Sgt. Charles May, Royal Canadian Engineer

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Temujin
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Re: Sgt. Charles May, Royal Canadian Engineer

Post by Temujin » Thu May 31, 2018 11:52 pm

Thanks Lorraine.......hmmmm, these new pages confuse me a bit more..

What I’ll do is plot the Map References on the map, to see where they all are at/

From reading them I have:

Convert a bridge from a Class 18 to Class 30 at MR 235720

Company HQ location at MR 153677

Company HQ location at MR 439057

Not sure if it will help, but coudn’t hurt

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Re: Sgt. Charles May, Royal Canadian Engineer

Post by Temujin » Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:27 am

OK, Lorraine, ignore everything that I told you to date (WELL ALMOST< SOME OF WHAT I SAID MAY BE STILL CORRECT).......after reading, and re-reading and reading it again, the pages you’ve supplied I “think” I know what their saying.

First, on the 21 Aug 44, the war diary talks about the Company being tasked to build a Class 18 bridge, but it “doesn’t” tell us the MR location......

Second, on the 22 Aug 44, the above bridge is built as HQ’s wouldn’t let them stop traffic the previous day.....NOTE: the dairy talks about a Class 18 but this bridge will need to be a Class 30, I can’t tell if they built a Class 18 or 30????.....I have more to say on that in a minute

Third, on the 22 Aug 44, 3 Platoon is ordered to take over Bridge Maintenance at MAP REF 237720

Fourth, on the 24 Aug 44, the war diary says that the Company is to “convert” the bridge (this means add more bailey panels to make it stronger) from a Class 18 to a Class 30 bridge at MAP REF 235720.........I think this is the same bridge they built on the 21 Aug 44.....

NOTE: The Class 18/30 Bridge is almost “RIGHT BESIDE” the bridge that 3 Platoon undertakes maintenance.....compare their two grid references, they are beside each other.

So......again I’m doing a little assuming, as the diary isn’t completely clear on this.....I belief the “Stalker Bridge” was built beside the bridge on the road (now called D675). So their already was a bridge in operation on the road, and the “Stalker Bridge” (finally a Class 30) was built beside it to increase the capacity at this site (so they could have two way traffic possibly)

So (I know, another SO), I think the photo I posted with the RED ARROW, showing a possible bridge beside the existing one is still ACCURATE, as I think they built the new Class 18/30 beside the orginial bridge on the road........

What I don’t know is if the bridge ON the road was the existing bridge, or possibly a bailey bridge constructed by another RCE unit???

Hopefully all of the above makes sense to you......if it doesn’t let me know and I’ll try to explain further.....again if I’m right

Cheers

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Re: Sgt. Charles May, Royal Canadian Engineer

Post by Phil » Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:48 am

Temujin wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 8:02 pm
Phil, I was re-examining the WW2 maps and the ones you posted. Unfortunately the road that you “overlaid” the air photo on didn’t existing in WW2.......so this can’t be overlaid in the right spot???........UNLESS this is overlaid on the railroad track that seem to run in this area about that time??
The ncap photo is from 12 June 1944, 27th (Photographic Reconnaissance) Squadron (USAAF), 7th (Photographic Reconnaissance) Group (USAAF). I can't be sure but that white line in the lower right looks to be a road, the diagonal a railroad track and the canal is quite obvious. There are other indicators that it should overlay in that spot, such as the half oval shape in the top right, you can see the remnants of it in the modern image. The field lines all line up, even if not for the road the railroad tracks crossing the canal would be enough. I'm quite sure I've overlaid it in the correct spot.

https://ncap.org.uk/sites/default/files ... 24-701.jpg

What we really want is the image to the South of this one, but I haven't found it. You can change the last number in the image URL to follow this plane's path (699,701,702, 703) but it's shooting from the South/West to the North/East just missing the Southern bridge area we're interested it. Perhaps there's more but I'm not sure how to find them.
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Re: Sgt. Charles May, Royal Canadian Engineer

Post by Phil » Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:07 am

A handy tip you may not be aware of, it's not all that useful for this particular item, but you can look at older photos from areas on Google Street View by using the interface in the top left. You can see back to 2010 and some years in between, different seasons and photos can reveal different clues about an area.

Here's the D675 bridge area looking North in 2010.
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Re: Sgt. Charles May, Royal Canadian Engineer

Post by Phil » Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:18 am

Temujin wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 8:02 pm
Phil, I was re-examining the WW2 maps and the ones you posted. Unfortunately the road that you “overlaid” the air photo on didn’t existing in WW2.......so this can’t be overlaid in the right spot???........UNLESS this is overlaid on the railroad track that seem to run in this area about that time??
There is some indication that the Troarn 7 F/2 map is from 1943. I've attached another map from this thread at WW2Talk about the area. Right click the image and select "Open image in new tab" to view it full size.

http://ww2talk.com/index.php?threads/re ... elp.70837/
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Re: Sgt. Charles May, Royal Canadian Engineer

Post by Temujin » Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:38 am

Hey Phil. I’m thinking your map aligns with the railway track that WAS in this position, their wasn’t a major road thru that area in 1944.

