Searching for Timothy Joseph O’Brien - The Buffs 5th battalion

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by Derek Newark, Sep 15, 2019.

  1. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    First obtain his service records then with that information you can have the correct War Diaries copied, you may if not careful copy WD's that are not for the unit he was in or when he was in it so wasting your cash

  2. Derek Newark

    Derek Newark Member

    I already have the service records for my father. Can I not get this information from that to get the war diaries then ?
  3. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    If you have his service records as supplied by the MOD then yes the information about your father will be on them, but I was assuming you were trying to track down Thomas O'Brien whose service records you could apply for which may provide details to help enable the question of whether he has family now to be answered.
    I would assume they were together during some of the time but I guess not all

  4. Derek Newark

    Derek Newark Member

    I think I am may be confused as to what war diaries are. I though war diaries were first hand accounts of the soldiers lives or maybe reports by the officers on incidents. In the pile of papers of my father's record there are just details of illness, awards, dates of service. Nothing that looks like a diary. You said "with that information you can have the correct War Diaries copied" which seems to imply these service records are war diaries ?
  5. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    War Diaries as they are referred to on here are the official Diary for a unit normally compiled on a daily basis which describes the actions of that unit for that day by the Intelligence officer - an example is
    This is for the 8Bn Royal Scots for June 1944

    For example others for the Division can be found here

    They are NOT personal diaries - so depending on what units they were in you can then know which War Diaires you need, but knowing what units they were in and when only comes from their service records.
    For example Thomas O'Brien could have been transferred into the Buffs from another Regiment, until you have his record you will not know

    It is possible that the War Diary you need for the incident that lead to Thomas O'Brien being killed is within this WD
    5 Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment) | The National Archives
    Reference: WO 170/1369
    5 Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment)
    Date: 1944 July-Dec
    Held by: The National Archives, Kew
    Legal status: Public Record(s)
    Closure status: Open Document, Open Description

    But it will only record where they were, if it was during a specific operation and probably at the end of the day will name the officers killed that day plus a number of OR's [other ranks] if there were any. It may be of interest to you but will not aid you in your quest to find relatives for this man, as mentioned its possible that his service records will. For example on my fathers records it shows the leave he took for his marriage, where that was taking place and the name of his wife, so if I was searching it could be a very good lead to help me

    Tony56, ozzy16 and timuk like this.
  6. Derek Newark

    Derek Newark Member

    Yes there are two aspects to my research. One is to find the relatives of this man and I think there will be a good chance if I get his records. The other is I would be very interested in read about specific incidents that my father told us about. For instance he lost a finger when a man who cleaning a bren gun in their barracks accidently dischared it so three of them were injured with conflicted reports between my brother and I that one was also killed. I would assume that would be written somewhere.
    The link you gave me for the Royal Scots diary is excellent and I would love to find something similar for my father's regiment however as far as I can see by the National Archive link I have to go there and look through them and copy them. They don't seem to be available online.
  7. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Royal West Kent Regiment 6334001 - 6390000

    If this is your man - 6344327 C.S.M. Timothy Joseph O'BRIEN (297236), then from the service number [6344327] it would appear he enlisted at some point into the Royal West Kent Regiment.
    His service records should tell you at what point he was transferred to Royal East Kent Regiment. To have reached the rank of CSM I also think he may well have enlisted prior to WW2.

    WD's for WW2 are not online, we have members who offer the service of copying WD's from TNA in no particular order of preference scroll down to the piece written in blue scroll down to the link

    Whether that incident you mention of the Bren is mentioned I dont know, but it you would need to have some idea of the date, WD's are generally for a year as the name indicates and also you may need to ask for appendices to the WD's as often they contain useful information

  8. Derek Newark

    Derek Newark Member

    OK thanks
  9. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    Am I being stupid, as I thought "The Buffs" were the EAST Kent Regiment, NOT the QORWK?
    Perhaps, if so, the caption could be amended by Admin, if not by the OP?

    I suppose getting his Service Records might clear up Date and Place of Birth, but otherwise, don't we already have the bare bones?
    If he was a CSM 6344327 in 1943, there are Pals here who could work out a likely enlistment date for that Number.
    After basic training, he'd then be assigned to any Unit in need of men.
    I'd suggest that he was likely a pre War recruit, to have reached CSM level, and that seems to have been with the 2nd Battn RWK (Royal WEST Kent) in 1943. Commissioned as a 2nd Lt in 1943, there ought to be a Gazette entry to promote to Lieutenant, and presumably to Acting Captain rank when the 5th needed officer replacements.

    There's no unit information on CWGC database, so presumably the 5th Bn and Acting Captain info is from the OP, knowing that was his father's unit?

    With the scant information to hand, he may not have married, certainly no Additional Information was supplied by any family, so either he was an orphan, unmarried or any address given was out of date, so there may not be any descendants on which to pass any details to.

