WW2 Green Howard Tanks in Italy

Discussion in 'British Army Units - Others' started by Julie236, Sep 3, 2020.

  1. Julie236

    Julie236 Member

    I am a new member to this wonderful site - hello

    I am trying to find out about my grandads regiment with the Green Howards. I would love to know more - even a service number would help. You realise too late the questions you would have liked to ask while they were with us. Grandad died when I was in my early 20's
    His name was Joseph Henry Akien born 1 July 1907 in Sunderland.
    We know that he drove tanks and my mum says that he was in Italy which we are assuming was WW2.
    He lived in Sunderland and joined up early. We believe he had joined the army in 1923 (again not sure which regiment) but not sure how true that is.
    Sadly I know nothing more than that. I have tried researching but not coming up with any good leads.
    Can anyone help?
    Many thanks
  2. BFBSM

    BFBSM Very Senior Member Patron

    Hi Julie,

    You need to apply for his service records, to do this visit here: Get a copy of military service records. The current situation will probably affect the speed of processing, but start now.

    Also you could contact the Green Howards Museum: Home.

    I note from the 1939 Register, Joseph was living at 60 Granville Road, Woking, with his wife and a daughter Olive. He was employed as a builders labourer.

    Good luck with your research, don’t spend too much money on anything until you confirm everything with a copy of his service records, or another official document.

    4jonboy and Tony56 like this.
  3. Julie236

    Julie236 Member

    Thank you Mark.
    Yes Grandad (Joseph) apparently had a falling out with his family in Sunderland and moved down to Woking in Surrey.
    I have tried the Green Howards Museum but could not find much there. May be it will get easier after I get hold of his service records
    Thank you for the advice - I will start the application today
    BFBSM likes this.
  4. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Unfortunately, it is very difficult to find mention of 'Other Ranks' in contemporary accounts but rest assured that with the service records and further research it is normally possible to gain a pretty good idea of someone's service. In the absence of his records, and without much information to go on, there is probably little to be gained by speculating, but we all do it !

    The Green Howards were an infantry regiment and as such were not equipped with tanks so if he served with them all the way through, driving tanks would not have been one of his tasks. They did however have a 'Carrier Platoon' with 'Bren' and later 'Universal' Carriers...Tracked and with some limited armour plate, they are not always referred to correctly.

    During peacetime, regiments of the British Army tended to have one battalion at home and a second on empire policing duties. During the 1920s and '30s, 2nd Green Howards were in the Far East and the 1st Battalion in the UK. Those reaching the end of their service overseas were generally sent back to the home battalion towards the end. Woking is very close to Aldershot and many demobbed servicemen stayed in the area.

    Having finished regular service, he'd have remained on the reserve and been called up again at the outbreak of war. If he fought on mainland Italy then he was most likely with the 1st Battalion who travelled widely with 5th Infantry Division. There will be plenty of war diaries to look through once you have the service records.
  5. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

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  6. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    1 GREEN HOWARDS were one of the three infantry battalions of 15 Infantry Brigade in 5 Infantry Division. They were at the crossing of the Garigliano in Jan 44 before being pushed north to prop up the collapsing beachhead at Anzio. Here they stayed until the breakout on 23 May 44.

    I am with Rich Payne - he was in the Carrier Platoon.


  7. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    Deleted (not relevant)
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2020
  8. Julie236

    Julie236 Member

    Thank you for all the comments. I think I need to find his army details first. This is great and will help me with more digging. Any info helps
    BFBSM likes this.
  9. Julie236

    Julie236 Member

    Thank you for all your comments. I have found something that may be my grandfather's details but can you explain what this might mean for me please? I think I know but not having much joy with it.
    So his army number (if it is my grandfather) is 916770 Akien Joseph Then under 'Transfers to other Corps ....and record of re enlistment" says
    PARA 204 (11)
    T.A. REG 8 (22.3.40)
    Can you help me in how I follow up on this?
    We know that he joined the army as a young boy as my mum said that the army taught him to read and write. He was considered too old when WW2 first started enlistments but joined because of his prev experience.
    I will know more when I can eventually get his records but this might give me some leads (of course if it is him)
    Many thanks
    Sandra Doran likes this.
  10. BFBSM

    BFBSM Very Senior Member Patron


    I am making a stab in the dark, but I believe:

    refers to PARA(graph) 204 (11) T(erritorial).A(rmy). REG(ulations) 8 (22.3.40).

    It may be easier to understand this, for other more knowledgeable members if you could post an image of the document you are referring to.

  11. Temujin

    Temujin Member

    1. 161st (Green Howards) Reconnaissance Regiment

      24th October 1943 – 12th November1943: 161st Reconnaissance Regiment
      31st August 1945: Disbanded

      Commanding Officers
      Lt-Col. K. E. Savill,
      Lt-Col. G. J. Kidston, D.S.O., M.C.,
      Lt-Col. W. A. Turner.

      The Regiment was originally 161st Regiment R.A.C., and was transferred to a reconnaissance role in October 1943. The 161st never went into action as a Regiment, but supplied reinforcements, notably a full squadron to the 43rd Regiment.

    2. WO 166/10666 161 Recce Sqn. 161 Regiment, Reconnaissance Corps (Green Howards) with effect from 1943 October 12 1943 Oct.-Dec.
      WO 166/14606 161 Reconnaissance Regiment 1944 Jan.-Dec.
    Above Info from this thread on this site: 61st Recce?

    More information above the Regiment at this link:

    http://daimler-fighting-vehicles.co.uk/DFV-File Part D007i- Infantry 161st green howards Recce.pdf
  12. Julie236

    Julie236 Member

    Thanks Mark - I have attached the document. Jospeh is the first entry.

    Attached Files:

  13. Temujin

    Temujin Member

    Para 204 of the 1936 TA Regs, second page shows Item 11, which was quoted as his reason for discharge.......Para 204 (11)

  14. Temujin

    Temujin Member

    Here’s the page that show Item 11 (Cause of Discharge). So this item shows that he was Discharged from the TA as “medically unfit for further service”

    Source for the above information is this site:

    TA Regulations 1929 - paras 207 and 204
    BFBSM likes this.
  15. Julie236

    Julie236 Member

    Thank you for this - helpful

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