Alan Schofield - GSC, E.Yorks and Northants - code deciphering!

Discussion in 'Service Records' started by Steve Schofield, Aug 1, 2020.

  1. If any of you can help with army code translations,, I would be very grateful.
    My grandad served in WW2 - it looks like Mediterranean and North Africa. I have his service records as he died some time ago, and I am trying to put together a history of him in the war for my dad, who is now in his 80s.
    I have regiments - GSC, then East Yorks, then Northants, I can see theatres he was posted in, but translation of his records is hard, not help by a weak hand on some entries where I believe he was hospitalised.

    A funny story to tell - when in Italy, he hid under a train in an air raid, only to find it was full of ammunition...... lucky escape!

    I have attached the two relevant documents if you can help!

    Thank you!

    Attached Files:

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  2. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce Patron

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  3. What I have so far:
    Joined at Richmond Dec 42
    Transferred to E.Yorks regiment
    Embarked July 43 as part of MEF, is the ship RNYKK?
    Transferred to BNAF, and posted to 5th Battalion
    Posted to Northants regiment
    Ill or injured, - in Field Ambulance, then transferred around various Military hospitals and transit camps
    Posted 5th Btn Northants in 18/5/44
    Injured in battle accident
    Embarked for ME (what does S.O.S mean?)
    4 days Leave in Egypt
    Still ill / injured in Nov 44 and transferred around more camps

    I still have lots of gaps - what injury? IS RNYKK a ship?

    Once I can see clearly what battalions he was in I can try and decipher exactly where he was and what he did. I thought this was going to be easy, as I do genealogy as a hobby, but this is a whole new level of hard!
  4. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Draft recognition codes.
    In themselves these codes are meaningless but they were a way of allocating men to specific yet undisclosed locations.

    SOS is Struck off Strength
    and TOS would be Taken on Strength
    Both terms used to show when someone moved from one unit to another, was under medical care, etc. In other words their 'services' were unavailable (SOS) / available (TOS) to the unit & that unit was responsible for them and all related admin.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2020
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  5. Brilliant! thank you. Half the battle (no pun intended) is knowing where to look, when you don't know what you are looking for.
  6. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    This is why the Service Records sub-forum was created - to help direct researchers to what we've all discovered along the way. Happy hunting!
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2020
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  7. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    Abbreviations, at one time were sent by the MOD with service records:

    Abbreviations in Service Records (UK/ Army/ WWII) : For ref.
    Updated Resource - Abbreviations & Acronyms
    Second World War Abbreviations and Acronyms - Researching WW2

    X lists:
    X lists (Service Records)

    Have you searched the casualty lists to see if there is a reference to his 'battle accident', presumably before 9/9/44, which was the earliest date on the service and casualty form you posted?
    British Army Casualty Lists 1939-1945 |

    The best way forward is to create a timeline of his service and then research war diaries for the particular regiments at the particular times, this will give you the most detailed information, also look out for regimental histories or other publications which will describe the various actions and theatres.

    What was his service number?
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2020
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  8. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    The 5th Bn East Yorkshire Regiment was brigaded with the 6th and 7th Bns Green Howards in the 69th Infantry Brigade, 50th (Northumbrian) Division. The East Yorks also shared a training facility with the Green Howards, at Richmond, North Yorkshire.

    The 50 Div were an assault Division in Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily, on 10 July 1943.

    Looks like your grandad went out as a replacement to Sicily, but I cannot tell if the took part in the fighting as you have not attached his service records covering December 1942 to August 1944. I don’t know precisely when he disembarked nor when he was posted to the 5th Bn East Yorks. Any chance you can post these?


  9. Steve, thank you! Here is the missing page - I thought I had attached it, but this covers 42 to 44. Theres quite a few hospital entries, and it ends with some leave in Egypt - nice! Sorry about it being sideways....

    Attached Files:

  10. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    In July 1944, 78th Division was taken out of the line and went to Egypt for R&R, returning at the beginning of September.
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  11. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Hello Steve,

    The fighting in Sicily finished on 17 August 1943 and your grandad was posted to the 5th Bn East Yorkshire Regiment the following day. He would have likely been based somewhere in the area around Messina and Scalata.

    It appears he then left the 5th East Yorks on the 21 September 1943.

    I cannot make out all of the relevant details on his service record as the copy is faint in important places, but he ends-up in the 5th Bn Northamptonshire Regiment, 11th Infantry Brigade, 78th Division.

    It may be that as a soldier newly arrived in theatre it was decided to keep him there ready for the fighting in Italy, rather than send him straight back home to the UK to prepare for D-Day, where the 5th Bn East Yorkshire Regiment was earmarked as a first wave assault battalion on Gold Beach. Hence his transfer to the 5th Northants.


  12. Hi Steve

    Thats brilliant - I see the logic in keeping newly arrived troops in Sicily, luckily for him he wasn't sent back to prepare for D-Day.
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge, I couldn't have found that out myself.

    I still have lots of research to do to get a complete story together for my Dad, but you have helped tremendously

    Thank you

  13. So - thanks to you very knowledgeable people, my grandads story is becoming clearer. Apart from the very faint entries on his record, I have a timeline that includes his hospitalisation late in the war from pleurisy - he was in and out of hospital several times before posting to AEC

    The 5th Northants were at the crossing of the river Sangro in 1943, and grandad was there,(before injury in a 'battle accident' on 31st Dec 1943) however I have hit a snag.
    Thanks to the Montecassino society, I found a recollection of the 5th Bn exploits around the crossing. It describes the involvement of the various companies within the 5th.

    Ivor Cutler, 5th Battalion, The Northamptonshire Regiment

    Is there a way of finding out which company he was attached to, or is it time for a war diary?

    Thanks for any help!
  14. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    Steve, War diaries in themselves do, but not often, give the names of 'other ranks' whereas officers can get mentioned by name, what can be useful however is the attachments that come with them, these may be operational or movement orders, situation reports and sometimes accounts of particular actions. They should also contain Regimental Orders that are more admin related and can, and often do, have ORs mentioned, particularly regarding internal transfers and the like. There can however be no guarantee, it's a question of luck.

    To give you have a flavour of war diaries have a look at my father's regiment, 56 Recce (also 78 Division) , look at this link and in particular image P2000029, which is a report from 11 Infantry Bde, of which 5 Northants were part, regarding the battle for Termoli on 2 October 1943.
    56th Recce War Diary October 1943 | WW2Talk

    The pages will also give an idea of what war diaries contain.
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