Gheel the Last battle/ Help wanted

Discussion in 'Durham Light Infantry' started by Verrieres, Jan 30, 2009.

  1. Verrieres

    Verrieres no longer a member

    Hi,
    As most of you know by now I am interested in the DLI (Yes obsessed) I have been contacted by someone who is researching his great grandfather who was KIA at Gheel in 1944 also a member of 6 DLI;-
    Name:BOYD,
    EUGENE PATRICK
    Initials:E P
    Nationality:United Kingdom
    Rank:Serjeant
    Regiment/ServiceDurham Light Infantry
    Unit Text:6th Bn.
    Age:27
    Date of Death:10/09/1944
    Service No:3957584
    Casualty Type:Commonwealth War DeadGrave/Memorial Reference:III.A.4.Cemetery:GEEL WAR CEMETERY
    I can supply him with information relating to the Battle and information regarding 6th DLI on the Actual day he was killed .I have found photographs of his CWGC headstone/Cemetery and of his temporary grave marker for 1944...but what he is looking for are the official 6 DLI war diaries for September 1944..before I direct him to the NA...have any of you guys got copies relating to this period in particular the 10th Sept 1944 that you could post for this lad ? Thanks
    Regards
    Verrieres
     
  2. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique MOD

    I will check what I have on my other PC this weekend.
     
  3. Verrieres

    Verrieres no longer a member

  4. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique MOD

    Unfortunately I only have 6/DLI diary up to 31st August '44.
     
  5. Verrieres

    Verrieres no longer a member

    Unfortunately I only have 6/DLI diary up to 31st August '44.

    Hi Paul,
    Not to worry thank you very much for looking it is appreciated

    Regards
    Verrieres
     
  6. englandphil

    englandphil Very Senior Member

    An extract from ARNHEM, a tradedy of errors br Irish Guardesman Peter Harclerode.

    'Despite these efforts on the part of the Germans, Dempseys second British Army succeeded in establishing a bridgehead across the Albert Canal at Beeringen and pushed on northwards. However the leading elements of lieutenant General Brian Horrocks XXX Corps encountered stidd resistance and it took 4 dasy of hard fighting to reach its next objective the Meuse-Escaut Canal. On the 10th September bridgeheads were established at Beerpelt and Gheel.

    P
     
  7. Verrieres

    Verrieres no longer a member

    duplicate
     
  8. Verrieres

    Verrieres no longer a member

    Hi,
    Heres a bit of 6 DLi related involvement at Gheel up until 9th Sept I`ll bring the post up to date a little later;-

