New member, looking for information about a member of 24th Lancers and 23rd Hussars

Discussion in 'User Introductions' started by Jim_of_Sydney, Apr 15, 2015.

  1. Jim_of_Sydney

    Jim_of_Sydney Member

    Hello, I am new to this forum and hoping to learn more information about the World War 2 service of my grandfather, who passed away in 1975.

    I have only a few details to work with, the fact that he was with an armoured unit, and the names of some of the places he served at in North-West Europe in 1944-45.

    I have been able to deduce, but not confirm, that he landed on Gold Beach Normandy on D-Day or D+1 with the 24th Lancers. (He told my father he landed at Arromanches at the invasion). I don’t know which squadron or sub-unit, or what his rank or role was.

    He told my father he was at Falaise, which leads me to believe that he was transferred from the 24th Lancers to the 23rd Hussars when the 24th were disbanded at the end of July, 1944.

    He was also present at the liberation of Belsen in April, 1945 (which would confirm his being with the 23rd) and, possibly in one of the most bizarre details of the few I have, was treated for serious haemorrhoids (don’t laugh!) by Army doctors on Luneburg heath south of Hamburg in April/May 1945.

    My Grandfather was born on 30 September 1902 in Walworth London, which means he would have been in his early forties in 1944-45. He had previous service in the 1920s with the 12th Royal Lancers (on horseback before they gave up their horses in 1928). He left the 12th back then with the rank of Trooper.

    I intend, with my father’s permission, to access his service records through the MoD, but thought I would introduce myself, and my grandfather, here in the hope of learning any other details.

    Many thanks.
  2. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    Welcome to the Forum.

    In order to avoid unnecessary speculation, I suggest you get the Service Records. Lots of armoured units landed at Gold, were at Falaise and Belsen etc. According to records currently to hand, I can't confirm that he was with 24L but that doesn't mean he wasn't with them at some stage.

    Do you know his Army Service Number?

    You could contact the Tank Museum at Bovington and ask for a copy of his Tracer Card which would show basic details of when/where he joined the Army, which Regiments he was posted to etc. If you want a meaningful amount of information in the shortest possible time at only modest cost then I suggest you consider this route. As just stated, Bovington do make a small charge for this service (I paid £5 for a copy of my fathers Tracer Card a few months ago) but they are a Charity and need to raise money.
    dbf likes this.
  3. Lotus7

    Lotus7 Well-Known Member

    Welcome to the forum Jim, good luck with your research
  4. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce Patron

    Hello and welcome to the forum

  5. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Hi "Jim of Sydney",

    I've not been at this long but have found it fascinating what can still be found out. Let us know the sorts of things you are interested in and take SDP's good advice (post #2).

    By the way, this was something I listened through a little while back that might be of some interest to you? And just to read the "contents" description there at this link is possibly a start I guess.

    Garai, Bertram Henry (IWM interview):
    American civilian in London, GB, 1939-1940; trooper served with 51st Training Regt, Royal Armoured Corps in GB, 1941; officer cadet at Royal Military College, Sandhurst, GB, 1942; officer served with 24th Lancers and 23rd Hussars in GB and North West Europe, 1943-1944; served with 3rd Carabiniers in India, 1945-1946

    There's plenty of info available - but it can be hard to work out where best to begin, and plenty of false turns and mis-steps to be made.

    Good luck hunting and don't ever get discouraged, keep plugging away!

    All the best,

    Jim_of_Sydney likes this.
  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    I've checked the 24 Lancers nominal roll on them being disbanded and there is no Wackett listed. As already advised I would apply for a copy of his service records - They will confirm his units 100%.

    Good luck
  7. Jim_of_Sydney

    Jim_of_Sydney Member

    Hello everyone and thank you for the feedback, it is most helpful. I will most certainly be approaching the MoD for his original service records (although I only have the service number from the 12th Lancers in the 1920s to begin with) but the tracer card from the Tank Museum is a great tip.

    I will keep you updated as to what I find.
  8. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    If you have his date of birth you will not need his Army No. They accept both or either - Good luck.
  9. Jim_of_Sydney

    Jim_of_Sydney Member

    I've emailed the Tank Museum with the hope that they may have my grandfather's 'tracer card' - so fingers crossed!

