Sgt Robert Rawling BREWIS 2657230 3rd Coldstreams 25/1/42

Discussion in 'The Brigade of Guards' started by AB64, Dec 29, 2017.

  1. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    Looking for any info on Sgt Brewis for a friend, Sgt Brewis was his uncle - if anyone has a War Diary for the period, missing men files or a photo of his name on the Alamein memorial it would be appreciated.

    He's going to apply for his records but I said I'd ask on here too.


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  2. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    Hi Alistair,

    Attached link to CG official Regimental history should give details of the Battalion activities in Libya late January 1942.

    The Coldstream Guards, 1920-1946, by Michael Howard and John ... - Full View | HathiTrust Digital Library | HathiTrust Digital Library

    It says 3rd CG were in or around Antelat, Libya as Rommel had turned the tables 4 days earlier and started his advance back into Egypt. My father was captured there 22nd December 1941 as 3rd CG advanced during Operation Crusader.

    I have a copy of no Dishonourable Name - unofficial 2nd & 3rd CG WW2 History. I’ll look and see if he is mentioned.

    Last edited: Dec 29, 2017
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  3. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    Cheers for that Steve - looks like it was a busy day when he died

    This is the info my mate posted on Facebook that prompted my question

    ROBERT RAWLING BREWIS was a Lance Sergeant (2657230) in 3rd Battalion Coldstream Guards.

    He was killed on Sunday 25 January 1942, aged 24, in North Africa. He has no known grave, presumably hastily buried by British or German forces and is listed in column 53 of the El Alamein War Memorial...

    This was just after Rommel began an offensive from El Agheila.

    3rd Battalion was part of 200th Guards Infantry Brigade on 25th January 1942, under command of 1st Armoured Division. The battalion was in the area of Msus that day when the Afrika Korps renewed its advance, driving the 1st Armoured back towards Charruba. At this time it was British custom to break brigades up into a small columns of infantry and artillery.

    I’m going to get a copy of the Bn war diary and I’ll get a copy of his service records... I’m hoping that I can find out a bit more about him or how he died. The family seem to think that he was in a truck that hit a mine..."
  4. Bazooka Joe

    Bazooka Joe Member

    I just checked on the CWGC site and it looks like he was the only one in the Battalion who was killed on that day.
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  5. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    Hi Alistair,

    I’ve just had a quick look through No Dishonourable Name but found no mention of L/Sgt Brewis other than in the Roll of Honour. No mention of any casualties on the retreat from Antelat to Msus. I doubt WD will have any more information that both books I’ve referred to but I think a check of the Missing Personnel file might give information about the circumstances of his loss as things were pretty mixed up during that period.

    From his service number I’d say he was an early 1936 enlistment. If he was on the usual “4 and 8” Regular Army service terms he would still be serving at the outbreak of the war. If he is shown as being awarded the Palestine GSM on Ancestry he was likely serving with 3rd CG on the outbreak of the war rather than serving in another Battalion and being drafted to 3rd.

  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    From the battalion war diary
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  7. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

  8. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    Thanks all for your help so far, and thanks Andy for the scans - I've dropped Pete a link,so hopefully he'll pop on for a look.

    Thanks again

  9. Pete Marshall

    Pete Marshall Member

    Hello Gents... thank you to you all for the information... it is invaluable. My father has been overwhelmed by the responses so far...

    Bobby Brewis... very little is known about him now in the family. His mother passed away in 1945... and he had no wife or sweetheart to our knowledge...

    I attach photos of him from a wedding which I suspect was pre-war... he is in best dress... and looks a real guardsman... I will be applying for his service records. As suggested by another member above, I do suspect he may have been a pre war regular.

    Thank you for sharing the war diaries. The 25th January 1942 seems like it was utterly chaotic. Typically, a day or so before, the diary mentions the death of two guardsmen... many war diaries refer to officers only and mention numbers of ‘ORs’. The diary seems very thorough indeed given that the British were on the back foot... the chaos described infers that there may have been casualties aplenty...

    I have never heard of this Missing Personnel file... how do I access it?

    Thank you all...

    Attached Files:

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  10. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    Pete, if you have a look at the link below you'll see an example of the file, basically they wrote to soldiers asking if they knew anything of missing men, I've only looked at a couple so not sure how good they are. They are at the National Archives, so Rich may be able to look when he visits, or Andy (who posted the War Diaries) or Lee who is also on the forum can copy at reasonable rates.



