My Grandfathers Record..Help Required

Discussion in 'Service Records' started by TerrierMcD, Dec 18, 2012.

  1. TerrierMcD

    TerrierMcD Junior Member

    Good morning, This is my first post here so forgive me if I go into too much detail.
    I received my Grandfathers Service Records this week and have several questions I need help with. Sadly he died in 2004 and never really spoke about his war experiences except he had been in Tunisia, Egypt & India. And at some point he knew some italians as he would say the odd word ,Capische being his favourite haha
    . I suppose if I give you summary of his record/postings that will help then I will let you all know what help I need.
    20/07/40 Enlisted 11th bn The Kings Regiment (Liverpool)
    28/07/41 Posted to Y list Hospitalised Newcastle General 07/07/41
    20/09/41 Posted to 19 ITC Formby
    11/12/41 Posted Y list
    22/05/42 Posted to 30th (HD) bn Kings Regiment
    02/07/42 Attached to 30th bn The Suffolk Regiment
    04/08/42 Posted to 3 GTTB Royal Corps Signals TOS
    05/09/42 Permanently attached to 3rd Holding Battalion Huddersfield
    14/11/42 Posted to 3 GTTB Permanently Attached Huddersfield
    17/08/43 Posted to 19 ITC Huddersfield
    04/01/44 posted to London District Assembly
    13/01/44 Embarked HMT D.15
    14/02/44 Disembarked Bombay attached 1coy 1wing BBRC
    01/03/44 TOS 1coy 3wing BBRC
    14/02/44 TOS 13th bn The Kings
    06/06/44 Embarked India &TOS MEF. SS 7-G Bombay
    18/06/44 Disembarked ME to XIVA ITD
    04/07/44 Embarked ME
    11/07/44 Disembarked Massawa Eritrea
    11/07/44 Posted to 117 Special Camp to X (I)
    10/03/45 X (I) to X (iva) ME ITD
    17/03/45 To ASTU for Course
    10/08/45 Rejoined ITN from Course
    04/09/45 ITN to 154 T/C
    21/09/45 Posted to X (I) HQ Trip Area
    15/01/46 Appt to P/LCpl
    10/06/46 Embarked for UK A Release

    Sorry for soo much info. My questions are basically why was he in the UK so long and with training battalions? Was he a trainer or just slow at picking things up (joke)?
    What was he then doing in India?
    Special Camp 117 in Eritrea. Anyone know what this was? Scarce info on net but I understand special camps were for POW Camps for High Ranking officers held awaiting trial etc or for hardened Nazis/Fascists. Is this true?
    And finally what would he likely be doing at HQ Tripoli?

    Thanks for your patience in sifting through all info.
    Wayne
     
  2. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Hi Wayne

    Firstly, Welcome Aboard and congratulations on a very lucid first post.

    Re: why was he in the UK so long and with training battalions?

    Don't ever expect to get logical conclusions for any postings made during someone's service career.
    It was always an "accepted" that using KRRS (Kings Rules & Regulations) the Army could do anything it liked to you except give you a baby.
    This was later amended to read that it could even give you a baby if it wanted to but that it couldn't force you to love it :)

    Try posting a record of his medal entitlement, that will often give further clues to his background.

    Just be patient and come back to this thread to pick up the help that I am sure others will offer.

    Good luck !

    Ron
     
  3. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    Was it Special Camp 117 or 119 ??

    A few hits on Google regarding - Jewish internees detained in Eritrea (Special Camp No. 119)


    Deportation to Africa

    On Thursday, October 19, 1944, at 4:30 am, a large British military force surrounded the Latrun internment camp. At 6 am, a list of 239 internees was read out. They were handcuffed, searched, and taken out of the camp without being permitted to take anything with them. Loaded onto trucks which formed a convoy, they were escorted by armored cars to the Wilhelma airfield. There they were joined by 12 inmates from Acre prison, who had arrived an hour earlier.

    The 251 detainees were divided into 12 groups, and each group boarded an aircraft, accompanied by armed guards. When it became clear to the prisoners that they were being deported, they burst into a mighty rendering of Hatikva. The 12 planes flew to Asmara, capital of Eritrea; the following day the internees were taken from the airfield to their first place of exile in Africa - Sambel camp, two kilometers north of Asmara.


