Sword Beach and 1624 Platoon 106 Bridge COY

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by mike lade, Jul 28, 2013.

  1. mike lade

    mike lade New Member

    I'm doing research on my father Driver Lade DCW. Before he died he wrote out his memory of his experience in WW2 after being called up.

    He and his 6-wheel Leyland Cub with 4 gantry's for lifting pontoons - his section consisted of wet Bailey's (bow and centre units. Is there a picture of this vehicle in existence?

    He and his vehicle were transported to Sword Beach to land at 6.30am on the 6th June in a Tank Landing Craft then on a Rhino to the Beach. He witnessed the PIAT attack on the Le Port Church to dislodge the snipers but before that a tank turned his gun on the tower but the round went straight the tower without effect. He then went on to their designated area at the Orne River and to Pegasus Bridge then Canal De Caen on 8th June '44.

    His passage through the war with his Bridge Company took him along the Seine, River Waal, Maas, Rhine, Weser, Aller and finally River Elbe at Artlenburg on 29th April 1945.

    I would be interested to hear about any detail on the TLC and pics of a Rhino. All the ones I've seen are taken at a distance

    Mike
     
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  2. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    There's a picture of a Rhino here.

    They were usually used to unload vehicles from LSTs (Landing Ships Tank) as LCTs (Landing Craft Tank) are more likely to have been able to unload directly on the beach.
     
  3. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce

    Hello and welcome to the forum.
    I am sure forum member Trux (Mike) is the man to help on this one. :)
    No doubt he will be along soon to help you out

    Lesley
     
  4. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Hullo Mike,

    I would not dream of disobeying Lesley.

    I am indeed your man for Bailey Bridges, Leyland 6 X 4s and Rhinos. In a previous existence I manufactured and sold models of the first two.

    More later. The sun is out and so am I.

    Mike.

    PS. I just realised that Lesley is your man for Rhinos.
     
  5. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce

    QUOTE Trux PS. I just realised that Lesley is your man for Rhinos

    Really? :wink:
     
  6. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    SWORD.
    106 Bridge Company.
    This company provided the following platoons for the initial landings:
    1621 Platoon (Bailey)
    1623 Platoon (Bailey)
    1624 Platoon (Pontoon)
    1626 Platoon (FBE)
    1629 Platoon (Assault)

    In addition the following landed by D+5
    1622 Platoon (Bailey)


    The priority for 106 Company was to carry forward material to help 185 Brigade maintain its momentum if bridges were blown or otherwise unusable. 1626 Platoon carried Class 9 Folding Boat Equipment. 1629 Platoon carried assault equipment which included stormboats and anti tank gun ferries. Bailey Bridging for use on the Caen Canal and River Orne would land later.

    Planned landing times.
    H+120
    18 men.
    6 3ton 6 X 4 FBE MkIII, Albion BY5 from 1626 Platoon.
    3 3ton 4 X 4 GS Lorry, Ford.
    2 3ton 4 X 4 GS Ford from 1629 Platoon. Carries stormboats. 6 foot over normal length.

    H+240.
    7men.
    3 3ton 4 X 4 GS, Ford.
    2 3ton 6 X 4 FBE MkIII, Albion BY5 from 1626 Platoon.

    H+360
    10 3ton 6 X 4 FBE MkIII, Albion BY5 from 1626 Platoon. For 185 Brigade.
    2 3ton 4 X 4 GS, Ford from 1629 Platoon. Carries assault boats for 185 Brigade.
    4 3ton 4 X 4 GS, Ford from 1626 Platoon. Carries grillage and Pierced Steel Plank for 9 Brigade and 185 Brigade
    1 3ton 4 X 4 GS Ford. For 185 Brigade. Load 3’ over length.

