in Salisbury, Rhodesia, during the period of tension between London and Salisbury after the introduction of the 1961 Constitution favouring the white population. Relations had become increasingly strained during 1962, Yeo’s final year in Rhodesia, leading eventually to Ian Smith ‘s unilateral declaration of independence in 1965.
    At the time Yeo took over in Cyprus, the security situation was precarious throughout the island. There was no wholesale separation of the communities, such as followed the mainland Turkish intervention a decade later, and the units at his disposal varied significantly in their attitude to peacekeeping. Elements of the Canadian, Irish and Swedish battalions had served with the UN force in the Congo, where direct military action on a large scale had often been required. Some of these individuals took time to adapt to the more restrained approach appropriate in Cyprus.
    Although nominally Chief of Staff of the Force, Yeo was the de facto tactical commander on the ground as well as chief negotiator between the communities on points of day-to-day conflict. It was United Nations practice at the time to appoint force commanders from states unaligned in the Cold War, and to select officers already retired from their national armies whenever possible. While they consequently owed allegiance only to the UN headquarters in New York, such officers were inevitably in the autumn of their days. (General Thimayya of India, who succeeded General Gyani as Force Commander, died in post in December 1965.) Yeo also commanded the British contingent of the force, which remained the largest even after significant withdrawals.
    Hopes in Cyprus and New York that the replacement of a British peacekeeping force by one from the United Nations would transform the local situation were not fulfilled. On the contrary, to begin with matters grew worse. Both sides to the dispute took opportunities to reopen points of local contention with the newcomers, and it took all of Yeo’s negotiating skill and patience to ensure adherence to the arrangements which had brought a halt to the fighting. New disputes, real and contrived, arose almost daily, and it is an indication of the depth of feeling between the communities that the UN Force is still on the island today after four decades.
    On the second three-monthly renewal of the UN mandate in September 1964, Yeo was recalled to his post in England and replaced by Brigadier James Wilson, who stayed on for a full tour of duty. After completing his time with the 44th Division, Yeo was advised that he was due for a major-general’s post in the Far East, but he chose to retire on his 50th birthday and devote himself to local affairs in East Sussex.
    Colin John Russell Yeo was the son of Major F. R. Yeo of the Royal Artillery. He was educated at Rugby and the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, from where he was commissioned into the Royal Artillery in 1935. After the outbreak of war, he went to France as a troop commander with 23rd Field Regiment RA in the 51st (Highland) Division.
    After the German offensive in May 1940, his regiment took part in what proved to be fruitless attempts to restore the French defensive line on the Somme. Subsequently, it withdrew towards St Valéry-en-Caux at the mouth of the river. When the regiment’s last artillery shells had been fired, the guns were put out of action and the men fought as infantry on the outskirts of St Valéry until obliged to surrender there with the 51st (Highland) Division in June. A plan for evacuation by the Royal Navy was rendered impractical when the enemy took positions overlooking the harbour. Yeo was awarded the Military Cross for his part in the fighting.
    He spent the rest of the war as a prisoner, some of it in Oflag VII B at Eichstätt in Bavaria. The camp had an escape committee working on several schemes. Sixty-five officers escaped through a tunnel on June 3, 1943, but all were recaptured. Whether Yeo was one of these or a member of another tunnel escape team is uncertain; he certainly got out of Eichstätt only to be caught, as he would ruefully explain, because his 6ft 4in made it difficult for him to hide.
    Drew5233 and dbf like this.
  11. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    A trick is to find the LG entry and look at other names listed in the same category of award. If they also do not appear in the TNA search engine for recommendations then it's the usual story - tough, they aren't at TNA.

    I can't see any MC in TNA for those listed after him in the LG.


    Captain (temporary) Colin John Russell YEO (64509), Royal Regiment of Artillery (Harpenden, Herts.).

    Lieutenant Eric Charles ANKERS (109306), Royal Regiment of Artillery (London, N.6.).
    Lieutenant Harry DUNN (70817), Royal Regiment of Artillery (Oban).
    Second-Lieutenant Keith Anthony Marsland BENNETT (74527), Royal Regiment of Artillery (London, S.W .5).
    Second-Lieutenant Harry DROS (124927), Royal Regiment of Artillery (London, S.E.6).
    Lieutenant Hardinge Stephen Montieth HOGG (71067), Corps of Royal Engineers (Stone, Staffs.).
    Second-Lieutenant Walter Andrew BIGGAR (75990),Royal Corps of Signals (Kirkcudbright).

    (If the others do happen to be found using search engine then the missing award may simply not have been indexed by TNA. Then it's a good idea to check the relevant WO 373 file, starting with their copy of LG which is at the beginning of each award category. Usually there are annotations on that list, ticks, remarks, removals, etc.)
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  12. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    dbf likes this.
  13. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Bummer, isn't it, and not the first time we've encountered this.

    Maybe we should start noting the LG dates ... somewhere.
  14. Tanky

    Tanky Junior Member

    Yes entries for 5/6 June for Capt. Yeo and his OP activities seem citation stuff!
  15. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    His battery was firing 3,000 rounds a day on those two days and I'm wondering if it was his troop that fired over 1,700 rounds in a day.

    Di - I normally assume I'm on loosing battle if a name doesn't pop up on Discovery with WO 373 enetered. I found his CBE/OBE straight away by searching WO 373 Yeo.

    Ho hum.
  16. Rob Dickers

    Rob Dickers 10th MEDIUM REGT RA

    You could try an email to Woolwich or via Op-Ack on here.

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