Remembering Today, Gerard Mole, Cdg. 129th Inf. Bde. and Royal Ulster Rifles

Discussion in 'Higher Formations' started by La-de-da-Gunner Graham, Nov 14, 2012.

  1. La-de-da-Gunner Graham

    La-de-da-Gunner Graham Senior Member

    Remembering today:
    Gerard Herbert Leo Mole DSO and bar, MC
    Brigadier 13782
    Cdg. 129th Inf. Bde. and Royal Ulster Rifles
    Died: 14/11/44
    Buried: Brunssum
    Son of Philip and Annie Kathleen Mole; husband of Claire Marie Mole, of Worth, Kent.

    :poppy: Remembered with honour.
     
  2. La-de-da-Gunner Graham

    La-de-da-Gunner Graham Senior Member

    Brig. Mole's grave in Brunssum.
     

    Attached Files:

  3. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    From 43rd Div History. page 166.

    ..the minefields laid by 84th US Division would cause a certain amount of difficulty. At that time, little was know as to their exact location. Brigade commanders were therefore ordered to decide where they would debouch and to lift the mines. In this task the RE were to give all the help they could. Altogether it was eventually found that no less than fourteen hundred mines would have to be lifted to enable 214 Brigade to break out.
    By the morning of 14th Novenber, 204 Field Company had picked up a considerable number of these American mines and loaded them on lorries. Major Evill, the Company Commander, decided to dump them near the Custom House on the German border, where 129 Brigade Headquarters was established. The lorries arrived here soon after and No 1 Platoon started unloading them. During the morning Brigadier Mole had a tour of his line. On returning he noticed this unusual activity going on close to his Headquarters and walked over to find out why this particular site had been chosen. As he approached seven hundred mines spontaneously detonated. There was an appalling explosion which blew a crater thirty feet across and five feet deep. No fewer than fourteen men of No1 Platoon were instantaneously killed and Brigadier Mole and six sappers seriously wounded. Brigadier Mole......died the same evening.
     
  4. La-de-da-Gunner Graham

    La-de-da-Gunner Graham Senior Member

    Thanks for your update, Owen.
    Brigadier Mole was my next door neighbour's brigade commander. He said the explosion could be heard for miles.
    Also remembering, of course, the others who perished in this explosion.

    Keith
     
  5. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    From Brunssum last Sunday. He's alongside the Sappers who were killed when the mines detonated.

    Captain Harry Peace, Adjutant 5th Wiltshire’s wrote:

    He was a big man in every sense of the word, above average height, thickset with black hair and bushy black eyebrows. His manner was naturally relaxed and his expression friendly –but his ‘black looks’ were very black indeed. A fighting soldier with a MC from the First World War and a DSO for leading his Royal Ulster Rifles at Dunkirk in 1940. He went as far to the seat of action as was possible for a Brigadier. He had a great understanding of soldiers and what they were expected to do, and the cost involved. He inspired loyalty – a great loss.

    Incidentally, as commander of 129 Infantry brigade he was replaced by a certain J.O.E Vandeleur.

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    Capture.JPG
     
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  6. harkness

    harkness Well-Known Member

  7. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    There's a further 47 men buried at Brunssum who were killed when an estimated 2400 Anti-Tank grenades detonated on 7th January 1945. This happened just to the south of Tripsrath Wood near Geilenkirchen. The men, 30 of whom were sappers and the other 17 from the KOSB where in a column when the detonation occurred near the front of that column which spread along it as a chain reaction. For the men dug in at Tripsrath the pressure wave from the explosion was like one they'd never experienced before or would since. A truly terrible accident.
     
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  8. smdarby

    smdarby Patron Patron

    Thanks for the info Jonathan. Your message reminded me that I posted this a couple of years ago and didn't get a reply.

    Brunssum War Cemetery Graves 7/1/45

    Better late than never to learn new information! (probably my own fault - I should have searched "Brunssum" before starting a new thread).
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2019
  9. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    Shaun

    The second incident you refer to was Sgt Alex McAllan and three men, again all of 4/KOSB who were killed in a blast whilst lifting a Riegel Mine. This incident happened after the earlier blast and both are recorded in Peter White's superb memoir With the Jocks.
     
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  10. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    Further details on the explosion mentioned above on 7 January 1945 from the War Diary of 4/KOSB. Of those killed in the blast only the body parts of 14 men were identifiable. Note that the power of the blast also blew a previously knocked out Sherman Tank clean off the road and onto its side in a ditch.

    7 January.jpg
     
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