The Buffs Escaut 1940 Lt Col Hamilton

Discussion in '1940' started by Herbert, Aug 8, 2005.

  1. Herbert

    Herbert Junior Member

    Looking for the pages 46 to 62 chapter IV of the "Historical Records of the Buffs, 1919-1946.
    Also looking after curriculum and photographs of Lt-Colonel G. F. Hamilton.
    Other photographs of this Escaut battle around Petegem are of interest.
  2. Steen Ammentorp

    Steen Ammentorp Senior Member

    Okay – Here is what I got on him:

    Hamilton, George Frederick, M.C. Born /30/3/90.
    The Buffs. 2-Lt. 18/9/09. Lt. 21/10/11 (temp. capt. 17/2/15 to 28/5/15). Capt. 29/5/15. Adtj. 2/8/25 to 31/12/27. Maj. 1/1/28. Lt-Col. 6/9/37. (Supernummerary 6/9/40).
    Adjt. Spec. Res. 13/9/16 to 30/5/17. Spec Appt. (Class G G) (Intell.) N. Russ. Force 1/8/19 to 1/11/19.

    1914-1921. France & Belgium 9/9/14 to 28/20/14. 30/9/15 to 22/10/15, -/6/17 to 2/6/18 and 15/8/18 to 11/10/18. Greek Macedonia, Serbia, Bulgaria, European Turkey, and the Islands of the Ægean Sea 23/10/15 to 1/6/16. Russia 2/8/19 to 12/10/19. Despatches L.G. 17/2/15. S. and Cl. B.W.M. V.M. M.C. and Bar.

    Burma 1930-32. M. and Cl.
    Palestine 1936-39. M. and Cl.

    Source: Services of British Army Officers &cc 1939-1945. London : Savannah Publications, 1999. Page 221.

    Kind Regards
    Steen Ammentorp
    The Generals of World War II
  3. Keith Kendall

    Keith Kendall Member

    (Herbert @ Aug 8 2005, 03:31 PM) [post=37419]Looking for the pages 46 to 62 chapter IV of the "Historical Records of the Buffs, 1919-1946.

    Hi Herbert
    I currently have a copy of Historical Records of The Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment) 1919-1948 by C.R.B.Knight on loan from my county library. Is this the book you are referring to?
    If so what in pages 46 to 62 are you looking for and I will see what I can find.
    I'm not a good enough typist to type 16 pages verbatim also not sure about copyright laws but will precis what I can
    Keith :)
  4. Mick Mills

    Mick Mills Junior Member

    I have a diary compiled by Hamilton, Bruce and Edlmann which details the 2nd Bn's actions in May 1940. Let me know if you want any look-ups.

    Hamilton was a Buff during the Great War. He sailed as a Lieutenant with the 1st Battalion on 7/9/1914 and was entitled to a 1914 star with clasp and roses.

    He was wounded at Radinghem on 20th October 1914.

    His MC was gazetted on 18/2/1915 and the bar to his MC was gazetted on 4/10/1919 whilst the Bn were marching into Germany. The citation reads as follows;

    Near Beauregard, on the 8th October,
    1918, though wounded in the stomach, he
    gallantly led his company from the first to
    the second objectives. Owing to the num-
    ber of officer casualties, the leading companies
    were hanging, back, but he succeeded
    in rallying them, and through heavy
    machine gun fire advanced at their head.
    Though almost in a fainting condition, he
    refused to leave the line until communication
    had been established and consolidation
    begun. Throughout the action he showed
    the utmost gallantry and devotion to duty.

    He had also "greatly distinguished himself as a leader" during hand to hand fighting at St Quentin in March 1918 and as a result was chosen to attend a parade for the King on 28 March 1918.

    He was the CO of the 2nd Buffs from 6/9/1937 until capture on 29/5/1940 and was awarded Knight 2nd Class (a Danish Order).

    His medals are on display at the Buffs Museum in Canterbury

    I should be able to dig out some more info on promotions if you want

    Mick Mills
  5. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    14th May

    The Bn. moved by march route to Elseghem, near Audenarde. Established an OP for parachutists in the village, and also a Railway Patrol working with Belgian Army and Police. CO visited Brigade HQ and was told the front the Bn had to hold on the River Escaut (Scheldt). Time fixed to meet the Brigadier on the ground the next day.

