Help needed - 5th East Yorkshire Regiment

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by Samsouthwest, Jun 30, 2019.

  1. Samsouthwest

    Samsouthwest Member


    I stumbled across this forum recently as I'm starting to research about my grandad who I understand served in this Battalion and Regiment in World War 2. Unfortunately he's no longer with us so i cannot find information about him but i do have some limited info so was after some advice about how best i could do this. I'm particularly interested to understand if there is anyway i can trace what his movements would have been through the various campaigns.

    From the little I've been told from my parents (as they know very little because like most vets, he didn't want to talk about his experiences) he did serve in North Africa, Sicily, Normandy campaign, Holland and in to Germany but i don't know anymore details.

    His name was Chris Willmott and his service number was 5677704. I also believe he was in the Somerset Light Infantry to start with was drafted in to the 5th Btn, East Yorkshire regiment just before the Normandy campaign (possible drafted at the end of his time in Africa) but i know little else.

    I've tried a basic search on the on-line Forces War Records site but couldn't find him.

    Any advice would be appreciated and apologies if I've posted this in the wrong section.

    Many thanks,

  2. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    Welcome to the forum.

    You’ll be very lucky to find any mention of him on the “free” internet as most WW2 records are either behind a paywall ie Casualty Lists on FMP and WW2 era service record sare not yet in the public domain.

    Your best starting point will be to apply to U.K. MOD for his service records via this link -

    Get a copy of military service records

    The process can take up to 4 months and you’ll need a copy of his death certificate.

    Once you have his service record you will be able to identify his movements and then consider obtaining Battalion War Diaries.

    If you need any help in interpreting/deciphering the information on the service records please don’t hesitate to post copies on the forum.

    Good Luck

    Tony56 and Tricky Dicky like this.
  3. Samsouthwest

    Samsouthwest Member

    Thanks Steve. Much appreciated. What sort of level of detail do the service records provide? Is it at a generic Battalion level or would it mention him? Apologies if a silly question - I'm very new to this and have no idea what level of details these documents provide.
  4. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Once you have his service records you will see that these record which units he served with, what dates he seved with them and where they were. Once you have this information you can then go on to find the War Diaires (WD's) for those units during those times. Unless your relative was an officer it is unlikely he will be mentioned in a WD unless he did some courageous act(s)

    The detail will vary on the service record but as examples have a look at some that other members have posted in the Gallery -

    It really is the only way to start research a military career

  5. Samsouthwest

    Samsouthwest Member

    Hi Steve,
    That's fantastic info, thanks for this. I shall make a start there. I think he was a Corporal at some stage but I dont know any more details. Hopefully the service records will be a good start.

    Thanks so much.

  6. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Steve's is the post before mine


    The service records are the ONLY start
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  7. Samsouthwest

    Samsouthwest Member

    Whoops! Sorry . But thanks very much for the help too.

    I've had a look at the example service records you sent me the link for and there are some fantastic details there. Fingers crossed.
  8. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    It will all depend on what he did where and in which units, my father stayed with the same unit all through the war and never left the UK's shores so a little light in that sense

  9. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Tony56 likes this.
  10. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Aaaaaaargh - dont go there - it doesnt do what it says on the tin

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  11. Samsouthwest

    Samsouthwest Member

    Ok, interesting. I'm even more intrigued now to submit a request for his war records. I have some old photos of him in the 90's when he and my dad used to go back over to Normandy when he wore his beret with the East Yorkshire Regiment cap badge but I also remember he was part of the SLI as confirmed below so it will be really interesting to see (if the records show it) when and where he moved. My dad thinks it was in Egypt.
  12. Samsouthwest

    Samsouthwest Member

    Thanks for this Owen. Does that mean he kept his SLI number when he transferred in to the East Yorks? Is that standard or does it possibly mean he would have been given a new number and I just dont know what that is yet?
  13. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    He would keep his number throughout .
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  14. Samsouthwest

    Samsouthwest Member

    Guys, just to say a massive thanks for all your guidance this evening. I now have a good start point. I've confirmed a few more bits from just this thread and it's made me even more intrigued to learn more about him and his time.

    Very much appreciated. Means a lot.
    Owen likes this.
  15. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Hello Sam,

    Although I have a very limited knowledge of the Somerset Light Infantry I cant place any of their Battalions that fought overseas in North Africa or Sicily at any time; Gibraltar ‘yes’.

    However, the 5th Bn East Yorkshire Regiment (of 69th Infantry Brigade, 50th (Northumbrian) Division) did fight in North Africa (Gazala, El Alamein, Mareth, Wadi Akarit...), Sicily (assault Division, second wave), D-Day (assault Division, first wave) and NW Europe (including Operation Market Garden).

    Your Grandad’s service records should reveal all. Suggest you post these when received, and we help you interpret and provide pointers/information about his journey through WWII.


    Last edited: Jul 1, 2019
  16. Samsouthwest

    Samsouthwest Member

    Morning Steve,

    Thanks for the further info. From what you've written and the little bits my father told me, it sounds like he was part of the 5th but I'll definately go down the route of requesting his service records.

    I did hear one story of him being in Holland but I didn't know if that had anything to do with Market Garden - I did wonder though.

    A member on here, Drew5233, also contacted me overnight offering their service to get copies of the war diaries once I know the details in his service record. A very helpful forum.

  17. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

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  18. Samsouthwest

    Samsouthwest Member

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