F W LYONS Wartime Record

He was in a searchlight battery: have now ascertained that ~360 men in a Battery. Each Battery having 4 troops - thus ~90 men in each- with 6 searchlights each, thus ~15 men per searchlight. .

Received from the Government 28/4/2010. Army No. 2087170 . Cover for Documents Sheet

1. Notification of Impending Release form . 1 Dec 1945, Hole Pack Rolvendon Kent.

Trade on enlistment : Salesman

Military Conduct : Exemplary

Testimonial : A first class NCO. Keen, reliable, intelligent, possessing initiative and ability to get things done .Well respected by all ranks and a good leader.

Army Education Record. Type of course: Languages I . Total hours of Instruction : Full Time . Record of achievement : Qualified Instructor .[ My current thought is he might have done this ~ May - Nov 1945?]

Present Rank : W/Sgt . Age & Service Group : 22C ? . Unit, Regt. or Corps : 26 S.L. Regt. R.A.

Documents attached: AFs B103 B122 B178 W.3149 I5033 H1157. Permanent Address 92 Herongate Road Wanstead Park London E.12.

2. Territorial Army Four years' Service.

LYONS Francis William . Corps Royal Engineers 9 Kenton Gardens, Kenton, Mddx.

Born in the Parish of Southwark London S.E. A British subject . Father English. Mother English . Trade Leather Salesman. Age last birthday 24. Birth 10th January 1915. Single. Attested for service in the Territorial Army for 4 years for the County of Middlesex, to serve in the Royal Engineers and to be posted to 426Co /58Bn. Signed 28/4/1939

3. Military History Sheet

Home 28/4/39

Name of Next of Kin: Mr William Lyons 9 Kenton Gardens Kenton Mddx - father .

4. Identification of Francis William Lyons on Enlistment

Height 5ft 7 ins. Weight 138 lbs. Girth 36 ins, range of expansion 3ins. Complexion Fresh. Eyes Brown. Hair Brown. Religious denomination Roman Catholic. Certificate of Medical Examination : considered Fit 28/45/1939 in Harrow. Appointed to the Royal Engineers 58th(MDX) A.A. BN. R.E. (T.A) 2/5/1939 Harrow.

5. Statement of the Services . Name Francis William Lyons

from 28/4/1939 4266/58 Bn RE[T] Attested posted . Rank Sapper from 28/4/39 Signed by an Officer.

6. B200b. Particular of Will - Will to Man 19/6/46 . Will - date of receipt 28/12/42 Serial no. L536

Called . .illegible . . . . From 18/6/39 to 16/7/39 Disembodied 16/7/1939 . Embodied 18/7/1939

Called out .? Military service under App1 Para.13(2) (b) TA Regulations 1936 from 22 AUG 1939 Embodied 1Sep 1939

Discharged from Reserve Liability 30 Jun 59.

7. Continuation Sheet.

Same stamps of Called Out , Disembodied & Embodied as page 6. Also Redesignated Gun - from Spr. 1 Aug 1940 Appointed unpaid A/L/Bn? 16/12/40 . Granted pay A/L/Bn? 16/12/40.

Military History Sheet .

. . . .Home 28/4/39 to 17/6/39 . 51 days

Called Out 18/6/39 to 16/7/39 . 29 days . .Was he at Sawtry ,Cambs for this? - photo

. . . .Home 17/7/39 to 21/8/39 . 36 days

Called Out 22/8/39 to 31/8/39 . 10 days

. Embodied 01/9/39 to 26/1/46 . 6 yrs 148 days

. ZCT/Res . 27/1/46

8. Statement of Services/Military History Sheet [cont.]

426/58/Sl/Reg . Promoted U/A/ Bdr 1/4/41

426/58/SL/Reg . Granted War Sub: rank W/Bdr 30/6/41

AF X202/B 37496 Out 7/12/45

Released to Class 'Z'[T] Royal Army Reserve 27/1/46[Class 'A' Release].

Medals & Decorations, Clasps & Annuities : AFE563 to WO Feb:46 & Efficiency Medal[T] A.O. 196/46

Full Name & Address of Next of Kin & Relationship.

Father Mr William John Lyons 9 Kenton Gardens Kenton Mddx. Deleted

Wife Mrs J E Lyons Plough Inn Church St Earl Shilton Leicester . Also deleted

. . . . . . . . .92 Herongate Rd Wanstead London E 12. maybe 424 . 2 .44 against this . Also a 424A. 2/10/42 on page

Could 2/44 be when Herongate was bought? And 2/10/42 connected to Earl Shilton?? Also looks like another Address has been rubbed out

9. Continuation and Overlap with last page. Particulars of marriage and of Children.

Joan Edith Turner English spinster on 14/12/40 at Goodmayes . Recorded on 17/1/41.

