Battle of Rethem 1945 (Aller river crossing)

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by Willem, Jun 10, 2019.

  1. Hoover

    Hoover Junior Member

    John, yes, that reason I was aware when I read the 2. volume of Jean Bouchery´s "The British Soldier" with the OOB of the divisions.. But on the other hand I have the accounts of veterans who even described the vehicles. Without these I would ignore the question of the Halftrack. That there were 2 Wasps is new to me, I ever thought of one Wasp. Is there any report of that action in a War Diary? I could´t find it yet.
  2. JDKR

    JDKR Member Patron

    Besides half-tracks not being on the battalion's establishment table, there is nothing on the British side that points to the presence of a half-track:
    • No mention in the regimental history.
    • No mention in the 1/5 Welch war diary.
    • No mention in the brigade war diary.
    Furthermore, the M14 was not sufficiently well-armoured to be used as an assault vehicle except in extremis. Mis-identification of vehicles in war is commonplace and I suspect that this is the case here. The coup-de-main attempt by the carriers is recorded in both 158 Inf Bde and 1/5 Welch's war diaries.
  3. Hoover

    Hoover Junior Member

    I agree that it is posible that there were a verhicle, but maybe not a brit (US) Halftrack. If there has been one I think there would be photo somewhere. I will leave this "Halftrack" with a big question mark in my files regarding the type.
  4. Giberville

    Giberville Junior Member

    Hi, I am thinking of organising a battlefield tour of the Rethem action with some friends. Is there much to see and is it possible to still walk the ground? I have the book by John Russell but was wondering if a sort of 'then and now' tour was possible or if the area has changed beyond recognition?
  5. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    What are the 'coordinates' of the Book? It is on my wish-list.
  6. Giberville

    Giberville Junior Member

    It's a really good book. You mean ISBN? 1-85409-234-0. Have you researched this battle at all?
    stolpi likes this.
  7. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    John's book is called No Triumphant Procession.
    Copies come up quite regularly on eBay
    John (JDKR) on the Forum is currently working up a revised version of the book and is expecting to publish it next year.
  8. My dad Dennis Walters
    •joined the army 17 June, 1943, 2 weeks after his 18th birthday
    •Private 14635815, (Wales) - 2nd Monmouthshire Regiment
    •his diary included small details about: Ardennes, Brussels, Netherlands, Germany, Calais, Hamburg
    •aged 20 in 1945
    The key point for you is that he wrote a sad poem about his friend who was blown up right next to him in Rethem, just says on a sunny April day. I have my dad's war diary in a tin of small things he took with him. You are welcome to have emailed pictures or info.
    best wishes

    It happened up in Rethemr
    On a sunny April day
    That Walters’ favourite chum
    Breathed his life away.

    He was wounded pretty badly
    And as he heard the call
    He said goodbye to his comrades
    And prayed no more would fall.

    He was breathing very heavy
    And as his weak frame faltered
    The last words he was heard to say
    Was, say goodbye – from me to Walters.

    He has paid the price of freedom
    No more will be among his kind
    He has joined the up above
    And left this wicked world behind.

    So remember all you soldiers
    For death you have no fear
    You are better serving up above
    Than suffering down here.

    Dennis Walters.
    Giberville, canuck, JDKR and 5 others like this.
  9. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Dennis - Thank you for sharing.

    I wonder if you could share his notes on the Ardennes. I've been in contact with some of the Monmouths who were there and collected their stories.
    Dr Penny Walters likes this.
  10. I'm Penny, my dad was Dennis. If you know the exact dates, I can scan his diary for those dates. His poem about his friend says the chap died April. Does the thread say the dates 11 April?
    JimHerriot likes this.
  11. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Penny (sorry, my fault).

    The period of interest is December 1944 and January 1945.

    I would be much obliged if you would share his Diary notes. You may also PM them to me if you wish.
    Dr Penny Walters likes this.
  12. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    For Dr Penny (if you don't have it already).

    From the Royal Welsh Museum (Brecon) which is well worth a visit and may help with your research regarding your father (who's superbly poignant and emotive poem you posted above)

    Page 3 of pdf in particular.

    Good luck with all your trails (and trials!)

    Kind regards, always


    Attached Files:

    Dr Penny Walters likes this.
  13. Thanks Jim, that's super informative. Where is it from though? As I have my dad's diary, with just some small commentary, but usually where he was or had walked to :( I could compare where the records say they were, and where he said he was. Are you going to Roots Tech London Oct 2019?
  14. That's super informative. As I have my dad's diary, with just some small commentary, but usually where he was or had walked to :( I could compare where the records say they were, and where he said he was. This is his week of 13 April.
    Are you going to Roots Tech London Oct 2019?

    Attached Files:

  15. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    Hello Dr Penny,

    I downloaded it a few years back from the Royal Welsh Museum website, and I must have re-titled the pdf at the time (to make it easier for me to remember what the content was about!)

    It may still be available on their website, but how to find it now I have no idea, sorry.

    I have visited the museum many times, the staff there are very, very helpful and a pleasure to converse with. They are a real credit to the museum.

    Roots Tech London may be beyond me unfortunately (a few eyesight issues at present). Will endeavour to make one of your talks in the future, all being well.

    Kind regards,


    P.S. For an insight into the fighting within close vicinity of Rethem please see my earlier post in this thread. Please be aware that some of the content is not easy reading.
    Dr Penny Walters likes this.
  16. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    Dr Penny, thanks so much for posting the photos of items from your father's "war tin". Very interesting to see, and read.

    Again, thank you.

    Kind regards, always,

    Dr Penny Walters likes this.
  17. Guy Hudson

    Guy Hudson Looker-upper

    Screen Shot 2019-10-10 at 13.28.18.png
    2nd Battalion Monmouthshire died of wounds 13.4.1945 Screen Shot 2019-10-10 at 13.22.43.png
    14635773 Pte. Albert John Vivian ROBERTS 2nd Battalion Monmouthshire Regiment
    stolpi likes this.
  18. Wow! Thanks Guy! How did you get that info and how do you know which young man 'Jack' was? Thanks :)
    JimHerriot likes this.
  19. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    Just a quick update re John Russell's revised book. It's called 'Theirs the Strife' and is now available on pre-order from Amazon. It's scheduled to be published early-mid next year 2020 corresponding to the 75th Anniversary of the battles in the Rethem/Aller area.
    stolpi likes this.
  20. Guy Hudson

    Guy Hudson Looker-upper

    These are the men from the 2 Monmouthshire Regiment who died of wounds on the 13th April 1945. Their names and service numbers were published in the official casualty lists (available on F.M.P.)
    Your father has wriiten that he was initially wounded, crossed out, "JACK KILLED"
    I thought that Albert John Vivian Roberts could be the "Jack" mentioned in your father's diary?
    JimHerriot and Dr Penny Walters like this.

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