Thomas Brown, 85 Field Coy, Royal Engineers, June 1944.

Discussion in 'Royal Engineers' started by Angelaw, Jun 8, 2009.

  1. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    There were RE Workshops attached to Royal Artillery Units. Maybe the service record would indicate where he was attached to and/or the war diary for this unit.

    Rob do you mean REME workshops?

    I think the key here is to get all the information posted including the Service Records.
  2. richardpmoore

    richardpmoore Junior Member

    Hi there,

    I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this thread, but does anyone know anything about this unit of the Royal Enginners? My Grandfather, Thomas Duncan Brown, served with them and was killed on June 9th, 1944. He is buried in Bayeux.

    This weekends events in Normandy have encouraged me again to try and find out more. I have obtained some detial and copies of records from the Army, but my greatest hope would be to find someone who actually knew him!

    His daughter - my mother - and I have been to Bayeux to see his grave and remain hopeful one day to find more information!

    thanks to all for any help or pointers!:)
    Hi Angela,

    I came across your question when I was doing a Google search. I think that I can help you with your query.

    I was just in Normandy for the 65th anniversary with my family. My father, Patrick Moore, was in the 85th Field Company RE that landed on June 6th at Graye-Sur-Mer. My father and a few of his comrades are still alive and were in Graye for ceremonies commemorating the liberation.

    One thing that I have often remembered from my father was the story of how some of his comrades were killed on the beach. It seems that this story is about your grandfather.

    My father would be more than willing to tell you the story and about the 85th in general. They have a very active Old Comrades Association and have annual reunions. He has also compiled a history of the 85th that includes the story of your grandfather.

    If you would like to contact him, send an e-mail c/o my mother xx or xx Please feel free to contact me too if you wish. He lives in Sevenoaks, Kent, by the way--I notices just down the road from one of the other members from the forum!

    - Richard Moore

    EDIT : email address removed from public view.
    Contact Richard by Private Message to get them.
  3. englandphil

    englandphil Very Senior Member

    It took a while, but hopefully this will help shed some light.

    On the 17th December 1940 the majority of men who later formed the 85th Company were absorbed into the 13th Training Battalion royal Engineers for their 4 months initial training in “B” Camp Barton Stacey, Hampshire.
    After standard training, they were remustered as a Pioneer 3rd class in the Engineers on 21st December 1940. 8th Feb 1941 The new unit of the 85th Chemical Warfare company, Royal Engineers was established at “A” camp, Barton Stacey, Hampshire.
    From 8/2/41 — 26/5/44 the unit went through training in England and Scotland on special engineering tasks included - demolitions, Gas Projector and Rocket Firing, Watermanship, Mine Laying and Clearance Road construction and maintenance etc. On the 27th Feb 1943 the unit was converted to a field Company and thereafter additional training ensued in Beach Group Deployment, Combined Operations, Bailey Bridge and Pontoon Bridge construction, beach landing practises, beach exits construction and maintenance etc.
    On 28/2/44 at Boscombe, Hants, the unit was given a talk and inspection by the then Sir BL Montgomery and on 25/4/44 at Chandlesford, Hampshire, an inspection by the late King George 6th. On 27/5/44 the camp at Chandlesford, Hampshire was sealed and administration closed down. On 1-3/6/44 the Company embarked on L.S.I.’s, L.S.T.’s and L.C.I.’s at Southampton for “Operation Overlord” — “D” Day, the greatest amphibious landing in history.
    It appears that the 85th Field Company was under the command of CRE Lieutenant Colonel F C Nottingham — 7th GHQ Troops Engineers, part of the 102nd Beach Sub Area all RE — HQ, and the 7th Beach group. They were the follow up troops to the 7th Canadian Brigade, and were placed under the command of 3rd Canadian Division, Lieutenant Colonel R. J. Cassidy RCG. The Canadians were to take Juno Beach from La Riviere in the West to St Aubin in the East.
    Cyril Whitehouse a member of the 85th Field Company on the evening of the 5th June, played piano at an impromptu concert, along with an accordionist from the Winnipeg rifles. He documents this in some notes he donated to the Royal Engineers museum, along with the ‘D’ Day table plan which shows the names of the whole company, which landing craft they were on, and when/where they were due to land.
    The 85th Field Company of Royal Engineers embarked from Southampton on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, of June 1944 in an LCI (Landing Craft Infantry), as part of assault force J. The first Royal Engineers of the 85th landed at 08:10 on the Mike Green beach at Courseulles.
    To get out of the sand dunes, the Canadians and 85th had to cross some marshland on the way to La Valette . The 85th consolidated the exit on the beach, by using fascines over an AVRE tank that had become disabled, later when enemy fire subsided, the Company entombed the AVRE in concrete. It was later recovered in 1976, refurbished, and placed in a nearby spot on the Graye-Sur-Mer beach in October 1977.
    The company remained in the Graye/Courseulles area for a further 7 weeks dealing with mines, and other obstructions, and refurbishing bridges. The square in Graye was named after the corps — Place Des Royals Engineers, Place De Anglais.
    The 85th moved about a lot in the coming months, it appears from their whereabouts list ,that they followed close behind the army (possibly still the Canadians), up towards the Falaise pocket. Just prior to this the company spent a short time in the Bocage following up after scenes of fierce fighting (particularly for the tank units).
    The company moved to the south of Rouen and assisted in the crossing of the Seine. From there the company moved to Belgium and Holland (north of the Battle of the Bulge), In March 1945 they built a 320 Bailey Pontoon Bridge to assist with the Crossing of the Rhine at Xanten, Germany.
    In March 1945, Germany they received a talk by General D. Eisenhower.
    The Company were in Munster, Germany on V.E. day — May 8th 1945, moved on to Ebstorf near Luneburg, just below Hamburg, in Germany for four months. On 10th September they held a farewell party as on 12th September 1945 the Company was disbanded and its personnel posted to various formations.

    Owen likes this.
  4. Buteman

    Buteman 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    There were RE Workshops attached to Royal Artillery Units. Maybe the service record would indicate where he was attached to and/or the war diary for this unit.

    The above point has been bugging me since I made the post. The possibility of a Royal Engineer attached to a RA Unit.

    I have found casualties listed as Gunners in the RA Commemoration Book - 1939 - 45, but I could not find them listed as so in CWGC. But when looking at the dates killed, I found them recorded as RE personnel.

    I have now found on CWGC, evidence of an RE guy listed against an RA Unit.

    Initials:L R
    Nationality:United Kingdom
    Rank:Lance Corporal
    Regiment/Service:Royal Engineers
    Unit Text:403 Bty., 50 (4th Bn. The Northamptonshire Regt.) A.A. Bn.
    Date of Death:02/11/1939
    Service No:5875910
    Additional information:Husband of Clara Louisa Alden of Desborough.
    Casualty Type:Commonwealth War Dead
    Grave/Memorial Reference:Sec. D. Grave 273.
    Cemetery:DESBOROUGH CEMETERY, Northamptonshire

    So the originator of this thread may well be right in that her relative was connected in some way to a RA unit.
  5. tonyhawk

    tonyhawk Junior Member

    My Grandad was in 85 field company. He was in charge of burying the tank and was there when it was dug up. I have pics of the tank being winched from the hole which he had put it into in 1945. I also got to speak to 2 of the surviving tank crew who baled out and were both injured.

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