Desperate to find out about my Grandfather

Discussion in 'Service Records' started by JBaron, May 11, 2017.

  1. JBaron

    JBaron Member


    I've been to visit my Grandfather's grave in Normandy and since then, I have been trying to find out more about his unit's movements during the war.

    I know the following points but I'm confused by corps, battalions, regiments etc.

    Stanley Turner
    86th (5th Battalion The Devonshire Regiment) Anti-Tank
    Killed in action on 18th July 1944

    I've found a link to a museum dedicated to his regiment in Dorchester

    The 5th and 7th Battalions The Devonshire Regiment in World War Two - The Keep Military Museum, Dorchester, Dorset

    I believe his unit/battalion may have joined the 43rd Wessex in the battle for Caen but I'm so confused about things that I can't seem to find actual evidence that they did.

    I've also started to investigate on the National Archives website but I find this hard to navigate.

    Could anyone shed any light on his units movements? Or Unit diaries?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated as I am also conducting this search in honour of my late Mother, whom sadly, never got to see her father.

    Thank you
  2. horsapassenger

    horsapassenger Senior Member

    The war diary is held at the National Archives under reference WO 171/926. This covers January to December 1944. People like Drew5233 or on this forum will copy war diaries for a reasonable fee (much cheaper than the National Archives will charge)
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  3. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Last edited: May 11, 2017
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  4. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Another dated map for you (43 Div)

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  5. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

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  6. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    Hi, Joanne and welcome.
    TD was posting his reply as I was typing this, he is correct (naturally!), the number one port of call is to get hold of your grandfather’s service records, these should give you full details of his service.
    Get a copy of military service records: Overview - GOV.UK

    His army number 3448851 would suggest that he first enlisted in the Lancashire Fusiliers.

    His Royal Artillery casualty form states that his parent corps or regiment a) at the time of death was Royal Artillery, and b) on 1 Sept 1939 was Manchester Regiment.

    His service records will, or should, make it all clear.

    Best of luck
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  7. JBaron

    JBaron Member

    Thank you so much !
  8. JBaron

    JBaron Member

    Manchester and lancashire sound much more local to his hometown. I was wondering how he ended up in Devonshire!
  9. ClankyPencil

    ClankyPencil Senior Member

    His Service No. 3448851 falls within a block of Service No.s (3433001 - 3511000) that were allocated to the Lancashire Fusiliers, and that would have been the Regiment he started out with when he joined the Army.

    There's all sorts or reasons why he could of ended up in the Devonshire's; original unit disbanded, he may have become wounded at some point and not been able to re-join his original unit etc.

    You really need to get hold of his service records as mentioned above. Otherwise you could do a load of research on the movements of the Devonshires, only to find out he joined them a few weeks before he was killed, whereas he could of actually spent a large part of the war with another unit entirely (i.e. the Lancashire Fusiliers)
    Last edited: May 11, 2017
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  10. ClankyPencil

    ClankyPencil Senior Member

    If you go to this link Co-ordinates Translator, set the geographical area to 'French Lambert Zone 1 Grid' and enter 'vT965644' as the co-ordinates, it will give you the location he was originally buried before being moved the main cemetery at Cheux.

    The location is just across a road from the Saint-Pierre Church in Fountaine-Etoupefour. From the concentration report on the CWGC site there was another Anti-Tank gunner buried at the same spot

    Sometimes, if there is a lot of burials near a location it can signify that there was Dressing Station/F.A.P. nearby and the person concerned may have Died of Wounds.
    But other than the other AT gunner, and a Private of the Hampshire Regt buried further up the road to the east, there doesn't seem to be any others. This could mean that his original burial place was near/at the place he was killed. War Diaries etc may be able to help you confirm this.
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  11. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    To give you some of the wider context.

    Given it was a day after Greenline, and that Goodwood had just started. the area around Hill 112 was being pummelled owing to the excessive pressure II SS-Panzerkorps had endured over the past 72 hours. Given he was in 86 Anti-Tank Regiment, they tended to be well forward with the infantry and often in close proximity, given great observation from Hill 112 (and fearing another huge push) the enemy simply called down swathes of fire on likely positions, any movement they saw, and identified positions.
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  12. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    86 Anti-Tank Regiment war diary, July 1944.
  13. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Reading the diary entries he was killed before 10.15 in the morning.
  14. JBaron

    JBaron Member

    Thank you!
  15. JBaron

    JBaron Member

    Thank you for this !
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  16. JBaron

    JBaron Member

    Thank you!
  17. JBaron

    JBaron Member

    Thank you for your help
  18. JBaron

    JBaron Member

    I can't thank you all enough for your replies.
    This has meant so much to me.
    I have visited my Grandfather's grave in Normandy but, his life's journey has always been a mystery.

    My mother passed before she was able to visit her father's grave so, all this is for a little girl who grew up without her father and had to endure years of ridicule for his absence, even though he died for his country.

    Once again, thank you to all who read this and can shed some light on my adventure x
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  19. JBaron

    JBaron Member

    Would this mean they just buried the dead anywhere possible?
    I think I may have come across another Gunner in my Grandfather's regiment that was killed on the same day and he was buried at the roadside.
    My Grandfather died in 1944 but I think he was moved to St Manvieu in 1946
  20. JBaron

    JBaron Member

    Thank you

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