Need help deciphering 'old' handwriting!

Discussion in 'Service Records' started by Tom Cavadino, Dec 1, 2023.

  1. Tom Cavadino

    Tom Cavadino Member

    Hello all,
    I am relatively new here and am trying to find information about my Grandfather Edward Cavadino, who served with the 54th Heavy Regiment RA during WW2. I have his service records but the handwriting is really throwing me off. There are a few lines and points I would be guessing at, as I can't properly make out the text.
    I have uploaded the pdf version of the Army Form B.103 I/II and I would greatly appreciate if someone could help me fully understand the writing on these pages.
    I have a feeling there will be someone on these forums who could help!

    Thanks,
    Tom.
     

    Attached Files:

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  2. PackRat

    PackRat Well-Known Member

    Hi Tom,

    Here's my stab at translating some of the lines on the B103 that might be causing you trouble:

    9/6/42 Joined & Posted to P/54 Hvy Regt RA
    [Joined 54 Heavy Regiment and assigned to 'P' Battery]
    29/7/42 Granted WPP (War Proficiency Pay) with effect from 29/7/42
    1/9/42 Leave with RA (Ration Allowance) at ?? for the period 1/9/42 to 9/9/42
    [the bit following RA@ would often be a cash amount in the local currency to cover daily rationing expenses, but I can't make out what is written here - looks more like SL/R ]
    31/11/42 Granted leave with RA (Ration Allowance) at ?? for the period 31/11/42 to 9/12/42
    21/12/42 Granted Embarkation Leave with effect from 21 Dec 42 to 26 Dec 42 extension granted to 4 Jan 43
    29/4/43 Ordered by CO to forfeit 14 days ordinary (?) pay for showing wilful defiance of censorship regulations on 28/4/43. Date of award: 29/4/43
    [Next there is a faint stamp for 'Awarded Africa Star', below which is appended what looks like '+ 1st Army Clasp']
    16/2/45 Redesignated 54 Super Hvy Regt RA

    Martin
     
  3. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target Mist over Dartmoor

    54 Heavy Regiment RA - The Royal Artillery 1939-45

    Service Record shows that he Disembarked Theatre of Operations 5.3.43

    ra 1939-45 shows that the Regt was with 1st Army so the transcription by Martin regarding 1st Army Star is correct.
    54 Heavy were with 1st Army AGRA (1st Army Group Royal Artillery).
    1st Army Group Royal Artillery - Wikipedia

    This means that he was in Tunisia with the BNAF British North Africa Force
    Tunis fell to the Allies in May 1943 after which 1st Army was disbanded.

    The Regt then became part of the 8th Army in Italy (CMF)

    March to May 1943 the fighting involved the 1st Army from the Torch Landings along with reinforcements from the UK.

    1st Infantry Division sailed from the UK in February arriving in Algiers in March.
    This seems to fit the profile in the Service Record.

    He would probably have taken part in the barrage of 696 guns fired in the opening phase of the advance to Tunis.
    Operation Vulcan
    Goubellat Plain Medjez Tunisia 6th May 1943
    "At dawn 4th Indian Div with 6th armoured, were to push down the road with support from the massed 696 guns.
    At 1915 3IB had taken all its objectives and fought off a counter attack with the help of continuous Defensive Fire.
    4th British Division on the right and 7th Armoured were reported to have reached Massicault with little opposition and the enemy were falling back."

    My hand sketchmap Medjezel Bab 1943.jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2023
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  4. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    Tom.

    if you get into this and want to know about where 54 Hvy Regt RA were during their time - they were involved in all the big battles, then do say.

    Regards

    Frank
     
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  5. hutt

    hutt Member

    I have a copy of 54 Hvy Reg diary for 1944. Happy to share if of interest. For a brief period in early 44 my fathers RASC company was helping supply their ammunition.
    Graham
     
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  6. Tom Cavadino

    Tom Cavadino Member

    Amazing! I can't thank you enough. I knew someone would be able to make this text out lol.
     
  7. Tom Cavadino

    Tom Cavadino Member

    Hi, I have placed an order for Andy Newson to go to TNA for me in March. I should know more about the 54th HR by then.
     
