15th Scottish Reconnaissance Regt - C Squadron > Tracing 1944+ Path

Discussion in 'Recce' started by Recce_SM_Ward_Daughter, Jun 18, 2020.

  1. Ciao. Forgive me if this is in the wrong place.

    Tracing 1944+ Path of C Squadron, 15th Scottish Reconnaissance Regt

    I wish to try and create a map of the route of The 15th Scottish Reconnaissance Regt - in particular C Squadron after they landed in Normandy. My Father was Squadron Sergeant Major: SSM Albert Ward Major Albert Ward MBE MM The Royal Highland Fusiliers RHF :(

    I have found out (via probably this forum) that The National Archives in London holds The 15th Scottish Reconnaissance Regiment, RAC war diaries covering WW2. Unfortunately the records have not yet been digitised and cannot be downloaded. And I can't visit Kew because of awful COVID 19
    WO 166/456 15 Recce 1940 Dec- 1941 Dec
    WO 166/6232 15 Recce 1942 Jan - Dec
    WO 166/10539 15 Recce 1943 Jan-Apr, June - Dec
    WO 171/474 15 Recce 1944 Jan - Dec
    WO 171/4199 15 Recce 1945 Jan - Dec - also see March 1945 - 31st May 1945 National Archives catalogue number WO 171/4199.
    WO 171/8743 15 Recce 1946 Jan - Mar

    So I am reading again the book "Scottish Lion on Patrol: 15th Scottish Reconnaissance Regiment" by T. Chamberlin, M.R. Riesco & W. Kemsley - looking out especially for mentions of C Squadron, The 15th Scottish Reconnaissance Regt

    Any help would be soooo hugely appreciated, please. Please see my reply subjects below :)
    Chris C likes this.
  2. C Squadron, 15th Scottish Reconnaissance Regt - Normandy Landing

    1944, June 27th - In the book, if I have understood it correctly, it indicates the regiment landed on Normandy beaches between Le Hamel and Arromanches Les Bains on June 27th, 1944 (and then moved to St Gabriel)?

    But in the same paragraph p41 it says "...where three weeks after D Day, the rest of the 15th Scottish Division was already locked in its first battle about the River Odon."

    Does anyone know, please, when C Squadron, 15th Scottish Reconnaissance Regt landed on Normandy?
  3. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

  4. Oh my gosh Tony56 - You have made me cry a second time this evening :)

    I cried at the One Show's tribute to Vera Lynn's watching (both my parents utterly adored her).

    And now while starting to read and trace Daddy's and C Squadron, 15th Scottish Reconnaissance Regt's route.

    Thank you sooooo truly much. If ever you are in London I will soooo buy you a bonnie wee dram!

    But sorry to irritate, can I assume from https://4fb34fa8-7108-4882-a984-2cf...d/29af12_c02a9541d43340c18252e02f357340d1.pdf
    that C Squadron, 15th Scottish Reconnaissance Regt landed on 1944, June 27th (1900 hrs) and was not part of the
    15th (Scottish) Division who were leading the fight in the Battle of the Odon?
    Chris C likes this.
  5. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    It would seem that way. This is an extract from "Only the Enemy In Front (every other beggar behind) - The Recce Corps at War 1940-1946"
    Book cover OTEIF.jpg
    "One of the regiments surging through France and Belgium was 15th (Scottish) Recce, formed in February 1943 and therefore one of the youngest recce regiments. Under Lieutenant Colonel J A Grant Peterkin, 15 recce was an amalgamation of 15th, 45th and 54th Independent recce Squadrons: the latter two, with 76th Squadron, had been created when 54th Recce battalion was split up November 1941. To bring it up to full establishment, 15 recce had also received a draft of some 300 men from 162 Regiment, RAC, previously 9th RWK. This mixed force quickly welded together to form a very effective regiment for a division that had been upgraded from a drafting formation to a 'higher establishment' formation in late 1942.
    Colonel Grant Peterkin,a Cameron Highlander who had earlier commanded the Reconnaissance Training Centre at Scarborough, took the regiment to war in summer 1944. Sailing from Gosport on 27 June, the regiment's LSTs and LCTs landed their passengers and cargoes at Arromanches later that day to set off for St Gabriel. By then 15th (Scottish) Division had been in Normandy for more that a week and was engaged in Operation EPSOM which, as a result of their contribution, was dubbed the battle of the Scottish Corridor.
    The division's reconnoitrers did not have long to wait before being committed to battle with A and C Squadrons taking part in the final stages of EPSOM. Filling in between 15th and 49th Divisions on 30 June, C Squadron was first in action to be followed by A next day: the latter closed a gap on the right flank of C Squadron and the KOSB who had lost contact with 49 recce, the XXX Corps unit to their right. Both squadrons deployed as infantry but so wide was the gap that A Squadron never made contact with 49 Recce. The tasks set A and C squadrons saw them fight off German tanks and some casualties were suffered by both. That afternoon the regiment's anti-tanks guns came into action on both squadron fronts; the night was quiet as was the following day, during which 15th (Scottish) Division was relieved by 53rd (Welsh) Division. The two recce squadrons were relieved by 53 Recce and retired to Secqueville en Bessin".
    4jonboy and stolpi like this.
  6. Tony56 a warm elbow bump to you. Thank you very much for this as not only has this clarified the date, with your previous awesome link , there is no longer an urgency to read late at night circa 300 pages of "Scottish Lion on Patrol... with pencil to underline C Squadron and try and keep note of their route... you may have saved me a huge embarrassment which i was too shy to ask above... 15th (Scottish) Recce are a different from the 15th (Scottish) Division (soooooooooooooo sorry for my ignorance).

