Please Help. 1681 Artillery Regiment Platoon (RASC)

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by Bob Hope, Dec 22, 2019.

  1. Bob Hope

    Bob Hope New Member

    Hi

    I'd very much appreciate any help in identifying movements and locations of my dad's RASC unit from landing at Normandy, to involvement in the Ardennes and then the advance across the Rhine and onto Berlin. I'm also interested in the names of others in his platoon.

    I understand dad came ashore at Sword beach and his commanding officer at one time was Lord Lovat. Dad was one of the first to enter one of the smaller camps in Germany (he felt guilty because their orders were to not stop and help but move on) His unit was also ordered to capture the Burgermaster of a german town for war crimes but was unsuccessful (only to find himself sitting next to the Burgermaster's wife at a social function 30 years later!)

    At one time dad was wounded by an explosion of a german mortar round and sent back to the UK before being reattached to his unit. From his stories, it seemed dad spent much of his war being mortared!

    My dad Edmund (Ted) Hope (#14513975) served in 1681 Artillery Regiment Platoon (RASC) for the period, 6/2/44 - 5/9/45. He ended his service with the rank of Lance Corporal.

    Many thanks.

    Bob
     
  2. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    Hi,

    Welcome to the forum.

    Unless you already have official documentary evidence - rather than anecdotes - about your fathers Army Service as outlined above your starting point ought to be to obtain his Army service papers from U.K. MOD via this link -

    Get a copy of military service records

    If the mention of Lord Lovat is correct it would appear that he served in more than one unit during his service as Lord Lovat did not serve in RASC - which emphasises the need to obtain his official papers to enable further research.

    Once you are sure which units he served in you can then obtain copies of the unit War Diaries to discover the unit movements and activities.

    Members my be able to find him on the official casualty lists available on Findmypast.

    Good Luck

    Steve
     
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  3. Bob Hope

    Bob Hope New Member

    Hi Steve

    Many thanks for your quick reply.

    Yes, I have his service record (a single page that essentially lists his postings) This document indicates 1681 Artillery Regiment Platoon was dad's unit just prior to Normandy through to September 1945.

    The reference dad made to Lord Lovat is odd for the reason you suggest. It seemed strange to me at the time. However, dad was adamant this was the case around the time of the Normandy landings. Perhaps his unit was attached to Lord Lovat for a period of time (whilst remaining RASC)?

    How do I get the correct War Diaries and will this incur a fee?

    Regards

    Bob
     
  4. hutt

    hutt Member

    Hi
    I've just done a search of the archive and I cannot find anything for 1681 Artillery Platoon. There are files for 1680 and 1682 but your platoon is missing. That is really frustrating as it would suggest you aren't going to find a detail account (depending on how well the diaries were compiled) or what they were up to.
    However, depending on how keen you are you may be able to get a general overview of what they were doing and possibly where they were from other diaries but it will need patience and you would probably need to visit in person.
    If it were me I would look to see what may be in the AGRA diaries. These would give an overview of the artillery activities. For North West Europe I guess you would need to look for 3rd, 4th, 8th or 9th AGRA diaries. Maybe someone on the forum might already have them and could see if 1681 is mentioned.
    The equivalent diaries for Italy have frequent references to my fathers RASC platoon and its location and which regiments it was assigned to. Your fathers unit would probably have been supplying a particular artillery regiment so their diaries would also give you more detail on where they were operating. 1681 probably operated under another RASC Company and again if you can work out which they were then their diary could, again, have much valuable information.
    Good luck.
     
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  5. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    Hi,

    Reference to the single sheet service record suggests that you obtained it quite a few years ago?

    MOD now provide copies of original documents under UK Freedom of Information Act. If you paid for what you have you under the old system you might want to reapply for the more detailed records they now provide - number of pages vary - but look in the Service Records sub forum to get an idea of what you might receive - and ask MOD to do it for no additional charge as you’ve previously paid.

    I would personally want to have sight of the original records so as not to rely on what a civil servant has provided which may have omitted or inaccurately recorded pertinent facts.

    As for War Diaries - you can either incur the expense of going to UK National Archives to look them up yourself or rely on the look up and copy service members here like Drew5233 and PsyWar.Org offer at a fraction of the cost NA would charge.

    However they would need you to confirm a definitive Unit War Diary to copy - I don’t
    think you can do that yet without having sight of his original documents.

