'J' Field Company

Discussion in 'Royal Engineers' started by billhay, Jul 6, 2012.

  1. billhay

    billhay Junior Member

    I am trying to make sense of my Dad's service record and have some questions I'm hoping someone can help me with.

    He was 2078602 Sapper William Robert Haygarth.

    01.05.1939: Enlisted in the RE (TA) as a Sapper and posted to 2 (Cheshire) Field Squadron at Brikenhead.

    14.06.1939: Mustered as a Fitter Group 'A' Class III [He later passed a trade test to become a Fitter Group 'A' Class II, so 'Class' looks like a level of competence, but what does 'Group A' mean?]

    15.05.1943: Posted to 'J' Field Company, where he remained until he was sent home in October 1944. (He appears on the 'Field Return of ORs' for two consecutive weeks in May 1943 in the 'Men We Want Back' list, so I'm guessing he got sick and when he recovered was sent to a unit more in need of reinforcement than his own.) I have been unable to track down which higher formation(s) 'J' Fd Coy belonged to, but Dad did talk about being part of the Sicily invasion force. He wrote a fictionalised account of his wartime experiences, in the hope it would make him a fortune (it didn't!) In it 2 Fd Sqn is named as his initial unit and following illness it has him posted to 66 Fd Coy, but in a separate synposis it has it as 66 Field Assault Regiment. There was a 66 Fd Coy, but the TNA catalogue has it part of East Africa command and as an Indian Engineer unit of PAIFORCE. I can find nothing remotely similay to 66 Fd Aslt Regt in the catalogue and, of course, neither designation bears any resemblance to the 'J' Fd Coy in his service record. It is entirely possible that the '66 whatever' is entirely fictional, but he definitely saw service in Italy as he was awarded the Italy Star. Any information or suggestions of where I could look for an answer will be greatly appreciated.

    Many thanks
     
  2. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce Patron

    Hello and welcome Bill
    Would you care to scan your fathers records and put them on here? We may be able to help a little more.
    I am wondering if you have received the full set of records as there seems to be a period missing between 39 and 43. If you look at my albums you will see the amount of detail on my fathers records.

    Lesley
     
  3. billhay

    billhay Junior Member

    Thanks for the suggestion, Lesley.

    I applied to the MOD more than ten years ago now and only got the summary reply, which is attached. I have recently applied again as I now understand that a lot more information is provided.
     

    Attached Files:

  4. Oldman

    Oldman Very Senior Member

    Bill
    Welcome to the forum

    2 Fld Sqn Was renumbered as 622 Fld Sqn in May 1943, C thru I were created as assult engineers later in the war.
     
  5. billhay

    billhay Junior Member

    Thanks for the response Oldman. 622 was converted to F Assault Squadron (25 Armd Engr Bde) in Jan 1945, I posted the squadron's summary history previously, but can't work out how to link to it so have attached it to this post fyi.
     

    Attached Files:

  6. Oldman

    Oldman Very Senior Member

    Bill
    Thanks for the post and history, Have you got his proper service record that would detail all his service including his hospitization.

    As for 66 Fld Coy they were renamed from 66 Chemical Warfare Coy at some stage of the war and fought as normal engineers.
     
  7. billhay

    billhay Junior Member

    Oldman,
    Sadly all I have is the one-page service summary (see above post) and it's an 11-month wait for the full history as I've only recently re-applied.

    Thanks for the info on 66 Fd Coy.
     
  8. billhay

    billhay Junior Member

    Update

    Dad's service records finally arrived and, thanks to Drew5233, I have a copy of the war diary for 66 Field Company, Jan to Nov 1943.

    'J' Field Company appears to have been one of the field companies assigned to the Sicily invasion (Op Husky). Dad was posted there on discharge from hospital in May 1943; as men were generally sent back to their old units the shortage of engineers for Husky must have been particularly severe. (He tried to get back to his old unit but got caught and charged with the catch-all offence 'conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline' for which he forfeited five days' ordinary pay.) 'J' Field Company was later re-designated 66 Field Company. All this I got from Dad's service records.

