Personal Diary 1942 Adjt A.J.S Mackenzie 50th (Northumbrian) Divisional Signals Regiment, TA

Discussion in 'Royal Signals' started by Kev1, Dec 20, 2011.

  1. Got it! Hadfield-Spears were an Anglo-French ambulance unit.
    Dad remembered they had mostly women drivers but didn't know they were known as this.

    So the 'beauties' that Capt Mackenzie was not impressed with were girls with the ambulance unit.

    Also on your list of queries was CRE: Command Royal Engineers, Brigadier in charge of Engineering Units.
    Kev1 likes this.
  2. Kev1

    Kev1 Member

    Thanks for the above Mel, had a feeling it was something to do with the ladies but didn't think they would be so close to the front line. But I notice they were in Tobruk.


    This is a scan of the last entries in the diary - As you can see the last page is in completely different handwriting, and in Italian. We can only assume it's an entry written by whoever found the diary.

    No news from the Italian trail - but hopefully something after Christmas.

    One more thing, we have an answer to the "Chalumpchi" mentioned in the diary - my other son has unearthed the following:

    "I've done a little more research into the "Chalumpchi" mystery and it looks like it might be a misspelling. Assuming the writer never saw the word written down, it's likely he spelled it phonetically:

    "Chalamchi" comes up in one of the online Urdu dictionaries as "washbowl", and Merriam-Webster's dictionary has a variant, "chillumchee", which translates as "metal wash bowl". That would fit the context perfectly."

    I'm curious to know what he got up to between hospitalisation in 1943 and his ill-fated return to England in 1945
  3. [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    I hope you can view these - they were all drawn/written by Mackenzie.

    It is interesting that the diary he kept only covered the period when he was adjutant. As dad has said they were under orders not to keep diaries in case they were captured.

    To find where he was posted next you would need to obtain his records.

    Hope you can get some more information on how the diary ended up in Italy.

    Best wishes

    Mel, and Mel Snr.
  4. Kev1

    Kev1 Member

    Thanks for that lads.
    They came out fine.
    On the question of the diary, would it have been his job to keep the Regimental Diary up to date? If so, then I can only assume he kept a detailed record of events and then put the relevent bits into the official document. Then when he was finished as Adjutant there was no need to keep a diary. I know it was forbidden to keep a diary, but it must have been quite common, because my father kept one! He was only a sergeant.
    Cheers and Season's greetings
  5. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Hope you can get some more information on how the diary ended up in Italy.

    Best wishes

    Mel, and Mel Snr.

    Hello Mel, Mel Snr. & Kevin,

    The entry in Italian is dated the 20 June 1942. This is the time of the Gazala gallop and retreat all the way from the Gazala boxes to the Alamein line. I would not be surprised if the diary was left behind or lost in the mad dash not to be captured, and was picked up by an Italian soldier; from the reading I've done they appear to do most of the clearing up of the battlefield for the Axis forces.

    The diary would then be repatriated back to Italy, either officially or unofficially.

    I think Mel Snr. will be able to provide comment on the state of matters during the Gazala gallop, either first hand or anecdotally! :)

    Merry Christmas to you all,

    Gogargirl likes this.
  6. Kev1

    Kev1 Member

    Following on from the diary, I have now obtained A J S Mackenzie's war record which I am now adding to the thread:

    Note: The promotions had a rubber stamp over them and the dates were difficult to read.




    Appointed 2nd Lt 5th Battalion The Green Howards Scarborough 22/01/36

    Attached Depot Green Howards Richmond 15-26/09/38

    Called out for Service 15/09/39

    With 5th Bn Green Howards Chipping Camden 07/11/39

    Embarked for B.E.F. 25/01/40

    Attached to HQ 150 Inf. Bde B E F 22/04/40

    From 5th Bn Green Howards to be Lt. Royal Corps of Signals 01/06/40

    Transferred from 5th Bn Green Howards TA to R. Signals TA 01/06/40
    ( To be Lt and retain present Seniority )

    Appt. A/Capt. 20/10/40

    Embarked for overseas with 50th Div Sigs. 20/05/41

    Embarked Egypt & disembarked unknown destination 25/07/41

    Disembarked 04/11/41

    Departed 30/11/41

    Entered Iraq 03/12/41

    Arrived 08/12/41

    Moved with 50th D/S 11/02/42

    Relinq. Apptd as Adjutant 50 D/S and retain T/Capt 03/03/42

    Apptd 2nd in Command 50 Div Sigs 04/06/42

    Relinq apptd as 2nd in Command 50 D/S and T/Major 12/07/42

    Apptd 2 I/c 50 Div Signals 15/10/42

    Admitted hospital 15/11/42

    Relinq apptd as Second-in-Command Retains T/Rank 15/11/42

    Discharged hospital to X List 06/12/42

    Apptd Second-in-Command 50 D/S & Retains T/Major 16/12/42

    Posted from X List to 50 Div Signals 17/12/42

    Admitted Hospital 29/06/43

    Discharged Hospital 03/07/43

    Admitted Hospital 04/07/43

    Relinquished as 2 in Com & Retains T Rank/Major with 50 Div / Sigs 04/07/43

    Discharged Hospital to 50 Div Signals 19/08/43

    Posted from 50 Div Signals to G.H.Q. M.E.F. and retains T/Major 30/08/43

    To be G.S.O. II SD X Branch G.H.Q. M.E.F. 30/08/43

    From G.S.O.2 to be G.S.O.1 & granted A/Lt Col X Branch S.H.Q. M.E.F. 20/03/44

    From G.S,O. 1 to G.S.O.2 X Branch G.H.Q M.E.F. & relinq A/Lt Col 13/04/44

    From G.S.O.2 SD X Branch G.H,Q M.E.F. to G.S.O.1 and granted A/Lt Col 25/04/44

    Accidentally killed 7.10.45

    Casualty should read night of 6/7.10.45


    Lieutenant 22/01/39
    T/Capt 20/01/41
    A/Major 03/03/42
    T/Major & WS Capt 03/10/42
    A/Lt Col 20/03/44
    Relinq A/Lt Col 13/04/44
    A/ Lt Col 25/04/44
    T/Lt Col & WS/Major 01/07/44


    Mentioned in Despatches for Gallant and Distinguished Services in the Middle East 06/04/44
    Awarded Africa Star with 8th Army Clasp
    1939-45 Star
    Defence Medal
    War Medal
  7. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Hello Kevin,

    I noticed he missed the Husky landings and the fighting in Sicily through being hospitalised:

    Admitted Hospital 29/06/43

    Discharged Hospital 03/07/43

    Admitted Hospital 04/07/43

    Relinquished as 2 in Com & Retains T Rank/Major with 50 Div / Sigs 04/07/43

    Discharged Hospital to 50 Div Signals 19/08/43

    Posted from 50 Div Signals to G.H.Q. M.E.F. and retains T/Major 30/08/43


    Mentioned in Despatches for Gallant and Distinguished Services in the Middle East 06/04/44
    Awarded Africa Star with 8th Army Clasp
    1939-45 Star
    Defence Medal
    War Medal

    But for that he would have also recieved the Italy Star.

    Do you know what caused him to be hospitalised? I know a lot of troops that had been in the desert for a long time suffered with jaundice!


  8. Kev1

    Kev1 Member

    Hello Steve,

    No, there is nothing in the records about his hospitalization. He went sick pretty much the same day as the Division was embarking for Sicily and never got there. That eliminated one possibility of how the diary ended up in Italy.

    From what I've read, even Rommel came down with Jaundice, so it is a possibility.


  9. Steve & Kevin

    Here are some entries from Signals War Diary and an interesting entry from ADMS.

    From the Sigs Diary the jaundice cases (there were a great many) seemed to be reported in late '42.

    Pre and post Diary information:
    No record of Alex sailing with the main body from England to the Middle East on 22 May 1941.
    Entry from his Diary dated 12 March 1942 “New Mess cook Goupillot who used to cook for me in “F” Sec days.” “F “ Section were attached to 74 Field Reg., in July 1941.
    War Diary entry on 16 July 1941 states “F and G Sections – at sea”. H.Q, I Coy, E & J Sections were already established in Egypt by then. If Alex was with “F” Section this explains his absence from the main body sailing list. Unfortunately the 31 July posting has him with “J” Section.
    On 17 July “F” Section arrived Middle East and stationed at Qassasin. (Along with “J” Section).
    On 24 July 1941 he had arrived and left Mena Camp, Cairo and embarked Port Said for Cyprus.
    On 31 July 1941 he was posted from 3 Coy “J” Section (151 Bde) to 1 Coy as O.C. “D” Section replacing Capt E.T. Parkes.
    On 3 March 1942 he was promoted Major within establishment of the Unit.
    26 July 1942 appointed O.C. HQ Coy
    5 Oct 1942 appointed 2i.c. and O.C. 1 Coy.
    15 Nov 1942 admitted 64 General Hospital but kept on Unit strength. (A request for his return to the Unit is shown on the nominal Roll).
    Returned as 2 i.c. on 18 December 1942.
    Entry in ADMS War Diary 29 Dec 42 “Major Mackenzie, R.C. Signals brought information that just inside minefield at Stanley Gap in the old GAZALA position there is an Austin Ambulance Car in good condition, with a burst front wheel and with a dead man on a stretcher inside. This must be the ambulance car of 149 Fd.Amb. 149 Fd. Amb. informed me C.R.E. has made available R.E. personnel with mine detector to help recover this ambulance car”

    On the death of Lt-Col A. B. De Lisle (killed near Zig Zaou, 22 March 1943) he assumes command of the Unit. This was held until 8 April 1943.
    May 17 1943 he arrived back at Sidi Bishr from Cairo.
    22 May 1943 a posting order was received for Himself and Major S.R. Tait.
    (Major Tait left the Unit on 6 June 1943 being posted to 14 L of C Signals)
    28 June 1943 A J Mac admitted to hospital and S.O.S. of Unit.
    By 13 July when the Unit were in Sicily he was reported still in hospital in Egypt and was replaced as 2 i.c. by Major D. L. Campbell.
  10. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Thanks for that Mel. I don't know if relapses in jaundice cases were/are common?!

