A Treasure Trove. Can you help fill the gaps?

Discussion in 'REME/RAOC' started by janeh, Jul 7, 2015.

  1. janeh

    janeh Member

    Today's offerings. Not sure about the sequence. The album is not entirely in date order. You chaps can probably offer some suggestions. Dad's spellings not always accurate either - names/places etc. Welcome any corrections!

    1. Maj. Gen. Collin Campbell, DDEME 21 Army Gp (in doorway) with Maj Gen Dempsey Comdr 2nd Army & Lt Gen B Montgomery, Herford, Germany 1945

    2. Monty talks to the troops just before the assault across the Rhine

    3. 'Rest and Rehabilitation'

    View attachment 138636 Monty talks to the troops just before the assault across the Rhine.jpg 'Rest and Rehabilitation'.jpg
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  2. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Looking for information as to why the REME units were kept in being when 59 Div was disbanded, I found the following in the 176 Inf Be Wksps War Diary:-

    20 Aug 44
    Information received and read out to personnel of break-up of division.

    21 Aug 44
    Information received as to manner of break-up of Division. To be known as VICMOVE. No definite policy re REME units.

    3 Sep 44
    VICMOVE Instr No. 513 received from HQ, 59 Inf Div - REME personnel of Division to continue work at 14 A.O.D. under control CREME, 59 Inf Div.

    12 Sep 44
    Instructions received from CREME, 59 Inf Div, that programme of work for 14 A.O.D. must be completed by 19 Sep and that unit prepare to move to 15 A.O.D. on completion.

    21 Sep 44
    Orders received from CEME, Base Workshop, for Unit to proceed to ATH, Belgium, to undertake work under CREME, 2nd Army Troops.

    22 Sep 44
    Instructions given by CREME, 2nd Army Troops for Unit to undertake work at 2nd Army Vehicle park located at ATH.


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  3. Bluebell Minor

    Bluebell Minor Junior Member


    thank you for this interesting piece of information
  4. janeh

    janeh Member

    Thanks for this info, Tom.

    Can you clarify what A.O.D. stands for (14 A.O.D.) and ATH, please? Are these locations?

    So many acronyms/initials - I picked up meanings of quite a few (some of them not very polite) as a child, but many are a mystery.

    Best wishes

  5. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  6. janeh

    janeh Member

  7. janeh

    janeh Member

    Some further photos.

    1. 176 with 'acquired' instruments

    2. Relaxing at the Dommer Zee nr our first settled site in Germany, Oppenwehe 1945

    Notes: Correct spelling - The Dümmer See (a lake in Nordwestmecklenburg and Ludwigslust-Parchim, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
    Oppenwehe is in central Germany, between Hannover and Osnabrück, not far from the Dümmer See.

    3. No caption but looked at with magnifier - upper sign might read ‘Rahden 19 km’
    Rahden is a town in the far north of North Rhine-Westphalia between Bielefeld and Bremen and between Hanover and Osnabrück.

    4. Self, Capt ‘Polly’ Perkins (reclining.) An Aussie (first Ed of our Corps Mag.) Maj Bill Care, a lifelong colleague.

    no caption.jpg View attachment 138713 176 with 'acquired' instruments..jpg Relaxing at the Dommer Zee nr. our first settled site in Germany. Oppewehe 1945.jpg
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  8. janeh

    janeh Member

    Today's offerings

    1. Self with Capt Mick Keen (a T&M specialist GKN later seconded to CCG)

    2 Christmas 1944 Capt Davis with German children [on back is written ''Dave and Erika March 1945'' - the later date seems more probable than 1944 bearing in mind that Dad wrote the labels in his albums some time in the 1970s]

    3. With my officers 176 Inf Bde Wksp. Horst, west of Maas, Holland Apr 45

    4. Mush 1945 Betungen [sic] a mining town nr. Borch Leopold [sic] Belgium. I'm intrigued by this one. Dad clearly ''acquired'' his canine companion somewhere en route between France and Germany. Place names very difficult to read & only near match for the name of the town seems to be in the Netherlands, nor can I find anywhere resembling ''Borch'' in Belgium, although the ''Leopold'' bit seems likely to be there - given the prevalence of Belgian kings with that name. Any suggestions welcome as it would help me map out Dad's progress.

