Seeking info about Hallamshire Battalion & Operation Martlet - 25th June 1944

Discussion in 'British Army Units - Others' started by hallams, Oct 1, 2009.

  1. hallams

    hallams Junior Member

    Operation martlet - 25th june 1944 - normandy
    Firstly I'm a new member so apologies beforehand for any mistakes made.
    My interest is seeking any photographic images of units of 49th Division taking part in the abovementioned operation. In particular the assault upon the village of Fontenay le Pesnel by, amongst others, the Hallamshire Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment.
    My deceased Father was a member of D Company, "Hallams". He was later badly wounded whilst "dug-in" in Tessel Wood. I've tried to trace the few serviving veterans of D Coy via the Regimental Museum but have had no luck.
    I've tried the Imperial War Museum who could not assist other than suggesting tracing private collections.
    I have some images from books including, The Polar Bears - Patrick Delaforce, Polar Bears From Sheffield - Don Scott,(the definitive work in my opinion) and the webpage - John Crooks War.
    Is there anybody in the Sheffield area, or anywhere else for that matter, who has any images?

  2. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin


    Welcome to the forum and I wish you well with your research.

  3. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    Hi Andy,

    Welcome to the forum, and good luck with your research

  4. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

  5. Verrieres

    Verrieres no longer a member

  6. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    Shamelessly crossposted from Andy's other enquiry:

    I've tried the Imperial War Museum who could not assist other than suggesting tracing private collections.

    It's odd that the IWM couldn't find anything. Open this page and stick 'fontenay' in as a keyword. I got 36 hits, most of which are films (but can't link the search result). These usually have quite detailed descriptions of their contents. It's not something I've done but if you go to view the films you can get stills from them. Good luck.
  7. ramacal

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


    I know that you are after photographic images of that particular action, but these pages are from the book written by the CO of the Hallams, Lt Col Trevor Hart Dyke. They may give you some more details.

    If you would like me to e-mail better images, please send me a PM with your details. I'd be happy to send them to you.

    Regards - Robert

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  8. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Welcome to the forum.
    Might be worth having a shufti on the BritishPathe website for some footage.
    Some good stuff on there.

    British Pathe
  9. ramacal

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

    Here is a photo of a Hallams Vet I had the honour of sharing a bite to eat with at a civic function in Baarle Nassau on the 19th of last month.

    His name is Raymond Stretch and I think he served with C Company. Pictured with him is his very proud and caring wife Diane. That same day they were off to Arnhem to take part in the following days events.

    Another photo is of him as we are about to depart for another event.

    Attached Files:

    Drew5233 likes this.
  10. Rob Dickers

    Rob Dickers 10th MEDIUM REGT RA

    Posted from the other thread;

    Have you tried a post on the Polar Bears Assoccation Web site, their Sec Dennis usualy comes back to you quite quickly.
    Click on guest-book and post. worth a try.

    The Road to Calvary
    At 0415 on the morning of the 25th of June 1944, the British 49th Infantry Division launched OPERATION MARTLET. The first objective was the village of Fontenay-le-Pesnel. Leading the attack into the village from Le Parc-de-Boislande was the 11th Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers (RSF). Company bagpiper, Private John Hardie, my father, was one of them.
    The RSF followed the creeping artillery barrage from over a thousand guns, in deep morning mist with a visibility of no more than ten yards. Defending the sector were grenadier units of the 12th SS Panzer Division (Hitler Jungen) supported by elements of the Panzer Lehr Division and from the east, the 21st Panzer Division. The SS retaliated with mortar bombs and Spandau machine-guns. Some of the ambushing German fire actually came from behind the advancing RSF, who in the mist and smoke, went blindly past the SS machine-gun nests. At least one company of the RSF went too far west and blundered into the Hallams, another friendly unit from the 49th Division.
    Just after 0500, a leading group of over forty men of the RSF found themselves pinned down at the outskirts of the village were there was a monument to Christ On The Cross, or Calvary. Here the SS rained mortar shells and sprayed the area with Spandau fire from the buildings and fields to the north and east. The RSF replied with rifles and bren guns. Such was the intensity of the German fire, that my father and his comrades could only just stick out their rifles and fire blindly in the general direction of the enemy, hoping for the best. While the base of the monument was pitted with bullet and shell holes, my father recalled that the figure at the top seemed immune to the gun fire and remained undamaged throughout the entire battle. It remains intact today peppered with numerous bullet holes at the base, echoing the struggle for the village on that day.

