Mallard lift gliders, 1 RUR.

Discussion in 'Airborne' started by frg7700, Sep 14, 2017.

  1. frg7700

    frg7700 Junior Member

    Has anyone tied up the CNs/crews/loads for 1 RURs lift on the evening of 6/6/44?

    If not, where's a good place to start looking? MAF, IWM?
  2. CL1

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

  3. frg7700

    frg7700 Junior Member

    Thanks for that, nice concise little report.
  4. frg7700

    frg7700 Junior Member

    Even the number of gliders 1 RUR utilised would be a start... I know one had to be "changed".
  5. Richelieu

    Richelieu Well-Known Member

    You may also find the 1 RUR War Diary useful; it has been transcribed at 1st Battalion The Royal Ulster Rifles. There is also a Roll of Honour and unit history elsewhere on this site, and towards the bottom of Brigade Headquarters, 6th Airlanding Brigade there is an Air Movement Table dated 20/5/44 that indicates a total of 70 gliders (c/n 1-35, 38-72).

    Although ‘One Night in June’ deals with TONGA you may also find its bibliography helpful and, if nothing else, the appendices will give you some encouragement of the information still out there... somewhere!
    Aixman and CL1 like this.
  6. frg7700

    frg7700 Junior Member

    Thanks Your most revered eminence (assuming you're that Richelieu)
    Heading the right way, that Pegasus Archive site is immense, an almost unbelievable undertaking.

    If I'd had sufficient interest no more than ten or fifteen years ago I could just have asked the questions of the men that were there.
  7. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Hi frg,

    In case you aren't aware there are a few books on 1 RUR. "The Rifles Are There" by Orr and Truesdale covers both the 1st and 2nd Battalions and has a few stories on the Mallard landing. Another by Captain R.E.H. Sheridan entitled "What Did You Do in the War, Dad?" looks like it would be a good read. You can get a taste of his writing on this page:

    Memories part II

    You might want to save that account as the rest of the site is unnavigable and may not be around for long? Broadcaster Huw Wheldon's Mallard experience can be found here:

    D DAY | Unbound

    I'm not sure how extensively Wheldon's war is covered in his biography, "Kicking the Bar", written by his son? More on the book here:

    Kicking The Bar

    Regards ...
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2017
  8. frg7700

    frg7700 Junior Member

    I have "The Rifles Are There", excellent book. Astounded, reading the synopsis that I haven't come across "What Did You Do In The War , Dad?" but will look into that now.

    Will check out those links now too, ta muchly!
  9. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron


    More links for you ... :wacko:

    They may exist somewhere but I've never actually seen a passenger list or manifest for the RUR Mallard gliders in my rambles. As for Glider Pilot Regiment it was F Squadron at Broadwell and E Squadron at Down Ampney. The GPR Pilots are named in the following link but they don't give the chalk number each pair was assigned to. I'm not sure what the first 3 digit number is suppose to represent?

    Headquarters, The Glider Pilot Regiment

    Staff-Sergeant Harry Howard GPR tells of his eventful takeoff from RAF Broadwell here:

    Staff-Sergeant Harry Howard

    There is a WW2Talk thread devoted to the glider "Churchill's Reply" (CN 5) which carried 1 RUR men. It's mostly an exercise in trying to determine its serial number and location on LZ N.

    Normandy Horsa - "5" Churchill's Reply.

    You can also get a glimpse of a few other RUR gliders (CNs 2, 3, and 9) that landed in the north end of LZ N in this thread though it might require a bit of digging:

    Location of D-Day photos by Sgt. Jim Christie and Others

    Regards ...
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2017
  10. frg7700

    frg7700 Junior Member

    Ahhh Now that's some great stuff, Thank you!
    Ordered a copy of "What Did You Do...." Albeit second hand.

    Hopefully next year's run to Normandy will have some new investigations!
  11. frg7700

    frg7700 Junior Member

    Baby steps, just collating the info already published here and in the other references cited & already I hit a contradiction.

    "The Rifles Are There" cites 18 Plt. B. Coy as the passengers on board CN-5 "Churchill's Reply" & mentions Lt. Archdale from that chalk meeting Lord Lovat.
    The unit OOB on "Pegasus Archive" however has Lt. Archdale in charge 12 Plt...
  12. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Hi frg,

    I think it's a typo and should be 12 Platoon, B Company. If you go through the book you will find other references to Lt. Archdale has being CO of 12 Platoon. 18 Platoon belonged to C Company with CO Lt. Gann. I found Paddy Devlin's account and he lists Lt. Mike Gann as CO of 18 Platoon as well.

