Looking for Information on Engagements in the Sicily Landings

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by les.robertson, May 20, 2018.

  1. les.robertson

    les.robertson Member


    My partner and I are going out to Sicily next month and will be visiting the War Grave of her grandfather who died there on 13th July 1943, during the Sicily landings - it's a little bit last minute so I haven't had time to do much research.

    His name was William George Lee, S/N 7929214 of the 3rd County of London Yeomanry. We have an account of where he died from this page: 3rd County of London Yeomanry (3rd Sharpshooters) where it's in Annex A (search for , I've attached a screenshot of the entry for clarity.

    We have the info on his grave and visit that but I'm wondering if it'd be possible to locate the area where the engagement that he died in happened?

    I've used The Coordinate Translator at The "Coordinate Translator" to translate the grid ref of 79883474 to wJ798347 but it looks a little further inland than I'd have expected.

    My question - can anyone with more experience cast light on how to research this, or any other resources that may be of use?

    Many thanks in advance.

    Les Robertson

    Attached Files:

  2. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Same as my reply on ww2f.

    As for co-ords translator you should have used wH798347 not wJ
    wJ798347 is in the sea.
    Try this map.

    Attached Files:

  3. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    I think the coordinates are wrong and appear to be in the US sector near a place called Entella, rather than Tentella.

    As far as I can fathom, ‘A’ Sqdn were supporting the 1st Bn KOYLI, 15th Infantry Brigade, 5th Division, who were near the coast between Siracusa and Augusta, moving on the central axis Priolo - Melilli - Villasmundo - Carlentini and at 12.30 pm on the 14th were overlooking Carlentini.

    The 1st Bn Green Howards were brigaded with the 1st Bn KOYLI and the regimental history, The Story of The Green Howards 1939 - 1945 (Synge), states:
    Words in square brackets are mine and there to aid understanding.

    Notice the similar description of the ravine?!

    I believe the place you are looking for is a deep ravine 3 miles out of Melilli on or near the road between that place and Villasmundo.

    I am yet to find anywhere nearby called Tentella...


    Guy Hudson and Tricky Dicky like this.
  4. les.robertson

    les.robertson Member

    That's interesting Steve, thanks. Melilli appears to be a region containing Villasmundo, although in the same region as the landings

    The map Owen provided is interesting and places the grid ref in exactly the same place as the Coordinate Translator did, just over a rise to the North is a deep ravine too.

    Attached from Google Earth is 'taken' from a fairly low viewpoint and shows the land rising then dropping into a ravine.

    Dropbox - 2018-05-21.png

  5. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    If you look at the 3CLY War Diary for ‘A’ Sqdn, it mentions only 4 places (other than Tentella) Syracuse 11 July 1943, Villasmundo 12 July - which was the objective that night, but delayed - , overlooking Carlentini 14 July and overall objective Catania 14 July. They had so far followed the axis of the 15th Infantry Brigade, 5th Division, but were soon to be in contact with the 50th (Northumbrian) Division on 14 July. They were now to take part in Operation Fustian, with the 151st Infantry Brigade, 50th (Northumbrian) Division - 6th, 8th & 9th Bns Durham Light Infantry - finally securing the Primosole Bridge against German Paras; the bridge was the gateway to the Catania Plain and Catania.

    The 4th Armoured Brigade, of which the 3CLY was part, was in XIII Corps along with the 5th and 50th (Northumbrian) Divisions. It and the rest of the XIII Corps operated on the right/coastal side of the British sector. The coordinates would put them on the far left/inland side of the British sector. I just don’t trust the coordinates and advise you to make sure you have the right location before your visit, otherwise you could waste some of your time there.

    Next step is probably to search for and/or ask if anyone has the War Diaries for that period for the 1st Bn KOYLI, 1st Bn Green Howards and 1st Bn York & Lancs and cross-reference the coordinates. Also, make sure the coordinates conversion is correct.


    Last edited: May 21, 2018
  6. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

  7. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    I think that Tenutella is a farm here 37.218350, 15.113104, the attached shows a marker for the farm and the ravine clearly shown to the North (LHS on this image).
  8. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    The map references depend on the map scale, this 1:25,000 map gives Tenutella as 79883747 as per the original post.

    If you contact the CWGC they may well give you more information, and possibly a map, of the original burial location quoted on the field grave report, it looks like GR18/815/299, see the concentration report form. I obtained one for a casualty I was researching and they were very helpful.
  9. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Well researched/found, Tony.

    There are two Tenutella’s in close proximity, one in square 9847 and the other just below to the right in square 9946. The first one is the correct one.


  10. les.robertson

    les.robertson Member


    You've been brilliant, many many thanks. We've looked at this map and it certainly all seems to tie in, the blockhouses at 79853469 show up on these photos:

    Dropbox - blockhouses1.png

    Dropbox - blockhouses2.png

    My partner is going to contact the CWGC as you suggest and we'll visit these spots and lay some flowers when we're out there.

    Thanks again

    Owen likes this.
  11. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    Les, glad to have helped and I wish you all the best for your Sicily trip. As a point of interest the following post contains the sketch map I obtained from the CWGC, they allowed me to reproduce it. All being well you may get something just as detailed.
    Trooper Long
  12. Brian D

    Brian D New Member

    Les, I hope you managed to find the spot noted as the 'Tenutella' ravine in Sharpshooters at War page 117. My uncle Brian Darch was also killed that day, being one of the 7 from the half squadron. There is a picture of his knocked out tank and what looks like another one in the background in the National Army Museum Collection (Jimmy Sale's photos) Negative 104658, NAM 1975-03-63-13-160. Unfortunately it does not appear to have been uploaded onto the NAM site yet. It is my intention to visit the grave and the ravine next year and would be most grateful for any help or advice as a result of your visit last month. Kind regards, Brian Darch
  13. les.robertson

    les.robertson Member


    Many thanks for getting in touch. We had a very interesting visit and I'll post about it in a day or two, I've been lazy since we got back I'm afraid.

    While we were there my partner took photos of all of the 3CLY gravestones in the CWG Cemetery, I don't know if you've seen this and hope you don't mind me posting it.

    EDIT: Sorry, I have terrible problems adding images on here.

    Attached Files:

  14. Brian D

    Brian D New Member

    Les, very many thanks for the photo. I have a photo of the temporary grave in Syracuse, then the War Office 1946 photo of the pre headstone cross, and a photo taken by my Father when he visited the grave 40 years ago so this is a lovely addition. How long had William Lee been with the 3rd CLY? I have many photographs taken by Jimmy Sale that do not appear in the NAM collection and some taken by my Uncle so there may be one of your partner's grandfather. Kind regards, Brian
  15. les.robertson

    les.robertson Member


    We're al ittle sketchy on detail due to the loss of some family documents, but we know he'd been in Africa with 3rd CLY since the beginning of 1943 (we have a personal diary) and believe he'd been in the army for 6 or 7 months prior to that. We're looking to get hold of his war records to fill in the detail.


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