Frank Baines, 6th Cheshires

Discussion in 'Italy' started by 4jonboy, Oct 9, 2014.

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  1. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce

    I have just received my copy of the Italy Star Association September 2014, magazine and wondered if any members could help with a request in the magazine.

    A lady is looking for a bit more information regarding her late father, Sergeant Frank Baines, 6th Battalion Cheshire Regiment, "D" Company, who was killed in action at Anzio on the night of the 29th February 1944.

    She has consulted a number of histories and the regimental war diaries, and in fact spoken to two members of the Association, one who remembered her father and understandably, became very upset when recalling his experiences.

    A long shot, but do any members have any information regarding the deployment of "D" Coy in the Anzio theatre on or prior to 29th February 1944?

    If anyone can help could they please contact me by PM as I don't wish to put her name, e-mail or telephone number up on the forum.

    Thank you.

    CWGC details: (note the date of death is 28th February not 29th)
    http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2371571/BAINES,%20FRANK%20LOUIS


    Lesley

    Edit: typo
     
  2. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    Lesley.

    Do you know if she has seen the Regt History?

    If she has not then I will look up the date and see if and see if D Coy are mentioned.

    Regards

    Frank
     
  3. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce

    Hi Frank

    It just says she has consulted the regimental war diaries, that is all I know. Do you think they would have anything more in the appendices?

    Any info will be very much appreciated Frank

    Lesley
     
  4. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I don't have the diaries but I have the regimental history and certainly from the BEF input, its very detailed. Give me a shout if Frank doesn't check.

    It's unlikely to mention him in the war diary but she probably won't get a better idea of what the unit was doing on the day of his death other than in that.
     
  5. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce

    Hi Andy

    Anything at all around that date, or dates either side would be a great help :)

    I have found something for Feb 24th about the 6th Cheshires from The Imperial War Museum book of the War in Italy 1943-45 by Field Marshal Lord Carver which I will post up tomorrow. It looks like they were having a terrible time around that date.

    Thanks again

    Lesley
     
  6. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce

  7. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

  8. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce

    Thank you Tony

    Lesley

    Edit: Yes she has visited his grave
     
  9. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce

    I have just spoken to Frances, the lady in question. She was only 2 when he died and none of the family know anything.

    She has the war diaries but it's not surprising it hasn't told her much.

    So Frank or Andy, if one of you could let me have the Regimental history for the dates, say 27, 28, 29 February 1944 (she doesn't have it) it would be very much appreciated please :) .

    I think she wants to know how he was killed-unfortunately that's something I should imagine she won't ever get to know, but if we could pinpoint what the 6th Cheshires were doing and exactly where around the date her father was killed it possibly could help her.

    Apparently 6th Cheshire's were part of 56th Infantry Division. She has read the book Fatal Decision by Carlos d'este-but I don't think there was a mention of the 6th in there. Could anybody recommend a book about the 6th Cheshire's specifically or offer any other help? Cannot find much specific information about the 6th battalion at all.

    Thank you

    Lesley
     
  10. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    As requested here is the war diary refs:

    WO 169/16277 6 Cheshire Regiment 1944 Apr-June
    WO 170/1375 6 Cheshire Regiment 1944 Jan- Mar, July-Oct
    WO 170/1376 6 Cheshire Regiment 1944 Nov-Dec

    I'll post the regimental history pages later tonight once I've eaten and squared away tomorrows trip to Kew.
     
  11. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    Lesley.

    I will take a look tonight and get back to you. 6 CHESHIRE were the Heavy Weapons Battalion for 56 BR Inf Div. Their role was to support the infantry battalions - with Vickers Machine Guns, 37mm anti tank guns and 4.2 inch mortars. They would have been at three momentus battles: the Battle of Monte Camino, the Battle of the Garigliano and the Battle of Anzio. 27-29 Feb 44 was just at the end of the massive German counter attack phase and the start of the stalemate phase. I suspect that the Div was in the ghastly wadis at the time.

    Regards

    Frank
     
  12. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce

    Thank you very much Frank. Could you e-mail me the details please?
    If I could pinpoint exactly where they were, I could perhaps look at the map references and use the co-ordinates translator.
    I will ask her to send me the text of the war diaries around that date so that should help too.

    Many thanks for your help.