    Steve
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2019
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  6. CL1

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

    Steve has given you excellent info another point to note is that you will not find his service records on line at any paid for site so please dont go down this route

    Post what you have here and re apply for the full records
    Regards
    Clive
     
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  7. Historic Steve

    Historic Steve Researching 21 Army Group/BAOR post VE day

    Have found one location for 1681 Artillery Platoon (Light) RASC, with 52nd (Lowland) Infantry Division in Erder south-east of Bad Oeynhausen from 6 Sep 45 to 19 Sep 45, prior to this from 5 Jul 45 the platoon is recorded as HQ Commander RASC 1st Corps District but no locations

    Best of luck with your research
     
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  8. ozzy16

    ozzy16 Patron Patron

    Bob,
    1681 arty coy was attached to 319 coy RASC .
    A page below from 319 coy RASC, showing 1681.
    The diary ref no WO-171-6252 Jan-Sept 1945.

    regards.....Graham.
    319coy.jpg
     
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  9. wibs12

    wibs12 Patron Patron

    Would reinforce above.... post a pic of what you have for now, may spark off something?

    Link here at pagasusarchive shows one member of RASC 1681 Art Pltn being treated at 224 Parachute Field Company (RAMC) during period 20th-31st August 1944 (Appendix 3A). I know the treatment of one individual at one place isn't definitive but it suggests 1681 Art Pltn were in the vicinity of 224 Parachute Fld Coy on specific dates.

    Locations of 224 PFC 20-31 August were along a 50 mile corridor running eastwards from Ouistreham::
    20-21 August, Riva Bella
    22-25 August, Dozule
    26-31 August, St Andre D'Herbetot
     
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  10. DannyM

    DannyM Member

    Hi,
    In Normandy it looks like they were attached to 191 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery. The War Diary reference is WO 171/1004 191 Regt. 1944 Jan.- Nov.

    They may also have been linked to 82 Artillery Company, R.C.A.S.C. The War Diary reference is WO 179/3294 82 Arty. Coy. Pl. 1944 Jan.- Dec.

    Regards

    Danny
     
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  11. wibs12

    wibs12 Patron Patron

    Found the name of a fellow platoon member via this Freepress article from Nov 2015.... details are:

    "A PORTSKEWETT war hero who dodged bullets as he drove supplies to the front line has been awarded the Legion d’Honneur for his role in the D-Day landings. Ainsley Thomas, 90, who is originally from the Rhondda, served as a private in the Royal Army Service Corps 1681 artillery platoon during the Second World War. In his role in the landings, Mr Thomas transported petrol and even troops to the front line amid heavy enemy fire. Called up in January 1944, he did his training in Newcastle at the age of 18 – having never left home before. Mr Thomas went on to serve in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands and was demobbed as a staff sergeant in 1947."
     
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  12. Bob Hope

    Bob Hope New Member

    Hi Everyone

    Thank you so much for the information and guidance you have provided to me. The time you have taken and your interest is greatly appreciated (particularly at this time of year)

    I've attached dad's service record although there seems to be little reference to the key period (June '44 - June '45) that I'm interested in. Dad was initially trained as a tank driver. He saw his train literally leave the station when he was returning from leave prior to embarkation to north Africa. After being charged on his return to base the following day (absent without leave) he was posted to RASC and then went on to Normandy.

    As suggested, I'll follow up with the MOD to see if I can get a full copy of his service record and discover any further associated details. I'm located in Western Australia and physical visits by me to the UK National Archives are problematic.

    Dad spoke of sleeping on top of boxes of explosives/shells in the back of trucks. He also told a story of an occasion when during a 5 minute mortar attack (apparently these attacks were sudden, relatively brief but repetitive) one of the soldiers in his unit took cover under a truck which the rest of them were aware was full of explosives/shells. This turn of events was to their great amusement after the attack had stopped with no harm having been done. These two stories support the idea as Danny and Hutt have referred to, that 1681 was supplying munitions to an artillery regiment(s) at the front.

    Dad also recalled one particular day in north west Europe when 1681 (or least his section) were located on one side of a river valley and the Germans on the other. Apparently, each side could plainly see the other going about their respective tasks and both sides were well within effective small arms range of one another, however not a shot was fired - an oddity of war. This contrasts with my dad's recurring post war nightmare associated with an occasion when he turned to a soldier next to him as they were returning fire and at that instant watched as this man had his head shot from his shoulders.

    Thanks again for all your help.