    Self with Capt Mick Keen (a T&M specialist GKN later seconded to CCG).jpg Christmas 1944 Capt Davis with German children (on back 'Dave & Erika Oppenwehe Mar 46).jpg With my officers 176 Inf Bde Wksp. Horst West of Maas. Holland April 45.jpg Mush 1945.jpg
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  9. janeh

    janeh Member

    There was clearly time for some sporting activity. A good way to let off steam, keep fit & boost camaraderie.

    1. ''Hall's Boys Can Do It'' Inter Unit Athletics, Jeep racing, swimming etc. between REME Units & 2nd Army troops.
    Some of the men are wearing bits of fancy dress - including a variety of head-gear. One chap is sporting a gigantic mock Iron Cross. I guess this is the REME team as what I can make out of the wording on the board in the middle seems to be: ''Hall's boys can do it. We know our Works. Get stuck in the heap. 2nd will be easy meat''

    2. The swimming team

    3. Hall's boys have done it. Bill Kinchin presents the trophy.

    4 ''Our'' lake at Oppenwehe. Germany 1945
    I haven't been able to identify this lake from maps of the Oppenwehe area. I know Dad & friends spent time relaxing at The Dummersee (where there has until recent times been a British Yacht Club.) but that's too far away I think.

    5. No caption - Dad - looking a bit like one of those characters from a British B movie!!

    Hall's boys can do it..jpg The swimming team.jpg Hall's boys have done it. Bill Kinchin presents the trophy.jpg ''Our'' lake at Oppenwehe. Germany 1945.jpg AWH.jpg
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  10. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member


    Is it Bourg Leopold? It seems 90% of the British army passed through there!

    By the way did you see on the other thread that the first workshop was based in Malines for a while in September 1944.


  11. janeh

    janeh Member

    Bourg Leopold seems likely, Tom. Thanks for that.

    Re Malines - were you referring to your info on the OOB thread? You wrote -
    'I've also got a copy of the 2nd Army REME Sitrep for 25 Sep which says that 53 Inf Tps Wksp was at MALINES (J7174) (which ties up with the more detailed MR above) and was operating a CBP (Corps Backloading Point - I think) for 12 Corps.'

    On that subject, I found a few Malines-related pics & am posting a couple of them here

    1. Lt. Van Poppel. Malines Belges. Lt. P. had just taken command of the infamous Breendonk concentration camp on its liberation by 2nd Army. Sep '44. [There are other photo's of Mme Van P. and the children, together with Dad. I found quite a bit about Breendonk elsewhere on the Net.]

    2. Matilde & the Boss who plied us with beer as the Bosches were retreating and the Malines Carillon played Tipperary. Aug/Sep '44 [There's another picture of Matilde standing behind a bar, so presumably she was the Boss's wife, or at least the barmaid.]

    View attachment 139349 View attachment 139350
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  12. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Great photos. Yes, that was the post I was referring to. If I come across any more as I work through my diary collection I'll post up here.


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  13. janeh

    janeh Member

    A bit of a mystery for today!

    Series of photos around VE Dday.

