14557474 Private Lewis James CURTIS, 5th Wiltshire Regiment: to be re-interred

Discussion in 'British Army Units - Others' started by Jolly Squire, Sep 20, 2012.

  1. Jolly Squire

    Jolly Squire Member


    Nearly seventy years after he was killed in action, Pte Lewis James Curtis of B-Coy, 5th Battalion The Wiltshire Regiment will be re-interred in CWGC Arnhem-Oosterbeek War Cemetery in the Netherlands on Wednesday, 3rd October 2012. The service will start at 1000 hrs.

    Pte Curtis was born in 1924 in Liskeard, Cornwall; he attended Liskeard Church School and worked in the Co-Op before enlisting in the Army in Colchester on 4th March 1943. He served in North West Europe and was killed on 2nd October 1944 during an artillery barrage, in the aftermath of Operation Market-Garden.

    His remains were discovered in a shallow field grave at De Laar Farm south of Arnhem (now Schuytgraaf housing estate) in 2003, recovered and eventually identified by the Dutch Army Recovery Unit in 2008 using Army dental records.

    The service on 3rd October will be attended by his niece and nephew and their families. The Honour Guard will be found by The 5th Battalion The Rifles who will accord Pte Lewis full military honours. The Royal Netherlands Army National Reserve Bandwill provide the music at the ceremony.

    Source: News Release Army Media & Communication, Andover.

    19 year-old Pte Curtis had landed in Normandy and had taken part in all major battles such as Hill 112, Mont Pincon, The Odon box and the crossing of the Seine at Vernon. By the time 4th & 5th Wilts (129th Brigade, 43rd Wessex Division) had reached Arnhem, they had lost 250 men. Unfortunately they had arrived too late to help relieve 1st Airborne Division, though the battalion took part in a diversion during operation Berlin, the withdrawal of the remnants of 1st Airborne Division over the Rhine. Pte Lewis Curtis was killed in the early hours of 2 October 1944 during the battle for the level crossing east of De Laar farm (B-Coy HQ, now Buitenplaats community centre) by an artillery barrage prior to a German infantry attack. As Captain McMath wrote in the 5th Wilts history: “This was the fiercest fighting the battalion had ever experienced.”

    The re-interment of Pte Curtis will be followed by a commemoration service at 14.30 hrs at the Wiltshire Regiment monument at Arnhem-Schuytgraaf, in memory of the officers and men of 4th & 5th Battalion The Wiltshire Regiment whom were killed during “The Battle for the Island”. The service will be attended by Pte Curtis’ family, representatives of the Regimental Association and a party of 5th Battalion The Rifles.

    Pte Lewis James Curtis, rest in peace. :poppy:

    Paul Reed and nicks like this.
  2. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Thanks for that.
    Transcribed war diary entry for 2-10-44 maybe of interest .

    War Diaries - The Wardrobe
    0328hrs. D Coy attacked on left and right flanks.
    0350hrs. D Coy fwd pl posn abandoned.
    0350hrs. Arty put down barrage EAST of rly.
    0410hrs. D Coy Comdr asked for tk spt.
    0410hrs. Enemy tk firing into D Coy area from fwd pl posn.
    0415hrs. B Coy local counter attack on D Coy posn. Enemy tk on EAST side of level crossing and some enemy inf crossed rly. Tk Sqn warned and PIAT Team sent out.
    0445hrs. Tks move up under cover of own smoke to B Coy area.
    0512hrs. C Coy barn-used as Coy HQ - set on fire by shelling - HQ evacuating.
    0515hrs. Carrier pl moved up to reinforce B Coy.
    0530hrs. Maj Wheatley, Lt Webber 2/Lt Crampton D Coy, wounded.
    0550hrs. Enemy along rly line opposite D Coy and at 705723 withdrawing EAST. Enemy reported digging in at 705733.
    0950hrs. D Coy reported astride rly again.
    0955hrs. B Coy being heavily shelled.
    1015hrs. F.O.O.s carrier, in D Coy area, hit by shell and set on fire.
    1100hrs. Interrogation of prisoners captured during the night revealed that attack was made by Bn of 156 Pz Gr Regt.
    1230hrs. Maj Norris, Capt Willick, Capt Bailey, CSM Kercher wounded. 2/Lt Hawker reported missing.
    1400hrs. C.O. decided to combine B and D Coys - Capt Rudd took Comd.
    2020hrs. D Coy area again being shelled. 2245hrs. Enemy reported advg towards level crossing in D Coy area. M.G. pl informed and ordered to rly embankment - approx 705745 - to fire SOS
  3. Buteman

