South Lancashire Regiment

Discussion in 'User Introductions' started by Ray Hanson, Apr 26, 2011.

  1. Ray Hanson

    Ray Hanson Member

    Hello one and all. I have just joined the site to research my fathers WWII army service. Like many old soldiers he seldom talked about his experiences but I know that he served with the 1st Battalion South Lancashire Regiment, I believe with C Company, on D Day and until some time after the fall of Caen, when he was wounded and spent the remainder of the war in hospital/rehabilitation. I would like to hear from anyone, particularly any surviving veterans, who can shed light on his experiences.


    Ray
     
  2. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

  3. Pete Keane

    Pete Keane Senior Member

    Hi Ray

    Plenty of info on the SLancs here.

    Do you know your dads service number?

    I'm guessing he joined up post 1940 as 1st Bn were in France in 1940, he would probably have mentioned it.

    Best thing is to apply for his service history, costs £30, but should help immensely.

    Any specific questions, ask away.

    Pete
     
  4. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Do you know when he was wounded? Then I can probably tel;l you where and how. We saw a great deal of action with them
    Sapper
     
  5. Recce_Mitch

    Recce_Mitch Very Senior Member

    Welcome to the forum


    Cheers
    Paul
     
  6. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce Patron

    Hello and welcome

    Lesley
     
  7. Ray Hanson

    Ray Hanson Member

    Hi Ray

    Plenty of info on the SLancs here.

    Do you know your dads service number?

    I'm guessing he joined up post 1940 as 1st Bn were in France in 1940, he would probably have mentioned it.

    Best thing is to apply for his service history, costs £30, but should help immensely.

    Any specific questions, ask away.

    Pete
    I don't know his service number, but he joined in 1942 aged 19. I don't think there were many of the 1940 vintage still with the battalion on D Day. My father told me once that in his landing craft on the way to the beach the only man who was visibly terrified was the sergeant major, he being the only one who'd seen action before and really understood what was coming. The S'major performed very well once they hit the beach though.

    Can you tell me the procedure for obtaining his service history?

    Thanks for all the welcomes and the link to the war diary.
     
  8. Ray Hanson

    Ray Hanson Member

    Do you know when he was wounded? Then I can probably tel;l you where and how. We saw a great deal of action with them
    Sapper

    I don't know when he was wounded but I do know he was wounded by machine gun fire. He was always very vague about times and places. He told me once that he wanted to forget not to remember. Judging by the anecdotes he did tell I think it was late July or maybe early August. He did say that by the time he was wounded there was almost no one left in the battalion who'd been with them on 6th June, does that give a clue as to when it might have been?

    Regards

    Ray
     
  9. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    My girlfriends great uncle was in Dunkirk with 1 South Lancs and wounded in Normandy about the same time as your father. I beleive he was a section commander but not really looked at his career that much yet.
     
  10. RNPSA

    RNPSA Junior Member

    Hello from another new boy!!
     
  11. Pete Keane

    Pete Keane Senior Member

    I have a copy of the WO361 file for the 1 SLancs.

    Within the file is an irate letter from a War Ministry chap, berating the CO for poor record keeping in relation to men MIA, and the diary in general.

    The CO's letter back is a real gem - he points out that from D-Day onwards his men were in action every single day, and that in the 3 months since his battalion had, to all intents and purposes, had 3 complete changes of men. His HQ was so close to the front line that it was bombed out on three occasions resulting in the loss of all records each time. He ends with the simple invite - if the War Department can suggest a better way of doing things, they are welcome to come to the front line and have a go.

    The War Dept. report points out that the 1 SLancs suffered the highest rate of casualties for that period for an infantry Bn.

    If memory serves me correctly 1 Slancs were the first ashore on D-day.

    I have visited one 1st Bn chap, who was willing to talk about anything up to 6th June, but nothing beyond sighting France.

    One of the things that became apparent to me was how many men killed after D-day were replacements, in some iinstances the troops with them at the time didnt know their first names, only nicknames, sometimes not even then - I have a record of one poor lad who was killed the day he arrived. Bloody heartbreaking.

