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Old 16-11-06, 02:53
A Derby A Derby is offline
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Default 18th Field Company - RCE

Searching for members and information for the 18th Field Company, Royal Canadian Engineers.
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Old 16-11-06, 05:46
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Hello

I have a bit of information that was provided to me. My late great uncle was Charlie Young. His son's wife's sister does a lot of family history things and was also seaching for info on this unit. I know she has gone through all of the war diaries for the Coy. She provided me with some info of the Coy activites for June 6. I will try to get in touch with her and see if she can post up more info. I also have a typed account of the history that I found in our museum archives. Send me a PM and I can get it photo copied and mailed off to you.

What was your late father's name?

There's a summary report, followed by the actual War Diary entry for June 6, 1944 from 18th Field Coy RCE war diary...

Report of Activities of the 18th Field Company RCE June 6-10, 1944 (from the War Diary of RCE 18th Field Company)
Tasks allotted to the unit for the landing were as follows:
a) Clearance of beach obstacles – No. 1 Platoon under command of the 5th Field Coy RCE
b) Class 40 crossings at Pont de Reviers and Colombiers-sur-Seulles
c) Clearance of a lateral route from area Colombiers-sur-Seulles to La Deliverance
d) Recce (reconnaissance) of a quarry site south of Colombiers
e) Recce of the River Seulles between bridge sites for crossings
f) Recce of possible airfield site NW of Banville
g) Special task with 2nd Armoured Brigade.
Report of Activities of the 18th Field Company RCE June 6-10, 1944 (from the War Diary of RCE 18th Field Company)
Tasks allotted to the unit for the landing were as follows:
a) Clearance of beach obstacles – No. 1 Platoon under command of the 5th Field Coy RCE
b) Class 40 crossings at Pont de Reviers and Colombiers-sur-Seulles
c) Clearance of a lateral route from area Colombiers-sur-Seulles to La Deliverance
d) Recce (reconnaissance) of a quarry site south of Colombiers
e) Recce of the River Seulles between bridge sites for crossings
f) Recce of possible airfield site NW of Banville
g) Special task with 2nd Armoured Brigade.
Beach Clearance: No. 1 Platoon landed on Mike sector at varying times on D-Day. a) L/Sgt. Semple and party landed at 0800 hrs. b) Sgt. Romain and party landed at 0815 hrs. c) Lt. Eddy and party failed to arrive, the craft having dropped out of the convoy on D-1.
a) L/Sgt. Semple and party of 23 OR (other ranks) and 4 armoured D7s landed on Mike Red. The water was high – at least 4ft deep. They managed to clear a gap of 50 yds width before the water was too high (approx. 30 min.). LCTs coming in to the beach missed the gap and were disabled by other mined obstacles. These craft drifted and closed the gap to other craft. The party, unable to work assembled under cover of the dunes and assisted in removing wounded infantry and assisted in taking 19 POWs from a pill box.
b) Sgt. Romain and party of 13 OR and 2 armoured D7s landed at the junction of Mike Red and Mike Green at 0815 hrs. The water was too high to work and were told to wait until the water was lower to start work. He then assembled his parties under cover and knowing that LCT 1008 had not arrived, organized the parties for further clearance. Eventually, (4 ½ hrs later) they completed 2 gaps of 200 yds. and 1 of 500 yds on Mike Green.
Comments – 1st landing party was on the beach before the infantry landing on that beach. Casualties – 2 OR wounded.

From the War Diary of the 18th Field Coy.
June 6, 1944 – at sea, on land, but not in the air!
Action stations sounded at 0500 (dawn) as we were in enemy waters. Since the unit is split up on several craft, it is difficult to know what everyone is doing at the moment. The story must be pieced together later.
No. 1 Platoon landed at 0800 hrs (H hour) on Mike Sector (beach immediately west of Courseulles). Clearance work started immediately. Obstacles very numerous – hedgehogs, stakes, and element C mines and shells with push igniters on most obstacles. 50 yrd gap cleared in ½ hour using bulldozers and pulling obstacles off the beach. Platoon Sgt. Romain was in charge of the work since the craft carrying Lt. Eddy and one section of Platoon No. 1 did not sail. Heavy fire experienced on beaches but by a miracle the platoon suffered only 2 casualties (2 slightly wounded). Platoon waited near the beach till 1200 hrs when the tide was out again and cleared more obstacles. Succeeded in clearing a 400 yd gap. While waiting on the beach the platoon assisted a Major and Corporal take 19 prisoners from a pill box which had been put out of action by RN (Royal Navy). The platoon joined the rest of the unit at Graye-sur-mer about 1600 hrs.
No. 2 Platoon – Recce party landed at approximately H Hour + 90 minutes. Car 5 cwt drowned in 9ft of water and lost recce gear and w/t set. Therefore, the party had to proceed on foot and recced the bridge site at Pont-de-Reviers. Bridge was found to be intact so no work for the platoon at all. Main body of the platoon landed (with bicycles) at 1500 hrs (should have landed at H Hour + 135 minutes) and proceeded to company assembly area in Banville.
No. 3 Platoon – Recce party landed at approximately H Hour + 90 minutes and proceeded to recce bridge site at Colombiers-sur-Seulles. Since the infantry were not far enough ahead, the recce had to be made on foot. Bridge was found to be intact. Main body (with bicycles) landed at 1500 hrs and proceeded to Company assembly area in Banville. Platoon commenced clearing route from Colombiers-sur-Seulles to Reviers. No mines were encountered and since 234 Field Coy RE were doing the same job, No. 3 Platoon stopped.
OC and Lt. McKenzie and 2 stores lorries landed at 1400hrs as well as 522 Bridging Platoon. All proceeded to Coy assembly area in Banville. Since bridging platoon was not required due to bridges being intact, they felt rather lost and simply sat in the Assembly Area.
No. 3 Platoon recced a quarry south of Graye-sur-mer and possible airfield sites west of Banville. In the evening the company moved to bivouac area 953816. Note: it is strange that neither bridge was blown and that roads were not mined. It seems to indicate the enemy was completely surprised by the landing. So “D” Day ends with this unit having done little work but it isn’t our fault we haven’t been busy. We were certainly prepared for it.
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Old 16-11-06, 06:53
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Default Re: 18th Field Company - RCE

