Monte Cassino and 2nd Battalion QOCH

Discussion in 'British Army Units - Others' started by herosson, Aug 2, 2010.

  1. herosson

    herosson Baby Boomer

    My Dad was in 2nd Battalion Queen's Own Cameron Highlands in Italy during the winter of 1943/44. Can anyone help to trace their movements?
     
  2. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Herosson
    I think that I mentioned before on another thread that the 2nd Cam were in 11th Bde along with the Mahratta and Rajputs in 4th Indian Division - for a complete tour of their activities try googling for the "Red Eagles" which is a story of all three 4th - 8th and 20th Indian Divisions- if you can't find it get back to me as I had a complete version of it - somewhere- at one time probably on Floppies
    Cheers
     
  3. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    herosson-
    That RED Eagles tale on wiki is no good so try "The Tiger Triumphs" which is the tale of all three 4-th -8th and 10th Indian Divisions - it a long one and worth burning onto a CD- it will last a long time
    Cheers
     
  4. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  5. 51highland

    51highland Very Senior Member

    Briefly, 2nd Camerons sailed for Egypt in December 1943, where it joined the reformed 11th (Indian ) Infantry brigade in the 4th Infantry Division. In February 1944 the 2nd Camerons moved to Italy, and they returned to active service at Cassino, losing 250 casualties in a months bitter fighting to break through the Gustav line. After Cassino 2nd Camerons moved North to the Gothic Line. During Aug-Sept 44 they fought various actions ending in the liberation of San Marino.
     
  6. Tonym

    Tonym WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    herosson

    Attached are two pages from the profile of my uncle, Sgt. J.V.Murphy, 2nd Btn QOCH, who died of wounds at Cassino. The details were composed from various sources but primarily from eye witness accounts of Lieut. Col. J.A. Cochrane, a Company Commander at the time, who I contacted after reading his book 'Charlie Company'. His Brother-in-Law, who was also present during the campaign, was apparantly acquainted with my uncle.

    Forgive the quality but this was compiled way before the days of PCs on a portable typewriter and photos added manually.

    View attachment 33590

    View attachment 33591

    Just the remote possibility that you Dad may be in the group photograph.

    Tony
     
  7. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Herosson
    Since your Father was only involved in the Battles for Monte Cassino Monastery - and not the long history of that 4th Indian Division - here is the official account of that saga..

