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Forrester Charles

Charles Forrester was born circa 1914 the son of John Halliday & Amelia Forrester (nee Hibbert) who had married on the 26th December 1904 in Edge Hill, Lancashire, England.

I have no news of Charles’s childhood, but if anyone can shed any light on his life, it would be gratefully received.

We see him though when Charles married Beatrice M. Goldie on the 30th November 1935 at St. Ethelwold’s Church, Shotton.   They were both 21 years old and their addresses were 11, Dundas Street, Queensferry and 57, Brook Road, Connah’s Quay (This is really in Shotton), respectively.    Beatrice’s father was William Thomas Goldie and he was an Ironworker, Charles’s father was John Halliday Forrester, Blacksmith.

The next time is on the 1939 National Register where Charles and Beatrice are seen living at 57, Brook Road, Shotton, Charles’s date of birth is given as  the 15th March 1914 and he is a General Labourer and married, Beatrice  M Forrester’s date of birth is given as the 12th August 1915, she is married and a female doing unaid Domestice Duties, which is the title given mostly to married women on this Register, which was taken on the 29th September 1939, so we know that Charles had not enlisted.

I have no Attestation Papers, but Page 16 of a Casualty List for the Expeditionary Forces (North West Europe) shows that Charles was Listed as having been killed on the 6th August 1944 and he was with the 3rd Bn Monmouthshire Regiment confirmed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

It appears from the Graves Concentration Report Form on the CWGC Website, (please see the form below), that Charles was buried initially at Sourdevalle, France, then reburied  on the 28th January 1946 at Tilly Sur Seulles War Cemetery.

I can only give you a history of the 3rd Bn Monmouthshire Regiment to help, perhaps, have a better idea where Charles was while he was in the Battalion, up to the day he was to be Killed in Action.

(With many thanks to dryan67:-  (WW2 Talk http://ww2talk.com/index.php?threads/3rd-battalion-monmouthshire-regiment.69836/3rd Battalion, The Monmouthshire Regiment, The South Wales Borderers (T.A.)

An excerpt from :-  159th Infantry Brigade – 3 September 1939 to 3 April 1945 – please click on the link to read the whole history.

During January 1944, the battalion was sent for eight days of training in the Inverary area of Scotland, but returned to Hornsea after. The division shifted south in April 1944 and the battalion was located at Talbera Barracks in Aldershot by April 15th. On June 13th, 1944, the battalion embarked at Newhaven in Sussex for France and landed at Courcelles in Normandy the following day.

On arrival the brigade concentrated near Lantheuil. The 11th Armoured Division’s first operation was to be Operation Epsom, the battle for the Odon bridgehead. At 2130 hours on June 27th, the battalions of the 159th Brigade began to cross the Odon with the 1st Herefords on the right and the 4th King’s Own Shropshire Light Infantry on the right under constant harassing fire. The 3rd Monmouths occupied defences on the north bank as a brigade reserve. The brigade was not successful in taking Hill 112 and the battalion had its first setback. While moving through a gap in the enemy defences in the dark from the Cheux area, the battalion lost its way and strayed into the village of Mouen. In the morning it moved to its correct position, leaving ‘C’ Company in the village to cover the withdrawal. ‘C’ Company was attacked by superior German forces with tank support and only fourteen men eventually fought their way out and rejoined the battalion. The brigade began to form the bridgehead across the Odon. It remained in the Odon bridgehead through July 6th, when the 130th Brigade relieved it. The brigade moved to a rest area at Fresny-le-Crotteur near Saint-Gabriel-Brécy. On July 16th, the brigade moved forward again to a concentration area near Ranville in preparation for Operation Goodwood, a planned armoured breakout northeast of Caen. The brigade’s objective was the capture of the villages of Cuverville and Démouville as it entered battle on the 18th. The 3rd Monmouths were on the right of the advance to Cuverville supported by the Cromwells of ‘C’ Squadron 2nd Northamptonshire Yeomanry. ‘A’ and ‘B’ Companies easily entered the village. Artillery fire and the late arrival of a unit of the 51st (Highland) Division to take over Cuverville meant a late start as the Monmouths pushed on to Démouville, which was taken against heavy resistance. At 1800 hours, the brigade started to move forward to join the rest of the 11th Armoured Division and reached Le Mesnil Frémentel less than two hours later. On the 19th, the 3rd Monmouths were brought up to take over Bras. Later the 4th KSLI took over Hubert-Folie with the 1st Herefords in between. The brigade remained in place on Bourgeubus Ridge until midday on July 20th, when the 9th Canadian Infantry Brigade relieved it. It then withdrew for rest in an area between Grentheville and Le Mesnil Frémental. The battalion was located at Gruchy on July 21st.

