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Royal East Surrey Regiment in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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- Royal East Surrey Regiment during the Second World War -

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Royal East Surrey Regiment

If you can provide any additional information, especially on actions and locations at specific dates, please add it here.

Those known to have served with

Royal East Surrey Regiment

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

  • Almond Edward John. Cpl.
  • Boorer David Louis. Sgt.
  • Chilvers Leslie Christopher. Pte
  • Crowter Alfred. Drill Sgt.
  • Down Thomas Sydney. Pte.
  • Everett Clifford. Pte. (d.27th Nov 1942)
  • Freeman William Fredrick. Cpl.
  • Geelan H. C.. Pte.
  • Hornblow Edward George. Pte.
  • Kinden Richard Frederick. Captain
  • Matthews Henry. Pte. (d.12th April 1945)
  • McNally Victor. L/Cpl. (d.22nd November 1942)
  • Mornement Peter Henry. Major (d.20th Apr 1944)
  • Phillips Joseph John.
  • Pistell Douglas Bernard. Pte.
  • Standford Leslie William Leopold. Capt.
  • Sweetland Frederick L. Pte.
  • Theofanous Georgious. Pte.
  • Watkins Thomas Anthony. Pte. (d.25th August 1946)

The names on this list have been submitted by relatives, friends, neighbours and others who wish to remember them, if you have any names to add or any recollections or photos of those listed, please Add a Name to this List

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There are 3 pages in our library tagged Royal East Surrey Regiment  These include information on officers service records, letters, diaries, personal accounts and information about actions during the Second World War.

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Pte. Clifford Everett 1st btn East Surrey Regt. (d.27th Nov 1942)

My cousin Clifford was killed and buried in Tunisia. He died on 27th November 1942. Can anyone help me as I would like to know details of the conflict and what happened to him?

Betty Newsome

Major Peter Henry " 'Skipper'" Mornement 2nd Battalion (d.20th Apr 1944)

My father, Peter Mornement, went out to North Africa with the 1st/6th East Surrey Reg't, and was transferred across to 2nd Bn North Staffs in May 1943. He stayed with them through Tunis, Pantelleria,and into Italy. He was in charge of 'D' Company at Anzio during the defence of Carrocetto where he was wounded and taken prisoner on the night of 8/9 February on Buonriposo Ridge. He was taken up country to Mantova Ospidale Civile where he died of wounds on 28th February. He is buried in the Commonwealth War Cemetery on the outskirts of Padova.

I have been able to trace and meet with many of his Bn. members, including (Cpl) James Reeder, (Pt) Stan Leese (his runner), (Pt) Bill Godfrey (stretcher bearer), (Major) Basil Crutchfield, Dr Norman Cowley (Bn. Medical Officer), (Pt) James Lee, and also one of the Italian Croce Rosa nurses who had looked after him.

Allan Mornement

Pte. Frederick L Sweetland East Surrey Regiment

My mother (Edna Sweetland) is looking for details about her cousin (Fred Sweetland, married Grace and had one daughter). He was a Paratrooper, believed to have joined when he was 17 years old (or maybe slightly younger!) and who may have been involved with Operation Market Garden. He was definitely captured at Arnhem (Arnhem POW Camp 11b) as a POW (POW number 118279) and later repatriated. It would be greatly appreciated if anyone has any information. One story she does remember him recounting is that when he actually met up with his German captors he was surpised to find that they were young men just like him doing their duty and was pleased to be offered cigarettes. One has to remember that people from his background didn't come across any other nationalities and didn't travel as we do today.

Sarah Brierley

Captain Richard Frederick Kinden Royal Warwicks/East Surreys

POW transferred from Italy, having been taken prisoner in North Africa at Fort McGregor. Claims to have ended up in Offlag 79 but we can find no record of him there. Still alive and, though in failing health, wishes to clarify the records.

