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William Baker EX1278(T) MNBDO1 L&M Unit  XML
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sjb007
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Joined: 06/05/2012 14:22:58
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Hi

I am new at this so please forgive me if any information is wrong. I am searching for information on my late father William Baker EX1278(T) who was in the MNBDO1 Landing & Maintenance Unit. He was in Crete, Egypt, Ceylon and South Africa as far as I can ascertain and possibly Libya/Burma. He was hospitalised in Egypt August to October 1942 and was then attached to 23 Division in November 1942 but I cannot find any references or anything about this division and have limited other service information for him.

If there are any members who might be able to point me in the right direction as I have lots of questions - such as how would I find out if he was a commando or not, what colour beret would MNBDO and commandos wear, what is 23 Division???

Would be grateful for any information.

Thanks in advance
Sarah.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 06/05/2012 15:50:21

NIC
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Hi Sarah,
Welcome to the CVA.
Time is against me today, but I've just a few seconds to send you this link which may help to provide some of the answers to some of your questions.

http://www.royalmarinesmuseum.co.uk/category/researching-family-and-royal-marine-history

Good luck for now,

Nick

Nick Collins

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Proud son of Cpl Mick Collins, 5 Troop, No5 Cdo

"We may feel that nothing of which we have any knowledge or record has ever been done by mortal men, which surpasses their feats of arms. Truly we may say of them, when shall their glory fade?"


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sjb007
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Hi Nick

Thank you for the link, the info is very helpful and does answer a few of my questions. Can I please come back to you with some more questions?

Best wishes
Sarah
NIC
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Hi Sarah,

Yes of course you can - that is what we're here for. We'll try our best to answer any questions you have and/or point you in, roughly, the right direction too...

One question for you. Are you sure it was 23 DIVISION and not 23 RM Battalion?
Have you got your father's service record at all?

Okay I know that was two questions...

nick

Nick Collins

CVA Forum Administrator

Proud son of Cpl Mick Collins, 5 Troop, No5 Cdo

"We may feel that nothing of which we have any knowledge or record has ever been done by mortal men, which surpasses their feats of arms. Truly we may say of them, when shall their glory fade?"


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sjb007
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Hi Nick

I have got the info about 23 Division from the RM and I queried that also but apparently "He was admitted to an overseas Service hospital (64th General Hospital August 1942) while serving in the Middle East Force and then there is a mention of a dental condition at 11 November 1942 at 25 Camp El Tahag, when he was attached to 23 Division. He had a generalised infection of the gums, which was suspected would lead to Vincent?s angina (also known as ?trench mouth?)."

I have brief service records and a couple of photos which I can post if this helps.

Sarah
John M
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Hi All

Reflecting on all the above .......there was a 23 Indian Division (infantry) operating in Burma at this time.

This will probably be the division in question.

hope this is useful

regards

john M

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 07/05/2012 14:15:45


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NIC
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John,
If I understand Sarah correctly, although her father served in Burma at one stage, when he was attached to 23 Div he was in the Middle East.

Sarah, Yes it would be useful to see the Service Record - either upload them here or email to my address (below)

Nick

Nick Collins

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Proud son of Cpl Mick Collins, 5 Troop, No5 Cdo

"We may feel that nothing of which we have any knowledge or record has ever been done by mortal men, which surpasses their feats of arms. Truly we may say of them, when shall their glory fade?"


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sjb007 wrote:Hi Nick

I have got the info about 23 Division from the RM and I queried that also but apparently "He was admitted to an overseas Service hospital (64th General Hospital August 1942) while serving in the Middle East Force and then there is a mention of a dental condition at 11 November 1942 at 25 Camp El Tahag, when he was attached to 23 Division. He had a generalised infection of the gums, which was suspected would lead to Vincent?s angina (also known as ?trench mouth?)."

I have brief service records and a couple of photos which I can post if this helps.

Sarah


64 British General Hospital
Alexandria 1/9/39 to 7/44 and then on to Quassassin; Quassassin 7/44 to 8/44 then to Andria; Andria 8/44 to 6/45 then to Genoa; Genoa 6/45 to 8/45 then to Milan; Milan 8/45 to 10/6/46 then disbanded.

2 British General Hospital
El Tahag Camp (Egypt) 3/41 to 12/41 then to Quassassin; Quassassin 12/41 to 9/3/43...

6 British General Hospital
El Tahag Camp (Egypt) 10/3/41 to 1/42 then to Buseilli; Quassassin (Egypt) 6/42 to 15/12/43...

nick

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 07/05/2012 15:30:40


Nick Collins

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Proud son of Cpl Mick Collins, 5 Troop, No5 Cdo

"We may feel that nothing of which we have any knowledge or record has ever been done by mortal men, which surpasses their feats of arms. Truly we may say of them, when shall their glory fade?"