    Quite a few of the 50 Div troops that fought in Sicily in July/August 1943 were hospitalised just before D-Day with recurrent malaria. A different disease I know, but makes one wonder... Why is there never a doctor around when you need one?!!!

    Edit: Just found this on the net.

    "A healthy diet and physical rest can cure a mild form of viral jaundice. However recovery is slow in jaundice caused by obstruction in the bile ducts, based upon the cause and removal of the cause.

    Avoid meat, as the digestive ability of the system is decreased. Bile production increases with heavy vegetarian foods. Citrus foods render ascorbic acid. Improper eating and poor digestion might contribute to recurrence of infection.

    The patient must be start with a juice fast for a week, and he should take complete rest until the acute symptoms of the disease subside. After the juice fast, he is advised to adopt an all-fruit diet for a further three to five days, taking three meals a day of fresh Juicy fruits at five hourly intervals.

    Thereafter, a simple light carbohydrate diet without fats, best obtained from fruits and vegetables may be re-started. Any type of digestive disturbances must be avoided. No food with a propensity to ferment or decay in the lower intestines like pulses and legumes should be included in the diet.

    Bilirubin accumulation in the blood leads in darkening of the urine. It also causes in change in skin color and darkening of stools. Maintenance of a well balanced diet and strict lifestyle is helpful.

    A bland and soft diet is recommended. Saturated fats and fried foods must be avoided. Completely abstain from alcoholic beverages. Fresh vegetable juices and vegetable broths are very helpful. Processed foods, flavorings and artificial sweeteners are avoided.

    Alcohol sets a lot of burden on the liver. Pears, oranges, apple, pineapple, and grapes are advocated in convalescence. A fat excluded and low carbohydrate diet is allowed.

    Moderate exercise with a well balanced diet prevents recurrence of jaundice. Supplementation of necessary nutrients helps in regeneration of the liver cells. Adequate amount of water, barley water and tender coconut are effective in flushing out toxins."

    So, with desert water, a bully beef and hard biscuit diet, a couple of nights on the lash in the Officer's mess and hey presto, a relapse... :). It would be great if we could find out why he was hospitalised, especially the second time!!!


  11. Cheers Steve.

    Sigs War Diary November 42 has 6 Officers and 83 other ranks hospitalised with jaundice, with two more Officers down in December when Dad was shipped out. I guess the fried food he had on the train didn't help!

    He says that the only real veg they got at that time was something they called 'stewed gas-cape' which was pretty inedible!

    ADMS Diary 16 November '42 mentions increased cases of infective hepatitis, especially among Officers.

    His first bout of Malaria was in Germany in 1945 and I remember him still having recurring attacks in the early '60's (when I was a 'nipper').

    He always assumed he caught it in Sicily, but ADMS were warning of it in some areas of the 'Desert' from '41, Dad says they were issued Mepacrine when they pulled back to Sidi Bish - having to swallow the tablet before being allowed to join the mess lines.
    Some men palmed the tablets and didn't take them because it turned them yellow.

    It seems strange Alex was re-admitted the day after discharge and that altogether spent nearly two months in hospital. Any other thoughts or directions to persue?
    Kevin -does it have the Field Amb /Field Hospital number or any other details on his records?

    (As for long term effects - Dad was breaking up his old path last night with a sledgehammer and pick!)

  12. Kev1

    Kev1 Member

    The question must be, why was the 'young Mel' not breaking up the path? !!
    As for Alex's demise, all I have are the entries as transcribed. But in the column 'Authority' after the dates are the entries ME PT ll 337/4/43 for the first three hospitalisation entries and ME PT ll 401/43 for the final discharge.
    Presumably there are bits of paper somewhere under these headings which may give further details. What do you think?
    I am out of the country now and can't follow up - even if I knew where to start!

    (Please help him with his new paving slabs)

  13. ...its a joint effort Kevin.

    Unless someone else can de-cipher the entries ME is possibly Middle East?
    Will look at Dad's medical sheet and see if any comparisons. He spent a day or two in a Field Amb about June/July.

    Enjoy Italy.

  14. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Hello Mel & Kevin,

    Who did the most work on that path, Mel?

    ME PT ll 337/4/43 and ME PT ll 401/43 are likely theatre of operation part 2 orders. As Kevin suggests you would need a copy of the orders/entry to understand what they were. I haven't the 'foggiest' how to find these orders; indeed I have never seen anything on this forum that would point us in the right direction - yet!


  15. Kev1

    Kev1 Member

    Double post - please delete! (and sorry!)
  16. Kev1

    Kev1 Member

    I'm attaching the explanations for the numbers now quoted in the diary. All credit to Mel (A Well Camel) for his incredible detective work - Thanks Mel, it really is impressive what you've managed to find out. I owe you a pint, or twenty!

    Notes to War Diary

    1. 52167 Major Basil Minor M.B.E. KIA Thursday 4 June 1942, died in 149 Field Ambulance from shell wounds, aged 28. Son of Philip and Agnes E. Minor, of Darlington, Co. Durham; husband of Marjorie Gathwaite Minor, of Coventry. Solicitor. (Joint grave 2. J. 5, Knightsbridge War Cemetery, Acroma.) Second in command and o.c 1 Company. Dad recalls that three officers were sat on the edge of a trench when a shell landed and the blast killed two of them outright. The third officer, an Irishman survived. (see 84). There were apparently no marks on the bodies. Major Minor was his C.O., in "A" Section. He was tall and skinny with fair/ginger haired. He had been a member of the T.A. from 19/07/1931. His M.B.E. was awarded on 11 July 1940 for work during the Dunkirk evacuation. The citation reads “This officer as O.C. No.1 Coy has performed his duties in a most able manner since mobilisation. During active operations he worked unceasingly in the supervision of his Coy and on more than one occasion performed the duties of his section officers. In particular on the night of 30/31 May, Capt. Minor took command of a cable detachment and under very difficult conditions laid cable from Adinkerke to La Panne”

    2. 2nd Lieutenant G.A. (Bloomers) Bloomfield. Joined the unit 14/08/1940. Attached "K" Section August 1941 with150 Bde. September 1941 back to "A" Section and Education Officer. March 1942 he held temporary command of “A” Section. Posted from Unit in September 1942

    3. Type of radio sets used, known by their reference numbers, No. 9, No.11, No. 22 etc.

    4. Officer in charge of codes, - Capt E.J.S. North 5 Green Howards, attached to Signal Unit. (see50).

    5. 2nd Lieutenant D.J “Don” Asher was at 61 B.G.H (Base General Hospital) on 5 January 1942. On 3 June 1943 at Sidi Bishr Captain Asher was admitted to hospital and S.O.S (struck off strength) of Unit. Date of joining shown as 14/12/1940.

    6. On coast in Kuwait, south of Kuwait City.

    7. Major Robin Hugh Turton Deputy Assistant Adjutant-General 50 Div. AAG, GHQ, MEF. (1903-1994). He was M.P. for Thirsk and Malton for 45 years both before and after the War. With experience from Eton JDOTC, he was commissioned into 4 Battalion Green Howards in June 1939. Awarded M.C. 1942. On 15 Oct 1942 he left Rear HQ for GHQ to assume new appointment as AAG (liaison & welfare). Later in life was made Baron Tranmire.

    8. ADMS War Diary entry; “ADMS, Cpl Patterson, Pte Smith left in fast car party at 0700 hours – Bagdad overnight” ADMS was ‘Pirrie’ (see 10).

    9. Oil would ooze up through the ground and freeze at night, causing havoc once the sun came up. An entry dated 12 Jan 1942 in ADMS Diary “ lots of trouble as roads were made of oiled clay, or nothing and weather was wet”

    10. 24722,Lieutenant-Colonel C.A.E. Firth, Gloster Regt A.A. & Q.M.G., 50 Div. On 10 March 1942 he left to take up appointment as C.O. 1st Royal Sussex Regt. In Aug 1942, Major (T/Lt-Col C.E.A. Firth was mentioned in despatches for his actions at the Gazala line.

