85th Anti Tank Regiment RA

Discussion in 'Royal Artillery' started by Ravrick, Apr 25, 2012.

  1. Michelle0408

    Michelle0408 Member

  2. bzaoral

    bzaoral Member

    Camps listed on Liberation Questionnaire:
    Ban-Pong (Ban Pong)
    Chunkia (Chungkai)
    Nam-Chow (?)
    Nacompatom (Nakon Pathon)
    Langswan (?)

    Anyone know Nam-Chow and Langswan camps?
  3. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    Langswan or Lang Saun is on the isthmus in Chumphon province, about 50 km south of Bangkok. I believe Nam-Chow is a long way north near Takanun ( 229 kilo or 211 in the old survey ) but usually called something else and may have been a civilian working camp.

    Tusita Wellness Resort Chumphon| Langsuan Railway Bridge
    timuk and bzaoral like this.
  4. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    I think papiermache is right but for confirmation I would email the experts at Thailand Burma Railway Centre. They are very helpful and if you also give them your gt grandfather's name they will let you have what information they hold on him.

  5. Liam Carpenter

    Liam Carpenter New Member

    Afternoon all,
    Firstly, just a huge thank you for your hard work and dedication in helping people find out more about this History.

    My Grandfather:
    Lt Charles Gerald Carpenter of the 85th 153515

    Looking for if possible his Japanese index card and liberation questionnaire.

    Any help will be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you,

    Liam Carpenter
  6. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Japanese Index Card

    Unfortunately his Liberation Questionnaire, if he completed one, does not appear to have yet been copied on the COFEPOW site.
    Entry from the RA Roll compiled by the BRE in Changi:
    This would indicate that he left Changi for the Thai/Burma Railway on 13 May 43 which would put him in 'H' Party. He then returned to Changi.
    I would contact the very helpful Thai Burma Railway Centre to see what info they hold on your grandfather.

    papiermache likes this.
  7. bzaoral

    bzaoral Member

    Your Grandfather was in 251 Battery (Oxfordshire Yeomanry), 85th Anti-Tank Regiment RA.

    Here is his Japanese Index Card (front and back) Carpenter, Charles Gerald.jpg Carpenter, Charles Gerald_2.jpg
    papiermache likes this.
  8. Liam Carpenter

    Liam Carpenter New Member

    Thank you so much for this information.

    I greatly appreciated it. It will help me put thing's together.

  9. bzaoral

    bzaoral Member

    Here is some suggested reading on 251 Bty (OY), 85th Anti-Tank Regiment RA:

    Ben Pritchett’s Story – starting page 9 in Cake and Cockhorse https://www.banburymuseum.org/Cake and Cockhorse/VOL_13/V13NO01.pdf
    Ben Pritchett was BSM (Battery Sergeant Major) 251.

    Lost Souls of the River Kwai by Bill Reed (251 Bty) with Mitch Peeke
    Carpenter, Lieutenant – page 16, 19, 20, 23-4, 27, 32, 33, 126

    Life on the Death Railway by Stuart Young (270 Bty – another Battery of the 85th) edited by Tony Pollard

    Oxfordshire Yeomanry Gunners 1922-1967 by David Blomfield. There is a whole chapter on 251 Battery - Chapter Four: The Heroes of 251.
    There is a mention of your Grandfather in Chapter 4, on page 85:

    “Reed wrote at greater length and in greater detail. His troop - the troops of 251 seem to have been deployed independently - under Lt Carpenter, found themselves fighting a desperate rearguard action in a rubber plantation north of the Sultan of Johore 's palace. Here they had the rare experience of surprising the Japanese, some forty of whom rode straight into an ambush laid by men of Bill's troop. 'In a matter of seconds, the Japanese were all accounted for' - presumably with rifle or Bren gun fire. This unexpected success however was followed by a week of holding, skirmishing, and falling back.

    It was during this period that two of the troop's 2-pounders got left behind. The crews included two of Reed ' s closest mates. Reed persuaded Lt Carpenter to let him race back and lead them to safety. Being Carpenter 's driver, he remembered the location Carpenter had chosen for the guns the day before. Taking a 500cc BSA, Reed rode off into the jungle, found the gun crews and led them back safely through a hail of bullets. For this he received a field promotion to the rank of bombardier, of which he was justifiably proud.”
  10. Liam Carpenter

    Liam Carpenter New Member

    That is so awesome. Thank you for your research. And going out of your way to provide me with this information.

    I will definitely be ordering those books.

    I am extremely greatful for everything.

    Thanks again,

  11. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    Liam, Welcome to the forum. Your grandfather had quite an adventure in the Far East.

    The "H Force Report" concerning the Thailand Railway can be downloaded free from Australian archives. It was written in Changi in May 1944 by the British Lt. Col H.R. Humphries.

    Follow this internet trail: Australian Archives - Explore the Collection - Record Search - Advanced Search - Items - Item ID -

    Type in: " 393196 " - Search - View Digital Copy - Click on symbol "Export pdf." and wait

    A 65.4MB download: report starts at page 258 of the pdf. Details of item below.


    NAA: MP742/1, 255/15/1617 ATTACHMENT 1 Series number: MP742/1
    Control symbol: 255/15/1617 ATTACHMENT 1 Barcode: 393196
    Number of pages: 290
    Title: Kanu Camp, Burma-Siam Railway [contains 'H' Force report dated 25/5/1944 and 5 photos of Sgt.Murakami Shinichi; 3 cm.]
  12. bzaoral

    bzaoral Member

    Almost 80 years ago a photo of the 251st Battery (Oxfordshire Yeomanry), 85th Anti-Tank Regiment RA, was taken in Clacton (8 Nov 1941). Incredible then that most of the 140 men of the 251st have recently been identified, including their position in the photo. The details of this fantastic news were posted on RFHG today at this link.