    2. CASSINO---THE EPIC

    CHAPTER FIVE
    THE FIRST ASSAULT FAILS
    FROM TIME TO TIME, divisions were relieved on the Adriatic coast and disappeared. All took the roads to Central Italy, where in turn they were committed to the epic struggle for Cassino.
    This battle stands in the heroic category of Dunkirk, Stalingrad and Caen. Despite staggering losses the men of the United Nations strove for months to break the German defences at their strongest point. This narrative deals only with the fortunes of the Indian Divisions. It must not be forgotten that other troops shared in full measure the same disasters and contributed equally to the victory. Fourth Indian Division was not the only division to be well-nigh destroyed at Cassino, nor Eighth Indian Division the only formation to smash through. The story of Cassino is a saga of valour and endurance shared by all.
    On the Adriatic coast the Gustav Line, based on a succession of ridges and rivers, constituted a flexible zone of defence. When it entered the mountains it became rigid. The key, the arch-essential bastion of these fixed positions, lay in the spacious valley of the Liri, some sixty miles south-east of Rome. Here a great abrupt buttress of the Matesi mountains towers above the countryside, commanding all approaches from east, south and west. Its crest is Monte Cairo, a huge cone rising five thousand feet above the valley. From this eminence a spade-shaped promontory of high ground thrusts down for ten miles to end in a high and almost sheer tip, which overlooks the valley of the Rapido to the east, and the valley of the Liri to the north-west. This is Monastery Hill. The little town of Cassino snuggles around its haunches. Route 6, one of the main roads linking Rome and Naples, comes up from the south, crosses the Rapido and swings through Cassino Town before turning to the north-west along the eastern slope of the Liri valley.
    A second road to Rome traverses the reclaimed Pontine marshes along the Tyrrhenian coast. This road had been heavily damaged by bombing. Moreover, its low-lying water meadows, checkerboarded with drainage rhines, offered serious obstacles to mechanized advance. These circumstances accentuated the. importance of the Liri thoroughfare.
    [​IMG]
    Monastery Hill and Cassino Town
    The river Liri follows the western or opposite wall of the valley, and does not approach Cassino. Its principal tributary, the Gari, rises in the mountains a few miles behind the town. Before the Gari reaches Cassino it is joined by a substantial stream from the north-east which is known as the Rapido. After the Rapido flows into the Liri, another change of name occurs, and the river is known as the Garigliano. Lest these different names confuse, in this narrative the river will be known as the Rapido, and the valley as the Liri.
    Soldiers have been no uncommon sight. on the streets of Cassino. Year by year staff officers have come to lecture and to arrange exercises on a site which was familiar to military scholars as a model of impregnable terrain. of this set piece battlefield, Monastery Hill is the key. Monte Cairo is imposing, even awesome to the eye, but although its crest commands a vast area of countryside, it can be by-passed and neutralized if its slopes are beleaguered. But nothing can traverse the Liri or Gari-Rapido valleys save by consent of Cassino. If the Allies wished to strike for Rome by way of the main highway, they must first secure the heights with the Monastery upon its crest. Towering above precipitous slopes, as if in middle air, the great Benedictine hospice had been converted into a fortress during the nineteenth century. Even in the days of unlimited high explosive this lofty keep constituted a formidable obstacle. An imposing gate set in arches of stone thirty feet thick offered the only entrance. The walls were fifteen feet high, ten feet thick at their bases, loop-holed and tesselated. They were unscaleable and proof against any weapons which infantry might bring to bear.
    In January the first battle for Cassino had been mounted on a grand scale. Three corps struck from three sides, while a fourth corps endeavoured to turn the position by a sea landing at Anzio. On the extreme left of a battlefront of more than twenty miles, Tenth British Corps attacked below the junction of the Gari and Liri rivers, seeking to bypass Cassino. In the centre U.S. Second Corps launched a frontal assault across the Rapido towards the high escarpments between Monte Cairo and Monastery Hill. On the right French Expeditionary Corps drove from the north-east in an endeavour to infiltrate behind Monte Cairo, and to amputate the enemy's mountain defences in entirety.
