Major William Nettleton Fewson (The Buffs)

Discussion in 'Italy' started by 4jonboy, Nov 2, 2014.

  1. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce Patron

    It's a funny old world sometimes and I have learnt something new today :wink:
    I thought I would make a call and have a chat to a gentleman I met on my trip to Italy in May. Well, as the conversation went on, he mentioned tonight that his father's cousin had been killed in Italy and is buried at Sangro River War Cemetery.

    "Oh he was a Major" he said, "I would love to know a bit more about him". :)
    (Just for the record, the family has the service records).

    One thing I didn't know was that the 5th Battalion, The Buffs were part of the 78th (Battleaxe) Division and were in North Africa, Sicily and Italy, just like my father.

    According to the book Algiers to Austria by Cyril Ray, Major Fewson was killed on 3rd November 1943 at San Salvo.


    Do members have any more info about Major Fewson or the events around that date for the Buffs?

    Apart from the above book about the 78th Div., could anyone recommend a good book about the 5th Royal East Kent Regiment?


  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Major Fewson was B Company Commander. He was killed by MG or Mortar fire as he led his company forward attacking their first objective on the way to the Sangro River - I would look up Sergeant Major WTE Johnson's award of the MM. It may contain some info on what was going on.
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  3. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD
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  4. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Thanks Di, The citations are more detailed than the account in the book I have.
  5. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    A lucky '2 for 1' when looking up Johnson's which you'd mentioned; also looked at the other levels of awards for that LG date, didn't find anything further for Buffs.
  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    I can't see any more mentions of awards around this time in the history. They were supported by 46 RTR if you're really bored ;)
  7. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce Patron

    Nice one Diane. Thank you :)
  8. Buteman

    Buteman 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    Lesley, as promised, a copy of the war diary pages. It's been written in the dreaded pencil, so may be difficult to read.


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  9. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce Patron

    Well done Rob, thank you. :)
    When I get time I'll transcribe it here.

  10. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce Patron

    Transcription of 5th Battalion, The Buffs War Diary posted above.

    3rd November 1943


    The attack started with B Coy (MAJOR W H FEWSON) as right forward Coy, D Coy (MAJOR D MILTON) left forward Coy followed by advance RHQ C & Y Coy’s. The remainder of RHQ with the weapons of S Coy on mules assembled on the forward edge of the BOSCO DI MOLTICE with instructions to move forward if possible on the capture of the 1st objective. Almost immediately the leading Coy’s came under intense MMG & mortar fire as did its mule party in the BOSCO DI MOLTICE. This fire however was not accurate as it was still dark. The advance continued but owing to the heavy going across the ploughed country, dawn was just breaking when the leading Coy were within 300ft of the first objective. The enemy fire became much more intense and accurate and the troops were unable to move forward until two troops of tanks of 46 RTR moved up in support and engaged the enemy MMG’s. During this time the Commanding Officer (LT. COL. A D MCKECHNIE, DSO) was badly wounded and B Coy Commander (MAJOR W H FEWSON) was killed. The leading Coy moved forward, captured the first objective, destroyed two MG’s and their crews and capturing a number of prisoners. After consolidating the first objective, the attack continued and the 2 i/c (MAJOR G M De B MONK, M.C.) took over.

    The attack on the 2nd objective was carried out by 3 Coy’s forward, B, D & Y (CAPT. E H BODY) and C Coy (CAPT. W L FAIRWEATHER) was left to hold the first objective. 3 forward Coy’s were supported by a squadron of 46 RTR. The capture of the 2nd objective was effected with very few casualties by approximately 10.30 hours. However on the left of the Bn. the 6th Inniskillings had not been able to capture the whole of SAN SALVO and the enemy were still holding out in the Northern part of the town. On the right flank the enemy were still in possession of SAN SALVO Station 6384. The position thus had to be consolidated to face our enemy on 3 sides.

    (any obvious errors please let me know, handwriting was difficult to read)
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  11. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    Well done, Lesley,

    This was the ongoing attack on the San Salvo line..36 Brigade (with 6 Innisks) under command attacked a few days after a major rebuff suffered by 1 RIrF and 2 LIR...

    This is a sketch map of the basic area..and a rough and ready photo taken in Oct 2013 looking across the Trigno from the site of the old bridge looking roughly in the direction of what was Bosco di Moltice.... the end of October 1943 saw heavy rainfall, the Trigno was in full pelt and the whole place was a mud bath.. and there were a few Germans around.

    Attached Files:

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