Coldstream Guards - Service Records / Army form abbreviations

Discussion in 'The Brigade of Guards' started by Steven Dendy, Jan 28, 2020.

  1. Steven Dendy

    Steven Dendy Member

    Hi All

    Have used this forum many times but this is the first time posting. I have managed to get my grandfathers war records and there are some abbreviations I need a little help in understanding (attached pictures).

    Its mainly under the Unit section, I know he was in the 3rd Battalion Coldstream Guards, so I get the 3rd part.

    But the others I am unable to work out, I am guessing it is where he was posted as most of these are during his time in England, I know he registered in Cheshire and was stationed for some part in London/Guildford. I believe the TBN is the training battalion.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    You probably need to contact member dbf as she is the Guards person.

    From what I can see then 'H' is normally for Holding Battalion where they are kept prior to being transferred to wherever they are needed, and 'T' is normally for Training Battalion where they go to train on specific courses before either being returned to their unit or placed on a Holding Battalion

    I also note he was a POW - do you have all his details for that?

  3. Steven Dendy

    Steven Dendy Member

    Hi Tricky

    Thanks for that, I will drop her a line and see if she is able to help.

    I have information on the POW. He was captured in Tobruk 1942 and taken to Italy Camp 82 before being taken to Stalag 344 info on that part gets confusing. When this was liberated he and several others were not with the contingency they were thought to be (have a news paper artical on this) however I know he then arrived back in England in April 1945 the bit in between I am not sure about. Am planning a trip to Kew once I have more references to hand on where to look.
  4. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

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  5. Steven Dendy

    Steven Dendy Member

    Thanks again, I have looked but the request is closed at the moment or would someone on the forum be able to help?
  6. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    I'd actually defer to Tullybrone / Steve as far as interpretation of service records is concerned - most especially in matters pertaining to the Coldstream.

    I agree though with TD about Holding Battalion.

    X lists (Service Records)
    xiii - likely refers to POW in this case.

    (Cropping dates off right-hand side makes checking the date order impossible, entries weren't always strictly sequential...)
    Tullybrone likes this.
  7. Steven Dendy

    Steven Dendy Member

    Thanks will ask them. I have added a screen shot with the dates.[1].jpg[1].jpg
  8. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    I’ve made the same journey you are commencing as my father was a pre war regular in 3rd CG. He was captured during the Operation Crusader advance in Libya in December 1941. He was in camps in Italy before being moved to Germany post Sept 1943 Italian Armistice and ended up in a Stalag XVIIB work camp at Mistelbach, Austria. He was marched out into Czechoslovakia, ahead of the advancing Russians in March 1945, and his column were abandoned by their guards in late April and left to their own devices until they were discovered by elements of General Patton’s 3rd Army in the first week of May 1945.

    I’d certainly look to make an application to Red Cross when the next enquiry window opens in May. You have to be quick off the mark so check the site via the below link at 7am GMT on the day and every 30 minutes until it opens. You need to speedily complete the online application form that pops up as the site was open for under 3 hours last week - I submitted an application 8am and the site was closed by 10.30am.

    Requests for information about people held during Spanish Civil War or Second World War: Quarterly limit reached

    In relation to a personal visit to Kew you might find it a bit daunting for a one off visit. Members here offer a War Diary look up and copy service - drop Andy Drew5233 or Lee PsyWar.Org a personal message and ask for a price quote for the period your gf served with 3rd CG. They may already have a digital copy of 3rd CG WD to share with you.

    You should also ask for a look up to see if he completed a post liberation questionnaire on repatriation. If he did so it might fill in some of the gaps from Red Cross as their records only list Main Camp details. Lamsdorf Stalag 344 and or Stalag 8B had numerous work camps and men often listed their work camps on the questionnaire. The German POW records online via Ancestry can be misleading. They listed a relative of mine as being at Lamsdorf but his Red Cross papers show he was transferred to Stalag IVB.

    Moving onto the service records you’ve posted above -

    He appears to have been a conscript rather than a regular enlistment on 5th April 1940.

    I’d interpret the RDS acronym as RD’S meaning Regimental Details. He would be held a short time pending the arrival of sufficient other recruits to form a Training Squad. His basic training at The Guards Depot appears to have ended 28th June 1940 when he moved in to the second phase of infantry training on posting to the Training Battalion. Once he had completed his training there and was considered an efficient infantry soldier he was posted to the Holding Battalion 17th September 1940 (from memory at Regents Park Barracks, London).

