Lancashire Fusiliers TA
WWI DSO & MC group to Capt W.J. Lloyd Lancashire Fusiliers
The 1918 Hindenburg Line Distinguished Service
Order and Military Cross group to Captain William Joseph Lloyd Lancashire
Fusiliers attached to 5th Battalion West Riding Regiment will be offered
in Warwick & Warwicks auction on Wednesday 15th February
2012 estimated £2700.
William Joseph Lloyd enlisted in the Duke of Lancasters Own Yeomanry as a trooper, service number 3433 and arrived in France on 28th August 1915 with this unit. He was commissioned in the 7th Lancashire Fusiliers on the 26th March 1918 and subsequently attached to the 5th Battalion West Riding Regiment.
The DSO and MC were both announced in the London Gazette dated 1st February 1919.
The DSO was awarded For great personal bravery and gallant leadership against .... (Havrincourt) and the Hindenburg Line between September 12th and 15th 1918, particularly on the 13th, when he was placed in charge of a bombing attack on the Hindenburg Line. The attack was held up by a close range machine gun fire which enfiladed a gap in the trench where the latter crosses a sunk road. Six of his men and another officer were killed in attempting to cross and there was momentary disorganisation. He at once rallied the attacking party and continued the advance, himself crossing and re-crossing the gap, several times and taking the greatest personal risks in order to encourage his men. He then led the attack up the trench, overcame the enemy resistance, capturing the objective, over twenty prisoners and a machine gun. In spite of the fact that a pocket of the enemy were in the rear and he was heavily counter-attacked, he held on to his position throughout the day thus enabling other attacks to succeed and the battalion objective to be gained. The very fine example of personal bravery exhibited by this officer, combined with good leadership, was largely responsible for the success of operations.
The extended MC citation For dashing leadership and great bravery during the operations resulting in the capture of the Crossings of Canal ...... (DEscault). He forced the Crossings, and his great dash and fearless example quickly got his company across, he personally superintending the Crossing under heavy machine gun and shell fire. During the evening of the 28th September he led his Company in an attack on the German trenches, which were held by greatly superior numbers of the enemy. Here he was surrounded and cut off, with nine men from his Company. He at once ordered a charge, drove in thirty of the enemy as prisoners. At the same time an enemy counter-attack was launched on the left flank of the battalion, but his promptitude in organizing the available reserves and the gallant leading of this officer saved a dangerous situation and beat off the attack.
He was Mentioned in Field Marshall Haigs
dispatches in the London Gazette dated 16th March 1919.
He was promoted Acting Captain from commanding
a Company on 10th November 1918. He was later granted temporary Captain
for service with Kings African Rifles on the 4th February 1925.
The full medal details are Distinguished Service Order, Military Cross and 1914-15 star trio with MID oakleaf to Capt W.J. Lloyd (3433 Pte D. of Lanc O. Yeo on star, 2nd Lt W.J. Lloyd Hindenburg Line 13th Sept 1918 on edge of 3 arms of DSO, 2nd Lt W.J. Lloyd D.S.O. Marcoing 27 Sept 1918 on MC) court mounted as worn with J.R. Gaunt label to reverse, with matching set of court mounted miniatures. Also with ribbon bar, cap badges for West Yorks, West Riding and Tanganyika Territory, original typed extended citations for DSO and MC. With framed DSO bestowal document, MID certificate, photos in Yeomanry uniform (marked Maxim Gun Section on reverse), Lanc Fus uniform as Capt with ribbons, 3 photos in tropical whites with medals. Also with a typed letter of congratulation from The Cunard Steam Ship Co, copies of MIC, LG entries.
2190 Pte Richard Murgatroyd serving with the
7th Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers
National Roll of Honour:
Salford - stating that he served with the 8th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers and was wounded on the Somme in 1916. He married Annie Shambrook in December 1904. Had a daughter Edith in 1911 169 Ellesmere St, Patricroft, Eccles and another Esther in March 1917 ? His wife died in June 1917 aged 32 years. Post war address provided for the National Roll entry was given as 187 Ellesmere St, Eccles.