  8. Tom Cavadino

    Tom Cavadino Member

    Hi Graham, I have placed an order with Andy Newson for 4x war diaries of the 54th HR but would love to have a look over what you have got! Private message me if you can.
    Thanks.
     
  9. Gary Tankard

    Gary Tankard Well-Known Member

    I also have the WDs for the whole of 1944 and 1945, 734 pages in all.
     
  10. Tom Cavadino

    Tom Cavadino Member

    Private message me please.
     
  11. Tom Cavadino

    Tom Cavadino Member

    Good morning, Merry Christmas!
    The form gives an indication of him being in P Battery (P/54) but they [54th HR] transitioned to 11/12/13/14 Batteries in 1943. Can you see any indication of any of these numbers on the form to show what battery he moved into?

    Thanks,
    Tom
     
  12. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target Mist over Dartmoor

    "Can you see any indication of any of these numbers on the form to show what battery he moved into?)

    Cant see any indication on what is shown.
    I think that is unlikely to show up in his records, as his Pay Centre would have been RHQ signed off by the Regt Admin Officer and approved by the CRA office in Divisional HQ.

    The Troop and Battery would report to RHQ.

    The best place to look, if you have any, is in letters posted to, or by him.

    It will give His name then Battery Number/ Regiment Number then area of operation BNAF or CMF.

    The War Diary is unlikely to list him unless he was off sick in hospital and requested for return to his unit on the Returns for Other Ranks.
    Sickness was common, particularly from Malaria or Jaundice, requiring time in hospital then convalescence in a Rahab / Training Unit.

    "I’m in hospital with Infective Hepatitis, our local brand of Jaundice.
    My complaint is very common out here and mysterious too. Nobody knows
    what causes it and the treatment is completely empirical. Earlier in the year
    it was a common complication of malaria but a couple of blood tests have
    shown that I’m free from that.
    As it is, when I get out of here in another week or ten days..............."

    If this had occurred here woud be references to (xii) or x2 which denotes unavailable due to medical circumstance's.
    there is one reference to Xii
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2023
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  13. 51highland

    51highland Very Senior Member

    RA@SL/R =Ration allowance at Standard local rate. Attached his attestation dated 1941.
     

    Attached Files:

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  14. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target Mist over Dartmoor

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  15. Tom Cavadino

    Tom Cavadino Member

    Excellent, some great insight here.
    Just out of curiousity, where was this quote from?:

    "I’m in hospital with Infective Hepatitis, our local brand of Jaundice.
    My complaint is very common out here and mysterious too. Nobody knows
    what causes it and the treatment is completely empirical. Earlier in the year
    it was a common complication of malaria but a couple of blood tests have
    shown that I’m free from that.
    As it is, when I get out of here in another week or ten days..............."
     
  16. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target Mist over Dartmoor

    From the Wartime letters of Lt H N Beadle which I inherited.
    He was in hospital in Sousse Tunisia at the time.
    He fought in the battles of the Medjez Plain in Tunisia and at Anzio.
    He was Command Post Officer for 266 Battery 67 Field Regt.
    Killed by a landmine 2nd Sept 1944 in Florence.
     

    Attached Files:

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  17. Tom Cavadino

    Tom Cavadino Member

    Interesting.
    Unfortunately for me (or at least to my knowledge) there are no letters sent to or from my grandfather, so I am hoping war diaries give me the information I am looking for.
     
  18. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target Mist over Dartmoor

    My father in law burned all his wartime letters but wrote a book beforehand.
    His wife kept hers, my wife has them locked in a box.
    Not sure what that says about marriage.
     
  19. Tom Cavadino

    Tom Cavadino Member

    Hi Martin,
    On the first page, there is also a mention of RA Field 260, which as far as I am aware is not a real regiment during WW2. Could you shed any light on this? Also, does this form give indication that my Grandad was in the regular Army or the TA?
     
  20. Tom Cavadino

    Tom Cavadino Member

    I also have the following service files, which are TA papers. Does this mean he joined the TA after the war? Also, I am wondering if there any sections on here which are interesting bits of information?
     

    Attached Files:

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