    Their stay in Brussels ( 6DLI) ended late on the 7th September 1944 when orders were received to move out next day at 0900hrs.The Guards Armoured Division had already forced a crossing over the Albert Canal at Beeringen the 69 Brigade were ordered to force another crossing I believe between the areas of Steelen and Herenthals (Het Punt)
    The 151Brigade were to make a further crossing and secure a bridgehead near Steeleen this was forced by 8DLI with ^DLI to move through and capture Gheel.
    Two patrols were sent forward by 6DLI .Each patrol consisted of
    One section of machine gunners (2Cheshires),One Carrier section,One mortar section and a platoon each from B Coy (Capt W T A Davey) and C Company ( Capt Ian Daw MC ).The two patrols cleared the woods at De Scootersche,Bosschen,Tessenderloo and Kerkensberg. The patrols then moved on protected by the high embankments of the Canal where they identified and engaged German targets including one German gun crew who were identified by a Belgian who notified the sub section commander Sgt Pickin of the Cheshires whose machine gunners killed the crew. Capt Ian Daw was hit by a burst of machine gun fire and died from his wounds. The 8th DLI despite heavy resistance carried out its bridgehead task and when the Gallant men of the RE put a Class 9 Bridge across the canal it was planned that 6DLI would move across on the morning of the 9th Sept 1944.The 61st Recce Regt crossed ahead of the 6th DLI ant its C Squadron was heavily engaged near a place called Doornboom D Company 6DLI were to move across next but were delayed when enemy fire damaged the bridge ,once again it was left to the RE to make good the damage and get the Battalion moving again .It was 1100hrs before D Company led the battalion over the canal with most companies then dispersed to the south of Gheel supported by C Sqdn 61 Recce on their right reporting enemy movements.
    German prisoners revealed that Gheel had been reinforced with large numbers of men believed to be ground troops from Luftwaffe units together with other reports from captured personnel of 4th Flieger,572nd Grenadier Regt and 101st Grenadier Regt
    It was obvious to men of the 6DLI that a hard fight was ahead of them.Casualties on the 9th Sept were light with two men killed and four wounded.
    Name IAN ALMERIC DAW,
    Initials:I A
    Nationality:United Kingdom
    Rank:Captain
    Regiment/ServiceDevonshire Regiment
    Secondary Regiment Durham Light Infantry
    Secondary Unit Text:attd. 6th Bn.
    Age:27
    Date of Death:09/09/1944
    Service No:176829
    Awards:M C .(Awarded by Montgomery on 16th July 1944)
    Lieutenant (temporary Captain) Ian Almeric.Daw
    (176829), The Devonshire Regiment (attd. The
    Durham Light Infantry), (Surbiton).
    SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, 31 AUGUST, 1944
    Additional information:Son of Fleet Surgeon William Henry Daw, R.N., and of Gertrude Chancey Daw, of Surbiton, Surrey.
    The undermentioned Cadets, from 161st &
    163rd O.C.T.U's, to be 2nd Lts., except as
    otherwise stated. 8th Mar. 1941Ian Almeric DAW (176829).) SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, 28 MARCH, 1941
    Casualty Type:Commonwealth War Dead
    Grave/Memorial Reference:X. 18. 7.
    Cemetery:BRUSSELS TOWN CEMETERY


    Name:WILLIAM EDWARD GILBRIDE,
    Initials:W E
    Nationality:United Kingdom
    Rank:Private
    Regiment/Service Durham Light Infantry
    Unit Text:6th Bn.
    Age:23
    Date of Death:09/09/1944
    Service No:4453083
    Additional information:Son of John and Frances Gilbride, of South Shields, Co. Durham.
    Casualty Type:Commonwealth War Dead
    Grave/Memorial Reference:II. B. 1.
    Cemetery:LEOPOLDSBURG WAR CEMETERY

    Regards
    Verrieres

    Source acknowledgment. The account is based on two Private War Diaries and personal letters from Durham soldiers and their families, Family Research other facts have been read in several publications over the years;- Faithful Sixth, & The Gateshead Gurkhas(9DLI),by Harry Moses,History of The 8DLI Lewis and English,Faithful The Story of The Durham Light Infantry by G G B Ward and many more excellent publications and magazines.None of the Brief accounts are a copy of any of these works and they do not go into the detail that the originals possess may I recommend these publications to anyone who seeks more information on the Durhams.My thanks to them all .
     
