The Mareth Cross

Discussion in 'The Brigade of Guards' started by dbf, Jun 3, 2008.

  1. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD


    After the Battle, the Pioneers of the 6th Battalion built this Memorial Cross from local stone, carved the inscription, and placed it in the Grenadier Cemetery on the Battlefield….

    … It was moved to its present site [Guards Chapel, Wellington Barracks] and dedicated on 21st May 1995.”


  2. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Diane , hope you don't mind I displayed your photos in your post in an easier to view way. When posting images from Photobucket use the bottom of the four links, the IMG code, that way the image will display on the forum.

    These are from the Grenadiers History.
    The cemetery that is mentioned on that sign in your post & a map of the battle.


  3. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD


    Don't mind at all, wasn't sure if it was best to show the links or to place the photos in the thread itself.

  4. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    What an interesting thing.
    Painting of it in the original location:

    Anybody seen any photographs of it when it stood alone in the desert?

  5. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Wonder why they moved it in 1995?
  6. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Hi Ger,

    Think it is in a more appropriate place anyway - opposite Guards Chapel entrance. More likely to been seen there than at Pirbright ... glad it was moved, or I wouldn't have known about its existence. Nice story about how it was shipped back to Caterham. Personally, I wonder why it was left when the graves were moved. Perhaps it was intended to remain as a mark of respect at the original site ...


  7. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    I suppose you're right Diane, it is more appropriate there alright! Thats a nice painting of it that VP has posted.
  8. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    Just doing some research on this today - very interesting indeed to discover this exists.

    Think I have found rough area of where the action took place on GoogleEarth:

    33°35'41.75"N 10°18'34.26"E
  9. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Last edited: Jul 22, 2019
  10. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Captain (temporary Major) Thomas Pierce Butler, Grenadier Guards, was awarded the Distinguished Service Order.
    Major Butler was a Company Commander in a battalion of the Grenadier Guards.

    On the night of March 16th-17th, 1943, the battalion was ordered to carry out a night attack against a strongly defended portion of the Mareth Line. Major Butler’s company led the assault. This officer led his company through two minefields and two belts of mined wire; some disorganisation was caused by these obstacles and by the enemy which it was necessary to deal with during the advance, many of whom were killed with the bayonet. His Commanding Officer then personally ordered Major Butler to continue the advance to the farthest objective, and this order was carried out in fact of very considerable enemy opposition, since by this time the assaulting troops were well behind the artillery barrage.

    Having reached his objective with about 50 per cent. of his company, the remainder having become casualties in the minefields, Major Butler set about organising his very isolated position.

    The company was attacked twice during the night but held its ground in spite of heavy artillery, mortar and small-arms fire. At about 4 a.m. he was ordered on the wireless by his Commanding Officer to withdraw about 400 yards if he could do so. This order he found was not possible to carry out; instead, he remained on his position and fought until overwhelmed, being himself badly wounded and the only officer left alive.

    Major Butler’s gallant action, his powers of leadership and devotion to duty were largely responsible for the battalion remaining on its objective for the time it did.

    Major Butler comes from Ballintemple, Tullow, Co. Carlow.
    Sir Thomas Pierce Butler, 12th Bt. was born on 18 September 1910. He was the son of Sir Richard Pierce Butler, 11th Bt. and Alice Dudley Leigh. He married Rosemary Liège Woodgate Davidson-Houston, daughter of Major James Hamilton Davidson-Houston, on 21 October 1937. He died on 9 April 1994 at age 83.

    Sir Thomas Pierce Butler, 12th Bt. was educated at Harrow School, Harrow on the Hill, London, England. He graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge University, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England, with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.). He fought in the Second World War, where he was mentioned in despatches. He was decorated with the award of Companion, Distinguished Service Order (D.S.O.) in 1944. He was invested as a Officer, Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.) in 1954. He was invested as a Fellow, Royal Geographical Society (F.R.G.S.). He held the office of Justice of the Peace (J.P.). He gained the rank of Colonel between 1955 and 1958 in the service of the The Grenadier Guards. He succeeded to the title of 12th Baronet Butler, of Cloughgrenan, co. Carlow [I., 1628] on 25 March 1955. He was Military Advisor to the UK High Commissioner in New Zealand between 1959 and 1961. He held the office of Major and Resident Governor of the Tower in 1961.1 He held the office of Keeper of the Jewel House at the Tower in 1968. He was invested as a Companion, Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem (C.St.J.). He was invested as a Commander, Royal Victorian Order (C.V.O.) in 1970.*
    Recommendation for Award for Butler, Thomas Pierce
    Rank: Captain
    Service No: 53159
    Regiment: 6 Motor Battalion Grenadier Guards
    Award: Distinguished Service Order

    Recommendation for Award for Butler, Thomas Peirce
    Rank: Lieutenant Colonel
    Service No: 53159
    Regiment: Grenadier Guards
    Award: Officer of the British Empire

    London Gazette:
    13 June 1944
    1 August 1944
    28 June 1946

    See this thread for ref:
    Drew5233 likes this.
  11. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    I just found a couple of interesting pictures of the cross.

    Squad Leaders, L/Sgt. Nash's Squad
    by the "Mareth Cross"
    June 1958
    From Flickr

    From Grenadier Guards Assoc.

