Sgt. Charles May, Royal Canadian Engineer

Discussions related to researching soldiers of the second world war.
Lorraine Campbell
Assistant
Assistant
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue May 01, 2018 6:44 pm
Commendations: 6

Re: Sgt. Charles May, Royal Canadian Engineer

Post by Lorraine Campbell » Tue May 29, 2018 4:32 pm

I have the general idea of all of them, but no pictures or actual sites. I have read the war diary endlessly and hooked it into notes and papers of my grandfathers. If you have photos, or anything that will help my to identify the bridge sites more accurately, I will take it willingly. I used Google translate to decipher the French bridge info around Caen, that you sent me on the other site and it was helpful for the bridges in that area. I have a picture of him standing infront of Hilliard Bridge, which I haven't been able to find. I have looked at so many pictures, and could never understand why the unit names on the bridges never showed the 5th Field Co. on bridges I knew for sure they were involved in, but I have recently discoverd that the units had non-identifying numbers so as not to give away their location. His company number is 1207, which I have seen on bridge signs.
Again, anything at all is helpful.. I learn something new every day.

User avatar
Phil
Founder
Founder
Posts: 415
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:19 am
Commendations: 20

Re: Sgt. Charles May, Royal Canadian Engineer

Post by Phil » Tue May 29, 2018 6:07 pm

Welcome to the site Lorraine! Just a note that I've moved this topic to the World War II > Soldier Research forum since it's getting a bit in-depth for the Introductions forum ;) Great stuff.
These users commended the author Phil for the post:
Lorraine Campbell (Tue May 29, 2018 6:46 pm)
Phil

WARTIMES.ca
Please consider Donating in order to ensure the continued availability, maintenance and growth of WARTIMES.ca.

User avatar
Temujin
Meritorious
Meritorious
Posts: 2047
Joined: Sat Apr 14, 2018 6:39 pm
Location: Canada
Commendations: 102

Re: Sgt. Charles May, Royal Canadian Engineer

Post by Temujin » Tue May 29, 2018 9:36 pm

Lorraine Campbell wrote:
Tue May 29, 2018 4:32 pm
I have the general idea of all of them, but no pictures or actual sites. I have read the war diary endlessly and hooked it into notes and papers of my grandfathers. If you have photos, or anything that will help my to identify the bridge sites more accurately, I will take it willingly. I used Google translate to decipher the French bridge info around Caen, that you sent me on the other site and it was helpful for the bridges in that area. I have a picture of him standing infront of Hilliard Bridge, which I haven't been able to find. I have looked at so many pictures, and could never understand why the unit names on the bridges never showed the 5th Field Co. on bridges I knew for sure they were involved in, but I have recently discoverd that the units had non-identifying numbers so as not to give away their location. His company number is 1207, which I have seen on bridge signs.
Again, anything at all is helpful.. I learn something new every day.
I’m sorry Lorriane, I should have told you before that they didn’t usually (but they did sometimes) put their Name on the bridge, for security reasons (so the enemy would know who built the bridge, and theirfore the major unit they belonged to...Normally they used the Serial Number assigned to the unit.

If you’d like me to take a look a the war diary pages with the grid references, then I may be able to tell you where each bridge was “exactly”.

I’ll take a look to see if I can find anything else on the Hillard Bridge

Lorraine Campbell
Assistant
Assistant
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue May 01, 2018 6:44 pm
Commendations: 6

Re: Sgt. Charles May, Royal Canadian Engineer

Post by Lorraine Campbell » Wed May 30, 2018 4:20 pm

This is my Grandfather standing at Hilliard Bridge
Attachments
img261.jpg
img261.jpg (91.98 KiB) Viewed 3903 times

Lorraine Campbell
Assistant
Assistant
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue May 01, 2018 6:44 pm
Commendations: 6

Re: Sgt. Charles May, Royal Canadian Engineer

Post by Lorraine Campbell » Wed May 30, 2018 6:07 pm

This is a page of the 5th war diary. I would like to know the location of the bridge in Troarn, France if possible. They named it Stalker Bridge , after Lt. Donald Stalker who died on Juno Beach on D Day. My grandfather spoke of him and we will visit his grave in Beny Sur Mer. On the bottom of the page, there is a number M.R. TROARN F/2 237720. Is that a map location?
Attachments
img399_edited_edited.jpg
img399_edited_edited.jpg (1.16 MiB) Viewed 3903 times

User avatar
Phil
Founder
Founder
Posts: 415
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:19 am
Commendations: 20

Re: Sgt. Charles May, Royal Canadian Engineer

Post by Phil » Wed May 30, 2018 7:29 pm

Phil

WARTIMES.ca
Please consider Donating in order to ensure the continued availability, maintenance and growth of WARTIMES.ca.

User avatar
Phil
Founder
Founder
Posts: 415
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:19 am
Commendations: 20

Re: Sgt. Charles May, Royal Canadian Engineer

Post by Phil » Wed May 30, 2018 7:50 pm

Now I'm no cartographer, so please, someone correct me, but the six figure grid reference 237720 could be interpreted as 23.7 x 72.0 which strikes a river crossing road on this map.
Attachments
1986_224_0.jpg
1986_224_0.jpg (90.97 KiB) Viewed 3899 times
Phil

WARTIMES.ca
Please consider Donating in order to ensure the continued availability, maintenance and growth of WARTIMES.ca.