    Col I. M. Pirrie, M.C., A.M.S., T.A. (ADMS 50 Div.) Admitted Military Hospital Troodos 18 August 1941 and discharged next day. The British Medical Journal of 22 June 1918 has him in the Special Reserve of Officers of the Royal Medical Corps as a Captain and with the M.C. He relinquished his acting rank of Major upon reposting. On 6 November 1943 he was awarded the Efficiency Decoration of the Territorial Army, while he was also mentioned in despatches in recognition of his gallant and distinguished services in the Middle East. An entry of 14 July 1956 has him appointed to the Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, as a ‘Serving Brother’. On 10 Feb 1942 Lt Col J Morrison M.C., T.A. took over duties from him. (see 111)

    53695, Lt-Col David J Russell of R.O.A.C. was ADOS in 50 Div HQ at this time. A regular from the Lincoln Regt., he had been awarded an O.B.E by April1946 when promoted Major from his post-war rank of Capt. (He was a War Subs. Lieut-Col)

    52954, Major C.A.T. (Cecil) Halliday, M.B.E., Hampshire Regt was G.S.O.2 at Div HQ at this time. Ranked Lieutenant he was appointed Adjutant vice Capt. G.D. Browne on 21 Jan 1939. On 2 February 1941 he was promoted Capt. He was posted to Home Establishment 12 April 1942. On 27 January 1948 he was appointed a Premn. Reg Commn, of Major antedated to 4 January 1942 under the terms of ACT 638 of 1946. On 4 January 1964 Lt-Col (Hon. Col) Halliday (Emp. List 1), having attained the age limit, ceased to belong to the Regular Army Reserve of Officers.

    98962, Capt. L.A.C. Pooley. Promoted A/Major and posted O.C. 505 Field Coy. on 7 April 1942 on the death of Major Casebourne (see 212). He survived the ‘Gazala Gallop’ which took a heavy toll on R.E. Officers and men. On 6 November 1952 having attained the age limit of liability to recall, ceased to be a T.A. Reserve Officer, retaining the hon. rank of Major.

    52867, Lieutenant-Colonel Robert. (Bob) Stevenson Wight Relinquishes command of Unit on 16 February 1942 and assumes command G.H.Q. Royal Signals at Mena. On 5 May 1939 he was promoted from Major. On 18 September 1951 he received the Territorial Efficiency Decoration and 1st Clasp.

    51378 Lt William David Wilson, 1 Bn Grenadier Guards, was with HQ as NCO. K.I.A. 22 April 1942, aged 29. Son of Captain Robert Amcotts Wilson, D.S.O., R.N., and Gladys Wilson; husband of Gladys Gillian Wilson. (Knightsbridge War Cemetery 3.A.11)

    11. River Front Hotel –telephone 7097. Accounts were settled weekly and bills detailed amongst other items; board & lodging, extra food, laundry, taxies & coolies, telephone, and of course-Bar.

    12. A bar/nightclub. – no other information.

    13. G 2. General staff officer with responsibility for intelligence and/ security.

    14. Royal Army Ordnance Corps, supplied and maintained all manner of equipment.

    15. 39481 Lieut-Col Ronald M (Ronnie) Percival, joining date given as 09/02/1928. Posted 9 Line of Signals 31/07/42. Supplement to London Gazette 23 May 1950, from Active List, retaining his present seniority. On 14 August 1951 he was awarded the “2 Clasp” to his Territorial Efficiency Decoration.

    16. Habbaniya –included a major air base, 30 miles west of Baghdad . The Allies held out here during the Anglo-Iraq War of 1941 to sustained attacks with the British bombing the escarpment overlooking the airbase.

    17. English Pattern Indian Police – Tent with two layers of cloth for both the flies, it has a small ridge pole, about 6 ft long with two standing poles. The outer fly does not extend to the ground but covers the inner fly only.

    18. Capt. H.W. (Harry) Iris, R.A. assumed command of 50 Div Provost 22 Sept 1941. On 27 May 1942 he held the title DAPM when wounded by ‘friendly machine gun fire’ from a British aircraft. He was able to continue in his role however. A rest camp for personnel of the Division who had fought from Gazala was opened on 14 July 1942 at Sidi Bishr, which was run by Captain Iris and the Div Catering Adviser. On 23 April 1943 he was appointed A.M.P. 50 Div and granted acting rank of Major.

    19. American Boeing B17 bomber planes

    20. Landing Ground Number 5. One of a number of landing fields in the Middle East.

    21. Rutbah Wells was a fortified town at this time, situated on the Haifa pineline.

    22. Originally an oil-pumping station 435 kms from Bagdad, in western Iraq. ‘H’ here refers to Haifa on the coast where the pipe line terminated. The ‘T’ pipeline terminated at Tripoli passing through Homs and Palmyra further north. A single pipeline ran from the oil fields at Kirkuk to Haditha on the River Euphrates. The stations along this section designated “K 1”, “K2”etc. The “H” and “T” pipelines separated at Hadithra.

    23. Friedman............Nothing found as yet

    24. Mafraq another fortified town, south of H4 in Trans-Jordan.

    25. Pumping station on the border between Iraq and Trans-Jordan.

    26. Light Aid Detachment – small (60+ men) from Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers (R.E.M.E.) Repaired and maintained vehicles.

    27. Arthur Rawdon Spinney served on Allenby’s Staff during WW1 and set up a provisioning company afterwards. This supplied imported English goods and food to Palestine and Syria from stores in the major towns situated across the Middle East. It seems likely that the Diary refers to accommodation provided here. The supermarket chain still exists today.

    28. 23681, Lt-Col C.A.W.Pegler 67 C.R.E. Works. Promoted full Lieutenant 31 January 1925, he became Captain on 31 January 1934, before being appointed Adj of 50th (Northumbrian ) Divl. Engrs. from 18 January 1936. An entry in the War Diary of 717 Artisan Coy from 14 January 1943 has him visiting the Unit before their departure to Egypt. Post War he was part of the Regular Army. From 31 July 1951, he was placed on full pay (superny.), upon completion of his tenure as Lt-Col, transferring from R.E. on 29 October 1951 as a full Colonel. He ceased to belong to the Regular Army Reserve of Officers on 27 May 1956.

    29. Commander Royal Engineers

    30. Cayley..............Nothing found yet

    31. The Balfour Declaration of 1917 created a right for Jews to occupy Palestine. Conflict in 1921saw the British partition the Mandate by excluding land east of the River Jordan from Jewish settlement. (more than three-quarters of the original land), and renamed it Transjordania and gave it to Emir Abdullah. The new ‘state’ remained part of the Mandate in terms of its legal system and currency until 1946. In 1925 60,000 sq. km. of desert was annexed to eastern Transjordania connecting it with Iraq, thereby cutting Syria off from the Arabian Peninsula.

    32. Tiberias is one of the four holy cities of Judaism, situated along the western shore of the Sea of Galilee, another fortified town.

    33. 67443, A/Major W H L (Bill) Urton, East Yorks, was DAQMG at Div HQ. On 24 Jan 1942 he re-joined Div HQ from Tiberias, having been absent from HQ for nearly three month through waiting at Haifa with Rear Party. On 27 Oct 1942 Major Urton was appointed DAAG taking over from Robin Turton, and on 14 November he was evacuated to 64 General Hospital with jaundice. He was part of Rear Div H.Q. in Normandy in June 1944. Awarded M.B.E. His post-war rank of Lieutenant (War Subs. Capt) was to be made Capt.,
    11 Apr. 1945. On 15 July 1952 he was Major (Hon Lt. Col). In March 1960 he was living at 50 Albion Road, Sutton, Surrey,

    34. Haifa. Port on the Mediterranean. Industrialised sea port by 1942 and termination point of one arm of the Kirkuk oil pipeline.

    35. St Lukes military camp was situated near Haifa.

    36. Now the Colony Hotel. Originally a small pension, run by the German ‘Appinger’ family. In the 1920s additional building took place and the new hotel with fifty rooms was established.

    37. This is Pross’s Bar, Haifa

    38. Eldorado.....Nothing found yet –assume a bar/club

    39. Naval trainees

    40. War Department

    41. Acre; Ancient fortress city in the far North of Haifa Bay. The Vichy commander, General Dentz, signed an armistice at Acre on 13 July 1941, so ending the Syria-Lebanon conflict with the Allies.

    42. CPL Marshall............Nothing found yet but see note 120.

    43. Beyrouth : Beirut. Another sea port/fortress in Lebanon, north of Acre.

    44. situated in the Becca Valley, north east of Beyrouth. Occupied from ancient times it has many Roman ruins including the largest temple to Jupiter anywhere in the Roman world.

    45. Palmyra Hotel – Extract from George Rock History of the American Field Service “there were only a couple of poisonous restaurants, such faded bistros as the Picadilly and Tuffig's corner bar, and the Hotel Palmyra, scene of gala dinners on every occasion that could be celebrated. Men often lived at the Palmyra when they were on duty in Baalbeck for a short time, and those permanently in that town used to go there for short vacations from the cold of the barracks and the ingenious discomfort of its beds. The Palmyra's hot baths (at 50 piastres the tub), as the only ones known in town, were in frequent demand.” The original hotel was built on the site of a Roman amphitheatre in 1874. A modern hotel stands near the original site.

