13118381 Frank De ANGELI, 56 Recce, (78 Division - BattleAxe)

Discussion in 'Recce' started by bookwormwmb, Jan 21, 2018.

  1. bookwormwmb

    bookwormwmb proud daughter of a 56 Recce/78 infantry vet

    My father drove a Bren Carrier in 56 Recce. A letter we have lists his squadron as "5". He served under MC Recipient Lt. John "Johnny" K Edwards, so if i can discover what that squadron was, that would be the same as my father's.
    Born in 1924, he began the war as a student - Battersea Grammar School. the school was sent from London. later my father joined the Pioneer Corps. as he was born in Rome he was considered an enemy alien. (he had never lived in Italy and spoke no Italian). in the Pioneer Corps he met and worked with many wonderful "aliens", mostly Jewish Germans who had fled Germany. According to my father, all were eager to join a fighting unit and do their part. the Pioneer Corps was the topic of a recent book " The King's Most Loyal Enemy Aliens" by Helen Fry. The subtitle mentions specifically Germans who were the majority, but the corps also included a few Italians. My grandfather who had fought in WW1 for Italy , then an ally, was interned in a camp, the Isle of Man.

    later in the war they were given their chance and my father was able to enlist in the Reconnaissance Corps in 1944. At that time, they were given the opportunity to change their name. My father went from being Franco De Angeli to Frank De Angeli. He said he was deployed after Monte Cassino and passed it on the way to join his group.

    When he met up with 56 Recce, a Lt. said to him, " are you related to Rico De Angeli?" and my father said that is my brother Rico. Lt. Edwards took my father into his troop and under his wing. My father served under Lt. Edwards, who he described as a true hero. Lt Edwards received a Silver Star and a Military Cross which according to my father was very much deserved. (Rico is F. F. De Angeli - Frederico De Angeli). My father who is alive but very frail, still talks about Lt Edwards. I recently showed him the MC and Silver Star Citations for Lt Edwards.

    Frederico ("Rico") F De Angeli was part of i believe a Bucks Paratrooper group. he was dropped on D Day and part of the fight for "Pegasus" Bridge. he was injured on D Day and spend i think 7 months in hospital .
    My father's service was in the "Gothic Line" part of the fight, and the main struggle centered around the heavily fortified River Senio. the River itself was mined, the banks were mined, the hill above the banks were dotted with armed turrets, and a tunnel ran along the River for resupply and communications.

    The 56 Recce was the first allied unit to enter Austria after surrender. he said his first night in Austria his job was to guard "white Russians" who had fought with the Germans against the Communist soviet Army. they were about to be repatriated to the Soviet Union where they would certainly be killed. they were considered to be unpredictable as they had nothing to lose. My father said he was assigned as a partner a German solider. we have a small German dictionary with my father's name and a wartime date in it. i asked my father about it and he said with a smile there was a young lady he was fond of. of course, the soldiers were discouraged from making friends with the civilian population.

    At the end of the War, my father and other "young" Recces were pulled into other units, and my Dad was moved to the 12 Royal Lancers and sent first to Egypt and then to Palestine, where they were assigned the job of keeping the peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

    i have a letter he wrote to his father from the RACTD which i can type up - scan would be impossible to read. i have photos of him in 12 Royal Lancer Uniform. i have some photos of him in i think Egypt or Palestine maybe someone will know. i have the descriptions of the actions from the MC and SS citations which presumably my father was present at. I don't have his service records. he did not want to sign the request.

    Feb 3 2018 i have uploaded one picture i found which i think must be from his time in the Recce. it looks like it must have been a group of small photographs on one sheet which were cut up and shared. my father had written on the back but the note is incomplete due to the dividing of the pictures. all I can make out is "the morning after" and "Frank 1944". my father Frank is standing in the middle of the back row. we have a couple of commercial postcards from "Aigen Im eminstat mit Grimming, 2351 m" and "Heiligenblut 1301 m mit Grossglockner 3798 m". no dates. on one occasion he told me he was in "osterhoff" Austria at the end of the war. i do have more photos from a sunnier clime, likely Palestine. sadly just the one from 1944.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Feb 3, 2018
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  2. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

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  3. Recce_Mitch

    Recce_Mitch Very Senior Member

    Hi Jane, welcome & great to see you took my advice & opened up a thread about your father.

