Westminster Dragoons

Discussion in 'RAC & RTR' started by AdamEdward, Aug 20, 2017.

  1. AdamEdward

    AdamEdward Member

    Hello, my first post is a DDay query .I've understood my Dad landed on DDay ,with B Squadron,however a letter I found written by him whilst embarked said the crew of the LCT/LST were American (USCG?) My research shows the initial landing on Gold/Jig/Green to be RN LCT Mk 4s , presumably all British/Commonwealth crewed . I think 6 LCTs delivered 12 Crabs/Flails with varying degrees of success at LeHamel Does his letter indicate he was a reserve and landed later, maybe D+1 ?
    He was Trooper Edward Hermitage from Croydon,Wireless Op/Loader He joined 3rd RTR in August 1944 aged 21.
    Any help appreciated regards Adam Hermitage
     
  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    From the Regimental War Diary
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  3. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    From the war diary - B Squadron
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  4. AdamEdward

    AdamEdward Member

    Thanks Drew, I've never seen these before! I'll have to study them to see if I can glean when Dad landed The American crewed ship is a bit of a mystery, regards Adam
     
  5. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    No probs. Hopefully someone with some DDay armour knowledge will be able to help you. My interest in WW2 is Dunkirk/1940, I just happen to have copies of all the 1944 NW Europe Armour war diaries.
     
  6. AdamEdward

    AdamEdward Member

    Well that was most helpful!
    Hopefully I may be able to help others with 3rd RTR research if I can
    Cheers from Surrey, A
     
  7. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I forgot to ask, when did he join 3 RTR in August 1944?
     
  8. AdamEdward

    AdamEdward Member

  9. AdamEdward

    AdamEdward Member

    Drew, 26/8/1944
     
  10. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    3 RTR war diary for the end of Aug 1944
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    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  11. AdamEdward

    AdamEdward Member

    Thanks ,Dad is in 75mm Sherman to the left His Commander was Don Ricketts who was one of the first into Belsen Dad went back to do a "then and now" photo IMG_0531.JPG
     
    Drew5233 likes this.
  12. Hello Adam,

    I have seen nothing that could hint to any Crab or gun tank of B Sqn, Westminster Dragoons planned for landing on 6 or 7 Jun 44 other than those in the first wave of LCT(4), which as you correctly found were all British/Commonwealth manned. Is it possible that your father may have been in another vehicle, such as an armoured car? Otherwise he probably landed later with the residues. Since only 13 tanks of B Sqn (not counting the ARV) were to land on D Day, there remain another 14 not accounted for (including SHQ and Roller tanks), for which I have absolutely no clue as to their planned landing date. The War Diary for June or July should include the mention of when the residues rejoined, hopefully with some additional details. Residues of 22 Dragoons, for example, rejoined as late as mid-July. The War Diary for May 44 might tell us something about how the Squadron was to be split into its various groups to be landed at different dates.

    Does the letter give any other hint which might help us? Do you know any detail yourself, such as your dad's troop, what kind of vehicle he was in during the crossing, names of other crew members, his tank commander, his troop leader etc.?

    Another necessary step would be for you to request his Service Record, which should tell you on what date he arrived at Normandy.

    Michel
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2017
  13. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    That's the old style typed service records summary.
    I suggest reapplying to MoD & get the copies of the actual records.
     
  14. AdamEdward

    AdamEdward Member

    Thanks I do have a copy of the original Some of it is hard to decipher It is stamped with Embarked on 1/6
     
  15. AdamEdward

    AdamEdward Member

    Thanks Michael His record shows Embarked 1/6. I'm not aware he was in any other tank except a Crab I don't know his troop or commander sadly. He must have landed on or about 6/6 because re remembered a headless RM or similar in the surf It's just strange he specifically mentions the US crew whom he thought cocky He mentions a day he should land but the censors have scribbled it out, maybe I'll look at this detail more closely. Would the reserves have landed later on 6th or 7th As you say there were a lot that wernt in the first wave I reckon the Westminsters had Close on 60 Flails Adam
     
  16. If he did embark on 1 Jun on a US ship or craft, then it might have been LST LTIN 2918 which the 56 Br Inf Bde Gp Landing Table (in its 5 May 44 version with amendments as of 15 May) lists as carrying two 3 tonners with eight men of the Westminster Dragoons (not mentioning the squadron, but most probably B Sqn, since C Sqn and RHQ vehicles are identified as such) planned for landing on JIG GREEN at H+6hrs.

    It may be that he was travelling with the 3 tonners (perhaps as replacement crew for the tanks in the first wave). Amendments to the landing tables were permitted until 20 May, but additional changes did occur even after that date.
    For example, the War Diary says that the CO's tank (thus a Sherman gun tank) arrived at 1700 hrs on 7 Jun, but this tank is nowhere to be found in the available landing tables, so your dad may indeed have made the crossing on yet another additional tank, in any of the several US LST loading on 1 Jun and planned to land in JIG Sector on 6 or 7 Jun.

    Unfortunately I am not sure which LST was LTIN 2918, although I think it may have been US LST 72 of US LST Division 101, and certainly do not have a manifest of the men she carried. I have yet to see a complete such manifest, although some (very few) units did keep bits and pieces and sometimes even the complete list of personnel embarked for D Day in their War Diary or elsewhere.

    Michel
     
  17. AdamEdward

    AdamEdward Member

    Michel, lots of very good detail, thankyou.
    Much more than the ive known before joining this forum, regards Adam
     
  18. AdamEdward

    AdamEdward Member

    Michel, I've drawn all your input and concur that Dad probably was scheduled for H+6 ,Regimental Diary would indicate this landed early on the 7th because of sea state Do you know how many tanks would have been in a typical troop? Interestingly I've got a phot of Dad grinning in a 79th Armoured Croc, he looks young so must have been before transfer to 3rd RTR The Germans wouldn't have been grinning...You've been a great help, Adam
     
  19. Adam,

    At that time a Flail Sqn normally had 3 Gun tanks in SHQ , plus four troops of 5 Flails and one troop of 4 Roller tanks (standard Sherman V tanks with special pads welded on the hull sides onto which the arms of a mine-exploding roller device could be bolted).

    However, C Sqn D Day Report says that on D Day 2 of the 13 Flails landing in the first wave were Sqn HQ Flails, so we can safely assume that it was the same for B Sqn, i.e. that 2 of the 3 SHQ tanks were Flails, the last one being either a Gun tank or maybe also a Flail, but landing later.

    The photo of your dad in the Croc would be interesting to look at, especially if it showed some markings or part of the environment.

    Michel
     
  20. AdamEdward

    AdamEdward Member

    IMG_0535.JPG Michel please see above, Dad is in middle I think the markings under the white square is 79th Armoured Not sure whether the unit have blanked the markings or perhaps censor
     

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