Website 8th Rifle Brigade (11th Armoured Division)

Discussion in 'British Army Units - Others' started by 8RB, Mar 30, 2019.

  1. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    For anyone interested in the 8th Rifle Brigade and their campaign, from 13 June 1944 to 8 May 1945, through France, Belgium, Holland and Germany: have a look at Home - 8th Rifle Brigade !

    Planned content (still far from complete):
    • HISTORY: origins of the battalion, its raising and training in England and the campaign in North-West Europe.
    • ORGANISATION: the battalion’s organisational structure and its place within the 11th Armoured Division.
    • OFFICERS & MEN: names, some additional information and where available portraits of all known members (1514 so far).
    • MAPS: period maps with overlays explaining routes and actions of the battalion.
    • PHOTOS (and some documents): period group and campaign photos, some documents, then and now photos, etc.
    • BIBLIOGRAPHY & LINKS: book titles and links to other sites or museums.
    • CONTACT: contact form, to be used for any questions or maybe if you have new material for this site.
    • 13 PLATOON: information on 13 Platoon, the book (see below) and its author Don Gillate, possibly in time also Don’s original audio recordings.
     
  2. Louglitter

    Louglitter Member

    Hello, newbie here. I wonder and hope you can give me some advice. I am trying to trace what section of 8th Rifle Brigade my grandad was. His name was Roy Wildish. (12/9/21 dob) I have just got his service records from the MOD which whilst really great doesn't help me narrow down as it says RIFLE BRIGADE 8TH (then not sure if its PON or Btn) he enlisted in Winchester in 1941, went to Tidworth in 42 I think training in 2MTBn (assuming that's motor batn) then 8RB, he was in North West Europe from 1944 until 1946. I know that he was a driver for a lot of that and I know that he was the first non medical personnel into Bergen Belsen - he drove two or three doctors in I think, and I think that he drove a tank too at points. He had some great tales and I know that he also said that out of his original battalion he was one of a few of the original members to come home. So I would love to find out what coy/section/company he was in so that maybe I am able to find a photo of his unit, I am happy to share some of his service records to de-cypher the abbreviations (non of them are on the MOD abbreviations) anyway any help would be really appreciated! thank you!
     
  3. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    Hi Newbie, A bit frustrating but as you probably will have noticed his name does not appear on the website. I am pretty sure I have all the names of E, F, G and H company on there and most of the officers. I am not sure if maybe I am still missing names of HQ Company (as I have no separate list of them and I am not sure if other ranks there were taken from the four companies mentioned or if they were directly attached to HQ Company). All the information you have however points to him having been a member of '8th Battalion The Rifle Brigade (London Rifle Brigade)', as their full name was. For now my best guess would be he was a member of HQ Company. Maybe if you put his record on here I might be able to find something in there. About him being one of the few who got home: out of a nominal strength of some 856 officers and men the battalion lost 161 and at least 486 wounded.

    Kind regards and good luck with your search, Ronald.
     
  4. Louglitter

    Louglitter Member

    Hello, thanks so much
    Yes you could be right and I have explored that a little but locations they went don’t match his (which at the moment and I could certainly be wrong) is what’s confusing me... happy to post what I have I’ll attempt to attach now - thanks again so much!
     

    Attached Files:

  5. Louglitter

    Louglitter Member

    Hi again Ronald. Thought this pic in uniform may help....
     

    Attached Files:

  6. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    What a great photo. Can't miss, definitely 8th Rifle Brigade, 11th Armoured Division. See attached photos of badges.
     

    Attached Files:

  7. Louglitter

    Louglitter Member

    Thank you so much, really appreciate your help
     
  8. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    Could you please explain why you think locations don't match? Looking at files attached to #4: Winchester, Tidworth and Brighton all are very much 8RB locations. Also I see he embarked on 1 July 1944, and so he was one of the so called first line reinforcements, who indeed joined the rest of the battalion in early July and are also mentioned by Don Gillate in his book "With the 8th Rifle Brigade from Normandy to the Baltic":

    "Our spirits were further raised by the fact that some friends joined us, our first line reinforcements so called. This was the party that had stayed
    behind when we had left Aldershot and they had cleared the place up. Some of them were fighting troops, others were headquarters and administrative
    personnel. We had not seen them since we had left England and they had missed our early battles and of course we had bad news for them in the fact that so many
    of our chaps had already been killed and wounded...
    "

    Apart from all this is seems on 30/10/45 he was transferred to 1st Rifle Brigade, from 8RB.

    So, it all fits perfectly with 8th Rifle Brigade, apart from not yet having found his name among members of E, F, G, and H Companies. I am pretty sure we need to find a list of HQ Coy members. I also have the name of a Rifleman Dove, who served with HQ and whose name I also could not find with any of the companies...

    What I also would like to know is what (I think) "Reclassified Seale D; Cl 1A" means.

