8th Rifle Brigade

Discussion in 'British Army Units - Others' started by Neuron, Nov 10, 2015.

  1. Neuron

    Neuron Member

    Hi all
    My uncle served with H Coy 8th Battalion Rifle Brigade in Normandy and was killed in action on 31st July at St Martin Des Besaces. I am looking for any photo's of the 8th Battalion you may have. I have been to his grave in Banneville-La-Campagne war cemetery and visited St Martin its self where they have a great museum. I have original copies of the war diaries for F, G and H Coys but very few pictures of the men seem available. I do have however a large group photo of H Coy taken in Aldershot with my uncle in it.
    Any help would be appreciated.
  2. vectis

    vectis New Member

    Hi Neuron, I have just signed to the forum myself on the back of another member informing me of your post.
    Although I do not have anything on 'H' Company,(least I do not think so!) my father was in 'G' Company I do have a number of pictures taken during the operation 1944/5
    I also have a 'G' Company Battalion pic by Gale & Polden ltd of Aldershot with around 170 men pictured. If you wanted a copy of this and/or others, you would be more than welcome.
  3. Neuron

    Neuron Member

    Hi Steve
    That would be fantastic. I will post the photo I have of H Coy here ASAP. I wonder if they were taken at about the same time? I also have an original copy of 'From the beaches to the Baltic' by Major Noel Bell which is the story of G Coy. This book is pretty rare and does not come up for sale often. I waited about 25 years to find a copy so if you would like some extracts I will do that.
  4. Neuron

    Neuron Member

    Hi Steve
    Here is the photo for 'H' Coy as mentioned.
    My Uncle, L/Cpl Albert Lee is in the third row from the front, 9th soldier from the left. I wonder how many in this photo did not come back!


    Attached Files:

  5. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    Sadly quite a lot of them judging by the Roll of Honour in Taurus Pursuant (The History of 11th Armoured Division).

  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    From the battalions war diary:

  7. vectis

    vectis New Member

    Hi Bob, I think we have already had a chat, I was the guy who just sold company diaries on EBay. You told me of your Uncle and now you have mentioned his name the penny has dropped.
    Here is 'G' Company, yes! looks familiar surroundings, quite possibly the same day? My dad is third row up from the bottom 8th from the left. I have the Noel Bell book, dad is given a mention or two see pages 48/49 and 54/55 of note.
    Sgt J Fruin. He received the Col-in-Chiefs award for gallantry signed by Monty!
    Bizarre really but he died back in '89' and it is only now that mum has just passed on that his stuff has come to light. Hidden away all these years and we (my sisters and I) never knew anything about what he did apart from knowing he was there. Of course now I want to know more and believe his efforts should be celebrated, if that is the right phrase, not lost. I fully understand after reading things why he never spoke of his experiences, it wouldn't have been very fitting to tell his children he had killed people. I read your previous posts and see that there is a more indepth (maybe) diary from the archives to be had. I have just requested a copy for 'G' Company, so we'll see how much they want for that?
    Hope the pics come out okay, sorry if they are on the large size! The second pic (not sure if you have seen that one) is of unknown! My father is not in it.
  8. vectis

    vectis New Member

    Drew, is that the sort of material you get back from the National Archives? pics included (as I see under?) That's amazing!
  9. Neuron

    Neuron Member

    Fantastic Guys what can I say! I have some letters he wrote to my Mum (his sister) from France, mostly asking for fags, but they are treasured as they are a last contact he had from home. I was born in the house where he was born and have always felt a connection with him. I started collecting militaria as a young boy with his three medals and cap badge along with all the paperwork including the original telegram telling of his death. 40 odd years later my brother and I still collect stuff, mainly bayonets now but my brother has a Rifle Brigade battle dress (original).

  10. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Yes, the diary is from TNA. The pics underneath are aerial recce photo's, probably of objectives.
  11. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    Just became a member today. Very excited to read and see all this. In 1999 I got to know Don Gillate of 13 platoon H Company. His (scout) platoon was equipped with Bren carriers. Don passed away in 2010. At present I am working on a book based on his memoirs, recorded on 12 hours of tape he left regarding his experiences during 1944 and 1945. I am now looking for any material I can use as illustrations in the book, including photo's, war office maps and the 8RB War Diaries held at Kew (which I do not yet have). He does describe his experiences at Saint Martin des Besaces, but does not mention anything about any casualties in any detail. His first day in battle was spent on top of Hill 112 on the 28th of June 1944, wittnessing the death of 5 men of 13 platoon, himself only suffering a bruised shoulder from the blast which caused their death...

    Kind regards, Ronald.
    Owen likes this.
  12. Michael Lane.jpg lane michael stone.jpg my Great Uncle was Lt Michael Lane who was Wounded in action and died of his wounds on 1st July in the U.K.
    Gavrus is a small town just south west of Caen.
    In the book "From the Beaches to the Baltic: The Story of the G Company, 8th Battalion, the Rifle Brigade..." by Noel Bell there is a record that No 10 and No 11 Platoons were on a patrol to investigate a wooded area near Hill 112 which was not a hill as you may see it, more a slight rise in the ground. From a strongpoint disguised as a refuse dump, a low angle mortar was fired which landed amongst 11 Platoon, rendering them all casualties. 10 Platoon came their assistance and in a fresh outbreak of machine-gun and mortar fire Lt Michael Lane was wounded together with several others.
    Michael died very soon after being evacuated back to England.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2017
    8RB, dbf, SDP and 2 others like this.
  13. harkness

    harkness Well-Known Member

    Hill 112 area.

    (1) Ref Map


    (2) 1947


    (3) 1972


    (4) 2006


    (5) 2016

    stolpi, SDP and 8RB like this.
  14. Does anyone have war diary image for G company for the end of june as my Great Uncle was wounded in the latter half of June at Gavrus but died in the U.K. on the 1st July 1944.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2017
  15. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    If no one does so beforehand I will upload some relevant pages later this weekend.
    stolpi and Drew5233 like this.
  16. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic


    There are several books available describing the battles around Hill 112. A quick Google search for 'Hill 112' shows up at least two.
  17. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    At first I thought you meant Noel Bell's book on G Company, but I suppose you have a copy (let me know if I am wrong). Please find text on June 28th of Battalion diary regarding Lt. Lane below. An official War Diary at company level does not exist, only the book by Noel Bell. Similar books were written on E, F and G Company. The first of these I still need to find.

    Last edited: Oct 7, 2017
  18. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    So, if anyone could ever get me a copy of the E Company book, this is what I am looking for:

    SDP likes this.
  19. Thank you so much. Its very appreciated. No I dont have a copy of Noel Bells book im led to believe its as rare as hens teeth.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
  20. The G Company photo is amazing and a very stark reminder as i`m sure the attrition rate was quite high during the first 3 days of operation Epsom alone. I have been trying to identify my Great Uncle who was i`m led to believe was Platoon Commander for 10 Platoon Lt Michael Lane not sure which one he is any indication would be extremely appreciated thank you.

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