British 1st Army (North Africa)

Discussion in 'North Africa & the Med' started by JamieC, Jun 15, 2011.

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  1. JamieC

    JamieC Junior Member

    I can see from my grandad's record of service that he was in the Royal Artillery for the best part of WW2 --> from 41-44, then he joined the Lancs Fusiliers from 44-45, finally ending up in the R.Signals from 45-46. The medals he has as follows:

    War Medal 1939-45
    Defence Medal
    Italy Star
    Africa Star (With 1st Army Clasp)
    1939-45 Star
    General Servide Medal (with Palestine 1945-48 clasp)

    As seen above, he was part of the 1st Army in North Africa. Since i'm pretty new to this, can someone advise where I might start tracing his movements in the war? After a bit of research, I found out that the 1st Army in North Africa consisted of the British X and IX Corps plus one French and one US Corps... What's my next step?
     
  2. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Does it say what actual units he was in ?
    Which Lancs Fusiliers battalion ? Which unit of the Gunners & Signals?
    Then you can get copies of their war diaries.
    Good luck & welcome to the forum.
     
  3. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Jamie

    Welcome aboard !

    While you consider Owen's questions you might like to know that the 2nd Battalion of the LF were in the 11th Infantry Brigade of the 78th Div in North Africa.

    Ron
     
  4. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    Welcome Jamie,

    As Owen has said if you can try to find out which units, etc. he was in to get a focused view of his wartime movements.

    Lee
     
  5. JamieC

    JamieC Junior Member

    Dear Both, thanks for your quick replies.

    I have a few documents relating to his service:

    According to his record of service;

    19.6.41 to 31.8.44 (RA)
    1.9.44 to 13.11.45 (Lancs Fusiliers)
    14.11.45 to 15.12.46 (R. Signals)

    Ron, regarding your comment, I think he would have spent his whole time in North Africa as a member of the RA as his record of service states that he joined the Lancs Fusiliers in September 1944, which he would have already more than likely been in Italy?

    About units/battalions, i'm really not sure. I applied for his papers a couple of months ago but i've been told it might take 9-12 months to hear something as they have a lot of requests at the moment.

    I have a couple of photos, including one of his first battalion (I guess it's when he finished his basic training as it looks like it was taken in the UK, and also there are officers wearing cap badges of the RA. I'm not sure if there is any mention of the battalion name/number though. Would he have fought along these same people once they got to the war zone or would they have been spread out amongst the various divisions/units?

    Looking through this list of papers, I can see an old pay slip (I assume from his time spent in the R.Signals as his rank is listed as Sigm --> can't make out the signature but signed by Lt. Col. 251 Fd Regt, RA (TA).

    Ron (I take it you are a vet yourself?). Would you be able to comment on his time spent in the Signals? --> As I mentioned in my first post, he has the General Service Medal with the Palestine 45-48 clasp --> I assume you actually had to be present in Palestine to be awarded this?
     
  6. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    Jamie, he certainly would have been in Palestine to be awarded the GSM with Palestine clasp. A great resource for Palestine and other post-war conflicts is the Britain's Small War website: Britains Small Wars
    Lee
     
  7. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Jamie

    Ron (I take it you are a vet yourself?). Would you be able to comment on his time spent in the Signals?


    Yes to the first query, probably no the the second.

    As a Driver/Op in the RA and later a Loader/Op in the RAC, we had little to do with the Royal Corps of Signals as we were very much working on our own, either in a Wireless Truck or in a tank or other armoured vehicle.

    Just hang around here and other members will be along to offer their experience.

    Ron
     
  8. JamieC

    JamieC Junior Member

    Ok, all great and encouraging replies.

    I'm assuming once I get copies of his papers, they'll state the battalion/units he served with? I say this because the reply I got from the army personnel centre wasn't very encouraging.

    Owen, do you mean i'll be able to read the diary of the units/battalion he served with? Where would I find those?
     
  9. Phaethon

    Phaethon Historian

    The national archives at Kew Gardens, a very straight forward system.

