Discussion in 'Royal Artillery' started by trader, Dec 31, 2011.
Apologies but I am new to this forum lark having come accross this forum yesterday, Arthur Denham Foxon was my Grandfather and tool command of 115 in 1945.I have all his war papers, photos, maps etc from his time in India / Burma. I cant find any imformation as to how Charles Sprawson was killed but I have found a photo of his and others graves near Mandalay Hill.
I am brand new so excuse any mistakes. I am tracing a family member in the above unit - Captain Charles Nathaniel Sprawson (Sn 179011). He was killed on 18 March 1945. I am keen to find out about the 115 and his part in this campaign. I would appreciate any pointers please. Thanks
Hope this is of use below.....
My research into the regiment has led me to believe that, despite what some researchers had written and published,115 Field Regiment were never given the title 'North Midlands'
None of the Leicester and Rutland TA records, before and after the war record this, and neither does the Army Instruction allowing 115 to increase its size to three batteries (1941). Searches in the National Archives in the Army Council minutes and Orders have not confirmed that the regiment was given this title, and throughout WW2 (War Diaries Divisional Records etc) and afterwards, this title doesn't appear anywhere I have found. Even in the surviving TA post war records (Leicestershire Records Office), it is only recorded that:
By 1946 it was known that the War Office intended to reorganise the Territorial Army into a peacetime role and the quarterly meeting of the L&RTA on 12 October laid out what was expected: that ‘one medium Regiment, Army Group artillery …to be formed from 115 Field Regiment RA’. The date for reformation was given as 1 January 1947 and at the meeting of the L&RTA on 11 February the Regiment is now referred to as ‘315 Medium Regiment (North Midland) RA (TA) – formerly 115 Field Regiment’.
So now 115 Field Regiment R.A. had passed into history.
Please note that even this document doesn't give the regiment this title, and it's only the amalgamated regiment that has it.
I'm afraid that Part Three of the Regiment's history is taking much longer than I anticipated to finish off. I will admit to having at least a year off, for personal reasons, but getting back to writing it up has been taking much longer than I expected. From their arrival in Assam and advance into Burma, the War Diary entries are full of Grid references, all of which I have decided to decode to give a bigger picture of what was going on. That job requires me to have the maps to which they relate and finding these has been a mammoth task. Thanks to the Bodleian and British Library, and some that my father brought back, I have made progress, but to date (and 6 March 1945), I have decoded over 600 grid references and incorporated them into the text. There are, obviously, several hundred more to do, so please be patient.
Finally, I have provided proof to the CWGC that at least two of the gravestones in their cemeteries, had incorrect information on them. They have agreed to amend their records and update the headstones. Unfortunately, it's a long, and expensive, journey back to Burma to check up on them, but I hope their online records are now correct.
Regards, and keep safe.
Earlier, and just recently, I've had enquiries about Capt. Charles Sprawson (179011).
He was 34 years old and was killed whilst acting as a F.O.O. in the southern suburbs of Mandalay, to the south of Fort Dufferin. His death was listed in the CWGC database (and on his gravestone) as 18 March 1945, however, both the 115 Field Regt. War Diary (WD) and the 240 Bty WD record messages that he died about 0645 hrs on the 19 March. This error has been pointed out to the CWGC and they have accepted copies of both WD's, amended their database, and will replace his gravestone at the Taukkyan War Cemetery, Grave 17 A 7 with the correct date.
Capt. Sprawson was born in Middlesex and is listed as living in Bedfordshire, He was married to Eleanor Mary Sprawson, who was living in Dunstable, Bedfordshire. There are no other relatives listed.
It was reported that he was killed by a mortar round which damaged his lung and blew off part of his shoulder. At the time, he was being assisted by Gnr. Harry Stonebridge who took over the function of F.O.O. and continued to provide gun fire support to the infantry they were assigned to. Gnr. Stonebridge was later awarded the Military Medal
Greetings to you all,
Once again, Leicester City Council has 'forgotten' 115 Field Regt. and their publicity for the VJ Day Commemoration didn't mention 115, and concentrated on the battalions of the Royal Leicestershire Regiment that fought in Burma. This has been pointed out to them.
Nevertheless, my wife and I managed to arrange, with sterling help from Liz McKenzie of the Lord Mayor's Office at the City Council, and Phil Walden, the County Chairman of Leicester and Rutland Royal British Legion, to have a wreath placed in memory of all who served in the Regiment for VJ Day. This wreath has been placed at the Arch of Remembrance in Victoria Park, Leicester.
As a follow on from my contact with Leicester, I have submitted a proposal to the Leicester Museum management for them to hold an exhibition about 115's history. This was only been submitted yesterday (3 September) and there are many hurdles to jump. It would be lovely to have something to announce for the VJ Day Celebrations in August 2021. I don't know where the funding would come from, and exactly how this will work out. Anyway, it would be lovely for the people of Leicester to remember the men who served and, perhaps, we can unearth more information, records and memorabilia that we can deposit in the Record Office, or other museums.
Two conversations were started with me from viewers who had family members who served in 115. Unfortunately, they were posted during my 'rest' spell, and have not replied to my messages. I would love to hear from them as Richard Foxon's grandfather was the Acting C.O. from April 1945 and Laurence Wood's father was in 240 Bty, which was the one my father served in. If anyone knows them, and can put them in contact with me again, I'd really appreciate it. I have given them my email address to make contact.
Well, back to writing up the history, into April 1945 now.
Take care and keep safe.
Does anyone know when the camera team that filmed the 'Calling Blighty' series visited 115, and where the Regiment was?
My cousin tells me that our family was invited to visit a cinema in London and were shown the films that were made by 115. My father introduced one of these, but the NorthWest Film Archive don't have it. I know that these films were produced from late 1943, and were mainly filmed between 1944 and 1946, often in the jungle or near the frontline!
