8th Bn Sherwood Foresters - Last stand at Tretten

Page 1 of 2 1, 2  Next

View previous topic View next topic Go down

8th Bn Sherwood Foresters - Last stand at Tretten

Post  SteveFoster on Fri 1 Feb 2013 - 1:13

Good evening, I am new to the forum and look forward to participating. In June 2010 I visited the site of the battles in Lillehammer and Tretten where 148 (North Midlands) Infantry Brigade (TA) fought against overwhelming odds. After the German invasion on 9 April 1940, the Norwegian Government asked the British Government for help and a hastily devised plan was put together to assist the Norwegian army in countering the invasion. 148 Brigade landed at Andalsnes on 18 April and instead of turning North at Dombas to "operate" against German forces at Namsos, it was ordered south into the Gudbrandsal to assist Norwegian forces in contact with the German armoured Division Pelengahr advancing North from Oslo.

The Brigade commanded by Brigadier H de R Morgan was a Territorial Brigade consisting of the 8th Battalion the Sherwood Foresters Regiment and the 5th Battalion the Leicester Regiment. It was at exactly half strength on landing with only two rifle companies of the Leicesters embarked and the third whole Battalion deployed elsewhere. The merchant ship Cederbank carrying the brigade anti-tank artillery, transport, communications equipment and most of the ammunition and food was torpedoed during passage and the brigade disembarked at Andalsnes with the battle dress, rifles and personal ammunition they stood in with nothing else.

On 19th April contact was made with the German armoured division Pelengahr advancing on either side of Lake Mojsa and Brig Morgan immediately had to split his small force into two to counter the two pronged attack or risk being out flanked. Thus half a brigade now took on a combat experienced armoured division and fighting withdrawal was staged to allow Norwegian forces to pass through them to re-group.

On 23 April the two halves of 148 Bde joined forces at Tretten where the lake narrows to the River Laagen and Brig Morgan decided a stand had to be made there. His men had been fighting in the bitter cold and with little food for five days and were running out of ammunition and the vital bridge at Tretten had to be defended to allow the Norwegian Dahl Force to cross it to join up with the main body. The Vardekampen heights about two miles south of Tretten was chosen as the defensive position as it protruded into the valley at a farmhouse called Rindheim where the valley narrowed and had a steep gorge descending to the river. It was hoped that this narrow valley front would prevent ski troops from turning the Brigade's left flank which had been a feature of every previous contact.

Rock sangars were hastily erected both by the soldiers and Norwegian civilians as entreching was inpossible in the rocky frozen ground. The battle at Rindheim commenced early on 23 April with the two companies of Leicesters in contact with the Germans falling back to the prepared Forester's positions to lure the enemy into the trap. A reserve of 1.5 companies took up a defensive position around the vital bridge at Tretten to take up the fight if the forward position at Rindheim was overcome. The battle at Rindheim lasted all day with the Foresters holding the German infantry but being subjected to constant mortar and machine gun fire from the oposite side of the valley. Sometime in the afternoon 3 tanks advanced out of the forest past Rindheim farmhouse and commenced shooting up the troops in the sangars who had to re-group in the pine trees undre the Vardekampen to gain cover from the tanks. At the same time ski troops outflanked the Rindheim position on the other side of the Vardekampen and swept on into Tretten as did the three tanks. Two separate battles now raged, the forward positions still holding at Rindheim with the reserve companies trying to hold Tretten and the vital bridge.

At about 6pm, Lt Col Ford, the Foresters CO, gave the order to break out of the forward position in small groups as they had run out of ammunition and were now effectively 2 miles behind the front line which was now in Tretten where hand to hand fighting was taking place around the bridge. Small groups continued to fight in the Rindheim position until about 9pm but all were eventually silenced. At about the same time the Brigadier ordered the reserve force to break contact at Tretten as the bridge was now in enemy hands. The remnants retired North in civilian transport leaving a small volunteer rearguard to hold the Germans. The Brigade ceased to exist as a fighting unit on 23 April 1940, the majority being killed, wounded or captured at Tretten. The remnants, about 6 officers and 300 men, withdrew north to Kvam, conducting holding actions as they went. At Kvam, 15 Brigade, a regular fully equipped Brigade held the German advance for some time.

My father, Sgt F Foster of the 8th Sherwood Foresters, was wounded and captured at Rindheim. I have attached some photos of Lt Col Ford surrendering his break out party and photographs of the battle site taken during my visit in 2010.

Steve

SteveFoster

Posts : 31
Join date : 2013-01-31
Location : Great Britain

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Whoops

Post  SteveFoster on Fri 1 Feb 2013 - 1:15

Apologies, my thumbnails have not uploaded. Will try again after I have got the hang of it!

Steve

SteveFoster

Posts : 31
Join date : 2013-01-31
Location : Great Britain

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Help

Post  SteveFoster on Fri 1 Feb 2013 - 1:47

I seem to be failing at uploading pictures to the thread. Could someone point me in the right direction please. I can see the four images I have uploaded but can't seem to get them on to a post.