    The Bailey Bridge and Pontoon Platoons land. Times are those at which LSTs should be off shore and ready to unload. All were late unloading.
    H+12 hours.
    17 3ton 4 X 4 GS, Ford, with 35 crew.
    3 3ton 4 X 4 GS, Ford, with 6 crew. Over normal length by 1 foot.
    6 3ton 4 X 4 GS, Ford, with 12 crew. Over normal length by 5 foot 6inches.
    4 3ton 4 X 4 GS, Ford, with 8 crew. Over normal length by 7 foot.
    13 3ton 6 X 4 Pontoon, Leyland, with 26 crew. Limited to 27 foot 6 inches.
    2 3ton 4 X 4 GS with 4 crew. One carries fire fighting equipment and one carries landing bay equipment.
    2 Trailer 8 ton, Dominion. Carry motor boats. Towed by 3ton 4 X 4 above.

    H+16 hours.
    9 3ton 4 X 4 GS, Ford. 5 foot 6 inches over normal length.
    5 3ton 4 X 4 GS, Ford. 7 foot over normal length.
    3 3ton 4 X 4 GS, Ford.
    1 3ton 6 X 4 Coles Crane.
    30 men.

    H+22 hours.
    17 3ton 4 X 4 GS, Ford with 34 crerw.
    4 3ton 4 X 4 GS, Ford with 8 crew. 7 foot over normal length.
    1 3ton 4 X 4 GS, Ford with 2 crew. 5 1/2 foot over normal length.
    11 3ton 6 X 4 Pontoon, Leyland with 22 crew. Limited to 27 foot 3 inches.
    2 15cwt water, Bedford. With 2 crew.


    All the vehicles landed fully loaded with bridging equipment. Additional equipment was landed on Queen and Nan beaches by Landing Barge Vehicle. This was unloaded and stored in an RE beach dump, from which the bridging vehicles were replenished. Later a larger RE bridging dump was formed at Tailleville for 1 Corps.

    Some of the first vehicles to land were those of 1626 Platoon carrying FBE equipment for 8, 9 and 185 Brigades.

    Those for 8 Brigade landed by 0920 hours. The beaches were under fire and the sand was soft. Most of the vehicles had to be hauled off the beach by recovery vehicles. This and the congestion on the beach meant that clearing the beach was slow. Two vehicles had cleared the beach by 1010, three more by 1045 and two more by 1100. The eighth vehicle damaged its steering when being towed. The seven undamaged vehicles were despatched to their rendezvous at Benouville. The vehicles arrived by 1200 hours and parked along the road until 2230 when they were parked in an orchard and rafting began at 2300.

    Five vehicles of 1626 Platoon carrying FBE material for 9 Brigade landed at 1430 and proceeded to Lion Sur Mer. It was forced to evacuate the area owing to enemy fire. One vehicle was disabled by mortar fire.

    1629 Platoon with assault equipment landed in three batches at 0920, 1130 and 1330. They went to Benouville and into the marshalling area without casualties.

    The first eight vehicles of 1621 Platoon with Bailey equipment landed at 1200 and arrived at the River Orne bridge site marshalling area at 1400. The vehicles were unloaded and returned to Queen Beach to reload at 2300 hours.

    1622 Platoon with Bailey equipment started to land at 1500 hours and continued to land throughout the day. It was to have moved to Ranville under 3 Canadian Division. It did not carry out any bridging programmes since all bridges were intact.

    The following were seriously delayed. Bad weather on the Channel crossing had caused loss or damage to the Rhino ferries and tugs. These were being towed by LSTs. Those that arrived suffered delays because of the difficulty in manoeuvring caused by heavy seas and shortage of tugs.

    1623 Platoon with Bailey Equipment landed on D+2 and moved to the Orne bridges.

    1624 Platoon with pontoon equipment was due to land on D Day but remained off the beach from 1800 hours until the afternoon of D+1 when eight vehicles landed but remained on the beach for 6½ hours because of congestion. The remainder of the platoon landed on D+2 but were held up by a fire in the beach dump. This was on the lateral road and prevented movement. All the vehicles eventually reached the bridge site on the River Orne.

    The company headquarters and the remaining platoons landed over Juno some time later.

