244 / 78th LAA & 254 / 81st HAA

Discussion in 'Royal Artillery' started by snapper35, Jan 22, 2015.

  1. snapper35

    snapper35 Member

    My first post on here so please be gentle!

    I am trying to research in detail the wartime career of my grandfather and put it to gather in a decent narrative as I managed for his father before him. I currently have his service records (which are transcribed), a collection of photographs (scanned) and some aerogrammes at my father's which I need to go through. This is a whole new area for me as I tend to focus narrowly and previous research has (mostly) been 609 (WR) Sqdn 1939-45 and 16th Lancers 1908-14, neither of which relate. Of course service records only tell part of the story and I'm rapidly exhausting available general information so it looks like Kew is going to be next. Everything is on my laptop and I'm at work right now so can't upload anything until tomorrow but the basics are:

    Embodied 1/9/39 with 244 Bty, 78th LAA Rgt as a gunner

    Stayed there for just over a year then went to 124 OCTU

    February 1941 he was off to Stromness with 254 Bty 81st HAA Rgt

    June 1st 1942 he sails on the Aquitania to Suez and stays put in various camps (apart from frequent hospitalisation) until 44 and suspended animation at which point he goes off to Greece and Italy with AML / AMG, returning home in December 1945 as a Captain (temp)


    Now, from what I gather 78th LAA became 78th HAA at some point...I'm curious about when and why and also what guns they began with in 1939 and what they ended up with by October 1940.

    I'm also curious about what he may have actually been with the 81st with OSDEF (and where) and also doing at Ismailia in Sept 1942, Sidi Bishr, Feb 1943, El Kabrit in 1944 (MECTC), El Tahag July 1944 and Maadi Sept 1944 and where he might have been 'on the guns'.

    Also nominal rolls etc would be incredibly interesting!


    That's the basics. I really need to plow through the war diaries in detail. These are unfortunately not digitised so unless anyone has copies (for which I'm happy to pay) that they'd be prepared to share it looks like I'm stuck.

    best wishes and thanks in advance for anything you might be able to come up with...

    CL1 likes this.
  2. bofors

    bofors Senior Member

    Hi and welcome

    There are a couple of chaps on here who do copy them from NA UK for a very reasonable fee, I am sure one will be along soon to let you know.


  3. snapper35

    snapper35 Member

    Nice one, thanks for that Robert. Nearly finished my shift so hopefully I'll have a chance to post some stuff up a bit later after a kip. Been fleshing out details all night (again) and my head is swimming with Ishmaila, Kabrit, Sidi Sishr, Kasfareet ...
  4. DianeE

    DianeE Member

    Hi snapper 35, my father served with 254 battery in Orkney and then Egypt with them. I must admit it was quite a shock when I saw your post. According to his service record he was stationed at Longhope Orkney.

    I couldn't find a war diary for their time in England but the National Archives at Kew have the Regimental diary for that time

    I have the war diary from July 1942 to Dec 1942.It is only about 20 pages and covers their time at Kasfareet (an airbase) Nothing much happened.The diary states that they arrived in Eqypt early in July not June My father was transferred to another battery Dec 1942 and later went on to serve in Italy

    I am more than happy to share the diary with you. Do you have dropbox? I live in Cape Town so it is easier to share the files over the internet.

    The file attached shows the name of the officers.

    If you would like to contact me via e-mail I have sent you a PM with my e-mail address


    Attached Files:

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  5. snapper35

    snapper35 Member







    Service Records

    Surname Crame
    Christian Names Stanley Frederick
    Personal Number Enlisted: 1476642 Commissioned: 170770
    Identification Card 61848 Issued: 18.07.42
    Officers Shop Card No: 148146 issued 30.10.45
    Regiment Or Corps Royal Artillery (Heavy Anti-Aircraft)
    Nature Of Commission Emergency
    Date Of Birth 14.08.14
    Occupational Classification S
    Business Qualifications Schoolmaster
    Professional Qualifications Teacher’s Certificate. 1938
    Degrees Etc Diploma In Agricultural Science (Dip. Agric.) 1939
    Height 5Ft 11Ins.
    Weight 168 Lbs
    Chest Girth When Expanded 40Ins
    Range Of Expansion 3Ins
    Complexion Fresh
    Eyes Blue
    Hair Light
    Religious Denomination Church Of England
    Education School: Thorpe, Norwich.
    University: All Saints’ College, Oxon.
    Officer's Bankers Or Agents: Lloyds Bank Ltd, Cox & Kings Branch, 6 Pall Mall, London SW1
    National Insurance Number TB/33/48/96/AV

    Postal Address B Troop, 254 Bty, 81st H.A.A. Rgt, R.A., M.E.F.