Thanks

Steve

SteveFoster

Posts : 31
Join date : 2013-01-31
Location : Great Britain

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: 8th Bn Sherwood Foresters - Last stand at Tretten

Post  norwaynut on Sun 3 Feb 2013 - 2:29

Hi Steve, welcome to the forum.
I would be most interested to see your photos if you can get them up!
The decision to split the brigade was not actually taken by Brigadier Morgan. His force (of only six rifle companies as two companies didn't arrive till next day ) arrived at Lillehammer piecemeal and was taken off as it arrived to bolster Norwegian units on both sides of Lake Mjosa.
The standard account from the British point of view is the official history The Campaign in Norway by TK Derry. You can view or download the whole book from the Hyperwar site.
There was another book I had years ago which had some good maps of the battles up the Gudbransdal but I lost it and can't remember the title.

norwaynut

Posts : 59
Join date : 2009-12-12
Location : deepest England

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: 8th Bn Sherwood Foresters - Last stand at Tretten

Post  SteveFoster on Sun 3 Feb 2013 - 3:15

Hi norway nut and thanks for replying.

I am wrestling with the technology and failing! Am using the "Host an Image" icon which then allows me to upload photos to the "servimg.com" server where they have arrived. I can't seem to get them from there to a new post. Any clues? I think you will appreciate the photos as I walked the very area where the rock sangars are still in place and where the battle took place. If all else fails can e mail them. Will try again tomorrow.

Regards

Steve

SteveFoster

Posts : 31
Join date : 2013-01-31
Location : Great Britain

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: 8th Bn Sherwood Foresters - Last stand at Tretten

Post  norwaynut on Sun 3 Feb 2013 - 4:07

Hi Steve, are you using a photo hosting site like imageshack or photobucket? I believe you have to put your photos on one of those sites first. I have never actually put photos on this forum before myself but have done it on other forums.

norwaynut

Posts : 59
Join date : 2009-12-12
Location : deepest England

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: 8th Bn Sherwood Foresters - Last stand at Tretten

Post  Bjørn on Sun 3 Feb 2013 - 15:26

Hello, and welcome to the Forum!
To post images, use a photo hosting site as mentioned by norwaynut.

This is btw a most informative link about the British forces:
http://niehorster.orbat.com/017_britain/40_norway/_40-04_uk.html

B

Bjørn

Posts : 388
Join date : 2007-11-27
Age : 55
Location : Bodø

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: 8th Bn Sherwood Foresters - Last stand at Tretten

Post  norwaynut on Mon 4 Feb 2013 - 18:28

Thanks Bjorn for the link Very Happy that is a nice informative page.

norwaynut

Posts : 59
Join date : 2009-12-12
Location : deepest England

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: 8th Bn Sherwood Foresters - Last stand at Tretten

Post  SteveFoster on Mon 4 Feb 2013 - 19:02

norwaynut wrote:Hi Steve, are you using a photo hosting site like imageshack or photobucket? I believe you have to put your photos on one of those sites first. I have never actually put photos on this forum before myself but have done it on other forums.

Hi James,

I have tried to reply to your PM but it is stuck in the "outbox" and not the "sent box". I don't seem to be having any luck! If you would like a preview of the photos before I can get them up on this forum, go to ww2talk.com and open the thread "8th Battalion Sherwood Foresters in Norway April 1940". You will have to join to view the attachments but everything is there.

Regards

Steve

SteveFoster

Posts : 31
Join date : 2013-01-31
Location : Great Britain

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: 8th Bn Sherwood Foresters - Last stand at Tretten

Post  Bjørn on Tue 5 Feb 2013 - 12:56

Hello!
Try uploading at Photobucket, and add the link in the posting. Should work.

B.

Bjørn

Posts : 388
Join date : 2007-11-27
Age : 55
Location : Bodø

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: 8th Bn Sherwood Foresters - Last stand at Tretten

Post  SteveFoster on Tue 5 Feb 2013 - 13:09

Hi Bjorn, just tried it and the blocking notice came up again - I guess will have to wait 7 days.

Steve

SteveFoster

Posts : 31
Join date : 2013-01-31
Location : Great Britain

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Finally got there!

Post  SteveFoster on Wed 6 Feb 2013 - 21:39

[url=http://www.servimg.com/image_preview.php?i=14&u=18088034][/url]

Here are three images of the action at Tretten on 23 April 1940.

The first: Lt Col Ford surrenders the Battalion HQ party just by the farmhouse at Rindheim. He had fought for five days and all day at Rindheim; he ordered the remnants of the Battalion to break out at about 6pm after all ammunition was expended and walked straight into a German HQ party. The look on the young TA soldier's face with the white flag says it all.

Second: A platoon of Foresters advances to contact from Tretten station shortly before the battle on 23 April at Rindheim.

Third: Lt Colonel Ford being marched into captivety towards Venabygd from Rindheim. He looks in shock; note the pistol in German officer's hand and Col Ford's Service Webley around the neck of the German on the right. Colonel Ford is dressed for the wrong war - Trench coat, Service dress and no doubt WW1 puttees. He was awarded the DSO for the handling of his Battalion whilst in Norway and fought with his men until the end.

