Read the latest on Anniversaries, events, and what is happening to the Website.
This page is to:-
Mark Anniversaries that are special to the Brigade.
It is very pleasing to note that the Commonwealth War Graves Commission has featured the dedication of the "Popielow Graves" as its lead news item on 8th August 2014. The 70th Brigade researchers played a significant role in assisting with the identification, especially of Trooper Henry Alexander THOMSON M.M. as the second casualty of the shooting on 21st July 1944, and in supporting the family's research in respect of L/Cpl John Thomas Saunders, who can be found on the manpower list of 1st Tyneside Scottish
At the end of June, and on 1st July 2014 we marked the 70th Anniversary of the engagements in Normandy in 1944 in which so many men of the Brigade were wounded, and a large number lost their lives.
This period culminated in the key battle for the Defence of RAURAY in which the 70th Infantry Brigade distinguished itself, earning a formal Battle Honour and inflicting heavy casualties on the German armoured forces in what proved to be their last major attempt to halt the Allied advance in that part of Normandy - a struggle documented in detail in Kevin Baverstock's book "Breaking the Panzers", and described in the Brigade and Battalion War Diaries of the period. These can be accessed from the "List of Units" link towards the top of the Main Page.
During the rest of July and August 1944 the Brigade was involved in a series of tough engagements which again resulted in heavy casualties - on both sides, and maintained the considerable pressure on the Axis Forces.
Report new information as it is received.
We have recently learned of more surviving Brigade Veterans and are trying to make contact with them direct, or through their families, in order to add to the information on the Website and make them aware of the work that is underway. All known surviving Veterans have now been advised of our change of domestic address and telephone number and a couple have already been in touch as a result.
Keep users up to date on Website changes.
A major update to the lists of men who served in the Brigade, adding several hundred names, was completed a few months ago and has already helped family history researchers to track down servicemen they were seeking. Work is currently underway to ensure that the "old" information has been completely deleted, as many individual "pages" have been replaced with newer versions containing more comprehensive information.
The use of the Website is now being regularly monitored, using Google Analytics, and this gives a very useful indication of the scale of access by the public.
Record the work being done to improve and enhance the information held.
Some family photographs have been recently uploaded and annotated - though there are more to process.
Work is still underway to document the material on the Brigade's Officers held at the Durham County Record Office, and the help and support of the staff there is gratefully acknowledged. The contents of the McGregor Card Index of DLI Officers has now been reviewed in full and extracts made of information in respect of Officers who served with the Brigade. This includes "family" as well as military information. The collected information is now in the process of being added to the project databases and amendments are being made to the individual Website pages for these men, with relevant links where other Websites can add to our knowledge of these Officers. It is hoped to find similar material on the Black Watch Officers who served in 1st Tyneside Scottish, but the relevant reference books are proving elusive! It is hoped that the Black Watch Museum in Perth may be able to help.
The biggest outstanding information task at present, in addition to uploading all the "McGregor" material, is that of processing the data on the men who transferred to the various Corps, including the Royal Engineers, Royal Army Ordnance Corps, Royal Pioneer Corps, Army Catering Corps, Royal Corps of Signals and the Royal Military Police - collected on our research visit South in January 2014. This will be added to their individual "pages" on the Website and, in most cases, will complete their "mini service record".
I have just completed adding the information we traced during that visit at the Royal Logistics Corps Museum at Deepcut Barracks on the Brigade transferees to the Royal Pioneer Corps and the Army Catering Corps to both the Website pages and the Project databases. The unstinting help of former Curator Andy Robertshaw and Archivist Gareth is gratefully acknowledged. The fact that the set of Royal Pioneer Corps Enlistment Books had been digitised made that task much easier. We will now go on to work on the RAOC transfers.
During this exercise we discovered one RPC soldier - Private Hugh GRANT, formerly of the DLI, had died in service on 6th January 1943 and is buried at Gateshead East Cemetery. Until we researched the RPC Books, we were unaware of this casualty. No mention of his death is made in the DLI records, as by then he had left the Regiment, and this is not, of itself, unusual. This is not an uncommon find amongst those who served with the Brigade and we try very hard to ensure that all post-70th Brigade casualties are properly recorded and honoured. Many of the men transferred to other Battalions of the DLI, and the Black Watch - or to other Regiments - when the Brigade was disbanded in late August 1944 lost their lives in the subsequent fighting in Normandy and the Netherlands. In addition some of the hundreds of men who were captured in May 1940 died, or were killed, in enemy custody.
Work is continuing to process the War Diary of the 187th Field Ambulance.
Queries and information from users of the Website should continue to be sent to the Lead Researcher - preferably by e-mail - by clicking here.