George Frank Dyer, No: 6099233, 1/6 Queen's Royal Regiment (West Surrey)

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by BFBSM, Dec 21, 2010.

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  1. BFBSM

    BFBSM Very Senior Member Patron

    Hi all,

    I am hoping that I could get some assistance with research on this Battalion, which my Grand-uncle served with during the war. His name was George Frank Dyer, No: 6099233, and he is buried at Salerno:
    Name: George Dyer
    Given Initials: G F
    Rank: Private
    Death Date: 29 Aug 1943
    Number: 6099233
    Birth Place: Surrey
    Residence: Surrey
    Branch at Enlistment: Infantry
    Theatre of War: Italy
    Regiment at Death: Queen's Royal Regiment (West Surrey)
    Branch at Death: Infantry

    This is from the UK, Army Roll of Honour, 1939-1945. The CWGC database gives the date of his death as 28 Sep 1943.

    I live in Australia, and so find it difficult to get along to the TNA or the Surrey History Centre in Woking, where I understand the Regimental records are kept. If anyone is able to help with checking the War Diary, or any other documents I would greatly appreciate it.

    I also undestand that I am unable to get his service records as I am not a direct line relative, is this correct.
     
  2. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

  3. BFBSM

    BFBSM Very Senior Member Patron

    Thanks, I will send the forms off in the new year.

    I usually get confused with Government websites, I only went wrong twice this time.
     
  4. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    keep us updated with your findings
     
  5. BFBSM

    BFBSM Very Senior Member Patron

    My Mum has been talking to me about her Uncle, whom I have mentioned here before, who was a member of the 1/6th Queens, his name George Frederick Dyer, Service No: 6099233.

    She has just told me that he was at Dunkirk, and then served with the Battalion at Dover, where he injured his shoulder.

    Would anybody have diaries or any other information about the Battalion during 1940 they could share with me.

    I am particularly interested in details leading upto and including the service at Dover.

    (I have sent for his Service Records, but as I have noted elsewhere in this forum that there is a delay, so I am not expecting them until 2012:D
     
  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 Members Patron 1940 Obsessive

  7. BFBSM

    BFBSM Very Senior Member Patron

    I posted some 1/6th Queens stuff on the thread below the other day. I don't have the diary yet so not a great deal I can offer at the moment.

    http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/prisoners-war/23516-stalag-xxb-pow-g-w-sibthorpe-any-info-appreciated.html

    Cheers
    Andy

    Thanks Andy, just checked out some of it.

    I just received George's Records, bit of a surprise after noting comments elsewhere on the forum, I only applied for them on the 5th Jan this year.

    Just looking through them, questions will be forthcoming. :D
     
  8. BFBSM

    BFBSM Very Senior Member Patron

    Well, I have just looked through the records and can make sense of most what has been sent. The one section I am finding a little confusing is the details of his postings. It is obvious when he is posted to 1/6th Btn, but then it shows he has a variety of postings to X (IV), X (II), X(IX), and so on (image of this section is attached) I am wondering if these are different divisions within X Corps. Could this be right?

    [​IMG]

    Any help is greatly appreciated.
     
  9. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    BFBSM -
    The various category's of X(ii) etc relate to sickness and hospital visits and have to be read in the context of the overall text of the records - now I can't put my fingers on the New Zealand explanation of all these categories but I am sure the Owen or someone can remember that thread......

    the 1/6 East Surreys were in a brigade of three battalions - within the X corps three divisions - and again I have forgotten which division they were in - and at what time as both Corps and Divisions changed around depending on the battles they were about to fight - so the full service record should show you any movement
    - if any.....! it might be advantagious to scan all of the records

    Cheers
     
  10. BFBSM

    BFBSM Very Senior Member Patron

    What follows is written from a combination of information from family and military records directly related to my Great Uncle. It also includes information obtained from reading accounts of the actions of the 1/6th Queen's Royal Regiment and from accounts of the battles and actions mentioned. Please let me know if I have anything wrong, as I would like the information to be as correct as possible.

    Mark
    ________________________________________________


    George Frank Dyer was born on Monday 2 August, 1915 at 25 Rosebank Cottages, Westfield, in Woking, Surrey. His mother Rosina Dyer (nee Daborn) recorded the birth at the Woking Registry on 10 September, 1915. Frederick Joseph Dyer (1875 – ) was recorded as the father, however there is some doubt to this.