    My Grandfather’s List

    1941-11-08 251st Battery - 85th Anti-Tank Regiment Royal Artillery 01.97MB.jpg
  13. Liam Carpenter

    Liam Carpenter New Member

    Its absolutely incredible.
  14. Simon J Carpenter

    Simon J Carpenter New Member

    Really interesting to read this. Lt Charles Carpenter was my father. He never talked about his war time experiences but they obviously affected him deeply both from a physical and mental perspective (he was very reclusive)
  15. bzaoral

    bzaoral Member

    WO 373/47 Distinguished Conduct Medal recommendation - Harry Salter. The form is marked "Copyright - Not to be reproduced photographically without permission", so the transcription below will have to do. The DCM was awarded to Harry Salter, Sergeant, 251st Battery, 85th AT Regiment, Service No 883359. Harry was 20-years and 2-weeks old on 15 Feb 1942. The DCM was announced in the London Gazette 13 December 1945.

    At dawn on Sunday 15th Feb 1942, “D” Troop 251 A/Tk Battery was taking up position in support of 4 Suffolks who, considerably disorganized, had withdrawn to Mount Pleasant Rd during the night. Sgt. Salter was given his gun position by Lt. Carpenter and was leading his gun into it when he was suddenly attacked by a party of the enemy who came up a slope on his left. Considering on his own initiative that his Anti-tank role was now of less importance he proceeded to wheel his gun into a better position to engage these enemy infantry on his left. This he did under heavy enemy machine gun fire and sniping from trees close by, ordering the remainder of his detachment to take up fire positions and engage the enemy with small arms fire. As the fight continued it became apparent that a certain house held enemy machine guns and snipers. On his own initiative and at great personal danger he returned to the gun and without assistance loaded and fired 6 rounds into the house which caused the enemy to cease firing temporarily. The gun was now engaged by enemy mortars and after one of the detachment had been wounded Sgt Salter withdrew it temporarily.

    Later at 12.00 hrs 4 Suffolks reported to 54 Inf Bde that a party of Japanese were holding another house on Mount Pleasant Rd in strength with machine guns. These were causing considerable casualties amongst the infantry in the neighbourhood who were unable to drive them out. The position was extremely serious as the infantry were desperately fatigued and disorganised and any further penetration into the Mount Pleasant Rd position then would have been fatal. Orders were given to Sgt Salter to engage the house. Showing the utmost coolness and complete disregard of his own safety Sgt Salter wheeled his gun forward to within 40 yds of the house under point blank machine gun fire from it. In spite of the heavy machine gun fire, Sgt Salter doggedly continued to fire at the house until the machine guns were silenced and the house burst into flames. This caused the enemy to run out the back of the house where they were shot by a party of 4 Suffolks. The situation was thereby completely cleared and the road reopened for movement of troops. Throughout this action Sgt Salter kept his head and displayed superlative bravery which had a great effect on the tired and disheartened troops by whom he was surrounded.

    On the previous day on the Bukit Timah Rd Sgt Salter destroyed an enemy light tank with his gun, in face of enemy fire.
  16. Maureen Willard

    Maureen Willard New Member

    Some Fantastic research here. I originally started doing some digging on the 85th Anti-Tank Reg about 10 years ago and came up with nothing. I have started to pick up research again and am delighted to find this thread.

    My Grandfather was a Bdr in the 281st Battery 85th Anti Tank Regiment, his name was Frederick Charles Sibley - 1075174. I have his Japanese Index card and his Liberation Questionnaire and have managed to track most of his movements and hospital transfers throughout his captivity. The one piece of the puzzle I do not have is evidence of when he actually left Singapore and his first Destination in Thailand. although I expect it to be Tha Makhan. I have been in communication with the TBRC in Thailand and they have confirmed his RA Roll call gives an OVL date of 28/10/42, however when then look at the list of names for this work party he does not appear. TBRC believe it is more likely he went OVL on 11/10/42 when most of the 85th Anti Tank Regiment went as part of the 10 (C) work party, however they do not have a list of names that went overland on that day. Does anybody have any more info on the various OVL dates for the 281st Battery and 85th Anti Tank Regiment
  17. Maureen Willard

    Maureen Willard New Member

    His Liberation Questionnaire Lists River Valley Road (Apr 42 to Sep 42) under Lt Col Heath which I presume is where he was staged before going OVL
  18. andrewe

    andrewe Member

    Your grandfather's name is on a Ledger of ‘C’ Battalion / Working Party personnel (also known as 10 Battalion) compiled by 85th POW Stuart Young in his role as the Regimental Clerk for the 85th Anti-Tank Regiment. This shows the 610 men on the train on which Young himself went OVL, on 10/11/42, including 167 men and 20 officers from the 85th. Sibley's entry would appear to confirm he went on the 11th rather than the 28th.

    Bruno (user bzaoral) have been researching the 85th along with two other guys for quite a while now and have some fairly extensive research. We are building a database of relatives of 85th men and would be happy to have you onboard. Send me a private message and we can swap contact details and chat.
  19. Maureen Willard

    Maureen Willard New Member

    Thankyou Andrew, that is a real Nugget of information and another piece of the Jigsaw. I have P.M'd you so we can chat further. Is the Stuart Young you mention the one that wrote 'Life on the Death Railway' The memoirs of a British POW ?. Spookily I had a copy delivered today and as soon as I realised the names were the same I had a real jaw drop moment. This could well be one of the best accounts of early years I will ever get if they travelled on the same overland party.
  20. andrewe

    andrewe Member

    Gary - I have replied to your PM. But yes, Young is the same Stuart Young who is the author of the brilliant Life on the Death Railway. An excellent read!

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