Help with locating army record of relative

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    • #17816
      Iain Drew-TaylorIain Drew-Taylor

      I am trying to assist my cousin locate the army record of his father William Ruben Clarke. He was a desert rat. We believe from family discussion he was attached to 17/21 and 16/5 Lancers as an engineer/ Tank recovery. Rumour is he was REME, but they weren’t formed until 1942. So Royal engineers or RAOC is a possibility? He served in Tobruk landed in Italy and ended up In Trieste toward the end of the war which He survived. I was wondering if he could be located by his medal record? I cant find him on the Forces war records site at all, and naively assume he would have qualified for the Italy star war medal.

      Without a service number we are struggling a bit. Any advice or assistance would be much appreciated. If there is any cost to searching archives I would be happy to pay or give a donation to support the Italy Star association.

      Regards and thank you all for your service, and my freedom.
      Iain Drew Taylor

    • #17818
      Frank de PlantaFrank de Planta


      I think that your assumption that your cousin’s father is correct. Both 17/21L and 16/5L were in the same Armoured Brigade – along with 2 Lothian & Border Horse. Together they formed 26 Armoured Brigade who were themselves part of 6 Armoured Division.

      Part of the role of REME is to provide Recce Mechs – teams who go around collecting broken down or damaged armoured vehicles and dragging them back to workshops for repair.

      Being in 26 Armoured Brigade would place him at the Fourth Battle of Monte Cassino in May 44. The Brigade was allocated to support 4 Infantry Division who had the task of getting across the Rapido/Gari river below the monastery.

      Once the infantry had established a bridgehead and Royal Engineers had got the now famous ‘Amazon’ bridge in place, the armour of 17/21L, 16/5L and 2 Lothian & Border Horse got across and pushed towards Rome.

      To confirm all this you need to go to and, in the search box, type ‘How do I find a Service Record’. Follow the instructions. If you do not have ever piece of information that they ask for, do not worry.



      Frank de Planta

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