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141 Royal Armoured Corps (The Buffs) Churchill Crocodiles

Discussion in 'Western Europe 1943 - 1945' started by grahame555, Feb 20, 2009.

  1. grahame555

    grahame555 Member

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    My Grandfather served with 'B' Squadron 141 Royal Armoured Corps (The Buffs). He joined the regiment in September 1943 in preperation for their conversion and training into the first regiment to be equipped with Churchill Crocodile tanks.
    He had been a regular before the war serving in India in an Armoured Car Company. When war broke out he was utilised as an tank driving instructor. Landing on Juno beach in Normandy on 22nd June 1944, he was 33 years of age.

    There was never an "Official" History of the squadron, but Captain Harry Bailey wrote a private memento of the time the regiment spent in France/Germany 1944-45.
    Unfortunately my Grandfathers copy has been lost, but I am fortunate to have a copy. I would like to share extracts from this memento to members of the forum if this would be deemed to be a good idea?

    21 members of the regiment were to lose their lives. Many more including my Grandfather were to be wounded.
    The four members of my Grandfather's tank are buried in Normandy:-
    Lieut. R.C. Brooke
    Tpr. H. Dady
    Tpr B. Woodcock
    Tpr. J. Humphrey

    I have visited their graves three times to pay my respects and on behalf of my Grandfather. He died in 1969.

    Pictured is the actual tank that replaced my Grandfathers. I know this as I have met two of it's crew. The picture was taken in July 1944.
     

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  2. big sang

    big sang Member

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    hi grahame 555 welcome
    i have just been looking at the croc. threads and see you have posted a couple.my dad was also in 141rac. from the start.
    dads name was john m. sangster and he was a driver.
    among my dads wartime stuff is a in memoriam pamphlet for 141rac.that he used at a service to honour their dead from d.day june-december1944.
    all the names dates and places of where the men of 141 up to that point had been killed.
    2 of the men you mentioned ,
    liet.raymond brooke and trooper herbert dady were killed on 27th. june at la bijude.
    and trooper john humphrey killed 8th. august at cormelles.
    there is no mention of tpr.b. woodcock.
    in all there are 40 named dead in those six months.
    but beneath the list it also says "and those others who, unknown to us, are also dead.
    if as you say there is no official history, i might at this moment be rewriting the known facts.
    i hope you find this interesting and i look forward to hearing more from you about the crocs.
     
  3. star

    star recruit

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    Hi guys,
    My Grandfather was in the 141st RAC (The Buffs) 79th Amoured Div.. He was a Croc driver.
    He sadly passed away last year and I have all of his call up papers etc, including a full workshop manual for a Crocodile.
    He told me a few stories, the landings on Gold beach on the 6th, the battle for caen & the bulge. I have a book on the history of the buffs and am looking for a good book on Hobarts funnies, any recommendations?
    Cheers guys.
     
  4. Drew5233

    Drew5233 Member

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  5. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    Have you got your own military server set up in your bedroom Drew...?

    Maybe I am indeed on the wrong forum.
     
  6. star

    star recruit

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  7. Greg Canellis

    Greg Canellis Member

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    Grahame555: I read with interest your post about B Squadron 141st RAC. I am studying the Brest Campaign of summer 1944. I would be very interested in reading a copy of Bailey's "Playboys." Would it be possible for you to post pages here? Or perhaps we could work out some other arrangement? Much thanks in advance.

    Greg Canellis
    New Jersey
    USA
     
  8. steve_riches

    steve_riches Member

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    My father, Stephen Riches was also a Croc driver in B squadron of the 141 RAC (The Buffs) and served in the Normandy campaign and the clearing of the channel ports and later in Holland. He is still alive and whereas more recent events he finds difficult to recall, his memories of WWII are still strong but not always perfect.

    He and I have visited Normandy and the various sites inc various cemetaries where comrades are buried. A humbling experience. He has a worn copy of a book written by Andrew Wilson, a lieutenant in the regiment, called Flame Thrower. I don't think its still in print.

    I am currently doing the family history thing and peversely it's been easier to find out about more distant ancestors than most recent ones. If anybody knows of any more details of the history of B Squadron, or can point me in the right direction I would be grateful. Any direct questions that I could ask my father on anyones behalf, let me know and I will try to ask him.

    I attach a picture of him and his crew on top of his tank "Savage". I believe it was taken in Holland 1944.
     

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  9. Greg Canellis

    Greg Canellis Member

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    I have the Bantam War Book Series paperback of _Flame Thrower_. Wilson was in C Squadron, so he does not cover B Squadron's attachment to the US 29th Infantry Division at Brest. Was your father at Brest, specifically the battle for Fort Montbarey? Does he have any memories of this battle?

    Greg C.
     
  10. steve_riches

    steve_riches Member

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    Greg,
    I don't know if he fought at Brest but I will ask him later today and let you know.
     
  11. Greg Canellis

    Greg Canellis Member

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    Thanks Steve, I would appreciate anything he has to share.

    Greg C.
     
  12. steve_riches

    steve_riches Member

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    Greg,
    I have talked to my father and it seems he was in B squadron originally but by the time of the Brest op he had been moved to C squadron where he stayed for the rest of the war, so he personally can't tell us any more about Brest. However he has passed to me a pile of papers inc his regimental old boys association newsletters etc and tells me one of them has info about Brest. When I get a chance to have a read through I will let you know what's there.
    Regards
    Steve
     
  13. Greg Canellis

    Greg Canellis Member

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    Thank you Steve, I sure appreciate it. Tell your dad thank you, and give him a nice pat on the back from me.

    Greg C.
     
  14. steve_riches

    steve_riches Member

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    Greg,
    I have found amongst his memorabilia an account of the attack on Fort Montbarey written by General Sands commanding US 29 Infantry Division that details the part the Crocodile units took in the operation. If you want it I can email it to you if you let me know your email address.
    Regards
    Steve
     
  15. Greg Canellis

    Greg Canellis Member

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    Steve Thanks so much. I sent you my e-mail addy in a message. Thanks again! :)

    Greg
     
  16. VIA FORA

    VIA FORA recruit

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    I'm interested in the role played if any by the 3 crocodile flametrowers from C sq. 141 RAC that landed on D-day (6 june) in Gold beach. About H+45.

    Did they engage any enemy during that day or during the enxt ones??

    Many thanks

    Eduard
     
  17. sommecourt

    sommecourt Member

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    I have the War Diaries of this unit. If you think they would be of interest drop me a line on

    ww2battlefields [at] hotmail.co.uk
     
  18. sommecourt

    sommecourt Member

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  19. steve_riches

    steve_riches Member

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  20. Greg Canellis

    Greg Canellis Member

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    Paul thank you for posting these and your e-mail also. Did you notice the 1944 War Diaries stop at the end of August? The info I was interested in happened in September. I can't believe my luck! lol:confused:

    Greg C.
     

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