2658006 Frederick William MARRIS, 3 Coldstream Guards: 28/05/42

Discussion in 'The Brigade of Guards' started by CL1, May 28, 2018.

  1. CL1

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

    Remembering Today

    Casualty Details | CWGC
    Service Number: 2658006
    Regiment & Unit: Coldstream Guards, 3rd Bn.
    Date of Death: Died 28 May 1942
    Age 22 years old
    Buried or commemorated at ALAMEIN MEMORIAL
    Memorial Reference: Column 54.
    Location: Egypt
    Additional Info
    Son of William Henry and Edith May Marris, of Hull.
  2. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Via FindmyPast

    Army Roll of Honour
    First name(s) Frederick W
    Last name Marris
    Service number 2658006
    Rank Guardsman
    Regiment Coldstream Guards
    Birth place Hull
    Residence Yorkshire

    First name(s) F W
    Last name Marris
    Year 1942
    Capture year 1942
    Service number 2658006
    Rank Guardsman
    Rank as transcribed Gdsmn
    Regiment Coldstream Guards
    Regiment as transcribed Coldstream Guards
    Theatre of war Western Desert, Middle East
    Archive reference WO 417/45

    KIA, 28 May 1942
    Screen Shot 2018-05-28 at 01.19.18.png

    also on same day, Died of Wounds:
    Service Number 2659452
    Died 28/05/1942
    Aged 21
    3rd Bn. Coldstream Guards
    Son of Richard and Mary Ann Blaylock, of Carlisle.
    Location: Libya
    Number of casualties: 2674
    Cemetery/memorial reference: 10. D. 2.

    From The Coldstream Guards 1920-1946, Howard & Sparrow, pgs 91-3
    3rd Battalion in the Western Desert, Knightsbridge and Tobruk
    After several false alarms Battalion Headquarters learned, on the morning of the 27th [May 1942], that the entire enemy force was bearing down on Bir Hacheim. The box was sealed, and the garrison prepared to fight.

    For a little, all was quiet. Over the wireless there came reports of battle, uncertain and conflicting. Two hundred tanks were reported off Bir Hacheim, with 2,000 trucks in support; a column of 100 vehicles was heading for El Gobi; 80 tanks had burnt through the French minefields and on Knightsbridge 200 were converging. Yet there was no certain news. It was still silent around the box and still the desert was empty. Only gradually to the south did a faint thudding make itself heard, the unmistakable sound of tanks in action, and not until midday did the sentries see a cloud of dust appear on the uncertain horizon. The cloud grew larger. Within it they could see the vague outlines of thirty enemy tanks. In half an hour the first shells were falling among the slits of 3 Company. There was a shattering roar as the R.H.A. opened fire, and the noise did not cease until nightfall.

    Soon more tanks appeared, group after group swirling out of the haze in clouds of smoke and dust, to fall back before gun-fire or counter-attack. In the early stages of the battle, five portees, driving into the box, were caught in the open and destroyed; and one 2-pdr., exposed in a corner, was attacked from three sides by a score of German tanks. The Germans drove the crew to shelter with their fire, and thought it safe to come closer. As the tanks approached Lt. St. CLAIR ERSKINE ran to the layer's seat, and he had destroyed two of them before a direct hit smashed his gun as he fired. Nearby weapons scored two more hits, and the raiders prudently retired.

    So the attack went on; at eight in the evening the fight was still raging, and not till dusk did it abate. Then the gunners saw in the failing light a long train of German supply lorries driving up from Bir Hacheim. The NORTHUMBERLAND HUSSARS waited while these came innocently within range; then they set to work. The first shots hit the escorting tanks, and a few minutes later the whole column, which consisted largely of petrol and ammunition trucks, was in flames.

    Thus ended the first day of the battle of Knightsbridge. One sergeant was dead, a SCOTS GUARDS officer and three guardsmen were wounded, and five portees, five carriers, and two tanks had been destroyed. But on every side flames from derelict and burning German vehicles were leaping into the night sky. The Battalion had destroyed one 88 gun, seven tanks, and twenty trucks. Better still, the doubts which had beset even the most optimistic were at an end; they knew now that as long as their supplies lasted they could repel all that Rommel sent against them.

    The defence of Knightsbridge was of cardinal importance to the British plan of campaign. The attack came in as had been foreseen: Rommel had outflanked the Gabala Line and sent columns far into British territory. One had followed the minefield to the coast, others approached Sidi Resegh and El Gobi, but all were entirely impotent. Across their supply lines lay the British armour, surely based on the infantry boxes, and the Panzer Divisions were forced to fight on ground of British choosing. The British tanks were still no match for the Germans', but they drew the Panzers to battle under the guns of the infantry boxes, and with help from these guns so battered them that Rommel was forced to withdraw.

    Therefore Rommel did his utmost to smash the boxes, and for seventeen days without remission Knightsbridge was shelled by his artillery. Few guardsmen were killed - their slits gave good protection - but the men of the R.H.A., who fought their guns wile the shells fell in the gun-pits, suffered more severely, and their performance was beyond all praise.

    Nine days passed before tanks or infantry assaulted Knightsbridge again.


    During all this time Charles WEIR the doctor and the Padre, Ronald LUNT, worked without ceasing in a hole some six feet square which served as the R.A.P. They tended the wounded, comforted the exhausted, sent the injured back to safety. If no wounded were brought in they went out through the shell-fire to find them. Their achievement lay not only in the relief that they gave to the wounded but in the confidence and affection the inspired in all around them.
    CL1 and canuck like this.

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