Royal Engineers June 1944

Discussion in 'Royal Engineers' started by Marie Brown, Jun 9, 2019.

  1. Arty

    Arty Member

    Hello Marie,

    Thanks for the Diary pages. That's just what we need.

    I've had a quick look at the War Diary for the period 01June to 09June. It’s looking like the four coasters that arrived on 08June were not carrying 999 POC – they were just the next ships that were to be unloaded by the company.

    Meanwhile, you typed: "His service records states he embarked UK on 3/6/1944 as part of 999 POC and part of 607".

    Does your Dad's service record actually say that? Then, if so, we can safely place him onboard LCI(L) Serial 607.

    However, on the day of his embarkation (03June) the War Diary tells us at that it was only the three coasters "403, 622 and 685" that were "marshalled and embarked at Southampton". In which case, given that his Army trade at the time was “Stevedore”, then he was almost certainly onboard Glengariff, Marcel or Northgate.

    And here's a pic of one those three coasters - No. 403 Glengariff (albeit taken after 1951 when it been renamed Ballyknock). The photo comes from the website:
    Coaster 403 Glengariff - renamed Ballyknock in 1951..jpg

    And, quite literally adding a bit of colour to the story, a piece of war art. This was painted by the War Artist E.J.I. Ardizzone, on or about 17Jun44. This pic also comes from the Imperial War Museum - this is IWM Art.IWM ART LD 4437. The title is "Dock operating company boarding a Steamer to unload it".
    IWM (Art.IWM ART LD 4437).jpg

    Last edited: Nov 5, 2019
  2. Marie Brown

    Marie Brown Member

    I love this painting. It is amazing. Thank you for responding to the files I put on the site Arty. I appreciated the acknowledgement.
    I have looked again carefully at my father's own service record and realised I was talking rubbish. Somewhere I saw he was part of 607 but I cannot find it now.
    His personal service record states he joined 999 DOC 18/ 03/ 1943 under the command of Captain A.E Yeo.
    He had been trained to be a Stevedore 11.
    The record entry for 3/6/1944 says 2E21/4525/44 (no idea what that means) 999 POC - Embarked UK - Rank- Sapper - signed A E Yeo Captain.
    He remained with 999 POC until he was demobbed in 1946
    Not 999 DOC became 999 POC. Don't know why.
    I suspect this information is not telling me where he was on June 6th.
    Thanks again.
  3. Arty

    Arty Member

    Hello Marie,

    I suspect this information is indeed telling us where Sapper Hildyard was on 06June.:)

    Reiterating what I said in my last post... The info in the Operation Order & the War Diary entries for 01June to 05June are fairly clear about the embarkation of 999 POC's Officers & OR's. Again, given your Dad's Army trade (ie. Stevedore) and the notation in his Service Record of him embarking on 03June, we can be fairly confident now that he was onboard Glengariff, Marcel or Northgate - all of which arrived off the Queen sector on the afternoon of 06June.

    Back to the War Art. The artist, Ardizzone, recorded in his diary on 17June: "Learn at about lunch-time I am to leave by the Ability, a coaster. Board her about 4p.m. after the usual appalling climb up a rope net. Find a gang of R.E.S (Docks Operating Co.) still unloading cans of high octane into waiting D.U.K.W.S, a tough-looking crowd of men but wonderful workers. I am treated with wonderful courtesy and hospitality by the ship's captain and crew." Again this info is from the IWM website. Of note Ardizzone seems to have painted other works in the Sword area at the time - so this pic might just depict 999 POC in action. I've got to say though, it looks like a bloody dangerous way to go to work!

    The reference to "DOC" is the abbreviation of "Docks Operating Company". By 1944 the correct nomenclature was "Port Operating Company".

    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019
  4. Marie Brown

    Marie Brown Member

    Arty, Thank you for your response and the further information you have given me. The family will be so pleased with all we have learned from this great site and from the people like yourself who have responded to my initial enquiry.
    I seem to have come a long way in my journey of " where was dad?" and it is thanks to the response of kind members who have welcomed me, a mere novice to share in your knowledge of the amazing events of that time in WW2.
    It has been a pleasure to have been able to make a small contribution to the knowledge of the group in supplying 999 POC's War Diaries.
    To all the people who responded a big thank you and hope the diaries are of interest.
    I am logging as much as I can and the pictures for the family.
    Thank you again. If any further information come to light I would of course love to hear it.
    To you all, keep safe and well and my thoughts are with you and all on the coming Remembrance Weekend.

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