8th Rifle Brigade

Discussion in 'British Army Units - Others' started by lineman, May 7, 2013.

  1. lineman

    lineman Junior Member

    Hi
    I am looking for any information regarding 'H' Coy 8th Rifle Brigade in Normandy. My Uncle served with H Coy and was killed on 31st July 1944 at St Martin Des Besaces. He was L/Cpl Albert Lee from Barkingside Essex and served in 15 platoon.
    I have some letters he wrote from France to my mother and I have visited his grave a few times at Banneville La Campagne cemetery as well as going to Hill 112 and also to St Martin to try and trace where he was killed.
    I have been a few times to the 8th Rifle Brigade reunion in London and once spoke to one of his comrades who knew him and he told me that he was temporarily buried on the village green in St Martin but this cannot be confirmed.

    Any information you have will be gratefully received.

    Bob
     
  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Hi Bob,

    Here's what unit war diaries are available at the National Archives:


    WO 166/4516 8 Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own). 1939 Sept.- 1941 Dec.
    WO 166/8845 8 Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own) 1942 Jan.-Dec.
    WO 166/12687 8 Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own) 1943 Jan.-Dec.
    WO 171/1359 8 Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own) and diary for 'G' Company 1944 June- Dec.
    WO 171/1360 8 Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own) 1944 Jan.- May

    There is a 1945 one to but didn't think that would be of much interest to you.

    Cheers
    Andy
     
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  3. lineman

    lineman Junior Member

    Hi Andy
    Thanks for the info.


    Bob
     
  4. 52nd Airborne

    52nd Airborne Green Jacket Brat

    Bob,

    Have you contacted the Royal Green Jackets museum? As I know they hold a diary in their archives regarding H Company, 8th Bn Rifle Brigade.
     
  5. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Bob,

    These details are from the war diary (WO171/1359):

    31 July 1944
    0915 As soon as possible the next morning ‘H’ Coy put in an attack on ST.MARTIN, the plan was that ‘G’ Coy should work round the left of the road where the country was extremely close, while the tanks worked round to the right. The Coys ran into extremely heavy opposition on the line of the rly just North of the village and were almost pinned to the ground. In the end by persistent fire and movement and with the help of 1 Herefords who came along the road to ST.MARTIN from the West, where the opposition was negligible, they finally took the place at 1430 hrs. During the battle Capt. Straker, Lieut. Stileman and Lieut. Yetman were wounded, Capt. May took over ‘H’ Coy. This was perhaps the hardest fighting in which the Bn had yet been engaged, but it was repaid by the knowledge that with the capture of ST.MARTIN the last line of enemy defences had been penetrated, third time lucky, we had made a breakthrough.
    1700 The Armd Regts were pushed through us and turned West towards Le-FOREST l’EVEQUE as it happened the forest was not held and the Bn was able to follow through it to FERRIERES, where the Bde spent the night. We were now through the enemy’s gun line into country from which he had not had time to evacuate the civilians, as a result we spent a most amusing and sociable 12 hours in FERRIERES with not only the French population but also a Bn of American infantry in whose area we now were, who came through us to take up a posn in the area. The close liaison between the two Armies was symbolised by the action of an American enlisted man who, as he marched through the village, silently and without stopping thrust into the hand of the Colonel a stick of chewing gum.

    Hope that is of interest,

    Regards

    Tom
     
  6. lineman

    lineman Junior Member

    Hi Tom
    Many thanks for the info.
    I have attached a couple of photo's of St Martin taken a few years ago.
     

    Attached Files:

  7. lineman

    lineman Junior Member

    Hi
    Would anyone have a copy of the war diary for 8th Battalion Rifle Brigade, 11th Armoured Div as my uncle served with H Company? He was killed on the 31st of July 1944 at St Martin Des Besaces and is now buried at Banneville-La-Campagne war cemetery.

    I have copies of F, G, and H company's after the war diaries but I would like to see the main war diary for the Battalion.

    Any help out there?

    Bob
     
  8. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Here's two file refs at Kew for you

    WO 171/1359 8 Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own) and diary for 'G' June- Dec.
    WO 171/1360 8 Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own) Light Aid Detachment 1944 Jan.- May

    I would guess they'd be quite thick seeing as they are broken into two 6 month periods.
     