    1624 Platoon delivered its pontoons to the bridge site and were then kept busy in transporting further pontoons. For the first few days they returned to the RE beach dump to collect pontoons but then worked to the new large RE dump further west. The Pontoon Platoon delivered not just the pontoons but additional Bailey material and equipment.

    Mike.

    More to follow.
     
  7. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Normal organisation for a Pontoon Platoon.

    Pontoon Platoon
    Headquarters
    Subaltern
    serjeant
    administrative corporal who also drove a relief vehicle
    2 X drivers of vehicles
    batman driver
    motorcyclist
    3 X lmg detachment
    13 X relief drivers
    water dutyman

    Plus attached
    2 X cook ACC
    storeman, technical RE
    2 X pioneer RE

    Note: Relief vehicles represent 10% of the task vehicles in the platoon. They are to replace task vehicles undergoing service and maintenance and are not to be regarded as spare vehicles or replacement vehicles.

    Motorcycle 1
    serjeant
    Motorcycle 2
    motorcyclist

    Car 2 seater 4 X 2
    Subaltern, batman driver
    15cwt GS
    lance corporal, lmg gunner, driver IC
    Carries Bren gun and PIAT,
    3ton 4 X 4 GS
    2 X cook, water dutyman, driver IC
    Tows water trailer
    3ton 6 X 4 Pontoon 1
    administrative corporal
    Relief vehicle
    3ton 6 X 4 Pontoon 2
    driver IC
    Relief vehicle

    Section 1 Motorcycle
    corporal
    3 ton 6 X 4 Pontoon Lorry 1
    driver IC
    Carries two MkV* or MkVI pontoons plus one bay of superstructure
    3 ton 6 X 4 Pontoon Lorry 2
    driver IC
    Carries two MkV* or MkVI pontoons plus one bay of superstructure
    3 ton 6 X 4 Pontoon Lorry 3
    driver IC
    Carries two MkV* or MkVI pontoons plus one bay of superstructure
    3 ton 6 X 4 Pontoon Lorry 4
    driver IC
    Carries two MkV* or MkVI pontoons plus one bay of superstructure
    3 ton 6 X 4 Pontoon Lorry 5
    driver IC
    Carries two Bailey pontoon centre sections plus connecting posts and junction
    chesses
    3 ton 6 X 4 Pontoon Lorry 6
    driver IC
    Carries two Bailey pontoon centre sections plus connecting posts and junction
    chesses
    3ton 4 X 4
    driver IC
    Carries propulsion and fire fighting units
    Tows a Motor Boat MkI* on a 2ton 4 wheeled trailer
    The motorboat is used for positioning lengths of pontoon bridge.


    Section 2 Motorcycle
    corporal
    3 ton 6 X 4 Pontoon Lorry 1
    driver IC
    Carries two MkV* or MkVI pontoons plus one bay of superstructure
    3 ton 6 X 4 Pontoon Lorry 2
    driver IC
    Carries two MkV* or MkVI pontoons plus one bay of superstructure
    3 ton 6 X 4 Pontoon Lorry 3
    driver IC
    Carries two MkV* or MkVI pontoons plus one bay of superstructure
    3 ton 6 X 4 Pontoon Lorry 4
    driver IC
    Carries two MkV* or MkVI pontoons plus one bay of superstructure
    3 ton 6 X 4 Pontoon Lorry 5
    driver IC
    Carries two Bailey pontoon centre sections plus connecting posts and junction
    chesses
    3 ton 6 X 4 Pontoon Lorry 6
    driver IC
    Carries two Bailey pontoon centre sections plus connecting posts and junction
    chesses

