85528 Major John Francis Wilton ELLERTON, RA

Discussion in 'Royal Artillery' started by tankengine888, May 17, 2022.

  1. John Ellerton

    John Ellerton Member

    Many thanks for this Diane. You have set my mind at rest, for the time being at any rate! I shall wait to see what Tank has to say and wants to know. As I know my Dad's life history, although most of his war time years I have actually gleaned from the internet, from my Mum's diaries (which I have only had access to recently and a fellow officer's (and my godfather's) journal - Dad never talked about the war, I doubt if Tank will want to proceed with a biography.. I wait to see.

    Thanks for you help.

    John.
     
  2. tankengine888

    tankengine888 Member

    Hello!

    No need to be worried. I plucked his name out of a gazette I found.

    'Gus has also found that he was wounded on 12th May 1944. My Dad was out of the war, but not the army, for the rest of the duration, and he had a stiff leg for the rest of his life. He was serving with 22nd Field Regt, and was the "C.O.'s rep" in charge of all FOOs for the 10th Infantry Brigade's assault at Cassino. He had just crossed over the "Amazon" bridge that the Shiny 7 Sappers had constructed, shortly after the bridge's opening at 5.30 a.m. of 13th May. I think I remember my Dad relating that a mortar bomb blew him into the Rapido river and he was dragged out by, probably, men from 2 Beds Herts.'
    Nice story, it's one of those stories that only people involved would be able to recite!

    'and maybe I should add now that I too, live in "the land down under" '
    It's a bloody nice place isn't it? Except for the fact it's freezing currently.

    'I shall wait to see what Tank has to say and wants to know'
    Well, i did mention it in a previous post, but I'll summarize
    I was originally going to make a short biography of his war service since I've been practicing with men from my Great Great Grandfathers WW1 unit, but I decided to do a Pommie one.. but of course, lacked information online, so I ended up here!

    'Dad never talked about the war'
    Sounds like a normal situation, you know, a soldier who had seen action and never wanted to speak about the war.

    A Summary of what I want to know about him
    Enlistment dates
    Embarkations
    Transfer to other units
    Dates of being wounded
    Battles he participated in

    The journals are of interest to me.. I'm actually quite young and really interested in learning about 'personal stories' of the First and Second World War!

    I know this is a bit much to ask, but if it is possible, I'd greatly appreciate it.

    Cheers!
     
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  3. John Ellerton

    John Ellerton Member

    Thanks for that Tank,

    I certainly agree on one point. I don't think I have experienced such a cold winter (in Australia) as this one.

    You say that you plucked out his name from a gazette, which is fine, and are wanting to do a short biography on his wartime years. For whom are you doing this, why are you doing it and what are you going to do with it once completed?

    If you are trying to hone your skills in researching a stranger's life, all well and good - go for it, and get whatever help you can from whoever, and very possible make some descendant delighted, and probably astounded too. But I know my Dad's story, and it is me from whom you are going to get all the information. So who is going to benefit?

    I am not trying to be deliberately unhelpful, Tank; I am just being a little bit cautious and don't want to waste your time.

    For an overall view of his wartime service, research the 4th Infantry Division, which 22nd Field Regt was part of.

    More precisely:
    Born 16 Apr 1919 (not 1920 as stated on his death certificate. My brother got the year wrong!)
    26 Jan 1939 Commissioned 2nd Lieutenant
    1 Sep 1939 Service Record: Posted to 22nd Field Regiment RA. Stationed at Shorncliffe, Kent, 2nd Lieutenant. (10th Infantry Brigade HQ, 4th Infantry Division, II Corps.).
    2 Oct 1939 Service Record: Embarked for BEF (British Expeditionary Force) France.
    9 May 1940 22nd Fld Rgt War Diary: to Belgium (To Louvain/Leuven, east of Brussels.)
    1 Jun 1940 Service Record: “Returned to UK” – What an understatement, but the regiment did eventually – in bits and pieces. (from Dunkirk)
    20 Jun 1940 The Fourth Division 1939-1945 by Hugh Williamson: 4th Division came under the command of V Corps, and was ordered to take over the defence of the coastal region round Southampton.