User avatar
Phil
Founder
Founder
Posts: 415
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:19 am
Commendations: 20

Re: Sgt. Charles May, Royal Canadian Engineer

Post by Phil » Wed May 30, 2018 7:59 pm

That equates to about here,

https://www.google.ca/maps/@49.2210932, ... 312!8i6656

At first that might not seem convincing, but when I follow the info below. Found here. I can take 237720 and add the reference to the general Troarn area which is vU, so vU237720 and plug it into translator on that site, select French Lambert Zone 1 Grid it puts a dot right in the same spot at 49°13'21.9"N 0°05'00.8"W, which would be quite a coincidence.
If your source were a signal or order then the co-ordinates would almost
definitely be encoded for security, using for example the (Royal
Artillery's) SLIDEX system (see e.g.
http://members.tripod.com/~nigelef/artycomm.htm). You will see that this
page also refers to "A standard army wide low level cipher for map
references was introduced at the beginning of 1944." I'm afraid I have no
further information about this.

As your source is a report, it is less clear whether the co-ordinates would
be plain or encoded. A reasonable guess is that they would be plain,
otherwise every reader of such reports would need to know which (typically
24-hour for SLIDEX) encoding key was in operation when the report was
prepared.

I think your most realistic hope is to assume that yours is a plain,
6-figure grid reference of the general format eeennn (eastings and
northings), though there should also be a two letter prefix denoting a 10km
grid square.

***** 45 minutes later ******
From a Google search I just discovered
http://www.echodelta.net/mbs/eng-overview.php. This excellent site strongly
suggests that the "Modified British System" was in use by the Allies in
1944, and that your location was in "French Lambert Zone 1" (north western
France).

You will need to make the further assumption regarding which 10km grid
square your reference is in, but that is quite easy given that you
understand the location to be in the Caen area.

I've just tried using the site's "Coordinates Translator" at
http://www.echodelta.net/mbs/eng-translator.php, assuming the "French
Lambert Zone 1" and grid ref. vU058682.

After clicking the "convert" button I got a red circle with a cross in it
right over Caen. (Well, maybe not surprising since we chose the 10km grid
square with Caen in it, but there's quite a bit of land outside Caen in the
same square).

But it gets even better....

Click anywhere in this map image and you will be taken to a "Mapquest" page
showing your location against a modern map background. Click the "Zoom in"
button a few times and .....

EUREKA!

If that doesn't tie up with your description "between the Orne canal and the
Orne river" I don't know what does!!!!! Right there in the industrial east
of Caen. At this point I'm pretty well convinced that this is your location
(+/- some error).

Regarding error, you will see at the bottom of the Translator page:
"Note : the imprecision of the determination is evaluated between 5 and 30
arc-seconds (this corresponds to an imprecision varying from 150 to 1000
meters on the field)."

I suggest you follow through the process as I did and see if you get the
same result. Then, if this system gains your confidence, please let us know
how it copes with your other grid refernces. And maybe some thanks are due
to the createur of the site, Thierry Arsicaud, (see site's Contacts page). I
think he has done a fantastic job.
Phil

WARTIMES.ca
Please consider Donating in order to ensure the continued availability, maintenance and growth of WARTIMES.ca.

User avatar
Phil
Founder
Founder
Posts: 415
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:19 am
Commendations: 20

Re: Sgt. Charles May, Royal Canadian Engineer

Post by Phil » Wed May 30, 2018 8:06 pm

A photo of bridge very close to those coordinates from Google Street View.
Attachments
Bridge.PNG
Bridge.PNG (1.22 MiB) Viewed 3894 times
Phil

WARTIMES.ca
Please consider Donating in order to ensure the continued availability, maintenance and growth of WARTIMES.ca.

User avatar
Temujin
Meritorious
Meritorious
Posts: 2047
Joined: Sat Apr 14, 2018 6:39 pm
Location: Canada
Commendations: 102

Re: Sgt. Charles May, Royal Canadian Engineer

Post by Temujin » Thu May 31, 2018 9:55 am

Lorraine Campbell wrote:
Wed May 30, 2018 6:07 pm
This is a page of the 5th war diary. I would like to know the location of the bridge in Troarn, France if possible. They named it Stalker Bridge , after Lt. Donald Stalker who died on Juno Beach on D Day. My grandfather spoke of him and we will visit his grave in Beny Sur Mer. On the bottom of the page, there is a number M.R. TROARN F/2 237720. Is that a map location?
Sorry Lorrane, I was working on WW1 maps (trench maps) yesterday for another member and didn’t see your post.

Phil has been helping you, but I will double check. First YES, the 237720 IS a map reference (or grid reference as they are now called). Phil has found a map, but I will double check to see where the grid puts that for you.
These users commended the author Temujin for the post:
Phil (Thu May 31, 2018 10:29 am)

Post Reply