The stories of those who survived fighting with 61st Reconnaissance have brought to life Dick’s wartime experience.
Eric Postles was born on 8th September 1922 and lived in the village of Burscough in Lancashire. His parents, Mr and Mrs H. Postles lived at 7 Moss Nook, Burscough bridge, Nr. Ormskirk, Lancashire. His war years began here:
“When men and women reached 19 years of age they were conscripted and, unless you were in a reserved occupation, you were called up for the forces or munitions work etc.
I had a medical for the forces at Wigan and on 15th January 1942 I, along with Harry Parr* from the village and Dennis Crumbleholme from Ormskirk, reported to the Castle at Carlisle as part of a big intake of men from north-west England for the Reconnaissance Corps, a newly formed corps to provide regiments to recce for Infantry Divisions. I became 10602580 Trooper J.E.Postles.
The role of the Reconnaissance Corps was to gather vital tactical information in battle. Our badge was a spear with flashes of lightning on either side and the words reconnaissance on a scroll beneath. The Corps lanyards were green and yellow and on top of our sleeves we wore the word 'Reconnaissance' in yellow on a green background, the divisional sign and beneath that a bar of green and yellow.
Similarly our vehicles were recognised by the number '41' on a green and yellow square and the divisional sign on the front and rear. We wore forage caps, later changed to khaki berets and then black berets when we became part of the Royal Armoured Corps. We also changed our steel helmets to ones similar to those worn by the airborne troops, which gave more protection.
Our pay was 1 shilling and 9 pence a day but shortly after joining it rose to 2 shillings and 6d and 6d was paid in towards a gratuity given at demobilisation.
After an IQ test I was allocated to 61st Division Recce Regiment. The Divisional sign was a blue square with inset red diamond. Harry and Denis went to 59th Division Recce Regiment in Ireland.
My regiment, also in Ireland, was moving to a new location so instead of joining them at the outset we went by train on 18th January to No 10 I.T.C. (Kings Own Scottish Borderers) to do our basic training at Berwick-on-Tweed. The camp was on the cliffs next to the sea. It was bitterly cold and snowed heavily. There was a lot of visible enemy air activity off the coast although the camp was never attacked."
(Extracts from ‘My War Years’ by John Eric Postles ISO used by kind permission of the author.)
*Harry Parr joined the 59 Division Recce regiment. In July 1943 he “was killed on an exercise in Kent when his heavy armoured car turned over and he was crushed by the gun.”