    14.11.41 Got married
    Mar 1942 The Fourth Division 1939-1945 by Hugh Williamson: Towards the end of the month, the division began to move to Scotland in order to join the Expeditionary Force, which was being prepared for a sea-borne assault. The units of the division were spread out in the counties of Kircudbright, Dumfries and Roxburgh, with Divisional Headquarters first at Melrose and then at Dumfries.
    11 Mar 1943 Service Record: Embarked Glasgow for BNAF (British North Africa Force). Captain.
    Mar 1943 The Fourth Division 1939-1945 by Hugh Williamson: ….. the men of the division went by train to Glasgow, and there embarked on a variety of troopships. The biggest of these was the well-known Orient Liner Orion, now converted for trooping. This ship of 22,500 tons took aboard more than 5,500 troops, including the whole of 10th Brigade Group and Divisional Headquarters. …… The convoy included the troopships Ormonde, Cuba, Nea Hellas, Banfora and Windsor Castle.
    12 Mar 1943 22nd Fld Rgt War Diary: Mar 12th – 20th: Embarked and sailed on 16th.
    23 Mar 1943 Landed in Algiers with 33rd Battery, 22nd Fld Regt, 4th Infantry Div., 1st Army.
    23 Apr 1943 22nd Fld Rgt War Diary: Barrage in support of 10 IB attack as preliminary to main 5 Corps attack. Rest of day in preparation for big offensive, Operation Vulcan
    12 May 1943 My mother's diary: “Heard 12 a.m. news which said ‘North Africa campaign is over and von Arnim is captured’. Went quite mad with joy – wondered where Johnnie is, what he is doing and hoped and prayed that he is safe. Up the First Army!!! Longing to get news of Johnnie.”

    May 1943 22nd Fld Rgt War Diary: Rest of May: enemy completely routed and no further contact. Regt. located at Korba. Maintenance.
    2 Jan 1944 22nd Fld Rgt War Diary: Regt. to be found at Kabrit (Egypt, about 20 miles north of Suez.)
    15 Feb 1944 22nd Fld Rgt War Diary: Feb 15th – 24th: Embarked at Alexandria and sailed for Italy
    21 Feb 1944 22nd Fld Rgt War Diary: disembarking at Naples on 21st and going to Teano. (with 4th Infantry Division, British X Corps, U.S. 5th Army.)
    1 Mar 1944 22nd Fld Rgt War Diary: Mar 1st - 19th: In action Suio area (on the River Garigliano, 10km or so north west of Sessa Aurunca). Capt. Chard wounded and will not be re-joining.
    10 Mar 1944 Molly at RAF Scampton, Lincolnshire: “Letter from Johnnie written from Italy on March 1st – he has been in action & was in bed with swollen feet.” .....
    had to give you this!!!
    13 Mar 1944 Service Record: Promoted to War Substantive Captain. Also promoted to Temporary Major.
    20 Mar 1944 22nd Fld Rgt War Diary: Move to concentration area near Gurliano
    24 Mar 1944 22nd Fld Rgt War Diary: move again to San Marco
    26 Mar 1944 4th Division transferred to British XIII Corps, British 8th Army.
    28 Mar 1944 22nd Fld Rgt War Diary: Mar 28th – 29th: move to Acquafondata and into action.
    30 Mar 1944 22nd Fld Rgt War Diary: Mar 30th - 31st: Move to east of Cassino in support of 10 IB
    1 Apr 1944 22nd Fld Rgt War Diary: Apr 1st – 7th: in support of 10 IB
    8 Apr 1944 22nd Fld Rgt War Diary: Apr 8th – 22nd: in support of 28 IB
    16 Apr 1944 25th birthday.
    23 Apr 1944 22nd Fld Rgt War Diary: Apr 23rd – 25th: In support of NZ Brigade. Owing to enemy observers at Acqua, to east of Cassino road, movement along this in daytime was restricted and most of supplies came by night.
    10 May 1944 According to the Operational Orders from 10th Infantry Brigade HQ to 2nd Btn Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment “Maj. J.F.W. Ellerton, CO’s rep will be in charge of all FOO parties and co-ordinate deployment.”
    11 May 1944 22nd Fld Rgt War Diary: at 2300 commenced fire plan in support of 10 IB who were crossing the river. Approximately two battalions made it, but all attempts to construct a bridge of rafts failed and they had to tuck down. Due to heavy artillery fire and the dampness of the river valley, visibility was at times down to 20 yards. Support called in from 2RHA (Royal Horse Artillery), 17 Field Regt. and 78 Med. Regt and counter attacks were broken without our infantry being penetrated. Capt. Greenwood was awarded MC.
    13 May 1944 22nd Fld Rgt War Diary: May 12th – 13th: RE (Royal Engineers) finally succeeded in bridging the river and FOOs (Forward Observation Officers) crossed over, including Maj. Ellerton, Capt. E.G. Smith, Capt. K. Peters, Maj. Fisher, Capt. Greenwood and Capt. Carmell. Maj. Ellerton and Capt. Peters were both wounded.
    19 May 1944 “Had a Telegram from War Office saying that Johnnie has been wounded & was put on the dangerously ill list on 13.5.44. Just couldn’t believe it. Spent the rest of the day in a complete haze. Had to give the dreadful news to F.E. on the phone. Dick came over in evening and was grand. Oh Johnnie darling, please get better and let me have good news about you. Sent him a Cable. Thought of him & prayed for him all night. God bless you my darling.”
    JFWE now at 2nd British General Hospital, Caserta, north of Naples.
    22 Jun 1944 Service Record: Embarked from Naples for England on a Hospital Ship.
    29 Jun 1944 Service Record: Landed at Liverpool. “Evacuated” to Bradford Emergency Medical Service Hospital. Rank: Major.