    Irish Guards, 1st Battalion, Italy, Missing Personnel file | WW2Talk
  11. Pete Marshall

    Pete Marshall Member

    Thanks Al... that’s really interesting... I never knew that even existed and, of course, it makes complete sense...! It is to be hoped that there may be someone’s recollection stored somewhere to tell us something...
  12. harkness

    harkness Well-Known Member

    Apologies for the poor quality:

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  13. harkness

    harkness Well-Known Member


    Marriages Sep 1905
    Brewis Samuel Morpeth 10b 648
    RAWLING Jane Morpeth 10b 648


    NAME: Samuel Brewis
    BIRTH: 1864 - Morpeth, Northumberland
    DEATH: Mar 1935 - Morpeth, Northumberland

    NAME: Jane Brewis (nee Rawling)
    BIRTH: abt 1886
    DEATH: Jun 1945 - Northumberland Central
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  14. Pete Marshall

    Pete Marshall Member

    Harkness... Drew5233... Al (AB64)... Tricky Dicky... Tullybrone... BazookaJoe... thank you all so much.

    Readying the war diary and ‘The Coldstream Guards - 1920 to 1946’ it has all started to piece together.

    Harkness - those typed records... are they from the 3rd Bn records of missing? It is apparent that he was reported missing on 25/01/42 and later presumed killed...

    Looks like he is one of the many listed as missing in the highlighted paragraph of the book...

    Thank you all so much... I will share his records once they arrive...

    Attached Files:

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  15. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    Typed documents posted by Harkness are from the official casualty lists prepared by the War office and then printed in The Times newspaper. They are online at FMP.

    Once 3rd CG were settled in their new positions after the hasty retreat of 8th Army the “roll” would be called and enquiries initiated to trace personnel who couldn’t be accounted for. If those enquiries still left questions to be asked the War Office unit based in Blue oat School, Liverpool would initiate further enquiries to establish the facts - both for official and family information purposes.

    I would expect that if he was killed as a result of a mine explosion that other passengers in the vehicle would’ve been injured or survived unscathed and would likely have been the source of information about L/Sgt Brewis death.

    I think it would be worth checking the missing personnel file but bear in mind that it will likely be a large document if those examples posted on the forum for Irish Guards and other units are anything to go by.



    If his service file confirms he served in Egypt & Palestine 1938/39 give me a shout as I have a number of my late fathers photographs from that time.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2017
  16. Pete Marshall

    Pete Marshall Member

    Thank for the info, Steve... very interesting... a friend is going to Kew in January and I will ask him to see whether he is able to locate anything... I am sure that file size is considerable...

    The (very vague) information about a mine has come through the family but may have no provenance at all... there had been some information to suggest that he may have been on or near a tank (?)... I would assume the NoK would have been written to by his officer but that this may have had very limited information of any at all (Jane Brewis, my great grandmother on my father’s side of the family who died in 1945 would have been NoK)...

    I am getting straight onto the service records and will revert to you with information as soon as they come back... it would be great if there was the possibility of additional photos of Bobby. I am sure you are right and that he was a pre war regular...
  17. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    Search on National Archives Discovery search engine for Coldstream Guards Missing Personnel turns up this link. There is another CG file but that is specifically for 2nd CG. The dates in this file appear to be June 1942 until 1944 but as there is no other file listed it likely covers all 3rd CG missing personnel from the North Africa Campaign - unless another forum member can navigate the notoriously difficult Discovery search engine and turn up another file.

    Good Luck in your search.


    Middle East: North Africa; Coldstream Guards; missing personnel | The National Archives
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  18. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    I have copies of all the Coldstream Guards Missing Men files, when I have some time I'll check for you.
  19. Pete Marshall

    Pete Marshall Member

    Thank you gentlemen... thank you very much. My father is absolutely overwhelmed by this surge of information. And in all honesty I thought I would have to wade through piles of records to find this. Your pooled knowledge and willingness to share is very gratefully received...

    My aim is to provide the family with more
    Definitive information around the loss of Bobby. In many respects, this has already been achieved. Ideally, there’d be testimony describing his loss with something akin to the Irish’s guards extracts where a Guardsman was able to provide a degree of closure.

    Thank you all.
  20. Pete Marshall

    Pete Marshall Member


    I have completed all the forms for requesting a copy of Bobby’s records. I will post them off tomorrow... and keep you updated with developments.

    Kind regards,


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