Family Soldiers: 1/4th Essex (WW2) & 25 Field Regiment R.A.(Post-War)

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by Charley Fortnum, Mar 21, 2015.

  1. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Screen Shot 2018-05-01 at 02.59.50.png


    Extracted from here:
    Lieut.-Colonel R. A. STEPHEN, O.B.E., M.D., F.R.C.S.
    Royal Army Medical Corps,
    Assistant Professor of Military Surgery, R.A.M. College, Millbank

    [File Attached]

    Attached Files:

  2. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Simple question, possibly answerable by an ex-serviceman: I've read the name FARELF about ten thousand times now and have always mentally 'said' it as 'Far-East Land Forces' (some sources give Far-Eastern, but they seem to be a minority)--but as a strange amalgamation of an actual word ('Far') and an initialism (E.L.F. like B.B.C), was the word ever/often/usually spoken aloud as Far-Elf (pronounced like the the mythical creature)?

    Obviously you can't read B.A.O.R as a word, so it isn't actually an acronym, but FARELF is a weird mish-mash.

    Same question for M.E.L.F.
    Last edited: May 4, 2018
  3. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Have been slowly collecting paperwork for background material pertaining to the post war service of Gunner Newman.

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  4. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    An iconic propaganda photo of 4th Ind Div here:

    Screen Shot 2018-05-27 at 16.45.31.jpg

    No telling which battalion, but Indian infantry from late 1941 gives:

    3/1st Punjabs
    4/6th Raj Rifs
    4/11th Sikhs
    4/16th Punjabs
    1/6th Raj Rifs
    2/5th Mahratta Light Infantry.

    Take your pick.
  5. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Well, they're not Sikhs, with the caveat that I don't think all Sikh Regiment battalions were all-Sikh.
  6. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    No, they weren't--as we were actually discussing a short time ago on another thread.
    That said, you're right, the headwear makes them less likely.
  7. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    I've established from a former member of the unit that (as I expected) from mid-February 1952 3 DIV HQRA was stationed at GHQ MELF at Fayid, on the west bank of the Great Bitter Lake [Edit: New evidence has come to light--it is distinctly possible that they were actually at Moascar]. (See below):


    Plenty of photographs here:
    Egypt Fayid

    What I'm particularly looking for now is accounts and a plan of the place--specifically the GHQ, not the many, many other camps. Discovery is throwing up very little in terms of paperwork and the official divisional history has nothing.

    Any ideas?
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2018
  8. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

  9. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Paid too much money for this, but I'm pleased to find it:

    Second World War Indian Army formation badges (pair) for 4th Indian Division. The Division was nicknamed the 'Red Eagles' as a consequence of the distinctive emblem of the bird of prey on its badge. The first badges worn in North Africa were given by the women of the Punjab, instigated by the then Prime Minister, Sir Sikander Hyat Khan, who visited the Division in the Middle East. According to the Divisional History: 'The War Office, curiously enough, has no record of the origin of the Red Eagle. It was the custom of units at this stage to select their own signs, afterwards submitting them for approval. There are a number of theories of origin: that the first design was taken from a newspaper advertisement, from a beer bottle label, that it was drawn by one Private Page, a clerk in 'Q' Branch, that the colour was chosen because of General Scarlett's [first Divisional Commander] name. At a later date General Tuker personally improved the design of the eagle.'

    badge, formation, Indian, 4th Indian Infantry Division

  10. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Delighted to find this. It's a really small photograph, but I've done what I can with a pretty basic scanner to bring the faces out.

    C.O. Warrant Officers & Sergeants, 25 Fd Regt R.A. Hong Kong, April 1949--presumably at (San Wai Camp, formerly 'Gallipoli Lines') FANLING in the NEW TERRITORIES, where they were then stationed. KevinT - Is your father in this picture?

    Scan 13.jpg

    Edit: hard to make out, but I think they are wearing the Hong Kong Land Forces patch here (the dragon over stripes). I wonder when they changed over to the 40th Inf Div cockerel (must check the date the division became operational)?

    c. 1950.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
  11. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    I've often read that F. S. Tuker (GOC 4 Ind Div) was a bit of an artist as well as a writer, but I've never seen anything of his before lately. This print has cropped up for sale recently. Low Tide Falmouth Dock.

  12. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Somebody has uploaded an interesting book here [extremely slow to load]:

    Red Shadow Over Malaya (1955): Malaya - Brigadier M. C. A. Henniker.pdf

    HENNIKER, Brigadier Sir Mark Chandos Auberon, Bt (1906-1991)
    Born in 1906; educated at Marlborough College, Royal Military Academy, Woolwich and King's College, Cambridge; commissioned into Royal Engineers, 1926; Lt, 1927; served in India, 1928-1934, including Mohmand Campaign, 1933; Capt, 1936; served in UK, 1937-1939 and France, 1939-1940; Commander, Royal Engineers, 1 Airborne Div, 1942; served in North Africa, 1943, Italy, 1943, North West Europe, 1944-1945, and India, 1946-1947; publication of Memoirs of a junior officer (William Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh and London, 1951); Commander, 63 Gurkha Infantry Bde, Malaya, 1952-1955; Brig, 1955; publication of Red shadow over Malaya (William Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh and London, 1955); Commander, Royal Engineers, Egypt, 1956; publication of Life in the Army today (Cassell and Co, London, 1957; retired in 1958; Honorary Col, Parachute Engineer Regt, 1959-1968; Honorary Col, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, 1964-1968; died in 1991.
  13. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    I've been generally consuming anything I can find about the Canal Zone 1946-1953 and have picked up two pieces of ephemera (full of lists of names and units of the participants):

