3 RTR B Squadron

Discussion in 'RAC & RTR' started by Frank Flattery, Feb 7, 2020.

  1. Frank Flattery

    Frank Flattery Well-Known Member

    Hello to everybody, as I already mentioned in other threads related to 3 RTR, I'm starting this thread:

    a) to trace my Grandfather's movements in the war from when he joined 3 RTR till the end of the war, and

    b) (hopefully!) to put names to faces and places, and build up a picture of 3 RTR B squadron from D-Day till VE Day.

    I'm sure there are many of you undertaking similar quests, so it doesn't have to be just about B squadron, or just limited to the dates mentioned above, and, there will be those who, as in my case, are researching people who joined 3 RTR from 24th Lancers in August '44, so maybe we could include information on 24th Lancers' brief but intense campagne in Europe, too (or perhaps it would be better in a separate thread, what do you think?).

    I'll be posting all the photos I have, I apologise in advance for the quality, some of them are quite small, so I've had to enlarge them, and even with high-resolution scans, the images are rather poor, but they exist!



    To set the scene, I'll give you his background, although unfortunately, prior to joining 3 RTR, there aren't many pics (more of that later). I do have a scan of his Tracer Card, and in a few months' time, I shall be requesting his service record (he passed away in 1995, and not until 25 years have elapsed do they release the full service record), and apart from some regiment 'portrait' photos and some photos from his wireless operator courses at Catterick and Bovingdon, that's about it.



    My Grandfather's name was Frank Curzon, born in London in 1917. He volunteered for the 4th County of London Yeomanry either on the 29th or 30th November 1939 (depending on which photo you look at! - or maybe he was so eager he joined two days running!). I know nothing of his days with 4 CLY, but according to his Tracer Card he was posted on 14/6/40 (HQ?) and then on 30/6/40 to 51 Training Regiment at Catterick (see scan). I guess this is when he started wireless training. Then, on 16/4/41 he was posted to 24 Lancers ( 'Y' listed 3/6/42, and back to 24 Lancers 22/7/42, I suspect this was when he did his Wireless Operators Instructor course at Bovingdon– see scans) He served with 24 Lancers until their disbandment, being then posted to 3 RTR on 3/8/44.



    The fact that he had so few photos pre-1944 maybe due to an incident he mentioned once, when his Sherman was destroyed by a plane (the crew were sleeping outside the tank, under a tarpaulin attached to the hull, and were unhurt). My grandmother received a letter from the war office, and was understandably upset, only to find a request for a new blanket and other items to replace the ones lost in his big pack! I suppose whatever photos he had of 24 Lancers in France were lost along with the rest of his stuff, but I'm only guessing.

    More to follow!
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Feb 15, 2020
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  2. Frank Flattery

    Frank Flattery Well-Known Member

    Here are a few pics from his wireless training, not much info, I'm afraid, although the group photo does have on the back the names/signatures of all present, plus their regiments. Except for the last pic, I believe they are all at Catterick, 51 Training reg, the last one is at Bovingdon, when he had transfered to 24 Lancers.
     

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  3. Frank Flattery

    Frank Flattery Well-Known Member

    Anyway, getting on to 3 RTR!! The earliest pics I have from this period are these of my Grandfather and his best mate, Charlie, when they were billeted in Poperinge, Belgium, late 1944 awaiting their comets. They stayed with the Six family, who were all too pleased to pose for snapshots! He wrote that "Charlie and I billeted there during period of refit from Shermans to English Comets. Period interrupted by the Xmas Ardennes offensive. Never did get our Xmas dinner!"
     

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  4. Frank Flattery

    Frank Flattery Well-Known Member

    The following pic is of his friend Alex's Sherman, in winter gear. I guess that this was taken during said Ardennes offensive.
     

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  5. Frank Flattery

    Frank Flattery Well-Known Member

    Alex and crew appear with their brand-new comet in this pic, unfortunately I don't know the names, nor which one is Alex, but I do know the name of his tank... Cestus! (no T number! Sorry!)
     

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  6. Frank Flattery

    Frank Flattery Well-Known Member

    My Grandfather's tank was Cherub, I think from another photo that it was T334947. Also appearing is Sid Evans, driver.
     

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  7. Frank Flattery

    Frank Flattery Well-Known Member

    Here is another pic of Cherub, "cutting the autobahn near Lubek"
     

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  8. Frank Flattery

    Frank Flattery Well-Known Member

    And finally (for now!), Cherub & crew, l-r, name unknown, Sid Evans (driver), Frank Curzon (operator), Charlie (surname unknown), the fifth crew member doesn't appear in the photo, no name, either, probably the one taking the photo. This photo I posted previously, it was taken in Bad Segeberg at the end of the war. Can anyone help with names?
     

