Jack Hughes - Royal Artillery in Africa and Sicily

Discussion in 'Royal Artillery' started by Volitans, Mar 10, 2019.

  1. Volitans

    Volitans Member

    Good afternoon all,

    Firstly my apologies if I am asking too much or asking in the wrong place. I am very new to this despite having done a little WW1 research in the past.

    We recently have received my grandfathers war records. He died before I was born and never spoke about the war to anyone really. We knew he was in Africa, but also apparently in Sicily.

    I'm not really sure where to start as it's all quite confusing. I'm going to spend the next few hours going through it but I was wondering if it would be acceptable to post his service information here to see if you guys come up with anything I miss? Or any additional information you might have like what kind of artillery they used in his battery, or whether he would have been engaged in large battles (I understand he was wounded at one point).

    Due to the file size (tried reducing them to no avail) I have uploaded all the images to an Imgur album linked here: Jack Hughes - Royal Artillery

    Thank you in advance,
  2. CL1

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

    Please post away and forum members will do their utmost to assist you'

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  3. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    Welcome to the forum.

    There are several topics already posted on forum about 111 Field Regiment. Just use the forum search facility.

    I presume he would’ve been using 25 Pounder guns while in 111 FR. The attached image of my uncle who served with 138 FR will give you an idea

    The unit War Diaries will be available via U.K. National Archives. Several members here offer a look up and copying service at very reasonable rates - a fraction of what NA would charge.

    Thanks for posting the service records. I’ll try and look at them later this evening or tomorrow.


    Edit to add this link -

    111th Royal Artillery Field Regiment


    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 10, 2019
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  4. Volitans

    Volitans Member

    Brilliant, thank you. Am I correct in assuming he was in Royal Warwickshire Regt to begin with then transferred?
  5. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    His service record suggests enlistment in Royal Warwickshire Regiment in 1940 and a posting to 12th Battalion after initial training.

    From Wikipedia-

    The 12th (Overseas Defence) Battalion was created in November 1939, formed mainly from ex-servicemen around the age of 35–50 and with the duty of garrison duties overseas, in the rear areas guarding important areas and line of communications.[65] In March 1940, the battalion was sent overseas to France, fulfilling its job of guarding the rear echelons, until ordered to evacuate, with the rest of the BEF, and was evacuated from Brest and St. Malo on 16/17 June 1940, without a single casualty.[66] When the battalion returned to the United Kingdom, it followed the usual pattern that consumed the British Army after Dunkirk, mainly guarding against an invasion, which it continued to do so until March 1942, when the 12th Battalion, its services judged to be over, was disbanded.[67] (Other sources say that the battalion was converted into the 189th Field Regiment RA in February 1942. In the following year, it was assigned to the 38th (Reserve) Division, where it remained until it was disbanded in December 1944.[68][69])”

    Looking at the various B103 forms in his file -

    I’d guess he was employed as a driver/mechanic with that 12th RWR following his attendance at a Mechanic’s Training Course at Streatham in September 1941.

    On disbandment of his infantry unit - as outlined above - he appears to have been transferred to Royal Artillery and posted to 78th Field Regiment. I expect he continued to use his mechanical skills as a Driver.

    He was posted to 111th Field Regiment shortly before they moved overseas to Egypt to join 8th Army in late summer 1942 in readiness for the Battle of El Alamein in October/November 1942.

    He appears to have been wounded during the 8th Army advance in Tunisia in April 1943 and treated at several Field Ambulance units before rejoining his unit in late May 1943 via a Transit Camp (after cessation of hostilities in North Africa).

    He may have fallen foul of Army discipline in July 1943 as there is an entry on his second B103 that I interpret as him reverting to the rank of gunner” voluntarily to avoid trial by court martial” for some unidentified military offence.

    He set sail with his unit for Sicily 8th August 1943 and subsequently passed on to the Italian mainland. He is admitted to an unspecified Advanced Dressing Station in October having presumably sustained an injury - not a battle casualty. It looks to have been of a minor nature as he returns to his unit within a week.

    He was admitted to 98 General Hospital 22nd April 1994 and returned to his unit (RTU) 1st May 1944. He had a longer time away from his unit at 98 GH in June 1944 until his return to his unit 7th July 1944. There is no information as to the reason for the hospital admission but it was likely sickness rather than a wound.

