Looking for help! 23rd Hussars

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

  1. Jim Spanna

    Jim Spanna Junior Member

    Tom. His tank Commander was Alfie Ball M.M. who he did hook up with again in the 1990s, sadly also passed away.
  2. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    very odd but I suppose that at that time casualties were being replaced by anyone

  3. Rerun 57

    Rerun 57 Junior Member

  4. grimmy

    grimmy Guest

    Thanks Rerun. I was aware of the site - good stuff on there relating to John Brunt and B Squadron.

    I have now got the scans of C Squadron members and I will be posting them later today (when the boss isn't looking!).
  5. grimmy

    grimmy Guest

  6. NickH

    NickH Junior Member


    I've been lurking around this thread for a while without posting and have found it very interesting.

    My Grandfather served in the 23rd Hussars and was KIA in France during their first engagement on 26/6/44.


    He was in C Squadron, 1st Troop.

    I have a few photo's that I hope to post later.
    A couple of the faces can be recognised in yours Grimmy.

    Cheers all.

  7. grimmy

    grimmy Guest

    Hi Nick and welcome.

    Please let me know if you can identify any of the men on the photos. I've yet to show the enlarged pics of C Sqr to my Dad (and another living C Sqr man), so I'm hopeful of adding more names. I'd also be delighted to see any photos you have.

    I'll be adding more pics of named individuals today.

    Great to have another 23H relative on board!
  8. NickH

    NickH Junior Member

    Pictures are now here......


    Grimmy - I'm pretty sure William Glanville is number 5 on your photo 6, I'll check with my mum later.
    My original scans are 5 to 10Mb, I can mail you them if your interested.

    The photo I have with the guys names is great, it's a shame I can't tie them up to the faces on the front of the photograph.
  9. grimmy

    grimmy Guest

    Great Pics Nick!

    Love the autographs - some very familiar names on there:

    Charlie Sarson kia 09/09/1944
    'Duckie' will be Trooper Duck, who distinguished himself on Perrier Ridge.

    Geoffrey Bishop MC (1st Troop Leader), whose book 'The Battle - a tank officer remembers' I've got at home, says the following:

    Page 42
    "Later in the afternoon my fourth tank arrived and I met the crew for the first time. Corporal Gilbertson, a lean, hawk-faced fellow with bright blue eyes; Harrison, his operator, a lanky soft-spoken Yorkshireman; Duck (of whom much more anon), a little bright-eyed fellow about my own age, from the same part of the world as Harrison; and Redmond, the gunner, a young, eager-faced kid with close-cropped fair hair."

    Page 82
    "One of the Sergeants [Gilbertson] moves out to get observation and when he is in the middle of the field and in line with the burnt-out gun, there are two deafening reports in quick succession and he is hit in the turret. The operator [Harrison] is instantly killed and the tank goes on fire. The rest of the crew crawl out through the escape hatch, their clothes alight. The dry corn also catches fire, but they roll or crawl to safety, the driver [Duck] dragging his wounded Commander [Gilbertson] to safety by the legs."

    One of Allan Harrison's relatives was making enquiries about him recently - I'll alert him about the new info.

    I'll be seeing my Dad tomorrow, so hopefully he can identify some of the faces.

    Thanks again Nick.
  10. grimmy

    grimmy Guest

    I was struggling with the signature in light blue ink - but now I see it's David Ferguson King who died on 16 November 1992, aged 78 years.
  11. vinnybishop

    vinnybishop Junior Member

    First attempt at a post went wrong! Here goes the second...
  12. vinnybishop

    vinnybishop Junior Member

    Here is Lt. Bishop's personal recollection, taken from his book The Battle: A Tank Officer Remembers (published privately, not dated). Bishop was a troop leader in 'C' Squadron by this time:

    Hi Grimmy,

    Geoffrey Bishop is my grandfather (on my mothers side) and I am really interested to learn more about his history. I wonder if I might ask how you came to have a copy of the book (if you do) and if you know of any others? I believe we may have one in the Family. It is lovely to see some of his contribution on this forum.

    Any help you can give would be much appreciated.

    Many thanks,
  13. grimmy

    grimmy Guest

    Hi Vinny and welcome,

    Sorry for the delay - been away.

