8th Army Thanksgiving Service Booklet

Discussion in 'Higher Formations' started by RAMC researcher, Jan 7, 2013.

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  1. RAMC researcher

    RAMC researcher Junior Member

    I thought this might be of interest to anyone working on the exploits of the 78th Infantry Division.

    I found the attached amongst my father's war memorabilia. He has written in by hand (alongside the colours) the names of all the different divisions that presumably made up the 8th Army. It is signed towards the bottom right hand corner but, very unusually for him, he has not dated it (virtually every piece of paper/postcard/photograph I have looked at so far has been dated!). From the text inside the booklet it is clear that the war (in Europe) is over, so it must have been in 1945 sometime.

    Also I see that he has made a list of place names starting with Donada Bay and ending in Koetschach (Austria). I presume these are the places where the 78th Division went in WW2? It wouldn't make sense would it to have Donada Bay at the head of the list though would it, as it is in northern Italy - presumably one of the last places they'd have come to?

    Also why would he have put Egypt in [ ] brackets like that?

    Thanks for any thoughts!
    Jeff
     

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  2. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Also why would he have put Egypt in [ ] brackets like that?
    Unofficial ''battle honour'', they trashed the place when on a bit of R&R there.
     
  3. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    Looks like an 8th Army, "Sicily onwards", campaign listing - and it also includes 1st Army's Algerian/Tunisian campaign..not 8th Army's in Egypt/Libya. Though it does seem to include names of the 8th Army's units while it was in NAfrica.
     
  4. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    Cairo my Dad recalls well - he was, of course at the cinema at 8pm on 12th August 1944 ...and then he got pneumonia that probably saved his life as he "missed" Spaduro.

    “Our camp in the canal zone was a peaceful tented town. The tents were large marquees and every man had his own ‘charpoy’ with a straw mattress. It was luxury for those who had survived the mud of a Tunisian winter, the heat of an Italian summer, the snow and bleakness of the icy mountains of the Appenines. We had endured the dangers of the campaign from Cassino to Trasimeno and normally slept under the stars, seldom with any cover. But there were not many left from those who had landed in Algiers in November 1942 to enjoy it. Within the battalion perimeter were a NAAFI, a central sergeants’ mess and a cinema with a frequent change of programmes. Men were given seven days leave in Cairo. The brigade’s first leave party returned to camp and told how they had been ‘rooked’ by their hosts. The second contingent decided to do something and a well-organised riot was arranged with considerable damage to vehicles and installations. There were many arrests but not of a single London Irishmen. Colonel Bredin had the battalion paraded upon their return from Cairo and officially congratulated them on staying clear of trouble.”
     
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  5. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    And this from TPD Scott - I suppose you had to be there to truly appreciate it. Perhaps a few first hand accounts will be shared...
     

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  6. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Basically - it should be recalled that 8th Army italy - was 50% of 1st Army North Africa after the 30th Corps an VIII bde went back to UK with Monty at the end of 43 with the addition of 1st - 4th -5th - 6thAD - 78th divs and 21st - 25th ATB's to join with the three Indian- 2 New Zealand and 2 Canadian divs plus 1 AB and the Polish corps - that fact is mainly forgotten

    That town in Austria was - and still is PORTSCHACH
    Cheers
     
  7. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

    KOTSCHACH - MUATHEN Austria 1945 - British army and the Cossacks: Charles Villiers 8th Army met the Cossacks at;..............


    Cossack Web Museum
     
  8. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Jeff

    Thanks for posting the booklet.

    The list of names your Dad chose to "ink in" is splendid and I recognise completely his need to make a note of the place names while he remembered them.

    I think I can add a little to the Egypt saga as I wrote about it on a thread I started some time ago. The actual link is:
    http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/veteran-accounts/21973-dotting-%22i%22s.html
    (See comment #5 for further links to 78 Div tales & comment #9 for the story complete with pics)
    Dotting the "i"s

    The other day, our much esteemed forum expert Andy tipped me off that the Battleaxe Division paperback by Ken Ford was going cheap on Amazon.