    1. Self-evident - Celebration, with my Dad looking decidedly befuddled (& deservedly so!) On the back somebody (not Dad's writing) has written: Celebrating VE Day 1945. Sgt Farmer (standing) Sgt Holding GWJ (piano) Maj A.W. Hall (sitting)

    2. Dad wrote: VE Day, with self commanding all REME units, marching past DEME Gen Campbell after the Victory Parade.

    3. Is another shot, from a different angle, of the march-past.

    4. Is labelled:
    Maj Gen Colin Campbell DEME 21 Army Gp (in doorway) with Maj Gen Dempsey, Comdr 2nd Army & Lt. Gen. B. Montogomery. Herford, Germany 1945

    5. Lt Col Paddy Miskimin following the General

    I wonder what the location of the Parade was? Does anybody recognise it? If #4 was taken on the same occasion then it seems that the answer is Herford - can anyone confirm?

    Also #5 looks as though it was taken as the men were going into the same building as in #4 - but that's just because of the doormat & the flowerbed which seem the same in both pics.

    I have a good biography of Gen. Dempsey, but haven't yet found references online to Colin Campbell or Col Miskimmin
    (can't be sure if Dad's spelling is correct - it was never a strong point of his!)

    I wonder what happened to Sgts Farmer & Holding. I bet they all had terrific hangovers!

    The other 4 pictures are the pages of the menu card for the Officers' VE Dinner held in the field at Rehden, Germany June 16th 1945. Looking at the food which was served I have to wonder what the average German family was finding to eat at this time. Dad sent the menu to my mum back in England & the short letter he wrote in it is very poignant. I am glad that the men got their own celebration party - yet more hangovers, I suspect!

    View attachment 139682 View attachment 139683 March Past of the VE Day Parade.jpg View attachment 139685 Lt Col Paddy Miskimin following the General.jpg
    img164.jpg img165.jpg img163.jpg img166.jpg
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  14. Historic Steve

    Historic Steve Researching 21 Army Group/BAOR post VE day

    My research shows that Main HQ 21st Army Group moved from Süchteln west of Krefeld to Hotel Königshof, Kurpark, Bad Oeynhausen on the 3 Jun 45, the "services" are listed at a grid reference looking like Harewood Barracks Herford, 21st Army Group Signals were certainly there

    Hope this helps
  15. Bluebell Minor

    Bluebell Minor Junior Member

    Sod's Law

    Have just returned home after a very productive day in Kew searching through the War Diaries of Third line REME Units in Germany immediately after VE Day as part of Historic Steve's and my ongoing project to try and create an accurate ORBAT/LOCSTAT for 21 Army Group for Summer 1945

    I was restricting my search accordingly but there was mention in a number of diaries of the requirement to find "volunteers" to attend a REME sponsored Church Service/ Parade on Sunday 20th May 1945. Am not certain of the venue and in view of the abuse likely to be hurled in my direction if I publish the wrong location will plead the American 5th Amendment (however I think it was within reasonable commuting distance of Diepholz where Jane's father's Workshop was based).

    Will look out a suitable reference when I next return to Kew in about a month's time.
  16. janeh

    janeh Member

    Thanks to Historic Steve & Bluebell Minor for additional info. Herford looks like a good bet.

    Photos from now on are all post VE Day.

    1. Dad was a life-long boxing fan. He boxed himself & went on to referee & to judge. Hard to see the details but this one is labelled 'Mick Keen & I using our new ring. Oppenwehe 1945.'

    2. 'We celebrate the arrival of the ATS at nearby Lubeck with a party and race game.'

    3-6 are a series of photos which Dad was given, showing the fire which gutted the Mess. He wrote underneath:
    'Our self-built mess completely destroyed by fire. I was in Diepoltz at the time & returned to find I'd lost everything. Destruction of records, diary, photos & mementos of Normandy to Holland - all gone. A very sad blow. We did salvage roasted venison which I had shot 3 days earlier & which had been left hanging on a tree outside the kitchen! Shortly after, 176 was disbanded. Troops gradually posted or demobbed, & I took comd 8 Light Wksp.'
    On the back of 3 is written 'Bill tries to salvage kit from his & my rooms which are at the end of the hut but smoke & heat make it impossible.'
    On 4 are the words 'It's now given up as a bad job!'
    On 5: '45 mins after the roof was first seen smoking!'
    On 6: '50 mins after the outbreak.'

