25th Dragoons Nominal Roll

Discussion in 'RAC & RTR' started by NikToo, Feb 16, 2011.

  1. richardmiles

    richardmiles Active Member

    Dave, it's strange as T25928 was the replacement that my father and his crew received on 12th February 1944 after his, "Bristol" T25654 was burnt out the day before. I got it wrong in the previous message. Also I've noticed that yours has no side door.When were they modified to exclude a side door?
  2. richardmiles

    richardmiles Active Member

    I see that this rare surviving Lee has now been sandblasted both in and out to bare metal and covered in red oxide primary coat. A pity in some ways that some of the original paint and T numbers wasn't conserved, which may have shed some light on the past history of a tank that had survived for so long.
  3. DavidCarr10

    DavidCarr10 Member

    We had kept one side un blasted to restore the t number. It certainly looks like its T25989. According to bovington details are sketchy but we have a purchase order for the batch of Lee's with predetermined t numbers and it definitely isn't an Australian lend lease one. The later models of the standard m3 had the side door removed and only 300 made with the mk 3 long barrel.
    One of the interesting things we've discovered (with bovvy) is that all armour sent to Burma had no brigade or arms of service markings. Just an American w number and British t number; unless the crews named their tank - and depending where they painted the name on the tank, would give an indication as to their unit.
    I am still trying to crawl through war diaries to find the t number mentioned. Which is also interesting as its revealed details of my grandfather and his unit of York and Lancashire infantry too.

    If anyone is interested in progression:

    Sorry to admin if not allowed.
    richardmiles likes this.
  4. richardmiles

    richardmiles Active Member

    Copied from Medium Tank M3 Lee
    Late-production tanks had the doors originally on each hull side eliminated in favour of a floor escape hatch, and one of the driver's fixed machine guns was deleted as well; the resulting hole was filled with a steel plug. The crew of late M3s was reduced to six men when the driver also took over the role of radio operator. Very late production M3s had new heavy-duty suspension bogies with 8" (20cm) instead of 7" (18cm) volute springs, and the track return rollers were moved to the rear of the new bogies. Late vehicles also had the 75mm gun periscope replaced with a telescopic sight, and another periscope was installed above the driver's position. The armament of late-model tanks included the M3 75mm gun and M6 37mm gun.

    Tanks with stabilization systems installed can be differentiated from those without by the presence of a cylindrical counterweight under the 37mm gun, and a counterweight at the end of the 75mm gun barrel if the tank is armed with the shorter 75mm gun M2. The longer 75mm gun M3 did not require a counterweight to be compatible with the gyrostabilizer.

    The differences in the 37mm and 75mm guns are as follows: The 37mm gun M5 was 6" (15cm) shorter than the M6, and the M5 had a manually-operated breechblock instead of the M6's semiautomatic breechblock. The 75mm gun M2 had a shorter barrel than the M3 and had a vertical breechblock to the M3's horizontal breechblock. Otherwise, the 75mm guns were identical.

    I wonder if the late production M3 Lee was ever used by British tank units in Burma.
  5. solidsilver

    solidsilver Member

    Hi this is fascinating. I am looking into my Grandad's wartime history and came across this thread. I enclose a photo of him with his Dragoons badge displayed.

    I am certain of him being burned in a tank fire - he bore the scars and many of his stories where around India.

    Looking at the posted Dragoons photo from October 1943, I think he is in the middle row third from left.

    His name was Walter Field, born Crouch End, London.

    Attached Files:

  6. richardmiles

    richardmiles Active Member

    I recommend you get hold of a copy of John Leyin's book, "Tell Them of us". The group photo of 1943 was my father's.
  7. richardmiles

    richardmiles Active Member

    The group photo above was my father's and he is third from left and it depicts only officers and NCO's of I think A and B squadrons 25th Dragoons
    solidsilver likes this.
  8. Marcus H

    Marcus H Active Member

    BD328AF7-2A3E-4080-8EA0-F3208390C6A5.jpeg Solidsilver,

    That’s a splendid photograph of your Grandad in uniform.

