The intentions to document this information are long standing in that they go back some two decades to the early/mid 1990’s, just a few years before the subject of this site, James Kitchener Heath passed away.

As is the case in so many families in which a generation experienced war and all its traumas, certain aspects of service are known, but all too often the details are sketchy and disjointed. Add into this mix the passage of time and the result is invariably a collection of stories and fragments of memories accompanied by a handful of fragile and faded documents (if you are lucky) that represent the sum of information relating to the most extraordinary period in a soldier’s life. This was certainly the case in our family..... and it’s not much to go on.

In February 1995, my Father and I struggled to put together a potted service history to be read by the cleric presiding over my Grandfather’s funeral. At this point I decided to take steps to fill in some of the gaps as best I could.... sadly now without the benefit of first hand testimony.

A well known turn of phrase, ‘written on the back of a fag packet’ is defined by the Collins on-Line dictionary as something ‘composed or formed quickly and without detailed analysis or research’. As far as first hand source material for this history is concerned, no better a description could be made. The details gleaned from my Grandfather in brief (and often emotional) discussions in the 1990’s are summarised as a list of place names written in an old man’s shaky handwriting on the back of a standard envelope! (this will feature later). On the upside, a standard envelope is approximately twice the size of a cigarette packet, which immediately doubles the amount of information to work with!

By my own admission, this site is a little self-indulgent, being of primary interest to myself, my mother, my children and a handful of relatives still living in Staffordshire. In addition, it may be that the information presented here will be read by others outside of the family who have a passing interest in military or family history.

I would welcome any comments/suggestions or dare I say it relevant information to contact me.

Monday, 25 August 2014

59 (Staffordshire) Division Deployment for Operation Charnwood

From the excellent MorssWeb site:

59 Division Deployment

Objla Bijude, Epron
Opp: 1st Btn, SS PG Regt 25
ObjGalmanche, St. Contest, Mâlon
Opp: 2nd Btn, SS PG Regt 25
176 Infantry Brigade
  • 7 Royal Norfolk
  • 7 South Staffordshire
  • 6 North Staffordshire
under command:
  • A Company, 7 RNF (machine gun)
  • 271 Anti-tank Battery
  • 248 Anti-tank Battery (1 troop)
  • 13/18 Hussars (27 Armoured Brigade)
  • 116 Field Regiment RA
  • 257 Field Company RE
197 Infantry Brigade
  • 1/7 Royal Warwickshire
  • 2/5 Lancashire Fusiliers
  • 5 East Lancashire
under commmand:
  • 2/6 South Staffordshire (ex 177 Brigade)
  • C Company, 7 RNF (machine gun)
  • 298 Anti-tank Battery
  • 248 Anti-tank Battery
  • 1 East Riding Yeomanry (27 Armoured Brigade)
  • 270 Anti-tank Battery
  • 110 Field Regiment RA
  • 510 Field Company RE
RESERVE (Cambes-en-Plaine)Notes
177 Infantry Brigade
  • 5 South Staffordshire
  • 1/6 South Staffordshire
under command:
  • 269 Anti-tank Battery
  • 61 Field Regiment RA
  • B Company, 7 RNF (machine gun)
In support of 59 Division for Operation Charnwood:
  • 27 Armoured Brigade (less one regiment)
  • flails (22 Dragoons) and crocodiles (141RAC), 79 Armoured Division
  • ARE (less two squadrons)
  • 248 SP (M10) Battery, 62 Anti-tank Regiment

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