    46. Rayak is south of Baalbeck in the Becca Valley. An airfield was established here by 1942.

    47. 6 Aus. Div. Signals Part of a two Division Corps (the other was 7 Div) sent to Java from 30 January 1942. They had already fought in the Desert and Greece.

    48. This ancient settlement is south east of Rayak. The French had a long history in the area stretching back before WWI. Dad thinks it was while going through Damascus that their vehicles were stoned by the locals!

    49. Rosh Pinnah is located just to the north of the Sea of Galalie, on the north eastern slopes of Mt. Canaan overlooking the Hula Valley. It developed from a moshava founded in 1878 when a group of ultra orthodox Jews settled as farmers with the support of the Baron Edmund de Rothschild.

    50. 70815, E.S.J. (Joe) North Cipher officer attached from 5 Green Howards. Posted as Cipher Officer 13 Corps 20/03/42. Relinquished his commission of Capt., on 30 April 1947, on account of disability and granted the honorary rank of Major.

    51. Hassett..........Nothing found as yet.

    52. Whitecroft.......Nothing found as yet.

    53. Extract from Tich Cotton, Article ref: A3257615 on BBC WW2 People’s site “The first which we came upon in Iraq, was what was known as a Hydra Burner. This was a properly made stove. It resembled the old Primus Stove, but was lain on it's side with the flame directed along a trench cut in the ground. This trench, about eighteen inches wide and as long as the number of dixies we needed for the number to be fed. In our case it was about three feet long. Metal plates were placed over them, sometimes these would get red hot, on which the cook would place dixies containing our prepared food.
    They frightened me when they started up, as they resembled,,what's more and sounded more like a modern jet engine. I had good reason to fear these things as the rumour had gone round that one had exploded and the cook was severely burned.” Dad heard this story too.

    54. 2346226, driver J Wallbridge, Attached UHQ (Unit Head Quarters)- P.O.W. 14/15 June 1942

    55. Kahki Drill, as opposed to regular battle dress uniform. Consisted of shorts, shirts, sun helmets, puttees, hose tops and boots.

    56. 2583393, Sigmn W R Allen

    57. 2574040, Cpl A J Rayner, Orderly Room Corporal. At some point obtained a German heavy machine gun which he fired at enemy planes. He treated the weapon as his own personal property and built a sand-bagged emplacement for it at each leaguer. His father, an old soldier, was the care-taker of Darlington Drill Hall. The family lodged there.

    58. Related in ADMS War Diary that some areas the Division was moving through were malarial. Many cases began to appear after the Division returned to the U.K. in October 1943, and had a debilitating effect in the period up to the Normandy operations, and were attributed to the stay in Sicilly. Dad had his first attack in Germany in 1945 and these reoccurred into the 1960’s.

    59. Captain “Pat” Shaw. Posted 5 Air Formation Signals 29/01/42

    60. 2306620, Lieutenant/TMO, J. F. Widgery. Commisioned Officer 31/12/1940. On 2 Jan 1941 he was Gazetted as mentioned in despatches for work during the May-June 1940 actions, and posted to the Unit as T.M.O. 6 June 1943 "Lt (TMO) J F Widgery who has been with this Unit since mobilisation, first as R.S.M., and lately as T.M.O. leaves on posting to 9th Army Signals.” A friend of Norman Norcross (see 107). They were both serving Regulars nearing the end of their service and were part of the cadre of older N.C.O.’s in the unit in 1939.

    61. 15244, Lieut-Col L G Holmes, M.B.E. (R.H.A.) was GSO1 on General Staff. On 7 April 1942 he was appointed to command 1st Field Regt. Promoted to Major (Temp. Lt.-Col) 15 December 1942 ,and on 29 December 1942 as “acting. Brig.” Was given the acting rank of Major-Gen for the period 23 Aug to 30 Sept 1942 inclusive. London gazette reports on 31 August 1945 him as Lt.-Col (Temp. Brig) and includes in his title C.B.E.

    62. Capt William (Wally) A. Lee adjutant immediately before Alex Mackenzie. Posted Force HQ Iraq 01/02/42. Took part in the defence of Kohima -N.East India and awarded the O.B.E. Knighted in 1975. I met the gentleman in the late 1980's when he was an old man. He was then Sir William Lee. With Unit from 01/05/1936. A squat man with a moustache. After the War, at a reunion at Darlington Drill Hall, he attempted to get Dad, among others, to re-enlist in the T.A. with the offer of a bottle of Guinness!

    63. G3- General staff officer with responsibility for operations.

    64. Joe North.......( could this be Capt North?).

    65. Expeditionary Forces Message telegram service. Each message was allotted a number. Eg: 1....letter received many thanks. 148...All my love parcel sent. 41...Love and kisses. Telegrams were translated to numbers so that transmission was very much quicker. They were translated back to messages at the receiving office. Suspended in December 1944.
    66. Airgraphs were developed by Kodak. A letter was written on a special form which was then photographed. A large number of letters could be put on a single roll of film which was then flown to its destination. On arrival, the film was processed on to a roll of bromide paper which was guillotined to give individual prints which were then put in envelopes and posted locally. The system was first used in May 1941 to exchange mail between the U.K. and Cairo. 1700 forms could be put on a single roll of film that weighed 5½ ozs The US equivalent of airgraphs was V-Mail.

    67. 2573487, Corporal W Robinson, Confirmed P.O.W. 28/29 June 1942 "D" Section. All operators were issued with a watch to know the correct time. These were embossed with the letters W.D. and an arrow on the back. (This entry should read “lost his watch”)

    68. 62290, Captain K A “Ken” Waugh. Confirmed POW 28/29 June 1942 o.c.2 Coy. Evacuated from La Panne in 1940 with Dad and five others in a ships boat which dad skulled out to the paddle steamer Golden Eagle. He was tall and always smartly turned out. In July 1941 admitted to No 2 and 6 General Hospital Qassassin suffering from dysentery. His rank of Capt., from Lieut., was confirmed on 11 April 1945. He transferred to the Royal Artillery on 2 November 1948 retaining this rank. He resigned his Commission with the Royal Regiment of Artillery on 29 April 1952, granted the honorary rank of Major.

    69. Court Martial Pending

    70. Blandford was base depot for Signals. What the damages were is not certain and no mention is made in the official War Diary.

    71. 7SS may refer to 270 Security Section 7 Armoured Brigade.
    When France capitulated in 1940 De Gaulle formed the Free French Forces who continued armed military action against the Axis powers. The Vichy forces had been active in Syria until their capitulation in early 1941.

    72. Formed on 1 November 1941 by the re-designation of Headquarters, British Troops Palestine and Transjordan, the Ninth Army controlled British and Commonwealth land forces stationed in the eastern Mediterranean.

    73. Normandy Hotel, Avenue des Francais, Beruit. From an account by the U.S.Navy Combat Artist Griffith (Griff) Baily Coal; February 1944. “Along the foreshore to the Hotel Normandy. To our room and dry our pistols. Walk out on our balcony overlooking rustling palms around war memorial. Big seas breaking against promenade wall right below us. Salt water stretching away.”

    74. Broumana was at this time the hub of cultural Lebanon with upwards of 25 hotels and Pensions established together with cinemas and restaurants.

    75. Hacock.........Nothing found as yet

    76. Pegs –An affectionate name for wife.

    77. Corporal Ryan, Lance-corporals Terry & Daley............ Nothing found as yet

    78. 2328731Corporal R West – noted as at Base Depot 29 August 1942.Dad believes he left the Unit to be a P.T.I. (Physical Training Instructor)

    79. Douglas Dayler........... Presumably a family friend from home.

    80. These were lists of frequencies various units operated on.

    81. 151 Brigade was one of the constituent Brigades making up the Infantry of 50 Division. It consisted of the 6th, 8th and 9th D.L.I. The other two Brigades were; 69 Brigade, made up of 5th East Yorks and the 6th and 7th battalion Green Howards, and 150 Brigade which consisted of 4th East Yorks and 4th/5th Green Howards. This Brigade ceased to exist after it’s Brigade Box was over-run during the May/June 1942 Gazalla actions. Over 100 Signals personnel were lost during the Gazalla Gallop.

    82. This is D.R. – Dispatch Rider, delivered messages, for the most part, on motorcycle – organised in “D” Section. 2356511. Signalman John Harley died 30 January 1942 aged 32. He was son of William and Jessie Harley; husband of Jean Harley, of Douglas, Lanarkshire. (Damascus Commonwealth War Cemetery Q7.)

    83. “Bridge” – shortened for Wallbridge their driver?

    84. 85578, Temporary Captain Thomas, Barry (MacV), McVicker. (29/09/18 to 2008 in Belfast). Joined Unit 12/01/1941 as 2/Lieut from 20 Corps Signals. Confirmed POW 28/29 June 1942 o,c. D Section (Despatch Riders) held rank until 26/06/45. Major, 7 Ulster Defence Regiment 1971-74. Promoted Lt-Col in T.A. 1966. Dad is almost certain this is the Irish Officer who was with Basil Minor on the trench edge. If so he also served in the Spanish Civil War.

