Remembering Today 30/1/44 Guardsman:Harold Wignall,2696339,Scots Guards 1st Bn.

Discussion in 'The Brigade of Guards' started by CL1, Jan 30, 2017.

  1. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    WIGNALL, HAROLD
    Rank:
    Guardsman
    Service No:
    2696339
    Date of Death:
    30/01/1944
    Age:
    22
    Regiment/Service:
    Scots Guards
    1st Bn.
    Grave Reference:
    III, T, 11.
    Cemetery:
    ANZIO WAR CEMETERY
    Additional Information:
    Son of John and Ethel Wignall, of Hesketh Bank, Lancashire.Casualty Details
     
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  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Harold Wignall in the UK, Army Roll of Honour, 1939-1945
    Name: Harold Wignall
    Given Initials: H
    Rank: Guardsman
    Death Date: 30 Jan 1944
    Number: 2696339
    Birth Place: Preston
    Residence: Lancashire
    Regiment at Enlistment: Scots Guards
    Branch at Enlistment: Foot Guards
    Theatre of War: Italy
    Regiment at Death: Scots Guards
    Branch at Death: Foot Guards

    TD
     
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  3. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    Gdsm Wignall would most likely have been killed during the 1 IG and 1 SG operation to clear the ground forward of Aprilla up the Anzio-Albano road in preparation for 3 Inf Bde's push through them to capture the important road and rail communications centre at Campoleone.

    A grim two days for 24 Gds Bde.

    FdeP
     
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  4. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    From The Scots Guards 1919-1955, David Erskine, pages 208 - 213

    ITALY 1944, FIRST BATTALION

    ( d ) The Night Attack


    In italics: account by the Adjutant, Captain D Trail.

    [29th January]

    In the evening we received orders to make an attack that night with our furthest objective as Point 105. Again you will have to consul the map. Roughly speaking the Battalion was to advance about a mile due north from its present positions. To hold Point 105 was an obvious advantage.

    Briefly the plan was as follows. The Battalion was to advance on the right of the road, and the Irish Guards were to make a similar advance on the left. Left Flank was to occupy Point 105; Right Flank was to occupy a track junction three hundred yards south-east of Point 105; B and C Companies, in that order, were to advance up the road, clear it, and take up positions to the south-west of 105. The whole object of the attack was to secure the start line for the 3rd Brigade to pass through and capture Campoleone Station, just short of Gold-Flake. The attack was to go in half an hour before midnight after considerable artillery preparation. Then on the success signal being received, the supporting arms would come forward along the road, which by that time should have been cleared.


    We had no Sappers under command. But we did have considerable support in the shape of anti-tank guns from the 81st Anti-Tank Regiment, Vickers machine-guns from the Middlesex Regiment, and four American M 10 Tank Destroyers who had been with us since the occupation of this position.

    The track running along to the right had not been considered suitable for the supporting arms, for it was very much open to enemy attack from the right flank, and no troops would be there to prevent such an attack. Tim Lindsay-Peto [Lieutenant T.C. Lindsay-Peto (Right Flank)] had led a patrol supported by carriers and mortar into this are on this very day. He had located enemy in a house to the right of the track and, after a brisk engagement in which casualties were suffered on both sides, he came back and reported enemy in considerable strength in that area. With the troops at our disposal it was impossible to do much about this threat, except to engage the area with artillery and mortar fire. This was done, but for all we knew, when the attack went forward to Point 105 the threat from our right would still remain.

    During the hours of darkness before the attack started all was very quiet. Then minutes before zero hour the artillery barrage opened. A careful programme and been worked out - after ten minutes of very close support the guns lifted, and the Companies began their advance.

    With so much close artillery fire the air rapidly became filled with smoke, and from our very near front the enemy machine-guns opened up in every direction. Resistance seemed to be strongest on our left - but of course you must remember the my own position did not change throughout the battle so I was in no way able to tell exactly what was happening. The wireless was working well and Colonel David with his own set was out quite a little way in front of the control and Headquarters sets.