    The fanatical teenagers of the SS made many counter attacks on the Calvary as the mist finally began to clear. Several were repulsed after savage hand-to-hand fighting with grenades, sub-machine guns and bayonets. These attacks lasted throughout the afternoon with heavy casualties on both sides. Three tanks from the Sherwood Ranger Yeomanry came south along the Cristot road, termed “Hell’s Highway” (there were many “Hell’s Highways” in Normandy) in support of the RSF. However, one tank broke down while another was knocked out. The remaining tank had to transport the other tank crews back behind British lines. German Panther tanks from Panzer Lehr attacked from the west of the village, but were driven away by anti-tank fire from the Hallams.
    By mid afternoon, other units had made significant inroads into the western parts of Fontenay. Assisted by other Sherwood Ranger tanks, some of the RSF managed to get into the nearby buildings a few yards from the Calvary after viscous fighting to clear the SS out. By 2030, fighting around the Calvary ceased, but the struggle for the south of the village continued well into the night. Special tanks, AVRE’s with building demolition charges and Crocodile flame-throwers were employed to destroy the German strong-points with advanced British infantry finally digging in at the southern outskirts of the village towards Rauray. “When we saw the Jerry fortifications we couldn’t believe how we managed to drive them out”, an old Hallams veteran told me.

  11. James Daly

    James Daly Senior Member

    try contacting the D-Day Museum in Portsmouth. I'm not sure exactly what photographs the collections have, but its worth a try. I know that recently 'we' obtained a lot of copies of photographs of D-Day from veterans who visited the museum on the 65th anniversary.
  12. militarycross

    militarycross Very Senior Member

    Hello Andy and welcome to the forum from Canada.

    The folks here have given you some good clues to aid you on your quest. Best of luck.
  13. hallams

    hallams Junior Member

    Many thanks for the response. I had obviouslly picked the wrong person to ask at the IWM. ENQUIRIES ARE NOW BEING MADE. Cheers once again.
  14. hallams

    hallams Junior Member

    Some of my research also consisted of the exact location, (British "BIGOT" maps), of the execution of Canadian soldiers in a cornfield to the east to the east of Fontenay le Pesnel. There is no memoral or marker I can find, which I think is sad. Please don't confuse my enquiry with the massacre at Audrieu, or the Abbey.
  15. hallams

    hallams Junior Member

    Thanks for the response.
  16. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    Do you have their War Diary which is held at the National Archives? I have it for the Normandy period if of interest?
  17. hallams

    hallams Junior Member

    Thanks for the response Paul. Yes I took copies of the War Diary from Kew. I'm really after personal recollections. For your info one of the few things my Father ever told me was concerning a certain Lt. Tett who was shot by a sniper at Audrieu. Apparently it was a question of who got him first as he was desperate to win some form of gallentry medal!
  18. hallams

    hallams Junior Member

    Further to a previous more specific message ragarding Operation Martlet. Do any members have anything regarding the activities of the "Hallams" in Normandy between D Day +3 and 2nd July 1944.
    I'm interested in anything, especially personal memories, unfortunately my Father who served with D Coy is now deceased and declined to recall his experiences.
    Thanks to any members who have already answered to the previous message.
  19. Verrieres

    Verrieres no longer a member

    Thanks for the response Paul. Yes I took copies of the War Diary from Kew. I'm really after personal recollections. For your info one of the few things my Father ever told me was concerning a certain Lt. Tett who was shot by a sniper at Audrieu. Apparently it was a question of who got him first as he was desperate to win some form of gallentry medal!

    The Hallamshires' first battle was at the village of Audrieu. It was in this engagement that John Crook's replacement officer in "D" Company Lieutenant Frank Tett, a popular man who only had one eye, was shot and killed by a German sniper in the woods east of the Village.........

    from Normandy

    Initials:F HNationality:United Kingdom
    Regiment/Service:York and Lancaster Regiment
    Date of Death:12/06/1944
    Service No:160584
    Additional information:Son of Frank Tett, and of Clara Eliza Tett, of Hook, Surbiton, Surrey.
    Casualty Type:Commonwealth War Dead
    Grave/Memorial Reference:XIV. K. 17.Cemetery:BAYEUX WAR CEMETERY


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