Any info on Lt Wilfred Charles Prince DCM of 11 Hussars and REME

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by Bing, Mar 11, 2011.

  1. Bing

    Bing Member

    I am trying to put together a life story of my dad, Wilfred Charles Prince service no. 318897. As usual doing it too late - he died several years ago.

    I only recently discovered this site and have already had some amazing help from Owen and Diane is tracking down the DCM citation for my father. Now seeing if there is anyone else out there who can add more info or has a relative who served with him. I have requested his service records but current waiting time is 9 to 12 months !!

    He came from Bangor, N Wales and was known as Bing (apparently similar in looks and voice to Bing Crosby)

    He joined up in 1936 or 37 and after training in 12th Royal Lancers at Tidworth joined the 11th Hussars. He was based out in the Middle East from 37 to the end of the war. He was promoted through the ranks and was commisoned as a Lieutenant in 1943. At or around this time he transferred to the REME for the remainder of the war (still in ME). He married my mother in Cairo in 1944.

    The DCM action was in June 21st to 24th 1940 and involved a troop from 11th Hussars led by TSM Howarth doing a recce at Bir El Gubi. Other named members of this troop were Cpl Emery, LCpl Blackmore, Tpr Spencer and Tpr Driver who returned to based because of Dad's action. TSM Howarth and 3 others (no names available) were taken PoWs. Tpr Jones was reported missing.
    Friends of Dad which are shown in his photo album are Dick Taber and Dick Rome but I have no info on them.

    I have read the War Diaries for 11th Hussars and can see the action that led to dad's DCM. Thanks to Owen I now have the citation.

    I have almost nothing on his time in the REME.

    So I am interested to hear anything which relates to Dad and his friends in 11th Hussars and REME.
    I am still amazed by the depth of knowledge on this site so fingers crossed
  2. RosyRedd

    RosyRedd Senior Member

    Hi Bing. Welcome to the forum. With regards to your REME query, have you any references to workshops or depots?

  3. Bing

    Bing Member

    Jules, Thanks for the reply and welcome.
    Unfortunately I dont have any info on his REME postings. So now waiting impatiently for the next 9 to 12 months for his war record!!
    All I do know from photos in his album was that he was based in or around Cairo and was in the REME Inspectorate (I dont know what the "inspectorate" is?) until he returned to UK in 1945.
    I also know he was in Platoon No 12 M.E. OCTU in 1943. Does this training happen after he was commissioned as a Lieut but before being posted.? And is this a specific training platoon for entry into the REME ? I dont know if M.E. refers to Middle East or to Mechanical Engineers. He certainly trained on the mechanical side as pre-war until he was 18 in 1936 and joined up we know he was a motor mechanic (apprentice probably). That is about all I know. If you can interpret or speculate on any of this sparse detail or suggest other places to search, it would be much appreciated.

  4. Bing

    Bing Member

    Forgot one posting I do know. When he was called to Buckingham Palace in Sept 1945 for the presentation of his DCM by the King, the official calling order/letter was sent to him at No 14 T.T.C. REME , Poperinghe Camp, Aborfield, Berks.

    I assume this was some final training d[FONT=&quot]uring the last months of his army life in preparation for civvy street as he passed some engineering exams to be awarded a Diploma of Associated Membership of the British Institute of Engineering Technology [/FONT][FONT=&quot] on 2 Feb 1945[/FONT][FONT=&quot].

  5. Bluebell21

    Bluebell21 Old Hand

    As I remember : OCTU = Officer Cadet Training Unit

    TTC. = Tech(Trade) Training Centre
  6. RosyRedd

    RosyRedd Senior Member

    All I do know from photos in his album was that he was based in or around Cairo and was in the REME Inspectorate (I dont know what the "inspectorate" is?) until he returned to UK in 1945.

    The REME Inspectorate would have been a section at the workshop that your dad was in and hopefully the service records will tell you what his role was.

    OCTU as Bluebell21 says is Officer Cadet Training Unit.

    The REME Training Establishment was formed at Arborfield because it "housed the only technical training centre situated in a permanent military barracks, with officer's and sergeants' messes, in buildings that were suited to the purpose. " (from Craftsmen of the Army).