    I immediately got myself a copy and couldn't wait to get some of my memories confirmed.

    This is not a book review, so I will skip some of the book's shortcomings but one particular item left me asking myself "will we ever know exactly what happened ?".

    I'm referring in this instance, to the 78 Div riots in Cairo in August 1944.

    On Page 246, Ken Ford quotes Cliff Chaston of the Kensingtons as saying the riots took place on the 12th ( See photo below)

    Although I have given my Army Album to the Imperial War Museum I have kept a duplicated copy plus transcripts of my remaining diaries so it was not too difficult to follow the trail.

    My diary says:
    Wednesday 9th. August 1944
    Nothing doing today except for rumours of what the Div. boys are doing to Cairo. On guard again, gorged myself with beer, pineapple & cheese rolls.

    Thursday 10th. August 1944
    Minor flap with truck this morning. Tents down, kit packed & aboard Dodge. Bought some beer for the move & still found time for flicks.

    Friday 11th. August 1944
    Moved off at 4 am & drove 190 miles in blazing sun to No.1 Anti Aircraft Training Camp at El Deir, 10 miles from Alex. Passed thrugh Cairo.

    I see that I had my week's leave in Cairo on the 1st of August (see Pages 19 & 20 of my Album)

    One final point, the Index at the back of the book says "Cairo Riots, 197" when the Cairo story is actually on Page 246

    ps
    Notwithstanding the gripes above I am still grateful to Andy for tipping me off and the book makes good light reading. I was also relieved to see that my old unit was given it's rightful place in the Div's Order of Battle
    You will find that there is plenty to read on site about 78 Div.

    I am still proud today to say that I was a part of it :)

    Ron

    ps

    I presume you have been here ?
    http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/allied-units-general/30220-78th-british-infantry-division-%22-battleaxe-div%22-13.html

    pps
    I've given you an un-marked copy of the leaflet below
     

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  9. RAMC researcher

    RAMC researcher Junior Member

    Basically - it should be recalled that 8th Army italy - was 50% of 1st Army North Africa after the 30th Corps an VIII bde went back to UK with Monty at the end of 43 with the addition of 1st - 4th -5th - 6thAD - 78th divs and 21st - 25th ATB's to join with the three Indian- 2 New Zealand and 2 Canadian divs plus 1 AB and the Polish corps - that fact is mainly forgotten

    That town in Austria was - and still is PORTSCHACH
    Cheers

    Tom - do you mean the name Kötschach is incorrect and that my father really meant Portschach?
     
  10. RAMC researcher

    RAMC researcher Junior Member

    Jeff

    Thanks for posting the booklet.

    The list of names your Dad chose to "ink in" is splendid and I recognise completely his need to make a note of the place names while he remembered them.

    I think I can add a little to the Egypt saga as I wrote about it on a thread I started some time ago. The actual link is:
    http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/veteran-accounts/21973-dotting-%22i%22s.html
    (See comment #5 for further links to 78 Div tales & comment #9 for the story complete with pics)
    You will find that there is plenty to read on site about 78 Div.

    I am still proud today to say that I was a part of it :)

    Ron

    ps

    I presume you have been here ?
    http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/allied-units-general/30220-78th-british-infantry-division-%22-battleaxe-div%22-13.html

    pps
    I've given you an un-marked copy of the leaflet below


    Ron - thanks for your reply and for the unmarked booklet cover. Do you think that the place names he has written on the cover were the actual ones that his unit (11th Field Ambulance) were present at or was he just jotting down all the battlefield names he could remember? I presume the war diaries would be the ultimate reference source?

    Yes I have looked at the 78th thread above and another one about the 78th (I think) which pointed me towards the BBC Peoples war website (in particularr the Stretcher Bearers stories) and also the reference to the War Diaries of the 11th Field Ambulance.

    Jeff
     
  11. Oldman

    Oldman Very Senior Member

    Anybody know the actual date and venue(s) of the service?
    I am also the proud owner of my fathers thanksgiving sheet, but as usual he leaves no other information.
     

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