    Accessing his records from the MoD looks like it will be a little more problematic. I can't access his records unless I have a copy of his death certificate. I can't acquire a copy of his death certificate unless I know the date of his death (which my father doesn't even recall - he'd migrated here to Australia years before and had little contact with his father). I'm sure I'll work something out!
  10. Lotus7

    Lotus7 Well-Known Member

    Hi Jim, are you in touch with any family members at all, the reason I ask is, could some one in the family still have is army pay book.
    It's usually red in colour it would have his army Number confirm his date of birth ect. It's just a thought if you already have this then that's good if not it's worth trying to track it down.
    Sorry if it's no help. Good luck with you research
  11. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    This probably doesn't have any bearing here but in the example below there seems to be something like "evidence" of someone being in the 24th L and then going to the SRY long before the 24th L were disbanded around the 1st August 1944. It could just be some "confusion" but "Jim_of_Sydney's" relative might have gone from the 24th L to the 23rd Hussars before they were "actually" disbanded at the end of July. I guess this only makes it more pressing to get the actual records from the MOD in order to be 100% sure?

    There were apparently though some 750ish 24th Lancers landed at Normandy around D-Day+1 though and I'm not sure if anyone yet has a complete list of all of those "that were there" ? You might be able to "try" enquires at: The 9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s) - as they do have some records and info on old soldiers of the 12th (mostly before the 1920's though I think) - but I have found them helpful and encouraging for me.

    All the best with your search,


    Here's my querulous "case" :

    Object description
    British trooper served as gunner/driver with 24th Lancers and Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry in GB and North West Europe, 1944-1945, including Normandy landings, France, 6/1944; POW in Stalag X-B, Sandbostel, Lower Saxony, Germany, 4/1945.

    Reel 10:
    posted to 24th Lancers, 12/1941. Aspects of training with 24th Lancers in GB, 12/1941-6/1944: issued with cap badge; posted to HQ Sqdn; opinion of Crusader tank; description of tank training at Chippenham Park, Suffolk; story about illiterate trooper Tom Castle; organisation of HQ Sqdn; number of tanks and crew; description of training as tank gunner.

    And to "quote" from Reel 12:
    embarked with tanks aboard LCT; description of crossing from Gosport to France, night of 5-6/Jun/1944. Aspects of operations with 24th Lancers, 8th Armoured Bde in Normandy, France, 6-7/Jun/1944: description of ration packs in tank; problem of LCT not reaching landing beach; description of tanks driving through water onto landing beach; story of tank being hit by shell; description of conditions on landing beach; transferred to Sherman DD tank with Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry, 7/Jun/1944.

    (Nb. There seems to be a very high degree of "flexibility" between service in 24th L and SRY) - that's proving a bit hard for me to understand at the moment.

    Unless there was "movement" between the regiments to quite a high degree that I've been hitherto as yet unaware of here?

    I believe there could be hazy recollection there, but the detail in the description does seem particularly strong so it would be interesting to know if there was this regimental flexibility in the 8th Armoured brigade at the time of D-day? With crews who lost tanks being shifted immediately to whichever places needed to be filled (i.e. transferred to Sherman DD tank with Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry, 7/Jun/1944) right away???

    All the best,

    Jim_of_Sydney likes this.
  12. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    Jim-of-Sydney's information is circumstantial and consequently speculative. There is no information to hand that states his grandfather was with 24th Lancers when they landed in Normandy or with them when they disbanded or, indeed, at any other stage. The other explanation would be that he joined 24L post D Day and was wounded (so was not with them when they were disbanded) but this is unlikely, albeit not impossible, because he then would not have been at Falaise.

    As mentioned previously, research of this type is complex and it is essential to avoid wrong garden paths. The ONLY way forward is via the Service Records and/or the RAC Tracer Card.

    J-of-S. Do you know your grandfathers Service Number?

    Good luck with the Tank Museum. They are brilliant and will help given sufficient information. Might just need a little patience. When I visited them a few months ago, a significant proportion of their work seemed to relate to family research so they are used to receiving requests of this type.
    Jim_of_Sydney likes this.
  13. Jim_of_Sydney

    Jim_of_Sydney Member

    Thank you Ramilies for sharing your case, but SPD is quite correct. My information is circumstantial and speculative, based only on some fragmentary memories of the very few conversations my father as a teenager had with his father. I have tried to piece together the clues based on what we know, but my initial guess about 24L appears to likely be wrong. In which case it is conceivable that he was instead with 23H for the whole period from approx D-Day+12. Lotus 7, no unfortunately all of my father's family have now gone, and I'm thinking grandfather's Army Pay Book is long gone as well. I am very fortunate however to have his campaign and service medals and his discharge certificate from the 12th Royal Lancers.
  14. Lotus7

    Lotus7 Well-Known Member

    Hi Jim, what a shame there's no one in the family who can help.
    Wish you well with your search. Please keep us posted if you can

    Jim_of_Sydney likes this.
  15. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    I'm also sorry Jim,

    Following all these "clues" is for some, more than half the "fun" and is "encouragement enough". You can get a chance to learn a lot of other interesting stuff on here sometimes too whilst you are fumbling around :)

    My example is/was a "mystery case" (to me) and not relevant to yours - which is why SDP's advice is by far the best. :salut:

    I'm intrigued by the "question" it raised and others know far more than me about the ins and outs of these things.

