Dennis William 'Tommy' Trinder Royal Artillery: Any pointers for a novice?

Discussion in 'Service Records' started by Criddy1979, Aug 12, 2014.

  1. Criddy1979

    Criddy1979 Member

    Long story - not going to bother you with all of it - but I recently found my grandfather's grave (he disappeared completely in 1952 from Newcastle - I found him in Australia). I'm now trying to build a picture of him - what sort of man he was. I have ordered a copy of his army records, which has given me a date for his whereabouts in 1953, but I don't really know much about how to start finding out anything at all from it. My grandfather was Dennis William Trinder, and I've included a link to his transcribed war record here:

    I went to the National Archive and found lots of Leeds Rifles records - mostly seemed a bit dull - but I know nothing about Orkney, or Italy, or North Africa - can anybody help me with any further information about what he might have been doing? Or where to start finding out? What I don't understand is that according to the National Archive, he seems to have had a very quiet war - but he started it as a gunner and ended it as an acting captain in the military police. I have no idea about how he could go about doing this.

    On this site, I have found a link to a photo of the 133 OCTU, but he isn't in it. Could there be a reason for this?

    Anyway, thanks for your help in advance - as you can tell, I've never really researched anything military before and feel a bit lost as to how to go about it. I've attached a couple of pictures of my grandfather in uniform, looking rather dashing. Not sure if it will help, but he was very tall (6 feet 5 and a half) and apparently loved wine, women, song and 'entertainments!' Dennis William Trinder I.jpg Dennis William Trinder II.jpg
  2. Criddy1979

    Criddy1979 Member

    ps. all the precise unit details etc are in his record.
  3. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    Excellent analysis - only thing I can add is the MED ?/ ALLCE - which means on entering Italy (CMF) - he gained the Mediterranean allowance -

    which was pennies per day extra for being there - and losing same on leaving CMF...

  4. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Dennis William Trinder:

    Dennis William Trinder: Time line of life
    This is mainly based on his war records, but other major life events are added for context and comparison
    Date Location Unit Event Further Comments
    20/4/1939 Moorwood Hall YMCA, Leeds Permanent address given at time of enlistment into the army His occupation at this point was ‘commercial traveller.’ This is a travelling salesman. If he were just staying at the YMCA, you would expect him to give his permanent home address somewhere else. It is more likely that he had no fixed abode at this point.
    20/4/1939 Leeds 66th Leeds Rifles, Heavy Anti Aircraft Regiment, TA, 184 battery Attested into the army (swore his oath of allegiance). He was assigned to the 66th Leeds Rifles, Heavy Anti Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery, Territorial Army. He was measured as being 6’5”, 196 pounds, 41 inch chest, fresh complexion, grey eyes, and dark hair. His religion is C of E. He gives his next of kin as his father, who is living at 9 guest road, Prestwich in Manchester. He was still in contact with his father at this point, and his father lived til 1968, so it’s possible he saw his grandchildren. His rank was Gunner, which is equivalent to private.
    1/9/1939 WW2 starts WW2 is declared AFTER Dennis signs up for the army.
    24/8/1939 Home service 66th Leeds Rifles, Heavy Anti Aircraft Regiment, TA, 184 battery Posted to Shetland (probably after training) The most notable event in these three years for the Leeds rifles was defending Orkney and Shetland. Many entertainers visited at this time, and it is likely (given that Dennis wrote in his transfer sheets that he ‘put on shows of all types’) that he would have met the Wren’s Choir, Gracie Fields, and a whole host of other famous wartime entertainers. There is a website at where you can see some pictures of the entertainments back then. There was also a newspaper for the Leeds Rifles in Orkney specifically, which I am trying to get hold of archive copies of. His main role would have been guarding the large naval base at Scarpa Flow
    8/9/1939 – 12/2/1940 Leeds 66th Leeds Rifles, Heavy Anti Aircraft Regiment Wireless school Passed
    11/9/1939 Home service 66th Leeds Rifles, Heavy Anti Aircraft Regiment, TA Became a Fire Control Officer class III In the Royal Artillery this means the person who is in charge of marshalling the weapons to fire on a target and the technical supervision of gunfire. “Fire Control Officer” refers to his position as a petty officer, and third class refers to his evaluation rating and progress up the chain of command.
    14/2/1940 Home service 66th Leeds Rifles, Heavy Anti Aircraft Regiment, TA Became a Fire Control Officer Class II My view at present is that this would have been a small promotion, based on the test he did, and would have been an opportunity given because of his good performance and ability to lead. He is still a petty officer, but this is a better rating – another step up the ladder. It would have been part of a routine evaluation. I’m not sure about this one though, and need to ask somebody about it.
    22/4/1940 Put in medical category A 1 – not sure what this means.
    29/8/1940 Heywood Lancaster Married Mary Beryl Lewis Grace Lilian Ada Trinder and Thomas Geoffrey Trinder (Dennis’ mother and brother) were the witnesses. He gives his rank as ‘gunner’ and his army number on the marriage certificate.
    14/9/1940 Home service 66th Leeds Rifles, Heavy Anti Aircraft Regiment, TA Promoted to acting bombadier Bombadier is a now obsolete rank, and is about equivalent to a corporal. He would have commanded a small squad of soldiers at this point.
    14/12/1940 Home service 66th Leeds Rifles, Heavy Anti Aircraft Regiment, TA Confirmed in post as a bombardier and granted substantive rank and pay The date for this is also given as 14/10/1940 on the service summary.
    27/1/41 Admitted Kirkwall Military Hospital Herston Kirkwall Military hospital was in Orkney. No idea why he was admitted and no date when he was released. Hospital is in Orkney, where he was serving.
    31/1/1941 Kings Rules Deprived of appointment of OFG Class II for reasons other than lack of diligence and inefficiency
    9/6/1941 Tynemouth Geoffrey Lewis Trinder Born
    10/6/1941 SAAD Rotherham Note in fairly illegible handwriting. “Attached to SAAD, Manorbiew?? For all purposes”
    21/7/1941 Rotherham Approved by interview board as a suitable candidate for training at OCTU (officer cadet training unit)
    5/9/1941 – 19/3/1942 Schrivenham/ Aberporth Posted as a cadet to 133 OCTU 133rd OCT Group. Note reads “W.O.U.M. 695/ A.B.I.E. Lt 8/8/41 and RA records letter AA/60/34/695 dated 15/8/41.” WOUM refers to a note that allows an officer to wear slightly different uniform because of an injury. May be related to hospital admission? The RA records letter may still be available and I’m working on it.
    19/3/1942 Posted to 59th Heavy Anti Aircraft regiment Promotion to second Lieutenant – received commission Given an emergency commission and sent to the depot. As a lieutenant he would be in charge of around 30 men and lead them on operations. He filled in a form at Schrivenham with various information about himself, including “Hobbies: sport and photography. Up to joining present regiment have produced shows of all types for the army, and am keenly interested in entertainments.”
    29/6/42 Joined depot Woolwich
    4/7/1942 Posted to 158 Depot Woolwich
    23/7/1942 Medically examined Given “A” rating.
    1/10/1942 Given substantive rank of lieutenant Similar to second lieutenant, but with increased responsibilities
    23/12/1942 Embarked Glasgow Serial 34238, 120/Gen/1236 4 out of 43. On a different sheet, it says “embarked for service overseas on 22/12/1942.” Wonder whether as he was embarking from Glasgow, would still have been in Orkney? Speculative at best!
    3/1/1943 Dis-embarked North Africa
    5/1/1943 Start of African service North Africa This date is given as the start of his service in Africa
    9/10/1943 Posted Unknown Destination SOS British North African Forces. The first army landed in 1942 in North Africa, and I think this may have been an emergency replacement of troops.
    27/7/1944 Admitted to hospital 92 General hospital X(ii) list – he had to be evacuated away from the front and away from his unit.
    9/8/1944 Released from hospital Record states that he re-joined his unit on this date.
    13/11/1944 No 3. Recreational course P & RT Scg CMTC
    July 1945 Awarded African Star Campaign medal for North African campaign. First Army Clasp.
    11/8/1945 Admitted to 167 ??? and transferred to 55 FDS Added to x(ii) list on admission – I think this is a readmission to hospital but not sure
    15/8/1945 To 59th Heavy Anti Aircraft regiment Returned to unit after injury
    30/8/1945 End of African service and start of service in Italy This date is given as the end of his service in Africa and the start of his service in Italy. From here on in, the authorisation is from CMF or Central Mediterranean force.
    7/9/1945 Date given as end of service in Italy – he’s only there for a month.
    11/9/1945 Embarked for 28 days leave UK Calais There is a note here that I can’t read – looks as though may have been on medical grounds.
    14/9/1945 Disembarked UK
    16/10/1945 Fills in a form Basic service details
    21/10/1945 Posted to HQ Aux Police Regiment 78th Medium Regiment Additional note says 78 Med Regt. This is the 78th Medium Regiment
    22/10/1945 Posted to 65 Transit camp
    31/10/1945 Detrained Milan “Detrained Milan ex UK leave and entered Med ?Allce?”
    21/11/45 Made acting captain Central Mediterranean force
    25/11/45 “Shown on strength, 78 HQ Aux Police Regt” CMF
    6/1/1946 Rel/a/Capt Not sure what this means
    9/1/1946 Medically examined Given “A” rating.
    27/1/1946 “A” release Posted to x (8) A (R) “A” release, entrained for UK, SOS HER, TBE Med ?Allce?
    29/1/1946 Discharged 21 Westminster Road, Coventry, Warwickshire Given leave address. Also gave leave address of 38 Barnet Avenue, Eccleshall, Sheffield. This is where he used to visit Pauline and his father. His Original leave date (preceeding these two) was 257 Broadway, Cullercoats, Whitley Bay, which I think is Mary’s addresss.
    4/5/1946 Leave period ends, released As above This address was given as correct in 1950 (date stamped).
    23/4/1951 21 Westminster Road, Coventry, Warwickshire R/S
    15/5/1952 21 Westminster Road, Coventry, Warwickshire MNI and the date noted in file with a tick next to it – presumably at this address on this date.
    22/10/1953 Note on the file “whereabouts of officer not known to mother. See P/X/14 A d”
    1/7/59 “relinquished commission. Auth: L G (S) of 3/7/59”

