78th British (Battleaxe) Division

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by rinaston08, Feb 2, 2014.

  1. rinaston08

    rinaston08 Member

    Hi

    I wonder if someone can help me please? My father was with the 8 Battalion A&SH, transferred to them on 14.6.43, 78th British Division. He saw service in North Africa, Sicily and Italy. If someone has any information on the battalion or divisional history, I would be very grateful. Many thanks.

    Kind regards

    Lorna.
     
  2. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    2 books I suggest.

    ALGIERS TO AUSTRIA The 78th Division in the Second World War
    Cyril Ray

    BATTLEAXE DIVISION: FROM AFRICA TO ITALY WITH 78 DIVISION 1942-45.
    Ken Ford
     
    4jonboy likes this.
  3. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Lorna

    he probably joined the Agile an Sufferins as they were reinforcing after the North Africa campaign ended as they were gearing up for Sicily- he more than likely ended up in Austria..

    his service records from Glasgow will give you his whole history...

    Cheers
     
  4. sanchez

    sanchez Well-Known Member

    hi lorna,
    my dad was also with the 78th division with the 56th recce regt and im currently reading "battleaxe division" by ken ford as suggested by owen , its an excellent book . welcome to the site .
    cheers
    dave
     
  5. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    As Tom and Owen suggest, several things:

    Service Records : https://www.gov.uk/requests-for-personal-data-and-service-records

    War Diaries (from TNA Kew):

    July 1943 - Dec 1943 : WO 169/10174

    1944 : WO 170/1357

    1945 : WO 170/4988

    78th Division history books : personally I think Ford's runs out of steam a bit after the Tunisia, Sicily and Adriatic campaigns.

    Regimental History : no doubt someone will come on and confirm a published Second World War A & SH one.

    A jigsaw but usually worthwhile once you start.

    best
     
  6. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

  7. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce

    Hello and welcome to the forum Lorna. My father was also in the Battleaxe Division in 56 Recce.
    I see you've already got some very helpful answers; there are quite a few members with interest in the 78th here :)

    Lesley

    edited: typos
     
  8. rinaston08

    rinaston08 Member

    Thanks for all your help. I do have my father's Army Service Record and it shows his overseas service as: North Africa 10.5.43 - 16.7.44. Middle East Force 17.7.44 - 17.8.44 and Central Mediterranean Force 18.8.44 - 13.9.45. I know he didn't get as far as Austria, as he was wounded at Bologna in April 1945. It also states that he was appointed paid Lance Corporal on 20.3.45 and then reverts to Private on 18.8.45 (after being wounded the previous April) would this be the reason why? Many thanks again for your help and future help.

    Kind regards


    Lorna.
     
  9. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    That 16.7.44 date (for leaving BNAF) is obviously misleading, it's the date of a change in war office designation. Your father, of course had already left North Africa at the end of July 1943. .And I'm pretty sure that the 8 A & SH wouldn't have arrived back in Italy until Sept 1944 but had probably come under CMF auspices in August before they left Egypt.

    The rank change in August 1945 might have been personal choice or disciplinary or because of some other quirk.... you may never know.

    I've had another look at Ford's history and I note he only spends 18 pages (out of 270 +) covering the 78th Division's campaign period in Italy from Sept 1944 to April 1945 which, of course, covers the period of their wintering in Italy (which included significant fighting near Monte Spaduro and the guarding of the Senio riverbanks), and also the spring offensive that achieved final and complete victory and the total capitulation of all German forces in the Italian theatre, and in which the division played a key part.. very strange indeed.

    best
     
  10. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Hello and welcome to the forum.
     
  11. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Lorna / Richard

    Thought there was summat a bit off there with the dates etc as 78th moved into Austria in May '45 along with 6AD an
    46thInf Div..not sure if they got as far as Bologna as 6AD went furthest East at Finale before turning for Austria…

    Cheers
     
  12. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    Tom,

    Yes. Bologna was not within 78th Division's ambit... so definitely a question there.

    best
     
  13. rinaston08

    rinaston08 Member

    Thanks for the info. I have obviously got it wrong with Bologna. I know he was wounded in April 1945 so where was the 78th then? His name was Ralph Cleverdon, 3975573 just in case the name should ring a bell with anyone. I know it's a long shot, but worth a try.

    Many thanks

    Lorna
     
  14. Recce_Mitch

    Recce_Mitch Very Senior Member

    Welcome to the forum. My father was also in 78 Div in 56 Recce like Lesley's father. Can you post your father's records so that maybe the Bologna issue can be solved. There were 2 British Military Hospitals in Bologna in 1945 ( 59 & 95 British General Hospitals) and maybe he was in one of those.

    Cheers
    Paul
     
  15. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Lorna
    By 1st April the 56th Div attacked Lago Commachio…78th Div still on Senio River -9th April 8th Army break out at Senio and by
    12h are near Ferrara…and by 17th April Bastia was clear - 18th April 6th Armoured Div took over and push East to meet US 5th Army NW
    of Bologna at Finale which was well named as this finished off the Germans… so the 78th would be around the River Po at that time but their diary for that period will be more exact…

    Cheers
     
  16. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    Lorna,

    If you've got good eyesight, here is a link to a couple of pages of narrative taken from 36 Brigade's officers regarding the April 1945 push

    http://www.irishbrigade.co.uk/pages/eyewitness-accounts/78th-division---final-offensive-in-northern-italy/unit-accounts---36-brigade.php

    Some further links to the wider 78 Division overviews:are here:

    http://www.irishbrigade.co.uk/pages/eyewitness-accounts/78th-division---final-offensive-in-northern-italy.php

    Doing some transcribing later....

    best
     
  17. rinaston08

    rinaston08 Member

    Hi Paul

    I have scanned my Dad's records, but I am having trouble uploading to this site. Do you have any suggestions as to the easiest way to do this.

    Many thanks.

    Lorna.
     
  18. rinaston08

    rinaston08 Member

    Hi Tom/Richard

    Many thanks for the information. Once I can get my Dad's record on the site perhaps things will become a bit clearer.

    Kind regards

    Lorna.
     
  19. Recce_Mitch

    Recce_Mitch Very Senior Member

    Hi Lorna, how large are the images? The site has a size limit of 2mb. To post start new topic then click on more reply options, you will see Attach files click on choose files,

    Cheers
    Paul
     
  20. rinaston08

    rinaston08 Member

    Hi Paul

    Hopefully you will now be able to see my Dad's documents.

    Kind regards

    Lorna
     

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