Primosole Bridge Sicily 1943

Discussion in 'Italy' started by Verrieres, Nov 15, 2008.

  1. Craig73OK

    Craig73OK Member

    Hello I've a handful of photos from when he was wounded in Normandy including the one you mentioned, I'm aware of the faithful 6th book, but it is quite expensive, I have managed to order a copy of the sign of the double T at a reasonable price, I don't do much social media, forums etc but came across this one while looking into my great uncles MC, as I was aware he'd been awarded it in Scicilly from the commendation letter I was sent by my cousin. I've also been looking at 6DLI in Normandy, specifically the battle for Caen where he was wounded then killed. Hopefully when Covid situation has calmed down I'll be able to plan a visit to the area.
  2. Craig73OK

    Craig73OK Member

  3. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

  4. Craig73OK

    Craig73OK Member

    Here are the photos from when he was wounded in Normandy.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Tony56 likes this.
  5. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    Checked with Jim and theres no contact been made .

    Strangely enough these photographs have originated from his site though ? Sad really as pg 1 has the following message:
  6. Craig73OK

    Craig73OK Member

    I'm not aware of the site you are on about as I did not copy them from there, as he was my great uncle I never thought there would be a problem with me using any of the images, apologies if I've caused offence to anyone, could you please send me a link to the site?
  7. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    Hello Craig,

    No offence caused to anyone,I`m simply pointing out a fact . The photographs with the exception of no 2 which is a IWM image originated from that site ? Theres no doubt of that he always adds or subtracts something from the images that is very subtle rather than watermark them .
    I`m not saying you copied them just that this is where they originated . Your second part of your sentence though "as he was my great uncle I never thought there would be a problem with me using any of the images" contradicts the first denial :)

    Nothing to do with me at the end of the day really. bloke who runs it is my friend ,thats all and he helps "everyone who asks" .

  8. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    A few bits relating to Lt Sanderson who was commissioned in the Manchester Regiment but landed on Sicily as a Platoon Commander of 10 Platoon 9th DLI, he was wounded by shrapnel to his left shoulder from an air burst on the 15th in the area of the bridge. Below are 2 slightly different 10 platoon rolls - I think the blue one is slightly later as Cpl Mowitt becomes Sgt Mowitt - as you can see from the reverse of the 2 rolls the blue one has the men's locations on a landing craft, so this may well be his Platoon as it headed to Sicily - having said that I think Young and Briscoe were wounded on the 15th. Its a shame he didn't note the men's numbers but then he probably wasn't considering them being read all these years later

    lt sanderson.jpg lt sanderson 10 platoon roll front.jpg lt sanderson 10 platoon roll back.jpg
  9. Craig73OK

    Craig73OK Member

    Maybe you could send me a link to the site where they originated from? I've checked through years of emails ive found they were sent to me along with the handwritten letter of commendation by my cousin.
    Where she got these from I do not know? Is that handwritten letter of comendation on the website?
  10. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    Hello Craig,

    No the hand written letter doesnt feature ,there is a transcription however almost word for word which comes from the official recommendation the word `courage` is actually `bravery` but apart from that it appears the same ?
    I have scrounged a copy for you below. (The original is at the National Archives) WO 393/3/313.

    WO-373-3-313 comp.jpg

    Last edited: Sep 10, 2020
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  11. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    Lt Sanderson's diary covering Sicily operations, there are a couple of bits I couldn't decipher (I have used ? to mark these) but nothing that throws out the story

    Monday 5th July

    Sailed, told destination + full details of operation, maps, models + photos. To land + capture Avola, 6th left 9th right 5 Div on our right. B Coy left + A Coy right to assault + clear beaches. Practices, instruction, checking equipment , PT, conference occupied time. Ship dry from Port Said

    Friday 9th July
    Colonel addressed Bn last orders + check, testing guns etc. Rough sea Reville 2300, breakfast 2330.

    Saturday 10th July
    Embarked in Landing craft 0005. Overside to very rough sea (could see fires on land, Etna at Sundown) Circling LSI we could not pick up 11 + 12 platoon. Followed motor launch on course. Sea came over side + bow 12-15” water in no time, most of us sick. Feared boat would capsize. 11 Pl caught up. Came in sight of land, wrong shape + slope of hills was to North instead of South, long past H Hour. Ridley + I thought we were too far N. Stooged broadside onto coast for about 400 yards. Decided to go in + risk it. Flares seen over 51st Div front + searchlight + red tracer in 6th Bn area. About 200 out MG opened up on us. I got my two Brens on straight away + the fire stopped.

