Unknown 6th Airborne Officer at Pegasus Bridge - ?

Discussion in 'Airborne' started by Cee, May 24, 2014.

  1. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    You are up awfully early Alex or you're working the night shift ... :)

    I don't know what to say about the badge placement? The photo of the mystery officer is not the best for detail. Good work on finding Frank's hospital! I took a look for it sometime ago but didn't really know where to begin.

    Anyway I'm off, it's 1 AM here.

    Regards ...
     
  2. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Alex,

    Now that I've examined more closely other photos of Luard I agree his wing badge was positioned more to the side rather than over the left eye. There was some variation on how he wore his beret. In some photos he has it pulled down to the right and in others less so. He did return to the UK from the Far East in 1946 so he could have visited Normandy in uniform sometime after.

    However, the biggest stumbling block is that there is only one piece of insignia on the shoulder strap of the unknown officer whereas a Lieutenant Colonel would have two.

    Regards ....
     
  3. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    Yes I did notice that on the shoulder, to me it really really looks like him! He's wearing No 1 or No 2 dress uniform hence only the wings on the arm. I'm not sure about back then but when I served mess dress or 2's uniform had very small badges of rank so might be hard to spot ? Did Andrew Woolhouse ever comment on the pic?

    Alex.
     
  4. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    He is in dress uniform in one pic above, however, the shoulder strap insignia is hard to make out. ParaData claims it's H40774 but I can't find it online at the IWM. If it is two bits of insignia on the unknown Officer they would need to be fairly small and placed quite close to each other towards the bottom of the strap.

    No I have never questioned Andrew on the photo.13 Para were in the Ranville area on D-Day and afterwards. My thinking is this is an Officer who was either there at the bridge on June 6th or had an indirect association with the area. Of course there is the possibility Luard could have visited the area on a tour or commemoration and someone snapped his picture?

    Regards ...
     
  5. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    Might be a total red herring and could be a Normandy veteran who wasn't at the bridge even.
     
  6. brithm

    brithm Senior Member

  7. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Thanks brithm,

    I'll give 'em a shout - though I suspect many will be at the beach with Monsieur Hulot ... :)

    Regards ...
     
  8. Moppy

    Moppy New Member

    Normandy 1946.jpg Normandy 1946.jpg Photo of James Hill and Jack Watson (my father) on Normandy Pilgrimage in 1946.
     
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  9. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Hi Moppy,

    A really fine photo of your father, Major Jack Watson, with others at the 1946 Pilgrimage! Thank you so much for adding. We have a few more faces to contemplate as well.

    Regards ...
     
  10. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    I'm going to hazard a guess for a couple of the Officers seen in Moppy's Pilgrimage photo above. The man to the right of Reverend Hales (homburg) in light coloured overcoat and beret could possibly be Lt-Col. Bobby Bray, GSO1. The Officer to extreme right in dress uniform is very likely Major Bob Hynds, 1 RUR.

    Lt-Col. Bobby Bray GSO1.jpg Major Bob Hynds 1 RUR.jpg

    I'm not aware of any 7 Para Officers who attended the 46 Pilgrimage. There is a man with a Para Regiment badge on a diamond cloth backing as worn by 7 Para just behind James Hill and Jack Watson.

    7 Para Badge To Rear.jpg

    Regards ...
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017
  11. brithm

    brithm Senior Member

    That is Bob Hynds on the right the only other Ulster officer is Lt-Col. R.J.H. "Jack" Carson.

    Thanks for posting this Moppy it is an excellent photograph.
     

    Attached Files:

  12. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    Can't place that face to a 7 para person at the mo. Tricky one!
     
  13. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    A notice for the upcoming Pilgrimage with a schedule of events was placed in the very first published edition of the Pegasus Journal in April of 1946.

    46 Pilgrimage Itinerary.jpg

    Michael P-C believes the man behind with the 7 Para badge is Kennedy who was a "lance jack". Lance Corporal S. Kennedy who was fairly tall can be seen in few Pilgrimage photos. Oddly his beret badge is missing in the photo of him having a Normandy rose pinned to his breast which raises some doubt.

    Illustrated June 29 1946.JPG Lance Corporal Kennedy.jpg

    Regards ...
     
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  14. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    I'll throw in Eric Woodman 7 Para. Any thoughts on that one?

    Alex.
     
  15. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    He went back to his parent unit ( west kents I believe ) after the war which might explain why he only has the Para wings ( and no bellerophon as not in an airborne brigade anymore) on his No.2 dress in the photo ( obviously allowed to wear the badge as still qualified)
    Alex.
     
  16. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Hi Alex,

    So Eric George Woodman as a possible candidate for the unknown Officer. He would have been with 7 Para during the post-war period in the far east and later Palestine in 1946. 7 Para was incorporated into the 17th Parachute Battalion in July 1946. When did he return to his parent regiment, the Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment and what is the colour of their dress uniform buttons? I did find the following in the London Gazette dated Friday, 30 August, 1946:

    "R.W.K.
    2nd Lt. (War Subs. Capt.) Eric George WOODMAN, M.C. (182357), from Emerg. Comnn., A.A.C.(P.R.), to be Lt., 31st Aug. 1946, with seniority 17th July 1943."


    According to ParaData:

    "He was briefly Adjutant of 17th Battalion (TA) from 1950-1951, a posting which was cut short by attendance at the Staff College."

    So it is interesting that he was at the Staff College during a period in the 50s. We don't have a date for the photo of the unknown Officer at the bridge. If that is Eric Woodman at the Bridge he strikes me as being an older man. He was quite a good looking chap when younger as can seen in the attached photo.

    Captain Eric George Woodman.jpg

    Digging through old emails I came upon this from Michael P-C:

    "I did try to speak with him several years ago, he was confused then, but did manage to get out of him that he landed North of the drop Zone and did not get back to the bridges until late in the day on the 6th June. He was 8 Plt Commander and Walter Parrish's had to do his allocated task."

    So a few thoughts and nothing conclusive as usual.

    Regards ...
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2017
  17. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    Hi Chuck.
    Woodman was from my hometown here in Kent as a point of interest!
    We will see if anyone else has any thoughts, but it did occur to me with the uniform discrepancy that he went back to the county regiment.
    I think we concluded before the chap in the pic is a major, which would fit with his rank being lower during the war.

    Alex
     
  18. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    I emailed Nick Archdale ( Mortar platoon commander on D day in 7 Para) I've attached his response.

    Alex.
     

    Attached Files:

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  19. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Alex,

    It was very good to hear from a Veteran and in particular Nick Archdale. I recently viewed some photos of 7 Para Veterans at a 2017 ceremony at the Benouville crossroads memorial. Nick Archdale was among those paying their respects. There are so few of them left now. Robin Savage captured Nick nicely for his book "D-Day - The Last of the Liberators".

    Nick Archdale -  by Robin Savage.jpg

    Well I guess the next step would be to try find any surviving family members of Eric Woodman and ask for their opinion.

    Regards ...
     
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  20. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    I'll send the pic into the 7th battalion newsletter and see if anyone can add any info. Woodman was from my home town but retired to Scotland where he died this year.
     
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