9th Lancers 1943–6 – Looking for anecdotes, odd facts, etc.

Discussion in 'RAC & RTR' started by Fran Sandham, Jan 26, 2022.

  1. Fran Sandham

    Fran Sandham Member

    Hi everyone,

    I’m currently doing some research on 9th Queen’s Royal Lancers during WW2, and I’m looking for some further info on the regiment from January 1943 to mid-1946.

    My father Ron Sandham served in 2nd Troop ‘A’ Squadron 9th Lancers between those dates (in Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Italy, then back to Egypt again). I can remember quite a few details from his own verbal account of his war experiences when I was a child, and he’d also kept a diary for much of the war.

    I’d be very interested in any further information I can get about 9th Lancers 1943–6, especially about ‘A’ Squadron. For example, any personal anecdotes (amusing or otherwise), odd facts, arcane details, etc. – even dull or seemingly trivial ones – and certainly any photos. Basically any stories or details at all that someone might have read or heard in the past – possibly from a relative who served in the regiment?

    I’ve already consulted the 9th Lancers’ War Diaries, and also the published regimental history 1936–45 (‘The Story of an Armoured Regiment in Battle’), also ‘A Short History of 9th Queen’s Royal Lancers 1715–1949’; I’ve been in touch with the 9th/12th Royal Lancers Museum in Derby, and I’ve done a fair bit of googling (e.g. on the BBC’s WW2 People’s War site, etc.) and read various books on the Eighth Army in North Africa and Italy. Regarding personal memoirs from WW2, for some reason there seems to have been rather less published on the 9th Lancers than other regiments in 2nd Armoured Brigade (e.g. Queen’s Bays).

    I realise this is quite an ‘open-ended’ query – but you never what information might surface unexpectedly. Sometimes even the most random snippet of information can prove to be the missing piece to some jigsaw puzzle or open up an entirely new line of enquiry ... So if anyone had anything they might kindly be prepared to share on 9th Lancers 1943–6, or any suggestions, this would be very much appreciated.

    Many thanks,

    Fran
     
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  2. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Fran,

    I have largely focused on the period of the 9th Lancers prior to the one that you are interested in, so I am familiar with the sources and references to which you refer, however the fact that you already have them, and appear to have things well covered there as regards war diaries and published regimental histories means that the amount of extra info I have would probably "only" ;-) extend to "random snippet(s) of information" unfortunately...

    I agree though, that "regarding personal memoirs from WW2, for some reason there seems to have been rather less published on the 9th Lancers than other regiments" and that once one has started looking for information on the 9th Lancers there comes a point, relatively rapidly that it becomes increasingly difficult to find sources online for very much more.

    I have though occasionally come across things about the 9th Lancers from January 1943 to mid-1946, as there remained various degrees of communication between members of the 24th Lancers (that were former 9th Lancers) and their friends and former comrades in the 9th Lancers, with additionally a number of 24th Lancers returning to the 9th Lancers at various points and some record being kept of them etc. "with" the 24th...

    All the best,

    Rm.

    Threads on...

    9th Queens Royal Lancers Roll of Honour

    9th Lancers in May and June 1940

    9th Queens Lancers

    9th Queen's Royal Lancers "A" Squadron

    Tags...

    9 queen's royal lancers | WW2Talk

    Re. Henry Otho Daniel THWAITES (128796)
    24th Lancers - Roll of Honour
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2022
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  3. Fran Sandham

    Fran Sandham Member

    Hi Ramiles,

    Thanks for your reply and links. I responded earlier this year to one of the WW2Talk threads you list (Keith Lockitt) who was trying to get info about his father’s service in ‘A’ Sqn 9th Lancers in Italy – my father had known his father, so I sent him a couple photos he didn’t have.

    Random snippets of information are fine – for example, off the top of my head, does this song ring any bells with you at all, an ‘unofficial regimental song’ for 9th Lancers during the war, of which I can only remember the very first lines (I would last have heard this about 50 years ago). I can remember the tune perfectly but I can’t place it – it might possibly have been pinched from Verdi. Either way, the song was very upbeat, and obviously humorous, and no doubt sung on occasions where a great deal of alcohol was involved ...

    The song began:


    ‘Ninth Lancers, living in misery,

    Joined as they heard that the beer was free;

    Once you’re in you can live upon M&V,

    We’re ready to fight,

    We’re ready to fight ...'


    Those are the only lines I can remember, and I would be interested to hear the rest. I guess there might have been different versions. Of course, it’s quite possible that the rest of the song wasn’t fit for a young child’s ears, which may be why I can only recall the beginning ...

    Cheers


    Fran
     
  4. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    One thing I am wondering about currently is why the 9th Lancers didn't seem to wear berets during WW2...

