War Dairy - 29th Armoured Brigade, Operation Goodwood, Normandy

Discussion in 'Higher Formations' started by mk5, Jul 2, 2012.

  1. mk5

    mk5 Junior Member

    Good evening,

    Can anyone help with the 29th Armoured Brigade war dairy for Normandy 1944.

    On or around the 18th July 1944 near Bourgebus a Sherman tank from HQ squadron, 29th Armoured Brigade was hit in the turret by 88mm anti tank fire, two crew members were seriously wounded the gunner and a wireless operator from 103 Bty, 77Medium Regt. Also present was an officer from the same RA unit.

    The driver, trooper George Francis with his co driver pulled the wounded clear of the tank to safety. Trooper Francis along with the RA officer then returned to the damaged tank, it was driveable, the RA officer decided to make a reconnaissance of the route on foot however his was killed.
    Trooper Francis took charge, once again putting the wounded back into the tank and drove the damaged tank to saftey saving all the crew.
    (RAP 23rd Hussars)



    I need to know the name of the RA officer who was killed and confirmation that George Francis was serving with the HQ squadron, 29th Armoured at this time in Normandy?

    p.s he was attached/transferred from the 24th Lancers, Before 6th June 1944, I think.


    Interesting the HQ squadron had a dummy wooden main gun and no front machine gun, thus making room for a map table and an extra radio!

    Many thanks
    Scott
     
  2. gpo son

    gpo son Senior Member

    Scott I am afraid I have nothing to add but What a is story. All the observer tanks had dumby guns. Wonder how effective they were at tricking the enemy. One of Foo's from the 17th field reg RCA had at least 2 tanks shot out from under him in the course of the italian campaign and then in NWE. Begs the question was this happen stance or were they hunting dummy guns?
     
  3. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    Geoff's Search Engine comes up with a Capt Dimbleby of 77 Fd Regt on 18 July.

    From Chain Mail: The History of the Duke of Lancaster's Yeomanry 1798-1991:
    During that afternoon Captain H. W. Dimbleby was acting as FOO with 3rd Royal Tanks. At 1500 hours he radioed back that his tank had been hit and the crew were trying to extricate it. Nothing further was heard about him until the damaged tank was recovered, with Dimbleby's body. He had been killed by Spandau fire.

    One way to reconcile the two versions is that Francis brought Dimbleby's body back to the RAP, from where the tank was recovered. It's also interesting that Dimbleby has no known grave, yet his body was recovered and identified according to the DOLY.
     
  4. mk5

    mk5 Junior Member

    Geoff's Search Engine comes up with a Capt Dimbleby of 77 Fd Regt on 18 July.

    From Chain Mail: The History of the Duke of Lancaster's Yeomanry 1798-1991:


    One way to reconcile the two versions is that Francis brought Dimbleby's body back to the RAP, from where the tank was recovered. It's also interesting that Dimbleby has no known grave, yet his body was recovered and identified according to the DOLY.


    Many thanks for this idler..

    Is anyone able to confirm that he was attached/transferred from the 24th Lancers, Before 6th June 1944.

    It all seams a bit if a mistery.. as his MM is impressed 24-L, however the unit is given as HQ Squadron, 29th Armoured Brigade.

    Regards
    Scott
     
  5. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    Scott,

    Is your original tale from his MM citation? If not, I will see if I can dig it out tonight, I might have it on the PC at home.

    The National Archive's WO 373 search shows him as HQ Sqn 29 Armd Bde but it was usual for Bde troops to be drawn from subordinate units. Unless the 24 L diary records the secondment of personnel to bde, or the bde HQ diary has a roll (both probably unlikely) the only confirmation may come from his service record.
     
  6. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Name Francis, George
    Rank: Trooper
    Service No: 7915759
    Regiment: Headquarters Squadron 29 Armoured Brigade
    Theatre of Combat or Operation: North West Europe 1944-45
    Award: Military Medal
    Date of Announcement in London Gazette: 19 October 1944

    I know it says PTO but this is all there is in on WO373/49.
     

