Researching soldier of orange under Brittish flag: Piet van Beurden

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by pietvanbeurdenjr, Sep 25, 2012.

  1. pietvanbeurdenjr

    pietvanbeurdenjr Junior Member

    For over a decade we have been researching our grandfather. He joined the Brittish forces at the end of WWII. We are still looking for new information. At the top of our wishlist: is there information about why he got a Military Medal and could there transscripts of his interrogations (he was an interpretor). Of course any pictures with him on it, or mentions of him in documents would be a great find.

    Below a compleet record of our inquiries and extra information

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    A thread with more info from 2007 (yep, we've been looking for a long time (;p

    A video of the soundtrack for the book

    My grandfather served with the English army at the end of WWII. He was an interpreter and hullgunner on a sherman tank. He has passed away about 15 years ago, but has always keept us thinking of him. I'm now trying to find out more about his time during the war and really want to know why he got the Military Medal? I have travelled to Hamburg (Elmshorn) and through Germany to the camps of Bergen Belsen and was even allowed to visit the Deserts Rats in the Bergen Belsen Training facility.

    There are a few question I would love the have answered. I hope you can help me find these answer or forward me to the persons or institutes that can.

    First a little more about my grandfather. His name like mine is Piet van Beurden he signed the many letters he wrote my grandmother (we resently rediscoverd all his loveletters) as follows:

    102623 P.v.Beurde
    3/4 C.L.Y. (we think this meant County London Yeomanry)
    B.L.A. (we think this meant British Leberation Army)

    Sometimes it said Sgt. after his name. Sometimes it said R.H.Q. (We think this meant Regimental Head Quarters)

    As I said earlier he was interpreter and hullgunner probably on the tank also occupied by the regimentalcommander Major Woods.

    He did have contact in 1987 with an organisation in England: Sharpshooters Yeomanry Association 10 sone Bulding, Lincolns Inn, WC2 3TT. He fought hard here in his hometown Tilburg (was born in Goirle I believe) to get an official statue for the English and Scottish part in the liberation of our town. The credits before his efforts all went to our 'homeguard' who he proved didn't deserve them all (they did play a big part though we now know). He actually succeeded in getting the statue but died before it was erected:


    - Why did my grandfather receive the militairy medal? Is there more info that can be found than just: Bravery in the field? (he was awarded the medal by general Montgomery himself in februari 1946 in The Hague.

    - What we would really like to find are transcriptions of one of his 'interrogations' they must have been kept on records and it would really give us a look into the way our grandfather worked during the waring. He was described by John Fisher who wrote a book about the Deserts rats as a tower of strength.

    - where was his compagny or my grandfather in particular on the 15th-16th and 7th of april 1945. Al lot can be traced back but movements during that period are hard to discover.

    - What happened in Bergen Belsen. This had to be an event that made a big impact on my grandfather.

    - we read about a man named Harold Blumenson who drove my grandfather around in a jeep in Hamburg to and from his interrogation missions. We know a lot of veteran stories have been documented, is there anything we can find about him or the missions he went on with my grandfather?

    - Is there any information on a battle that occured when crossing the Rijn. The battle he called 'Bazooka-Alley"

    - Of course any pictures of my grandfather would be great.

    - My grandfather tried to permanantly join the Britisch army there should be letter somewhere he wrote about his wish.


    The official document that came with the medal:

    Sjt. Van Beurden has been attached to this regiment (3/4 County of London Yeo) since november '44 and his services as an interpreter in both Dutch and german have been invaluable. From the Reichwald battles until the cessation of hostilities, he travelled in one of the Regimental Headquarter taks as a hull gunner.

    After crossing the Rhine he was on numerous occasions sent up to the leading Squadron, often under heavy mortar fire and shell fire to interogate prisoners. The information he was able to obtain on two of these occasions, at BOCHOLT (A 2361) on the 28th of March at VERDEN (X 0182) on the 17th April, was of the utmost value to the Squadron leader and the Commanding Officer and enabled them on both occasions to ou manouvre an enemy position, thereby saving time and probable loss of life.

