14339178 Tpr M J R Waplington, B Sqn, 44 RTR.

Discussion in 'RAC & RTR' started by S54, Apr 10, 2020.

  1. S54

    S54 Junior Member

    Afternoon folks I'm trying to find out some info on the guy named in the title! He was a crewman on a DD Sherman and on or around about the 24/25 Mar 45 his tank was knocked out and everyone except him was killed, however he did lose a leg in the engagement. Apparently people have said they've seen footage of the incident or the aftermath on something like Pathe News. Can anyone on here shed any light on this or at least point me in the right direction in trying to find footage of 44th RTR during that period at least!
  2. Frank Flattery

    Frank Flattery Well-Known Member

    Hi, I've tried the Pathé site, and couldn't find anything, but maybe what people saw was this, the famous Panther v Pershing incident in Cologne, where you can clearly see how the poor US Sherman tank commander bailed out with half a leg missing...
  3. travers1940

    travers1940 Well-Known Member

    Had a look at civil records & online trees on ancestry to see if I could find him in England & Wales. This was the only candidate, which confirms if it is him, that he survived the war:

    Michael John Richard WAPLINGTON
    born 8 May 1924 Chapel-en-le Frith Reg Dist Derbyshire
    married 1946 Wandsworth London to Dorothy CHANDLER
    1961 working as a Publicity Manager
    1970's lived in Harmondsworth
    died age 48 on 17th Nov 1972

    In the search also saw the name misspelt at WHAPPLINGTON etc.
    S54 likes this.
  4. Frank Flattery

    Frank Flattery Well-Known Member

    Came across this, but as I'm not signed up on the site, couldn't see any details, but they have something on him:
    Record Details for M J R Waplington (Royal Tank Regiment)
    Maybe worth your while...
    S54 likes this.
  5. travers1940

    travers1940 Well-Known Member

    When things get open again RAC Movement cards for individual soldiers are at the Tank Museum, Bovington (fee of aprox £ 10 ?):
  6. travers1940

    travers1940 Well-Known Member

    This article may confirm he is Trooper Waplington if it mentions his war record:

    ........ East Stour in which a woman pillion passenger received serious injuries was recalled during proceedings against Michael John Richard Waplington. Genoa-avenue. Putney °JL on - Wl, driving a motor-car without due care and attention He pleaded not guiitv and .........
    Published: Friday 22 July 1949
    Newspaper: Western Gazette
    County: Somerset, England
    https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/search/results?basicsearch=michael waplington&retrievecountrycounts=false&page=0

    Sorry I don't have a BNA account to read the whole article.
  7. Digging through the 4th Armoured Brigade Tank Casualties list, I dug this up. Not sure if it's correct, or if it helps, as there are only two tanks reported in the list to be knocked out on the date(s) you specified. Although there is no mention of a leg lost, rather a compound fracture below the knee.

    Regiment: 44 Royal Tank Regiment

    Serial No.: A.97

    Mark: III DD

    W.D. No.: 152943

    Date: 25 March 1945

    Photo No.: -

    Figure No.: -

    Range: 1200 yards

    Cause of Damage: A.P. 75 mm. penetration

    Fire Damage: None

    Other tanks involved in same incident:

    Circumstances: Moving slowly forwards 2 - 3 m.p.h. when fired at by a gun, the flash of which was seen by witnesses. The first shot missed, the second hit. Turret at 12 o'clock.

    Position of Hit: Penetration through left side turret from half left rear.

    Course & Effect of Projectiles: Passed through the Operator and hit the breech of the 75 mm. gun.

    Remarks: Tank not seen. Information from Squadron Leader.

    Fate of Crew:
    Driver and Co-Driver: Unhurt
    Commander: Wounded - compound fracture upper ⅓ right tibia. X-Ray shows no fragments. Discharged hospital to sick leave 9/52. Category D. Final Category Not Known.
    Gunner: Died of Wounds - multiple fragment wounds upper and lower limbs.
    Operator: Killed. A.P. shot passed through chest.

    I did dig up the names documented of those K.I.A on the dates you specified. It is possible some may have been in the same tank as Trooper Waplington, and others mentioned in the information above. They are as follows;

    Corporal Martin Leslie Amson 24/03/1945
    L/Sergeant Geroge Thom 24/03/1945
    Lieutenant Lionel Burse Chapman 25/03/1945
    Corporal Maurice Colley 25/03/1945
    L/Corporal William George Joy 25/03/1945
    Trooper Denis Kent 25/03/1945
    Trooper Hugh Williams White 25/03/1945
    S54 likes this.
  8. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    Hello Andy! (Feels weird not calling you sir!)

    B Sqn 44 RTR were detached from the other Sqn’s and sent in support of 6 Air Landing Brigade up at Hamminkeln. This was so they could have decent Armour support as the 6 Airborne Div moved off over the River Issel after consolidating after the initial assault ( Op Varsity) this is from 44 RTR war diary...

    0950 - B Sqn arrived at 189497, one tk having gone up on a mine during the move. Here they were ordered to come in support of 6 AIR LANDING BDE who were at 198486 and whose Bns were holding brs at 215505, 216500 and 212485, these were being counter attacked and stonked at regular intervals, but had some SP's in support.

    I have the correct map for the grid references. Message me on FB and I’ll send you what even you need for more info.

    S54 and A_Proper_Cuppa like this.
  9. I was going to ask about the grid references. I am currently going through them myself, reading up on the fighting in Belgium to be specific, and wondered how to regard the grid references. I too would be interested in any maps, etc, if that is ok?
  10. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    the map I have is for the area of Hamminkeln / Wesel and is the correct one for this action on 25th March 45.
    Are you trying to find maps for Belgium?
  11. Hi,

    Yes, anything that you might have would be great. My own relative served with them throughout the war and I have been trying to dig deeper. I have the Regiment's History which is great, and just last night received their Regimental Diaries which I am flicking through. The more info I can gather, the better.
  12. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    Your relative was 44 RTR? Send me your email on a direct message on this site and I’ll see what I can help you with.

  13. I sent a PM.
    Alex1975uk likes this.
  14. S54

    S54 Junior Member

    Alex it shouldn’t tbh! Thanx for the info.
    Alex1975uk likes this.

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