  9. Verrieres

    Verrieres no longer a member

    Gheel 10th September 1944 and beyond……
    Sunday September 10th…The pontoon bridge came under heavy fire throughout the morning ,forward companies of 6 DLI also reported heavy fire all the signs that the Germans were preparing a counter-attack. The Company on the left flank(B Company I believe) first reported enemy infantry supported by tanks advancing on their position. During a particularly fierce engagement Lieut Allen of the forward platoon was killed, during this time orders were given that the attack on Gheel was to commence with artillery and tank support, D Company would attack from the left with C Company on their right whilst A & B Company moved up to support the forward two. At the same time 9DLI would press home their attack to the right of 6DLI the attack would start at 1330hrs.
    As the battalion approached the start line they were engaged by heavy fire as the Germans began an attack of their own sweeping through and overrunning A Company positions the advance was only stemmed by two sections of the Battalions carriers and great efforts by C Company who fought their way up through A Companies positions and reached the original start line. Casualties up to this point were heavy.D Company under Major Wood despite being aware of the situation ordered his men forward following the Creeping Barrage and supported by armour. A & C Companies were regrouped into one composite company(Due to high Casualties) and they too advanced at 1410hrs the armoured support reported enemy in a trench or depression so low that the tanks were unable to bring down fire upon them it was left to D Company to move with artillery support to flush out the Germans which they managed to do with the Germans falling back in the Direction of Elsum.9DLI had come up in support of the composite company as D Company moved into Gheel itself, bitter hand to hand fighting ensued with each house fought for along the way .Objectives for D Company had been the Church and a position just south of the station both were taken but not without heavy losses, B Company were ordered to move through D Company and consolidate the area. Battalion mortars were set up in readiness for the expected counter attack which came at 2020hrs following heavy German shelling the Germans attacked in numbers swamping 6DLI positions. A patrol from D Company ran into a German patrol and after a short fire fight fifteen Durhams were captured Five Officers and Thirty other ranks had been killed already that day with a further sixty seven wounded four of whom would die, another forty two were missing .At 0100hrs on the 11th the Germans put in another counterattack which virtually cut off all of the forward companies and which now threatened Brigade HQ which was hurridly withdrawn back across the river.8DLI were now pushing up to the left of the 6DLI together with 9DLI they were finding life very difficult. At 1050hrs D Company 6DLI reported German tanks which were engaged by artillery fire.B & D Companies were dangerously low on both food and ammunition Captain Harrison commandeered a number of jeeps and loaded them with food and ammunition and set off at 1350hrs to try and reach the cut off companies a task he succeeded in. Encouraged by this Major Field of S Company 6 DLI sent fifty men and six carriers to reinforce these companies .One carrier was destroyed almost immediately by German Artillery fire another was disabled but the men were unhurt .They reached the 6DLI companies and began the task of evacuating the wounded which were sent back down the line with a number of German POW`s.A spotter in the church tower reported more German Infantry creeping through the hedgerows and accurate artillery fire was brought down upon them once again at one point the battalion lost one of its two remaining anti tank guns but a quick counter attack recaptured it,at this time the Durhams were under heavy machine gun fire from strong German position behind a knocked out German SP gun nearby was a disabled carrier belonging to one of the 50Div sapper companies still packed with explosives.The tank support opened up targeting the carrier which exploded killing all the germans sheltering at this position. Word was received at 1430hrs that 6DLI were to be relieved how that was to be done would be a problem as most were still cut off, However D Company attempted to fight its way out and after a bitter struggle succeeded C and A Companies did not get out and it was assumed that they had either been taken prisoner or worse killed in action. Two days later ,however Lieut Seggie brought out the remaining men from both Companies after they had fought from house to house and street to street. With 151 Brigade withdrawn the 15th Scottish Div made an attack on Gheel and found the town was empty the enemy had withdrawn.


    Regards
    Verrieres
     
  10. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Hello All,

    I am new member with a particular interest in the 50th (Northumbrian) Division and late to this thread. I have family that served with the 50 Div, two making the ultimate sacrifice.

    I haven't noticed this mentioned within the thread, however, No. 3957584 Private (acting Sergeant) Eugene Patrick Boyd, 6th Bn, Durham Light Infantry, (and I believe from Wigan) won the MM during his service in NW Europe. It was awarded posthumously.

    Sources:

    1) Supplement to the London Gazette; Date: 27 February 1945, Issue number: 36961, Page number: 1183; and

    2) National Archive; Catalogue reference WO 373/52, Image Reference 434 / 2077.

    If his relative is/was not aware of this, I hope this information is of assistance. The National Archive entry should describe the circumstances surrounding the award, which if won at Gheel may give some of the information he is looking for!

    Kind regards,

    Steve.
     
