6204756 Edward Ernest BUCK, 5 Royal Norfolk Regiment: 08/10/1943

Discussion in 'British Army Units - Others' started by Dramaqueen, Feb 27, 2021.

  1. Dramaqueen

    Dramaqueen Member

    Hello, I'm very new here, I'm a bit confused & I'm hoping someone can help!
    My grandfather was in the Royal Norfolk Regiment & this is the confusing bit, I'm not sure if he was in 2nd or 5th Battalion - I've found paperwork online, that shows him in both. Would it be possible to transfer between battalions? His name was Ernest Edward Buck, Private, 6204756. He died in Changi in 1943, when my Dad was 2 years old. Dad was subsequently adopted & we don't have much information about Ernest. If you are able to help, I'd appreciate it very much.

    Thank you
  2. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Welcome to the forum

    firstly you will not find anything on line on paid for sites re his service records

    you need to apply for his service records the link is here have a read through it
    Get a copy of military service records

    other members will be along shortly to advise you further re his time as a POW

    Last edited: Feb 27, 2021
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  3. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

  4. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    The 1st and 2nd Battalions RNR were Regular Battalions and in the BEF. Whilst your grandfather may have changed Battalions when he went to Singapore he was in the 5th Battalion. He was captured at the Fall of Singapore 15 Feb 42. He was sent to work on the Thai-Burma Railway on 24 June 42 where he died on 8 Oct 43. He is buried in Chungkai War Cemetery, Thailand.
    From CWGC

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  5. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Ernest Edward Buck died of Beriberi.

    You may care to contact the Thailand Burma Railway Centre who are exceedingly helpful. They will have compiled a data card on your grandfather.

  6. Dramaqueen

    Dramaqueen Member

    Thank you so much for all your help, as I said, I'm not very experienced with this! Would it be usual for men to swap battalions? Do you think there is any possibility that there might be a photo of my grandfather somewhere? With my Dad being adopted, he has no photos of his birth parents, I'd love to find one.
    Thanks again

  7. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Re changing Battalions - for example - if he was in the 1st and returned from Dunkirk then he may have been moved to the 5th as that was transferring to the Far East, and perhaps his experience was needed, maybe they needed more numbers. Later in the war it was more about transferring between Regiments as losses were incurred

    Soldiers were moved to where they were needed most regardless of Battalion or Regiment

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  8. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Yes he did change Battalions and was firstly in the 2nd, then in the 5th. He is listed as 2nd Battalion on Casualty List showing him being wounded in France.

    Also I note that his Service No. 6204756 is one that belongs to the Middlesex Regt indicating that he was allocated to this Regiment when he first joined up before transferring to the RNR.
    His Service Records are really needed to clarify.

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  9. Dramaqueen

    Dramaqueen Member


    Thank you for that information. It makes sense him being in Middlesbrough Regt first, as he was born in Willesden. My grandmother, who he married in 1941, lived in Norfolk, maybe thats why he transferred to RNR.
    Hopefully his service records will fill in the missing pieces.

    Thank you again.

  10. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Nicky - just for clarity I dont believe there was a Middlesbrough Regt but there was a Middlesex Regt

  11. Dramaqueen

    Dramaqueen Member

    Sorry, I meant Middlesex, but thank you for clarifying.

  12. Gelert

    Gelert Member

    His number is from a small block allocated to 9th Bn Middlesex Regiment, a TA battalion. He enlisted in the last week of September 1938. This is interesting.

    In the 1930s, the increasing need for anti-aircraft (AA) defence, particularly for London, was addressed by converting a number of infantry battalions to the AA role. The 9th Middlesex became a searchlight unit in 1938, taking the subsidiary title of 60th Searchlight Regiment, and consisted of a Headquarters Battery and 429, 430 and 431 Searchlight Batteries based at Willesden .

    The TA's AA units were mobilised on 23 September 1938 during the Munich Crisis, with units manning their emergency positions within 24 hours, even though many did not yet have their full complement of men or equipment. This was exciting stuff and did wonders for recruiting as loads of blokes rushed to enlist at their local drill hall, including young Edward.

    The emergency lasted three weeks, and the Regiment was stood down on 13 October.
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  13. Dramaqueen

    Dramaqueen Member

    This is fantastic! Thank you so much!

  14. Dramaqueen

    Dramaqueen Member

    Please excuse my ignorance, but what is a searchlight unit?
  15. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

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  16. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Units that operated searchlights to illuminate enemy bombers so they could be shotdown by anti-aircraft guns.
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  17. Osborne2

    Osborne2 Well-Known Member

    5th Battalion were stationed in Cheshire for most of 1941 before they went to Singapore. Battalion HQ at Blakemere Hall, but the men were spread over several sites in Hartford and Sandiway. At least five men married Sandiway girls. They were involved with the Liverpool Blitz, being used as fire watchers in the port and helping to build stop lines in Cheshire and North Wales..
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  18. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

  19. holyboy

    holyboy Member

    Hi Osborne2
    Read your post with interest. I am interested in anything related to 5 Norfolks. I have only ever seen reference to Marbury Hall, I presume this is the same as Blakemere? I have long been looking for a photograph that was taken of my father during his time at Marbury. I think it may have been taken in Liverpool. I think they trained in bombed out areas of the docks. Anything you have will be much appreciated.
  20. Osborne2

    Osborne2 Well-Known Member

    If he was in the 5th, looking at the War Diary they were not in Liverpool and missed most of the May Liverpool blitz. It was 6th RNR who really did the fire watching and they saw and took part in some awful events. I have a very poor copy of the 6th Diary that is so bad you can hardly read it, but the CO of the 6th kept a much better diary than the CO of the 5th , who really did not bother. The Brigade diary is more helpful on the 5th than the 5th's own diary.

    Blakemere was about 6 miles away, its now a craft centre, or at least the stables are. House demolished. Blakemere itself was the 6th's officer's mess, but they also occupied premises in Pettypool and Hartford and I estimate there was a company in each property that had been requisitioned in 1940. Blakemere became a bakery later where bakery companies were trained.

    The 5th were all at Marbury which had been built battalion sized by the end of January 41.

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