Joanna McMahon nee Kinden

Joseph John Phillips East Surrey Regiment

John Phillips was born in South London on in 1904 and served in the Army from 1939 until 1945. His daughter remembers that he told her he was a Redcap. He died in Lewes, Sussex in 1998

Chris Lordan

Drill Sgt. Alfred Crowter East Surrey Regiment

My Father Alfred Crowter was deployed to Skegness after Dunkirk, but it states that the camp was for Navy? This is where he met my Mother who was in the ATS and worked in the NAAFI. Can anyone clarify if there was another camp in Skegness for the Army. He was in the East Surreys.

Editor's Note: The army were deployed across the east coast guarding many military installations, including air fields and the training camp, HMS Royal Arthur at Skegness, so he may well have been based at the Navy camp.

Robert Crowter

Pte. Thomas Sydney Down East Surrey Regiment

My father-in-law was Private Sydney Thomas Down, East Surrey Regiment POW number 12463. Sydney was captured and spent 1 year in Stalag XXA then was transferred to XXB for the duration of the war. Sydney died in 1947. Anyone who knew of him and could tell us anything about him we would love you to get in contact.

Peggy Down

Sgt. David Louis Boorer East Surrey Regiment

SB Flynn

Pte. Douglas Bernard Pistell Queens Regiment

My dad Douglas Pistell was a prisoner of war in Poland Stalag XXA for 5rs. As said many times before on here he never spoke about it. I know no more of his war years other than this. No photos or letters where he was captured. I'm sure he must have been on the long march but is a guess. As both my parents have passed away I fear I may have left it too long to find much out. I do know his P.O.W. No was 13038.If anyone could give me any Info I would be so grateful.

He may have been serving with the 2nd/6th Battalion, Queens East Surrey Regiment which had to surrender along with the 51st Highland Division when surrounded at St. Valery. But that is only one probability as there were many battalions of both the East and West Surreys.

Robert Pistell

Pte Leslie Christopher Chilvers East Surrey Regiment

Leslie Chilvers, the son of Herbert George Chilvers and Anne Elizabeth Chilvers (nee Tindall), was born at Fulham, London, on 4th December 1918. He was baptised into the Roman Catholic faith, but did not follow it. His paternal grandparents came from Essex and his maternal grandfather was an Irish soldier. Leslie was the youngest of four children born at about five year intervals. The children were Herbert, Reginald, Ivy and Leslie.

Leslie was called up for military service in 1940 and was drafted into the East Surrey Regiment. After only three weeks training he was sent to France. Following the complete abandonment of a large area by French troops Leslie was almost immediately involved in fighting a rearguard action in company with a number of other young similarly semi-trained and poorly armed raw recruits from his regiment. Together with men of the 51st Highland Division these young soldiers with only their rifles, a few Bren guns and very little ammunition were ordered to hold the mighty German Army Group B.

Spearheaded by General Kleist’s Panzar Division, the German Army struck from the World War I battleground of the Somme. Smashing through the Tenth French Army the Germans reached the Seine River west of Paris on June 9 and then turned westward to pin the IX French Corps, the British 51st Highland Division and the men of the East Surreys against the sea at Valery-en-Caux. These two groups of soldiers constituted one of the few British Expeditionary Force elements still fighting in France. An attempt was made to evacuate them by sea from the port of St. Valery-en-Caux in a similar manner to the evacuation at Dunkirk only 12 days earlier. Unfortunately, this proved to be a very difficult task although 3000 men were taken off. After some very fierce fighting, the small remaining group of 251 men from the East Surreys were taken prisoner on the 12th June, 1940, together with over 5000 men from the 51st Highland Division.

It is interesting to note that in September 1944, the town of St. Valery where Leslie was taken prisoner, was liberated by members of the 51st Highland Division and years later a pipe band tune called “The Heroes of St. Valery” was written for the 51st Division Pipe Band to commemorate the stand taken by the soldiers in that area in June 1940. However, it is very doubtful whether Leslie was aware of this piece of music and even if he did know about it, he would not have considered himself a hero; although this may very well have been the case.