    The centre failed to win home, and without success in the centre gains on the flank meant nothing. The American attack was thwarted by the unshakable grip of the enemy on the ridges and spurs above the valley of the Rapido. Murderous fire took a fearful toll. Foiled in their first assault the Americans mounted their next attack further to the north. After terrific fighting they forced their way across the Rapido and seized high ground in the rear of the main Cassino position. On January 29th they opened a third offensive with a double thrust, one division attacking southwards along the bottom of the Rapido valley, another along the crest of the escarpments above it. Six days of fluctuating fighting followed. A great effort hurled the enemy from Monte Castellone. By working down a long crest, afterwards known from its shape on the contour map as Snake's Head Ridge, advanced assault troops fought to within a few hundred yards of Monastery Hill. Here they were pinned down by fire from three sides. Within bow shot of the Monastery walls progress became impossible. The Americans had battled with dourness and gallantry beyond all praise, but they were fought out. It was time for others to take over.
    Across the mountains from Eighth Army came two great divisions whose names had been a by-word throughout years of hard fighting in Africa. It is doubtful if two military formations composed of men of different race and culture ever achieved a closer association and a more comprehensive understanding than the Second New Zealand and Fourth Indian Divisions. They had been partners in hazardous enterprises from the beginning. Far back in 1940, before the New Zealand Division had reached Middle East, Kiwi lorry drivers accompanied Fourth Indian Division in the battle of Sidi Barrani. They raced their vehicles to within 150 yards of the walls of Tummar, and leapt down to charge beside the sepoys who stormed the camp. In the autumn offensive of 1941 the two Divisions served each other faithfully in the fighting along the Libyan escarpment. In Tunisia they had assailed the Mareth Line and the Enfidaville positions together. They had never failed each other. Year by year mutual understanding and appreciation increased. As fighting men they were of one piece---the warp and woof of an unsurpassed military fabric. Others boasted for them that they were the two finest Divisions in the Allied Armies.
    This happy relationship was confirmed by the personal friendship of Lieut.-General Sir Bernard Freyburg and Major-General F. S. Tuker. To General Freyburg's great battle knowledge, General Tuker added outstanding comprehension of the fundamental problems of modern warfare. A military commentator once declared: "General Tuker's skill and training of infantry for war, and their leading in battle, is of such an original yet practical kind as to border on genius." Mountain warfare was his speciality. His etcher's eye (he is an artist of standing) for fine gradations of perspective, enabled him to master, as few commanders, the lie of a battlefield. In this new grim operation he promised to prove an exceedingly able lieutenant to an old colleague, and the long-standing illness which forced him into hospital just before the battle begun was not the least of the misfortunes of Indian troops in this ill-fated enterprise.
    For the attack on Cassino General Freyburg became commander of the New Zealand Corps, which included his own Division, Fourth Indian Division with additional armour, artillery and ancillary troops. The plan for the new battle was in effect a continuation of the operation undertaken by Second U.S. Corps. Twin assaults would be mounted simultaneously on the high ground above the Rapido and along the bottom of the valley into Cassino Town. Fourth Indian Division would attack on the crests of the ridges, reaching for Monastery Hill from the north. The New Zealanders would advance from the east, crossing the Rapido for a frontal assault on the town. As prelude to this attack 7th Indian Brigade would relieve troops of Thirty-fourth U.S. Division on Point 593, the highest ground on Snake's Head Ridge. This saddle-back ran into the west about one thousand yards in the rear of the Monastery. The ridge was twelve hundred yards in length, a narrow crest with deep ravines on either side. it was approached by a ford over the Rapido, and by a mountain track which climbed its slopes some distance north of Cassino Town.
    Seen from afar the Monte Cairo or Cassino massif appears bare and smooth, with little natural cover. Closer inspection reveals it to comprise rough and broken ground with ridges, knolls and hollows everywhere. Thick scrub affords ample cover in many places. The ridges have precipitous slopes and razor-backed crests bestrewn with giant boulders. Indeed every resource of nature seemed designed to protect the defenders and to harass and to hinder their assailants. German engineers had exploited these advantages of terrain. Every nook and cranny of the dead ground held weapon pits. Emplacements had been blasted out of solid rock; pillboxes of steel and concrete had been built in. Outposts were connected by tunnels and covered by aprons of mines. These minefields in turn were commanded by machine-gun nests approximately fifty yards apart. Between these nests storm troopers waited in foxholes, each with an automatic weapon and a basket of bombs, to deal with any attempt to infiltrate into the position.
