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Thread: In need of your experties

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    London
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    1

    Default In need of your experties

    Hello,

    I am looking for information on a specific regiment, the 6 HAA Royal Artillery Regt.

    My Great Grandfather Harry Cotterill was killed on the 8th of September in 1945.

    He was a Battery Quarter Master Sergeant. He is burried in Singapore at the Kranji cemetary. His name appears in the roll of honour.

    When he was killed, he orphaned his four daughters who were all under the age of ten. As a result they were seperated and brought up in the care system. One of his daughters was my Nan. The 4 sisters were later reunited. It is for them I am trying to find out more info. The ones who are still alive are very old now.

    I have tried to research but haven't found very much.

    Please forgive my ignorance but I don't know how many would be in the regiment, if they were all British as I have read about Australians in this regiment, would the regiment always be kept together or were they split up on different missions as I have read about lots of countries they were in during a short period of time, would any of them have survived as I think my relation was a POW, are there any veterans from this reg't, what was his job, etc.

    Any information would be really really appreciated to help give his now elderly daughters some closure.

    Many thanks and I hope nobody minds me posting on your forum.

    Ps. I have tried Fire Power who have not been of much help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    127

    Default Re: In need of your experties

    I think you would be better off asking here:

    http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/allied-units/

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Australia
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    9,278

    Default Re: In need of your experties

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarahc5 View Post
    Please forgive my ignorance but I don't know how many would be in the regiment, if they were all British as I have read about Australians in this regiment, would the regiment always be kept together or were they split up on different missions as I have read about lots of countries they were in during a short period of time, would any of them have survived as I think my relation was a POW, are there any veterans from this reg't, what was his job, etc.
    Your great-grandfather's unit was part of a multi-national force in the dying days of the defence of the Netherlands East Indies (now Indonesia).

    The British 6th Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment, which had lost most of its guns at sea or in southern Sumatra, was equipped as an infantry unit to deal with possible parachute attacks and sent to Tjililitan airfield on the 26th February. The two Australian battalions and a hastily formed composite Australian battalion, together with "B" Squadron of 3rd Hussars, an Australian engineer unit and a British signal section, were formed into a mobile striking force under the command of Brigadier A. S. Blackburn, V.C. - to be known as "Blackforce". An improvised field ambulance, the American field artillery and about 450 RAF airmen who had been hastily armed and trained as infantry under the command of Wing Commander Alexander were added later. The force was ready for action by the 28th February. Major-General Sitwell proposed that Blackforce should be kept under his own hand in the Bandoeng area. General ter Poorten however preferred the Buitenzorg area, since it was more suitable for mechanized warfare and provided good cover in the many rubber plantations, and placed Blackforce under the orders of Major-General W. Schilling, commander of the forces in West Java.
    http://www.geocities.com/dutcheastindies/java.html

    Are you sure your great-grandfather was killed, or did he die of some other cause? Japan surrendered formally on 2 September 1945, 6 days before he was killed. As a POW he might have died of malnutrition or disease caused during his internment.

    Is it possible that your great grandfather was Gunner (not Battery Quarter Master Sergeant) H. Cotterill, then aged 41, killed on 8 September 1945 when a plane carrying POWs crashed in Burma? His name is recorded at Kranji. http://www.britain-at-war.org.uk/ww2...on-rangoon.htm

    Maybe you could find out more information by contacting the last link.
    Last edited by Rising Sun*; 08-11-2009 at 07:49 PM.
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    9,278

    Default Re: In need of your experties

    More detailed info on 6 HAA here. http://www.cofepow.org.uk/pages/asia_java2.htm

    Note that one battery remained in Singapore while the others went to the NEI, so you'd need to know which battery your great grandfather was in to know where he served. As Australians were also heavily involved in the defence of Singapore he could have been associated with them there.
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Midlands
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: In need of your experties

    I did reply to your post on another forum some time ago but obviously you did not receive this. I am in the process of researching this regt for a hobby once I found out they had been stationed on the Common near my house during the war. What I found out was not much had been written about their short history so I have delved much deeper and been down to the NA in Kew amongst other things. I now have quite a considerable amount of info on their moves throughout the UK and their short story of Singapore,Sumatra and Java and then the Burma Thailand railway followed by the Rakuyo Maru and Kachidoki Maru, Sandakan marches, Ballale Island and other Hell ships. I also have accumulated the death details of some 440 men from this regt and their attached ranks.
    From what I have, I think your relative was in fact a BQMS No. 1018483 and from Regt HQ and he died on 8 Sept 1945 shortly after the Japanese surrendered.
    He is in fact commemorated on the plaque at Kranji in north west Singapore which suggests he has no known grave site. The article on the plane crash makes harrowing reading, for to have survived that far and then die in a tragic accident is beyond belief.
    Only one H Cotterill is shown in the death details I have and I have no reason to believe it is not the same man.
    Best regards Patrick

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