Father in Camerons & Parachute Regiment, N Africa, Italy, Arnhem,Palestine

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by Scottish Shona, Aug 14, 2020.

  1. I have scanned the service records I received from the MOD and attach here as PDF’s. (The first page of two of the documents I left off because there was just my father’s name and home address and no data per se)

    I am delighted to be able to finally get specific battalion details, though there is no information on units other than T Coy. in Palestine. The records show him transferring to the R.A.E.C. on 1/12/50, but no reference in the records to then serving in Korea, or to receiving the Queen’s Korea medal (which he has).

    The records confirm that he was originally in the 1st Bn Cameron Highlanders, joining 15/2/40 On 19/6/42 he transferred to the 7th Bn Cameron Highlanders, then on 1/8/42 into the Army Air Corps as part of the 5th Scottish Parachute Battalion, 2nd Parachute Brigade. No unit or company is given.

    He was posted to North Africa on 22/04/43 with 5th Scottish Para Bn. @ Jim Herriot – this coincides exactly with what you were suggesting above! He was in North Africa until 27/9/43 I’m intrigued by your suggestion that he may have taken part in a drop from North Africa into Italy. He did mention being in Italy and landing on a railing in a parachute jump that went badly when they landed in the wrong location. However, there is nothing in the records about serving in any campaigns abroad, other than North Africa.

    By the same token, I’m still confused over the parish role of honour book which lists him as being "wounded in Sicily and survivor at Arnhem" (see page copy attached). When he saw the book I remember him laughing and saying he'd "Been promoted!" (he was only a temp.major for a brief time before Palestine) but he didn't say the Arnhem reference or Sicily reference were also wrong. I'm certain he would have said War Office Statement of service.jpg Parish Role of Honour List.jpg Training at Hardwick.jpg T. Coy. Palestine.jpg Tony Deane Drummond.jpg if they were, as he was a stickler for detail and he would have been annoyed at being credited with something that didn't happen - especially when four of his siblings are listed on the same page and would have refuted it! However, if he had been at Arnhem wouldn't he have qualified for the French/Germany star which is definitely not listed on his records. It's all very puzzling...?

    I know my father spent time at Hardwick Hall (see attached photo) and the records do mention D.S.A.F. My father did talk about training paratroopers to jump and because the records don't mention any other postings abroad I am wondering if during WW2 he was mainly UK based at holding or training camps? This would tie in with what the researcher at the ParaData museum said:
    “Our records also list DJ McInnes 321586, now as a lieutenant, appears in our records again on RAF Ringway Course 121. This course ran from 18/6/44 to 3/7/44. Our records show he was then part of 1st Parachute Battalion, ITC (Infantry Training) So he may have been used as an instructor.”

    Moving forward to Palestine, the records state that from 10/12/46 he was in T10, 8 Para Bn. M.E.L.F. However, to the left of that in the margin it says under authority ‘5th Para Bn’ so I’m assuming he transferred over from them, though 5 Para were also serving in Palestine at that time so I’m not sure how to interpret that. There is a photo on ParaData which shows him in Palestine with 'T Coy' (see attached)

    We have several photos of him annotated 'officers quarters Netheravon' and one of him annotated 'RAF Liason Officer, Netheravon, 1947' so if he was involved on the training side I'm wondering if he might have been part of Exercise Longstop as 5th Scottish Bn and 2nd Para Brigade were also connected to that.

    I am slowly gathering pieces of a big jigsaw but it's figuring out how they all dovetail together! Another little nugget of background information is that I know he was friendly with Major General Anthony Deane Drummond. I remember him telling me about his heroic escapes as a POW in Italy and showing me a copy of his book 'Return Ticket'. There is a photo of ADD in civilian clothes among my father's army photos (see attached). Major Dean Drummond’s Signals unit was attached to the 2nd Parachute Brigade in North Africa. Perhaps them knowing each other may provide a clue to when or where they may both have been in a theatre of operation at the same time.

    Still much to research but I feel like I am steadily inching closer to my goal of creating a timeline narrative to accompany all the photos in the family memorabilia book.

    Everyone on here has been so helpful and any further suggestions in response to what the records show are most welcome!

    Attached Files:

  2. Apologies, no idea why the thumbnails in my previous post have ended up in the middle of the text, rather than with the three other documents which are at the bottom. But each refers to a picture or photo mentioned in the text as attached, so hopefully any readers can still figure it out!
  3. David Woods

    David Woods Active Member

    Welcome back Shona!

    This is my attempt to interpret your father's service record.
    Other members will no doubt give their opinions.
    I just hope this will be helpful.

    2933882 L/Cpl. Donald John McInnes (321586)

    I.T.C. 15.02.1940
    I.T.C. 15.08.1940
    Posted to 1st Battalion Cameron Highlanders. 13.09.1940.

    7th Battalion Cameron Highlanders redesignated 5th (Scottish) Parachute Battalion, 24.03.1942.
    May, 1942 in other reports.

    Posted to Y List. 22.04.1942.

    Posted to No.11. I.T.C. 05.05.1942.

    Posted from Y List. 19.06.1942.

    1st or 4th Battalion Cameron Highlanders. 19.06.1942.
    Believe above entry should read 1st or 4th as 7th no longer existed.
    Possible he never served with 7th Battalion Cameron Highlanders.

    1st Battalion Cameron Highlanders deployed to Burma in mid-1942.