    B Company [now commanded by Captain E.A.G. Balfour] and C Company on the left rapidly became very heavily engaged. They reported strong enemy positions on the right of the main road, with wire and many machine-guns. From the noise to our Left it seemed that a tremendous battle was in progress. German light machine-guns fire a very high percentage of tracer, which is always rather terrifying, but on the other hand one can see the general direction of the bullets, and the tendency at night seems to be to shoot high. Left Flank and Right Flank reported good progress and advance steadily.


    [30th January]

    The trouble on the left became acute, and Eustace Balfour and David Malcolm were unable to make any headway in that direction. The wireless net was working perfectly, and the Commanding Officer and to make a very quick decision. The progress that Right Flank and Left Flank had made on the right opened up the possibility of switching the attack and coming in on the Germans from a flank. This in fact he did. B and C Companies were brought back to the Start Line, sent off in the wake of Right Flank and Left Flank and reached their first objectives after some very stiff fighting, but with many less casualties than they would have suffered had they persisted on their original axis.


    Nevertheless Lieutenant P.H. Shaw-Stewart, of B Company, was mortally wounded in the fighting, and Lieutenant D.M.H. Bailie, of C Company, was killed while going in with the bayonet to attack a house covered by a German tank. In the advance Sergeant F.C. Bennett greatly distinguished himself in command of the leading platoon of B Company. Personally he led sections in attacks on four enemy posts, being wounded in the shoulder, arm and side in the capture of the final objective. Despite his wounds, with one other guardsman he escorted back some forty prisoners through territory as yet not clear of the enemy. For his gallantry he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal.
    Gallantry Awards & Honours: SCOTS GUARDS

    The problem now was the road. The ultimate success depended entirely on the bringing up and establishing of supporting arms, particularly anti-tank guns, before first light. Our objectives were in our hands; but the road had not been cleared and, though virtually cut off, the potential German resistance there was strong. The hours of darkness left to us grew shorter and shorter.

    Colonel David, Harry Keith and Lance-Sergeant Bell, the Commanding Officer’s wireless operator, by this time were right forward with the Companies. It must have been about four o’clock when the situation first became desperate. The Germans used many flares to light up the battlefield, and all the indications were that very shortly they inevitable counter-attack would come in, supported by tanks. Colonel David knew only too well the difficulties that faced the Battalion at this time. The transport was already formed up waiting for the word to advance, and still no road was open. The only solution to the problem was to have support from our own tanks - if we could get them. These we knew could have an admirable run through the country we had just covered, and there was still sufficient darkness left for them to be brought up and put on the ground. But we had no tanks under command, and although we knew they were in the vicinity, we had to ask for them through Brigade.

    In the course of the request for tanks Colonel David had emphasised how vital it was to get up our own supporting arms. No road was open to us, and if they were to be taken up on to the battlefield, the only possible route was the track on the right. So Gervase, Mike Jardine, Harry Keith and myself set off to the transport to organise the party to go up this track. [Captain G.R.E. Blois, commanding Headquarter Company; Captain M.J. Jardine (second-in-command of Right Flank), who was wounded later in the night; and the Intelligence Officer and the Adjutant.] Gervase organised every man he could find to act as infantry protection - police, servants, sanitary men and the like were all impressed and briefed for the task of protecting the column of supporting arms which was to go forward up the track on the right.

    The transport was already formed up, but facing to the main road, and certain adjustments had to remade to get the head of the column on to the right track. This was just being carried out, all engines were running, and we were just setting off, when an 88-mm. began to shell us. It was still dark end it was a most unlucky shot, for we could not possibly have been observed, but the first shell landed on one of Tony Tuke’s portees awhile immediately burst into flames. Six-pounder ammunition and 2-inch Mortar bombs on the port started to explode, and altogether it was a most unpleasant party. As soon as the truck started to blaze the Germans put down a concentration on the spot, so you can readily understand what an inferno it was. I certainly will not forget it in a hurry.