    London Gazette Entries

    SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, 28 FEBRUARY, 1941 War Office, 28th February, 1941 REGULAR ARMY. EMERGENCY COMMISSIONS (CADETS). ROYAL REGIMENT OF ARTILLERY The undermentioned Cadets, from 124th O.C.T.U., and Coast Arty. Sch., to be 2nd Lts. 15th Feb. 1941 :- Stanley Frederick CRAME (170770).

    SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, 29 NOVEMBER, 1945 War Office, 29th November, 1945. The KING has been graciously pleased to approve that the following be mentioned in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Italy :- Royal Regiment of Artillery Capt. (temp.) S.F. CRAME (170770).

    SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, 22 JULY, 1952 The War Office, 22nd July, 1952. The following Officers are awarded the Efficiency Medal (Territorial) :- ROYAL REGIMENT OF ARTILLERY Lt. (Hon. Capt.) S.F. CRAME (170770).

    Service Appointments, Promotions, Postings, Locations

    Enlisted Royal Regiment Of Artillery (CD & AA Branch) 21.08.39 78th LAA Regt / 244th (3rd Norfolk.) AA BTY RA (TA)
    Attested & Posted Gunner 21.08.39 244th (3rd Norfolk.) A.A.BTY. R.A. (Territorial Army)
    Embodied 01.09.39 244th (3rd Norfolk.) A.A.BTY. R.A. (Territorial Army)
    Embodied For Service 02.09.39 78th L.A.A. Regt. RA. (TA)
    Medical Examination Classified A1 03.04.40 Marham, Norfolk. 78th L.A.A. Regt. RA. (TA).
    Untrained Lance Bombardier 16.06.40 78th L.A.A. Regt. RA. (TA)
    Permanent Lance Bombardier 16.06.40 78th L.A.A. Regt. RA. (TA)
    Lance Bombardier 16.06.40 78th L.A.A. Regt. RA. (TA)
    Permanent Acting Bombardier 01.08.40 78th L.A.A. Regt. RA. (TA)
    Bombardier 02.08.40 78th L.A.A. Regt. RA. (TA)
    Untrained Lance Sergeant 17.09.40 78th L.A.A. Regt. RA. (TA)
    Lance Sergeant 17.09.40 78th L.A.A. Regt. RA. (TA)
    Lance Sergeant 21.09.40 78th L.A.A. Regt. RA. (TA)
    Relinquished Appointment; Gunner 18.10.40 78th L.A.A. Regt. RA. (TA)
    Posted to 124 OCTU Llandrindod Wells 18.10.40 124th O.C.T.U. RA
    Posted from 78th L.A.A. Regt. RA. (TA) 19.10.40
    Experienced D.M. Gas --/12/40
    Discharged On Appointment To A Commission 14.02.41
    Posted to 81 H.A.A. Regt. Stromness W/EF 15.2.41 10.02.41
    Posted to 81st. Hy.A.A. Regt RA 14.02.41
    Appointed to Emergency Commission as 2nd Lieutenant 15.02.41 LG 28.2.41 Royal Artillery
    On leave In UK --.06.41
    Course of Gunnery on Field Check 4 AA Division School 16.02.42-21.02.42. Passed 24.03.42
    Embarked Greenock S.S.H.11. 25.05.42 - 12.06.42
    Embarked Middle East W/EF 08.07.42 30.07.42
    Admitted to Hospital “X” (II) 25.07.42
    Discharged From Hospital 06.08.42
    At Ismailia, Egypt 06.09.42
    Posted to X List ii 25.07.42 01.08.42
    Promoted War Substantive Lieutenant 15.08.42
    Posted to 81 HAA Regt W/EF 10.08.42 29.08.42