"The Webley .45 pistol previously owned by Lt K McLeod of the
It was purchased in America by Mr Chris Kofron
who is currently serving with the USA armed forces in Iraq"
Click on photos to enlarge
A Silver Guard Mounting Competition Medal
7th Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers. The group includes
Colonel Frith [ Staff Officer ? ] and General Douglas. Sent by Daddy
[ believed to be Major A.J. Bailey ] to L.A. Bailey of Cwm Elan,
Carwen Sylva Rd, Llandudno. Posted from Prestatyn JU 12
Rank: Private Number 4648 Name of Rgt or Ship: Lancashire Fusiliers
Died: 26/04/1916 Age: 27
Cemetery or Memorial: Salford (Weaste) Cem
Murdered by Private Walter Taylor at the Cross Lane
Barracks, Salford. The first witness at the inquest into his death was
his sister - Margaret Kelly, 38 Armitage Street, Patricroft. She stated
that her deceased brother was a 27 year old Iron Worker who enlisted
seven years ago in the 7th Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers. He had seen
actice service at the Dardenelles and had come
She said that he had mentioned the name, Walter Taylor
to her and said that he was a sailor, he was a fine man, but very quiet.
Sergeant Roger Roberts giving evidence stated that
the prisoner had been reported as being absent from parade and that
Captain Cartwright had ordered that he be put into the guardroom until
he had chance to deal with him. The prisoner was
The Post Mortem revealed that Private Kelly's throat had been cut from ear to ear, inflicted with six separate strokes of a knife, so deep that it had gone through to his vertebrae and had cut through all his blood vessels.
The Jury's verdict was "Wilfull Murder" and Walter Taylor was committed for trial. However the doctors at Strangeways Prison where he was held decided that he was insane and he was detained at"His Majesty's Pleasure".
A description of his funeral;
The Funeral of the victim of the Barracks Tragedytook
place on Monday at Weaste Cemetery, when the proceedings were distinguished
by military honours of a very impressive character. Apart from the relatives
of the deceased from 150 to 200 uniformed men attended in marching order
accompanied by the Royal Engineers East Lancashire Band. As the cortège
wended its way to the cemetery huge masses of silent witnesses assembled
along the whole of the route. The cemetery, however, was crowded with
people. As the last
7th Bn XX Lancashire Fusiliers TA
Converted to 354 (Lancashire Fusiliers) Searchlight
also click on the link below
In early August, 2005 Mr Graham WAY a History Teacher from London made contact with the Web Site Editor regarding his late father Mr John Charles WAY who was born on the 6th March, 1912 at Urmston, Manchester. Whilst going through his father’s papers at the former family home, Graham had happened upon a manila folder that contained numerous photographs and documents relating to the
354 (Lancashire Fusiliers) Searchlight Battery
RA TA - 39th (
Photo Circa late 1930’s
Sergeant Way’s postings were:-
12th August, 1939 to 23rd August 1939 Selby
24th August, 1939 to 3rd
4th September, 1939 to 16th April, 1940 Tabley
17th April, 1940 to 11th May, 1940 Backley
12th May, 1940 to 10th July,
11th July, 1940 to 25th
26th October, 1940 to 18th
19th November, 1940 to 3rd
4th December, 1940 to 24th November, 1941 Whaley Bridge
25th December, 1941 to 29th
30th April, 1942 to 15th
16th December, 1942 to 31st May, 1943 Attleborough (Old Buckenham)
31st May, 1943 to 23rd February, 1944 Kintbury
24th February, 1944 to 7th
August, 1944 Castle
8th August, 1944 to 16th
September, 1944 Sturminster
17th September, 1944 to 14th
February, 1945 Hadleigh,
31st January, 1945 to 14th February, 1945 Mablethorpe and Bridlington
14th February, 1945 to 28th May, 1945 Spalding
29th May, 1945 to 31st October,
31st October, 1945 Discharged
A detailed search of the Internet / World Wide Web through a number of search engines has shown that although Searchlight Regiments are mentioned here and there in the context that such and such a unit existed, little or nothing has actually ever been written about the
Searchlight Regiments of the British Army during World War 2
The following links to the Royal Artillery Web Site and the pages shown are believed to be the only accurate record of the various Searchlight Regiments, Battalions and Batteries available on the Internet.
