4th Field Regt, R.A. 26/27 November 1942 - L/Bdr F H J Hawking, "Officer's Assistant"

Discussion in 'Royal Artillery' started by brimacombe, Aug 2, 2020.

  1. brimacombe

    brimacombe Active Member

    Good evening guys!

    I'd appreciate your thoughts on this....

    Putting together a biography for L/Bdr Frederick H J Hawking, 964930, 4th Field Regt, R.A. (CASUALTY) - died of wounds 27th November 1942.

    The local book of remembrance states the following -

    "In the army for two years and killed at Mersa Brega after the battle of El Alamien, whilst acting as officer’s assistant at a forward observation post."

    Whilst trying to put together a little more detail regarding his death, I came across the following -

    "26th Nov: Leaguered at B 824923 and moved forward 4 miles at 06.30 Hrs. A bad day. 7 Bty were shelled
    out of their position and had three casualties
    . Three men killed and three wounded on mines, which are
    scattered all over the area. Direct Stuka attack on R.H.Q. Luckily only one wounded although Major
    Burlingham of J Battery was killed and his driver wounded
    . The General and C.R.A. Was with us at the
    time. And the Generals driver was badly wounded."

    Clutching at straws, I know, but I'm guessing Hawking was EITHER Major Burlingham's driver OR one of the three casualties of 7Bty. However, his casualty form states Died of Wounds on 27th so, I'm leaning more towards him being Burlingham's driver.

    Would appreciate your thoughts on my thoughts! Like I said, I know it's a bit of clutching at straws, but it sort of makes sense...doesn't it!? Of course, he could have been wounded before the 26th...
  2. brimacombe

    brimacombe Active Member

    On the 25th -

    "Moved forward at first light about 4 miles. O.P.s were out but guns again had no firing. Enemy air force is very much in evidence. 7 Bty. Had 5 killed and 3 wounded in a Stuka attack." - So another possibility I guess!

    4th Field Regt War Diary (July 1942-March 1943) - HERE
  3. PackRat

    PackRat Well-Known Member

    If the description from the remembrance book is reliable, it sounds more like he was in the role of Observation Post Assistant - or 'OP Ack' - the right-hand man to the Forward Observation Officer (usually a captain) at a forward OP.

    I think the casualty lists should tell you the actual date that he was wounded, which would narrow it down a bit more - I believe the lists are available through 'Find My Past' somehow.

    Still a lot of straw-clutching without another source, though. Assuming a wounding date of the 26th, it still isn't possible to say if he was hit by shellfire at an OP or on the way to/from it (the diary reports casualties from mines as well as shelling). And just to top it off, the war diaries weren't infallible with regards to recording unit casualties.
  4. brimacombe

    brimacombe Active Member

    Thanks for that - as I said in my first post, clutching at straws, but was worth a punt!

    Thanks again PackRat

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