    Buteman 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA

  4. Philip Reinders

    Philip Reinders Very Senior Member

    Thanks for that.
    Transcribed war diary entry for 2-10-44 maybe of interest .

    War Diaries - The Wardrobe

    Still 14 men of the 5th Battalion missing, 12 of them on The Island
  5. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

  6. Jolly Squire

    Jolly Squire Member

  7. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

  8. Jolly Squire

    Jolly Squire Member

    Stolpi: it is in my original posting above: the re-interment service in Oosterbeek War Cemetery starts at 10.00 hrs, the commemoration service in Arnhem-Schuytgraaf at 14.30 hrs. I shall look forward to seeing you there.

  9. nicks

    nicks Very Senior Member

    Jolly Squire,

    Thanks for the update.
  10. nicks

    nicks Very Senior Member

  11. Tanja van Zon-Anderson

    Tanja van Zon-Anderson Senior Member

    Jolly Squire

    Thank you for posting.

    I have a question. How comes that his identity is found in 2008 and that the re-interred at Oosterbeek finds place in 2012. Has that something to do with procedures and finding relatives?

    Do you know this?


  12. Jolly Squire

    Jolly Squire Member

    Good question Tanja, thank you.

    All I can say is that the UK MoD were officially notified of Pte Curtis’ identification in 2008, like the news release says. His next of kin were found very shortly after. Why it nevertheless has taken four years for his mortal remains to be re-interred in Oosterbeek War Cemetery, that is a question only the UK MoD can answer.

    I hope to see you next Wednesday at Oosterbeek, when we pay our last respects to this brave young Cornish soldier.

    CL1 likes this.
  13. Tanja van Zon-Anderson

    Tanja van Zon-Anderson Senior Member

    Thank you for your answer.

    I realy do not understand why it takes so long fot the MoD. There must be a good a reason for it, otherwise it would be unrespecfull to this soldier. Four years for his relatives to wait before the can take him to his final restplace is very long.
    I can only respect their patience.

    Yes, we will meet next wednessday at Oosterbeek.



    See y
  14. Philip Reinders

    Philip Reinders Very Senior Member

    Have been in touch with the family in 2008, his nephew, the photograph shows Lewis and his sister

  15. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

  16. Philip Reinders

    Philip Reinders Very Senior Member

    good luck with the weather then
  17. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

  18. horsapassenger

    horsapassenger Senior Member


    I'm certain that the weather will not dampen the spirits of those attending to see Lewis buried alongside his "mate". Despite its solemnity I am certain that it will be a wonderful occasion for those members of his family and friends attending to see him receive a proper burial after all these years.

    Just sorry that I can't be there.

  19. airborne medic

    airborne medic Very Senior Member

    I agree entirely with Horsapassenger......RIP..Well done to the Dutch Army War Graves Recovery and Identifcation Unit......
  20. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Remembering Today

    Casualty Details | CWGC
    Rank: Private
    Service No: 14557474
    Date of Death: 02/10/1944
    Age: 19
    Regiment/Service: 5th Bn. Wiltshire Regiment
    Grave Reference: 25. C. 9.
    Grave Reference: 25. C. 9.
    Location: Netherlands
    Additional Information: Son of John Edward and Kathleen Curtis, of Liskeard, Cornwall.
    N.B. :Please note that this casualty has yet to be buried, however a ceremony is planned for later this year (2012); his official point of commemoration will therefore remain as Panel 5 of the Groesbeek Memorial until that time. Please contact the Commission for further details, if required.

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