Sapper Peter Stuart Royal Engineers Unit 558 Field Comp

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by Findpeter, Nov 8, 2019.

  1. Findpeter

    Findpeter Member

    Would any of the WW2Talk community care to have a look at my fathers Service records and if possible walk me through his journey through his years in uniform? What can expert eyes pick out from the records?

    Sapper Peter Stuart Army no: 2020264

    He spoke very sparingly about his time in the army...he told me..he cleared mines and blew things up...he said he was torpedoed twice on troop ships...I know he was in North Africa..Italy..Monte Casino...I have just received his Service records so I can see his Units...but not having any military knowledge I don't know what they in why he was moved from Unit to Unit...who these Units would have been attached these Units travelled around the areas of conflict. He was a very law abiding person and I was surprised to see redacted instances where he was obviously in trouble... and not just once! that just how it was? I can see one instance where he was in trouble for being incorrectly dressed! His medals are in storage for safe keeping but I do know one of them has Oak leaf clasp which means he was mentioned in dispatches. I hope to find out as much as I can about my fathers war years...if I pass and haven't found the information out I will pass his medals to my son but he will have no story to go with them and knowing how things go I doubt he will research...but if I have found out what I can he will look after the knowledge along with his medals. If I just find enough out to continue my search at Kew that would be great...but currently I am a bit lost as to what his records tell me...apologies!

    Another poster on the forum has posted a photograph which comes up on a search for '558' they are identified as a Water I being misled by the Unit number...or could this be my fathers IMG_2495.JPG IMG_2496.JPG IMG_2485.JPG IMG_2486.JPG IMG_2487.JPG IMG_2488.JPG IMG_2489.JPG IMG_2490.JPG IMG_2491.JPG IMG_2493.JPG IMG_2494.JPG Unit?

    Many thanks in anticipation.


  2. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    I am about to go away for the weekend, but if nobody has managed to go through this carefully by the time I am back, I'll try to do so (no particular expertise with Royal Engineers, but can probably manage it).

    Moving from unit to unit was not unusual, especially not in the Royal Engineers where they needed a man with a specific trade or skill in a specific place to carry out a specific task.

    Ultimately, what you want to extract from these is a list of units and dates: when he was posted to each unit and when he left. From there, you can use DISCOVERY, the National Archives search engine to compile a list of references for the War Diaries of those units, which will give you the exact locations he was in and a rough idea of what the unit was doing.


    Are those redactions modern (i.e. made on your copy of the record by the people who sent them to you) or contemporaneous (made years ago)?

    Are you able to read them? I can see that in at least one case the text is visible, but not enough for me to read it.
    Findpeter likes this.
  3. Findpeter

    Findpeter Member

    Hi Charley Fortnum

    Thank you for responding...I hope that you have a great weekend away!

    The redactions are modern..a black felt tip pen over not able to read them unfortunately. I will ask my wife to have a look her eyesight is a bit better than mine!
  4. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Just a thought, but i've heard of men on a charge for being 'improperly dressed' in North Africa who managed to get serious sunburn and/or sunstroke for not wearing suitable headgear.

    That sounds harsh, but if new and newish arrivals sometimes got badly burnt enough that the man could not carry out duties, so some units cracked down on any infringement.
    Findpeter likes this.
  5. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    I almost got there by turning up the contrast and playing with the colours in my image editing software, but I could only make out odd letters.

    It doesn't look like they've done it very well: try holding it up to the window on a sunny day!
    Findpeter likes this.
  6. Findpeter

    Findpeter Member

    Ha ha will do! I would love to know what he was up to!
  7. Scott1975

    Scott1975 Active Member

    Nice to see you made it here. Can I ask if you took pics of the records on your phone?
    If so, can you scan them for easier reading?
    Charley did a great job with my G'dads records.

    Findpeter and CL1 like this.
  8. Findpeter

    Findpeter Member

    Hi Scott..yes thank you for your advice! I am amazed at the amount of knowledge on the site and the willingness for members to share it. Photos taken with a small digital camera it's all I access to a scanner unfortunately.

  9. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    Thanks for posting the records.

    ‘I can’t see any mention of the award of the MID Oak Leaf so you need to search the London Gazette where it ought to be mentioned. I see he was awarded the 1st Army Clasp to the Africa Star.

    He appears to have spent most of his time in U.K. with 502 Field Company RE - with various training attachments - and an extended period of Agricultural Leave in Sept/Oct 1941.

    He was posted to 558 Field Company RE for service in North Africa and whilst he was awarded the Italy Star I can’t see any mention of where he went to earn that award- not necessarily Italy!

    He appears to have had a brush with Military Authority in August 1945 and appears to have been sentenced to a period of Field Punishment - probably 3 months - until December 1945. He returns to U.K. in late December 1945 for 28 days leave under LIAP scheme.

    ‘He is posted from 558 FC to 1213 Stores Section 1st March 1946 and onto 302 Transit Camp - presumably in Salonika - from where he departed for the demobilisation process in U.K. starting his termination leave 25th June 1946 before being discharged to the Reserve in late September 1946. He remained on the Reserve until he was finally discharged in 1959.

    You need to have sight of his unit War Diaries to have an idea of his movements and duties both in U.K. 1940/43 and his service overseas 1943/46.

    ‘Several forum members offer a look up and copy service at the national archives. If you are interested drop Andy Drew5233 or Lee PsyWar.Org a personal message.