    254 HAA Bty 17.08.42
    Medical Examination KASFAREET Category A 28.11.42
    C.T.B.A. R.H.Q. 89 HAA Rgt 14.12.42 26.12.42
    At Sidi Bishr Transit Camp, east of Alexandria --.02.43
    Acting Captain 06.05.43
    Experienced D.M. Gas 06.05.43
    Temporary Captain 06.08.43
    Admitted 13 General Hospital 20.08.43
    Discharged From Hospital 23.08.43
    Admitted 13 General Hospital 24.08.43
    Discharged From Hospital 02.09.43
    At Tiberias --.09.43
    Granted Leave Priv 7 DAYS 01.09.43
    Admitted Hosp (XII) List (23 SGH) wef 05.10.43
    Medical Examination 10.12.43
    At MECTC, El Kabrit Egypt ..--.--.44
    Discharged Hosp to 254/81 HAA regt --.01.44
    At El Tahag Camp near Ismailia, Egypt --.07.44
    Posted to X (IV) BORA 22.07.44
    Medical Examination Category B Perm 11.08.44 Sick Leave Granted To 26.8.44
    Appointed Staff Officer 3 (C.A. Agric) 25.08.44 No.2 District AML HQ Greece
    Posted to Military Liason GREECE (AGRIC.) 25.08.44 Allied Military Government, CMF
    Staff Officer III 25.08.44
    At Maadi --.09.44
    Embarked for AAI and SOS MEF 07.10.44 30.10.44
    Transferred CMF X(I) 2 Dist AML (Greece) W/EF 08.10.44 29.11.44
    Civil Affairs (Agriculture) LIST 232 03.11.44
    At Patras, Greece --.11. - --.12.44
    At Mirtia, Crete 03.12.1944
    At Prevesa, Greece --.12.44
    At Corfu, Greece --.12.44
    Apptd S.O.3 (CA) (Agri & Fisheries) Personnel Pool UNRA 01.05.45
    Relinq Appt S.O.3 (CA) (Agric) Patras Dist: MLHQ Greece 01.05.45
    Posted to X IV List CMF W/EF 05.06.45
    Relinq Appt SO3 (CA). Pool of personnel Att UNRA W/EF 31.05.45
    To HQ AMG / AC X (I) W/EF 17.06.45 12/07/45
    Granted Leave 28 days in U.K. 03.08. 45
    To Transit Camp 04.08.45
    L.I.A.P. LEAVE IN U.K. TO 10.08.45 08.09 1945
    Embarked Calais, France for UK (28 days leave) 11.08.45 03.10.45
    Rejoined Unit from leave in UK 14.09.45 25.10.45
    Relinquished Appointment SO3 (CA) AMG AL to UK (L/AP) 08.08.45
    Appointed SO3 (CA) HQ AL from UK (L/AP) 16.09.45 Headquarters Venezie Region AMG
    Issued Officers Shop Card 148146 30.10.45
    Medical Examination at 83 (Br) General Hospital 03.12.45.
    Called forward to Assembly centre MILAN 10.12.45
    DATE OF DISEMBARKATION, Dover 14.12.45
    No. 11 M.D.C.U. and M.D.U. ALDERSHOT 15.12.45
    PERIOD OF RELEASE LEAVE FROM 16.12.45 - 23.03.46
    DATE OF RELEASE 24.03.46
    Released With Effect From 24.03.46
    Relinquished Commission 01.07.59
    Granted Honorary Rank Of Captain 01.07.59
    Joined 660 (m) HAA Regt for Training 27.04.52 --.11.52
    Completed Training 11.05.52

    Periods of Service

    Home 02.09.39 - 14.02.42 1 Years 166 Days
    Total Service Towards Engagement In The Territorial Army - 14.02.41 1 Years 178 Days
    UK 01.09.39 - 24.05.42 1½ Years.
    Egypt. MEF. 2¼ Years
    Greece 8½ Months
    Italy 7 Months