    Section 3 Motorcycle
    corporal
    3 ton 6 X 4 Pontoon Lorry 1
    driver IC
    Carries two MkV* or MkVI pontoons plus one bay of superstructure
    3 ton 6 X 4 Pontoon Lorry 2
    driver IC
    Carries two MkV* or MkVI pontoons plus one bay of superstructure
    3 ton 6 X 4 Pontoon Lorry 3
    driver IC
    Carries two MkV* or MkVI pontoons plus one bay of superstructure
    3 ton 6 X 4 Pontoon Lorry 4
    driver IC
    Carries two MkV* or MkVI pontoons plus one bay of superstructure
    3 ton 6 X 4 Pontoon Lorry 5
    driver IC
    Carries two Bailey pontoon centre sections plus connecting posts and junction
    chesses
    3 ton 6 X 4 Pontoon Lorry 6
    driver IC
    Carries two Bailey pontoon centre sections plus connecting posts and junction
    chesses

    Section 4 Motorcycle
    corporal
    3 ton 6 X 4 Pontoon Lorry 1
    driver IC
    Carries two MkV* or MkVI pontoons plus one bay of superstructure
    3 ton 6 X 4 Pontoon Lorry 2
    driver IC
    Carries two MkV* or MkVI pontoons plus one bay of superstructure
    3 ton 6 X 4 Pontoon Lorry 3
    driver IC
    Carries two MkV* or MkVI pontoons plus one bay of superstructure
    3 ton 6 X 4 Pontoon Lorry 4
    driver IC
    Carries two MkV* or MkVI pontoons plus one bay of superstructure
    3 ton 6 X 4 Pontoon Lorry 5
    driver IC
    Carries two Bailey pontoon centre sections plus connecting posts and junction
    chesses
    3 ton 6 X 4 Pontoon Lorry 6
    driver IC
    Carries two Bailey pontoon centre sections plus connecting posts and junction
    chesses
    3ton 4 X 4 GS
    driver IC
    Carries landing bay equipment

    The Pontoon Platoon usually had one Royal Engineer Crane Detail attached. This was to assist with unloading.

    Mike.

    Photos follow when I find them and work out how to post them.
     
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  8. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Leyland Retriever with Pontoon Body. This was the only British vehicle to carry this body.

    View attachment 108091 retriever 2.jpg
     
  9. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    A photo of a Leyland Retriever with Pontoons at Pegasus Bridge over the Caen Canal. This must be from 1624 Platoon as that was the only unit using them in this area at the time. So a one in twenty four chance that it is Mikes dad driving it.

    retriever 3.jpg
     
  10. mike lade

    mike lade New Member

    wow so much info......

    Dads vehicle was a 6-wheel Leyland Cub with 4 gantry's for lifting pontoons - his section consisted of wet Bailey's (bow and centre units. Any info on this vehicle?

    Dads write up says about the scary bit of transferring from what he called a Tank Landing Craft onto the Rhino with everything moving in 3 dimensions! Then he was meet by 2 German planes (ME 109's? ) strafing the beach as he landed.
     
  11. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    I think your father is mistaken on two points.

    The only lorry being used for carrying pontoons was the Leyland Retriever. Leylands at the time all had names like Terrier, Cub etc. The Cub was not used in this role. The photo in Post 8 shows the Retriever with Pontoon Body. It has the four winch towers which were used to lift the first pontoon to be loaded so that a second one could be slid underneath. Pontoons were either end sections (bow and stern were identical) or centre sections. The same type of vehicle is shown in post 9, this time carrying a centre section.

    Also 6.30 on the 6th is not possible. The first troops landed just before 7.30 and did not include RASC personnel. According to the War Diary for 106 Company the first pontoon lorries landed in the afternoon of the 7th and the rest landed on the 8th.

    More later. I may email photos.

    Mike
     
  12. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce

    Mike
    I am just going through the excellent paperwork you sent me regarding LST's/Rhinos for 966 Inland Water Transport who landed on Juno Beach on the 6th June. I am not sure if this helps but they mention 106 Bridge Company RASC, although they do not mention the individual Platoons. Just thought it was worth a mention.

