Author Topic: January 6, 1942 - tragic wartime incident on the Adur  (Read 7621 times)

dave1212

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Re: January 6, 1942
« Reply #30 on: September 17, 2018, 02:21:51 pm »
Don't mean to sound like a broken record but thank you again for the great info.

'West Novas - History of the West Nova Scotia Regiment' by Thomas H. Raddall (written 1947) remains 'the bible' for all West Novas past & present. I have the book of course however should I be away from home & need to reference anything from it, I use this link to access the online version.
Depending on your pc speed, could take awhile to load when first accessed (click on 'View/Open') & you're on your way.
http://dalspace.library.dal.ca/handle/10222/53155

Spinalman

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Re: January 6, 1942
« Reply #31 on: September 17, 2018, 05:59:21 pm »
Just picking up again on the coordinates -
Repeating the exercise for three other examples where the exact site is known shows similar discrepancies (some by up to two-tenths of a grid square) and these have been entered in red on the Erringham area map using the original yellow coordinate 639269 as the marker.

Hi Roger.  We haven't established if your maps are the same maps that were referenced by the reports of the time. We have that noted as sheet 133.  The potential anomalies are caused by selecting the wrong datum (the basis upon which the grid is applied to a map.)  I know of two used on maps of that era, and that causes a 2 tenths difference (horizontally but not vertically) depending on which datum you use to convert the grid reference to a modern map.   Now I doubt that difference is uniform -ie Fishersgate may have a bigger difference that the more Western grids of Erringham.  the two datum I used are in here: http://www.fieldenmaps.info/cconv/cconv_gb.html

Next is the original grid reference accuracy itself. 6 digits is fairly coarse, and was it of the river (as implied in the text) or was it the RV point prior to them going to the river, or was it the nearest point on the road for rescue teams to assemble at.
Spinalman

Nelson

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Re: January 6, 1942
« Reply #32 on: September 17, 2018, 07:15:27 pm »
Blimey Spinalman things get more complicated than ever it seems. Anyway, I've asked West Sussex Records Office for the reference numbers of the wartime map they gave me for the AOMB research so perhaps that will make things clearer even though it won't be the complete answer,

dave1212

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Re: January 6, 1942
« Reply #33 on: September 19, 2018, 01:07:48 pm »
What's the depth of the river in the area we're looking at when the tide is coming in - give or take?

Also, I forgot to mention, the book link offers more detail to the Regiment's time in the UK in the early chapters.

Gerry White

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Re: January 6, 1942
« Reply #34 on: September 19, 2018, 01:42:27 pm »
 At full tide, estimate twixt 8ft and 10 ft and from river bottom to top of the bank 12ft maybe 13ft.  That is todays measures but back in 1942m the river may not have scoured the chalk bottom so deeply, the river has a chalk bottom covered with silt/mud.  I have swum across at that point, as a youngster, but the outgoing tide is quite strong, and can quite see why the soldiers had severe difficulties, I only attempted the swim at full high tide, just before it turns to go out.  Best wishes,

dave1212

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Re: January 6, 1942
« Reply #35 on: September 19, 2018, 04:48:16 pm »
L-to-R
Lt. Smeltzer, Private Vingar

Vingar made it to the west bank by swimming on his back. He remained with the Regiment. He was later WIA December 17, 1943 & was awarded the MM for actions May 23, 1944.

Alexander Vingar was KIA December 3, 1944 age 27. He is buried Ravenna War Cemetery, Italy.

Lieutenant Smeltzer was rescued by Private Foster in the recce boat. He too remained with the Regiment & returned home to Nova Scotia after the war. I'm still attempting to trace his post war years.

johnjohn

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Re: January 6, 1942
« Reply #36 on: September 19, 2018, 07:53:24 pm »
I would concur with Gerrys opinion on the depth of water in that area and the strong currents at all but high tide.

 I don't know if the tide was considered on this exercise but at this point the tide could be ebbing for some time at the harbour mouth and a yet still a very strong current flowing in this location.
 As an example of this tidal delay, on one occasion a friend of mine, Bruce Johnson and I went up river from near the harbour paddling a smal dinghy. Aided by the flood tide we had an easy ride as far as the 'Rising Sun' at Upper Beeding where we disembarked and went in for a couple of drinks. Later we came back and tried for a considerable time to paddle back under the bridge and found that we had to work hard to make any progress,eventually the current turned and we ended up around 2300 navigating the Norfolk Bridge rapids
Johnjohn

Spinalman

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Re: January 6, 1942
« Reply #37 on: September 22, 2018, 11:02:40 pm »
Here are some still photos from today:
High tide of the suggested incident location, from the West bank.
Low tide from the East bank - boat launch site.
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/4r2r9ozfspt3i24/AADiOwngWcao5yM0Bp5nzv_Ia?dl=0

http://youtu.be/a0pmEqrMjBc

The aerial view is comparison 1946 aerial photo, 1947-1964 map, and 2016 aerial photo. Red marks the track of the video camera and viewpoints. This is based on the assumption that the platoon used the railway crossing point and path to river. The best estimate grid reference from Nelson's map is shown in yellow.

