I believe that Colin Pickering was born in the Registration District to Hawarden in March quarter of 1924 (Flintshire (Mold) HAW/31A/71), his mother’s maiden name was Povey. He was the son of Frank & Jessie Pickering who had married in the December quarter of 1915 in a Civil marriage in Wrexham (Wrexham County Borough (Wrexham) WM/077/29).
Colin belonged to a large family and although I do not know anything about his early and teenage years, we do know that he had at least 5 siblings. They are seen on the 1939 National Register, this was taken on the 29th September 1939 and is a source of birth dates as well as other information. The family of 8 people were living at 20 Bryn Yorkin,Caergwrle, Hawarden, Flintshire and the head of the household was Frank Pickering whose birth date was the 10th April 1895, he was a Coal Miner (Hewer) (Heavy Work). His wife Jessie had been born on the 27th April 1896 and as most married women, who didn’t have job, was described as doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties.” Charles Pickering was born on the 4th or the 14th June 1921, the date is really bad on the original document and he was working as an Iron & Steel Worker, (Heavy Work). There are 5 redacted or closed records*, so I am unable to say who they were.
* For individual people, records remain closed for a century after their birth (the 100-year rule), unless it can be proven that they passed away before this milestone.
Colin in 1939 would have been about 15 years old, so he could have been one of the Closed Records, this can be revealed if you apply, but proof of death etc. would be required. Please see the website below:-
Non-Findmypast.co.uk subscribers should also use The National Archives Freedom of Information* (FOI) request form to request a search of closed records from the 1939 Register. If the record can be opened, we will send you a full transcription of the information held in the record. The opened record will be available to view on Findmypast.co.uk ten working days after the notification of a successful request. Please note there is a fixed charge of £24.35 for this service.
I do not know when Colin enlisted or was conscripted but Colin was to find himself in the 2nd Lothian & Border Infantry, along with the 1st Derbyshire Yeomanry, the 15th, 16th, 17th, & 21st Lancers. Part of the Armoured Reconnaissance Regt. 26th Armoured Brigade, in the 6th Armoured Division, First Allied Army. They took part in operations in Italy.
Royal Armoured Corps: The Italian Campaign, 03/09/43 – 02/05/45 – Discussion in ‘RAC & RTR’ started by Stuart Avery, Apr 7, 2019. Please click on the link.
Colin was wounded in North Africa on the 11th April 1943 along with 6 others and 2 were wounded on the 10th April 1943 from the Royal Armoured Corps according to the Casualty List 1124 (Page 17) in North Africa.
On Casualty List 1376 (Page 15) he is recorded as Being “Accidentally Killed” on the 8th February 1944 in Italy, but he died in Algeria, and was at first buried at a place that has a reference number on the Commonwealth War Graves Concentration Report Form – 3/30GCU/FSR/2012, I do not know where that is, but he was then reburied on the 29th May 1944 in the place he now rests, Bone War Cemetery, Annaba, Algeria. This was very confusing, so I started to wonder exactly where he was and what had happened as on the Commonwealth War Graves Concentration Report Form there were 3 others who died in North Africa, who all died as a result of an accident – 1741597,Gnr. G.R. Hall (11 L.A.A. Regt.) –1641407, Gnr. T.G. Dickson (151/51.L.A.A. Regt. and 5183315 L/Cpl. M.H. Hope (834 Coy. Pnr. Corps.), as well as Colin. So it makes me think that they were sent to Algeria for Hospital treatment, but sadly succumbed to their injuries. Many thanks to the forum members of http://ww2talk.com/index.php?threads/7961213-tpr-colin-pickering-2nd-lothians-and-border-horse-08-02-1944.91035/ who gave me pointers to find out more about Colin and his death.
I contacted http://ww2talk.com/index.php?threads/7961213-tpr-colin-pickering-2nd-lothians-and-border-horse-08-02-1944.91035/page-2 and asked for help to find out how Colin died and thanks to multiple forum members and “Heward” in particular, who really went the extra mile finding out how Colin died. – excerpts below from his reply to me:-
HEREWARD. Junior Member – Hi Mavis, 7891213 Tpr Pickering, Colin was indeed wounded Wednesday, 10th February 1943, in the heavy fighting in the battle of Fondouk. He was one of 12 casualties that day. My dad was in the same battle (B Sqn). I am not sure which of the squadron’s Colin was in but it would be good to know.
The Pickering who died of wounds 1944-02-08 was the 2nd last tanker of the regiment to be buried in Nth Africa. The regiment was located in Robertsville in Algeria. At 1300hrs on the 7th February 1944, they moved to a staging area at nearby El Arrouch for an exercise. The ground the exercise took place on became increasingly unsuitable for tank manoeuvres. As they moved over the next few days from El Arrouch to Gastu, then south of Lac Fetzara towards Auribeau, where they finally harboured, on their way to their intended destination of Penthievre. Several accidents occurred and it was impossible to proceed to Penthievre.
However, on the first day of the exercise, 8th February, they moved to the Jemmapes* area where Tpr Pickering’s tank overturned and he was killed. When a tank rolls over, it’s disastrous for the crew. The steel hull and internal equipment is very unforgiving on the body, especially the head if he was only wearing his black tankers beret. His body would have been moved to the cemetery from there. I hope this helps. Many thanks to “Hereward” and the WW2Talk Forum members.
* See map below – Jemmapes is present day Azzaba in Algeria. – Thanks to Tony56 of WW2talk
So it appears from what Hereward has told me from his research of the 2L&BH and from their War Dairy that Colin was never in Italy, so obviously a clerical error.
If anyone has any information regarding Colin and his family and his life, please get in touch with the website, as he must not be forgotten as a person for his sacrifices that he gave for us all to be free.
I am sure he was well loved and sadly missed by his large family, but they made sure he was to be remembered for perpetuity for his sacrifice by adding his name to the Hope WW2 War Memorial.