The following is a newspaper ‘column’
that appeared in the
Impressive Parade: Wreaths Laid On War Memorials
Members of the Salford Branch of the Lancashire
Fusiliers Old Comrades Association: the 7th Battalion Lancashire
Fusiliers Old Comrades’ Association; and the 354 (Lancashire
On August, 1st, 1759 during the Seven
Years’ War the French were routed by an Anglo- Hanoverian army
under Lord George Sackville and Ferdinand of Brunswick at
Thursday’s parade, which assembled at the
Minden Day greetings were sent by Lieutenant Colonel
J. Allen T.D. a former commanding officer of the 39th Regiment
and chairman of the
The parade, which was headed by the Windsor Institute
Prize Band, marched by way of
An enjoyable concert was held later by the members
of the 345 Searchlight Battery Old Comrades Association at the Drill
A large number of
The following is a newspaper cutting believed to have been published in March, 1946 possibly in the Salford City Reporter
A. T. S.
Join Old Comrades
“Daily Dispatch” reporter
When a stentorian voice rasped out, “
It was the first reunion of members of the battery
who have returned to civilian life, and Sammy Gill, who was extremely
popular, was there, in mufti, beaming on his boys and girls of what
had become known as
A number of A.T.S. in the unit married officers
and other ranks. They were there, including Subaltern Nancy Massey,
wife of Capt. Massey. Amongst the other ranks were Sgt. J Quincey,
who married A.T.S. Pte. G. Pritchard, both of
Major George Newton, formerly second – in – command told me: “It is the first time in Britain that A.T.S. have joined an Old Comrades Association Other units have tabooed the idea, but our view was that they were with us in the war and we want to keep in touch with them in the peace”.
A desk diary containing minutes taken at meetings
of 354 (Lancashire Fusiliers) Searchlight Battery RA TA Old Comrades
Association confirms that the first reunion was held at the Cattle
Actual size 13” x 9”
The above folder was found amongst the documents and contains the story of 354 Batteries “comings and goings” between August 1939 and Christmas 1941.
was written by
The original is in extremely poor condition so it has been rewritten in its entirety
“IT’S ‘354’ WE ARE”
There are many handicaps in recording war activity in war time – not least of these being the fine filter of Security Regulations.
Due to this, much exciting narrative and amusing incidents is excluded from this brief survey of “The Battery”.
Our battalion – once the 7th Lancashire Fusiliers, TA – was one of the early transfers to searchlights and became
In those days, when the higher command still cherished the hope that cavalry had some relationship with horses; an arm of the Services which embellished its hardware with as much gaily coloured electric wiring as ourselves; soon graduated as Engineers of Royal standing!
With the battalion traditions in “high dungeon” and T.S. Ms. in infernally low gear, we had amused ourselves at several annual camps.
Security has long since expired on that unhappy time of abysmal unreadiness. As most of us know, some truly Gilbertian situations staged themselves overnight , as the nation struggled frantically to withdraw the Sword of Freedom from its rusty scabbard.
Comic and tragic as were those salutary days of emergency they were useful beyond measure in ensuring that we all tested the tonic of reality. In spite of unforeseen handicaps, we saw clearly, perhaps for the first time, some of the “loopholes and cracks” which a blessed providence (or forgave!) us twelve months to repair.
August, 1939, presents a very different situation; the sand is running out and many are convinced of what lies ahead; most are far from optimism.
The annual camp of “354” approaches
and on “The Twelfth” ; a truly prophetic date –
for neither shooting nor grousing has ceased since
- we deploy over pleasant hills and dales to
The farm windows blink defiantly back at our shafts
of light which are soon to be the only unshuttered windows in
The Bumph Demon, long restricted to such mundane activity as the torture of searchlight quartermasters (pardon Quartermasters, searchlight) is becoming quite besides himself in teeth some anticipation of the feast that lies ahead. Not waiting for the starting gun, he spits the magic seeds of chaos into Brigade typewriters.