    15th May

    CO and Intelligence Officer (Capt E L C Edlemann) reconnoitred the front with the Brigadier and Bde Major, and arranged to co ordinate the right boundary with Lt Col Hughes commanding 6/Bn. The Queen’s R. Regiment. In the afternoon the CO took the Coy Commanders round the front, and allotted areas. In the evening the Brigadier ordered LMG posts to be dug immediately in each platoon area.

    16th May

    (Albuera Day) Digging commenced. Coy Commanders reconnoitred for billets on their battle positions. Some enemy air activity, but RAF also active, and brought down several enemy machines. Col. Lyon Smith dined.

    17th May

    Digging continued and wiring commenced. CO met Lt Col Chitty, commanding 4/Bn R. West Kent Regt. (at Audenarde), to arrange the left boundary. Assuming the main Audenarde road to run North-South, Bn HQ was fixed on the SW, outskirts of Petegem-rather a long way from C Coy. CO, Adjutant and Capt R F Parry (OC HQ Coy) walked the eastern bank of the River Escaut, going through Audenarde. All Coys less HQ Coy moved into billets in the area of their battle positions.

    18th May

    Digging and wiring continued. One platoon 6/Bn The South Staffs Regt. (Pioneers) helped C Coy. Bn HQ and HQ Coy moved to Petegem, occupying billets SW outskirts of the village. All Coys sent out patrols to the river by night to accustom them to the ground. Enemy planes dive-bombed Audenarde causing damage to a bridge. The attack was observed from Bn HQ. Units of the Belgian Army withdrawing, passed through the village.

    19th May

    Digging and wiring continued. CO insisted that men should have sufficient rest . By this time the RAF were inactive, the result being that enemy planes were given a free hand in the area. An enemy ‘Henschel’ reconnaissance machine was up all day. In spite of orders to the contrary, fire was always being opened up on it though it was a good 3000 feet up, and positions were given away.

    Units of II Corps withdrawing passed through. The withdrawal continued all day. At 1400 hrs the position was ordered to be manned. From now on the men lived in their trenches. Positions dug on the river bank were occupied at dusk, and patrolling continued all night. Enemy air reconnaissance had been increased.
  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    (1) GROUND.

    The Bn front was between 2000 and 2500 yards. The River Escaut (Scheldt) over 30 yards wide ran along its front, turning sharply back on its right flank (to the boundary with 6/Bn The Queen’s R. Regt.). On the east (enemy) bank, the ground ran up to the hills which entirely overlooked the position. Between our positions, and about 400 yards from the river (which was canalized) a muddy stream ran across the front. This was crossed by four small bridges carrying farm tracks – a good anti-tank obstacle. Between the river and the stream were marshy meadows, some dry and some boggy. It was impossible to dig more than 18 inches.
    On the right where the river bent back was a large chateau and a wooded area. In the centre was the small village of Hulwoede. On the left ran a long bank, west of a low track, and further north was a farm. Distance from here to the river was about 700 yards. Behind Hulwoede the ground rose to the main Audenarde road, and the village of Petegem. Behind Petegem and parallel to the main road ran the main Brussels railway, the ground rising from this line to the West.


    (2) Occupation of Position.

    D Coy (Capt Ransley) occupied the chateau and wooded area on the right, and had two Sections at the right edge of Hulwoede village.

    A Coy (Maj Bruce) occupied the centre – the Hulwoede village area.

    C Coy (Maj Rowe) occupied the left, two platoons lining the bank over the sunken track, HQ at the farm, in rear, near the main road.

    B Coy (Capt Crozier) was in reserve position, holding posts on the west side of the road.

    Bn HQ and HQ Coy (Capt Parry) were in and around the SW corner of Petegem. The village itself was undefended (at least another Coy would have been required to do this).

    3” Mortars were dug in by the main road, SE of the village.

    Carrier Platoon was disposed as follows:- One section on each flank and one near Bn HQ, so that two sections could always be collected easily.

    Anti-Tank Guns 25mm French – Six were allotted and placed under command of the Bn. The Brigadier ordered these to be put in the front line, but later allowed the CO to withdraw two or three. The CO only withdrew 2, although he did not expect enemy tanks. The guns were disposed as follows:- 1 near D Coys left platoon, 1 near A Coys right platoon, 1 near A Coys left platoon, 1 near C Coys centre platoon, 1 north of Petegem on the main road facing north, and 1 about 300 yards from the station facing north.

