Hamminkeln Sign - Ulster Rifleman

Discussion in 'Airborne' started by brithm, Oct 12, 2017.

  1. brithm

    brithm Senior Member

    In Alan Cooper’s book Wot! No Engines F/Sgt. John Crane, an RAF Glider pilot, identifies himself as the man on the left of the Hamminkeln sign opposite a rifleman from the 1st Battalion (Airborne) Royal Ulster Rifles. Crane was with F Squadron took off from Earls Colne on the 24th March 1945 landed in a Horsa glider taking passengers from the Ulster Rifles with a jeep and trailer his was co-pilot was fellow RAF Glider pilot F/O. John Arnold.

    The photograph was taken on the 25th March 1945 by Sgt. Christie, if the dope sheet is correct. I am not sure but I think I have seen somewhere the rifleman identified but just seeing if anyone else knew who he is. I assume he was one of Crane's passengers; he could be an officer but there are no pips on the smock, that doesn’t mean definitively he is not an officer.

    Also it looks like Crane has the hammer back on his pistol! Maybe when they were photographed they were not out of the woods yet.
  2. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    I looked on Pegasus and paradata but no names. Maybe in a book? Go to it etc etc?

  3. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron


    The only 1 RUR Officer I've come across that wears glasses is Capt. Bob Sheridan and he was transferred to 2nd Para Battalion prior to Op Varsity. F Squadron GPR flew out of RAF Gosfield and the 1 RUR left from Gosfield, Birch and Rivenhall. I have yet to come across an RUR Officer group photo taken just before Varsity.

    The photo turns up on a few sites that discuss the pistol that F/Sgt. John Crane is holding, a 9mm Inglis (Browning) semi-automatic, which has an interesting history and went by a variety of other names.

    Canada to replace 1940s Browning Hi-Powers with new pistol
    Was the Inglis Pistol or the Patchett Machine Carbine at Arnhem 1944?

    Odd, is the man to the right holding something in his mouth? I could be seeing things ... :)

    Hamminkeln Sign Crop.JPG

    Regards ...
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2017
  4. Blutto

    Blutto Plane Mad

    Zooming in closer, it looks like a dangling shoulder epaulet. I think that light mark is the button hole.
  5. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron


    Yeah that makes more sense. He may have lost a button and his slightly opened mouth lines up with the dangling epaulet. Thanks!
  6. Theobob

    Theobob Senior Member

    I have a candidate
    officer of 2FOU
    How about Tommy Giles?
    Right time,
    Right Place,
    Not too sure about the cap badge though,can anyone make it out? 2FOU Officers.JPG
  7. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    chap in post #1 has a RUR cap badge , Giles has a Gunner officer's flaming bomb cap badge.
  8. frg7700

    frg7700 Junior Member

    There was a Padre Hourigan who was bespectacled, can see no sign of a clerical collar in the pic though.
  9. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron


    I think Padre Hourigan would more likely be wearing the Chaplain beret badge rather than the RUR one. There is a white stripe beneath his Adam's apple but it could be me seeing things again ... :)

    Regards ...
  10. Old Git

    Old Git Harmless Curmudgeon

  11. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Although possibly a false lead here is some information on the Padres belonging to 1 RUR. According to the book "The Rifles Are There" the battalion had three Padres - Padre John Johnston (Presbyterian), Captain/Reverend James McMurray Taylor (Church of Ireland) and Father Hourigan (Roman Catholic).

    I can't find a full Battalion photo. There is one of Padre Hourigan in a 1942 Officers photo and another of an unnamed Padre in a June 1944 Officer group without a beret badge.

    Padre Hourigan 1942.JPG Unknown Padre 1944.jpg

    Regards ...
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2018
  12. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Going by an online article I suspect the Padre shown in the June 1944 Officer photo is Rev James McMurray-Taylor. For some reason they cropped the photo and missed the Padre seated extreme right. Of the three Chaplains he strikes me as the one most resembling the man in the Hamminkeln photo. Still looking for evidence of his participation on the Varsity drop.

    The Fermanagh minister who was padre on D-Day - The Fermanagh Herald

    A photo of Capt. Rev. J.W. Johnston who may have also been attached to the 6th Airlanding Brigade HQ?

    Capt. Rev.  J.W. Johnston.jpg

    Anyway there's a run down though I'm not entirely confident it actually is a Padre shown?

    Regards ..
  13. frg7700

    frg7700 Junior Member

    Nor am I by any means, the name just suggested itself as an officer attached to 1 Bn. who wore glasses.
  14. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    The lanyard/cord around the neck of the man on the right loops into his smock and could possibly have a holstered pistol attached to the other end? If so it doesn't seem a very practical arrangement if the weapon needed to be drawn quickly.

    Regards ...

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