What Division /Units of the British Army where with the BLA in Cologne Germany in WW2

Discussion in 'Royal Engineers' started by gaffa, Dec 5, 2022.

  1. gaffa

    gaffa Member

    I have a family member who was a RE Sgt in charge of the 'District 7 of Cologne mines' can anyone help with further information.
  2. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Is that all you know? It helps the forum if you provide if available: full name, date of birth, main unit assigned to and a service number. Have the family got any letters, photos etc?

    On what you have provided now I would suggest he could have been a coal miner before the war. You do not need to have that experience to be in charge though.

    Alas Wiki does not show mines in District 7 of Cologne: Porz - Wikipedia The last hard coal mines closed a few years ago in 2018. Lignite aka brown coal is still produced.

    Try this, for the context of such a posting, a 1946 article on coal mining in the area, The Ruhr Coal-Mining District; you will need to register before free use.
    Link: The Ruhr Coal-Mining District on JSTOR

    Plus this article on the winder context: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/bi... Occupation of Germany, 1945-9 (REDACTED).pdf

    A good place to check is The Royal Engineers Journal, which oddly is best found via New Zealand site: www.nzsappers.org.nz
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  3. gaffa

    gaffa Member

    I have his full name and birth, and thats it. With the information I posted. The information you have given me is based on the Americans NOT the british. Monty's fratenisation letters were also part of this as he was posted to Bielefield due to it.
  4. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Last edited: Dec 5, 2022
    Tony56 likes this.
  5. gaffa

    gaffa Member

  6. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    The Cambridge link is an article is entitled 'Britain and the Occupation of Germany, 1945-49', not the USA. The other cited article may provide context for the British and the local mines.

    I could not find anything online about the District 7 mines, so could only provide pointers to two articles that could provide context, may be even a starting point.

    The RE Journal was added as it might contain information, as the articles are wide-ranging and nearly always concern the RE themselves.
    Tony56 likes this.
  7. Historic Steve

    Historic Steve Researching 21 Army Group/BAOR post VE day

    19 Jun 45 – HQ North Rhine Coal Control
    Villa Hugel near Essen – Lieutenant Colonel Rowe
    27 Aug 45 – redesignated HQ North German Coal Control – Colonel WPS Curtis OBE

    25 Jun 45 – 7 District – Guards Division for administration
    Watchberg Mine Office Frechen west of Köln to Faiser Friedrich Ufer 55, Köln 8 Nov 45

    Guards Division relieved 22 Corps United States Army on 17 Jun 45

    21st Army Group later British Army of the Rhine (under construction)
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  8. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Last edited: Dec 6, 2022
  9. gaffa

    gaffa Member

    Thanks anyway
  10. gaffa

    gaffa Member

    This looks more like what I require, however my Sgt Williams was with Royal Engineers with District 7.organisation.
  11. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Out of curiousity I looked to see if Colonel WPS Curtis OBE was RE, no. He was with the Rifle Brigade, a long serving regular officer, commissioned in 1925.

    There is a relevant thread here on the British Army and coal, which includes Cologne, as Germany needed coal supplies to restart after VE-Day: Operation Coal Scuttle - Post War Germany There is a little more on non-engineer duties etc on: BAOR - SRY - Grandpa what did you do after the war?

    35k ex-POWs were conscripted to return to the mines, may be too general a resource a thesis on rebuilding the workforce: https://core.ac.uk/download/44308.pdf

    German miners were given preferences (rations & wages) which led to some disorder one winter in February 1947 @ Dusseldorf, so theses duties were not without problems. From a quick look in this thesis: https://kuscholarworks.ku.edu/bitst...d=313D60653FAE46CA21EA087F53D31870?sequence=1

    It is possible that the RE Sgt was retained till the war ended. I base this on:

    I would make sense that other post-war issues in Germany were planned for and coal would be near the top of the list. I have no idea whether the RE had a suitable name for coal mines.

    The overall control (command) was vested in a body known as "Rhine Coal Control", a search shows several online sources.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2022
  12. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Are you asking for all the units in Cologne post hostilities so that you can work out with which RE unit your relative served?
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  13. Historic Steve

    Historic Steve Researching 21 Army Group/BAOR post VE day

    The commanding officer of a District would be a Major, I have a name for 6 District but nothing listed for 7 District, however a RE Sgt would be an asset, being a former Royal Engineer myself we were known as "sappers and miners".
    dbf likes this.
  14. Historic Steve

    Historic Steve Researching 21 Army Group/BAOR post VE day

    If Sgt Williams was detached from HQRE Guards Division these may help from the Public Records Office Kew references WO 171/4110 and WO 171/8709 sadly Nov to Dec 45 is missing.
  15. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    I'm just wondering if Gaffa has a copy of service records or even a tracer card. :)
  16. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    So far gaffa has not given the RE Sgt's full name.

    He may be lucky if the full name helps. I suspect it will not appear online, though it may on paper - in my limited experience 'Other Ranks' rarely appear online, unless there is a medal, appear in memoirs, various oral history places etc.
  17. gaffa

    gaffa Member

    Try this then Sgt Trevor Williams was attached to the 6th Army USA [Major/Col] who had a White Stallion which he used to climb the stairs inside the Krupps Mansion] info from my Niece [her father was TWW].
  18. gaffa

    gaffa Member

    I do not have anything as yet. [However, my niece states she has all the paperwork her father brought out of Germany with him in 1946/7].
  19. gaffa

    gaffa Member

    My Dad was a Sapper he was in Iserlohn in 1945/46 with 229 Field Coy.
  20. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron


    I have tried various options to identify your subject and being posted to the Ruhr / Cologne / coal duties etc without success. Somewhere, someone has written on the British component of the Allied Control Commission (Coal), though I doubt it will go down to district level. Whether the Uk National Archives have such paperwork is a moot point.

    On a quick check, relying on Wiki the US 6th Army was not deployed in Europe, it was in the Pacific. From: Sixth United States Army - Wikipedia Historic Steve in Post 7 refers to the US 22nd Corps handing over to the Guards Division on 17/6/1945, alas their Wiki entry is very slim, so assigned units not readily found: XXII Corps (United States) - Wikipedia

    Cologne was attacked by three corps in Operation Lumberjack: Operation Lumberjack - Wikipedia and under the command of: Twelfth United States Army Group - Wikipedia

    From memory the UK & USA had before crossing the Rhine, if not earlier had decided on their Zones of Occupation (adding a French one at some stage). It is likely that the US Army fought to conquer Cologne, as part of the Ruhr; other cities were conquered by the UK - Operation Plunder refers from a scan.

    It is therefore possible that Sgt Trevor Williams was attached to the US Army; there was a 6th Division (infantry), this was in the Pacific and a 6th Armoured Div. was in Europe, though not active / in combat in the Ruhr.

    There is a Krupp Mansion, known officially as Villa Hugel (near Essen, approx. 60 kms north of Cologne) and the brief, official history states:
    From: Home - Villa Hügel

    Wiki I note states, minus a source:
    From: Villa Hügel - Wikipedia
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2022

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