759596 Sergeant George Keiller M.M., 76 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery

Discussion in 'Royal Artillery' started by mark abbott, Jul 26, 2018.

  1. mark abbott

    mark abbott Junior Member

    I am currently undertaking research into the above who lived in Keir Hardie Street, Methil. George was born in April 1905, the son on of John Keiller and Mary Russell. He married Susan Cowan Potter on the 12 September 1930.

    George served with 76th Field Regiment Royal Artillery from 19.1.1925 until his final discharge on 1 May 1949. Clearly a very brave man, he was awarded a Military Medal in 1946.

    M.M. London Gazette 24 January 1946. 759596 Sergeant George Keiller, 76 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery. The recommendation states:

    ‘This NCO is i/c Bty Sigs and has fought through the whole of the recent campaign. On D Day, his duties were to control several separate parties on the beach itself who were concerned with mine clearance, route marking, traffic organisation and local protection. These parties were widely separated and to begin with disorganised by the heavy mortaring and shelling of the beach. He rallied these parties and by showing a complete disregard for his own personal safety, made them effective. He continued to move from one party to another and refused to take cover. His fearless conduct, and his example of leadership and cheerfulness, and his initiative, were of the very highest order.

    Since this first action of the campaign, Sjt Keiller has shown the same spirit and coolness and bravery which was marked down on D Day by so many in the Bty. His duties have been mainly concerned in the maintenance of communications. If there is a sticky job to be done on the line, it is Sjt Keiller who leads the party to do it.

    During the Venraij battle the OP line was continually cut at all hours of the day and night by mortar and shell fire. Again and again Sjt Keiller calling for a volunteer went into the most unhealthy areas and re-established line communications. When things are sticky, Sjt Keiller is there. His courage and cheerfulness and leadership are recognised by all ranks.

    During the campaign the communications in the Bty have been of a very high order and behind this lies a great deal of hard sweat, organisation and example on the part of the Bty NCO i/c Sigs. The above two instances are only examples of many tasks carried out by Sjt Keiller which have shown the greatest bravery and devotion to duty.’

    My question although simple, may not be easy to answer!

    Would George have landed on Sword beach before this Field Regiment and if so; which landing craft would he have been on?

    I would be delighted to hear from anyone with any information on George or indeed on the 76th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery.

    I have ordered copies of the WD from Drew and will be happy to hear from anyone who needs a look up.

    Mark
     
  2. Sjt KEILLER might have been part of the Battery Commander Party. The Landing Table of 19 March 1944 lists three BC Parties of 4 men each:

    LCA LTIN 156 off EMPIRE BATTLEAXE, to land H+20 on QUEEN WHITE Beach
    LCA LTIN 168 off GLENEARN, to land H+20 on QUEEN RED Beach
    LCA LTIN 242 off EMPIRE BROADSWORD, to land H+60 on QUEEN WHITE Beach

    But it does not say which BC Party was in which LCA.

    If you are very lucky, you might find the detailed landing table for 76 Fd Regt RA, which should give the nominal allocation of men to individual craft (designated by their LTIN or Serial number). These tables have survived for a very limited number of units, and it might have been the case for 76 Fd Regt as well? It also happens that some documents not held at the National Archives may be found in other places, such as regimental associations or in archives of former high ranking members of the unit, or in the archives of higher formations.

    Michel
     
  3. mark abbott

    mark abbott Junior Member

    Michael,

    Thank you for your prompt and very helpful reply.

    The citation mentions he was "NCO i/c Bty Sigs" and his actions on the day certainly brought him to the attention of others. Regarding the landing table; where do you suggest I look?

    When reading the citation, and bearing in mind his surname, (a well know brand of marmalade) I wonder if reference to "sticky" shows the individual writing it had a sense of humour?

    Mark
     
  4. Trackfrower

    Trackfrower Member

    Do you know which battery? 302, 303 or 454 (I think)

    I have some war diary info on mostly 302 bty.