    You could perhaps try the archivists at the REME Museum: REME Museum of Technology

    Let us know how you get on :)

  7. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

  8. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  9. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Well thats what happens when you have two threads running :p

    :lol: I was quickly skimming through 9 pages of new posts ;)
  10. Bing

    Bing Member

    Drew, thanks. It's good to know that everyone here is trying to help.
  11. Bing

    Bing Member

    A little bit of background first.
    I have requested my father's service record (about 9 months ago) and got the usual reply of a 9 to 12 months waiting list so still waiting (The MoD office said they are currently dealing with enquiries lodged in Jan 2011 so looks like a couple more months for me to wait).
    My father is Wilfred Charles Prince 318897 who initially joined the 12th Royal Lancers around 1935. He subsequently transferred to the 11th Hussars and was awarded the DCM as a sergeant for an action in the Middle East in 1940. He was later promoted/commisioned in 1943 (I think) and transferred to the REME as a Lieutenant.
    I have since been able to confirm my father's service number (318897) as a sergeant when he was awarded his DCM but I have found that when he became an officer he was given a new service number 303959
    I thought that once you got a service number you kept this for all your service life but it appears that being promoted to an officer gets you a new number.
    So my question is - was this the usual practice for the army in ww2 ?

    PS I am still very appreciative of the experts on this site who were able to provide the DCM citation for me and other information.
  12. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    your Dad's no. seems to be different here, but may be a typo
    The National Archives | DocumentsOnline | Image Details
    Name Prince, W C
    Rank: Serjeant
    Service No: 310897
    Regiment: 11 Prince Albert's Own Hussars
    Theatre of Combat or Operation: Middle East (Egypt and Libya)
    Award: Distinguished Conduct Medal
    Date of Announcement in London Gazette: 29 November 1940
    Date 1940-1941
    Catalogue reference WO 373/17

    Edit, DCM recommendation now attached; not the best quality I'm afraid, but it does indeed look like a typo

    Those who served previously in ranks were given a new number upon commission. I believe we have one veteran here at least - Nevil - who might be able to give you direct insight, but the no.s were not part of the Block system.

    Attached Files:

  13. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Here he is listed on London Gazette.
    Viewing Page 400 of Issue 36339

    Officers got a new number, you can see them in order, he's in the REME section starting 303955 to 303961.
    First number on that page is 303847 & they all run in order after that.

    Attached Files:

  14. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Edit, DCM recommendation now attached; not the best quality I'm afraid, but it does indeed look like a typo

    I posted that back on 09-03-11

    Bing, I've merged your threads as this is getting confusing having 2 threads on same subject.
  15. Bing

    Bing Member

    Thanks for quick reply. This site is amazing!
    Yes the service no. was a typo. It was correct in the London Gazette and also engraved on the edge of his DCM. Thanks for the attachment - Owen had previously provided a copy but I much prefer 2 sources to none!!!.
    And thanks for confirmation of the change of service number. You previously provided me with info on the REME - thanks. Once I get my father's service records I am sure that will beg many more questions so expect more posts from me !!
    Thanks again for your help and enthusiasm.
  16. Bing

    Bing Member

    Thanks Owen for this info (and previous supply of DCM citation).
    Apologies for having two threads and thanks for sorting. Wasnt sure of best approach so thought a new thread would be clearer. I suppose you are used to amateurs here!
    Is your London Gazette attachment the official notice of my Dad's commision?
    Thanks again for all your help. And as I posted to dbf (Diane) once I get my Dad's service records I am sure there will be more questions !!
  17. Bing

    Bing Member

    Another question.
    Family information (verbal only) from several sources suggests that when WW2 ended and Dad was considering his future, he had been promoted to acting Captain. Apart from his service record (which I still await - see posts above) is there anywhere this would be recorded? Have tried a search of London Gazette with no luck.
  18. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Officer returns in Unit war diaries might record this, depends entirely on the quality of record keeping though.
  19. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Acting Rank was awarded locally so it wouldn't be recorded in the LG. If there are filed returns in his units diary it should be mentioned there and it may have a mention in the actual diary section of the file.

    WO 169/220 11 Hussars (Prince Albert's Own) 1939 Sept.- 1940 Dec.

    WO 169/1390 11 Hussars (Prince Albert's Own) 1941 Jan.- Dec.

    WO 169/4490 11 Hussars (Prince Albert's Own) 1942 Jan.- 1943 Jan.

    WO 169/9320 11 Hussars (Prince Albert's Own) 1943 Jan.-Nov.

    WO 169/9321 'A' Squadron 11 Hussars (Prince Albert's Own) 1943 Jan.-May, Sept., Oct.

    WO 169/9322 'B' Squadron 11 Hussars (Prince Albert's Own) 1942 Dec.-1943 Oct.

    WO 169/9323 'C' Squadron 11 Hussars (Prince Albert's Own) 1943 Feb.-Nov.

    WO 171/844 11 Hussars (Prince Albert's Own) 1944 June- Dec.

    WO 171/4690 11 Hussars (Prince Albert's Own) 1945 Jan.- Dec.

    I'm not sure what REME unit he was with.

  20. Bing

    Bing Member

    The only record we have so far is the address to which is DCM investiute was sent - as follows:
    No 14 T.T.C. REME , Poperinghe Camp, Aborfield, Berks.
    Does this help?

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