Edward Walter Wintersgill, Gunner, 953953, 88 Field Regiment, RA

Discussion in 'Royal Artillery' started by malcwayland, Dec 10, 2019.

  1. malcwayland

    malcwayland Active Member

    My 1st cousin 1 x removed. Son of my Gt. Aunt, Elizabeth Wood and her husband, Edward Wintersgill. Died at Sea, 12 Sep 1944, when the unmarked “hellship” (“Rakuyo Maru”) taking him from Singapore to Formosa was torpedoed by U.S. Submarine “Sealion”.

    I am trying to research Edwards’s war service, and have found quite a bit of possible interest on the internet, etc., but without knowing which Battery he served with I’m having difficulty trying to trace his movements with any degree of accuracy. I believe he may have been a pre-war Territorial – can someone with a working knowledge of RA service numbers / enlistment dates shed any light as to roughly when he signed on?

    Having possibly gone through the withdrawal of 1940 and the Dunkirk evacuation, then being sent to Malaya and fighting a rear-guard action southwards to Singapore and the Surrender; possibly working on the Burma-Thailand Railway etc. etc., it only adds to the tragedy to know that he died as a result of ‘friendly fire’.

    And without his service record, is it at all possible to deduce which Battery / Troop he was in? Unfortunately I am not in contact with any of his nieces so cannot ask for their permission to apply for the Service Record.

    (As an aside, I recently purchased ‘Lancashire Gunners at War’ by Stephen Bull, telling the story of 88 Field Regiment in WW2. If anyone would like a ‘look-up’ please message me).

    Many thanks


  2. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    You do not need next of kin permission to apply for service records of people who died in WW2.
  3. wibs12

    wibs12 Well-Known Member

    Service records absolutely are the best way to go, and as above, you don't need to be next of kin to apply for service records (have a look at this link)
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  4. malcwayland

    malcwayland Active Member

    Owen / Wibs12 - I feel so stupid! Of course, you are both absolutely right - I’ve been helping 6 friends recently research their parents War Service, and in these cases the parents came home so I did need the consent form. Guess I got a bit ‘form happy’ earlier and forgot to engage brain! Thank you both for responding, and tomorrow will be applying for his records.
  5. ozzy16

    ozzy16 Patron Patron

    His attestation was 1939.below is his casualty card.


    Last edited: Dec 11, 2019
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  6. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    88th Field Regt were part of 18 Division leaving Halifax on board USS Mount Vernon in Convoy WS12X. Joining Convoy DM1 off South Africa and arriving Singapore 13 Jan 42.
    Convoy William Sail 12X
    Gunner E W Wintersgill was captured Singapore and transported to work on the Thailand - Burma Railway on 30.10.42.
    Extract from RA Roll compiled at Changi:
    The OVL (Overland) date of 30/10/42 puts him in 'S' Party, confirmed by this extract from 'S' Party list: upload_2019-12-10_22-43-46.png
    Useful info here:
    Death Railway
    The fact the 30/10/42 date has been crossed out shows he returned (date unknown) to Changi and then departed OVS (Overseas) on 4/9/44. This time on the Rakuyo Maru. Japanese Transports Database

    Edited to add:
    Rakuyo Maru
    W Died Database
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2019
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  7. malcwayland

    malcwayland Active Member

    Graham / Tim - Thank you both very much, gentlemen, your interest and assistance is much appreciated. Having literally just finished reading “Lancashire Gunners...”, I’ve also seen that in the ‘Roll of Honour’ in the Appendices, Edward is shown as having been in 464 Battery, created in January 1941 when the Regt. was reorganised from two to three Batteries.
  8. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    I fear I have inadvertently given some duff information regarding 88th Field Regiment. Whilst this Regiment is listed as being on the USS Mount Vernon in the reference I gave, further checking shows otherwise. The Order of Battle for Malaya Command on 8 December shows the 88th as part of 9th Indian Division, so they were already in Malaya when hostilities commenced. This is confirmed by RA 1939-45 88 Fld Rgt

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  9. malcwayland

    malcwayland Active Member

    Tim - what a coincidence! I was just looking at various other accounts of the 88th FR and the history of the 18th Division trying to understand where the Mt Vernon came into it! I was previously aware of the 9th Indian Div connection so was a trifle confused! But no matter - I'm now back in the loop and thank you for your prompt correction and the RA link in your latest post, much appreciated.
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  10. malcwayland

    malcwayland Active Member

    SR Pg 1 Top Sm.jpg SR Pg 2 Top Sm.jpg SR Pg 3 Top Sm.jpg SR Pg 4 Sm.jpg SR Pg 5 Top Sm.jpg UPDATE 09 May 2021


    Edwards Service Record has finally arrived, but brings with it yet more questions I need to resolve. As you can see from the first page, when he was ‘Deemed to have enlisted” on 15 Jan 1940 he declared that he had never served in any of the Commonwealth armed forces before. Graham (ozzy16) said that he attested in 1939 (Based on his Service Number, I believe) which doesn’t seem to tie in with this. Or could he have attested in ’39 and was then called up in January ’40?

    The record shows he was assigned to ‘A’ Bty, of the 9th Field Training Regt., RA, which I believe was situated at Uniake Barracks, Harrogate. His ‘Military History Sheet’ states he was on Home Service from 15 Jan 1940 to 28 Sep 1941; in Malaya from 29 Sep 1941 to 14 Feb 1942 (When Singapore fell, I believe); and the final entry : “JAPAN (P.O.W) 15.2.42 to 12.9.44”

    The “Statement of Services” section is reproduced below. Although no date is given for when 88th Field Regiment proceeded overseas, I think this would have been on 30 Sep 1941 when the “Empress of Canada” troop transport sailed from Gourock, Scotland. (Stephen Bull, Lancashire Gunners at War.)

    Any other comments explanations and corrections will be most welcome. Regards Malcolm

  11. Gelert

    Gelert Member

    Enlisted 15th Jan 1940 - I have 32 x 9539XX enlistments (now 33 with Wintergill) recorded and they all enlisted 15th Jan 1940
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  12. malcwayland

    malcwayland Active Member

    Many thanks, Gelert - Appreciate the confirmation.

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