Trying to find more info about piece of luggage.

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Exploding_Blancmange, May 21, 2011.

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  1. Was at a client today they had an interesting piece of old luggage, told him I would find out anything I could about it.
    Luggage is apparently from the 30-40's
    Researching online I have found out the following.

    Capitol W with line across the bottom is for the 53rd (Welsh) Infantry Division
    Green Square with white 61 is for the 7th hussars.
    A is probably company designation

    Name is Major O.E. Hughes. (don't have access to Army lists so cannot track him)

    My only issue is that from what I have seen the 7th hussars were never part of 53rd Infantry Division

    Any light that could be shed would be most welcome.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Battered old case with fresh, clear markings; dubious, IMHO.
     
  3. I am not sure where your information on the 7th Hussars came from. In infantry divisions I think up to c.1960 green was the tac sign colour for one of the infantry brigades and 61 was the identifier for one of the battalions in that brigade.

    According to Infantry Division Vehicle Markings in the 53 Welsh Div that would have been 6 RWF or 1 East Lancs
     
  4. Thanks Moonraker. I initially did a google search for Green square with number 61 and it came up with the 7th Hussars...
     

  5. With the info you provided Moonraker I found the following:

    From the Royal Welch Forum War Diary: 1944

    15th July – 1000 – Battalion O Group attended briefing by Brigade Command on a sand model. A Company 6 RWF under Major E Hughes placed under command [of 7 RWF] for the coming operation. Recce party to Assembly Area at 0830 hours. Transport reloaded, carrier platoon being used to initially to carry stores ammunition etc fore the Rifle Companies. Battalion strength 36 Officers 794 other tanks. Alll preparations made for move before dark. [See Appendix No.10]
     
  6. The '61' serial on a green Arm of Service sign can mean different things in different types of formation and at different times of the war. In the 7th Armoured Brigade circa 1941-42 it did indeed mean 7th Hussars (the senior regiment in the brigade).

    However, in an infantry division circa 1944-45, it meant the second infantry battalion of the second infantry brigade in the division.

    Just to add confusion: in an armoured division, '61' on a green square meant the senior infantry battalion in the division's infantry brigade.

    In the case of 53 (Welsh) Infantry Division, this did indeed mean 6 RWF, which was the second battalion of 158 Bde (4 RWF and 7 RWF were the other two batalions). However, 6 RWF was replaced in 158 Bde by 1 East Lancs on 26 Aug 44, following a divisional 'reshuffle'. 6 RWF then became the senior battalion in 160 Bde (the junior brigade in the division). 6 RWF's sign was replaced by '67' on a brown square from that point forth, while 1 East Lancs adopted the '61' on green square.

    While vehicles would be re-painted, I doubt the good Major bothered repainting his luggage! :)

    If this marking system sounds fiendishly complicated, it was deliberately intended to be obscure, in order to frustrate German intelligence-gathering efforts.
     
  7. Glad to be of help EB.
     
  8. As a follow up to the info I received here, I went to the Royal Welch Fusiliers forum and asked for further info.
    Sadly I was informed that Major Hughes OC A company 6RWF was Killed in Action, 27th February 1945.

    CWGC :: Certificate
     
  9. The action in question was Operation 'Leek'; the assault on Weeze, which started on 24 Feb 45. This took place in the Rhineland, as part of the greater Operation 'Veritable', which opened on 8 Feb 45 with 53rd (Welsh) Div's bloody assault through the Reichswald. The 6 RWF war diary described Weeze as their hardest battle of the war and probably the most miserable, as slit-trenches immeidately filled to the brim with water. Their opponents were elements of 15. Panzer-Division and 7. Fallschirmjaeger-Division and 6 RWF met the heaviest shelling they had encountered since the bloody first battle in Normandy, on the slopes of Hill 112.

    After repeated failed attempts to take the town, the plan was changed, with 71 Bde attacking from the north and 160 Bde attacking from the east, through a bridgehead already created across the Muhlen Fleuth stream by 3rd Division. This altered plan was called Operation 'Daffodil'. Patrick Delaforce records that on the 27th "6 RWF sent a recce party into the very exposed 3rd Division bridgehead at the moment when the enemy counter-attacked and five key officers were killed or wounded. Major Hughes, Captain Owen, Captain Griffiths, Captain Broderick and Lt Bodenham. In a stroke they were written off - a disaster. Nevertheless, 'A', 'D' & 'C' Coys secured the Muhlen Fleuth bridgehead - an area about the size of a large football pitch. 'B' Coy made a gallant attempt to enlarge the bridgehead, but were virtually cut off until 4 Welch came up on their right to help."
     
  10. Brigadier Barclay's history has this to say: "No sooner had orders been issued than a party from the 6th RWF, who were to relieve the 2nd Bn, The East Yorkshire Regiment in the Muhlen Fleuth bridgehead, set off to make a reconnaissance. Just as they had finished the enemy staged a local counter-attack accompanied by heavy artillery fire. This caught the reconnaissance party and inflicted heavy losses. Major E Hughes, Capt L Owen and Captain G Griffith were killed and two other officers seriously wounded. the loss of these experienced officers, following so closely the casualties of two days before, was a heavy blow to the Battalion."
     
  11. Thanks Signalman for your help in getting more history on this piece.

    EB
     
  12. No worries. I'll let you know if I turn up anything more about him. Delaforce's 'Red Crown & Dragon' annoyingly doesn't have an index. Barclay's divisional history does, but Major Hughes is only mentioned that one time. There is a regimental history for 6 RWF in WW2, but it's very rare. I'm going to be pulling some war diary extracts, op orders and after-action reports for 53 W Div from Kew sometime this year, so I'll let you know if I find anything.
     
  13. Note that he is referred to as 'Major E Hughes' - not OE Hughes or O Hughes. It's very common for Welshmen to be known by their last Christian name rather than the Anglo-Saxon convention of being known by your first Christian name.
     
  14. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    I have the same covered case upstairs but its the wifes Grandfather, Gunner through both world wars commisioned in the first war. It holds his medals and some interesting paperwork from his time in India between the wars. His Mons Star is a pucker dated one, so he was BEF!
    Sorry I forgot to add that its a cash box type affair inside the leather, whats the welsh one like inside?