Private Papers of Captain S Beck
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- private papers
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Catalogue date 2000-03-22
Ts extracts from letters home to his wife (166pp) covering his service in North West Europe, as an artillery officer with 341st Battery, 86th Field Regiment RA (Hertfordshire Yeomanry), June 1944 - August 1945; including journey to and landing in Normandy as part of the 56th Division (June 1944); then active service in France (June - August 1944); and the advance through Belgium, Holland and Germany to the Baltic, while attached to the Guards Armoured Division (September 1944 - May 1945), and including particularly the Reichswald Battle (February 1945), crossing the Rhine (March 1945), and occupation of Germany around Bremen (May - August 1945); with comments on the conditions and rations; off duty entertainment including the Troop Library; morale; lack of sleep; the importance of mail; bitterness at the unnecessary casualties and correspondence with their relatives; the welcome of the liberated French; casualties from shell shock; US achievements receiving more publicity than British ones; politics; visit of Alanbrooke, Montgomery and Churchill to the front; superiority of German tanks and equipment; non-fraternisation; VE Day celebrations; the Atomic bomb; Major General Sir Alan Adair; and peacetime soldiering. Also included is a detailed ts war diary of the 341st Battery (77pp), June 1944 - April 1946, when the Regiment disbanded; a ts "Extract from a Life History Interview with Sidney Beck" (21pp) recording his pre and post war civil service career, with reflections on his war service; ts biographical notes on his life, 1915 - 1998 (2pp); and an intermittent ms diary (76pp), June 1944 - February 1946, of his experiences in North West Europe.