Quote:
Originally posted by A Derby
Searching for members and information for the 18th Field Company, Royal Canadian Engineers.
I've tried to find info regarding the 18th Field Company, R.C.E., since that is the unit I do my impression of at reenactments. Most books give just a fleeting mention of the Engineers as the attention is given to the Infantry and Armoured regiments at Juno Beach on D Day. There were three Field Companies of the R.C.E. in the order of battle 3rd Canadian Infantry Division. The 6th, 16th, and the 18th. They were commanded by Lt-Col R.J. Cassidy.
The Churchill AVREs on Juno were manned by the 26th and 80th Squadrons, 5th Assault Regiment, Royal Engineers. I've heard that some of the armoured bulldozers were operated by R.C.E.'s, but I have no proof of that.
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Old 16-11-06, 12:20
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Default Additional information

My late father was Sgt M. W. (Whitney) Derby
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Old 19-11-06, 18:15
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Quote:
Originally posted by A Derby
Searching for members and information for the 18th Field Company, Royal Canadian Engineers.
Subsequent to our PM's, I'm including some pics of various AVRE's, both operational and experimental that your father was most likely familiar with. Thought I'd share them with everybody.

1st pic Churchill AVRE with Petard mortar

Petard mortar projectile
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avre close up of petard mortar.jpg   avre close up of flying bustbin.jpg  
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Old 20-11-06, 04:27
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Default AVRE ARK

as used on D Day
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Old 20-11-06, 04:29
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Default AVRE Bridge layer

Box girder bridge
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Old 20-11-06, 04:31
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Default 1,000 lb. "Onion"

Bunker busting charge that was layed against the emplacement.
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Old 20-11-06, 04:32
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Default "Bobbin" carpet layer

Another of Hobart's "Funnies"
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Old 20-11-06, 04:34
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Default AVRE mine plough

One of two types
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Old 20-11-06, 04:35
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Default One of my personal favourites

AVRE with C.I.R.D. (Canadian indestructible roller device)
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Old 20-11-06, 04:38
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Default Last but not least

AVRE "SNAKE" carrier. The Snake was a very large Bangalore torpedo invented by a Canadian officer attached to a British Ordnance section. It was actually used in combat, but apparently only once and by American troops.
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Old 20-11-06, 04:40
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Hi everyone

Usually Field Engineer coy's never really used stuff that big such as Churchill AVRE and these bunker busters. They most likely would have worked with the units that used them.

In the after action report I posted there is mention of armoured D-7's. These were Catapillar Dozers that had been armoured for working in areas that small arms fire would be incountered. Ive included pictures of both and armoured one at work somewhere in Normandy along with and un-armoured (normal) version.

These units also used Jeeps, Otter LRC, 15cwt trucks along with 60cwt. Each platoon would have been trained for a different job. Hence you get the bridging, assualt, road maint etc.
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Old 20-11-06, 04:42
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The unarmoured one. There seems to be many different styles of blade attachments.
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Old 20-11-06, 04:43
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Default Armoured bulldozer

Here's a shot of a D7 Armoured Bulldozer used by R.C.E.'s Your Dad would have been familiar with this.
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Old 20-11-06, 04:46
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Default Un-armoured R.C.E. bulldozer

This pic was taken in Caen.
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Old 20-11-06, 04:48
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The following pictures are ones that I own. They are RCE's due to their shoulder patches. You can make out the RCE on the div patch on the originals. Going by the shade of the div patch I would assume them to be from 3rd CID. I personally think they are from 18th Fld Coy as one of the pictures that came in the group had that written on the back. Unfourtunatly there were no names written so these soldiers names are lost to time.