    He had numerous operations on his leg/s etc (and many more for years after the war ended.)
    11 Dec 1944 “Very hectic day saying goodbye and rushing around. Johnnie up to Sick Quarters to have his dressing done. Left dear old Syerston at 5.30 p.m. with Winco Cooper who came and had a drink with us at the Clinton Arms & was v. nice to Johnnie. Dinner and early bed. Can’t believe I may have left the Waafs for good.”
    12 Dec 1944 “Caught 11.49 train to King’s Cross. F.E. met us – home
    (Stratheden, Woodford Green) by 3.30 p.m. Can hardly believe it.”

    13 Dec 1944 Seven months since being wounded.
    16 Dec 1944 “Shopped and housework in morning. Johnnie to Jubilee (hospital) for his dressing. F.E. down for the night after lunch. Clifford Farrant over after tea. Left the men to themselves. Full out dinner with Johnnie & F.E. of Guinea Fowl – yum yum. Talked. Bed. Johnnie divine.”
    18 Dec 1944 “Flying bombs during the night – decided to sleep downstairs in the hall.”


    Christmas 1944 was the first Christmas they had spent together since being married in November 1941, and ....... ahem ..... um ..... er ......ahem ...... I was born exactly 9 months later.

    8 May 1945 V.E. Day. (Victory in Europe)
    8 Jul 1945 Service Record: Posted to 119 Field Regt. Captain. (Stationed at Eastwell Park, Ashford, Kent.)
    1 Dec 1945 “Johnnie phoned at 7.20 p.m. to say good-bye. He is off to Germany I expect to-morrow.”
    2 Dec 1945 Service Record: Embarked for BAOR (British Army of the Rhine). Captain.
    7 Dec 1945 “Grand letter from Johnnie written from Termonde.” (in Belgium).
    14 Dec 1945 “Wire arrived 9.50 a.m. from Johnnie saying ‘going into 108 British General Hospital to-day, leg again, don’t worry – John’. Poor darling, felt so sorry for him.” Hospital in Brussels. He was still in hospital over Christmas.
    17 Dec 1945 “Letter from Johnnie dated 13th, the day he had arrived at 108 hospital. He is on penicillin 3 hourly & was to have his leg X-Rayed next day – poor darling.”
    11 Jan 1946 “Lovely letter from J written on Tuesday. Still in hospital but gets out during the day.”
    13 Jan 1946 “F.E. phoned – wire from Johnnie saying he is coming home – WHOPEE!!”

