Essex Yeomanry Regiment & Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry

Discussion in 'British Army Units - Others' started by WW2Nation, Sep 10, 2016.

  1. WW2Nation

    WW2Nation Member

    Good Evening,

    I am currently doing some research looking at the Battle of the Bulge and the British involvement. Would anyone happen to have the war diary extracts from December 1944 - January 1945 for both the Essex Yeomanry Regiment and Sherwood Ranger Yeomanry? Any help on this front would be hugely appreciated and incredibly useful for a few interview veterans.

    Thank you

  2. peter.t

    peter.t Member

    I have the war diaries for the 147th Essex Yeomanry field regiment RA 413 Batt for 1944-1946. If they are any use to you let me know. The 147th was with the SRY quite a lot.
    In December their HQ was at Geverik, on the 5th Dec it states they were attached to the 8th Arm Bde.
    16th Jan 45. Operation Blackcock
    17th Place Graadheide, states on the 17th Susteren captured.
    20th Jan, RHQ & batteries moved to Saefelen under command 52 Division
    21st Jan Fire plan in support of operation by 43 Div D.Fs. fired against counter attack at Waldfeuch
    23rd Jan Regt fires in support of 8th Armd Bde attack on Lafield
    24th Jan Fire plan early morning for attack on Heinsberg 413 Batt moved to Bauchem in support of 4/7 Dragoons
    27 Jan 431 Batt come ibto action at Obspringen.
    29th Jan Regt moves to Geulle and comes out of action.
    I will go through it in more detail later for you but there is little info for Dec 44 but I will re-check for you.
    If you have any info on the 147th 413 Batt I would be intrested in hearing back as my Wife's Grandfather was in the 147th 413 Batt.
  3. Franky

    Franky Active Member

    My Dads old Regiment. He was in 413 Battery 147 Regiment RA landing on Jig sector Gold beach H Hour 6th June 1944. He ended up as the Garrison Sergeant Major of the Royal School of Artillery finally leaving the army 1968. He passed away four years ago in 10th February.
  4. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    8th Armoured Bde was not directly involved in the fighting in the Ardennes in January 1945; 33rd and 29th Armoured were.

    The Sherman tanks of the 33rd Armoured Brigade supported the infantry of the 53rd Welsh and 51st Highland during the first forthnight of January. Those of the 29th Armoured were in support of the 6th Airborne Division.

    Units of the 51st Highland Division moving up under arctic conditions to the battlefield in January 1945. The supporting tanks have taken to the fields in order to avoid the icy roads.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2016
  5. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Hi Lawrence,

    I have the transcribed war diary of the SRY - from Bovington - and the transcription is pretty great however one or two bits in there still have one or two queries associated with it - i.e. quite a few mentions in there of the ESSEX but this one for example:

    "30th January 1945
    Conference for all regimental commanders at 214 Bde to meet the corps commanders. The next operation was ?????? by the corps commander. ??????? ???? with the Essex Yeomanry.

    Where the ???? means I guess a really good look at what was there originally would be required.

    Quite a bit of talk about training and exercises during Dec'1944 and Jan'1945. A fair while back I was looking into a day by day tracing of the SRY but it's already been done (or people claim to have attempted) a few times and is complicated by what the different squadrons and even recce and trucks etc. were up to and the war diary only has a few lines per day of what was going on.

    All the best,


    Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry (SRY) in North West Europe

    "December 1944 - The Battle of the Bulge occurred and north of there 30 Corps began their move to the area on 20th December and held the bridges at Dinant, Givet and Namur"

    The Sherwood Rangers in January 1945
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2016
  6. WW2Nation

    WW2Nation Member

    Thank you all for this information that is greatly appreciated. I think the confusion has come from when I spoke with a veteran, Bill Betts about his experience serving with the 147th EY and suggested that they had been used in the Ardennes to help the Americans. Is it possible they could have been detached during this time? I am guessing not from the War Diary's account.

    Possibly of interest, you can listen to this interview here -

    ‘Victor – Victor – Victor’ – Part 1: Talking with WW2 Veteran Bill Betts

    Baker ‘B’ From Le Hamel to Kiel – Part 2: Talking with WW2 Veteran Bill Betts
  7. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    In response to the German threat in the Ardennes, British 30 Corps was redeployed on 20 December 1944 and took up defensive positions west of the Meuse. The 43rd Wessex and 8th Armoured Brigade (?), as part of 30 Corps, concentrated in the area south of Hasselt, with the mission of protecting the Meuse bridges between Huy and Visé (excl Liege, for which the US Army remained responsible).