    Fifteenth Panzer Grenadier Division held Cassino Town, Monastery Hill and Snake's Head Ridge. These men were tough veterans of a dozen battlefields. Their commander, Major-General Baade, was one of the younger German senior officers. His instructions came direct from Hitler and were unequivocal. Political as well as military considerations dictated that Cassino must be held, whatever the cost.
    The men of Fourth Indian Division were well aware of the gravity of the task which confronted them. On his initial reconnaissance Brigadier Lovett of 7th Brigade had noted the extreme exhaustion of American troops, and on his return had recommended that their relief should be expedited. Isolated, frozen, battered by right and by day, handfuls of indomitable men clung to positions which they had clawed from the grip of the enemy. Six American regiments---eighteen battalions in all---were distributed between Monte Castellone and Cassino Town. These units had lost eighty per cent. of their effectives. The regiment on Snakes Head Ridge had only four hundred men standing. Here the enemy held the ruins of an old fort on the high western tip, and from this lookout brought fire to bear on every yard of the crest of the ridge. The only cover consisted of shallow saucers scraped out among the rocks, and two-man sangars of the type common on the North-West Frontier of India. These exposed positions had seen continuous and heavy fighting for some days before the Indians arrived. Numerous German counter-attacks sought to prise the Americans from their hard-won ground. More than 150 dead on one company front testified to the bitterness of the struggle.
    The relief of the Americans was scheduled for the night of February 12th. For some days previously Fourth Indian Division had been organizing on a mule pack basis. In addition to the Indian mule companies, a heterogeneous assemblage of French, American and Italian mules of diverse training, habits and temper had been recruited: the Divisional transport services will not readily forget those days. A first attempt to open a way forward through the lines of the famous I 33rd Japanese-American Regiment, on the left of the Divisional front, failed because not even mules could negotiate the terrain, and porter companies were not yet available. The approach therefore was shifted into the north, by way of Cairo village in the Rapido valley. Less than three miles from this hamlet, Monte Castellone was proving a soft spot in the Allied lines. Strong enemy fighting patrols had infiltrated, and it became necessary to deploy two battalions of 7th Brigade as a covering force until the Americans could deal. with the intruders. The relief of Snake's Head therefore was postponed for twenty-four hours until the situation around Monte Castellone had stabilized.
    On February 13th 7th Brigade's assembly area came under long-range artillery fire and casualties resulted. After nightfall the Indians moved off over the only available route, a rough mountain track which had deteriorated under heavy use. The enemy was alert, and the relief was shelled and mortared from the time it crossed the Rapido. Cautiously the Royal Sussex filtered platoons forward until they reached the shoulders of the ridge below Point 593. Here the outpost lines were only a few yards apart. The much enduring American garrison was relieved. It was necessary to carry out the last fifty men on stretchers. On the left of the Sussex 4/16 Punjabis groped forward to occupy the southern slopes of the ridge. When the inclement dawn broke 7th Brigade represented a spearhead thrust into the heart of the Monastery defences. The Sussex and the Punjabis formed the point of the spear, Thirty-Sixth U.S. Division to the north and Thirty-Fourth U.S. Division to the south, its blade and haft.
    Across the Valley of the Rapido, five to six thousand yards south-east of Cassino, strong groups of artillery prepared for action. In the neighbourhood of Monte Croce, a peak capped with an ancient castle, guns were massed in a manner reminiscent of the wheel-to-wheel concentrations of the Great War. A battery commander describes his position thus: "At least my battery is not in full view of Monastery Hill as are the other batteries. It shares a gully with New Zealand gunners and with a battery of 11 Field Regiment. Over the road are six U.S. 155s. just behind us is a battery of American 105s and some British mediums."

