6780831 Pte. Albert GRIGGS, 1/7th Bn The Queen's Royal Regiment: 28/10/1942

Discussion in 'Unit History' started by Ian Henderson, Mar 14, 2023.

  1. Ian Henderson

    Ian Henderson Member

    My Great uncle died at El Alamein fighting with The Queens in Egypt. The family history is he killed climbing out of a tank. However I think that is incorrect as he is buried in Alexandria and not on the battlefield and his regiment was an infantry battalion. So I assume he was wounded and died later in Alex.
    Where or how do I access the war diary or does someone have more information.
    Thank you.
  2. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    Regimental war diaries are kept at The National Archives:
    Search results: "1/ 7" Queen's Royal Regiment diaries | The National Archives
    There is also a website:
    Second World War 1939-1945
    Whilst WW2 personal details are generally not available in the public domain, if you are willing to share his name, number, date etc there are a lot of folks around here who may be able to chip in, someone may have the relevant diary. If you look at his CWGC entry look for the concentration report that may have details of his original burial place. If we know a name he should appear in the casualty lists that may give an indication of whether he was wounded.
  3. Ian Henderson

    Ian Henderson Member

    Thank you. I am happy to pass on his details.
    Albert Griggs 6780831 died 28/10/42 buried in Hadra Cemetery Alexandria. The additional 'paperwork' only mentions his present resting place.

    His brother also died in WW2 in but back in the UK, again the family story is he was poisoned by civilians in Italy after drinking from a contaminated well and brought home. Again I suspect the true cause of death may be different.

  4. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    The casualty lists confirm that he did indeed die of his wounds.
    List No. 976 dated 9 Nov 42 - Middle East, wounded 27/10/42
    List No. 984 dated 18 Nov 42 - Died of wounds 28/10/42

    6146144 Pte Alfred Griggs, 5th Bn The Buffs. He is recorded in the casualty lists as 'Died' 19/5/45, as opposed to killed in action or died of wounds etc. There is a civil death registration for an Alfred Griggs in Q2 1945, aged 25, registered in Liverpool. If him, the certificate may give a cause.
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  5. Ian Henderson

    Ian Henderson Member

    Thank you! Where did you get the casualty list from?
    The family history says he was decapitated climbing out of a disabled tank!
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  6. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Hi Ian,

    I've got the 1/7 Queens war diary for 1942. I would be astounded if it contains anything other than very general information but will take a look for the period of his wounding. 27 October 1942 judging by Tony56's post.

    Give me a day or two and I'll come back to you.


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  7. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    In fact, just give me 5 minutes as that is one I've transcribed (WO169/5052)

    21 October 1942 DEIR DAAYSIS
    Weather good. Bn. prepares to move to A.A. area NORTH of TWYFORD GAP (889257 – 889258) prior to operation LIGHTFOOT.
    O.I. No.1 issued. Appx
    Lt. Col. R.M. Burton addressed all officers on the war situation and the Bn. future role in operation LIGHTFOOT.
    Night patrols continued.
    Admin. Inst. No. 1 issued. Appx

    22 October 1942 DEIR DAAYSIS
    Weather good.
    Lt. Col. R.M. Burton lectured to each Coy in the Bn. role in the forthcoming night attack, operation LIGHTFOOT.
    Bn. moves to A.A. area NORTH TWYFORD GAP. Night patrols contd.
    Operation order No. 4 issued. Appx