    Regards

    Bob
     

    Attached Files:

  13. ozzy16

    ozzy16 Patron Patron

    Hi Bob,
    1681 came under the command of 319 coy RASC during May 1944 (see 1st image) they stayed with 319 coy until the early part of 1945 (can't find them after march 1945)
    The orther images I have posted came from the same diary as above and show where 1681 were and what they were doing during Dec 1944. (WO 171-2437 319 Jan-Dec 1944.) Should you wish a copy of this diary, I refer you to post #5 of this thread and contact the members posted for further advice.
    click on the images to expand.

    regards.........Graham.
    hope1.jpg hope2.jpg hope3.jpg hope4.jpg hope5.jpg
     
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  14. Historic Steve

    Historic Steve Researching 21 Army Group/BAOR post VE day

    5 Sep 45 – 725 Company (Artillery) – Engr north-west of Herford – HQ Commander RASC 57 Transport Column – 1681 Artillery Platoon (Light) last recorded 19 Sep 45 – "regiment" incorrect!

    26 Sep 45 – 8 Corps District Troops – Hindenburg Kaserne later McLeod Barracks Neumünster
    27 Sep 45 – 75 Company (General Transport) – Uetersen north-west of Hamburg
    6 Oct 45 – Tanstedt north-west of Hamburg
    16 Jan 46 – Detachment – Siek Kaserne later Redhill Barracks Neumünster
    16 Jan 46 – Platoon – Linden Strasse Bad Segeberg

    21 May 46 – 1 HQ Supply Unit – General HQ Troops – probably Herford (1 HQ was HQ BAOR in Bad Oeynhausen)

    Sorry no records for 38 Supply Reserve Depot or 3 Base Petroleum Installation

    https://britisharmyingermany.com (under construction)
     
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  15. Bob Hope

    Bob Hope New Member

    Hi Graham and Steve

    Many thanks again for the info and helping me pull the pieces together.

    Now that 1681 is confirmed as being under the command of 319 coy RASC from May 1944 through to March 1945 (about the time of the crossing of the Rhine) I can seek more detail from the War Diary (WO 171-2437 319 Jan-Dec 1944) about 1681's activities / movements.

    Dad said they (i.e. 1681) were often doing odd jobs and this may help explain the absence of some information. Perhaps recording of exceptions to regular duties of particular units (and constant changes in their locations) wasn't significant enough and / or was too time consuming to record until there was a definite situational change.

    I'm interested in the 319 coy War Diary reference for the period Jan-Mar 1945. Dad spoke about having some involvement in the Ardennes. I think the river valley story I referred to earlier (not a shot being fired) may have occurred during the period 16th Dec 1944 and 25th Jan 1945 (Battle of the Ardennes / Bulge) In regards to being mortared or shelled in a forest, he told me to take my chances out in the open - this piece of advice may also be connected to his Ardennes experience.

    Is there a War Diary reference for 319 coy Jan-Mar 1945? If so, may I have this please?

    Also, which army group(s) / corps should I be following for more info about 319 coy RASC during the period May 1944 to March 1945?

    Regards

    Bob
     
  16. Uncle Ron.

    Uncle Ron. Member

    Hi Bob,

    My uncle Ronald Davies was with 1681 Arty., Regt., Plt., RASC so would have served with your father.

    Regards,

    David.
     
  17. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Hi,

    According to details in the war diary of 1 Cdn Army ST Branch for Sep 44, 1681 Arty Pl (Light) was providing transport for 191 Field Regiment RA under command of 319 Coy RASC (Arty) and within 4 AGRA which was supporting 1 Corps as part of 1 Cdn Army.

    I hope that makes sense.

    Regards

    Tom
     
  18. Uncle Ron.

    Uncle Ron. Member

    Thanks Tom,

    If of interest to the original poster Bob, I have a copy photo of Ron with some of his mates sitting on and around the cab and bonnet of a truck. It is dated Germany 1944, 319 Coy R.A.S.C., & has a couple of names on the back.
    If possible I would like to identify the make of truck which is difficult as it's covered with R.A.S.C., personnel but to my amateur eye could be a Canadian Dodge or maybe a Chevrolet?
    Is there a section I could post it in for identifying trucks?

    Regards,

    David.
     
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  19. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    David,

    Post the photo here, and I'm sure someone will be able to identify it.

    Regards

    Tom
     
  20. Uncle Ron.

    Uncle Ron. Member

    Thanks again Tom,

    Here is the photo. In the bottom left-hand corner is part of the front of another truck.
    The names on the back are Sgt. Dixon, Cpl. Taffy Davies, L/Cpl. Coomber, Jacky Berry [or Barry], and Yorky.

    Regards,

    David.
     

    Attached Files:

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