H Company, 8th Rifle Brigade, 11th Armoured Division

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by 8RB, Jan 16, 2016.

  1. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    Dear reader,

    For an illustrated book on the memoirs of Don Gillate I am looking for any material I can use as illustrations. Don was a Rifleman (later Corporal) in 13 (scout) Platoon, H Company, 8th Batallion the Rifle Brigade, part of 29th Armoured Brigade in the 11th Armoured Division. I am looking for any material I can use as illustrations in the book.

    From June 13th, 1944 to May 8th, 1945, Don Gillate served in France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. He took part in operations Epsom (on Hill 112), Goodwood (Grentheville, Bras and Hubert-Folie), Bluecoat (Perrier Ridge), the nightly dash to Amiens, the liberation of Antwerp, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Only once, in April ´45, did he get two weeks leave (so he "missed" Bergen Belsen). In his platoon he was one of only a few who did not get killed or wounded. Don passed away in 2009 and left 12 hours of tape regarding his experiences in 1944 and 1945.

    The material I am looking for could be (contemporary) photo's, drawings (I know one member of the platoon, Norman Vicary, did a sketch book during the war), maps, any other printed matter, or in fact anything you might feel that would be nice to include.

    Apart from this I am also looking for any information on any of the men shown in the 13 Platoon photo (taken in May 1944) I have attached, or photo's or information on any other members of the platoon (also later reinforcements). One of them being Soloman ("Russia") Rodkoff, who was killed on Hill 112 but is not in the picture. Perhaps he was on leave when it was taken?

    Here is a summary of all platoon members that I know of (those marked with "*" are shown on the photo: Barnes*, T.J. (Tom, “Binnie”); Beaumont*, Cpl. D.; Berry, Rfn. G.; Birleson*, Cpl. W. (Bill); Boast*, Cpl. H. (Harold); Bossom*, Rfn. N.M.; Bowden*, Sgt. W.; Braine*, Rfn. G.S.; Brown*, Rfn. …; Buttress*, Rfn. P.H.; Cave*, Rfn. H.; Connelly*, Sgt. R. (Dickey); Crisp*, Rfn. H. (“Crunchy”); Cuff*, Rfn. N. (Norman); Cuff, Rfn. R.A. (Reg); Davies*, Lieut. D.A.O.; Day*, Rfn. L. (Len); Denney*, Rfn. A. (Bert); Denney,* Rfn. L. (Len); Gilder*, Rfn. J. (Stan); Gillate*, Cpl. D.R. (Don); Hodges*, Rfn. T.; Holgate*, L/C J. (Joe); Huckle*, Rfn. J. (Johnny); Kirkland*, Rfn. D.; Kitson, Sgt. C.E.; Macaree, Sgt. S.; Macdonald, Rfn. …; Millwood, Sgt. D.N. (Derrick); Neill*, Lieut. B.T. (Brian); Read*, Cpl. C.F.W. (Charlie); Reed*, Sgt. N. (Norman); Robinson*, Rfn. …; Rodkoff, S. (Soloman / “Russia”); Roffey, L/Cpl. J.M.; Salmon*, Rfn. J.; Shannon*, R. (Bob); Smith*, Rfn. F.; Stormont*, F.W.; Sutton, Rfn. … (Bill); Triggs M.M.*, Sgt. S.T. (Stanley); Turner*, Rfn. B. (“Wog”); Turner*, Rfn. R.W.; Vicary*, W.J, (Norman); Wessel*, L/Cpl. …; Williams*, Rfn. …; Wilson*, Rfn. …; Wright*, Rfn. V.

    For your information: I already do posess relevant literature such as Taurus Persuant and the H Company War Diary published just after the war and I have gone through sources such as the IWGC-site. Any suggestions on further sources however are still most welcome! And if anyone knows where to find a copy of the 8RB E Company War Diary that would also be very nice.

    Looking forward to any replies.

    Kind regards,


    Attached Files:

  2. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Hi Ronald -

    I cannot offer photographs or drawings, but in the mid-90'ies I corresponded for a while with Donald Gillate re his actions in the Ardennes 1944/45.

    He was with 'H' Coy on "Chapel Hill" - nicknamed by the men of The Rifle Brigade 'Hill 113'. A prominence overlooking the village of Bure.

    If this is of interest to you, I could have a look at my archive and see if I can find his letter(s).
  3. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    Hello Stolpi,

    I would certainly be interested to see if contents of letters you received could add anything to what Don mentions in his tapes about this episode. Any special interest regarding the Ardennes period?

    Cheers, Ronald.
  4. JpHarrison

    JpHarrison New Member

    Hi, newbie here. I've recently met a survivor (and his good lady) of 8 RB, F Company. Living in Ilfracombe North Devon and age 94, Tom is amazing and still remembers much of what went on. Had a cup of tea with him today and was shown his Croiux de Guerre and personal collections. Tom remembers June 1944, landing on the beaches, his approaching Belsen, and also his time in the Ardennes. He has kept the book his company were issued with, the History of 11 Armoured Division. I've had the singular honour of seeing it all today. Tom's interested in any survivors of 8 RB particularly 8 RB F Company. Persec and anonymity to be observed at all times.

    For interest or enquiries - just ask.


  5. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Be sure to show him this:
  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    And here's a map in case he's forgotten where he was
  7. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    Hello JP,

    Your friend, or you, might also be interested in the F-company war diary. A booklet published just after the war (I think even when they were still in Germany, in or near Schlewig). Quite a scarce book, but a few copies at present are for sale through abebooks. It makes great reading and a list of names and adresses of F-company members can be found in the back of the book. See images attached to give you some idea. If you send me your E-mail adress I could send you all pages through WeTransfer. Early last year in London I have met a member from Don's platoon. So some 8RB members are still around. It would be great to hear from any others.