    Serial 1556 is an LST2:
    On the Tank Deck
    1, 3Ton from 106 Bridge Company RASC
    2 motorcycles from 106 Bridge Coy
    12 men from 106 Bridge Coy
    On the Main Deck
    1, 15cwt GS from 106 Bridge Coy
    1, 15cwt Water from 106 Bridge Coy
    12 men from 106 Bridge Coy

    The war diary of 966 IWT states:
    6th June
    Convoy arrives off Courseille-sur-Mer at 12.00 hours approx.
    16.00 hours Rhinos operate under bad weather conditions and without tugs. First load disembarked on beaches at 17.00 hours

    Courseille-sur-Mer on 7th June
    Weather still rough. At 22.30 heavy bombing and machine gun fire attack on area. AP Bombs being used. Casualties heavy, 12 killed and 31 wounded of own Company

    Lesley
     
  13. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Thank you Lesley,

    Many vehicles for Sword, including some of 106 Company landed, on Juno. These were administrative vehicles and it was intended that they would drive along the coastal road to Sword. In the event the road was not open for some time as the enemy still held part of it. I suppose the delays in landing vehicles did not matter much in this case.

    Mike
     
  14. mike lade

    mike lade New Member

    Mike and Lesley

    So much information ..... fantastic and thank you.

    Clearly dads memory wasn't what it was.

    With regard to the vehicle, dad was in the AFS before call up and returned to it at demob. From my own research the Leyland Cub was largely used as a chassis for fire engines of the time (as well as other vehicles I' m sure) so I wonder if this is why Cub stuck in his mind.

    He said the vehicle had(apart from the gantry's and 6 wheels and 2 back axles) a canvas roof and sides with Auto Vac pump for petrol supply and built in 1928. Does that make any sense?

    After he landed from the Rhino he says they continued to their "harbour area in a small village" that's when they were stopped by a sniper in a tower and he's says about the PIAT round so I guess that would be Le Port or did that happen at several towers on route?

    Dads first bridge was the Bailey built beside Pegasus bridge for returning traffic to give 2 way working.

    Does that make any sense?

    Mike L
     
  15. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Mike,

    In all other respects your fathers memory seems perfect. I am looking out some more information including an air attack in which 1624 Platoon lost nine men, ten Pontoon lorries and the two GS lorries.

    The Leyland Retriever did indeed have canvas cab roof and doors. No side windows so the wind blew straight through. On the other hand the engine was in the cab so it would be warm. Not 1928 however. These were built after 1941. Any built earlier were not allowed on the Normandy beaches as they could not be waterproofed.

    Mike.
     
  16. mike lade

    mike lade New Member

    The only attack that is mentioned in dads write-up was fairly early on when his platoon was shelled while they were in an orchard overnight. Dad was sleeping under his vehicle when the attack occurred. He escaped from underneath in just what he stood up in - not even boots. Everything else, including his truck was destroyed by fire. Some died that night and a few injured including his best mate "Yorkie". I think he was taken to a hospital that was also later bombed and he got killed there.
     
  17. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Mike,

    I do not have copies of the War Diary but the following extracts have been published.

    9th and 10th June All platoons employed in taking forward bridging equipment from the beaches to a RE dump at Taileville.

    11th June. 1624 Platoon at Colleville sur Orne (this was a RASC vehicle park).

    Night of 12/13 June at Colleville vehicle park. High Explosive and incendiary bombs dropped on the vehicle park of 1624 Platoon. Fire broke out in a number of vehicles. Nine men were wounded and taken to Casualty Clearing Station. Ten pontoon vehicles and two GS vehicles were damaged beyond repair.

    13 June. 1624 Platoon moved to La Deliverande. (There was an RE dump there).

    Probably the same incident. Air raids were normally carried out at night. Artillery shelling tended to be by day.

    Mike

    Still having trouble with pictures.
     
  18. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Mike,

    There were two separate incidents.

    9 June. 1030 at the Orne Bridge site. Driver Ketley was killed by mortar fire and two other men wounded.

    Mike.
     
