Building a story of my Grandfather

Discussion in 'User Introductions' started by Laz, Sep 12, 2018.

  1. Laz

    Laz New Member

    Hello - my name is Laz, I am new to these forums!

    When I was young, I lost both my parents, and I was raised by my Grandparents, and so therefore got to experience what wonderful people they were first hand, and also hear the amazing stories they had to tell, particularly about the wartime period. My grandmother Lilian is still alive, though my Grandfather passed away a few years ago now.

    I’m in my 30s, and realise I regret having the foresight to capture more of my grandfathers stories on paper, so therefore am going to undertake as much research about him as possible, merge it whatever stories I can remember and my uncle (his son) remembers, and put together a book, or short story. I’ll look to sit with my nan and capture her stories as much as possible whilst she’s still here too.

    So, my Grandfather was:

    Ronald Leach, (known as ‘Lofty’ to his comrades as he was 6’2), and part of the REME worshops 231 Brigade. He was part of the DDay landings and I know his path took him through places like Nijmegen. I’ll do some further research to find out his service number etc.

    Firstly, I hope this is the correct way to introduce myself to the forums, and secondly, hopefully, I can get some guidance on how to do further research and find out more!
  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Hi Laz


    To properly research someones WW2 military service you will need above their official servcie history, and that is only available from one place - the MOD - the link is Request records of deceased service personnel. From these records it will be easier to piece together his 'route' using the correct War Diaries, but thats for later. Once you have them I would suggest you start a new topic under the relevant forum section heading, that way all their details will be in one place

    Good luck with the research

    Last edited: Sep 12, 2018
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  3. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    The 231st Infantry Brigade was constituted - 1st Bn Hampshire Regiment, 1 st Bn Dorsetshire Regiment, 2nd Bn Devonshire Regiment - and part of the 50th (Northumbrian) Division from around the end of the Sicilian Campaign - August 1943. They landed on Gold Beach on D-Day.

    Links that may be of interest:

    Wiki overview of 50 Divs war - 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division - Wikipedia

    231st Infantry Brigade’s D-Day Landing tables - D-Day : Normandy 1944 - GOLD BEACH : British Troops


    Last edited: Sep 12, 2018
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  4. Laz

    Laz New Member

    Thank you for the replies!

    I believe he was in the 50th (his badge was TT), but to be honest, I don’t really know the way that the army is structured - is a division part of a brigade, or, as above, they are kind of formed of each other?
  5. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    An Army has Corps (variable in number), made up of Divisions (variable in number), which usually had 3 Brigades, which usually had 3 Battalions, which usually at the time of D-Day had 6 Companys - 4 of which would be Rifle Companys.

    So if my maths is accurate 1 Battalion had 4 Rifle Companys, 1 Brigade therefore had 12 and a Division (normally) had 36.

    A Regiment usually (but not always) represented a recruiting area and provided Battalions of men.

    On D-Day, 50 Div had 4 Brigades 151st, 69th, 231st and 56th - the latter was temporary and left 50 Div at the beginning of October 1944.

    151st = 6th, 8th and 9th Bns Durham Light Infantry. (the old County Durham & some from Newcastle)
    69th = 5th Bn East Yorkshire Regiment, and 6th & 7th Bns Green Howards. (Hull, & East and North Yorkshire, which then included Middlesbrough)
    231st = 1st Bn Hampshire Reg’t, 1st Bn Dorsetshire Reg’t and 2nd Bn Devonshire Reg’t.

    For D-Day and thereafter, 50 Div had supporting arms, e.g. Field Regiments and Light Ack Ack from the Royal Artillery, Recce Reg’t, Royal Engineers, REME, Royal Army Medical Corps, Royal Signals, Royal Army Service Corps, + a Machine Gun Battalion. It hadn’t always had, for example, an MG Battalion or a Recce Reg’t.

    Hope this helps!


    Last edited: Sep 12, 2018
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  6. John D Parker

    John D Parker New Member

    Is it possible to request the service records of personnel who are still alive. My father fought on D Day.
  7. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce

    Yes it is John. Here is the link for the MOD at Glasgow-the only place you can get records.
    Get a copy of military service records

    Your father is still alive so he can apply for his own and it is FREE

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  8. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

  9. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member


    I've got some of the war diary for 231 Infantry Brigade Workshops REME in which your grandfather served. It looks like it was divided into several sections before embarking for Normandy. The first section to leave, the "Light Scale" embarked in Southampton on 15 June 1944 and landed in France on 17 June. The last element of the workshops, the "Rear Party" arrived in Normandy on 18 July 1944.

  10. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member


    If you are struggling to see how army units fit. Have a look at Orders of Battle

    Select Unit Index and change 4 to brigade and 5 to Infantry. Then scroll down and click 231 Infantry Brigade.

    You'll get lots of useful info about where they went and when and who commanded them. Which units were subordinated to them (battalions) and to which unit they were under the command of (Divisions).

    The order of battle link will display the exact formation of the brigade on any given date.

    Have a try, however try to avoid putting Battalion in 4 and infantry in 5 as there were so many, the website occasionally crashes.


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