New to this... Need some help !

Discussion in 'RASC' started by darrencthomson, Feb 2, 2016.

  1. OK, i'm am completely new to this so please bear with me.

    I would like to start a project to trace my grandfathers movements during WWII and establish where he went and what he was involved in. I have already received a fair amount of literature from the MOD and have recently discovered that he was awarded the Belgian Croix de Guerre with Palm for actions as part of the establishing of a Bridgehead on the Albert Canal during the advance of 151 Infantry Brigade from Belgium to Holland in 1944.

    I thought that I would start with that incident and then kind of work "backwards" through the war to build a picture. I know that in ended up staying with a dutch family in Nijmegen towards the end of the war (I have some photographs of him there and in Weert).

    I have so many questions but, to get me going, here are a few that are on my mind right now.

    1. I would like to visit the spot where my grandfather earned his Croix de Guerre. Does anybody know where the 151 Infantry Brg (and, specifically, 522 Coy of the RASC) crossed the Albert Canal ? I think that it may be just south of Geel. I have attached some documentation that i dug out from the National Archive that documents the award of the medal to my Grandfather. I think that there is a lot of detail in here for somebody that knows what they are doing..

    2. It is clear that my Grandfather was a driver within 522 Company of the RASC. Would it be safe to assume that he would have been part of this company throughout the war ? I can see from his records that he visited North Africa, the Middle East, Silcily and Italy but it is really hard to ascertain exactly what he was involved in. Would a history of 522 Company give me this ? Where might i find more info ?

    3. Do you have any further tips on how i might progress with this project ? Are there particular forums that I should join ? People that I should connect with to help me along my way ?

    many thanks !


    Attached Files:

  2. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Hello and welcome to the forum

    Each army unit was required to keep an official war diary and using Lee's WD search engine I found one for 522 Coy. RASC linked below for 1944; there are others, but whether they'd be relevant depends on the dates and movements detailed in your grandfather's service history. These service papers from MOD can be tricky to decipher and, since many were transferred from unit to unit throughout the war, it's worth sifting through the service history and ensuring you identify all the correct units. Armed with that you can then check for relevant war diaries.
    As it states in the recommendation which you've kindly attached, he was attached to 9DLI at the time; here's the reference to that unit's war diary which are held at TNA. This is more likely to contain location and other specific information than the above mentioned, but best to check them both out.
  3. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

  4. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

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  5. Lotus7

    Lotus7 Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome to the forum Darren, good luck with your research.

  6. Wow ! What a great start, thanks so much..

    I'll dig further into the war diaries for 522 COY and i have ordered the diary material suggested from the Archives (none of them digitised yet, unfortunately).

    SDP - This is gold...

    "The 50th (Northumbrian) Division attacked across the canal. The 69th Brigade crossed over and then later that evening the 151st Brigade established a bridgehead (men of the 6th and 9th Battalions Durham Light Infantry, manage to cross the canal near the ancient chapel of Liessel, near Stelen, and a great pains establish a bridgehead"

    I think we are onto something.. My grandfathers records show him part of the 151 brigade bridgehead action and attached to the 9th DLI so i think that it fairly safe to assume that his medal was earned near the chapel of Liessel, mentioned here.. Amazing !!

    I'll keep digging, any other advice or information on 522 COY greatly appreciated.

    Again, do you think that my grandfather would have been a member of 522 COY throughout the war or did soldiers move from company to company ?

    many thanks again

  7. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY


    Pm (private message) Gil (Jonesy123) on that thread, he is on here but quite occasionally and is a bit of an expert on Geel (being a local etc) and should get back to you pretty quick. (hopefully).