    23 October 1942 TWYFORD GAP
    Weather good. Bn. spends day resting in preparation for night attack.
    1000 O. Group Conference, see O.O. No.4 attached.
    The role of the Bn. was:-
    (1) To protect the Rt. flank of 7th Armoured Div. during its penetration of JANUARY – FEBRUARY Minefield area 882257 – 879257.
    (2) Form Northern Flank of Bridgehead for the protection of mine field gaps to secure them against counter-attack.
    To attain this object the Bn. had to attack across JANUARY minefield and capture TRIG POINT 116 area 87952576 and a further point 116 area 87852579.
    1900 Bn. left A.A. TWYFORD GAP and moved to F.U.P. 88502570[;] here they shock out in assault formation.
    2030 Bn. leaves F.U.P. and proceeds to start line 88352570 arriving 2125. Our artillery barrage commenced 2130 (see trace attached O/O No. 4).
    2140 Bn. comes under heavy enemy mortar and arty fire, a few casualties sustained.
    2200 Advance from start line under heavy fire in assault formation, contact broken at times between Coys, on account of waddies after short advance. Bn. halts for our arty: barrage to lift, advance continues. Bn under heavy fire from M.G’s, mortar, and arty. Casualties sustained, Major R. Fairbairn wounded, Major E.W.D. Stillwell killed, Capt. R.C. Henderson killed. Visibility became very bad owing to shell fire, contact was lost between Coys. The C.O. with Major J.C. Colebrook C.O. “A” Coy, Capt. J.R. Mills, “D” Coy, 2 /Lt. T.H. Kemp S.O. with a small part of A & D Coys advanced very quickly and lost contact with the rest of the Bn. This party undoubtedly reached the objective but owing to the smallness of their numbers and the inability of the rest of the Bn. to contact them, they were unable to hold this position and were captured. Major J.C. Colebrook was wounded.

    [24 October 1942]
    The Bn. was now scattered[,] at about 0300 hrs under the Adjutant’s instructions the Bn. withdrew 500 yds NORTH EAST to a waddie 88182575 approx; where it reformed under Capt. P.R.H. Kealy, the approx. strength was 2 Pls. The Adjutant was evacuated from here, having been badly wounded prior to the withdrawal, Carriers and Mortars under Capt. K.A. Jessup were unable to make contact. Contact had not been made before as R.E’s were unable owing to heavy fire to make gap in minefield JANUARY. At 0530 approx: the Bn took up a defensive position facing NORTH in area 88052575. During the day many prisoners were taken due mainly to our arty fire. Bn. personnel from the Battlefield collected at the R.A.P. area during the day and were organised by Capt. W.D. Griffiths to reinforce at dusk, the personnel holding the bridgehead. The Bn. was however relieved by the 2nd Buffs at 2000 hrs. The Bn. had been shelled heavily for the entire day, the Armoured Bde. having failed to cross FEBRUARY minefield and were congested in the Bn. area. The C.O. was killed while under escort as a P.O.W. the party came under cross fire from our own and enemy M.G’s in the confusion Capt. J.R. Mills and 2/Lieut. T.H. Kemp with several O.Rs. managed to escape.
    Bn. casualties were:-
    Lt. Col. R.M. Burton missing believed killed.
    2 i/c Major E.W.D. Stillwell killed.
    “A” Coy Comdr. Major J.C. Colebrook wounded believed P.O.W.
    “D” Coy Comdr. Major R. Fairbairn Died of Wounds.
    “C” Coy Comdr. Capt. A.F.W. Parsons Died of Wounds.
    “B” Coy Comdr. Capt. P.R.H. Kealy wounded.
    “HQ” Coy Comdr. Capt. P.R.H. Kealy wounded.
    “D” Coy. Capt. J.R. Mills wounded. Lieut. D.L. Fennell wounded.
    2/Lieut. R.C. Davis wounded. 2/Lieut. O.R. True [??]
    O.Rs. 33 killed. 37 missing. 99 wounded.
    The Bn. moved from TWYFORD GAP by transport under Bn. arrangements to area 429869.

    25 October 1942 429869
    Weather good, heavy rain during night.
    Bn. resting and checking numbers and equipment.
    Capt. W.D. Griffiths assumes command of Bn.
    Capt. P.C. Freeman becomes Adjutant.
    Church Service held by Padre.

    26 October 1942 429869
    Due to casualties Bn. re-organised on a 3 Coy basis plus support Coy, see attached Pt. 1 Orders. Appx
    Capt. K.A. Jessup comds. “A” Coy.
    Capt. A.W.S. Playfoot “B” Coy.
    Capt. J.R. Mills “C” Coy.
    Order to move to defensive positions along NUTS minefield area TWYFORD NORTH GAP 88802578 to No.1 Armour Gap 88802563. O Group Conference on move.

