1st & 2nd Fife and Forfar Yeomanry

Discussion in 'RAC & RTR' started by nickc, May 2, 2006.

  1. nickc

    nickc Member

    I wanted to start a new thread on unit histories for 1st & 2nd Fife and Forfar Yeomanry, firstly because my Grandad served with the 1st FFY and i have some interesting information and pics, and secondly because i am in communication with a veteran of the 2nd FFY who is sending me pics and first hand accounts of life during his time with this unit.

    I await his permission to publish this material but in the first instance I will start with a unit photo of the 1st FFY sqn C, I’m told the pic was taken whilst in NW Europe after Oct 1944.

    The 1st Fife</ST1:p and Forfar Yeomanry were part of the 79th Armoured Div and used Churchill Tanks adapted for flame throwing ops

    If any one can add to or amend any information then please do so


    Attached Files:

    mark abbott and CliveJParker like this.
  2. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Good on you for starting this thread off.
    Really looking forward to reading your Veteran's stories.
    I will try and add anything I find to get things going.
    (Most of my books are packed away waiting for house move.)
    Good little story here.http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/84/a2766684.shtml
    Being in the 1st Fife & Forfar Yeomanry Tank Regiment our uniform was the same as everyone elses but with a few embellishments.
    Khaki battledress comprising of khaki trousers and blouse, I had a belt for my waist as it was home to my weapon which was a revolver. The belt was actually optional in our squadron. The driver and co driver had a sten gun (small machine gun) which was quite dangerous because if you dropped or banged it accidentally it would fire a round of ammunition. There were a few near misses! The radio operator who was also the gun loader also had a Sten gun.
    On our heads we wore a black beret, this originated from the first world war when the French gave the Royal Tank Regiment the honour of wearing their black beret.
    Towards the end of the war whilst we were in Germany, we stayed at Geillenkirken. On arriving at the town, a unit of the Guards, (I don't know which regiment) saw the regimental badges on our shoulders and assumed that we were officers, they walked by and saluted us. We of course saluted back. It was a short while after when they got closer they realised that we were the same as them!
    Our berets, collar badges and shoulder badges also had an adverse reaction from the native German people as they were very similar to a German SS Regiment who had treated their own people very badly. On entering the town, the German people gave us a very wide berth


    Another story.Give a feel of their involvement in Operation Goodwood.
    2nd Fife & Forfar Yeo, 11th Armd Div.
    In the early morning July mist the Sherman tanks of the 2nd Fife and Forfar
    Yeomanry waddled up to the start line, their engines throbbing insistently
    across the still Normandy countryside. Ahead lay the shock of battle, but
    whatever fears their crews had they kept to themselves as they went through
    the pre-combat checks. Radios crackled with last minute orders as the regiment's
    squadron commanders went through the familiar routine of checking and rechecking
    equipment. Inside the steel hulls, the troopers felt the familiar gut-wrenching
    anticipation of battle, the sinking feeling in the stomach, the cold sweat
    and the sudden need to defecate. The tankers of the Fife and Forfar Yeomanry
    had good reason to feel anxious. They were about to take part in Operation
    Goodwood, a huge armoured assault to break out from the bridgehead of the
    D-Day landings and that meant engaging German tanks which were superior to
    theirs in every way. With their heavy steel armour plating and their high-velocity
    88mm flak gun, the German Mark VI Tiger was a formidable opponent. The only
    hope for a Sherman crew was to get in close and hope that a lucky shot from
    their 75mm gun would hit the achilles heel of the Tiger's side and rear armour-plating.
    Otherwise they knew what lay in store: a direct hit and their petrol engine
    would blaze with an intensity which would frazzle them in seconds. It was
    called "brewing up" and, by the early afternoon, 13 of the Yeomanry's Shermans
    had met that fate even before they had reached their first objective. Nobody
    who took part in that bloody battle ever forgot the carnage.

