Trooper Sherratt Westminster Dragoons

Discussion in 'RAC & RTR' started by fathippy, Jun 10, 2019.

  1. fathippy

    fathippy Junior Member

    My husband's grandfather was posted to No 1 Assault Sqn RAC then later to Westminster Dragoons. He was a flail tank driver but I would like to know how I can find out what happened on D-day as his records say he landed June 6th 1944 in France.

    Any help appreciated

  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    If you have his records then I would suggest you upload for members too see and interpret with their own eyes. I guess you would need to know which troop or squadron he was in to know more precisely where he was on that particular day. It should be in the War Diaries

    If you dont have his 'official' service records then they can only be obtained from the MOD and the forms are - Request records of deceased service personnel

  3. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

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  4. fathippy

    fathippy Junior Member

    Does this help at all?

    Attached Files:

  5. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    They are 2 copies of the same page - they are a part of his service records, but they are not all of it.

    It will be unlikely that you will be able to find out exactly what happened to him as even in the War Diaries he is highly unlikely to be named. If you know more about his tank, its name or number then it might be possible to learn a little more.
    Are you only interested on what he did on D Day??

    The War Diaries as shown on the other thread [Owens post above] state that there are Accounts of D Day per squadron, so as mentioned above you would need to know which squadron he was in

  6. fathippy

    fathippy Junior Member

    Oops new tablet still fumbling around hopefully this is the right one

    Attached Files:

  7. fathippy

    fathippy Junior Member

    No would like to know what he did till he got home. We know he went all the way through to the Netherlands and we have pictures of him on his tank and also in the snow with his tank.

    Silly thing was he couldn't drive a car before the war but was trained as a tank driver. He was actually a bus conductor.
  8. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Right - from this thread - Westminster Dragoons

    Post 2 shows the War Diaires for his regiment for 1st - 8th June 1944 - you need to ask Drew5233 or use the link at the base of his post for the War Diaires for that Regiment for the period you require them over

    Post 3 shows the appendix details for B Squadron purely on D Day - again if you ask Drew5233 he can copy all of them so you can read them all and see if your relative has a mention

    He was with the Westminster Dragoons from 01/01/1944 until end Jan 1946

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  9. fathippy

    fathippy Junior Member

    I've uploaded two pictures showing Eddy with the rest of the tank crew. Just wondering if anyone recognises the others.

    Pic in snow Eddy is smiling in the middle ( third from left) and the other pic Eddy is on the left.


    Attached Files:

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  10. Captdoug

    Captdoug Member

    Hi Julie,
    I've just joined ww2talk and recognised the photo "tank crew in the snow". My father is second from the right, his name was Alex McLaren. This photo was on the WD website but when I asked if they could tell me who else was in the crew they withdrew the photograph.
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  11. Captdoug

    Captdoug Member

    Update on my previous note. They were in 'B' Squadron, Westminster Dragoons. They landed on Gold beach, Jig, Green section near Asnelles, Normandy at about 0725am. As far as I know they were hit by German artillery and there is a photograph of them repairing their tank on the 7th June. The photo you have was taken winter 1944. Unfortunately my father passed away in 1965 when I was 16 as a result I don't know much else. I'm not even sure if the crew are the same as landed on D-Day.
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  12. Hello fathippy & Captdoug,

    If you could post any additional photo showing a tank or tanks, there might be hints as to what troop they were in.

  13. Captdoug

    Captdoug Member

    This photo is on almost every website regarding the WD. My father is the guy behind the wheel bogie and it was taken on the 7th June 1944. As far as i'm aware they were sent back on to the beach to repair and bring the tank into service, it is a Sherman Flail. image.jpg
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  14. Captdoug,

    What makes you say your father was in B Sqn for D Day? Do you have any evidence for this? I am asking because this is in contradiction with your next post:

    Yes, this is IWM B5423 (you can zoom the image on the IWM page).

    Are you absolutely certain that this is your father? There is indeed a degree of resemblance, but nothing striking in my opinion. Do you have any other photos of him which would better match B5423? The reason I ask is that this photo shows chaps from A Sqn, and not B Sqn.
    Alex McLaren vs B5423.jpg

  15. Captdoug

    Captdoug Member

    Definitely my father, got info about 'B' squadron from WD's in Fulham when I visited when I started looking into his army service and from records held by Bovington Tank Museum. Even had his bronze medal from WD's for those who landed on D-day but as I said don't know if they kept same crews throughout or if they transferred between squadrons. I never got to ask about any of his experiences, it was only when I retired that I started to look into it.
  16. Thanks for your answers Captdoug. However, you must realize that on D Day your father could not be at the same time landing in GOLD Area with 'B' Sqn, and landing in SWORD Area with 'A' Sqn. In other words, either it's him on B5423, or he was with 'B' Sqn on D Day, but not both.