    On 27 December as the enemy threat in the Ardennes subsided, the 43rd Wessex was detached from 30 Corps and send north to take part in Operation Blackcock.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2016
  8. WW2Nation

    WW2Nation Member

    Thank you for this information Stolpi, that is very interesting as I knew that 8th Armoured Brigade were put on standby, but was not sure where exactly they were based during this period.

    Were they actively involved or engaged in this sector during this time period or was it more precautionary and allowing US Troops to move further south where the main thrust was coming from?

    Any further information about the action of 8th Armoured Brigade would during this short period of 20th December to early January (during the period of the Battle of the Bulge) would be hugely appreciated. As I am trying to work out exactly what role the 147th Essex Yeomanry, RHA played in this period.
  9. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Lawrence - AFAIK they were not actively involved during this period. The Germans never came close to the Meuse in this sector. The 43rd Wessex remained on the west side of the Meuse.

    Essame's book: "the 43rd Wessex Division at War 1944 - 1945" may provide further details.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2016
  10. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Fragment from the History of the 8th Armoured Bde re this period. From this it transpires that 8th Armoured Bde in early December moved into reserve and later up to the 12 Corps sector, while the 34 Tank Brigade acted as armoured support for the 43rd Wessex during the December operations.


    Last edited: Sep 29, 2016
  11. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    There is the SRY WD. Though as I said it has only a few lines per day, from which I guess much has to be made i.e. for 18th December it just says:

    18th: News came through of German Offensive - they seem to have achieved a break-through. 30 Corps probably moving South to sp Americans.

    Then on the 19th: N.T.R

    20th: Conference for C.O. at 8 Armd Bde HQ regarding our immediate role. 13/18 H are at present in line in sp of 52(L) Div.

    21st: C.O. and Sqn Ldrs went on Recce of positions to be occupied in the event of enemy breakthrough. We now “stand to” at dawn and dusk ready to deal with parachutists.

    22nd: C.O. saw Brigadier and discussed PYTHON scheme.

    23rd: C.O’s Conference at Bde HQ – the higher command seem happier about Runsdents ARDENNES Push where it is hoped to “close the back door” and put a great many Germans in the bag.

    24th: Church Service in the morning – address given by our own Padre.

    25th: C.O., Adjt, RSM etc ?????? Christmas dinners at midday.

    26th: C.O. and Sqn Ldrs visited 13/18 H in SCHINVELD from whom we take over tomorrow.

    27th: Regt relieved 13/18 H in SCHINVELD, supporting 52(L) Div.

    28th: VINTLEN was attacked by the enemy last night. We had a troop of tanks in the village – but the attack was held. Lt Cameron was wounded.

    29th: Quiet day. Brigadier visited the forward positions of C + A Sqns.

    30th: Enemy put in an attack against TIPTRATH – unsuccessful. The reserve Sqn, + A Bn of 52 Div under our C.O. are to form a mobile column in the event of an enemy breakthrough.

    31st: C.O. visited all three Sqns in the morning.

    January 1945:

    1st: Colonel of 4/7 Dragoon Guards visited the regiment and looked over Sqn positions before taking over from us on the next day.

    2nd: Colonel visited Sqns in the morning, in the afternoon pulled and the 4/7 DG took over, regiment moved back to SCHIMMERT, settled into billets.

    3rd: Day spent in maintenance and settling down, RHQ set up in a convent, cordial relations were established with the mother superior.

    4th: Regiment ?????? rest period was given a counter attack role which necessitated the regiment being at 4 hrs notice.

    Recconisance of counter attack positions was carried out by the Colonel and the Sqn Ldrs and the Gunner O.P.’s. Very heavy snow fell at this time and it was bitterly cold.

    5th: Colonel inspected A Sqn during the morning and C Sqn drill parade in the afternoon, while out of battle 3 drill parades a week were included in the training programme. Lts Perry, Elmore and Howard who had been wounded in NORMANDY rejoined the regiment. Capt Hildyard T.O. 7th Armd Div visited the regiment.

    6th: Colonel inspected B Sqn in the morning and attended a conference at SCHINVELD on operation “Black ????”, in this operation 8th Armd Bde were to support 52 Mountain Div in an attack on HEINSBERG and ????? to the north . In the afternoon the Colonel and Sqn Ldrs with the Gunner O.P’s went over the ground GEILENKIRCHEN, PRUMMEREN and BEEK over which we last fought in support of 84th ???????? Div.

    7th: Universal service held for those who had been killed in the GEILENKIRCHEN battle. The padre preached an excellent service. Cpt Walker joined the regiment also 7 N.C.O.’s picked by Maj. Lord Leigh ???? the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars. Colonel ?????? at 8th Armd Bde, in the evening Maj. ?????? came to discuss the fire place for operation “Black ?????”.

