Assistance with Tracing Casualty from 2 Royal Ulster Rifles 29 November 1944?

Discussion in 'British Army Units - Others' started by Quis Separabit, Nov 29, 2019.

  1. Quis Separabit

    Quis Separabit Junior Member

    Following the discovery of some ripped battledress trousers with accompanying British 9mm round, used morphine ampoule and a 2 RUR cap badge in the roof of a house in the village of Blitterswijck, Holland, some detective work has revealed that the trousers almost certainly belonged to a member of 2 RUR who was injured during shelling of their Observation Post on 29th November 1944 - see separate post Identification of Ammunition Round?

    Having established it is most likely a member of 2 RUR, I would appreciate any assistance in tracing details of casualties from that time and place to try and put a name to the trousers!

    Any and all assistance welcome.....

    Quis Separabit
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2019
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  2. Quis Separabit

    Quis Separabit Junior Member

    If it makes it any easier to track down the above casualty, I know that 9 Field Ambulance were attached to 9th British Infantry Brigade at the time....

    I also know that only 1 officer and 34 ORs were injured during November (no officers and 12 ORs killed).

    And if he had been killed, the only fatality that day was listed as: 14691427 Rfn Anderson G 29-Nov-44

    Is there any way to trace a casualty:
    • who was most likely from 2 RUR (part of 9th British Infantry Brigade supported by 9 Field Ambulance)
    • injured in the area of Blitterswijck, Holland on 29th November 1944
    • possibly an officer
    • who most likely received a lower leg shrapnel injury from a mortar
    • who may/may not have survived the injury
    Are there any online records for this type of thing that would help to trace him or would it require a trip to the NA?

    Thanks in advance.
    Quis Separabit


  3. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    Your best bet might be to have a look at the Casualty Records on FMP.

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  4. Quis Separabit

    Quis Separabit Junior Member

    Thanks Steve, unfortunately without a name and specific date it returns over 3,568 records......

    And adding Netherlands as the location brings back "No Results"....

    Any ideas where it might be possible to identify casultlies on a particular day at a particular place/region?

  5. Quis Separabit

    Quis Separabit Junior Member

    OK, so I now have and update on the mystery of the trousers and 2RUR casualty, and I am painfully close to identifying him:

    The Situation: a pair of trousers were recently found in the attic of a house in the village of Blitterswijck, South East of Overloon and Wanssum on the River Meuse/Maas and I was keen to try and identify their previous owner....

    The Trousers: A pair of British/Commonwealth combat trousers with the back of the right-hand leg at the bottom cut away with scissors and.appearing to have been forcibly removed as the bottom 3 fly buttons were ripped/pulled off. Found inside/alongside the trousers were:
    • an RUR cap badge (next to the trousers)
    • a broken/used morphine ampoule (in the pocket)
    • a British 9mm round manufactured in Blackpole factory in 1943 (inside pocket)
    Research of the 2RUR and 9 Infantry Brigade War Diaries revealed that 2 RUR were involved in action in and around Blitterswijck at the end of November/beginning of December 1944 are cleared the area of an enemy pocket that was holding a bridgehead West of the Maas/Meuse at this time

    My earlier conclusions were that:
    • this was the same location as the 2 RUR OP that was hit by mortars at 11am on the 29th November 1944 as reported in the 9th British Infantry Brigade War Diary (see below)
    • at the time, Blitterswijck was occupied by "A" and "D" Companies of 2RUR (see below)
    • the owner of the house (a former veteran) has confirmed would have been the best place for an OP bearing in mind that the castle tower, church tower and mill had been previously destroyed. Damage to the roof from shelling is also still in evidence to this day.
    • the trousers were almost certainly owned by someone who was injured by shrapnel as the back of the lower leg of the trousers was cut away, the trousers were seemingly forcibly removed and a used morphine ampoule was left behind
    • the casualty was in the attic at the time and arguably lying face down (looking out?) as was hit in the back of the lower part of his leg
    • during the curfuffle he dropped his 2 RUR cap badge (or more likely they fell out his trouser pocket when removed)
    • he was possibly the owner of a Sten or pistol as he kept a British 9mm round in his pocket (or had picked one up at some point)