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  4. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

  5. Guy Hudson

    Guy Hudson Looker-upper

    6924394 DE ANGELI F.F. Pte. 7 Battalion Parchute Regiment. Wounded in action 8.6.1944
    (Originally served in the Rifle Brigade before transferring to A.A.C.)

    Screen Shot 2018-01-22 at 17.44.19.png
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  6. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce

    Thank you for your kindness Steve, but I must pass that accolade to Recce_Mitch and Tony56 as they have much more information to hand than I have.:)

    I see Paul Mitchell already mentioned in another thread that your father was in A Squadron.

  7. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    Hi Lesley, you are far too modest.
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  8. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    Jane, don't know if you have managed to look through the diaries that Recce Mitch has posted, but I did come across one reference to you father.
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  9. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

  10. bookwormwmb

    bookwormwmb proud daughter of a 56 Recce/78 infantry vet

    Thank you Paul - I was not sure of the protocol!
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  11. bookwormwmb

    bookwormwmb proud daughter of a 56 Recce/78 infantry vet

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  12. bookwormwmb

    bookwormwmb proud daughter of a 56 Recce/78 infantry vet

    Marvelous find! Have not read the diaries . I willl. I’m really puzzled by the date. Maybe it was reposting. He was definitely at the RACTD in early January 1945 as part of the Recce , and gave his squadron on the letterhead as 5.
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  13. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    Jane, the term 'posted' covers a multitude of circumstances, my father was posted to C Sqn on 19 Feb 44, but that was after rejoining (TOS or taken on strength) following a period in hospital, could also be a transfer between squadrons or joining the regiment.
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  14. bookwormwmb

    bookwormwmb proud daughter of a 56 Recce/78 infantry vet

    hi tony, thank you very much for sending this. i am as i said puzzled as he was in the Recce in 44 and i do have a letter from him from Rieto, sent to his dad early january 1945. so he must have been reassigned to "A" squadron. on the return address for the letter , he gives his squadron is "5" which also puzzles me. i guess the best thing to do is to read all the diaries.
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  15. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    Have to say that I am also puzzled by 5 Squadron, it is a new one on me, but not to say it is incorrect.

    The ‘normal’ squadrons were HQ, A, B and C but, from time to time, they did form special squadrons for particular operations. I know that there was an X Sqn at Cassino.

    Every month regiments made a ‘Situation Report’ summarising daily operations and locations etc, these detailed each of the individual squadrons. This link takes you to the January 1945 report, this coincides with the date of the letter.

    Jan 1945
    resized_P2250433.jpg | WW2Talk

    Preceding ones are:
    Nov 1944
    resized_P2190380.jpg | WW2Talk
    Dec 1944
    resized P2190450 | WW2Talk

    It will all make sense one day!

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  16. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

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  17. bookwormwmb

    bookwormwmb proud daughter of a 56 Recce/78 infantry vet

    this is Rico in uniform in an undated photograph. the front is stamped "south thames" and the back "south thames studios" on Streatham High Road. Rico suffered extensive injuries on D Day and was hospitalized or convalescent for the best part of a year i think. some of the injuries were to his face.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Feb 3, 2018
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  18. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    I'd say that photo was taken after the war as he's wearing collar & tie as well as medal ribbons.
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  19. bookwormwmb

    bookwormwmb proud daughter of a 56 Recce/78 infantry vet

    owen, i changed it. i also noticed the ribbons. his face was injured on D day so it must have been quite a bit after then. he was in hospital for months.
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  20. bookwormwmb

    bookwormwmb proud daughter of a 56 Recce/78 infantry vet

    many suggested i request my father Frank De Angeli's records. i also wanted to let you know that i requested my father's records in October but so far have only received a standard letter saying that most records were damaged and not to expect too much. i will report back if and when i hear any more.
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