    Regards

    Pete
     
  12. Trux

    Trux 21 AG

    'C' Company, 1 South Lancs. were indeed among the first troops ashore. They landed on Sword Beach at H Hour from LSI(L) Glenearn. I can supply details of their actions on D Day but not after that.

    Mike
     
  13. Ray Hanson

    Ray Hanson Member

    I have a copy of the WO361 file for the 1 SLancs.

    Within the file is an irate letter from a War Ministry chap, berating the CO for poor record keeping in relation to men MIA, and the diary in general.

    The CO's letter back is a real gem - he points out that from D-Day onwards his men were in action every single day, and that in the 3 months since his battalion had, to all intents and purposes, had 3 complete changes of men. His HQ was so close to the front line that it was bombed out on three occasions resulting in the loss of all records each time. He ends with the simple invite - if the War Department can suggest a better way of doing things, they are welcome to come to the front line and have a go.

    The War Dept. report points out that the 1 SLancs suffered the highest rate of casualties for that period for an infantry Bn.

    If memory serves me correctly 1 Slancs were the first ashore on D-day.

    I have visited one 1st Bn chap, who was willing to talk about anything up to 6th June, but nothing beyond sighting France.

    One of the things that became apparent to me was how many men killed after D-day were replacements, in some iinstances the troops with them at the time didnt know their first names, only nicknames, sometimes not even then - I have a record of one poor lad who was killed the day he arrived. Bloody heartbreaking.

    Regards

    Pete
    Thanks for this Pete,

    I've learned more about the South Lancs in the last few days than from all the 'usual' books I've read on the subject. One thing that always puzzled me was that the books have eyewitness accounts from all of the other units in 8th Brigade but I don't think I've ever seen an eyewitness report from, or for that matter a photograph of, anyone in the South Lancs. Maybe the CO's letter about casualties and 3 changes of men goes someway to explaining that. Is the file you refer to available on line or do I need to pencil in a visit to Kew? Sorry if the answer's obvious, I'm still a novice at all this.

    Your experience with the vet who wouldn't talk about anything that happened in France rings very true. My father would happily talk about the 2 years he spent with the battalion prior to D Day and also the time after he was stretchered off the ship in Leith but about the time in between I heard him talk for probably no more than an hour or two at most spread over 50 years, and never for more than a few minutes at a time.

    Thanks again

    Ray
     
  14. Ray Hanson

    Ray Hanson Member

    'C' Company, 1 South Lancs. were indeed among the first troops ashore. They landed on Sword Beach at H Hour from LSI(L) Glenearn. I can supply details of their actions on D Day but not after that.

    Mike

    Thanks for this Mike, I didn't know they were on the Glenearn. I would very much appreciate details of C Company's actions on D Day. I've read the obvious books but they are not very detailed.

    Regards

    Ray
     
  15. Pete Keane

    Pete Keane Senior Member

    You are spot on about the lack of eyewitness accounts, its more a lack of eyewitnesses, and many who survived didnt wish to talk about their experiences - this isnt unique to the SLancs though, its a common thread amongst British military veterans.

    Trux - is your account from the war diary ?

    Cheers

    Pete
     
  16. Ray Hanson

    Ray Hanson Member

    Seems men find different ways of dealing with their experiences, some join associations etc and others, like my father, supress the memories and avoid reminders. I remember a former colleague of mine, who'd served in Burma, having a blazing row with the local Burma Star Association when they kept trying to persuade him to join. I don't suppose any of us know how we'd react in their circumstances.

    Regards

    Ray
     
  17. Trux

    Trux 21 AG

    As you all agree not much information is available for 1 South Lancs, and especially 'C' Company. Partly this is down to the Battalion CO, the company commander of 'C' Company and his successor all being killed, and communications being down due to the loss of signallers.

    What I have are the Landing Tables, 3 Division orders and the Cabinet Office account of 1 Corps operations on D Day. Put together they do not amount to a lot.

    I have edited the pieces onto a couple of pages. An E mail attachment would be the easiest way of sending them. I have been told how to upload items to this forum but I have never actually done it.

    Mike
     
  18. Ray Hanson

    Ray Hanson Member

    Thanks Mike, PM with e-mail details on the way.

    Ray
     

Share This Page