  19. alligator_hal

    alligator_hal Member

    My father Harold Charles Cooper T/113679 nick named Hal was in the RASC and was a driver (also mechanic/electrician) and was transferred from 203rd Field Ambulance to 106th Bridge (possibly 8th December 1944). He landed at Arromanches (according to records on 9/6/44) He told me that after the restructuring that took place he was taught to drive a LVT Alligator and was attached to the Canadians for the push to Germany. I have little information of his route from D Day to the end of the war. He was very reticent to talk about his experiences due to the trauma of his memories. He spoke of the battle for Tilly Sur Suelles and Villers Bocage plus Forest Grimbosq and Falaise. He lost two of his platoon mates to mines one at the HQ entrance which I think was Chateau Cruelly (William Chadwick). The other in an orchard where they volunteered to drive into a mine field to collect casualty’s (Chris Webster) another called Nobby Noble was shot by a sniper in another orchard. He also mentioned the horrific sights at Belson and Bad Hausenburg concentration camps. Other entries in his diary were Louvain, Osnabruke, Oldenburg and Dumerzee.

    He said that amongst other things that he cleared mines and fitted infra red beacons to mark the safe path to the bridges. He also fitted the night sights to the vehicles to enable them to see the beacons. Later after the battle he had to retrieve the sights because they were top secret which took some time due to dispersal of the vehicles. He also spoke of building a dummy bridge over the Rhine for the Germans to bomb the following morning whilst other sappers built the proper Bailey bridge further along under a smoke screen. During his time in training he was taught German in two dialects and booby trapping techniques. He spent time in the UK setting up assault courses for the D Day training. He spoke about the type of booby traps that the Germans left behind that he had to deal with. A favourite of the Germans was to booby trap their own dead using mines or explosives. Lugers were a favourite to booby trap as they were sought after and could be sold to the yanks for good money. He hated the SS Hitlerjugend for the dirty tricks they played on the Allies, including pretending to surrender and then opening fire on them. I have various memories of other snippets of stories that he revealed about atrocities on both sides and a large amount of prisoners taken at a forest near Grimbosq. He and his mates were told to drive around this forest to make the Germans believe that they were there in force – the armoured column and bypassed it – the following morning the Germans surrended and there were hundreds of them that filed out of the woods. He had written a diary which had been stolen and was at one point attempting to rewrite it but only managed an humorous story about digging a trench for a bath and being strafed by three ME109’s which were then shot down by two Spitfires near to the Caen to Tilly road.

    The last two companies he was in were 262 Coy AT 29/4/45 and 516 Coy GT 26/10/45 he was billeted with a family called Beekhuizen at Akerstraat 21 in Eindhoven for some time towards the end of the war.

    I would be interested to hear from others that have access to war diaries and records to enable me to build a better picture of his route and experiences. Also as to which divisions and regiments he would have been attached to; I know he started with the 49th Div and then was posted to 59th Div on 5/8/40 Then he was taken out of line the same day and posted to 203 FA. I assume that 203rd FA was attached to 50th Div HQ, and that 106th Bridge was part of 3rd Div. But I have no idea as to what the sub divisions and regiments would have been to enable some sort of identification of route and campaigns. Or what Divisions 262 and 516 Coy were part of. I would also like to know which derivative of Alligator was used as dad said theirs had electric motors rigged up to allow for silent operation so they could work under Jerries noses.

    I have attached a couple of photographs the second group picture in swimwear is at Dumerzee.
    rasc  mtp coy.jpg rgmnt.jpg dad mantlepiece.jpg
     
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  20. Hi Guys. So whilst doing some research I stumbled across this forum. My grandad wrote a diary of his life during the war and I am currently in the process of having a book published with all of his memoirs. He wrote about how he started out in 106 Bridge Company and has written lots of information about Bailey Bridges and landing at "Sword beach"?? He has included original maps and photos and all of his regiment badges etc. Sadly he passed away a few years ago and this may take me a while to edit his notes as I need to make sure all info I include is correct. Although I should trust what my Grandad wrote ha ha. Would you mind if I asked any questions on here if any arise? Many Thanks. Carly
     

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