Family Soldiers: 1/4th Essex (WW2) & 25 Field Regiment R.A.(Post-War)

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by Charley Fortnum, Mar 21, 2015.

  1. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    Great stuff. For me, the 16 Pl route worked for 16 Pl in the coup de main operation but, from then on, was very exposed. The 17 & 18 Pl route was shielded from view and would have made the logical access route once 24 NZ Inf Bn had reached Route 6.

  2. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles


    There are two positions I have an inadequate picture of:

    a) the gulley/ravine--especually at the point roughly parallel with Pt. 165 where 16 platoon climbed.

    b) The view of the castle and the ground between that and the Yellow House from Point 175, where support coy 1/4th Essex and most of the Raf Riffs MMG-Coy were firing from.

    Do you have any photographs, modern or contemporary, of these positions?
    Last edited: May 28, 2019
  3. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member


    I do not but I will get some contemporary ones when I walk the ground.

    Could you send me what you have?

  4. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles


    Will see what I can find for you.

    Here's one thing that may interest you and others.
    Medal of Honor citations for two of the men who originally took Point 175 from the Germans:

    Fold3_Page_659_Medal_of_Honor_Recipients_18632013 copy.jpg Fold3_Page_660_Medal_of_Honor_Recipients_18632013 copy.jpg

    Fold3_Page_664_Medal_of_Honor_Recipients_18632013 copy.jpg Fold3_Page_665_Medal_of_Honor_Recipients_18632013 copy.jpg
  5. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Any luck with photographs?

    I hear you've been... err... in the wars.
  6. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Most interested to find details of this chap. I know very little about the commandos and special forces, but if anybody can alert me to former 1/4th Essex men who joined them, I'd be very grateful.

    Lance Corporal Rudland, John [6010470]

    [Extracted from information at link below © Commando Veterans Archive 2016. All Rights Reserved].

    21-3-1933. 1/4th Bn., Essex Regiment
    1-9-1939. Called to colours
    19-7-1940. No.3 Independent Company
    8-11-1940. No.1 Special Service Battalion
    6-3-1941. No.2 Commando Paignton Devon
    8-5-1941. No.2 Commando (Lance Corporal) Inverary Scotland
    28-5-1942. Turnberry Hospital (21 days)
    21-8-1942. Posted from Commando to No.1 Infantry Training Centre
    7-12-1942. Posted to 8th Suffolks

    Then 15 Air Formation Signals completing service BAOR
    Released 3-3-1946.

    John Rudland was born on 30th May 1916 at 200 Grange Road Ilford Essex the youngest of six brothers, he died on 20th January 2007 and is buried in Longwood Gardens Cemetery Barkingside Grave No 000256 with his wife Ivy.

    Image at link: many thanks to the site owner:
    LCpl John Rudland
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2019
  7. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Doubly exciting.

    By comparing his service with that of Lieutenant Colonel Augustus Charles Newman VC, OBE, TD, DL (formerly 1/4th Essex), it looks likely that Rudland was with him at St. Nazaire--hence the hospitalisation?

    From Newman's records:

    On 20 April 1940 selected to command a composite company from 54th (East Anglian) Division, subsequently titled 'No 3 Independent Company' for operations in Norway, and sailed thereto on 3 May 1940, returning the following month.

    Became second in command of No 1 Special Service Battalion when it was formed in November 1940, then given war promotion to Lieutenant Colonel and appointed Commanding Officer of No 2 Commando when it was formed, from half of No 1 Special Service Battalion, in March 1941.

    Commanded the landing force, primarily from No 2 Commando, in the St Nazaire Raid on 27/28 March 1942. Captured and held in POW camps until 1945.

    Awarded VC for his outstanding gallantry and devotion to duty on the St Nazaire Raid, on 19 June 1945.
  8. Stuart Avery

    Stuart Avery In my wagon & not a muleteer.

    You should never rush a tradesman;) (even more so when he has been in the wars!) That's football for you.:D

    You will know that I've been trying to take a photo of panel 8, The Essex Regiment, Cassino Memorial ( for some time!) At last, its a good job that I don't do it for a living, I would never get paid. Panel 8 is on the column second from the right at the rear. 1..jpg

    Stu. Click on if required.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2019
    Charley Fortnum likes this.
  9. Stuart Avery

    Stuart Avery In my wagon & not a muleteer.


    i was advised to obtain the following book from a respected chap on this board. I have not yet had the chance to read any of it. Willing to do some scans if required? Note: I paid not much for it..