    Finally, I also recognize one of the signatures, of J.C. Dancy.
     
  9. Louglitter

    Louglitter Member

    Oh this is marvellous - thank you!
    I think I was doubting some of the locations because I couldn’t actually read some of the abbreviations and wasn’t sure - particularly because of the transferring to 1RB - and I was confused about the motor brigade training bit but reading your words has reinforced my confidence
    I agree about the reclassified Searle... I couldn’t find any reference to that either - no idea what that means at all and would love to know!

    I have asked my relative to see if he has anymore pics for reference and will let you know if he does.
    Glad you recognise the signature - again reassuring

    On one of the other sheets I got from the MOD there was a huge c in the top right corner - I’ll try and attach, but when I read the website I assumed it was just something else but let me know if you think different

    I think for me it helps me feel like I’m on the right track.

    Thanks again
    Louise
     

    Attached Files:

  10. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    Hi Louise,

    Don't know about the significance of the "C". Did notice that in the other corner it seems his army number is given. Could you let me know what it is? I will make sure to add him to the list of 8RB on the site. Also funny to read that he "Awarded" 10 days ... by CO"for driving a WD vehicle without driving licence.

    If any members on here know where to find the list of HQ Company members or their War Diary - which E, F, G and H Company all did publish, just after the war - then please let us know!

    Kind regards, Ronald.
     
  11. Louglitter

    Louglitter Member

    Hi Ronald,
    Thank you, yes I know about the C, it’s actually on two documents in the corners ?!? Which is why i originally thought that could be his section, but clearly not in the photos
    Of course his army number 6923634, and thank you for adding him to the site, let me know if you want any more details. I’m going to order the book you referenced too, and I’ve found copy online of accounts where they ring similar to some of the stories he told, I remember him talking about Butch I think... but can’t be sure.
    It is funny about the 10 days, I smiled when I read that and I’m actually not sure that he was drunk, I’m sure I remember a story he told where he got caught drunk, but I can’t be sure. I guess they found ways to get through and cope the best they could!
    If i find anything else out I’ll let you know
    Thanks again for your help and support
    Louise
     
  12. Louglitter

    Louglitter Member

    Hi again Ronald,
    Just throwing this other image in, in case it sparks any thoughts - this was my grandad at his youngest - I’m still investigating...




     

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  13. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    Over the last few days I have added a number of photos - including a number of company and platoon photos - and the first audio file to the website ( Home - 8th Rifle Brigade ). The audio file is a 45 min. tape by Don Gillate, of the period leading up to embarkation for Normandy.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2019
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  14. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    To my website on the 8th Rifle Brigade in WW2 (www.8thriflebrigade.co.uk) I have just added the second part (45 mins.) of Don Gillate's original audio tapes. On it Don relates his memoirs covering the period from landing in Normandy on 13 June 1944 until the start of Operation Epsom.
    Don Gillate was an 8th Rifle Brigade veteran and one of the few of his platoon to survive the whole campaign from Normandy to the Baltic. He recorded his experiences in the early 1990s and is the author of 'With the 8th Rifle Brigade from Normandy to the Baltic.'

    The recording can be found and played using Audio tapes - 8th Rifle Brigade .
     
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  15. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    Hi Louise,

    Somehow I had missed your message, or at least not taken a good look at the photos. The one on the left in your post #12 seems to be a group photo. If you could upload the full photo, maybe I might be able to recognize other 8RB members on it. That might help.

    Kind regards, Ronald.
     
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  16. harkness

    harkness Well-Known Member

    Hi Ronald,

    Forgot I had this - an 8RB half-track passing through Mortsel on the way to Antwerp. Amongst the chalked graffiti you can make out 'Vilvorde' above the front mudguard 23H and 8RB passed through there on 4th Sept.
     

    Attached Files:

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  17. Louglitter

    Louglitter Member

    Hi Ronald, yes I thought the same! I’m trying to find out who in the family has it and at the moment have no joy, but will come back to you if I do!
    Thanks for the audio link to Don, next day off I will have a good old listen
    Thanks again
    Louise
     
  18. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    Hi Neil,

    Thanks for that. I suppose you do not know which street it was taken? Quite soon I will publish a series of some 24 photos of 11th Armoured Division and 23rd Hussars (sadly not completely sure if 8RB vehicles are on it) liberating Antwerp on the website. Would you mind if I also add this one?

    Cheers, Ronald.
     
  19. harkness

    harkness Well-Known Member

    Hi Ronald,

    Feel free to use the photo. I don't know the name of the street, unfortunately, but here's another photo taken from the same vantage point. It may give some clues as to the location.

    mortsel04.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2019
  20. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    There are at least 4 photos of those Shermans on the cobbles and the location is given as just 'Mortsel'.
    Noteworth because of the mottled cammo on the 17 pdr gun tube .


    23rd Hussars, Mortsel Sherman-tile .jpg
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2019
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