    The scene as viewed in the light of blazing vehicles was not a pleasant one. There were several men lying on the ground - some dead, others badly wounded - the driver of the port was still in his seat, but I’m sure he was killed instantly. Just then the next vehicle started to blaze. I cannot truthfully say whether it was hit by another shell or by the exploding ammunition. It was at this point that young Mac Hayward [Lieutenant F. McL. Hayward, Transport Officer of the Battalion throughout the Italian campaign] ran across, and regardless of the danger to himself, got into the next vehicle and drove it to safety, thus making a gap in the column and thereby saving the remaining transport. His was a most outstanding case, but there were others, drivers of vehicles, who behaved equally gallantly, especially Guardsman Duff. Altogether the behaviour was quite first class.



    In the meantime Captain Blois had managed to organise a party of six anti-tank guns, and had set off up the track towards the battlefield proper. His own vehicle became ditched, but he found an American Tank Destroyer, in the opinion of its drive hopelessly bogged, bot it moving again under shell and machine-gun fire, and guided the driver across country towards Right Flank. At first light he found a disabled German Tiger tank and captured the crew. He then pressed on and after several more engagements, during which another enemy tank was hit and forced to retire, two 88-mm. S.P. guns and one 75-mm. Semovente knocked out, his Tank Destroyer was hit and disabled and he led its crew back on foot - “in time for some breakfast!”

    Interest now centred on Left Flank at Point 105. About a quarter to four in the morning they had beaten off one enemy infantry attack supported by tanks, and soon after dawn they reported that another attack was upon them. It seems that in the darkness they had slightly over-shot their objective and were in rather an exposed position on its forward slope, out of touch with the rest of the Battalion and overlooked by the higher ridges to the north. At a quarter-past seven they reported jubilantly that the enemy were in full retreat, and that they had knocked out a large tank; ten minutes later Major Bull’s voice was heard on the wireless with the news the they were “surrounded, and looked like being overrun. After that - complete silence.”. Major Bull, a truly brave man, was killed, and the remnants of the company were taken prisoner. Not until the next day, the 31st, was Lieutenant P.G. Henderson, the only other officer in the company, picked up; he was seriously wounded. It was not now possible to apportion to the Companies the losses sustained in the night attack and in the subsequent counter-attacks. But on that day, besides the three officers already mentioned, forty-two other ranks were killed, the largest number of Scots Guardsmen to fall on any one day in the war. These included C.S.M. J.C. Begg of Right Flank, four Sergeants and seven Lance-Sergeants, among them G.A. Cashmere and R.N. Miller, both of whom had won the Military Medal in Tunisia. Also killed was Guardsman G. Patience, a well-known cross-country runner.


    The Irish Guards on the left of the road had an equally sticky time and had not yet reached their objective. Tank support was promised; in fact the tanks had by this time arrived, and were prepared to go forward in support of them. But the Irish Guards still had a lot of ground to gain before they conformed to our positions and the right. An attack [by a company of the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry properly supported by tanks] was prepared and went in during the first few hours of daylight with complete success. Artillery was still very active on both sides but the concrete results of the night’s work soon began to show in the shape of droves of prisoners coming in from the battlefield - a very cheering sight. [To all save the Intelligence Officer, who noted some from divisions which had last been heard of in France and Yugoslavia. The Germans had found troops from outside Italy to contain the beach-head.]

    With the capture and consolidation of the Brigade objectives, the plan had been for the 3rd Infantry Brigade to go through us and attack the railway at Gold Flake. The preparation for this was proceeding according to plan. The K.S.L.I. occupied the positions we had vacated, and lay there waiting for the signal to move through us on to their objective. Their attack was timed to go in half an hour later, but did not in fact take place until about two hours later. Nevertheless the tide of war steadily receded from our positions and, when afternoon came, all was quiet on our front, and prisoners were still being collected and sent back. C Company moved up to Point 105.

