Raiding Support Regiment (RSR) War Diary Dec 44

Discussion in 'British Army Units - Others' started by Skip, Jun 21, 2014.

  1. Skip

    Skip Senior Member

    Hello all,

    Does anyone have a copy of the December 1944 RSR War Diary that they would be willing to share? Trying to ascertain what 'battle accident' they had at Orja Luke in Montenegro (listed as 'Jugoslavia') on the 12th, and it fact what they were doing there.

    As always any help much appreciated ...

    Cheers

    Skip
     
  2. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member

    Hi Skip

    I have the diaries (WO 170/1364 and WO 170/4825) but there isn't anything specific about a RSR battle casualty in Yugoslavia on or around the 12 Dec 44. The vast majority covers their operations in Greece.

    The only entry that could be connected is that on the 21 Dec 44, "Sgt Colligan was killed on FLOYDFORCE"

    The next entry concerning FLOYDFORCE isn't until 5 Jan 45 when it states "11/12 Tps 'E' Bty is returning to Italy from FLOYDFORCE".

    Googling FLOYDFORCE suggests this may be connected with operations in Yugoslavia.

    Hope this helps

    Gus
     
  3. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    This files may be of interest:

    CAB 106/759 Yugoslavia: report on "Floydforce", British and partisan operations 1944 Oct.-1945 Jan; includes maps.

    WO 202/390 'Floydforce': signal traffic 1944 July - 1945 Jan

    Does 37 Military Mission ring any bells? The main heading for the WO 202 file above was 37 Military Mission and there's a lot more files under this title.
     
  4. Skip

    Skip Senior Member

    Gus & Drew - Thank you very much indeed. This is an excellent start point and very much appreciated.

    Yes, Colligan is the man I'm specifically interested in i.e. what he was doing at the time of his death and what was the exact accident he was involved in.

    ... looks like a trip to Kew is in order!

    If anyone knows anything further on Colligan please do get in touch.
     
  5. Skip

    Skip Senior Member

    Would anyone have the RSR War Diary for August 1944 that they would be willing to share - it would save me a lengthy trip to Kew

    Cheers

    Skip
     
  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    I did have it Skip until I formatted a hard drive. I can give you a rough price at 10p per page if you want me to copy it for you. I can also copy the CAB 106 file as well if you like?
     
  7. Skip

    Skip Senior Member

    Thanks Andy - just had a look at your 'Click Here' page ... going to have a look at my list of 'wants' tomorrow and may well send you a list. Cheers
     
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  8. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    No worries - Just send me a message if you need anything copying.

    Cheers
    Andy
     
  9. Steve Turner

    Steve Turner Member

    I’d be interested in a copy of the RSR war diaries. My grandfather was in Greece with them and injured in Jan 45. Robert Larnder.
    Any information would be appreciated.
     
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  10. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member

    Hi

    According to the diaries, your grandfather suffered "severe shock" at 10:00 on 04/01/45, when the Bren carrier he was in was fire bombed by ELAS on cross roads MEGALOU/PLATAION. Lt Keane was Killed. Bombardier Holdsworth suffered bad burns and a broken leg.

    This is very bad luck as ELAS fled to the mountains later that day and a cease fire was declared in just over a week.

    If you PM (use inbox top right of screen) me your email address I will send you the diaries. They will take a little time as I will have to shrink them as the originals are 4mb per page.

    Gus
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2020
    JimHerriot likes this.
  11. Steve Turner

    Steve Turner Member

    Wow. Thanks Gus. Will respond privately.
     
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  12. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member

    Forgot I'd covered this in a previous post. War diaries to follow.
    [​IMG]

    Gus
     
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  13. Steve Turner

    Steve Turner Member

    I saw that today thanks. I have responded because I think his regimental number has errors. But confident it’s him.
     
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  14. Steve Turner

    Steve Turner Member

    As a matter of interest where did you learn of where this happened. You mentioned the crossroads and the time but I can’t see that detail in the war diaries. Is there another entry somewhere else?
     