    Attached Files:

  7. grimmy

    grimmy Guest

    I'm amazed that a Brigade HQ tank got anywhere near Bourgebus!
     
  8. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    Reading between the lines, I think he was Bde HQ protection troop and his tank was loaned to a FOO from a medium regiment. A veteran of 7 Armd Div mentioned that they did the same.
     
  9. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    When A Squadron from 4th CLY were ambushed at Villers there were 4 OP tanks with the following HQ group. 2 were destroyed.
    A fifth was way out in front of A Squadron and it was also lost.
     
  10. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic Patron

    24th Lancers were a founding Regiment in 11th Armoured Division (29th Armoured Brigade) and were only transferred out to the 8th Independant Armoured Brigade in February 1944 when they were replaced in 11AD by 3RTR. This means that Francis could have been transferred to 29AB HQ at any time in the period 1941 to February 1944 and would not necessarily have been transferred back to 24L simply because they themselves had been sent somewhere else! During his stay in 29AB he would have kept his 24L affiliation (cap badge) even after 24L were disbanded in July 1944. This explains why his MM indicates 24L even though, at that time, 24L no longer had anything to do with 11AD. This is still actually relevant because, when 24L were disbanded, most of their personnel were transferred to the three Regiments in 29AB (23H, 3RTR and 2F&FY). At that time, however, those guys would have acquired 'new' cap badges. I have separate confirmation of this as I'm aware of at least one 24th Lancer who kept his 24L affiliation and insisted on wearing his 24L cap badge until VE Day.

    Bottom line: I now need to check 3 years-worth of 24th Lancers War Diary for George Francis' name although, as mentioned in an earlier post, this could well be a forlorn hope. As mentioned in off-forum emails, your best bet is to get his service records. He is not mentioned in the 24L Nominal Roll effective 6th June 1944 or the Regimental History 'None Had Lances'. I will also check the 24L Disbandment List but don't expect to find his name there either simply because he had already left 24L by then.

    Happy Hunting :)

    Steve Pannell (Hon Sec 24th Lancers Old Comrades Association until we disbanded in 2005 at an unforgettable Reunion at the National Army Museum in Chelsea!)
     
  11. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic Patron

    I've checked the 11th Armoured Division history 'Taurus Pursuant' and it shows neither details of the incident nor mention of 77 Field RA casualties in the Roll of Honour.

    This is not surprising because:
    (i) 18th July 1944 was the first day of Operation Goodwood and 11AD lost 115 tanks that day (a casualty rate in tanks of nearly 50%)
    (ii) as we know, 77 Field RA was not a part of 11AD permanent Orbat.
     
  12. paulcheall

    paulcheall Son of a Green Howard

    My dad recalls an incident in his memoirs which could relate to the episode described below. I say 'could' but in all honesty I doubt it. Dad saw something shortly after D-day after 12 June so I think it was too early in proceedings. Anyway, it's still a nice little passage from his book which I hope readers will enjoy.

    "As we were walking the line of a hedge, I saw some of our tanks moving across a field and suddenly heard the crack of an 88mm anti-tank gun. We had become so used to the sound of German weapons that we knew instinctively what weapon was being fired. Then I saw one of the tanks receive a direct hit and go up in flames, but not before two of the crew came out of the side like jack rabbits. How they bailed out is a mystery. They must certainly have practised that performance during their training.
    I had always been of the opinion that our role as infantrymen placed us in the most vulnerable position, but after I saw that tank blown up I was not quite so sure. But unlike us, the tank crews were not continually on Shanks’ ponies. We certainly covered some mileage in the PBI (Poor Bloody Infantry!). Our boots were already the worse for wear and our battle dresses were becoming very shabby and dirty."

    Paul

    Good evening,

    Can anyone help with the 29th Armoured Brigade war dairy for Normandy 1944.

    On or around the 18th July 1944 near Bourgebus a Sherman tank from HQ squadron, 29th Armoured Brigade was hit in the turret by 88mm anti tank fire, two crew members were seriously wounded the gunner and a wireless operator from 103 Bty, 77Medium Regt. Also present was an officer from the same RA unit.