    27 October 1942 TWYFORD GAP
    Morning cold weather good.
    0900 Bn. moves by march route to new area. “A” Coy area TWYFORD NORTH. “B” Coy TWYFORD SOUTH. “C” Coy area No.1 Armoured Gap. Bn. H.Q. behind “B” Coy.
    Pl. from Bn. takes part in mock battle for films.

    28 October 1942 TWYFORD GAP
    Weather good.
    Brigadier addresses all Officers and O.Rs on the operation LIGHTFOOT and the war situation on the entire front.
    Six Officers and 47 O.Rs posted to Bn. from I.B.D.
    Lieut. R. Carver, posted to “C” Coy. Lieut. A.R. Lugg posted to “C” Coy. Lieut. S.E. Brown posted to “B” Coy. Lieut. E.S. Corbett posted to “A” Coy. 2/Lieut. H.F. Burdett posted to “A” Coy.
    Congratulatory message received by the Bn. from Divisional Comd. on the Bn’s splendid work in Operation LIGHTFOOT.
    Lt. Col. R.H. Senior D.S.O. rejoins the Bn. from the 4th R.W.K. and assumes command.

    29 October 1942
    Weather good. Bn. receives orders to move to Area 44688937.
    O Group conference on move.
    1815 Bn. moves in transport to new area.

    30 October 1942 WADI EL GIWIY
    Bn. move completed. Weather good. Bn resting.
    Lt. Col. R.H. Senior D.S.O. addresses all W.Os. and N.C.Os of the Bn.

    31 October 1942 WADI EL GIWIY
    Weather good. 5 Officers and 34 O.Rs posted to Bn. from I.B.D.
    Lieut. E.M. French posted to Mortars, 2/Lieut. B.O. Mears posted as 2 i/c of M.T. Lieut. G.H. Ceurchi posted to 5 Pl. A/Tk. Lieut. W.G. Davis posted to 4 Pl. Lieut. A.C. Worrell posted to “B” Coy.
    The Bde. comes under Comd. of 7th Armoured Div. and will be motorised.
    1800 Lt. Col. R.H. Senior DSO addresses all Officers on the Bn’s good record and also welcoming the new Officers to the Bn.


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  8. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron


    The link in Post Post 2 has an excellent, short account of 1/7th's attack, on 23/10/1942, which led to:
    From: The Battle of El Alamein

    I note there is no reference to enemy tanks being encountered by any of the Queens battalions; most German and Italian armour was kept behind the frontline IIRC.

    As Tom's post explains it appears the 1/7th were not in action on 27/10/1942. Some of those who had been posted as missing did return to the 1/7th, quite possibly he was wounded before returning and being able to report.
    Ian Henderson likes this.
  9. Ian Henderson

    Ian Henderson Member

    Wow fantastic thank you sir!! Well this proves that the family history was incorrect. Although I can understand the confusion as 1/7 were supporting the armour. There is the question of no mention of any casualties on 28th? Thanks again.
    Tom OBrien likes this.
  10. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    The casualty lists are available here :British Army Casualty Lists 1939-1945 | findmypast.co.uk

    They are however just that - a list, and do not give any further information as to the circumstances, for that you will need to rely on the diaries or, perhaps, other regimental histories. Unfortunately, due to numbers, other ranks are rarely mentioned by name in the diaries.
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  11. BFBSM

    BFBSM Very Senior Member

    SUGGESTION. When looking at the War Diary entries posted, I note the Battalion was to move along the side of mine field ‘Nuts’ to ‘TWYFORD NORTH GAP’ on 27 October (orders on 26 October). It could be possible your great uncle was wounded by a mine explosion during that move.
    Ian Henderson likes this.
  12. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Ian, I forgot to add - there is a nominal roll in the war diary for 27 October 1942. I'm afraid I only copied the first page but it seems to include officers and other ranks by name. Clearly, as your great uncle was reported as being wounded on that date he might not be on it, but it might be worth checking (either by going yourself or by asking one of the researchers here who offer to copy war diaries for a very reasonable fee).


  13. Ian Henderson

    Ian Henderson Member

    Thank you I would like to see any paperwork regarding that is available, so could you recommend a researcher please?

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