Lest We Forget Continued (page 16)
10632175 Private Sydney Charles ROUT.
Army Catering Corps. Died of wounds 19th October 1943.
Private Sydney Rout was serving with the Army Catering Corps in North Africa, and was attached to 5 Medium Regiment Royal Artillery.
While in North Africa during October 1943 he suffered severe burns when a primus stove exploded showering him with burning fuel. He was flown to Naples in Italy for treatment but, due to his severe burns, he died in hospital on the 19th October 1943. Naples, being one of the most important seaports in the Mediterranean, was taken by the Allies on the 1st October, twenty-two days after the landings at Salerno. Within days several British General Hospitals were set up to treat the many wounded from the recent battles.
Sydney Rout is buried in Naples War Cemetery, Italy, which is about two miles from the centre of the city. Besides those who died in the British hospitals the cemetery also contains the bodies of servicemen which were brought in from scattered burial places in the neighbourhood.
Before the war Sydney Charles Rout lived with his wife Ann and their two children in Glasgow, Scotland. He was the son of Sydney and Mabel Rout of Rivers Road, Highworth, Wiltshire.
1233801 Aircraftman Second Class Albert Lionel TAME, Royal Air Force (VR) 84 Squadron. Died 16th November 1943, Age 21.
Albert Lionel Tame was educated at Highworth School. After leaving school he worked as a Dispatch Clerk at the Highworth Matting Factory in Brewery Street. Like many other Highworth young men he volunteered for the RAF in 1941. After training he passed out as an Aircraftman Second Class and was posted to 84 Squadron in the Far East. He was reported missing and, after two years of waiting, his parents Mr and Mrs C.H. Tame of 8 The Elms, Highworth, received a postcard from him saying that he was a prisoner of war in Java. Sadly, he was to lose his life while a prisoner of war of the Japanese. He died on the 16th November 1943 age 21 years, and is buried in Ambon War Cemetery, Amboina Island, Indonesia.
About 1,000 prisoners of war, 600 RAF and 400 Army, were shipped there from Java in May 1943 to build an airfield at Liang in the north-east of the island. They were forced-marched the 64 kilometres from Ambon to Liang and were there for up to 18 months. Only a quarter of them survived, which accounts for many of the war graves on the island. The War Cemetery lies on rising ground 5 kilometres north-east of Ambon on the main road to Galala overlooking Ambon Bay. It was constructed on the site of a former camp for Australian, British and Dutch prisoners of war, some of whom had been transferred from Java in 1943, and many of those buried in it died in captivity. All the graves are marked with bronze plaques mounted on concrete pedestals and set in level turf. Tropical trees and shrubs are planted throughout the cemetery and around its boundaries.
5502933 Corporal Victor George SIMMONS, 1st Battalion Royal Fusiliers, (London Regiment)
Killed in Action 12th May 1944.
All-in-all the first few months of 1944 in Italy at Anzio and Cassino provided some of the hardest fighting of the whole war, if not the hardest of all and certainly some of the most gallant. The Germans were now committed to the defence of Cassino and Anzio at all costs, as only success there could save Rome and they had already suffered heavy casualties. The second great assault on Cassino and the Liri valley began on the night of 10/11th May 1944, with the support of 700 guns. The plan called for the two Polish divisions on the right to assault the mountain which would give them a base from which to attack the monastery, while on the left, 4th British and 8th Indian Divisions crossed the Rapido, scene of the earlier American disaster and failure of the New Zealanders. 4th Division, on the right, crossed the Rapido just below Cassino town in boats, combating a strong current and, in spite of heavy mortar and machine gun fire and minefields, established a precarious bridgehead.
It was during this action that Corporal Victor Simmons lost his life due to a land mine explosion on the 12th May 1944, age 24 years. He was the husband of Mrs E. Simmons of Inglesham, Highworth, Wiltshire. Corporal Victor Simmons is buried in Cassino War Cemetery, Italy. The town of Cassino is midway between Rome and Naples. The war cemetery is two kilometres south of the town .
Lieutenant Herbert John SMITH, 2nd Battalion Wiltshire Regiment. Killed in action 3rd June 1944, age 26 years. Italy 1944.
Lt H.J. Smith, Digger Cotton and Ron Kilminster came to the 2nd Wilts with a new intake of men at the Garigliano River, which had to be crossed so that an outflanking movement could be made on the Liri valley. A bridgehead was established after some very heavy fighting in which the Wiltshire’s played their part. The 2nd Battalion eventually found themselves in the beleaguered Anzio Bridgehead with their Division fighting a close-locked battle there until the breakout two months later.
The Advance to Rome.
On the 23rd May 1944 the Allies started their drive from Anzio beach head towards the Tiber, with attacks on L’Americano and Carroceto and then to the North-east. On the 29th May the German positions across the Moletta were found to be empty and the Wiltshires participated in a pre-planned advance towards Ardea. Two days later, after attack and counter attack, the Battalion had passed through Ardea and was held up on the spurs to the North-west of the town after negotiating extensive minefields. Their flanking Battalions had been driven back, but had worked gradually forward again when, on 3rd June, further advance was held up by powerful opposition from a high ridge about 3,000 yards North-west of Ardea.
The Attack North-West of Ardea.
The Wiltshire’s who had only three depleted rifle companies attacked in the early afternoon. Lt. Herbert Smith, and Ron Kilminster were in “C” Company which was the first company to put in an attack on the heavily fortified spur by Ardea. The enemy were dug in with machine-gun and mortar fire points. In front of these were barbed wire and mines. Most of the Platoons were killed or wounded on the 3rd June. Many more tried and were cut to cut to pieces by cross-fire.
Lt. Herbert Smith was killed in action on this day and Ron Kilminster was badly wounded in the arm. Digger Cotton, who was in Carrier Platoon, was also wounded at this time. Sgt. M. Rogers, VC. MM. was in charge of Carrier Platoon in this action on the attack to Ardea Spur on the outskirts of Rome. It was during this severe action that Sgt. Rogers won his Victoria Cross for extreme bravery in the field of battle. A more detailed account of how Sgt. Rogers won his VC can be found in a booklet “Sgt. Rogers‘ Day”, and in John Hillier‘s, “The Long Long Road To Victory – War Diary of an Infantry Dispatch Rider 1940-46.” Available from the RGBW Rgt. Museum, 58 The Close, Salisbury, Wilts, SP1 2EX.