2 Curtis Brothers died within 3 days of each other.

Discussion in '1940' started by Mavis Williams, Jun 21, 2018.

  1. Mavis Williams

    Mavis Williams Well-Known Member

    Hi everyone, I am reseaching the local War Memorial and have come across 2 brothers that died within 3 dsys of each other, I believe, at Dunkirk. One Richard CURTIS, Service Number 4191299, Died 24/05/1940,
    Aged 23, 2nd Bn. Welsh Guards MAY have been in the action of Lieutenant Christopher FURNESS, V.C., so as he died the same day, although I realise that they could have been miles away from each other, but I have to ask the question, does anyone know if that was the case?

    Commonwealth War Graves Commission
    Lieutenant
    FURNESS, THE HON. CHRISTOPHER
    Service Number 53422
    Died 24/05/1940
    Aged 28
    1st Bn. Welsh Guards
    V C
    Son of Marmaduke Furness, 1st Viscount Furness, and of the Viscountess Furness (nee Hogg), of Westminster, London.

    According to the book "Symbol of Courage," there was loss of life beside his own.

    Also Richard's brother Thomas George died 3 days later :-
    Fusilier,CURTIS, THOMAS GEORGE,Service Number 4191987,Died 27/05/1940,Aged 24,1st Bn. Royal Welch Fusiliers.
    Both Son's of Richard Edward and Catherine Jane Curtis, of Mancot, Flintshire. His brother Richard William Curtis also fell and is commemorated on the Dunkirk Memorial, France.
    Buried at ST. VENANT COMMUNAL CEMETERY.

    I am a novice and will appreciate any help to tell their stories, but of course want to make sure of my facts etc. Could Richard and Thomas been in the same action? Kindest regards, Mavis Williams
     
  2. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    Hi,

    You’ll likely find some background information in the transcribed 2nd WG WD that Diane (Dbf) has posted in this topic.

    Richard Curtis would appear to have had previous service in RWF - same as his brother. He may have “dipped his toe” in the water by joining a RWF TA Battalion before enlisting in WG.

    Steve

    War Diary, 2nd Battalion Welsh Guards, Sep 1939 - Dec 1941
     
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  3. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Re member

    UK, Army Roll of Honour, 1939-1945
    Name: Richard Curtis
    Given Initials: R W
    Rank: Guardsman
    Death Date: May 1940
    Number: 4191299
    Birth Place: Flintshire
    Residence: Chester
    Branch at Enlistment: Foot Guards
    Theatre of War: France and Belgium Campaign, 1939/40
    Regiment at Death: Welsh Guards
    Branch at Death: Foot Guards


    Name: Thomas Curtis
    Given Initials: T G
    Rank: Fusilier
    Death Date: 27 May 1940
    Number: 4191987
    Birth Place: Chester
    Residence: Denbighshire
    Regiment at Enlistment: Royal Welch Fusiliers
    Branch at Enlistment: Infantry
    Theatre of War: France and Belgium Campaign, 1939/40
    Regiment at Death: Royal Welch Fusiliers
    Branch at Death: Infantry

    Just to provide some idea of location
    UK, Victoria Cross Medals, 1857-2007
    Name: Honourable Christopher Furness
    Birth Date: 17 May 1912
    Birth Place: Cambridge Gate, London
    Death Date: 24 May 1940
    Death Place: Arras, France
    40104_258646-n1167.jpg

    TD
     
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  4. Mavis Williams

    Mavis Williams Well-Known Member

    Thank you Steve and TD, Gosh what a lot of work Diane has put in. I think what has confused me a little, is the Transcription on FMP about "Prisoners of War."
    Prisoners of War 1715-1945 Transcription ( looks like a PRINTED BOOK)
    Conflict World War 2
    Record set Prisoners Of War 1715-1945
    Archive reference WO 361/172
    First name(s) Thomas G
    Last name Curtis
    Year -
    Service number 4191987
    Rank Fus
    Regiment -
    Ship name The Royal Welch Fusiliers
    Country of imprisonment -
    Ship or corps The Royal Welch Fusiliers
    Prison camp or ship -
    Archive The National Archives
    Document details Far East: Singapore; dead prisoners of war at Changi Hospital; list compiled by Reverend Chambers
    Category Military, armed forces & conflict
    Subcategory Regimental & service records
    Collections from Great Britain, UK None

    There are 3 pages like this for Thomas, so I thought that he was a POW, but then "Changi" was mentioned. I know that doesn't connect to Thomas and where he was, but wondered if in the few days from the 25th -30th May, he had been captured. It just confused me really. Is there anywhere I might find out where and what Thomas's circumstances were when he was possibly wounded and/or captured. Any help would be appreciated. Regards, Mavis
     
  5. Mavis Williams

    Mavis Williams Well-Known Member

    Both Richard and Lt. Christopher FURNESS are buried in Dunkirk, making me think more so that Richard might have been with the Lieutenant when they were both killed. Mavis
     
  6. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    First name(s) R
    Last name Curtis
    Year 1940
    Capture year 1940
    Service number 4191299
    Rank Guardsman
    Rank as transcribed Gdsmn
    Regiment Welsh Guards
    Regiment as transcribed Welsh Guards
    Theatre of war France
    Archive reference WO 417/12
    PIece description Casualty Lists - Other Ranks 201 - 226
    Screen Shot 2018-06-21 at 13.22.06.png

    First name(s) R
    Last name Curtis
    Year 1943
    Capture year 1940
    Service number 4191299
    Rank Guardsman
    Rank as transcribed Gdsmn
    Regiment Welsh Guards
    Regiment as transcribed Welsh Guards
    Theatre of war France
    Archive reference WO 417/58
    PIece description Casualty Lists - Other Ranks 1076 - 1097
    Screen Shot 2018-06-21 at 13.23.28.png


    20 Guards Brigade, Headquarters, 1940 May - 1941 Sept. | WW2Talk
    War Diary, 2nd Battalion Welsh Guards, Sep 1939 - Dec 1941
     
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  7. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    Just going through Diane’s WG missing personnel gallery for the CURTIS brothers -

    Welsh Guards Missing Personnel, BEF | WW2Talk

    1299 was Number 3 Company.