    85. 109102, Captain William “Bill” Bowman. Attached from R.A.O.C., confirmed P.O.W. 28/29 June 1942. Dad believes this is the man who ran a garage in Barnard Castle and joined Darlington T.A. Signals with two of his mechanics, Cec Wright and Jimmy Corps. He was selected for O.C.T.U. and left the Unit in 1939. This is supported by an entry in the London Gazette dated 5 December 1939 in which Sgmn Bowman was appointed 2nd Lieut from R. Signals, T.A. Am entry of 24 January 1941 has him transferred to Royal Army Ordnance Corps as of 21 October 1940 retaining his present seniority.

    86. Convoy is most likely the low budget British film released in 1940. A Royal Navy cruiser is sent on a special mission to meet and escort a convoy to safe English waters. One merchant ship captain will not join the convoy and is attacked, together with the escort, by a U-boat.

    87. “Money for Speed”{1933} staring John Loder {1898-1988) and Ida Lupino –a story of love and speedway. David Lean worked on the film.

    88. Kirkuk

    89. The Villa Hotel de la Source, Baalbek was close to the spring of Ras al

    90. Lieut W A T Morecombe, 16 January 1943 at Regima evacuated sick and S.O.S.

    91. Royal Army Service Corps, responsible for supplying all stores apart from equipment and ammunition.

    92. Capt. Robert (Bob) Barry, taken on strength 07/08/1940. Posted to K Section, as o.c. attached 150 Inf Bde, on 13 May 1942. Confirmed POW 2 June 1942

    93. 4390320, Pte R Scarborough. Attached from 4 Green Howards P.O.W. 14/15 June 1942

    94. 8501, Leslie Frank Thompson, (1892-1971). Entry in H.Q. R.A. War Diary 24 Jan 1942 “Brigadier L.F. Thompson. M.C., relinquished C.R.A. 50 Div and left for Tobruk.” He was attached to 9 Australian Division at Tobruk Fortress. The 9 Australian Division had arrived in Cyrenaica without artillery and required Staff Officers to organise the four regiments of British guns allotted them. As 88 Sub-Area commander he saw to the destruction of fuel and ammunition dumps at the harbour before the city capitulated. Taken prisoner at Tobruk, details of his escape on 11 September 1943 are included in WO208/3345 in The National Archives, Kew.

    95. 4918, George Noel Chadwick (By Golly) Martin, M.C., D.S O.,C.B.E. T/Brig. Born 1882, served throughout WWI, wounded, won first two awards and promoted A/Major. For the M.C. he led a gun at a gallop through infantry, coming into action at 700 yards, silencing several machine guns holding up the advance. He remained in action for several hours, denying the ridge to the enemy, and silenced, two 77 mm. guns, firing on the troops. His D.S.O. was for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty while in command of his battery, evacuating his men after a direct hit. C.R.A. with 50 Div in 1942. (Command Royal Artillery). H.Q. R.A. War Diary notes he resumes command 5 February 1942 at Baalbek. By 5 March 1942 he was vice to Brig. R.M. Graham M.C. T.D., On 1 June 1942 at 1800 hrs he arrived back to take over as C.R.A., only to relinquish command finally on 6 June 1942 “ order to take up appointment of B.R.A., Eighth Army. He was promoted full Colonel 14th Sept. 1942, with seniority from 5th Nov1941, and retired on retirement pay 12 February 1945 with hon rank of Brigadier. Died between 1985-90.

    96. Colonel Harvey...........Nothing found as yet.

    97. Major Baker 3rd Line of Communications Signals.......Nothing found as yet.

    98. Papa George..........Nothing found as yet.

    99. Birtles Supplement to the London Gazette, 20 March 1917; - promotion from Lieutenant to T/Major. Entry in General Staff War Diary at El Adem 3 March 1942, “G.C.M. Capt. H.L. Birtles, E. Yorks.” However London Gazette has following post-war entries: 3 October 1950, awarded Territorial Efficiency Decoration and 1st Clasp. Friday 14 November 1952 E. Yorks – Short Service Commission “Capt H.L. Birtles (92239) T.D. to be Major w.e.f. 29 August 1952” Entry of 8 February 1957 has him listed as on Emp List 4 and “...relinquishes his comn on completion of service 3 February 1957 and is granted the honorary rank of Major” Supplement to the London Gazette, 23 April 1968; T&AVR - Confirmed Major, with seniority 13 September 1965

    100. El Aine was a Syrian village some 18 miles North of Baalbeck, in the Anti-Lebanon foothills

    101. 140905, Capt. Geoffery Arthur Hesketh Jones, Posted C.S.O's Branch 13 Corps & S.O.S. 19 Nov 1942. Previously mentioned in despatches, he was awarded the M.B.E. in 1944 at the recommendation of C.S.O. 13 Corps. His citation reads “From the beginning of the Italian campaign and during the fighting in Sicily, Major Jones has been GSO II Signals at HQ 13 Corps. The speed at which the Corps advanced, the nature of the country and the distances involved have produced a variety of highly intricate signal problems. It was on the correct solution of these problems that the success of the Corps in all its operations largely depended. By his rapid grasp of the signal plans that were made, by his skill in their implementation, by his resource in overcoming difficulties in their execution, Major Jones has performed outstanding service and borne a heavy load of responsibility. With his tactful manner and quiet efficiency he has never failed to help his superiors and to encourage his subordinates. Throughout the operations his work has been deserving of the highest praise”

    102. The Royal Artillery base depot was sited at Almaza,10 miles north of Cairo. 74 (Northumbrian) Fd Regt was a constituent part of 50 (Northumbrian) Division. Joe Lyall....... I can find no entry in the London Gazette for his promotion to Colonel, which would identify him for further research. Training Wing would suggest air force and there was an airbase at Almaza, although it only served as a ground crew transit camp from July 1943. .......Nothing more found as yet.

    103. 15806, Brig. George. W.E.J. Erskine. (1899-1965). As a Captain in K.R.R.C., on 22 January 1929 he was secd. while a student at the Staff College. While serving in India he was made G.S.O. 3. on 16 May 1934. Lieut-Col at outbreak of war. June 1940 command a battalion. Jan 1941 command of 69 Brigade, which he took to the Middle East in June 1941. Feb 1942 became Brigadier General Staff, Headquarters, 13 Corps, Jan 1943 commanded 7th Armoured Div. through the Western Desert, Italy, and Normandy. He was sacked by Montgomery for the way he handled the ‘Breakout’ particularly at Villers-Bocage, and in August 1944 he became head of the SHAEF mission to Belgium. He was later knighted and become C-in-C East Africa during the Mau Mau rebellion, Kenya, and, on retirement, Lt Governor and C-in-C Jersey.

    104. 2233015, Regimental Sergeant Major A E Tompkins. Known as “Tara”. (T’RSM) by the enlisted men. “Burnt-black”from many years service in India. In his 40's at this time. Gangly. Typical Sgt Major, always watching for transgressions.

    105. Rank and file were billeted in the former French Foreign Legion (Gouraud) Barracks. These were a number of two-storied stone buildings, with very small rooms. The front of these first floor rooms opened onto narrow balconies with iron railings. Wavell Barracks were at the other end of the village where Headquarters and the divisional signal office were situated.

    106. 29mm Spigot Mortar had a projectile which loaded onto a steel rod or spigot, which could direct the fire, instead of into a barrel. An anti-blast steel case protected the crew. The gun fired a 20 lb anti-tank bomb or 14 lb H.E (anti-personnel bomb). Anti-tank round – max range 450 yards; most effective at 75-200 yards; max rate of fire 12 rounds per minute (normal rate of fire 6 rounds per minute) Anti personnel round (H.E round) – max range 950 yards; max rate of fire 15 rounds per minute (normal rate of fire 8 rounds per minute)

    107. 92393, Lt/Quarter-Master Norman A Norcross. M.B.E. Long serving regular who rose from the ranks. In Unit from 05/09/1939. From Newcastle area. Gazetted 2 January 1941 as mentioned in despatches for work in France during May-June 1940.He was in command of one group of vehicles which moved dodged in and out of France/Belgium in May 1940 before they were left unserviceable and then a small group of men who made for La Panne near Dunkirk. Posted to G.H.Q. 13/03/43. Effeminate nature, but married in later life. He would annoy his Batman, Sigmn. Authur Gowling, by referring to him as “tweetie-pie”. He would often travel with Dad and tap on the dashboard with his stick and, referring to the speed, say “Master Wallace (he referred to the men with this title) I would rather arrive five minutes late in this world than extremely early in the next”. Dad; “Whenever we were brought up to strength the new blokes would arrive with a ’banana’ or two on their sleeves.(N.C.O.’s) We asked ‘Norkie’ when we were going to get promoted, and he said; ‘If you two get promoted I’ll lose my best two drivers, and I can’t have that’. Gazetted 2 November 1945; War Subs. Capt. (Qr-Mr) to be confirmed as of 5 July 1945. This was substantiated as Major on 3 October 1951

    108. Lt., (T/Capt) A.J. Birch C.O. “C” R.R. Section RAOC and attached to 69 Brigade. Part of Division from 1 September 1939.

