Service & Personal Files RASC, RA North Africa, Italy

Discussion in 'Service Records' started by Lynda, Feb 1, 2011.

  1. Lynda

    Lynda Member

    As promised in my introduction post I am uploading a number of files relating to Sgt Eric Coburn RASC who served mostly in ammunition supply to Heavy Anti Aircraft regiments in North Africa and Italy. Included over time will be his service records, personal photographs, some of his letters home, movement orders etc.

    The first attachment here is his Service and Casualty Form.

    Lynda

    If you have problems viewing the pdf see JPGs in post 49 on this thread
     

    Attached Files:

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  2. Lynda

    Lynda Member

  3. Lynda

    Lynda Member

    Eric with his daughter Valerie (age 3 yrs 3mths) & his wife Gladys. Taken in Southall, London 27th August 1941.

    On the 26th September 1941 he embarked for Iraq and wouldn't see his wife & daughter again for 4 years, 2 mths, 18 days.

    Eric Valerie Gladys Aug 1941.jpg
     
  4. Lynda

    Lynda Member

    5681695 Cpl Coburn E
    61st Haa Regt
    RASC Sect
    Somewhere

    25-9-41


    My Darling
    We are moving today so don't write till you hear from me. I have only just finished packing up & am having to write this leaning against the wall.
    I saw Aunt Emma & Uncle Bob in the Half Way last night.
    There is not much news.
    So darling look after yourself & Baby.
    Cheerio
    Eric xxxxxxxx

    Sep 25 1941.jpg
     
  5. Lynda

    Lynda Member

    miss valerie coburn,
    6, mildred ave.
    Harlington,
    hayes.
    Middlesex,
    england

    16th dec 1941
    t/5681695 cpl coburn
    61st h.a.a. Regt. R.a.s.c. Sect
    'c' base p.o. Basrah, iraq.

    dear pet.
    This is a letter which daddy promised you should have all to yourself, daddy is very well, and he hopes you are.
    How are your chicks have they grown much. Tell mummy and nanny coburn that daddy will be writing them soon, and he hopes to hear from them soon, and don't forget to write yourself. Bye bye little pet, god bless you.
    Your loving daddy. Xxxxxxxx

    View attachment 44714
     

    Attached Files:

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  6. Lynda

    Lynda Member

    Mrs E Coburn
    6, Mildred Ave,
    Harlington,
    Hayes.
    Middlesex
    3. 5. 42
    T/5681695
    Cpl Coburn E
    RASC Sect
    61st Haa Regt RA
    M.E.F.

    Dearest.
    Yours of 24th Mar & 4 & 7th April just received, am pleased to say that everything here is just O.K. excepting it is getting much warmer. I have seen quite a few interesting things these last few weeks, so we'll have plenty to talk about some day.
    How has Freda got on with her interviews, if she has to choose tell her the SdA(?) is very good. I have still had no news of Press, do you still hear, have just recd Valerie's Airgraph so will write to her tomorrow Well darling this is all for now
    With fondest love
    Eric xxxxx

    Note- Press is W.H. Press, Eric's employer at Spitalfield's market. Bill Press continued to provide a little money to Gladys and her daughter during Eric's service.

    1942 May 3.jpg
     
  7. Lynda

    Lynda Member

    Eric is 4th from left in the middle row. Sadly I do not know any of the identities of the others although many names are mentioned in his letters.

    RASC Africa.jpg
     
  8. Lynda

    Lynda Member

    When there were times of particularly heavy activity and Eric was close to the frontline he would often send a telegram home to let the family know he was safe. Now I have a better idea of where he was when (see other documents) it would be great to match these dates up with specific operations- can anyone help?

    4 July 1942
    Mrs E Coburn
    6 Mildred Ave
    Harlington
    Hayes

    All well and safe please dont worry fondest love darling Eric Coburn

    1942 July 4.jpg
     
  9. Lynda

    Lynda Member

    Following the last telegram it seems to have calmed down, but the RASC attachment has changed:

    23 July 42
    T/5681695
    Cpl. E. Coburn
    RASC Platoon
    42. L.A.A. Regt.
    M.E.F.

    My Darling
    Ever so many thanks for letters received, I do hope you have received my last cable, as I have been fairly busy of late, & have not had much time for writing, in any case there is not much in the way of news. I have received letters from Press, Price & Mum & Freda. You will see by the above address that the old coy has changed, there is still the same crowd except Jack H. has gone, so I am on my own now in the office. Will close & will send along letter later.
    Your loving husband
    xxxxx Eric xxx

    1942 July 23.jpg
     
  10. Lynda

    Lynda Member

    Around the middle of 1942 Eric's wife Gladys suffered from what was probably depression/ a breakdown and spent some time in a clinic and with family who helped to look after her daughter Valerie. From this point on Eric tried to share some of the other activities he was involved in including cricket! This is the first letter identifying him as Sgt.

