Staffordshire Yeomanry

Discussion in 'Veteran Accounts' started by Trevor Smallman, Apr 24, 2017.

  1. upload_2017-4-24_21-10-17.png

    North Africa 8th Army

    I would suggest that if you ever visit Cosford Aerospace Museum this year, it is recommended that you try to organise it to include a Tuesday morning, for if you ever wish to feel indebted to a very unassuming British WW2 veteran there you will find a nearly 99 year old veteran of the Staffordshire Yeomanry by the name of Les Herrington at the veterans table.

    Les, the gentleman that he is, carries the scars of his tank battles of North Africa with nobility and pride being the only survivor from his tank with the rest of the Staffordshire Yeomanry company tanks following the same fate because of a carefully laid trap by German 88 Guns at the exit of a small valley in Tunisia.

    How he survived was a miracle for when he awoke he was alone and tried desperately to get out the remains of his tank only to find that his left arm was barely attached to his body with the only means of exiting the tank was by draping the remains of the limb across his other shoulder, this was compounded by the awareness that other parts of his anatomy being also in disarray as a lot of his face had disappeared as well as other numerous wounds

    On finally getting out despite his loss of blood, carnage still prevailed and crouching he retained whatever consciousness he could muster and he stumbled and ran as best he could away from the guns only to fall with three rifle bullets in his back into a small crevice

    The night was long and cold with him slipping in and out of consciousness only to find the dawn break were to his to his amazement he found himself still being alive and again he faltered and slipped into a deeper place to be stirred again by the shaft of a shovel poking across his torso with him managing to utter the words ‘’British Army’’Tankie.

    An Aussie accent shouted ‘’Blimey, we have a live one here’’ the next thing he knew he was in a Tunis hospital.

    What a man and what a debt we all have to all of them

    Trevor Smallman
  2. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Amazing story. Thank you for sharing.
  3. Staffsyeoman

    Staffsyeoman Member

    Les is, quite rightly, a legend among all former members of the Staffordshire Yeomanry and it successor regiments. Although I was abroad and could not go, he was central to the ceremony to lay up the guidon of the Queen's Own Mercian Yeomanry at the National Memorial Arboretum last year - and he marched, too.
  4. tclifford

    tclifford Junior Member


    I have just read your fascinating story and would like to know if Les is there every Tuesday or if I could write to him? My Grandfather served in the Staffordshire Yeomanry (C Squadron) and received a MID. His name was Ralph Frank Clifford. He was in El Alamein through to Tunis and was part of the D Day Landings. I would love to know if Les remembers him and of course to say thank you! A true hero.

    I found a picture of my Grandfather in a book sold by the Staffordshire Yeomanry Museum and I also found a glass case in the Museum that was presented by my Grandfather to the Museum which contained Military badges.

    I really wish I had been able to speak to him about it.

    Attached is a picture of my grandfather. I also have quite a few photo's of him throughout the war which I would be happy to share if they are of interest to anyone.

    Tanya Clifford RalphFrankClifford1.jpg
    dbf likes this.
  5. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Anything about Operation Plunder, the Rhine Crossing operation in DD-tanks, March 1945, would have my interest
  6. Stolpi,
    If I recall correctly Les said he presented himself for consideration for the D day landings to the MO who asked him to strip off.
    He informed him that in opinion he thought he had done enough for king and country with his request being withheld

    There was another veteran at the table by the name of Arthur Jones who went in on D4 and was in a tank regiment
    Two RAF Cosford volunteers awarded France's highest military honour

    Chris C likes this.
  7. Staffsyeoman

    Staffsyeoman Member


    There would be tremendous interest in the photographs. There is a (closed) Facebook group for the Staffordshire Yeomanry - with your permission I'll copy part of this post to it and get the ball rolling. The archivist at the regimental museum in Stafford is a member of it; I'm sure she would be interested!

  8. Neil Kirby

    Neil Kirby New Member

    Hi, I would also be interested in see the pictures, I am researching the Staffordshire Yeomanry for a friend, who's grandfather fought in them at Alamein, and Normandy, i also have access to his photo's and may post them if my friend says it's ok to do so.


    Neil Kirby
  9. Chris C likes this.
  10. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian Patron

    May he rest in peace.
    stolpi likes this.
  11. Staffsyeoman

    Staffsyeoman Member

    The small blessing with Les is that he passed away peacefully in his sleep. We of the regiment are heartbroken that we will not, due to COVID restrictions, be able to turn out en masse and congregate to give him the sendoff he duly deserves. The funeral is next Tuesday; the cortege will follow the route of the Shifnal Carnival, and the church is planning to broadcast online, possibly on YouTube.

    When we buried Les' comrade Bill Bray, I was asked - and honoured - to push Les in his wheelchair from Bill's care home to the church, and back for the wake. He wanted to walk, bless him, but his family and carers were VERY insistent. At least they are both reunited at the final leaguer now.
    dbf and stolpi like this.
  12. MAW

    MAW Junior Member

    On what date was Les Cherrington wounded?

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