    This artillery target encouraged the enemy to risk his aircraft in a series of tip-and-run raids. These sudden exciting sorties did little damage, but they gave 57 L.A.A. Regiment an opportunity to prove that their shooting had not deteriorated since Western Desert days, when the sepoys credited this fine unit with marksmanship bordering on the miraculous. Seven aircraft destroyed over the Rapido valley within a week brought the Regiment's bag for the war to 103 victims counted on the ground, as well as more than 300 planes damaged in the air. These gunners had engaged enemy tanks over open sights near Benghazi in 1942. It is believed that their total kill exceeds that of any other anti-aircraft unit in the war.
    The Air Forces likewise concentrated for the battle. Until now the Benedictine Monastery had been spared. The Germans declared no fighting formations to be in garrison and that the buildings housed only refugees from Cassino Town. Whatever the truth of such claim, it was apparent that the Monastery served as the enemy's main observation post. Warnings were dropped that aerial bombardment was imminent, and large groups of British and American aircraft were briefed for the Operation.
    The attack was originally planned to begin on the night of February 12/13th. Delays in relief and incessantly foul weather necessitated adjournment. The flooding of air-strips grounded many of the bomber groups, and the New Zealand Armoured Brigade, which was to support the assault on Cassino Town, was bogged down in the Rapido Valley. Some of the objectives of the Kiwis were under water. It was not until February 15th that the weather improved sufficiently for the battle to open.
    At 0800 hours on that day the first of fifteen waves of aircraft bombed Monastery Hill. During the morning and afternoon 35 tons of bombs were dropped. Visibility was low, and stray bombs fell on the Indian positions on Snake's Head Ridge, inflicting 24 casualties. Forward posts were withdrawn to avoid additional losses. Observing this movement, the enemy in an intercepted wireless message exulted rather prematurely in the retirement of "Indian troops with turbans". The air bombardment inflicted great damage on the Monastery buildings without impairing their value as fortifications and observation posts. Nowhere were the breaches in the walls complete. Except in the case of direct hits, pillboxes and concrete emplacements remained unscathed. Nor could the artillery intervene effectively in direct support of the assault troops. Indian positions were so close to those of the enemy that a barrage programme was impossible and the fire plan had to be restricted to counter-battery work and concentration shoots on forming-up areas. These handicaps imposed a grim necessity. The Infantry must do the job single-handed.
    A further and equally ominous circumstance was that the naked slopes of Snake's Head Ridge prevented reconnaissance and investigation of the enemy's positions. From the forward posts only rocky hillsides and patches of scrub could be seen. The Germans might hold the summit of Point 593 in battalion or platoon strength; his forces could only be estimated in terms of supply possibilities. It was this uncertainty which led to a conference summoned by the Divisional Commander at 7th Brigade Headquarters on the morning of February 15th. All intelligence submitted at that meeting suggested the impossibility of carrying Point 593 and Monastery Hill in a single operation. Point 593 was therefore declared a preliminary objective and the Royal Sussex were ordered to secure complete possession that night. The main attack on the Monastery would be launched twenty-four hours later.
    During their forty-eight hours on the exposed crest of Snake's Head Ridge, the Sussex had been unable to make other than the simplest preparations for the assault. They were blind by day, since any movement drew intense fire. After darkness, the lie of the ground was so difficult that patrols brought only confused and hazy reports. Uncertainty as to the enemy's strength was linked to the impossibility of deploying substantial forces on a narrow and exposed start line. The first attack therefore was little more than a try-out. On the night of February 15th, one company moved forward. The German outposts were on the alert. Heavy and accurate machine-gun and mortar fire swept the forming-up area. The men who had carried Libyan Omar by storm dourly charged uphill. Seventy yards ahead they encountered an impassable palisade of boulders. Intense fire searched the darkness, pinning the South-Countrymen to the ground. After several unsuccessful attempts to outflank and to by-pass this obstacle the Sussex withdrew, having suffered twenty casualties.
    On the following night the entire battalion mustered for the attack. By 2200 hours the forward company had found its way around the obstacle of the previous night, and had gained a footing on the approaches to Point 593. From behind boulders and from foxholes dug under rocky ledges the panzer grenadiers buffeted the advance with bursts of automatic fire and with showers of grenades. A second company pushed up to thicken the line. A magnificent charge headed by Lieut. Dennis Cox won home, and the Sussex caught their breath amid the ruins of the small fort. Then came a fatal misunderstanding ---an enemy signal flare was interpreted as instructions to withdraw. Before dawn the Sussex abandoned this key position, which was never regained. Such unhappy errors had profound effects. Before the battle was resumed on February 17th it had become a Divisional instead of a Brigade operation. With increased resources the plan reverted to the original conception---a non-stop drive to the summit of Monastery Hill. For this assault 4/6. Rajputanas and 1/9 Gurkhas were placed under command of 7th Brigade.
