14275131 John Charles (Chuck) RINGSTEAD, Royal Artillery: ( Monte Cassino and Normandy campaigns)

Discussion in 'Royal Artillery' started by Ed Ringstead, Aug 7, 2021.

  1. Ed Ringstead

    Ed Ringstead Member

    Hi fellow genealogists. I very long shot…has any one come across a gunner called John Charles Ringstead (known as Chuck) during the ww2 campaign’s in Monti cassino and Normandy D day landings. It’s a very unusual name so I am counting on this. I am having no luck from the war records in Glasgow as it is not operating during covid. I don’t his regiment which is my problem.

    I have had some help from Frank de Planta who is an expert on Monti Cassino and he has narrowed down my search to the following regiments.

    Not many soldiers had the Italy, France and Germany Stars so that narrows it down the search. Only 50 and 51 Infantry Divisions were in Italy, Normandy and Germany. Only 5 Infantry Division were in Italy and Germany.

    That would narrow it down to nine Field Regiments. Each Division had three Field Regiments during 25 pounders in support. Medium and Heavy Regiments fired much bigger guns.

    He could not have fought at Cassino under Montgomery because Montgomery went back to UK in Nov 43 to prep for D Day. Cassino started in Jan 44. By then, Leese was in charge. If he was at Cassino then he could not be in 50 or 51 Inf Divs because they went back to UK with Montgomery. I would plonk for one of the three Field Regiments in 5 Inf Div who:

    Landed in the toe of Italy in Sep 43 and were commanded by Montgomery. Were in the Garigliano crossing at Cassino in Jan 44. Went to Germany in Mar 45 but were not at Normandy. They were 91 Fd Regt RA, 92 Fd Regt RA and 156 Fd Regt RA. Two from London and one from Lanarkshire.

    If any one was in Italy and France and Germany during the ww2 in the royal artillery and has heard of john Charles Ringstead (re Chuck) I would be grateful of hearing from you. Cheers Ed Ringstead
  2. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    It is possible he moved between Regiments within the RA which would screw up the 5th Division theory - I can't see anything in the RA attestations or Tracer cards

    Do you have any photos, paperwork or anything like that which may give some clue that may not be immediately obvious
  3. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Why are you limiting yourself to looking at Field Regiments ?

    There were plenty of RA units to consider.
  4. Ed Ringstead

    Ed Ringstead Member

    All information was gleaned from dads discussions when I was a lad. I have his service number from the medals department ( 14275131) but that’s all I have. But one incident I remember was he was involved in a friendly fire incident, which lead me to believe he was transferred out to another unit. Dad died some years ago and suffered like so many others of PTSD after the war, and his surviving brother cannot remember his unit. Thanks for a speedy response, cheers Ed Ringstead
  5. Ed Ringstead

    Ed Ringstead Member

    I am using information picked up from stories dad spoke about when I was about 10 years old. I have no idea which regiment he was in the Royal artillery. Just that he was in Italy and the DDay landing spanning 1939 to 1945. He was 16 when he was called up.
  6. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    From his number I think he would have joined up about September 1942 initially into the General Service Corps
  7. Ed Ringstead

    Ed Ringstead Member

    Thanks for the insight AB64 ……Interesting, you say his number reflects a call up in 1942. My dads birth day was sept 1923 which at the outbreak of war would have made him 16. The question I I haven’t asked,… was it usual for 16 year olds to be called up, or as you suggest he was more like 19 years old. I was under the impression he was away for 5 years.
    Then the follow up question does a 1942 sept date correspond with the Italy campaign?

    General question:- Was the General Service Corps a holding service to assess the skill set before deployment to a regiment? My dad always said he didn’t get a trade as his age was too young for an apprenticeship as the war came along just at the wrong time.

    one thing that puzzles me, its normal for lads to join a regiment that is geographically close to where he lives. I don’t understand why a guy born in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire didn’t join the Cheshire infantry? I surmised he was conscripted and didn’t have any choice in the matter.

    Obviously when Glasgow MoD office reopens I may get some answers to my request for his service records and which regiment he joined.

    thanks for sharing your knowledge it is much appreciated. Regards Ed Ringstead
  8. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place.... Patron

    Another possibility might be that he served in some sort of special forces? I am not sure how many individual gunners might have been transferred back from the Middle East to Europe. I know of no Gunner units that served at Monte Cassino and in Normandy.
  9. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    I'm not sure on call up ages but I think it would be at least 18 for call up, he could have lied and joined up at 16 but as I say the number doesn't reflect that. If he Joined in September 1942 he could have gone to Italy - Monte Cassino fell in May 44 so enough time to train and ship him out.

