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64 Medium Regiment Royal Artillery
Service no 909424
Alfred was a Prisoner of War following action in the Western Desert.
When he died his daughter Maureen wrote this obituary about him for the RA magazine which she has kindly let me add to the website:
Alfred and his twin brother Patrick were born in Poplar, East London on 15 December 1919. They both attended Ricardo Street Elementary School until leaving at the age of 14 years, with excellent reports but no formal qualifications. This latter fact was to drive Alfred on in his lifetime quest for self-improvement.
From 1933 until 1939, Alfred worked as a tailor and his interests at the time, cricket, boxing, swimming and amateur dramatics demonstrated an already active personality.
Alfred and Patrick joined the Royal Artillery four months before the outbreak of WW2, and they served together in 64 Medium Regiment through most of it. They stuck together during action in the Western Desert and the disastrous campaigns in Greece and Crete.
It was by supporting and caring for each other that they survived the gruelling 60-mile march over the White Mountains to Sphakia, where they were taken off Crete by the last Royal Navy destroyer, HMS Kimberley, on 1 June 1941. The two saw further action in the desert together until, in 1942, Alfred was captured at Tobruk near Alamein. He was to spend the rest of the war in Italian and German prison camps.
After demobilisation in 1945, Alfred returned to Poplar to join a local asphalting company and in 1948 he married Doreen Seabrook. He studied hard, becoming a Fellow of The Institute of Asphalt Technology and an Examiner for City and Guilds. He eventually became a director of his firm and a leading consultant in his field, advising on many complex projects, including work on the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral.
Remembering his wartime colleagues and experiences, Alfred was ever active in veteran’s affairs. He was a member of the 8th Army Association, but his greatest interest was in Crete. A member of the Crete Veterans’ Association, each year in returned with Doreen for the Battle of Crete Commemoration Services. It was at these events that he developed many friendships, both with fellow Veterans and with local Cretan families. He was appointed an Honorary Member of the New Zealand Crete Veterans’ Association, of which he was most proud. A good raconteur, Alfred was interviewed by BBC for a Timewatch programme on the Battle of Crete. He had been asked by the Imperial War Museum and BBC for further interviews, but unfortunately he was to die before these could be arranged.
He will be greatly missed by his family and his many friends in UK and Crete.