    Beached on rocky stretch. ? jumped out + went under. I waited for boat to stop + jumped + I went under too! Scrambled out followed by platoon. Navy were jittery + almost pushed our poor sick stiff warriors off so they could get away. I saw cow fence on top of cliff which was about 12' feet high. Path with gap. I popped up this + was shocked to find Itie just about to enter a hut. He was shocked too! I fired 3 with pistol, missed, he hopped over a fence + went home to change his clothes! We found the 2 MG gunners dead behind gun. Turned South + scoured along beach Cpl Stimson got another 2 MG men in pillbox. Came lighter. Turned inland to find position. Came to road decided we were S instead of N of Avola. Skirmished through vineyards, lemon + olive groves. Cleared up several small posts. Near shave with Itie MG gunner who threw 2 grenades + had 3rd ready when I got to him. I got face cut. Entered Avola. Cleared several snipers + cont. Avola filled with odds + sods cluttering up streets + asking to be strafed + sniped. Two notable points 1,4-5 men with rifles in houses one of them full of women + kids 2, Machine gunner behind barricade who wounded Crole + whom we got with rifle fire. Met Teddy Worrall in Avola, picked up horses + mules marched out to Coy objectives. Collected lemons I got platoon brew-ups from rly station. Marched back through Avola to West. Took up positions on 3 hills facing Noto. Marvellous view to East over bay with Armada lying off shore . Lots of flak after dark.

    Sunday 11th July
    Stayed in position til midday, watched several ineffective raids on ships. Now had 4 carts to coy. Marched down again through Avola + Cassibile. Got MT up hills with many turns and bends to position on road to Palazzolo. Held very strong natural position with A/T guns + Mgs. Hot meal came at midnight.

    Monday 12th July
    Rsted morning relieved by Black Watch marched down to Cassibile to MT. Pat gave up mules + carts. I went back and salvaged 1 cart + 2 mules. Bolted several times. Eventually I drove peacefully into Floridia with my prizes. Pl HQ in good house Pl mostly dispersed among lemon groves. Coffee beans, Marsala, cherry brandy in house. I did a turn on guard.

    Tuesday 13th July
    Visited Itie doctors house where family had all been killed by mortar bombs. Air raids in morning, brought 7 down, Junkers by first shot. Made preparation for Coy dinner in my HQ, ordered to move to high feature over Floridia – Sortino road. Hell of a climb arrived at 9pm at big farm on top during the night ordered to move out 5am.

    Wednesday 14th July
    Marched down again, had breakfast + washup. Embussed via Sortino to point S of Carlentini. Rebussed, brewed up. Began to march on roads, crowded with guns, tanks, trucks throwing dust over us. In full heat had to sit two hours on hillside among thistle + hot rocks. Strafed by MEs suffering lack of water. We moved along road as soon as 69 Bde cleared Carlentini + Lentini. Had heaven sent break in Carlentini drank gallons of lovely water – revised ideas of water discipline. Bombshell dropped when we were told to march 15 miles towards Catania! Believed it impossible. Marched + marched, did last mile or two on MT ferry service. Arrived about 10.30-11pm, utterly exhausted. Got into position on hills. Enemy 1 mile in front having recaptured Primosole Bridge from our paratroops whom we had raced to relieve. ?. Told attack at 730am. Half hour later later told to move 500 forwards on road to new positions. Just got on road when firing started. A Coy ran back towards us ? Into my Pln in dark, weapons flew in all directions I grabbed a Bren + fired down road believe I hit one of our own! ? Bolton took patrol down to route them out. Moved down to new position.

    lt sanderson diary 11 - Copy.jpg

    I held road block + provided defence for 2 2pdr + 1 6pdr A/T guns. I discovered elaborate booby trap in my area + nearly sprang it.

    Thursday 15th July
    Hot meal arrived about 0030. My platoon dispersed again. I just got to dozing + was rudely awakened by firing. Stood to + found melee in Bn axis. Got 3 tonner away Got A/T gunners standby too + tried to get a gun on melee but failed. Did not dare open fire through Bn position for some time. Covered road with 2 Brens. Decided they were Itie armoured cars. One at front of Bn are was alight, other tried to turn back, much shouting in Itie. Ford came up with plastic grenade he put onto one car. We opened with Bren. Set another alight. I went out with Ford to throw second grenade. Premature explosion badly wounded him. I untouched. Firing subsided. Dawn came. I found 6 cars knocked out + the remaining one captured intact. Got chocolate etc out of it. About 19 Ities killed + ditto captured. Only a few escaped. We had 6 slightly wounded including ?, Sgt Young + Briscoe. Ford, I think, Died later. Reorganised + prepared to attack at 0730. We in reserve followed C Coy. Observed concentration of Artillery preceding advance. Tanks + MGs in support. Pat took us up towards objective held up in flat corn stubble. Saw C Coy remnants come back, no officers of NCO's except Sgt Kelly (whom I found shirking at Mareth). I stopped them – said they had been on objective + been pushed off with heavy losses. I don't think their trousers were wet. I ran across to Captain Henderson to ask advice was determined I'd take platoon myself as last resort – never felt such demoralisation as when I saw them coming back, + I feared effect on our own exhausted chaps. Air burst shell exploded above us as we sat behind haystack. Got me in shoulder.
  12. Craig73OK

    Craig73OK Member

    Thanks for that, I've already downloaded it from the National Archive, it's a bit easier to read than the hand written version.
    I've just managed to order a copy of The Faithful Sixth from E Bay for a reasonable price, looking forward to reading it.
  13. Korps Steiner

    Korps Steiner Senior Member

    Hi Craig ,

    Sadly for some reason i missed your original posts about Spike , i am a researcher for the DLI Archive and also a Battlefield Guide who visits Normandy many times a year , not this year unfortunately .