    From the stand point of a "new starter" one of the very first clues I came across was just from a very simple search with my gd's initials and surname - I signed up for a free account, but did not become a paying member and unfortunately have been spammed rather a lot with useless "friendly" emails from them about the things they've found which might interest me but oh well such is life :P And I suppose I am occasionally interested by their interest and it is actually sometimes nice to get mail and to think that they care ;) - but there are a lot of ways to spend money out there so do beware...

    Anyhow the kind of info I "got" there I found helpful as it showed me snapshots of his campaign medals and what looked like an MiD as well as the section that showed me he was in the RAC during WW2 (they are a car fixing service a bit like the Automobile Association AA over here ;) ;) ) No oops, sorry Royal Armoured Corps - but I did have a bunch of badges and a few pics and a diary already, and to be honest SDP's been the most help of all on here.

    But don't get discouraged, there's never a dead end, just a few missteps and wrong turns before you get on the right path.

    Just don't turn left at Albuquerque ! :Hydrogen:

    All the best,

    Jim_of_Sydney likes this.
  16. Jim_of_Sydney

    Jim_of_Sydney Member

    Well, I am now in possession of a scan of my grandfather's 'tracer card'. The librarian at the Bovington Tank Museum couldn't have been more helpful and efficient in locating it for me. They were just fantastic.

    Unfortunately, it contains very little information but does record the date of his re-enlistment in 1941, with '52 TR' entered after the date (not sure what that means yet) and '60 TR' after his first posting date the same year.

    Then there is an illegible alpha-numeric code next to the entry: 'transf 30/9/42 A.C.C.' Again, I'm not certain what ACC refers to here (although it might possibly refer to Army Catering Corps).

    One very helpful piece of information it does have is his service number, which will no doubt help with my next endeavour sourcing his service records from the MoD - although I'm almost certain that they won't be as helpful, speedy and accommodating as the Tank Museum!

    Thanks again Ramiies for your feedback and encouragement.
    Ramiles likes this.
  17. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    Jim of Sydney

    Brilliant news. I 'knew' Bovington wouldn't let you down!

    TR = Training Regiment. These were dotted all around the country but I think at least one of those was in the Barnard Castle area.

    Looks like he may have been transferred out of the RAC if I've interpreted your notes correctly. If there are no notes after the 'transfer' entry then it does look as though he went elsewhere.

    As you say, you now have the all-important Service Number and the Service Record will definitely contain all the information required to trace exactly what he did, with whom and where.

    Good luck with your quest.

    Jim_of_Sydney likes this.
  18. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    That's good news Jim,

    Transcribing (or at least attempting to transcribe) barely legible handwriting is all part of the "fun" ;) - and no doubt the source of much confusion and head scratching :pipe:

    Imagine how my heart sank when I realised that some WW2 war diaries were actually typed :eek: - now where's the "fun" in that !!! Almost like "cheating" in fact!!!

    Good luck with "whatever" comes next, if he might possibly "still" have gone through "Arromanches" and "Falaise" as well as perhaps all the way on into Germany there's still a long way to go and a lot of "interesting" history to root out, there's bound to be some pictures or even "stories" too to still to find out there....

    Perhaps someone on here knows if A.C.C. is "Army Catering Corps" - there are a few sites that list military acronyms - but the list can go on and on as they loved to shorthand detail and occasionally spell out at great length inconsequentials - i.e. I've seen a long line of codes and word shortenings and then a long very clear word "approximately" spelt out so as to almost take up half a line!!! Then there was the time a war diary spent about a page and half (or more) talking about a "Ball" having skipped a 3 day battle with "much fighting" or words to that effect. Still that's bureaucracy (or just the war! and a way to cope?) for you! :salut:

    I've occasionally seen menus and accounts of who cooked or served what and grateful thanks given and received.
    (an army marches on its stomach after all! and food was never far from the heart or mind!)
    I had a quick look for something (for you) at least:

    And this might suggest some options, but I expect that the service records from the MoD are now what you'll be after here...

    All the best,

    Jim_of_Sydney likes this.
  19. dfielder

    dfielder Junior Member

    Welcome to the forum Jim!

    Good luck with your research. While it takes time and one can be faced with many challenges, learning a bit of history from this time period is worthwhile.


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