Help with Lieutenant Thomas Halford, Royal Artillery

Discussion in '1940' started by Drew5233, Mar 30, 2021.

  1. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Can anyone help identify this missing officers regiment? He's listed on CWGC as being with 53 Medium Regiment but this does not appear to be the case as he's not on that regiments Field Return for their duration in France.

    Also any details on his death would be great. The 53rd Medium Regiment website states he was drowned on a ship but do not quote the source. They have been contacted but no reply to date.

    126300 Lieutenant Thomas Nicholas Halford, died 29th May 1940. Remembered on the Dunkirk Memorial.
  2. skimmod

    skimmod Senior Member

    You may find that he was posted to the 53rd Medium Regiment, but in the mayhem of build up to Dunkirk, he didn't get there in time to be recorded in the Regiment's diary.
    I have many cases of this in the RSF. These officers were attached to one of the training depots in France, and were then posted to the battalion. But didn't arrive with them as they were moving rapidly around the countryside.
    Many became attached to other units (unofficially) or just made their own way back to the UK through Dunkirk when it became impossible to report to the battalion.

    Its a possibility.
    Drew5233 and Tricky Dicky like this.
  3. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    Not a great help, but he was first listed as 'Missing' in France, Date Not Reported, on Casualty List No. 231 dated 14 June 1940, then 'Presumed KIA' at sea on 29/5/40 on Casualty List No.708 dated 31 Dec 1941.

    Unfortunately doesn't give a sub unit.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2021
    Drew5233 and Tricky Dicky like this.
  4. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    If anyone has Fold3 membership then theres a couple of records for him that migh provide the detail

    UK, British Army Records and Lists, 1882-1962
    Name: T. N. Halford
    Military Year: 1940
    Regiment: Royal Regiment of Artillery
    Rank: 2nd Lieutenant

    Name: T. N. Halford
    Military Year: 1941
    Regiment: Royal Regiment of Artillery
    Rank: 2nd Lieutenant

    Before you ask - no I dont know why he has a record for 1941

    Drew5233 likes this.
  5. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    There are 31 officers in the photograph and only 26 accounted for on the Field Return. Assuming that the photograph was taken prior to embarkation for France, would the 5 officers not on the Field Return - including Lt. Halford - be shown on earlier Rolls as Struck-Off-Strength or Detached?
    Drew5233 likes this.
  6. BFBSM

    BFBSM Very Senior Member Patron

    These records do not show specific units, but are lists of emergency commissions.
    Drew5233 likes this.
  7. BFBSM

    BFBSM Very Senior Member Patron

    Drew5233 likes this.
  8. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Hi Steve, I only posted one of the Officer Field Returns from May. The photo was taken before they deployed and Halford isn't mentioned in any of the Regimental Field Returns in the diary.
  9. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    This helps as an 'official document' but I wonder where the info came from?
  10. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Many thanks all. I'm currently working with my mate on getting another name on a unknown 1940 grave. Halford is a contender and we want to exclude him from the bunch of possibilities that it could be. That said we already know who it is, we just need to dot all the i's and cross the t's so to speak to prove it.
    JimHerriot and Tony56 like this.
  11. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Not sure where they obtain their data

    UK, Army Roll of Honour, 1939-1945
    Name: Thomas Halford
    Given Initials: T N
    Rank: Lieutenant
    Death Date: 29 May 1940
    Number: 126300
    Birth Place: Buckinghamshire
    Residence: Buckinghamshire
    Regiment at Enlistment: Royal Artillery
    Branch at Enlistment: Royal Artillery
    Theatre of War: At sea
    Regiment at Death: Royal Artillery
    Branch at Death: Royal Artillery

    The original data comes from the National Archives records series WO 304, War Office: Roll of Honour, Second World War. This Roll was compiled from various War Office records between 1944 and 1949. Originally the data was encoded onto cards using a Hollerith Machine (a unit record machine), the original print outs of which are kept at the National Archives. The cards have since been decoded and transcribed by the Naval & Military Press and published on CD.

    All the other records on Ancestry read that he died on active service - Probate etc

    Drew5233 likes this.
  12. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    Found this transcription, unfortunately no original document to be seen:
    Rank Lt
    First name(s) Thomas Nicholas
    Last name Halford
    Birth year 1920
    Age 20
    Death year 1940
    Death date 29 May 1940
    Place kia off Dunkirk
    Record set British Army, Royal Artillery Officer Deaths 1850-2011
    Category Military, armed forces & conflict
    Subcategory Regimental & Service Records
    Collections from Great Britain, UK None
    Drew5233 likes this.
  13. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    ypres5, Tricky Dicky and Tony56 like this.
  14. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    May, or may not be relevant but assuming this is him in 1939 he was:
    Lance Bombardier 894073, is that 394 or 314 battery, 997 Field Regiment EDIT should be 99 Field Regt.

    Halford 3.jpg

    Halford 4.jpg
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2021
    BFBSM, CL1, Drew5233 and 1 other person like this.
  15. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    I would guess at 394 Bty from the other 9's in his service number and Fd Regt

    Nice find

    Is it therefore presumed he was aboard a ship that was sunk or strafed and thats how he died?
    Drew5233 likes this.
  16. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Drew5233, Tony56 and ypres5 like this.
  17. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    Brain not engaged, not sure how I misread that, obvious when it is pointed out, attestation also has 99F. thanks
    Drew5233 likes this.
  18. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    Thinking laterally.

    Process of elimination.

    Would having a look at the Field Returns for the other units numbered 53rd to see whether somebody many years ago slipped up with their record keeping?

    Just in RA regiment-speak there was 53 Fld, 53 Hvy, 53 LAA, 53 HAA and 53 ATk. Then there were a few batteries numbered 53 too.

    It wouldn't be the first time a typing error or a lack of accuracy has caused confusion.
    Drew5233 likes this.
  19. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    Last edited: Mar 31, 2021
    CL1 and Drew5233 like this.
  20. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    BBC - WW2 People's War - Army: 53rd (London) Medium Regiment Royal Artillery
    27 May 1940 - 31 May 1940: Phoney War - La Panne
    The day of 27 May opened with orders to travel to Hoogstade. The regiment arrived at dawn, on the 28th. The Regiment was ordered then to make its way by foot to the beach head, but at 10.30 the troops were deflected by Brigadier Lawson, who was organising the defence of the perimeter. This was an unfamiliar role for the Regiment but the troops took up their positions - with 210 Btry covering the Yser Canal from Wulpen to Nieuport and 209 Btry covering from Nieuport to the coast. Here the Regiment took its first casualties of the war and lost some ‘fine young men’. The first German patrols arrived later that morning, and the Regiment remained in the line until relieved by the 2nd Battalion Royal Fusiliers at midnight on the night of the 29th /30th. At dawn of the 30th the Regiment reached the beach head at La Panne and began the wait for ships. The last men of the Regiment to leave France did so aboard ‘HMS Worcester’ that evening, arriving in Dover in the early hours of 31 May.


    Remembering Today 5/6/1940 2 men of the 53rd medium Regt RA
    CL1 likes this.

Share This Page