    I could see palls of smoke and tanks brewing up with flames belching forth
    from their turrets. I could see men climbing out on fire like torches, rolling
    on the ground to try and douse the flames, but we were in ripe corn and the
    straw catches fire ...

    Today the Normandy countryside is neat and well-manicured and the scars of
    the failed breakout attempt have long since disappeared. War has been sanitised
    and the battlefields are sold as a tourist attraction. Even the dead play
    their part. In lovingly kept cemeteries at Bayeux, Banneville-la- Campagne
    and Hottot-les-Bagues the white gravestones stand in serried ranks and at
    this time of year the wreaths of red poppies commemorate a generation of
    young men, like those of the Fife and Forfar Yeomanry, who did not go home.
    Sapper D. likes this.
  3. nickc

    nickc Member

    I now have permission to publish some of Freds memories from the 2nd Fife and Forfar Yeomanry

    The info is not in any date order, so it may jump about abit but any first hand experiences are worth a read in my book.

    Innititially I was in the 2nd Fife & Forfar Yeomanry Regiment joining them when they were in Ypres in Belgium in January 1945 and went into Germany with them and leaving them with all the young soldiers, in July 1945 to go to Japan, and that is where I went to the 1st F&F at Recke, Germany with their Crocodiles. We left Recke early August to go to Japan and got to Brussels when the first atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, so our move to Japan was held up while the Japs were thinking about surrendering or not, and when they did we returned immediately to Recke in Germany.
    The 1st F&F were a specialist regiment made specially for the DDay landings so were part of the 79th Division along with a lot of specialist armoured vehicles that really made the invasion easier for the troops. The 2nd F&F were in the 11th Armoured Division and our tanks were Shermans in France and Comets in germany a good cruiser tank and supposedly a match for the Tiger tank, but it wasn't, not by a long shot.

    I went into the army under a false age adding 2 years to it so I am quite a young ex warrior being only 80 in July this year. Best wishes to you. Fred
  4. nickc

    nickc Member

    Hi Nick, Thanks for the photo altho I couldn't recognize anyone in it. When I joined the 1st F&F there were still a few of the originals in it so was surprised I didn't know someone. The squadron sergt major was a man called Fitch and he always wore his 6 shooter low down on his right leg. As a small matter of interest the 2nd line wore a patch of tartan cloth behind the badge, whereas the 1st didn't. When we were crossing the River Weser our tank was photographed by a man from the London Illustrated News and the picture was eventually in the paper long time after the war finsihed and the sent us a copy. It was headlined as the latest British tank to beat the Tiger tank.

    When we first received the tanks as new, we went to Dunkirk to learn how to fire the guns correctly and at that time as Dunkirk was a German fortress all our shells ended up in the town. As targets we had lined up a half dozen captured German tanks and we blasted away at them for week after week and watched all our hits bounce of the Tigers and Panthers.

    Come dusk we left the ranges for billets as the ranges were patrolled at night by Germans from Dunkirk andnot a very safe place to be. At the time of the battle of the bulge, when the Germans attacked in the Ardennes in December 1944, the 2nd went there to prevent any break through of the Gerrys across the River Meuse, before I arrived at the regiment and the 1st were there also and took part in the fighting, loosing a couple of Crocodiles with casualties , I think. The Germans didn't like the Crocodiles, would flee at the sight of them. They were very dangerous to the crews as well as they couldn't reverse too good with having the trailers behind full of FTF & gas bottles.

    I did get a bit of training on them as we went to an airfiled at Lingen, Ems and practised using the flame on different targets such as 50 gallon drums and old Gerry aircraft that were full of ammo and made quite a firework display when they burnt up. The jet of flame was so strong it would bowl a 50 gall. drum over at 100 yards. The fuel wa sticky too and would stick to whatever it hit. Not very pleasant.

    If you want to see a good tank museum, go to Bovington, in Dorset, the best in the world. When Iwas last in England I went to a good museum at Duxford Airfield, a Battle of Britain airfield which give tank rides too and they have avery good aircraft museum to with a flying Flying Fort. That is in Cambridge.