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  15. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member

    Hi Steve

    Yes, as they were supporting 4 Para at the time.

    Gus
     
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  16. Steve Turner

    Steve Turner Member

    Thanks Gus,

    I think my question is related to your sources though. For you to know what road junction it happened at tells me youve seen more than the war diaries. If so please can you let know the source. I’d like to learn more.

    Are there 4 Para war diaries?
     
  17. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member

    Hi Steve

    Snippet from hand written Situation Report (SITREP) found in the 4 Para War Diaries for January 1945 (WO 170-4971).

    upload_2020-12-1_16-51-28.png

    Hope this helps

    Gus
     
  18. Steve Turner

    Steve Turner Member

    Many thanks Gus
     
  19. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member

    Steve

    At that time of the civil war, every infantry battalion and pseudo infantry battalion, which includes the RSR was doing one just one thing. House clearing. Horrible nasty work and made even more challenging when the enemy didn't wear uniform and when they were surrounded would just throw their weapon away and greet the Brits as saviours.

    Each building was given a letter and a number. They kicked the first door down, used explosives to 'mousehole' through from one building to the next as ELAS would set booby traps. And then onto the next. Slowly and steadily, Building by building, street by street, Athens was eventually cleared. Many times they had to go back as they didn't have enough men to hold their gains. Streets had to be cleared too and as some streets were too narrow for a Sherman and they only had 25 or so armoured cars, Bren Carriers were the next best thing. Many houses in these narrow streets had balconies and a lot of casualties came from ELAS dropping petrol bombs and even anti tank mines from above.

    In response the Armoured car and Brens Carriers would 'brass up' anything that moved. If ELAS didn't withdraw a PIAT would be fired through the window. Then Artillery would stonk it with mortars and HE, then the RAF would attack it with rockets. They usually got the hint by then and left.

    It was like the worst of Palestine, NI, Afghan, Lebanon, Bosnia and all the other cold war proxy wars, rolled into just 37 days. ELAS nicknamed part of Athens as "little Stalingrad" as they had placed so many booby traps, snipers, mines, etc etc. The only thing that came close to a conventional war was when parts of the Indian Division assaulted a heavily defended beach in Piraeus using landing craft.

    None of the war diaries in themselves give any great detail to what was really going on. True infantry units (ie 6 BW) hardly said a word (Building "P2 cleared"). Royal Artillery units converted as infantry waffled as they were not used to doing this type of stuff. Some of the Paras Diaries are hand written and about as easy to read as a doctors prescription in places.

    If you really want to get a feel for what was happening in Athens at that time get a copy of "Scobie Hero of Greece".

    Or "Oft In Danger" (all about Farrah the Para).

    Search the IWM website for audio recordings and listen to peoples testimonies of who were there.

    Watch Alex Suttons video recollections of his time in Greece (Alex sadly passed away in October)



    This forum will usually tell you that the War Diary is the only true source of info. But in this particular situation, this stuff is miles better if you want to get a feel for what really happened in Athens in December 1944 and January 1945.

    Gus
     
  20. Steve Turner

    Steve Turner Member

    Extremely grateful for this Gus.
    I spent 11 years in the Army between 88-99. I don’t in anyway compare my experiences to that of Athens, but I’ve done FIBUA training and know exactly what you mean by booby trapping houses and mouseholing. We used to get access through the upper floors by literally running up the outside wall holding the end of a long pole while a team of people would run at the house with the pole and hoist you up, you’d drop a grenade through the window and jump in then fire your rifle into all corners and clear the room. That way you could fight down instead of up, as booby traps often included chicken wire tubes to trickle a grenade down if you came through a ground floor door or window.
    I can only imagine also the noise of firing and grenading indoors. We used ear defence.

    I’m pleased and proud to find all this out about him. He was a superb man in many ways not least this.
     
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