Hazel Joan 29/7/42 at Leicester (136/42) (426/58)

Christine Rosemary 28/3/45 Ilford (43/45) (26S/L)??

10. Casualty Card

[Z/T 27/1/46 - this written on afterwards] Lyons 2087170 Francis William . Rank : Spr deleted Gnr ?? . Regiment or Corps: 426/58 bn S/L

26/4/40 Reported by: Lindsey County Council, County Infirmary, Louth . 21/4/40 Colles Fracture (Dng) 196

03/5/40 Reported by EMS 105 . 26/4/40 Discharged

10/9/43 Reported by EMS 105 . Adam W Raincliffe Ems Hosp Sheffield

11/9/43 Reported by W 3/53 Disch Hosp. [Gastric Invest]

11. Casualty Card cont.

29/5/45 Reported by Bromley District Hosp.: Bromley EMS . Admit Infected Finger

12. Report of medical Examination.

19/11/45 . Francis William Lyons 2087170 W/Sgt age 30 ,served in U.K. 6 yrs 2 months , has not received a disability pension in respect of previous service. During present war service has had a 'Fracture wrist[rt] April 40, Louth Infirmary.' Form signed by Francis W Lyons.

13. Army Reservist's Address .

M.N.I. Code no. 19. National Insce No. 2A 86 65 26 A.

Francis William Lyons 2087170 dofb 10/1/15 of 92 Herongate Road Wanstead Park London E.12 crossed out. dated 19/9/52. Reply. 6 Worcester Cres: Woodford Green Essex, 13/5/55. Seemingly authenticated 25/9/52

Worcester Crescent would have been purchased June/July 1953.

14. Some Sort of Release Document 951720.

Regiment or Corps: R.A.(S/L) 263. . Nature of Engagement TA[N] E.501 BM. Date of Joining : 28/4/39 DofB: 10/1/15 . Nationality : E Religion : R-C . Industry group : WX Occupational Classification : 169-02 . Cause of becoming Non-effective : Class 'A' Release, Dec 45 .Married .Home Town Harrow Mddx. Rank : W/Sgt . Service Trade CMA Roll Available 52. Medical category : [A2 deleted ] A1 {F 22 G 2/9/44 - maybe date on which med. Category changed? }

15. Record of all casualties regarding promotions, appointments, transfers, postings,...Nearly all with Unit 426. Actual dates shown are those to the right of the facts- not the reporting dates on the left.

21/4/40 Admitted to Louth County Infirmary.Discharged 25/4/40. SPR Louth

1/8/40 Posted to 426 S/L Bat & mustered as Gun. .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Louth

25/11/40 Att.'Z' Training Bg Brigstock[this ~10 NW of Kettering]. . . . .Gun.Ullesthorpe

11/12/40 C.T.B.A.Z [is this leave??. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Gun.Ullesthorpe

16/12/40 Promoted to be U/A/L/Bdr

16/12/40 . Paid A/L/Bdr

14/12/40 . Married to Joan Edith Turner .

06/1/41. Att. 32nd AA Bdr School

25/2/41 Att. to 425 Bat. while in R.M.P.

26/2/41 Attached to R.M.P.

1/4/41 Promoted U/A/Bdr . . . .then paid A/L/Bdr . From April - July fellow 426 member George Beeton recorded as receiving many inoculations!

12/5/41. Granted 7 days home with 'BA are 28/4/41'?? - unclear

4/6/41 . Granted 48 hrs leave

10/7/41 Granted 9 days leave

26/9/41 Granted 7 days leave

26/10 41 Granted 7 days leave

15/12/41 Granted 7 days leave

17/1/42. Granted 48hrs leave

11/3/42 . Granted 7 days leave

25/5/42 Next of Kin Variation

1/8/42 . Re-Categorised A.1.

29/7/42. Daughter Hazel Joan at Leicester

20/10/42 Next of Kin Variation . . . . . . . . seemingly with unit 426 from 1/8/40 & stationed with them at Ullesthorpe all this time from 11/12/40

16. Service & Casualty Form - sheet two.

26/7/42 Granted SPP . Ullesthorpe Bdr. What does SPP stand for? - this just 3 days before Hazel's birth.

