Canadian [albertan] artillery regiment -

Discussion in 'Regiment Histories' started by joraus, Jan 27, 2009.

  1. joraus

    joraus New Member

    Hello to anybody out there.
    I am looking for details of a particular Canadian [Albertan] Artillery unit which originated as a militia unit before WW2 but became [I think] the 2nd Anti tank regiment - in particular the 20th battery.

    I would be grateful if someone can help me:
    a] correctly identify the unit
    b] confirm its natural recruitment area [I believe the men's id numbers may have had the prefix M for Calgary but I am not sure].
    c] confirm its senior officer prior to embarkation for UK.
    d] unit activities in WW2
    e] would love any annecdotes relating to its senior Albertan officer - warts and all.

    4 HC 'ODD' SINGER 01-57
  2. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Hi Joraus and welcome !!

    I can't answer your question I'm afraid but here's a photo during WW! that maybe of interest !!

    Picture of Pack Horses Taking Ammunition to Guns of the 20th Battery at the Battle of Vimy Ridge

    Annie :biggrin1:
  3. rlaughton


    I am not a WWII person but the 2nd Anti-Tank Regiment is discussed in Volume 3 of the "Official History of the Canadian Army in the Second World War". Appendix F lists it on May 8, 1945 as in the Royal Canadian Artillery, 2nd Infantry Division.

    The complete text is available as a PDF document on the Government of Canada web site. I just did a search for "2nd Anti-Tank Regiment" in the PDF document and there were 5 hits.

    Here is the complete collection of Canadian Official History texts all on-line:

    DHH - Official Histories

    I also did a quick search on Library and Archives Canada and there were 63 hits and a number of photographs:


    2nd anti-tank regiment, RCA, practicing with six pounder gun during a training exercise,
    Bognor, England, 14 December 1942

  4. joraus

    joraus New Member

    Many thanks for the tips. Am hoping someone might recall serving with individuals in the unit and their recollections but your links are very useful.

  5. bruceyoung

    bruceyoung New Member

    I sent a private message. My father Gordon Young (M30) was an early recruit to the the 20th Battery, 2 A/T regiment. Captain Siger was his CO in Lethbridge.

    (From personal interviews and his military record) He enlisted ( serial number M30 (M meaning southern Alberta and 30 meaning the the 30th soldier to enlist)) at the outbreak of WWII. He enlisted at the old RCMP barracks (now the YMCA/Fritz Sick/Curling Club buildings) Lethbridge on September 5, 1939. His militia rank of L/Sergeant carried with him. He was promoted to Sergeant on October 1, 1939. His enlistment papers say he spoke french which I take to mean he took high school french. Most of the Lethbridge volunteers enlisted with the 20th field Battery, 18th Field Regiment (using Howitzer 18 pounder WWI equipment). Most of the 18th Battery(Regina), 20th Battery(Lethbridge), 23rd Battery(Calgary) and 108th Battery(Kimberly) trained in Lethbridge from September 1939 until May 1940. Gordon was part of an advance party sent from Lethbridge to Calgary and then on to Halifax for travel overseas. The rest of the 2nd A/T regiment came together in Shilo, Manitoba on May 27 where it trained until leaving for Halifax. They sailed on the "Dutchess of York" to Gurouck, Scotland arriving September 4, 1940. The 20th battery were trained for anti-tank and became the 20th Battery, 2nd anti-tank Regiment, RCA and were attached to the Canadian 2nd Division.

    Dad told me they went to Calgary to Mewata Armoury and then by train to Halifax and boarded the Dutchess of Bedford for Liverpool on May 21,1940. The records of the "Dutchess of Bedford" show she left Halifax May 22, 1940 and sailed to Liverpool in convoy T.C. 4 with the "Antonia" and HMS Revenge. Dad recalls being on the "Dutchess of Bedford" in the mid Atlantic and quite bored. At one point they decided to do some sighting practice with the gun mounted on the Dutchess and practiced sighting it on their escort the HMS Revenge. The received a very prompt semifore from the Revenge that they should stop this unless they wanted the battleships guns trained on them.