    Memoires by Paddy Devlin

    A couple of well known D-Day photos. The first, B 5205, we analyzed to death in this thread:

    Missing Ciné film from 6th Airborne landings

    The second, B 5200, shows men loading a jeep near the glider "Charlie's Aunt" on June 6th. According to this botched up site they claim it's the "Royal Ulster Rifles immediately after landing". I'm not sure how true that is, but it's the only bit of info I have come across that goes beyond the official record. The glider serial is "LH344".

    B 5205.jpg B 5200.jpg

    Regards ...
  13. frg7700

    frg7700 Junior Member

    My own and only trip to the IWM library was mostly spent analyzing that photo (B5205) also!

    Was interested to discover that a Chinese company have released a 1/35 jeep model with figures and accessories to recreate the scene.
  14. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Yes it's interesting when they recreate an image in model form.


    Regards ...
  15. frg7700

    frg7700 Junior Member

    I have one put away that I might get around to building someday, in the mean time...

    Airfields. It seems certain that much of the battalion departed from Broadwell, the remainder (most of A/F & Support Coys) left from either Down Ampney or Blakehill Farm and nobody seems to agree on which.

    Support Coy - Pegasus Archive has Major Eric "Killer" Johnston commanding, with Captain Ronnie Wilson as MTO. The Rifles Are There has Captain Wilson promoted to Major and leading the Company with Captain Dean Steadman taking over MT. Anyone with an insight?
  16. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron


    As for Mallard 1 RUR left from RAF Broadwell (512 and 575 Squadrons) and RAF Down Ampney (48 and 271 Squadrons) as shown in the 6th Airlanding Brigade HQ war diary pointed to by Richelieu above. As far as I can see aircraft from RAF Blakehill Farm didn't participate in the Mallard Operation as tug aircraft. They did take part in the resupply mission (Rob Roy I ?) on D-Day as did aircraft from Broadwell and Down Ampney. There were advance parties of 1 RUR men who took part in Operation Tonga many of whom left from RAF Harwell on gliders carrying the 6th Airborne Division HQ.

    There was movement of Officers from one position to another as Officers were killed or wounded. For example according to the book Major Hynds, Commander of C Coy, "was wounded in early July (7th) and evacuated from the battlefield." In the war diary (Peg Archive) on July 8th at Mesnil, "Major Johnston takes over command of C Coy. Capt Wilson takes over command of S Coy." Later on August 22 near Deauville Major Johnston was killed during attempts to cross the River Touques. I'm not sure who replaced him immediately afterwards.

    As for Captain Ronny Wilson the book tells us "Wilson had served as Motor Transport Officer (MTO) prior to Normandy, when he had handed over command to Captain Dean Steadman.' In the orbat we are told that Captain Dean O. Steadman took over M.T.O. in July 1944, probably at same time Wilson was moved to S Coy.

    Hope that helps ...Regards
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2017
  17. frg7700

    frg7700 Junior Member

    Okay, that both helps and complicates. The Blakewell references obviously only concern the use of transit camps then.

    Thanks for you assistance in everything!
  18. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron


    Yes perhaps the confusion arises due to transit camps? From the book, "The Rifles Are There":

    "On 25–26 May 1944, the Battalion, less ‘E’ (Reinforcement) Company, left Kiwi Barracks, Bulford and was despatched to the two invasion airfields, Blakehill Farm and Broadwell. Here both the weather and perimeter security was very good and all entertainment was within the barbed-wire fence surrounding the airfields."

    Check the war diary here. Blakehill Farm is referenced in relation to Major Drummond whose glider was forced to land prematurely on Op Tonga. Both the WD and the book have 1 RUR lifting off from Broadwell and Down Ampney.

    Regards ...
    dbf likes this.
  19. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron


    This should answer the question of transit camps as found in WO 223/26 posted at the very good resource site Normandy War Guides.

    "The story opens at the end of May, When the Battalion was ordered to move to a transit camp. The move, which was conducted in an air of great secrecy, took place on 25th and 26th May, "A", "F", and "S" Companies going to Blakehill Farm and Battalion HQ, with the remainder of the companies, to Broadwell. Reinforcements were left behind, at Bulford, under commband of Major G.P. Rickcord, assisted by Lieutenant H.L. Croft."

    Regards ...
  20. brithm

    brithm Senior Member


    Please find attached a document giving the Chalk Numbers, aircraft serial number, pilots with some of the corresponding glider pilots and loads. RAF 46 Group conveyed 1st Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles to LZ N. Also all the Glider Pilots are listed with their co-pilots but there is just no way to know which Horsa they flew over to Normandy. Also below are the comments made in the Operational Record Books of the Squadrons from 46 Group for Operation Mallard.

    512 Squadron ORB

    575 Squadron ORB

    271 Squadron ORB

    Attached Files:

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