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

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

  1. Hi Mark,

    I'm replying to you here rather than on the other thread you started on this question, and which I suggest you ask forum admin to delete in order not to split the subject/possible answers. :D

    Yes, you are (nearly) correct, Serial (or LTIN) 272 was part of Group 4 (not 4A) which was carrying the main body of 76 Fd Regt SP, and planned to land at H+75 minutes.

    As per the 19 Mar 44 Landing Table, Serial 272 consisted in the following:
    76 Fd Regt SP – 74 men in:
    2 M14 (US half track)
    2 tks Sherman V
    2 Carriers AOP
    4 M7 (105mm how)
    6 MCs loaded on tks​
    'F' Sec Div Sigs – 3 men in 1 M14 (US half track)

    The Landing Table indicates that the 76 Fd Regt element in LTIN 272 was to be 'D' Tp, but this is possibly wrong, because the next LTIN, 273, was to have 'C' Tp whereas other evidence shows it actually had 'B' Tp.

    Half of Group 4 (LTINs 272 to 274) were initially planned to land on QUEEN WHITE Beach, SWORD Assault Area, with the other half (LTINs 275 to 278) planned for QUEEN RED. This was later amended to all of Group 4 landing on QUEEN RED.

    Landing Craft, Tank (Mark IV) Hull Number 813 was part of 38 LCT Flotilla, Support Squadron of Assault Group "S" 3, which, as its number does not indicate, was the first Assault Group for SWORD Area.

    On D Day, LCT(4) 813 was commanded by Temporary Skipper Robert Henry CROWFORD, Royal Naval Reserve (seniority 20 August 1940). Unfortunately I do not have any photo of 813 or her skipper.

    It looks like you have found one of the extremely elusive Hull Number/LTIN matches for SWORD. Congratulations and thanks!

    Last edited: Feb 1, 2019
    mark abbott and Tricky Dicky like this.
  2. mark abbott

    mark abbott Junior Member


    Very many thanks and glad the information is of interest.

    George Keiiler is shown on his papers as having served with 302 Field Battery. He was initially sent to France with his battery on the 30 January 1940 and was evacuated with the BEF in June; the exact date is not given.

    He attended No10 Course at the Army School of Signalling, Catterick on the 20 September 1940 and appointed as Signalling Sergeant on the 14 February 1941. It as NCO i/c Battery Signals that he won the MM.

    Last edited: Feb 1, 2019
  3. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron


    813 is the crafts individual pennant number. So it is LCT 813. 272 is the crafts serial allocated for D Day and it did indeed carry 76 Field Regiment, or one troop of it.

    You will find a lot about 76 Field Regiment in the 'Sword' thread on this forum. Between the various members you should be able to find almost anything except individual soldiers names.

    76 Field Regiment RA.
    Queen White.
    Serial 272 is an LCT4 carrying
    2 M14 Halftrack from ‘D’ Troop.
    2 Sherman V from ‘D’ Troop.
    2 Carriers OP from ‘D’ Troop.
    4 M7 SP 105mm howitzers from ‘D’ Troop.
    6 motorcycles from ‘D’ Troop. Loaded on tanks.
    74 men from ‘D’ Troop.
    1 M14 Halftrack with 3 crew from ‘F’ Section (76 Field Regiment RA), Divisional Signals

    Timed to land at H+75minutes.

    4jonboy and Tricky Dicky like this.
  4. Mark,

    Do you know in which Troop Sgt Keiller was?

  5. Aha, just what I feared: multiple responses on the same subject, because of multiple postings by the requester. See:
    759596 Sergeant George Keiller M.M., 76 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery

    Fortunately the responses are not contradicting each other.:D

    I would suggest that we keep it all in one place (the other, original Sgt Keiller thread), lest my eyes get crossed by the shuttling between threads o_O

  6. Probably too late for that, as some responses have already been posted on your other thread. But you can still ask admin to merge the other thread into this one...