    MGs Vickers – One platoon (Middlesex Regt) was in support of the Bn for penetration tasks. Rough positions had been allotted by Bde. One section was about 300 yards from the station facing north, and one section post east of Bn HQ facing south. Some wire had been put up along the front, but none in front of any reserve positions, even those of the forward Coys.

    20th May (Monday)

    Posts on the river bank were withdrawn at dawn. CO went round all Coys in the morning. All barges anchored on our front had been sunk, and all smaller boats sunk or pulled to our side. Ops were manned.

    In the early afternoon enemy were seen coming down the hill on the far side of the river. Digging and wiring continued, where ground concealment was not essential.
  7. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    At 1800 hrs a message was received from Bde that enemy had crossed the river in front of 6/Bn The Queens (On our right), and that the reserve Coy 2/Bn The Buffs (B Coy) was to be moved behind 6/Bn Queens. The CO persuaded the Brigadier to let him keep one platoon of B Coy. Major Hammond-Davies (2 I/C) was sent in advance to HQ 6/Bn The Queens, and B Coy less one platoon moved to a position near the above HQ. The lost posts were regained, and B Coy rejoined the Bn at 2200 hrs without being engaged. (This move was to have an unfortunate effect on the moral of B Coy, who at about 2230 hrs became involved in another battle, tired and unfed).

    At 1800 hrs Coys were warned to watch their right flank. “A” Coy were shelled at intervals from about 1830 hrs.

    No.8 Platoon 6/Bn South Staffs, under 2/Lt P Dodd occupied a Platoon position dug by B Coy.

    One days hard rations were at each Coy HQ and there was a good reserve of SAA. Coys had facilities for cooking in their areas, though petrol cookers had been kept with B Echelon. A limited number of vehicles were kept in the forward areas, the majority being in the wood near the level crossing west of Bn HQ.

    At about 2200 hrs there was increased firing on the right. Enemy, strength about one coy (100 men) were seen on the far bank opposite A Coy. At 2100 hrs the right platoon of A Coy (8 Platoon) were engaged by the enemy. Three casualties were reported.

    By 2145 hrs the left platoon of D Coy had been driven back. 8 Platoon (A Coy), having been attacked with mortars, MG’s and hand grenades, withdrew, likewise the right forward section of 9 Platoon which was on the ditch in front.

    A Coy was then forced out of the village of Hulwoede, and re-organised on the ridge behind the reserve platoon trenches. Shelling now ceased.

    The Brigadier ordered the village to re-taken. The CO and OC A Coy (Major E P C Bruce) both wanted artillery support, but this Brigadier would not allow it as he thought there maybe some posts might be still holding out in the village. He sent up the Carrier Platoon 5/Bn Queens to support the counter-attack, with fire. The CO of this platoon reported to Bn HQ, and the Adjutant went forward to help organise the attack. The telephone was continually ringing during this period, the Brigadier wanting to speak to the CO.

    OC B Coy (Capt F G Crozier) organised the counter-attack. In addition to most of A Coy, he had most of his own Coy at his disposal; they had by now returned from the area of 6/Bn Queens. The plan was for the Carriers 5/Bn Queens and 3 Carriers from 2/Bn Buffs to put heavy LMG fire into the village, and for A & B Coys to attack through C Coy (on the left) from the left flank. What happened was that about three carriers went down the road to the village, met enemy fire and fired wildly back. A few other carriers went to the left, and it is thought that some of their bullets fell among our own attacking troops.

    (Just prior to the attack 2/Lt C E A L Williams MC came over from D Coy alone and met Major Bruce).

    The counter-attack started at 0230 hrs (21 May) No.7 Platoon leading.

    The troops were caught by machine-gun fire, and some fire from our own carriers, and were held up. After two more attempts A Coy withdrew through C Coy 49 strong. B Coy withdrew straight back to the main road. Major Bruce although already wounded in the leg, led the attack. The outskirts of the village were entered twice. The estimated strength of the enemy at the north end of the village was 50 men, 2 MG’s 4 or 5 LMG’s and several ‘Tommy’ (Sub-machine) guns.

    PSM Sturridge distinguished himself in this counter-attack for his personal courage and leadership.
  8. kiwi craig

    kiwi craig Member

  9. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    The Brigadier now gave permission for artillery to be used. The bombardment was ineffective; although 3 or 4 shells landed in the village, the majority went some distance beyond.