    Other interesting features:
    “Certified that this officer has experience D.L. in a gas chamber. Cmdg H Bty Watson Unit, 113rd Oct Group, RA, AA”

    “Hobbies: sport and Photography up to joining present Regiment have produced shows of all types for the Army and am keenly interested in entertainments.”

    School attended was Manchester Grammar School

    Business qualifications given as “representative, paper trade”.

    States that he speaks and writes French

    Note: This is a file copied from an Ancestry family tree - link for reference -

    edited to add:

    Dennis William Trinder
    Birth 1917 in Willesden, Middlesex, England
    Death October 1979 in Mount Tamborine, Australia

    It also appears that Ciddy1979 is the originator of the family tree I found therefore the records above are as her link in post 1 - sorry to have duplicated your information :( - TD - this does happen from time to time
  5. BrianM59

    BrianM59 Senior Member

    Re SAAD postings, these are School of Anti-Aircraft Defence and the second is Manorbier in South Wales.
  6. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    Can't add to this but a brilliant summary TD.
    Rep given.
  7. Criddy1979

    Criddy1979 Member

    Guys, thank you for all your comments on this. I just wanted to say thank you for all your help and kind words.
  8. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

  9. sligoglaswegian

    sligoglaswegian Active Member

    Hi, from a fellow novice,you have joined the correct site if it's help and info your looking for. i joined this forum a few weeks ago looking for a wee bit of help (like yourself i have very little experience in millitary research) and i have found nothing but knowledgeable, kind people who give their own time to assist people who are not as clued up in all things millitary.

    good luck in your search, regards,john.
    bamboo43 likes this.
  10. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    From my posting:

    Note: This is a file copied from an Ancestry family tree - link for reference - http://trees.ancestr...599821029/story"

    Sorry I cannot take the credit for writing it, just for finding it

  11. SteveDee

    SteveDee Well-Known Member

    A Memorial Service for Lieutenant Dennis "Tommy" Trinder 59th HAA

    40 years after his death, forum member criddy1979 tracks him down and lays a wreath on Tommy's grave.

    Its an incredible story: Tamborine Times report
    ecalpald, Enigma1003, dbf and 2 others like this.

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