25th Dragoons in India, 1945-7

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by GillT, Aug 16, 2017.

  1. GillT

    GillT Member

    All the information coming out about the 70th anniversary of partition in India has prompted me to get out all the bits and pieces my Dad kept from his time there with the 25th Dragoons, in 1945-1947. I'm wondering if anyone can point me in the direction of further information about what they were doing and why - sadly, it's too late to ask him :( In addition, I have a bunch of photos and a Journal which may be of interest to others, but I don't know the best place to share such things. Any advice would be welcome!

    In his usual, meticulous way, he kept a map of his travels, along with a list of places and dates, so I know where he was and when. As always, though, it's the bits in between that are of interest ;-)

    Many thanks,


    (re: Tpr. Gordon Boyd, 14809979 4. Troop. A Squadron, 25th Dragoons.
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  2. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    upload photos/docs in this thread
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  3. GillT

    GillT Member

    Just a couple of hours looking more closely at the box of things has enabled me to put two and two together, confirming something I "knew" . I'm sure he spoke of being on the North West Frontier and the Khyber Pass. I found photographs of these places in his collection (he was a keen photographer and must have taken his camera with him) Then, in the 25th Dragoons Journal I just scanned, I found a report of his troop being sent to Peshawar, staying at the North West Frontier Inn. Lo and behold, I'd just scanned a photo of him standing by that very sign!

    *sigh* Sometimes, I have only to ask the question to realise that the answer was there in my hands all the time! I'll try and upload pics. (Just finding my feet here, you understand ;))


    The photo is dated April 7th, 1946 and tallies with the report I've also attached from the Journal. Gordon is the chap carrying his sunglasses.

    Journal page 32.jpg Journal page 33.jpg Journal page 34.jpg

    (I've just included thumbnails here, assuming they can be expanded for reading?) Hope that's ok?

    Best wishes,

  4. Skoyen89

    Skoyen89 Senior Member

    Interesting account of the trip to the North West Frontier - the thumbnails can be expanded and are readable. It is difficult to pick out dates from the narrative though. It looks like the 25th Dragoons were in small units around northern-central India before some of them went off to the North-West Frontier - is there anything in the journal about that time?
    It seems hard to understand why they wanted to send heavy infantry tanks to the North-West Frontier especially those with DD (Duplex Drive capability - so the ability to swim in deep water using a canvas skirt and a propeller assembly for power)!?
    Thanks for posting!
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  5. Skoyen89

    Skoyen89 Senior Member

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  6. GillT

    GillT Member

    This is really interesting - thank you Skoyen89! I did indeed google 25th Dragoons but didn't identify anything as interesting/relevant as the link you shared, which I really appreciate. I have also wondered why those tanks were transported here and there across India (I have quite a few photographs of them going on long journeys on "flats") I posted a couple of photos in the RAC thread and will add a couple of different ones here.

    Gordon joined up in 1944 and was sent to India a year later, after his initial training at Brancepeth Castle. He arrived in Bombay in July 45 and was in Coconada in September 45 - rather later than the BBC account describes, but I assume, for the same kind of training. I know that at some point, he burnt his legs in some kind of accident and went somewhere for treatment, but I'm not sure where/when that was. I'll attach the photo that lists his travels.

    I scanned the whole of the regimental journal (dated July 1946) and am happy to post it somewhere here if it's of interest. It's actually quite an interesting read, even for someone like me <gg> Where would be the best place? In this thread?

    image0-017a.jpg image0-025.jpg image0-026a.jpg image0-039.jpg

    He's written on the reverse of each photo:
    i) 4 Troop 'A' Squadron, 25th Dragoons, Madras 19th January 1946
    ii) April 8th 1946, Risalpur NWF Sherman DD ready for launching
    iii) Flats at Kirkee, February 1947

    Thanks for the links and the general encouragement!

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  7. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Hi Gill

    You need to remember that the war in Europe finished in May 1945. However the war in the Far East was not yet over and therefore units were being redeployed to India so that they could reinforce the growing numbers fighting the Japenese.
    That part of the world and jungle warfare was pretty wet with lots of rivers etc that needed to be crossed. So I would guess with the experience of DD tanks in Europe they would be needed in the Far East. Fortunately the war there finished sooner than expected, if DD tanks were actually used in combat in the Far East I do not know - other might.

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  8. GillT

    GillT Member

    TD, I seem to remember him saying that being issued with tropical kit and boarding a ship sailing east provoked considerable anxiety at the time - he'd lived through the war and the horrendous bombing in Hull before being called up. What a rotten trick then, to find himself on a ship heading for such a scary part of the world when things at home were starting to look up (I don't think they knew exactly where they were going, if indeed, anyone did at that point!) Ending up in India, then, came as a relief and as far as I know, he didn't see active combat though there are photos of (and I recall him talking briefly about) horrendous scenes in Calcutta when he was there. Fortunate indeed, for him (and me!) that the war finished sooner than expected there.

    Best wishes,
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  9. GillT

    GillT Member

    In answer to that particular question, and of relevance to TD's point about troop movements in the Far East, I just read this, in the RHQ Notes section of the journal ( beginning RH column, p4)

    . Journal page 04.jpg Journal page 05.jpg Journal page 06.jpg Journal page 07.jpg

    Whilst I'm here, the first part of p4 describes a visit of the C-in-C's visit in July 1946. I have one picture with nothing on the back and am wondering if this might be that occasion?


    Thanks as always!

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  10. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

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  11. GillT

    GillT Member

    Good advice, TD. I thought I had sufficient information to piece together, but maybe there are more details to be learned.

