Captain 'Rollo' (Peter Rowland) Spencer, Royal Artillery, died 7th August 1944

Discussion in 'Royal Artillery' started by NickFenton, Apr 22, 2015.

  1. NickFenton

    NickFenton Well-Known Member


    I am researching the brother of one of my 2 SFTS guys, who also died in WW2.

    Captain Peter Roland Spencer 174755 Royal Artillery. 91 (5th Bn The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders) Anti-Tank Regt.
    Son of Rowland Haslegrave Spencer and Mary Harriet Spencer of Chipstead, Surrey. His brother, Richard Mowbray Spencer, also died on service.
    A local newspaper printed the following on 18th August : Spencer – Killed in action in Normandy, August 1944. Peter Rowland Spencer (Rollo) Captain R.A. (Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders), aged 26, husband of Diana (nee Lindsay) Father of Richard Eugene Peter, and elder and only surviving son of Mary Harriet Spencer of Scotch Dyke, Ferring, Sussex, and Group Captain R.H.Spencer RAF.
    Died 7th Aug. 1944 Normandy. Buried ST. CHARLES DE PERCY WAR CEMETERY Grave IV. C. 13 St. Charles de Percy is a village 44 kilometres south-west of Caen.
    The cemetery is the southernmost of the Normandy cemeteries. The majority of those buried here died in late July and early August 1944 in the major thrust made from Caumont l'Evente towards Vire, to drive a wedge between the German 7th Army and Panzer Group West.

    Can anyone add anything to this?



    [edit dbf: name in title amended]
  2. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place.... Patron

    91 (A&SH) Atk Regt were the Corps Anti Tank Regiment for VIII Corps. The Regimental War diary has the notes that 7-9th were the battle for Estray and 144 and 146 btys were involved.

    These are the notes from the draft of the Regimental history on the fighting for Estry

    Five soldiers from the Regiment are buried in the same cemetery. All except gunner Gall died on 7th Aug. He died on 6th Aug.
















    The Corps M10 troops were in demand to support infantry attacks. The Germans had seriously heavy tanks including a Jagd Panther battalion and towed 17 Pdrs of the divisional anti tank Regiment were vulnerable for the first 12 hours they were on any position. Anti tank officers did not usually command their soldiers from an AFV. There seems to have been a lot of running around on foot.

    I don't have any information about the circumstances of Captain Spencer's death. I don't have the batteries war diaries, but will be visiting the Firepower archive next Wed.
    NickFenton likes this.
  3. NickFenton

    NickFenton Well-Known Member

    That's great Stuff and certainly tells me a great deal. If you are able to add anymore in the future, please let me know. I am frequently at Kew, is there something l should be looking at there too?
  4. reps2

    reps2 Member

    I'm puzzled at the interest in my father, whose name was spelled with a W!

    His death is covered on p189 of Maj Desmond Flower's book. If someone can indicate how or whether I can attach a scan here, I'll do so now. In the interim, never having had the pleasure of (consciously) meeting him, I'd love to hear anything anybody knows about him. And what are SFTS guys?
  5. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Hello Reps2 and welcome to the forum
    I'm sure Nick will be along to explain all as soon as he logs on or gets a notification.

    (Generally speaking, many of us here on the forum are involved in personal projects to commemorate those who served, often linked to Units of interest to us, and memorials local to us ... & so forth.)

    At it simplest you can attach images and documents using the "more reply options" in any "reply to topic" window. Click "Choose File" to select an image from your archive and then upload it by clicking "Attach this File". Once finished you can post by selecting the "Add reply" button.
    see this linked thread for more info
  6. reps2

    reps2 Member

    Thank you for a swift response - let's see if I can do the job:

    Attached Files:

    Owen and dbf like this.
  7. reps2

    reps2 Member

    And for completeness, my father, and, in WW1, his father!

    Attached Files:

    Buteman and Owen like this.
  8. NickFenton

    NickFenton Well-Known Member

    Hi Guys,

    My interest follows an enquiry on his brother who died, l believe, whilst serving with 2SFTS. Basis of interest here as attached and l have Emailed Peter.

    'Peter said: 'I am writing an article for our local history group in Ferring, West Sussex about the men whose names appear on our village war memorial.
    Your excellent site makes mention of Richard Mowbray Spencer who died
    04/12/1940 in an accident at 2SFTS. He and his brother Peter, who was killed in Normandy on 07/08/44, both lived in this village with their mother.
    I wonder if you have, or could direct me to where I may get more information on Richard?'

    My own interest is what you can add on 2SFTS but Peter is interested in the bigger picture.


  9. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Thanks very much for posting those photos. Glad you worked out how to attach.
  10. reps2

    reps2 Member

    Thank you. It rather looks as if the trade here is one way, and I'm unlikely to learn anything about my father, who was NEVER, so far as I know, known as Peter, but always as Rollo.

