2613229 Sgt Thomas DEBNAM, BEM, Grenadier Guards & 49th Reconnaissance Regt

Discussion in 'Recce' started by jon debnam, Jul 11, 2020.

  1. jon debnam

    jon debnam Member

    Hi All, I'm new to the forum but have been looking at files that people on here have kindly posted. I think i've checked out all the files and photos of the 49th Recce including the Reconnaissance Journals which were great. I've spent some time recently looking at the books, "Only the enemy in front" "The British Reconnaissance Corps in World War 2""The Polar Bears; Montys left flank" all good reads. So after all that, all i know is Tom (My grandfather) was in the Grenadier Guards from 1932-35, Then was recalled in 1939 serving in France with 2 bn. In Feb 1941 he transferred to the Reconnaissance Corps. Where he served as Sgt on a brengun carrier. In 1944 he was awarded the British Empire Medal (which I have photos of) He survived the war and passed away in 1977. I know his Troop leader was Lt Alexander Hargreaves Brown, who was killed on 4th Oct 44. (there's quite a bit about him on the internet as he came from an upper class family) I have seen a clip in the Recce Journal, where Trooper Picton was awarded the MM for gallantry on that date, his troop leader was killed by a direct hit on their OP, and wondered if that was the same incident but I don't know. I also have a "wilderness spoon" which was his, which was given me by my grandma...it's a silver plated spoon which was awarded for marksmanship (he had 2), not sure if it's from the Guards or the Recce though. What i don't (and would like to) know, is what squadron and troop he was in...and any other details or photo's anyone would have. Cor i have gone on a bit, sorry. Thanks all!
  2. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    Hi Jon and welcome, First port of call should always be his official service records as these are the only source of his full history.
    Get a copy of military service records

    [For his service records you will need a death certificate, no Thomas Debnam recorded in 1977 but there is one for 22 April 1976 in Essex (born 9 June 1910) - would this be him?]

    As to which squadron, this is unlikely to be in the service records but may well be in the documentation with the war diaries, also bear in mind that soldiers often were transferred between squadrons from time to time.

    BEM in birthday honours
    Page 2596 | Supplement 36544, 2 June 1944 | London ...

    Last edited: Jul 11, 2020
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  3. jon debnam

    jon debnam Member

    Thanks for the advice Tony. Also the paper clipping is fantastic. I knew he was left a large sum of money but i've never seen this. He did live in Essex so that would be him, my mistake on the year. Thanks again.
  4. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    There is obviously a personal relationship to have been left money, if you are unaware of any family connections, perhaps it was something to do with war service, I would be tempted to see the will. It may just say that 'I leave Thomas £x', but it may well say something along the lines of 'I leave Thomas £x, in recognition of ............'. Worth £1.50 anyway.

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  5. Recce_Mitch

    Recce_Mitch Very Senior Member

    BEM Citation

    Debnam Sgt BEM.JPG
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  6. jon debnam

    jon debnam Member

    Hi, So i've sent off for grandfathers service records and am waiting patiently for there arrival ! I've now also got a copy of Lt Hargreaves Brown will, his troop is referred to as "Number 14 Scout Troop". Can someone explain what that means, I was expecting a squadron eg ABC or HQ plus a troop number ? Thanks.
  7. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

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  8. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    Just to add to the confusion, the attachments on this post seem to indicate that 5 Recce squadrons were numbers and not A, B, C.
    5th Recce Sicily - 5th August
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2020
  9. jon debnam

    jon debnam Member

    Please don't add any more confusion !!! I'm happy to think that 49th Recce had A,B,C, and HQ. Hopefully when his service record arrives it'll spread more light, Thanks.
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  10. jon debnam

    jon debnam Member

    Update...I received grandfather's army records in the post today. It took a long time but really pleased with them so I'm not complaining. They're very thorough. They've answered some questions but have raised plenty more. Onwards and upwards with the research !
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