    Attached Files:

  5. etienne

    etienne Junior Member

    Dear sire , here is a picture of some men from the 1st FFY sqn C his name was Joslin Gordon he stayed with my grandparrents in the end of the war.I found his family and the are comming to my in Belgium.My question is do you recognize some men on the pictures

    I send the pictures on saterday, i have some problems with setting them on the net.
  6. spidge


    Welcome Etienne.
  7. Donnie

    Donnie Remembering HHWH

    Hi there, i would also been interested in seeing the photo as my grandad served with the 1ffy. see my web-site, look under 'bob newitt'

  8. etienne

    etienne Junior Member

  9. Donnie

    Donnie Remembering HHWH

    thanks for the photos but me grandad wasnt there...shame. But thanks for posting.

  10. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    What medal ribbon is that?
    Does that look like a MiD oak leaf on it?

    Attached Files:

  11. Donnie

    Donnie Remembering HHWH

    it does look like an emblem on the ribbon. do we know when these photos were taken?

  12. etienne

    etienne Junior Member

    The photo was taken 02/03/1945.

  13. DKB

    DKB Junior Member

    I've got a copy of "The Sporran" - the regimental magazine of the 1st FFY from Christmas 1945. Nicks picture is in the magazine (although slightly cropped from the original) there is handily a list of the men in the picture which I've scanned and attatched here. There are other pics in the magazine but I'm not sure if they will scan well enough to pick out individuals. If anyone is interested I can give it a try.

  14. etienne

    etienne Junior Member

    I've got a copy of "The Sporran" - the regimental magazine of the 1st FFY from Christmas 1945. Nicks picture is in the magazine (although slightly cropped from the original) there is handily a list of the men in the picture which I've scanned and attatched here. There are other pics in the magazine but I'm not sure if they will scan well enough to pick out individuals. If anyone is interested I can give it a try.


    If it's possible I would like the pictures of the magazine.

    Thanks :)

  15. Donnie

    Donnie Remembering HHWH

    Hi mate i would be very interested in these pics to, Also is there any mention to a man called Robert Newitt.

    Thanks, donnie ( Please use private message facility.)

    EDIT Donnie, best not to advertise your email on the public forum, better to use Private messaging. Owen D.
  16. DKB

    DKB Junior Member

    I will scan in the pics from the magazine and upload them to a folder in the gallery as soon as I get a chance,I'll post again when its done.
  17. Donnie

    Donnie Remembering HHWH

    cheers mate

  18. nickc

    nickc Member

    nice to see some activity on this subject, nice work on getting the magazine with the listings, my Grandad isnt on there and when i saw the ranks it was showing that explains it, Donnie sorry for not coming back to you after i said i wouild be i have started a new job and its pretty intensem i cant even get onto the web am that chocka, last week i received all my grandads stuff from the loft as he is in a home at mo as he is on last legs but i have the following,,

    original safety goggles in a tin that they must have worn to protect eyes from the bright flame

    cap badge and possibly a smaller dress badge

    some excellent phots of him in the field and a couple of group shots

    some currency from Germany

    his discharge book

    i need to some how scan these in and get them on so you can check them out, bear with me and keep the F&FY stuff coming, there is no other forum or website with the info we are building up here :)
  19. Donnie

    Donnie Remembering HHWH

    Hi nick, good to hear from you again.

    Sorry to hear about your grandad mate, I got onto the tank museum at bovington and they do sell the war diary for 1ffy and also have a massive photo archive of the 1ffy.

  20. nickc

    nickc Member

    mmm need to get there mate, New job means more cash so i will probably buy the war diary at some point for 1ffy, also goning to get his service record when i have filled in the SAR form, cant wait to get these images up on here, no acces to a scanner tho so may have to buy one of them too....are you able to look through the diary as a visitor or do you have to buy it before you can read through it?


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