Looking for details of Grandfather 1st Bn Green Howards Omagh 1945

Discussion in 'British Army Units - Others' started by Terry Fade, Oct 20, 2020.

  1. Terry Fade

    Terry Fade Member

    Hi all, I am researching some family history and on my mums birth certificate it states "Father James Mcgowan, Captain Green Howards" The conception would have been May 45 which works out as I believe that the 1st Bn GH were posted to Omagh as part of 15 Bde? apologies there is no service number but if anyone has a nominal roll for this period I would very much appreciate any information as to any information. I must add that my mum never knew him and has no idea what happened to him as it was never spoken about. thanks all.
  2. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member


    1 GREEN HOWARDS were part of 15 Inf Bde who were part of 5 Inf Div. The Div fought at Anzio and in Mar 45 was switched to NW Europe. I think that they were still in NW Europe in May 45. 15 Inf Bde disbanded in Hanover in Mar 48.


  3. Terry Fade

    Terry Fade Member

    Thank you, the research I did suggests that there were GH in Omagh in 45, possibly converting to an armoured role, so maybe not 1st Bn? back to square one I guess!
  4. Stuart Avery

    Stuart Avery In my wagon & not a muleteer.


    if you can get your hands on The Story of the Green Howards 39-45 by Capt. W.A.T. Synge then i think you should be looking at the chapter fourteen Feb-May 45? The 1st Battalion from Palestine to the River Elbe. Page 360-365 looks has if they have used the war diaries. Not sure what you mean by Omagh? I could be wrong.

    Can you please show your source if you don't mind? Edit; It does help.


    Another edit. If you have his Service Records then that would also help? It will be long process if you don't. Even more so with whats going on with the Covid whats it. I'm more than willing to scan the pages that I've mentioned.

    Hope this of use?
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2020
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  5. Terry Fade

    Terry Fade Member

    Thanks Stu, I shall look for it. Omagh is in Northern Ireland, one thread I read stated that they were at St Lucia or Lisanelly Barracks at this time on armoured conversion? thanks for the reply. Sadly I dont have his service records as that is what I ultimately want to get. offering to scan the pages would be fantastic and very much appreciated Stu,
  6. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    It's worth searching The London Gazette which should record his commission and two promotions. I've tried to look, but their site keeps crashing today.
  7. travers1940

    travers1940 Well-Known Member

    Just for interest as it's not 1945, but maybe where a link to the battalion serving in Omagh is from, on the wikipedia page of Hedley Verity the Yorkshire & England cricketer it states:

    In the spring of 1941, the battalion moved to Omagh in Northern Ireland for further training. Verity's Yorkshire and England teammate Norman Yardley was also in the 1st Battalion; the fame of these cricketers made an impression on the local population. Playing several cricket matches, Verity frequently took wickets on rough pitches that were unsuitable for batting. There was even time for his appearance in a charity match at Lord's. In August, he returned to England and after a spell in London, he was posted overseas. The 1st battalion of the Green Howards transferred early in 1942 to Ranchi in India, where the climate badly affected Verity's health.
    Hedley Verity - Wikipedia

    Screen Shot 2020-10-20 at 16.57.51.png
    Two Yorkshire and England cricketers, Second Lieutenant Norman W D Yardley (left) and Captain Hedley Verity discussing tactics during an exercise at Omagh, Northern Ireland, while serving with the 1st Battalion, Green Howards (Princess Alexandra of Wales's Own Yorkshire Regiment).
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2020
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  8. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    As Stu mentioned in post #4 above his service records are the only real place to start without them it is all guesswork, there may be a long wait at present but you will end up with the complete picture including any transfers between units that was not uncommon. You do not need any military details to apply.

    Get a copy of military service records
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  9. Terry Fade

    Terry Fade Member

    Thank you all, your knowledge had been very useful.
  10. Stuart Avery

    Stuart Avery In my wagon & not a muleteer.

    Terry, looks has you may be on to something re 1st Bn being in Omagh. I had gathered that its in Northern Ireland.

    CHARTS showing the location of THE GREEN HOWARDS BATTALIONS during each month from AUG 39 TO JUNE 45.

    Page XX April 41 Omagh. XXii March 1942. 16 March 1942 Embarked at Liverpool. Will do a bit more reading. Not sure about St Lucia, or Lisanelly Barracks? It may be wise to try & obtain a copy of Synge's book from your local Library? If its any good? If you do manage to find a copy of this book then it will not cheap. I would be surprised if you can purchase a decent copy for anything less than £100.00. Good luck.

    The battalion may have been stationed at Lisanelly Barracks when in Omagh ?

  11. Terry Fade

    Terry Fade Member

    Thanks Stu, sadly library closed at the moment but have a potential to borrow a copy will know by weekend. A weekend of jigsaw pieces will be interesting. Thanks again.
  12. travers1940

    travers1940 Well-Known Member

    I have checked on Army List on ancestry & can't see any Captain McGowans in the Green Howards.

    One battalion of the Green Howards did convert to armour. In 1942 the 12th Bn. converted and became as 161st Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps, retaining their original cap badges. In 1943 converted again to be 161st (Green Howards) regiment of the Reconnaissance Corps. It never went in to action as a Rregiment, but supplied replacements.

    Is McGowan a local surname, perhaps he was an officer in the Green Howards who had been home on leave in 1945, but had never actually served in N.I.
  13. JDKR

    JDKR Member

    1 GREEN HOWARDS more likely to have been in Lisanelly Barracks than St Lucia as St Lucia was the home barracks of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. Most of the buildings in Lisanelly were built in the 1950-60s but there were some which were possibly from the 1940s, when the barracks had its origin. More likely than not the wartime Lisanelly Barracks was a hutted camp.
  14. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member


    As a former soldier you are entitled to use the services of the Prince Consort’s Library in Aldershot. They will send you any book you ask for if they have it. All you do is pay the return postage.

    They provide a brilliant service and hold all sorts of Army records that a conventional library does not. Look them up and give then a call. They are so helpful.


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  15. travers1940

    travers1940 Well-Known Member

    Have had a further manual search through the Green Howards pages of The Army List for 1939-1945, and Regular Army Reserve of Officers in same for Green Howards in 1939, nothing showing, not even in similar sounding names Magowan etc.

    This was the closest match:

    1939 & 1940:

    Green Howards
    Supplementary Reserve
    Catergory B

    COWAN C.R. 24.8.39
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2020
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  16. Terry Fade

    Terry Fade Member

    Gentlemen, thank you for all your efforts, you are certainly a very well rounded font of knowledge. The good news is I managed to track down Capt. McGowan, all I will say is "attached". Oh how I wish my mother had added that little vignette to the search. I do however have another search that I feel sure you will enjoy....details TFO. Regards Terry
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  17. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    St Lucia Barracks, Omagh - Wikipedia

    An Auxiliary Territorial Service camp was established on the site during the Second World War and Lisanelly Camp was built on an adjacent site around this time

  18. travers1940

    travers1940 Well-Known Member

    Hi Terry

    Pleased to see you have traced Captain McGowan. Look forward to the next challenge.


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