Previous service verified by O i/c R.A. Records. Couverture period 18/6/39 to 16/7/39. Called out and continued 24/8/39 {Authy:- R.A.Records letter SL/R/C/3 dtd 19/10/42]

10/9/43 admitted Wharnecliffe[Sheffield] EMS Hospital Uk Bdr . Discharged 11/9/43. . ? Think he may have been posted on the resevoirs during 1943 and part of 1944??

12/12/43 Apptd U/A/L/sgt wrf 12/12/43 Authy CO58. Apptd P/A/L/Sgt wrf having held the U/A rank 21 days UK L/Sgt

Unit changes from 426 to 69/44 at this point

21/3/44 Promoted U/A/Sgt wrf 21/3/44

21/3/44 Granted P/A/Rank of Sgt 21/3/44 having held the rank for 21 days UK U/A/Sgt

Unit now appears as 83/44

17/9/44 Unit back to 426/58

Granted W/Substantive Rnk of Sgt

9/11/44 Designation of unit changed to 58 Garrison Regt RA UK W/Sgt. " in December 1944, 58th SL Regiment was made a garrison regiment so that some personnel could serve in Belgium in the last year of the war".

16/11/44 N of K. change of address UK W/Sgt

17. Promotions sheet?

30/6/41 W/Bdr . .12/12/44 U/L/Sgt & ,same date, P/L/Sgt . .21/3/44 U/A/Sgt &, same date, U/A/Sgt . . 17/9/44 W/Sgt

dates out of order on above!

Postings: Home Details 10/12/44 :HD 586Rgt F.Bt. Depot 16/1/45 : Depot 26 S/L Regt.R.A 26/3/45 : YL List Release 2/12/45

Sheet stamped Released to Class Z[T] Royal Army Reserve 1/1/46[Class 'A' Release]

18. Another Service and Casualty Form - Sheet 1

2087170 Lyons Francis William, married 14/12/40 . Substantive Rank and Appointment: W/Sgt. DofB : 10/1/15. Date of Enlistment 28/4/39 . Date called to Colours 1/9/39. Period of Enlistment 4 yrs . Trade on Enlistment : Salesman . Miscellaneous entries : 1. ASG.22. 4. A&S Gp22 date of 28/3/45

Section with Corps & Unit. Mainly crossings out!426/58 A.A Bn "7" Bty Depot. Also Rgt Home Detail.

Medical . A2 17/7/40 . A1 1/8/42. A2 28/4/43

Full name & Address of next of Kin: Wife - Joan Edith Lyons {Pt11 3/44 17.11.44}. Do not understand this - date or not? High View Private Road ,Widford, nr. Chelmsford , Essex . This address is that of her Aunt Pett, her mother's younger sister, 1895-1987. Will ask Margery 1917 , Pett's daughter , if she can remember when this was - May 2010: reply with certain wartime memories but none with Joan.

T.A. Efficiency Medal Applied for Aug 45.

19. Sheet 2.

6/12/44 Posted to home details 58 Gar Regt wrf 6/12/44. . U.K. Sgt.

16/1/45 SOS this unit on posting to 'F' Bty[SL] depart RA wrf 16 from 45 Authy O.C RA[CASL] letter CASL/DIVI/MK/5/90/5 dtd 6/12/44.

26/3/45 Posted to this Unit :339/26 . SOS 'F' Bty[SL] Depot RA on posting to this unit . 25/3/45

28/3/45 Daughter, Christine Rosemary , born Ilford Maternity Home

29/5/45. Admitted Bromley & District Hospital Kent. Unit still 339/26.

20/11/45 A.F.W3149 Completed -1/12/4945 on proceeding to NO5 MCU and posted to Y(E) List. [stamped]2/12/45

Address: 92 Herongate Rd Wanstead Park London E.12.

Sheet 20. Dental Treatment Card.

Diagram of his teeth. Oral Hygiene = Fair.

Details of treatment received : 1/5/40 Skegness : & from No. 35 Mobile Dental Unit on 21/10/41, 12/8/42, 17/11/44 & 4/12/44.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/31/a4168631.shtml is from 'WW2 People's War' -the story of Pearl Beeton~1931, whose father , from Pinner, was also stationed in 426 bat.at Ullesthorpe, but he did go abroad in 1944/5. Now in contact with her -through Genes & email . Have an abbreviated version of his War Record, but no real details of places or Units.

http://www.wartimememories.co.uk/photos.html is a site with photos of servicemen. Should I contribute Dad with his searchlight?

http://www.hinckley-info.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1019&Itemid=179 has an article on Earl Shilton during WW2.

Article on Searchlights.

