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  #1  
Old 18-06-09, 09:55
paultp paultp is offline
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Default My Father's War - looking for details

Hi,

A couple of years ago I obtained my father's service record and have been researching the units he was with and where they were during WW2 to gain an insight into his service as he didn't talk about it much.

Sadly, he died in 2003 so I cannot discuss it with him. So I thought I'd ask on here and see if anyone can fill in some background; where he was and what he did.

I'm OK with most of the abbreviations and terminology as I am ex-services (British Army - Royal Corps of Signals).

My father was Lt (later Capt) Malcolm Harold Thomas-Peter (also known as Philip Bruce). He was a Royal Canadian Signals officer but served with a number of units during the Normandy campaign.

His brief service record (and questions):

He joined up on 18 July 1940 in Saskatoon and reported for duty on 20 Aug 1940 at Bassiefield Camp, Kingston. Posted to "L" section, 3 Coy, 3 Div Sigs.

Attached to 7 CIB at Debert Camp 15 July 1941 and embarked for England on 28 Aug 1941 arriving 13 Sep 1941 - How do I find what ship he was on?

From Sep 41 to May 44 he seems to have been shuffled from unit to unit as part of 1 CSRU and 1 CRU - (is there a difference between these two units?)

On 9 May 1944 he is attached to 5 A/Tk Regt RCA, this becomes a transfer (SOS/TOS) on 12 Jun 1944.

He embarks for France on 21 Jul 1944 and disembarks either on 23 or 28 Jul (both dates appear in different parts of his record).

Where were 5 A/Tk based in the UK and what ship would he have travelled on?

Does anyone have details of 5 A/Tk Regt and know which part my father served with and where they were? I know generally he must have been part of Totalize and Tractable but I'm looking for a bit of detail about the unit.

On 28 or 29 Oct 1944 he is transferred to 28 CAR as A/Capt.

Again I'd like to know a bit of detail, hopefully which part of 28 CAR he was with and where they were. I know this was the period of the Battle of The Scheldt but I can only guess as to what part he played.

He is transferred to 4 CADSR on 12 Dec 1944 and apart from a period on the X3 list (2 Feb to 8 Feb 1945) he stays with them until Jun 45 when he is again on the X3 list and comes back to England and is admitted to 4 CGH.

My father did mention that the only time he was wounded it was because his unit was bombed by the Americans.

An Armoured Div Signal Regt is a big place and though I have tracked where 4Canadian Armoured Div were and what they were involved in, it would be good to know what the Div Signal Regt did and possibly what part of it my father served with.

Most grateful for any information and happy to provide more information if you need it.

Thanks
Paul
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  #2  
Old 21-06-09, 03:26
Mark W. Tonner's Avatar
Mark W. Tonner Mark W. Tonner is offline
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Hi Paul;

Welcome to the forum.

Two questions that will help me formulate a reply to your questions regarding your father's service in the Canadian Army (R.C.C.S.):

1. - Was your father a member of the Non-Permanent Active Militia of Canada at the time of his attestation into the Canadian Active Service Force on 18 July 1940?

2. - Are you yourself located in Canada or the UK?

Cheers
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  #3  
Old 22-06-09, 18:05
paultp paultp is offline
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Hi Mark,

The best answer I can give to the first question is "I'm not sure". His record shows that in 1938 he was in the COTC (at the University of Sask) and it also shows he did a "Lieut Sigs" course in 1938 in CSTC. He was working for the Hudson Bay company from 1939 - 1940.

On his Canadian Active Service Force Attestation Paper (Officer's Declaration Paper) dated 15 Jul 1940; para 12 asks the question "State unit in active militia in which you are serving or have served" it states "12th District Signals, RCCS" present rank 2nd Lieut.

I'm in the UK.

Many thanks
Paul
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  #4  
Old 05-07-09, 19:52
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Mark W. Tonner Mark W. Tonner is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paultp View Post
Hi Mark,

The best answer I can give to the first question is "I'm not sure". His record shows that in 1938 he was in the COTC (at the University of Sask) and it also shows he did a "Lieut Sigs" course in 1938 in CSTC. He was working for the Hudson Bay company from 1939 - 1940.

On his Canadian Active Service Force Attestation Paper (Officer's Declaration Paper) dated 15 Jul 1940; para 12 asks the question "State unit in active militia in which you are serving or have served" it states "12th District Signals, RCCS" present rank 2nd Lieut.

I'm in the UK.