To hell with Hitler1 “Let’s be getting
some signatures”, -- Section Officers dash in all directions,
section sergeants curse confused, and sappers catcall into the darkness.
Finally with wagons and cars groaning under the weight of accredited
stores, together with those little items which we feel will be of
greater national service in our hands than those of the “
Sleep is a memory, but finally red-eyed and triumphant
we stagger back to Battalion Headquarters at
By this time our friend the Bumph demon, is well astride his war horse and in new security wields his venom with greater deliberation; indulging in the piquancy of carbon sandwich, two, three and finally five deckers, regularly supplying his insatiable appetite.
Thus empties once more, this Fusilier stronghold,
and 354 find a long line of responsibility stretching from Macclesfield
The early days of war are tense indeed -- popular opinion (still unreliable!) anticipates that we shall be the first to “go into action!” - wild conjecture vies with even wilder rumour concerning our intentions and those of the enemy.
The complete absence of the aerial cataclysm that everyone expects in no way lessen our anticipation – if anything it rather increases it, on the basis that the cunning Hun seeks only to prey once more upon out national weakness, wishful thinking, so that the blow, when it falls, will be more devastating.
The weather is good and the men healthy and fit, soon section are well ahead with all manner of ingenious emplacements which require skilful drainage schemes. The immediate sub-soil is solid clay in most case – all this and no issue of riveting material. A naïve illusion indeed!
The Cheshire County Council and other altruistic organisations soon remedy this shortage, though they are blissfully unaware of it at the time, and one suspects are so still!
It is certainly not for nou’t that these
Many LF veterans are with us and though scornful of the electrical mysteries of “carbon burning”, profit from remembered hunger experienced in past campaigns. These strangely attired worthies have constructed from local “tips” weird and wonderful field kitchens where the detachment joint sizzles richly with “two vegs” and “duff” which later threatens to reverse any sapper’s polarity!
Some of us are guarding vital points about Manchester
Docks and the Ship Canal ; some may be seen silhouetted on the top
of Barton Power Station. Report has it that these chaps are sitting
pretty for some of the perquisites of “
Some bright lads have discovered a novel way to supplement their beer money by digging graves for an overworked sexton at St. Catherine’s Churchyard.
Marker boards glow with luminous paint; while coloured electric light bulbs indicate equipment positions in the inky darkness of moonless nights.
Back at the area section, officers compete to produce novel and ingenious schemes by which inadequate supplies and operational needs can be met. Others have arranged cunning alarm systems to ensure faster manning times; a necessary precaution as we are at 30 second readiness which requires “some doing.”
Company Headquarters at Tabley Hill have their troubles – inadequate accommodation – tents without boards – no water – all roads becoming quagmired – little or no communication and some peculiar ex civilian transport.
This latter problem soon becomes quite acute – this vast area has to be rationed daily and the contractors’ lorries of uncertain vintage start developing a succession of more or less troublesome breakdowns. The MT staff have only a windswept marquee as a workshop and as the winter makes itself felt this becomes more difficult to manage – lorries are constantly getting bogged down; so sweating swearing sappers heave at the wheels and dig in cinders for better grip.
About this time the G.O.C., 4th A.A. Division, pays his first visit to us and expresses general approval at progress in the area; special praise is given to Field Site at Poever which is selected as exemplary for certain constructional features.
There is still no enemy action, and it is now October, work is going well, but a new spectre appears – boredom among the men has been overlooked in our anxiety to press on with constructional work. Football matches are soon organised and welfare from various sources proves of golden worth.
Among the many kind neighbours, Mr. and Mrs. Lester Warren whose estate is in the area, lend their private theatre for E.N.S.A. shows and the “boys” appreciate it a lot. Much talent is discovered in section personnel and soon, as pianos are secured, hut concerts get going; these are highly entertaining due possibly to the lack of censorship over the lyric writers.