    Awards And Decorations

    Mentioned In Dispatches LG 29.11.45
    1939/45 Star 29.06.48
    Africa Star 29.06.48
    Italy Star 29.06.48
    Defence Medal 29.06.48
    War Medal 1939/45 29.06.48
    Efficiency Medal (Territorial) LG 22.07.52
    CL1 and Drew5233 like this.
  6. snapper35

    snapper35 Member

    Hi Diane,

    They will have known each other well; and there he is (well, not, he's in hospital!). The voyage was fairly long and they stopped in Simonstown which is of course not too far from where you are now. I do indeed have dropbox don't know how it works though! Someone else set it up to send me somee files and I just sign in. Is this link any help?


    I usually use we transfer.

    Here, the voyage:

    The war is almost three years old when 2/Lt Crame is finally posted overseas with his regiment, embarking on RMS Aquitania at Greenock on 25th May 1942. At 44,786 Gross Tons, this former luxury cruise liner built in 1914 has been requisitioned from the Cunard Line for her second war due to her troop carrying capacity of 7166 men. On 1st June the Aquitania leaves her berth, assembling with other troopships from the Clyde at Tail o'the Bank before steaming north to join the Liverpool section who sailed the day before and at 6am the assembly of Convoy WS.19P is completed off Oversay in the Outer Hebrides. Maintaining a speed of nineteen knots, this 'Winston Special' consists of 19 troop ships and four transport ships is escorted west into the Atlantic by the destroyers Salisbury, Buxton and Mansfield, who depart for Londonderry at 23:00, Keppel, Leamington and Wells, who follow on the 4th with Beagle and Wild Swan accompanying the aircraft carrier HMS Argus when she detaches for Gibraltar and Operation Harpoon on the 5th. The next day the destroyer Wivern joins the convoy and at midday on the 7th the Aquitania herself detaches, sailing independently for Freetown, Sierra Leone, independently and at her best speed of 24 knots under the new designation WS.19Q, her departure being filmed from the battleship HMS Nelson which has accompanied the convoy from the start. She arrives on the 11th and replenishes with fuel and water.

    From Freetown, Aquitania heads down the west coast of Africa before leaving the Atlantic for the warmer waters of the Indian Ocean, rounding the Cape of Good Hope to dock in Simonstown on the 20th June before once again heading east and arriving at Diego Suarez on the island of Madagascar ten days later. From here the route heads north to Aden, arriving on the third. Stanley arrives in-theatre when she finally docks for unloading of the men who subsequently move the four miles to 157 Suez Transit Camp, thirty eight days after departing the River Clyde. His service records the momentous occasion of his arrival in the land of the Pharaohs as 'Embarked Middle East with effect 8th July 1942'.

    I'm excited now! I'd gathered that little excitement had come his way but the daily detail is what I so much want to know. So far so good!
    CL1 likes this.
  7. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Hi Mark

    Nice pics and thanks for posting them. If you need a hand with any of the unit war diaries drop me a PM and I'll let you know what's available

    CL1 likes this.
  8. DianeE

    DianeE Member

    Hi Mark, thanks for posting the info and pics. My Dad never really spoke about the war. He visited me in Cape Town a few times and never ever mentioned that his ship had docked in Simon's Town( neither did my Mum), his service with the 10th Indian Division in Italy or his time in Austria.

    Thank you for solving one mystery - his journey to Egypt. I wondered why it took so long.. I had tried to get some info but didn't get far.

    I will share the file with you via Dropbox. Must admit I also don't know much about Dropbox but will have a go
    CL1 likes this.
  9. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member

    Hi Snapper35

    When the British liberated Greece in October 1944. You grandfather was one of nearly 6500 troops specifically chosen for its relief and rehabilitation.

    To allow Brigadier General Percy Lee Sadler (Deputy Officer Commanding Force 140) to administratively control and provide relief for the whole of the country, Greece was divided up into Military Districts and sub-divided into Regions, each under the control of a Military Liaison (ML) formation. HQ ML Greece (ML(G)) was located on the 4th floor of the Metokhikon Tamion Building in ATHENS and staffed by 20 Officers and 253 troops with 14 vehicles.