    The driver, trooper George Francis with his co driver pulled the wounded clear of the tank to safety. Trooper Francis along with the RA officer then returned to the damaged tank, it was driveable, the RA officer decided to make a reconnaissance of the route on foot however his was killed.
    Trooper Francis took charge, once again putting the wounded back into the tank and drove the damaged tank to saftey saving all the crew.
    (RAP 23rd Hussars)



    I need to know the name of the RA officer who was killed and confirmation that George Francis was serving with the HQ squadron, 29th Armoured at this time in Normandy?

    p.s he was attached/transferred from the 24th Lancers, Before 6th June 1944, I think.


    Interesting the HQ squadron had a dummy wooden main gun and no front machine gun, thus making room for a map table and an extra radio!

    Many thanks
    Scott
     
  13. KevinT

    KevinT Senior Member

    My dad recalls an incident in his memoirs which could relate to the episode described below. I say 'could' but in all honesty I doubt it. Dad saw something shortly after D-day after 12 June so I think it was too early in proceedings. Anyway, it's still a nice little passage from his book which I hope readers will enjoy.

    "As we were walking the line of a hedge, I saw some of our tanks moving across a field and suddenly heard the crack of an 88mm anti-tank gun. We had become so used to the sound of German weapons that we knew instinctively what weapon was being fired. Then I saw one of the tanks receive a direct hit and go up in flames, but not before two of the crew came out of the side like jack rabbits. How they bailed out is a mystery. They must certainly have practised that performance during their training.
    I had always been of the opinion that our role as infantrymen placed us in the most vulnerable position, but after I saw that tank blown up I was not quite so sure. But unlike us, the tank crews were not continually on Shanks’ ponies. We certainly covered some mileage in the PBI (Poor Bloody Infantry!). Our boots were already the worse for wear and our battle dresses were becoming very shabby and dirty."

    Paul


    Any chance could have been an early Ram OP with side doors? With all the confusion, the doors may have been covered by smoke / fire etc. Or had those early Rams been phased out by then.
    Just a thought.

    Cheers
    Kevin
     
  14. neilt

    neilt Junior Member

    Dear Scott,

    Are you related to trooper George Francis?

    I have contributed to the thread ‘29th Armoured Brigade War Diaries Ardennes.’

    Have a look at page 11&12 of my dad’s autograph book. He’s signed his name and given his address. If you are related you might be able to say whether or not he’s in the photograph?

    I’ve just spent some time looking through my Ken Tout books (Tanks Advance and Roads to Falaise) as I seem to remember him recanting this tale, but no luck sorry.

    We are all looking for the elusive war diaries of Brigadier Roscoe Harvey Commander 29th Armoured Brigade.

    I have found two references to these war diaries, but only WO 171/627 (3-5th May 1944) is near the mark.

    I’d be very interested to know how Steve Pannell (SDP), Owen and Idler research all this, because my experience of TNA is frustration. Do you all go there personally and search?

    Regards Neil
     

    Attached Files:

  15. neilt

    neilt Junior Member

    Dear all,

    I've tagged this thread and a couple of others that pertain to the 29th Armoured brigade with the 11th Armoured Division in an attempt to draw in more interest.

    I'm not sure if this will work, maybe more experienced 'threaders' can advise?

    Neil
     
  16. Little Jimmy

    Little Jimmy Junior Member

    Hi Mr, Steve Pannell, As far as I can say, G. Francis was with the 29th Armoured Brig. in Moldenit 1945, I have many Photos of thr 29th. If I could get a Photo of Mr. Francis, I could check if he is on one of them. Hows that ?? Best regards heinz Johannsen
     
  17. MalcolmII

    MalcolmII Senior Member

  18. neilt

    neilt Junior Member

    Dear Malcolmll,

    I have looked in the war diary of 29th Armoured Brigade and there's no mention of anything happening on 13th July 1944 - see attached pages.

    Regards

    Neil Turner P1570750.JPG P1570750.JPG
     

    Attached Files:

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