    Dad remembers that his arrival at Liverpool was met with orders for all the troops on the ship to do some unloading of coal cars before they could leave the port (so his first memory of England is shovelling coal). According to Gordon's military records, he left Lethbridge as and advance part to Calgary and then Halifax on May 7, 1940, and was listed as attached to the 1st AHU (Artillery Holding Unit in Bordon, England May 22, 1940 (the day he left Canada). His military records list him being sent to an anti-tank training course June 9, 1940 at Bordon, Hampshire. On June 15, 1940 he left Bordon for Aldershot and joined the CGBD (Canadian General Base Depot (Sherbrooke Regiment)). He is listed as going to the regimental water course July 5. He is listed as being attached to the 1st Canadian Division August 8-September 5, 1940. The next listing is him on a short leave and then rejoining the 2nd A/T Regiment in the "field" on September 14, 1940.

    During this period May (July?) to September 1940, dad told me he spent time with the 1st Division at Redhill (Reigate) Surrey at the "Colman (Mustard) estate" (Gatton Park, since 1945 a boarding school) doing night guard against german paratrooper attacks. This was the Canadian 1st Division headquarters. He saw General McNaughton there. He later trained with the 57th Battery, 1st anti-tank regiment (Ottawa?) and the Royal 22nd Regiment . He experienced his first air raid there. He then went back to Redhill for a period. He then went to train with the 5th Infantry Brigade (2nd Infantry Division), Regimente de Maisonneuve (Montreal, one of the few bilungual units in the Canadian Army), CASF (Canadian Acive Service Force) until 1940. He told me he really enjoyed his time with them and they tried very hard to keep him but he wanted to return to join his buddies from Lethbridge.

    On September 14, 1940 he went back to Farnborough when the rest of the 20th Battery arrived and set up at Lille Barracks. For most of the next year dad recalled doing general training as their guns had not arrived. The spent a year in Lille barracks in Aldershot. There was a particularly bad air raid in January 1941.

    In September 1941 they moved down to the coast and dad recalled being in Petworth, Eastbourne, Hailsham(billeted at Woodside Hotel) and finally Bognor Regis. At this tine they got their 17 pounder AT guns (previously using 2 and 6 pounders).

    Gordon and Edith (Jessiman, 7 Park Road, Farnborough, Hampshire) were given premission to marry November 4, 1941 and married December 20, 1941 at the Garrison Church, Marblborough Lines, Aldershot. Best man was Sgt. Tommy McLean (Lethbridge) also with he 20th Battery. The group Gave mom and Dad a silver tea service. They honeymooned in the Lake District.

    For the rest of 1940, 1941 and most of 1942 his military record simply lists his leaves. His last noted leave was Novemer 21, 1942. Dad tells me that during this time they trained with the Calgary Highlanders at Becks Hill and also the Chaudieres de Montreal.

    He qualified as a drive G/c (w), M/c July 13, 1942. I know he did drive a motorcyle at times as well as a small tracked vehicle.

    From August 26, 1942 until September 8, 1942Gordon was listed as "Att. For R + Q (Rations and Quarters) H.Q. 2nd Div". In October 1942 he told me he was in Bognor Regis. In November 1942 they were apparently sleeping in tents and he became ill. He went on leave in late November to visit mom and was ill during that time. Shortly after return he became worse.

    On December 4, 1942 dad was was SOS (Struck off Service) and taken to the 18th Field ambulance to the 2nd C.C.S (Casualty Clearing Statiion). Dad referred to this as the Connaught hospital.

    On December 5, 1942 he was sent to the 8th Canadian General Hospital, 2 AHK Rgt. Dad (and Mom) both say the first doctor he had was an old physician (Dr. MacMillan from Vancouver) who was always inebriated. Apparently dad was very ill and the nursing sister managed to bring him to the attention of a younger physician who assumed his care and refdiagnosed him and with different treatment he improved. Dad remembers taking large doses of aspirin during this time. The younger doctor wanted dad to put in a formal charge but dad did not want to cause problems.

    On March 9,1943 he was taken to a convalescent hospital in Alton and to the CTS FAP CARU (Candian Army Rehabilitation Unit).

    During the summer of 1943 he was at the #2 Artillery camp south of London.