    The war diary for 66 Field Company was much as expected (it was engaged in bridge repair, road repair and clearing battlefield debris) but what was interesting was that it appears to have started life as 66 Mortar Company RE as the Jan, Feb & Mar war diaries are in that name. Apr to July are 'J' Fld Coy and Aug to Nov are 66 Fld Coy. It just goes to show how difficult it can be to find war diaries when the designation you have is for a unit that only existed for three months!
     
    Claire D and Drew5233 like this.
  9. Oldman

    Oldman Very Senior Member

    Bilhay
    Thanks for the update, interesting to note the road to 66 Fld Coy and the short war diaries
    Pleased you have made good progress
     
  10. Claire D

    Claire D New Member

    Hi, I have recently received my grandad's war records (much briefer than I was expecting and took 1 year to arrive). His name was Sapper Ronald Davies and he was killed in Normandy on 15th June, 1944. I knew he was with 66th field coy when he was in Normandy on and after DDay and managed to get some info from Kew about what he was doing then but didn't have any info from before that but my Dad received his first birthday card from him with a post mark from Sicily so we presumed based there. The war records say in 1943 he was with J field coy so it was great to read your info about your father as it's likely they did similar roles. The only question I have, is on the war records it says embarked for north Africa. Would that be an umbrella term that included Sicily?
    I have attached the summary sheet I received. Some of it is quite hard to figure out and I'm not sure what the order numbers mean. If anyone has any ideas I would be grateful.
    Claire
     

    Attached Files:

  11. GnrGnr

    GnrGnr Well-Known Member

    Claire


    Hopefully the responses on your thread on another forum have helped also. When he went to the North Africa theatre of war in June 1943, the invasion of Sicily had not yet taken place (started 9 July) so that would not appear on his record then and in any event records show the theatre of war not the country. If, as seems the case, 66 Fd Coy went to Sicily and Italy afterwards, his records should show CMF for Central Mediterranean Force which encompassed Sicily and Italy. There are gaps in his posting record, nothing sinister, just admin omissions.

    I have a thread on this forum asking about a 1944 diary for the company.

    Max
     
  12. Claire D

    Claire D New Member

    Thats great, thank you so much for all your help.
     
  13. Claire D

    Claire D New Member

    I have another question (sorry). You mentioned about a gap in my grandad's posting record which seems to be around time in Sicily / Italy. Looking at which medals he was awarded (defence medal, F&G star, 1939-1945 star), if his posting record had been complete, do you think he would have been awarded the Italy star?
     
  14. GnrGnr

    GnrGnr Well-Known Member

    If he was in Sicily/Italy after 11 Jun 43, he would have qualified for the Italy Star. His record is simply showing N Africa from Jun 43 to Dec 43. Just from that the assumption would be that he remained in N. Africa unless there is something else on his record that we haven't seen. It isn't entirely clear from the post from Billhay whether/when 66 Fd Coy went to Sicily - he has the war diary. If they did then where grandad was is a puzzle. Billhay hasn't been on the site since this time last year but I'll send him a message on you behalf, it would be nice to check the diary.
    Max
     
  15. Claire D

    Claire D New Member

    That's would be great, thank you.
    We were so sure he was in Sicily because he sent my Dad a card for his 1st birthday in Nov 1943 with a post mark on from Sicily but I'm surprised he was able to do things like that during war.
    Claire
     
  16. billhay

    billhay Junior Member

    I have images of the war diary for 66 Fd Coy Jan-Nov 1943. 66 Fd Coy and J Fd Coy for the period in question are one and the same as the cover of the TNA folder shows both designations: from 1 Jan to 31 Mar 1943 it was designated 66 Mortar Coy, from 1 Apr to 31 Jul, 'J' Fd Coy and from 1 Aug, 66 Fd Coy. According to the diary the Coy landed on 10 Jul at Marzamemi as part of 231 (Independent) Infantry Brigade. I'm not an expert on the qualifications needed for campaign stars, but I think an individual had to earn the 1939-45 Star first (for which six months' operational service (in a war zone) was required) before they could earn the Italy Star. So, if your grandad didn't have six month's service until after he left Italy he wouldn't have qualified. I hope this is helpful; it would be better to message me directly as I don't come on the site very often!
    Bill
     

Share This Page