    I subsequently stumbled across a reference to an FOO in the 2RUR regimental diary and War Diary who , having followed up a hunch, have now identified that:
    • on the same date
    • in the same village
    • working in support of "D" Company from 2RUR
    • was a Forward Observation Officer from 33 Field Regiment Royal Artillery called Acting Captain Henry Sherman Taylor (94552)
    • whose OP received a direct hit from from enemy shelling
    • and whose signaller was wounded
    • who was subsequently awarded the Military Cross for taking the injured signaller to the safety of the cellar before remaining at his post alone for the next five days and supporting 2 RUR in their removal of the pocket of enemy West of the River Maas/Meuse and protecting them from shelling from the other side of the river (see below).
    Consequently, I am now 99% certain that the trousers belonged to a 2RUR signaller who was accompanying Captain Henry Taylor, FOO of 33 Filed Regiment Royal Artillery, in the attic of the house in Blitterswijck on the Western bank of the River Maas/Meuse that they were using as OP for 2RUR when the house received a direct hit from mortars/shelling and he was treated with morphine before being moved down to the safety of the cellar (which the owner has confirmed the house has).

    The Regimental history shows there was only one 2 RUR fatality that day, Rifleman G Anderson G (14691427), but I am unsure whether the signaller was simply wounded or died from his injuries.

    I am now painfully close to identifying who the owner of the trousers was (has become a bit of an obsession!) so I am desperate to find out if it is possible to track down the Casualty List for what would have been the nearest RAP entries around the 29th November 1944, and if so how?

    If it makes it any easier to track down the above casualty, I know that 9 Field Ambulance were attached to 9th British Infantry Brigade at the time....

    Any assistance would be greatly appreciated....if for no other reason than to avoid me losing the plot completely....

    Thanks in advance.
    Quis Separabit

    P.S. I am copying across to related entry regarding the original 9mm round query for completeness so excuse duplication...

    9 British Infantry Brigade War Diary Entry - 9th British Infantry Brigade During World War 2: November 1944
    RUR Regimental Official History Record - 2nd Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles in WW2: 1st December 1944 - Second attack on Wanssum

    2nd Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles in WW2: 2RUR War Diary


    Henry Shearer Taylor - Royal Artillery - Military Cross - FOO with D Company 2 RUR.PNG Henry Shearer Taylor - Royal Artillery - Military Cross - FOO with D Company 2 RUR - Part 2.PNG

  6. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    Would the signaller with Captain Taylor be 2RUR, would he not be an artillery signaller? I'm not sure on this but I'd have thought an FOO worked with his own signaller - I could be totally wrong though but there are experts on here who can guide
  7. Quis Separabit

    Quis Separabit Junior Member

    I honestly don't know, but an RUR cap badge came from somewhere and this was the location of the 2RUR OP........
  8. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    Is it worth getting the War Diary for 33 Field Regiment? it looks like they had one man killed 1st November - 4201624 Gunner Evans, he was originally buried in Overloon temporary burial ground which is fairly close
  9. Quis Separabit

    Quis Separabit Junior Member

    Relevant date was 29 November 1944 but a good shout re the War Diary for 33 Field Regiment, I don't suppose anyone on the forum has previously obtained a copy?
  10. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    I'm not sure why I picked up the 1st, still they seem to have lost a gunner on the 28th and 1st - the lad on the 1st could have succumbed to wounds, he is listed as Killed rather than Died of wounds, unfortunately I don't have the answers but hopefully some of these thoughts can maybe stir something.
  11. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    If the OP being referenced is that of the attached RA officer acting as forward observer, then yes, his signaller should be RA as well. A Field Regiment is shown with a suggested OP of an officer, a driver-mechanic and two driver-operators; they would of course operate on foot and from positions such as houses, as described, or wherever they could squeeze in with a decent view and access to their wireless set. The good news is that a Field Regt had lots of Sten guns, and from my own research I can say it is highly likely that a driver-operator would have carried one.

    I think over on the other thread you mentioned an IOP? That could relate to an Intelligence OP I think. The Bn would have had its own Intelligence Section, with the Intelligence Sgt and six men under the IO. Bad news is only the Sgt was officially authorised a Sten, the other men all having rifles (though of course, that was subject to amendment in the field). The Int Sec was responsible for setting up and manning OPs, particularly when their Bn was in a static position.

