Reconnaissance Corps - info needed

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Mister_Angry, Dec 8, 2006.

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  1. I've recently been doing some digging around in family history and it turns out a relative who served in WWII with the Recce Corps and was KIA in March 1945.

    I don't know much about the corps, except that after the North African campaign they were amalgamated into the RAC in 1943 and involved in the landings at Salerno.

    Can anyone recommend good sources of further information? E.g. how I might find out which unit my reli was with and which Recce Corps units ended up as which RAC units - there appears to be no official record of which unit he actually died with, although obviously the Corps was no longer in exstence by then.

    Were the RC simply rolled up into the RTR and the wallopers of his majesty's donkies? Or were they retained as a specialist capability?

    Many thanks for any pointers ...
  2. As far as I am aware, they reroled within their remit into light armoured recce.

    I read something about them in an Osprey book.... sorry that's all I know!
  3. I'm sure the Recce Corps were still current during National Service. An old Landlord of mine did his NS with them.
  4. AlienFTM

    AlienFTM LE Book Reviewer

    There is the eponymously-titled "History of the Reconnaissance Corps (1940 - 1946?)" available at your local library.

    An interesting foreword implying that recce troops were almost special forces. Read alongside the foreword in Armour Volume 2 (The Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment), it makes plain that recce troops were something special. Funny, I thought we were a bunch of p!ssheads.

    Unless I am very much mistaken, in 1946 the remnants of 3 Recce Regt were merged into 15/19H. Ten years ago, returning from a holiday in Normandy, I found the ferry full of 15/19H Association on their annual Normandy pilgrimage in the company of 3 Recce Regt Assoc. Led by my own first RSM. 40 plus years old and instantly I was very young again, fresh outside the CO's office waiting to be marched in to meet the CO.

    In other armies, Recce IS considered special forces. German for the Special Forces corps is Fernaufklaerungstruppe or Long Range Reconnaissance Corps. Watch GI Jane: her first posting? A Close Recon Team.

    15/19H entered an annual NATO Recce competition in BAOR in the 70s and, despite being NATO's only seasoned regular troops (the Septics were still in a mess after Nam), struggled to a middling position every year. Only when I did a Linguist German Course in 1980 did I realise that our Sureviellance Troop were up against Special Forces. And frighteningly, better than half of them.

    Recce and proud.
  5. Mr A,

    Try getting hold of a copy of 'Only The Enemy In Front' whcih is a history of the Corps from 1940 until it's disbandment in 1946. Do you know which Theatre he was killed in? I've got some info on Recce Corps Units in NW Europe '44-'45 at home which may help
  6. AlienFTM

    AlienFTM LE Book Reviewer

    And in the Foreign Legion, their elite troops are CRAP (Deep Penetration Reconnaissance Commandoes or some such. Sorry - Googled for this little acronym earlier in the week and couldn't find an expansion, and my reference books are at home.
  7. AlienFTM

    AlienFTM LE Book Reviewer

    Looking at this post, I suspect that this is the correct title for the book to which I referred. As a subtitle, ISTR it went on, "... every other b****r behind."
  8. Alien - how oddly correct you are - on one of my language courses in BFG I was sent on an attachment to 262/2 and realised that their then Fernspaehtruppen were their SF element (obviously taken over by the KSK now).

    Funny bunch of lads and always good for a laugh in Weingarten.
  9. and most of the Recce Regiments were TA battalions re-roled (4RNF, 5th Loyal Regiment, 5th Glosters & 3THR) or the Anti Tank platoons from a division all put together in one formation
  10. That's the one - written by Richard Doherty. I've just looked it up on and the ISBN is 187 1085 187 if that helps. Must get a copy myself.
  11. There was an article on the Reconaissance Corps in Military Illustrated a few years ago, which I'm sure had references; in fact, I think it had a photograph on the cover of re-enactors dressed as Reconaissance Corps members beside an armoured car.
  12. It was indeed NW Europe in '45. Presumably having fought up through Italy etc. Any info gratefully recieved.

    Many thanks to all for the info! I'll try and find the books and the 'military illustrated' piece.
  13. try these books if you can get still them:

    Nisbett, Gordon. For the duration : the journal of a conscript, 1941 to 1946. Edinburgh : Pentland Press, 1996. ISBN: 1858213460 [1st Recce Regt]

    Prince, A.R. Wheeled odyssey : the story of the Fifth Reconnaissance Regt., Royal Armoured Corps. [s.l.: s.n.], 1946.

    Flint, Keith. Airborne armour : Tetrarch, Locust, Hamilcar and the 6th Airborne Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment 1938-50. Solihull : Helion & Co., 2004. ISBN: 187462237X

    Kemsley, W. ; Riesco, M.R. The Scottish lion on patrol : being the story of the 15th Scottish Reconnaissance Regiment, 1943-1946. Bristol : The White Swan Press, 1950.

    49 (West Riding) Reconnaissance Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps : summary of operations, June 1944 to May 1945. Neuenkirchen : Sauerländische Druckerei Wilh. Kroscky, 1945.

    Whitfield, T. D. W. Time spent, or, The history of the 52nd (Lowland) Divisional Reconnaissance Regiment R.A.C. : January, 1941-October, 1945. Rev. ed. Hamilton : Hamilton Advertiser, 1946.

    Shilleto, Carl. The Fighting Fifty-Second Recce : the 52nd (Lowland) Divisional Reconnaissance Regiment in north-west Europe, September 1944 to March 1946. York : Eskdale House, 2001. ISBN: 0953867714

    Cowburn, P.M. Welsh spearhead : 53rd Reconnaissance Regiment, 1941-46. Solingen-Ohligs : [s.n.], 1946.

    Howard, Roy. Beaten paths are safest : from D-Day to the Ardennes : memories of the 61st Reconnaissance Regiment, 50th (TT) Northumbrian Division. Studley : Brewin Books, 2004. ISBN: 1858582563.

    and try this link for a good website:
  14. I know the author of 'Only The Enemy in Front' and he took me to a few 'Recce Corps' re-unions in the UJ Club in the recent past. Regrettably they decided a few years ago not to hold further 're-unions' on a 'grand' scale but leave it to individual surviving members to get together as and when.

    If you pm me I'll forward Richard Doherty's NI details and you can speak/write to him as you will. He's a good source who has met most of the survivors, hence his book. Best of luck.
  15. CRAP = Commandos de Recherche et d’Action dans la Profondeur , part of the Foreign Legion it seems...