    8th: Colonel attended conference at 8th Armd Bde HQ’s where the Army Commander General Dempsey gave details of the Ardeinnes offensive and confirmed that it was not under control owing to severe weather conditions. We would not be able to ???? ??????, to take as many prisoners as had at first been hoped. Colonel attended conference on the cooperation of a ????? company with an armd reg at HQ 12 KRRC and dinned with Colonel Edwards.

    9th: Colonel inspected stables of C Sqn. A special ????? commanding ????? started for the next N.C.O.’s from the R.G.H. Lt Bethell-Fox rejoined the regiment after being wounded 3 times.

    10th: Colonel and adjutant attended conference at Bde HQ for operation “Black ???”. The weather was bitterly cold, ???? ????? ????? officers so frozen we a ?????. “C” Company 12 K.R.R.C. joined the regiment.

    11th: All leave to BRUSSELS was cancelled. Day spent in training with 52 Div for operation “Black ???”.

    12th: O.P.’s joined the regiment , conference at 52 Div HQ decided that the regiment would support 153 Bde.

    13th: A conference with 156 Infantry Bde decided that ????? Sqn would support 1 Bn from the Bde.

    14th: Sqn Ldrs and Bn commanders held conference. Tanks have been painted completely white, snow continued to fall.

    15th: Colonel attended conference 156 Bde at 09.00 and 17.00 hrs. Maj. Holman left on English leave, Capt. Coleman taking over his Sqn. 7th Armd Div started “Black ????” (Blackcock Rm) by opening up main road ??????? north from SITTARD to ROERMOND. 35° degrees frost.
  12. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

  13. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

  14. peter.t

    peter.t Member

    Here is the war diary for Dec 44 & Jan 45 for the 147th Essex Yeomanry.

    Attached Files:

    Andy Urwin, Tom OBrien and stolpi like this.
  15. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    BTW... I also read this excerpt recently, which you might be able to get a glimpse of here:

    Tank Action

    i.e. David Render "The SRY were put on notice to act as a mobile reserve, but we were not needed"
  16. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    There is an entry in the war diary of the SRY for the 28th December 1944 -

    28th: VINTLEN was attacked by the enemy last night. We had a troop of tanks in the village – but the attack was held. Lt Cameron was wounded.

    Prior to this entry there's mention of SCHINVELD, and after, TIPTRATH... e.g.

    27th: Regt relieved 13/18 H in SCHINVELD, supporting 52(L) Div.

    28th: VINTLEN was attacked by the enemy last night. We had a troop of tanks in the village – but the attack was held. Lt Cameron was wounded.

    29th: Quiet day. Brigadier visited the forward positions of C + A Sqns.

    30th: Enemy put in an attack against TIPTRATH – unsuccessful. The reserve Sqn, + A Bn of 52 Div under our C.O. are to form a mobile column in the event of an enemy breakthrough.

    TIPTRATH - I think is Tripsrath

    So the village of "Vintlen" - or a place with a similarly spelled name - I had hoped to find somewhere in this area:

    Google Maps


    But couldn't seem to find a "Vintlen" - I did however find a "Vintelen" / Vinteln - in this general area - a small rural hamlet nr. Gangelt - in the map above - that seems like a likely candidate.

    Translation of the German wiki for "Vinteln" - Google Translate

    Google maps - location for Vinteln - Google Maps
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2018
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  17. mark23

    mark23 Member

    Do you have the War Diary of the 147th from October/November 44 by any chance?
  18. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    Links are dead now but does anyone have any info on Bill Betts and his rank/position/task in 1944? He is widely quoted in relation to the film 'Fury' where he seems to be the default British Tank crewman giving his views on fighting Tigers. Given he was in Essex Yeomanry he could only have been in a OP tank so I wonder why his story was used. There is a photo of him in an M10 late war but I do not think Essex Yeo had any of them and he also states he crossed The Rhine in a Sherman DD.
  19. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Re. "info on Bill Betts and his rank/position/task in 1944?" - post immediately above.

    A few items on Google via - "Bill Betts" Fury

    Brings up a few newspaper items, Facebook posts and articles such as...

    Fury: War up close and personal | Strife

    Which has....

    "Bill Betts, a Sherman radio operator in the Essex Yeomanry and a D-day veteran, who was shot by a German sniper."

    Will edit if more turns up - I was looking into finding any info on the tank crew of William Culley - also in the 147 EY - who was at one point Forward Observation Officer (FOO) to the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry - tank called "Bramley" so seeing some bits of info on Bill Betts (otherwise unconnectedly ;-) as part of the same "search" etc.

    George W Culley | ParaData

    Edit: Further Re. Bill Betts...

    A tank veteran on Fury: 'Very realistic, but it can't show the full horror of war

    Has - for instance - that "his" tank was called "Beverly"
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2020
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  20. Nathan Obady

    Nathan Obady Member

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