    Lawrence
     
  5. Mark,

    I think that you started all right by ordering the War Diary from Drew.

    Because, as I said, not all appendices etc. have been safeguarded at the National Archives, if you don't find what you need in the various WDs (of the Regt and of the individual Batteries, and maybe higher formations too), you might want to try finding more from other places which might have kept copies of relevant docs, e.g. Gunners vererans associations or museums. The IWM also has a number of docs such as veteran interviews and personal papers.

    The fields for searching are numerous and rather broad, so you have to be perseverant and patient

    Michel
     
  6. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

  7. mark abbott

    mark abbott Junior Member

    Thanks Kyle,
    I was the purchaser.
     
  8. mark abbott

    mark abbott Junior Member

    Lawrence and Michael

    Thank you for your advice and help with this.

    Unfortunately, the citation does not record which battery he served with. All I know is that he lived in Methil being born in Leven, Fife. I will try and find the local TA units in the 1930's.

    Lawrence, I would be obliged if you would skim through any WDs you have for a mention.

    Mark
     
  9. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    I had a feeling you were :)
    I was aware of a George Keiller who was a cross country champion and ran with Hawkhill Harriers in 1939 ,George Keiller and George Rennie were both champions and called up in 1939 prior to the official outbreak of war .(July 1939) When I had access to the newspaper archive the Dundee newspapers wrote quite a bit about him ,mentions the award(Sgt) in 1946 too.
    However there may be two (Bdr) George Keillers RA because the Dundee news wrote in 1941 that a Bdr George P Keiller had became a father but his wife was named as Mrs Phyllis Keiller (nee Phyllis Thornton ) Maybe getting someone to revisit ? I`m 99% certain one of the Dundee newspapers (Courier perhaps?) carried a photo from 1939 of him leaving for his new billet..in Carlisle !

    Kyle
     
  10. Trackfrower

    Trackfrower Member

    Nothing in 302 Bty Diary.
    302 Bty was, however, from Leven!
    Also all of 76 H Fld Regt wore this :-[​IMG]
     
  11. mark abbott

    mark abbott Junior Member

    Lawrence, that is a really useful piece of information and I love the shoulder patch. If you ever see another would you please let me know?

    Kyle, thank you for your input. Further research needed!
     
  12. Trackfrower

    Trackfrower Member

    Just a photo...
     
  13. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    Mark from a friend two of the news items I mention George Keiller was a Militiaman. Hope these help?
    Kyle
     

    Attached Files:

  14. mark abbott

    mark abbott Junior Member

    Kyle,

    Many thanks for this.

    "My" George Keiller enlisted in the T.A., and I have discovered nothing so far to indicate he was in the Militia at the outbreak of WW2. Perhaps someone with greater knowledge than mine can differentiate between the two types of enlistment?
     
  15. tmac

    tmac Senior Member Patron

    This 3rd Division landing table for Sword Beach on D-Day might possibly be of help in identifying Sgt Keiller's landing craft.

    D-day order of battle
     
  16. mark abbott

    mark abbott Junior Member

    tmac

    many thanks.
     
  17. mark abbott

    mark abbott Junior Member

    I have just received the service papers relating to 759596 Sgt George Keiller M.M., who served throughout the war with 76 Field Regiment R.A. and was awarded a Military Medal.

    There are numerous entries in the papers relating to his service (including evacuation from France in 1940) amongst which is one dated 3/6/44 which states "Embarked per LCT, 813/272".

    Does anyone know if the number relates to an identifiable LCT? If so, can the time the craft landed on D Day be ascertained?

    Many thanks

    Mark
     
  18. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

  19. mark abbott

    mark abbott Junior Member

  20. mark abbott

    mark abbott Junior Member

    I have recently received a copy of George's service papers and in them it states:-

    "Embarked per LCT, 813/272"

    I think the D-day order of battle shows that 272 was in Group 4A landing on 4 White. Am I correct?
     

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