Harry Schofield 2nd Bn Beds and Herts

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by Skofiled, Nov 15, 2020.

  1. Skofiled

    Skofiled Member

    Hi there I am new to here and am researching my father's wartime experience. He passed on a few years ago, but never really related much about his time.
    I know :-
    He volunteered when underage in 1939 (about 16) with a close friend (the friend was to be conscripted). This was in Croydon I believe?
    Initially he was admitted to hospital with an ingrowing toenail, so he and his pal never ended up serving together.
    I believe he may have served defending in the UK prior to overseas service.
    He had something to do with signals, but don't know much else.
    I know he spent time in Egypt, and was de-mobilised at the end of the war from Italy.
    He spent a lot of time with a Family in Figline Valdarno just outside Florence (the Dias - spelling may not be correct). He had thought of de-mobilising to this location, but came home to the Croydon Area.
    I have recently found out from older surviving relatives that at one time he was relaying information back from far forward (near or possibly even behind enemy lines) for the gunners who were trying to dislodge German troops. He apparantly had nighmares about the devastation of the german trrops for many years afterwards.
    I have applied for his service record, but with no Service Number and knowing he lied about his DOB (maybe gave other false details?) I am not sure if they will be able to trace him.
    Interested to know when and where he was over the years. Any assistance appreciated.
  2. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Have you got any photos of him in uniform?
    Do you know if he was ever wounded as then he'd be on the casualty lists?
    Does any paperwork survive with any clues for us ?
  3. Skofiled

    Skofiled Member

    1) - My sister had the only one, loaned it to my niece for a school project and its not been seen since!
    2) - So ar as I know never wounded. He was a bit of a rebel - and I think often in trouble!!
    3) - No paperwork that I know of. I am hoping his military record can be found and provided.
    Sorry not much really to go on!
  4. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    How do you know he was in the Beds and Herts? I’m not saying he wasn’t but it would help if we could ascertain that much from the start.
    My grandad was in the 2nd Beds and Herts from 1933-37 before going over to the 1st Battalion. I have the complete history of both battalions by way of a privately published huge book. So I’ll be able to help once we know for sure he was in the 2nd Battalion.
    They were based in Gravesend, Kent upon outbreak of war and were in Dunkirk 1940.
    What was the chaps name?

  5. Skofiled

    Skofiled Member

    He was always very proud of being in the Beds and Herts, and had a regimental badge on his best jacket. I am guessing 2nd Battalion from the history I have read. It seems the 2nd were in North Africa, Egypt and Italy, and I know for sure he was in 2 of these locations.
  6. Skofiled

    Skofiled Member

    Apologies - just noticed last sentence - Harry Schofield - as the title.
    He never mentioned Dunkirk...

  7. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member


    I have the diaries for their time in Greece during Dec 44 and Jan 45.

    Greece was no post Cassino holiday camp. It was horrible nasty counter insurgency operations. Bit like worst of Northern Ireland, Iraq, Afghan, Lebanon, and Palestine all rolled in to just six weeks.

    500 killed, 1500 wounded and another 1000 taken prisoner. Atrocities against those who were captured were horrendous. Especially against the Paras and Indian soldiers.

    Dad, who was in 23 Armoured Brigade, fought as infantry and had just 12 tanks in support instead of over 100 and was one of the lucky ones to get through it in one piece. He never talked about his time in Greece.

    If it turns out that your father was definitely in 2nd Beds & Herts. PM (inbox top right) me your email address and I'll send you what I have.

    Hope this helps

    4jonboy likes this.
  8. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    Hi Tony.
    Yes those locations match with 2nd Battalion for sure. Did you say you’ve applied for his records already? Try contacting the Bedford Archives as they have attestation (sign up) records. They also have a lot of pass out parade photos when each squad completed training. If you know the dates you may well find his picture there.
  9. Skofiled

    Skofiled Member

    I have applied for his milatary record. However I noted that they only recently started back, and have a backlog of about 10k applications... So mine is in there somewhere!
    I'll contact Bedford Archives as you suggest. I don'r know exactly when he signed up, and no idea when he completed training. However its worth a try all the same... Thanks Tony
  10. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    Happy to help. I’ll scan through the stuff I have when I get the chance and look for the name.
  11. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member


    2 Beds & Herts were one of the three Infantry Battalions of 10 Infantry Brigade who were part of 4 Infantry Division. The battalion fought at the Fourth Battle of Cassino in May 44 and were heavily involved in the 11-12 May 44 crossing of the Rapido (also known as the Gari). 1/6 E Surreys crossed first and were followed by 2 Beds & Herts. They got across to the far bank and then had to wait for Amazon bridge to go in before armour from 17/21 Lancers could be got across to support them. The furthest that 2 Beds & Herts got on the 12 May 44 whilst waiting for the armour is commemorated with an obelisk memorial put there by the Beds & Herts Association after the war. Here they waited all day and into the night being shelled mercilessly by Germans who were frantically trying to contain the new bridgehead.

    The Amazon bridge went in on the night of 12-13 May 44 after a herculean effort by three Field Companies of Royal Engineers and is commemorated in a painting by Terence Cuneo entitled 'Crossing the Rapido'. Look it up on Google. Cuneo brilliantly captures the tension of the challenge.



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