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14403442 Pte North A.R

Alfred North was the 19 year old son of Mr and Mrs T North who lived at 5 Smitham Bridge, Hungerford.

On joining the Army he served with 'B' Coy of the 1st Battalion Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry and was to see action on 18 July 1944 when intense fighting took place around the French town of Cahair. It was here that he received wounds to the hands and face in bitter fighting which, following mortar fire, ended in hand to hand combat between the opposing forces.

As the Allieds pushed their way towards the Rhine, the Ox/Bucks were to form part of the 53rd Welsh Division of 43rd Light Infantry, seeing action throughout Belgium and Holland.

By the winter of 1944-5 they were grouped around Nijmegen at the town of Geldrop, where, until 24 February, they were held in reserve.

Plans were drawn up to attack the town of Rottum, where at 9pm on the 24 February, with 1st Highland Light Infantry in support, they moved through Goch to attack nearby woods with a flamethrower unit in support of the advance.

However, it was soon realised that the wrong woods were being attacked, so the troops regrouped to attack again at 2.00am, this time without the flamethrowers, who had exhausted their ammunition. The woods were finally taken with light casualties. However, once established in the woods they came under heavy mortar and shell fire, resulting in 36 casualties, including Alfred North.

In a letter to the family, Major H J Walker explained that the action had taken place in difficult conditions and due to flooding of the area it was not possible to dig in.

Alfred North is buried in the Reichwald War Cemetery in Cleve, Germany.

Photo Gallery:

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- Alfred North

- The impersonal notification received by the North family