25th Dragoons

Discussion in 'RAC & RTR' started by 4jonboy, Aug 6, 2011.

  1. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce Patron

    Apologies if this is in the wrong place! Researching for a friend.

    Sergeant Thomas Gidman, No 408106 served in Burma with the 25th Dragoons. I have attached a couple of photos for information.
    I am afraid that is all I really know. I have looked on ww2 BBC2 Peoples War-were they a tank regiment and part of the 14th Army in Burma? Sorry pictures are not too good.


    Attached Files:

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  2. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    There are two memories writen by former members of the regiment, John Leyin's "Thell them of us" and Tom Grounds' "Some letters from Burma". While I didn't have chance to read Grounds book yet, I've read Leyin's and I highly recommend it. Another book you can try is Perrett's "Tank tracks to Rangoon".

    Regiment served in Burma, during Second Arakan Campaign and distinguished itself during battle of the Admin Box. Part of regiment later served in the Central Burma in moping up operations while the rest trained for the Operation Zipper before end of war.
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  3. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    I second everthing Sol says, as I have all three books he mentions and have also read and can recomend 'Tell Them Of Us' so im sure between s we can try to be of help.
  4. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Lesley - the 25th Dragoons were formed in India from a cadre of the the 3rd Caribineers and served in a few Indian Armoured bdes and did an excellent job in Burma until disbanded there in 1947..
  5. Roddy1011

    Roddy1011 Senior Member

    Hi there -

    Have a look at the Burma Star Association website & plug in 25th Dragoons...some good stuff there...

  6. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce Patron

    Thank you all for your comments, much appreciated.

  7. richardmiles

    richardmiles Active Member

    I’ve found him in the nominal roll of the 25th Dragoons who disembarked at Beach Rejuvenate Khal on 8th December,1943. ‘C’ Squadron.

    Spellchecker again! Sergeant Gidman of C squadron disembarked at Reju Khal from Calcutta on 8th December 1943.
  8. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce Patron

    Thank you Richard.
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  9. richardmiles

    richardmiles Active Member

    Also worth reading is"Battle of the Box" by Patrick Turnbull. Published 1979.
  10. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Well the Battle of the Box covers all operations in the Arakan, from 1942 to 1945. It is good source for getting general knowledge about operations in Arakan but I don't think her the best for researching 25th Dragoons.

    I think that James Holland's Burma '44 would be better choice although Laying and Grounds interviews/books were used for sources so there would probably be a lot of material that could be find in their books.
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  11. richardmiles

    richardmiles Active Member

    sol,agreed and thanks for your post. Tanks rely on infantry support and vice versa.James Holland has written an excellent book, Burma 44. This is, as far as the 25th Dragoons involvement is concerned,in part gleaned from the only two books from that Regiment, written by members of my father's troop in B Squadron, Tom Grounds and John Leyin .However, although the West Yorkshire are mentioned, I think that Patrick Turnbull's book, Battle of the Box, has more on others involved.
  12. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    25th Dragoons


    1 February 1941 at Sialkot, India

    Raising Regiment

    3rd Carabiniers (Prince of Wales’s Dragoon Guards)

    Battle Honours

    North Arakan, Buthidaung, Razabil, Ngakeydauk Pass, Burma 1944-45

    2nd Indian Armoured Brigade – 1 February 1941 to 1 April 1941

    The 25th Dragoons was raised from a draft of 12 officers and 102 other ranks of the 3rd Carabiniers on February 1st, 1941 at Sialkot. It remained at Sialkot attached to the 3rd Carabiniers until April 1st, 1941, when it moved to join the 4th Indian Armoured Brigade at Risalpur.

    4th Indian Armoured Brigade – 1 April 1941 to 31 December 1941

    The regiment joined the brigade in Risalpur the brigade’s formation. In April 1941 it was issued with fourteen Morris commercial six-wheeled ambulances. There were replaced by hired lorries and derelict buses in July 1941. Starting in August 1941 it began to receive a few pre-war light tanks.

    254th Indian Armoured Brigade – 1 January 1942 to 15 September 1942

    The brigade was renumbered 254th on January 1st, 1942 at Risalpur. The regiment was mobilised while still at Risalpur on May 23rd, 1942 and moved to Galunche on June 16th.

    254th Indian Tank Brigade – 15 September 1942 to 5 December 1943

    On October 10th, 1942 the regiment moved to Dhond, where it received fifteen armoured cars. Valentine tanks began to arrive in November with 16 Valentine Mk Vs on November 8th, 8 Valentine Mk Vs on November 27th, and 16 Valentine Mk Vs, 11 Valentine Mk IIs, and 2 Valentine Mk IIIs in December. This changed in March 1943, when the regiment re-equipped with Stuart Light Tanks, a mixture of Mk I Hybrids and Mk IIIs. The 25th moved to Ratu Camp, Ranchi on May 15th. During July, it received four Canadian Lynx Scout Cars and re-equipped with Lee Tanks starting in August. On October 22nd, the regiment moved to Calcutta with the brigade, but left it on December 5th, when it moved to the Arakan to join the XV Indian Corps.

    XV Indian Corps – 5 December 1943 to 19 January 1944

    The 25th Dragoons was secretly brought forward in landing craft and disembarked by night near Ukhia on December 2nd. The tanks were hidden in the jungle and the tracks to Tumbru were strengthened from where the tnaks would move by barge to Bawli. The regiment formed the 25th Dragoons Armoured Group along with one troop of the 401st Field Squadron, IE, a bridging troop detachment, and ‘A’ Company 3/4th Bombay Grenadiers. It was to be employed in support of the 5th Indian Infantry Division in the capture of Razabil. By January, the Group was at its forward base area at Reju Khal on the Teknaf peninsula and was ferried across the wide Naf River in barges for its final assembly at Chamba.

