Looking for help! 23rd Hussars

Discussion in 'RAC & RTR' started by Len Deans, Jun 19, 2011.

  1. grimmy

    grimmy Guest

  2. grimmy

    grimmy Guest

    These extracts from 23H War Diary are a belated response to a query by Ravrick a while ago:

    April 9th
    "C" Squadron rejoined and followed behind "B" Squadron Group who were making good going through Rodewald, 1753, Suderbruch, 2154 and Nord Drebber, 2455. At the latter place they had a sharp clash with Bazooka men of 2nd Marine Division who were to provide the main opposition on the River Aller. They were fresh troops and full of spirit.


    April 14th
    At 08.30 hours 23rd Hussar Group moved over the River Aller and turned west to Winsen, 4755. As 15th/19th Group took all day to clear this place, 23rd Hussar Group leaguered at 3157.

    April 15th
    08.00 hours. 23rd Hussar Group moved through Winsen, turning north, "B" Squadron Group leading. Some Bazooka and machine gun opposition was met with north of Winsen in 4758, but this rapidly cleared and the enemy dispersed by setting fire to the wood. North of Walle, 4862 there were notices in English declaring the Belsen area to be typhus infected and to be a Neutral Zone. This was observed without incident and we passed the camp at great speed, little knowing what horrors it concealed.
  3. nmartin31

    nmartin31 Junior Member

    My grandad was injured on the 15th August 1944 - His name was Albert Spear. Would be amazing to hear if anyone knew him.
    Have the book about the 23rd Hussars, it was given to me by my Nan before she passed, god bless her.
  4. grimmy

    grimmy Guest

    Hi nmartin. Any idea which Squadron he was in?

    I'm in touch with members of 'B' and 'C' Squadrons (sadly we've just lost an 'A' Squadron man). I'll ask my Dad ('C') if he remembers him.

    Photos would be nice, if you have any.

    Cheers, Grimmy
  5. grimmy

    grimmy Guest

    nmartin - if you have the Hussars' history then you'll know that your grandad was wounded at Canteloupe on that day.

    The 23H War Diary is typically terse:

    "A" Squadron push forward to area west of Canteloupe and secure. "B" Squadron move through and capture area Point 203, 808387. R.HQ. at X roads 779360. 2 - Other Ranks killed in action, Lieut Bates and 3 - Other Ranks wounded, 1 - Other Rank missing.

    In fact 4 Other Ranks were killed that day - all from 'A' Squadron (see the Roll of Honour at Bridlington Priory GENUKI: Photograph of the The World War II memorial screen for the 23rd Hussars in Priory Church, Bridlington., Yorkshire). I'm pretty certain your Grandad was also in 'A'. That's a pity - my 'A' contact was Bertie McCully who sadly passed away on May 22nd of this year.

    Sorry I can't be of more help.
  6. nmartin31

    nmartin31 Junior Member

    Wow, thank you so much for your help. I do not know what squadron he was in but I do have photograph and service record that I will acquire from my mother soon (when she comes home from holiday) and will send over.

    I am sorry to hear of your friends passing.

    I was told a long time ago that my Grandad was the only survivor of his tank when it was hit and he carried out a member of his team, not sure what rank he was. I do remember the scars on his arm from the shrapnel wounds. He passed away when I was around 8 years old, 1985.

    He was a keen accordian player in his squadron so ive been told.
  7. grimmy

    grimmy Guest

    nmartin - if you look at the back of the 23H History, it lists those wounded (by date) along with their rank (I don't have it to hand right now - am at work).

    Two 'A' Squadron tanks were destroyed that day - one commanded by Sgt Oldham, the other by Lt Bates - resulting in the deaths of Sgt Oldham, L/Cpl Hunter, Tpr Stock and Tpr Withers.

    If your story is correct and your grandad was the only survivor, then he must have been in Sgt Oldham's tank, as Lt Bates survived.
  8. nmartin31

    nmartin31 Junior Member

    I have given the 23H book to a relative to borrow, but am aware that in the back of the book it lists my Grandad as wounded on the abovementioned date. Was this during Operation Goodwood?

    How interesting though! My sincere appreciation for your help on this.

    Would be great to find another A squadron member that knew my Grandad, hopefully the photograph that i'll post soon will help.

    Thanks again
  9. grimmy

    grimmy Guest

    Was this during Operation Goodwood?

    No, Goodwood ended on 20th July. The big Normandy tank battles were over by now and the Germans were on the run. Your Grandad was wounded as the allies were moving east to trap the retreating axis soldiers in the Falaise Pocket.

    This was the start of the great 'cavalry charge' across northern Europe which, barring interruptions such as the Ardennes episode, would see 23H end up in Husum, Schleswig Holstein.

    Your Grandad was a Trooper.
  10. nmartin31

    nmartin31 Junior Member

    I have some details that are on my grandads service book.