The Regional Commissioner at this time, Sir Warren Fisher pays a call at Company Headquarters and is very interested to see how, with considerable improvisation, our telephone system now reaches the remotest detachment via section headquarters exchanges. Plotting exercises, hitherto impossible, now get into their stride and the new searchlight control centre express satisfaction with the speed of transmission.
About this time our first shot is fired – by a sentry who hearing suspicious noises at night near the equipment, challenged twice without success. Having loosed off one for luck, considerable commotion ensues, but all that is discovered is one pair of flannel trousers!
The newly formed 53rd A.A. Brigade takes over our battalion from the 44th as from November, 1st 1939.
Winter is setting in and soon snow falls heavily.
The cold is intense and anti – freeze precautions on generator and road vehicles have to be re-doubled; even so some cars freeze up while running on the road. The winter is recorded as the most severe for the last 100 years, many sites become snowbound and section officers have to struggle around with rum rations, while food in some cases is manhandled on sledges improvised from duckboards. Such conditions last for several months, but despite such handicaps and with the welcome assistance of local farmers and others, Christmas, 1939, goes off well. Extra food is secured for all, with Christmas puddings from N.A.A.F.I.
We have a queer, motley throng about our Company Headquarters Cookhouse and it is hard to keep anything remotely clean or hygienic; a veritable sea of slush by the gumboots of batmen and cookhouse orderlies. An old soldier is in charge here and boasts a stripe for his responsibilities. One day in the absence of our bugler this enterprising lad proceeds to sound “cookhouse” himself – the writer witnessed this amazing display; after producing a most horrific belly shaking discord into which he put all that was left of his Woodbine scarred lungs; he was leaning exhausted against the cookhouse wall, when, over the top appears the greasy dial of one of his scullions who says, “You’d better go and tell them Corp!”
We have done our best with the unfavourable conditions at Tabley, but the continued shortage of hutting makes it necessary to find requisitioned quarters. These are located at Baguley, some miles from the centre of our area, but with good main road communications. Stores are moved in advance, as much plumbing, etc., has to be effected. Finally we occupy Baguley House in force, and start spreading ourselves in the novel luxury of dry quarters.
But our comfort is short-lived.
Extra illumination is urgently required on the East Coast and we are selected. The battalion soon after our departure leave for Orkney Defences. Very soon we prepare to hand over the previous plots on which so much initiative and energy have been expended. By this time Newhall Farm section headquarters is a show site indeed and has attracted many distinguished visitors who declare it one of the best in the A.D.G.B. The new hutting scale has been effected in full here, and it resembles a miniature village.
Before we leave Cheshire several exercises are held with the co-operation of local auxiliary services – A.F.S., women’s ambulance corps, wardens, etc., The demonstrations are well attended and highly spectacular; friendly aircraft bomb the site where upon dummy casualties and pre-arranged fires are created – ambulances driven by “smashing blondes” career over the field. (These ladies seem to dress more to demonstrate personal charms than grim reality). A good time is had by all. The wardens and A.F.S. shower all and sundry with water from stirrup pumps in some what abortive efforts to quell fires, which, on some occasions threatened to become “to true to be good.” However all this helps to test the communications and get everyone more “in focus” against what is to come.
The movement order arrives at last and we are
destined for the
New equipment has to be collected and specially selected convoys go ahead for this purpose. The rest of us are going through the sleepless process of handing over and packing up, with all their unexpected “jams” and irritations. Finally we rendezvous at Cross Lane Drill Hall.
The wives and sweethearts keep pace with their
husbands and swains, but soon find the going too hard for high heels.
So these are removed and the journey completed in stocking feet! London
Road Station looks at its gloomiest as we entrain and after last minute
checks by the company sergeant major and officers, we pull out in
the welter of indiscriminate osculation. Everyone collapses into welcome
oblivion which seems over all too soon, for we arrive at
We look and feel like the great unwashed. Nothing much happened for some considerable time and we stand out in the cold, hungry and discontent. After a while odd officers of the 44th (Leicestershire) S/L Regt., R.A., to whom we are posted, filter along and view us with distaste.