  11. ramacal

    ramacal 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    Name:BOYD, EUGENE PATRICK
    Rank:Serjeant
    Regiment/Service: Durham Light Infantry
    Unit Text:6th Bn.
    Age:27
    Date of Death:10/09/1944
    Service No:3957584
    Grave/Memorial Reference:III.A.4.
    Cemetery:GEEL WAR CEMETERY

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Verrieres

    Verrieres no longer a member

    The lad who initially requested the information(via myself)has not been in touch for several months hope fully he will pick the latest info up from his internet searches.
    An interesting point is the CWGC`s database makes no mention of his Military Medal (Nor is it inscribed on his headstone) His immediate MM was awarded for the Actions of 9th August 1944 at Le Plessis De Grimault and La Connardiere.

    During the attack on August 9th from Le Plessis De Grimault to La Connardiere.Sgt Boyd the Sgt of 8 Platoon(A Company) displayed conspicious gallentry and powers of leadership.Whilst deploying across the start line A Company,the leading company,became subject to heavy defensive fire in the form of both shell and mortar fire which caused casualties to 8 Platoon killing the Platoon Cdr.
    Sgt Boyd rallied the platoon and took command leading them forward with encouraging determination.Throughout the advance of some 2500yards behind an artillery barrage this NCO carried out the the duties of Platoon Comd with great dash and vigour.He kept thev momentum of the attack going and the platoon was responsible for clearing a ditch from which were taken at least 12 Germans with machine guns and light automatics.
    Without question Sgt Boyd by his personal gallantry and coolness under heavy fire was directly responsible for keeping together his platoon during a difficult period.His powers of leadership and devotion to duty that day did much to contribute to the defeat of the Germans during the battle.
     
  13. COMMANDO

    COMMANDO Senior Member

    There will be a new book be published next year (last info from Jack Didden last week release date will be about April 2011) about the battle at Gheel and surroundings by Maarten Swarts and Jack Didden (in The Netherlands well known by researchers for their publications about the battle along the Dutch/Belgium border and Noord-Brabant. The book will be called 'Autumn Gale'.
    See also Jack Didden, schrijver van historische en kinderboeken... I know this will be a 'must have'...
     
    ramacal likes this.
  14. ramacal

    ramacal 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    There will be a new book be published next year (last info from Jack Didden last week release date will be about April 2011) about the battle at Gheel and surroundings by Maarten Swarts and Jack Didden (in The Netherlands well known by researchers for their publications about the battle along the Dutch/Belgium border and Noord-Brabant. The book will be called 'Autumn Gale'.
    See also Jack Didden, schrijver van historische en kinderboeken... I know this will be a 'must have'...

    Thanks for the heads up. I have e-mailed Jack Didden to reserve me a copy. Wish I had known about these Authors before.:)
     
  15. ramacal

    ramacal 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    The lad who initially requested the information(via myself)has not been in touch for several months hope fully he will pick the latest info up from his internet searches.
    An interesting point is the CWGC`s database makes no mention of his Military Medal (Nor is it inscribed on his headstone) His immediate MM was awarded for the Actions of 9th August 1944 at Le Plessis De Grimault and La Connardiere.

    During the attack on August 9th from Le Plessis De Grimault to La Connardiere.Sgt Boyd the Sgt of 8 Platoon(A Company) displayed conspicious gallentry and powers of leadership.Whilst deploying across the start line A Company,the leading company,became subject to heavy defensive fire in the form of both shell and mortar fire which caused casualties to 8 Platoon killing the Platoon Cdr.
    Sgt Boyd rallied the platoon and took command leading them forward with encouraging determination.Throughout the advance of some 2500yards behind an artillery barrage this NCO carried out the the duties of Platoon Comd with great dash and vigour.He kept thev momentum of the attack going and the platoon was responsible for clearing a ditch from which were taken at least 12 Germans with machine guns and light automatics.
    Without question Sgt Boyd by his personal gallantry and coolness under heavy fire was directly responsible for keeping together his platoon during a difficult period.His powers of leadership and devotion to duty that day did much to contribute to the defeat of the Germans during the battle.