    On August 30, 1943 he was boarded and categorized as C2 (auth M7B227).

    Dad told me that before he became ill he was supposed to go to officer training at Sandhurst. In October 1943 he went to the OC2 Officer training course at Bordon. Originally they were not going to let him go due to his illness but they evnetually decided he could give it a try. He started the training but due to his medical condition and long period of inactivity in the convalescent hospital was unable to continue the physical fitness part and was washed out. He was sent back to the #2 Artillery Camp Supply Depot as a Rations Supply Sergeant. The rest of teh 20th Battery was in Worthing.

    On January 25, 1944 he was SOS from CARU and TOS (Taken On Strength) at Camp Tweedsmuir (near Thursley Village, Surrey) as part of the 1st NETD (Non Effective Transfer Depot). This camp was set up for reassignment and transfer of ill or injured personnel. Most sdiers continued some form of drill while Category E soldiers were awaiting repatriation home. It is likely dad had clerical or light duties while he was there waiting transfer.

    In May 1944, his Service and Casualty Form lists hs catregory as YOB(Year of birth) 19, P:4;U:1; L:1; H:1; E:1; M:1; S:1.

    His military record January 26, 1944 record the birth of a daughter (Jean, January 11, 1944) .

    He was SOS 1st NETD on March 3, 1944 and posted to #13 DD (District Depot, Mewata Armoury) Calgary, Alberta.

    On July 6, 1944 the rest of the 20th Battery landed in Normandy with the 2nd Division.

    July 12, 1944 he was SOS H.E and TOS H.E.W. in Calgary. While serving in Clagary dad as primarily involved in recruiting and repatraition of returning soldiers. He (and Mom) told me was offered an opportunity to travel back east and take a personnel course. He was told that they wanted him to think about a commission and a permanent military career. Dad says he had had enough of the army and did not want to leave mom again so he turned it down.

    His final SOS, discharge was on July 12, 1945 and he was given $100 for clothing allowance and "granted rehabilitation". He returned to Lethbridge where Mom and Jean were living with the Young's at 610 10th Street, So. He was 26 years old.

    You may find this link useful:
    Canadian Offensive Operations in Normandy Revisited

    There is also a Wikepedia piece on the 2nd Canadian Division that may be useful.

    My father died a couple of years ago and I think was one of the last. I know of only one person left from the unit and I believe he came in late as a replacement.

    I remember my father mentioning Capt. Singer briefly. I spoke with my mother and she remembers my father mentioning Capt. Singer as the CO of teh 20th Battery in Lethbridge. Apparently there was a court marshall of Capt. Singer and in late 1939 or early 1940. My father, being a sergeant in the battery was involved in the case but my father never spoke of it and my mother does not know what it was about. Apparently my father really liked Capt. Singer. My mother thinks Capt. Singer left the Battery and did not go overseas. Obviously you should be able to get hold of his service records.

    Hope this helps.

  6. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

    Message from joraus, via the forum email:

  7. bruceyoung

    bruceyoung New Member

    When war broke out many of the militia reenlisted as regular forces. Their regimental numbers (serial numbers) were reassigned so it is very likely your grandfathers serial number would have been M1 if he was the first to sign up. Their rank transferred with them so as the CO of the militia and a Captain he would have become the CO with the rank of captain in the regular force (Canadian Active Service Force). I looked through my fathers enlistment record and it has him having joined the 112th Battery RCA (formerly 39th Battery) 18th Field Artillery Regiment in 1937 and when he signed over to the regular force on September 5, 1939, he became a member of the 20th Field Battery RCA. So I assume he transferred to the 20th Battery, 20th Field Regiment (later 2nd Anti Tank Regiment) (both the 20th and 112th were active units). I don't know if your grandfather was CO of the 20th or 112th Battery before the war but he did become CO of the 20th Battery in Lethbridge when they became regular force.

    I spoke with my mother by phone (I am also going up to Lethbridge in a couple of weeks and I will try to find out more if I can). I live in St. Paul Minnesota. She says my father "did not gossip like a lot of others" (I guess that is a good thing) so she really does not know anything about the Court Marshall. Again she reiterated that Capt. Singer was well liked by the men and my father liked him as a CO and as an individual.

