Normandy: Royal Navy Communications

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by Anthony6000, Oct 11, 2017.

  1. Anthony6000

    Anthony6000 Member

    Hello All, I'm trying to learn more about my late father's experience of D-Day. I don't know if this is possible, but I am specifically interested in finding the location of a church in the vicinity of Caen where may father was involved in setting up a Royal Navy communications base. The only information I have is from the brief discussion I had with him about D-Day, and a certificate of service which I assume he received when he left the Royal Navy. I recall that he said that on D-Day he was involved with extracting soldiers from the water, and then on D+3 (I think) he went ashore as part of a contingent to set up a communications base in a church near Caen. His certificate of service indicates that he was a trainee at the signals school HMS Scotia in Ayr, Scotland from 2 June 1944 to January 1945. I thought that records from Scotia around that time might indicate trainees volunteering for D-Day duty and where they were sent, but unfortunately such records have been impossible to find. I live in South Africa so a visit to the archives in Kew is clearly difficult, but a proffesional historian that I commissioned told me that no records from Scotia survive. Would anyone with knowledge of Royal Navy communications in Normandy be able to assist? Or possible avenues for further research?

    Thank you
    Anthony
     
  2. timuk

    timuk Active Member

    It is possible he was in a RN Beach Signal Section as part of the Royal Naval Beach Commandos. A particularly dangerous role as the RN Beachmasters were the first ashore to control the landings. There is a book (although I've not read it) Beachhead Assault - the story of the Royal Navy Commandos by David Lee, which may give some information. A quick check shows it is available on Amazon.
    Tim
     
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  3. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
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  4. Anthony6000

    Anthony6000 Member

    Thank you Tim, I will certainly do some reading about the Beach Commandos. My father only went ashore at least 3 days after D-Day, but I guess it's possible that work was required in setting up a communications post after the initial phase. Also, I need to find out if any beach signal units set up in structures off the beach ( like a church). Thanks again, Regards Anthony
     
  5. Anthony6000

    Anthony6000 Member

    Hi Clive, thank you for your post. I have a certificate of service and a researcher at Forces War records told me that it's likely that it's the same as what I would get from the MOD. He did say that it might be worth trying anyway, so I still need to explore that option. I also appreciate the list of churches in Caen. I think though that the church was not in Caen itself, as the city was only liberated some time after D-Day. Even though my father said the church was in Caen, it's likely that it was on the outskirts. I suppose it would still be possible to find a complete list of churches in the area, but then the obvious difficulty is knowing which of the candidates is the one of interest.
    Kind regards, Anthony
     
  6. papiermache

    papiermache WO 356 Mechanic

    Funnily enough, I was wondering earlier today what the other file series at the National Archives with the prefix "WO" contained ( I tend to concentrate on the same old file series in my research ) and came across WO 244 today.

    • 
WO 244/157 1944 July - Aug. S.H.A.E.F. signal orders: allocation of frequencies


    • 
WO 244/158 1944 July - Sept. Minutes of meeting to discuss departmental responsibility for the control of pigeons


    • 
WO 244/159 1944 July - 1945 Sept. A.F.H.Q. signal instructions


    • 
WO 244/160 1944 Apr. 20 Overlord, Main "Dispatch Rider Letter Service" diagram: appendix "I" to C.S.O. War Office signals Neptune Signal instruction No.1


    • 
WO 244/161 1944 Apr. 20 Overlord, Main "Dispatch Rider Letter Service" diagram: appendix "I" to C.S.O. War Office signals Neptune Signal instruction No.1: showing additional service time


    • 
WO 244/162 1944 June - Sept. Photostat copies of maps of Southern English coast, English Channel and French coast invasion areas: with line communications from D+ 21 to D+ 91, superimposed


    • 
WO 244/163 1944 June - Sept. Photostat copies of maps of Southern English coast, English Channel and French coast invasion areas: with radio communications from D+ 21 to D+ 91, superimposed

    Details
    • WO 244/164 1944 Oct. Photostat copies of maps of Southern English coast, English Channel and French coast invasion areas: with Messenger Service Trunk Routes, superimposed


     
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  7. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

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  8. papiermache

    papiermache WO 356 Mechanic

    An "Advanced Search" in "Discovery" restricted to files held at Kew using "Overlord", "Signals" and "Any of these references: "WO" brings back 100 file titles, many in WO 219. WO 219 seems to have a lot of microfilm copies of material held in the U.S.A.

    A month at Kew should find something valuable. Just drop everything and pop over ( bring your own flask of tea, the cafe versions are not v. good.)

    Alternatively, try the "Duxford Radio Society." Based at one of the Imperial War Museum's sites they have two sheds full of old radio equipment and members include many who worked for "Pye" in Cambridge. Very helpful people. There is a website. They are almost certain to know somebody who can point you in the right direction.
     
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  9. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Could be this.

    Headquarters Naval Officer in Charge.
    Headquarters Naval Officer in Charge will be situated close to the Beach Group Headquarters so that communication with it can be by telephone or in person and will not require wireless communication. On Sword the NOIC established his headquarters some ¾ mile inland at a crossroads just north of Hermanville. The Headquarters of 101 Beach Sub Area was also here as was that of 3 Division until it moved further inland. This site had good communications and a clear view overlooking the beaches, the approaches and Gooseberry 5. It would also be well sited for VHF wireless communications.

    Headquarters Naval Officer in Charge will have the following links:
    - Naval Beach Wave to the Main Beach Signal Station and thence to Deputy Senior Officer Assault Group on a Headquarters Ship.
    - Shore to Shore Wave to Combined Force Headquarters in UK. This will not be in place in the early stages and communication with the UK will be via Headquarters Ships.
    - VHF Link to RN Radar. This link is provided by the Radar unit.
    - VHF Link to RAF Group Control Centre. Provided by Naval Liaison Office (Air) Signals Section.

    Mike
     
  10. timuk

    timuk Active Member

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  11. Anthony6000

    Anthony6000 Member

  12. Anthony6000

    Anthony6000 Member

    Thank you, I will most certainly have a look at the online references you have found. I might be able to visit the archives myself next year, I will keep your heads-up about the tea in mind :)
     
  13. Anthony6000

    Anthony6000 Member

    This is astounding, thank you so much!
     
  14. Anthony6000

    Anthony6000 Member

    Thank you Tim, I will follow your advice and look at the war diary.
     

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