    SAMBEL CAMP IN ERITREA

    Sambel camp in Erritrea had served in the past as a recreation center for Italian fascist youth and the living conditions were no worse than in Latrun. But, despite the good conditions and comfortable climate, the internees suffered in the first few months from lack of clothing and everyday necessities, from the absence of books and religious articles.
     
  4. TerrierMcD

    TerrierMcD Junior Member

    Hi Dave it is definitely Special Camp 117 just checked record again
     
  5. TerrierMcD

    TerrierMcD Junior Member

    Hi Wayne

    Firstly, Welcome Aboard and congratulations on a very lucid first post.

    Re: Don't ever expect to get logical conclusions for any postings made during someone's service career.
    It was always an "accepted" that using KRRS (Kings Rules & Regulations) the Army could do anything it liked to you except give you a baby.
    This was later amended to read that it could even give you a baby if it wanted to but that it couldn't force you to love it :)

    Try posting a record of his medal entitlement, that will often give further clues to his background.

    Just be patient and come back to this thread to pick up the help that I am sure others will offer.

    Good luck !

    Ron
    where would I find medal entitlement? Nothing shown on his records
     
  6. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    where would I find medal entitlement? Nothing shown on his records
    The simplest way is to show you one sheet of my own records. Don't get thrown by the sheet number 3, this is purely for my own benefit as there were at least 10 sheets.

    Ron
     

    Attached Files:

  7. TerrierMcD

    TerrierMcD Junior Member

    Thanks Ron' sadly that section is blank on his record. Apart from scribbles that look like act j 48/45
     
  8. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron

    Hi Wayne,

    Can't help much,but.....14/02/1944-13th Kings.

    Battalion at the Napier Barracks, Karachi. They were doing various jobs including general internal policing of Karachi, garrison duties and some were put forward to train for the '3rd Chindit' expedition, which of course never took place.

    Attached are some photos of the Barracks.

    BBRC is British Base Reinforcement Camp, this when in conjunction with Bombay 'usually' means the famous Deolali Camp just north of the city.

    Steve
     

    Attached Files:

  9. TerrierMcD

    TerrierMcD Junior Member

    Hi Wayne,

    Can't help much,but.....14/02/1944-13th Kings.

    Battalion at the Napier Barracks, Karachi. They were doing various jobs including general internal policing of Karachi, garrison duties and some were put forward to train for the '3rd Chindit' expedition, which of course never took place.

    Attached are some photos of the Barracks.

    BBRC is British Base Reinforcement Camp, this when in conjunction with Bombay 'usually' means the famous Deolali Camp just north of the city.

    Steve
    Thanks Steve yes looking now it does say Deolali on the record. Amazing photos thanks very much for the info

    Wayne
     
  10. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Wayne

    Just a thought.

    Go to my personal page and look at my records in my photo album.

    See if there are any pages there that are not included in the set of records that you hold.

    If you think you have not been sent ALL the records then send a polite letter to the records office asking if it is possible there is another sheet that contains the medal entitlement info.

    Ron
     
  11. TerrierMcD

    TerrierMcD Junior Member

    Thanks again Ron. Checked and he has all the same records as yourself. Strange that he appears not to have his records stamped showing his medal entitlement.

    Wayne
     
  12. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Wayne, do you know if your Grandfather actually applied for his medals ? I wonder if the entitlements were only added to the cards when the service was checked for medal issue ?

    My Dad hasn't ever applied ("If they couldn't be bothered to put my name on 'em, I couldn't be bothered to apply for 'em !") His card is stamped to show "War Medal Awarded" but no mention of the Defence Medal, 39-45 and France / Germany stars which he certainly wore the ribbons for during his post-war service.
     
  13. TerrierMcD

    TerrierMcD Junior Member

    No Rich I don't know if he did apply. I never saw them and my mum can't remember seeing them. I would of thought that any medals he was entitled to would be shown regardless of whether he claimed or not