Steve

SteveFoster

Posts : 31
Join date : 2013-01-31
Location : Great Britain

View user profile

Back to top Go down

1940 Photos

Post  SteveFoster on Wed 6 Feb 2013 - 23:11

[url=http[img]http://i12.servimg.com/u/f12/18/08/80/34/148_br10.jpg[/imgww.servi[url=http://www.servimg.com/image_preview.php?i=20&u=18088034]mg.com/image_preview.php?i=18&u=18088034][/url]

Four more original photos from the fighting around Tretten in April 1940:

1. A German burial party in the village of Tretten shortly after the battle - note the British helmet on the cross.
2. Wounded Sherwood Foresters walking into captivity past advancing German Armour.
3. Members of German 196 Regiment, a Bavarian and Austrian mountain brigade advancing past tanks of Panzer Abteilung 40 in the Gudbrandsdal. Both were units from "Division Pelengahr" and had seen action in Poland.
4. A group of POWs from the Teritorial 148 Infantry Brigade.

Next I will post some photos of the battle site I visited in 2010.

Steve

SteveFoster

Posts : 31
Join date : 2013-01-31
Location : Great Britain

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Visit to Tretten in 2010

Post  SteveFoster on Thu 7 Feb 2013 - 0:14

ttp://www.serviurl]ge_preview.php?i=25&u=18088034][/url]

A few shots of the battlefield at Tretten taken in 2010:
1. What is believed to be the Battalion HQ sangar.
2. The field of fire from the Bn HQ sangar to Rindheim farmhouse. This field is exactly where the battle happened on April 23 1940 with the Leicesters retiring to the Sherwood Foresters positions to draw the Germans into the field and thus deny them cover. The German infantry advanced from the track in the wood beyond the farmhouse but were exposed and suffered great losses from the British fire. They also tried to outflank the British to the left but well placed patrols and sangared positions prevented it. The Foresters held the Germans until about 3 pm until 3 tanks emerged from the track in the woods beyond the farmhouse and over ran the sangered positions killing and wounding many. The Boyes anti-tank rifle could not penetrate the German armour. The British positions were under constant mortar and MG 42 fire from the hills on the oposite side of the valley.
3. The forward sangars of the Forester's Rifle Companies and Detached Brigade Staff. My father was one manning one of these and they would have taken the brunt of the armoured attack in the afternoon.
4. The view the attacking German troops would have once in the open along side Rindheim farmhouse. They were raked by rifle and Bren fire from the Forester's sangars at the edge of the tree line. Some sangars are still visible at the edge of the field. In the afternoon, the Forester's were rallied to within the tree line where they continues to hold German infantry although the tanks had pressed on into Tretten itself. An effort was made to climb the Vardekampen to withdraw back to Tretten but it proved too steep.
5. A plaque I found on the front of the HQ sangar. The regimental museum did not know it existed.
6. A sketch of the Rindheim position made sfter the war. The field in the photographs is the small area to the left of Rindheim farmhouse and to the right of the Battalion HQ. It can be seen from this sketch that Brigadier Morgan chose this spot wisely to make his stand. The Vardekampen comes steeply down into the valley and produces a narrow front which the German had to pass through.
Will post some "then and now" photos next.

Steve


SteveFoster

Posts : 31
Join date : 2013-01-31
Location : Great Britain

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: 8th Bn Sherwood Foresters - Last stand at Tretten

Post  norwaynut on Thu 7 Feb 2013 - 0:45

Thanks Steve, great stuff. Good work finding that plaque!

norwaynut

Posts : 59
Join date : 2009-12-12
Location : deepest England

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Rindheim sangar

Post  SteveFoster on Thu 7 Feb 2013 - 14:59

[url=http://www.servimg.com/image_preview.php?i=37&u=18088034][/url]

The third photo is a sketch of the battle at Rindheim showing a machine gun being fired from a rock sangar below the Vardekampen. The first is a view of the Vardekampen from the sangar and the second is the view from the sangar down to Rindheim farmhouse where the Germans advanced from.

Steve

SteveFoster

Posts : 31
Join date : 2013-01-31
Location : Great Britain

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Cheese factory in Tretten -then and now

Post  SteveFoster on Thu 7 Feb 2013 - 15:18

[url=http://www.servimg.com/image_preview.php?i=43&u=18088034][/url]

First: A sketch of the latter part of the battle depicting a sergeant trying to stem the rout as Foresters stream past the burning cheese factory as tanks enter the village.
Second: The cheese factory as it is to day
Third: The cheese factory shortly after it was destroyed in 1940. At the start of the battle on 23 April it was the Brigade HQ and Regimental Aid Post, but had to be quickly abondoned as the German zeroed its chimney with their 5.9 mortars.

Steve

SteveFoster

Posts : 31
Join date : 2013-01-31
Location : Great Britain

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: 8th Bn Sherwood Foresters - Last stand at Tretten

Post  norwaynut on Fri 8 Feb 2013 - 11:25

Very informative, great photos thank you.

norwaynut

Posts : 59
Join date : 2009-12-12
Location : deepest England

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: 8th Bn Sherwood Foresters - Last stand at Tretten

Post  Bjørn on Fri 8 Feb 2013 - 13:13

Thank you very much for posting these interesting pictures!

B

Bjørn

Posts : 388
Join date : 2007-11-27
Age : 55
Location : Bodø

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Tretten Station - then and now

Post  SteveFoster on Mon 11 Feb 2013 - 1:35

[url=http://www.servimg.com/image_preview.php?i=46&u=18088034][/url]

First photo. A 2012 view of Tretten station just by the road bridge at Tretten.