    20180710_220052.jpg 20180710_220112.jpg Scan_20180626 (2 Cover _ rear) copy.jpg

    I've also been fairly lucky in making contact with a chap who was in Egypt in in 1950-51 with the Royal Lincolns. I wrote to him out of the blue when I found his address in connection with a book he had published and was pleased to receive a two-page handwritten reply with some information about Moascar and Ismailia--what's more, as he'd been at the National Archives when researching his book, he was able to provide reference numbers for helpful files.
  14. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    I finally got my hands on a physical copy of Red Eagles, the post-war short history for 4th Indian Division.

    I particularly wanted a copy with the foldout in perfect nick: maps to the rear and this 'campaign calendar' on the front.

    Owen and dbf like this.
  15. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Very helpful, but I need to get more specific. 'Just outside Nicosia' and 'Ismailia' are very helpful, but I'm sure I can get the HQ locations down more exactly. Ferry Point, Moascar is one possibility that has cropped up.


    LAST November, owing to a recall telegram, I found myself in company with the rest of 3rd Inf. Div. on the way to Cyprus. No sooner landed and unpacked than my Battalion had orders to move to Suez (where no doubt you heard of their exploits at the filtration plant).

    As we packed in preparation of leaving Cyprus, on the 13th November, my Platoon was detailed as defence Platoon to 3rd Div H.Q. This meant that our job was to guard the General, in this case Major-General Sir Hugh Stockwell. Well, we had a slight breather as Div. H.Q. was staying in Cyprus and not only that but just outside the capital, Nicosia. We spent the next two and a half months there, and during that time I had two great surprises, the first being on Christmas Eve, when I was sitting in a Cabaret in town. I saw a Scots Guardsman passing my table and saw to my astonishment Bob Thompson whom I had last seen at K.A.S. Our surprise was mutual and for the next month we saw a great deal of each other as he was in Camp only two miles away.

    The next surprise happened as we came out of the Cinema one night and came face to face with Isobel King, late of Nansen. Shortly after this, however, we were separated again when Div H.Q. moved to Ismailia in the Canal Zone, which, I suppose, everyone has heard of now.

    Life then took on a different aspect. Guards, Guards and more Guards and then - I was detailed to run the Canteen and be Post Corporal for the Unit. So now I run the Canteen and the Post while outside everything gets easier, no longer does one sleep with his weapon tied to his wrist and all the other necessary precautions. Now one can walk out in Ismailia and I frequently do or go swimming in Lake Jimseh, or - occasionally - across the Suez Canal.

    In fact out here everything is very nearly back to normal and it is high time 3rd Div returned to England.

    Having only a few months left of my service to complete, time seems to pass more slowly every day and both Ken Pryde and myself are looking forward to being at the next Reunion dinner in London.

    22434460 L/Cpl Bowd,
    Defence Platoon 3rd Inf Div H.Q.

    MELF 26 [Spring '52]
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018
  16. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Back to 4th Ind Div. I found a copy of the regimental history of 2/7 GR in practically pristine condition for about ten quid. I've only had a glance, but the first point in its favour is a series of very good maps.

    SmartSelect_20180812-231221_Gallery.jpg SmartSelect_20180812-231104_Gallery.jpg SmartSelect_20180812-231253_Gallery.jpg
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
  17. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Here's something you don't see everyday: a 54th (East Anglian) Divisional Patch. 1/4th, 1/5th, 2/4th & 2/5th Essex all served in the formation for various spells as constituents of 161st Infantry Brigade (as did many of those same units during the Great War). Pale blue has faded fo grey, but it's a nice bauble to have.

  18. Stuart Avery

    Stuart Avery In my wagon & not a muleteer.

    Who did you pinch that book from for about ten quid? Well done you. I've been looking at one for about 65 sheets. By the way, is it by STEVENS (Lt,- Col. G.R., OBE)? I was thinking mine was rather cheap! Bargain of the year for you then. I'm not cheesed off..:-P

    Last edited: Aug 17, 2018
  19. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Yes, it's by Stevens, who was also the author of The Tiger Triumphs, the 4th Indian Division History and the Regimental Histories of the Loyal Edmonton Regiment (Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry) and the Royal Canadian Regiment.

    I have an idea he was Canadian, which would make sense.

    Definitely a lucky find!
  20. Stuart Avery

    Stuart Avery In my wagon & not a muleteer.

    Talking of Tigers, a nice good quality copy of The Tiger Strikes droped through the letter box the other day, its a ( original green copy) if my memory is correct? Your welcome to a copy if required?


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