8th Rifle Brigade

Discussion in 'British Army Units - Others' started by Neuron, Nov 10, 2015.

  1. Old Git

    Old Git Harmless Curmudgeon

    thanks for those scans 8RB, I'm off to find some vino and a quiet corner in which to read them over!

  2. I could not find any award for any Medical Officer named Wilcox (nor Wilcock nor Wilcocks), either in the National Archives or in the London Gazette.

    Do you have any additional precision that could help find it?
  3. I thought it might be something like that, but it seems that "C" & "D" Coy went somewhere else in the meantime, because apparently 1 RB had "A", "B", "I" and ''S" (support) Coys, and no "C" nor "D" Coys!
    See here: Infantry Regiments Page
    "Unlike the other Rifle Brigade Battalions instead of the usual A, B C and S (Support) Companies, 1st Bn The Rifle Brigade consisted of A, C, I and S (Support) Companies."

    So, maybe 1 RB did initially (or was planned to) have "A", "B", "C" and "D" Coys, but the last two were used elsewhere or cancelled, with "D" Coy to be replaced with the standard "S" as Support Coy and "C" Coy by the next letter, "I", available after the last one, "H", as used in 5 RB.

    However, I just found out a more likely reason, i.e. that the original "A" through "H" lettering of the Coys comes not from the 1st and 8th RB, but from the 1st and 2nd London Rifle Brigade, which in January 1941 became the 7th and 8th Rifle Brigade respectively, but kept their company lettering.
    Apparently the companies in 7 RB were indeed lettered "A" through "D", with "C" Coy becoming the Support Coy. See 7th Battalion; Rifle Brigade
    Knowing whether Coy lettering in 1st and 2nd London Rifle Brigade, just prior to their change to 7 & 8 RB, was also "A" through "H" would tell us whether 7 & 8 RB inherited it or were lettered anew on their creation.
  4. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    Think you are right: see this from "The London Rifle Brigade, 1919 to 1950", page 56, dealing with 1st Bn., 1939...
  5. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    Could be J.M. Willcox instead of J.M. Wilcox... See photo below (taken at (wonderful!) museum at Saint Martin des Besaces) and attached fragment from "The London Rifle Brigade, 1919 to 1950". Will you give it a second try?
    Museum Saint Martin des B.jpg

    Attached Files:

  6. Stupid me! Of course, I should have tried with double L's! It was under my nose all along :rolleyes:
    Recommendation for Award for Willcox, John Michael Rank: Captain Service No:... | The National Archives
    Page 1177 | Supplement 36961, 27 February 1945 | London Gazette | The Gazette
    He was just 6 paragraphs below Rev Taylor in the same page of the London Gazette (attached again).
    "Captain John Michael Willcox (171200) Royal Army Medical Corps (Birmingham)"

    His recommendation for award (WO 373/51/364, attached) logically also was next to Rev Taylor's (WO 373/51/358), because their numbering normally follows the London Gazette sequence.

    As you foresaw, both men got their MC for the same actions from 4-5 Aug at LE BAS PERIER and 6-10 Aug at PRESLES.

    Attached Files:

    8RB likes this.
  7. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

  8. To be more accurate, the Support Company in 1 RB was actually "B" Company. It might however also have occasionally been called "S" for "Support", hence the statement in the Desert Rats page linked in my post quoted above.
    This might have an impact on the numbering of the Platoons within the battalion, which should be following the sequence of "A", "B", "C" & "I" Companies.
    See "The Rifle Brigade Chronicle" in its part dealing with "The 1st Battalion with the B.L.A." says (page 26 attached, courtesy Paul Reed for the original copies and Michael Kenny for the OCR):

    We concentrated inland a few miles short of Bayeux still without sign of any but distant sound of enemy activity. We were not, however, ready to go forward as a complete battalion when the Armoured Brigade moved, as “ C ” Company (Bill Jepson-Turner) and the Support Company, “ B ” Company (John Witt) were far from complete. Nevertheless, when the advance did start on D plus 4, “ A ” Company (James Wright) and “ I ” Company (Bill Apsey), each with an anti-tank platoon under command, were ready to join 4 C.L.Y and 5 R. Tanks, the two Armoured Regiment with which they usually work.
    1RB Chronicle p26 - B Coy = Sp Coy.jpg

