No7 Commando/Crete/Stalag IV-A/Beds&Herts

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by South, Apr 29, 2012.

  1. South

    South Member

    Sorry about the title, I wasn't sure which part was the best bit to put!!

    My husbands Grandfather Charlie Cox joined the TA (Beds & Herts Regt) in 1938. He was called up in 1939, and at some point after that joined No 7 Commando. He was captured in Crete in 1941 and spent the rest of the war in Stalag IV-A. When he returned home in 1945 he was too ill to be demobbed so he was transfered to become a military policeman until 1947 when he was well enough to leave the Army.

    We have been told by a relative that he was on HMS Glengyle at some point, and the photograph below has "Cape Town 1941" written on the back.

    He didn't really speak about the war, other than a couple of funny stories about his time as a POW. We have some photographs of his time as a POW and I have sent those to the Commando Veterans website at my husbands request so that they can add them to their gallery.

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  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Thats a great Beds and Herts photo - 2nd Beds and Herts went to France in 1940. Do you know what Battalion he was with ?
     
  3. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    Hi South.
    HMS Glengyle was one of several 'Glen' class Infantry Landing Ships which were converted from civilian passenger/cargo liners early in the war. During early service they carried about 12 LCA (landing craft assault) and 1 LCM (landing craft mechanised) each, which were launched from davits, rather as lifeboats were launched. They were modified to carry more landing craft later and Glen class LSIs were involved in many early African and Mediterranean landing operations (and evacuations). They were also extensively used at D-Day.
    Some info from the Combined Operations website which includes 7 Commando:
    BARDIA NORTH AFRICA

    Hope that is helpful.
     
  4. South

    South Member

    I have no idea which Battalion he was with unfortunately. Although I did just double check with my husband that he didn't know either and his reply was that "It's in a book about the Beds and Herts Regt, Grandad is in the nominal roll"

    Well...I guess I had better hunt down that book then!

    It is a lovely photo, I am lucky to have such good photos of him and of my Grandad (photo on Introductions board).
     
  5. South

    South Member

    Hi South.
    HMS Glengyle was one of several 'Glen' class Infantry Landing Ships which were converted from civilian passenger/cargo liners early in the war. During early service they carried about 12 LCA (landing craft assault) and 1 LCM (landing craft mechanised) each, which were launched from davits, rather as lifeboats were launched. They were modified to carry more landing craft later and Glen class LSIs were involved in many early African and Mediterranean landing operations (and evacuations). They were also extensively used at D-Day.
    Some info from the Combined Operations website which includes 7 Commando:
    BARDIA NORTH AFRICA

    Hope that is helpful.

    Thank you very much, that is all very helpful. I shall take a look at that website now. Thanks.
     
  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

  7. South

    South Member

    If this is the one its not cheap and quite rare :(

    barrow - The Story of the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment - AbeBooks

    Ahh, yes that is the one according to my husband...apparently his Grandad had a copy of it, but my husband isn't sure what happened to it when Charlie died (in 2010). My newest misson then is to hunt down that rather valuable book, someone in the family should have it - I hope it wasn't thrown away!!!

    I have asked my husband about this before by the way, tonight is the first time he has decided to tell me about this book, how frustrating!
     
  8. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Hello South,

    I understand that only the 1st, 2nd & 5th Bn's Beds & Herts saw active service, the latter going into captivity as POW's of the Japanese on the fall of Singapore. Assuming that he wasn't already in No 7 Commando when he sailed, this makes it likely that he was either 1st or 2nd Bn, which both saw active service in N Africa/Middle East - which a stop en route in Cape Town would suggest he was going to.

    I hope this assists.

    Best,

    Steve.
     
  9. South

    South Member

    Hello South,

    I understand that only the 1st, 2nd & 5th Bn's Beds & Herts saw active service, the latter going into captivity as POW's of the Japanese on the fall of Singapore. Assuming that he wasn't already in No 7 Commando when he sailed, this makes it likely that he was either 1st or 2nd Bn, which both saw active service in N Africa/Middle East - which a stop en route in Cape Town would suggest he was going to.

