Earley (1936-45) - East Surrey Regiment 1/6

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by Earley2018, Aug 3, 2018.

  1. Earley2018

    Earley2018 New Member

    Is there anyone who has advice on how to research the East Surrey Regiment 1/6th? I know the war diaries are in Kew, the leatherhead archives are meant to be good. However, I just wondered what's the best way to research the battalion online.

    My grandfather Joseph Charles Earley (real name Alfred Charles Earley) joined the army prior to the war, I believe this was c.1936. I knew he was with the East Surrey Regiment as part of the BEF and he retreated via Dunkirk. He was then part of torch and Monte Cassino. He got injured c. 1945 and had a shaprnel wound, this contributed to blindness in later life as he had sharpnel behind the eye.

    I remember the odd story he told us. He told me that the closest he came to death was when someone let off a machine gun in the barricks whilst everyone was asleep. If the bunks were in a different direction he said he would of been killed. I have read a book about the East Surrey Regiment and they seem to be in the thick of it.

    Ideally I would like to find the company he was in, this would the help me when I go to Kew.

    Thanks in advance for any help.
  2. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    Welcome to the forum.

    I can’t help re War Diaries but as you don’t say whether you have your grandfather’s service record here is a link to MOD Glasgow website -

    Get a copy of military service records

    It costs £30 and takes about 4 to 8 weeks to get the papers. This should be the starting point for your research.

    You will be very lucky to discover your relatives Company as other ranks rarely get a mention in the War Diaries however if you know the name of his Platoon officer at any given time you may be able to identify him.

    In respect of your query about the best way to research the Battalion online then simply google variations on the the Battalion title (1/6 or 6th Battalion Queens or East Surrey(’s) Regiment and see what comes up. If you do that in the forum search engine you’ll turn up some hits. The NA search engine Discovery will give you War Diary references if you want to pop along your self but several members offer a copying service for War Diaries.

    Good Luck.

    Last edited: Aug 3, 2018
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  3. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

  4. Earley2018

    Earley2018 New Member

    Cheers guys for your responses it's appreciated
  5. Shiny 9th

    Shiny 9th Member

    I am aware that a man who served with 1/6th East Surreys has deposited his memoirs at the Imperial War Museum. I don't have any references but his name was Lt H.G.Harris. He was badly injured in Italy and became a prisoner of war. I have not read his memoirs, only extracts which are quoted in The Imperial War Museum Book of The War in Italy 1943- 1945, by Field Marshal Lord Carver. Judging by these extracts the memoirs would be a very interesting read.
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  6. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    From the Surrey Regimental Rolls:
    Earley JC.jpg
    If this is your grandfather you may be looking for the wrong regiment – this illustrates the importance of service records being the ONLY place to start to perhaps avoid a wild goose chase.
  7. Earley2018

    Earley2018 New Member

    Thanks Tony, I am assuming this is off of ancestry. He was called Alfred Charles Earley but everyone called him Joe. Like you said best for me to get the service record and go from there. Thanks for taking the time to upload.
  8. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member


    I have started a conversation with you so look out for it.

    If he transferred to 4 Recce Regt then he would have been in 4 Infantry Division - the same Division that 1/6 Surreys were in.



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