    If you want to trace where he was then its easy enough matching locations with modern maps online, however a lot of the mountains, hills and villages in northern africa are not marked and you'll need the original maps. These may be held in the unit diaries but are most likely at division or corps levels, and failing that there are always the maps at the british library in london who hold them all.
     
  10. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  11. JamieC

    JamieC Junior Member

    11th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers were also in Italy.
    Here's a thread about an action they were involved in October 1944.
    http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/italy/6002-11th-bn-lancashire-fusiliers.html

    Interesting... I think he may have been part of this LF battalion in Italy (at least the dates match). Interestingly, now i've read some of the post I seem to remember he talked about some members of his battalion being awarded the VC or other distinguished medals...
     
  12. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    That sound smore like Jefferson of the 2nd Bn LF. ( the one Ron mentioned)
    He was awarded the VC for an action in May '44.
    jeffersonVC

    Bythe way I can't find any unit as the 251 Field Regt RA.
     
  13. JamieC

    JamieC Junior Member

    That sound smore like Jefferson of the 2nd Bn LF. ( the one Ron mentioned)
    He was awarded the VC for an action in May '44.
    jeffersonVC

    Bythe way I can't find any unit as the 251 Field Regt RA.

    Ok, then I guess that can't be the one as he joined LF 1.9.1944.

    Regarding his record of service, I guess I can post it here as it's not exactly secret info:

    Name J. Cooke
    No. 1821286

    [​IMG]

    Regarding the pay slip I found, see below. I think this refers to his time post ww2 in the signals. Maybe you can make sense of it?

    http://i1211.photobucket.com/albums/cc435/Jamppa80/PaySlipJCooke.jpg
     
  14. JamieC

    JamieC Junior Member

    By the way, would there be any reason why someone would change regiments? Would it be out of choice or simply was posted to? Actually he came from Lancashire (Borough of Swinton & Pendlebury at the time)
     
  15. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Jamie

    By the way, would there be any reason why someone would change regiments? Would it be out of choice or simply was posted to?


    In my experience, the last thing that would ever be considered would be a service-man's preferences :)

    In fact, using every chapter & passage in KRRS, (Kings Rules & Regulations) it was generally accepted that the Army could do anything it liked to you except give you a baby.

    This was later altered to read that it could in fact give you a baby if it wanted to but couldn't make you love it !

    Ron
     
  16. JamieC

    JamieC Junior Member

    Jamie



    In my experience, the last thing that would ever be considered would be a service-man's preferences :)

    In fact, using every chapter & passage in KRRS, (Kings Rules & Regulations) it was generally accepted that the Army could do anything it liked to you except give you a baby.

    This was later altered to read that it could in fact give you a baby if it wanted to but couldn't make you love it !

    Ron

    ....made me laugh :lol:

    btw...can you tell me what a service record will look like? - I mean the thing I am expecting to get at some point from the personnel office.

    I assume it will tell me more than i already have i.e. the link I posted (Army Form W5258).
     
  17. JamieC

    JamieC Junior Member

    Ok, just taken a look at the photo I mentioned re: basic training. I can see a number in the right hand corner B867/P1, does this say something?
     
  18. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Jamie

    btw...can you tell me what a service record will look like? - I mean the thing I am expecting to get at some point from the personnel office.


    Lot's of examples on this site and I too have posted a full set of my own records on my personal page.

    Click on my Avatar which should take you to my profile.

    On the right hand side of the screen click on my Photo Albums (Army Records).

    Be warned, not everybody seems to get a full set of records sent to them but try asking for a full set when you apply.

    Ron
     
  19. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Jamie C -
    Having been off-line for the week - I have missed the beginning of this thread but in the waiting period for his service records - I would assume that he was with the RA - possibly light AA - in 78th Division -until after the Gothic Line battles - many of those units were broken up to replace casualties in Infantry and Tank units - Ron had that experience at about that time -so he possibly joined the LF Battalion in 1st Division - which - after the Italian Campaign ceased - went to Palestine and thus gained that medal
    Cheers
     
  20. JamieC

    JamieC Junior Member

    just a quick one... records arrived today - 12 months exactly! will keep you posted!
     

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