    I hope this assists.

    Best,

    Steve.

    Thank you, yes that does help alot. We have no idea at what point he joined No 7 Commando, I hope his Service Records will be able to tell us that when we receive them.

    Until I saw the back of that photo today, we had no idea he had ever been in Cape Town (I can't think why no one looked at the reverse of it before!). I had wondered if he was really there, so it's nice to know that whether he was still with Beds & Herts, or was with No 7 Commando, he was definitely in Cape Town at some point!
     
  10. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

  11. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    "No. 7 Commando operated as "A" Battalion in 6th Division. They saw action in Egypt in March 1941 and in Crete during may of that year. In August 1941 they were disbanded with some personnel transfering to Middle East Commando" The Wartime Memories Project - Special Service Battalions - The Commandos having looked up activities of a few other commando units it would seem that Cape Town was a stopover on route to the middle east, and I dare say other regualar Army battalions also did the same so take your pick:)
     
  12. South

    South Member

    Thank you wtid45 - It would be great if someone already has a copy. If not, you prompted my brain in to thinking that I could try and get it through the Army Library and Information Service (we live on an Army camp with it's own library). I've done an online search of their catalogue, and they hold copies of BOTH of the books! As soon as I can, I will pop in and ask them to order them in for me, usually takes about 2 weeks.

    My husband did ask a few members of his family where the book his Grandad owned has gone, but the reply has been "Don't know" from everyone. What a shame.
     
  13. littlemoor

    littlemoor Junior Member

    Interesting, South. Do you know if he was in Stalag IVA in the castle at Hohnstein or in one of its work camps [kommandos] in or near Dresden? And either way, where was he when the war ended and do you know if he was liberated [and by which army] or walked off to the American lines?
    I'm doing work on Stalag IVA, hence the questions.
    Cheers
    Littlemoor
     
  14. South

    South Member

    Unfortunately, we know very little, although we were always told "Stalag IV-A at Hohnstein". He was definitely still at Stalag IV-A when the war ended.

    All we have really is his POW number, and some photos which he sent home while he was there. They are stamped on the back with a purple stamp that says "Gepruft 30 Stalag IV-A" I think that just means it was approved to be sent, although I'm not sure what the number 30 means (the 30 is in the middle of the stamp with Gepruft at the top and Stalag IV-A at the bottom). The number may well mean nothing at all I suppose.

    The photos we have don't really show much in the background, just trees, so that's not much help either I'm afraid.

    He never mentioned to me or my husband about who liberated them or whether they walked off, but I intend on asking a few of my husbands relatives to see if they have any more ideas about his times there, so if I find out anything of interest I shall let you know. We do have a few stories sent to us by a relative, but nothing that I should think would help your research on the camp itself unfortunately.
     
  15. South

    South Member

    I have finally got around to ordering the books I wanted from our library here on Camp, they arrived today and I have them until the 11th July. If anyone wants me to look up anything in them, I am more than happy to.

    Have only had a quick flick through so far, Charlie's name is in the Capbadge book.

    I have Capbadge: The story of four battalions of the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regt. And The Story of the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment: The 16th Regt of Foot.
     
  16. South

    South Member

    Just received Charlie's service records in the post. There is a lot more paperwork than I had expected. We had always wondered what he did in Crete, we knew he was part of the rearguard action but wondered what his actual role was. His service records state that he was a Bren Gunner. They also say "Failed to return from Crete", which is then crossed out with "Missing presumed prisoner of war". He is finally officially posted as a POW some months later. Unfortunately still no wiser as to who liberated the camp he was in!

    I have his liberation questionnaire, and unit war diaries all thanks to some lovely people on here. The service records were the final piece to the puzzle!
     

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