Note: the Level crossing (LC) evident in the 1947- map is not evident in the 1946 aerial. Although there is sign of a similar crossing point of the railway 100 feet South and that has a track to a dyke footbridge and then to the river.    If the 2 boats were moored up in advance of the exercise, presumably at low tide and at a point on the bank where you could tie up a boat onto the bank OR unload it from the back of a vehicle onto the bank, then maybe a more logical place is opposite the Southern most red dot - and that may indicate where they crossed the Adur to be engaged by the "opposition force" on the West bank.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2018, 06:23:56 pm by Spinalman »
Spinalman

Nelson

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Re: January 6, 1942
« Reply #38 on: September 23, 2018, 06:22:14 am »
Impressive work Spinalman and frighteningly realistic of  how difficult things would have been in the water with full kit 

johnjohn

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Re: January 6, 1942
« Reply #39 on: September 23, 2018, 08:11:59 am »
Ditto !
It clearly shows that other than at high water it would be very difficult if not impossible for a fully laden soldier to climb up the steep eroded mud bank on the west side assuming that the boat could be held steady enough in the strong current to disembark....unless they carried an anchor with them ?
Johnjohn

Spinalman

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Re: January 6, 1942
« Reply #40 on: September 23, 2018, 09:00:21 am »
Whilst it was a pretty windswept spot yesterday there is a lot of walker activity along both banks.   I am sure all are oblivious to the tragedy that occurred there.  I think the soldiers that lost their lives deserve a permanent memorial placed here so this event 76 years ago is not forgotten.
View from probably launching point on East bank at low tide looking SW:
« Last Edit: September 25, 2018, 03:22:14 pm by Spinalman »
Spinalman

johnjohn

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Re: January 6, 1942
« Reply #41 on: September 23, 2018, 07:35:17 pm »
Yes,that would be good.

I doubt if any Shoreham people alive today are aware of this incident. My only knowledge was at the age of aprox 8 being told that a boat carrying Commandos capsized just North of the toll bridge causing a lot of fatalities, which I had related to the old forum,this information being inaccurate makes me wonder if the episode was 'hushed up' as being very bad for morale and only rumours were around at the time.

I wonder if the information of this tragedy could be passed to the local press for publication,it would be good to remind people of the sacrifices made by the Commonwealth forces
Johnjohn

Gerry White

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Re: January 6, 1942
« Reply #42 on: September 23, 2018, 10:09:10 pm »
 Excellent idea to notify the press ...and media TV and Radio...As you both say Spinalman and John John , no one knows what happened at that spot.And they were defending our Country and preparing to invade the Continentof Europe. May be worthy of note at this point that the Dieppe Raid, was planned in the boardroom at Shoreham Airport , and then Raid was predominently  carried out by Canadian forces.

dave1212

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Re: January 6, 1942
« Reply #43 on: September 25, 2018, 01:56:54 am »
This is brilliant! The information provided is remarkable & I truly appreciate the efforts of you all. It's hard to explain the importance of knowing these details. May I share the maps/photos provided with the Association?

I'm glad I was able to provide names & photos of the men involved. I'm currently writing brief bios of the men to accompany their photos. I'm still looking for William McLean's photo but hopefully we'll soon have some luck. I'll share the finished results with you when completed.

The plaque idea is wonderful. If I can be of some assistance let me know.

Thank you again for helping us ensure these men are not forgotten.

Semper Fidelis

Spinalman

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Re: January 6, 1942
« Reply #44 on: September 25, 2018, 07:29:18 am »
This is brilliant! The information provided is remarkable & I truly appreciate the efforts of you all. It's hard to explain the importance of knowing these details. May I share the maps/photos provided with the Association?

Indeed, everything may be shared.    If a memorial stone or plaque were appropriate, I wonder how best to achieve that?  A letter from the WNS Regiment to the right people may be a good start. 

The river is probably the jurisdiction of the Environment Agency, whilst Adur Council is the Local Authority.
Spinalman