Books recommended on RootsChat:

The definitive book is called Ack Ack and was published in 1949, written by a chap called Pile, will set you back about £15 on amazon or abebooks

"AA Command: Britain's Anti-aircraft Defences of the Second World War" by English Heritage.  Costs an arm and a leg in hardback but a paperback has just been released

Were the Ullesthorpe Searchlights for the protection of the Whittle - Jet Engine research going on at nearby Lutterworth?: "Jet, The Story Of A Pioneer" although the paper back version I have is just called "Jet". It was first published in 1952 and so might be difficult to get hold of. . The first jet flight took place in 1941, the Air Ministry didn't send an observer and there was no official film of the occasion.

National Archives have 4 docs seemingly on 58 Btn : WO 166/11509, /7806, /14882, /3076, Searchlights.http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/displaycataloguedetails.asp?CATLN=6&CATID=1074507

1939-1941 WO 166/3076
1042  WO 166/7806
1943  WO 166/11509
1944  WO 166/14882

3076. 1939-1941 for 58 btn.- details recorded . From visit to TNA -August 2010.

Aug.39 Peterboro'.

Sep 39 . Sep1 General Mobilisation ordered . Sep 3 Britain at war with germany. Btn. Hdqs moved to Marholm Rectory, nr.Peterboro'.

Oct ,Nov & Dec 39 & Jan 40 . 426 Co. at Ramsey. No activity reported.

Gap of 15 months!!

May 41. Claybrooke Grange. Lots of Officer movement detail. Enemy Action over individual & whole areas. 425 Btty at Ullesthorpe, 12 officers, total strength 436.

Aug. 41 . 95 Bdrs in whole regiment, 1320 gunners.

Sep 41. 30/9/41. It is intended that 344, 425 & 426 S/L batts. will deploy forthwith to single light stations spaced at 6000yds & will be deployed as follows: 344 batt. Gun Zone, 425 batt. Killer Belt, 426[N.W. half] Gun Zone & 426[remainder] Killer Belt. . Priority of work on new sites: a]. Roads & paths. b]. Hutting. c]. Essential ground defence works, & d]. Essential protection to the Projector.

Oct & Nov 41. Nil.

General. Interim Manning scheme mentions a £5 embodiment Gratuity & a 10/- kit allowance From July 17th - August 13th 425 & 426 Cos at Drill Halls at Harrow. Ordnance Depot for all Cos of 58 AA Bn will be Oundle . repairs & maintenance at RAOD Colchester or RAOD York. 425 & 426 Cos will be moving to areas already occupied by covering ground forces. 3/- per man subsistance allowance for day of move only. 426 co: M.Os to evacuate hospital cases to Huntingdon. . In a list of HQs & Sites to be manned 426 Co in 216 Co area[Ramsey]. Also states that each Battery/Company has 24 searchlights.

7806. 1942

For 4 weeks from 5/6/1942 gives strength & distribution of Officers, O.Rs & A.T.S. at Ullesthorpe. 10/11 officers, 345-350, plus 31-35 on courses ,O.Rs , & 11/12 A.T.S/ In July the commanding Officer of 58 S/L Regt. at Claybrooke Grange Rugby. In Feb 42, results of tests on Batteries gives Operational standard of efficiency as below the required minimum standard.

11509 1943. HQs seemingly moved from Claybrooke to Park House Old Hunstanton Norfolk. Jan: 426 Battery will take over a] Canopy of 9 lights at Wittering[ Stamford??], b] Canopy of 6 lights each at following 4 sites: Downham Market, Attlebridge,Norfolk, Matlask, Norfolk & Docking. [426S/L Battery will take over canopy A at Wittering] . Intention : To move 426 S/L Bty to RAF aerodromes as follows: A Troop - to Downham Market, B Troop - to Matlask, C Troop - to Attlebridge & D Troop - to Docking. BHQ - to Lodge Farm Thetford. Advance parties will depart from Ullesthorpe on 13/1/43. main body will move 19/1/43.

Extract from article found on the Web on the only all women Searchlights 93rd Reg.:

Searchlights were used for several duties:

To start off with, searchlights had to be aligned by sight, the calibration being supplemented by sound locators. Later more sophisticated radar equipment was added. Searchlights used were either 90 cm or 150 cm in diameter. A 150 cm radar operated searchlight would need a detachment of 14. Girls were allocated a 'number' and operated the tasks for that number. The main numbers were 1 - 9 with 12, 13 and 14 being used as reserves.

Once V1s and V2s were coming over the channel it was impossible for the searchlights to track them as they were too fast. This was the time that the searchlights were used to aid recovery of survivors from damaged buildings.