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  12. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    There will be

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  13. denwar1

    denwar1 Member

    Hi GillT,
    I have a lot of information about the 25th Dragoons, The book I have been using which I have used for a while is called, " I SERVE "
    Regimental History of the 3rd Carabiniers, Which fought with the 25th Dragoons.
    ( Known as Prince Of wales DRAGOON GAURDS ).
    by Lieutenant -CVolonel L, B, OATTS d.s.o,
    Before people start yelling, I will jump to the period of history that MATTERS
    In India 1936 0n,
    It would take too long to write down the history just before the formasion of 25th Dragoons, but will happly send print outs of the book I hold.
    of the slow build up of 25th, starting partly with The Garabinier Squadron. who later joined the 3rd/6th Dragoon gaurds .

    In 37 the 3rd Garabiniers were turned into a LIGHT Tank regiment.

    On the 1st of Feb 1941 the raising of The 25th Dragoons came about. They were sent 12 Officers, and 102 rank and file with Major S.B.HORN.
    M.C.in Command.
    Major Horn however soon returned to COMMAND the 3rd Carabiniers after Colon Gill had been Promotted to an Armed brigade of the 1st Indian Armoured Division.
    This of course goes on, Any one intrested, I will photo copy pages and send them to you.
    My dad was taken out of The Green Howards to TRAIN the men about JUNGLE WARFARE, I have a photo of him in Dress Uniform form the 25th Dragoons, Luckly these photos were sent home before they moved off to fight in BURMA.
    Mam held onto them, I use them every Remembrance day on dads Green Howards Remembrance Day at Richmond, every year.

    Gillt would love to have a chat with you, I have a book about The Battle Of The Box, which I bought, but only use it with others as a research book,
    If you ever want to read it let me know, It is very intresting, Would love a copy of your stuff for my Green Howards records and my section of Dads ARMY life for the part in 25th Dragoons.

    Dennis gates

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  14. GillT

    GillT Member

    Dennis, how fascinating! (And how grateful I'd be to learn more - thank you for the kind offer) I will send my email address in a conversation to you and we can chat further. I'm only too happy to share what I have with you, too, needless to say.
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  15. denwar1

    denwar1 Member

    THE 25th were made up of volenteers, but odds and sods sort to speak, At lot came from another Regiment which i also nhave the full Army records of,
    Which i only found ONE book in the county about this regiment, Sorry to say it only has a about 10 pages about 25th, but lot about the other .
    apart of the 25th.
    This other regiment was also a tank regiment, and Indian.

    I am putting both up on e-bay soon, as i have learnt ALL i can at moment, but first i am writing to two museums to see if they have them, If not i will leave them to them first. my family wont be intrested in all my work, they are only intrested in themselves.
  16. Sjpix

    Sjpix Member

    Hi Everyone, Stumbled across these articles just by chance. Dad was one of the original cadre of men transferrded from 3rd Carabiniers to 25th Dragoons in Feb 1941. He stayed with them through to Nov 1944 when he was selected for repatriation, having been in India and Burma almost 5 years. He was a Sgt Tank Mechanic and Driver Class 1. Research tells me he was the only Class One Mechanic with 25th Dragoons. I have lots of info re 25ths up to Nov 1944 if anyone is interested. Any further info wouldbe greatly appreciated. Like so many of our brave loved ones, they rarely talked of their dxperiences....all too horrific to be passed on. They are The Forgotten Heros of The Forgotten War.
  17. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    I note the image of the map, with locations and dates ends with Bombay August 1947. The Journal has an entry on flying back to the UK, alas minus a date.
    Indian / Pakistani Independence was the 14th August 1947 (Pakistan the day before) and British units were still in country, mainly as most returned by sea transport and there wasn't enough for all to go quicker. The Black Watch left Karachi on 26th February 1948 and the Somerset Light Infantry left Bombay on the 28th February 1948.
    So your Dad was lucky to leave earlier.
    I wonder if the regiment's tanks were donated to either new army?
  18. wiggy001

    wiggy001 New Member

    I was very proud to receive my grandfather's medals, including the Burma Star, a few years ago but it is only now that I am really starting to research his time in Burma. His name was Trooper George James Haywood and he served with the 25th Dragoons (possibly C Squadron, of which I cant find little reference).

    George was enlisted at Chichester on 06/08/1942 and transferred into the Royal Armoured Corp the following month. He went through various training until the end of March 1943 when he was given 2 weeks leave to meet his first child, my aunt, who was born a couple of weeks earlier. In April he left for India and was posted to the 25th Dragoons in August 1943, entering the theatre of operation 08/12/1943.

    On 19th April 1944 George took part in Film No 147 of "Calling Blighty" (which I would absolutely love to see!).

    Through July and August he travelled back to the UK via train then plane on compassionate grounds. I have a letter than was sent to him by, I think, SV Johnson checking that my grandfather made it back safely and giving him some news of goings on where he mentions that "Irwin and Pean go up to sgt", "Waddell and ??? go up to cpl". The letter finishes: ".I can't thank you enough for the work you put into Sqd for for me and the support you gave to every one to have somewhere fairly comfortable to go.The SSN said with a long face that you would take a lot of replacing and I agree.".

    I don't know much about my grandfather's time in Burma as he spoke very little of it to me (he lived with us and passed when I was 11). I am aware of a story whereby, under fire he was racing to get into his tank (he always told me he was a "radio man"), his wedding ring got caught on part of the tank and they couldn't close it up until it was freed. He promptly posted the ring back to his wife in the UK and it currently sits proudly on my hand!

    I do have his service records which I am slowly working through (working out some of the acronymns isn't easy) but if anyone has any further information, especially regarding the role of C Squadron, I would be very appreciative.

    Many thanks

  19. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

  20. Sjpix

    Sjpix Member

    Hi Everyone, Loving this thread re 25th Dragoons. Dad was Squadron A and I see GillT your loved one was as well. I have come across

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