    We were all very tired after the excitements of the previous night and morning, but the fact that our attack had been successful in every way had the best possible effect on all ranks. The one black spot was the loss of Left Flank. We could not quite understand what had happened. Events that morning moved so quickly that it was only in the evening when things were quiet that we could collect our thoughts and try to reconcile the events of the day. Gerard Hodge and the Padre [Captain G.C. Hodge, M.C., the Doctor; and the Reverend J. Hamilton] had a very busy night and day in the R.A.P. They were favourably placed in that there was a huge wine cellar under one of the farm buildings, which gave Gerard and admirable place to work. Not only were men of our own Battalion treated there, but many others from various units which passed through us.

    See this link for accounts of 1st Bn Irish Guards
    War Diary: 1st Battalion IRISH GUARDS, September 1939 - July 1944
     
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  5. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    29th January 1944
    001 ADAM RC 2696263 1ST BN 29/01/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    002 THOMSON T 2692633 1ST BN 29/01/1944 SCOTS GUARDS

    30th January 1944
    001 ANDOW SR 2693499 1ST BN 30/01/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    002 ATKINSON SP 2700720 1ST BN 30/01/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    003 BAILIE DMH 219058 1ST BN 30/01/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    004 BEGG JC 37321 1ST BN 30/01/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    005 BRUCE AW 2698452 HQ COY, 1ST BN 30/01/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    006 BULL RH 121341 1ST BN 30/01/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    007 BUXTON RH 2700683 1ST BN 30/01/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    008 CAMPBELL F 2699167 1ST BN 30/01/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    009 CAMPBELL DJ 2699183 B COY, 1ST BN 30/01/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    010 CASHMORE GA 2696023 1ST BN 30/01/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    011 CASSIDY G 2698105 1ST BN 30/01/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    012 COLSTON LG 2696764 1ST BN 30/01/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    013 CRAIG J 2700909 1ST BN 30/01/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    014 DALTON PJ 2695166 1ST BN 30/01/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    015 DEWAR DW 2698869 S COY, 1ST BN 30/01/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    016 DOIG RA 2695647 1ST BN 30/01/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    017 DOUGLASS A 2693514 1ST BN 30/01/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    018 HAMILTON JS 2696747 1ST BN 30/01/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    019 HARGADON J 2694398 1ST BN 30/01/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    020 HUGHES JF 2698456 1ST BN 30/01/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    021 IRVINE AT 2694614 1ST BN 30/01/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    022 LAWLESS SG 2698642 1ST BN 30/01/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    023 LEES H 2701284 1ST BN 30/01/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    024 MCANDREW HA 2698545 - 30/01/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    025 MCCURDY J 2694574 1ST BN 30/01/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    026 MCLEAN CG 2696511 1ST BN 30/01/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    027 MCLELLAND J 2697100 1ST BN 30/01/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    028 MCMANIMAN T 2698562 1ST BN 30/01/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    029 MCPHEAT A 14226218 1ST BN 30/01/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    030 MILLER RN 2697173 1ST BN 30/01/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    031 PATERSON JA 2985909 1ST BN 30/01/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    032 PATIENCE G 2693974 1ST BN 30/01/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    033 PRATT W 2699711 1ST BN 30/01/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    034 RINTOUL A 2698136 1ST BN 30/01/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    035 ROBERTSON G 2693453 1ST BN 30/01/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    036 SPEIRS A 2698506 1ST BN 30/01/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    037 WALKER R 2696271 1ST BN 30/01/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    038 WIGNALL H 2696339 1ST BN 30/01/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    039 WILLIAMS NC 2694754 1ST BN 30/01/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    040 WILSON D 14226229 1ST BN 30/01/1944 SCOTS GUARDS

    31st January
    001 BROWN MG 2697330 1ST BN 31/01/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    002 SHAW-STEWART PH 233192 1ST BN 31/01/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    003 WITHNELL W 2697839 1ST BN 31/01/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
     

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