Royal Corps of Signals base at Crewkerne (WWII)

Discussion in 'Royal Signals' started by Cromwell, Jul 5, 2009.

  1. Cromwell

    Cromwell Junior Member

    My dad was in the Royal Signals in the war. He was evacuated from Dunkirk and was in D Day or D Day plus 1. He left from Weymouth on the afternoon of June 6.

    He never said much about the war and I stupidly never asked. Now I am researching his war experiences.

    I believe he was attached to the Guards Armoured Division under Sir Brian Horrocks. He drove motorbikes and jeeps as a "Don R"

    I have a photo of him with a BAOR cover on it. I think he ended up at Iserlohn in Germany

    I would appreciate being pointed to the best source of info about the Signals. I will be attempting to get hold of his Army records but I am not sure what detail you get from them.

    I am pretty sure that he was based in Crewkerne at some time before D Day. If you could confirm that there was a Signals unit at Crewkerne and especially if you can say what was the name of his unit it would be great as this would give me a starting point.

    His name was Harold Arthur Heard of Beeston Nottinghamshire.

    Thank you very much.

    Regards
    Will Heard
     
  2. englandphil

    englandphil Very Senior Member

    Will, welcome to the forum, and I am sure that either one of the Guards or Signals experts will be able to shed more light on your research.

    In the meantime heres a scan from the 'The Royal Corps of Signals' Book, showing the loacations on the various divisional units associated with he armoured divisions

    once you have a copy of his service record, it should tell you which unit he was assigned to, which will make the research far easier

    P
     

    Attached Files:

  3. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Everything Andy said and the RCS Museum at Blandford :)

    You do need to try and narrow the unit down XXX Corps had around 50,000 tropps in it at the time of Op Market Garden.

    Welcome to the forum Will,

    Regards
    Andy
     
  4. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

  5. Cromwell

    Cromwell Junior Member

    Thank you very much. I am sorry for the delay in reply. I went on holiday for three weeks then had a big problem with my computer when I came back which is now repaired. I think the best idea is to go to the RCS museum and talk to them.

    Cheers
    Will
     
  6. Cromwell

    Cromwell Junior Member

    Thank you very much. I am sorry for the delay in reply. I went on holiday for three weeks then had a big problem with my computer when I came back which is now repaired. I think the best idea is to get the service record and go to the RCS museum and talk to them.

    Cheers

    Will
     
  7. Cromwell

    Cromwell Junior Member

    I am trying to find out more about my father's war experiences but the MOD personnell section have said that due to high demand they may not be able to get out his service records for six to eight months.

    He was in the Royal Signals as a despatch rider and I am pretty sure he was attached to the Guards Armoured Division after D Day. I have listed what information I have got below. I would be grateful for any leads that you can give me.

    Harold Arthur Heard

    1 Original army number 2589375 then Army Number 2593087, enlisted on 15/11/39 aged 22. note on pay book says TA for period of embodiment. He joined up after answering an ad in Motorcycle News (keen motorcyclist). There is a note saying "Z5c [??} Andrews Lt R Sigs 24 May 45" - was this when he was demobbed? ( But there is also a note dated 31 May 45 saying "Passed driving test for cars 5cwt 4x4 revised test for DR DII in accordance with [??? it looks like some ordinance or memo]" Passed cookery course Eastern Command 30August 1941. There is record of his leave signed by various seargents and officers. I can't read most signatures but there is one signed by Capt F Bramley (or Brimley)

    He was evacuated from Dunkirk as part of the BEF

    2 According to mother's diary (marriage took place Dec 1939 on special licence from the Bishop) it looks like he left England for France at 5a.m 9th June 1944 and he was at the Haque (or Hague??) Camp, Fleet (Hampshire) before he left.

    3 He was attached to the Guards Armoured Division but I do not Know which part. However, according to my brother, he thinks that he was attached to a headquarters and I do remember him saying to me that he ferried messages between Monty and Eisenhower at some point.

    4 Brother has a dinner plate that was clearly painted in a naive fashion like a cartoon of a Jeep driving toweards the viewer with a comment written in french saying "our journey. Is it really necessary." Round the rim of the plate are place names and insignia but the paint is very indistinct in places. The names are as follows - Caen, Falaise, Dieppe, Turnhout, Tilberg, Breda, Goch, Rhede, Iserlohn. I have tracked down one of the insignia to "1st Corps HQ" and another to 12 (British) Corps via this website http://www.petergh.f2s.com/flashes.html

    5 Brother has a photograph of Dad and Bill Rock who was in the same unit date 5 May 1945 (i.e. VE Day) taken at Rhede Nacht Bocholt. Apparently dad also talked about Walcheran and the related islands and Bergen op Zoom.

    I have read Brian Horrocks' "Corps Commander" and done a lot of searching on Google - Clearly he was with 30 (XXX) Corps but his precise unit is tantalisingly out of reach to me until I get his service record - I got a letter from the relevant MOD office saying it could take six to eight months before I hear anything - I have also been in touch with the archivist at the Royal Signals museum but again he cannot help much until I have got Dad's service record.

    I have put all this down so that there is some record out there in the ether so I may as well add that my mother worked at Chetwynd Depot, Chilwell during some part of the war. I have got her war department pass dated July 7, 1943 when she was working for the British Pay and Establishment Office, USA Misc Installations, Western Command, 4 Albany Road, Harborne (Birmingham) on "general financial duties".