    Owen likes this.
  12. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Thanks Andy, really like that first photo.
  13. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    The Reverend Worral Reginald Leadbeater, Chaplain to the Forces, Fourth Class, Royal Army Chaplain’s Department, was awarded the Military Cross.
    During an attack on March 16th-17th, 1943, the battalion to which this officer was attached suffered extremely heavy casualties in concentrated minefields. The padre undertook the duty of collecting wounded both in darkness and daylight from the mined areas. He carried out his self-imposed task with complete disregard for his personal safety and with the utmost bravery, being undoubtedly responsible for the saving of many lives which otherwise must have been lost, and mitigating the sufferings of the wounded.

    Some days later the Reverend Leadbeater directed the removal of our dead from the minefields and again his inspiring example, energy and personality were largely responsible for the completion of this most dangerous and distasteful task.

    In proof of the thickness of the minefield it should be noted that some 720 mines were lifted in order to remove 69 bodies from the mined areas.

    The Reverend Leadbeater comes from Dublin.
    Name Leadbeater, Worrall Reginald
    Rank: Captain, Chaplain to the Forces
    Service No: 131945
    Regiment: Royal Army Chaplain's Department attached 6 Motor Battalion Grenadier Guards
    Theatre of Combat or Operation: Middle East (Egypt and Libya)
    Award: Military Cross
    Date of Announcement in London Gazette: 19 August 1943

    London Gazette:
    17 August 1943

    See this thread for ref:
  14. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Another map from Something About A Soldier by Christopher Bulteel MC.
    I think the orignal map is from No Dishonourable Name.

    The Attack On The Horseshoe Feature
    dbf likes this.
  15. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Post copied over from

    Hi everybody
    Reading with interest about the battle for Monte Bataglia, I happen to know an old Grenadier Guard who fought up thgere and was in the Castle Tower during the battle, in fact he won the M.M. whilst up there, his name is Len Bozeat and he now lives in Epsom Surrey, and will be attending the Grteandier Guards Regimental Remembrance Day at Wellington Bks this Sunday (16th), he is a fine old man now with some vast knowledge of the battles he fought in, first at the Horshoe (Mareth Line) North Africa with the 6th Grenadiers, then at Salerno where he was wounded, after he returned to Italy he was drafted into the 3rd Grenadiers and fought all the way up Italy Bataglia being the lst Major battle his first hand account of that battle brings it all home to you. During a visit a few years ago he was horrified to find that there was no memorial to the Guards Brigade up there, only one to the American "Blue Devils" and the Italian's who fought with the allies, he lobbied everybody and every group he could and eventually had a memorial placed alongside those that were there already, he is a very proud Grenadier and a wonderful man.
    Mike (Rotherfield)

    Great that he got a result on the memorial
    His recommendation awarded for M.E. (Egypt, Libya) is attached

    Attached Files:

  16. Rotherfield

    Rotherfield Senior Member

    Hi DBF
    I have the honour of maintaining the Mareth Cross at Wellington Bks, my Uncle fought with the 6th Btn G.G. at Mareth and at Salerno but was KIA on Camino.
    The reason the cross was moved from Pirbright to Wellington Bks was because the Guards were no longer associated with Pirbright, and so an old 6th Btn man (Norman Mitchell) who now resides in the Chelsea Pensioners Hospital started a campaign to get it moved to Wellington Bks. The Grenadier Guards remembrance day was yesterday (16th) and apart from a service in the Guards Chapel a wreath was laid by the Regimental Adjutant on the Mareth Cross which I attended. There are at most 8 survivors of the original 6th Btn and no more than 15 who served after Mareth, one in particular is a Mr Len Bozeat whoi won the M.M. at Mareth, out of his Company (No 4) who attacked the Horseshoe that night only 3 returned Mr Bozeat Sgt woods and a Gdsmn who was severely shell shocked and took no further part in the war, Sgt Woods was KIA at Salerno and Mr Bozeat was seriously wounded, he returned to his beloved 6th btn just as it was disbanded and transferred in to the 3rd Btn and fought all the way up Italy Monte Bataglia and finishing up in Austria, he lives now in Epsom sadly though the ranks are thinning fast.
    Len Bozeat is a very good friend of mine and has told me his account of the battle it is a wonder that he survived, WE Will Remember Them!
    Takrouna likes this.
  17. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

  18. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Photos courtesy of Rotherfield

    Taken at this year's ceremony (Black Sunday) the last 6th Btn original men who fought at Mareth.
    From left to Right
    Len Bozeat M.M., Norman Mitchell, Ivan Colver, ?, Sid Bolan and The Lord Forbes (Adjutant of the 6th Btn at the time)


    Last edited: Jul 22, 2019
  19. MyOldDad

    MyOldDad Senior Member

    Here is a photo of the cross in a previous incarnation:



    It looks as if the construction of the stepped plinth and the letering on it are different here from the present cross in Diane's photos. It makes you wonder how much damage was done to it before it was rescued.

    Some more related articles from the same site:

    All from:

    Grenadier Guards

  20. LesCM19

    LesCM19 "...lets rock!"

    What an interesting fray of loose ends brought together in one place as is usual on the forum.
    Well done to all those who focussed their various research talents on the subject.

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