    All the best with your research,



    etc. inc:


    (I have found the site a little hard to navigate around, and it's still being built - there are some English translations of various pages and you can use goggle translate - once you get the hang of it there is some great stuff there!)
  8. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    You said you received 'literature' from MOD - was that copy service records? If so they will detail any movement, transfer, promotions, courses, etc. See

    If not, then here's the MOD link
    Death certificate, consent of Next of Kin & fee = full records
    if death occurred more than 25 yrs ago, no consent from NOK is required
  9. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

  10. hutt

    hutt Member

    Based on the numerous references to men transferring in and out of the RASC units that my father served in throughout the war, I think it would be correct to say that it would be unlikely for a man to stay in a single unit for the whole duration. You say you have documents from the MOD, if that is his full service record then that should give his full unit history from call up to demob.
    Definitely check out this site for a more cost effective diary copying service!
  11. Thanks all. Yes, i have the full service records.. They are just a little difficult to decipher in places.. They kind of go UK, Egypt, MiddleEast, Italy.........NW Europe with gaps that i can't work out yet..

    I might post some of the "difficult areas" here in case this group can decode them !

    I'll definitely get hold of "Jones123", as suggested, Ramiles.

  12. One question.. What was at Cossington ? My Grandfather seems to have been posted there on some kind sick leave between his time in Cyprus and Belgium.
  13. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    I've just checked 9 DLI's war diary and De Groote Barrier is jumping out as the battalions location in Sept at the start of Op Market Garden. If you can work out an exact date I may be able to give you a grid ref as the diary is quite detailed.
  14. Hi Drew,

    All i have on Harry being involved with 9 DLI is the attachment that i sent earlier. I'm going to have to assume that he was wherever his company was (522 COY). They seem to have been "attached" to 9 DLI during the bridgehead of the Albert Canal in September 1944.
  15. Hey, Drew

    Would you be able to make me a copy of the 9 DLI war diary that you mentioned ? Happy to pay..


  16. Me again, Drew (sorry)... Facts coming thick and fast now !

    Are you able to establish a position for 9DLI on 9th September 1944 ?
  17. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    I'll post the war diary pages covering the 9th September later tonight.

    stolpi likes this.
  18. Thx Andy. Appreciate it..
  19. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Welcome to the forum, Darren.

    The 522nd Company, RASC, served as divisional troops of the 50th (Northumbrian) Division throughout WWII (at least up to 30 November 1944 when 50 Div was sent home as a Training Cadre). I have precise notes on a WORD table about its 'attachment' but can't access it presently.

    They were originally the Ammunition Company for the Division (others doing the Transport, Petrol, etc.), but I believe for the NW Europe campaign the individual Divisional RASC Companies were organised such that they were allocated to an infantry brigade and looked after most of that brigades needs.

    At Gheel, your grandfather as part of 522 Comapny, RASC, was attached to the 9th Bn Durham Light Infantry, 151st Infantry Brigade, 50 Div. Maybe (I don't know) that Company was always attached to the 151st Infantry Brigade in NW Europe; the Brigade numbering the 6th, 8th & 9th Bns Durham Light Infantry.

    Your grandfather's service records will indicate if he served with the 522nd Company, RASC, throughout his service, but it would be more likely if he was a pre-war Territorial living in the North East of England, e.g. the then Northumberland, Co Durham, North Yorkshire or East Yorkshire (including Hull). If you post his service records onto this thread (or if you wish to keep them private PM them to me) and I will interpret them for you.

    From what I glean from his citation, he was ferrying the wounded of the 9DLI from the front to the RAP, and had to cross and re-cross the pontoon bridge over the Albert Canal. This would mean him driving from where the 9DLI were established to the RAP and back... The 9 DLI fought their way to and were mainly established in the area between Willaars to the south and Laar to the north east, the latter being approx 1/3rd of a mile from Gheel. The 6DLI were in Gheel and having a tough fight.

    My avatar is the Divisional arm patch/badge.

    The 9DLI's exploits in the Battle of Gheel are described in the book 'The Gateshead Gurkhas' (Harry Moses), but there is only approx 4.5 pages dedicated to it.

    Stick with this forum, and we will guide you and point you in the right direction!


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  20. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    9 Durham Light Infantry War Diary September 1944
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