My Grandad: London Irish Rifles

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by Lissy93, Jul 28, 2021.

  1. Lissy93

    Lissy93 Member

    Thank you for having me on this page.
    I have my grandads records with up to date abbreviations - not being army minded- Simply put, I don’t understand a lot of movements of it. I’m not sure if anyone would be able to look at these records. I need major help trying to figure it all out, I don’t know whether I can post them but would be happy to privately message the army records over.
    Over the years, my mum has applied for his army records, contacted LIR museums etc. The picture with highlighted face was sent to my mum- she believes that is him.
    He was 70th LIR/RUR battalion- 1942/1943
    My mum said he spoke a lot about being in Sicily and a place in italy named- Foggia.
    Also she thought he spent most of his time as a para- but could be wrong because his documents says he was a rifleman. I posted a badge elsewhere on this page and had an answer- so thank you for that.
    She said he was so proud of this period of his life.. She wishes she could remember what he used to tell her.
    We think, we found a picture with him( not sure the date works out because I’m not sure on accuracy of army docs) but also can’t confirm it because we don’t understand his records at all- a captured flag in Italy in 1943. 1st airlanding brigade. We think, he’s behind a little girl but so hard to tell- My mum tried to compare with his wedding picture- we could be stabbing in the dark completely without help with his records. Villach ‘A’ release and special reception camps are mentioned on his casualty and service records.
    Any help would be appreciated greatly.
    There has been numerous things amongst family members said about him being a para but understand it could all just be exaggerated or just straight poppycock. So would love to know if that in anyway is true.
    Also his Army number doesn’t bring any military results on Ancestry other than a tracer card. I’ve been delving into the national archives online but seems like a guessing game with all the amalgamations.
    Thank you.
    Place: London( Barnet)
    Birth: 7th August 1922
    Death: September 2000.
    He had fair hair and blue eyes.
    Service: 9 year and 86 days.
    He also was in TA C61BDC35-6C88-4922-8002-6FF44D2D775A.jpeg 201464E4-7BB9-4B74-B13F-BFBB6A34EE6D.jpeg 41C711B3-F359-45A0-9637-289073AC1C21.jpeg 07B32775-4F6C-476F-832D-3A2832B2B9F4.png 92B6E406-56FB-41FC-A8E3-F144A18DC179.jpeg 812A7551-9D18-4255-9D41-C3BDCC1D8D90.jpeg
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  2. Lissy93

    Lissy93 Member

    I would also like to add, I’m sure my mum wouldn’t mind it if I uploaded it all at a later date publicly but we would like to know his life before doing so, I think. Thank you
  3. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member


    What we might know

    1) The 70th Battalion LIR:
    "A Young Soldiers’ company of the London Irish had been formed early in 1940. It was for young men between the ages of eighteen and nineteen-and-a-half, and the object was to train them to the highest standards of drill, skill-at-arms, discipline, and turn-out, so that when they became of military age, which at that time was twenty, they would be fit to take their places as soldiers in the 1st and 2nd Battalions.

    A training cadre had been formed from the Regiment consisting of CSM Lillie (Royal Ulster Rifles), CQMS Daniel (2nd Battalion, London Irish Rifles), PSMs Morgan and Flynn, and Sergeants Sloan, Hawes, and Bassett-Powell. Captain BG Buckley, assisted by Lieutenant M Holding, was in command.

    In May 1941 a second company was formed under Mr Holding, who was promoted Captain, and senior platoons of Young Soldiers took over guard duties at vulnerable points at factories and other important installations in north-west London. Their standard of conduct and efficiency was very high, and was commended by officers of the London District who inspected them from time to time. Eventually the Young Soldiers became the 70th Battalion of the London Irish Rifles, commanded by Lieut.-Colonel GHK Ryland (Royal Ulster Rifles), with Captain J Stevens as Adjutant, and Mr W Burden (Royal Ulster Rifles) as RSM. Drafts of well- trained young men were frequently dispatched to the senior battalions, and some went to the airborne units, the Royal Corps of Signals, and also to the Royal Artillery. They proved themselves first-class troops and were a credit to those who had trained them. Many former London Irish Young Soldiers fell in battle, while others survived to receive well-earned decorations for gallantry and devotion to duty.