Second. April 1940, a platoon of Foresters advances from Tretten station in the exact same spot!

Steve

SteveFoster

Posts : 31
Join date : 2013-01-31
Location : Great Britain

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Tank attack at Rindheim - then and now

Post  SteveFoster on Mon 11 Feb 2013 - 2:00

[url=http://www.servimg.com/image_preview.php?i=51&u=18088034][/url]

The sketch is of the tank attack at Rindheim on the forward Sherwood Foresters positions at Rindheim. This happened about 3 pm on 23 April after the Foresters had held attacking German infantry from their sangars. B and C Companies plus the detached Brigade staff platoon took the full force of the attack and the sketch depicts them breaking for cover of the trees at the edge of the field.

The photo shows the exact same position in 2010, the tanks emerged from the track in the forest beyond Rindheim farmhouse and the forward troops abandoned their sangars to gain cover of the trees. The previous photo of Lt Col Ford being marched into captivety took place on the track in the trees beyond the farmhouse.

Steve

SteveFoster

Posts : 31
Join date : 2013-01-31
Location : Great Britain

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: 8th Bn Sherwood Foresters - Last stand at Tretten

Post  norwaynut on Mon 11 Feb 2013 - 16:58

Great stuff! I like these before and after type photos. Hmm small arms against tanks. Not good. Even a 5 ton Panzer 1 is a problem if you haven't got anything to knock it out with.

norwaynut

Posts : 59
Join date : 2009-12-12
Location : deepest England

View user profile

Back to top Go down

British Graves in Lillehammer Cemetery and Biri Cemetery

Post  SteveFoster on Tue 12 Feb 2013 - 19:54

[url=http://www.servimg.com/image_preview.php?i=53&u=18088034][/url]

Two photos of British graves of soldiers of 148 Infantry Brigade who died defending Tretten on 23 April 1940. The Leicesters are near the front and the Foresters to the rear.

A plaque describing the various military actions in Norway in April 1940. When I visited the cemetery this was unreadable so I bought some metal polish in Lillehammer and cleaned it up.

The graves of the five Sherwood Foresters from "West Force" in Biri cemetery whose lorry received a direct mortar hit whilst retreating near Biri. The mortar round was fired from the East side of the lake by the advancing Germans and was a lucky hit. The Norwegian driver was also killed.

Steve

SteveFoster

Posts : 31
Join date : 2013-01-31
Location : Great Britain

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: 8th Bn Sherwood Foresters - Last stand at Tretten

Post  SteveFoster on Thu 14 Feb 2013 - 13:02

norwaynut wrote:Great stuff! I like these before and after type photos. Hmm small arms against tanks. Not good. Even a 5 ton Panzer 1 is a problem if you haven't got anything to knock it out with.

I think they had a couple of lucky shots with the Boyes Anti-Tank rifle against tracks etc but basically they could not penetrate the armour of the Mk 1.

15 Brigade who held the German advance at Kvam had Hotchkiss anti-tank artillery and stopped the armour dead as the tanks could only operate on the narrow valley road. Basically they all piled up behind the lead tank which had been knocked out.

Steve

SteveFoster

Posts : 31
Join date : 2013-01-31
Location : Great Britain

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Some documents I found at the National Archives

Post  SteveFoster on Thu 14 Feb 2013 - 13:32

[url=http://www.servimg.com/image_preview.php?i=57&u=18088034][/url]

I have posted four documents I copied whilst reading the "Sickle Force" files at the National Archives.

1. A secret signal sent from HMS Arethusa to CinCFleet on 1 May 1940 after picking up the remnants of Sickle Force at Andalsnes. The ship went alongside under heavy German bombing and was actively engaging both air and land targets whilst picking up the remnants of the force. Of the 668 Sherwood Foresters who landed in Norway, only 42 were picked up intact. The other 200 survivers must have been part of the 812 walking wounded of all Regiments.

2. A secret order for leave arrangements for the survivers of "Sickle Force". They were swore to secrecy about the scale of the disaster and the British Public were never aware of what happened in Norway, it was generally thought that the first action by British forces was the BEF in France some weeks later. The first British Battalion Commander to pit his troops against the German Army was in Fact Lt Col Ford, a Territorial soldier who was an antique shop ownwer from Newark! He and some of his officers and NCOs were taken to Berlin to be paraded in front of Hitler so he could see first hand the quality of British troops and captured weapons. Hitler congratulated Lt Col Ford on his bravery but told him the outcome of the war was inevitable with the poor quality equipment British soldiers were issued.

3. A poem I found in Captain Beckwith's memoirs at The National archives.

4. A War Office document I found in one of the files giving the strength of Sickle Force. If you look at 148 Brigade stats, a staff officer has totalled the Brigade strength as 1407 and written in manuscript: "we have heard they have rescued 400, altogether 1000 casualties". This must have been a great shock to the senior Army Staff who were made aware of the losses of this, the first engagement of the war, and the quality of the German troops our territorial soldiers were pitted against.

