W/Sgt Daniel Lewis Lucas DCM 1117663.

Discussion in 'Italy' started by Chris Pinn, May 12, 2019.

  1. Chris Pinn

    Chris Pinn Member

    I am trying to locate a position in Italy where my Grandfather won the Distinguished Conduct Medal on 9th July 1944 whilst in the 105 A/Tk Regt RA.

    His citation states 'At 0400hrs on the morning of 9 July at "BEXHILL" R.093255 the enemy launched a strong attack.......... I have tried and failed so far to locate the reference.

    His name was W/Sgt Daniel Lewis Lucas, Regtl No 1117663.

    Can anyone assist as I am in Italy near Rome this week and would like to try and visit.

    Thanks in advance.
     
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  2. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    Hi Chris,

    I am perplexed. I have the war diary for 105 A/Tk Reg't RA and it has the battery records as well but I don't see an attack mentioned for any of them for the 9th. Could you quote the entire citation report?

    However, 209 (Worcester Yeomenry) Battery mentions C troop M10s at "Pt 260 R090243" on July 6. And all three of the other batteries seem to have been training at that time.

    The war diary of 209 Battery is using W <number> and R <number> for different locations so I think they very helpfully were providing the map square letter. (You can see the map grids here - we are looking at the Northern Italy zone The grids used on the European Theatre of Operations)

    So if "Bexhill" was at wR093255 then that gives us latitude 43.39348 longitude 11.64544 which on google maps is here:

    Google Maps

    I'm attaching the relevant page of 209 Battery's W.D. -

    100_2584.JPG
     
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  3. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    Whoops, that's only the first page for July... I hope that someone here will cross-check my results in case I made a mistake!!.

    100_2585.JPG
    100_2586.JPG
    100_2587.JPG
     
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  4. Chris Pinn

    Chris Pinn Member

    The Regimental Orders Serial 282 (Field 1337) by Lt Col SL MacWatt DSO, M, RA Commanding 105 A/Tk Regiment RA states on 1 Dec 1944:-

    HM The King has been graciously pleased to approve the award of the Distinguished Conduct Medal to 1117663 W/Sgt Lucas DL.

    At 0400hrs on the morning of 9 July at "BEXHILL" R.093255, the enemy launched a strong infantry counter attack and forced our infantry back past the M10 commanded by Sgt Lucas, leaving Sgt Lucas with his M10 and 2 Canadian tanks to face the thrust.
    Sgt Lucas noticed a German Machine Gun spraying our troops and promptly engaged it with HE putting it out of action. He then engaged the enemy infantry with his Tommy gun and Browning. As there appeared danger of being cut off he dismounted under heavy rifle fire and machine gun fire and cleared the M10 tracks of the splinter cover. He then returned to his post, rallied the infantry and continued engaging the enemy with Tommy gun and Browning. He noticed a German firing a Bazooka 50 yards off, this Bazooka put out one of the tanks. Sgt Lucas fired HE at it and killed the operator. Meanwhile the surviving Canadians from the tank had 'baled out'. Sgt Lucas again left his M10 under heavy fire and carried one of the wounded Canadians over to his M10 and put him inside.

    Undoubtedly Sgt Lucas' coolness and handling of his M10 saved a break through and possible occupation of a very important post from which the Germans would have overlooked the axis road.

    Sgt Lucas' M10 was on its own, the other M10 having been set alightpreviously. He has been continuosly under mortar, 88 SP gun fire and 'Stonks' for 14 days. The 'positions' of the M10s were overlooked by an enemy OP and the approach under direct observation. The M10 is very vulnerable to infantry attack.

    Throughout he has shown coolness and by his bearing has set a very good example to his crew.
     
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  5. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    Kicking myself - if you look on the 10th at 0430 your grandfather's action is mentioned in the pages I posted. He and the Canadian tanks were evidently in support of the Royal West Kents.

