Searching for info on my grandfather (80th Field Regiment R.A., T.A)

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by Sean Gray, Feb 20, 2012.

  1. Sean Gray

    Sean Gray Junior Member

    Hello Everyone,

    I am new to the forum and have been overwhelmed with both the knowledge and courteous responses shown by the members. I just wanted to say what a great environment this site has.

    I am currently trying to research my grandfathers time in the service. I know that he was an artillery sergeant in the 80th Field Regiment and was attached to the 52nd Lowland Division. In the book "A History of the 80th Field Regiment R.A., T.A. 1939-1945", he is listed as Bdr. RC Holmes (his name was Robert Charles Holmes) in Appendix E subtitled "List of O.R.s who embarked with 80th (L) Fd. Regt., R.A."

    This creates a bit of confusion for me, as I know that he was definitely a sergeant, yet my understanding of RA ranks is that a Bdr. is the equivalent of a corporal.

    He also spoke one time of being a part of the liberation of a concentration camp where large numbers of bodies needed to buried. If memory serves me right, and this conversation took place almost thirty years ago, he said that they made the Germans bury the bodies because "They made the bloody mess, so they could damn well clean it up." This sounds to me like it could have been Bergen Belsen. However, although his unit was very close to Belsen on the 15th of April, there is no mention of them actually going in there.

    I have begun the process of requesting his service record, but realize that this can take a long time to receive and that they quite often don't have as much information as people expect them to. So, I was wondering if anybody could suggest any other ways I could research him at least until the request for the record goes through?

    I have included four photos that I have of him from the war. The first is a portrait clearly showing his rank and regiment, the second is him during a break of some sort, the third is him and two friends on a disabled German tank, and fourth is him and possibly the same two friends in front of an ambulance. I don't know the exact places or dates of any of these photos.

    Thank you for any responses in advance. Any information would be greatly appreciated.


    Attached Files:

  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Hi Sean and welcome to the forum.

    Can I recomend you consider obtaing his regiments war diaries and a copy of his service records.

  3. Kbak

    Kbak Senior Member

    welcome to the forum


  4. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Hello Sean, don't be too concerned about the rank discrepancy. Only his service record will give you the full details of dates etc. but the British Army has a long tradition of giving men responsibility and paying them a rank lower...

    His record will probably show that he was first 'Acting, Unpaid', then 'Acting, paid' before becoming a War Substantive Serjeant. Prior to the full promotion, the rank would not have been shown in all records.

    The photograph of him with three stripes is, based on the tailored battledress with collar and tie, either very late in the war or perhaps just afterwards and it looks a little to me as if he wanted to show the sleeve to the folks at home so perhaps he was newly promoted ?

    As some of the older men began to return after the cessation of hostilities, there were many promotions of NCOs so it's quite possible that he embarked a Bombardier and was promoted overseas.
  5. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Sean-Just received your PM. I will be intouch tomorrow.

  6. Rob Dickers

    Rob Dickers 10th MEDIUM REGT RA

    Hi Sean
    The late war picture of your grandfather with his sergeants sides has a RA Mountain Regt patch which does not equate to the 80th(Lowland)Field Regt, so maybe his gained his promotion on posting or attachment to the 1st Mountain Regt RA which was the only MR in NW europe at this time and were attached to 52 Div along with the 3rd Mountain Regt which 52 Div lost in 1944.
  7. Sean Gray

    Sean Gray Junior Member

    Wow, thank you for the welcome greetings and the quick replies.

    Rich, what you say about the possibility of him being either field promoted or promoted after the war certainly seem like distinct possibilities. Also, the idea that the first picture was taken at the end of the war seems quite likely as the uniform does appear to be tailored battle dress. I have an earlier portrait of him that is dated 1940 in which he is wearing a very different uniform with no rank or divisional markers. He was originally in signals, but transferred (or was transferred to) the artillery division after about a year. Thanks very much.

    Rob, the book I have on the 80th Field Regiment says that they did participate in two years of mountain training. However your mention of him possibly being reposted to either the first or third mountain regt. is most certainly an idea worth following up on. Again, I know that he arrived in Europe in late 1944 with the 80th field regt., but after that he could have gone anywhere.

    Thanks again guys. This is all greatly appreciated.
  8. John Carr

    John Carr Junior Member


    My Grandad, 93 next month, was also with 80th Field Reg, 317 Battery, C Section. I have loads of information, books and himself. Let me know what you want.
  9. John Carr

    John Carr Junior Member

  10. Wigbold

    Wigbold Son of Artilleryman

    My father was a signaller with 80th Field regiment RA. D L Edwards in the History. Dad wrote a kind of history before he died earlier this year. It puts some detail on his wartime service, and led a reunion with the family he was billeted with in Belgium after the war when the regiment paused in Belgium (Herzele) I have some photos. He trained at Bamber Bridge before being posted to the 80th.

    Let me know if you need some more info.
  11. Wigbold

    Wigbold Son of Artilleryman

    Oh and the stuff about Mountain Regiments is wrong. 80th were a Mountain trained Regiment. The specific mountain regiments had smaller guns which dismantled. There's a book about that too.
  12. Wigbold

    Wigbold Son of Artilleryman

    See posts - my father was in the 80th too.
  13. Wigbold

    Wigbold Son of Artilleryman

  14. jeanleong

    jeanleong New Member

    Hello everyone

    The pic showing Sean's grandpa with destroyed german tank is no longer visible (deleted ?).
    Did someone save it ?

    If yes, i'm interested to see it.

    Thanks in advance.

  15. Historic Steve

    Historic Steve Researching 21 Army Group/BAOR post VE day

    Post May 45 location details
    80th (Lowland City of Glasgow) Field Regiment RA command 52nd (Lowland) Infantry Division Osterholz-Scharmbeck north of Bremen to Oschersleben south-west of Magdeburg – to Belgium Jun 45 to Sennelager Jul 45...the regiment appears to be disbanded before the division moved north to Bad Zwischenahn in Jun 46
    Hope this helps
  16. DavidjF

    DavidjF New Member

    Hi Sean,
    my dad was a radio operator in the 1st Mountain RA. He told me that they did enter Bergen Belsen. After Luneburg Heath he was transferred to N. India ad then Palestine.

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