HAMPSON John Raymond

John Raymond HAMPSON c.1914 – 1944

145554 Captain John Raymond Hampson M.C., 33rd Field Regiment, Royal Artillery died 19 July 1944 aged 30.  He is buried at Banneville-La-Campagne War Cemetery, Department du Calvados, Basse-Normandie, France [1] and is commemorated on Etherley War Memorial.

Family Details

John Raymond Hampson was born c.1914,[2] the son of Joseph Challender and Florence Jane Hampson and he was the younger brother to Harold and Joseph.[3]  Mr. J.C. Hampson was the colliery manager for Henry Stobart Coal Company having moved to the area from Chilton to look after the West Tees/Railey Fell Colliery complex of drift mines around the Toft Hill, Morley, Lands and Ramshaw district.  In August 1939, the Henry Stobart & Co. enterprise at West Tees Colliery [Ramsahw] better known as Railey Fell Colliery closed down with the loss of 125 jobs.[4]  At this time, Joseph and Florence Hampson lived at Rockcliffe, Toft Hill.  Their son, John was not recorded as living there.[5]

In 1941, John R. Hampson married Elizabeth J. Waters in Surrey.[6] He was a member of the Law Society.[7] In 1944, Elizabeth lived at Rayleigh Road, Wimbledon, London S.W.19. and the probate accounts confirm that John left his effects to his widow, Elizabeth.[8]

12 November 1944, Elizabeth gave birth to a son, Nicholas J. Hampson.[9]

Service Details

The service record of Captain John R. Hampson M.C. R.A. has not been researched.  The date he enlisted is unknown and this research will deal with events surrounding D Day until his death 19 July 1944.

D Day 6 June 1944

The 3rd Infantry Division Assault Force 8th Brigade Group landed on Sword Beach, “Queen” Sector on D Day with the objective of capturing Caen.  It reached to within a mile of the outskirts of the city on D+1.  Caen was not taken until 9 July when the Division took part in the assault, 7 – 9 July.[10]

The Assault Force for D Day consisted of the following units:[11]

  • 1st South Lancashire Regiment
  • 2nd East Yorkshire Regiment
  • Headquarters, 1st Special Service Brigade 3,4,6,41 [Royal Marines]
  • 45 [Royal Marine] Commandoes
  • Elements 10 [Inter Allied] Commando
  • 13th/18th Royal Hussars [ [Duplex-Drive tanks]
  • 22nd Dragoons [Flails] 2 squadrons
  • 5th Assault Regiment RE – [Assault Vehicle RE]
  • 5th Independent RM Armoured Support Battery [Centaurs]
  • Reserve: 1st Suffolk Regiment
  • Support: 33rd Field Regiment RA [HQ; 101st, 109th & 113th/114th Field Batteries, Royal Artillery]
  • 76th [Highland] Field Regiment RA
  • Reserve/Follow-up Forces
  • HQ 27th Armoured Brigade
  • Rest of 3rd Division

We do not know to which battery Captain J.R. Hampson was attached.

A description of the assault is given below:[12]

Sword Beach, the eastern beach stretched for 8 miles from the Orne Estuary at Ouistreham in the east through to St. Aubin-sur-Mer.  The Allies had divided this beach into 4 sectors, from east to west, “Roger”, “Queen”, “Peter” and “Oboe”, but offshore rocks prevented the British 3rd Division from landing on the latter 2 sectors.  The 8th Brigade Group, which formed the division’s spearhead, attacked the defences manned by the German 736th Grenadier Regiment on “Queen” beach, which were centred around the strongpoint at la Brèche.  The British assault force fielded a particular combination of infantry, commandoes and specialised armoured units, that broadly speaking, would be repeated on the other 2 Anglo-Canadian beaches.  The specialised armour included amphibious Duplex-Drive [DD] Shermans, Flails, Churchill AVRE’s, Centaurs and BARV’s.  In addition, the force fielded 2 small groups that provided crucial capabilities: the dedicated Royal Engineers [RE] and Royal Navy [RN] beach clearance teams courageously cleared away enemy obstacles such as mines while under fire and the beach masters skilfully directed the forces that had reached the beach and prevented chaos from ensuing.  RAF Beach Balloon Flight disembarked inflated barrage balloons from the landing craft and set up passive defences against an already depleted Luftwaffe threat in the region.

At 0530 hours, the large transport ships of Force “S” began to lower their small Landing Craft Assault [LCA’s] packed full with the leading infantry platoons, into the turbulent seas of the Channel.  As these small craft struggled toward the coast, the heavy seas pitched them about, causing many of the soldiers aboard to be violently seasick…Alongside them, the larger Landing Craft Tanks [LCTs] either unloaded their cargoes of amphibious DD Shermans or else carried on toward the shore, aiming to land the Flails, AVRE’s and Centaurs.  As the craft approached the beach Allied cruisers, destroyers and support craft fired at the German positions.  From 0650 hours, this fire was reinforced when the 72 field guns of the 3rd Division’s artillery regiments opened fire on the German defences after 18 landing ships brought them to within 6 miles of the coast.  The immense firepower effectively suppressed the German defences and consequently most of the leading landing craft managed to approach the beach without being damaged by enemy fire.

0715: the first wave of 20 LCA’s neared the beach.

0726: the beach clearance and control teams and the assault infantry reached the beach.  A few minutes later, the 28 DD Shermans arrived.

0750: 1st South Lancashire Regiment and the 2nd East Yorkshire Regiment were ashore aided by specialised armour.

During the next 2 hours, the British forces overcame intense enemy resistance to capture …la Brèche.  Other British and French troops fought their way east into the fringes of Ouistreham and successfully pushed nearly 2 miles inland to capture Hermanville-sur-Mer.