Our baggage, by this time spewed all over the station yard, has to be seen to be believed – we are certainly nomadic! Finally there is a stir in the crowd and the Leicestershire’s Colonel, straight from his bathtub, descends upon us. He is immaculate, and bears the soft odour of lotions in his wake.
We all feel much dirtier as a result!
Distances around section are made worse by tortuous irrigation schemes, canals, etc. and the “so near and yet so far” situation is constantly recurring. One section has 110 miles round its six stations.
By this time the situation in
“All officers will go armed---all vehicles will carry rifles and ammunition”
The Bumph demon, smarting from all he has lost
Enemy aircraft come over us in increasing numbers and bombs are being dropped too near to be “laughed off”.
Strange lights appear on deserted Fenlands. A large expanse of carefully bridged dykes surrounding beet fields is discovered and arrests follows. Germanic voices come through our R/T sets and all is tense with anticipation.
A somewhat disconcerting feature of this period
is the endless stream of evacuated
Closer inspection, however, indicates the “far- sightedness” of our evil friend, who doubtless has our next campaign in mind; for the wood is three foot high!
We suspect our winged brothers in arms fly almost too high for the demon and in respect for their achievement we live in uneasy proximity to paraffin flares which help the forward dromes each night; when comforting numbers of “big chaps” crawl over well leaden with “atter” not unsuitable for the waiting Jerry!
In this direction the coincident installations of slit trenches with the flares proves sound foresight.
Rumour is rife -
we are about to move. This develops in the usual unreliable
lines and our next deployment is confidently forecast to be several
Due to special nature of out next assignment it is necessary to split the company into parts – so two sections push on to Southampton and Company Headquarters and other two sections go on to Bristol. This severed state continued for six months during which the two “lost sections” form a somewhat homogenous whole and blossom forth as the “half battery”, However, as the song goes, “But we don’t speak of that now” (for best reasons known to the O.C., Battery and the Demon”).
In both Southampton and Bristol any previous lack of first – hand experience with the enemy made good and we had a great deal of bombing, and ground strafing also on occasions. In the latter case the “boys” proved that they had not been maintaining their Lewis Guns for over a year for “nou’t” - as a number of Heinkels had cause to remember.
Security Regulations regrettably prevent a detail of the many amusing and exciting experiences which befell both half companies. On Minden Day, 1941, by a strange coincidence, the 39th Battalion became officially an R.A. Regiment, and while wearing their roses sappers became gunners, corporals bombardiers and section troops – but we still have our LF cap badge and LF buttons (all of em!).
To digress from our diary of events for a moment
- one of our “old sweats” is quaffing a pint in
the local when in comes three
In all the section of
This time the battery moves further west into
Battery Headquarters resumes at the recently vacated
At last, when all are getting a trifle irked by
the Commandant’s circus each day -- regardless of the one displayed
by Richtofens successor each night – orders for a “home
James” for the North, and our former Brigade area once more.
Our advance party left for Lancashire when our old pal, The Demon,
swallows another “five decker” and the
Getting to bed at 0130 hours and rising for the convoy at 0500 hours makes us all feel “a bit grey” (as an air sentry once said to the O.C. when asked the colour of the sky of the day!) but the caravan moves off to time looking as usual like an Arabian camel train. By this time our well supplemented stores range from acquired bedsteads to chemical closets. Gunner’s kits bulged with “perks”, all of which in some mysterious manner lashed together by alarming quantities of D.8 Wire. Lewis Guns are as usual ready for action slung on the backs of all lorries and attended by the boys sprawled over the heaving mass of kit bags with the nonchalance of harem beauties.
Every time we stop (and it is rarely as nature will permit) harassed troop officer find long familiar faces leaning out of bedroom windows flourishing cups of tea and teapots at their less fortunate colleagues. Great hilarity and goodwill to all (and women) is the spirit which inspires our convoys but it is not so funny for the officers in charge at the time, though it always seems so in retrospect.
Derbyshire is finally reached in good order, a night being spent at Prees Heath where we sleep in racing stables and make up a few shortages in eating utensils from the hand that feeds us; causing much delay in what proves, of course, to be an abortive kit inspection.
