945 I.W.T. Coy RE

Discussion in 'Royal Engineers' started by MKD, Nov 25, 2012.

  1. MKD

    MKD Junior Member

    Hi, I'm tracing my family tree and have come across a member of the family that was apparently killed at Cassino. I did a search on a war graves site and found a record for him saying he was a Sapper in 945 IWT Coy RE and date of death said 05/11/44.
    This date is later than the battles at Cassino so was wondering if anyone new of a war history for the unit and also how I can get hold of his service record?
    Thank you.
  2. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce Patron

    Hello and welcome to the forum

    The first thing you should do is apply for his service records
    Ministry of Defence | About Defence | What we do | Personnel | Service Records | Making a Request for Information held on the Personnel Records of Deceased Service Personnel and Home Guard records

    They cost 30 pounds and make sure you ask for the FULL records. Be prepared for a wait as they take around 12 months.

    My father-in-law served with 966 IWT :)

    I am sure members will be along to give you the War diary reference numbers for the unit you are researching.

  3. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce Patron

    Just to let you know there are a couple of members on here who do a copying service at Kew at a reasonable cost if you cannot get there. I am sure they will be along soon.

  4. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Hello MKD,

    There are six deaths reported for 945th IWT Operating Coy, RE, for 5 November 1944; as listed under. None has a known grave and most are reported on the 'Cassino Memorial' - this maybe the Cassino connection.


    I found a report on the web that states that AJ Renouf died at sea and this is consistent with these lads having no known grave i.e. they died at sea.

    You should contact either Andy (handle 'Drew 5233') or Lee ('PsyWar.Org') if you wish to procure the relevant War Diary.


  5. MKD

    MKD Junior Member

    Hi, thank you to all the replies. It has been illuminating.
    Thanks Lesley for your info, I didn't think it would cost as much to get a service record. Also about the guys who copy, I might well use them.
    Steve, what you found was really helpful. Its horrible to think they probably drowned. Would be nice to find out why they were at sea? Where were they going? How did they meet their end? etc.
  6. Oldman

    Oldman Very Senior Member

    They may not have drowned the only way to find out is by getting either his units war diary for the period or getting his service record.

    Sappers on the IWT companies often died through accidents e.g cargo falling or being hit by loose objects falling and even enemy action.
  7. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    ... Its horrible to think they probably drowned. Would be nice to find out why they were at sea? Where were they going? How did they meet their end? etc.

    Hello Martin,

    My Dad's oldest brother was lost in the same way off Bray Dunes on 31 May 1940, his boat overturned and all eleven passengers were drowned. Apparently his officer had ordered the men to board wearing/with all their kit, i.e. they would have sunk immediately.

    As Mike (handle 'Oldman') says, the 945th IWT Op Coy lads may not have drowned and you definitely need the relevant War Diary to ascertain what happened to them. It should mention the incident - my uncle's relevant War Diary did - but there is no guarantee.

    Good luck with your search. Let us know how you get on!


  8. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey


    I believe these are the war diaries for the 945, held at the National Archives:

    WO 166/3942, ROYAL ENGINEERS: COMPANIES: 945 Operating Company. (1940 Sept.-Dec., 1941 Feb., May - Dec.)
    WO 166/8354, 945 Coy. (1942 Jan.- Sept.)
    WO 169/10800, 945 I.W.T. Op. Coy. (1943 Aug.- Dec.)
    WO 169/10801, 945 I.W.T. Op. Coy. Det. (1943 Sept.- Dec.)
    WO 170/1794, Companies: 945 Coy. (1944 Jan.- Dec.)
    WO 175/708, 945 Coy. (1942 Oct.- 1943 June)

    I can help you obtain copies of the some or part of them if you're unable to get there yourself.

    Best wishes,

  9. MKD

    MKD Junior Member

    Thank you Lee. How much would it cost to get a copy of what happened on 05/11/44? So I could find out what caused their deaths.
  10. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    Martin, I charge 8p per page to photograph a document plus 3 quid.
    If you're after just the diary pages for November then we are probably looking at around 4 pounds in total. A complete month is the smallest section of a diary I copy.
    More details here Arcre - ARCRE - Frequently Asked Questions
  11. MKD

    MKD Junior Member

    Thank you Lee, I will probably pursue that after Xmas.
    Would any one know a brief history of the 945 IWT Coy and their activity's during the war?
  12. scott simpson

    scott simpson Member

    Hi Martin,
    I know it's been sometime since you posted this request for information regarding your family member, who was killed whilst serving in the
    945 IWT. My grandad also served in the 945IWT, from mid 1940, till mid 1946.
    I have been researching his war records and the war diaries of his unit and have found the entry for this time when those six men
    were lost. If you are still a visitor to this forum and would like to know more, please let me know, by responding on here.
    I'm not sure if it would be appropriate for me to post up what I've read without asking.
    Scott Simpson
    Drew5233 likes this.
  13. MKD

    MKD Junior Member

    Hi Scott. Blimey has it been that long since I posted? Yes I am very much still interested, I just always seem to be busy on other things to look into it.
  14. scott simpson

    scott simpson Member

    Hi Martin,
    Your relative and his collegues were crew of one of the 945 IWT's Tug's. In fact, they were Tanac tugs, which I believe were Canadian built and
    pretty commonplace amongst the allied commonwealth forces.
    Three tugs, Tanac 5, Tanac 79 and Tanac 80, set sail in fine weather from HQ, Ancona and were on a routine opperation, each towing two (probably
    Minca) barges each, to Pesaro, around 25 miles north, along the Adriatic coast of Italy. Although the weather was fine, they reported a strong headwind and the journey increased by two and a half hours. After dropping off their craft (barges, I presume), they set off on the return journey individually.
    Tanac 79 was seen to dissapear, after a large explosion, by the crew of Tanac 80 (which must have been horrendous for them). Tanac 80 searched for survivors and was joined by RCL 273 (RCL= Ramped Cargo Lighter, which are basically shallow water landing craft). The crew of Tanac 5 saw nothing at all and returned to Ancona port, without realising what had happened. Nothing seems to have been found.
    There is no proper explanation, as to what caused the explosion, but, perhaps the most likely cause would be a mine. Especially, as the tugs were
    sailing light and, I expect by this time, a very good tailwind.
    If I come accross anything more during my research, I'll let you know. I'm sure there would have been some investigation at a later date.
    Hope this helps put you a little more in the picture.
    Steve Mac likes this.
  15. MKD

    MKD Junior Member

    Hi Scott. Thank you very much for that. It was very interesting and fills in a gap for me.
  16. davidships

    davidships New Member

    Steve Mac likes this.

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