    20190623_081906 (2).jpg
    20190623_081927 (2).jpg
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2019
    Charley Fortnum likes this.
  10. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    I can probably get all I need about St. Nazaire online and from my own library, but I'm actually quite interested in Chapter 8!

    You've just reminded me that I have some old photographs of 3 CDO in Malaya and 40 CDO in Hong Kong (1950) to research.

    By the way, LIEUTENANT VIPH R.A, from the memorial photo above should be ULPH (they stylised the English to look like Latin where U is written V).
  11. Stuart Avery

    Stuart Avery In my wagon & not a muleteer.

    I should of clocked that. Funnily enough i asked about the V being used as a U at the 75th anniversary.It has been corrected.:blush: Chapter 8 will be added to the other chapters.

  12. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Added to my growing Christmas List!

    I'd best be good.

  13. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member


    Will be walking the ground on 15 Sep 19. I will be trying to work out exactly what route 25 NZ Inf Regt followed when getting up to the Castle.


  14. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Look forward to hearing about it.

    I think I've already asked, but do you have any photographs (old or contemporary) from roughly where the positions on the top and (south-ish) slopes of Pt.175 facing Castle Hill were?
  15. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    More on Leo Powers and why he was seen as unlikely candidate for the Medal of Honour:

    A nearly 35-year-old U.S. Army private with severe foot problems, who was originally classified as not fit for combat, makes about as unlikely a Medal of Honor recipient as you are going to find. But thanks to his actions on Feb. 3, 1944 on Hill 175 as part of the Battle of Monte Cassino, Pfc. Leo J. Powers is just that.

    Powers was born in the tiny Nebraska farm town of Anselmo on April 5, 1909. The 1910 U.S. Census lists the population of Anselmo at 351. An Omaha World-Herald article written about Powers at the time of his Medal of Honor presentation contains few details about Powers’ early life. It does mention that his parents died at a young age and that Powers only had eight years of formal schooling at a local district school, not unusual for that time. When Powers was drafted into the Army in September 1942 at Alder Gulch, Mont., he was originally classified as not being physically fit for combat due to his dentures. According to the World-Herald, “he told officials he wanted action, and finally wheedled his officers into a reclassification.”

    Considering that the average age of an Army soldier in World War II was 26, it is not surprising that the older-by-comparison and denture-wearing Powers was given the nickname “Pop.” Despite his foot problems and his training as a mechanic, Powers was sent to the front lines with the 133rd Infantry Regiment, 34th Infantry Division. This may have been due to the fierce fighting that saw the three battalions of the 133rd suffer over 50 percent casualties while engaged in the Battle of Monte Cassino from Jan. 24 to Feb. 21, 1944. Considering the cold wet winter weather of Italy at that time of year, it seems likely that Powers had trench foot, which was a common ailment during the Italian campaign.

    In his Medal of Honor citation, Powers is credited with having, “single-handedly broken the backbone of this heavily defended and strategic enemy position.”

    No matter his background or training, Feb. 3, 1944 found Powers in the right place at the right time to make a difference. On that day, Powers’ company was assigned to seize the heavily defended Hill 175. Belying its tactical importance in defending Monte Cassino, the Germans had emplaced around 50 troops, supported by pillbox emplaced machine guns. The German were supported by mortar fire that was able to suppress Powers and his fellow soldiers. Unable to move forward and with casualties mounting, Powers crawled toward the pillboxes. Using hand grenades and in full view of the enemy, Powers managed to destroy all three enemy pillboxes single-handedly. After destroying the last of the pillboxes, Powers took the surrender of four wounded Germans while unarmed. This solo mission took Powers along the length of the company front. In his Medal of Honor citation, Powers is credited with having, “single-handedly broken the backbone of this heavily defended and strategic enemy position.”

    Pfc. Leo J. Powers received the Medal of Honor for his heroism during an assault on Hill 175, part of the larger Battle of Monte Cassino. U.S. Army photo

    Powers was presented his Medal of Honor almost a year later by President Franklin D. Roosevelt Washington, D.C., on on Jan. 10, 1945. The Medal of Honor ceremony, which was preceded by two days of sightseeing in D.C. with his family, was quoted by Powers as being, “the biggest three day thrill of my life.” According to a Stars and Stripes dispatch, Powers received his Medal of Honor alongside six other Medal of Honor recipients. One of the soldiers with Powers at the ceremony, 1st Lt. Berlyl R. Newman, also received his Medal of Honor for actions while in combat with the 133rd Infantry in Italy.