    From 1942 all new Army recruits went to the General Service Corps where they learned basics of marching, shooting, saluting and generally being soldiers - while there they were tested and observed to see if they showed any special useful skills and at the end of the basic training they were allocated to where they were needed and/or where their skills had shown they would be most useful.

    During the War men could get sent anywhere, early in the War if volunteering you would go and offer yourself and you could give preferences and hopefully get there, later on when you joined you went into a big pool (as mentioned above the GS Corps) and they put you where they chose - even once in a unit men were transferred about as needed.

    You should still be able to Apply to Glasgow, they are still working away although with reduced staff and in obviously difficult circumstances - problem now is a massive backlog has built up but some posters on here have commented about getting records recently - best thing is get an application in, the longer you leave it the further down the queue you'll join.
  10. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place.... Patron

    My father was also born in 1923 and called up in 1942. He too was a Gunner.

    The army established a General Service Corps in 1942 for initial training and assessment. After this soldiers were posted to a training centre for their specific regiment or corps. The time here would depend on their trade. Training as a gunner i.e. someone who served the guns was shorter than say, signalers who would need to learn Morse code.

    After the National Service act (?) in 1939 established conscription the army would deploy people where they wanted them and not where they wanted to go.
  11. CL1

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

    Have you applied for your fathers service records?
    Apply for his records the official route Get a copy of military service records
    date of birth and death cert required plus £30
    Yes it is a bit slow at the moment but you need to apply
  12. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    He may also have been compulsorily transferred from an Artillery unit to an infantry unit as a lot of men were later in the war. He could have an Italy Star for RA and F&G Star for Infantry service.

    All supposition of course as the answer will be in his service records. You will just have to wait for Glasgow to respond.

    Good Luck

    Wobbler likes this.
  13. Ed Ringstead

    Ed Ringstead Member

    thanks for your time and response, it all adds to a picture of what he got up to during the war. Thank Ed Ringstead
  14. Ed Ringstead

    Ed Ringstead Member

  15. Ed Ringstead

    Ed Ringstead Member

    Thanks steve appreciate your view.
    Regards Ed Ringstead
  16. Ed Ringstead

    Ed Ringstead Member

    Hi steve…I have waited 6 months for a reply from Glasgow, I suppose waiting another 3 months can’t harm to get my dads service records.
  17. Ed Ringstead

    Ed Ringstead Member

  18. Ed Ringstead

    Ed Ringstead Member

    Thanks AB, very much appreciated you take the trouble to explain the process.

    I managed to track down my dads service number from the medals reissue department. Then I applied in February armed with his service number for his service records.

    After reading on the government mod website that I should have received an acknowledgment I sent a chaser email to a generic address. That’s was when I received an out of office response.


    In line with both Scottish Government guide lines and COVID-19 restrictions, staff are currently unable to attend the office. As most older Army service records are held in hard copy genealogy requests cannot be actioned at this time. It is unknown when the Scottish Government’s policy will change and allow the team to return to the office.

    Regrettably this will result in a prolonged delay to the processing of requests. We understand this is a frustrating situation for everyone and your patience during this difficult time is appreciated. “ Unquote

    This response from Glasgow lead me to reach out to ww2talk which has been very helpful in understanding the process going on during the chaotic time in WW2.

    it’s been a slow process to get to understand my dad life in the WW2, which shaped his life in the years to come.

    It was interesting you mentioned recruits were normally 18 years old when called up. I will have to see if my uncles who are 82 and 90 years old respectively can remember how old dad was when dad was called up. But as they are in poor health and suffer from Alzheimer’s I am not hopeful as they were much younger than there older brother. But you never know.

    interesting the GS Corp was the basic training for everyone who were then deployed where needed dependant upon skill set. Makes sense.

    thanks again for you taking time to respond, and giving me the benefit of your knowledge.

    cheers Ed Ringstead
  19. Wobbler

    Wobbler Patron Patron

    3 months…I do love an optimist :D

    Good luck with your research Ed, I shall follow your thread with interest.
  20. Ed Ringstead

    Ed Ringstead Member


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