I've always wondered why...

Discussion in 'Royal Artillery' started by Welshladybird, Apr 14, 2021.

  1. Welshladybird

    Welshladybird New Member

    My Dad said he was attached to a Yorkshire regiment.

    He was a Welshman born in Wrexham.

    He was Royal Artillery. Fought at Dunkirk, El Alamein and Monte Cassino. Service No 923606

    How was it decided which branch of the Army he went into? Why didn't he fight with a Welsh regiment?

    Is there a more detailed list of the places he went to?

    Is there a way of finding out what boat he came home from Dunkirk on?

    He said he was given promotion but handed back his stripes.
    CL1 likes this.
  2. CL1

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

    You need to apply for his service records

    link here Get a copy of military service records
    Plus copy of his death cert

    You wont find his records online at pay for sites

    can you name him
    Where was he living we he signed up

  3. Welshladybird

    Welshladybird New Member

    He was Benjamin James MacDonald living in Wrexham.
  4. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    The British Army sent men wherever the Army wanted.
    Whereever the men came from .
  5. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member


    Looks like he served with 244th Battery of 61 Field Regiment initially.
    • 61st (North Midland) Field Regiment with 241 & 242 (North Staffordshire) Batteries, based at Shelton.[62]
    He was wounded whilst serving with 165 Field Regiment in Italy on 25 May 1944.

    Your in luck as his tracer card was found on Ancestry.


    Hope this helps

    timuk, Richard Lewis, 4jonboy and 3 others like this.
  6. Richard Lewis

    Richard Lewis Member

    Hello and welcome to the forum.

    From the tracer card he did indeed serve with a Welsh unit (not the North Midland regiment, which was a Field Regiment, not a Medium Regiment). He was then posted to a Yorkshire regiment. Here’s my interpretation of his service.

    Date ? 244 Medium Battery, 61 (Caernarvon & Denbigh Yeomanry) Medium Regiment RA (TA)
    Nov 38, Colwyn Bay, UK (244 Bty, Carnarvon)
    Oct 39, France
    Jun 40, UK​

    28/8/41 121 (West Riding) Field Regiment RA (TA)
    Oct 41, Iraq
    Dec 41, Iraq​

    25/5/42 165 Field Regiment RA
    May 42, Formed as Y Field Regiment from 83 Anti-Tank Regiment, Persia
    May 42, Persia
    Jun 42, Became 165 Field Regiment, Persia
    Jul 42, N Africa
    Jul 43, Sicily
    Sep 43, Italy
    May 44, Cassino, Italy​

    25/5/44 X(2) List [evacuated on medical grounds] Central Mediterranean Force
    20/6/44 X(2) List [evacuated on medical grounds] Central Mediterranean Force
    0/8/44 X(2) List [evacuated on medical grounds] Central Mediterranean Force
    9/8/44 X(4) List [unposted reinforcements] Central Mediterranean Force

    4/10/44 165 Field Regiment
    Dec 44, Disbanded​

    4/12/44 Jewish Field Regiment/200 Field Regiment

    31/3/45 X(4) List [unposted reinforcements] Central Mediterranean Force
    23/8/45 X(8) List [in transit] Central Mediterranean Force
    31/8/45 Disembarked UK to Depot RA
    10/11/45 Release
    22/2/46 Army Reserve
    1958 Discharged from Reserve (age limit)



    p.s. Thanks to The Royal Artillery 1939-45 for the unit information.
    Chris C, timuk, op-ack and 4 others like this.
  7. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    Most Field Regts RA directly supported Infantry Divisions - each Infantry Division was allocated three Field Regts RA and they went wherever the Division went.

    In order to beef up the firepower available to these Divisions, but without giving them all the administrative headaches that go with that, the War Office decided to create AGRAs - Army Groups Royal Artillery. An AGRA was a group of Field, Medium, Heavy and sometimes Super Heavy guns that were used for specific operations.

    Attached is an example of what an AGRA was made up of. In this case, it is 6 AGRA.

    165 Fd Regt RA was part of an AGRA but I have not been able to work out which one. What I do know is that 165 Fd Regt RA was one of the 1,089 guns that fired in support of Eighth Army during Op DIADEM on 11 May 44 at Cassino. Your father was wounded in the latter stages of that operation. On 25 May 44, II (PO) Corps was attacking Piedmonte San Germano which is six miles north of Cassino.



    Attached Files:

    CL1 and Chris C like this.
  8. redtop

    redtop Well-Known Member

    I believe it has a lot to do with WW1 When the Pals Battalions who were recruited from towns and small communities were decimated in one days fighting ,it would leave a whole area in mourning and depleted of young men .Also a whole town would receive notice of deaths same day ,So recruiting was spread out. Just as many young men were killed but it was spread across the country .
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
  9. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member


    Nothing so intelligent. It was as Owen describes - soldiers were sent to where ever the Army needed them most at the time.



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