Lt Gerald Shires MC. 276 Fd Coy RE

Discussion in 'Royal Engineers' started by JohnJS, Nov 8, 2022.

  1. JohnJS

    JohnJS Member

    Apologies for interrupting this thread, but I'm not sure how to start a new one!
    I'm trying to find out a little bit more about my father, Lt Gerald Shires, who was awarded the MC on the night of 23/24 March '45. He was in 276 Field Coy, Royal Engineers, attached to 153 Bde, 51st Highland Div, as they crossed the Rhine near Rees. I have the citation from the National Archives, posted below. I never really had the chance to ask my father about it, as he died way back in 1974. I know he was also in Normandy and the Ardennes, and he ended up in Germany involved in post war reconstruction (although he told me his main claim to fame was managing the company football team). Just looking for a steer as to where I can find a little more information and context - would it be through the Royal Engineers or the Highland Division? I've also posted a similar request on the Rhine Crossing thread.

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  2. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  3. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron


    Have you applied for his service record? That is the first step, yes there is a long wait currently. PM sent with details and tips.

    I have added his Army Number as some search using that: 243852. Oddly it appears on an old thread of photos of US newspapers, I did not scan the entire thread, but doubt it is a true link.

    There are two threads on 276 Field Company: Military Cross Award and Field engineers (id'd via a Tag).

    At one point they were in North Africa, as part of 51st Highland Division: Who fought the Desert War and this thread shows them as part of 21 Army Group: Headquarters Introduction & Contents

    See: VERITABLE 1945: 51st Highland Division Reichswald Forest where they get a mention and there are a few more threads for 1944-1945. Id'd using "276 field" + "".

    Others here may know more!
  4. JohnJS

    JohnJS Member

    Thanks David & Owen.
    As I mentioned in my reply to your PM, David, I'll try the 276 Field Company war diaries as well as his service record. He didn't serve in North Africa; all I know is that he crossed to Normandy a few days after D Day. On a family holiday in the early sixties, when I remember there were still some tanks and armoured vehicles rotting in roadside ditches, he showed us the site of a couple of bridges he'd helped build, as well as returning to a farm where his platoon were billeted. Amazingly the farmer's wife recognised him.
    While clearing out my late mother's flat earlier this year, I found what look like official photographs taken in heavily damaged German towns, as well as some slides of a trip he took back to the Rhine and the Ardennes in 1965. One of them was of the Bastoigne Memorial for US soldiers, so perhaps he may well have had some involvement with American forces.
    Interestingly, though he spoke little of his MC, he told us he'd been recommended for a Bar for his involvement in an action he personally thought more worthy of an award. Perhaps his service record will provide more information on that.
  5. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  6. JohnJS

    JohnJS Member

    That makes sense Owen. One of the 1965 slides I've found shows a bridge presumably over the River Ourthe or a tributary, 4km from La Roche and 13 from Hotton. Presumably he must have remembered the place, otherwise he wouldn't have stopped there.
    1-Old Shires pictures441.jpg
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