Royal Engineers Assault - D-Day ( looking for info )

Discussion in 'Royal Engineers' started by IrishSoldier, Apr 27, 2011.

  1. IrishSoldier

    IrishSoldier Member

    It was lovely to see the Queen laying a wreath for all our boys who fought and died in the two world wars...long overdue in my opinion but there are varied and complex political reasons for that... just regarding the RUR, in fact I do some living history reenacting and we portray the RUR in WW2, both battalions actually... did you know that over 50% of the RUR was made up of men from south of the border, and that an even higher percentage of Officers were Eire men... not that its any huge deal to me but these are facts that are not often published... great fighting regiment!!
  2. fray

    fray Junior Member

    Sgt. Frederick Charles Read b.1915 Poplar

    I have just found WW2 Talk and was amazed to find references to 940 coy IWT RE.
    My father enlisted in the RE at Eltham in Oct. 1939. He was killed at Duisberg in Sept. 1945.
    A lighterman before the war he was posted to IWT and from his records 940.
    From 1941-1944 he was in Iraq and embarked for NW Europe on the 3.6.44.
    When he was fatally injured he was a SNCO and skipper of TID37. TID93 was tied up butty fashion at the time of the incident.
    Any guidance regarding war diaries, books, recollections etc. would be very welcome.
  3. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Sgt. Frederick Charles Read b.1915 Poplar

    I have just found WW2 Talk and was amazed to find references to 940 coy IWT RE.
    My father enlisted in the RE at Eltham in Oct. 1939. He was killed at Duisberg in Sept. 1945.
    A lighterman before the war he was posted to IWT and from his records 940.
    From 1941-1944 he was in Iraq and embarked for NW Europe on the 3.6.44.
    When he was fatally injured he was a SNCO and skipper of TID37. TID93 was tied up butty fashion at the time of the incident.
    Any guidance regarding war diaries, books, recollections etc. would be very welcome.

    Hi and welcome to the forum. The units war diaries will be in the National Archives at Kew.

  4. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce Patron

    Hello Fray and welcome

  5. fray

    fray Junior Member

    Based on the information you give it is most likely that the unit was 940 Inland Water Transport Operating Company RE. The basic sapper trade in this unit was lighterman but it did not actually operate lighters and did not operate on inland water ways.

    On D Day sections of this company arrived off Sword Beach on LSTs from H+7 hours onwards. Each of the first waves of LSTs towed Rhino Ferries which were used to transfer vehicles from the LST to shore. 940 IWT Company operated the Rhinos.

    Certainly the beaches were still being shelled when the first Rhinos beached. Sea conditions were also bad.

    Hello TRUX
    My Father Sgt.Frederick Charles Read 1915-1945 was in 940.I wonder if you could tell me more about 940 IWT etc,
    Thanks and regards
    Colin Read
  6. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Just a word Irishsoldier... about the RUR. Yes I was aware that men from both sides the border served. The RUR Colonel was so proud of his men..... He thought they were the very best in the world. Not only for their fighting quality; but also for their sense of Humour under the most trying of circumstances
  7. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron


    I can help a little. This is a bad time when I am separated from some of my material, am tidying my computer files and am decorating.

    940 Inland Waterway Operating Company arrived at Sword Beach on D Day. They travelled on the first two waves of LSTs which arrived at H+7 hours and H+12 hours. A team of sappers, with a number of pioneers to assist, were to operate the Rhino Ferries which unloaded vehicles from the LSTs and took them to the beach. A Rhino could unload an LST in two loads. Less in some cases because the first LSTs to arrive had DUKWs on the Tank Deck and these swam ashore. Having unloaded the LST on which they travelled they then remained to unload later arrivals, LSTs and Coasters. They worked on Sword for a month when the beach was closed.

    I think all the Port Operating Companies eventually went to Antwerp where they operated more conventional barges. In 1945 they handed over much of the work to Belgian civilians and went to help build the impressive pontoon bridges over the Rhine.

    More detail later if you are interested.

  8. fray

    fray Junior Member

    Great,thank you very much.Any info or pointers welcome.You may gather that I am trying to get a feel for my fathers 6 years service.
    Regards Colin
  9. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    940 Inland Water Transport Operating Company.

    At H+7 hours the following landed.
    Five Caterpillar D8 Angledozers with 15 crew.
    67 men

    At H+12 hours the following landed.
    Four Caterpillar D8 Angledozers with 12 crew.
    180 men

    Each Rhino Ferry had a crew of
    13 or 14 men from the IWT Operating Company
    1 D8 with 3 crew
    9 Pioneers from 267 Company.

    940 arrived as described above. On D Day and D+1 they were hampered by a heavy swell, and by damage caused in the Channel crossing. They had to be guided and powered by mooring LCMs or LCTs alongside. Later they unloaded MT Coasters until wear and tear made them inefficient and they were used for unloading stores. In this role they were beached and then unloaded over the side onto trucks.

    You can find the War Establishment for the company at TRUX Models. Go to Arms/Engineers/Ports and Waterways. Or type Inland Water Transport Operating Company in the search facility on this forum. This was modified for use on D Day.

  10. fray

    fray Junior Member

    Thank you so much for your latest info.
    I am working on a coy like 940 being about 120 men.Would they be in periodic contact?Would they all be aware of what their fellow coy members be doing.
    I have located a surviving member of 940.
    He has sent several photos that suggest TID tugs 104,38,57 were attached to 940 as well as 37 that my father skippered and 93.
    Do you know if there is a list of TID tugs attached to IWT units .
    My survivor suggests that 940 operated TIDS on DDay to marshall other craft and tow Mulberry sections.This may suggest my father was not on a Rhino.
    Do you know if a war diary would answer this type of question.
    Thanks again for your help,Regards,Colin
  11. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron



    A Royal Engineer company was larger. 250 men would be an average.