    Transferred to A.A.C. 01.08.1942. Airborne Forces Depot.
    Posted to 5th (Scottish) Parachute Battalion.

    Qualified as a parachutist by or on 31.01.1943. Receiving extra pay.

    Closest Parachute Training Courses to above date.
    Course No. 46. 11.01.1943 to 24.01.1943
    Course No. 47. 18 01.1943 to 01.02.1943

    Courses stated by Paradata occur after extra pay received.
    Course No. 52. 22.02.1943 to 08.03.1943
    Course No. 53. 01.03.1943 to 14.03.1943

    Injured (trivial) 05.02.1943. Parachute depot.

    North Africa 22.04.1943 to 12.09.1943 with 5th (Scottish) Parachute Battalion.

    5th (Scottish) Parachute Battalion were due to invade Sicily on 10.07.1943, but the operation was cancelled.

    5th (Scottish) Parachute Battalion land at Taranto, Italy, by sea, 09.09.1943.

    Dates suggest he didn't parachute into Italy. He is not on the casualty lists as being wounded.

    Seems doubtful he parachuted into Sicily, unless he was attached to 1st Parachute Brigade.

    Assume L/Cpl. D. J. McInnes remained behind in North Africa. Being a candidate for officer training.

    Taken on strength 3 ?? No.11 RT? from 51 WOSB and posted X (i) List. 12.09.1943.

    X (i) List upon embarkation for U.K. 27.09.1943.

    Confusing because shown as 5th (Scottish) Parachute Battalion upon disembarkation, 08.10.1943.

    Posted to D.S.A.F. 10.10.1943.

    Pre O.C.T.U. Training. 148 Training Brigade. 12.11.1943.

    Ceased to be attached 148 Training Brigade. 02.02.1944.

    163 O.C.T.U.

    Discharged 09.06.1944.

    Commissioned 10.06.1944.

    Army Air Corps 10.06.1944 to 30.06.1946.
    Unknown unit.

    London Gazette
    2nd Lt. (War Subs. Lt.) Donald John McInnes
    (321586) from A.A.C. (E.C.), to be Lt., 1st July
    1946, with seniority 10th Dec. 1944.

    Cameron Highlanders attached HQ 3rd Parachute Brigade from Nov. 1946 to Apr. 1947, Palestine.
    8th Parachute Battalion were a part of 3rd Parachute Brigade.

    The photo that you posted is of 1st Parachute Battalion, T Coy, Palestine.
    This looks like a platoon of T Coy, with the officer front and centre.

    Best I can do! Good luck!

    Attached Files:

  4. David Woods

    Thank you so much for the time you took to go through it all, I'm very grateful.

    The whole North Africa (and Italy -or not!) is confusing and without the clarification in the records I don't expect that will ever be clear. The records are facts, so I can only work with what is there. I will have to assume the notation in the Role of Honour list is wrong. I'm confused that my father would have told me he was in Italy if he wasn't (he was a very honest man) but again, that is just oral history/hearsay whilst the records are the facts!

    Taken on strength 3 ?? No.11 RT? from 51 WOSB and posted X (i) List. 12.09.1943 - I had no idea what that meant either? I believe WOSB is War Office Selection Board, taken on strength may mean 'strength' - ie. suitability - for officer training.

    Army Air Corps 10.06.1944 to 30.06.1946.
    Unknown unit. - Yes, it is disappointing there that there is no unit information for such a large section of his service.

    Cameron Highlanders attached HQ 3rd Parachute Brigade from Nov. 1946 to Apr. 1947, Palestine.
    8th Parachute Battalion were a part of 3rd Parachute Brigade.

    The photo that you posted is of 1st Parachute Battalion, T Coy, Palestine.
    This looks like a platoon of T Coy, with the officer front and centre. -
    The Cameron Highlanders attachment seems logical here as he continued to serve with them after Palestine. But it does also say T10 on the records, and my father is definitely in that T Coy. photo, front row, furthest on right. The ParaData researcher invited me to send the records once I had received them so perhaps they will be able to find something specific in their archives to help clarify that period.

    Even if the records aren't comprehensive, I'm still much better informed than I was two years ago. I often look back now with hindsight and regret (as I'm sure many on these forums do) and wish I had asked more questions when I was younger. My father rarely mentioned his service, and as a family of girls growing up decades ago in that gender stereotyped era we were more interested in playing with dolls and kittens than action men and toy soldiers. Perhaps if we had had a brother there may have been more discussion around his war service. By the time I was mature enough and more aware of the world to be interested it was too late as sadly he had passed away by then. That's why I am determined to collate all this in a memorabilia book that can be passed on down our family now for other generations.
  5. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Hi Shona,

    Some information on one of the photos you posted above, from the Hardwick Depot thread.

    Hardwick Hall

    Unfortunately I don't think it will help much with revealing more on your father.

    Regards ...
  6. Thanks very much for linking to that - I didn't realise the same photo I have had been posted on that thread! I am slowly working my way through a lot of the previous Airborne and North Africa threads and I will read through the whole Hardwick one and look at all the photos there in case anything leaps out at me.

    I can answer the query you posted with the photo regarding the officer possibly being Major Derek Reid - I know 100% he is as my dad wrote it on the back of the photo! However, I will reply to that on the Hardwick thread as any information may be useful to someone looking there in the future.
    Cee likes this.

Share This Page