Sgt McAteer Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by Alisonmallen, Jun 19, 2018.

  1. Alisonmallen

    Alisonmallen Member

    i am hoping that someone may be related to this man who was killed in Italy in 1944. He wrote an account of a disastrous nighttime patrol in which my great uncle was killed. This was during the battle at Medjez el Bab my uncle being Serjeant Ernest Reid killed 1943. sgt McAteer was married and I believe his wife may have lived in Aldershot though he was, like my uncle, from N Ireland. If anyone knows anything at all I would be grateful. I have not accessed the war diary myself but have been given some info and there is a strong chance this account exists. It would give my family info they have never known - just what did happen to Ernie. Thank you
  2. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    I assume that your uncle was Ernest Albert Reid, 6979641, 6th Bn Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.,-ernest-albert/

    You will do a lot worse than looking at the following site, compiled by a forum member, in particular a transcript of the diary for 24 Feb 1943 plus a great deal of further information:

    The expert on this site is bexley84 and he may well have a copy of the report you mention, I am sure he will be along soon, in the meantime you might like to look at the following:

    The first port of call for any research into a soldier’s military history should be his service records and well worth obtaining:

  3. Alisonmallen

    Alisonmallen Member

    Hello, yes that is my uncle. I was given that info by the chap on the Irish brigade forum as it happens and he told me it wasn't something he actually had. I have never had an opportunity to visit the archives though having written several times to enquire I got no response. I have been spending several years on the first war forum having completed my grandfathers second war and prior to that as a regular South Wales Borderer history. I found info about Ernies burial place because he wasn't originally buried in that cemetery and my gran, his sister told me the family didn't know where he was. This was back in 1989. Since then the family tree has produced a lot of soldiers so each one had been researched but there are no more Reids left to ask and Ernies wife remarried. It would just finish off what I have recorded to read that report by someone who was Ernies friend. Thank you very much though.
  4. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member


    Richard here - just been out to Sicily for a week so haven't been able to respond to your note sooner.

    As you have said, Sgt McAleer had written a report about his attempt to find out more about the patrol of 24th February 1943 as noted in 6 Innisks' war diaries and this would be found as an attachment to the Feb 1943 diary entries held at Kew.
    Nov 1942 to Jun 1943 – WO 175/505.

    24th February – IN THE FIELD.

    Lt Curphey, Lt Bokanowski, Special Detachment 5 Corps and 4 NCOs did not return from patrol last night. We are all sorry indeed to lose Lieut Curphey. He was a Canadian sent out for 3 months to gain experience from the Canadian forces in England. He was a born leader.

    0915 OC D Coy received a letter from Sgt McAleer to say he had come out to see if he could find any trace of the patrol. It did not seem very hopeful that he would return from this errand.

    0945 Sgt McAleer returned with two fusiliers and a machine gun. His report is attached.

    Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM)

    A/SGT MCALEER. FEB 1943 – HILL 286/279.

    “On 24 Feb 43 No 6976983, A/Sgt F McAleer, at about 0800hrs, proceeded from MINEFIELD Fm 657058 to Pt 286, a hill known to be occupied by enemy with strength about one Platoon. His military mission was information, but his own object was to obtain revenge for the loss of a patrol on night 23/24 Feb 43. He spotted an MG post, went to the flank of it, surprised the crew of two, collected the MG and disabled the two prisoners a matter of 1000 yards back to MINEFIELD Fm. This was in broad daylight. The daring act resulted in obtaining information, which when later used, caused about 30 casualties to the enemy.”

    Richard Doherty's brigade history notes some of Sgt McAleer's report details - sufficed to say, his actions that day went beyond the call... an excerpt from Clear the Way ! :
    "Sgt McAleer heard at 6 o'clock that a friend of his (Sgt Reid) had been scuppered on a patrol the previous night. He sat down and wrote a letter to his Company Commander, apologising for what he was going to do.."
    Sgt Frank McAleer DCM died a a result of wounds suffered at the end of the Tunisian campaign.


    I attach a view from Hill 286 taken in March this year and a photo of Sgt McAleer's final resting place taken during a previous visit

    343-McAleer - Copy.JPG

    best wishes

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 26, 2018
    Tony56 and vitellino like this.
  5. Alisonmallen

    Alisonmallen Member

    Thank you so very much for this. I will show our family. We were not sure if Ernie had been shot, blown up or what and I cannot imagine how my late gran felt never knowing quite what happened to her dearest brother. Thank you
  6. Alisonmallen

    Alisonmallen Member

    So very sad and very brave but I guess both Ernie and Frank are buried in the same cemetery and I hope met again. I tried to find family of his but I dnt think there are any.

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