Help! Info required on Sapper Officer killed during D-Day

Discussion in 'Royal Engineers' started by Hose999, Dec 28, 2012.

  1. Hose999

    Hose999 Junior Member

    My Uncle (Capt. W.H.B. Ayers Royal Engineers) was killed on 7th June 1944 during the Normandy landings.

    A number of years ago a former sapper left a copy of Patrick Delaforces book "Churchills Secret Weapons" with another of my Uncles and said that he had served alongside Bill and that he was mentioned in the book.
    All I can glean is that he was part of No3 Beach Clearance team (79 Sqn), and was killed by enemy fire which matches the story given by my father.

    Can anyone point me in the direction as to how I would find out more information on his career, and his units actions during the landings?

    I'm starting from fresh so any help for a beginner would be much appreciated!

    Thanks
    Bob
     
  2. Hose999

    Hose999 Junior Member

    My Uncle (Capt. W.H.B. Ayers Royal Engineers) was killed on 7th June 1944 during the Normandy landings.

    A number of years ago a former sapper left a copy of Patrick Delaforces book "Churchills Secret Weapons" with another of my Uncles and said that he had served alongside Bill and that he was mentioned in the book.
    All I can glean is that he was part of No3 Beach Clearance team (79 Sqn), and was killed by enemy fire which matches the story given by my father.

    Can anyone point me in the direction as to how I would find out more information on his career, and his units actions during the landings?

    I'm starting from fresh so any help for a beginner would be much appreciated!

    Thanks
    Bob
     
  3. CL1

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

    hello Bob

    service records link below
    https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ministry-of-defence/about/publication-scheme#special-subject-access-requests-ssar--extended-access-to-information

    perhaps a forum member may have more info

    AYERS, WILLIAM HENRY BEEDOM

    Rank:
    Captain
    Service No:
    243855
    Date of Death:
    07/06/1944
    Age:
    27
    Regiment/Service:
    Royal Engineers
    Grave Reference
    1. M. 4.
    Cemetery
    HERMANVILLE WAR CEMETERY
    Additional Information:
    Son of William Henry and Marguerite Mary Ayers, of Corton, Lowestoft, Suffolk. His brother, Francis Beedom Ayers, also died on service.
    CWGC - Casualty Details

    regards
    Clive
     
  4. Callisto

    Callisto Twitter ye not

    the diary for 79 sqn RE is held at national archives, as an officer your uncle will be mentioned in field returns as a minimum.

    the ref for the one covering 1944 is WO171/1807
    Detecting your browser settings

    apply to MOD for his records enclosing cwgc certificate to find out more about his career.
     
  5. idler

    idler GeneralList

    He is mentioned by name in Anderson's Cracking Hitler's Atlantic Wall (which should be recent enough to still be available). It quotes the regiment's war diary, which has no further detail on exactly what happened to him, but it's possible that the squadron diary mentioned by Callisto might have more detail.
     
  6. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Perhaps I can help? It was 79 Assault squadron they were involved on the Swordbeach area landings...The Sappers went first.... Get the address of the RE museum and write to them to get the full story
    I can tell you this...
    79 sqrdn 5 assault regiment RE undertook an idependant operation on the evening of D day for the capture of the lock gates at Ouistreham . Where mopping up had proved more fifficuklt than anticipated.
    With 10 AVRE the sqdrn leader Major J G Hanson OC 79 sqdrn succeeded in destroying the concrete defences in the immediate vicinity of the gates, forestalling the demolition of one of the bridges. And capturing the garrison of 5 officers and 51 ORs.

    The detachment remained on the site that night, and collected or despatched snipers from the vicinity by dismounted action...

    They also took part with the RUR in the capture of Cambs.

    Then our paths divereged
    Sapper
     
  7. DannyM

    DannyM Member

    Hi,
    Just had a quick look at some photos of WO 171/1807 that I have.

    The War Diary entry for the 6th June has the following

    “08.32 10K Reports Sunray killed (Capt Ayers)”

    “Casualties sustained during the Beach Clearance and Gapping Operations were : ……..3 Tp Capt Ayers killed and two of 1C wounded”

    3 Troop was Beaching Team Blue

    Have sent you PM.

    Regards

    Danny

    Sword ed.jpg
     
    CL1 likes this.
  8. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Hose999,

    This units actions on D Day are well documented, and Capt. William H.B.Ayers is certainly mentioned.

    The unit is 3 Troop, 79 Assault Squadron RE. This landed on Queen Red Beach, Sword Sector at H Hour. Captain Ayers was Troop Commander and landed from a LCT (serial 114a) with two Sherman Crab Flails, 2 AVRE and two armoured D7 bulldozers.

    Given time I can find copies of some original documents if no one else does it first.

    Mike
     
  9. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Duplicate threads merged.
    All it does is cause confusion & duplication of effort from other forum members.
     
  10. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    I wondered why no one had replied. They were all replying to the other thread.

    Mike.
     
  11. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    Why does the CWGC state date of death as 07/06/1944 if he was killed 60 minutes after H-Hour on D-Day??
     
  12. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    I think that they sometimes place the date when they bury them? I have noticed errors before. Specially with my best mate .He is buried miles from where he was killed and later
     
  13. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    I might try sending the CWGC a quick note in the new year (when I am back to work) and see if they can explain the disparity.

    Sometimes they correct things (and sometimes they don't......)
     
  14. Hose999

    Hose999 Junior Member

    Thanks for your replies - thats certainly given me a few leads to follow up.

    I have managed to get a copy of Cracking Hitlers Atlantic Wall which should be winging its way through the post now.

    Apologies if I've caused confusion duplicating the threads.... first attempt using the site o_O.... hopefully I'll improve in time!

    Thanks again

    Bob
     
  15. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    Hi Bob - your PM prompted me to have another think about this one.

    Does anyone have a photo of his headstone?

    If the date is incorrect the CWGC will have to get a new headstone made up...

    The CWGC are great people, but they take their time to make sure they get things right (especially if they have to re-do a headstone).


    As soon as I get a response I will update the thread.


    cheers






    Dave
     
  16. Hose999

    Hose999 Junior Member

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