Private William A. Deas, Green Howards, El Alamein October 1942

Discussion in 'North Africa & the Med' started by DoubleD, Apr 16, 2017.

  1. DoubleD

    DoubleD Active Member

    Dear Forum Members,

    I have already introduced myself on the User Introductions section of the website, but this is my first post on this section of the forum.

    William A. Deas is commemorated on the Perth Academy War Memorial. I have included below the information I have obtained from the website of the CWGC. Any information at all, or indeed any advice, would be greatly appreciated.

    Many thanks,

    Name: DEAS, William Alexander
    Initials: W. A.
    Nationality: United Kingdom
    Rank: Private
    Regiment/Service: Green Howards (Yorkshire Regiment)
    Unit: 6th Battalion
    Age: 26
    Date of Death: 26/10/1942
    Service No: 2934907
    Additional information: Son of James and Helen M. Deas, Kinlochleven, Argyllshire
    Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
    Grave/Memorial Reference: XXVII. C. 18.
  2. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Hello Dave,

    Pte WA Deas service number is from the Cameron Highlanders block of numbers, so he would have originally served with that Regiment.

    At the date of his death, he was serving with the 6th Bn Green Howards, 69th Infantry Brigade, 50th (Northumbrian) Division. He was killed during the 2nd and decisive Battle of El Alamein.

    I will return with, hopefully, better information later!

    CL1, Tricky Dicky and 4jonboy like this.
  3. DoubleD

    DoubleD Active Member

    Hello Steve,

    That's great. Thank you very much.

  4. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    Not new information on Private Deas but a number of 6th Bn Green Howards were reported on the same casualty list as being KIA the same day, 26.10.42.

    4391171 Beck Pte F
    4756600 Birdsall Pte RE
    4919518 Bott Pte HD
    4395825 Bradbury Pte J
    4862832 Cartwright Pte RW
    4751847 Chambers L/Sjt GW
    4460102 Costall Cpl G
    4390357 Dawson L/Cpl E
    2934907 Deas Pte WA
    4395517 Donnelly Pte LG
    4395517 Doyle Pte P
    4387645 Garnett Sjt J
    4389077 Lawson Pte S
    7890866 Russell Pte GW
    4924833 Smith Pte J
    4755400 Smith Pte JWV
    4389608 Sturgeon Pte EE
    Tricky Dicky and CL1 like this.
  5. DoubleD

    DoubleD Active Member

    Thanks for that Tony.

  6. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Here you go, Dave.

    From 'The Path Of The 50th' (Clay):

    "The next day it as learnt that the attack in the north had met with success, but in the south the 44th Division had failed to secure a bridgehead through the minefields. New and uncharted fields had been encountered which had caused both delay and confusion. Further attacks were made by this division, closely supported by the 4th Armoured Brigade of the 7th Armoured Division, but although some ground was gained no gap was secured to permit the exploitation by the armoured division. Casualties had been heavy.

    In an attempt to relieve the pressure in front of the 44th Division orders were received from the XIII Corps on the morning of the 25th [October] that the attack of the 69th Brigade on 'The Cape' and 'The Moor' [in the Munassib depression] was to take place that night...

    At first everything went according to plan. On the right the 6th Green Howards breached the obstacle and minefield satisfactorily and secured the east end of 'The Moor'. Here, however, they lost their artillery support, but... fought their way forward to within three hundred yards of their final objective...

    The next morning, the 26th of October... the 6th Green Howards had secured about two-thirds of 'The Moor' and had made quite an adequate gap through through the minefields and obstacles together with a useful mechanical-transport track to the objective...

    Later in the afternoon the 6th Green Howards renewed their attack, but it was beaten off by very accurate enemy mortar and artillery defensive fire just as they were reaching their objective."

    The operation was discontinued. Casualties for the 6th Bn Green Howards were about 160, killed, wounded and missing. It appears that Pte WA Deas was one of the casualties KIA.

    Words in square brackets are mine and there to aid understanding.

    The 6th Bn Green Howards were brigaded in 69th Brigade with the 5th Bn East Yorkshire Regiment and 7th Bn Green Howards.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2017
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  7. DoubleD

    DoubleD Active Member


    That is brilliant! Thank you so much.

  8. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Further information on 'The Moor' attack from other sources, Dave:

    Following a softening-up of the enemy by the 44th Division and 50th (Northumbrian) Division artillery and the laying down of a smoke screen, the 6th Bn Green Howards crossed the start line at 23.15 pm on 25th October.

    The renewed attack on the afternoon of 26th October commenced at 15.00 pm and was put in by 'A' Company, which advanced across a bullet swept plateau.


    The 69th Infantry Brigade's sister brigades at this time were the 151st Infantry Brigade (6th, 8th & 9th Bns Durham Light Infantry) and the 1st Greek Infantry Brigade (1st, 2nd & 3rd Greek Infantry Battalions). The latter were only with 50 Div around the time of El Alamein.

    The 151st Infantry Brigade (of 50 Div) and the 152nd Infantry Brigade, 51st (Highland) Division, executed Operation Supercharge on 2 November 1942, exploiting a salient made in the German defences by the 9th Australian Division. This was the action that started the rout of enemy forces at El Alamein, and on towards final victory in the Western Desert and North Africa.

    This is a [quick] link to what the 50th (Northumbrian) Division got up to in WWII. It isn't 100% accurate, but is quite good: 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division - Wikipedia


    CL1 likes this.
  9. DoubleD

    DoubleD Active Member

    Hello again Steve,

    Thank you once again for the information, and the link.

    You'll have to forgive my lack of knowledge of regimental and divisional insignia, but having followed the link I can now see from your avatar why you have such an interest in (and very detailed knowledge of) the 50th (Northumberland) Infantry Division.

    I wasn't sure how to do it, but I have finally got round to adding an avatar of my own, and used an image of the school memorial. Hope it works.

    I will add all the information you have sent to William Deas' biography.

  10. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    You are welcome, Dave.

    Yes, your avatar works... Well kept memorial; congratulations to all who tend it.

    It is 'Northumbrian', not 'Northumberland'. It refers to the old Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Northumbria. It's historic recruitment area was within the old Northumbria borders, namely, the then Northumberland (Royal Northumberland Fusliers), Co Durham (Durham Light Infantry), North and East Yorkshire (Green Howards), including Hull and area (East Yorkshire Regiment).


  11. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Had this email come to the forum admin email account the other day.


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