Operation Goodwood / 23rd Hussars

The Allies 1939-1945, and those fighting against Germany.

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willgray04
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Re: Operation Goodwood / 23rd Hussars

Post by willgray04 » Sun Apr 12, 2009 8:15 am

THE 1000 BOMBER RAID ON CAEN

My eyes were wide open to the vast array of golden corn laden land that unfurled as far as my eyes could see.

I could not bear to close them because of the array of man killing weapons that were within my view.

Hundreds of tanks and recently used wooden gliders, that lay empty in front of me.

Two or three days before these had borne desperate men who were destined to kill their adversaries and it was probable that so many would have died in the process.

Was I afraid or were we all afraid?

There was no time to dwell upon our fears, all our eyes were open to the heavens above where there were hundreds aeroplanes carrying their death dealing bombs to shower on the enemy.

Suddenly there was the scream of a death dealing bomb wending its way to earth.

The cry was “It’s one of ours.”

So right they were, my eyes were closed, yes I was afraid.

My eyes were once again wide open to the havoc it had caused to my comrades and friends who were lying dead or maimed to fight no more.

From that day on, my eyes would be forever open to the fear of war,

By W.F.Gray


Hi there, I was twenty yards away when this happened. At that moment, I was alongside a glider on top of my tank filling up with petrol and at that moment hundreds of Bombers were flying over returning from the Raid on Caen. I heard the bomb coming and to tell you the truth I thopught it was intended for the enemy. Within seconds I was blown over the glider and landed on my back abot ten yards away, Fourth troop had been hit and Lt. Cockrane was wounded and two killed. Cpl Adams and another. Teddy Groom was the driver and it was thought he came out unscathed. Later they discovered that a piece of shrapnel had his leg holster and set off one of the cartridges and entered his thigh. Another friend of mine had goe and I have never seen him sice that day. The other person who was enquiring about his uncle that died on the 19th July. The only name I could find that was killed that day/ was Trooper Marsden. Will Gray

reg morton
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Re: Operation Goodwood / 23rd Hussars

Post by reg morton » Sun Apr 12, 2009 10:48 am

hello will, thanks ever so much for your correspondence and details about lofty lane, i am afraid its just the horrors of war, you have to see it to believe it, i could not explain to my wife what it was like to be in battle in iraq and the smell of burning flesh,my war was a short war but something i will never forget, your war was a hell of a lot longer and messier,you are all heroes who dont get much of a mention,my late father was a normandy veteran and didnt talk too much about it ,he lost some good friends too, where do you live in england, i live in wellingborough northants, not far from where lofty lane was born, hope you are well, forever in your debt, reg morton

Cott Tiger
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Re: Operation Goodwood / 23rd Hussars

Post by Cott Tiger » Wed Apr 22, 2009 11:52 am

Crikey. I don’t know where to start.

I’ve haven’t been on here for several months, and true to form, Feldgrau never ceases to amaze!

Firstly I’d like to thank all those that helped me with my quest to find out what happened to my wife’s great uncle. Special thanks to Michael Kenny and to von Salza (who gave some fantastic info by PM) for their contributions.

But now I come to Reg Morton and Will Gray.

Firstly, Reg. You must be my father-in-laws cousin! We are both seeking information on the same Kenneth W. Lane! Ken’s sister is my wife’s Grandma, and, I presume, your Aunt. I have sent you an email and a PM to get in touch. My father-in-law has some marvellous photos of Ken and of B squadron that I’m sure you’d like to see.

And finally Mr Gray. I am completely overwhelmed and incredibly excited to have found someone who actually knew and served with Ken. I didn’t expect in my wildest dreams to come across anything like this when I started to research Ken’s story.. I sincerely thank you for coming on here and sharing some of your memories, and of course giving us an insight into how he actually died
Thanks for responding to my email and we’ll be in contact shortly to hopefully find out some more detail.

Once again many, many heartfelt thanks to all those who have responded.

Kind regards,

André
Up The Tigers!

sgreenhalgh
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Re: Operation Goodwood / 23rd Hussars

Post by sgreenhalgh » Sat Jul 25, 2009 6:40 am

I have just joined this site because I am doing some research to find out more about my wife's uncle Lance Corporal Leonard W. Ball who was killed on Hill 112. His son, who was only 5 at the time, has naturally been curious about his dad, what he was like and the circumstances of his short time in Normandy but is unable for various reasons to do the research himself. As far as we know Leonard was in one of the first tanks of B Squadron that approached Point/Hill 112 on the 28th June 1944 and which came under attack and destroyed. He and the others in his squadron who died in the action are commemorated in the Priory Church in Bridlington (where they did their training) - see http://www.skysurfer.co.uk/armour.htm.

I wondered if anyone had any memories of Leonard so that I can pass them on to his son Peter.

Stephen Greenhalgh
Southampton

spreaders
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Re: Operation Goodwood / 23rd Hussars

Post by spreaders » Sun Feb 13, 2011 12:58 pm

Hi to all,
Totally new to this site,looking for any information re;Trooper Harold Spreadbury,23rd Hussars,Harold was my Father and would never talk about the war,which i suppose is understandable.
i do know that he served with 23rd Hussars,i have a letter signed by Lt Col Cecil (monky) Blacker stating that my father was is driver for 18 months and they had the oldest tank in the regiment.The letter is in the form of a referance for civvy employers.
Looking for any information on the Tank also members of the crew.
Hope someone out there can help.
Tahnks for reading.
JS

grimmy
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Re: Operation Goodwood / 23rd Hussars

Post by grimmy » Mon Mar 14, 2011 7:58 am

JS

Was your father with Blacker while they were both in C Squadron, or was it later when Blacker was made 2nd in Command of the Hussars (or indeed, both)?