    George married Gladys Violet Bates on 25 July, 1936. At the time he was working as a nurseryman, and was living at Hawthorn Cottages, Woodside Road, Chiddingfold in Surrey. In 1937 the birth of their first child, Michael John Dyer was recorded.

    On 27 June 1940, following Dunkirk, George enlisted in the Territorial Army and was given the number 6099233. At the time of his enlistment he was living at 11 Sunny Hill, Wheeler Lane, Witley in Surrey. He was posted to the Queen’s Royal Regiment’s Infantry Training Centre, which was at Inkerman Barracks, Guildford.

    Following his training, George was posted to the 1/6th Battalion of the Queen’s Royal Regiment, which at the time was based in Lincolnshire as part of the 1st Division and the East Coast Defences.

    In October 1940, 131 Brigade, of which 1/6th Battalion was a part, left the 1st Division, moving in February 1941 to Kent as part of 44th Division and it’s responsibility for the defence of the south coast, in October 1941, the 131 Brigade moved to Dover as part of the Dover Garrison.

    It was whilst based at Dover that it is reported George injured his shoulder (this is not borne out by notations in his Military Records and more research is needed).

    The 1/6th Battalion sailed with the rest of the 131 Brigade on 24 May 1942 from Gourock in the Clyde Estuary, near Glasgow, aboard the P&O vessel, and troopship, SS Strathallan. George’s Army records show that he was no longer serving so he, according to this, at “Home” from 25 May 1942, sailed with the Brigade. The ship held approximately 5,000 troops. Fourteen days after sailing the ship docked at Freetown, Sierra Leone; here it stayed for several days, although no-one was allowed to land.

    The Strathallan set sail again on 20 June, and arrived in Cape Town, South Africa fourteen days later. Here all troops were allowed ashore, and route marches were organised. Three days later they sailed from Cape Town and into some ‘intense rollers causing the ships to roll alarmingly.’ The 16 July, saw the ship dock at Aden with the voyage ending five days later at Port Suez.

    Following disembarkation, the 44th Division entrained for Kathalba Camp, approximately sixty miles east of Cairo. There the time was spent in training for Desert warfare.

    George’s posting record within his Military records, shows him on the X(iv)a list on 14 August, 1942, which indicates he was posted as a reserve. On this day the 131 Brigade was attached, with the rest of the 44th Division to the Eighth Army, and orders were received for this to occur ‘immediately’.

    The Brigade was posted to the Alam Halfa Ridge with 133 Brigade, also with the 44th Division. 131 Brigade was allocated the eastern end of the Ridge, and 133 Brigade the western end. The disposition of 131 Brigade was such that:
    1/7th Queen’s was on the right, nearest the centre of the Ridge near Alam El Khadim
    1/6th Queen’s was on the forward southern slopes, covering the defences of airfields in the area and the western gaps in the minefields
    1/5th Queen’s was on the reverse slope to the north.

    These positions were visited by Winston Churchill on 20 August, and by the 25 August the new preparations were complete.

    Orders were received on 29 August for the 44th Division to change places with the 2nd New Zealand Division. Advance parties left to take over the New Zealand Positions, however, an Ultra Intercept changed the situation and at 01:30hrs on 31 August, the move forward was cancelled.

    The Battle of Alam Halfa started later that day, ending on the 3 September. The 131 Brigade did not actually come into contact with the enemy, but were dive-bombed several times and shelled to the front. The Brigade was well dug in so there were few casualties.

    The 132 Brigade, which had been on attachment to the 2nd New Zealand Division, returned to the 44th Division on the 5 September, with the 131 Brigade organising rest and food for them. By the end of the 6 September, the Axis forces were back through the minefields but retaining Munassib and the twin peaks of Himeimat.

    The 44th Division relieved the 2nd New Zealand Division on 10 September, and were themselves later relieved by the 51st (Highland) Division. The 44th Division was over the next few days altered, 133 Brigade was transferred to the 10th Armoured Division, and the 151 Infantry Brigade and the Greek Brigade were attached to the 44th Division.

    The 131 Brigade prepared new positions to the south-east, later known as the ‘Hog’s Back’. These positions were occupied by thr Brigade on 13 September, where some shelling was experienced but which did not produce casualties. Many Patrols were carried out over the next few days through the ‘Nuts’ minefield.
     
  11. BFBSM

    BFBSM Very Senior Member Patron

    Using the Unit War Diaries, I have managed to put together the following using a number of references and Unit War Diaries.

