219 Field Park Coy R.E. & 2nd or 7th Btn Leicestershire Regiment?

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by High Wood, Mar 31, 2019.

  1. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Lieut A. Sykes R.E. (see post 21) is proving to be an interesting character and difficult to pin down precisely. He is listed in the 2nd Battalion Queen's Regiment list as being attached from 219 Field Park Coy, R.E. whose War Diary has many mentions of him:

    17th June 1943. Lieut. A. Sykes R.E. posted to this unit from H.Q. R.E.

    3rd July 1943. Lieut. Sykes R.E. proceeded to Ranchi with bridging equipment and handed it over in toto to 1019 Bridging Section I.E.

    6th July 1943. Lieut. Sykes returned to unit.

    22nd August 1943. Lieut. A. Sykes R.E. with 41 O.R.s attached to 16th Infantry Brigade for exercise TRUMP II. Equipment taken consisted of 2 sets of S.B.G. Bridges, Divisional reserve of tools and water supply equipment.

    1st September 1943. Lieut. A. Sykes with party of 41 O.R.s returned to unit on conclusion of exercise Trump II.

    20th September 1943. Lieut. A. Sykes admitted to 18 B.G.H.

    6th October 1943. Lieut. A. Sykes discharged from 18 B.G.H.

    10th October 1943. Lieut. A . Sykes with batman attached to 12 Field Coy. R.E. to accompany county boats by train do new divisional training area.

    25th October 1943. Lieut. A. Sykes. R.E. and batman rejoined unit.

    27th October 1943. Lieut. A. Sykes and batman attached to 2nd field Coy R.E.for special training in Jungle Warfare.

    7th November 1943. Lieut. A. Sykes. R.E. attached for special training to 2nd battalion, The Queens.

    This is his last mention in the War Diary of the 219th Field Park Coy. R.E. and it is presumed, at this stage in my research, that he entered Burma as part of Bernard Fergusson's 16th Infantry Brigade.

    I found via the C.W.G.C. website that a Captain Alfred Sykes (291850) R.E. died on the 10th April 1944 and is commemorated on the Rangoon Memorial. This date would tie in with Operation Thursday but the C.W.G.C. entry does not give his unit.

    A quick check of the London Gazette shows that C.S.M. Alfred Sykes (291850) was commissioned as a 2nd Lieut. on the 17th June 1943 (L.G. 15/10/1943). Coincidentally this is the same date that he was posted to 219 Field Park Coy, R.E.as a Lieutenant.

    His C.W.G.C. entry shows him to be the son of Mr and Mrs Alfred Sykes and the husband of Margaret Sykes. There are no other details given.

    An Alfred Sykes's marriage to Margaret A.Y. Overy was registered in Medway, Kent in 1933. This may not be him but would tie in with the Royal Engineer's connection to the Medway Towns.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2019

    JITTER PARTY Well-Known Member

    I believe that he commanded the Cdo Pl in 22 Coln, and that he was killed, by one of his own booby traps, on the Auktaw - Mawlu Road on 10/04/44.
    This information is from either the Queens regimental history, or 'March Or Die'. He is included in a 22 Coln group photo in the latter book.
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  3. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    J P,

    thank you for the heads up, I will check it out.

  4. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Alfred Sykes
    BIRTH 28 MAR 1908 • 68 Lowerhouses Almondbury
    DEATH 10 APR 1944 • India/Burma? CaptainRoyalEng.

    England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005
    Name: Alfred Sykes
    Registration Date: Jul 1933
    [Aug 1933]
    [Sep 1933]
    Registration Quarter: Jul-Aug-Sep
    Registration district: Medway
    Inferred County: Kent
    Spouse: Margaret A Y Overy
    Volume Number: 2a
    Page Number: 2745

    Margaret Allison Yearsley Overy
    BIRTH C.1912
    DEATH 1943 • Johannesburg South Africa