My father (a sprightly 88 year old) was in C Squadron throughout the campaign - I'll ask him if he remembers your father.

Anyone else with any C Squadron enquiries - fire away!

spreaders
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Re: Operation Goodwood / 23rd Hussars

Post by spreaders » Tue Sep 27, 2011 12:45 pm

Hi Grimmy,
thanks for the reply sorry for not getting back sooner,thats the only info i have on my father Trooper H.Spreadbury,i vagley recall
dad mentioning C Sqadron,but was only young at the time,wish i had asked more questions while he was alive,any info would be apprecieated. JS

grimmy
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Re: Operation Goodwood / 23rd Hussars

Post by grimmy » Mon Oct 03, 2011 10:09 am

Hi Spreaders,

Monkey Blacker was initially 'C' Squadron Leader. We know the members of his tank crew because he names them in his autobiography 'Monkey Business': Bert Horrobin (operator), Sam English (driver), 'Oscar' Ward (gunner) and 'Buttons' McGrath (co-driver).

In July 1944 Blacker was promoted to be the Regiment's 2nd in Command, which involved his transfer to HQ Squadron and a change of tank - almost certainly your father's. Blacker's place in 'C' Squadron was taken by Bill Shebbeare, who had just arrived from England having been in charge of the 'Left Out of Battle' (LOB) group.

Although Blacker was disappointed with his move (he regarded 2IC as a 'non-job'), it was a fortunate one. On July 18th, during Operation Goodwood, his old tank took a direct hit on the turret. Shebbeare and Horrobin were killed instantly (Shebbeare was initially listed as 'missing' - no trace of him was ever found); English, Ward and McGrath were badly burned and evacuated back to England.

If your father was with Blacker for 18 months, that would take us to early 1946. This rings true as the Regiment was finally disbanded around this time at Husum (Blacker was now in command of the whole Regiment).

It also makes sense that their tank was 'old' - HQ Squadron tended not to 'mix it' with the enemy so their tanks didn't suffer damage to the same extent as the 'sabre' squadrons.

Unfortunately, Blacker does not mention his crew during this period (indeed he describes the entire advance of the Hussars through Belgium, Holland, Germany to Denmark in a single page!).

Another possible source of info is his 'other' autobiography 'Soldier in the Saddle' which I have just ordered online.

In addition, on November 13th there will be a small gathering of Hussar veterans at Bridlington, starting with a Service of Remembrance at the Parish Church (which houses the Hussars' Roll of Honour). This will be a first for my Dad and I'm hoping there may be another five vets there, plus relatives of men who are no longer with us. You would be very welcome.

Sorry I can't be more helpful with names. At least your father can't have had a better commander than Monkey Blacker.

grimmy
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Re: Operation Goodwood / 23rd Hussars

Post by grimmy » Fri Oct 07, 2011 2:21 am

PS

Having just read Blacker's 'Soldier in the Saddle', the only detail I can add is that his gunner (whilst in HQ SQuadron) was the Regimental Sgt Major. This I know to be RSM Wass.

Alanmccoubrey
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Re: Operation Goodwood / 23rd Hussars

Post by Alanmccoubrey » Fri Oct 07, 2011 9:45 am

That is odd as the RSM has some very important duties in the resupply side, I wonder who was doing this RSM's job while he was playing at being a gunner !
Alan

grimmy
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Re: Operation Goodwood / 23rd Hussars

Post by grimmy » Mon Oct 10, 2011 7:15 am

Hi Alan,

Yes it does sound strange. I don't know how long this situation lasted - but certainly long enough forWass to account for at least one German tank.

Alanmccoubrey
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Re: Operation Goodwood / 23rd Hussars

Post by Alanmccoubrey » Tue Oct 11, 2011 2:46 am

I checked into the RSM's actual responsibilities and they are Ammunition and POW's !
Alan

grimmy
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Re: Operation Goodwood / 23rd Hussars

Post by grimmy » Tue Oct 11, 2011 6:32 am

I think it was a case of 'all hands to the pump'.

Blacker did say that his gunner was 'no less a personage than the Regimental Sergeant Major', which suggests it was unusual.

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Die Blechtrommel
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Re: Operation Goodwood / 23rd Hussars

Post by Die Blechtrommel » Tue Oct 11, 2011 11:07 am

grimmy wrote:Blacker did say that his gunner was 'no less a personage than the Regimental Sergeant Major', which suggests it was unusual.
Maybe it is a situation similar to the whim of the ground Air Forces personnel throughout the world to see "The true war at least once!"
Just a thought...
Juha-Pekka :beer:
“Die Blechtrommel trommelt noch !!“

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skysurfer
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Re: Operation Goodwood / 23rd Hussars

Post by skysurfer » Tue Feb 21, 2012 7:40 am

A bit late, I know, but I have quite a lot of documentation of the 23rd. My Dad was in 'B' squadron, too. Take a look at my websight I'm putting together, at http://www.johnbrunt.co.uk. It'll never be finished, but most of the comments that are with the photo's will be put up as a cursor 'tip', just hover over the image a bit. I'm going to put up a load more images as I get the time.
There's the same info at my personal site, http://www.skysurfer.co.uk/armour.htm
There used to be a bit of a get together over at Bridlington, but that ran out of enthusiasm a few years ago :(
Best to all,
Pete B.

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