There is some confusion about Thomas Hubert Boswell as on the CWGC Citation he is the son of Thomas & Lily Boswell. However I did find a birth of a Thomas Hubert Boswell, but with the mother’s maiden name of Bennett, and the mother’s Christian name as Elizabeth Ann (nee Bennett). I first thought that perhaps Lily had died after Thomas Hubert had been born and then Thomas, his father had remarried, but I cannot find anything out about that.
I do not have information on Thomas Hubert’s life in school or teenage years nor when exactly he enlisted with the 11th Hussars, so any information would be gratefully received.
On the 1939 National Register was Olive Eileen Donnell, the year before they married:- Taken on the 29th September 1939 – Donnell Household (6 People) living at 78 Mancot Way , Hawarden, Flintshire, Wales was Joseph A. Donnell, born 10th May 1878 Boiler Fireman and married, Gwen E. Donnell , born, 3rd June 1887 (January crossed out by Enumerator) doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties” and married. Olive E Donnell ( later to Thomas H. Boswell), born 26th Oct 1913, a Land Worker and single. Also Glenys E Donnell (later to marry a gentleman called Smith), born 11th Jan 1922, Female, Silk Works Sorter Reeler and single. There were 2 closed or redacted records.
Thomas Hubert Boswell & Olive Eileen Donnell were to marry in the Mancot Presbyterian Church, in 1940 (Flintshire (Mold) A102/02/E2).
The information below is my attempt to find out where he and his Regiment was when he died, but as you will find out, it is a bit of a mystery, as he is buried in Italy and his Regiment was in the Netherlands at that time, so I am wondering if he was captured and was a Prisoner of war when as is stated below on Wikipedia, his Regiment was in Italy – “The regiment took part in the Allied invasion of Italy in September 1943 and, after the Normandy landings in June 1944, took part in the North-West Europe Campaign..”
Excerpts from 11th Hussars (Prince Albert’s Own) – The 11th Hussars (Prince Albert’s Own) was a cavalry regiment of the British Army established in 1715. It saw service for three centuries including the First World War and Second World War but then amalgamated with the 10th Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales’ Own) to form the Royal Hussars in 1969.
The Second World War
The regiment, which had been located in Egypt when the war started, deployed as part of the divisional troops of the 7th Armoured Division and conducted raids on Italian positions in Italian Libya using armoured cars during the Western Desert Campaign. It captured Fort Capuzzo in June 1940 and, in an ambush east of Bardia, captured General Lastucci, the Engineer-in-Chief of the Italian Tenth Army. Following the Italian invasion of Egypt in September 1940, the regiment took part in the British counterattack called Operation Compass, launched against Italian forces first in Egypt, then Libya. It was part of an ad hoc combat unit called Combeforce, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel John Combe, that cut the retreating Tenth Army off and led to their surrender at the Battle of Beda Fomm in February 1941. The regiment fought at the Second Battle of El Alamein in October 1942. The regiment took part in the Allied invasion of Italy in September 1943 and, after the Normandy landings in June 1944, took part in the North-West Europe Campaign.
I wrote to WW2 Talk to see why he was in Italy and what he might have been involved with:-
Owen replied – A quick Google of ”11th Hussars 1945”
First result is their transcribed war diaries. – War Diaries of The 11th Hussars, (Prince Albert’s Own) shows they were in North-West Europe in March 1945. Idon’t know why he is buried in Rome. As you put 1943 I thought at first he died as a POW but that was your typo as CWGC has his year of death as 1945. So I did download a little of the War Diaries:-
War Diaries For The 11th Hussars, (Prince Albert’s Own) September 1939 To March 1946
http://www.warlinks.com/armour/11_hussars/11huss_45.php Many thanks to Owen from the WW2talk Forum
It seems that in the 3 days preceding his death there seems to have been no particular fighting etc.
7/3/45 RHQ. – In the evening Fort SABINA was shelled and communications disrupted though no damage was caused. There were some ground flares on the northern bank. No incidents during the night.
B Sqn. 7 – 10th. At HOEVEN carrying out maintenance.
8/3/45 RHQ. – There was slight activity opposite B Sqn on the left and another spandau fired from 765504. Except for an explosion at STRIJENAS the night was quiet.