    How all those things came to be in one man's pocket, I don't think we'll be able to unravel. If he was RA the RUR badge could've been a simple memento I suppose? At any rathe there were likely to be RUR men in the OP as well, even if it was an RA spot.

  12. Quis Separabit

    Quis Separabit Junior Member

    Hi Gary
    Thanks for clarifying the standard make up of an OP and that Sten guns wouldn't have been uncommon.

    As per above screenshots, 2RUR War Diary refers to "I OP received a direct hit" but Brigade War Diary just states as "2RUR OP" so could be either? Both Diaries refer to only one casualty and MC Recommendation states that "the signaller next to him was wounded. He removed the wounded man to the cellar and returned to his post despite heavy and accurate shelling." which suggests, though not guaranteed, that he was alone with the signaller. Companies and HQ were spread over quite a wide area at the time.

    My feeling is it would/should have been an RA Signaller, but since he was "in support of D Company" is it possible that he could have been accompanied by an RUR Signaller?? If this is the case then could be a very long shot that is one of those below (from March 1944) .....including his trousers and cap badge!! :D

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  13. Giberville

    Giberville Junior Member

    I think I agree that the signaller would be an RA signaller in the OP group. However, it might be that the soldier in question was sent to provide local protection for the OP? I know this did happen. See the citation below for evidence:
    lemmon citation.JPG
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  14. Quis Separabit

    Quis Separabit Junior Member

    Thanks - comments noted.... so it was definitely a signaller who got injured, probably from 33 Field Regiment RA (but not impossibly for 2RUR), and someone from 2RUR dropped their cap badge at some point.....

    So now just to try and track down casualty records on that day, at that location and from either 2RUR or 33 Field Regiment (unless was of significant importance to potentially be mentioned in their War Diary?)
  15. Quis Separabit

    Quis Separabit Junior Member

    Now have a name, face and medal for the FOO at the time of the incident, but still no ID for the bloke who got injured right next to him....... :-{

    Captain Henry Shearer Taylor M.C. - 113/114 Battery of 33 Field Regiment

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  16. Quis Separabit

    Quis Separabit Junior Member

    OK - latest update on the elusive casualty, and having trawled through all of the Casualty Records for this period where casualty was either from 2RUR or were a signalman/from Signals Corp then I am left a shortlist of 5...

    1 Rifleman George Frederick Anderson - 14691427 (773) - 2 RUR - KIA 29/11/1944

    I am ruling him out as Rifleman George Frederick Anderson (Unknown-1944)... shows: "Buried in a fieldgrave in backyard of Hoofdstraat 68 Meerlo, Netherlands (map ref. 855247). Exhumated 09/1946 and reburied 16/09/1946 in Venray."

    2. Rifleman H Ravenscroft - 14746461 (770) - 2 RUR - Wounded 29/11/1944 (only one of 2 RUR injured that day)
    • Right Date: Wounded on 29 November
    • Right Unit: rifleman in 2RUR
    • Right Place: 2 RUR were in Blitterswijck at the time
    • Right Person? Could potentially have been part of 2 RUR Signal Platoon and/or part of D Company or HQ Company who may have been in support of Captain Taylor's OP at the time?
    • Does anyone know if a member of and infantry battalion Signal Platoon would have the title "Rifleman" or "Signalman"?
    3. Acting Lance Corporal Norman Swanwick - 2343577 (768) - Royal Signals - 8 Corps Signals - Died of Wounds 29/11/1944
    • Right Date: Died of Wounds on 29 November
    • Right Place? Buried alongside 2 RUR men killed around the same time
    • Right Unit? Records show he was part of 8 Corps Signals that was part of the 2nd Army that was in and around this area at at the time - not sure if he could have been assigned to 33 Field Regiment and/or 2 RUR?
    • Right Person? One of only 3 "Signalmen" injured/killed that day and "died of wounds" so could have been injured, taken to basement but subsequently died of wounds if OP was isolated and he was not treated properly....
    VIII Corps (United Kingdom) - Wikipedia

    "The Corps fought in a supporting role during Operation Market Garden on the east flank of XXX Corps with XII Corps to the west of XXX Corps, capturing the Dutch towns of Deurne and Helmond, and took part in the advance on Venray and Venlo. Then in Operation Constellation beginning on 12 October 1944. VIII Corps, now commanded by Lieutenant-General Evelyn Barker, later took part in Operation Plunder, crossed the Elbe and occupied Plön in Schleswig-Holstein."