Derbyshire greets us with a screaming blizzard and driving rain and with increasing amazement and apprehension troop lorries crawl over 2,000 feet mountain slopes and deposit their indescribable contents in places from which even the sheep have been removed for shelter! Our bedraggled and battle-scarred canvas is hardly equal to this and we soon get into barns, lofts, pigsties, in fact anything that gives some semblance of protection from the December blast.
This is the toughest proposition yet – operational
men have to endure tented conditions right through the winter, and
we slave at emplacements --
officers and men perspiring together, in some of the light projectors
with the reflectors off. Some sites are cut off for a week at a time
by snow, but excellent rations solve the food problem. Battery is
The boys do their stuff once more and in the face of all this indescribable difficulty, our maintenance is held up as exemplary. Well hutted and plumbed batteries are brought over to se how it can be done in spite of everything.
Christmas, 1940, threatens to be tragic one.
The worst cases we get home first, and the others as soon as possible.
Gradually we lick circumstances and by time spring
comes really good sites have been hacked out of these Derbyshire
heights. Summer arrives and one can enjoy the true beauty of the area.
In spite of great distances from other habitation the boys have grown
to like the environment , and the gruelling weather has strangely
enough made everyone fitter, so that when we hear of out impending
So here we are at last in
With the battery commander all officers doff their
hats to “The Boys”, in sincere respect for their stolid
reliability and “guts” in face of changing
The plaque above was purchased from E bay by Capt (retd) Joe Eastwood B.E.M. CQSW
The Autograph Book shown below was found within the discovered folder and contains numerous personnel messages from former members of the ‘354’
Actual size 5” x 3”
The following names have been taken from the Autograph Book
Where doubt exists as to a name I have shown it in italics having taken my best stab at deciphering ' scribble '.
"Bod" Capt. RA
Lord Damron of Penn
John B Capt RA
Eva Richardson (Yaxley 28.11.42)
T or J Crawford
H E or M E Stone
J B Dean L/Sgt
Bill McCling Sgt RA
D Smith Capt. July 28th 45
Drawbridge Believed to be a nickname
Norman Collinson Capt. RA
Marian G Pritchard
Joan E Davis
Sam Begaurs Whaley Bridge 1939 1945
Frank Balber Overseas Club
George Hewton Capt RA
E.O Symonds Lt. REME (Hocus)
David Massey Capt RA
Douglas Reid Lt. RA
Joan " Smudgy"
Robert Rendall Lt. RA
Sadie DingA. Howarth
Jeth Cochrane Sgt REME
Jimmy Grant S/Sgt
Margaret L Bussey
There are a number of other names but it is impossible to decipher the signatures
The following are extracts from local newspapers announcing or reporting on the Minden Day Parade
The Parade was also announced on the BBC Northern News at 0625 hours on 31st July, 1945
Evening Chronicle, Saturday, July 28th 1945.
the first time in 6 years the anniversary
of Minden Day (1759) will be upheld in Salford by a march past
and parade of the 354 Searchlight battery, R.A. (T.A.) formerly the
7th Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers, on Wednesday.(1st
at the Drill Hall,
Lieut. Colonel R.R. Rainford, T.D., R.A., formerly Colonel the 39th (LF) Searchlight Regiment will take the salute at the junction of Acton square and The Crescent at about 1115 a.m. and the Mayoress of Salford will be present at the saluting base, and in the evening the Mayor and Mayoress will attend a dance in the Drill Hall.
various infantry regiments which have Minden amongst their battle
honours must during the war have celebrated Minden Day in some out
of the way places and in some odd ways. Yesterday something of the
peace time ceremony of the day was revived in Salford by a march past
by the 354th Searchlight battery, Royal Artillery, which
used to be the 7th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers, while
in Minden itself men of the K.O.Y.L.I. attended a ceremony wearing
roses picked on the road leading to the scene of the famous victory.