    Lesley
     
  13. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce

    A mention about 6th Cheshires. Extracts from The Imperial War Museum book of the War In Italy 1943-45 by Field Marshal Lord Carver

    Second and Third Cassino Battles February to March 1944

    Anzio, pages 156/7

    Private S.C. Brooks arrived as a reinforcement for the 6th Cheshires in the division on 19 February. He wrote in his diary:

    “Feb 24,- 8 pln. Came out, kicked out, 7 out of the whole platoon come in on their feet, most are carried out. All the tales they tell of the last 24 hours are terrible, it appears they have been surrounded for two days. Burgon, Fielding, Ludlow, Mr Kerr and Cross fought their way out at 1.0 this morning, their tales are almost unbelievable and certainly unprintable, it’s a wonder they are alive. On one occasion Gerries trapped them in a cave by climbing on top and lobbing stick grenades in at them, they got out of that by dashing out and shot them off the top with a bren, whilst in the cave the Gerries were falling down, being engaged by the D.L.I (Durham Light Infantry)., now we are putting covering fire down to get the D.L.I. out, all in a poor state.

    We got too far in their lines. On making their way back the enemy sentries shouted “Halta”, so those were got without a rifle, things are decidedly desperate with still a long way to go. Burgon and two more come upon two more positions dug in on a little hill, they barred the only way out so three of them crept forward until almost on top of them and then let them have it with a bren m.g. and nothing happened, the mag. was empty, they were then on their guard but a hand grenade and two rifles eventually sorted them out, another 15 minutes and they were halted by our forward troops. They came in with a week of beard, unwashed for 5 days, clothes torn and ragged, blood everywhere. Burgon it seems carried Carr out on his back, he had been hit, what the position is I don’t know, Burgon had to bury the two watches and all his money, so all that is lost.

    Planes are over early this morning but well out of range. S.M. and I go round all CCs and MDs looking for any who might have been brought in from and by another unit, we only find Sgt. Wood of the day before and Coupes, I wonder when Pongo and Dinty are now. 9 pln. go into the line, all drivers and Coy H.Q. carry for them, we set off at 6.0. and go so far on trucks then walk, we get a bit too close for my liking, veri-lights are being fired over us and it means remaining like statues, nothing is flung at us but lots of stuff is falling all round us. We get in and out OK., but get a little lost on the way back, we arrive at a detrucking area to find everything gone but two of our trucks are there battered up, looks like they have been hit by shells. We carry on, all we can do. Get lost again, come across a Yank tank and the crew give us six tins of corn beef. We sit behind the hedge and eat up, get lifts back at 4.30 a.m., just lie on our blankets till morning, have breakfast, discover that one of 7 pln. and Hughes were hit in the trucks we found smashed, Hughes in the dock the other too late. Before going to kip for the morning I decide to put brens higher!! I am trying to write on a stretcher in a shed on Anzio dock. Finally got a bren bullet in bottom of my guts, I have been on the table and have to pee out of a tube. I have to lie on my side. “
     
  14. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    The History of the Cheshire Regiment by A Crookenden
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  15. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce

    Brilliant find Andy, well done :)
    Frances will be so grateful, her father's D Company mentioned too.
    Many thanks for your time.

    Lesley
     
  16. Peccavi

    Peccavi Senior Member

    Your best bet is the war diary. Unfortunately knowing the Company to which a soldier belonged often does not help with a MMG battalion - you really need to know which platoon (or even which Section).

    I have a report written by Lt Ree of 15 Platoon (13, 14 and 15 platoons would comprise D Coy) of an action on the Gargliano, if this is of interest.

    Very little - to be honest, nothing at Anzio beyond what has already been said.

    A and D coy arrived 17th January and A Coy went forward into the 167 Brígade area into the wadis North of the Anzio - San Lorenzo Road and D coy into the Reserve. On 29th January D Coy moved forward to take over A Coys positions.

    A series of bitterly fought small engagements is the term used. On that day pressure was exerted by the Germans on 168 Brigade and the US 36 Engineers with all the forward 6th Cheshire MG Coys in action.
     
  17. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce

    Thank you for replying. The lady in question has the war diaries for the period when her father was killed. She says it does not help much at all.
    As I said before, I have asked her to send me copies of them-there may be more info than she realises-perhaps some map references so I can pinpoint the exact spot where they were on the date mentioned. I'll keep you updated.

    Lesley
     
  18. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    Peccavi.

    I think you mean Feb rather than Jan.

    Regards

    Frank
     
  19. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    I always found that when ANY other unit replaced a normal Infantry unit in the line - their casualty figures went up as they were not cognizant with the tricks

    of the PBI to stay whole - even an MG battalion…

    Cheers
     
  20. Peccavi

    Peccavi Senior Member

    Sorry - yes Feb - can't think why I typed Jan as I had the article in front of me!



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