    At midnight on February 17th 4/6 Rajputana Rifles, with three companies of the Sussex, were ordered to destroy the enemy on Point 593, and thereafter to seize Point 445, within 800 yards of the rear of the Monastery. Two hours later, 1/2 and 1/9 Gurkhas would smash through to storm the Monastery itself, thereafter advancing down the hillside to establish contact with the New Zealanders. The remaining battalions of 5th Indian Brigade (1/4 Essex and 1/6 Rajputana Rifles) would wait a success signal from the Monastery before moving to an attack on Cassino Town from the north. The other battalions of 11th Brigade---2/7 Gurkhas and 2nd Camerons---would supply porters and support companies for the assault groups. Simultaneously the New Zealand Division would launch an all-out attack on Cassino Town from the south-east.
    This plan subjected the German positions to the shock of heavy forces from three sides. Nevertheless the key to the battle lay in the hands of the two Gurkha battalions. Should the agile hillmen win to the summit, as at Fatnassa and Djebel Garci, success was certain. Should they fail, there could be. no victory. As midnight struck on February 17th, 4/6 Rajputana Rifles, heroes of a dozen desperate encounters, flung themselves in a fierce onslaught at Point 593. Yard by yard they closed upon their enemies. Once again a blaze of fire raked the slopes, and held the gallant Indians from the close. Major Markham. Lee with a handful of men reached the crest and died there By 0330 hours the attack was at a standstill. Nevertheless "B" and "C" Companies of 1/2 Gurkhas came forward, formed up on the left and began to work downhill towards Point 445.
    A patch of scrub such as abounded on the ridges loomed in the darkness ahead. There had been no opportunity to reconnoitre this undergrowth, but since it was thin elsewhere and no impediment to free movement, it had not been considered a serious obstacle. A strong body of Germans had crept up and established themselves undetected in this covert within a stone's throw of the Indian positions. A thick seeding of mines with tripwires skirted the approaches; hidden in the scrub the storm troopers waited with tommy-guns at the ready. As the Gurkhas attempted to worm through the copse, the leading platoon blew up on the mines almost to a man. A hail of bullets and grenades followed. Lieut.-Colonel Showers fell seriously wounded. Two-thirds of the leading companies were struck down within five minutes, yet the hillmen continued to bore in, reaching for their enemies. Naik Bir Bahadur Thapa although wounded in a dozen places emerged on the enemy's side of the copse with a few survivors and established a foothold. It was to no avail; in that deadly undergrowth dozens lay dead, many with four or more tripwires around their legs. Only a handful remained to be recalled to defensive positions at dawn. Stretcher-Bearer Sher Bahadur Thapa traversed this fearful undergrowth no less than sixteen times in order to bring out wounded comrades. (He was killed soon afterwards.)
    Concurrently "A" and "D" Companies, with companies from 1/9 battalion in close support, picked their way around the left flank of the holocaust in the scrub, and worked steadily forward in the darkness towards the Monastery. Shortly before dawn "B" Company managed to effect a lodgement on Point 445. Eight hundred yards away a dark defiant height marked the supreme prize. Three companies of 1/9 Gurkhas closed up. They stood in the midst of a ring of enemies, embedded in the heart of the defences. Fire rained on them from three sides. Enemy sources afterwards reported an attack repulsed from the Monastery walls, and months later a colonel of paratroopers, captured near Florence, declared that he had led the counter-attack which had destroyed Gurkhas who had penetrated into the fortress itself. He was a pompous conceited man, who probably lied: but there are reasons to believe that a small great-hearted group, seven against a city, continued to seek the enemy until death closed on them.
    At daybreak bitter fighting still raged around the key position of the old fort on Point 593. Attack after attack took toll until the enemy succeeded in winning back part of the crest. A fourth company of Rajputanas had been thrown in at 0430 hours but had failed to regain the summit. Indians and Sussex dug in together on the reverse slopes, with the enemy in mastery above them. A thousand yards beyond, the breaking light found the Gurkhas endeavouring to scratch meagre cover on the scrabbly summit of Point 445. To continue the advance by day would have been suicidal, and until Point 593 was cleared of the last enemies, it was impossible for supplies to pass forward. There was no alternative therefore but to withdraw from Point 445 under cover of darkness. As always in the Cassino fighting, gains of ground meant little; it was the Monastery or nothing. An assault mounted with consummate gallantry had failed to win home. The task was too great. During this bleak winter night, when the ridges and hilltops spurted flame and re-echoed with the crash of bombs, in the valley of the Rapido and on the approaches to Cassino Town the New Zealanders had thrown in a great attack. Everywhere they encountered the same bitter unyielding resistance as their comrades on the heights above them. A precarious bridgehead across the Rapido was established through which the Kiwis advanced to their assault upon the town. A Maori battalion under intense mortar and machine-gun fire dashed across a minefield, slashed its way through belts of wire, and stormed Cassino railway station. If this position could have been held, the enemy garrison in Cassino would have been in jeopardy. Unfortunately dawn came too soon; in spite of herculean efforts New Zealand sappers had been unable to bridge the Rapido, and essential support arms, particularly tanks and anti-tank guns, could not reach the forward infantry. After continuous bombardments throughout the morning, a strong enemy counter-attack with tanks in the van retook the railway station. The Maori garrison was overrun. The remainder of the New Zealand infantry then withdrew across the river. Except for an attempt on the night of February 28th on the part of 4/16 Punjabis and 2/7 Gurkhas to improve their positions on the southern slopes of Snake's Head Ridge, the first assault on Cassino had ended.