Steve

SteveFoster

Posts : 31
Join date : 2013-01-31
Location : Great Britain

View user profile

Back to top Go down

8th Foresters War Diary for 23 Apr 40 - battle at Tretten

Post  SteveFoster on Mon 18 Feb 2013 - 0:20

I have posted below pages 27-33 of the 8 SF War Diary for 23 April 1940 covering the battle at Rindheim, Tretten. It paints a bleak picture of fighting with small arms in the snow whilst enduring MG, Mortar and Armoured attacks. The original war diary was destroyed by enemy action but was rewritten by Maj Roberts, the battalion 2 i/c, whilst a POW. The hand written sketch shows Rindheim farmhouse, the field and the sangar positions and aligns exactly with my photos. From that sketch I discovered that my father's platoon, the detached Brigade Staff were in a sangar in the very front of the position between Battalion HQ and A Company.

I am afraid as I have posted the pages they have slipped out of order and try as I might, they won't go back in order. The page numbers are in manuscript on the top of each page so I am afraid you will have to alternate to read the pages chronologically. Apologies

Steve

[url=http://www.s[url=http://www.servimg.com/image_preview.php?i=66&u=18088034][/url]ervimg.com/image_preview.php?i=63&u=18088034][/url]

SteveFoster

Posts : 31
Join date : 2013-01-31
Location : Great Britain

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: 8th Bn Sherwood Foresters - Last stand at Tretten

Post  norwaynut on Wed 20 Feb 2013 - 8:06

Hi Steve, this goes well beyond normal forum stuff, these are important historical documents! You have done a great job.

norwaynut

Posts : 59
Join date : 2009-12-12
Location : deepest England

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Sgt Foster's Pay Book

Post  SteveFoster on Sat 23 Feb 2013 - 23:37

I have attached a page from 148 Brigade War Diary describing the action at Rindheim, Tretten. It is in pencil manuscript which is quite hard to read so have typed in a transcription underneath. It was presumably written by the Brigade Staff Captain whilst events were happening which is quite remarkable in itself. The manuscript describes how "AFVs" (all tanks were called Armoured Fighting Vehicles in 1940!) overran the forward position at Rindheim and then pressed on into Tretten itself. It describes how the Brigade Staff were formed up into a fighting platoon under 2/Lt Butler, the Brigade Signal Officer, and sent up to the front line at Rindheim as an infantry platoon. My father, Sgt Foster, although the Brigade Clerk, was an infantry Sergeant and was detailed as the Platoon Sergeant and fought with 2/Lt Butler at Rindheim where he sustained mortar wounds and was captured as the postion was overrun.

I have also attached a page from Dad's pay book which shows a field payment of £1 was authorised by 2/Lt Butler, who presumably was Dad's boss in the Brigade Staff.

Also attached a picture of dad taken in Dec 39 whilst training for Norway in Barnard Castle and a picture taken in Aug 42 in Stalag XXA looking thinner after 2 years of POW rations.

Steve





SteveFoster

Posts : 31
Join date : 2013-01-31
Location : Great Britain

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Tretten Main Street, Then and Now

Post  SteveFoster on Fri 1 Mar 2013 - 1:37

The first picture: Tretten Main Street as it was prior to the invasion in 1940. Note the intact Cheese Factory.

Second picture: A sketch of the fighting in Tretten as the main Rindheim position two miles to the south was over run and three tanks entered Tretten. Tretten and the tactically important bridge was only defended by D and half of HQ Companies, 8th Battalion Sherwood Foresters who were personally directed by the Brigadier as his HQ was right there and the battalion COs were trapped at Rindheim. Intense hand to hand fighting took place in the streets but the outcome was inevitable as ski troops entered the village from the East of the Vardekampen Heights. At 9pm, after the Brigadier could wait no longer for the main body to fall back from Rindheim, a volunteer rearguard held the North of the village as the remnants of the Brigade fell back in Norwegian civilian transport.

Third picture: The view the defenders of Tretten would have had from the bridge towards the Vardekampen, the peak in the distance. The tanks would have come down this very road and the ski troops swept over the saddle to the left of the Vardekampen. A Forester WW1 veteran officer was seen to be stood on the bridge taking shots at the lead tank with his Service revolver until his sergeant pulled him clear!

Fourth picture: Tretten Main Street in June 2010. Note the same building as in the 1940 picture.

Steve
url=http://www.servimg.com/image_preview.php?i=75&u=18088034][/url]

SteveFoster

Posts : 31
Join date : 2013-01-31
Location : Great Britain

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: 8th Bn Sherwood Foresters - Last stand at Tretten

Post  norwaynut on Sat 2 Mar 2013 - 21:19

Incredible stuff and excellent research once again . Many thanks.

norwaynut

Posts : 59
Join date : 2009-12-12
Location : deepest England

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Battle at Tretten - German units involved

Post  SteveFoster on Thu 4 Apr 2013 - 12:59

Although I have posted this separately, I thought Olli Eike's excellent appraisal of the German forces involved at the battle of Tretten should also be on this thread.

The picture I posted previously showing Lt Col Ford being marched into captivity by an un named German Battalion Commander can now have a name. Olli believes the German officer on the left with the pistol in hand is Oberst Laendle, the CO of Inf Reg 345.