    My Uncle, according to my Grand-Mother, was shot down on an early solo training flight, when it was known that there were enemy fighters about, but no one had troubled to order trainees swiftly down. Having lost, by the end of the war all her three children (the first died as a child in Indo China), she was not unreasonably somewhat bitter.

    RHM Spencer was, according to the Grand-Mother, by a long chalk the better of the two, intellectually, although I don't think, unlike my father, he was First XV material. At school he was a historian, and, presumably followed his brother to Cambridge, while my father was a modern-linguist, and a passionate Germanist. My mother, a young widow, who remarried when I was eight, didn't want to talk much about my father.

    I'll be down in 01483 territory for September, and, assuming you are in the telephone directory I'll ring and see if there is anything useful that we can discuss.
  11. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Reps2, Have you applied to the MOD for a copy of your father's service records?

    Some info which can be gleaned from London Gazette:
    Looking at the newly released documents on CWGC,
    St. C de P. doc2261137.JPG

    the location of your father's field grave was as follows: Le Bas Perrier, France, 1/50000, Sheet 6F/6, Map Ref 720344
    Drew5233 likes this.
  12. reps2

    reps2 Member

    VMT for that!

    Service Record, forty years or so ago, was typed on a single page of A5! Not too informative.

    I've been to CWGC St Charles de Percy several times, but am very much obliged for the field burial link. Next step thence will be the Map Sheet, which from experience of British Library reference Tunisian mapping will be difficult, unhelpful and expensive, although, perhaps CWGC will have some marked sheets in their archive. I'll try them.

    Then, of course, the fun of seeing if I can persuade a modern GPS to use a maverick war-time Grid system, or whether I'll have to really read the map! My last map reading class at RMAS is now more than fifty years back. Something to keep me awake in my dotage.
  13. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    The MOD now issue photocopies of the original documents, and if you contact them and ask for full disclosure of all that is held - having previously received a summary only - you might well get them to waive the fee this time around. Nothing ventured ...

    We have a whole sub-forum dedicated to attempts at interpreting them :) -

    St. C de P cemetery is also where many of my father's (Irish Guards) comrades are buried, including one from his training squad.

    As for map reference, I have already asked other forum members for help, on this linked thread. I'm afraid I'm hopeless at sourcing maps, etc.
  14. reps2

    reps2 Member

    St C de P also has a good few Scots Guardsmen (my regiment) and, IIRR, in the corner to the left of the cross, a Coldstreamer who made Brigadier only to be killed the same day!

    The Canadian McMaster Uni appear to have a good set of GSGS 100k sheets, from a link in the forum to which you kindly referred me!

    Walking the Course west of Medjez el Bab, for an A&SH VC, as well as Lord Lyell's VC, I found to my joy that a nit picking Grenadier CO had had his staff assemble several sheets of the Brit enlargement of French 1:50k mapping together and mark them up to go with April '43 War Diary, which the nice people at Kew scanned beautifully for me!
  15. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Le Bas Perrier, France, 1/50000, Sheet 6F/6, Map Ref 720344
    using this
    I get this.
    French Lambert Zone 1

    Latitude : 48° 52' 04'' N
    Longitude : 0° 46' 17'' W
  16. reps2

    reps2 Member

    I am very greatly obliged for this! Like most soldiers I'm much happier with Grid References than with the naval Lat & Long, although with Camera GPS systems resolutely sticking to MNEA 0183 I'm beginning to use them! I'll save the transformation you've kindly done for my next trip to Normandy. From McMaster Uni's .tiff scan it rather looks as if the field burial was at the cross-roads, which makes sense for Graves Registration Units to find.
  17. NickFenton

    NickFenton Well-Known Member


    Thanks for the additional information on your Uncle, l am due to go to Kew next week so will look it up and see what else l can find. Did Richard have a third initial as this is not shown on the records? I can then add more info on Richard on my Web site.

    I am not in the phone book, l am afraid, but drop me an Email and if there is anything specific that you want to look up at Kew, l will see what l can do.

    Good to hear from you and catch up soon.


  18. peterhandy

    peterhandy New Member

    Sent a post and attachment earlier, which has not appeared.
    Originally I contacted Nick who posted my query. Excellent response.
    All my info (spelling etc.) came from CWGC site.
    If you Google 'Spencer of Ferring' there is an ebook extract by Charles Austin Sherman III about his life in Ferring, and his friends on p.78.
    If you have photos of father and uncle I could use, that would be excellent.
  19. reps2

    reps2 Member

    I've uploaded here photos of my father and grand-father, but I'm fairly sure that I have no photos of my uncle, who was killed before my mother married my father. I've even added one of my parents' 1942 hitching, but I think that's about all I can offer.

    A lot of water has flowed down under the bridge since these two brothers' lives were ended!


    Attached Files:

    Owen likes this.
  20. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Courtesy of M Kenny

    Field grave location : Sheet 6F/6, Map Ref 720344

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