...a pictorial tribute
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Barry Parsons writes:
My father joined the rgt in 1941 from the Wiltshire rgt and 9th Lancers. He served with the 2nd DY in Egypt before being posted to the 1055th Stevedore Battalion for the invasion of Sicily in early 1943. He retained his cap badge untill 1944. His friends in the regiment were Bernard (Ben) Wallace, and George Nelson. He was with George Nelson when he was killed, along with another Trooper - Edward Finch Crisp on November 15th 1942. My father served with the HQ squadron as a petrol lorry driver, I think with B echeleon?. (his lorry carried the petrol cans for refueling the armoured cars)
At the end of 1942 he along with about 6 others and a sergeant were posted to a steveadore battalion to unload ships during the invasion of Sicily. He was then posted to Bari in Italy with the stevedore battalion, before being posted to the 1st Armoured reinforcement regiment. All the while retaining his 2nd Derbyshire cap badge. He finaly had to give it up at wars end when he was posted to the 7th Hussars and the reinforcement rgt was disbanded.
On the 26th September 1941 Edwin was posted to the “2nd Derbyshire Yeomanry” at Uckfield, East Sussex, approximately 15 miles from Tunbridge Wells. As Edwin climbed down, along with other re-inforcements, from the back of a lorry at the camp guard room a senior officer spotted his cap badge – “Excellent! – just what we need – one of Allenby’s men – a man whose seen action …… I want you to tell all my men of your experiences”. This did not impress the men of the Yeomanry and did not help Edwin get off to a good start. The Yeomanry, being Territorials, were very close and did not take to outsiders, especially regulars. Many were related or worked together in civilian life. Any of the new re- inforcements who held rank soon found themselves Troopers. Edwin was immediately given an armoured car to drive and sent out on exercise. He remembered parking in some woods on the night and everyone disappearing. He was left alone sitting in the driver’s seat not knowing what to do. He was so cold it was painful. He sat there all night. This was his welcome to the 2nd Derbyshire Yeomanry. Edwin did not keep his job as an armoured car driver very long, he soon found himself on cook house duties. But Edwin liked this job, so much so that he asked the cook Sergeant if he could work there permanently. He became such a regular in the kitchen that he began wearing whites (army term for cooks working uniform). It was an early start 6.a.m. but he was usually finished for 1 p.m.
It was at this time Edwin met his friend Ben Wallis and the two of them used to catch the bus to Tunbridge Wells to see Pearl and Mary. One day a Sergeant asked them where they went as they never caught the lorry (passion wagon as it was called) to the local town. They told him Tunbridge Wells and after that the passion wagon went to Tunbridge Wells every weekend. Years later Pearl told her daughters that there would be three lorries waiting for Edwin at the War Memorial in Tunbridge Wells. The men had to wait while she kissed Edwin goodbye round the corner – she had to do it as he never would have. Edwin also had another good friend in the Yeomanry. He met him at the back of the cookhouse where he was sitting on some grass sowing a set of corporal stripes on to his uniform, Edwin asked him what he was doing and he replied that he was going home on leave and when he went home he always pretended to be a Corporal. His name was George Nelson.
Edwin’s job in the cookhouse came to an abrupt end. A sergeant, who hated Edwin for some unknown reason, spotted Edwin as he walked to his accommodation block. He demanded to know why Edwin was in cooks whites and stated that Edwin was a member of H.Q. platoon and that’s where he should be. Next day Edwin found himself back with his troop. Edwin recalled an occasion when a Sergeant Major had him take him to Tunbridge Wells (Because Edwin knew the town) to collect some forgotten item. Edwin remembered driving up the hill past Pearl’s café in a station wagon and missing the gears as he tried to look in to catch a glimpse of Pearl. The Sergeant Major was not amused.
If you knew Edwin or can recognise him in any of the 'Group photos' please let me know at: [email protected]