    By the 27th September, 1943 the 7th Armoured Division had completed their concentration, and were ready to take up the running after the German forces up the west coast of the boot of Italy towards Naples from Salerno(1). The 131st (Queen’s) Brigade, the lorried infantry of the 7th Armoured Division, had been sited near OLEVANO SUL TUSCIANO since 19 September. On the 27th the 1/6th Battalion Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment received orders to be ready to move at 1230hrs, at which time it moved off and moved 19miles to it’s leaguer position in SALERNO(2).

    The plan, to take NAPLES, which had been developed, called for the 46th Division to clear a pass through the mountains to CAMARELLE with the US Rangers to form the bridgehead, near the NOCERA PASS. The 7th Armoured Division, with the 23rd Armoured Brigade under command, were to pass through the 46th and, take their first objective, SCAFATI on the River SARNO. The second objective was for the 23rd Armoured Brigade to advance to NAPLES, with the main part of the Division advancing to CAPUA on the River VOLTURNO passing north of Mount VESUVIUS.(3)

    USA-MTO-Salerno-II.jpg The roads in the area were narrow, and the terrain did not allow vehicles to move off the roads and concentrate – so the 7th Armoured Division had to move in-line behind the 46th Division at a density of 40 vehicles per mile over a length of 55 miles of road. The 46th Division moved three miles, still several miles short of NOCERA with elements occupying CAMARELLE,(4) General McCreery committed the 7th Armoured Division to passing through the infantry.(5)

    At dawn on the 28th September the 1/7th Queen’s, seized the dominating high ground forward of the 46th Division to the north of CAVA DI TERRENI(6). There was some resistance from a small but determined rear guard, the 7th Armoured Division attacked along the axis CAVA DI TERRENI-NOCERA-SCAFATI, with the 1/7th Queen’s taking prisoner a straggler from 11 Company, 3rd Battalion, Hermann Göring Division(7). The 1/6th Queen’s passed through the 1/7th and had under command a squadron of the 5th Royal Tank Regiment, ‘M’ Battery of the 3rd Royal Horse Artillery (an Anti-Tank Regiment), and a Royal Engineers Recce Party(8).

    ‘A’ Squadron of the King’s Dragoon Guards were directed on SCAFATI, where there was a bridge was crossing the River SARNO and on the crossings to the west. Lt. P.N.G. Phillips was sent round AGRI and reported that the SCAFATI bridge was intact and strongly held. He got to the bridge on foot but was forced to retire by heavy fire, he remained in the vicinity until the arrival of the 1/6th Queen’s(9).

    “A” Company of the 1/6th Queen’s, under Capt. W.L. Johnson, with assistance from Italian Partisans, made a lightening dash for the bridge. This unnerved the Hermann Göring Division outposts sufficiently that the bridge was not blown. The 1/6th Queen’s subsequently removed the charges and took 11 prisoners.

    1_6QueensScafati.jpg ‘A’ Company, 1/6th Queen’s, then strengthened their hold on the bridge coming under extensive mortar and small arms fire at 1600hrs. A half-hour later an attempt to dislodge the bridgehead was made by a German troop carrier and armoured car, which failed.

    The 1/6th Queen’s spent the rest of the day fighting battles in the streets against repeated counter attacks from the Hermann Göring Division, all of which were beaten off. At 1900hrs “A” Company was relieved by “D” Company and the bridgehead consolidated, at 2000hrs the Germans continued to attack the Queen’s positions suffering many killed, whilst inflicting no casualties(10).

    Throughout the night of the 28th/29th September there were periods of artillery concentrations which the Germans answered with sporadic mortar fire, with the 1/6th Queen’s standing to throughout the night. In the early morning of 29th September there were reports of enemy troops and armoured vehicles to the right of the Battalion positions, followed by “promiscuous shelling”. Patrols were sent out, but returned having made no contact. The Battalion suffered no casualties when securing the bridge and town, and had taken 20 prisoners and caused many German casualties.

    At 1200hrs, the Battalion moved off from their position with the intention of contacting enemy forces at S. GIUSEPPE, and were approximately 1km south of PASSANTI by 1400hrs, where they encountered small arms and anti-tank fire which caused the wounding of one other rank. The Battalion took up Company positions at 1700hrs with the Battalion HQ at PASSANTI.