Following his capture at St. Valery Leslie spent the next four years in a prisoner of war camp (Stalag 21a) in Poland, but in 1944/45 he was force-marched ahead of the advancing allied forces over a mountain range for about one thousand miles. Many of Leslie’s comrades died during this march. Those who survived grubbed around in frozen fields for remnants of root crops and Leslie recalled eating a dog’s dinner found outside a farmhouse door because of starvation. For the rest of his life Leslie had scars on his fingers where tubes were inserted to draw off the fluid created by malnutrition in the prisoner of war camps.

Before being conscripted into the army Leslie had been employed as a trainee French Polisher with Lyons (the famous teashop company) but the position was not held open for him. Therefore, after his demobilisation he became a house painter and decorator. Due to the privations that he suffered during his period as a prisoner of war, Leslie had a very retiring personality and suffered from a considerable inferiority complex; both of which made it very difficult for him to mix with people. His wartime experiences also made it hard for Leslie to settle in one place for very long and it was only when he and his wife Penny moved to Poole that he became more contented. However, Leslie was quite a talented artist, both in oil paints and with pencil and during his period as a prisoner of war he earned extra cigarettes, etc., by producing illustrated cards for the other prisoners to send home. From about 1970, Leslie suffered a number of health problems including; coronary conditions, angina, vertigo and phlebitis and was eventually forced to retire from paid employment because of ill health. Although he was able to fill his first years of retirement with gardening, walking in the Dorset countryside etc, Leslie was later forced to curtail these pastimes because of his declining health. When a form of dementia was added to his problems causing him to become quite childlike and to become incontinent Leslie was admitted to Wareham Hospital where he passed away on 14th July 1995.

Ron Penn

Pte. Georgious Theofanous 2/6th Btn. East Surrey Regiment

My grandmother went to work in a Greek restaurant in London. She met my father Georgious Theofanous who was serving with the East Surrey Regiment. From what I understand his family did not approve of the match, but they planned to marry. I am searching for a photograph of him. As my mother now 72 years old has never had any contact with his family and was raised by my great grandmother. I am searching for anyone who can help me locate a photograph no matter how small of him as I am putting together my family history as a Christmas gift to my mother.

Sylvia Cirak

L/Cpl. Victor McNally No.6 Commando East Surrey Rgt. (d.22nd November 1942)

My grandfather, Victor McNally, served with the East Surrey Regiment in WWII. His secondary regiment was No. 6 Commando. He died in action on 22nd November 1942 and is buried in the Bone War Cemetery, Annaba. Does anyone know anything more about him?

Diane McNally

Cpl. Edward John Almond East Surrey Regiment

My father, Ted Almond was a POW at Oflag V111-B from 1940 then Oflag 3c 1943 until the end and freedom.

Antony Almond

Pte. Henry Matthews 2/7th Btn. East Surrey Rgt. (d.12th April 1945)

My great uncle Private Henry Matthews died on 12th April 1945 and is buried in Argenta Gap Cemetery. Does anyone have any information about him or his unit?

Susannah Bartlett

Cpl. William Fredrick Freeman East Surrey Regiment

Does anyone have information about my dad, William Fredrick Freeman? He served in the East Surrey Regiment as a corporal, and was captured at Dunkirk.

C Freeman

Pte. H. C. Geelan 1st Btn. East Surrey Rgt

My father, Private H C Geelan, 1st Btn East Surrey Regiment, was wounded and taken prisoner near the village of Kerkhove on the Escault Canal in Belgium in May 1940. He spent time in a military hospital in Aachen before being transferred to a Stalag in Poland from which he was repatriated in a POW exchange in May(?)1943. I would be interested to hear from anyone who can provide any information on the actions in which his unit took part between 14th and 20th May 1940 or for any information on which POW camp he was in.

Coote Green

Capt. Leslie William Leopold "Stan" Standford East Surrey Regiment

Leslie Standford was my dad. He died in 1962. I know he guided a boat through Suez Canal in WW2. He spoke fluent Arabic. His records are still marked top secret.

Rowena Craddock

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