- SS Samaria during the Second World War -
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- Barwick Anthony Albert. Gunner
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Gunner Anthony Albert Barwick 69th Medium Regiment, 242 Battery Royal ArtilleryI have researched much of Dad's war but parts frustratingly elude me. He was Tony Barwick and he enlisted from Liverpool in 1938 and after the war was a professional soldier all his working life. I guess many men had his sort of war, taking part in big events but only realising it afterwards and doing their duty for their country through injury and sickness. He was away for 3 years from 1943 to 1946.
The following are some pointers. I have read his service record and the available unit diaries at Kew as well as researched books and the internet. For many years he led a battalion at the Dunkirk Veterans reunion each year. He died in 2007 aged 86 still carrying a shrapnel mark from the Dunkirk beaches under his heart and a German bayonet scar on an upper thigh from Cassino. And he was in the Artillery!
In 1940 he was part of 69 medium Regt, 242 battery and was ambushed at Wormhoudt whilst retreating to Dunkirk, 27-28 May. The Earl of Aylesford commanding his group was killed. The 2nd Warwicks (1& 2 24th of Isandlahwhana) were then defending it, one of Gorts strongholds. One of his unit Gnr. Parry was caught and ended up in the S.S. massacre in the barn, but Dad's group ran the lucky way and made it to Dunkirk.
I'd like to know What ship he boarded. He got off by carrying a stretcher onto a warship alongside the mole following an officer with a loaded pistol. This dates it because Gort only agreed to stretcher wounded being evacuated after MO's pressures late in the evacuation. One stretcher took the place of 10 standing men you see. I have the Royal Navy official report on the Dunkirk evacuation and HMS Worcester is the best candidate.
Dad went to Egypt in SS Samaria 1943 in time for Alamein. That ship also brought 101 Airborne of DDay fame to UK from America. Does anyone know Where the unit diary is for this North African period? (Kew National Archive hadnt got it when last I looked); Then across the western desert (I have pictures of him and his mates with some names from this time) to Anzio, Cassino and via Marseille with the Americans and back up to Wormhoudt and then to the Ruhr until 1946. I have various sources eg Walter Lord's "The Miracle of Dunkirk", Gunner Parry's "Massacre on the road to Dunkirk" and the internet eg 58th Regiment RA has a superb site with a detailed diary and Dads C.O. of 69th was in command of both Regiments for while during the Dunkirk retreat. Hence some of Dad's movements can be traced via that wonderfully detailed site. Any relative of a member of 69th Medium Regt.R.A. is welcome to contact me and I will be happy to pass on the more extensive information I have on Word file.Kevin Barwick
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