    If I can, I would like to mark out on a map of Europe, 15th (Scottish) Division's C Squadron route and make available. I am a search engine optimiser by profession and wish to as much documentation of regiment's available so they are not lost after the pish almalgamations of 2006.

    Again hugest thanks for your stellar forum, answers and warmth

    ps that wee dram is there for you (daddy's favourite saying was... one for the road :)
    4jonboy likes this.
  7. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    An Infantry Division usually consisted of 3 Infantry Brigades, who in turn generally consisted of 3 Infantry Battalions, there were also 'Divisional Troops' who were amongst others Royal Engineers, Royal Artillery, and of course a Reconnaissance Regiment. In most cases the Recce regiment took the number of the division, i.e. 15th Infantry Division - 15th Recce Regiment; 4th Division - 4th Recce etc.

    Some of these may be of interest:

    15th (Scottish) Infantry Division - Wikipedia
    Operation Epsom - Wikipedia
    The British Reconnaissance Corps in World War II

    The IWM site has some online films:
    Search our collection | Imperial War Museums
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  8. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    4jonboy and stolpi like this.
  9. Tony56 - i blush over my ignorance, thank you very much for the clarification (so wished daddy was here to explain this and that I didnt sit him down and really ask him lots of questions but I dont think he liked talking about the war and i was silly girl and thought i would do it later.

    and v thanks for your awesome links which i will look at.

    Forgive me for asking but you have been so mega fabulously helpful so may i ask... could key partons set up up gallery threads for their regiments on your forum and i can try and suss out some Search Engine Optimisation tips for persons who wish their treasured photographs to be documented in google by their regiment e.g.

    google image search: 15th Scottish Reconnaissance Regt
    15th Scottish Reconnaissance Regt - Google Search

    google image search: 15th Scottish Reconnaissance Regt ww2talk (google is indexing ww2talk photographs)

    15th Scottish Reconnaissance Regt ww2talk - Google Search

    Sorry, if i am wrong but it would be so sad to see the photographs lost in time
  10. Tony56 - v thank you for the video which sent shivers down my spine. Over the years I have watched so much WWII footage. But when Mummy died in December 2010 i spent the whole of Christmas watching WWII footage, bizarrely watching out for... Daddy or Mummy, and ever since! Watching this video - again I was looking out for... Daddy! And. hearing Veral Lynn sing.

    Thank you again for your informative and so helpful replies. With all these useful links i hope to trace 15th Scottish Reconnaissance Regt - C Squadron and will post here when it;s done.
    Tony56 and 4jonboy like this.
  11. Tony56 thank you so much for your mega ace resource > https://www.15thscottishdivisionwardiaries.co.uk/15-recce

    Very harrowing to read the war diaries as daddy never talked to me about it. And to read that there was still enemy fire just before ceasefire! Also feel sad that it indicates no joyous liberation greeting celebrations - I hope there were.

    I've added the C squadron locations
    Major Albert Ward MBE MM The Royal Highland Fusiliers RHF
    but will skim "Scottish Lion on Patrol: 15th Scottish Reconnaissance Regiment" by T. Chamberlin, M.R. Riesco & W. Kemsley to see if i can get any extra locations (some locations from the War Diaries I can't find on google maps)

    Forgive me for asking a very silly question (I wish I could ask Daddy)... There were three main squadrons: A, B and C . I immediately think of school grades - was A squadron the goldstar squadron? And why was a soldier appointed to a particular squadron.