    Kind regards, Ronald.

    F-coy 01.JPG F-coy 05.JPG F-coy 06.JPG F-coy 29.JPG F-coy 30.JPG
  8. Jack Bolton

    Jack Bolton Member

    Hello all,

    Sorry to but in here but I happened upon this conversation and I was wondering if there was anything extra that you might have that you could pass my way related to Sergeant Derrick Millwood, my great grandfather. I am aware he served in H Company, 8th Battalion, the Rifle Brigade, and thanks to your picture Ronald I now know he was in 13th platoon. I sadly have few photographs of my great grandfather, but I do know that he served in a Bren Carrier (which he modified by adding an American 50 cal. machine gun taken from a knocked-out Sherman), that he and his men occasionally defaced said vehicle with somewhat lewd graffiti much to the chagrin of the COs, and that he took part in the fighting in Normandy and Holland. He didn't like to talk much about what happened in the war but for the sake of my grandfather who is really curious about our family history I wanted to see what I could unearth.

    I hope that, as Derrick and Don Gillate served in the same unit, our research may be beneficial to one another(?) Here's hoping anyway.

    Thank you for reading.

    Also apologies in advance, I am currently in the middle of my final exams at university, ergo replying might not be speedy. Regardless however I shall be doing my utmost to keep in touch if anything comes up.

    Thank you again!


    8RB likes this.
  9. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    Hi Jack,

    Great to hear from (a relative of) an actual 13 platoon member! So far I have been in touch with only four, which includes two veterans: Don and the CO of 13 Platoon, Lieutenant Brian Neill, who passed away only last December. Derrick Millwood is mentioned only a few times in the book I am working on (see above), although not in great detail. I expect to get the book published by the end of this year or early next year. I will make sure to let you know on here. It covers Don's (i.e. 13 Platoon's) story of the whole campaign, all the way from Normandy to the Baltic. To this I have managed to add some 10 to 15 detailed contemporary maps (showing locations or routes) and well over 100 contemporary and relevant photos, many of which have not been published before.

    If you have any specific questions do let met know and I will see if I can answer them!

    Kind regards, Ronald.
    vespa100 and Jack Bolton like this.
  10. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    By the way: Derrick Millwood is also mentioned in the H Company War Diary, a book of some 80 pages published directly after the war (I think in 1945). I know of now other regiments that published war diaries at company level. The book might be difficult to get hold of but a very good read! Just had a look: you can buy a reprint or an original on Abebooks!
    Sergeant Derrick Millwood (taken from 13 Platoon photo, May 1944)
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  11. Jack Bolton

    Jack Bolton Member

    Dear Ronald,

    Thank you, this is wonderful news! I’m very interested to hear about your book - I’d be very keen to buy a copy when it comes out. Also thanks for the info re the war diary - honestly can’t wait to mine that for information.

    Having had a lot of success researching my paternal grandfather (who served on submarines) I’m so excited to give my mother’s side of the family their due. Your response has been incredibly helpful and given me a lot of encouragement in this.

    Will keep you posted re further developments.

    Regards, and wishing you good luck on the further research,

  12. Jack Bolton

    Jack Bolton Member

    Oh sorry, just a quick question Ronald, could you tell me where the company landed (Sword, Juno or Gold) and where they ended up on VE Day? Thanks!
  13. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    13 Platoon and H Company landed on June 13th, near Graye sur Mer, so on Juno beach, one week after D-Day. A few men landed somewhat later and only rejoined the Company after the fighting for Hill 112, at the end of June or early July. Derrick Millwood however was with the first party, as both he and Don took part in the battle for Hill 112, on June 28th and 29th (Operation Epsom). By VE Day the company had reached Niendorf in Northern Germany.

    Good luck with your research!
    Jack Bolton likes this.
  14. Jack Bolton

    Jack Bolton Member

    Thanks Ronald!
  15. Jack Bolton

    Jack Bolton Member

    Hi Ronald! Thank you again for your help earlier!

    I’ve been looking for the 8th Battalion H Company War diary but can’t seem to find it on Abe Books; I thought it was on a website called MLRS books but I think the site is faulty and can’t seem to process my order(?) Do you perhaps know of anywhere else that might have a copy, by chance?


  16. 8RB

    8RB Well-Known Member

    Try again on Abe Books looking under title and "company 8th rifle brigade"!

    Good luck, Ronald.
  17. Jack Bolton

    Jack Bolton Member

    Ah, found it now!

    Thanks Ronald, scuse the trouble!
  18. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    Bit late but a June 24 1944 view of the Map shown earlier

    400-0283 (4430) Hill 112_stitchfgg.jpg KSMwQEffghRY.jpg
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  19. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    This is 8 RB waiting near Cheux 26.6.44

    4:44 to 4:52

    looks like the AT platoons

    Note for some reason you can not link direct to a section of a You Tube film. The Forum automatically changes a link to a section to a link to the whole film.
    Note also the linked film has a very loud 'projector noise' on it so turn off your volume or be deafened by the din!
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2018
  20. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    If I were a betting man I would say these pics were taken in the field marked as 'F/G Coy area' and the Firefly is one of the 2nd F&F noted as being in the adjoining area. The Firefly gun is pointing to where the Carrier is located. You can just see it in the distance of the bottom LH pic.
    Sherman Ffly F &F Yeo M4 on side 11 AD-tile BBB.jpg

    Woch 723 (123)  Loydnnnnn.jpg

    10:12 to 10:18

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