    109. 160585, 2/Lt A. H. Hazell, D.L.I. was listed on Nominal Roll, General Staff 25 March 1942 as NCO. By 29 July 1942 he was appointed G.S.O.III (Cam) and given acting rank of Capt. w.e.f. 29 March. On 27 December 1942 he was selected to represent 50 Div at Main Eighth Army in the “J” intercept service. On 10 June 1949 Lt. (War Subs. Capt.) from Emerg. Commn. to be Capt. from 1 January1949 and granted the hon. rank of Major. On 2 September 1952 he was granted a Short service Commission in the Intelligence Corps as Capt., 14 July 1952, with seniority 4 February 1952.

    110. 38432, Lt-Col William Russell Smijth-Windham, (1907-1994). Nick-named“Smidge” he was chief radio operator on the Everest expeditions of 1933 and 1936, installing telecoms to the North Col. Commissioned into Royal Signals in 1927 and retiring from the Army in 1960. He also served as Aide-De –Camp to Elizabeth II from 1957-60. By the end of the War he was a C.B.E., D.S.O., A.M.I.E.E. In Oct 1941 he gave a lecture to Officers of the Unit on new Signal procedure during their stay in Cyprus.

    111. Col J Morrison, appointed ADMS, Haifa 15 February 1942. On 18 October 1942 he took over as o.c. 64 General Hospital.

    112. Col Watkins............Nothing found as yet

    113. (General?)/Gerald Hinde 9 Army.............Nothing found as yet

    114. Could possibly refer to Lt-Col F.E.A. McDonnel o.c. 7 G Howards (Part of 69 Bde)

    115. Paterson ..........Nothing found as yet

    116. Aikin........Nothing found as yet

    117. Patricia Neary. Somewhat confusing as Mrs Minor was Marjorie Gathwaite Minor .....Nothing further found as yet.

    118. J R English, Taken on strength 06/02/42. Appointed adjutant 08/07/44. Although Major V J Habberfield was appointed C.O in October 1944 the last document from the field dated 21 December 1944 as the Division was being disbanded is signed by Major English as C.O.

    119. Could possibly be 2585771, Dvr/Ic E.A. Rockcliffe., attached to H.Q.

    120. 2575356, Driver Rowland Thompson Marshall Attached to UHQ when KIA 28/29 June 1942. (El Alamein War Cemetery, XXXI. C. 27).

    121. Possible identification 2332217 Sigmn L H Bayers who was made P.O.W. on 2 June 1942 while attached to “K” Section.

    122. Sydney Smith Barracks. Just outside of Acre, named after British Admiral Sir William Sidney Smith, KCB, GCTE (21 June 1764 – 26 May 1840).

    123. Dixon (see 124)

    124. Johnson. This may in fact be one name; 94712Capt. (temp. Maj.) C. J. Dixon-Johnson. Royal Corps of Signals. The Dixon-Johnson Papers are local historical documents held by Durham University having being deposited there in the 1950’s by Major C.J.Dixon-Johnson. The University mention that the name was un-hyphenated.

    125. Whitbread.............nothing on the name but designation G4 was in charge of Logistics and quartering.

    126. Assistant Director Ordnance Services – Headquarters of R.O.A.C. units at Moscar Camp, Ismailia, near Cairo.

    127. General staff officer with responsibility for Personnel and Admin..........Nothing yet on Col. Watson

    128. Built by Samuel Shepheard, in the 1840’s as a stopping off point for European travellers to Egypt or to India and the east.X Replaced at the turn of the century, and destroyed by fire in riots against the British in 1952.X Located near Opera Square and overlooking Ibrahim Pasha Street, during the war British and Commonwealth officers on leave could relax in the wicker chairs on the terrace.X The English Patient, had some scenes set here, although the original hotel no longer exists.X Edward Lear, after a visit, said it was like a ‘horribly noisy railway station’. In 1957, a new Shepheard’s Hotel was built near the site of the old hotel. Apart from the famous terrace the old hotel had a Moorish Hall, a Long Bar and Ballroom (featuring pillars modelled on Karnak), and an elegant Dining Room.

    129. The Hotel de Paris catered to French visitors but after World War I became the Russell Soldiers' Home, or Gordon Hall.

    130. Cuthbert, Ridley.........nothing found. Pat Shaw (see note 59). 70636 Capt. (T/Major) J.B. Dodds R.E., mentioned in despatches for actions Gazala, 25 August 1942.

    131. Tony Marks.......nothing found

    132. The Turf Club, 12 Al-Maghrabi Street. Frequented by ranking officers.

    133. 68130, W.A.R. (Roy) Howie On 2 January 1941 Signals War Diary notes; “Lt W.A.R. Howie posted 1st S.T.C., (surplus sick)” Major William Alexander Roy Howie died 24 August 1942, aged 24. Son of Alexander and Elizabeth Howie, of Jesmond, Newcastle Upon Tyne. (Heliopolis War Cemetery 2.A.16.)

    134. Halfway House road station between Mena and Amiriya. A hotel building with a well on a road which paralleled the coast.

    135. Lines of Communications. Units concerned with keeping links between forward and base supply areas.

    136. Capt. J. N.V. White-Abbott, R.A. joined General Staff at Baalbek on 25 January 1942 as GSO III (I). General Staff Diary entry 29 June 1942 reports that he failed to arrive at El Alamein after the Gazala withdrawal. His name is mentioned in K. B. Stoddart’s POW Log-Book – in a list of those he shared a room with in camp Oflag VIII F (Mahrisch-Trubau) from December 1943 to January 1944. The 93 in the diary is G3.
    137. G3 (General staff officer with responsibility for operations) ( SD )

    138. Halfaya Pass; one of only two routes through an escarpment, in Egypt close to the Libyan border wire. This changed hands a number of times during the North Africa campaign. Major Wilhelm Bach, of Afrika Korps held it until January 1942 when it fell back into Allied hands. Rommel retook the pass after Gazala in June 1942, and it was finally regained in November 1942 by New Zealand infantry after second Alamein. Known to the troops as ‘Hell-fire Pass’
    Fort Capuzzo; Libyan fort contested during the Campaign. On the Trig Capuzzo track.

    139. El Adem was another contested town in Lybia which also had an airbase. 2/Lt F.J.(John) Daybell, Green Howards, on General Staff Nominal Roll March 1942 as attached personnel, listed as “A/Q staff learner” 70 FMC.........................Nothing found as yet.

    140. 34949, Lt Col George. H. Walton. As a Temporary Lt. he was to be acting Capt., whilst empld as 2nd in comd. of a Signal Co. as of 26 April 1917. He was appointed Bt Col. 50th (Northumbrian) Divisional Signals on 4 September 1934, to be replaced by Major T.T.J. Sheffield in 1936. On 6 May 1937 he became Deputy Chief Signals Officer for T.A. Duties, Northern Command, with pay and allowances of Lt-Col whilst so employed. On 2 October 1942 made Colonel (A/Brig), at which time he had been awarded the C.B.E.

    141. Beck.............Nothing further, G2 - General staff officer with responsibility for intelligence and security.

    142. Capt. K MacIvor was posted to the Unit from Staff of Chief Signal Officer (C.S.O.) 13 Corps on 22 April 1942 and appointed o.c. “L” Section. By 19 November 1942 he had a period as Adjutant. In September 1943, now a Major, he was appointed o.c.1 Company.

    143. 2358327, Driver E J Duddridge.

    144. David Shepherd (Adjutant 4 Indian Div)...............Nothing more found as yet.

    145. “Heartbreak” Hill ( 1 Coy 4 Indian Div).................Nothing more found as yet.

    146. Peter Grey (C.O. 4 Indian Div).................................Nothing more found as yet

    147. Lieut David Smith Confirmed POW 2 June 1942 o.c. E Section (72 Fld Regt) On strength from 20/07/1940

    148. 166057. 2/Lieut J. M. (Jim) Butterworth, on strength from 04/01/1941. Evacuated to 62 General Hospital , Tobruk 02/03/42 and struck off strength. Gazetted Hon. Capt. 7 July 1950.

    149. Usually round dug outs covered by canvas and held down with rocks

    150. ADMS - 62 Gen. Hospital in Tobruk was housed in a bomb scared former Italian barracks near the port

    151. The caves at Fort Pilastrino were in the South West of the Tobruk perimeter, and were headquarters of the 2nd South African Division. The indecisive actions of their C.O., Major-General Henry Klopper allowed 15th Panzer Division to consolidate earlier gains into the perimeter and his surrender of Fort Pilastrino effectively broke the siege for the Axis forces.

    152. 114714. Captain (temp Maj.) R.V.P.Campbell, Army Dental Corps. Gazetted for his services between 1 May and 22 October 1942 in the Middle-East. He trained at Edinburgh Dental Hospital & School and a photograph exists of him there as a member of both the 1924/25 and 1925/26 Hospital Rugby XV.

    153. Hatfield-Spears........................Refer to notes already made.

    154. 7640960, Pte G. A. Darkes had been attached from R.A.O.C. since arriving in Middle East. Taken prisoner on night of 28/29 June 1942.

