HEAVISIDE Ronald

Ronald HEAVISIDE 1925 – 2019

Family Details

Ronald “Ronnie” Heaviside was born 19 August 1925, the son of George and Dora. In 1939, the family lived at Brookside, Evenwood, George worked as a coal miner [hewer] and was employed as a Special Constable.[1]  Ronnie worked as a bricklayer.

Service Details [2]

24 March 1943: Ronald Heaviside was 17 years old when he voluntarily enlisted into the Royal Marines.  He was allocated the regimental number PO/X118177.  He stood 5’9½” in height.  His initial training was undertaken at Portsmouth, completed by 22 December 1943 by which time he was serving with Combined Operations [Copra].  He was in training for the invasion of France [Normandy].  D Day was planned for early June 1944.  His service papers record that his employment during service was, “Rated Stoker Driver” between 1 January 1944 and 11 January 1945 and between 8 March 1945 and 19 April 1945 when his attachment to Copra was completed. [3]  He was then posted back to the UK for further training.  In October 1945, he was posted to St. Angelo, Malta where he served with the Coastal Force until May 1946. [4] He returned to the UK to Fareham, Hampshire and Portsmouth before being discharged in September 1946.

Marine R. HEAVISIDE

6 June 1944 D Day

It is understood that Marine R. Heaviside drove a Landing Craft on the second wave of the assault.[5]  His postcards illustrate scenes of the town of Ver-sur-Mer and city of Bayeux which infer that he saw action in this area.  The locality was beyond Gold Beach.  47th Royal Marine Commando was involved on the assault of Gold Beach.  Marine R. Heaviside could have served with this unit but the family believe that he was associated with landing craft and the term “stoker driver” could relate to landing craft.

The 50th Division landed on Gold Beach with 2 brigades forward, 231st on the right and 69th on the left with 56th Brigade following up on the right and 151st on the left.  The division had 8th Armoured Brigade under its command and this provided one regiment of DD tanks with each assaulting brigade, the Nottinghamshire Yeomanry on the right and the 4/7 Dragoon Guards on the left.  Once the beach was secure, 47th Royal Marine Commando would land and make for Port-en-Basin on the inter-Allied boundary with Omaha Beach.[6]

The plan for the assault forces at Gold Beach, coded Force G, was as follows:

  • G1 included HQ HMS Nith, Landing Ship Infantry [LSIs] HMS Glenroy, SS Empire Aerquebus, SS Empire Crossow, SS Empire Spearhead, 2 Landing Craft [HQ]s and 64 Landing Craft Tanks [LCTs]
  • G2 included HQ HMS Kingsmill, LSIs SS Empire Halberd, SS Empire Lance, SS Empire Mace, SS Empire Rapier, 2 LC[HQ]s and 54 LCTs
  • G3 included HQ HMS Albrighton, 29 LSTs including HMS Miso, 11 LCTs, 15 US Navy Landing Craft Infantry [L]s and 6 Canadian LCI [L]s
  • 4. [part] SS Victoria
  • Later arrivals – SS City of Canterbury [June 7], SS Cameronia and SS Leopoldville [June 8] SS Neuralia [June 12] SS Pampas [June22] SS Louth [June 23]
  • Close Support Craft of 4 LC [Gun] each with two 4.7in guns, 7 LCT [Rocket], 7 LCT [Flak] each with four 2 pdr guns and eight 20mm AA, 10 LCT with two 95mm gun tanks for direct support fire, 17 LCA [Hedgerow]. [7]

In all, some 7,000 vessels were used including 1,213 warships and 4,127 landing craft of various types and sizes.  There were 23 different designs of landing craft.  Some 23,000 airborne troops were dropped and 132,000 men landed on the beaches.[8]  It is believed that Marine R. Heaviside was “driving” one of these landing craft onto Gold Beach.

H-Hour was 07.25.  The first day’s progress was encouraging.  Arromanches was cleared by nightfall and 47 [RM] Commando was dug in, overlooking Port-en-Basin,  By the end of the day on Gold Beach, 24,970 men had been brought ashore with about 400 casualties [dead, wounded and missing].[9]

Assault troops rushing the beach

Supply of materials from the UK to France was essential for the success of operations.  It is likely that Marine R. Heaviside continued with this duty while serving with Combined Operations.

Medals Awarded

1939-1945 Star; France and Germany Star, Defence Medal and the 1939-45 War Medal

Post War

Ronnie married Sadie E. Henderson [10] and they had 3 children Colin, Dian and Coral. Ronnie Heaviside enjoyed playing football and cricket and was chairman of Evenwood WMC for many years.

REFERENCES

[1] 1939 England & Wales Register

[2] Service Records

[3] More experienced researchers may well glean more than I

[4] Family Details – Christmas Card

[5] Family details – his daughter Coral believes that he a landing craft driver.

[6] “D Day Remembered” 2004 Richard Holmes & IWM p.98

[7] Navy News D Day Supplement July 1994 p.XXVI

[8] Google search & http://www.dday.center/d-day-technology-landing-craft.html

[9] Holmes p.99

[10] England & Wales Marriage Index 916-2005 Vol.1a P.1292 1953Q4 Durham South Western