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Tragic toll of the Fallen who lost lives in the fight for Normandy: D-Day special

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D-Day, when the Allied forces launched a combined naval, air and land assault on the Normandy beaches of Nazi-occupied France, was the start of Operation Overlord, which ultimately led to Victory in Europe in 1945.

Through June, July and August in 1944, as the Allies continued to push further inland, they faced strong and determined German resistance.

It is estimated that during the Battle of Normandy, the Allies suffered some 210,000 casualties, with around 37,000 killed among the ground forces.

The Lynn Advertiser, during those three months kept readers informed of local casualties and here are some of those sad reports:

News has been received of the death of Gunner Ernest Pattingale, of Hillgate Street, Terrington St Clement, who has been killed in action in France.

The troop commander, in a letter to Mrs Pattingale, states that Gunner Pattingale was “a gallant soldier who stuck to his position to the last.”

Widespread sympathy has been extended to Mrs Pattingale and her three children in their bereavement.

Sgt George A Hollox, whose mother lives at Tottenhill, was killed in action in Normandy on D-Day. He had been in the Army for 14 years.

News has been received by Mrs A Watson of Roman Bank, Terrington St Clement, that her husband Sgt Aubrey Watson, of the Royal Artillery, aged 24, has been killed in Normandy.

The British cemetery at Hermanville-sur-Mer (11906511)
The British cemetery at Hermanville-sur-Mer (11906511)

Sgt Watson, who was the son of Mrs J Ewen of Downham West, was formerly a clerk for Messrs W Brown and Son of Downham. He was a keen athlete and a member of the Ely and District Boxing Club, having won many trophies in sports events. He leaves one child, a baby of seven months.

Lieut P. Hunter, only son of Mr and Mrs F Hunter, of Red Barn, Ingoldisthorpe, has just returned to his unit after 10 days’ leave at home following a wound sustained in Normandy. He was given the immediate award of the Military Cross for his part during the assault on D-Day. Lieut Hunter is well-known as a West Norfolk cricketer.

News has been received that Sgt G Victor Day, son of Mr and Mrs H Day, of Runcton Holme, whose wife and baby daughter live in Stoke Ferry, has been slightly wounded in Normandy and is now in hospital in England. Whilst in Normandy, Sgt Victor Day had met his brother, Leading Aircraftman Jocelyn Day, and the two spent some free time together.

Driver John James Walker (21), only son of Mr and Mrs James Walker, of Mill House, Gedney Drove End, and grandson of the late Mrs Ellen Rasberry, of Gayton has been killed in action in Normandy. The sad news was first received in a letter from the padre and later from the troop officer, who paid a glowing tribute to Driver Walker’s devotion to duty.

Mr and Mrs Lakey, of Wereham, have received news that their son, Lance Cpl Alan Lakey, has been wounded in the right eye in Normandy. He is in Liverpool Hospital and progressing.

Sgt Guy Mele, elder son of Mr and Mrs A C Mele, of the Granaries, Docking, is in an English hospital suffering from shrapnel wounds in the feet and arm, sustained in action in France. He is progressing satisfactorily.

Pte Raymond Poppleton, of North Creake, recently serving in Normandy, is in hospital with severe leg injuries cause by a mortar bomb.

Capt Robert Wilson, second son of Mrs Edith Wilson of The Warren, Ingoldisthorpe, is in hospital in northern England, recovering from wounds received in Normandy. Capt Wilson was among the first to make landings in Normandy on D-Day.

Trooper J W Cullen, husband of Mrs J Cullen, of Chapel Road, Terrington St Clement, has been killed in action in Normandy. He was the only son of Mrs Cullen and the late Mr A Cullen, of Lynn. Two small children are also bereaved. Prior to joining up, Trooper Cullen was in the employ of Mr J Eggleton, of Terrington St Clement.

