William Shawcross - Reconnaissance Corps - 21/11/44

Discussion in 'Recce' started by Mathsmal, Sep 10, 2013.

  1. Mathsmal

    Mathsmal Senior Member

  2. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin


    My late father was in the Reconnaissance Corps, but with being in the 4th Reconnaissance Corps, did not serve in the North West Theatre of Operations, but in Italy and Greece in 1944 and 1945.

    The Recce Corps were intended to, as the word implies, to Reconoitre the land searching for the enemy, attempting to find out the strength and dispositions, before returning with the Information.

    They were heavily armed and later in the war were integrated into the RAC and mostly had armoured cars for their work.

    There was inevitably Recce Units operating in Holland during the advance, but there was also airborne Recce Units deployed for Arnhem.

    I am sure more learned members will provide better Information.

  3. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce

    A few paragraphs taken from the book by Richard Doherty, "Only the Enemy in Front"

    "At the beginning of October the main thrust of 49th Division's advance was brought to bear on the Turnhout area. A Squadron led 146 Brigade north on the Tilburg road and, on 5 October, engaged enemy troops near Aerle; two troops accounted for two 88mm guns and three 20mm guns as well as taking ten prisoners and killing several more. The spearhead of the advance was assumed by C Squadron next day; they were attacked by German paratroopers but the attack was beaten off and severe casualties inflicted on the Germans.

    No offensive operations took place between 7 and 18 October when 49 Recce, as part of Bobforce, held a line from Bolk to St Leonard through Ryckevorsel. Many prisoners were taken in the course of patrolling by the reconnaissance squadrons before, on 18 October, 49 Recce left Bobforce to join Clarkforce, an armoured group under 34 Tank Brigade's commander. Also including 107 Regiment, RAC, Clarkforce advanced about 25 miles from Ryckevorsel to Kruisland, north of Antwerp, between 20 and 30 October 'inflicting great damage on the enemy'.

    'Throughout the advance squadrons of the Regiment led the tanks into action, and had to fight their way forward against stubborn opposition from enemy infantry, paratroops and self propelled guns. The line taken was via Brecht, Wustwesel, Nieuwmoer, Esschen and Wouw to Kruisland which was reached after the enemy had withdrawn from Roosendaal behind the Mark canal. During this advance most of the work had to be done on foot because of the extreme difficulty and open nature of the country; nevertheless progress was quite rapid and upwards of 150 prisoners of war were taken during the operation. In addition 30 more were taken when A Squadron swept the wood south of Nieuwmoer which had been by-passed and still contained enemy who had succeeded in capturing a considerable number of the Division's vehicles and men. During a three day lull at Nieuwmoer, C Squadron did some excellent patroling north east of the village and directed our artillery on to many targets, while B Squadron were engaged in bitter fighting with enemy paratroopers north of the village'.

    So tenacious was the German defence of the Mark canal line that a full scale infantry attack was needded to crack the line. Once again, as at Le Havre, 49 Recce provided a 'Phantom' wireless net to cover the battle. Apart from two days when A Squadron took over the Klundert area from 104th (US) division, the regiment had no operational commitments in early November; on 13 November it moved to XII Corps near Schaft for Operation CHESTER, intended to clear the Germans from the east bank of the Maas and to take Blerick, near Venlo, on the German border.

    On 18th November 49 Recce passed through 51st Division's bridgehead over the Zig canal. Now under command of 4 Armoured Brigade the regiment led the brigade advance over difficult terrain:

    'progress was slow with the enemy hotly contesting every inch of ground and causing some damage with his self-propelled guns. However the Regiment worked forward via Beringen, Panningen, Maasbree and Sevenum to the railway at (map square) 8315, whence Squadrons, pressing forward, reachedd Grubbenvorst on 25 November and the outskirts of Blerick on the same day, having covered 12 miles in the preceding week; very few prisoners of war were taken during this operation. The main problems during the advance were blown bridges, mines and considerable shell and mortar fire, and nearly all the work had to be done on foot'

    At the end of the month 15th (Scottish) Division took over the Blerick area to allow 49th Division to move north and replace 50th Division on the 'Island' north of Nijmegen; the latter division was to be broken up to provide reinforcements. For a time it appeared as if 49 Recce might be deployed to deal with civil unrest in Belgium but it was eventually decided that the regiment was not needed for this purpose. One squadron then moved to Hien on the 'Island' on 7 December; the rest of the regiment moved to Druten on 14 December.

    Owen and CL1 like this.
  4. CL1

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

  5. Mathsmal

    Mathsmal Senior Member

    Thanks everyone for your help - very informative!
  6. Piet Snellen

    Piet Snellen Member

    21st November 1944 was the day before my village Sevenum in the south-east of The Netherlands was liberated by the 15th Scottish Division, A platoon of 15th Scottish Reconnaissance Reg. went on patrol into the direction of the village of Sevenum. Two Churchill tanks accompanied the platoon. The fist tank hit a German mine on their way. The tank was destroyed and the driver, Guardsman John Shiells, (Scots Guards) was killed. It might be so that trooper William Shawcross was part of this platoon.

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