Tpr 6029659 Thomas Albert Birkett 56 Recce

Discussion in 'Recce' started by Kevin Birkett, Jun 11, 2019.

  1. Kevin Birkett

    Kevin Birkett Member


    I'm hoping someone can help me. My uncle Trooper Thomas Albert Birkett served with the 56th in North Africa until his death on the 3rd March 1943. I'm afraid I don't have any other information as my father, who was only five at the time of his death, only remembers him as a big man in a uniform. I assume the last time my father saw his brother was while he was on embarkation leave before going the North Africa. If anyone has information regarding his squadron/troop number, or anything else relevant I'd be grateful.

    My father is getting on a bit and is the last surviving member of that generation of his family. I'm hoping to bring him to the Medjez el Bab War Cemetery at some stage soon and am investigating how he could march in memory of his brother in the remembrance day parade in London. If anyone has any ideas how this could be arranged I'd be glad to hear them.

    Many thanks for your time
    Kevin Birkett

    Attached Files:

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  2. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    Hello and welcome - my father was 56 Recce, so glad to have you on board.

    The advice for all people researching a soldier is to send off for his service records:
    Get a copy of military service records

    His service number, 6029659, indicates that he enlisted with the Essex Regiment and the records will tell when he moved.

    I expect you have seen them but the war diaries are here:
    56th Recce War Diary

    See if you can find out from them which squadron he was in, if you can you will then be able to trace his service. C Sqn was the first to land in North Africa in Operation Torch at 0720 on 8 November 1942.

    When you have the records you could start off a new thread on the Recce forum with a title along the lines of 'Trooper 6029659 Thomas Albert Birkett 56 Recce' post copies of the records and people will help you to interpret them if need be. If you have any photos they are always nice to see. Good luck.

    Last edited: Jun 11, 2019
  3. Kevin Birkett

    Kevin Birkett Member

    Hi Tony

    Many thanks for your prompt reply and the information provided therein.

    I was unaware that he was conscripted into the Essex Regiment but of course that makes sense as the Recce Regts were elite units which recruited from the infantry regiments. I had a quick look at the War Diary for the 3/3/43. I assume that any contact with the Germans would be reported. I could find none so perhaps I'm wrong about everything being reported or perhaps Thomas was wounded on a previous date and died on the 3/3. I'll have a good read through them at the earliest opportunity.

    One final question. Is there an association, like for example the Burma Star Association, that I could contact regarding my father marching in the Remembrance Day parade in remembrance of his brother?

    Once again many thanks for your help

    Best regards
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  4. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    Just a quick look through the diaries and Trooper Birkett has a few mentions all indicating B Sqn - it was however not uncommon for soldiers to be transfered between squadrons so would suggest you keep looking. These were before embarking for overseas service.
    P1990017 B sqn - 18 Apr 1942
    P1980954 B Sqn - 21 May 1942
    P1980948 B Sqn - 18 May 1942

    The diary for that day refers to a casualty return but unfortunately it doesn't appear to be in the associated pages, P1990524 does however have a detailed report for 4 March, the day following. The appendices often contain more information so are worth scanning through. It is a fact that other ranks rarely get a mention by name in the diaries.

    As far as the Remembrance Parade is concerned I would try and track down (if they still exist) the 1st Army Association or the Djebels Association, there are some details here but I have no idea how up to date it is so would would suggest you research further.
    British Veterans Organizations

    43 Recce OCA were fairly active and you may get a lead here:
    43rd Recce - About Us

    Or perhaps the British Legion:
    You found me!

    You may find a fellow member of this forum may come along with some information.
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  5. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    The casualty list reports your uncle as being killed in action, as opposed to wounded, on 3 March. Killed the same day was Tpr 6018390 H J Daldry.

    Note that the concentration form states your uncle's previous place of burial as Bou Arada.

    It might be an idea to create the new post as suggested so that all information that is specific to your uncle has its own place. I will ask for these posts to be moved over.
  6. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
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  7. Recce_Mitch

    Recce_Mitch Very Senior Member

    Welcome to the forum - my father was also 56 Recce, so glad to have you on board. Your uncle was a Driver Mech (as was my father), he was a carrier driver.

    Birkett T A - sm.jpg

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  8. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce

    Welcome to the forum Kevin. My father was also in 56 Recce-you are in good company here.
    I see Tony has set you on the right track with excellent information:).

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  9. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

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  10. Kevin Birkett

    Kevin Birkett Member

    Hi Tony

    Many thanks for your help. I was speaking to my father a couple of days ago and he has a vague recollection that someone in his family told him his brother was killed by a landmine.

    Best regards

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