Stoner, Frank Walker

Frank Walker Stoner was born in the March quarter of 1922, his birth registered in Hawarden (Flintshire (Mold)HAW/29A/15), the son of John Llewellyn & Vashti Ellen Stoner (nee Walker), who had married in the June Quarter of 1916 at Northampton (Northampton Vol. 3b Page 192).

I have no knowledge of Frank’s childhood, so if anyone can shed any light on it, please get in touch via the website.

His parents are seen on the 1939 Register living at Denton House, Shotton Lane, Shotton.   John Llewelyn Stoner’s date of birth is given as the 31st August 1894 and he was a Process Worker, his wife Vashi Ellen was born on the 27th December 1893 and like all married women who were not in work was described by this National Register as doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties.”    His siter Joan Helen Stoner’s date of birth is the 7th February 1920.   There were 2 other gentlemen in the Household, a John Robert & Sam Reynolds, possibly Lodgers.

I believe that Frank’s sister Joan Helen Stoner married at St. Ethelwold’s Church, Shotton:-

Page 70 No. 139   16th November 1940 George Hallmark Merchant, 23, Bachelor, Private in the Army, Liverpool Arms, Flint. George Hallmark Merchant, Licensed Victualler & Joan Helen STONER, 20 Spinster, Denton House, Shotton, John STONER, Silk Worker.   (After Banns).Witnesses:- John CAMERON & Margaret MERCHANT

I have no Attestation Papers for Frank Walker Stoner, but there is a Casualty List, Page 4 of the Expeditionary Forces (North Africa) –  where Frank is listed, having been Killed in Action on the 16th February 1944.

Sadly I have no specific  information to what happened to Frank Walker, but this may shed some light on the events of that day:-

The 8th and 9th Battalions, the two Territorial Army (TA) units, were part of the 1st London Infantry Brigade, attached to 1st London Infantry Division. These later became the 167th (London) Infantry Brigade and 56th (London) Infantry Division. Both battalions saw service in the final stages of the Tunisia Campaign, where each suffered over 100 casualties in their first battle. In September 1943, both battalions were heavily involved in the landings at Salerno, as part of the Allied invasion of Italy, later crossing the Volturno Line, before, in December, being held up at the Winter Line.[58] Both battalions then fought in the Battle of Monte Cassino and were sent to the Anzio beachhead in February 1944.[59]

Battle of Anzio – The Winter Line and the battle for Rome.

The Battle of Anzio[3] was a battle of the Italian Campaign of World War II that took place from January 22, 1944 (beginning with the Allied amphibious landing known as Operation Shingle) to June 5, 1944 (ending with the capture of Rome). The operation was opposed by German forces in the area of Anzio and Nettuno.[4] The operation was initially commanded by Major General John P. Lucas, of the U.S. Army, commanding U.S. VI Corps with the intention being to outflank German forces at the Winter Line and enable an attack on Rome.

The success of an amphibious landing at that location, in a basin consisting substantially of reclaimed marshland and surrounded by mountains, depended on the element of surprise and the swiftness with which the invaders could build up strength and move inland relative to the reaction time and strength of the defenders. Any delay could result in the occupation of the mountains by the defenders and the consequent entrapment of the invaders. Lieutenant General Mark W. Clark, commander of the U.S. Fifth Army, understood that risk, but Clark did not pass on his appreciation of the situation to his subordinate, Lucas, who preferred to take time to entrench against an expected counterattack. The initial landing achieved complete surprise with no opposition and a jeep patrol even made it as far as the outskirts of Rome. However, Lucas, who had little confidence in the operation as planned, failed to capitalize on the element of surprise and delayed his advance until he judged his position was sufficiently consolidated and he had sufficient strength.

While Lucas consolidated, Field Marshal Albert Kesselring, the German commander in the Italian theatre, moved every unit he could spare into a defensive ring around the beachhead. His artillery units had a clear view of every Allied position. The Germans also stopped the drainage pumps and flooded the reclaimed marsh with salt water, planning to entrap the Allies and destroy them by epidemic. For weeks a rain of shells fell on the beach, the marsh, the harbour, and on anything else observable from the hills, with little distinction between forward and rear positions.

After a month of heavy but inconclusive fighting, Lucas was relieved and sent home. His replacement was Major General Lucian K. Truscott, who had previously commanded the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division. The Allies broke out in May. But, instead of striking inland to cut lines of communication of the German Tenth Army’s units fighting at Monte Cassino, Truscott, on Clark’s orders, reluctantly turned his forces north-west towards Rome, which was captured on June 4, 1944. As a result, the forces of the German Tenth Army fighting at Cassino were able to withdraw and rejoin the rest of Kesselring’s forces north of Rome, regroup, and make a fighting withdrawal to his next major prepared defensive position on the Gothic Line.

Frank Walker Stoner was well loved as his name was put forward to be remembered.



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