Author Topic: Service records? 2nd Battalion / Military Police?  (Read 4040 times)

Offline stevecleary

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Service records? 2nd Battalion / Military Police?
« on: March 18, 2011, 09:50:16 PM »
Hello
I'm completely new here, but trying to find some starting points for my grandfather's service.
I have been told that my grandfather Francis Walter BENT (1912-65) served at Dunkirk, India (going there circa early 1942) and possibly Burma; ending, I am led to believe as a Warrant Officer, in the military police. (not sure of area, however at the moment). He died some years since and no surviving documents, so not able to verify.
My mum tells me he came back from the Far East 1946/47, although it appears he did not want to talk about his experiences to his family or others. Am awaiting records back from the Army records - ie: don't even have a service number.
Would be interested to know, if any of this limited information ties up or is credible, as I don't want to go off on a wild goose chase.
Any ideas on places I could look for either personal record or background information? Would be really grateful.

Steve Cleary

Offline harribobs

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Re: Service records? 2nd Battalion / Military Police?
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2011, 11:14:46 PM »
Hi Steve

and welcome to the forum

WW2 isn't really my field but generally yes it's seems reasonable that he should go that route, hopefully and i see no reason why not, his service record will confirm it

i see you have identified him in a a photo!  ;D excellent!!

cheers

chris
“It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply
  to serve as a warning to others."

Offline themonsstar

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Re: Service records? 2nd Battalion / Military Police?
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2011, 09:46:24 AM »
The only Battalion of the Manchester Regiment which was at Dunkirk, then India and Burma was the 2nd Battalion which was a Machine Gun Battalion in the 2nd Division.

There are 2 books which may help you with your research;

The Battle for Kohima 1944 by Rex.King-Clark (he was the CO of the Bn) ISBN 1 873907 01 X.

Forward from Kohima (A Burma Diary) Nov 1944-May 1945 Rex.King-Clark ISBN 1 873907 117.

Have a read of both of them to get the feel of the Battles your GF would have been at.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2011, 09:54:18 AM by themonsstar »

Offline Robert Bonner

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Re: Service records? 2nd Battalion / Military Police?
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2011, 05:03:03 PM »
I don't think that there can be any doubt that he served with the 2nd Manchesters. Dunkirk, India and Burma!

His entry in the Manchester Regiment enlistment books is on page 6 of reference MR4/6/5/23 where he is shown as Francis Walter Bent, number 3533059.

These books are held in the Ashton-under-Lyne Local Studies Library as part of the regimental collection.  If you can't go there yourself I suggest a nice email request to the Archivist asking for detail of the entry - quoting this reference.

Mack is so right.  The story of the 2nd Battalion in the war is well told in the two books which he describes.  The first is now out of print but the second is available from the museum - look at their booklist on the website.
Robert

Offline stevecleary

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Re: Service records? 2nd Battalion / Military Police?
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2011, 08:30:04 PM »
Thank you all ever so much for your kind help - I shall certainly follow these leads up.

Reading even a little about Kohima goes a long way towards explaining why my grandfather did not speak about his experiences to the family after the war. The story goes that when he came back from India he found it difficult to adjust to civvy life for quite some time - I remember my grandmother telling me some of his experiences with this - putting it into context just gives me more respect for him as a man and what he went through with others.

One quick question - would the seven digit number given be his service number?

Best regards

Steve Cleary

Offline themonsstar

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Re: Service records? 2nd Battalion / Military Police?
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2011, 07:43:49 AM »
3533059 yes this would be his service number.

Here is another book which should help with your research:

Dunkirk " retreat to victory" by Maj Gen Julian Thompson

ISBN 978-0-283-07021-1.

It's been published in paperback now for a long time, have a look round the charity shops as you should build picking up for a couple of pound, or even in the library.

It will give you a very good insight into the the British Expeditionary Force in the 1940 campaign and the retreat to Dunkirk.

The Manchesters get a very good mention.

Offline stevecleary

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Re: Service records? 2nd Battalion / Military Police?
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2011, 04:33:10 PM »
Just interested. Where was the battalion during the Partition of India in 1947 and what was it doing?

Steve Cleary

Offline Robert Bonner

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Re: Service records? 2nd Battalion / Military Police?
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2011, 09:56:03 AM »
2nd Manchesters was moved from place  to place in the months after the end of the war and in December 1946 was stationed in Fort St George, Madras.  In January 1947 orders were received that the battalion was to revert to become an infantry battalion and in May 1947 moved to Bangalore.   Whilst there the partition was announed and by that time the battalion had been reduced in strength by two companies so the remaining weeks in Inida were spent in packing up equipment and handing in stores etc.  The battalion sailed from Bombay on 9 October 1947 arriving Liverpool 30 October.
Robert