Granddads WW2 service in Royal West Kents & 2nd Battalion Parachute Regiment

Discussion in 'Service Records' started by edward finch, Jan 16, 2016.

  1. edward finch

    edward finch Member

    Please can anyone help to explain my Granddads service record. He started in the Royal West Kent Regiment & then went into the 2nd Battalion the Parachute Regiment. We do think he was on a troop ship that was sunk on route to North Africa as he once told my Aunt in December 1942. We do know as a Para he was wounded on 28th March 1943 in Tunisia which I think from information on Para data would have been as part of Operation Torch during the Battle of Cork Wood, we then presume this left him unfit for the Parachute Regiment & he was returned to the Royal West Kents. We know he served in Italy as we have a couple of photos of him in Siena. Any help in explaining his service record would be fantastic as would any information concerning his time in Tunisia & also where the Royal West Regiment were & what they were doing in 1944/45 in various cities in Italy. I do hope to go to research this further at Duxford & also at the RWK museum in Maidenhead later this year but a head start would be much appreciated. I would eventually then like to visit some of the battlefield locations & places he would have seen during his service.

    Attached Files:

  2. edward finch

    edward finch Member

    Please can anyone help me with information explaining my Granddads service records. We can see he signed up for the Royal West Kents & then volunteered for the Parachute Regiment. Due to family stories we think he was on troop ship that was sunk on its way to North Africa in December 1942. We can also see that he was injured on the 28th March 1943 (I think this would be the battle of Cork Wood) which we think led to him being unfit for the Paras & returned to the RWK. We know he then went on to serve in Italy as we have a few photos taken in Siena. Where & what were the RWK doing in Italy 1944/45. I do want to research this further & one day visit the sites where he would have seen action. A head start explaining the service records would be much appreciated.

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  3. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    merged duplicate threads , can anyone help out Edward ?
  4. edward finch

    edward finch Member

    Thank you Owen, any help from members would be much appreciated as I am new to this so could do with a helping hand from someone who might already have a lot of this knowledge & more detailed information to pass on. Would really like to know more about my Granddads time in the Royal West Kent Regiment when he served in Italy.
  5. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member


    I don't think your granddad's service records show him attached to a specific battalion of the Royal West Kent's. No doubt, you've noted that the Royal West Kent's had three battalions serving in Italy during 1944 (and 1945), namely:

    1 RWK in 12th Infantry Brigade - 4th Division.

    5 RWK in 21st Indian Infantry Brigade - 8th Indian Division.

    6 RWK in 36th Infantry Brigade - 78th Division.

  6. edward finch

    edward finch Member

    thanks a lot for taking the time to look Richard. I had hoped the service records would show the RWK battalion but I could not see it & thought I must have missed an abbreviation or code that I did just not understand. Can you offer any suggestions as to how I might find out what BATTALION he was with in Italy. We know from his WW2 photos he was definitely in Siena Italy.
  7. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    Needle and haystack are two words that come to mind, perhaps, without any other personal detail from the records or family papers. Speculative suppositions usually do not help much (but I have made some anyway below, though providing nothing particularly insightful).

    His role from early 1944 onwards was described as a "pipe and plumber fitter" so presumably he was usually located in a depot area behind the line of front line advance (does "ME 20 ISSU 6" ring a bell for anyone?.. or "ME 38 No 1" or "ME 61" etc etc?? )...perhaps he was not providing service just to the RWK's. I note that "ISSU 6" was a code for a Special Operations unit.

    Presumably the photos in Siena are ones of your granddad at leisure...the city had been liberated in early July, so if taken in the few months after that time, he is likely to be wearing warm weather kit (and looking pretty warm)... or into 1945

    The 4th Division went to Greece at the end of 1944 but given his role, whether he would have gone with them even then if he was part of 1 RWK (4th Div) is a further question..

    The various war diaries might (or, more likely, might not) elaborate on some of the abbreviations.

    good luck,
  8. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    From what I can make from that is that he was only cap badged as RWK & did not serve with any of their battalions.
    Seems he was employed as a plumber & pipe fitter with various other units.
  9. edward finch

    edward finch Member

    When he first signed up he went into the RWK & then volunteered for Paras & I can see he was in the 2nd Battalion Parachute Regiment in North Africa & then wounded on the 28th March 1943 which in my research makes it Cork Wood, Tunisia. I am presuming due to the injury he then went back to the RWK where it is possible he was then a plumber as after the war in civilian life he worked as a plumber till retirement in North London.
  10. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member


    I have the War Diaries for the 1st Battalion QORWK Regiment for both Dec 44 and Jan 45 and their weekly "Field returns for Other Ranks (Army Form W3009E)" there are no "Plumbers and Pipe Fitters" entered on the form.

    This means that your grandfather probably wasn't in Greece with the 4th Infantry Division.

    Hope this helps to narrow your search.

  11. edward finch

    edward finch Member

    Hello Gus, that's a big help, thank you for taking the time to look at my posting it really is much appreciated that you have taken an interest & time to search your war diaries. Your information will now narrow down the search to the 5th or 6th Battalion. I am presuming that the war diaries or the Field returns for other ranks for the 5th & 6th RWK is what I will be needing to get the information from so as to find out his battalion. with best wishes Edward
  12. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member

    Hi Edward

    Maybe someone on the forum with an interest in Italy, will have the diaries already.Fingers crossed.

    Someone has already suggested that, given his trade, he might have been working at a regimental depot somewhere.

    If he has any involvement in "special operations" there are a host of people on the forum who should be able to help too.

    If, by some slim chance, he was in Greece after all, I can let you have a copy of the diaries. The QORWK ones are VERY detailed.

    Good luck with your research,

  13. edward finch

    edward finch Member

    a photo to put a face to the information. my granddad is on the right with the Parachute Regiment Beret & Badge.

    Attached Files:

  14. Skip

    Skip Senior Member

    Hi Edward,

    Bexley84 is right here ... ISSU6 was another name for MASSINGHAM, SOE's station just outside Algiers. It supported planned operations into mainland Europe and some airborne troops in theatre were attached to it whilst carrying out para training.

    No.1 Special Force, otherwise known as MARYLAND, was MASSINGHAM's offshoot in Italy that dealt with ops there and into Austria.

    Hope this helps,


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