Help understanding service records for my grandfather

Discussion in 'Service Records' started by Patch_Cedarcroft, Aug 6, 2017.

  1. Hi folks,

    I wonder if anyone can offer some assistance. My Mum is quite interested in finding out about her Dad’s involvement in WW2. Recently she went to Normandy and visited Pegasus bridge, and her Aunt (my Grandad’s half-sister) told her that he fought at that site (I’m not sure that’s correct, I've got a picture of him with an airborne patch, but I think the records show he joined the airbourne in late 44). We’ve sent away for his service records, but to be honest we can’t really make head nor tails of them.

    He originally joined up with the East Surrey Regiment. We know that he was a cook for a large part of the war, and spent time in Norfolk and Chatham Docks. We also know that he got shot in the shoulder (when I was very young, you could put several fingers into the dent in his shoulder. I can see from the service records that he was recorded wounded in April 1945. I recall he once mentioned that he was in a plane which was shot down, the tail broke off on landing roughly, and as he exited through the broken tail section he was shot). Later he served in Palestine. We have photos, medals and the MOD sent us quite a lot of paperwork but it’s quite difficult to understand.

    Is there any way to tell (a) what he did around the time of the Normandy landings and (b) anything more specific about where he was injured - I'm not sure I can understand the entry for 19/4/45 which mentions this ("wounded - shnafs wounds)?

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    I’d be very grateful for any advice you can offer.

    Patch
     
  2. Tony56

    Tony56 Member

    Hope this is a start, your grandfather is mentioned on Casualty List No. 1749 Dated 5 May 1945

    Expeditionary Forces / Western Europe / Wounded
    Army Catering Corps
    6143617 Flack Pte AF 63 Coy. RASC (Airborne) 19.4.1945

    This ties in with his service record that mention shrapnel wounds on that date. He was taken to the 86 (British) General Hospital. This resulted in him being ‘Struck Off Strength’ (SOS) of his unit and being placed on the x(ii) list.

    On 24 May 45 he was ‘Taken On Strength’ (TOS) back to his unit but soon after SOS of 21 Army Group on reverting to War Office Control.

    The X (ii) list refers to personnel evacuated on medical grounds and thereby ceasing to be on the effective strength of their unit

    Others will be along soon, good luck.
     
    4jonboy likes this.
  3. Hi Tony,

    Thanks for that bit. I've just googled the Hospital and it looks like it was either in Eindhoven or Celle at the time he was injured (which is quite interesting as my other grandfather died near Eindhoven a month earlier).

    Appreciate your help.

    Patch
     
  4. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    Hi Patch,

    First thoughts on looking through the record:
    Most likely he was glider borne rather than parachute but all were known as 'Airborne' and wore the maroon beret - it wasn't uncommon for tails to break off gliders in a rough landing. In fact many were designed to have cargo unloaded after the tail was removed.
    Looking at the date of his wound it seems likely he landed as part of Operation Varsity - the Rhine crossing (British 6th Airborne) and was wounded by shrapnel (not gunshot) several days after landing.

    Hope that gives you something to start research with, good luck!

    Mike
     
  5. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the information. Very interesting. I have a vague recollection of him talking about gliders to me. It's interesting when I try to cast my mind back, sometimes I am not also sure if he "told me" or whether I filled in the gaps myself (e.g. his wound, when I knew him, looked like the hole a child would imagine a gunshot would create), so it's entirely possible I made this up. He probably told me he was shot at, and I joined up the dots to suggest that this was when he was wounded. I wish I'd asked more questions when he was around, but like many of his time he didn't like to talk about it much.

    Thanks

    Patch
     

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