    Sjt van Beurden Throughout the whole campaign in Germany has set a very high example and shown great devotion to duty.

    questions: Can the information be traced? BOCHOLT (A 2361) on the 28th of March at VERDEN (X 0182) on the 17th April
    are there any audio recordings or documents of interrogations?
  2. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  3. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    aha here he is again.
    The National Archives | DocumentsOnline | Image Details

    Name Van Beurden, Petrus Martinus Johannes
    Rank: Serjeant Service
    No: 102623
    Regiment: 3/4 County of London Yeomanry
    Theatre of Combat or Operation: British to Foreign: Netherlands
    Award: Military Medal
    Date of Announcement in London Gazette: 26 July 1945
  4. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  5. pietvanbeurdenjr

    pietvanbeurdenjr Junior Member

    thnx Owen, Those are some helpfull links. I do think we have most of them, but not from those sites. They probably don't update the war diaries with classified information that's now available that wasn't available 5 years ago?
  6. idler

    idler GeneralList

    The bad news is that he is not mentioned in the regimental history Sharpshooters at War.

    The better news is that 3/4 CLY's attack on Tilburg was in support of the Dutch Brigade. I wonder if your grandfather was originally a member of the Dutch Brigade who was subsequently attached to 3/4 CLY as an interpreter. His MM recommendation should confirm whether or not this this was the case. If he was in the Dutch Brigade, that would be another line of enquiry to follow.

    I'm fairly certain that there won't be any recordings or transcripts as they would not have been formal interrogations, at least as far as 3/4 CLY were concerned. However, the war diaries may contain [intelligence] summaries of what he found out.

    It is also possible that your grandfather was attached to some other unit at the end of the war. If you have heard stories of formal interrogations, perhaps he was involved in war crimes investigations?

    One of our newer members is involved with the Sharpshooters Association and/or museum. Let me see if I can find him...
  7. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    You already have this then ?
    Even if you have it'll be good for other members to see it.

    Attached Files:

  8. pietvanbeurdenjr

    pietvanbeurdenjr Junior Member

    @idler Well he was in the resistance, that much we know. There are a lot of stories about guns and stuff under the bed and even about him escaping after being transported to Zeeland and walking all the way back. So no other records outside of the British ones. He actually didn't want to join the Dutch Interpreter 'guild', I'm not really sure why.

    @owen, we have something sort of similar, but I don't recognize the signatures. That may be new info. Three people signed of on this? Can't quite see their names but cool find nonetheless!
  9. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Dutch Army it is, then. I assume the 'Dutch Brigade' is the Prinses Irene Brigade. A quick search suggests that we haven't got much on them here.
  10. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Owen's posted the recommendation for the MM. The signatures are approving it as it goes up the chain of command: Anderson commanded 3/4 CLY, Carver commanded 4th Armoured Brigade and Barker commanded 8 Corps (though he was a Liieutenant General, not a Lieutenant Colonel!).

    I think I'm right in saying that the 'Periodical MM' means that it has been awarded for sustained gallantry over a period of time, as opposed to a single standout act. That fits with him being at the beck and call of the leading troops as you describe.
  11. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Just looked through WO373/187 the one from post #2 .
    Same document just a better image of it.

    Attached Files:

  12. pietvanbeurdenjr

    pietvanbeurdenjr Junior Member

    @idler, Cool insight. In the document several occasions are mentioned. I also tried to follow those leads: History: Verden Police Commander’s Office Status Report « Taide’s Weblog

    But without avail. I even went to Hamburg to try and get some information but they told me all official records and images were taken back by the British Army, which is logical of course. I found out he had been stationed in Elmshorn as base of operations. Here's a letter I wrote about this:
    (ps I remembered, he wrote in the over 70 love letters we found about making lot's of pictures!)

