Royal Ulster Rifles 2nd Battalion - Major ALdworth

Discussion in 'British Army Units - Others' started by chrisleach78, Jan 20, 2014.

  1. chrisleach78

    chrisleach78 Member

  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

  3. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

  4. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    The suggestion from the RUR Official History is that Major Aldworth was killed on 7th June 1944

    "On the 7th June, the Rifles were ordered to capture Cambes, a small village thickly wooded, and approximately six miles inland from the coast. The Battalion moved via Le Mesnil, with "D" Company. commanded by Captain J. R. St. L. Aldworth as vanguard. It was believed that Cambes was lightly held, but as the two woods surrounding it were themselves surrounded by walls some ten feet high, it was not possible to observe the enemy's actual dispositions. "D" Company was therefore ordered to proceed forward and capture Cambes with the rest of the Battalion closely following in reserve.

    About 1700 hours on the 7th June, "D" Company moved forward supported by one squadron of tanks (East Riding Yeomanry), while the rest of the Battalion halted at the side of the wood. A short diversion was provided here as four enemy fighters suddenly appeared and machine-gunned the rear companies, causing no casualties. Here, too, the first French people were met and outwardly shewed many signs of goodwill. On reaching the wood - the approach having been somewhat costly owing to enemy snipers on the forward edge of the wood, and accurate mortar fire dropping onto the approach - the Company split into half, two platoons under the Company Commander attacking the village through the left side of the wood, and the other platoon and Company Headquarters, commanded by the company's Second-in-Command, Captain J. Montgomery, attacking through the right edge of the wood. Immediately the company broke into the wood, cross fire from machine guns opened up, resulting in many casualties. The Company Commander was killed on the left, and one Platoon Commander on the right, Lieutenant H. Greene, was wounded and unable to carry on. Captain Montgomery, deciding that the opposition was too heavy for his depleted company to overcome, ordered a withdrawal from the wood. Owing to the high wall and the thickness of the wood, the supporting tanks had not been able to give any effective close support during the attack. The Company then withdrew to the Battalion, and the Brigade Commander with the Commanding Officer decided that a battalion attack would be far too expensive without much greater artillery support. During "D" Company's attack, the reserve companies had suffered a few casualties from mortar fire, amongst whom were Captain H. M. Gaffikin, the Carrier Platoon Commander, who was wounded but not evacuated. The Battalion was ordered to consolidate for the night in positions to the right of 1st K.O.S.B. in Le Mesnil. The attack had cost "D" Company its Commander and fourteen other ranks killed, one officer and eleven other ranks wounded and four other ranks missing, with two stretcher bearers from the Medical Section killed whilst tending the wounded. The loss of Captain Aldworth was a particularly heavy blow. He had commanded "D" Company for nearly two years and had become almost an institution both for "D" Company and, indeed, the Battalion. Of the many regulars of the Battalion that were so soon to be lost, he was the first and with his passing it seemed as though the Battalion had lost part of its identity and character."
  5. chrisleach78

    chrisleach78 Member

    Great, thank you
  6. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Stupid question, if he died on 7th June 1944 as a Captain, how is his CWGC reference stating Major??

  7. chrisleach78

    chrisleach78 Member

    Ive been wondering about that as well
  8. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    The war diary for 1944 contains just over 200 pages (I used to have a copy). Here's the ref:

    WO 171/13842 Royal Ulster Rifles1944 Jan.- Dec.
  9. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    The Website that I added on my previous post stated that he was posthumously promoted to Major.

  10. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member


    Thanks - I must stop speed reading :)

  11. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin


    I believe that most of us are guilty of this at some time or other.

    I just wonder how often this occurred.

  12. Quis Separabit

    Quis Separabit Junior Member

    Not sure if still required but the 2 RUR obituary reads as follows....

    Also appears in group photo from 1944 at


    Killed at Cambes Wood 7th. June 1944.

    John Aldworth joined the Battalion as a 2nd. Lieutenant when it was re-formed in Wincanton in June 1940. The son of such a famous Co. Cork family might be expected to possess more than his share of natural talents, but nature was especially liberal when equipping John Aldworth. In addition to a very fine brain, and a personality of great charm, he possessed a brilliant wit, which found expression in many forms, particularly in a satirical review of his Army career and a professed abhorrence of all things military. However, there is no disguising talent, and after a period as Battalion Intelligence Officer, he took over command of "D" Company in October 1942. He quickly impressed the stamp of his personality upon the Company, and under him "D" Company rose to great heights.

    During the summer of 1943 he contracted an illness which troubled him for several months, and afterwards proved to be infantile paralysis. It was not until after Christmas that he was able to return to duty. During the period of his illness and convalescence, his great fear was that he might be posted away from the Battalion. Lt-Colonel Harris, however, was determined not to lose such a fine officer, and by a judicious arrangement of discharges and re-admissions to hospital it was possible to keep John on the strength. His left leg never recovered from the illness, the muscles were weakened and he walked with a slight limp. Only a word would have been sufficient to have himself down-graded, but such a thought was farthest from his mind.

    John led his Company on to the Normandy beaches on "D" day, and on D plus 1 he was in command of a force of all arms acting as vanguard to the Battalion with orders to push on in the direction of Caen. A stiff fight was waged for Cambes wood, and when the Company was forced to withdraw with heavy casualties, John did not return with them. When the Battalion attacked and captured the wood two days later, John was found lying at the head of his men having penetrated deeper into the wood than anyone else. Within a yard or two of him there were a number of SS Stormtroopers lying dead. A fitting end for a brave soldier and a fine companion. but a great loss to the Battalion and the many friends he left behind.
    bexley84 likes this.
  13. chrisleach78

    chrisleach78 Member

    Many thanks

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