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Royal Marine Museum wrote:MNBDO I

Formation was approved as of 12 September 1939, with an establishment of 78 officers and 2,150 other ranks, but the equipment available was only a fraction of that authorised (e.g. six searchlights out of 48, 17 vehicles out of 75). Arrangements were made to train tradesmen, AA gun crews, searchlight crews, and gunnery and wireless instructors, at army establishments. The establishment was reviewed by a small HQ set up on 29 January 1940, when a provisional strength of 202 officers and 4,089 other ranks was proposed. During February HQs were also set up for the Air Defence Group, the Land Defence Force and the Coast Defence Group. Brig Weston took command on 1 March and four days later the HQ Wing was formed with a Provost Company, Survey Section, HQ Defence Platoon and some other administrative Sections. The Landing and Maintenance Group was formed in May 1940, absorbing officers and men with experience of building piers, and handling stores and vehicles over open beaches, etc. Other subunits were formed from time to time, as shown in the unit history summaries for beach units, artillery regiments and battalions...


The HQ at Fort Cumberland was closed on 4 February 1941, and the Organisation sailed for the Middle East. After a five?day visit to Durban (South Africa), the men reached Tahal*Camp in Egypt on 23 April and came under command of the C-in-C Middle East. Three ships carrying heavy gear reached Haifa (Palestine) the next day, and the equipment, guns, etc. were reloaded tactically during the next few weeks by men from the MNBDO, Meanwhile General Weston took elements of the Organisation to Crete, where they landed on 9 May and were in action as infantry during the German airborne landings and subsequent fighting There were nearly 1,200 casualties, mostly prisoners, from the MNBDO units.

During the rest of 1941 the units were brought up to strength and reorganised. General Weston hoped to use the Organisation in the Far East and resisted attempts to have subunits detached, but in February 1942 1st RM (Heavy) AA Regiment went to Ceylon. 1st Coast Regiment with the Landing and Maintenance details, fortified island bases in the Indian Ocean. Various sub-units had been in action while MNBDO I was in the Mediterranean, but the majority of time was spent in anti?aircraft defences and in training. All the searchlight units in the Canal Zone came under the command of the RM searchlight group for a time...

The stores depot from Fort Cumberland moved to Geneifa (north of Port Tewfik) in 1941, and its staff, along with other elements then in Egypt, followed the AA Regiment to the Far East in 1943. Major General W. B. F. Lukis took over from general Weston in April 1943; and the HQ of MNBDO I closed in the middle east on 16 June 1943 and reopened in Colombo (Ceylon, modern Sri Lanka) on 27 June. This HQ commanded two Mobile Naval Base Brigades organised for the defence of Ceylon and training for operations in Burma. The two AA regiments - 1st RM Rgt in India, 2nd RM Rgt in Ceylon - were also administered by the HQ of MNBDO I in Ceylon, until they returned to the UK, along with the personnel of the two Brigades, during the spring of 1944. The personnel were remustered that summer for landing craft, commando and other duties, the HQ finally being disbanded in September 1944, when the principal AA units formed 5 RM AA Brigade.

MB Group with XXXIII Indian Corps

The 1 RM AA Brigade HQ, 1st RM (Heavy) AA Rgt and a Landing and Maintenance Unit, were sent to India from Ceylon in April 1943, commander Brig V. D. Thomas, to train for amphibious operations in the Arakan. The Group was under the command of XXXIII Indian Corps. The proposed operations were deferred and the Group disbanded about January 1944.


Tahal* I believe this to be a mis-spelling of Tahag

Nick

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 07/05/2012 16:11:13


Nick Collins

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Proud son of Cpl Mick Collins, 5 Troop, No5 Cdo

"We may feel that nothing of which we have any knowledge or record has ever been done by mortal men, which surpasses their feats of arms. Truly we may say of them, when shall their glory fade?"


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John M
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Hi Sarah

As Nick says yes I think getting a copy of the service record would be a great idea.

As he was hospitalised in Egypt he could possibly have been transferrred to 23 Division on his return to fitness or was he attached before this time to 23 Div.

Thus his presence in Burma afterwards. 23 Div was under the control of XXX111 Corps.

Until we can see the chronology we can only guess........the record would help a lot.

regards

John M

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 07/05/2012 19:55:19


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sjb007
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Hi John and Nick

I have been out today and have just returned to see your posts.

Here goes with the information I do know. Dad enlisted at Portsmouth 29 January 1940. He was already a qualified driver and was a driver/mechanic with Examinations Cl II Gp D passed 29 Jan 1940 and D2 14 Aug 1954. He was granted a 1st Good Conduct Badge 29 January 1943 and received his 5 year War Service Increment on 29 January 1945. He was admitted to Hospital 22 August 1942 to 20 October 1942, which we now know was in Egypt. After joining and training at Portsmouth he joined MNBDO1 L&M Unit. He went to Egypt in February 1941 arriving in April at Port Said. His unit was then in Crete and "he may have been with them there".