Steve

Steve

SteveFoster

Posts : 31
Join date : 2013-01-31
Location : Great Britain

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: 8th Bn Sherwood Foresters - Last stand at Tretten

Post  norwaynut on Thu 11 Apr 2013 - 8:10

Good work as always.
Yes battle reports, even if accurate as to events are always a bit biased when it comes to estimating enemy casualties and how hard the home troops fought!

The German skill at forming ad hoc battle groups were something we just didn't have an answer to at the time. I bet in many British Officer's Messes it was decried as the "the Jerries not playing fair".

You staying on the forum Steve?

norwaynut

Posts : 59
Join date : 2009-12-12
Location : deepest England

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Norway during ww2 forum

Post  SteveFoster on Thu 11 Apr 2013 - 9:24

Yes, I hope to stay on though I think I have just about exhausted this topic. There is always plenty to learn from other contibuters though.

Steve

SteveFoster

Posts : 31
Join date : 2013-01-31
Location : Great Britain

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: 8th Bn Sherwood Foresters - Last stand at Tretten

Post  norwaynut on Fri 12 Apr 2013 - 16:17

Yes there is. My own interest is mainly in the battles of april till the laying down of arms at end of June 1940. There are some memoirs of Norwegian Generals but I don't suppose I will ever get hold of them and I wouldn't be able to read them if I did!

norwaynut

Posts : 59
Join date : 2009-12-12
Location : deepest England

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Returned POWs from 8th Battalion Sherwood Foresters

Post  SteveFoster on Mon 1 Jul 2013 - 23:38

I have just found this picture in dad's old documents.  Scribbled on the back are the words; "With the compliments of the Newark District POW Relatives Association."

It is obviously a post war meeting of the Association with their returned loved ones present.  The 8th Battalion Sherwood Foresters HQ was in Newark on Trent so most of the soldiers present would have been Sherwood Foresters returned from their five years in captivity.

Lieutenant Colonel Ford, DSO, the battalion CO in Norway is the gentleman in the dark civilian suit in the centre of the sitting row.  He was repatriated from his POW camp during the war due to ill health so that may be the reason he is in plain clothes.  All those in uniform are wearing a newly issued 39-45 star ribbon and the soldiers are wearing the 1945 style battle dress with open collar and shirt and tie underneath.  They are also wearing the newly issued embroidered regimental shoulder flash which has the one word "Foresters".

My father, Sgt Foster, is one of the two men standing behind the right of the fourth rank.  He is the one in uniform on the left of the two looking through the gaps in the fourth rank.  This must have been taken some time after his repatriation on 22 May 1945 as he does not look so gaunt and thin as the photos of his return.



Steve


Last edited by SteveFoster on Wed 3 Jul 2013 - 1:56; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Removed thumbnail)

SteveFoster

Posts : 31
Join date : 2013-01-31
Location : Great Britain

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Tretten bridge

Post  greyhound on Thu 18 Sep 2014 - 22:39

I am a new member. My late father and my cousin were in Norway campaign. I was fascinated to read about Tretten.  My cousin, was 'called back' as B company Leicesters retreated, and my father lost sight of him, later it seems he was to have been in a small group making a 'last stand' at the bridge. My father was captured, prisoner of war, later it was found that his nephew was killed, died 28th April 1940, aged 17, buried at Lillehammer. I wonder why he died some days after the battle? We have visited the grave at Lillehammer in 2005.

greyhound

Posts : 2
Join date : 2014-09-18
Location : Leicestershire, England

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: 8th Bn Sherwood Foresters - Last stand at Tretten

Post  SteveFoster on Thu 18 Sep 2014 - 22:58

Hello Greyhound and welcome to the forum,

I am sorry my posts have been a bit one sided about the Sherwood Foresters rather than the Leicesters, but they fought as one unit on the 22cnd and 23rd of April, completely mixed up.

I can think of two reasons why your cousin died on the 28th of April and not actually in the battle on the 23rd.

The first is that he may have been taken to Lillehammer hospital and survived for five days until succumbing to his wounds. In my research, it appears Norwegian, German and British medical staff worked alongside each other in Lillehammer hospital without animosity.

The second is that although the Foresters and Leicesters were defeated on the 23rd at Lillehammer, the survivors continued to fight rear guard actions all the way to Andalsnes. When I visited in 2010, I found many British army CWGC graves (Foresters, Leicesters and members of 15 Brigade) in the various villages north of Tretten where actions had been fought. Perhaps your cousin was killed in one of those battles.

Best wishes,

Steve

SteveFoster

Posts : 31
Join date : 2013-01-31
Location : Great Britain

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: 8th Bn Sherwood Foresters - Last stand at Tretten

Post  Opaque Hornet on Thu 18 Sep 2014 - 23:26

Wow, great stuff. Interesting about the Cedarbank & torpedo. I have read they worked better in southern waters, less well at Narvik,( Destroyers seemed to have better luck than U-boats with this). Also the tank story. Thanks, I'm also a Steve.