    Extensive enquiries were made to trace missing personnel and there is mention of 1299 CURTIS in 2 replies received in early 1943 as per the following 2 attachments. He would appear to have last been seen on the afternoon 24th May whilst he was in the process of being evacuated from Bn HQ having been wounded accompanied by a Captain A G R Heber-Percy.

    Captain H C W Heber-Percy was OC Number 1 Company WG and went back to England when the Battalion was evacuated.

    There is no mention of his brother.

    Please keep up your good work researching the stories of these men who made the ultimate sacrifice.

    Steve
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 21, 2018
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  8. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    Hi Mavis,

    Just to clarify this post.

    Neither man is buried in Dunkirk. It would appear that neither body was recovered, or if they were they lie in unmarked graves, as both men are commemorated on the Dunkirk Memorial to the Missing.

    They were not killed whilst serving together as FURNESS was with 1st Bn WG at Arras and CURTIS was with 2nd WG recently landed at Boulogne.

    Steve
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2018
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  9. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Maybe this'll help clear some confusion:

    Furness served with 1st battalion, Curtis with 2nd Battalion (or as according to some records, was attached to 20 Gds Bde HQ). These battalions took part in different actions, Furness being near Arras and Curtis being at Boulogne.

    Casualty
    Lieutenant FURNESS, THE HON. CHRISTOPHER
    Service Number 53422
    Died 24/05/1940
    Aged 28
    1st Bn. Welsh Guards
    V C
    Son of Marmaduke Furness, 1st Viscount Furness, and of the Viscountess Furness (nee Hogg), of Westminster, London.
    Commemorated at DUNKIRK MEMORIAL
    Location: Nord, France
    Number of casualties: 4513
    Cemetery/memorial reference: Column 34.


    Casualty
    Guardsman CURTIS, RICHARD WILLIAM
    Service Number 4191299
    Died 24/05/1940
    Aged 23
    2nd Bn. Welsh Guards
    Son of Richard Edward Curtis and Catherine Jane Curtis of Mancot, Flintshire; husband of Kathleen Clara Curtis, of Chester. His brother Thomas George Curtis also fell and is buried in St Venant Communal Cemetery, France.
    Commemorated at DUNKIRK MEMORIAL
    Location: Nord, France
    Number of casualties: 4513
    Memorial reference: Column 35.


    The reason why they are both commemorated in the same place is that Dunkirk Memorial is for all "those of the British Expeditionary Force who died or were captured there and have no known grave".
    Dunkirk Memorial

    Each stage of the war in NWE has its own CWGC Memorial; Bayeux and Groesbeek being for after the Normandy landings. (Those lost in Norwegian campaign in 1940 for example are commemorated on the memorial at Brookwood.)
     
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  10. Mavis Williams

    Mavis Williams Well-Known Member

    I cannot thank you all enough for all you have given me today, I would never have found out about all this and of course I was going up the wrong street with the VC as well!!!! It seems though that Thomas has a grave, Plot 3. Row A. Grave 11., but in St Venant Communal Cemetery. I couldn't find Thomas on the Dunkirk Memorial, but that's OK, as I think I have his grave. The links are wonderful too, thanks so much, very moving letters, thanks Steve, but thanks to all, for your efforts on my behalf. The thing that always amazes me is the fact that in all the horror of War and the confusion, notes, letters and documents were all kept and thank goodness they were, but I don't know how. Now of course we have this wonderful Forum with such generous people on it to share everything they know. Much appreciated. Kindest regards, Mavis
     
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  11. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    You’re welcome Mavis.

    Don’t worry about not finding Thomas on the Dunkirk Memorial - it only notes personnel who have no known grave so I wouldn’t expect to find him on there.

    It is very rare to find a casualty with a known grave listed on a memorial to the missing - it’s usually either one or the other - but there are rare occasions when an “unknown” grave is found (or remains of a casualty found on the battlefield) and named many years after the event and there is a time lag to CWGC removing the name form the memorial.

    Steve
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2018
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  12. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    Mavis,
    Thomas George Curtis died during the defence of the village/town of St Venant .1st RWF, 1st Royal Berks and 2 DLI were part of 6th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. There are a few threads on here about St Venant as there was a little known (until this forum highlighted it) massacre there . The Mayor and a local historian hold lots of additional information and there`s a French book on the battle ? Here`s Fusilier Curtis`s headstone.

    Kyle

    9738080rwf.jpg
     
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  13. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Re member

  14. Mavis Williams

    Mavis Williams Well-Known Member

    Thank you Steve, Kyle and TD, this is amazing again!! I am adding all this to the two boy's stories and they will be on the website as soon as the website is ready. I know the local people of Hawarden will be so interested and I will not have been able to do it without your help. Thanks for the photograph of Thomas's Gravestone and the links as well. I am intrigued, and will have a look at the story. You can never get bored, can you as there are so many stories to be looking at,sadly they are very true and did happen. Kindest regards, Mavis
     

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