Henry / Harry Foxall 14788737 Burma

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by Mike foxall, Jan 7, 2021.

  1. Mike foxall

    Mike foxall Member

    So Bill served in the same batallion, how many people were usually in a batallion? He might have known my great uncle I guess? Am I right thinking he's got a corporal uniform on?
     
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  2. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target 25 pdrs 67th Field Regt Bou Ficha Tunisia 1943

    A battalion is about 700 but there are experts on statistics here who will look that up.
    Bill was a Private, he spent time going to fairgrounds in Swansea fighting in Boxing Booths which probably restored his self confidence having come back with the shakes.. He never really spoke about it, his cousin was the same. These men and thousands more were basically traumatised for years, some for life after fighting the war.
    Many had not lived in a building for three or four years or more, come sun, rain, hail, or snow, they lived in holes in the ground and at best in ruined buildings.
    There were few breaks and no leave to go home and get away from it. Many had their homes were bombed as well. Certainly in Bristol and Swansea where these two came from.
    Whether they were in the tropical jungle or in the mountains of Italy men slugged it out mostly on foot, man to man with limited Artillery or air support.
    In NW Europe it was slaughter on a grander scale, a mechanical war with whole armies , tanks and aircraft day after day. Men who were engaged there talked about hearing the screams of men burning in tanks, massed artillery and aircraft.
    Fortunately this country did not suffer the effects of modern land warfare and we have been lucky for the past seventy five years to live in peace.
    I grew up with this generation and it was not until the last ten years that I realised what we really owe them.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2021
  3. Mike foxall

    Mike foxall Member

    Yes from what I've heard my great uncle never spoke about burma. I've been to the bridge on the kwai and the war cemetery just down the river.

    The humidity there is something else.

    My great uncle on my ma's side is buried in Berlin, was part of the Army Air corps. He never saw his daughter so I took my kids over and got a pic of them stood by his grave for my gran as it was her uncle Ted. We had no idea he was there, she thought he was buried in Arnhem.
     
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  4. Bruneval

    Bruneval Well-Known Member

    Morning Uncle Target,

    Interestingly, my great uncle Pte Stanley Brudenell was also with the 5th Northants at Dunkirk and survived too. Been trying to identify which ship he came back to the UK on; I think maybe be quite hard to work out unless they came back as a group. Do you know which ship your great uncle came back on?

    Regards

    Bruneval
     
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  5. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target 25 pdrs 67th Field Regt Bou Ficha Tunisia 1943

    My uncle (I am aged 73 and grew up with rationing) came back from Dunkirk on a French Trawler. The first the family knew was they heard someone downstairs, thinking they had a burglar and found him in the kitchen dressed as he had left Dunkirk after swimming away from the Hospital ship, which must have ben the Paris I believe. It took a bomb down the funnel blowing out the boilers killing the engineers and sank in minutes. We think (even he wasn't sure how he got there) that they sailed away from Dunkirk to get away from the main area of activity to avoid the Luftwaffe and followed the coast to Swansea as he must have told them where he came from. Perhaps they knew the area from fishing in the Irish Sea. He didnt have a clue if there were other soldiers on there as he was totally exhausted. He then reported to the local TA Centre where he originally joined in 1936. He originally joined the local unit which was RASC but transferred to the KSLI followed by the 5th Northants.
    I research the an RA Field Regiment, as a Cadet. I knew some of the men although I couldnt remember them and trained with them in my last years as a Cadet with a view to joining but the Regiment was a victim of Govt cuts in the late 1960's and is no more.
    It is currently difficult to find information due to Covid as most places are either closed or on skeleton staff.
    I found most of my info in the County Archives where the men deposited their stories for BBC Peoples War. Later in life a number of them formed the Dunkirk Veterans Association leaving some of their artefacts there. I deposited my inherited letters and albums with the Archives and got to know the staff. I made contact with the relatives of some of the men and now coordinate the family collections which they each still hold. One day we will produce a detailed book from the collections but there are a few personal stories to investigate for some of the families which are in abeyance until they can safely go to Italy to follow up on my research.
    You might try this sort of route, I also went to the local TA Centre now the Army Reserve Centre where I found boxes literally dumped in a store room, the contents of which I catalogued for them with help from some of the relatives who could recognise the people in the photos.
    "Uncle Target" is a target designation the Observing Officer calling for either Mike Target, Uncle Target, Victor etc i.e. Regimental fire, Division etc. My inherited letters were written by a talented artist who was a Command Post Officer who painted pictures added to a collection in an Italian house near Florence the week before he was killed.
    He named them "Good Old Uncle Target with his son Mike".
    Two Bills: My family had a farm on Exmoor, the lease expired so the oldest son my Gt Grandfather went to Bristol and his youngest brother went to Swansea on the local steamer from Ilfracombe. The families coincidentally named their children the same so they must have been in contact.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2021

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