    4. Signalman H Burton - 14512763 (769) - Royal Corps of Signals - 72 Construction Section - Wounded 29/11/1944
    • Right Date: Wounded on 29 November
    • Right Place? Don't where "72 Construction Section" were on that day?
    • Right Unit? Don't know what "72 Construction Section" did and whether relevant to 2 RUR and/or 33 Field Regiment?
    • Right Person? One of only 3 "Signalmen" injured that day...
    5. Acting lance Sergeant J.L. Ince - 3526861 (771) - Royal Corps of Signals - 72 Construction Section - KIA 29/11/1944
    • Right Date: KIA on 29 November (though if had been wounded first presumably would have been reported as "Died of Wounds")
    • Right Place? Don't where "72 Construction Section" were on that day?
    • Right Unit? Don't know what "72 Construction Section" did and whether relevant to 2 RUR and/or 33 Field Regiment?
    • Right Person? One of only 3 "Signalmen" injured that day...

    I feel as though I am getting closer and have ruled out 1 of the 5 above though would appreciate any information that could help to rule in/out any more of the above....

    The codes in Blue above (768, 769, 770, 771, 773) were all handwritten alongside each respective casualty list entry together with other similar codes on most of the other entries across all regiments, does anyone know what these codes relate to as, if they relate to the type of injury, the could provide a significant clue in this puzzle......


    Quis Separabit

    2RUR 19441128-29 GBM_WO417_086_0128 - Rfn H RAVENSCROFT 14746461 wounded 770.jpg 2RUR 19441129-1201 GBM_WO417_086_0223 Rfm G.F. ANDERSON 14691427 KIA 773.jpg Signals 19441129 GBM_WO417_086_0052 - Signalman BURTON 14512763 wounded 291144.jpg Signals 19441129 GBM_WO417_086_0084 - Acting Lance Sergeant INCE 3526861 KIA 291144 1st report.jpg Signals 19441129 GBM_WO417_086_0086 Acting Lance Corporal SWANWICK 2343577 Died of Wounds.jpg
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  17. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    If he's likely to have been or captured I wouldn't rule out the WO 361 Missing Men file for the regiment.
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  18. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

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  19. Phill Kennedy

    Phill Kennedy Member

    Hi, I was reading your thread with interest as my grandfather was in RUR and was injured in the lower leg in late 1944 and survived. However I don't think the dates quite work out unless the casualty lists are quite a bit out.

    I do understand from reading the war diaries that there was quite a bit of fighting between Nov and Dec 1944. I've only recently started to enquire into the service record of my grandfather, William Sargent 14443269.

    I have had a look at the forces war records online which shows his service record and details that he was wounded. strangely there seem to be two records, but the one I believe to be accurate is dated 12/12/1944 when he appears on the war office casualty branch list.

    the second record is at the end of November beginning of December 1944, and mentioned that the record had been over written with 2nd Lincolnshire regiment.

    he did not talk much about his service or experience during the war but he did have a substantial injury to the back of his lower leg, the family story is that he was part of a group of soldiers who were ambushed whilst on patrol, some of the patrol died and he lay until he was found the next morning still alive. I have no idea how accurate this account is.

    To help to clarify this account I have written to the mod and applied for his military record, which I hope should clarify the matter.

    after his injuries healed he ended up redeployed to the Royal Army Service Corps, and went onto serve in Palestine until 1948.

    My grandfather was murdered by republican terrorists in 1992.

    If I obtain any further information from his service record I will let you know.

    Kind regards.
  20. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    The casualty lists showing his wounding and then correcting his unit to 2 Lincolns as mentioned, both relate to the same wound - also a 3rd document for his Palestine medal with the RASC

    1.jpg 2.jpg 3.jpg

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