    The table attached details the districts, the locations of the HQs and their staffing levels.

    Their task effectively was to administer Greece and try and help it recover after nearly 4 torrid years of Italian/German occupation. The relief aspects would eventually be taken over by the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA).

    Hope this helps


    Attached Files:

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  10. snapper35

    snapper35 Member

    Thanks Andy, I'll be in touch once I work out (probably tonight) which ones I need.

    Diane - Google WS.19P and WS.19Q for the convoy details - The Aquitania (which he DID mention) was initially with the convoy (p) and then split to become q. My grandfather said very little, just anecdotes here and there - a flooded latrine because of the water table when the tide rose, a tomato plantation and a Contessa in Italy (he was offered a job running a tomato factory or something after the war, bit vague on this) that sort of thing. OCTU was known about, Egypt and Greece too and I think he briefly mentioned South Africa but other than that he was tight-lipped. A strange one is that he mentioned being MID'd twice but there is record of once only, both in his records and in the London Gazette. My uncle also ssays he mentioned being in Rome when it was liberated but I cannot for the life of me see how...at least from the records. Oh, there's a bunch more pics coming over to you via wetransfer, printable size.

    Gus, thank you - at first glance I'm recognising names of places and making vague connections from a brief look at the 1944-onwards part of his career but having not looked at it lately I'm not quite absorbing this part. I seem to recall finding quite a bit online which will help put this table into context so thank you very much for your help! I'm guessing (which I shouldn't) that his agricultural diploma had something to do with his selection and with his unit and the need for HAA with allied air superiority being lessened it did free him from his trained role. He was always a very keen gardener back in the UK and I remember grapes growing in his (large )greenhouse and also that he was head beekeeper for Norfolk. He also, as a teacher and later headmaster, imparted his love of horticulture onto his pupils and one runs a very large rose nursery somewhere in Norfolk - I heard him, by chance, mention my grandfather sparking off his own interest on the radio one day.

    After my grandmother died in the early eighties he bought a Bedford Rascal mini camper van and headed off to Italy in it...
  11. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    No rush - all I need is the units name and the date range for that unit you are interested in. I'll do the searching to see what is available and get back to you ;)
  12. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member

    Hi Snapper 35

    Force 140 (Liberation of Greece) was a right motley crew of troops begged stole and borrowed from Italy and the Middle east. When Churchill stated he wanted a force in Greece CIGS suggested that some 90,000 would be needed. In reality General Scobie (GOC Force 140) got a little over 15,000. Of them, only 5000 of them were 'fighting' troops. Force 140 did not 'go in' until the Germans were retreating North out of Greece. They simply did not have the strength in numbers to fight their way in.

    A lot of forces in Greece had been given new 'roles'. Most of the LAA regiments of Royal Artillery changed to infantry for internal security duties, including riot control. Most Anti Tank regiments had already converted to mortars and too converted to infantry. 66th LAA Regt, RA were changed to the Genera Transport role. 23rd Armoured Brigade was sent with just 25 tanks, their troops having retrained as infantry in Palestine just before going to Greece.

    Below is a small profile of your Grandfathers boss whilst in Greece.

    When USA joined the war, Colonel Percy Lee ‘Puss’ Sadler, was the director of the Military Science and Tactics Faculty, at Western Maryland College. In February 1942, he was recalled to Washington. In May 1942, he sent to Liberia as Commander of Task Force 5889 and promoted to Brigadier-General on 30 October 1942. In 1943, he briefly became the Commander General (CG) of all US Armed Forces in Central Africa (USAFICA), before becoming Deputy CG of all US Forces in Middle East (USAFIME). For distinguished service to Liberia, he was awarded the Commander Order of the Star of Africa.
    In April 1944 he was made CG of the US Contingent Military HQ for Balkan Affairs. On his arrival In Greece, he was made the deputy commander of Allied Military Liaison (AML) and responsible for the relief, recovery and rehabilitation of Greece until replaced by the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) in April 1945. For his services to Greece he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).
    On 20 July 1945, Gen Sadler moved to Presidio, Monterrey to take over command of the Civil Affairs Staging Area (CASA), which trained and prepared officers for the military governance of Japan and the Far East. For his services to the US Army, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal (DSM).
    He retired from the US Army on 30 November 1946, to a professorship at Lehigh University, head of the Reserves Officer Training Corps (ROTC) and Director of inter-collegiate Athletics. By 1949, he was the Director of Athletics. He retired from Lehigh University on 1st July 1962.
    He died in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania on 21 November 1970, aged 78 and was laid to rest in the Chestnut Hill Church Cemetery.