  7. mark abbott

    mark abbott Junior Member

    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 1, 2019
  8. mark abbott

    mark abbott Junior Member

    Sadly,I do not know which Troop Sgt Keiller served with. As he was NCO i/c Btry Sigs, would he be attached to a particular troop?
  9. Probably not. And what about his Battery? Maybe the Service Record might contain some hints as to which Battery he was in? I would suggest you to post good scans of it here, so that the many experts on this subject in ww2talk may scrutinize it and extract whatever significant info they might have.

  10. mark abbott

    mark abbott Junior Member

    He served with 302 Battery
  11. Thanks Mark. Since B Tp was in LTIN 273 (as mentioned in the War Diary), and Sgt Keiller was in 302 Bty, the Tp in LTIN 272 must have been the other Tp in 302 Bty, i.e. A Tp (and not D Tp as initially planned in the Landing Table).

    302 Bty's War Diary for 6 June 44 gives a good deal of detail about what happened to A Tp (and of course also to B Tp) on landing. Here's a short extract, plus I attach the four pages of the War Diary for reference too:

    0835 Gun Troops. A. & B. came in to land. A.C. (S.P.) was hit by shell and set on fire. This blocked ship and only enabled 3 guns, 1 Sherman O.P., 2 Half-Tracks and 2 A.O.P.s to land. A.1. & M.2 were drowned. During the landing of the vehicles the Battery sustained its first casualty = L/Bdr. Drummond R., killed by shell.

    0835 hrs was H+70, i.e. 5 minutes ahead of the scheduled touch down time for Group 4 (76 Fd Regt SP).

    WO171-976 - War Diary 302 Bty 76 Fd Regt - 1944 06 06 - 1.jpg
    WO171-976 - War Diary 302 Bty 76 Fd Regt - 1944 06 06 - 2.jpg
    WO171-976 - War Diary 302 Bty 76 Fd Regt - 1944 06 06 - 3.jpg
    WO171-976 - War Diary 302 Bty 76 Fd Regt - 1944 06 06 - 4.jpg
    Source: The National Archives Image library | Search results

    Last edited: Feb 6, 2019
  12. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Signal Serjeant would not be on the strength of a troop, but it sounds as if he was the serjeant signaller for a battery. As such he would be assigned one of the motorcycles so as to maintain contact with the battery signallers. The motorcycle would be carried on one of the tanks.

  13. mark abbott

    mark abbott Junior Member

    Michel and Mike

    Thanks for the replies.

    The reference to a motorbike is interesting as Sgt Keiller was injured whilst riding one on a training exercise.
  14. mark abbott

    mark abbott Junior Member

    The recommendation for his MM indicates the task undertaken by Sgt Keiiler on D Day

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

    ‘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.’
  15. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Some observations.

    Although one imagines communications to be by wireless, safely installed in an armoured vehicle, artillery preferred to rely on line communication. Obviously not when on the move.

    Line communication was more secure and simpler to use, until the line was cut by shellfire or carelessly driven vehicles. Someone then had to go out and splice the line.

    In an artillery regiment communications to the regiment, and within the regiment down to battery, were provided by the Royal Signals. Within the battery communications were provided by the battery signallers. A basic layout would connect the Observation Posts to Command Posts and Command Posts to Troops. The signallers were capable of providing fairly complex communications to meet any need

  16. The great Combined Ops website has an account of the landings as seen from another craft of Group 4 carrying 76 Fd Regt SP to QUEEN RED (LCT 861, also of 38 LCT Flotilla, Support Squadron):

    The name of the RA officer in charge of the troops is given as Lieutenant TURNBULL. He wrote his own account of the landings here:
    BBC - WW2 People's War - Recollections of D-Day: June 6, 1944 with the 76th (Highland) Field Regiment on Sword Beach.

    In this account he mentions his "Troop Commander, Captain Ian Bell, and his Forward Observation party, who were killed on the beach."

    John Alston TURNBULL (137153)
    Page 4074 | Supplement 34888, 2 July 1940 | London Gazette | The Gazette

    Ian BELL (86269)
    Page 2006 | Issue 34610, 24 March 1939 | London Gazette | The Gazette

    Is there anything in the 76 Fd Regt War Diary (or elsewhere) which could tell us in which Troop Lt TURNBULL (or Capt BELL) was?

    Last edited: Feb 2, 2019
    mark abbott and Tricky Dicky like this.

Share This Page