    I'm unsure if the Mess was at Oppenwehe - perhaps somebody out there will know!

    On taking command of 8 Light Wksp it looks as though Dad moved on to Milse. There are some more photos which may be of interest, so I'll continue to add these in the coming days.

    Mick Keen & I using our new ring. Oppenwehe 1945.jpg We celebrate the arrival of the ATS at nearby Lubeck with a party & race game.jpg Mess fire #1.jpg Mess fire #2.jpg Mess fire #3.jpg Mess fire #4.jpg
  17. janeh

    janeh Member

    Photos from now on are all post-war.

    In April 1946 Dad was posted to 8 Light Wksp as OC. This meant a move from Oppenwhehe to Milse, near Herford where the Workshop occupied the premises of the Kisker textile factory.

    1. Entrance to the Wksp, Milse 1946

    2. Dad's office at Kisker Textiles

    3 & 4 Vehicles being prepared for the CinC's mission to the Soviet Zone

    5 & 6 German winters can be very cold & very long! Dad, Mum & my older sister all learned to ski. The photo of Dad with Capt 'Ginger' Davis was taken in the winter of '46 as was one of Dad's Bat-man L.Cpl Driver Ron Tinsley.

    7. Non-fraternisation policies were enforced more or less strictly for a considerable period & inter-marriage was not permitted until 1947. This is of course a whole story in it's own right & I've come across some interesting information, including: http://howitreallywas.typepad.com/how_it_really_was/2009/03/fieldmarshal-montgomery-and-the-fraternisation-ban.html

    So the wedding photo probably dates from 1947. The groom was Dvr Mellin & Best Man Cpl F. Cracknell (who Dad notes had been an apprentice he'd instructed at Arborfield in 1940.)

    Entrance to my Wksp. Milse 1946.jpg Outside my office. The Kisker Textile Factory. Milse, Nov 1946.jpg Preparing vehicles for CinC mission to Soviet Zone of E Germany. 8 Light Wksp, Milse 1946 #1.jpg Preparing vehicles for CinC mission to Soviet Zone of E Germany. 8 Light Wksp, Milse 1946 #2.jpg Self with Capt Ginger Davis . Milse 1946.jpg My Batman L.Cpl Driver Ron Tinsley & Mush Dad's dog at 8 Lt Wksp, Milse 1946.jpg View attachment 140448
  18. TriciaF

    TriciaF Junior Member

    Very interesting Jane, thanks. I think my Dad was around those parts too at that time, but he didn't leave any records or mementos, apart from some binoculars, and towels (of all things.)
    I didn't know about the ban on intermarriage being lifted in 1947. I wonder if this applied to Italian and German POWs in the UK too.
  19. janeh

    janeh Member

    Sad pictures today. Workshops are not without their dangers & accidents happen even in peace-time. These 2 photos are a record of the funeral of an un-named Craftsman of 176 Inf Bde Wksp, who died under a 3 Tonner. No note as to who took the pictures, but I can see my father in the background of the 2nd one. No date, but sometime around 1946-47.

    Attached Files:

  20. janeh

    janeh Member

    1,2, & 3 - undated photos. Not sure where they were taken, but Dad put them together in the album with other post-war ones. However, the one of him in a 'liberated' German flying jacket with his dog, Mush, is duplicated & appears earlier in the collection, labelled Beringen, Belgium 1944. They do look as though they were taken at the same time though. No idea what the vehicle is - perhaps somebody will provide an answer.

    4 is the house where my parents & older sister lived, & where I spent the first few months of my life. 151 Amshausen. Commandeered for Dad's use as a Married Quarter when my mum and sister joined him on Sep 13th 1946, my sister's 4th birthday. I appeared on the scene the following June.

    img182.jpg img183.jpg Berringen, Belgium 1944.jpg View attachment 140544

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