What I do think is interesting is the general age of these men. They all seem to be in their late 20's into 30's.
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Old 20-11-06, 04:54
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jordan Baker
Usually Field Engineer coy's never really used stuff that big such as Churchill AVRE and these bunker busters. They most likely would have worked with the units that used them.
Very true. The AVRE's on Juno were manned by 26th and 80th Squadrons, 5th Assault Regiment, Royal Engineers. The Crab flail tanks were driven by the 79th Armoured Division. To the best of my knowledge Canadians, however drove the Armoured Bulldozers. Anyone have any good pics of fascine carrying AVRE's?


CHIMO!
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Old 20-11-06, 05:01
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jordan Baker
What I do think is interesting is the general age of these men. They all seem to be in their late 20's into 30's.
That seems to be standard throughout the Armies of the world. The Engineers wanted Tradesmen and men with construction experience, something that the average 18 year old didn't have in 1944. The Seabees also had a higher average age amongst their men for the same reason.
That's an interesting pic of the circular tent...it appears to be camoflaged with paint, unless those are are water stains. I've seen many pics of the Canadian circular tent, but all have been mono-chromatic. Thanks for the pics.
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Old 31-01-09, 14:11
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Hello Jordan and other MLU members,

I can maybe add a little more information to this post, in so far as it relates to the report that LCT(1008) had not arrived. I have just posted a new thread on this forum today in connection with a scuba diving project that I am leading which started last year by diving 2 tanks and 2 bulldozers 8 miles off shore in the English Channel. As a result of the underwater survey last summer I was able to establish that these were very rare - even unique, wrecks that were intended for use by Canadian/British forces at Juno Beach. www.southseasubaqua.org.uk

LCT(A) 2428 (1008 was the loading number) had broken down and was forced to turn back with engine trouble and damage to the aft/stbd side. She was taken under tow by the tug HMT Jaunty and subsequently capsized spilling her cargo of RM Centaur tanks and D7 Armoured bulldozers into the sea. She continued to drift for some time - until she was eventually sunk by gunfire by HMT Jaunty. All crew, Royal Marines (2nd RM Armoured Support Group) and Canadian troops were rescued.

According to the Loading tables LCT(A) 2428 was carrying 15 members of 2nd RM Armoured Support Group (Q troop right section) and their 2 Centaur CS IV tanks and -

4 members from "HQ RCE 3 Cdn Div (Special Bulldozer Inc)" - "2 D7 Bulldozers Armd"
14 members from "18 Cdn Fd Coy" - "Car 5Cwt 4x4"
6 members from the "8 Kings A Coy" It also mentions "1 Truck Airborne" but is not listed as a vehicle. (I have no idea what a truck airborne is???)

Unfortunately I have no names for the Canadian personnel.

The project continues this year by trying to find the wreck of LCT(A) 2428.

If anyone has any information that may help, or would like to know more about what we have found then please let me know.

Thanks for your time.

Alison
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Old 12-03-09, 01:39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A Derby View Post
Searching for members and information for the 18th Field Company, Royal Canadian Engineers.

Hello,
I am looking for members who are in possesion of the War Diary from 18th Field Coy RCE. Date april 4, 1945.
Three sappers of 18th Field Coy were KIA and one WIA near Zutphen, The Netherlands.
Spr Fraser/Spr Hebblewaite/Spr Mosley KIA
Spr Holbrook DOW (2nd Canadian Casualty Clearing Station) april 6, 1945

With kind regards,
Karl Lusink
Drempt
The Netherlands
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Old 27-06-10, 01:00
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Default Spr. W.H HIGNEY, 18th Field Co, RCE

Hello!
My late father, Spr. W.H. HIGNEY, served with the 18th Field Company, RCE during WW2. I have two questions please:
1) Would my father's name be mentioned in the War Diaries for the unit?
2) How many personnel would have comprised the 18th Field Company, RCE?

Any information would be most appreciated!
Sincerely,
Mike Higney
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Old 07-11-10, 03:24
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Default Hello Veteran's Son

18th Fld Coy had about 256 members. I don't know about the names mentioned in the war diarys. I have a pic of the 18th in Nov 42. If you send a request to abderby@hotmail.com I'll see if I can dig it up and email you a copy.
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Old 07-11-10, 04:02
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I'd love a scan as my great uncle would be in there. He was with 18th Field Coy from start to finish.
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Old 05-05-12, 21:14
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Hello Forum Members:
There is some excellent information here, for sure. My late father served in WW2 from 1940-1945. First, he served with 3rd Canadian Division HQ, RCE and then was transferred to 18th Field Company in 1943(I think). Dad landed on Juno Beach on June 8, 1944. Is it expensive to get copies of the war diary pages please? Would like to have info from the 18th Field Co diary from June 8, 1944- July 31, 1944. Also, are there unit photos available for 3rd Canadian Division, RCE and 18th Field Company, RCE please? Thanks so much! Mike
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Old 05-06-15, 10:26
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The company war diaries are online covering June to August 1944.

http://lmharchive.ca/wp-content/uplo...ompany-RCE.pdf
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