Opaque Hornet

Posts : 45
Join date : 2013-09-18

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Lillehammer hospital

Post  greyhound on Mon 22 Sep 2014 - 9:09

Many thanks for this reply. It is very helpful to know this.

greyhound

Posts : 2
Join date : 2014-09-18
Location : Leicestershire, England

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: 8th Bn Sherwood Foresters - Last stand at Tretten

Post  Opaque Hornet on Tue 23 Sep 2014 - 0:59

Well the Us army didn't do that well when they 1st fought in north Africa, so whenever a new style of fighting is introduced, ( albeit a good one), the uninitiated can expect a rough beginning, ( standup fighters learned this real quick fighting Royce Gracie), that plus the Cedarbank sinking made it even worse.

Opaque Hornet

Posts : 45
Join date : 2013-09-18

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: 8th Bn Sherwood Foresters - Last stand at Tretten

Post  johnthebike50 on Sat 17 Jan 2015 - 20:29

My Father was Arthur Lewin from Southwell. He survived the Norway conflict in April 1940.
Has anyone been to Tretton recently or have any info to assist me in arranging a visit to the area for the 75th anniversary this year
The other reason for my visit will hopefully be the collection of dads Participation medal if possible !
Regards John Lewin

johnthebike50

Posts : 4
Join date : 2015-01-17

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: 8th Bn Sherwood Foresters - Last stand at Tretten

Post  SteveFoster on Sun 18 Jan 2015 - 0:35

Hello John and welcome to the forum, it is good to talk to another descendant of an 8th Forester.  My father was from Bowbridge Road in Newark and would certainly have known your father, as being a Newark based TA battalion, they would all have known each other.

I am very good friends with John Stephenson from Newark who was born and bred in Southwell.  His father, Private JE Stephenson was a Southwell man and fought with the 8th in Norway; he and your father were bound to have been friends.

If you look at the first photographs I have posted of Lt Col Ford surrendering, Pte Stephenson is the man at the back of the group staring defiantly into the German camera, not looking at all afraid, unlike the young lad wearing the balaclava holding the white flag.  Pte Stephenson was a forty year old ex regular Forester who re-joined the colours on declaration of war and served as Colonel Ford's batman and bodyguard; he was awarded a Mention in Despatches for his defence of the Battalion HQ and protection of Colonel Ford during the close quarters fire fight in the closing stage of the battle at Tretten.   I asked his son why his dad, being such an experienced and brave soldier, was not an NCO; John replied he couldn't read or write and couldn't until the day he died!!

I visited Tretten and Lillehammer in 2010 and can certainly advise you of where to go and who to contact to guide you. As you can see from my attached photos of the visit, I found all of the rock sangars the Foresters defended in the fields and forest around Rindheim farmhouse.  There is also an excellent museum in Kvam which has much detail of the campaign.

I am very intrigued about you receiving the Deltakermedaljen (Defence Participation Medal) on behalf of your father, is he still alive?  I applied for it on behalf of my late father last year and received a very polite reply from the Norwegian MOD (Lt Col Meum) stating that it can not be awarded posthumously.  He did advise me to apply for the King Haakon VII Freedom Medal which can be awarded posthumously which I have duly done; I await a reply.

Perhaps rather than bore the rest of the forum with the details of where to go and who to see during your visit to Norway, if we could exchange e mail addresses, I will give you details that way.  I have been warned never to put an e mail address on a post so will investigate if I can send you a "private message" via this thread and give you my address that way.  Perhaps other users could advise.

Regards,

Steve Foster

SteveFoster

Posts : 31
Join date : 2013-01-31
Location : Great Britain

View user profile

Back to top Go down

First post

Post  PeterWood on Sun 18 Jan 2015 - 19:38

Hello Steve,

I will follow this thread from now on and present any additional info that comes to light.

Does anyone have a picture of the MV Cedarbank?

OK, I've found it but can't post external link yet due to forum rules. Its on a U-Boat link. Sailed with Convoy AP1 and sunk by U-26 with fifteen men lost.

PeterWood

Posts : 5
Join date : 2015-01-18
Location : Derbyshire

View user profile

Back to top Go down

M V Cedarbank

Post  SteveFoster on Sun 18 Jan 2015 - 20:17

Welcome Pete,

I couldn't get a stand alone photo of MV Cedarbank, bur here is a link to a website called clydesite which has a picture:

http://www.clydesite.co.uk/clydebuilt/viewship.asp?id=6255

It is definitely the same ship as the site gives the date of the torpedoing as 21 April 1940.  

Regards,

Steve

SteveFoster

Posts : 31
Join date : 2013-01-31
Location : Great Britain

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Cedarbank

Post  PeterWood on Sun 18 Jan 2015 - 21:27

Thanks, Steve.

The U-Boat forum gives some cargo info. While far from exhaustive it lists some 400 tons including ammunition, MV transport, 75 tons of rations and 50% of 148 Brigade anti-aircraft gear.
Although this cargo would not have affected the eventual outcome it would certainly have made it more difficult for the Germans to obtain their final goal, perhaps even allowing the Brigade a more efficient and orderly withdrawal.