All morning follow-up forces – the 185th and 9th Infantry Brigades, together with further commandos from the 1st Special Service Brigade continued to land.

During the rest of D Day, the Allies advanced further inland from the separate beaches to create 2 larger beachheads.  Advancing south 4 miles from “Sword”, elements of 185th Brigade reached Biéville, while 45 Commando RM thrust forward…crossed Pegasus Bridge to link up with the airborne forces located east of the Orne.

By midnight, 159,000 Allied troops…successfully established 4 beachheads on the Normandy coast.  D Day had been successful although certain objectives such as the city of Caen had not been taken.

Captain J.R. Hampson’s unit would have taken part in the bombardment of the German defences from the LCT’s 6 miles offshore before landing on “Queen” sector, Sword Beach.  A monument now stands at la Bréche to the Royal Artillery where they landed on D Day.  The inscription reads:[13]

“This stone commemorates the Headquarters and the 5 regiments of the Royal Artillery in the 3rd British Infantry Division, which after firing their guns from the sea, landed on 6th June 1944 and continued firing from the beaches and the fields around Hermanville.

7th Field Regiment [SP] RA

33rd Field Regiment [SP] RA

76th [Highland] Field Regiment [SP] RA

20th Anti-Tank Regiment RA

92nd LAA Regiment RA “

18 – 21 July:  Operation Goodwood followed the capture of Caen.

Captain J.R. Hampson died 19 July 1944.  The War Diary of the 33rd Field Regiment, Royal Artillery has not been examined.  It is known that this unit was involved in Operation Goodwood [14] and it is assumed that Captain J.R. Hampson lost his life during this offensive. The aim was to liberate the eastern, south eastern and south western areas of Caen.  The 3rd Infantry Division supported by part of the 51st [Highland] Infantry Division was tasked to secure the eastern flank by capturing the area around Emiéville, Touffréville and Troarn.

18 July: At 06.40 hours, the British artillery opened fire and twenty minutes later a second wave of American B-26 Marauder bombers attacked German strong points and gun positions.  During this bombardment, the 11th Armoured Division moved out of their concentration positions to the start line.  H-Hour was set for 07.45 and then the artillery switched to provide a creeping barrage for the tanks and troops to follow.  The 3rd Royal Tank Regiment liberated the villages of Touffréville and Sannerville and the attack headed towards the direction of Cagny which was a German stronghold where its Tiger tanks held the advantage. The bombardment of the British artillery played its part in breaking the German defences and the Irish Guards liberated the village of Cagny.

At the end of the day, the British lost 1,500 men and 270 tanks but the plain to the south east of Caen was liberated.[15]

19 July: The day’s effort was concentrated on the villages of Guillerville and Emiéville.  The 11th Armoured Division progressed along the Caen-Falaise road and battled the 1st SS Panzer Division where once again the superiority of the German Tiger tank inflicted heavy losses on the British and Commonwealth forces.[16]

20 July: The battle continued in the area to the south west of Caen with the Germans determined to hang onto every inch of land.  They inflicted more tank losses – nearly 400 in 3 days.  Rain began to fall and with air support grounded, the decision was made to halt the offensive.[17]

The British advanced about 11 kilometres, lost 3,600 men, 469 Allied tanks were put out of action and the town of Falaise was not reached.  But, the Germans had sent numerous tanks to the south east of Caen thus allowing the American forces in the west to advance southwards.[18]

At this stage in research the circumstances of Captain J.R. Hampson’s death remain unknown.  It is speculated that German counter bombardment against British artillery possibly by one of the Panzer Tank Divisions succeeded in hitting the artillery battery with which he served causing loss of life, either killed in action or died of wounds.  Details of Captain Hampson’s award of the Military Cross are as yet, unknown.

Burial [19]

Captain John Raymond Hampson M.C. is buried at grave reference I.A.16, Banneville-La-Campagne War Cemetery, Normandy, France.  For the most part, the men buried here were killed in the fighting from the second week of July 1944 when Caen was liberated to the last week in August when the Falaise Gap had been closed and the Allied forces were preparing their advance beyond the Seine.  The cemetery contains 2,170 Commonwealth burials.


[1] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[2] England & Wales Birth Index 1837-1915Vol.10a p.472 1914Q1 Auckland

[3] 1911 census

[4] “Evenwood Remembers Once Again” 2011 K. Richardson p.5

[5] 1939 England & Wales Register

[6] England & Wales Marriage Index 1916-2005 Vol.2a p.231 1941Q1 Surrey North Eastern

[7] CWGC

[8] England & Wales National Probate Calendar [Index of Wills and Administrations] 1858-1995

[9] Andrews Newspaper Index Cards 1790-1976 and England & Wales Birth Index 1916-2007 Vol.3a p.2154 1944Q4 Eton, Buckinghamshire

[10] http://britishfriendsofnormandy.org.uk/normandy-campaign-history/divisional-order-of-the-battle/order-of-battle-3rd-infantry-division/

[11] https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/30054/ww2_dday.pdf

[12] https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/30054/ww2_dday.pdf

[13] https://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/98/a4131398.shtml

[14] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Goodwood_order_of_battle

[15] https://www.dday-overlord.com/en/battle-of-normandy/days/18-july-1944

[16] https://www.dday-overlord.com/en/battle-of-normandy/days/19-july-1944

[17] https://www.dday-overlord.com/en/battle-of-normandy/days/20-july-1944

[18] https://www.dday-overlord.com/en/battle-of-normandy/allied-operations/goodwood

[19] CWGC