    Good Luck

  10. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member


    Your father was indeed at Cassino. 558 Fd Coy RE was part of IX (BR) Corps Troops RE. At the end of the North African campaign, IX (BR) Corps was disbanded and IX (BR) Corps Troops RE was redesignated 16th GHQ Troops RE (GHQTRE) on 31 May 43 and later joined the Italian Campaign.

    On 22 Jan 44, 16 GHQ Tps RE came into the line on the River Garigliano as part of the massive bridging operations in support of X (BR) Corps during the First Battle of Cassino. The fighting at Cassino bogged down, and three major assaults failed. The Fourth Battle of Cassino on 11 May 44 had 16 GHQ Tps RE working as Ccorps RE for II Polish Corps.

    If you ever want to go and see what he got up to at Cassino, do get in touch through


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  11. Findpeter

    Findpeter Member

    Huge thank you to Steve and Frank for looking at my fathers Records and previously Charley and finding a way through the jargon. Yes Steve I was stumped to find a posting for Italy but could find mentions of CMF and MEF but didn't know if that was just because of his time at Salonika waiting to be sent home.

    When I decided to see what I could find out about my fathers time in Italy ...and of course Africa... I had an idea to visit around Monte Cassino but I will have to see how my health goes...but yes I was aware of your excellent battle field trips Frank.

    Thank you once again..hugely appreciated!
  12. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Just to add to what Tullybrone and minden1759 have supplied, here's what I can make out line by line, having consolidated all the information into chronological order:

    Enlisted: 13/6/40

    Embodied with 6th Training Battalion Royal Engineers in Elgin: 13/6/40 [Possibly with ‘D’ Company]

    Posted to 222nd Field Company R.E. in Leominster: 26/10/40

    Granted Leave 11th to 18/12/40 with H.R.R.A. (Higher Rate Ration Allowance--I think).

    Posted to 502nd Field Company R.E. in Stowbridge: 25/1/41

    Attached Commander, Royal Engineers Headquarters 47 Division at Chichester with effect from 16/4/41 to 19/4/41. Granted Leave with Standard Local Rate 1st to 8/5/41

    Proceeded on Carpentry and Joinery Course, Hampshire(?) Training Group: 12/5/41 to 21/6/41

    Granted Leave: 24th to 31/7/41. Granted Agricultural Leave with Standard Local Rate: 17th to 30/9/41. Granted Extension of Agricultural Leave with Standard Local Rate: 1st to 12/10/41. Granted Leave: 2nd to 10/12/41 (Chichester). Granted Leave and Standard Local Rate 9th to 19/3/42. Granted Leave and Standard Local Rate: 28/5 to 6/6/42.

    Proceeded on Carpenters & Joiners Course at School of Military Engineering Trades Training Wing at Brompton Barracks and attached for all purposes: 30/7/42.

    Trades Training Wing, School of Military Engineering at Chatham: Attached to this unit for all purposes with effect from 30/7/42. Granted Standard Local Rate (Leave) 18th to 25/9/42.

    Returned from Carpenters & Joiners Course at Trades Training Wing, School of Military Engineering, Chatham to 502nd Field Company R.E. at Winchester (previously notes as Chichester): 19/11/42. Passed Trade Test & raised from Carp. & Joiner Group B, Class 3 to Carp. & Joiner Group B, Class 2.

    Posted to 558th Field Company R.E. at Winchester: 27/11/42
    558th Field Company R.E.: Embarked UK for North Africa: 14/3/43
    Disembarked North Africa 23/3/43

    Ordered by Officer Commanding to forfeit 14 days ordinary pay on 20/9/43: improperly dressed on 16/9/43

    Awarded 1st Army Clasp (to the Africa Star): Date Unrecorded

    Under Close Arrest (details redacted): 12/9/45.
    Charge Confirmation by Commander 217 Area on 9/11/45.
    Promulgated in the field on 22/11/45
    Released from Field Punishment. Remission earned: Nil: 10/12/45.

    Returned to duty with A & S Group Central Mediterranean Forces and then 558th Field Company R.E.: 17/1/46.

    Granted 28 days leave in the UK. Departed Central Mediterranean Force: 26/12/45; Returned 30/1/46. Disembarked - UK 29/12/45; LIAP [Leave In Advance of Python]: 28 days with effect from 30/12/45.

    Medical Category Assessed as A1: 1/3/46

    Struck off Strength Mediterranean Forces to Middle East Forces (owing to) Change of Command of Greece with effect from: 31/3/46.

    Posted from 558th Field Company to 1213 Stores Section: 1/3/46.

    Posted (to) 1014 Po Company (?Hard to read): 302 Transit Camp: 16/6/46.
    Embarked at Salonika for UK Release & Struck off Strength Mediterranean Forces: 16/6/46.

    Proceeded on Release Leave: 27/6/46

    Released to Class ‘Z’ (T) Royal Army Reserve: 27/9/46 (Class ‘A’ Release)

    Discharged from Reserve Liability: 30/6/59

    Awarded: Africa Star (+1st Army Clasp), Italy Star, 1939-45 Star, War Medal, Defence Medal
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2019
    Findpeter, wibs12, Scott1975 and 2 others like this.
  13. Findpeter

    Findpeter Member

    Thank you so much Charley...I do know that the records are not very easy to read even looking at the copies sent to me as they are very faint..reading the explanations from members here has certainly helped me understand them!

    Never mind Mondays it looks like my father didn't like Septembers!

    Many thanks again to everyone who has welcomed me and helped me...much appreciated! Everyone's input has certainly put a picture in my mind of my fathers time in uniform.


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