Meredith, Berkeley Donald (Oral history)

Catalogue number
  • 18577
Production date
Subject period
  • whole: Duration 170, Number Of Items 6
Alternative names
  • object name: Oral history
  • object category: IWM interview


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Object description

British trooper served with 109th Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps in GB, 1942-1943; served with Staffordshire Yeomanry in GB and North West Europe, 1943-1945

Content description

REEL 1 Background in Barking and Ilford, 1923-1939: family and education. Reaction to declaration of Second World War, 3/9/1939. Recollections of Ilford Blitz, 1940-1941: use of shelters; degree of apprehension; public morale; state of Ilford Hippodrome after bombing. Reasons for enlistment in army, 11/1941. Period of training with Junior Leaders Training Regt, Royal Armoured Corps, Bovington Camp, GB, 1941-1942: opinion of training NCO Sergeant Dolan, 1941-1942; influence of scouting movement in promoting classless esprit de corps. Period with 109th Regt, Royal Armoured Corps, GB, 1942-1943: joining unit at Wellbeck Abbey; training as wireless operator; driving Churchill tank; opinion of Churchill tanks; nature of training in Penistone area; Minden Day parade at Wellbeck Abbey. REEL 2 Continues: disbanding of unit, 1943. Period of training with Parachute Regt in GB, 1943: transfer to unit despite low weight; effect of parachute training on confidence; reaction to being returned to unit; opinion that he could never engage in one-to-one combat. Period as trooper with Staffordshire Yeomanry in GB, 1943-1944: joining unit; character of unit; atmosphere in territorial unit as opposed to regular units; question of class consciousness in army; equipping with Shermans; opinion of Sherman tank; crew of Sherman tanks; amphibious training in Gordonstown College area, Scotland, 1/1944-5/1944; waterproofing of Shermans; problems using 19 wireless sets; move to Bolney, Sussex, 5/1944; D-Day briefings at Bolney, 5/1944. REEL 3 Continues: state of mind pre-D-Day; atmosphere in unit on move from Bolney to Newhaven, 4/6/1944; embarkation and period at sea 4/6/1944-5/6/1944. Recollections of operations with Staffordshire Yeomanry, 27th Armoured Division in Normandy, D-Day, 6/6/1944: unit objectives; arrival on Sword Beach, 10:30 am; noises inside Sherman tanks; experience of going into action inside Sherman tank; plight of comrade on radio net asking for advice because his commanding officer had been killed, 6/6/1944; push inland from Sword Beach; attitude of German POWs; German POW who was put in his Sherman turret; ease of beach landing; problems of mercy killing of wounded cow; infantrymen's fear of being on tanks; farthest point he reached on D-Day. REEL 4 Continues: Recollections of operations with Staffordshire Yeomanry 27th Armoured Division in Normandy, 1944: largering for night, Levassey Wood, 6/6/1944- 7/6/1944; foraging for rations, 6/1944; sight of bombing raid on Caen; role of unit in Operation Goodwood when his tank was hit by armour-piercing shell; German grenade attacks during Operation Goodwood; reaction to sight of Mulberry Harbour; rest period in beach area; return to GB, 7/1944. Period training with Duplex Drive Shermans tanks in GB, 7/1944-9/1944: nature of training and use of Davis underwater escape equipment. Period with Staffordshire Yeomanry in Belgium and Netherlands, autumn 1944: move to Brussels; billeting in chateau, Vilvoerde, Belgium; training with DD tanks on River Maas, Netherlands; question of negative attitude of unit to membership of 79th Armoured Division and General Hobart; liking of desert troops for Montgomery. REEL 5 Continues: Recollections of operations with Staffordshire Yeomanry during Rhine Crossing, Germany, 3/1945: plans to cross with 51st Highland Division; preference for service in tanks rather than infantry; preparations for crossing and vulnerability of DD tanks to shell splinters; crossing river; high explosive shell hit on tank; casualties to his tank crew and psychological effects of experience; push through from River Rhine to Celle. Description of forced labour camp in Belgian coal mine. Recollections of occupation duties with Staffordshire Yeomanry in Germany, 1945-1946: liberation of French cognac from shop, Celle VE Day; VE Day celebrations, Celle; story relating to consequences of looting in Normandy, 1944; attempt of Belsen survivors to put on concert party for liberators, spring 1945; ignoring of non-fraternisation order; supervision of displaced persons at Buxtehude, summer 1945; attitude towards Germans. REEL 6 Continues: contact with displaced persons including Asiatic Soviets; reaction to bombed state of Hanover and it's inhabitants living in holes in rubble; entertainment in Hanover; mess catering role with unit and in military prison in Munster; soldier's attitude towards Military Police; nature of regime in Munster Prison, 1946; lack of interest in black market; attitude to speed of demobilisation, 1946. Attitude towards having served in Second World War.

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