cheshire machine gun regiment 1940

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by vicky bellamy, Jun 1, 2018.

  1. vicky bellamy

    vicky bellamy Member

    I'm researching the military history of my grandad William james bellamy, I know he was in the cheshire machine gun regiment and I have his military number (4130423)
    So far i've found out which conflict his medals are from and small bits of info such as; he was one of the original desert rats and the he was one of the many who freed those confined to Belsen.
    i'm wanting to know where find out what his regiment was known as, when I type Cheshire machine gun regiment it brings up lots of different platoon numbers (sorry if that's not the right terminology) also the best places to look for where his other missions were. I have for as much information as I could off warrecords.co.uk.
    Is he best thing for me to do to apply to the MoD for this information?
    I apologise for the question and info overload. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated
     
  2. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Welcome to the forum, Vicky.

    The regiment is the ‘Cheshire Regiment’ and it was a machine gun regiment during WWII. Your grandad’s service number is from the Cheshire Regiment block of numbers.

    It is important that you find out which ‘Battalion’ he served with and the best source for this information will be in his service records, for which you need to apply the MoD: Get a copy of military service records

    In the meantime, what information do you have? What medals does he have? Which conflicts do you know he served in?

    NB. I have the regimental history, so can have a look to see if he is mentioned therein later. Unlikely, but you never know...

    Best,

    Steve.
     
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  3. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    The 5th Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment was the machine gun unit of the 53rd (Welsh) Division, elements of which were present at Belsen. If your grandad was a Cheshire at Belsen, it seems likely that he was with the 5th Battalion. You say your grandfather was also "an original Desert Rat." Properly speaking a "Desert Rat" is a North African veteran of the 7th Armoured Division, which adopted the desert rat as its badge. The Cheshires did not fight with 7th Armoured. However, "Desert Rat" is sometimes used as a generic term for all veterans of the North African campaign, and I suspect that is your grandfather's case. The 2nd Battalion of the Cheshires fought with 8th Army in North Africa, most of the time serving with the 50th (Northumbrian) Division. He could also have served with the 1st Battalion, which fought in Tobruk and later went to Malta. Going by what you have told us, then, I suspect that your grandfather started out in the 1st Battalion or 2nd Battalion, fought with one or the other in the desert, and was later transferred to the 5th. Such transfers were very common. If your grandad was an experienced man, then he would have been a very valuable newcomer in a unit like the 5th Battalion, which had not seen action prior to Normandy.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2018
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  4. vicky bellamy

    vicky bellamy Member

    The medals he was awarded are:
    War medal 1939-45
    1939-1945 star
    Italy star
    Military medal
    France and Germany star
    Africa star.
    He took part in wavells first sorties in the western desert. His unit supported the Australian forces during the big push with general O'Connor. He was in tobruk. He was also in Malta for 12 months. His commanding officer was lt. Col. Waite. If that's any use? When he arrived in Kiel he helped Lord haw haw mount his horse. But most mashed and not sure it's in order but that's what I have found out up to now. Finding his battalion (I couldn't think of that word earlier) is what I was meaning not regiment. Thank you in advance for any help you can give
     
  5. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    That fills some gaps. I think your grandfather was in the 1st Battalion throughout the war. The 1st Cheshire was in Tobruk and on Malta and in 1945 it was with 11th Armoured Division at Belsen.
     
  6. vicky bellamy

    vicky bellamy Member

    I've just been looking through some pictures of him in the years leading up to his death and he's wearing a pin with just the numbers 22. I was assuming that would be his battalion until TTH said it could be the 1st
    I really appreciate everyone help
     
  7. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce

    Hello and welcome to the forum Vicky. I see you are in good hands already:).
    Would you mind posting some photos up of him, possibly in uniform if you have any, as members always love to see them.

    Lesley
     
  8. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    The '22' almost certainly relates to the Cheshires having been the 22nd Regiment of Foot in the old scheme of things. Many regiments, and even individual battalions, still referred to their original numbers during the Second World War.
     
  9. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Well I never. Vicky, as you state in your post #4 above your grandad won the MM (Military Medal).

    He served with the 1st Battalion, Cheshire Regiment; gazetted for the MM on the 24 February 1944. This is per the regimental history ‘The History of the Cheshire Regiment in the Second World War’ (Crookenden), Appendix XXX, page 359. It must be him, unless there were two Private WJ Bellamy’s.

    On page 13 it states:
    The concentration was probably artillery, but may have been mortars. This was circa 12 October 1943 at the Volturno River, Italy. The 1st Bn Cheshire Regiment were part of a mock attack, put in to distract/occupy German defensive fire away from the Allies main place of attack and to help the Allies to identify where the German defensive fire originated.

    No. 11 Platoon, ‘C’ Company, 1st Bn Cheshire Regiment, was attached to the 131st Infantry Brigade, 7th Armoured Division (The Desert Rats) at this time.

    Best,

    Steve.
     
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  10. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

  11. vicky bellamy

    vicky bellamy Member

    Thank you so much for clearing that up
     
  12. vicky bellamy

    vicky bellamy Member

    Wow thank you for finding that. So much there for me to look further in to. Much appreciated my son and nephews are really going to enjoy reading about him
     
  13. vicky bellamy

    vicky bellamy Member

     

    Attached Files:

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  14. vicky bellamy

    vicky bellamy Member

    not the best quality I'm afraid, this was the best of a bad bunch. They've been through a few house moves as you can tell
     
  15. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    I will see if I can dig out his MM citation.

    Frank
     
  16. vicky bellamy

    vicky bellamy Member

    Thank you very much
     
  17. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    Vicky.

    Here you go.

    Grazzanise is easy to find on Google Maps.

    Regards

    Frank

    Military Medal Citation - Pte William James Bellamy C Coy 1 CHESHIRE - Gazetted 24 Feb 44.JPG
     
  18. vicky bellamy

    vicky bellamy Member

    Thank you so very much. Finding all this out is nothing short of amazing
     
  19. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    Vicky.

    Funnily enough, I will be driving passed Grazzanise in Jul 18 when I am running a battlefield tour for a group of Americans.

    Regards

    Frank
     
  20. vicky bellamy

    vicky bellamy Member

    I am right in thinking that he was in the 1st battalion when he received this medal or was it the 7th armoured division? I've just re read the writing on there and it has both those units on there.
     

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