    On his beret, he’s wearing an Indian made - cast in both white-metal and brass - cap badge. What’s most distinctive is the full-scroll over the sabre close to the hilt and on this occasion the length of the sabre tips, too.

    This pattern of badge stems from an early period in 1941, and although technically the second pattern within the evolution of Indian produced versions, it was the specimen design sent to the UK for evaluation in March 1941. So still an incipient badge pattern and more importantly the very pattern from which the UK manufactured examples were to be devised from.

    What’s nice to see is that the sabre tips haven’t been shortened, that is, normally the longer blades were retained for the use of an NCOs arm badge centre with this pattern.

    Picture: your Grandads cap badge pattern is the example on the left (with shortened blades), the badge on the right is the initial (first) pattern cap badge which subtlety differs; note also the longer blades on this example for a comparison.


  9. richardmiles

    richardmiles Active Member

  10. solidsilver

    solidsilver Member

    Thank you so much for this insight. Very good to know.
    Marcus H likes this.
  11. solidsilver

    solidsilver Member

    I am thinking that the chap standing to the side, then count two in - is my Grandad, in the middle row. It looks remarkably like him , and my mum just pointed him out as him. Are we talking about the same one?
  12. richardmiles

    richardmiles Active Member

    The photo is of commissioned officers. My father is definitely 3rd from left middle row. I’ve looked through the list of 25th Dragoons troopers and other ranks embarked in November and December 1943 and there is not anyone named Field. This might indicate that your grandfather joined the 25th sometime afterwards.
  13. solidsilver

    solidsilver Member

    I suppose he could have left by then seeing as the comment above indicates he wore a cap badge of 1941.
  14. richardmiles

    richardmiles Active Member

    The regiment was formed 30 January 1941 and raised at Sialkot in the Punjab from personnel of the 3rd Carabiniers on 1 February 1941. It consisted of Lee/Grant tanks, underwent jungle training at Goa and was stationed at Dhond. It underwent formation training at Ranchi and fought in the Second Battle of the Arakan. Afterwards, the Lee tanks were replaced by Shermans and the unit underwent amphibious training for Operation Zipper, the invasion of Malaya. The 25th Dragoons were disbanded in August 1947.
  15. Marcus H

    Marcus H Active Member

    The cap badge pattern stem’s from 1941, the Indian made badges were a preference to the subsequent UK introduced pattern - there are six Indian made pattern’s in total.

    The pattern your Grandad is wearing is the most common example encountered in wear, and it would have been ‘mass produced’ with surplus stock in the stores.
  16. Marcus H

    Marcus H Active Member

    I would agree, Richard. I can’t see any NCOs present in this group photograph, at all.

    Rear row, fifth man from the left in the centre is Capt. R. H. Burton, ‘B’ Squadron; possibly a Lieut. at the time of this picture being taken.

    This is Captain Burton’s Coloured Field Service Cap in my collection.

    We must chat about your fathers badges and dress, too, as they are wonderful pictures depicting such.


  17. Marcus H

    Marcus H Active Member

    Hi Richard,

    You have some superb photographs of your father in his officers uniform. In my ongoing research, it’s the officers pictures exhibiting their badges and dress distinctions that are especially quite scarce to encounter.

    That certainly is when you consider the ratio of officers’ to other ranks within this short-lived regiment; as indeed with all of the six War Raised Cavalry units.

    What’s particularly interesting to view is the 25D embroidered/bullion officers badge in wear on the black RAC beret. This is a good, close and unmistakable representation, although I can’t positively discern the exact pattern.

    On your fathers collars, he is in my opinion wearing a pattern of Indian made collars to the 25D. These are slightly smaller than the UK made counterparts and it’s said they were preferred by the men, too.

    Being raised in India with no regimental badge to call their own on formation, per se, the regiment independently devised and thus procured their own insignia locally.

    Sialkot, British India was basically a ‘garrison town’ for all intents (think Aldershot, Colchester, Tidworth, etc), but it just so happens to have been a thriving hub for the subcontinents metal work industry.