    Due to my father getting Rheumatic fever, he never left England (he always had a bit of survivor guilt over this). Perhaps I wouldn't be here today if he had.

    I did some more research. The battery trained at the old RCMP barracks in Lethbridge from September 1939. The unit went to Shilo Manitoba in May 1940 and left for Halifax on August 24, 1940. They sailed to Gouroch Scotland arriving September 4, 1940. They went to Aldershot and trained for a year. In September 1941 went to Eastbourne. In May 1942 to Horsham, October to Bognor and back to Horsham in May 1943. September 1943 they moved to Worthing.

    The 20th Battery arrived near Banville in Normandy on July 6, 1944 with the 2nd Canadian Division. The 20th Battery was part of the 5th Infantry Brigade of the second division. There is a decent outline of the second division on Wikpedia.
    (2nd Canadian Infantry Division - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

    They went through Caen, River Orne, May sur Orne, St Andre sur Orne, Verriers, Hill 70, Ifo, Brettville, Fallaise, La Villaneuve, El Beuf, Seine, Rouen,Dieppe, Ypres, Dunkirk, Leopold Canal, Antwerp, Schelde, Albert canal, St. Leonardi, Putte, Ossendrect, Hoogerheide, Woensdreght, Rosendaal, Mook, Groesbeek, Berg en Dahl, Cleve, Bedberg, Calcar, Hochwald, Xanten, Reichwald, Groningen, Oldenberg and Zwolle. (this info is from some brochures I have from post war association reunions).

    After returning to Aldeshot and then Lethbridge to demobilize, the battery once again became an militia artillery battery in Lethbridge as the 20th Battery, 18th Field Regiment, RCA. In 1958 it had 500 members. In the reorganization of the Canadian military in the 1970’s it became the only militia unit in Lethbridge. On 10 November 1992 it was redesignated the 20th Battery, 18 Air Defense Regiment.

    Of the original members from 1940 the casualties are listed as:
    Bombadier Ken Fleetwood – killed in a motorcycle accident in Shilo
    Bombadier Everitt I Hill 18 July 1944
    Bomabdier James J. Calaghan 21 July 1944
    Bombadier Joseph R Hamsom 23 July 1944
    Gunner Joseph B MacNeil 23 July 1944
    Gunner E MacConnell 23 July 1944
    Gunner Willis Wilkins 13 August 1944
    Bombadier James A Hastie 29 September 1944
    L/Bombadier Hugh A. MacDonald 4 October 1944
    L/Sergeant James C. Finnie 8 October 1944
    Gunner William Naylen 8 October 1944
    L/Bombadier A.G.(J.A.) Bogford 14 October 1944
    Sergeant Frederick G. James 28 February 1945 (died of wounds)

    After the war the VA set aside land for veterans to build homes and settle down. Many of the vets lived in these developments. I grew up on Corvette Crescent in Lethbridge. The next street over was Dieppe Boulevard and nearby was Ortona Street. I went to General Stewart Elementary school. So many of the vets were my neighbours. Oh how I wish I had talked to them about the war when I was young but then, most of them did not want to talk about it and only reminisced when they got together. I know my father kept in touch with many people including his Lieutenant, Charlie Pope (who lived in Ottawa after the war) , some friends who settled near Victoria BC (Amos Selley, originally from Frank Slide, Alberta). I remember many Sunday afternoon visits when I was really little to Blairmore, Alberta and in Lethbridge with Sgt. Tommy Maclean and his brother Jimmy, BobToogood, Charlie Bell (badly shot up and lost a lung- he gave me my first summer job and his son and I were good friends, Two of his brothers were killed and I visited one of their graves in Courselles sur Mer). Sadly my father was one of the last and they are all gone now.

    The 20th Battery Association met yearly at the General Stewart Branch of the Legion or at the now 18th Air Defense Regiment out at the airport (Kenyon Field). The 50th reunion was one of the last and families (normally only members and spouses went) were invited and I attended that one.

    Well, that’s about all I’ve got.

    I posted some pictures in my gallery.

  8. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

    Reply from joraus, via email


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