Many thanks
Paul
Hi Paul;

Yes, your father was a member of the Non-Permanent Active Militia of Canada at the time of his attestation into the Canadian Active Service Force on 18 July 1940 - being a Second Lieutenant on strength of No. 12 District Signals, R.C.C.S. - a unit of the Non-Permanent Active Militia of Canada, localized at that time at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, within Military District No. 12.

Cheers
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  #5  
Old 05-07-09, 20:52
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Mark W. Tonner Mark W. Tonner is offline
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Default Re: Your questions

Hi Paul;

To answer some of your questions: -

1. -
Quote:
Originally Posted by paultp View Post
He joined up on 18 July 1940 in Saskatoon and reported for duty on 20 Aug 1940 at Bassiefield Camp, Kingston.
Units and formations of the 3rd Division, Canadian Active Service Force and 4th Division, Canadian Active Service Force were Called Out and Placed on Active Service beginning on 24 May 1940.

Upon attestation into the Canadian Active Service Force your father was sent to the Canadian Signals Training Centre located at Barriefield, Ontario. Because most of the Signals Officers for the Canadian Active Service Force had been drawn from the pre-war Permanent Active Militia and the Non-Permanent Active Militia, most only had to complete a refresher and qualifying course at Barriefield before posting to their respective units, but by the time your father reached the Canadian Signals Training Centre, the refresher and qualifying course had took on the aspects of a purely qualifying course as it became apparent that the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals would have to assimilate men of little military experience. Accordingly, the 20 week course was broken down into four Groups of Instruction and as candidates successfully completed one group, they passed on to each of the succeeding groups in turn. The first four weeks were spent in the Basic Group, during which the fundamentals of Motor Transport, Electricity and Magnetism, Signals Procedure and Operating were covered, after which the candidate passed on to the Line Group for the next five weeks of training during which the fundamentals of Line Instruments, Field Cable and Line Transmission were covered. The next seven weeks were spent in the Wireless Group, where Wireless Theory, Wireless Operation and Maintenance, and Wireless Laboratory were covered along with conducting Wireless Exercises. The last four weeks were spent in the Tactics Group where the fundamentals of Tactics, Organization and Administration were covered. It was felt at the time that this system of ‘Group Instruction’ would give Signals Officers the sound practical knowledge they would require to make intelligent use of the men under their command

2. -
Quote:
Originally Posted by paultp View Post
Posted to "L" section, 3 Coy, 3 Div Sigs
Upon completion of his training he was posted to Serial 726Q - "L" (Infantry Brigade) Section, No. 3 Company, 3rd Divisional Signals, R.C. Signals, C.A.S.F.

3. -
Quote:
Originally Posted by paultp View Post
Attached to 7 CIB at Debert Camp 15 July 1941 and embarked for England on 28 Aug 1941 arriving 13 Sep 1941 - How do I find what ship he was on?
He was probably posted to Serial 726N - "J" (Infantry Brigade) Section, No. 3 Company, 3rd Divisional Signals, R.C. Signals, the ‘Infantry Brigade’ Signals Section attached to the 7th Infantry Brigade of the 3rd Division.

The information regarding what ship he sailed to the UK on is not readily available, but he would have embarked on Convoy T.C. 13 from Halifax on approx. 28 Aug 41. If you know someone in the Ottawa area, perhaps you could have them do some research for you at the Directorate of History and Heritage (DHH) of National Defence Headquarters (Ottawa), the information regarding Convoy T.C. 13 can be found in Canadian Military Headquarters Report No. 59 of 29 Jan 42.:

Title: Situation of the Canadian Forces in the United Kingdom, Winter, 1941-42. Part III: Growth of Canadian Military Force in the United Kingdom, September 1941 - January 1942.
Date of Publication: 29 Jan 1942
Type: CMHQ Report
Report #: 59
Author: Stacey, C.P

4. -
Quote:
Originally Posted by paultp View Post
From Sep 41 to May 44 he seems to have been shuffled from unit to unit as part of 1 CSRU and 1 CRU - (is there a difference between these two units?)
1 CSRU was Serial 1133 - No. 1 Canadian Signals Reinforcement Unit, located in Tournay Barracks; Farnborough, Hampshire and in Delville Barracks and Morval Barracks; Cove, Hampshire.