    At 2300hrs the War Diary notes that were four casualties(11) in “D” Company during the night of 29th September, caused by the “enemy the enemy are sporadically” which I take to mean there was sporadic shelling.
    The CWGC show there were two deaths in the 1/6th Queen’s on the 28th:
    DYER GF No. 6099223
    LOWE AW No. 6105636
    and one on the 29th:
    COOPER RT No. 6300240

    (1) The Desert Rats: The history of the 7th Armoured Division. 1938 – 1945. Major General G. L. Verney D.S.O., M.V.O. Hutchinson & Co. 1954 p.168; The Desert Rats: 7th Armoured Division 1940 – 1945. Robin Neilands, Weidenfield & Nicolson. 1991. p.198; History of the Fifth Amy, Part I. From Activation to the Fall of Naples, 1944. p. 47
    (2) 1/6th Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment War Diaries, WO 169/10281
    (3) Verney. p.168; Neilands. p.198
    (4) History of the Fifth Amy, Part I. From Activation to the Fall of Naples, 1944. Ed:Col. John D. Forsythe, Fifth Army, Italy p.47
    (5) Salerno to Cassino; Martin Blumenson, Center of Military History, United States Army, Washington 1993 p. 165; The Desert Rats: The history of the 7th Armoured Division. 1938 – 1945. Major General G. L. Verney D.S.O., M.V.O. Hutchinson & Co. 1954 p.168; The Desert Rats: 7th Armoured Division 1940 – 1945. Robin Neilands, Weidenfield & Nicolson. 1991. p.198; History of the Fifth Amy, Part I. From Activation to the Fall of Naples, 1944. p. 47
    (6) 1/7th Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment War Diaries, WO 169/10283; The Desert Rats: The history of the 7th Armoured Division. 1938 – 1945. Major General G. L. Verney D.S.O., M.V.O. Hutchinson & Co. 1954 p.168; The Desert Rats: 7th Armoured Division 1940 – 1945. Robin Neilands, Weidenfield & Nicolson. 1991. p.198; History of the Fifth Amy, Part I. From Activation to the Fall of Naples, 1944. p. 47 Ed:Col. John D. Forsythe, Fifth Army, Italy p.47
    (7) 1/7th Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment War Diaries, WO 169/10283; The Desert Rats: The history of the 7th Armoured Division. 1938 – 1945. Major General G. L. Verney D.S.O., M.V.O. Hutchinson & Co. 1954 p.168; The Desert Rats: 7th Armoured Division 1940 – 1945. Robin Neilands, Weidenfield & Nicolson. 1991. p.198; History of the Fifth Amy, Part I. From Activation to the Fall of Naples, 1944. p. 47 Ed:Col. John D. Forsythe, Fifth Army, Italy p.47
    (8) 1/6th Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment War Diaries, WO 169/10281
    (9) King's Dragoon Guards War Diary, WO 169/9312
    (10)The Desert Rats: The history of the 7th Armoured Division. 1938 – 1945. Major General G. L. Verney D.S.O., M.V.O. Hutchinson & Co. 1954 p.168; The Desert Rats: 7th Armoured Division 1940 – 1945. Robin Neilands, Weidenfield & Nicolson. 1991. p.198; History of the Fifth Amy, Part I. From Activation to the Fall of Naples, 1944. p. 47 Ed:Col. John D. Forsythe, Fifth Army, Italy p.47
    (11)1/6th Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment War Diaries, WO 169/10281


    My Great-Uncle George Frank Dyer (02 Aug 1915 – 28 Sep 1943), No. 6099223 of the 1/6th Queen’s is noted as being killed on 28th September 1943 by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and in his service records. His last communication with the family was to my Mum, which showed he was in “B” Company, but it would appear that at some stage he was attached to “D” Company. Also the manner of his apparent death ties in with the oral family history which is that he was killed by an exploding shell, still not sure about what I was originally told about being in the tent.
     
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  12. Clive Wiley

    Clive Wiley Member

    Hi Mark, this from Dads note book , im guessing that the 1/5 sailed with the 1/6 &1/7 .
     

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  13. BFBSM

    BFBSM Very Senior Member Patron

    Clive,

    You are correct, the 1/5th Queen's sailed with the 1/6th and the 1/7th as a part of the 131st Queen's Brigade and the 44th (Home Counties) Division aboard the Strathallan from Gourock.

    Mark
     
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  14. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron

    Nicely presented Mark, you have come a long way with this story.
     
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  15. Deacs

    Deacs Well i am from Cumbria. Patron

    Excellent work Mark well done mate.
     
  16. Clive Wiley

    Clive Wiley Member

    Here is a Memorial service sheet 131 Brigade for the end of the African campaign.
     

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