News has been received that Sgt J Mouncer (25) was killed in action in Normandy in June. Sgt Mouncer, the fifth son of the late Mr and Mrs H Mouncer, of Mundford, had been in the Army over four years; his wife lives at Bury St Edmunds. His brother Cpl F Mouncer, formerly of Denver and Downham Market, was killed in April while serving with the RAF, and another brother is a prisoner-of-war in Japanese hands.

Sgt Alfred Orange, son of Mr and Mrs J Orange of Feltwell, has returned from Normandy, where he was wounded in the left arm and been admitted to hospital where it was found necessary to amputate the arm up to the shoulder. He is reported to be progressing satisfactorily. He had served since the beginning of the war in an anti-tank regiment and was married on March 1.

Trooper Raymond Pattingale (22) only son of Mrs A Pattingale, of Hill Road, Ingoldisthorpe, who was recently reported as missing, is now known to have been killed in action. He was attached to the Tank Corps and was among the first to land in Normandy.

Mrs B Beales, of Barroway Drove, has been informed that her husband, Pte B Beales of the Royal Norfolk Regiment has been wounded in both legs in France.

Pte Beales tells of the efficient way in which he was conveyed 25 miles and operated upon within eight hours of being wounded. He says he is being well cared for in a hospital in Wales.

He joined up in 1940 and was trained as Army shoemender, at which he had been working.

Mr and Mrs E Hudson, of Lamsey Lane, Heacham, have received information that their only son, Pte Ernest Hudson, of the Royal Norfolks, has been wounded in France and is now in hospital in England.

Mrs W Petchey, of Lynn Road, Gaywood, has received official information that her husband, Pte William Petchey, of the Royal Norfolk Regiment, has been wounded in Normandy and that he is back in hospital in England. Before joining the Norfolks, he was employed as a poster writer at the Swaffham cinema.

Flt Lt K Porter, of Norwich Road, Shouldham, who was recently seriously wounded in an air combat over Northern France, is now progressing favourably in hospital in Southern England.

Mrs E Allen of Stoke Ferry has received a letter from Sqdn-Ldr Ralph Reader, of the RAF Gang Shows, to say that he met her son, Lance Cpl Geoffrey Allen (22) in Normandy and found him extremely fit and very happy.

Mr M Barnes of Norfolk Street, Lynn, has been advised by the War Office that his son, Pte W Barnes, of the Royal Norfolk Regiment, was wounded in the recent advance into Normandy, but is carrying on with his duties.

Mr and Mrs A Jordan, of Fakenham Road, Docking, have been officially informed of the death in action in Normandy of their eldest son, Pte C Jordan, of the Royal Norfolk Regiment.

Before joining up he was milk roundsman in the village for Mr Brereton and was much respected for the quiet and efficient manner in which he went about his work. Deep sympathy is felt for his parents and brothers and sisters.

Capt R. Gibson (26) has been killed in action while serving with the Royal Norfolks in Normandy. He was the youngest son of the managing director of Messrs C.W.Marsters Ltd, seed specialists of Lynn and was also a director of the firm.

He was married in 1940 to Dr Helen Wagstaff, younger daughter of Mr and Mrs J Wagstaff, now of Arundel, Sussex. Mr Wagstaff was formerly headmaster of Lynn’s King Edward VII School.

Capt Gibson matriculated at KES at the age of 15 and went to Wye Agricultural College in Kent where he took his degrees.

He served in France with the Royal Norfolks early in 1940. He returned to England a few days before Dunkirk for an engineering course at Chatham – and most of the Battalion was captured at St Valery a week or so later.

Mr W Cousins, of Southend Road, Hunstanton, has been notified that his son, Pte Leslie Cousins, of the Royal Norfolk Regiment, has been killed in action in Normandy.

Pte Cousins joined the Territorials in 1938 and worked for London Central Meat Co, at Hunstanton. He was one of the youngest members of Hunstanton British Legion, regularly attended the Union Chapel, and was a member of the Hunstanton boys’ club.

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