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  9. Frank Flattery

    Frank Flattery Well-Known Member

    I would really like to find out Charlie's surname, as I said, he was my grandfather's best friend. My grandfather wasn't one to talk much about the war, I would often pester him for stories, and he told me only a few (later, I'll post them). I asked my grandmother about this, and she told me that up till the end of the war he had had a good one (I guess meaning that he was still alive!), but everything changed for him on the last day, when the ceasefire had been declared. Charlie and he were leaning out of the tank, talking ( I think he may have been the tank commander, but I'm not sure), when Charlie was killed (if I remember the story rightly, by a SS fanatic with a bazooka, blowing the top of his body away). She said that after that he changed, and became much more reserved about it. So any help would be appreciated, maybe the dates, or the details, are wrong, but if anyone can offer up any additional info, I'd be very grateful!
     
  10. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    Here is his entry in the 24th Lancers Nominal Roll effective D Day. It shows his trades as Driver/Operator in C Squadron.

    IMG_4970.JPG
     
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  11. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    Have you searched the CWGC website for 3RTR casualties around that time?
     
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  12. Frank Flattery

    Frank Flattery Well-Known Member

    Thanks!
     
  13. Frank Flattery

    Frank Flattery Well-Known Member

    No, I haven't, but I shall now! Thanks!
     
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  14. Frank Flattery

    Frank Flattery Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the suggestion, but unfortunately I'm coming up a blank... I've tried a blanket search for all 3 rtr casualties in Germany, but it shows no results..I must be doing something wrong! Any idea which cemetary he would have been interred in? I guess it would be Kiel, but nothing there that I could see. (some time later) I've just had a look at all royal armoured corps casualties in Germany, the only tanker that it could be is Harold Charles Ellershaw, 3455933, buried in Hannover, 8 April 1945. Not too sure about that.
     
  15. JDKR

    JDKR Member Patron

    Frank - some random musings...

    1. I know it's a dumb question, but have you checked the 3 RTR war diary?
    2. There is also a micro chance that Charlie's death is mentioned in the study of tank casualties, see: 11th Armoured Division, Tank Casualties, 1945. However, the survey is confined to the first half of April so unless his death was then this would seem pretty unlikely.
    3. As 3 RTR reached Bad Segeberg on or about 5 May 45, Charlie's death must have been one of the very last suffered by the regiment. His death at the hands of a Panzerfaust firer sounds more than likely and was tragically common.
    4. The only book I have on 3 RTR's wartime history is 'A View from the Turret, by Bill Close. Although Bill briefly mentions the regiment being in Bad Segeberg, as he commanded A Sqn his account generally concentrates on this squadron's experiences.
    5. It's just possible that John Langdon's 'The Sharp End' might mention the incident. SDP might be able to help with this.

    Best

    John
     
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  16. JDKR

    JDKR Member Patron

    I have had a look on the CWGC site...

    Becklingen cemetery drew a blank but Hamburg cemetery has this record: Casualty. The date looks there or thereabouts and could Tpr Duckett have been nicknamed 'Charlie' to escape 'Cyril'?! Bit of a longshot but not impossible.
     
  17. JDKR

    JDKR Member Patron

    Oooops. Just noticed Tpr Duckett was 5 RTR. Apologies.
     
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  18. Frank Flattery

    Frank Flattery Well-Known Member

    Hi John, thanks for the suggestions. To be honest, no, I haven't seen the war diary (Homer Simpson D'oh! moment!!), I'm afraid I'm a bit new to all this, where would I get a copy? Does anyone out there have one? I've read the book you mention, and also two other books about 3RTR, Taming The Panzers by Patrick Delaforce and Accidental Journey by Mark Lynton (mostly about A squadron). I need to re-read them! I'll check up on 'The Sharp End', hadn't heard of that one before. Of course my grandmother could have been mistaken (no longer with us, I'm afraid, so no way to confirm) but I do distinctly remember her telling me about it, so much so that I tended not to ask him much afterwards. Much appreciated input!
     
  19. Frank Flattery

    Frank Flattery Well-Known Member

    Thanks anyway, much appreciated!
     
  20. Frank Flattery

    Frank Flattery Well-Known Member

    Do you mean the book by John Ellis? I can't find anything by John Langdon...
     

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