    My name like my Grandfather before me is Piet van Beurden. Together with my father (Jan), mother (Yvonne) and brother (Bram) for the past ten years we have been writing a novel about our grandfather (Piet) and his time as Sharpshooter. My father did most the work first of all copying almost a hundred pages of the letters Piet sent to his soon to be wife Corrie (his mates called her Kathy and him Pete) at the end of WWII during his time as an interpreter for the 3rd and 4th CLY . I’ve tried following my grandfathers footsteps into Germany as far as Elmshorn. I visited the White House in Elmshorn (still a public building), saw the ruins of Bergen Belsen and even visited the german officers camp where there are still to this day Sharpshooters posted just under Bergen Belsen. I went to the Royal archives in London and have tried my best to secure more information, but couldn’t really find any pictures of him or transcripts of the interrogations or other paperwork he must have left loads of, in Hamburg, Elmshorn, Bergen Belsen and other stops along the way. We scoured the internet and I even went to the British Army Museum in London. But all of my efforts were to no avail. This year oktober we plan to released the book. My father wrote a beautifull 150 page novel to accompany the letters by gathering stories from all the books and testimonials we could get our hands on. But there are still a few things we can’t seem to find.

    In his letters our grandfather talks about Arthur a lot. They worked together especially in Hamburg, but we have no idea who he is. There are a lot of things that happened which he wrote about and he must have put onto paper. Is there any change those records and accounts could still be accessed somewhere?
    One of the most frustrating things is the fact that he talks about making photos almost everywhere he goes. They are all send to England. Photos of group outings, events, groupphotos with the officers, snapshots, the works. But we cannot find anyone in our family who has these pictures. We just have three or four faded snapshots left. (were there perhaps pictures taken at the HQ party ticket attached)

    So with only three months to go I’m hoping and maybe even begging if there’s someone who could help us complete the story. By maybe helping us find some pictures, a list of who were in his outfit (is there still anyone alive?), and typed or written reports from his hand.
  13. pietvanbeurdenjr

    pietvanbeurdenjr Junior Member

    @Owen thanks! ctrl-saving it as we speak!
  14. pietvanbeurdenjr

    pietvanbeurdenjr Junior Member

    @Owen, a little update after closely examening the documents you attached, we discovered it's actually different from the ones we have. More complete and with more people on it. Coincidently we have been contacted by a canadian professor who's doing research on the liberation of bergen belsen so more info is coming in. If there's anything anyone wants to know or that might help find more 'intel' information just ask (;p
  15. pietvanbeurdenjr

    pietvanbeurdenjr Junior Member

    ps this is the document we already had:[​IMG]
  16. pietvanbeurdenjr

    pietvanbeurdenjr Junior Member

    Another interesting question. My grandfather attended a party. He made pictures of it but we can't find anything about it. Anyone got any idea how to get more info about it? I'll include the ticket of the party. The party was held (we think) either at regimental HQ in Tilburg or Hamburg. But... because of the entrance fee (one guilder) Tilburg is more likely.Asten is also a place, but it's probably the printer fo the tickets?
    Hmm.. regimental diaries place them in Lommel?

    [FONT=&quot]11/1/45 [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Training as before. LOMMEL ranges still available for Sqns for firing and T&A-ing guns.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]12/1/45 [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]As before.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]13 - 14 [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]TEWT conducted by 2i/c for all tank commanders on scheme supplied by 4th Armd Bde.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]15 - 19 [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Training continued. Programmes are changed each week and comprise all branches of RAC training on Troop, Sqn and Regimental levels, including Sten, Bren and grenade and patrol practices, firing as well. Sqns also used allotments of LIESEL ranges to practice still further in their art the occupants of the main turret armament.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]20 - 21 [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]As Before[/FONT]
  17. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    I think the war diary will be best source of info for that party.

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