Frank Kirton Lance Serjeant 158 Field Artillery

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by Tinap, Jun 27, 2016.

  1. Tinap

    Tinap Member

    Hi, I'm looking for information about my Grandad's brother Frank Kirton born December 1913, Newark, Lincs and died 27/03/1944. He served as a Lance Serjeant in the RA, 158 Field Artillery. I'm afraid I know nothing about him and was hoping someone could tell me more about where his regiment served and what may of happened to them. The only information if I have is from the CWWG

    Name: Frank Kirton
    Rank:Lance Serjeant
    Service No:973823
    Date of Death:27/03/1944 Age:30
    Regiment/Service:Royal Artillery 158 Field Regt.
    Panel Reference: Face 2.
    Additional Information:Son of Robert J. and Mary A. Kirton; husband of Margaret Lilian Kirton, of Charing, Kent

    The sad thing about this is that I didnt even know my Grandad had a brother until we found an old newspaper clipping about my Grandad being shipped back from Burma because his Mother was dying and the article ended about 'Frank' reported missing in Burma in March 1944 and officially reported killed in 1945.

    If anybody could help with any information I would be so grateful

    Many thanks
  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Hi and Welcome. There's some Far East chaps on here that may be able to help with details when they see this thread. In the meantime have you considered getting a copy of your grandfathers service records?
  3. Guy Hudson

    Guy Hudson Looker-upper

    This is an interview with Richard De Renzy Channer, an officer with the 158th Field Regiment, RA. This will give you some background to the actions your great uncle was involved in.

    His RA attestation from 1939 has a note relating to his death.

    Attached Files:

    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  4. Tinap

    Tinap Member

    Hi and thank you Guy Hudson,for the RA attestation thumbnails! and the link to the interview it is an amazing account of what happened and very interesting indeed.

    Any ideas of how i find out which troop my great uncle was assigned to? Having listened to the interview with Richard De Renzy Channer it seems he was in f troop and going by his 'battle' dates Frank had died in March 1944 so they don't seem to add up. I may be wrong but I'm presuming Frank was in a different troop.

    Any help would be great, thank you.

    And to Drew5233, Thank you, I am in the process of obtaining my Grandfathers service records however I don't think they will help me out much with regards to Frank as my Grandfather was in the Royal Engineers and Frank in the Royal Artillery, however, I can't wait to receive them.
  5. lionboxer

    lionboxer Member Patron

    Guy, the attachments you posted, are they just for RA? Not seen anything like it before.
  6. Guy Hudson

    Guy Hudson Looker-upper

    Royal Artilley attestation books and casualty cards can be searched and downloaded on FMP. The attestation books cover entries up to 1942, the casualty cards cover 39-45

    If anyone requires a search just let me know?

  7. Gpo man

    Gpo man New Member

    Regarding 158th.
    The date of death could be a coincidence, but The battle of Sangshak which involved D troop of 582 battery 158th field artillery.
    Finished on the 27th of March 1944. With the troops sneaking out at night and walking back to Imphal.
    I have the records from 158th regiment for this battle. But he is not listed in the killed.
    Unfortunately my grandfather was the only one wounded on the last day. And never returned.
    Some of the wounded were left behind and some tried to return, but all the wounded died on the journey.
    It is possible that he could have been killed on the return if he was in D troop.
    I haven't found his name in any of my research but it's worth a try, as the date is the same.
    Good luck
  8. Tinap

    Tinap Member

    Hi and thank you for the information Gpo man, great information and maybe a coincidence but something I shall try and follow up on. It could make sense in the fact that his death date states 27th March 1944. The newspaper article is dated 1946 stating that Frank was reported missing in Burma in March 1944 and officially reported killed early his year (1946). With his death being 'officially' reported could there be further information? Sorry if thats a stupid question but I am quite new to this.
  9. lionboxer

    lionboxer Member Patron

    Thanks Guy.
  10. Sumner2

    Sumner2 Member

    I hope you've found the information you wanted about your great-uncle.
    My father was also an L/Sjt with the 158 Field Regiment. He was one of the unit's 'originals', training at Nowshera (now in Pakistan) and Campbellpore before moving to Imphal after more training in Ranchi, near Calcutta in early 1942.
    Let me know if you'd like more information.
    Best wishes,
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2018
  11. Tinap

    Tinap Member

    Hi Sumner2
    Great to hear from you and our common interest. Unfortunately I haven't been able to find out any further information regarding my great uncle or the 158 Field Regiment. If you have any information it would be brilliant.
    Many thanks
  12. Sumner2

    Sumner2 Member

    Given that your great uncle is listed as killed in action on that date, it's certainly possible he was with the 158 Field Regiment's 582 (Mortar) Battery at the Sanshak battle. I gather that the battery CO was also killed at Sanshak – replaced by Captain Brian Hutton, who took over as CO during the battle and won the Military Cross.
    As far as I know, 582 Battery, along with Indian infantry units, were hastily despatched north to Sanshak from the main 158 Regiment gun positions in the hills near Shenam (which were still awaiting a major Japanese assault). So it's reasonable to assume the date given for your relative's death in action mean he was indeed involved in the fighting at Sanshak.
    Also known as a 'jungle' regiment, 158's varioud batteries were mainly equipped with 25-pounder field guns, which were towed by Austin 'Quad' vehicles. Getting them from Ranchi, near Calcutta, to the area around Imphal in 1942 was incredibly difficult, given the terrain and bad roads.
    My father was a gunnery position officer's assistant (or GPO Ack) on these 25-pounder guns. He'd arrived in India in late 1941 and was one of founding members of 158.
    The day after your great uncle's death, my father (who was based in the hills near Shenam at the time) was diagnosed with typhus, and out of action for a month. It was the worst of a whole range of tropical diseases he and his colleagues suffered out there, such as malaria, dysentery and yellow fever. The 23rd Indian Division, of which the 158 was a part, lost more men to disease than enemy action.
    I attach a poem about Sanshak which I found among my father's papers.
    Best wishes,
    Sumner 2

    Attached Files:

    Tricky Dicky and CL1 like this.

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