    155. 93854 2,Lieut Henry Humphrey Kirkus. Gazetted 28 July 1939 2nd Lieutenant into 7 Green Howards—(late Cadet,Bromsgrove Sch. Contgt., Jun. Div.,O.T.C.). 69 Brigade report “Captain H.H. Kirkus wounded right leg by canon shell in ground straffs.” at 1520 on 27 February. Further Gazetted 11 Feb 1944 as relinquishing his command on account of ill health as of 8 Feb, being granted honorary rank of Captain.

    156. 1798, Lt-Gen William.Henry.Ewart ('Straffer') Gott (1897-1942) C.B., C.B.E., D.S.O. & bar, M.C. Commanded at Gazala and First Alamein. Received the name’ Straffer’ from WWI German motto "Gott Strafe England" Shot down and killed 7 August 1942 whilst travelling in transport plane, aged 44. Cdg. XIII Corps and King's Rifle Corps. Son of the late Lt.Col. William Henry and Anne Rosamund Gott; husband of Pamela Mary Gott, of Fleet, Hampshire. (El Alamein War Cemetery, XXXIII. D. 21).

    157. Perkins South African Signals C.O. - ..............Nothing found as yet.

    158. Rev Chaplain J.C.L. Izard, Senior Chaplain at Royal Garrison Church Portsmouth from 1940

    159. Lieut L H Horn. Joined Unit at Baalbeck 19/01/1942. Admitted hospital with jaundice 22 December 1942. He was a young ‘daft public-schoolboy type’ according to Dad, and known as ‘Half-Hard Horn’ by the men

    160. General staff officer with responsibility for personnel and administration

    161. Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter (M.E.109), the German fighter aircraft during WWII. First developed in 1935 it was first tested as part of the Condor Legion during the Spanish Civil War.

    162. 2320665, RQMS J E Justice, Short and squat. Although with Signals prior to going to the Middle East Dad can only recall him from Iraq and afterwards. It was here he introduced himself with "The name's Sergeant-Major Justice, but you won't f...king get any from me"
    163. Major Parker......................Nothing found as yet. Dad does recall a small group of U.S. personnel being present at some point for a short while.

    164. 2 Lieut Norman G Webber. On strength 29/03/1941. Promoted Lieut 29/09/42. Down with jaundice 01/12/42 and S.O.S.

    165. Exercise Fullsize see entry 29 March re ‘blob’. In a General Staff War Diary entry the following comments were made; “Considerable delay was experienced in collecting casualty details and a good deal of duplication of signal messages of medical and units was made evident. It became quite clear that in active operations the traffic would be greater than Signals could undertake.”

    166. Perkins.......Could this be Col not Coe? (see entry 6 April 1942 and ref 157 above)........Nothing more.

    167. Asher .............Little info available on Dominion Forces.........Nothing found as yet

    168. Curtiss P40 Kittyhawk US-made fighter and ground attack aircraft. It played a key role in North AfricaXwhere high-altitude performance, to which it was slow to handle, was less crucial.

    169. Signals War Diary for Sept 1939 has mention of Sgmn Goupillot being with No.2 Coy, based at Middlesbrough.

    170. 2584843, Sigmn WJ R Lenny

    171. 2355171,Dvr Lance Harrison , a store-man with ‘A’ Section. One of the ‘235’ replacements received after Dunkirk.

    172. Col Cyril Knowles CSO 13 Corps. Addendum to Signals War Diary May 1942 states "The unit was visited by Col Knowles on the first morning of the battle and on no less than three subsequent occasions whilst the Division was in action. His anxiety to give every possible assistance was appreciated no less than his efforts to find the necessary time to reach this HQ under difficult conditions."

    173. Arthur Bowden Askey (C.B.E. 1900-1982). English comedian /actor of diminutive size with a cheery nature. He appeared on radio at this time with such catch-phrases “Hello playmates” and “I thank-you all”

    174. Lieut A W Stewart, arrived from re-inforcement camp 19 March 1942. Promoted A/Captain 01/11/42. Admitted to hospital 17/11/42 and S.O.S. Rejoined Unit 19/12/42.

    175. 186350, 2/Lieut R. M.Bircumshaw , arrived from re-inforcement camp 19 March 1942. Posted 2 i.c. 1 Company “A” Section. On 18 May 1942 posted to 1st Armd Div Signals. Mentioned in recognition of service between May and October 1942. He was a temporary Captain by 1 January 1944 and mentioned in despatches 13 January 1944. Made Captain 1 April 1947, promoted Major 1 April 1954, and retired from the Regular Army, receiving a gratuity, 5 March 1956. He retained Reserve Liability.

    176. 6701 Brigadier John Sebastian Nicholls D.S.O., M.C., C.O. 50 Division. (Late of Border Regt.). Mentioned in recognition of service in the Middle-East between 1 May and 22 October 1942 in the London Gazette Supplement of 24 June 1943. Post War, as a member of the regular army he was promoted full Colonel from Lt-Col (temp Brig) on 27 December 1946 (seniority from 10 Dec)

    177. 126956, Lieut H K Waltho-New Cipher Officer replacing Joe North, on attachment from South Staffordshire Regt. Admitted hospital 16/11/42 and S.O.S. He was to be War Subs. Lt., 2ist Dec. 1942, retaining his present seniority and from 16 September 1949, Lt, (Hon./Capt.) The National War Museum, Chelsea holds, under 11421, Memoirs 1939-1941 (compiled in draft form 1988), and diary typescript of 1942 of Lt H K Waltho, South Staffordshire Regiment, mainly covering his period as a cypher officer in Greece and Egypt; with photocopy of war time log kept while a prisoner of war in Oflag VIIIF. This in Archives ref 1992-04-184.

    178. Lieut H T Taylor Rejoined from "H" Section 65 A/Tk Regt (Signals War Diary 27/02/1942).

    179. 191146, Driver Thomas Sims Died of wounds 23/03/42 aged 22 Son of William George and Elizabeth Sims, of Rhymney, Monmouthshire. (Knightsbridge War Cemetery 4 F 7)

    180. Brig Cecil, William Haydon. (1896 -01/06/42) 2nd Lieut 1914, M.C awarded in WWI. Awarded D.S.O in 1940. Brigade Major Irish Command 1920 – 1922. Served with Royal West African Field Force 1931 – 1937. Until he was KIA on Monday 1 June 1942 he was Commander, 150th Infantry Brigade. Recorded on Column 1 Alamein memorial. Aged 46 he was the Son of Edgar and Edith Haydon; husband of Evelyn Kay Haydon, of Camberley, Surrey.

    181. Ken Waugh would have been next in line to receive promotion according to service in the Unit.

    182. A raid in force concentrating on the destruction of the Martuba airfield by three fighting columns. While the raid met with some success with prisoners taken and aircraft destroyed there were casualties.

    183. 2577046, Corporal J G (Gordon) Milburn. While recovering from the slight wound he was at a Long Range Desert Group base, before returning to the Unit. His brother was also with Signals and captured while working as an operator with 150 Brigade in June 1942. (He escaped captivity later while in Italy and nearly died of starvation before friendly Italians rescued him.) The No.9 set was destroyed but the 11 set was still working according to Signals War Diary This party were with B coln.during Operation Fullsize. ‘B’ Col were from 150 Bde, tasked with shooting up and harassing the Martuba aerodromes. It consisted of one coy infantry with mortars and carriers, 3 tps A.T., one bty (8 guns) arty, three tps L.A.A., and a detail of R.E. They assembled at Halegh El Eleba the night of D1/D2, crossing road junction Ezzeiat at 0630 hrs on D2.

    184. Brigadier. “ Tiger “ Bradley....................Nothing found as yet.

    185. Referred to as a “Ghibli” by members of the Afrika Corps – visible from several miles away, a wall of sand hundreds of feet high.

    186. Capt. R.L Sanderson RAMC to HQ RE as medical officer to Div HQ. He was reported missing together with the C.O. of HQ RE and four others on 22 June 1942

    187. details of which Anti-tank Regt................Nothing found as yet.

    188. Barnet may have been one of the attached personnel acting as orderlies with Signals.

    189. 897012, Lieut D J G “Donald” McLeod, on strength from 05/06/1939, when his rank was confirmed. As Acting Captain he was sent on a ‘Refresher Course’ with M.E.F. 13 May 1942. He was taken off the active list (unposted) on 1 March 1949, retaining his present seniority as Capt.

    190. Capt E.R.C. (Teddy) Inge, Somerset Regt. on General Staff as GSO III (O).

    191. 128414, Rev. J.C. Starky, R.A. Ch.D. was appointed SCF vice Rev. R.W.H. Harlow (see 205), on 3 July 1942. He was Chaplain to the Forces 4th Class when, on 29 May 1944 he relinquished his Commission on the grounds of ill health. He was granted the hon rank of Chaplain to the Forces 3rd Class.

