A Roll of Honour – To past & fallen Grenadiers
The information contained on this website is based upon my father’s efforts during the late 1980’s, during which he set about creating a list of fallen Grenadiers in the 2nd world war. With the absence of today’s technology it was done from a collection of books, documents and letters which were entered into long hand into a ledger. My father was fortunate to remain in contact with many ex-guardsmen, through the Windsor Grenadiers Guards club and others around the country. The ledger he created was loaned to the club and viewed by members and visitors alike, it became a source of much reflection and conversation of those war days.
In my father’s declining years I suggested his efforts be converted into a digital format, and made visible to all through a web-site. We were very fortunate to live not far from The Commonwealth War Graves Commision who appreciated his past efforts and understood our intentions, and very kindly assisted in the task.
As a result of the CWGC help we undertook to include Grenadier Guard losses from the 1st World War and then loses from troubles and conflicts since those World War days, the result of which is what you see today. The site has recently gone through some technology changes, and has recently been off-line. We are now in the process of rebuilding it, should you have any comments and/or information you wish included please contact us.
Overview of my father’s service:
He volunteered for military service on the 4th November 1942 at Lady Lane recruiting centre, Templar House, Leeds at the age of 18.
He asked to join the Grenadier Guards and his attestation was forwarded to the Commanding officer, Grenadier Guards, Birdcage Walk, London SW1 on the 5th November 1942 and read’s: ‘A smart man, wishing to serve on a normal engagement (7 & 5), will you accept’.
The commanding officer at Birdcage Walk responded on the 6th November 1942 saying ‘I will accept’.
He was posted to the Guards Depot Caterham, Surrey on the 11th November 1942, and joined Corporal S. Lawrence squad for basic training.
Following basic training my father joined the 6th Armoured brigade, which I believe was on ‘Matilda’ tanks, and trained to form part of the North African campaign.
Whilst training he suffered an injury, losing the end of his left index finger. The injury occured when the tank hatch cover was accidentally kicked shut on his outstretched hand, by a crew member exiting in haste.
During his rehabilitation which he always said ‘was not very long‘ he trained as a classified Signaller. He was then posted forward to join the battle for Rome and saw conflict in the Garigliano valley, and then the fierce fighting during the battle for Monte Cassino.
During this period he became attached to a group of Polish soldiers, or they to his group. This was something of a dark period as he would never speak of it, other than to remark that ‘The Polish were fighting a different kind of war‘.
He was later awarded the ‘Polish Cross of Freedom & Independence, with Swords’
My father returned from Italy on the 2nd of January 1946 and was posted to Victoria barracks in Windsor, Berkshire.
Whilst in Windsor he regularly carried out guard and ceremonial duties at Windsor castle, and Buckingham Palace. He and his platoon were often required to march the 26 miles between the Royal locations and he was actively involved in recruitment drives.
I believe he found his time at Windsor barracks less than fully engaging following active service, in Italy. However, he did meet and marry my mother whilst in Windsor, and also managed to get demoted back to Guardsman by the time he was demobbed on the 16th November 1949.