81 Assault Squadron

Discussion in 'Royal Engineers' started by Chris L 1948, May 13, 2017.

  1. Chris L 1948

    Chris L 1948 Member

    Hello all, I'm new to the site so hope I get this right.

    I am researching a friend's father, L/Sgt A J McK Delf who I believe was a member of 81st Assault Squadron that landed on Gold Beach (King Green I think) in the first wave on D Day.

    Alfred was subsequently captured at Tilly sur Seulles on June 11th and ended up in Stalag 357. He apparently maintained that the rest of his crew were summarily shot by the Germans ?

    Coincidentally, there are five men buried in the CWGC cemetery at Tilly all from 81st and all killed on the 11th and I believe that a crew of a Churchill comprised 6 men.

    So far not much is written about the battle on that date (apart from a very expensive French book), and so I'm assuming my next step is to the War Diaries at Kew, (as unlike some WW1 work I have done these aren't yet on line), and MOD personnel records ?

    Any help or advice would be very welcome.

    Cheers,
    Chris.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2017
  2. Aixman

    Aixman WE addict Patron

    Hello Chris and welcome to the Forum.
    Have you tried this one
    upload_2017-5-13_13-9-42.jpeg
     
  3. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Both Andy, Drew5233 and Lee, PsyWar.Org both have a war diary copying service.
    Well respected members of the forum who offer a fair price & have many happy customers on this forum.

    Mike, Trux posted some info on 81 Assault Sqn here
    GOLD BEACH.
     
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  4. Chris L 1948

    Chris L 1948 Member

    No I haven't but will try to get a copy. Many thanks for your help. Cheers Chris
     
  5. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Well-Known Member

  6. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Well-Known Member

    UK, British Prisoners of War, 1939-1945
    Name: A J McK Delf
    Rank: Lance Serjeant
    Army Number: 2121336
    Regiment: Royal Engineers
    POW Number: 80901
    Camp Type: Stalag
    Camp Number: 357
    Camp Location: Oerbke, Lower Saxony
    Record Office: Royal Engineers Record Office, Ditchling Road, Brighton, Sussex
    Record Office Number: 9

    TD

    edited to add:
    Might be worth reading this thread - The Battle for Tilly-sur-Seulles - Normandy - June 1944
     
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  7. Aixman

    Aixman WE addict Patron

    Re Churchill crew numbers.
    81 Assault Squadron used Churchill AVREs at that time.
    AVREs had a sixth man (Corporal demolition NCO) assigned.
    More on this here (quite at the end of a long text):

    Assault brigade royal engineers
     
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  8. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    There are some very well informed people here on the Assault RE, but I don't know how far they go beyond D-Day.
    I have dug into Tilly in the past so should have the relevant bit of the war diary somewhere...
     
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  9. Drew5233

    Drew5233 Members Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Hi Chris - I've replied to your PM. Feel free to give me a shout if the chaps on here can't help.

    Regards
    Andy
     
  10. Chris L 1948

    Chris L 1948 Member

    Hi,

    Thanks for the lead, copy of the book arrived today.

    Cheers,
    Chris
     
  11. Chris L 1948

    Chris L 1948 Member

    Hi Thanks for that. Does anyone know the ranks assigned to each role ?. Reason I as is that I know the ranks of the five guys buried at Tilly and maybe able to match role to rank and maybe conclude this is one crew, (although there are four sappers and one L/Cpl), and my man was a L/Serjeant.
     
  12. Aixman

    Aixman WE addict Patron

    Go to the link mentioned in post 7, then search for "XIV/900/1" which lists the personal of a squadron. Regarding L/Serjeant, it means Serjeant paid as Corporal.
     
  13. Chris L 1948

    Chris L 1948 Member

    Maybe I'm thick, but having reread post 7 what I was after were the ranks assigned to each of the crewmen mentioned in the posts 5& 7.
    Thanks anyway for the response.
    Cheers,
    Chris.
     
  14. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Well-Known Member

    Chris

    I would assume Aixman means this section:

    Section 1
    Churchill AVRE
    Subaltern, corporal demolition NCO, driver, co driver/loader, mortar man, operator - 6 man team
    Carries 18 X General Wade charges, 14 X Petard bombs
    Churchill AVRE
    lance serjeant, corporal demolition NCO, driver, co driver/loader, mortar man,
    operator
    - 6 man team
    Carries 18 X General Wade charges, 14 X Petard bombs
    Churchill AVRE
    lance serjeant, corporal demolition NCO, driver, co driver/loader, mortar man,
    operator
    - 6 man team
    Carries 18 X General Wade charges, 14 X Petard bombs


    TD
     
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  15. Chris L 1948

    Chris L 1948 Member

    Thanks for that.

    Can I assume then that apart from the Subaltern/Lance Serjeant and the Corporal NCO that all the others would hold the rank of sapper ?

    If so this confirms the probability that the five guys buried at Tilly are from one crew as we have one L/Cpl and four sappers, and my man (L/Sjt) was captured.

    Cheers,
    Chris
     
  16. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    81 Aslt Sqn RE War Diary
    11 June 1944
    1905: The 4 AVRE with 7 Armd Div under comd 7 [sic, should be 2] Glosters attacked TILLY-SUR-SEULLES. One AVRE had trouble with gear box and became out of action. Remaining three got into TILLY. Capt Davis on right had his vehicle put out of action by enemy atk weaponat X-rds in centre of TILLY. Lieut Boulter on the left with two AVRE. One AVRE proceeding towards church in ST PIERRE east of TILLY was hit by enemy action and burned out. Crew all missing.
    2100: Lt Boulter withdrew with infantry withdrawal and took with him the crew of Capt Davis AVRE.
     
  17. Aixman

    Aixman WE addict Patron

    Chris
    War establishments often give totals, here for a troop, leaving within these totals details ruled to the squadron leader. WE VIII/468/2 (effective: 26.10.43) was in force during the Normandy landings.
    It deals with sappers and drivers:

    Lance-Serjeants: 4 (sapper class)
    Corporals: 2 (sapper class)
    Lance-Corporals: 5 (sapper class), 1 (driver class)
    Sappers: 22
    Drivers: 12
    Total, rank and file: 46
    plus 1 Serjeant (general dutyman)
    plus 1 Captain
    plus 1 Subaltern
    Total: 49

    Regarding rank and file, there are 14 trades (39 total):
    2 blacksmiths
    1 bricklayer
    5 carpenters and joiners
    1 clerk
    1 concreter
    6 driver-mechanics (driver class)
    2 electricians, maintenance
    2 fitters
    1 painter and decorator
    Pioneers for duty as:
    - 7 general dutymen
    - 1 motor-cycle orderly
    - 6 signals dutymen
    2 plumbers
    2 sheet metal workers
    as was usual with engineer units, and 2 non-tradesmen classes (7 total):
    drivers, IC, for duty as:
    2 batmen and
    5 drivers of vehicles.

    Vehicles:
    1 motor-cycle, solo
    4 lorries, 3-ton, 4 x 4, G.S.
    1 carrier, tracked, personnel, starting and charging
    6 assault vehicles, R.E.

    Cheers
    Aixman
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2017 at 6:10 AM

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