    The Inland Water Transport units after D day are something that I plan to study but have only a general idea of at present. The normal role was the operation of tugs and barges. On D Day and for some time afterwards they operated the Rhino ferries. The Rhinos were assault equipment and were replaced by barges and tugs as they wore out or were withdrawn.

    Off the beaches there were break waters of old ships which were certainly towed by tugs. The IWT companies had depot ships moored in the shelter of the break waters and these provided living accommodation and maintenance facilities. On Juno they used a non standard early LST. I an not sure about Sword. Something else to check.

    It is certainly possible, even likely, that the IWT tugs and skippers were used to tow the many components for Gooseberries and Mulberries. The tugs you mention seem to be Army tugs but I will check further.

    I have the report of the Principal Military Landing Officer for Sword. He was in charge of all landing operations until Sword closed. I will see if he has anything to say about tugs and barges.

  12. Legasee

    Legasee Junior Member

    One of our veterans here at Legasee - Ted Hunt, of the Royal Engineers, was second-in-command of the Rhino LST landing crafts during D-day. If you would like to hear his rare and incredibly detailed first-hand account please register for free with Legasee.

    We are always on the look-out for veterans to add to our online video archive, so if you are a war veteran (based in Britain) who served in the Army,Navy or RAF and have a story to tell please contact us on 0207 033 9773 or email on We look forward to hearing from you!

    Ted Hunt - Royal Engineers
  13. Besso

    Besso Junior Member

    Hi I'm new to the Forum.

    My Grandfather was a member of 940 IWT. At the end of the war he upon his discharge, received a memento from the company carpenter as a sign of friendship. My Grandfather has now pass away and I received this memento from my Grandmother. I was wondering if anyone knows who the company carpenter is and if this gentlemen is still alive?


  14. sior

    sior Junior Member

    If we are looking for an engineer unit landing on Sword early on D Day there are many to choose from.
    Here is a list more or less in order on the first tide.
    77 Assault Squadron
    79 Assault Squadron
    629 Field Company
    263 Field Company
    860 Mechanical equipment section
    246 Field Company
    17 Field Company
    253 Field Company
    15 Field Park Company
    84 Field Company
    71 Field Company
    50 Mechanical equipment section
    91 Field company.

    There were other smaller units. Any additional fact you have would narrow it down considerably. I can supply details of any the above but supplying all would be a big task.


    Does anyone know where i can find info on special company 556? My Grandfather landed on Juno Beach with his RE unit. I am trying to find out more on this.

  15. shaun bromwell

    shaun bromwell Junior Member

    thanks for that list TRUX. Didnt know my Grandfather went in on Sword. Where could I find information on 23rd Mechanical Equipment Platoon? He was with 8th Army in N Africa and also went ashore in Italy but I'm not sure who with. He had shrapnel and was hospitalised for a couple of weeks. Could he have been at Anzio?
  16. billsboy

    billsboy Junior Member

    Irish soldier, my dad was at Sword beach in the second wave in and he was in 253 Field Company R E's they were attached to the Ulster Rifles.
    You may not have to wait as long as you think for the records or any medals that you claim, I had my dads medals within a fortnight and that was 18 months ago.
    When my son enquired by phone about his records they were very helpful. The address for medals is Ministry of Defence Medal Office, Innsworth House, Imjin barracks, Gloucester GL3 1HW Tel 0141 224 3600. I hope thats of help.
  17. RWH

    RWH Junior Member

    Hi Billsboy Iam a New boy! My Dad was with the 253 Co on D Day I think he landed late on. You mention the RURs he was with them at Cambes and was involved with mine work and they provided cover. About the 16th july he was injured with others and 2 REs were killed There are two RE graves in the war cemetary at Cambes along with many RURs I visited it a few years back , alas without dad. So peaceful there now. Bob
  18. StevePaddler

    StevePaddler Junior Member

    Hi everyone.

    I have been research my dads war record with 940 IWT from D-day to the end of the war. One thing I can't seem to find out is what happened after they left Duisberg!

    Does anyone know their route back from Germany? Where did they cross the channel form and what port did they arrive back in?

    I would be very interested to find out, but for the moment I have drawn a blank. Most frustrating.

    I have found out that he was on assault Convoy S14A. can anyone shed any light on specific convoys?

    Thanks for any help in finding these nuggets of information.
  19. fray

    fray Junior Member

    Hello Steve
    I tried to reply to your post and seem to have miscued,not sure where it went.
    My father was with 940 and I know they were disbanded @ Duisberg in 1945 @ The House of A Thousand Windows.
    The war diaries @ kew give a fascinating insite to DDay.
    I have spent hours trying to trace any survivors and have found an elderly guy living in the Lake District.He has been very generous with pics and info's.
    Was your father a lighterman?I would welcome the chance to discuss.
    Regards Colin Read
  20. StevePaddler

    StevePaddler Junior Member

    Hi There

    Great to hear from you.

    You mean Dick Fisher in Applethwaite! I went to see him a couple of weeks ago. Ho told me lots of fascinating stuff.

    He was actually good mates with my dad and that made it a bit special.

    He also told me that there was someone in France that had sent him a photo of 940 in front of a TID on the Albert Canal. Is that you?

    I found the picture somewhere else on the internet but it was very small. Would like to get my hands on a larger one as Dick was positive that Dad was in it.

    Dad was a Fireman Marine and worked exclusively on TIDs from what Dick told me.

    I hope you get this message as I'm not sure that I completely understand how to use this site. If you want to contact me directly my email is



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