    16 Jan 1946 Service Record: Posted Depot RA. Captain.

    ...... and on it goes for 298 pages.

    John.
     
  4. tankengine888

    tankengine888 Member

    Hello!

    'For whom are you doing this, why are you doing it and what are you going to do with it once completed?'
    I just felt like picking a random name out of the gazette.. Every soldier has a unique story and something extraordinary about them. When I've completed it.. it'll just sit there, but as you say, you already know all about him so I lack a purpose in doing it now.

    'If you are trying to hone your skills in researching a stranger's life, all well and good - go for it, and get whatever help you can from whoever, and very possible make some descendant delighted, and probably astounded too. But I know my Dad's story, and it is me from whom you are going to get all the information. So who is going to benefit?'
    Well, no one I suppose, it was just to practice myself at writing biographies.. Usually I'd research First World War records since they're out there on the internet and digitized for all to see [paywall depending on nation], but Second World War records are lacking in the records department. All the information about a typical WW2 soldier would usually be found by family since records fail to say much about anything.. with the exception of War Diaries!

    'I am not trying to be deliberately unhelpful, Tank; I am just being a little bit cautious and don't want to waste your time.'
    That's fair, I'll take a 'pass' this time. I like to see the stories that all the typical soldiers had since they all have a story no matter the person.

    [And his war service]..
    Interested to see he was at Dunkirk, then again, he seems to be an Original B.E.F

    Nearly 3 years later and he's gone to North Africa.. and he was there in the final stages, very nice.

    Seems odd how he went to the Army of the Occupation with his leg, but he only lasted there a month.

    Anyways, I shant take up your time. I enjoyed reading the summary of service, he seems to be a very interesting man, though I won't write up a short wartime biography on him, Thanks for sending it all though, I find it most interesting.

    Tank.
     
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  5. John Ellerton

    John Ellerton Member

    Hi Tank,

    I'm glad you enjoyed it, and, with your perseverance, if you pick another name out of a gazette, I am sure you will do a good job and maybe make a descendant very happy. Good luck with it all.

    He did get posted to Germany from 1952-4 and by the time we left I could speak almost perfect German - can't now though! He left the army in 1966.

    I have a feeling that you like words, so I will try, repeat, try, to upload a poem my mother wrote about her wartime experiences. The Imperial War Museum has a copy and I actually found a quote from the poem on some WAAF site a year or so ago!

    All the best to you.

    John

    P.S. Go the Blues for tonight, and the Wallabies sometime soon!
     
  6. John Ellerton

    John Ellerton Member

    Since joining this site a few days ago, I haven't been off this page (thread?) so I am not too sure what to do.

    I am going to try and upload a poem my mother wrote about her wartime experiences. She wrote it sometime in the 1980s and it was entered into a Women's Institute competition!! The Imperial War Museum has a copy as I found out when on some WWAF site. If whoever looks after this site thinks that it shouldn't be here, but somewhere else, please move it .... or toss it out as irrelevant!

    For context's sake, she joined the WAAFs in Feb 1941 became a plotter, then filterer, at Fighter Command HQ, Bentley Priory; gained a Commission in late 1943 and became an Equipment Officer at various Bomber Command bases.

    Here goes ......

    John
     

    Attached Files:

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  7. John Ellerton

    John Ellerton Member

    I am also uploading a piece concerning the officers of 22nd Field Regt as at 9 May 1940 - when the war really started. If this should be moved from here, please do so.

    John
     

    Attached Files:

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  8. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    There a few threads here on the 22nd Field Rgmt. This one includes the Italian campaign, notably crossing the Rapido River in May 1944; afterwards they became infantry and headed for the Greek Civil War: 22nd Field Regt RA

    A shorter thread, which partly duplicates the previous one: 22nd Field Regiment RA Italy

    There are eight threads id'd using the Tag 22 Field Regiment RA, I have not looked at them: 22 field regiment ra | WW2Talk
     
  9. John Ellerton

    John Ellerton Member

    Many thanks.
     

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