    B5423 was shot by Sgt Mapham of 5 AFPS on 7 June near Hermanville-sur-Mer (in SWORD Area), and must therefore show a Crab from 'A' Sqn, since no transfer of either tanks or personnel between 'A' and 'B' Sqns occurred on 6-7 June.

    Can you be more specific with the info about his belonging to 'B' Sqn? Is there a document which mentions his name as part of 'B' Sqn on D Day? Is it possible that he was with 'A' Sqn on D Day and later transferred to 'B' Sqn?


    On D Day, the Westminster Dragoons landed as follows:
    A Sqn (12 Crabs) – QUEEN Sector, SWORD Area planned to land at H+185 & H+330 minutes
    A Sqn (10 crabs) – MIKE & NAN Sectors, planned to be off JUNO Area at H+17 hours
    B Sqn (13 Crabs) – JIG Sector, GOLD Area planned to land at H Hour
    C Sqn (13 Crabs) – KING Sector, GOLD Area planned to land at H Hour
  17. Captdoug

    Captdoug Member

    WD Fulham confirmed 'B' squad. At Bovington saw info where Trpr A.Mclaren 'B' squad and J.Smith 'C' squad were sent to liaise with Notts Yeomanry before the 6th. The guy on the left definately my dad, the one on the right up close still looks similar and would be a coincidence to look so close. My fathers army record shows he joined WDs early 1943, and embarked for Europe 4/5th June 1944. He was sent home for demon 1946, not bad for someone who joined RTC in 1934 expecting to sign up for 6 years. The first time I saw repair photo it was labelled Gold beach 7th June and because the guy looked like my father I took it it was him, perhaps I'm wrong, as I said I had no one but the WDs to assist.
  18. Yes, unfortunately photos are very often miscaptioned! From your response it is clear that your father is not the one on B5423.

    Do you know your father's Service Number? Would it be 7885191 by any chance? If so, the War Diary has an order dated 15 Feb 44 where 7885191 Tpr. McLaren, A. from B Sqn is to be posted to Notts Yeo as Tpr D&M (Sherman) [Dvr Mech Sherman]. It is however very possible that he was not actually posted away because the same order says "Personnel detailed for posting to Notts Yeo and Staffs Yeo will NOT be despatched until further orders are issued. Change due to move of receiving units" and because the War Diary, while mentioning elsewhere the total number of personnel posted to other units, does not mention either Notts Yeo or Staffs Yeo. The move was thus probably never effected.

    You appear to have your father's Service Records. Could you post them here so we may see whether we can find some additional hints at all? Do you have anything else that could help, such as names of fellow crew members, commander etc.? 13 Crabs and a few other vehicles from B Sqn embarked on 4/5 June 1944, so that's quite a lot to choose from!

  19. Captdoug

    Captdoug Member

    Fathers service no. Was 7885191 but I've no other info other than that posted. He was involved in a road traffic accident in 1941 and was posted on 'Y' list. He spent 8 months in hospital. It took him until 1943 to reach 'A2' and that is when he was posted to WD's. Michel where are you getting you info cause when I asked about the photo where 5 men are standing in front a tank which was in the WD's website it was removed.
  20. CaptDoug,

    Here are the parts of the Feb 44 War Diary relevant to your father. Can you post your father's Service Records please? Otherwise I don't see how we can help you any further. We need a minimum of checked facts to be able to do any research. For example, the precise date of your father's embarkation (5th or 6th June?) would lead to very different possible results. Research involves spending time and effort, and is best not wasted on false leads if at all possible.

    W Dgns War Diary - Feb 1944 - Appx B p1 - Notes.JPG
    W Dgns War Diary - Feb 1944 - Appx B p4 - Notes.JPG

    The link to IWM pic B5423 was in my post #14 above, but I am posting here again for clarity. You can access the IWM webpage by clicking on the image, and then enlarge this image by clicking the 'plus' sign below the image on the IWM webpage:


    Last edited: Sep 30, 2019

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