    Jim

    I have just e-mailed a copy of the citation and a photo of the headstone to CWGC today. Let's try and get the details amended.:)

    At least the database can reflect the award in a short space of time.

    Cheers - Rob
     
  16. Verrieres

    Verrieres no longer a member

    Jim

    I have just e-mailed a copy of the citation and a photo of the headstone to CWGC today. Let's try and get the details amended.:)

    At least the database can reflect the award in a short space of time.

    Cheers - Rob


    Well Done Rob,I have also e-mailed the CWGC with the National archives Reference number and London Gazette entry so like you say we should have at least the database ammended.When I have a moment I`ll have a look at some of the other DLI(MM`s DCM)to make sure their awards are noted.
    Thanks again Rob,
    Best Wishes
    Jim
     
  17. ramacal

    ramacal 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    There will be a new book be published next year (last info from Jack Didden last week release date will be about April 2011) about the battle at Gheel and surroundings by Maarten Swarts and Jack Didden (in The Netherlands well known by researchers for their publications about the battle along the Dutch/Belgium border and Noord-Brabant. The book will be called 'Autumn Gale'.
    See also Jack Didden, schrijver van historische en kinderboeken... I know this will be a 'must have'...

    Just received an e-mail back from Mr Didden. The book will not be ready until the late summer/early Autumn of 2011.
     
  18. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Verrieres (Jim),

    Thanks for adding to the information I provided; being able to read the citation for Sgt EP Boyd’s MM is fantastic. The work that Ramacal and you are doing to get the headstone and CWGC database amended is highly commendable.

    Although not a member of the Axis history forum I have read bits and pieces about 50 Div on there and came across this:

    “hi, i wonder if anybody could help me.

    my grandad was serjeant of the 6th battalion of the DLI, EUGENE PATRICK BOYD he died on the sunday the 10th of september 1944. does anyone know if there is any books or information about the 6 battalion on that day. any information would be much appreciated thank you anthony. boyd6@live.co.uk

    Given that the lad contacted you for information about his granddad would you like the pleasure of contacting him regarding the MM, etc. on the above e-mail address; assuming it works?

    Kind regards,

    Steve.
     
  19. Verrieres

    Verrieres no longer a member

    Verrieres (Jim),

    Thanks for adding to the information I provided; being able to read the citation for Sgt EP Boyd’s MM is fantastic. The work that Ramacal and you are doing to get the headstone and CWGC database amended is highly commendable.

    Although not a member of the Axis history forum I have read bits and pieces about 50 Div on there and came across this:

    “hi, i wonder if anybody could help me.

    my grandad was serjeant of the 6th battalion of the DLI, EUGENE PATRICK BOYD he died on the sunday the 10th of september 1944. does anyone know if there is any books or information about the 6 battalion on that day. any information would be much appreciated thank you anthony. boyd6@live.co.uk

    Given that the lad contacted you for information about his granddad would you like the pleasure of contacting him regarding the MM, etc. on the above e-mail address; assuming it works?

    Kind regards,

    Steve.

    Hi Steve,
    Thank you very much it would be a pleasure.If you want to read a bit more about the Durhams click on my link below Plenty on all aspects not only on Gheel and I add to it (almost)daily.I`ll let you know what young Mr Boyd replys.Cheers again
    Jim
     
  20. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Good morning Jim,

    I have already read some of your website; its very good. I will take great pleasure in reading the rest. I also read your thread on the Meikle family, which was absolutely fantastic.

    I have read a great deal about the exploits of the 6, 8 and 9 Bn, DLI in WWII and have been in contact with Harry Moses, the author of many books about the DLI. Have you and Harry ever collaborated/swapped information?

    Kind regards,

    Steve.
     

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