The National Archives Kew hold the following copies of the War Diary of No. 1 Canadian Signals Reinforcement Unit from Jul 41 to Dec 44:

Title: War Office: Canadian, South African, New Zealand and Indian (United Kingdom) Forces (Dominion Forces): War Diaries, Second World War

Series WO 179

WO 179/632 - WD for 1 Signals Holding Unit - Jul to Dec 41
WO 179/1570 - WD for 1 CSRU - Jan to Dec 42
WO 179/2463 - WD for 1 CSRU - Jan to Dec 43
WO 179/3794 - WD for 1 CSRU - Jan to Dec 44

1 CRU - no such unit, could this perhaps read 1 CGRU?

5. -
Quote:
Originally Posted by paultp View Post
On 9 May 1944 he is attached to 5 A/Tk Regt RCA, this becomes a transfer (SOS/TOS) on 12 Jun 1944. He embarks for France on 21 Jul 1944 and disembarks either on 23 or 28 Jul (both dates appear in different parts of his record). Where were 5 A/Tk based in the UK and what ship would he have travelled on?
Details of where 5th Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery was located in the UK and on what ship(s) they crossed the channel on can be found in their War Diary for the period in question (May to Jul 44), a copy of which is held by Library and Archives Canada (Ottawa):

Reference: RG24, National Defence, Series C-3, Volume 14567
Serial: 1992, Access code: 90
File Title: 5th Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery
Outside Dates: 1944/05-1944/12 Finding Aid number: 24-60

Unfortunately, I can find no reference to a copy of their War Diary being held by The National Archives Kew.

6. -
Quote:
Originally Posted by paultp View Post
Does anyone have details of 5 A/Tk Regt and know which part my father served with and where they were? I know generally he must have been part of Totalize and Tractable but I'm looking for a bit of detail about the unit.
The organization of 5th Anti-Tank Regiment, R.C.A. at the time your served with them was:

Serial 1992A - Headquarters, 5th Anti-Tank Regiment, R.C.A.
Serial 1992B - 96th Anti-Tank Battery, R.C.A.
Serial 1992C - 65th Anti-Tank Battery, R.C.A.
Serial 1992D - 3rd Anti-Tank Battery, R.C.A.
Serial 1992E - 14th Anti-Tank Battery, R.C.A.

Your father while serving with 5th Anti-Tank Regiment, R.C.A., would have been posted to RHQ (Serial 1992A - Headquarters, 5th Anti-Tank Regiment, R.C.A.). H Troop, No. 2 Squadron, 4th Canadian (Armoured) Divisional Signals, R.C.C.S. (or a detachment of) would have been attached to 5th Anti-Tank Regiment, R.C.A. at this time.

For details of the part played by 5th Anti-Tank Regiment, R.C.A. in Operations TOTALIZE and TRACTABLE see their War Diary (held by Library and Archives Canada):

Reference: RG24, National Defence, Series C-3, Volume 14567
Serial: 1992, Access code: 90
File Title: 5th Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery
Outside Dates: 1944/05-1944/12 Finding Aid number: 24-60

7. -
Quote:
Originally Posted by paultp View Post
On 28 or 29 Oct 1944 he is transferred to 28 CAR as A/Capt. Again I'd like to know a bit of detail, hopefully which part of 28 CAR he was with and where they were. I know this was the period of the Battle of The Scheldt but I can only guess as to what part he played.
Your father, while serving with Serial 932 - 28th Armoured Regiment (The British Columbia Regiment), C.A.C., as an A/Capt would have served as the Officer Commanding the attached Signals Troop (Z Troop, No. 4 Squadron, 4th Canadian (Armoured) Divisional Signals, R.C.C.S.). For the period (Oct - Dec 44) that your father was with the 28th Armoured Regiment (The British Columbia Regiment), C.A.C., the following copy of their War Diary is held by The National Archives, Kew:

Title: War Office: Canadian, South African, New Zealand and Indian (United Kingdom) Forces (Dominion Forces): War Diaries, Second World War

Series WO 179

WO 179/3011 - WD for 28 Armd Regt - Jan to Dec 44

and at Library and Archives Canada (Ottawa):

Reference: RG24, National Defence, Series C-3, Volume 14292, Reel T-12764
Serial: 932, Access code: 90
File Title: 28th Armoured Regiment (British Columbia Regiment)
Outside Dates: 1943/10-1945/02 Finding Aid number: 24-60

8. -
Quote:
Originally Posted by paultp View Post
He is transferred to 4 CADSR on 12 Dec 1944 and apart from a period on the X3 list (2 Feb to 8 Feb 1945) he stays with them until Jun 45 when he is again on the X3 list and comes back to England and is admitted to 4 CGH.
He is transferred to 4 CADSR on 12 Dec 1944 - I read this as saying that he was transferred back to 4th Canadian (Armoured) Divisional Signals, R.C.C.S. proper on 12 Dec 44. The X3 List (2-8 Feb 45) means that he was admitted to hospital during the time frame of 2 to 8 Feb 45. In Jun 45 he is admitted to Serial 1566 - No. 4 Canadian General Hospital, R.C.A.M.C., a 600 bed hospital which at that time was located at Farnborough, Hampshire (Aldershot General Hospital).