    Wayne
     
  14. Ed Crutchley

    Ed Crutchley New Member


    Hello (5 years late; hope you're still around). I would be interested if you ever found out more about the unit in which your grandfather served in Eritrea and its story. Special Camp 117 was at Dekemhare, Eritrea (referred to as Decamere by the Brits who had taken over the mandate of Eritrea from the Italians). It had held Italian internees before 1944. From July 1944 until January 1946 it housed about 2,000 Greek internees. These men had successfully fought in the Greek 1st Brigade at El Alamein in 1942 and then had gone to Aleppo to train for mountain warfare for the liberation of Italy. Before they could be shipped to Italy, in April 1944 (at Alexandria, Egypt) they mutinied against their Greek officers, whom they thought intended to restore dictatorship in a liberated Greece. Churchill personally got involved with their being disarmed by British troops (see volume 5 of his WW2 books). The only thing I have found on the camp so far is file ref. FO/371/58841 at the National Archives (Kew) “Repatriation of Greek internees. Code 19 File 395. 1946.” Apparently the ringleaders were communists, and there were regular lectures in the camp on communism, and the only reading matter and news they got were from the local Russian embassy! The file mentioned above talks about British troops (and therefore presumably your grandfather) suppressing a disturbance in the camp after prisoners hoisted a flag. In December 1945 questions were raised by an MP after (probably politically-inspired) reports in the Greek press of ill-treatment of those prisoners. The Greek complainants referred to the Brit camp commander as Major Ushhurst. hope this helps. Rgds.
     
    alexorfa and TerrierMcD like this.
  15. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron

    Ed,

    Wayne's last visit to the forum was back in early 2013. Chances are he will not look back in at your post. You could send him a personal message via the Conversations option on your profile page and this should get through to his home email, if he is still using the one he registered with.

    Good luck.
     
    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  16. TerrierMcD

    TerrierMcD Junior Member

    Well after digging out his record again and reading it I decided to come back here and I'm amazed that after so long someone has some info! Many many thanks Ed. No I never found out anymore I'm just assuming that he was still Kings Regiment Liverpool
     
  17. Ed Crutchley

    Ed Crutchley New Member

    Wayne, the 117 Special Camp monthly diaries are at the National Archives at Kew, file refs. WO 169/17913, WO 169/21538, and WO 169/24202. These include all the incidents in the camp and monthly administration reports. I didn’t take much notice of the latter, but I don’t think they mentioned names of each of the guards. The first camp commandant was Major BM Ashurst RA, and the unit of seven officers and about 140 ORs to guard the camp was formed on 1 July 1944. The prisoners arrived on the 11th. The camp was situated on the Dekemhare to Asmara road and there is a hand-sketched layout of the camp in the files. The guard unit was officially disbanded on 6 March 1946. The Greek internees were quite rebellious during their first few months there, and on two occasions a force of nearly 1,000 backup African troops had to be sent in with pickaxe handles to carry out searches and arrest troublemakers. I’m afraid security wasn’t brilliant though (although only one internee escaped). My father-in-law remembers that all the news they got was Russian (the ringleaders were communists). The files indicate that this came in secreted in parcels. The internees had a cipher expert.
     
    TerrierMcD and Tricky Dicky like this.
  18. alexorfa

    alexorfa New Member

    I suppose I’m about 3 years late in this discussion. I just stumbled on this site trying to find out where the Decamere Camp was in Erithrea. I am trying to put together a map of my father’s ‘travels’ during WW2. Your discussion has given me the confirmation I was looking for. Decamere is in fact Dekamhare (thank you Ed Crutchley for your note dated Jan 20, 2018).

    Just to add to the story, my father, now 95, was a Greek detainee in the 117 Special Camp for a year and a half (July 1944 to probably March 1946). He and most of the other Greeks in the Camp had participated in the battle of El Alamein two years earlier fighting the Germans under the unified command of the British. When later asked to sign the acceptance of the Greek Government in Exile they refused believing that in Greece a new democracy was emerging. They were immediately labeled as communists, with implications lasting until the restoration of democracy in Greece in 1973!

    The point I want to make, however, is that my father speaks very favorably of his time in the Camp. The way he remembers it, is that after a few months of unrest when they first arrived, they made an agreement with the guards for mutual benefit. The guards were not too many and there was very little supply of food. So, they agreed that that the detainees would be allowed to move in the camp relatively freely without creating trouble and in exchange they would grow vegetables and assist in the supply of food for everyone. In addition to the vegetable garden, the detainees agreed between them to engage in a learning process of teaching each other whatever they knew. So, my father refers to his time there as “study time” where he improved his English, got proficient in astronomy, economics, theater and expanded his general knowledge on all sorts of fronts.