    T/5681695
    Sgt. E Coburn
    61st HAA Regt
    RASC Platoon
    M.E.F.

    14.9.42
    My Darling
    Ever so many thanks for your letters & Birthday cards which I received yesterday, also greetings cables from you all. Well darling I am still in the best of health & spirit, & I do hope love you and Valerie are keeping well & happy. You will see that by the above address we have reverted to our old title again so expect the mail will be a little upset for a while, we are still the same old crowd, except for a few who have left us owing to going into hospital. There has been very little doing of late, but have been having some good cricket, we have played two matches drawn one & won the other, we have another on Tues so am looking forward to it. I have not had leave yet but hope to get some in the near future all being well. Darling how is everything getting on now, have you settled down, now that you are back in our little home. I am looking forward & hope it wont be long before I am in the old place again. Well my love must sign off now, so bye bye my darling will write again later.
    Your loving husband Eric xxxxxxxxxxxx Valerie xxx

    1942 Sept 14b.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

  11. Lynda

    Lynda Member

    Valerie in her 'Mickey Mouse' Gasmask

    Valerie Gasmask.jpg
     
  12. Lynda

    Lynda Member

    No correspondence was received between 24th September & 30th November 1942. This is another period that I would appreciate any background information on what might have been going on...


    T/5681695
    Sgt Coburn E
    RASC Pl for
    61st Haa Regt RA
    M.E.F.

    30 Nov 42

    My Dearest
    Many thanks for letters received no doubt you have been wondering how things have been going on, as I know I have not written for so long a time, but I am sure you will understand my dear that one finds quite a lot to do especially as the events of the last few weeks have been at high speed, but it wont be long now love when one wont have all the long & dreary times of waiting to hear from one. Darling how have you and my pet been keeping, Gee it will be a great day when I can see you both again. I quite expect that Valerie growing as she is will hardly resemble that memory which I can still see of her before I came away.
    Well love there is very little here to tell in way of news, I have been keeping very fit & making the best of things, I had quite a fine leave, but like all things it came to an end too quick, anyway it was a great change to feel free & able to do things different from the everyday way of living. How have all the folk been keeping. I had an A.G. from Freda saying a parcel was on the way, also a sea mail letter from Press, who seems quite cheerful under the circumstances, as it seems trade is not as it should be, he tells me that he has only 5 of the original staff now.
    Have you seen Joan again, I will be very interested to hear how things are progressing with her, as it seems a shame that an innocent should have to suffer if all does not go well. Well my pet as I mentioned before news is very scarse these days & as bed is calling will sign off for now till next time, with fondest love darling.
    Your loving husband
    Eric xxxx xxxx xxxx

    To my little pet
    Daddy is sorry he has not sent you a letter all to yourself this time but you will have one next time so dont forget to be a very good girl and look out for the Airman.
    Bye bye little darling from daddy with lots of love xxxxxxxx

    1942 Nov 30b.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

  13. Lynda

    Lynda Member

    Christmas Airgram sent by Eric to his wife Gladys

    To My Darling Wife
    I wish this day I was with you, to spend those hours we only knew & when this lot is over we will make those hours look but few.
    Loving wishes
    Eric
    xxxxx

    1942 Christmas Greeting.jpg
     
  14. Lynda

    Lynda Member

    Not sure exactly when or where this was taken, but it seems to be before Eric was awarded his Africa Star. He is on the right.

    RASC Africa2.jpg
     
  15. Lynda

    Lynda Member

    Things must have been going well as he talks a lot of coming home soon- but it would still be nearly another 3 years...



    T/5681695
    Sgt Coburn E
    RASC Pl for
    61st Haa Regt RA

    1-1-43

    My Darling
    Your Air letter just received which you posted on 13th Dec. It is a great relief to hear that you are so much better now, so please try darling & keep up the good work, also Valerie. Darling how did Xmas go, I had quite a good time, but missed all of you, but may that wont be next year, as it certainly looks more rosey now so here's looking ahead. How did Valerie enjoy herself, gosh wont it be great to see her after all this long time, have you decided when she will start school, I think it best for her to start after May. Well dear news very scarce these days, so have very little to tell. Alec is in hospital, he had a bit of an accident, also Dave has left us- so it does not seem just like the old crowd, but must say we got a bit of fun. Xmas was quite a jolly time, we Sgts waited on the men, gave them their tea in bed & then on Boxing Day we had a special treat in the Sgts mess & a good time under the circumstances was had by all. Last night we saw the old year out with just a wee drink, gee it brought back memories of the old times of ours love, do you remember the old bell ringing & the little tots.
    So Gladie has done her share thats the spirit. When you do write to her tell her that wont you. Well my pet must close now as space is getting short, so here's to the next so bye bye darling, keep smiling & look forward to that great return.
    Your loving husband
    Eric xxxxxxxxxx
    AIRGRAPH TO MY LITTLE PET
    Hello precious daddy hope to see you soon so be a good girl. Daddy xxxxxx

    1943 Jan 1b.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

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  16. Lynda

    Lynda Member

    There seemed a lot of time to write, so I won't post all the letters. More of a social scene seemed to open up with numerous darts matches ongoing (Sgt Trump was the favourite), fishing, and a failed attempt at duck shooting. By February there was also a mobile cinema and some football games arranged.