    When I think I have covered the route as best as I can i hope some how to produce a map route

    As always, thank you so much for your awesome help Tony56 :)
  12. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    Have you noticed that Recce_Mitch has been posting actual copies of the diaries? May be more to come.
    15 Recce War Diary 1941
    15 Recce War Diary 1942
    15 Recce War Diary 1943

    As far as the organisation of a Reconnaissance Regiment I have attached something I drew up a while ago that may give you an idea. Generally there were 4 squadrons - HQ, A, B, & C, but the letters were no indication of seniority, just to differentiate between them, each squadron then had a number of troops.
    Note that regiments were reorganised at various stages depending on circumstances so just take my chart as a guide, there was also debate on which troops belonged to which squadron, as far as I can make out this was the set up for my father's 56 Recce, just before they went into action in North Africa in October 1942.

    Attached Files:

    4jonboy likes this.
  13. Tony56 - you are a top notch chap. As always thank you so much!

    And hurrah and please forgive my ignorance (but it so reminds me of school reports :) ... "the letters were no indication of seniority, "

    Will check out your fab chart now

    hugest thanks.
  14. Tony56 thank you so much - a really brilliant and clear organisation chart - has really helped me and more so when I will skim read the book again to look out for "C" squadron

    Slap my wrist another question please - who would have written those war diaries (not name but rank)? Harrowing reading but the person / persons who wrote it included recognitions of tasks well done (as some companies this is unheard off!)
  15. Recce_Mitch

    Recce_Mitch Very Senior Member

    There are definitely more War Diaries to come. I'm limited due to my head injury in the amount of time I can spend on the computer.

    Tony56 and stolpi like this.
  16. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    To answer some of your questions.
    You can create your own album(s) on the forum (under 'Gallery' in top menu), this, for example, is where Recce_Mitch puts all the diaries he has acquired.

    War diaries - the regiment would have had a clerical section, lots of forms, requisitions, reports, returns, personnel records, accounts etc etc, my father's 56 Recce had something like 900 men in total, so lots of things to write up - including collating squadron reports and compiling war diaries.

    You mentioned that you were proposing a map. Reading through the war diaries you will come across the map references of various locations, for example on 14 April 45, Nettelkamp is given as 920799.

    Using this site The "Coordinate Translator" these war time references can be converted to latitude/longitude, 920799 is here (you need Nord de Guerre Zone and rX920799).

    Google Maps

    You will be able to find other locations by this method, Google maps is pretty good for plotting routes.
    Good luck.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2022
    4jonboy likes this.
  17. Recce_Mitch v sorry to hear you have a head injury. so hope you feel better asap. and defo keep of the pc for a while
  18. Tony56 you are very clever star - the The "Coordinate Translator" will defo help me. Now I am trying to suss out how i can do the map as I would like to map sjowing France, Belguim, Holland and Germany. And I noticed some names are spelt differently e,g war diary Cleve but googling it's Kleve. As always thank you much for your help
  19. Ciao Tony56

    So sorry for bugging you but I have, oops another question, please. Your chart was really useful.

    I am re-reading Scottish Lion on Patrol: 15th Scottish Reconnaissance Regiment (harrowing reading :( I thought I may have identified him in a photograph... Page 138 , further-est right (i am always searching him :(

    It mentions Daddy as being SSM - i assume Squadron Sergeant Major of C Squadron? But, it never mentions which troop he was assigned to? I have his Service Number: 3126699.

    I considered
    joining https://www.forces-war-records.co.uk/ but I'm already on ancestry.co.uk ( ops I may have traced a wrong Irish Peter Ward ancestry line!) and currently on furlough .

    Get a copy of military service records - but i dont have all his service numbers (as he was in a few regiments.

    How can I find out which troop he was assigned to?

    So sorry to bug you.
  20. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    Hi, firstly remember that his service records are only available from the MOD, other sites, such as the one you mention, may give the impression that you can get all sorts of WW2 records from them, but you may be disappointed.

    Service records - you do not need his service number or any military details to apply, just name, date of birth and a copy of the death certificate unless they were killed in action, in which case a print from the CWGC site will suffice.

    Which troop - probably they only way is by thoroughly going through the war diaries looking for a mention. Sometimes the appendices that are attached to the diaries provide this information in regimental orders or reports on particular actions. His rank would mean that he should get a mention by name somewhere, afraid it is just a question of hunting - call it reconnaissance!

    Last edited: Jun 27, 2020

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