    “One factor that made our lives less depressing and rather enjoyable, and certainly more productive, was the operation of about 60 apprenticeships: From military tactics, various foreign languages, high school subjects such as mathematics, geometry, history and geography, Marxism-Leninism, to gardening, shoe correction, home cooking and plumbing. You had to teach what you knew. Almost all of us interchanged from students to teachers. The method was for the teacher to dictate to the students his lesson and for the students to keep notes on whatever paper we could save, from the cans and cartons from the kitchen, the empty boxes of cigarettes that the outside guards asked us to throw away and any another source. ‘Experts’ from us stapled similar paper and made small booklets. They were extremely useful to us. At certain times of the day, silence was imposed on the cells so that seminars could be held, and others could read or write. In this original apprenticeship some of us learned more in a year and a half than in the same time later in our free lives. The prisoners were less distressed by their lives with what they were learning, teaching and discussing about the seminars, ignoring the fleas that were falling from the ceiling. Without exaggeration, when the order came to return to Greece, some people said half-jokingly ‘but we have not finished our seminar yet’.” (extract from Ross Fakiolas’ unpublished memoirs).
     
    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  19. Ed Crutchley

    Ed Crutchley New Member

    Very interesting. So your father was at El Alamein. Can't be many still around. My father-in-law, who had been a corporal in the military police, spoke little about how he felt in the camp. He had considered himself close to the officers who had remained on the Royalist side and been released in Egypt, but the Rebels were far better organised, with better morale and principles. There is a British Army inspection report of each of the detention camps (Royalist and Rebel) immediately following the April 1944 mutiny that confirms this. According to what he told me, daily life in the camp consisted of reading books on literature, history, politics and religion, donated by the Soviet Embassy (the Russian Ambassador in Cairo had sympathized with the rebels), and attending lectures on communism. The only news the prisoners got came from the Russians. Internees otherwise wiled away their time playing sports, such as volleyball, suited to their modest wear, or listening to music played by the camp band every Saturday. Most of the visitors they got were anonymous British army officers, but every now and again they were joined by outsiders such as a Greek liaison officer, a paymaster, an Orthodox priest, and belatedly a delegation from the Red Cross. My father-in-law was also rehabilitated only in the early 1970s with the arrival of Papandreou fils and the socialist government. That gave him access to jobs in the civil service. It's dramatic to think that the mistake of a 22-year-old could so affect an entire life.
     
  20. alexorfa

    alexorfa New Member

    Ed, my father was a Rebel. An active one I understand. He was young, strong and had participated front line in one of the battles that helped win the war (El Alamein). He had very high morale and saw no reason why to side with the Royalists who in his mind had betrayed his Country. His words, not mine.

    He paid for that. Not in Decamere, but later in Greece as a political prisoner between 1948-1950 in Ikaria and Macronissos islands where he was tortured alongside with Mikis Theodorakis (a music composer, a Greek living legend for most), among others. And after he was released (due to international pressure) he could not get the required clearance to attend University or to issue a passport. He eventually managed to leave Greece, went to study in Edinburgh, got a PhD at the LSE and settled in Swansea where I was born in 1965. By then he was a full professor at the University of Swansea, had a family and had bought his first house. He had no plans to return to Greece. But in 1967 he got very sick and the doctors suggested that going back to the hotter climate of Greece may prolong his life. Less than two months after our return, in April 1967 there was a military Junta in Greece. Before too long he was without a passport and without work!

    Many years later when he was in his late 80s, he told me: “the only thing I regret in my life is my involvement with politics. It was a waste of energy and time.” Still, regrettable as it was, his standpoint at the April 1944 mutiny was never perceived as a mistake. He maintains the he stood on the right side of history, he is proud to have served his county and the allied forces. For him it was a fight against Tyranny for Democracy. To this day, aged 96 he still thinks so but ads that there might have been more to it, things at play that he could not see at the time!

    I was never good with history. I’ve been digging in my father’s past to date-proof and spice up his memoirs, his latest work. The more I read about the mutiny of April 1944 there more I feel that the Brits may have been somewhat involved in it. Churchill was unclear on how things will develop in Greece and wanted to keep his options open. Having a Rebel force in place would allow him to play it either way. Support the Rebels if there was a rebellious prevalence in Athens. As the Monarchy was restored in Greece, he offered to disarm the Rebels with his troops and then took them under British control in Decamere. Thirty years later, in 1974, the Monarchy was abandoned in Greece. Maybe my father was in his right mind but just 30 years early!
     

Share This Page