Also, the Map Reference’s of the bridges clearly put the bridge etc below the air photo (as you said)......so unless we can find a photo of that area.....their are LOTS of photos on the Laurier site.....just finding the right one is the question.

The second map helps, as it is clearer and I’ve plotted the grids again and confirmed they are in the right spot......the “issue” I’m having.......is the War diary’s clearly state their is a Class 18 (they upgraded to a Class 30) at MR 235720 and the “bridge maintenance” is at MR 237720........which makes the two sites literally 200 meters apart on the exact same line???

So MR 237720 lands “exactly” on the existing canal and bridge......so that makes sense (but was it the existing bridge or another bailey over the existing bridge?). My “gut” tells me that it’s another bailey over the existing bridge.........and the Class 18 to 30 bridge was beside it (well very close) to improve capacity of the road.

IF, we had more info, like the Daily Orders for the 5th Field Company, we “might” be able to confirm the story......right now I think this one is a “mystery” until we find more data.

I’ve plotted the location of 5th Field Company HQ, and its back behind Troarn, which again makes sense according to the war diaries (in a farm yard)

I have to say, the War Daireis of this unit are confusing....I’ve read a lot of War Dairies for Engineer units, and USUALLY they are very specific on the location of bridges they are building.....but this one is not......or I’m not reading something right??

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Re: Sgt. Charles May, Royal Canadian Engineer

Post by Temujin » Fri Jun 01, 2018 10:07 am

Follow up to above......what I thought I would do.....I’m going to break down each day of the war dairies, post it, discuss what it says and mark maps to go with it.......I’m hoping that maybe together, looking at the info we can figure out what’s happening, I’ve just done screen shots of the pages, and will start posting info and my thoughts.....please add yours and maybe we can solve this??

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Re: Sgt. Charles May, Royal Canadian Engineer

Post by Temujin » Fri Jun 01, 2018 10:15 am

18 Aug 1944
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Comments: From this date, the unit HQ in back is St Contest.....and they are giving a “warning order” (this is like a “heads up, your going to be doing this next) that they will move from their current location to somewhere near Troarn (BOTH LOCATIONS MARKED WITH RED SQUARE). Also No 1 Platoon (each Field Company had 3 “working” Platoons) moved to a water point at Demouville (MARKED IN YELLOW)

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Re: Sgt. Charles May, Royal Canadian Engineer

Post by Temujin » Fri Jun 01, 2018 10:35 am

19 Aug 1944
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Comments: One Platoon of the Company is sent back to Banville (near Juno Beach) for road construction (shown in RED CIRLCE).

Company is at St Clements and starts moving to it’s new location near Troarn (Marked in RED SQUARE on second map)
War Diaries talk about building a bridge (but they do NOT give the location) which as to be 2 x Class 70 - 60 feet long EACH on a pier (in the middle) BUT because of lack of bridge parts this has to be revised to ONE Class 70 continuous span bridge. This would mean the bridge was 120 feet to 130 feet long (Bailey bridges design was 10 ft panels, so all bridge lengths were mulitiples of 10 feet.....eg if you need to span 122feet, your bridge length was automatically 130 feet)

WHAT THIS MEANS: Bailey bridge could be made “stronger” by adding more parts (panels) but to keep the NUMBER of parts down, if you could shorten the bridge by using two bridges supported in the middle, that means you use less parts. BUT in this case, they could NOT build the “pier” in the middle, so they had to build one LONG bridge, which would be bigger with more panels and higher (stacked)....Sorry, the Engineer in my trying to explain “all about bridge building”
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Re: Sgt. Charles May, Royal Canadian Engineer

Post by Temujin » Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:09 am

20 Aug 44
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Comments; Again the Class 70 feet bridge is discussed. HQ’s won’t let them proceed, so this project “may” be off. In the mean time vehicles are using a “ford” beside the bridge site. A platoon starts working on clearing the verges (sides of the road) for mines and IED’s and check for a possible new route (by pass) from Troarn to Argences (MARKED WITH YELLOW HIGHLIGHT).....route goes off this map to the south. One Sapper is killed clearing this route.

Notes mention “shelling” in marshy area. This is a “perfect area” for the enemy. Because of the marshy wet lands, vehicles HAVE to stay on the roads or they sink into the mud. So this is an area if you take out a bridge (blow it up) or crater a round (make a huge hole in it with explosives), vehicles can’t get around it until its fixed (filled in or a bridge layed over it).....this give me a “CLUE” on the bridges we’ll talk about later???
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