8th Parachute Battalion Operation Tonga Chalk lists

Discussion in 'Airborne' started by Kia Ora, Feb 9, 2021.

  1. Kia Ora

    Kia Ora Member

    Hello all

    I’m trying to find out which aircraft my grandad 5105738 CQMS James Berrisford HQ company emplaned from RAF Blakehill Farm on 5th June 1944 as part of 8th Parachute Battalion during Operation Tonga.
    Unfortunately I have no idea where to look for such information and would be very grateful to any members that could help in anyway.

    Many thanks
  2. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    That’s the holy grail of Airborne research. I’ve never seen “stick” lists for 8 Para at all. Hopefully someone on here can offer something more.

  3. Kia Ora

    Kia Ora Member

    Thank you for your reply. I sounds like an impossible task.

    Kind regards
  4. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    I take it you’re after the Chalk / Stick number? Some exist for Op Varsity if he made it to that one?
  5. Kia Ora

    Kia Ora Member

    Hi Alex

    Grandad was in the Warwickshire Regiment in the 1930s and left in1938. He was mobilised in 39 and went to France with the BEF. He joined the 8th parachute battalion at its formation and jumped on D’Day. He was a casualty and evacuated on 10th never to return to action due to his injuries but remained in the Parachute Regiment until de-mob in 1946.
    Like many veterans he didn’t talk a lot about it.
    He is no longer around and I’m trying to find out as much as I can.
    We are so proud of him.
  6. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    Great stuff, have you got his service record?
  7. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

  8. Kia Ora

    Kia Ora Member


    Thanks for the link. Unfortunately I only know he was in HQ Coy but not which platoon. I’m not familiar with army structure/hierarchy, but from what I’ve read, 4 Companies to Battalion?
    How many Platoons to a Company?
    My Dad has his service record which doesn’t go down to Platoon.
  9. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    Was he the CQMS on D day? If so that’s Company QuarterMaster Sergeant and he would’ve been within the company HQ set up.
    So, going by the list on the link I sent you he would’ve been on aircraft 244, 255, 252 or 253.
    BrianHall1963 likes this.
  10. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Hi Kia,

    On page 115 of Carl Rymen's book "Two Steps Forward" your grandad is listed as being on Ringway Parachute Course 44 (Dec. 28, 1942 to Jan. 8, 1943). He is also mentioned on page 215 as being one of four CQMS originally from the 13th Battalion Warwickshire Regiment who took part in D-Day. Unfortunately the book doesn't have an index so I could have missed him elsewhere.

    I have a few 8 Para stick lists that were posted previously on WW2Talk but couldn't find his name on them. If CQMS Berrisford was with HQ Coy his Commanding Officer would have been Major George Payne. As Alex pointed out you can see the chalk numbers for the various 8 Para units towards bottom of war diary on the Pegasus Archive.

    Interestingly Major Payne was in charge of two advance parties that left from RAF Harwell, CNs 50 and 51. According to the Operating Orders:

    PHASE I.
    (a) COMMANDER: O.C. "HQ" Coy - Major G. PAYNE.
    (b) Composition See parachute loading tables (Appx B. to Adm. Instr. No.1).
    (c) D.Z. K
    (d) TIME OF DROP. P-5 hrs.
    (e) Tasks.
    1. To guide Main Body to R.V.
    2. To locate and assist with unloading of Gliders and guiding tpt to R.V.

    So that is a possibility but we don't know for certain. He could also have dropped with one of the HQ/Support Coy Platoons. Check out the Order of Battle here.

    Regards ...
    BrianHall1963 likes this.
  11. Kia Ora

    Kia Ora Member

    Hi Cee

    Many thanks for your help. It’s a very interesting possibility that he was in one of Major Payne’s advance parties.
    As Alex says the chalk number is the key to everything and would help me to discover where he dropped. He was shot in the legs before he hit the ground and lying in a field with other casualties when he witnessed a German officer shooting anyone who moved or was moaning. He was lucky to survive.
    Do you know if there are any photos of course 44 at Ringway?
    I would like to see if there are any photos of 8th battalion, do you know where I should look.
  12. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Hi Kia,

    The Duxford Museum has all the jump course reports but only releases the course number a man was on and the simple statement on how well he did. The book "Two Steps Forward" has a few snippets on Course 44 but also mentions others and the memories of 8 Para men who took part in them. Author Carl Rymen might be a good guy to get in contact with as I think he is planning another book that covers the latter part of war.

    There are newsreels and official films showing the training of men at Ringway from various periods of the war. A search on ParaData site (Duxford) using "8th Parachute Battalion" will bring up men and items related to the Battalion. The attached account is by Frank Ockenden who jumped from a HQ Coy Albermarle on D-Day. I think it is from the book "We Remember D-Day" by Frank and Joan Shaw.

