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Teme bridge demolition ? Exercise Hops 1941 ?216 A Fd Coy REs

Discussion in 'Royal Engineers' started by Kington, Mar 9, 2018.

  1. Kington

    Kington Member

    The Leominster Canal ran over the R. Teme by an aqueduct . The middle arch was blown up in May 1941 as ? Part of Exercise Hops by ? the 216 Army Field Coy REs involving the 31st and 36th Ind Inf Brigades as the enemy and the 53rd and 54th Inf Bdes of the
    18th Div as defending forces . 5 Buffs and 287 Field Coy REs also there .
    Does anybody know anything more specific please
     
  2. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic Patron

    Are you sure about this? I'm surprised to see that an exercise blew up what I can only assume to be a piece of essential infrastructure. Exercises normally involved a lot of effort to avoid such damage. What was the source of your information?

    Edit: I've done a bit of Googling and realised that the canal had become derelict by WW2 and the arch was indeed blown up during an explosives exercise. Ref Wikipedia. The Canal appears to be an interesting story of misguided planning, investment and just about anything else you care to name unless you wanted to sell and buy coal in Leominster!

    In order to find out more I guess the only real chance would be the various Units War Diaries.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2018
  3. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    timuk, ozzy16 and Tricky Dicky like this.
  4. Kington

    Kington Member

    Many thanks

    Yes indeed. I have been heavily into many of the War Diaries in the NA and it is looking a very strong story. I just have one or two to finish and am hoping for the final dot on the i. I was just hoping that a member may have had a relative who was there or has extra information. It is likely that the 7th Shropshire Home Guard were also there with the REs.( but sadly no surviving relevant war diary. I have found no evidence of Liaison Unit REs such as the Czechs or Belgian. Nor the Canadian REs . Both are rumoured . The shotman of the Cleehill quarry had to come in and help out the REs!
     
  5. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    You could always try local papers in the region the Shropshire Star are always running stories re WW1 and WW2 or the Hereford Times.

    Also the book The Shropshire Home Guard might have something in it.
    The Shropshire Home Guard




    regards
    Clive
     
  6. Kington

    Kington Member

    Many thanks
    The author of this and the Mercian Maquis ( Bernard Lowry ) has been very helpful to me in my pursuit but sadly the appropriate HG records have not survived
    Regards
    Kington
     
  7. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Have you tried the Royal British Legion (I know the Ludlow branch has closed).Leominster still going
    you never know they might have a Home Guard member still around.
     
  8. Kington

    Kington Member

    Many thanks
    Brilliant
    Just the novel lateral thinking I was hoping for!
    Regards
    Kington
     
  9. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Quote below

    The River Teme was denominated as a stop line early in World War II. As part of this defensive line the middle span of the Teme Aqueduct was demolished.

    Herefordshire Through Time - Welcome
     
  10. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic Patron

    After my initial failed attempt at helping (!) I've had a bit of a Google and, while I can't remember the site - it was probably the Leominster Canal Trust or something - there was a mention that it was the Home Guard who blew the Aqueduct. There certainly appears to be a remarkable amount of interest out there even if hard information is difficult to come by.
     
  11. Kington

    Kington Member

    Many thanks
    You are absolutely right in your excellent memory
    My interest in this topic in fact partly lies in being a Trustee for the Charity Friends of the Leominster Canal. FoLC runs regular walks and has its own web site . The Teme Aqueduct lies on a PRW and accordingly anybody can visit it . It is Grade 2 and truly impressive The next conducted walk by FoLC is likely to be 2019. Despite its massive size , it was listed as a footbridge for potential demolition as part of the Teme stopline ( already mentioned) . In 1941 Hereford CC requested Western Command to maintain the footpath after demolition for the locals but they refused Bizarrely the footpath sign takes you directly to the collapsed arch ( with a PRW in the air!) with no warning so take care!!
    Kington
     
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  12. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic Patron

    Thanks for starting this thread. I live near Kidderminster and drive to Leominster/Ludlow area on a fairly regular basis. I've consequently been aware of the old 'railway line' since the 1970s. It's now taken on a new meaning so I'll pay extra attention next time I'm over that way. Beautiful countryside in the Teme valley area, which reminds me that I must revisit Nash Church where there is a Memorial Window to Sir Robert Dalrymple Arbuthnot who was killed in Normandy while serving with 24th Lancers (ref my avatar).
     
  13. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    yes a great thread indeed
    I know the area well but never passed this aquaduct
     
    SDP likes this.
  14. ploughman

    ploughman Junior Member

    2 other possibilities for info.
    The REA - Royal Engineer Association may have a local branch. Royal Engineer Association - Google Search
    and
    The Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineer's seem to have been based not too far away. Home
     
    CL1 likes this.
  15. Kington

    Kington Member

    Many thanks indeed
    Every new idea is helpful
    I did place an open query in the Sapper Magazine a few years ago and it sadly produced nothing new ; as with the local Ludlow and Tenbury Adverttiser .
    Regards
    Kington
     
  16. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Just a thought Poyners shop in in Broad Street Ludlow have for a number of years been commemorating WW1 casualties from around the area and managed to get a lot of info together it might be worth contacting them to see if they have any older customers who might remember anything re WW2 Home Guard

    Also the Castle bookshop in Castle Square,Ludlow would possibly have customers who have lived in the area for a long while.


    regards
    Clive
     
  17. Kington

    Kington Member

    Many thanks . Very helpful
    The main problem with Ludlow however is that it was covered by G Coy 7th Battalion HG whereas the Teme Aqueduct was under the Burford H Coy
    The Clee Hill Quarry shotman who helped out the REs is however buried in Ludlow
    Regards
    Kington
     
  18. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018
  19. Kington

    Kington Member

    Many thanks indeed
    Mr Ellis
    Not confidential as sadly now deceased
    Kind regards
    Kington
     
  20. Kington

    Kington Member

    3 new queries:
    1. In Exercise Hops the Invading enemy came from the south and the defending British from the north, meeting at the River Teme stopline , of which the disused canal aqueduct was down as designated stone footbridge on the stopline.
    Normally in this situation , the defenders would have blown but here Western Command had the enemy i.e. the 216 REs doing all the demolitions . Any ideas why this reverse way round other than experience?!
    2.From the photograph , the aqueduct clearly wasn't blown by the classic pier borehole charge method which would have been easy. How do you think it was blown ? ? vertical boreholes through the canal bottom and underlying stone in the apex of the middle arch?
    3. The adjacent GWR bridge was blown as a mock demolition in the Exercise . Does anybody know how this would have been indicated to the defending troops? ?? Red flags
    Nothing in the War Diaries or RE/HG Manuals to answer these
    Many thanks
    Kington
     

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