    20220522_123024.jpg
     
  5. Fran Sandham

    Fran Sandham Member

    Hi Rm,

    Re: Headgear, yes, I've never seen any photo of any 9th Lancer wearing a beret during WW2 - the only headgear I've ever seen them wearing are those shown in your pictures (my father had both, at different times).

    The guy in the painting top left (S.S.M. 'Skid' Edwards, M.M. and Bar) was my father's sergeant-major in 'A' Sqn 9th Lancers in North Africa in 1943. Apparently he was always threatening my father (Tpr. Ron Sandham) and fellow trooper John Hubbard with a spell in the guardroom over the contents of the satirical 'A' Squadron newsletter they regularly produced called 'Stan-A-Shoir' (In Arabic 'Wait-A-Moment!' - Ron was editor, John did the artwork). Some of the articles lampooned the officers and NCOs, though almost all the officers enjoyed the newsletter. My father managed to persuade S.S.M. Edwards to take part on stage in 'A' Sqn's 1943 Christmas Concert 'smoker' in Algeria, so hopefully they sorted their differences out ...
    cheers,
    Fran
     
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  6. BFBSM

    BFBSM Very Senior Member

    I think that may have been a cavalry thing. The Bays didn't either.
    In Uniform (Italy).jpg HarryRanson.gif Harrywithamate.jpg

    NOTE: Well I got that wrong. This is from Military beret - Wikipedia

     
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  7. Fran Sandham

    Fran Sandham Member

    If Wikipedia are right - and I guess they might well be - that 'the use of the black beret was extended to all the regiments of the RAC', would there not be at least some photos of 9th Lancers wearing berets during the war? I have several photos of my father wearing a beret in 1942 in England and Egypt when he was in the RAC but had not yet been assigned a regiment - but as soon as he joined the 9th Lancers in Jan 1943 all photos of him in a beret stopped with immediate effect ...

    I haven't seen any pics of Queens Bays in berets either

    I'm sure Angela at the 9th Lancers Museum in Derby would know..!
     
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  8. BFBSM

    BFBSM Very Senior Member

    I really do think, regardless of the quote I posted, that the Cavalry did not use the beret during the war.
     
  9. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    The 24th Lancers... seemed, at least according to their Regimental History - "None Had Lances" - to welcome the change to Berets...

    24th L - War Diary
    Boroughbridge
    15/5/41 Berets were issued to the men to replace Side Caps.

    FB_IMG_1653280234982.jpg

    And it occurred relatively soon after December 1940 - when the 24L were formed from parts of the 9th Lancers and the 17th/21st Lancers.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2022
  10. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    From what I can see there is relatively scant information, posted online about the 9th Lancers during WW2, albeit there is a huge amount that can be read through in the 9th Lancers Regimental History by Joan Bright.

    9th Lancers - Regimental History (Joan Bright) 1936-1945...
    Regimental-Histories_1936-1945 Bright_0001.jpg - The Royal Lancers Museum at Derby

    The wiki page...

    9th Queen's Royal Lancers - Wikipedia

    Has some basic background on the 9th Lancers during WW2.

    And there is...

    9th Queen's Royal Lancers | National Army Museum

    Which has...

    Second World War
    The regiment covered the retreat to Dunkirk in 1940, before fighting in North Africa from 1941. This included the Gazala battles and El Alamein in 1942.
    It then moved to Italy in mid-1944, where it fought as infantry and in an armoured reconnaissance role. It helped break the Gothic Line in 1944 and led the breakthrough on the River Po in 1945.
    The post-war period saw the regiment stationed in Britain and West Germany with the British Army of the Rhine.

    The reference to their fighting as "infantry and in an armoured reconnaissance role" might have been a factor if for instance they had adopted the beret, though it would be nice to find something to explain the circumstances a little more. An RAC Regiment having the black beret in 1940, not extending to the 9th Lancers etc.

    Beret, Royal Tank Regiment

    Military beret - Wikipedia

    During the Second World War, the use of the black beret was extended to all the regiments of the Royal Armoured Corps in 1940. The maroon beret was adopted by British airborne forces in 1941 and the green beret by the Commandos in late 1942. A khaki beret was worn by the Reconnaissance Corps from 1941 until 1944,[47] and the Royal Air Force Regiment adopted a blue-grey beret in 1943.[48] Later in the war, a rather baggier beret-like hat, called the General Service Cap, was issued to all ranks of the British Army (with RAC, parachute, commando, Scottish and Irish units excepted), to replace the earlier Field Service Cap. The GS Cap was not popular, and after the war was replaced with a true beret.

    List of Royal Armoured Corps Regiments in World War II - Wikipedia

    Does include the 9th Lancers in its list.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2022
  11. Fran Sandham

    Fran Sandham Member

    Re: 9th Lancers headgear during the war, I forgot, they also wore cap comforters while they were fighting as dismounted infantry in January-February 1945 at Villanova in northern Italy (see attached photo from one of the 9th Lancers' positions at Villanova).