The following is an extract from an unknown local newspaper
officers of the Lancashire Fusiliers who have joined the regiment
since the last
today the 354th Searchlight Battery R.A. of the Lancashire
Fusiliers celebrated their first Minden Day in
Also found amongst the documents was the spoof “Last Will and Testament” of Adolf Hitler as shown in the Photo Gallery above.
A further document, a simple red lined book was found and is a hand written record of various meetings of the
(Lancashire Fusiliers) Searchlight
It is a very difficult document to read but confirms that the O.C.A. was “officially” formed in January, 1946 and finally, effectively ceased to exist as of 5th February, 1973.
Further detailed research into the contents of the “Minute Book “ are on going. An update with the results will appear as an addition to this story at a later date.
Again, enquiries are being made into the names of those persons mentioned in the Autograph Book.
We are indebted
A Further update to the 354 story
Following on from the publication of the Feature on the 39th (Lancashire Fusiliers) Searchlight Regiment TA RA
we had the good fortune to make contact with
a former member of 354 Searchlight Battery who lives in Lytham St
Phyllis May York
Phylis May York Nee Northcott was born on 10th September, 1921 at Seaton, Devon and on 23rd August, 1947 at Seaton, married Stanley York who she met whilst both were serving in 354 Battery. (see photo of Stanley below). She first met Stanley in early 1944 when she called in on the 354 Battery, prior to actually being posted to 354 Battery, to have signs painted on a Battery vehicle. Stanley did this sign writing.
Phylis enlisted at Wrexham in November, 1942 and after a period of training at Gresford was posted to No.2 Searchlight Battery at Blandford.
Phylis has viewed the story so far published and says that she knew Sgt Way (main 354 feature) and in fact drove him from Hadleigh, Suffolk to Headquarters.
From the list of names taken from the Autograph Book (see the 354 story above) she is able to recall the following:
Captain (Dave) Massey RA.Phylis often used to drive him
Harold Wilcock (See photograph below)..He is Godfather to Phyliss son Phil. His surviving wife lives in Cleveleys
Phil York has forwarded a hand written note from his mother, which in the interests of clarity is reproduced below in typescript
I joined up at Wrexham then went to Gresford for 6 weeks Driving and maintenance Course. Posted to No.2 Searchlight Battery at Blandford. Later drove a Colonel at Bath, had to collect new vehicle from Plymouth and called at 354 Battery on way back for signs to be put on, which were done by my future husband.
Later posted to 354 Battery at Castle Cary as the Colonel had to have a C3 Driver and I was A1. 354 Battery then moved to Hadleigh in Suffolk where we had the doodle bugs coming over, too close sometimes, as we were on top of a hill. After that we went to Sturminster Marshall.
We were spilt up when the men went training for abroad at Helmsley in Yorkshire and then went out to Egypt.
The friend I exchange Xmas Cards with was Phyllis Matthews, then I think in the Ops Room
The men and women of 354 in January, 1945
Signatures of those pictured.
Phylis has signed herself P.M. Northcott but is actually not on the photograph!
One of the signatures is Ada FOX who appears with photograph on the inside of the front cover of the autograph book.
This was taken at Gresford in about December, 1942
Phylis is sixth from the left in the rear rank
Top left Stanley York
3rd from left top row Harold Wilcock
Bottom right Ernie Denegri
The man between Stanley York and Harold Wilcock is believed to be Gerry Curtis who was the 354 barber!
Ada Fox who celebrated her 21st birthday at Hadleigh on 6th October, 1944 whilst serving with 354 Battery
Other names recalled by Phylis are Bill Crawford who was a driver and possibly a mechanic. Maybe he is the T or J Crawford whose signature is in the autograph book.
Staff Sergeant Grant, most probably the Jimmy Grant S/Sgt whose signature appears in the autograph book.
Phylis Matthews (referred to above). She may be the 8th from the left 2nd row in the Photo taken at Gresford December, 1942
Muriel Davies was Phyliss friend and though she has signed the back of one of the photographs she sadly does not appear on any.
Once again, our grateful thanks are extended to Phylis for the information provided and in particular to her son Phil York who took the time and trouble to obtain the information on behalf of the Web Site.
September/ November 2005