    Major Bruce acted with great gallantry, and again commanded this counter-attack which should have consisted of a Platoon of C Coy, a Platoon of D Coy, and the remainder of A Coy. Faulty orders were given to the Platoon of C Coy (2/Lt J M Morley), who thought they were to withdraw through the village, two sections walking straight into enemy hands. The Platoon of D Coy failed to materialise. The attack failed , and the remainder of A Coy ended up on the ridge behind. Major Bruce was again wounded and taken prisoner.

    (Later on in captivity Major Bruce states that at this time the ditch was lined with 100 Germans, and that others were being sent across the river on two rafts.)

    Pte Pilcher A Coy distinguished himself. He maintained his LMG in action in a forward post until his section was reduced to 3. He then withdrew and continued firing his gun until it was destroyed. After that he took a rifle , and joining in the counter-attack, was wounded.

    Cpl Brookman of the Carrier Platoon, was ordered by Major Rowe to take his gun from the carrier. He took it into the second counter-attack and brought it into action. With great fortitude he continued firing until after the others had withdrawn.

    All anti-tank guns in the FDLs were lost or destroyed except one in the left platoon area of A Coy, which was withdrawn.

    During the night excellent information had been sent back by OC D Coy (Captain P Ransley) and OC C Coy (Major W H Rowe).

    The left platoon of D Coy and the forward sections of the centre platoon had been driven out of their positions. Capt Ransley ordered the left platoon (PSM Taylor) back, but it only reached the position of the reserve section. PSM Taylor was badly wounded.

    After the second counter-attack had failed, a few enemy seemed to have penetrated to the houses at the east end of Petegem, and a MG appeared to be firing red tracer from the upper story of a factory.

    At about 0300 hrs the Brigadier had come forward to Bn HQ, and a short time later went up to the village cross roads. After it was light he led a party consisting of the CO and about 10 men with two LMGs to drive any enemy out of the village. Several houses were entered but no enemy were found. Riflemen, LMGs and three carriers were then posted.

    Captain R F Parry volunteered to deal with the enemy MG in the factory (mentioned above) , but he found no signs of the enemy there, and thought it must have been a MG firing from the ground, the bullets passing behind the upper storey.

    At 2030 hrs (20 May) the Intelligence Officer (Captain E L C Edlmann) went round the Coys – (a) to impress on Coy. Commanders that the river posts must be occupied, and (b) to report on the situation, as there was a great amount of MG and shell fire. He skirted D Coy HQ through the woods, and on reaching the road to Hulwoede found PSM Taylor’s Platoon (D Coy) withdrawing. PSM Taylor was trying to stop them. The I.O. stopped them, reorganised them into 2 sections, put them into a position astride the road, and told them to stop there.

    He then went forward to Hulwoede, and reached the original A Coy HQ which was now empty. He heard the Germans shouting to each other in the village. He then went to the reserve trenches of A Coy, and found 2/Lt D C Pearson organising his Platoon there. He left a message for Major Bruce and returned to Bn. HQ. to report.

    At about 0200 hrs on 21 May, Captain Edlmann, accompanied by L/Cpl Taylor and Pte Fenwick (Both volunteers from the Officers Mess Club) and his Batman Pte Best, proceeded to Petegem cross roads where he saw the Carrier Platoon Commander (5/Bn Queens). He pointed out where Hulwoede was, and where he should take the carriers. During this period MG fire was coming from the latter village over the main road.

    He then went to C Coy area which he reached about 0300 hrs having followed with his small patrol Captain Crozier, some of B Coy, and the remainder of A Coy in their move from Petegem via C Coy to counter-attack the enemy in Hulwoede. He reported that the counter-attack never got a footing in the village, though it was entered twice, the attack was broken up by enemy machine-gun fire.

    The IO visited C Coy forward posts, who had not been engaged, and who did not realise that A Coy had fallen back. The local counter-attack having failed he returned with Major Bruce (who had led the attack) to C Coy HQ, which was reached at about 0430 hrs.

    Orders were then received for the second counter-attack, and for C Coy to help. 2/Lt J M Morley’s Platoon (Centre) was ordered to take part, but as stated before, insufficient orders were sent. 2/Lt Morley had no real idea of the situation, and he with two sections walked unsuspectingly into enemy hands.

    Just before this 2/Lt D C Pearson was badly wounded and died later in a RAP. It is thought a bullet exploded a grenade in his haversack.

    To Be Continued:
  10. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    I noticed this thread had been 'Locked' & Andy you've put 'To be continued' , that was over 3 years ago.
    Are you going to continue it?

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