By 1943 he was at the RM Technical Training Depot. His unit was in Ceylon later that year and he was at Towyn, Wales in July 1944 and later at Combined Ops Base at Brightlingsea. He was then at RM MT School February-October 1945. He was discharged at Portsmouth in December 1945 and then enrolled in the RFR until 1957.

29 Jan 1940 - 22 Mar 1940 Portsmouth Division - CO F B Clifford
23 Mar 1940 - 17 Jun 1944 HBL MNBDO1 - CO W Sinclair 31 Dec 1941, CO F W Phillips 31 Dec 1942, CO H C Smith 31 Dec 1943
18 Jun 1944 - 25 Feb 1945 RM Training Group (W) - CO W W Grover
13 Oct 1945 - 31 Dec 1945 Portsmouth Division - CO J H Cawley Way 31 Dec 1945

Enrolled in RFR (No. CHB 4347)
Portsmouth Cas Details to 12 Oct 1944?
D Company RM Deal 3 Sep 1957 - 9 Sep 1957
TTC RM Bks Eastney 8-14 Aug 1954

He was awarded the 1939-45 Star, Africa Star, Defence Medal, War Medal 1939-45.

During my research, I have found that just because his unit were in a certain place, that does not mean the individual in that unit would be there also. There was a vague but insistant reference from a family member claiming that my father was a POW and that he was also in Burma (I do not know if he was a POW in Burma or somewhere else or if this is even true of him being a POW or if he was in Burma) and the RM have said he may or may not have been with his unit in the various places I have found so far as to where they were during the war. From various war diaries at the National Archives, I have found that his unit were already at sea on their way to Ceylon in August 1942 but Dad couldn't have been with them if he ends up in hospital in Egypt 22 August 1942. However he must have been there at some point as I have contacts in his address book for people in Colombo, as well as 1st SA Division MEF, 1 Coy 3rd Recce Bn MEF 2nd Bn Rifle Brigade MEF, No 2 Coy 3rd SA Recce Btn, 4th NZ Res M J Coy, No. 3 Platoon, 2nd NZEF MEF, and a F Stangroom EX 4494 Cumberland Rooms and J West CH/X 103576. I further looked to see what was happening around Egypt in August 1942 and found out about Tobruk which is why I mentioned Libya earlier that perhaps he was there with the Eighth Army and that was where the 1st SA Division were (I have a photo with No. 2 Company 3rd SA Recce Btn 1st SA Division MEF UDF written on the back).

But these are all ifs and buts as I have no concrete evidence to place him anywhere except for Egypt August - October 1942 when he was in hospital and in Crete (his scanty records are apparently formally notated that his records were lost in Crete). The further I look into his history the more questions I have and confused I become!

I have tried googling his CO and other contacts in his address book to try to place him in specific places with no luck. I have various War Diaries for his unit and other RM Units in the hope of seeing his name in one of them but so far I have found nothing. According to his records he did not claim a Burma Star or POW at the end of his service, but then he apparently initially refused treatment for his serious dental condition.

Sorry if any details are incorrect, I am trying to decipher handwritten notes on his records and in his address book and also, I might have scrambled information about Tobruk which I read about some time ago and my memory isn't what it used to be, so sorry if I have any details wrong.

Anyway I don't know if any of the above will ring any bells or clarify any more information, but I hope there is something there that might be of use to someone who knows.

Best wishes
Sarah

John M
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Hello Sarah

Thanks for this............I am away for a couple of days now.

After a very quick scan of your comments here.........I can quickly say that a person did not always get the medal award for various campaigns unless they had spent enough time in that theatre. e.g The Burma Star needs six months combined in that theatre for soldiers. This sometimes varies with the three services.

So he could have served in Burma but not have the Burma Star....just to cofuse you more

regards

john M

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 08/05/2012 11:29:54


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sjb007
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Hi John

Wow that is great to know that there might be some truth in that, there is more to that story which I would rather not put on the forum at the moment but that is great news that he could still have been there.

Thank you.
Sarah
John M
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Hi again sarah

Yes the qualification rules are a little confusing and many service personell did not apply for their correct entiltlement.

The rules were different for each service which was a little gauling for some......... particularly the army people.

But yes he could have been there.

Regards

John M

CVA Research Group

Do not speak.....unless it improves on Silence.

A good teacher opens the door.....you must enter yourself.


For Dad No 12 Commando & 4 Troop No 1 Commando
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sjb007
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Joined: 06/05/2012 14:22:58
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Hi John

It that is the case and he was there, it would certainly make sense to the information I have been told and to what happened to him during the latter half of 1942.

Thank you once again.
Sarah
 
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