    192. Jimmy intriguing entry but without additional information....nothing further.

    193. During 1941 and 1942 towns throughout the U.K. raised over £955 million for the war effort. Referred to as ‘Warship Weeks’ they encouraged communities to fund raise to sponsor naval vessels through investment in War Bonds. They were organised by the National War Savings Committee and supported by the Admiralty. A main centre in each area would be nominated, a committee set up, fund raising events organised, target boards erected showing the amount needed to be raised, and outlying villages and hamlets enjoined to take part. There were 1178 Warship Weeks in 1273 areas, with villages sponsoring small launches while cities paid for a battleship. Admiralty presented a certificate and plaque and the crews of the ships would visit the towns and keep a close association with them. During the course of the War 8 battleships,4 carriers, 49 cruisers, 301 destroyers, 25 submarines, 164 corvettes and frigates and 288 minesweepers were sponsored, with many additional torpedo boats and launches.

    194. Hacker: 42 Royal Tank Regiment were formed from 7th (23rd London) Battalion of The East Surrey Regiment, T.A.

    195. 91130, Capt Peter Wilkinson Swift 7 Green Howards, K.I.A. 23 March 1942. Aged 25 Son of Herbert and Maud Swift, and husband of Georgina Elspeth Swift, from Scarborough, Yorkshire. (Knightsbridge War Cemetery 16 C 19). His daughter was aged two at the time of his death. In the Friends of The Green Howards Museum Newsletter No.10 September 2000 Elspeth wrote of what it was like to be the wife of a serving soldier at the time of Dunkirk, including an extract from a letter from her husband.

    196. Brian Voase Rhodes, Gazetted 4 Dec 1935 as 2/Lieut - (late Cadet Lce.-Corpl., St. Peter's Sch. Contgt., Jun. Div.,O.T.C.) 5 Green Howards. Main Div War Diary has entry 26 March 1942: “...a night raid of 25/26 Mar Ras El Elrba – enemy casualties heavy; own tps; Captain Rhodes, 17 O.R.’s; 5 G Howards, 2 O.R’s 232 Fld Coy R.E. missing...” Post War entry in London Gazette: “NOTICE is hereby given, pursuant to section 7 (2) of the Solicitors Act, 1932, as amended by section 21 of the Solicitors Act, 1941, that BRIAN VOASE RHODES formerly of Hull in the county of York, and now a Member of the Colonial Legal Service Raub, Pahang, Malaya, Solicitor having, in accordance with the provisions of the Solicitors Acts 1932-41, made application to the Disciplinary Committee constituted under the Act that his name might be removed from the Roll of Solicitors at his own instance on the ground that he is desirious of seeking call to the Bar. An Order was, on the 21st day of August 1947, made by the Committee that that the application of the said Brian Voase Rhodes be acceded to and that his name be removed accordingly from the Roll of Solicitors of the Supreme Court. – Dated this 21st day of August 1947.

    197. Holly these may have been a South-African armoured-car unit..............Nothing found as yet

    198. A South African rough spirit distilled from grape skins. One commentator describes it as being what the wise light their kettles with and the foolish drink!

    199. Entry in A.D.M.S War Diary 1 April 1942 “Ordinary routine. ADMS’s car with Major Baster in it (instead of ADMS who was due to go) was blown up on a thermos bomb. Major Baster & Cpl Lilley the driver, slightly wounded. Car irreparably damaged.”

    200. 2330526, Sigmn John George Moore Doidge KIA 27/28 May 1942 (Knightsbridge War Cemetery 1 D 25)

    201. Sgt Crawley Nothing found as yet.................Dad cannot remember a Sergeant of this name.

    202. 2578656, Sgt R E White. Orderly Room Sergeant. This extract from M. O.’s report on H.M.T. Almanzora outward journey (with Signals) from U.K. to Middle East, in May 1941 by Col Pirrie; “2578656 Sgt White R.E., R.C.S. was submitted to hospital at 22:30 hours on 16/6/41 suffering from acute appendicitis. Colonel Koch, Free Dutch Forces, a practicing specialist surgeon, examined the patient and confirmed, but preparations were made for operating should this be necessary. The patient had an excellent night, and was kept under observation. The infection settled and operation was not performed, and the patient was transferred to hospital at Durban.”In July 1941 recorded as being in Addington Hospital, Durban. Nominal Roll in July 1941 has him still there, and a hand written entry on the Roll for October 1941 has him “Urgently Required”. February 1943 he was in 106 S.A. General Hospital, which was at Quassassin.

    203. 2 Lieut PDH Webb, on strength 02/08/1940. Posted as a full Lieutenant to 4 L of C10 April 1942 effective 30 April.

    204. 44510, Temporary Captain E T Parkes. On 27 November 1939 he was transferred from the T.A. Reserve of Officers, Regtl. List, Welch R., to the General List as Lieutenant. Assumed duty of Unit Administration Officer 9 March 1942. On 13 November 1942 posted to B.M.M. 1 Greek Brigade. (British Military Mission).

    205. 131946, Mjr/Snr Chaplain Albert William Harrison Harlow. Appointed Chaplain to the Forces 23 July 1940. Captured and POW in Italy 1942/43. Jumped in at Arnhem with Airborne 1944, again captured. Awarded D.S.O. 8 November 1945. Retired to Southern Australia.

    206. 34344, Lt. Col R. H. L. Wheeler, R.A. appointed GSO 1 7 April 1942. This dated 29 June 1942 “...two Bdes. had fought rearguard action East of Matruh and had to fight their way out through enemy lines.... GSO 1 (Lt Col Wheeler), GSO III (I) (Capt White-Abbott) failed to arrive at Alamein”

    207. BMRA; Brigade Major Royal Artillery

    208. 88543, Major H. C. Dryden (OFP) Ordinance Field Park. Posted command of Unit 6 January 1942. Promoted Capt (temp Maj) in Royal Army Ordnance Corps, 5 August 1943. The OFP was a main clearing centre for all spares required to keep the Division active. They distributed spare motor parts, including engines, road springs, tyres etc to the various LAD and MT sections attached to units of the Division. They also held oxy-acetylene, nuts, bolts and batteries. They located in rear of the lines, and at the end of March were at ref; Kilo 12 Salam-Tobruk.

    209. Col Hardy............Nothing as yet

    210. Burman................Nothing as yet

    211. Fenton..................Nothing as yet

    212. 50344, Major Ralph Ward Samuel Casebourne, R.E., K.I.A. 6 April 1942. (Knightsbridge War Cemetery, Acroma 3.F.22). Mentioned in despatches and gazetted 25 August 1942. He was O.C. of 505 Fld Coy when killed by aerial machine gunning. His driver was 2078904 Dvr Ralph Storey Moffat R.E., 505 Fd Coy. Aged 22, he was the Son of Ralph Storey Moffat and Ellen Moffat, of West Benwell, Newcastle-on-Tyne (Knightsbridge 1.H.21.)

    213. American light bomber which served with the RAF. In North Africa with No.24 Squadron SAAF from November 1941. Used first on unescorted reconnaissance missions, in small groups, they suffered very heavy losses. By December it was withdrawn to recover, returning in February 1942, this time with fighter escorts. Joined in March 1942 by No.12 Squadron SAAF. Took part in all actions during the desert war, including Alamein.
    214. Hey........unable to identify..................Nothing more as yet.
    215. These would be ‘chore-horses’ which were petrol driven engines used to charge batteries.
  17. Kevin,
    Many thanks for posting the notes.
    Any additional information, corrections, suggestions etc from forum members will be appreciated.

    (Note 1. should cross ref with note 84.)

  18. SignalsJimmy

    SignalsJimmy Junior Member

    Hello all, first by way of introduction I'm the Unit history Officer for 50 (N) Signal Squadron (descended from 50 (N) Signal Regiment) and stumbled upon this page whilst writing the wikipedia for the Squadron history.

    I can add some more information to your notes. It's not particularly clear who was adjutant at this time. Barry MacVicker appears to be in the role in Jun 1942

    Major Basil Minor: "In the midst of this quiet period we suffered a dreadful loss. One afternoon a mobile battery of medium artillery drove up behind our lines, let of a few rounds and cleared off, followed by a few ranging shots from the enemy. Barry McVicker, the Adjutant, had walked over to speak to Basil Minor, who was resting in his tent, when one of the enemy shells landed almost on top of the tent. Barry was blown yards away but miraculously escaped serious damage."

    William Lee was adjutant until December 1941 and then the post appears to have taken over by AJS Mackenzie until the death of Major Minor (See above on the 4th June) when Mackenzie became the Regiment 2i/c.
  19. Kev1

    Kev1 Member

    Hello Jimmy

    Thanks for that. Another piece of the jigsaw as 'A Well Camel' would say.
    I'm pleased it was of interest and use to you.
    I've just spotted your other post and will reply to that anon.
  20. Still working without the picture on the box though Kevin!

    Thanks for the additional detail Dave, and the P.M.'s - looking forward to meeting you.

    Who were you quoting in your post - it seems to be an eyewitness - but according to the War Diary Barry MacVicker was never adjutant. As of 27 May 1942 he was O.C. of 'D' Section.
    Alex MacKenzie handed over to Capt. G.A.H. Jones on 15 April 1942 who held the post until 19 November when Capt. K MacIvor was appointed. He in turn handed over to Capt. Sergeant on 24 March 1943, who kept the Diary until shortly before D-Day.


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