World War II in Earl Shilton

From Wikipedia: There were 192 air raid alerts in Earl Shilton. The first occurring on June 26 1940 and the last on 20 March 1945. The village siren was erected on the factory of Toon and son in Wood Street, and known as ‘Moaning Minnie’.

The first bombing took place on the night of 20–21 November 1940, when three parachute mines were dropped. One landed in Barwell while the other two came down in the Northwest corner of Earl Shilton. One of these mines failed to explode, and both villages had a narrow escape as no one was injured and no serious damage was done. The following day a Royal Navy bomb disposal squad and blew the thing up at 3 pm. This left a good size crater near the ‘Brockey’, but soon afterwards this was filled in.

More incendiaries fell in Elmesthorpe on December 4 1940. Chased across Shilton by the RAF, the German plane was brought it down near Leicester Forrest East. The Earl Shilton Home Guard were called out to the scene and prisoners were taken.

At 7am on July 27 1942, a lone German bomber dived out of the clouds near the church and let go of three stick bombs. They landed at the back of Mr T Carter’s farm in Church Street, destroying a barn and badly damaging a house. Mr Carter had a very lucky escape himself, as he was out in his yard at the time only 20 yards (20 m) from the blast. A bull was so badly injured that it had to be put down. The plane went on to machine gun those unfortunate enough to be going to work.

Mr T J Langton recalls - I was at Earl Shilton R.C. School, in Mill Lane, when on this particular morning a lost German plane flew low over Keats Lane and as a boy I remember as Gary Cassell was on his way to the same school as this plane flew over, low and sprayed machine gun bullets along Keats Lane. He ran into an entry and dropped his scarf. When he eventually recovered it, he noticed it contained a bullet hole. He told the story to Michael Mortimore, the son of the village bobby who also attended the school. On hearing this, Mike Mortimore said 'It was a good job he had not got it wrapped round his neck, at the time.'

During the night of July 30 1942, a 2,000 lb (910 kg) bomb landed in Everards field near to Kings Walk, but apart from a pig being killed the bomb only rattled a few windows. The crater was still in evidence in 1947.

Mr T J Langton also recalls - I was woken up early one morning and was later told there had been an explosion, close by in Earl Shilton. Later that morning, it was discovered that a bomb had fallen in the Leacroft’s, and landing on soft ground restricted it’s damage to killing a pig and a chicken, belonging to the Fullylore family. It was later reported in newspapers, but owing to the war situation, it was not given out as being Earl Shilton, only ‘a Midland’s village’.

But it was not only the Germans that the villagers had to watch out for as a greenhouse in Huit Lane was hit by a stray anti-aircraft shell.

On the night of the big raid on Coventry planes passed over the village the whole night long. There was the distant sound of the anti aircraft batteries could clearly be heard and there was a huge orange glow in the sky, which marked the firestorm raining down on Coventry.

At the top end of the village, the Air Raid Patrol, ARP wardens, met in the back room of the Plough, a Public House run by Joe Lucas. They patrolled the streets checking the blackout and fire watching.

Hundreds of villagers went into munitions work, and eventually there was a munitions factory opened in the village. The village also took child refugees from Coventry, Birmingham and London.

Many villagers had shelters put in their gardens, but there were also public shelters in Wood Street, Station Road, Almey’s Lane, Keats Lane, The Hollow and Belle Vue.

The Local Defence Volunteers, later to be renamed the Home Guard, were organised in June 1940. They had their headquarters in a large house near Birds Hill called ‘Holydene’, the fire service and ambulance sharing a room here for a time. The Local Defence Volunteers were conspicuous in their denim overalls at the beginning of the war, but as time went on they were issued with army battle dress, tin hats, American rifles with bayonets and by the end of the war even boasted a couple of Lewis guns. One section of the Home Guard was on patrol every night and by the time they were stood down their strength had grown to 140 men. They were commanded in the early days by Captain Wileman and later by Major Wand of Desford.

Soldiers were billeted in most of the public buildings during the war. The military authorities requisitioned the Working Men's Club dance hall, the Adult School Hall, the Social Institute, Constitutional Club, and the Co-op village hall. After Dunkirk, the Sussex Yeomanry moved into the village, being replaced in turn by the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, Royal Artillery, Royal Marines and the Pioneer Corps. The Wesleyan Chapel in the Hollow was transformed into a British Restaurant, for the troops. Training was undertaken on the recreation grounds and other open spaces around the village. Mr Astley’s sand pit in Heath Lane was used as a shooting range.

There were around 900 men and women serving in the regular British forces, of which 25 were killed in action. Their names were duly added to the war memorial.

Francis William Lyons