    If anyone can point me to sources of info about despatch riders in the Guards Armoured Division from D Day onwards I would be most grateful. I may well have come across some of these sources by now but it all depends what keywords you put into Google so you may be able to put me onto a seam of informatioon that I may not yet have come across.

    All the best - especially to you old soldiers. I have the greatest respect for you.

    Will Heard
     
  8. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    1 Original army number 2589375 then Army Number 2593087


    Anyone know why his Army No. would have changed? They didn't have one No. for TA and another for Regs back then did they ?
     
  9. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Chetwynd Depot, Chilwell


    Its in Nottingham.

    I've been there many times. I trained recruits there more times than I can shake a stick at and mobilized through those barracks on three occasions.

    I know for definate it was an ammunition factory during WW1 as there was a massive explosion there. Not sure what the main use was during WW2 though.

    It's main uses are for mobilizing TA soldiers and there is a Royal Engineer unit based there along with a Royal Sigs Troop and a smuttering of other cap badges. It has a wonderful obstacle course for beasting recruits around too :D
     
  10. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Can you post some pictures of the documents etc that you have.

    Any reason you are only interested post D-Day regarding his service?

    Regards
    Andy
     
  11. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Motorcycle News was a post-war name but the two publications of the time, 'Motor Cycle' and 'Motor Cycling' both ran similar recruitment schemes. Neither guaranteed a job as a motorcyclist but it seems that the success rate was higher earlier on with some well-known motorcyclists going on to become instructors.

    This is the sort of form that he'd have filled in originally :-

    [​IMG]

    I know of no books specifically dealing with Guards Armoured DRs but Raymond Mitchell's 'Commando despatch Rider, from D-Day to Deutschland' is often available at a reasonable price and gives a good background.

    Jack Dienst's privately published 'A civilian in uniform' is very good on the early war forming up of an R.Sigs DR unit. He was 5 Corps signals and subsequently went to the Midddle East and Italy rather than NW Europe though.
     
  12. Groundhugger

    Groundhugger Senior Member

    1 Original army number 2589375 then Army Number 2593087


    Probably through promotion to officer status as he was demobbed a Lieutenant , perhaps
     
  13. 0.303

    0.303 Junior Member

    Hi

    "Jack Dienst's privately published 'A civilian in uniform' " is that anywhere for sale?

    .303
     
  14. Cromwell

    Cromwell Junior Member

    I have posted notes regarding my dad's war service before and thank you all those who have commented. I am very pleased to say that I now have a copy of his service record so I can firstly correct an important fact that I was previously mistaken about and secondly I can add some solid factual information albeit that there is not a great deal extra to report.

    I would be most grateful to all of you who might be able to suggest sources of information about a Don R's life in the war and about the activities of the Signals units noted below.

    First the correction. He did not embark for France on D Day or D Day plus 1 but on the 11th. June 1944.

    Now the detail:

    • Army number – originally 2589375 then 2593087
    • Enlisted November 15, 1939
    • Posted to 44th. Div Signals at Crewkerne November 15, 1939
    • Embarked B.E.F March 27 1940
    • Evacuated from Dunkirk June 4, 1940
    • Posted to Guards Armoured Division Signals June 15, 1941
    • Posted to 12 Corps Signals September 1, 1942
    • Posted to 1 Corps (Squadron) Signals January 27, 1944
    • Embarked for France June 11, 1944
    • Now 1 Corps Dist Signals (??BAOR Iserlohn) May 23, 1945
    • Returned to England January 15, 1946
    • Discharged from the Army
    I have contacted the archivist at the Signals museum in Blandford Forum and supplied this information so he may be able to direct me to some
    very usefuil sources of information about what 44 Div Signals, 12 Corps and 1 Corps were doing at the relevant points. I hope to be able to access war diaries of relevant groupings.

    However you may also be able to help me. Thank you in advance.

    On the basis of the above information and something my dad said to me a long time ago about ferrying messages between Monty and Eisenhower and on my reading of the book by Cliff Lord and Graham Watson (The Royal Corps of Signals Unit Histories of the Corps 1920 - 2001) I think that he may have been in 1 Squadron Divisional HQ D Troop once he was in France in 1944 (See page 263 of this book).

    Finally I have some interesting material that I fnally dragged out of my brother's labyrinthine attic junk which I am sure you will find amusing. One of my dad's comrades named "Ken" was clearly a good cartoonist and we have found some original cartoons that I am sure will interest you.


    I have attached one to this posting.
    All the best
    Will Heard
     

    Attached Files:

  15. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    That Cartoon is 'bloody brilliant' !

    I hope you didn't mind but I blew it up a bit.
    [​IMG]


    I'll go through my Signals books later after dinner :)
     
  16. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Nadler's The Royal Corps of Signals
    [​IMG]
     
  17. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Nadler's The Royal Corps of Signals
    [​IMG]
     
  18. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Nadler's British Army Signals in the Second World War
    [​IMG]
     
  19. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Nalder's British Army Signals in the Second World War
    [​IMG]
     
  20. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    from Nalder's British Army Signals in the Second World War.

    As may be judged from the means of locomotion employed, the despatch rider in World War II had a more varied existence than his predecessor in World War I. He had not only to cope with a much wider range of different conditions, each demanding its own rather specialized technique, but he had far greater distances to cover and his intineraries were subject to far more frequent changes. Though he had many rivals among other arms in the form of motor-cycle orderlies, the experienced despatch rider was a specialist well worthy of his trade rating. In devotion to duty and resourcefulness he certainly upheld the traditions established by his predecessors
     

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