9/3/45 RHQ. – A working party of about 40 men was observed in the morning and later stonked, with direct hits observed. During the night verey lights were seen in the BIESBOSCH area. Later an LMG at 996504 fired a few bursts into GERTRUDENBURG.
10/3/45 RHQ. – During the morning 2 large explosions were heard opposite C Sqn on the left. Two 75mm fired about 18 rounds which landed in the area 735484. The night was quiet.
Both these towns are in the Netherlands, as Owen states, I don’t know why he was buried in Rome, unless he became ill and was left in a hospital there when his regiment moved on. We are back to my thought about being a POW. However according to the 11th Hussars War Diaries above, they were in the Netherlands early in January 1945.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geertruidenberg – As can be seen on the 11th Hussars War Diaries they were not in Rome:-
January 1945 CO: Lt Col W Wainman DSO MC
Jan 45 11th Hussars (Prince Albert’s Own)
1/1/45 RHQ. 1-5th – The Regt was still based at PAPENHOVEN with a Sqn at ROOSTEREN, a second at ILLIKHOVEN and a third concentrated under command 131 Bde at JABEEK, available in the event of an enemy breakthrough between 131 Bde and 52nd (L) Div. The reserve Sqn was concentrated at OBBICHT. The weather remained cold and some very severe night frosts were experienced. Skating became our main form of exercise, now that shooting was no longer worthwhile, apart from a few fairly successful early morning flights on the river MAAS.
Runstedt’s great counter attack in the ARDENNES was being steadily pushed back and there now seemed to be a better chance of an enemy attack being carried out on our front. The civilians who came through the lines, reported that any German tanks that had moved onto our sector had now gone South, presumably to reinforce the depleted Panzers in the South.
Extensive mining and wiring was being carried out, and with the freezing of the canal, extra stop-gap patrols were put out at night. On the night of the 3rd, a small German patrol crossed the canal and kidnapped one of the ROOSTEREN Resistance personnel in the area of 653774. On the following night A Sqn patrols in the ROOSTEREN area were subjected to very accurate mortar fire.
C Sqn. – The Sqn moved through SITTARD and into GERMANY by WEHR, and out again soon afterwards to JABEEK in reserve under command 131 Bde. No role unless a breakthrough by the enemy developed, except right flank liaison, Lt Pearson.
B Sqn. – The Sqn moved to OBBICHT and C Sqn took over at JABEEK. We had no commitment at OBBICHT. There was a lot of enemy air activity, single engined fighters.
D Sqn. 1 – 8th – In reserve at OBBICHT. Moved to JABEEK on the 4th and remained there until the 8th. While there we had a very good lecture by Major Nangle DSO (2i/c 1/5th Queens) on Infantry tactics and life. We also had a very good dance with the local band aided by Tpr Wright on the piano and Sigm Buttery with his trumpet. It snowed again on the 8th and the move back to OBBICHT was a bit skiddy.
On the website below it states that the Hussars were in Italy, but not at the time of Thomas Hubert’s death, so adding credence to whether he was a Prisoner of War:-
https://www.nam.ac.uk/explore/11th-hussars-prince-alberts-own World War 2 – It fought in the Western Desert during the early years of the Second World War (1939-45), where its engagements included Beda Fomm (1941) and the Second Battle of El Alamein (1942). It later moved on to Italy in 1943 and North West Europe from June 1944 to the war’s end.
Any information on the mystery of why Thomas Hubert Boswell was buried in Rome or can shed any light on his life, would be gratefully received as he must not be forgotten.
I now look at the Casualty Form No. 1717 (Page 7) and Thomas is listed among the names as having “Died,” which in Army parlance means that he died of natural causes. Accidental Death would have been written if he had an accident or Died of Wounds, if he had a war injury, so he could have had any number of illnesses or diseases.
Thomas Hubert’s own Probate shows that Olive Eileen was to be the sole Legatee. – BOSWELL, Thomas Hubert of 78, Mancot Way, Mancot Royal, Flintshire died 10th March 1945 on War Service. Administration Bangor 10th December to Olive Eileen BOSWELL, Widow.
In any case he was loved and remembered for perpetuity on the War Memorial and his Gravestone inscription tells us:-
“THE BELOVED HUSBAND OF OLIVE EILEEN. PEACE, PERFECT PEACE”