    As I have aleady remarked - it's a long tale !
    Cheers
     
  8. Wilma Bavin

    Wilma Bavin Junior Member

    Hi, my Dad, Joe McGoran, was in the 2nd Batt QOCH, - he lost an arm and a leg on 6th March - 4 days before tonym's uncle Vinnie died. He died last week and we buried him in Glasgow. Major P I Laughton, who was his Platoon commander at the tender age of 22, came up from West Sussex to read the eulogy. He was 93 and, to add to the two babies born before 1944, there were 4 more, 11 grandchildren and 3 great-grandsons. I am the the youngest; I am writing the obituary and I stumbled across this site. Many thanks for all the insight.

    Wilma
     
  9. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Wilma -
    please accept our condolences on the loss of your gfather - whom I believe we had heard more of in another recent thread on how he overcame his devastating injuries to become a noted citizen and particularly a well loved family man.We all share in a small way his parting and pray that his soul will find peace and rest.
    Resquitant in pace Joe !
     
  10. Wilma Bavin

    Wilma Bavin Junior Member

    Tom, thanks for that. He was, as you kindly said, a much loved family man. How can I find the earlier stuff about my Dad?

    Wilma
     
  11. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Wilma -
    Did you get his service records from the Glasgow Records office ? - that will give you his whole history of his time in the Army - and fill in the gaps - and the Camerons Museum can give you some as well as the Scots Trust - so let me know and I can dig up some addresses for you..
    Cheers
     
  12. herosson

    herosson Baby Boomer

    Thank you very much 51st Highland. I think you meant February 1944. Since my original post I've uncovered a lot about the Camerons. I found John Ellis' book "Cassino: the Hollow victory" very helpful.
    I notice that my 'baby sister' is now conversing with you guys as she is putting together Dad's Obit for The (Glasgow) Herald.
     
  13. herosson

    herosson Baby Boomer

    Tonym; I'll have to get the magnifying glass out but I don't think Dad will be in the foto as he was not a 'recruit' in 1942 but had been with the Camerons since call-up in 1940 and been in NW France and also Aruba before the (then) 4th Battalion were posted to Shetland. I think he was in 'D' company anyway. His Platoon Commander was a newly arrived, 20 year old 2nd Lieutenant P I Laughton who was wounded at Cassino 4 days after my Dad (10th March 44).
     
  14. herosson

    herosson Baby Boomer

    Wilma if you look under the "Italy" campaign threads you will find some more data on this.
    Herosson.
     
  15. herosson

    herosson Baby Boomer

    Just for the sake of clarity; when 'Wilma' said she was the youngest, she meant of Joe's six children not of the grandchildren. She is, in fact, the mother of three of the grandchildren herself.
    thank you all for the help.
     
  16. ninhydrin

    ninhydrin Junior Member

    Sorry to bring up such an old thread but I am interested in the links TonyM posted, I can no longer see them, is there any way of getting these reposted?
    I think my grandfather may have been a recruit in around 1942
     
  17. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Highland 51 -
    just a small nit picking correction to your posting of how the 4th Indian and the 2nd Cams went from Cassino to the Gothic Line etc - this can give the impression that they were in a non stop battle situation which is not quite correct insmuch as their last battle - the third at Cassino I think in March '44 - they were withdrawn - along with the Kiwis for an extended rest - reinforcing and retraining as they had taken a terible beating in those two battles and so they enjoyed a good rest on the Adriatic from the back end of March until called forward to the Gothic Line on or about the 10 -12th September to handle the San Marino battle.

    The rest of 8th Army was busy at the Coriano Ridge taking a pasting all over the place and the Kiwi;s also came up and followed the Greek bde and Canadian Divs into Rimini after breaking through at San Martino and San Fortunato.

    we lost 14,000 dead at the Gothic Line and thousands wounded - in one month !
    You should "google" for "Gemmano"
    Cheers
     
  18. 51highland

    51highland Very Senior Member

    No probs Tom, though I did say "Briefly". Attched Group photo of Officers and photo of W.O's & Sgts of 2nd Cams. Lieutenant I.P. Laughton, 4th from left middle row.
     

    Attached Files:

  19. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Highland
    tough looking bunch - and that's just the sergeants....in the Gemmano battle you might note that the author gives credit to 2nd Cams for taking over I think it's Croce - this was not so as most people get confused with the Camerons and the Cameronions whose 2nd Battalion was in 5th Div
    Cheers
     
  20. 51highland

    51highland Very Senior Member

    Attached pages from the October 1944 issue of "79th News", Camerons 6 monthly regimental magazine. It gives an in-sight into what the battles for Cassino were like. The last part of the letter re- "friendly fire" is interesting. Remember that these pages were written with censorship/secrecy in mind.
     

    Attached Files:

    Charley Fortnum likes this.

Share This Page