Take care and keep safe.
This virtual talk may be of value: Wed 4th November - Andy Johnson - The Fall of Mandalay - Join us as we explore the relatively little known fall of Mandalay in the Burma Campaign of 1945. One of Dan Hill's free talks, access via: https://www.danhillmilitaryhistorian.com/historyfromhome
Thanks for the information.
I've just emailed this information to Roger Foxon. His Dad was the 2 i/c of 115 (later C. O), and manned the main OP on top of the hill after it was taken. My Dad was probably somewhere near the bottom!
Today, Remembrance Sunday, and also on 11 November, perhaps we could all pause and remember those who served in 115 Field Regiment RA, and those who were detached to them from supporting units, who died whilst serving with the Regiment, and didn't return home to the UK.
A moment to reflect.
Greetings to you all,
Here is a hastily stitched together photo of the Mawchi Road between about Mile 16 and 35. You will probably had to 'zoom' into it to fully appreciate the information.
Each of the diagonal crosses is a grid references taken from the 115 War Diaries and show unit locations, enemy positions and Targets from early June, when the Regiment were ordered back to the road, until they left on 8 July for Kywebwe. From Kywebwe, they supported the Brigade infantry in trying to stop the Japanese crossing the Rangoon - Mandalay Road out of the Pegu Yomas and into the hills beyond the Sittang River.
Hello. I have discovered this site as I was searching for information about the regiment. This is the first time that I have used such a site, so forgive me if the communication is a little strange! My father, 2/Lt (later Captain) Marlay Spencer joined the regiment in November 1939 at Bordon. In January 1940, he was Troop Commander of 'F' Troop, 240 Field Battery, and went with the regiment to France in April. His main moment of action was at St Maur in May where the troop lost at least three of the four guns to enemy shellfire. He was evacuated through Dunkirk after marching his men eight miles down the beach from Bray Dunes.
Back in England, he was detached to C2 Battery RA, then C4 Battery RA, using naval guns mounted on trucks to guard first the Isle of Sheppey and then RAF Rochester and Fort Horsted. He re-joined the regiment in Kent where he was promoted to Captain and appointed as Adjutant. He witnessed the Acle plane crash when the regiment was in East Anglia in which he lost a good friend, Simon Pack, and one of his men, Gunner Warburton.
Dad sailed with the regiment to Ceylon as Commander of 'C' Troop, 240 Battery, and we used to have a photograph of him with (I assume) the troop marked '13 September 1943, Badulla'. However, he then spent much of the time on secondment to Naval Bombardment, Combined Ops, in the course of which he suffered malaria, dengue fever and dysentery on a number of occasions. The end result was that he was invalided back to the UK in March 1945 and never served with the regiment in Burma. His memoirs end with the observation that on joining Combined Ops he handed over command of 'C' Troop to his GPO, Charles Sprawson - who was later killed in action in Burma and whose name appears above.
I make this post to try to have Dad's name and service recorded alongside the others mentioned on this site. I would also be interested in learning more about the action of the regiment in France/Belgium, in particular the activities of 'F' Troop. I would be pleased to communicate with others about the regiment in World War II. Thank you for a glimpse into Dad's past.
Greetings James and welcome to the topic.
Many thanks for your post and, if you have no objections, I'll include the details you give on your father in my 'postscript' for Part 3.
Please send me a 'Conversation' (top right-hand corner) and I can discuss with you how we can help each other..
Sorry to pop in, hope you dont mind but the North Midland title is probably a throw back to WW1.
My interest is the 67th Field Regiment RA (TA) who called themselves the Worcestershire Gunners.
In WW1 they were 241 South Midland Brigade a name which stuck when they became 67th South Midland Brigade post WW1.
In 1939 they were 67th Field Regiment RA (South Midland) but the South Midland title was dropped to 67th Field Regiment when the original four batteries 265,266,267 and 268 were split.
265 and 266 being a front line Regt (67th Field) with 48th Div and 267 and 268 being Home Service 119th Field Regt. with 61st Div.
67th were transferred while in the BEF to 1st Infantry Div who covered the withdrawal and defended the beaches at Dunkirk until their last rounds 266 Battery being at Bray Dunes with Howitzers and 265 Battery covering the Canal.
As with the new RA Standard they had a third Battery 446 added whilst in Lincolnshire and Norfolk.
Hope this helps.
Greetings Uncle Target, and thanks for your post.
I've still to be convinced that they were given that title and even those who have used it in their published works, haven't given their source. I make a point of referencing my sources. In a visit to the National Archives a couple of months ago, i searched some other leads and found none of them shone light on the answer and I will not use the 'regional title' unless someone shows me an 'official' document that confirms they were given it.
The third and final part of the Regiment's history is coming to a conclusion but there's still has some work to be done and information received. There is, of course, the process of checking it through and then deciding how best to 'publish' it.
Greetings to all followers of this topic,
I'm please to announce that a 'revised' version of the early part of 115's history (between 1920 and June 1944) is available for downloading. If anyone would like a copy, then please send me a 'conversation' via the link at the top with your email address, and I'll send you a download link.
The final part of the regiment's history has been completed and is currently being proofread before being made available. I will announce this when it's ready but 500+ pages is quite a task!
Greetings to you all,
The final part of the history of 115 Field Regiment RA (June 1944- January 1947) is now available as a download file and can be obtained by sending me a 'conversation' which includes your email address.
Copies of Parts One and Two of the the Regiment's history from 1920 to 1947 have been deposited in the Leicestershire & Rutland Record Office, the Royal Artillery Museum and the Imperial War Museum London. These two revised and reformatted parts, replace those that were deposited at earlier dates.
Separate names with a comma.