PeterWood

Posts : 5
Join date : 2015-01-18
Location : Derbyshire

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: 8th Bn Sherwood Foresters - Last stand at Tretten

Post  johnthebike50 on Thu 22 Jan 2015 - 0:25

Hello there,
I seem to remember my father saying he returned from Norway to Scotland on HMS Sheffield. Can anyone confirm this?
Also he told a story that on the journey to Norway he and his pal Jack Coolin found a cavity on deck away from the men being unwell,
They were cold but dry and comfotable until the first shot from the gun above their heads was fired ! They thought they had been blown up !
Does anyone know which ship they would have made the outward trip on? He did tell of the sinking of their equipment and supplies by a U boat
and only having what he was wearing and his Lea Enfield when they arrived.

John.

johnthebike50

Posts : 4
Join date : 2015-01-17

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: 8th Bn Sherwood Foresters - Last stand at Tretten

Post  PeterWood on Thu 22 Jan 2015 - 12:35

Hello,

Steve will confirm but it could have been either one of the light cruisers (sometimes referred to as destroyers) HMS Galatea or Arethusa.

PeterWood

Posts : 5
Join date : 2015-01-18
Location : Derbyshire

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Embarkation to Norway

Post  SteveFoster on Thu 22 Jan 2015 - 13:41

Hello,

Pete is absolutely right, it was two cruisers of the 2cnd Cruiser Squadron, HMS Arethusa and HMS Galatea.  They were accompanied by HMS Carlyle and HMS Curacao plus two destroyers.

Break down of 148 Brigade by ship

HMS Arethusa:    B Coy, C Coy and half of HQ Coy of 8th Foresters plus one Coy of Leicesters.  Lt Col Ford and half Foresters officers.
HMS Galatea:      A Coy, D Coy and half of HQ Coy of 8th Foresters plus one Coy of Leicesters.  Remainder of officers.  Brig H de R Morgan and Brigade    staff.

The remainder of Leicesters sailed from Aberdeen in two converted cattle boats, Suniveer and St Magnus escorted by the destroyers Jackal and Javelin.  Also in that convoy was the ill fated Cedarbank.  The Foresters on Arethusa formed East Force and those on Galatea West Force.

John, do you know which Company your father was in?   A Coy was based in Arnold, B Coy Newark, C Coy Mansfield, D Coy Worksop and HQ Coy Newark.  If your father was a Southwell man, he was most likely in B or HQ Coys.

Regards,

Steve

SteveFoster

Posts : 31
Join date : 2013-01-31
Location : Great Britain

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: 8th Bn Sherwood Foresters - Last stand at Tretten

Post  PeterWood on Thu 22 Jan 2015 - 19:19

Hello Steve,

I have discovered an alternative caption to one of your pics shown above. It purports to show that the captured Lt. Colonel is Guy Johnson German of the Leicesters! Question  
There appears to be some similarity but I think it is certainly Lt. Col. Ford. Just thought I would mention it. I will try to find the article again if you would like to see it.
Pete.

PeterWood

Posts : 5
Join date : 2015-01-18
Location : Derbyshire

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Lt Col Ford/Lt Col German

Post  SteveFoster on Thu 22 Jan 2015 - 21:35

Hello Pete,

I have heard this argument before about which battalion commander is being led into captivity by German officers.  In Joseph Kynoch's book "The forgotten Fiasco", there is a photo on p 133 (which is only the left hand half only of the one I have posted which I took from the original in Kvam museum) stating it is Col German when captured in Venabygd.

Col German was captured in Venabygd some twenty miles north of Tretten on 26 April, but the photo in question was definitely taken on the track leading south from Rindheim farmhouse towards the next hamlet of Skardsmoen.  That is where Col Ford was captured and I used the photo whilst I was there to find the exact spot on the track.

Col German was a large man who did not sport a moustache and in all of the photos of him in Norway he is wearing full battledress without trenchcoat and holding a shepherd's crook.  I have seen many photos of Col Ford during my research and believe the man in the photo is definitely him.  The accompanying photo of him talking to his troops after surrender is definitely Thomas Ford in trench coat and the fact that Pte J E Stephenson (his batman) is in the picture, clinches it for me.

The photo on the wall in the museum in Kvam states it is Col German but when I showed the curator all of my evidence, he changed the description to Col Ford.  The German book "Krieg in Norden" has both photos (taken by a German cameraman) and both are labelled "Der Britische Bataillonskommandeur Oberstleutnant Ford...."

I have also seen the photo of the platoon of soldiers marching away from Tretten station on both a Leicester's and South Wales Borderer's web site claiming the photo is of a platoon from one of those regiments!  I know they can't be Borderers because 15 Brigade never got as far south as Tretten but it is conjecture whether they are Leicesters or Foresters; both battalions de-trained at Tretten.

I have a photo of my father in Stalag 20A with his 1939 issue fly-fronted battle dress (the one he was captured in) which has the Sherwood Foresters Tactical Recognition Flash (TRF) sewn above his stripes which was a maroon and green diamond.  It appears the platoon marching away from the station have the same TRF.  My money is on that they are Foresters, especially as at least two people on the WW2talk thread reckoned they recognised their Forester fathers in the platoon.

It is interesting trying to situate photographs from 75 years ago! If I could paste the photos with captions from the German book, I would do but have forgotten how to host photos!!

Steve

SteveFoster

Posts : 31
Join date : 2013-01-31
Location : Great Britain

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: 8th Bn Sherwood Foresters - Last stand at Tretten

Post  Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

Page 1 of 2 1, 2  Next

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum