56th Anti-tank Regiment

Discussion in '1940' started by pete doughty, Jun 18, 2015.

  1. pete doughty

    pete doughty Member

    Hi all
    My name is Peter Doughty and my dad Les Doughty 842123 was in the 56th Anti tank reg. during the BEF activities, later the battery became the 233 independent and in 42 became the 1st Air landing Anti-tank battery. So the battery saw action in France and Belgium in 1940, Africa, Scilly and Italy in 1943 and Arnhem in 1944.
    I've been trawling through past post to see if I could find information on the 56th Anti tank Battery.
    I've come across a thread by Drew5233 but it was a very old post where you were invited to give a ref number for the diaries. my reference is 167/583 and of course I will donate to a charity.
    I started with Arnhem as that's an area I thought I had some idea about, how wrong can you be. I have done well with the battery at Arnhem but I've very little on France and Belgium . My interest is specific i.e. dads battery so any information will be useful, dates locations.
    I do know he was around Lille and Hazbrouck just prior to evacuation but the rest is a mystery for the time being but I sure I will be able to piece together some stuff. I know he was evacuated on a ship called the Daffodil. I do have information on the names of the battery members and a photo at Burbage after Dunkirk I believe and also a battery photo taken in 42 (many of the battery named)
    Also could someone explain how I can paste into this page, I can see the buttons and it tells me that I have to paste there but nothing happens


  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Hi Pete,

    I have the 1940 diary covering April and May but there's no entries for May which could suggest they got a hammering or the diary for May was lost during evacuation. The Regiment was part of 42 Division in France. I'll do a bit more digging later for you in a couple of books I have on the subject.

  3. pete doughty

    pete doughty Member

    thanks Andy, it seems when they go into action the diaries do go out the window, very little for Arnhem an very little once they got to Africa.

  4. BrianM59

    BrianM59 Senior Member

    http://www.kingsownmuseum.plus.com/ww2-56thko.htm Gives a little information about 56 Regiment in 1940. I agree, unit war diaries are a hit and miss affair - I've just spent a few days looking at all kinds. It depends who was writing them up and what the commanding officer's attitude was towards them. Some have excellent description of action by the hour and appendices with orders of march and battle, maps and other interesting stuff. Others, you wouldn't get much idea of anything save a bunch of place names. A good example is the 2/6th East Surreys, which is detailed to the point of tedious in places about home deployment - they were defending VP's (Vital Points) in 1939 and you even get the feeding arrangements for the men - a Lyons Cafe in Richmond at one point, complete with phone number. In contrast, during May 1940 when they're in the thick of it fighting the 7th Panzers in front of Aumale, you don't get much at all. Andy actually directed me to some private diaries of an East Surreys Officer, which was much more informative. In contrast, I was looking at the 1/4 KOYLI in 1944 and there is a detailed three page description of the attack on Ryjkevorsel, maps and map references and some good eye witness reports in the Missing Personnel file.
  5. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    The 'Years of Defeat 1939-1941' by Farndale records:

    56 Anti-Tank Regiment with 221, 222, 223 and 224 Batteries was formed from the 4th King's Own Royal Regiment in 1938 and, under Lt Col B H Palmer it joined 42nd Div and with 2-Pounders, went to France on 21st April 1940.

    Not a great deal in there I'm afraid.
  6. pete doughty

    pete doughty Member


    Thanks for your efforts.

    I do have July 40 -Dec 41 diaries but its earlier than this that is a bit of a blank, I can see from his records that he has MM crossed out and MID added so he must have been in the thick of it, I know he was given responsibility during the action because of the lack of NCO's but that's another story. Dad was shot across the back of the neck, near miss that left a permanent parting where the round burnt his neck, he had leaned forward for his brew bit of luck really.

    There is a good as they get account in "Point Blank open sights" John C Howe. While I know researchers interview and correspond with veterans, not a luxury I have now (hindsight!) I naively thought this sort of thing was recorded.
    I am in contact with one veteran whose brain is still sharp, legs not much use but he's very happy with things, I know he was at Dunkirk or there a bouts and in the Royal Artillery. He was part of 2nd Air landing AT( Oban) but not part of the 223 battery but transferred on the way to Africa. As a side note I am taking him to Duxford where he will be the quest of the Airborne Assault museum, he should enjoy that.

    Could someone tell me how to paste into this sight????? why does life have to be so difficult!!!!!!!

  7. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Sorry it's taken so long for the penny to drop... Have you got/seen the King's Own's regimental history? Unlike some, this covers their converted battalions - I remember mentioning it on the Arnhem books thread.
  8. idler

    idler GeneralList

  9. pete doughty

    pete doughty Member

    Thanks idler

    I haven't seen the KOR history. Is it readily available?

    I've not tried attaching a jpeg but now I know how thanks, its pasting a word doc I'm struggling with. On the desk top here there are some clip boards and when I click on the one with the word logo on I can paste into that space but what happens next is a mystery my paste works but then I click OK it disappears and would expect it to appear here but no. The only reason I ask is I often ask the same or slightly altered question elsewhere so it saves me typing more than once.
    Don't worry I'll just type it here and copy from here .
  10. pete doughty

    pete doughty Member

    Brian/idler on the site link Brian gave me there is an option to buy the KOR history on CD is that what you are referring to ider?

  11. idler

    idler GeneralList

    That's it - vol 3 by Julia Cowper. I'm sure I've seen an original on ebay in the last week...
  12. pete doughty

    pete doughty Member

    couldn't find it on the bay so I bought it direct from the museum and they get my gift aid.
  13. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Depending on how they scanned it, it might be searchable, which is always a plus.
  14. 379/101 HAA

    379/101 HAA Ubique

    Just bumping this old thread to avoid starting a new one.

    Does anyone have War Diaries for the 56th Anti-Tank Regt. covering April 1945, Burma? I`m trying to get an idea where Gunner D.J. BAGNALL (933036) may have been wounded. Specifically this took place 24.04.45.

  15. Ian Chadwick

    Ian Chadwick Member

    Hi, sorry I have only just come across your post whilst searching for the 56th Anti Tank Regt. The war diary entry for the 24/04/1945 states the following: -
    0645 - Air attack by 7+ OSCARS on 161 Bde area - KALAYWA airstrip. Casualties 222 Bty - 5 wounded by anti personnel bombs incl Bty Comd, Bty Capt. Two vehicles destroyed.
    There is no other reference to casualties on this day.
    I hope that helps.
  16. 379/101 HAA

    379/101 HAA Ubique

    Thanks for that Ian, it solves an outstanding query nicely.

    I`ve had a look on my Burma airfield info, including WO 203/2030 and oddly KALAYWA isn`t listed. A bit of Googling indicates it to be a township or suburb of Mandalay however. You`ve now prompted me to go back and look at this again as the original notes I made indicated that the Army Casualty list for this date lists only seven casualties; six for the 101st HAA and one for the 56th ATk. The entry in your war diary for the 56th ATk suggests there should have been more on the list, unless they were only minor.

    Thanks again for the helpful reply.

  17. Kiwi REd One

    Kiwi REd One Junior Member

    Hello John

    I don't claim to be any expert on the Burmese air war but I was intreged enough with this thread to look up my copy of Chris Shore's "The Air War for Burma" and I found this entry for the 24 April 1945 which fits the war diary entry discription quite well ("Oscar" being the Allied reporting name for the Japanese Nakajima Ki-43 fighter bomber):

    Wednesday, 24 April 1945
    17 Squadron despatched Spitfires on an offensive sweep over the Toungoo area, meeting 15 fighters from the 50th and 64th Sentais which were attacking a vast convoy of British vehicles at Toungoo and Toungoo North airfield, the 64th Sentai Ki 43s going down in line astern to attack. The tail-end Ki 43, flown by Sgt Hidezo Ishide, did not return, and would appear to have been shot down by Flt Lt B.S. Thompson, who saw the pilot of the fighter he attacked, bale out; Flg Off K.A. Rutherford also claimed a probable, but Sgt Derrick Crawford, a 21 year-old from Newcastle-on-Tyne, was last seen with two Ki 43s on his tail. The 64th Sentai reported that they had encountered Spitfires after their strafing attack, one being claimed shot down by Sgt Konishi, a Taiwanese pilot. Sgt Ikegawa was also pursuing this aircraft, but it crashed before he could open fire. (Konishi later became an airline pilot in Taiwan.) This was to be the last victory claimed in Burma by the 64th Sentai.

    I delved a bit further and looked up place names in the book's index. I think you will find that the place name has been slightly mispelt in the War Dairy. It might be KALEWA airstrip rather than KALAYWA, but Toungoo, where Shores reports the attack took place, is quite a long way south of Kalewa.

    If you look up Kalewa on Google Maps you will find its a own at the confluence of the Chindwin River and the Myittha River in Kale District, Sagaing Region of north-western Myanmar. If you look at satallite (photographic) view the left bank of the Chindwin River directly north of the Chindwin Bridge you can see (I think) the remains of the airfield slowly being reclaimed by the jungle or being put back into agricultural use. The main runway is roughly orientated North-South.

    Hopefully that might give you some direction into your research about where Gunner D.J. BAGNALL (933036) may have been wounded.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2020

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