    Alfred Sykes
    Birth: 28 Mar 1908 - Almondbury, Yorkshire, England
    Death: 10 Apr 1944 - Myanmar
    Marriage: 26 Aug 1933 - Kent, Western Area, Sierra Leone
    (Kent is correct the rest is not)
    Spouse: Margaret Allison Yearsley Overy
    F: Joe Lodge Sykes
    M: Selina Turner

    Would seem they had a daughter
    England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1916-2007
    Name: Rita K Sykes
    Registration Date: Jul 1934
    [Aug 1934]
    [Sep 1934]
    Registration Quarter: Jul-Aug-Sep
    Registration district: Medway
    Inferred County: Kent
    Mother's Maiden Name: Overy
    Volume Number: 2a
    Page Number: 1314

  5. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    I have found the photograph in March or Die. I think that the photograph has also appeared in the regimental journal and I will attempt to locate my copy.. No mention of the events of 10th April in MoD though.
  6. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    T D,

    that is very interesting information that you have posted there, thank you. I am slightly confused by the reference to Western Area Sierra Leone in relation to his marriage.

    I am also intrigued by the death of his wife in South Africa in 1943. It must have affected him greatly and yet he was able to carry on and do his duty. I have the utmost respect for him.

  7. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Her death surprised me as well, I guess she may have been a nurse or some such. I noticed on his probate that it wasnt paid to his wife so explored a bit further, maybe those it was paid to looked after his/their daughter.

    Sometime people can get lazy with the option drop down boxes as I assume there is a Kent in UK and Sierra Leone


    26 Aug 1933 • Register Office Medway Kent
    Spinster of 10 Paget St Gillingham Kent L Company Kitchener Barracks Chatham
    Alfred Sykes

    1943 • Johannesburg South Africa
    as reported in Alfred's obituary

    So presumably there is an obituary for Alfred which may explain his wifes death

    I have asked the tree creator if they have a copy of the obit

    Rita Kathleen Sykes
    BIRTH 12 JULY 1934 • Military Families Hosp.Chatham barracks England
    DEATH Unknown
    1956 • Feltham South, England
    62 Hereford rd living with Charles and Violet Stedman (beneficiary of Alfred Sykes will)
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2019
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  8. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    22 Column diary confirms Jitter Party's information. I will attach images when I get home from work.
  9. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Thank you all for your help with this. I am enjoying researching this ephemera as there are so many threads to unravel. Here is another. Amongst the ephemera was another newspaper cutting from a Middlesex newspaper. Frederick Turner kept the cutting as it obviously held some significance for him, probably a close mucker who had literally been through the wars with him.

    It suddenly struck me when looking through the Tobruk photographs that belonged to Frederick Turner that there was possibly a photograph of Alfred Lane amongst them. See what you think. Lane 016.JPG Lane 017.JPG
  10. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    The Tobruk photograph taken in Whadi Audi recently captured from the Germans. I cannot find any reference to Whadi Audi and I suspect that the spelling of the name is not accurate.

    Lane 007.JPG

    Attached Files:

  11. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    The photographs were taken several years apart but there is a strong resemblance, his ears are quite distinctive.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 10, 2019
  12. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    From the 'Queen's in Burma', printed by the Museum at Clandon Park in 1991:

    22 Column remained in the Auktaw area for another two weeks laying ambushes on the roads and tracks. They suffered an ambush themselves, with two men killed and one officer and two men watering mules presumed captured. The Column also successfully raided Nantha and destroyed the bridge across the Ledan Chaung in a night operation. The Column carried out one more ambush on the Auktaw-Mawlu Road, when Captain Sykes of the Commando Platoon was tragically killed by one of his own booby-traps. On the 11th April they were ordered back to Aberdeen and arrived there on the 13th April.

    Attached Files:

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  13. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member


    once again I am in your debt.

    Many thanks,

  14. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    With thanks to Jedburgh22 and Bamboo43 I can now confirm that Frederick William Turner was attached to the 2nd Field Coy, R.E., as part of Bernard Fergusson's 16th Brigade. He would therefore have marched in to Burma in February 1944. The casualty list for the 2nd Field Coy shows that he was listed as 'sick' on the 21st April 1944. Clearly this was due to his injured and infected foot.
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