Gnr James Lawrence Bridgeman KOYLI Regiment/ 49th Division

Discussion in 'British Army Units - Others' started by craigus4444, Aug 21, 2013.

  1. craigus4444

    craigus4444 New Member

    Hi All,

    I was wondering if anyone would be able to help me fill in the gaps of knowledge about my Grandad's army service (1940 - 1945).

    I'm reliably told by the The Green Howards Museum that his army number corresponds 4696321, was in the KOYLIs Regiment (Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry)m and my Dad remembers his Dad saying he wore a Polar Bear patch (which tallies with that worn of 49th Div.)

    He also was given a 'Dutch Dime' (pictured) by the town of Bilthoven, Netherlands, for recognition for helping in food distribution towards the end of the war (which I have read that the 49th were involved in doing).

    Anymore info, like where he might have been stationed, campaigns the reg/div might have involved in, would be brilliant.

    Thanks in advance,

    Craig Bridgeman

    Attached Files:

  2. idler

    idler GeneralList

    There are polar bears aplenty in the photograph with the jeep, including one on the jeep. However, as a 'Gunner' he wasn't KOYLI.

    The capbadge is that of the Loyal Suffolk Hussars who were otherwise known as 55 Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery - 49 Div's divisional anti-tank regiment. They served with the division all the way through the NW Europe campaign.
  3. idler

    idler GeneralList

    As an introduction to their campaign, The Polar Bears: Monty's Left Flank: From Normandy to the Relief of Holland with the 49th Division by Patrick Delaforce is a good starting point.

    There is also a recently-published The Loyal Suffolk Hussars: The History of the Suffolk Yeomanry 1794-1967 by Margaret Thomas and Nick Sign. Being a 'whole history' there are only around 40 pages on the bit we're interested in. I got mine off Amazon for around a tenner plus postage rather than the RRP of £30-ish, so you may not want to rush in to that one.
  4. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Alternatively, If you can get to the National Archives you could view the following regimental war diaries:

    WO 166/1628 ROYAL ARTILLERY: ANTI-TANK REGIMENTS: 55 Anti-Tank Regiment. 1939 Sept.-1941 Dec.
    WO 166/7087 ROYAL ARTILLERY: ANTI-TANK REGIMENTS: 55 Regiment. 1942 Jan.- Dec.
    WO 166/11335 55 Regiment 1943 Jan.-Dec.
    WO 171/916 55 Regiment 1944 Jan.- Dec.
    WO 171/4769 55 Regiment 1945 Jan.- Dec.
    WO 171/9025 55 Regiment 1946 Jan.- June

    Good luck
  5. craigus4444

    craigus4444 New Member

    Hi All again,

    Thanks for the replies (and so quick).

    Yep I agree it is the badge of the Loyal Suffolk Hussars. I think I found that on searching but dismissed it when I saw Suffolk.
    This puzzles me though, because he lived in Bradford, enlisted in Hull and when I spoke to the Green Howards Museum she said the army number was one issued by KOYLI.
    I've put on his soldier book too and a Regimental photo (on the back of that is Sowerby ----which I assume refers to Sowerby nr Haworth, West Yorks. ---- Tried also finding where this camp or Regimental HQ could be there ----had a look round, no luck. :-(
    The badge is confusing though. Could he have changed Regiments?

    I know the non-bereted photo is my Grandad (I have lots of others with my Grandma), but just thinking that the photo with the bonnet might have been his brother ---- but they look like the same person?? Without writing on the back of the photo it's impossible to verify.

    I've attached a couple more photos anyway.

    Thanks once again!
  6. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    A soldier got his number when he enlisted & then the Army would , could and did send men everywhere.

    So yes he has a KOYLI number but that doesnt mean he served with them for very long.

    See Idler's reply in post #2.
  7. craigus4444

    craigus4444 New Member

    My God, you guys are fast at responding!!

    Thanks, yes realised I had read that before editing my response. It's strange to find out something new, you always believed was something completely different.

    Cheers All once again.
  8. idler

    idler GeneralList

    As he enlisted in July 1940 in Hull, KOYLI would have been a reasonabl starting point. Later on, recruits were 'General Service Corps' until they had undergone standard 'primary training' and the army had decided what to do with them. In the early years, the system for matching men with roles was a bit more haphazard.
    His full service record should clear things up.
  9. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    If you apply to MOD for his army service record ypu will probably get answers to all the questions you have posed so far.

    Steve Y.
  10. craigus4444

    craigus4444 New Member

    Thanks Guys.

    I think once I have received/sent back my enquiry to Army Personnel hopefully it should give me some more insight into his movements in different regiments.
    May dig a bit into the regimental dispatches/war diaries at National Archives. I read there's a couple of chaps on here that perform that service and provide all the documentation for reasonable price.

    Cheers for the help anyway. I've discovered already, there's bags of info regarding the Loyal Suffolk Hussars. Now need to source some insignias to accompany his medals and photo :)

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