Battle of Keren - Modern Legacy and Relatives

Discussion in 'North Africa & the Med' started by Paddy Gardner, Sep 10, 2018.

  1. Paddy Gardner

    Paddy Gardner New Member

    I have seen previous forum posts regarding the Battle of Keren entitled 'Battle of Keren: Toughest of them All?' on WW2Talk (Battle of Keren: toughest of them all?). While there were many interesting stories and comments from various parties it is unfortunate that the last post was in 2013. I would like to restart a thread regarding the Battle of Keren, to more about the stories, individuals and also opinions that people hold towards what was a momentous battle of the Second World War.

    For some context: During the spring of 1941 Allied Forces from across the Commonwealth fought together against Italian and Eritrean Ascari troops in Keren, Eritrea. Keren was a strategic location, valuable to both sides with it's road and railway providing direct routes to Asmara and ports to the Red Sea. In spite of tremendous odds, after two months of intense combat, the Allied troops emerged victorious.

    It is frequently referred to as one of the most important victories in the African campaign, however it is sad to see that there is still relatively little known about the men who gave their lives here. I am also working on a research project together with the CWGC and UK Embassy in Eritrea, trying to track down the descendants of those who served at Keren and I hope that in restarting this thread I may also find out more information that can lead me to or perhaps even make direct contact with those I am trying to find. If this does apply to you or someone you know, please contact me at: UKgardnerp@gmail.com
     
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  2. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Paddy you might want to supplement the @ in your email to at.

    Also you can just bump the thread which I have just done for you


    regards
    Clive
     
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  3. Uncle Jack

    Uncle Jack Member

    Interested in your research. My father in law was with the 4th Durham Survey Regiment RA in that campaign.

    Regards

    Robin
     
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  4. Paddy Gardner

    Paddy Gardner New Member

    Many thanks for the pointers Clive, I am somewhat of a rookie on these forums!

    Regards,

    Paddy
     
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  5. Paddy Gardner

    Paddy Gardner New Member

    Hi Robin,

    The first stage of this project is getting into contact with the relatives of servicemen, from there we wish to learn more about their stories and ultimately celebrate and commemorate their service. We have made requests through the social media of the Commonwealth War Grave's Commission (Twitter and Facebook) but I am trying to use a variety of methods (such as this forum) in order to reach as wide an audience as possible.

    So, many thanks for reaching out! Could you please email me at: UKgardnerp@gmail.com and we can start a dialogue there?

    Regards,

    Paddy
     
  6. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    The reason you were asked to replace the "@" was simply to save it being harvested for spam or other troublesome purpose.

    Whilst the Battle for Keren was undoubtedly hard fought, did it have any significant effect on the course of WW2?
    The Italian reports as to why they were beaten seem at total odds to the Allied view; did the RAF have air superiority, artillery superiority, did the Italians fight hard or were they easily dislodged once toeholds on the crests were gained?

    I don't intend this to demean what the soldiers achieved, but what happened at Keren doesn't seem acknowledged as having any effect on other Fronts.
     
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  7. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    The reason you were asked to replace the "@" was simply to save it being harvested for spam or other troublesome purpose.

    Whilst the Battle for Keren was undoubtedly hard fought, did it have any significant effect on the course of WW2?
    The Italian reports as to why they were beaten seem at total odds to the Allied view; did the RAF have air superiority, artillery superiority, did the Italians fight hard or were they easily dislodged once toeholds on the crests were gained?

    I don't intend this to demean what the soldiers achieved, but what happened at Keren doesn't seem acknowledged as having any effect on other Fronts.
     
  8. Uncle Jack

    Uncle Jack Member

    May not seem to have had much significance but it was of key strtegic importance. Clearing Eritrea and securing the coast was aimportant for all the Winston Special convoys. ALso it removed the threat to the african colonies
     
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  9. Paddy Gardner

    Paddy Gardner New Member

    Thanks for the pointer! I will make the change.

    I appreciate adding a little debate to the forum as I was looking to further what I already knew and hopefully add a little of other's insight.

    I think it could be argued that Keren provided a tangible boost for the Allies, after Keren, Asmara and Massawa could be accessed, this lead to some resupply initiatives and also allowed for different divisions to be available and deployed elsewhere. As well as this, more recently historians have argued for the value this battle had as the 'First Major Allied Victory' of the Second World War (The First Victory: The Second World War and the East Africa Campaign: Amazon.co.uk: Andrew Stewart: 9780300208559: Books). I think this is a little subjective as it includes the word 'major', but it does go to show that it is hard for us to be certain of the impact it truly had on the war.

    Maybe one more thing to consider, perhaps the importance of Keren has always been at a disadvantage due to a lack of public knowledge or media focus about Africa (and Eritrea), in comparison to well known areas of Europe. Thus as we do not know much about it, it makes it easy for us to underestimate its impact.
     
  10. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Just out of interest - have you pulled all the files at TNA that cover Keren??

    TD
     
  11. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    UK, Victoria Cross Medals, 1857-2007
    Name: Ram Richhpal
    Birth Date: 20 Aug 1899
    Birth Place: Barda, Patiala State, Rajputana, India
    Death Date: 12 Feb 1941
    Death Place: Keren
    40104_258646-n1176.jpg

    TD
     
  12. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Just been listening to an IWM Oral History set of interviews with Peter Cochrane, who was an officer with 2 Battalion Cmaeron Highlanders (QOCH), at the battle for Keren. There are four reels (12-16).
    Try them COCHRANE, PETER (Oral history)

    The summary for these four reels:
    :
     
  13. DobWake

    DobWake New Member

    I've just joined this site and am interested in information about the 4th Durham Survey Regiment. My father was in the TA in Gateshead and joined up in September 1939. My husband's father joined up about the same time and they both served together in the same unit of Royal Artillery during the war and doing the sound ranging and flash spotting. Their first test was at Keren or Cheren as Dad called it on a photograph we have of him just before the artillery barrage began. My father in law said they 'took the top off the hill'. Getting service records about them from Forces War Records is frustrating so anything I can find out here will be a bonus to add to the family tree I have been compiling for some time now. My nephew is becoming interested in his grandfather's war too.
     
  14. Deacs

    Deacs Well i am from Cumbria.

    Hi and welcome your best off applying for his service records from GOV. COM this is the only way you will get his service records.
    It will cost 30 quid and you will need a death certificate if your relation as passed away.
    Get a copy of military service records

    Mike
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2021
  15. DobWake

    DobWake New Member

    Thank you Mike, that's good information
     
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  16. Deacs

    Deacs Well i am from Cumbria.

    No problem it may take awhile due to the circumstances but this is the only way to get service records.

    Mike
     
  17. chrisgrove

    chrisgrove Senior Member

    Did Keren have any effect on the rest of the war?? Well. maybe not Keren directly, but how do you think the Western Desert campaign would have got on, with an Italian presence in the Red Sea inhibiting seaborne communications, reinforcement and supply?
    Chris
     

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