9. -
Quote:
Originally Posted by paultp View Post
An Armoured Div Signal Regt is a big place and though I have tracked where 4Canadian Armoured Div were and what they were involved in, it would be good to know what the Div Signal Regt did and possibly what part of it my father served with.
During the time that your father served with 4th Canadian (Armoured) Divisional Signals, R.C.C.S. (Approx. May 44 to Jun 45), the basic organization of a Canadian ‘Armoured) Divisional Signals’ was:

Headquarters
Headquarters Squadron
Q Troop (Administration)
M Troop (Technical Maintenance)
No. 1 Squadron
A Troop (Main Div HQ (Wireless))
B Troop (Rear Div HQ (Wireless))
C Troop (Cable)
D Troop (Despatch Riders)
O Troop (Signals Office)
No. 2 Squadron
E Troop (Field Regiment)
F Troop (Field Regiment)
H Troop (Div RCA HQ and A/Tk Regiment)
No. 3 Squadron
R Troop (Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment)
J Troop (Infantry Brigade)
N Troop (Div RCE HQ)
No. 4 Squadron
V Troop (Motor Battalion)
W Troop (Armoured Brigade HQ)
X Troop (Armoured Regiment)
W Troop (Armoured Regiment)
Z Troop (Armoured Regiment)

with an approximate strength of: 26 officers and 697 other ranks.

Copies of the War Diary for 4th Canadian (Armoured) Divisional Signals, R.C.C.S. for the period that your father served with them (approx. May 44 onwards) can be found at Library and Archives Canada (Ottawa):

Reference: RG24, National Defence, Series C-3, Volume 14946
Serial: 1926, Access code: 90
File Title: 4th Armoured Divisional Signals, Royal Canadian Corps of Signals
Outside Dates: 1943/09-1944/11 Finding Aid number: 24-60

and

Reference: RG24, National Defence, Series C-3, Volume 14947
Serial: 1926, Access code: 90
File Title: 4th Armoured Divisional Signals, Royal Canadian Corps of Signals
Outside Dates: 1944/12-1945/12 Finding Aid number: 24-60

and The National Archives, Kew holds a copy of the War Diaries for the year 1944:

Title: War Office: Canadian, South African, New Zealand and Indian (United Kingdom) Forces (Dominion Forces): War Diaries, Second World War

Series WO 179

WO 179/3226 - WD for 4 Armd Div Sigs - Jan to Dec 44

I hope this helps.

Cheers
__________________
Mark

Last edited by Mark W. Tonner; 06-07-09 at 17:16.
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  #6  
Old 06-07-09, 16:53
paultp paultp is offline
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Hi Mark,

Thank you so much for this excellent information. I'll certainly follow up the items at the National Archives and hopefully have a trip to Canada for the others.

Much appreciated.

Paul
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  #7  
Old 06-07-09, 18:07
Mark W. Tonner's Avatar
Mark W. Tonner Mark W. Tonner is offline
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Default Re: 5 A/Tk Regt RCA in Operations TOTALIZE and TRACTABLE

Quote:
Originally Posted by paultp View Post
Does anyone have details of 5 A/Tk Regt and know which part my father served with and where they were? I know generally he must have been part of Totalize and Tractable but I'm looking for a bit of detail about the unit.
Hi Paul;

The following will give you an idea of the roll played by 5th Anti-Tank Regiment, R.C.A. during Operations TOTALIZE and TRACTABLE, it is taken from:

REPORT NO. 169 - HISTORICAL SECTION - CANADIAN MILITARY HEADQUARTERS
CANADIAN PARTICIPATION IN THE OPERATIONS IN NORTH-WEST EUROPE, 1944
PART III: CANADIAN OPERATIONS, 1 - 23 AUGUST - dated: 14 Jan 47
APPENDIX "A"
THE ATTACK FOR FALAISE BY 2 CDN CORPS (OPERATION TOTALIZE)
ORDER OF BATTLE

4 Cdn Armd Div

10 Cdn Inf Bde

With under command:

One Sqn 1 Lothians
Two Btys 17-pr A.Tk (Towed) (from 5 A/Tk Regt RCA)
One Tp 17-pr A.Tk (S.P.) (from 5 A/Tk Regt RCA)

With in support:

15 Cdn Fd Regt
One Sqn less One Tp 87 Sqn A.V.R.E.
One Tp 8 Cdn Fd Sqn

4 Cdn Armd Bde

With under command:

One Sqn 1 Lothians
One Bty A.Tk (S.P.) (from 5 A/Tk Regt RCA)

With in support:

23 Cdn Fd Regt (S.P.)
One Bty 17-pr A.Tk (S.P.) (from 5 A/Tk Regt RCA)
One Tp 8 Cdn Fd Sqn

The Order of Battle for Operation TRACTABLE was substantially the same as the above except for the following changes:

4 Cdn Armd Div

With under command:

8 Cdn Inf Bde (for Phase I only)
1 Lothians (Flail Regt)
'A' Sqn 141 R.A.C. (Crocodiles)
19 Cdn Fd Regt (S.P.)
One Sqn A.V.R.E., 5 Aslt Regt

As you can see, 5th Anti-Tank Regiment, R.C.A. was more or less evenly split between the Infantry Brigade (10 Cdn Inf Bde) and the Armoured Brigade (4 Cdn Armd Bde) of 4th Canadian Armoured Division for both Operations.

Cheers
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  #8  
Old 19-07-10, 18:20
paultp paultp is offline
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Just to round this off, I looked at the various war diaries and couldn't find any mention of my father during his time with 28 CAR.

However, I did locate the war diary for 5 A/Tk Regt at the National Archives and found many mentions of him which has given me a much clearer insight into his wartime experiences and actions. He had told my elder brother that the only time he was wounded was when the Americans attacked them by mistake, and there it was in the diary! And on his birthday too!

Those war diaries make for fantastic reading too as they give a day by day report on each unit's activities that isn't influenced by hindsight or any wider view of the war. In the 5 A/T diary it was interesting to get a feel for how their attitudes changed as they went from training in the South of England to the Docks at Tilbury and then arrived in France. From anticipating war to being shot at. One early entry has a complaint about the poor organisation of the landing at France, they seem to have overlooked the fact that they arrive a month after D-Day and paperwork by then wasn't top of the list of priorities!

A big thank you to Mark as well for all his help.

Cheers
Paul
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Old 21-07-10, 20:30
Dennis Gelean Dennis Gelean is offline
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Thank you Mark
The devil is in the details, I wish you were my next door neighbor.

I find the advice and support on MLU amazing. lurking in the shadows
I have learned many things not possible anywhere else. Thanks to all who
post both answers and questions.
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Old 04-05-13, 01:12
Scott Belanger Scott Belanger is offline
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Default 5th Anti-Tank

Hi there everyone,

This is my first post and i am just having a little difficulty navigating around but I'm sure I will get it. I want to thank you for allowing me to join and become part of the group. I am more than willing to share any/all of my info with anyone who ask.

I have done about 2 years of research on the 5th A/T more specifically the 96th Battery. Safe to say thoough i have run across info on the other 3 Battery's as well. I am in possession of almost a complet set of the War Diaries for the 5th A/T as well as the Regimental book 'The History of the 5th A/T. Then there is another book called 'The 5 Days of November', and then the hilight of my collection is a personal account written by Capt Jack Connor of the 14th Battery. I have spoken also with John Honsberger who was in the 3rd Battery. I have done a complete reconstruction of sorts of the travels of the 5th A/T form when they left England thru to Dec 1944 and am still working on it. I have a 3-foot long photo of the entire Regiment as well as one for the 96th Battery. It has been a real honor to keep the memory of this unit alive.

Best regards,
Scott
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Old 27-02-19, 01:03
Tim Abbott Tim Abbott is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Belanger View Post
Hi there everyone,

This is my first post and i am just having a little difficulty navigating around but I'm sure I will get it. I want to thank you for allowing me to join and become part of the group. I am more than willing to share any/all of my info with anyone who ask.

I have done about 2 years of research on the 5th A/T more specifically the 96th Battery. Safe to say thoough i have run across info on the other 3 Battery's as well. I am in possession of almost a complet set of the War Diaries for the 5th A/T as well as the Regimental book 'The History of the 5th A/T. Then there is another book called 'The 5 Days of November', and then the hilight of my collection is a personal account written by Capt Jack Connor of the 14th Battery. I have spoken also with John Honsberger who was in the 3rd Battery. I have done a complete reconstruction of sorts of the travels of the 5th A/T form when they left England thru to Dec 1944 and am still working on it. I have a 3-foot long photo of the entire Regiment as well as one for the 96th Battery. It has been a real honor to keep the memory of this unit alive.

Best regards,
Scott
Scott - my grandfather served with the 96th Anti-Tank Battery and I have been working hard over the years to hunt-down as much info and history as possible. Is there a way to share some of the history that you’ve collected, to include those photos?

Thanks in advance,
Tim
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