    As the Battalion title suggests it was a unit where men were held pending a posting to one of the Regiment’s ‘fighting Battalion’s”.

    The next entry of a posting to the X list in March 1941 suggests that was the date he started his journey as part of a reinforcement draft to join 3rd CG in Egypt. The dates in his record suggest he sailed on the WS7 convoy shown in this link - but I can’t specify a troopship.

    WS (Winston Specials) Convoys in WW2 - 1941 Sailings

    Arriving in Egypt in early May 1941 he would have had a period of acclimatisation at the Base Depot - “to get his knees brown” as my Dad would say - before proceeding to join the Battalion in early June 1941. From memory I think they were refitting after suffering casualties during a hasty withdrawal up Halfaya (Hellfire) Pass at Sollum on the Egypt/Libya border under heavy fire from German artillery on or about 27th May 1941. They were in action again about mid June and suffered a number of casualties due to dive bombing by German Stuka’s. They were out of the line by July 1941 to begin conversion to a motorised Battalion.

    The next entry on his record is 4 days on the X list in late March 1942. That suggests a short period of illness that necessitated his posting away from the Battalion for treatment.

    The next entry dated 20th June 1942 is also recorded on 500 other 3rd CG Service records as the vast majority of the Battalion were captured at Tobruk. Most of my fathers Number 2 Company escaped as the Company Commander Major Sainthill refused to accept the Tobruk Garrison Commanders order to surrender. He was awarded the DSO.

    He was intially posted as missing until confirmation of his status was received via the Red Cross. His Red Cross papers ought to confirm how long he was held as a prisoner in North Africa - some men were there until October 1942 - as it took time to transport 20,000+ Tobruk POW to Italy.

    The next entry on his record confirms his arrival back in the U.K. as a released POW. My fathers liberation questionnaire predates the entry on his CG papers by a couple of days so it may be that your grandfather also arrived a few days before his record was updated.

    On arrival he would be given 2 months POW leave and posted to the Y list for admin purposes. Whilst on leave he would have a medical - my fathers medical papers were with the papers I received from RHQ CG.

    Your grandfather was Extra Regimentally Employed - ie he did not return to a CG Battalion at the end of his leave in late June 1945 - at what appears to be Number 7 Selection & Training Infantry Battalion. My father went to a similar unit - albeit RAC - after his POW leave.

    He then returned to the Training Battalion in July 1945. As a returned POW conscript awaiting demobilisation I’d suggest he would most likely be on the permanent staff there rather than undergoing retraining.

    He has an medical issue in March 1946 and is downgraded to B7. There isn’t enough space to explain that category further but there will be other topics on the forum you can search for an explanation.

    He commenced his discharge leave in early June1946 and was discharged to Class Z Reserve on his discharge in mid September. The period of discharge leave was made up of a standard period of Release Leave for all men and a period of Overseas Leave which was an individual calculation based on a man’s service overseas.

    All conscripts were held on Class Z Reserve just in case hostilities broke out again until they reached 45 years age limit and were finally discharged.

    Sorry there is a lot of info there. Hope it all makes sense?



    I’m pushed for time so I will edit this post later to add links to the online Regimental History later today.

    EDIT TO ADD 6.25pm

    Here is the link to an online copy of the CG Regimental History 1920/46 by Howard & Sparrow that you can download.

    Michael Howard served 3rd CG 1943/45 and was awarded an MC in Italy. As Professor Sir Michael Howard he is recognised as an eminent military historian.

    Michael Howard (historian) - Wikipedia

    The Coldstream Guards, 1920-1946, by Michael Howard and John Sparrow.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2020
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  9. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    You'll be writing books next Steve :D

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  10. Steven Dendy

    Steven Dendy Member

    Thanks you are a star, that is much more than I was expecting. I know a little about his POW time just not much between being captured and arriving at Camp 82, I have web addresses and diaries on on these which I think match closely to what would of happened to him.

    4 days in March 1942, I have looked and he was 'Wounded in action' states (if read correctly) Superficial abrasion to left leg.

    With regard to the training battalion, on some other paperwork (again trouble reading it), "He takes ..... ..... and is very patient with his pupils" S.J.Whit... Capt [Officer, commanding, Support. Company, Training Battalion, Coldstream Guards. N.B. Looks like "Support" & "Training" were added separate to the rest.

    Again thanks, this is a massive help. I look forward to the update.
  11. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Thanks Steve-For reference I have copies on all the WW2 Coldstream Guards War Diaries.

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