    The Medal of Honor ceremony, which was preceded by two days of sightseeing in D.C. with his family, was quoted by Powers as being, “the biggest three day thrill of my life.”

    By the end of World War II, Powers had reached the rank of sergeant and appeared on the Columbia Broadcasting System radio program, Report to the Nation. Like so many other World War II service members, Powers returned home and resumed his life, in this case sheep farming. He died on July 14, 1967 and is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Butte, Mont. His heroism during the Battle of Monte Cassino is largely forgotten, though a since torn down welcome center at Fort Eustis, Va. bore his name.

  16. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Another has turned up for auction (alas sold before I heard of it):

    Etching: Evening on the Jheel by F. S. Tuker.

  17. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

  18. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Picked up a nice little piece of ephemera on eBay. I've been pipped at the post on several things I've tried to buy lately (not all even auctions), so I'm happy to have found this. It has a few signatures inside that I'll be investigating. Random fact, but my great-great grandfather was the maître d' at Simpson's-in-the-Strand, but it would have been much earlier than this meeting.

  19. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles


    Just in case anybody is researching any of those men whose names feature on the memorial you have photographed, I'll post the full notes I sent you as they give a few extra details about some of them. It's a long-shot, but I have had contact from the relatives of names on this thread.

    Lieut. Ulph, Ronald Arthur [203093]
    Sgt. Northeast, William Richard [6022049]
    Cpl. Hamilton, Richard Douglas [6021453]
    Cpl. Kermode, William Victor [6021528]
    L/C. Barber, Herbert Jack [5780733]
    Pte. Birden, Ivor [4080212]
    Pte. Bounds, William Charles [6012731]
    Pte. Cox, Edward James [6020163]
    Pte. Dixon, Albert John [14618039]
    Pte. Harrison, George [6027938]
    Pte. King, James 'Jimmy’ Walter [5572711] - Body found in May with radio still in pack.
    Pte. Snow, Frank Alfred [6923545]
    Pte. Wood, Samuel [3911670]
    Pte. Woodwards, Robert James [6013461] MID & Bar

    Poor old Jimmy King from Bristol I know a little about as I've heard an interview with Kenneth Bond, the man who found him. He must have gone unburied for several weeks because he was killed on the 23 or 24th of March but was not found until after the fourth battle was over in May. Surviving 1/4th Essex men drew lots from each company and returned to the areas they had fought in to identify bodies. Pte. King, along with another man, Pte Causon, Arthur Edward [5193753], was found by Bond around Hangman's Hill. He was buried at the Cassino Cemetery (Reference: VIII. K. 8. -- see below). Causon's family was from Cirencester--his being one of the men that were transferred from the Gloucestershire Regt to 1/4th Essex--as was Kenneth Bond--and for this reason Bond kept in touch with the family by mail for some years after the war. If they died around Hangman's Hill, they will have been either B or D-Company men.

    Lieutenant 'Ronnie' Ulph is also known to me. The unfortunate chap was buried when the west wall of the Castle collapsed on the morning of Sunday 19/3/44. It had been hit by an enemy tank shooting from the bend at Point 165 in support of a German counter-attack to re-take the Castle. The other officer who was similarly buried in the collapse was Capt. BEECH, Douglas 'Doug'. J [180247] MC & Bar, but he seems to have survived.

    I wish I had more on these men. I hate the fact that they remain simply names, ranks and numbers.

    Photograph Courtesy of Stuart Avery:

    Pte Causon, Arthur Edward [5193753].jpg
  20. Stuart Avery

    Stuart Avery In my wagon & not a muleteer.


    I'm not 100% sure but i think that the above Tank Battalion may have been part of the "OLD IRONSIDES"? They did a battle history of the 1st ARMOURED DIVISION by George F. Howe. The original first went to print in 1954 & reprinted in 1979. ISBN: 0-89839-025-7. It does seem to pay more attention to the Anzio Campaign. To be honest, its a book that I've not got stuck into as yet..

    Last edited: Jul 17, 2019

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