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

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

  1. SignalsJimmy

    SignalsJimmy Junior Member

    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.

    I was quoting the personal account of Lt Col R Percival who served with the Regiment (50 (N) Div Sigs) from 1926 to 1942 and again from 1947 to 1950. I'll bring the book of personal account round when I come visit, it's pretty large and I've only dived into it at a few places.
  2. Kev1

    Kev1 Member

    Sadly it appears Mackenzie didn't survive the war.

    CWGC :: Casualty Details

    Following a detour on a trip back to London, I closed out Alex MacKenzie's story with a visit to the cemetery in Rennes, where he is buried with his wife. I am posting the photos below, which will enlarge when clicked on. The mystery as to why the victims of the plane crash start with plot No.2 is because Captain Schofield RE is effectively 'right marker' of row B, in plot one. He was one of the almost 200 casualties from the bombing of 1940.
    If anyone wants photos of the other graves associated with the plane crash in 1945 I took them also, as well as Captain Schofield.



  3. rsbwalb

    rsbwalb New Member

    How do I found more about these war diaries posted? A 'Walbridge' is mentioned which is my family name - it is also a very rare name and I can trace nearly all of them to my family line - how can I find out the details of the Walbridge in these diaries? First name, dob etc ?
  4. Hi 'rsbwalb' and welcome to the Forum.

    The name J Wallbridge is on a list of 50 Div Signal Regt and attached personnel confirmed as either KIA or POW during the Gazala retreat in June 1942.
    He is recorded as taken prisoner between 14/15 June 1942 together with four members of 'L' section. He is listed as Driver/Ic attached to UHQ (Unit Head Quarters).
    His service number is given as 2346226.

    Note the spelling with two letter 'L' 's - although this may mean nothing as other entries on the list contain errors of initials etc.

    Can't help any further - can ask my Dad but pretty sure it will draw a blank.

    If he is a relative you will be able to apply for his war records - there are details elsewhere on this site.
    First point of call I would suggest is find an old member of your family and quiz them about it.

    best of luck.

    Mel (junior)
  5. Hi 'rsbwalb'
    Looking at the Signals War Diary I have as an appendix a typed Nominal Roll of Party 'D' which left Port Said for Cyprus on 30 July 1941.
    Dvr/Ic J Wallbridge is shown in this party and again has the double L spelling.

  6. Peter Lenny

    Peter Lenny New Member

  7. Hello Peter, Praise be to the interweb!

    The diary entry reads 13th March 1942

    A full day. Fairly warm & sunny. Air fairly quiet. Spent morning clearing up files & getting on top of routine bumf which had rather filled up during past three days. ....... L/Cpr Price back to ranks . Cpl Robinson – lost watch – charged 14-/3. Sgmn Lenny - shot himself through foot – stopped 14 days pay. (170.)
    If your father spoke about his time in 50 Div Signals I would love to hear anything you have.
    Mel Jnr.
  8. Peter Lenny

    Peter Lenny New Member

    Hi Mel,

    thank you no end for your reply and clarification. I obviously have not yet learned to exploit this amazing resource or I'd have found the mention myself (I did look). I shall now read the whole diary with great interest and attention, before asking any more duh questions.

    Pity the mention wasn't less ignominious, but then again "there, but for the grace of God...".

    So, he was docked two weeks pay..., but his record (for the record) states his Military Conduct was "Very Good" - although he was also "reverted" from "paid acting Lance Corporal" to Signalman on 07.08.40, but whether that was for routine administrative convenience or drunk and disorderly, is not said. My military culture is insufficient for me even to guess at the real significance of these entries - and Dad died in 1985 without ever saying a word about his military service, as far as I know.

    The diary entry falls, of course, in the tantalising hiatus in his military record, from 29.04.40 (Posted to 50 Division Signals) to 14.03.43 (Posted to 51 Division Signals) - the period this diary is all about and the one that really interests. I live in Rio de Janeiro, so have never been able to research it further.

    I seem to remember all sorts of strange snippets from other people's remarks about him and the war - yes, "getting shot" in the foot, being taken prisoner by the Italians, coming home in a kilt - but have no way of knowing whether they are figments of their (or my) imaginations. The received truth doesn't really go much beyond his serving in North Africa and then spending time in Italy (corroborated by his astounding us all by speaking basic Italian with a waiter on a family trip).

    I do have a formal 50th Signals group portrait (about 200 strong), taken - according to my mother, probably in September 1939 - with a stand behind them on the right that reads " *BA* DODG**M SPR* ", i.e., looks suspiciously like a fairgound dodgem car track. I have scanned it and the quality is sufficient for both my sister and I to recognise my father, but no matter how I treat the file, cannot get it below 10Mb. If anyone is interested, I will be happy to send it offlist.

    I also seem to have inherited and ancient photograph album, with no photos, but undated captions in pencil (not my father's handwriting), saying 'Parachute troops landing at Crete', 'HMS Figi [sic] Bombed Off Crete', 'HMS Liverpool sunk by aerial torpedo', 'Survivors from HMS Elypso', 'HMS Glouster [sic] sunk off Crete', ' "15" ammo for shelling off Tripoli', 'Italian sub "Luzzi" sunk off Crete', 'Italian sub "UBI Scabeli" captured and sank off Crete', 'Parachute troop landing at Crete' and then, in the same hand, 'Maidenhead August 1942', which is where my mother's family came from, and several others suggesting a US connection (the writer may have been from the United States).

    All a bit bitty and given here more to put it to some use and get it off my chest.

  9. I spoke with dad yesterday and he did remember the surname Lenny, but he is quite ill in hospital at present and isn't much for talking.
    If you check out the thread 'A short history of 50 Division Signals' their War Diary is summarised from 1939 and takes in the time your Dad was with the unit.
    Being transferred to 51 HD he was in time for the battles of Mareth, Enfidaville and Wadi Akarit.
    This is a great site and there are lots of experts who will step with information and advice.
    In 1939 the Regiment consisted of 3 Companies of 100 plus men each. Each of these had sections which undertook specialist work, some of who were attached to the Division's Infantry and Field Regiments.
    Hope you can join up the dots in your Dad's War service a little bit more with the above.

  10. Peter, from the official War Diary of the unit and associated papers filed at Kew plus the personal memoires of Signalman George Dean. M.M. and Captain Wm Lee; - Signalman Lenny travelled to Cyprus on 24 May 1941 with 'C' Party. This was by far the largest contingent consisting of nine Officers and 139 other ranks plus 18 attached personnel.
    They left Cairo rail station aboard three 3rd class coaches to port of embarkation and were split between HMS Jaguar and HMS Akbar (minelayers). They sailed at speed overnight with the ships hoping to dock, unload and be back underway before first light and curious enemy aircraft.
    As they entered Farmagusta harbour HMS Akbar hit the jetty and the crew unloaded at a breakneck pace. So much so that what kit that missed the quay went into the harbour. Divers were employed later to rescue stores that had sunk.

    This is the only mention of your dad by name in the official War Diary.

    Charley Fortnum likes this.
  11. Quick update on the Diary - I was present at Blandford Camp on 15 October 2019 when Kevin presented the Diary to The Royal Signals Museum. It is now available, initially in their archives for research but hopefully on display at some point.
    No doubt Kev will post some pictures of the hand over to him from Beatrice in Italy, and from Kev to Rob Gray at Blandford.


    (The museum is highly recommended for a visit)
    Steve Mac likes this.

Share This Page