8th Indian Provost at Cassino

Discussion in 'Italy' started by JimmyC1983, Aug 6, 2017.

  1. JimmyC1983

    JimmyC1983 Member


    I'm currently researching my Grandfather's war and wondered if any members could help. His name was James William Alfred Condron. He was originally in the 53rd Field Artillery Regiment, serving at El Alamein, before moving to the Middle East. Some time in the second half of 1943 he enlisted into the 8th Indian Division Provost Unit before landing at Taranto in September 1943 and then moving up Italy.

    It's my Dad's 70th birthday in October and as a present we are taking him to tour the battlefield of Monte Cassino. I know the 8th Indian weren't at the Abbey, and am keen to visit places where my Grandfather would have been. I've visited he National Archives and read through the diaries of the Provost Unit. I've attached a couple of photos with some details of their movements. One of them (17 May) mentions L/Cpl Condron, my Grandfather.

    Could anyone pinpoint places I should aim to visit during my visit to the Cassino area. In particular, where is the Divisional route to Dragoni from Speedy Express and where might the Company Billets (both mentioned in the diaries in photos) have been? And where would he have crossed the River Rapido (Gari). Based on the diary entries for the rest of May, where else should we head to?

    And probably a long shot, but any photos of the 8th Indian, and in particular the Provost Unit.

    I'm putting a 'scrapbook' together telling the story of my Grandfather's war, so any other interesting details would be great.

    I'd be so so grateful for any help anyone could give, as it will really help to make our visit much more personal to our family.



    Attached Files:

  2. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    No 1 route for any research is a soldiers service record:

    Have found a Royal Artillery attestation that I assume may be him:
    Army No. 1079159
    Condron, James William Alfred
    There is a note: ‘1957 Disch Age Limit’

    Unable to find him on any casualty list so possibly no major injuries.

    “One More River – The Story of the Eighth Indian Division” can be seen online:

    Good luck
  3. JimmyC1983

    JimmyC1983 Member

    Thanks so much for replying Tony.

    I have got his records, and a relative helped me decipher them as I found them difficult to read, but they don't provide too many specifics on actual locations of where he was during the Italian Campaign, only that he was in the 8th Indian Provost Unit.

    Interested in the 1957 discharge note those, as believe he was discharged in 1946. Would the 57 note have just removed him from the possibility of future call ups? He'd have been 45 years old by then.


  4. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member


    I am going to be guiding a military group on 11-15 Oct 17 to Cassino and you are welcome to join it if the dates suit you. It is likely to be the best way for both you and your father to get your heads around exactly what happened during the four battles but more, importantly, the role that 8 Ind Div played in the Fourth Battle.

    I can give you more info on cost and timings if that helps.


  5. JimmyC1983

    JimmyC1983 Member

    Thanks Frank. Unfortunately we are already booked to go on 6-10 October, and already booked on a tour, but thank you for your kind offer.

    Would you be able to point me at specific locations where the 8th Indian were so I can ask our guide to take us to them please?

  6. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member


    If you contact me via a conversation, I will send you what you need.


    Charley Fortnum likes this.
  7. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    [QUOTE="JimmyC1983, post: 758628, member: 67966


    Interested in the 1957 discharge note those, as believe he was discharged in 1946. Would the 57 note have just removed him from the possibility of future call ups? He'd have been 45 years old by then.




    That will be the standard "stamp" seen on most, if not all, service records of that era.

    On post WW2 demobilisation service personnel were posted to Class Z reserve but unlike post WW1 - where Class Z men were fully discharged March 1920 - they remained on the reserve until they reached the age of 45.

    The world situation was still tense in the immediate post war era into the 1950's and as UK continued National Service it was also prudent to maintain a large pool of reservists.

    You do occasionally see records posted on the forum showing WW2 Class Z personnel being recalled for training and deployment during the Korean War.

    Steve Y
    Tony56 likes this.

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