    There is a mention of him being Mentioned in Despatches, in the QO Regimental magazine for April 1946,
    and a later reference to "boy" O'Brien being in the ITC band, but whether that was him or a son, or an unrelated same surname, I can't tell. Stating "O'Brien is the military and dance band drummer and had considerable experience at drumming in civilian life. He will shortly attain man service age." seems to indicate a youth in 1946. Whether a son is unclear, it's a popular surname!

    It sounds very much like the OP's father could have been one of those raw recruits walking along the skyline, resulting in O'Brien being shot instead of him.

    Another of the many incidents of stupidity and bravery, probably enacted thousands of times during War.....
  10. Derek Newark

    Derek Newark Member

    The one thing I am sure about is that O'brian was definitely married and had at least 3 children. Also he was a teacher. My father was in hospital when o'brien was killed so he heard about it later. Though he idolised o'brien he felt very angry with him for being careless and getting killed but I suppose we all make silly mistakes especially when we are tired and where my mistake might be a small dent n a car for a man in the field it can mean the end of his life. It certainly wasn't the first time he had warned men about walking on the skyline. There is no doubt he was a very brave man and if it wasn't for o'brien my father and I am sure many others would not have survived the war. According to my father he seemed to have an instinct when and where something was going to happen and where more senior ranks would be dithering around wondering what to do he seemed to know so eventually they all followed him.
  11. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    Can you clarify whether we're talking East or West Kents?
    As stated, The Buffs is East Kent, Queens Own is West Kent.
    The information from the London Gazette, the CWGC and the magazine all indicate Royal West Kent, yet you state "The Buffs".... ?
  12. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    It 1961 the Buffs and the RWK were amalgamated to form the Queen's Own Buffs, The Royal Kent Regiment.

    Is this the cause of confusion?

  13. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member


    It doesnt really matter re his military cereer - it is hoped that they may be some details in there that would help to trace his family which is what the OP is after - he does not need his day to day military details

  14. Derek Newark

    Derek Newark Member

    Definitely the buffs.
  15. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    The RWK history records his MiD at the rank of CSM but does not cite which battalion.

    Of the 6RWK at the time of his death it notes that they were in action at Acqua Salata. C-Coy was trying to take possession of Monte Verro (Point 410), a peak located c. 700 yds away from Acqua Salata. The text is ambiguous, but it seems that the fighting here took place on 24th & 25th October.

    The weather turned to icy rain on 26/10/44, the trenches became fragile and the supply route for the mules turned into a quagmire. the Germans took the opportunity offered by the near cessation of movement to increase their bombardment and casualties reached 130 across the period October 23-28, of these twenty-three were killed. These casualties plus sickness necessitated the contraction of the battalion from four rifle companies to three, B & C-Coys merging into 'Z-Coy' as a temporary measure.

    The unpleasantness continued until the battalion was relieved by the Argylls on 28/10/44.

    See also the commanding officer's obituary for this period:

    In November 1943 Defrates was sent home to attend a Senior Officers' course, returning to take over command of the 6th Battalion the following June, by which time the 78th Division was fighting its way up the east coast of Italy. On October 24 1944, in extreme weather conditions, the 6th Battalion attacked Monte Verro, in the Romagna, from the village of Acqua Salata.

    The move to the start-line involved crossing by night a heavily shell-swept area. All maintenance was by Pack Transport and the tracks were almost impassable owing to the mud and rain. The battalion then had to wait for 24 hours under heavy mortar fire before the attack was planned to begin.

    The following day, however, Defrates took advantage of an enterprising patrol, and succeeded in reaching his objectives before dark. Thanks to what was described in the citation for his DSO as "the perfect organisation of the move and administration of his battalion" and "the masterly handling of the battalion's weapons during the battle", Defrates had been able to exploit this initial success, enabling another battalion to be launched into action 24 hours ahead of schedule.

    The citation continued: "Lt-Col Defrates's personal courage during this time, and his battalion's stubborn resistance of enemy counter-attacks, coupled with the immediate launching of his own counter-attacking force, was an outstanding piece of work on the battlefield. His disregard for his own personal safety, his attention to detail that achieved the best possible conditions for his men in the fight, and his cheerfulness throughout a hard battle was an inspiration and example to all who saw him."

    Full Text Here:
    Lt-Col Gordon Defrates


    5th Buffs, 6th & 7th RWK were all with 36th Brigade (78th Division) and (thus) all operating in the same area.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2019
  16. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member


    Gary Tankard is on this site. Look him up and Start a Conversation with him.

    He will get them for you.


  17. Derek Newark

    Derek Newark Member

    I have already started a conversation with Drew5233 . Does Gary offer the same service ?
  18. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Gary ?? - if you mean Lee [PsyWar.Org] then yes he does

  19. Derek Newark

    Derek Newark Member

    Gary Tankard, as suggested above
  20. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Ah OK I see now - I dont actually know if he does or not I have never asked him - if Minden suggests it the try it, as Gary may already have the WD's you are after


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