    A letter of 16th February has a new address of 1514 Hy AA, M.E.F., but Eric says it is the same old crowd. Alec is still in hospital, but recovering. Dennis Moore has been posted to another unit.
     
  17. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Lynda thanks for sharing these fascinating insights into what must have been a difficult time of separation to say the least.

    Hopefully someone with knowledge will pick up on queries in posts 8 & 12 and offer some general background.

    Good luck
    Diane
     
  18. Lynda

    Lynda Member

    T/5681695
    Sgt Coburn E
    1514 Ht. A.A Regt
    Platoon R.A.S.C.
    MEF

    22.3.43

    My Darling
    Here we are again my pet. Just to say all is well this end of the globe, mail has been very scarce these last two weeks in fact your last letter was on the 22nd Feb, so expect mail has been delayed, as of late it has been very scarce, but one is looking forward every day to hear from you my precious. How are you keeping these days, I have been keeping in the pink, but no mail makes one feel mighty lonely, not even had anything from Mum, Stan, Freda or Press (the last named I am beginning to believe has forgotten my address!) Well my love it is very quiet here, just the usual plodding along, one bright spot, leave has started, so expect to be having a bit of a change very soon, we had just a spot of life just a while ago. Joe Ruddell went away for a few days & brought an American Sgt back to stay with us overnight in the mess, gee was we in a mess, I should say we were, anyhow when anything special happens we have to celebrate, you can guess what that means my dear, don't you, well all would have gone alright but we had such a time trying to find our sleeping quarters & gosh what a head the next morning, anyway it does make a change. Darling have you thought of anything you would like as I should like to know soon so I can do the necessary while on leave as one does not know where one will be from one day to another so please my pet if you want anything special just let me know. Darling- have come to the end of the page.. so will close hoping for a few lines from you soon. So for now my fondest love.
    Your loving husband
    Eric xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    1943 Mar 22b.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

  19. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Well done and thanks Lynda for all these posts. Really interesting reading.
     
  20. Lynda

    Lynda Member

    By this time the group seemed to be fairly settled where they were. They had even started a garden in the desert and had been trying to grow peas, beans and potatoes. They had also acquired two pigs. I think they were stationed near Alexandria, but not sure.

    T/5681695
    Sgt Coburn E
    1514 Hy AA Regt
    Platoon R.A.S.C.
    M.E.F.

    5.4.43

    My Own Darling
    Your most recent letters of 11th & 16th Mar, received today, darling am most pleased to hear that you & Valerie are much better now, so do hope you will keep on the right side. So the show was not as good as one would have expected, we here listen in quite a lot to Trinder(?) . I see her ladyship is getting quite good at games. I expect she will be holding her own when she starts school, by the way have you decided where she is going to, I would very much like to know so please love just drop a line & let me know. Well darling mail has been much better this last week. I have had your two letters & yours of 29 Oct with the last Pops in , they have taken 5 months to get here. 2 letters from sister one 8th Mar & the other (oh how I shall pull her leg) dated 8-9-43 which I presumed should read 8.2.43, I guess she must have been on the Gin before writing it, no doubt you will hear from her my reply & believe me it will be good. I have had one from Press today 27th Oct also Valerie's AG 16 Mar & one from Mum & Stan 11th Mar so you well see it was quite a fanmail. Am pleased to hear that June's affair is not so serious but she had better take care of herself, has she come home to stay again? Well my darling things have been very quiet here & have been taking it easy, we have had a couple of good nights the last week. The Sgt of the H.Q. we are with came over to our mess for a smoker & a game of darts & we went to their mess another night. It made quite a change to see & have someone to have a talk to after only having just we four day in & out to live, eat & talk. Oh have nearly forgotten to tell you, but Sgt Trump has built a boat, we had the launching last week, what a time & laugh. Joe & Frank were the crew, well things started off well but about 10 yds out it toppled over throwing them both into the water, what a scream was heard as the OC & nearly all the Coy were present for this special do. Joe & Frank had a good dowsing. Well precious space is short so will close & will finish on another tomorrow. So my darling bye bye till then. All my love darling.
    Your loving husband
    Eric
    To my little pet xxxxxxxxxxxx

    1943 Apr 5b.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

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