    I knew of the existence of the book because it was quoted in Ian Daglish's 'Over the Battlefield' books about the Normandy campaign and Ian showed it to me when he came to visit my Dad.

    I searched online for ages and finally found a copy for sale in Australia (the postage cost more than the book!). So, there's mine, Ian Daglish's (who sadly died since our meeting), and a copy in the IWM that I know about. I suspect there were not many copies printed.

    It was very disappointing that Geoffrey's book stops on August 7th, I would love to have followed him throughout the rest of the campaign, but I'm still grateful that he gave us his recollections.

    What happened to him? Unlike many of the 23H officers I've traced, he simply vanishes from the radar after the war - did he go abroad?

    Also - and you know what's coming next - if you've any photos of him and/or his time with 23H I'd very much like to see them.

    If you want to borrow my copy of the book or need any other help, just say the word.

  14. grimmy

    grimmy Guest

  15. nmartin31

    nmartin31 Junior Member

    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!

    Sorry for the delay in posting pic. Not sure where this was taken, my Grandad is playing the accordian in this photograph.

    Attached Files:

  16. grimmy

    grimmy Guest

    Thanks for posting - great pic.

    Sadly my Dad died last week, but I'm hoping to meet some 23H veterans soon - maybe one of them will be able to identify the musicians.
  17. nmartin31

    nmartin31 Junior Member

    Im very sorry to hear of your loss.
  18. Pak75

    Pak75 Member

    HI Len
    To add to the excellent advice and research tips already given here, there is the regimental history - THe Story of the Twenty Third Hussars 1940-1946 - I believe it is on-line smewhere if you look hard enough.
    Unfortunately many of official war diaries and docs often do not mention by name the deaths of 'Other Ranks' and the squadron diaries plus regimental museums are best places to look for more personal information. Trooper Deans is not mentioned in the regimental history in the text but is listed in roll of honour KIA 2 August.

    On 2 Aug about 1500 hrs A squadron bumped into the eastern pincer of a concentric attack by 2nd companie 102nd SS schwere tank battalion of Tiger tanks. The WD does not specify tank casualties for this day but regmt history says "All but four of A sqdn tanks were hit and blazing within minutes." All squadrons were reduced in numbers at this time so it is likely A sqdn lost 10-12 tanks.
    The 29th Armoured Brigade diary shows 14 Shermans KO and 10 damaged (repairable 24 hrs) and 4 Fireflies KO and 2 damaged but these are totals for 23 Hussars, 2FF and 3 RTR. As 3 RTR C sqdn lost 6 Shermans and 1 Firefly KO and 3 damaged at le Grand Bonfait plus 2FF lost 2 tanks that day so the bulk of the above losses can be assumed to be 23rd Hussars.

    I would be very interested to see copy of the squadron diary if you have it!

  19. grimmy

    grimmy Guest

    The 23H War Diary for that day is typically terse:

    Aug 2
    0500 (7135) Advance 23 H leading with 8 RB on route. BEAULIEU-LE DESERT-PRESLES
    1000 2 a/c's destroyed LA INHHARDIERE
    1500 B Sqn made contact CHENODELLE and held up. A Sqn attacked by Panthers EAST of LE BAS PERRIER
    2000 (T 7233) Regt moves tp posn S of LE BAS PERIERE with 8 RB in support.
    3 OR's KIA, Majot WATT, 2/Lt GUNYON and 9 OR's wounded.

    Although only 4 A Squadron tanks made it out, not all were destroyed by enemy fire. For example, Sgt Bertie McCully's tank slid down a bank and broke a track as it was reversing away, its underbelly exposed to the German tanks. Sensibly the crew bailed out and managed to escape. The tank may have been recovered later, assuming the Germans didn't polish it off.

    This may also explain why casualties were relatively light, given the circumstances.
  20. Bruno Gastmans

    Bruno Gastmans Junior Member


    for a study of WW2 in my hometown Mortsel in Belgium (just south of Antwerp) I want to know more about the liberation on Sep 4th 1944. I have the history of the 23rd Hussars at home and I know that the tank of 2Lt Evans was destroyed, killing him and troopers J.K. Bushnell, F.J Cook and A.E. Watts. All information about that day from former members is very welcome.
    Are there any veterans who can help me?

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