WW2 Front Plaque.
1/ DAWSON, CHARLES Initials: C Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Private Regiment/Service: Hampshire Regiment Unit Text: 1/4th Bn. Age: 22 Date of Death: 16/03/1943 Service No: 6411194 Additional information: Son of John and Agnas Dawson, of Ulceby, Lincolnshire. Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: 12. F. 6. Cemetery: MEDJEZ-EL-BAB WAR CEMETERY - Tunisia.
Tunisia, North Africa - After the victory at El Alamein the 8th Army pushed Rommel’s Africa Korps back across North Africa and into Tunisia. This serviceman was probably killed in costly night assault on German/Italian positions the east of Mareth, Tunisia on this date prior to Operation Pugalist, a full scale assault on the Mareth Line several days later.
2/ HODSON, RICHARD Initials: R Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Private Regiment/Service: Lincolnshire Regiment Unit Text: 4th Bn. Age: 25 Date of Death: 27/06/1944 Service No: 4804547 Additional information: Son of Richard and Annie Hodson, of Ulceby, Lincolnshire. Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: V. A. 18. Cemetery: ST. MANVIEU WAR CEMETERY, CHEUX - France.
Normandy, France - Montgomery mounted an offensive, Operation Martlet, to the west of Caen on 25th June. Operation Martlet was the name given to the diversionary operation undertaken on 25 June by the 49th (West Riding) Infantry Division of XXX Corps to support Operation Epsom, the assault by the British VIII Corps into the Odon Valley. The Division's role was to provide flank security for the advancing VIII Corps and to ward off any counter-attacks. It was its first combat operation of the war.
To protect the right flank of the 15th Scottish Division, the 49th ( West Riding ) Division, known as the the Polar Bears, would have to capture the ridges around Rauray the previous day. The 4th Lincolns, who were part of the 49th, were on the extreme right of two other battalions--the Hallamshires and the 11th Royal Scots Fusiliers. They had to capture the Juvigny-Fontenay road just to the west of Fontenay. Once this was done the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry would move through to capture Tessel Wood and then the Hallamshires would go forward to take up positions to the south of the wood. The Lincolns were the right flank of the whole of 49th Division so it was vital that they should take their objective and then hold on at all costs. Just before dawn there was a devastating crash as the combined guns of 8 Field Regiments, 4 Medium regiments and the guns of the Royal Navy in the Channel opened fire and the 49th Div moved forward from their start line. Bad visibility due to mist hindered the operation. The Germans held this area in considerable force and were well dug in terrain which favoured defense. They fought back hard with units of the Panzer-Lehr-Division, 12.SS-Panzer-Division Hitlerjugend, 3rd Battalion, 26th SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment which were reinforced by 2nd Battalion, 192nd Panzer-Grenadier Regiment during the day and later the 21st Panzer Division. All these units were well equipped, hard, experienced, disciplined, highly motivated and indeed, certainly in the case of the 12. SS, fanatical.
The objectives were partially achieved on the 26th June after fierce fighting which continued for several days around the villages of Brettevillete and Rauray and also Tessel Wood until the Odon Bridgehead was largely secure. The battle finally drew to a close on 1 July, when the division beat off a strong attack by elements of 2nd SS Panzer Division. Casualties on both sides were severe throughout.
The ferocity of the combat during this period equaled or exceeded anything the German troops had encountered on the Eastern front. No quarter was asked and none given by either side and the 49th Division established and formidable fighting reputation which it retained throughout the war.
Of the battles around Caen, it was said by a former opponent "The 12th SS-Panzer Division, which defended this sector, fought with a toughness and intensity that was not encountered anywhere else during the entire campaign."
3/ JOHNSON, DERICK Initials: D Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Trooper Regiment/Service: Royal Tank Regiment, R.A.C. Unit Text: 44th Age: 22 Date of Death: 04/12/1943 Service No: 7951468 Additional information: Son of Charles and Ruth Olive Johnson, of Ulceby, Lincolnshire. Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: XIV. D. 26. Cemetery: SANGRO RIVER WAR CEMETERY - Italy.