    161st Indian Infantry Brigade – 19 January 1944 to 4 February 1944

    On January 26th the 161st Brigade’s attack went in at Razabil. ‘C’ Squadron attacked Tortoise Hill in support of the 4th/7th Rajput Regiment and continued in support through the 27th. On the 28th, ‘B’ Squadron took over in support of the Rajputs while ‘A’ Squadron supported the 4th Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment. By January 30th the battle had deteriorated into a stalemate and the 161st and 123rd Indian Brigades consolidated the ground held.

    7th Indian Infantry Division – 4 February 1944 to 24 February 1944

    The regiment left all reserve tanks and crews with the 5th Indian Division as the ‘Reserve’ Squadron, which was located along the maintenance centre at Briasco Bridge. The rest of the regiment moved across the Ngakyedauk Pass on February 4th, having been preceded by ‘B’ Squadron. The latter spent February 5th with the 4th/8th Gurkha Rifles in an attempt to stop Japanese infiltration in the Laung Chaung Valley. The regiment joined the 9th Indian Infantry Brigade on February 4th to prepare for an attack on Buthidaung. In the meantime, two squadrons patrolled the road between the Administration box and the old Divisional HQ while towing the medium guns of the 6th Medium Regiment and recovering several vehicles. On February 6th, the 25th moved into the Administration Box for its defence along with ‘A’ Company 3rd/4th Bombay Grenadiers. The regiment remained engaged in defence of the box. On February 9th, ten Lees of ‘A’ Squadron left the box and joined the 33rd Indian Brigade box and later shot up Ngakyedauk village with the brigade. A suicide attack on the 25th Dragoons’ leaguerer was broken up on the 14th. On the 16th, a patrol of ‘C’ Squadron went out with the 1st Lincolnshire Regiment of the 26th Indian Division. Back with the 5th Indian Division, the Reserve Squadron supported the division’s advance through Ngakeydauk Pass to free up the 7th Division. On February 22nd, ‘C’ Squadron and two companies of the 2nd King’s Own Scottish Borderers left the box to contact the 5th Division and reached them on the 24th, ending the siege.

    XV Indian Corps – 24 February 1944 to 27 June 1944

    The 25th Dragoons then supported the 7th Indian Division in the capture of Buthidaung starting on March 5th and ending with its capture on the 12th. After it was involved in mopping up operations in the area. The regiment then support the 26th Indian Division in the fight for Hill 551 from April 13th to 26th. After that date only one squadron remained with the division east of the Mayu range until the evacuation of Buthidaung, One Troop also remained with the 25th Indian Division. The rest of the regiment moved back to the hard standings near Ukhia, while all men except maintenance crews moved back to India. On June 27th, the regiment returned to India at Poona.

    166th Line of Communications Sub-Area (Poona) – 27 June 1944 to 27 September 1944

    At Poona, the regiment re-equipped with Valentines plus six Sherman OP Tanks.

    168th Line of Communications Sub-Area (Cocanda) – 27 September 1944 to 1 July 1945

    The 25th moved to the Madras area in September. In November 1944, it converted to Sherman M4A2s and was complete by January 1945. On April 29th, 1945, ‘A’ Squadron moved to Calcutta and then to Comilla on May 2nd. On May 4th, ‘A’ was flown into Burma at Meiktilla to support the 19th Indian Division, where they equipped with Shermans taken over two at a time from the other regiments in the area. On May 7th, the squadron came under command of the 64th Indian Brigade with one-half of the squadron under the 62nd Indian Brigade. It was involved in operations on the Kalaw road through the end of May and then helped occupy Kalaw on June 7th. On June 11th, ‘A’ Squadron flew to Chittagong and rejoined the regiment at Cocanada on the 17th.

    50th Indian Tank Brigade – 1 July 1945 to 31 August 1945

    The 25th Dragoons joined the brigade on July 1st, 1945 and began to equip with DD Shermans for operations in Malaya. The brigade was located at Ahmednagar. It landed in Malaya in September 1945 as part of XXXIV operations.
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  13. richardmiles

    richardmiles Active Member

    Thank you this excellent summary.
  14. Marcus H

    Marcus H Active Member

    On the formation date of 1st February, 1941, there were twelve officers’ from the parent regiment of the 3DG, and a thirteenth officer from the Royal Tank Regiment, a Lieut. H. P. S. Massy as Adjutant.

    And not to forget, in addition to the 102 other ranks personnel of the 3DG that day, there were also the following from:

    - 63 East Yorkshire Regiment

    - 21 Green Howard’s

    - 6 West Yorkshire Regiment

    - 1 South Wales Borderers

    Plus, inaugural elements of ancillary personnel, such as RAMC, REME...etc, etc.

    Between February and October 1941, the regiment increased its ranks (all) to a ‘wartime strength.’ This would have and indeed thereafter in the coming months and years have included conscripts fresh from UK RAC training establishments and experienced men from other RAC regiments; as with perhaps the thread starting post. In the two pictures, Thomas Gidman, is wearing the 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards cap badge.


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  15. richardmiles

    richardmiles Active Member

    Another book well worth reading about the Battle of The Admin Box at Sinzweya is The Desert And The Jungle by Geoffrey Evans. Six chapters within about the Battle of the Admin Box in February 1944.Then, Brigadier Evans was in charge of 9 Infantry Brigade of the 5th Indian Division and inside the Box throughout. The book is quite expensive on various book sites but after searching found a copy for £10 inc posting.

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