    The 70th Battalion ceased to exist in January 1943, when by War Office order all such units were disbanded, their personnel being sent to senior units"

    2) Photo
    Definitely LIR - and probably the 70th Bn...

    3) The Army records.
    The summary dates are pretty rubbish - and can "confuse". Do you have the more detailed postings page?

    4) "My mum said he spoke a lot about being in Sicily and a place in italy named- Foggia."
    Both LIR battalions were in Sicily in July/Aug/Sep 1943- but not ever as a unit in Foggia.

    5) MEF.
    Those 170 days with the "MEF" might suggest that he could have gone to Sicily from North Africa - in July or August - but with which unit?
    and possibly went over to the mainland in Set or Oct 1943 - before returning to North Africa in November 1943...where he seemed to remain for the duration.

    As I say, if you did have the detail of postings, then some of the above will be clear(er).

    edit: what's his army number ? - I presume in a 701/702.... sequence?

    Last edited: Jul 28, 2021
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  4. Lissy93

    Lissy93 Member

    Thank you for such a quick response!
    I have a lot of records, including a detailed casualty and service record. Is there anyway I could privately send you what I have? Atleast until my mum ‘okays’ posting it publicly.
    Thank you

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  5. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

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  6. Lissy93

    Lissy93 Member

  7. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

  8. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    Lissy, you say you have his Royal Artillery tracer card, if we are looking at the same one there is a 'First joined" date of 1950 and an 8 figure service number, it looks like he went straight in following his period in reserve after his WW2 service. I think that the card also shows his original service number that would indicate he enlisted with the Royal Ulster Rifles.
    If you put his number in here it will confirm:
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  9. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member


    Could you post all the pages of his Service Record?


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  10. Lissy93

    Lissy93 Member

    Is this any help?

    Attached Files:

  11. Lissy93

    Lissy93 Member

  12. Lissy93

    Lissy93 Member

    That’s page 3/4
    Sorry it’s all stapled in the wrong order.
  13. Lissy93

    Lissy93 Member

    Page 1
    page 2
    Page 3
    Page 4
    On the last page there is a stamp that’s faded but it’s says Release to (Airborne) Royal Army
  14. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member


    Although he started as RUR, this is because they were the sponsoring Regiment for the London Irish. The London Irish were reservists so all their training staff came from RUR. In the same way, London Scottish were reservists and sponsored by the Gordon Highlanders.

    His Service Record shows that he was in 1st Battalion London Irish who were in 168 Infantry Brigade in 56 Infantry Division.

    That places him at the crossing of the mighty Garigliano in Jan 44 and Anzio in Feb-Mar 44.


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  15. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    My reading of the discharge entry stamp is “Discharged Class Z (T) Royal Army Reserve” which is the phrase that is oft used on the service records of demobilised men post WW2.

    I’ve never seen the phrase you have adopted used previously.

    I presume the airborne connection can be inferred from the bottom stamp on the B103 that suggests he re enlisted in Territorial Army in 1950?

    It may tie in with the 8 figure number 22529331 stamped beside the 7 figure army service number at the top the first page of his B103 - indicating a new number was issued on reenlistment?

    Have MOD provided details of his TA service?

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  16. Lissy93

    Lissy93 Member

    I’ve dug the rest of the docs out and this is all I’ve got. I hope this helps. Hopefully it does. I feel his documents are a good set of documents although confusing for me to fully grasp. So I appreciate all the help that has been offered here so far. My mum and her brother weren’t at this point 5 years ago let alone 10 years ago so we couldn’t do this without the help of you all on here! Thank you, we are so very grateful. 5F83FF15-CECA-4249-AE72-CB73424B25E0.jpeg


    I think the (Airborne) aspect came from this stamp where it says Unit.
  17. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    His TA service appears to have been with a Royal Artillery Forward Observation Unit.

    They would’ve dropped with a Paratroop force and likely been responsible for “calling in” artillery support fire. Frank, Forum member minden1759 , will likely be able to expand on his airborne duties.

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  18. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    He would have been part of an Artillery Tactical Group. Led by an Artillery Captain, this small group of men attached themselves to a Parachute Rifle Company and had the job of calling in fire on their behalf.

    He would have probably operated the radio and made sure that it was always working.


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