    Frank Ockendon Day-1.jpg Frank Ockendon Day-2.jpg

    Regards ...
    Tricky Dicky and BrianHall1963 like this.
  13. Kia Ora

    Kia Ora Member

    Hi Cee
    Thanks again for the information. The personal account by Frank Ockenden is great and ties up with all I have read so far.
    I can imagine that it must have been very chaotic at times, with so many men dropped in haste and in the wrong DZ / area.
    I'm keeping my fingers crossed that one day I'll be able to find out which transport aircraft and chalk he was on.
  14. David Woods

    David Woods Active Member

    To Kia Ora
    5105738 C.Q.M.S. James Berrisford did not fly to Normandy aboard Chalk 252.

    8th Parachute Battalion, Operation Tonga, Normandy

    Bn HQ "B" Pty - 2nd i/cs. A/C.

    A/C No. KG 514 (Chalk number 252)

    Landed south of Démouville 1067, east of Émiéville 1365.

    67123 Maj. J. W. B. Marshall W.I.A./ P.O.W. 06.06.1944
    14635107 Pte. S. L. Scott ???? W.I.A./ P.O.W. 06.06.1944
    4536181 Sgt. A. R. Parsons Located. Not missing
    14405635 Pte. J. Hall
    3321761 Pte. F. E. Massow ???? P.O.W. 06.06.1944
    14572690 Pte. F. J. Harley ???? P.O.W. 06.06.1944
    5384418 Pte. A. Platt K.I.A. 06.06.1944
    6855804 Pte. J. R. C. Williams ???? W.I.A. 19.08.1944
    L/Cpl. F. Gleny att. R. Sigs
    Sigmn. E. Smith att. R. Sigs
    Sigmn. G. Ellis att. R. Sigs
    3596094 Sgt. A. Lapping W.I.A. D.N.R.
    121646 Capt. A. J. Bookless
    5110870 Pte. A. H. Duncan ???? K.I.A. 16.06.1944
    Sgt. J. Goodfellow
    14427882 Cpl. P. C. Horton ???? K.I.A. 21.08.1944 Lt. 156645
    Pte. H. Tait
    5121228 L/Sgt. J. W. Evans K.I.A. 07.06.1944
    Pte. T. Long
    5105371 RSM. A. G. Parsons W.I.A. 31.07.1944

    13807801 Pte. A. R. Kuttner K.I.A. 06.06.1944

    The original document gives different initials or rank to some of the above personnel.
    I've made corrections (????) based upon the information available to me.

    13807801 Pte. A. R. Kuttner
    Possibly replaced Pte. J. Hall as indicated by line on original document.

    14427882 Cpl. P. C. Horton (156645)
    On a document 8 Para-Tonga-Blakehill Farm, this man is listed as Pte. Hornton.
    On the original document, the name has 6 letters and looks like Pte. Horton.
    Do not know if Cpl. P. C. Horton flew into Normandy as a Private.

    Pte. W. Scott (D.O.W.) and Pte. W. Duncan (K.I.A.) are not on Roll of Honour.
    Alternatives suggested.

    I have created a cleaned up version of the original document for easier reading.

    Attached Files:

    BrianHall1963 and Cee like this.
  15. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    What’s the resource for that? Bloody excellent info!
  16. Kia Ora

    Kia Ora Member

    Many thanks for your post, great information!
    I'm hoping that someone will be able to find a document that'll be able to tell us where he landed in relation to DZ K. Assuming that was his where he was supposed to be? I would love to know what his task was too.
  17. Eric Palmer

    Eric Palmer Member

    David, regarding your chalk list image original above, is it from a National Archives file? If so do you have the WO reference? That question notwithstanding I wonder if you have available the chalk list from the same set for CL247 FZ679 please.


  18. David Woods

    David Woods Active Member

    I obtained the original file from Paradata and do not know the WO Reference.
    I give credit to Cee for posting CL247 FZ679 on several occasions.
    I have changed the name Major Ferrell to Major Terrell as I believe this to be correct.

    Attached Files:

  19. Eric Palmer

    Eric Palmer Member

    H David,

    Thanks for that - I'm fairly sure I've seen that one previously when it was posted a few years ago by Horsa Passenger (if I recall correctly) . The reason I asked you about the one you posted for CN252 last Monday was because it looks as if it came from a different archive source as it has the top of the form completed, whereas this one for CN247 doesn't - and is a different format form. While I've been writing up my father's experiences I've come across a number of inconsistencies in records and reports, and personal accounts that don't make complete sense when looking at some of the chalk lists that have occasionally been put on the forum, so I've been wondering if there are different archived files in existence. Somewhere or other the WO reference for the CN247 one appeared on the forum way back when, and I think it was part of the casualty reporting processes, rather than an Ops Planning record.



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