    From Scarlet Finders website -

    98 British General Hospital -

    Goodwood 10/42 to 2/43 then overseas; Blida 3/43 to 4/43 and then to Metaha; Metaha 4/43 to 4/43 then to Chateaudun; Chateaudun 4/43 to 6/43 then to Sousse; Sousse 6/43 to 9/43 then to Catania; Catania 9/43 to 10/43 then to Bari; Bari 10/43 to 6/46.

    He has further hospital admissions in October 1944 and January 1945. Presumably his unit were, like the rest of the Army in Italy, “holding the line” in the mountains and the harsh weather took its toll (Edit to correct above - unit was in Yugoslavia by this time but my comments about harsh conditions still apply). He appears to have another hospital admission for a week in late March/early April 1945.

    He has a month’s U.K. leave from 15th August until 13th September 1945 under LIAP scheme (home leave for soldiers who had been abroad for several years).

    He is posted to a Transit Camp in November 1945 as the first stage in his repatriation/ demobilisation process and has another week in 22 General Hospital late January 1946.

    22 British General Hospital
    Pembroke Dock 1/9/39 to 9/40 then to Macallock Castle; Mackalloch Castle [spelling differs every time] 9/40 to 9/40 then to Glasbury-on-Wye; Glasbury-on-Wye 9/40 to 10/40 then to Copthorne; Shrewsbury Copthorne 11/40 to 5/42 then overseas; Quassassin 7/42 to 8/42 then to Saida; Saida (Syria) 8/42 to 5/43 then to Quassassin; Quassassin 5/43 to 1/44 then to Taranto; Taranto 1/44 to 6/45 then to Mestre; Mestre 6/45 to 7/45. (Record ends at this date)

    He returned to the Transit Camp 4th Feb and set off for U.K. 19th February - arriving 23rd Feb. He commenced his demobilisation/terminal leave the following day taking him through to his discharge date 3rd June 1946.

    I’m sure that all the mentions of hospital admissions will make you keen to discover the reasons for his time in hospital. Unfortunately MOD do not release medical information.

    You might wish to get hold of the unit War Diaries to gain an insight to his activities from Summer 1942 until the end of the war.

    Last edited: Mar 11, 2019
  6. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place.... Patron

    1 Dec 1944 he was posted to 111 Field Regiment (in Vis) but admitted to 98 General Hospital on 7th Jan 1945 and SO *signed off?) 111 Field 15th Jan. Not sure what the other remarks mean - classified class II and admin 162. Maybe he was medically downgraded?
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  7. Volitans

    Volitans Member

    Wow. Thank you so much for that! That would have taken me a long time to figure that out. Really appreciate it.
  8. CL1

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

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  9. harkness

    harkness Well-Known Member

    British Army Casualty Lists 1939-1945:

  10. Volitans

    Volitans Member

    Thanks Harkness. Is A/L/Bdr Acting Lance Bombardier?
  11. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member


    Harkness thought I would save you some time :whistle:
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  12. Volitans

    Volitans Member

    Looking at Harkness post, 2 others were injured same date in the same regiment. Would be great to get the war diary for that date to see if there is any information. Possibly counter-battery fire?
  13. bofors

    bofors Senior Member

  14. harkness

    harkness Well-Known Member

    Sorry chaps, I'm only allowed 2 hours per day on the library computers (10:05-12:05).
  15. Volitans

    Volitans Member

    Starting to look back into this - what with the lockdown and all.
    Is there any way to tell which battery of 111 Fd Rgt Jack was in?
    Also, does it look like he went to Yugoslavia with 111?

    Thanks in advance - i'm still trying to find my way around these forms.
    I just learnt what X2 meant so I am slowly getting there :)
  16. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    You may find his battery if you look in the unit war diary for April/May 1943. He should be listed in the weekly field returns under the OR Casualty returns of men the CO “desired to be returned to the unit”.

    I identified my uncles battery by that method.

    Good Luck

  17. Volitans

    Volitans Member

    I think I may have figured it out. This book details one soldiers time in 111 Field Reg, and lists the field diary for 21 April 1943 (the day Jack was listed as injured). It mentions a few men in 212 Bty were hurt and 1 killed so I think this might be the answer?

  18. Volitans

    Volitans Member

    Any idea what the 3-digit numbers written in pen are for?
  19. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

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  20. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

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