  9. lineman

    lineman Junior Member

    Thanks Drew
    I live in Cornwall now so I guess I need to visit Kew.

    Bob
     
  10. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Either that or I can copy them for you-I suspect I may be cheaper than your travel costs.

    Cheers
    Andy
     
  11. lineman

    lineman Junior Member

    Hi Andy
    How much would you be looking for if you copied them for me?

    Bob
     
  12. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I charge 10p per page so it depends on how many pages are in anyone file. ie 200 pages - £20 and so on. Most diaries range between £15 and 360 with a few getting close to £100 (1000 pages). I'd be surprised if those two above were over 500 pages (£50) each but you never can tell until the file is ordered and copied because they vary so much.

    If you click on the red link below you'll find plenty of info on the service I offer.

    Cheers
    Andy
     
  13. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Bob,

    The entry for 31 July 44 reads:

    31 July 1944
    0915 As soon as possible the next morning ‘H’ Coy put in an attack on ST.MARTIN, the plan was that ‘G’ Coy should work round the left of the road where the country was extremely close, while the tanks worked round to the right. The Coys ran into extremely heavy opposition on the line of the rly just North of the village and were almost pinned to the ground. In the end by persistent fire and movement and with the help of 1 Herefords who came along the road to ST.MARTIN from the West, where the opposition was negligible, they finally took the place at 1430 hrs. During the battle Capt. Straker, Lieut. Stileman and Lieut. Yetman were wounded, Capt. May took over ‘H’ Coy. This was perhaps the hardest fighting in which the Bn had yet been engaged, but it was repaid by the knowledge that with the capture of ST.MARTIN the last line of enemy defences had been penetrated, third time lucky, we had made a breakthrough.
    1700 The Armd Regts were pushed through us and turned West towards Le-FOREST l’EVEQUE as it happened the forest was not held and the Bn was able to follow through it to FERRIERES, where the Bde spent the night. We were now through the enemy’s gun line into country from which he had not had time to evacuate the civilians, as a result we spent a most amusing and sociable 12 hours in FERRIERES with not only the French population but also a Bn of American infantry in whose area we now were, who came through us to take up a posn in the area. The close liaison between the two Armies was symbolised by the action of an American enlisted man who, as he marched through the village, silently and without stopping thrust into the hand of the Colonel a stick of chewing gum.

    What do you mean by the Coy after the war diaries? Were these published? I'd be interested in finding out how to get hold of them.

    Regards

    Tom
     
  14. lineman

    lineman Junior Member

    Thanks Tom
    This would have been the attack where my uncle was killed.

    The diaries I have are one for each of F, G and H Companies which I believe were written after the war as the H Company's diary I have is written by Captain Straker and appears to read as if he is recalling the various incidents rather than the actual diary for the Company.

    They are quite hard to get hold of as it has taken years to find them along with Noel Bell's From the Beaches to the Baltic the story of G Company which is really hard to find.

    Bob
     
  15. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Hi,

    I'm researching the actions of the 8 RB around PRESLES in early August 1944. Does anyone have a copy of the relevant pages of the company histories produced just after the war that they could share?

    I'm particularly interested in any accounts of the German tank that H Coy attacked with a PIAT in the village of Chenedolle on the evening of 2 Aug 44.

    Regards

    Tom
     
  16. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    Hi Tom,

    Interesting that you are asking about this. In about a month time I will be publishing the autobiography of Don Gillate, an H Company veteran of 13 platoon, who took part in this action. I have attached here here the relevant pages of the book and will upload the pages of the H Coy War Diary in a moment.

    Kind regards, Ronald.
     
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  17. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    Pages 19 and 20 of H Coy War Diary (published directly after the war)...
     

    Attached Files:

    Juha likes this.
  18. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    There is another thread on here with the same title ("8th Rifle Brigade"). Perhaps they can be merged?!
     
  19. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Hi Ronald,

    Thanks very much, that's just what I was looking for. Oh and congratulations - I'll certainly be looking out for a copy of your book when it comes out.

    Regards

    Tom
     
  20. harkness

    harkness Well-Known Member

    The Story of the Twenty-Third Hussars:
    093.jpg

    094.jpg
     
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