    Trooper Spear was a Gunner Mechanic Group C. Royal Artillery Corps.

    It is written as:

    23rd Hussars RAC. Overseas Service - 165 A-S Group. 47 'C'

    Is this squadron A?

    He trained at Barnard Castle, County Durham before being sent to France.

    I have since found out that my mother has a photograph of all the squadron together. Will post soon.
  11. grimmy

    grimmy Guest

    RAC = Royal Armoured Corps.

    I'm not sure what the rest means, but the words '23rd Hussars' will do for me! His Squadron will not appear on his records.

    Dad remembers Barnard Castle very well, though at that time the men would be in a Training Regiment (Dad was in the 54th), before being allocated to 23H. There's a group picture of the 54th (probably taken at Barnard Castle) in my photo album http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/album.php?albumid=823 - your Grandad may be on it!

    VERY MUCH looking forward to your Squadron photo - I have one of C Squadron which I will post soon.
  12. nmartin31

    nmartin31 Junior Member

    Thank you for the photo link.

    The second from last photograph, there is a similiarity to my grandad there with the guy in the middle row, 3rd from the left. Ill check with my family.

    Attached are photographs and service record.

    23H 1 - Grandad is middle row, furthest left
    23H 2 - Grandad is back row, fourth in from the left (this could have been on active duty).

    I have more pics to come.

    Attached Files:

  13. grimmy

    grimmy Guest

    Great pics! Thanks for those - I'll show them to Dad this weekend.

    If your Grandad was trained as a mechanic (as was my Dad) then I suspect the group photo may be the Squadron fitters, who tended to band together. This increases the chance that Dad may recognise someone. The chap at the opposite end of your Grandad's row looks VERY familiar to me.

    Can't wait for the next pics!
  14. grimmy

    grimmy Guest

    Discovered that 'A - S Group' means 'Age and Service Group' (Dad's is 45 C, though I'm no wiser!).

    The 'Overseas Service -/65' stands for 0 years and 65 days - the length of time he was in Normandy.

    I notice it says 'Wd 14/8/44' ie wounded on August 14th - this is at odds with the 23H History, though I think the 15th is correct.
  15. Jim Spanna

    Jim Spanna Junior Member

    Found the site & links while googling 23rd Hussars. My dad was in C squadron (2 Baker) a replacement after Goodwood till Husum. Trooper Donald Spence, passed away 8 years ago. I have been clearing out my Mums loft & found some interesting records, photos, lists etc of his time with the 23rd. If it's of any interest I will try & scan some bits (might take some time as I am a bit of a technophobe) Also interested in a C squadron photo if available.
  16. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Grimmy et al

    The 54th Training regiment was indeed at Barnard Castle - near the town itself whereas the 59th and 61 st were strung along the road to Bishop Auckland.....the 54 had a lime lanyard - 59 th - Red and 61st - Yellow - 61st was run by the Horse Guards - with their discipline etc......the A& S number of 45 - means that he was reaalesed when this number was called - around the spring of '47..and his number might have been 142 *****

    anyone serving in Tank 2 baker had as his commander - the troop sergeant and the call sign would have been Charlie 2 baker
  17. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    some head clearing required here - the fact that a man was employed as a Gunner/ Mech - just means that he was better at being an assistant to the Driver/Mech
    than he was to the Wireless Operator- otherwise he would have been called a Gunner/ Operator ......all the Mechanics in a squadron belonged to the REME and one Signalman
    and they were called "the Light Aid Detachment " - LAD

    The 23rd Hussars were an armoured regiment which means that they had - usually - four Squadrons of four troops of Four Tanks with approx 64 Tanks.....sometime only three squadrons - with some Armoured Cars attached....
  18. grimmy

    grimmy Guest

    Hi Jim and welcome,

    Will ask my Dad this weekend if he remembers yours, plus I'm hoping to pick up the C Squadron photo at the same time.

    VERY interested in any documents/photos of 23H - I intend setting up a website in their honour sometime (when I get the chance).

    Hi Tom,

    I can only speak about 23H, but the Fitters (like Dad who trained as a Veh Mech) were 23H men, not REME. Dad's tank commander was a REME man but he was the exception. Most of the Fitters were with the Echelon, but a few (like Dad, as co-driver) went around in an ARV - a turretless Sherman.

    23H started with 4 Sqr x 4 Trp x 4 tanks; they briefly toyed with a 5th Trp before reverting back to the standard formation.
  19. grimmy

    grimmy Guest

    PS Jim - see if your Dad is on this photo (taken on Aug 1st 1944, so post-Goodwood) we think they are mainly C Sqr men:

    Attached Files:

  20. Jim Spanna

    Jim Spanna Junior Member

    Doesn't look like it but will have a look at his photos & see if any match. Thanks. Jim.

Share This Page