Photos of 78th Division and others in Alexandria

Discussion in 'North Africa & the Med' started by rosegold21, Dec 21, 2012.

  1. rosegold21

    rosegold21 Junior Member


    My Grandad was in the 507th Field Coy Royal Engineers during 1940 and members of the forum have been kind enough in providing me with the regimental war diaries for which I am so thankful.

    I have now discovered he was in the 78th Division after Dunkirk because we have some group photos where the 'battle axe' insignia is clearly visible. However there is also a number under that, it looks like the number 50,and we also have a photo of him taken in Italy in 1944 with the number 50 under the battle axe. I wondered if anyone knows what this means?

    We thought it would be great to share these pictures with other members in the hope you may be able to identify a regiment of Royal Engineers or even some of the people in the photos. There are also some navy personnel and others in the photos.

    I apologise that neither myself or my father are experts on WW2 but we believe they could have been taken in Alexandria because on the back it says the photographer was based there.

    Attached Files:

    Pieter F likes this.
  2. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    50 denotes the intermediate Field Company in the Divison.
    see here.
    Infantry Division Vehicle Markings

    I'll edit in a page from a document from National Archives shortly.

    what I forgot to say was these are the RE Field Companies in 78 Div.

    214th Field Company.
    237th Field Company.
    256th Field Company.

    so the 50 denotes 237 Field Company

    all Infantry Divisions used the same numbering system at that time.
    It's just a matter of finding what units were in what Division

    Attached Files:

  3. rosegold21

    rosegold21 Junior Member

    Thank you so much for the help, do you have any further information on the 237 Field Company? I have just bought the book 'Battleaxe Division' which should give me some details on the division as a whole.
  4. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    I've got that book & the Divisional history so you'll soon know as much as me about them.
    I'd suggest getting the 237th war diary but I'd wait until you have his service records back & then you'll be 100% sure as when he was with them.
    (assuming I havent got it wrong)
  5. rosegold21

    rosegold21 Junior Member

    I have sent off for his war records so they should arrive next year sometime. Thanks again for the help. I look forward to reading the book, it looks like a very useful guide.
  6. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    IF he was with them in 1942 , he may well have helped build the first Bailey bridge used in action.

    UK Military Bridging – World War II (Africa and Northwest Europe) | Think Defence
    Bailey Bridge crossing the River Medjerda, Medjez el Bab, Tunis, 1942. The first Bailey bridge to be built in contact with the enemy was the 100ft bridge built across the River Medjerda at Medjez el Bab, Tunis in late November 1942 by 237 Field Company of 78 Division.
  7. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    78th British Infantry Division

    Order of battle from 1942 composed from units of Force 110

    11th Infantry Brigade (United Kingdom)
    2nd Battalion The Lancashire Fusiliers.
    1st Battalion The East Surrey Regiment.
    5th Battalion The Northamptonshire Regiment.

    36th Infantry Brigade
    5th Battalion The Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment).
    6th Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment.
    8th Battalion The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.
    1st Infantry Brigade (Guards) (until March 1943)

    1st Infantry Brigade (Guards)
    3rd Battalion Grenadier Guards.
    2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards.
    2nd Battalion The Hampshire Regiment.

    38th (Irish) Infantry Brigade (from March 1943)
    6th Battalion, The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (until August 1944).
    2nd Battalion, The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (from August 1944).
    1st Battalion, The Royal Irish Fusiliers (Princess Victoria's).
    2nd Battalion, The London Irish Rifles (Territorial Army).

    Support units
    56th Reconnaissance Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps.
    1st Battalion, Princess Louise's Kensington Regiment. (Machine gun battalion)

    Royal Artillery.
    17th Field Regiment.
    132nd Field Regiment (welsh).
    138th Field Regiment (City of London) .
    64th Anti-Tank Regiment (Queen's Own Royal Glasgow Yeomanry).
    49th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment (until November 1944).

    Royal Engineers.
    214th Field Company.
    237th Field Company.
    256th Field Company.
    281st Field Park Company.

    Royal Army Medical Corps.
    11th Field Ambulance.
    152nd Field Ambulance.
    217th Field Ambulance.
    47th Field Ambulance.


    Attached Files:

  8. rosegold21

    rosegold21 Junior Member

    All this information is fantastic, I have found out so much in just one evening.
    Mr Goldstein, it is so wonderful to hear from someone who was in the 78th Division. I have looked at your Army Album blog before and think it is very admirable of you to share your wartime experiences. Your Army Album certainly gives me an idea of what it must have been like for my Grandad as a Driver during the War.
  9. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    If/once you have established he was with the 237 Field Company RE then the war diaries should be of interest. They are held at the National Archives and these are the references you'll need to access them:

    WO 166/3706, ROYAL ENGINEERS: COMPANIES: 237 Field Company. (1939 Sept.- Dec., 1940 June - 1941 Dec.)
    WO 167/988, 237 Field Company Royal Engineers (1940 Jan.-June)
    WO 166/8148, 237 Coy. (1942 Jan.-Aug.)
    WO 175/652, 237 Coy. (1942 Sept.- Nov., 1943 Jan.- June)
    WO 169/10665, 237 Fd. Coy. (1943 July- Dec.)
    WO 170/1677, Companies: 237 Coy. (1944 Jan.- Dec.)
    WO 169/16424, 237 Fd. Coy. (1944 Aug.)
    WO 170/5210, Companies: 237 Coy. (1945 Jan.- Dec.)
    WO 170/8108, Companies: 237 Coy (1946 Jan.- July)

    Once confirmed from his service records, if you need help getting copies of any of them, I can help.

  10. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron


    You will find that everyone on this forum will give you as much help as you need so don't hesitate to ask for info

    and you can call me Ron. :)
  11. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce

    Hello Rosegold.
    Lovely pictures you have posted. Thank you.
    My father was also in the 78th "Battleaxe" Division.
    You are in good company here, lots of knowledgeable people on this site:)

  12. rosegold21

    rosegold21 Junior Member

    Thank you so much for all the help and guidance and thanks again for the offers to copy the war diaries. Once I obtain my Grandad's war records to confirm whether he was with 237th Field Coy RE, I will be back in touch about the war diaries. In the meantime I will read the 78th Division book which I recently purchased. Merry Christmas to all :)

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