The next breakout operation for the 11th Armoured Division was Operation Bluecoat, an operation to contain the German armour on the British front. The division moved to the extreme right flank of the British sector and concentrated on July 29th west of Caumont between Balleroy and Caumont-l’-Éventé. For this operation each of the four infantry/motor battalions were paired up with the four armoured/armoured reconnaissance regiments of the division. The 3rd Monmouths formed at battle group with the 23rd Hussars. Even before the battalion crossed the start line on July 30th, it suffered heavy casualties from mines. The Monmouth-Hussar battle group were mortared and shelled but advanced through Sept-Vents, where ‘C’ Company fought a sharp engagement, and to St. Jean-des-Essartiers, where some German tanks and assault guns attacked the column. The group then moved to St. Ouen des Besaces. The next day the 2nd Household Cavalry found an unguarded track through woods, which enabled the group to penetrate well behind the German defences. It first liberated the village of la Ferrière-Harang then crossed the Souleuvre River undetected by evening. On the morning of August 1st, the 23rd Hussars carrying the 3rd Monmouths advanced out of the Souleuvre bridgehead and took le Bény-Bocage. Later that day the battalion moved on toward Vire behind the tanks, fighting a running battle with the retreating enemy. On August 2nd, the 3rd Monmouths teamed up with the 2nd Fife and Forfar Yeomanry to find a way from le Reculey to the Burcy ridge and to cut the Vire-Vassy road at Viessoix. By the end of the day, it took up positions with the 2nd Fife and Forfar Yeomanry around Sourdevalle on Bas Perier Ridge. The 8th Rifle Brigade and the 23rd Hussars were established two thousand yards to the left on the same ridge. The division was then ordered to halt and hold its positions. The enemy on three sides surrounded the units on the ridge and the Germans began to build up their forces in the area. On August 4th, units of the 3rd Infantry Division began to relieve the 11th Armoured Division’s units on Bas Perier Ridge. On 5th August enemy shelling began and was followed by a fierce tank and infantry attack. The group’s tanks were driven back through the forward positions. ‘D’ and ‘C’ Companies were then attacked by enemy infantry and some of them managed to penetrate as far as Battalion HQ, but the battalion held its ground and the enemy were beaten off. The battalion’s losses in this and the previous actions were so heavy that some platoons were down to half strength. On the 6th, the 1st Norfolks began to relieve the battalion, with the two battalions together less than a full battalion in strength, while the 2nd Fife and Forfars had only twenty tanks left. The relief was under way when heavy enemy shelling indicated an enemy assault. It was decided that both battalions should stay commanded by the CO of the Monmouths. Only fifteen minutes later the German attack came in. After heavy hand-to-hand fighting the enemy overran first the forward positions on the left and when a counter attack drove them off, those on the right. The Germans got to within two hundred yards of Battalion HQ whose personnel turned out to man posts, but the battalions held their ground and before night the heart went out of the enemy attack and he withdrew. The losses on both sides were heavy. Of the five hundred and fifty men of both battalions who fought this battle, one hundred and sixty were killed or wounded……….

……….Continued to 1945 on the website.  http://ww2talk.com/index.php?threads/3rd-battalion-monmouthshire-regiment.69836/

If anyone has any information on Charles, so that his story can be told and he be remembered , please get in touch with the website.

William Albert Jones is also buried at Tilly-sur-Seulles War Cemetery, please click on the link to read his story.

 


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