Abruzzo, Italy - On the 23rd /24th Sept the Royal Tank Regiment embarked and arrived in Italy. Moving up the west coast of the toe of Italy arriving at Taranto on the 29th Sept and on 1st Oct started to advance North West up the coast arriving at Lucera on the 8th Oct. The regiment was inspected by General Montgomery on the 9th Oct. On 24th Oct the Brigade once again moved north to Serracapriola.
The Regiment was back in action on 3rd Nov, advancing toward San Salvo and Capello under heavy shell fire. On the 6th Nov crossed the River Sinello toward Scerni advancing to the Sangro River, with much heavy fighting for 3 days. On the 20th to 22nd Nov the regiment moved up to Paglieta in preparation for crossing the Sangro River. The Regiment began crossing the river on the 27th and 28th Nov, and on the 30th the regiment together with the 38th Irish Brigade advanced on Fossacesia and had taken the town by mid afternoon.
On the 1st Dec the regiment advanced toward San Vito in support of the Irish Brigade. Heavy fighting around the village of Rualti on the 6th Dec and by the 8th Dec the strength of ‘C’ Sqd was down to 6 tanks. Major Foster and Capt. Wilson awarded the MC and Sgts. Boyce and Tirbutt the MM.
4/ ROBINSON, STANLEY EDWIN Initials: S E Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Gunner Regiment/Service: Royal Artillery Secondary Regiment: East African Artillery Secondary Unit Text: attd. 301 Field Regt. Age: 20 Date of Death: 12/02/1944 Service No: 14299482 Additional information: Son of Henry Hewitt Robinson and Blanche Robinson, of Ulceby, Lincolnshire. Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: Column 6. Memorial: EAST AFRICA MEMORIAL - Kenya.
Indian Ocean. Missing in action and commemorated on the East African Memorial. Lost in the sinking of the troopship 'Khedive Ismail' en route to Ceylon on 12 February 1944 with a great part of the 301st Field Regiment, East African Artillery. The troopship was sailing in Convoy KR8 in February, 1944 carrying 1,511 personnel from the Army, Royal and Merchant Navies. The ship was torpedoed by the Japanese submarine 1-27 on the 12th Feb 1944 and sank in 2 minutes. As survivors floundered in the sea, I-27 submerged and hid beneath them. While HMS Paladin lowered boats over her side to begin rescuing survivors, HMS Petard raced in to release depth charges. The destruction of an enemy submarine that might sink more ships took precedence over the lives of the survivors, and I-27 under Commander Fukumura had a history of machine-gunning survivors of ships she had sunk, including the Liberty ship SS Sambridge and the Fort Mumford.
On Petard’s third run, her depth charges forced I-27 to the surface. Paladin rammed the submarine, in the process causing considerable damage to herself. Finally a torpedo from Petard destroyed the I-27 which sank with all hands.
From the Khedive Ismail only 208 men and 6 women survived the ordeal. No less than 1,297 people lost their lives including 77 women of the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (the single worst loss of female service personnel in the history of the British Commonwealth).
5/ SPITTLEHOUSE, DENNIS Initials: D Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Private Regiment/Service: Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment) Unit Text: 6th Bn. Age: 19 Date of Death: 18/06/1944 Service No: 14660142 Additional information: Son of Walter and Ethel Frances Spittlehouse, of Ulceby, Lincolnshire. Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: VIII. H. 10. Cemetery: HOTTOT-LES-BAGUES WAR CEMETERY – France.
Normandy, France - On the 9 June 1944, the 6th and 7th Battalions Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, part of the 49th (West Riding) Infantry Division ( the Polar Bears ) embarked on HMS Cheshire arriving off the Normandy coast on 11 June. By late evening of that day they were 5 miles inland. The 1/6th, under the command of Lt Col RK Exham was the first to engage the enemy. On the 16 June the battalion was ordered to attack Parc de Boislonde, a thickly wooded ridge overlooking Fontenay le Pesnil. The attack was supported by a squadron of tanks and artillery from four field regiments. The attack was successful but resulted in heavy losses to the Battalion. The following day the Germans counter attacked in some strength, forcing the Battalion back. The bitter fighting saw the Battalion lose 16 Officers and 220 other ranks in the first two days. The Battalion was in constant action for the next few days. Due to heavy casualties, in particular amongst Officers and NCOs, the Battalion was then disbanded on the 6th July 1944 and surviving personnel used to reinforce the 7th Battalion which had also sustained heavy casualties.