    Also on a previous page, June 28, "Tomorrow C tp are u/c 1 R.W.K.s" (C troop are under command 1 Royal West Kents) and I don't see anything later which changes that. So I believe the location I gave to you is correct, and we could probably also trace your grandfather's troop's movements through June and July if you are interested.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2019
  6. Chris Pinn

    Chris Pinn Member

    You're a star, I know he came from North Africa through Sicily then to the mainland but his movements would be great.

    I am doing the Anzio and Cassino battlefield trip next week with Leger.

    Thank you for all your efforts so far.

    Chris
     
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  7. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    I'll see what I can do. If you don't mind, I will ask the mods if we can split your topic off into a separate thread named after your grandfather.
     
  8. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Done
     
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  9. Chris Pinn

    Chris Pinn Member

    Thank You.

    on a similar subject I have my Grandfathers medals which are now looking tatty. Should I, like mine get them court mounted or should i get them swing mounted?
     
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  10. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    Right, well, I've never done this before... it takes a little while to plot so many points and maybe I did too many?

    Start on the north coast in February & March. Duties in Termoli are mentioned as "guard duties". Evidently the regiment did not have M10s at this point. Then in late April they travel all the way down to the southernmost point, get M10s and train. Then basically the points all head from southeast to northwest.

    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Cb7UHTJ2guoAwOFoMAOTcK4j5kVZflEU&usp=sharing
     
  11. harkness

    harkness Well-Known Member

    1940 Royal Artillery Attestations:

    Lucas.jpg
     
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  12. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Hello Chris,

    Sorry I've only just picked up on this. I know the area very well and used to live about an hour away.

    The map you want for Map Reference 0932565 is http://legacy.lib.utexas.edu/maps/ams/italy_100k/txu-pclmaps-oclc-6540635-arezzo-114-1943.jpg

    The road just to the east of the spot where your grandfather won his DCM leads up to San Pancrazio. When the troops of the 6 Black Watch (in the same brigade as the 1 West Kents) got up to the village they found themselves on the scene of a massacre. 95 -year -old John Clarke (see the 75th Anniversary Cassino thread ) told me what they found on arrival and I have written about it in my book The Arezzo Massacres. A Tuscan Tragedy. I was there with him and some other members of the Cassino Association about 15 years ago.
    The Canadian tanks which entered the village were from 14 Calgary Regiment - there's an excellent photo of one of them in the little museum.

    After Cassino 4th Division's main action was on the Trasimene Line, going into action on 23 June between Villastrada and Vaiano, then on to Gioiella, Pozzuolo, Foiano and up the western side of the Val di Chiana in parallel to the main Florence - Rome railway.

    Regards, txu-pclmaps-oclc-6540635-part of arezzo-114-1943.jpg

    Vitellino
     
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  13. Chris Pinn

    Chris Pinn Member

    Vitellino,

    Thank you ever so much for the information. Do you know what the little museum is called and is there a military cemetery there? The map shown, if I am reading it right shows the road in the top left hand corner, am I correct? You mentioned your book, is it still available and in English, if so where can it be found and what cost?
    As I said in an earlier thread I was in Cassino this year for the 75th Anniversary, a moving time was spent at the German, CWGC, Italian and American cemeteries, my next trip will be to visit the area my grandfather won his gallantry medal and to honour those who died.

    Regards

    Chris
     
  14. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Chris,

    You have located San Pancrazio correctly. There are several settlements with this name in Italy. This one is in the Comune of Bucine in the Province of Arezzo (AR).

    1. The Museum in San Pancrazio is called 'Il Museo della Memoria'.
    For the opening times you will need to phone the town hall (number found on this link) and ask if someone speaks English. I think the museum is only open with a prior booking.
    http://www.museidelvaldarno.it/musei/bucine/museo-della-memoria-san-pancrazio/

    The nearest military cemetery is at Indicatore (Arezzo). However, the men from 4 British Infantry Division who were killed between the end of June and mid July during the advance from the Trasimene Line to Florence are buried in Foiano della Chiana War Cemetery.

    2. Here's the link to my book:
    The Arezzo Massacres A TuscanTragedy by Janet Kinrade Dethick (Paperback) - Lulu

    Regards,

    Vitellino
     
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