    It is quite feasible that the timings of his HAA units suspension, his discharge from hospital and his agriculture qualifications were all factors why he went to Greece.

    Hope this helps

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  13. snapper35

    snapper35 Member

    Brilliant, thanks again Gus.

    Andy - yes please, I'd love if you can get me the copies. 10p a page isn't it? Can give you a deposit against it in advance if you like, here's a lot of work there I'd imagine.

    78th LAA Regt From August 1939 - October 1940

    244th AA BTY RA From August 1939 - October 1940

    81st HAA Regt from February 1941 - August 1944

    244 Bty from February 1941 - August 1944

    89 HAA Regt December 1942

    Also, if not huge great thick files of bumph:

    124 OCTU Llandrindod Wells from October 1940 - February 1941

    4 AA Division School February - March 1942

    Will try to work through online AML /AMG stuff and edit this post later.

  14. chrisgrove

    chrisgrove Senior Member

    I do like the top photo! An excellent example of a unit with lots of initiative - no two officers dressed alike! Well, two of them are, but only two. Things go downhill from there.

  15. snapper35

    snapper35 Member

    haha yeah, right scruffy bugger - yet I never saw him remotely crumpled in my life!
  16. CL1

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

    What an excellent thread
    Mark please keep us updated

  17. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    My text in bold red. There are some 4 AA Div Files but expeerience tells me they'll be very thick and of little use. Noting for the OCTU.

  18. snapper35

    snapper35 Member

    I wonder what's happened to 244 / 78th LAA records for 39/40, as his early service with training etc this would be fascinating - there's some from later in the far east and I don't think the HAA battery/regt is the same but if I don't get it I won't know so better to have and not need than miss potential information

    May 42 and Aug 44 of 81st HAA are curious ones to be missing too, that's the final month with OSDEF and the final month before suspended animation. Very curious.

    81st July-Dec 1942 I have now so please scratch that one.

    89th HAA is just for a course so scratch that one too.

    Can't find a 254 bty diary apr 1941 - June 1942. This covers Orkney/OSDEF and the voyage on the Aquitania. Presumably it come sunder the Regt diary.

    Second lot of 244 Bty HAA should read 254 Bty HAA, my apologies.

    Updated list of files I'd like please:

    WO 166/2525 244 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery 1939 Aug.- 1941 Dec.

    WO 166/2372 81 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment 1939 Aug.-1941 Dec.

    WO 166/7457 81 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment 1942 Jan.-Apr.

    WO 169/4804 81 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment 1942 June- Dec.

    WO 169/9841 81 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment 1943 Jan.- Dec.

    WO 169/16149 81 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment 1944 Jan.- July

    WO 166/2535 254 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery (HAA).1939 Aug.- 1941 Mar.

    WO 169/9912 254 H.A.A. Bty. 1943 Jan.- Dec.

    WO 169/16175 254 H.A.A. Bty. 1944 Jan.- July

    For curiosity rather than pushiness do you have a rough idea on a timescale please Andy?
  19. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    I should be able to start some of that order for you at the beginning of February. I have to fit visits to Kew in around shift work and parenting duties :lol:

    I'll send you a private message :)
  20. snapper35

    snapper35 Member

    Cheers Andy. Shiftworker myself - nights - and have the same thing with arranging life in between!

    Bit of a turn up, it would seem the Bty OC, Major Bottomley, is my dad's godfather and his wife lodged with my grandmother during the war...need to compare photos but that's quite a turn up!

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