    And, if I’m not mistaken the 25D spent between February and October 1941 in Sialkot whilst increasing their manpower to a ‘wartime strength.’ That’s not to imply that contractors in Sialkot were the only producers of the Indian made badges, no, not at all. As to the UK made badges, they were approved in August 1941. Whereupon the arrival of such in India, they weren’t received too well, with all ranks mostly opting to retain their locally made badges.

    Button wise, I’d be guessing...really. However, I do have a notion what we can just see is an Indian made example, not the British version on his Service Dress jacket.

    Unfortunately your fathers ‘25D’ metal (brass) shoulder titles are obscured (worn by all ranks on the applicable dress), these would have been on the edge of the shoulder straps of the Service Dress jacket. Although you can quite clearly see his cloth slip-on shoulder titles over his rank epaulettes on your avatar picture; that too is a cracking picture.

    • Badges: in this picture (top left) a representative pair of Indian made bi-metal officers collars. The gilding on the brass overlay has diminished now and the silver or possibly even zinc plating is all but gone on the sabres.

    • The shiny silver (plated) and gilt pair are produced by J. R. Gaunt, England.

    • Officers Service Dress collars in bronze, these are again by Gaunt and the same size as the cap badge die.

    • On the left is an Indian all ranks button (ORs No. 1 Dress and officers Service Dress), the gilt version is of UK manufacture (Pitt & Co) with a differing design and was an officers use only button.
  18. richardmiles

    richardmiles Active Member

    Marcus, thanks for your photo of Captain R.H. Burton's Coloured Field Service Cap, which looks excellent. He was A.1 Lieut on 5th June 1943, 2nd Lieut. 31st July 1943, A.1 Lieut. 28th Aug. and 4th Sept.1943. On the arrival roll at Keju Khal on 14th Dec.1943 he is listed as Lieut. and temporary A/Capt with next of kin, his wife Mrs R.H. Burton of 39 Paultons Square, London S.W.3. He's listed as T/Capt. 25th Dec. 1943 and then is missing from the next list of officers of 25D on 9th Oct.1944 and the lists after that. I wonder what happened to him. I have some of my fathers 25thD and RAC gilt uniform buttons, cap badges, medals etc., as well I think a teak cigarette box carved with 25th Dragoons, which is Indian made, but no Coloured Field Service Cap and I'm pretty sure I don't have a photo of him wearing one. My father, whose full name was Eric Talbot Shakespear Miles, was a young volunteer from Argentina of British parentage. He joined the Royal Armoured Corps at Batley Bridge in Yorkshire as an OR and then Lance Corporal and was recommended for a commission by his Colonel and was sent for officer's training at Dehra Dhun in India. I'm in touch with a neighbour who knew Captain, later Major "Toby" Alexander, also 25D. His wife is still alive but now in a home. Their daughter has apparently some info but I've yet to get in touch with her. Would you happen to know which one he is in the group photo or able to identify any of the others? A few years ago there was a Jap flag, captured by men of the 25th Dragoons in the Battle of the Admin Box on Ebay. Unfortunately I didn't take down the details. I met John Leyin, author of "Tell Them of Us", who served with my father in Burma and took him to see my father in his residential home a few years ago. John was a wonderful erudite man of small stature and although in his late eighties, spontaneously sprang into a ramrod stiff salute when he saw my father. It was an emotional moment. My father's elder brother, Jack served as an RAF Dakota pilot in Burma and still alive and kicking in Vancouver aged 101!
    Marcus H likes this.
  19. richardmiles

    richardmiles Active Member

    Thanks Marcus, I think I may have as well as the buttons, a cloth badge. Your latest post arrived as I was sending the first reply!
  20. solidsilver

    solidsilver Member

    Sorry to keep jumping in to the thread flow, but I found a bit of information on my Grandad from his Marriage certificate. It indicates:

    Rank or Profession-6201950 Corporal RAC
    Dated 26 Aug 1944

    I have also ordered the recommended book as suggested above. Thank you.

    Attached Files:

    richardmiles likes this.

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