Rijkevorsel 1944 - is this a British soldier? Help required.

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by BrianM59, Oct 29, 2014.

  1. BrianM59

    BrianM59 Senior Member

    Dear all,

    This picture (below) was posted last month by Ramacal in the extremely informative 'Black British soldiers' thread.


    There was considerable discussion about the origins - unit rather than nationality - of the soldier and some possibility of his being a gunner from 55 A/T Regiment. I e-mailed the Rijkevorsel Town Hall before Ramacal contacted me to tell me the Belgian authorities didn't know who the picture was of, or who had taken it. However, as I was preparing a seminar about the photograph to present at work next Friday , I received an e-mail which I reproduce below in full:

    [SIZE=12pt]"Dear sir,[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=12pt]I don’t know if somebody has already send a photograph of that black soldier to your adress.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=12pt]You can find an other included.It ‘s probely a canadian soldier.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=12pt]Paul bemindt[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=12pt]secretaris Heemkundige Kring van Rijkevorsel[/SIZE]"

    Now that's very kind of Mr. Bemindt, but it throws a little confusion my way as I'm touting this round as a picture of a Black British soldier. I know Canadians made gun tractors (indeed this Quad could be a CMP made version?) and used 17 pounders, but I have no idea whether they were in that area in September. To my knowledge - mainly from the forum and Delaforce's book about the Polar Bears, the 1/4th KOYLI took the town and the 55 A/T Regiment arrived later as part of 'BobForce' to hold the line.

    Any help forum members could give would be most gratefully received, as ever.


    Black soldier Rijkevorsel 1944.jpg
    CL1 likes this.
  2. chrisgrove

    chrisgrove Senior Member

    Hi guys

    The Quad in that picture is indeed a Canadian built CMP quad (Morris Quads, the only ones in UK use by 1944, had round rear wheel arches) and, as has been noted, it is towing a 17 pounder. However, British forces also used CMP vehicles, so you cannot really tell whether this guy is Canadian or British. Both armies used the same clothing, weapons and vehicles - with some exceptions and minor variations.

    CL1 likes this.
  3. Buteman

    Buteman 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    Hi Brian,

    It was Paul Bemindt who kindly showed me around the archives and the Canadian angle did not pop up in the conversation.

    Having looked through the information I have, I can tell you that the 27 Armoured Regt (Sherbrooke Fusiliers) of the 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade helped the 49th Division to consolidate the bridgehead when it was created.



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