    Last edited: Jun 6, 2018
  9. can anyone put names to the faces of G Company from the photo earlier in this thread as have no images of my Great Uncle Lt Michael Lane who i`m led to believe was Platoon Comander for 10 Platoon.Thank You.
  10. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    Lt. Michael (Mike) Lane, from the 8RB officers group photo taken in Aldershot in May 1944. Can't say I recognize him in the G Coy photo. Maybe he was transferred from another platoon?
    Lane, Lt. Michael - CO 10 Pt.jpg
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2018
  11. Thank you so much I know have a face.

    Attached Files:

    Gary Tankard likes this.
  12. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    You are welcome!
    From your photos I see he died on the July 1st, 1944, so just after Operation Epsom. I also found he was buried in England. Any idea about the background of his death?
  13. Hi 8RB he was mortally wounded on the 29th June 1944 and evacuated back to England but died on the 1st July 1944. His wounding is recorded in G coy War Diary and in Noel Bell`s book "From the Beaches to the Baltic" he is buried in Moulton Parish Church in Suffolk. If the photo you gave me is of Mike Lane than the attached group photo could be 10 Platoon?

    Attached Files:

  14. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    Hi Jonathan,

    I am quite sure the photo is indeed of him. The names going with the officer's group photo I have were added by one of 8RB's HQ officers. I suppose he will have known all officers pretty well.

    Well spotted in the (apparently) 10 Platoon photo! So, would you then agree that in the G Coy photo, front row, 12th from left is also him?! Can't see why I didn't recognize him yesterday. So now you have 3 photos of him instead of none! I expect they were all taken at roughly the same date (although probably not on the same day, as he did manage to change Battle Dress ('37 to '40 pattern) and ties between photos).


    Do also take a look at the 8RB diary fragment I included in post #17!
    Your great uncle is mentioned in it and it shows he apparently got mortally wounded not on the 29th but on the 28th, virtually their first day in action.

    Kind regards, Ronald.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2018
  15. Thank you very much for your help.
  16. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    Would anyone be able to add other 8th Rifle Brigade group photos to this thread? Still looking for E, F and HQ Company and most platoons...
  17. Jack Bolton

    Jack Bolton Member

    Hi all again! Can anyone tell me what the 8th RB would have used as transport? I know they were given Bren carriers in my great-grandfather’s scout section (H company, 13 platoon) but what did the majority of the men use, if they were motorised? American half tracks, trucks, more Bren carriers?
  18. JDKR

    JDKR Member

    Dear Jack - as 8RB was a motor battalion all the info you need is in Trux. Here is the link:
    MOTOR BATTALION and MACHINE GUN UNITS. However, this lists the official establishment and the actual equipment held might have differed slightly.


  19. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    Hi Jack,

    I guess we 'met' before on another thread, on the 11th Armoured Division (your great-grandfather is Derrick Millwood). Great to see you again on here. As you maybe know 13 Platoon was a 'scout' platoon. They had a reconnaissance role and indeed used Bren carriers. The other 'motor' platoons (14, 15 and 16 Platoon) in H Company were motorized infantry and they used half tracks.

    In about a month time now I will be publishing the autobiography (recorded in the early 1990s) of 13 Platoon member Don Gillate. He passed away in 2009. The foreword to the book has been written by 13 Platoon's Commanding Officer, Sir Brian Neill. Sadly he also is not longer with us, he died in 2017. The book has 263 page and nearly 150 photos, full color contemporary maps and other illustrations. Once it is available I will be sure to post it on here! As I mentioned before your great-grandfather is also mentioned in it.

    Kind regards, Ronald.
    SDP likes this.
  20. R. Petrie

    R. Petrie Member

    I've not long been a member, and whilst scrolling through the site I came across your message. My father was also a member of G Coy 8RB, he was in 9 Platoon. He was transferred from 8KRRC in August 1944 and served until May 1945.
    Even though your message was in 2015, you may still look on this site, and have some photos containing my father.

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