    The guy top left in the photo (whom I'm 99% sure is Tpr. Bill Markin of 2nd Troop, 'A' Sqn) with his ultra-high-raised collar looks as though he might also be going for a slightly 'Ming The Merciless' look ...? Perhaps this was used to frighten the guys they were fighting on the opposite side of the canal there, the 16th Waffen SS Div ...
     

    Attached Files:

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  12. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Bovington - Tank museum has a Roll of Honour for the 9th Lancers - here...

    Roll of Honour - The Tank Museum

    The 2nd name (currently) mentioned there appears to be...

    Allhusen Mc - 453285 - 9th Queen's Royal Lancers - United Kingdom - 10 November 1960

    But this doesn't seem to match a recorded service number or name that I can currently find.

    The Mc, rather than being Initials might have been a record of a Military Cross, and something has occurred by way of error during the process of transcribing details perhaps... ?

    Alternatively, perhaps it's due to the date of death being 1960. Initially I thought perhaps that this Roll of Honour was more specifically related, for instance to RAC WW2...

    There are a few Allhusen's mentioned here...

    - The Royal Lancers Museum at Derby

    And some references to what looks like a Michael Allhusen around 1958/59 showjumping that might perhaps relate to this "Allhusen Mc - 453285"

    Edit - Re. clarification post next below... Many thanks BFBSM - I was "thrown" by the small "C" in the "Mc" initials in the RAC - Roll of Honour. And didn't think to look for the later "453285" service number in the London Gazette.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2022
  13. BFBSM

    BFBSM Very Senior Member

    From the London Gazette (Page 4911 | Supplement 41153, 16 August 1957 | Lond...)

    From No. 41621 (Page 799 | Supplement 41621, 30 January 1959 | Lond...)

    He was born in 1938,
     
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  14. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Re. The berets...

    See...
    9th Lancers 1943–6 – Looking for anecdotes, odd facts, etc.

    Above.

    The picture below, showing a few individuals in berets...

    download.jpeg-1.jpg

    Has a few erroneous attributions online currently as a 9th Lancer photo, albeit often with comments (subsequently) that it is otherwise...

    https://www.google.com/search?tbs=sbi:AMhZZisHse69D2j7FB7z1pdfJJ3YJyzumOvajxFygSWSA-je5Kt5_18rvtkoaZ3kPBFEPvMbtI9RHvIfa_1Fo9eyZFm4hyDABuekYGjuRGVop2mizKcSX6hYJszlWy548-Ldq_1pyP4DgG1kgJjHAdDNX8V9t7QwmS7tCdkZtBbPS7XFWqLVsyDN1fXqMvMIZ26l8y7CL_19s7zEjiZHv9lHE8YDGhh4FtYP4--OpYQ3N6EB30ioyfY1p4dMD6QjMXo7pUXj2vfCxV0BDVAf9PZu5JdtU_16fOEDP8xkfQcz4O7DafvM6IwXm_1rqvduazGLca6nUREE9qihSOXf8wN614J_1caYUHk7n3KIg&btnG=Search by image&hl=en

    As it derives from an IWM print... IWM E23451

    THE BRITISH ARMY IN NORTH AFRICA 1943

    Object description
    Lieutenant General W G Holmes, GOC 9th Army, stands on a Sherman tank of the Wiltshire Yeomanry to watch a gunnery display, 5 April 1943.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2022
  15. Fran Sandham

    Fran Sandham Member

    Re: 9th Lancers headgear, when they were fighting as dismounted infantry on the winter line in Jan-Feb 1945 they were also issued with tin hats when they first went up to Villanova. Though my father said he never wore his once (I don't know if the others did or not) - I've never seen any photo of them wearing them ...
     
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  16. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Re. Sergeant Frederick (Fred) James Cornwall

    A former 9th Lancers...

    https://9th12thlancersmuseum.org/ar...tal-histories-1936-1945-bright/38031?q=319207

    And then in "B" Squadron 24th Lancers - Service number 319207

    He was transferred to the 2nd Fife and Forfar Yeomanry when the 24th Lancers was disbanded.

    Died 24d9m1944

    https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/2658897/FREDERICK JAMES CORNWALL/

    SERJEANT FREDERICK JAMES CORNWALL
    Service Number: 319207
    Regiment: Royal Armoured Corps. 2nd Fife and Forfar Yeomanry
    Date of Death: Died 24 September 1944
    Age 25 years old
    Buried or commemorated at GROESBEEK MEMORIAL.
    Panel 1. Netherlands
    Country of Service: United Kingdom

    But actually also appears here...

    ttp://ww2talk.com/index.php?threads/9th-queens-royal-lancers-roll-of-honour.57942/

    On the 9th Lancers Roll of Honour...

    Scan10012.JPG-1.jpg
     

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