    I always visit Spike's grave to lay a cross or wreath as i have done quite a bit of research about him as a result on an interview i did many year ago with one of his soldiers who was with him when he was Killed in action and had fought with him for years . I will contact you via pm,

    Best Regards

    Last edited: Nov 10, 2020
  14. Craig73OK

    Craig73OK Member

    Hello Paul
    Thanks for getting in touch, I've replied to your message, very interesting indeed.
    Thanks from Craig
  15. Craig73OK

    Craig73OK Member

    Hello Paul
    Thanks for getting in touch, I've replied to your message, very interesting indeed.
    Thanks from Craig
  16. Mark Howard

    Mark Howard New Member

    I can throw more light on this incident. The Italian armoured cars didn’t encounter the DLI, but the 98th Field Regiment who were supporting them. At Bivio Jazotto, “Dead Horse Corner”, Captain Pike, OP officer C Troop, put his Honey tank as a road block. The leading armoured car was then machine gunned by the 98th & crashed blazing into Pike’s tank. I have a photo of this in my grandfather’s album- he was a signals sergeant with the 98th.
  17. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target Well-Known Member

    Sorry to butt in if this is off traget but I have this excerpt from a letter posted home:
    Letter dated 16th August 1943
    A chance meeting between Lt Beadle GPO C Troop 67th Field Regt and an old friend Merlin Wickes the son of Noels Tutor, while spending an afternoon swimming in Tunisia.
    "I don’t think I’ve told you before that I met Merlin recently under the most extraordinary circumstances. I was in the middle of the Mare Nostrum on my way back from a wrecked tramp steamer to a jetty when I saw a brown and elfin face bobbing up and down a few yards away. I studied this with vague recognition for some time and it dawned on me who it was. We duly made contact, spluttered greetings between mouthfuls of salt and confirmed the conversation on the jetty.
    He was on a few days leave after Sicily and had good tales to tell. I don’t suppose Mrs W. knows but he was in the party that was mentioned on the wireless as having defended a bridge before Catania to the last round.
    He was captured by Italians and recaptured by the 8th and made his way back to Africa in the usual independent way of the airborne boys.
    He had landed his glider in the middle of a wood and ripped it to pieces; but his gang of Tommy Gunners were unhurt to a man and they all went off to the objective shooting up everything they saw.
    Apparently the airborne troops caused tremendous confusion although (this being their first action) many of their plans went astray. They should be pretty deadly next time.
    I arranged a further meeting with Merlin but though I kept the appointment he wasn’t there, so I lost contact. His base is too far away for social calls but I may bump into him again. One seems to in this country!"

    Hope it might be of interest as I have been wanting to find out which action Merlin was involved in and maybe what happened to him later. I assume he survived the war as he is not on CWGC lists.

    Lt Beadle did not survive the war.
  18. Mark Howard

    Mark Howard New Member

    It was against the 98th field regiment RA as they arrived. The engagement with the six armoured cars is written about in their regimental history, “Sussex & Surrey Yeomanry, 39-45”, & I have a supporting photo taken by my granddad who was with them.
  19. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    From the diary entry I posted above from Lt Sanderson (9th DLI) he clearly encountered and engaged them - I'd say in the situation everyone and anyone who was in the area was probably having a go - although the melee (as he describes it) was well established when his platoon joined in so it may have been the 98th who initiated it and others joined in.
  20. Mark Howard

    Mark Howard New Member

    Well that certainly makes sense as the regiment left Lentini with a column of 9th DLI, so thanks!! I was mainly addressing comments above that that the incident isn’t well reported in DLI or Paras records. In The Sussex & Surrey Yeomanry in the 2ndWW by Davis, p61:
    “at 3am on 15th July eight Italian armoured cars had crossed Primasole Bridge & reached the junction of the Lentini & Scordia roads (later known as ‘Dead Horse Corner’) before they could be stopped. Hit by the fire of Gunner Chandler’s Browning, one of them crashed, blazing, into Captain Pike’s tank which had hastily driven across the road to form a block, & the OP party had to stand by & watch their tank & all their kit go up in flames”
    Pike won an MC the following day for wading through the river during the battle to establish an OP.
    Captain Peile, another 98th OP officer did the same & brought down fire & destroyed the 88 that had been knocking out the Shermans. The attached photo is from my grandfathers album.

    Attached Files:

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