Regimental History is one gigantic jigsaw puzzle.
The main edges are there, forming the outer picture, but it’s the central detail that always takes the time to complete. Yesterday, I posted that I was going to look through the Regimental Gazettes for the Palestine period to see if I could find any reference to Jim or Charlie Doggett. Amazingly I found both.
Jim was still serving in C Coy in Company HQ in 1946, and Charlie still with the Anti-Tank Platoon. Then I had a brainwave (And it doesn’t happen all that often!) my old grey matter recalled that I had some photographs of the Anti-Tank Platoon taken by Captain John Perrett and I wondered if by any slim chance, he might be in one of them?
John Perrett was a reinforcement officer who joined the Battalion for the Ox. and Bucks LI after the attack on the Chateau de la Londe on 28 June 1944 and remained with the Battalion until 1947, though he had been in hospital in March 1945 after he was wounded by shrapnel during the advance to Goch.
He had commanded the Anti-Tank Platoon in Holland before becoming a platoon commander in D Company just before Christmas 1944. He recovered quickly from his wounds and was back serving with D Company again at the end of March 1945, and went back to the Anti-Tank Platoon at the very end of the war. He was still commanding it in Palestine, before he was demobbed in late 1946.
John was the President of the Leiston Branch of the Old Comrades Association and was a regular attendee on the regimental pilgrimages in the 1980s and 1990s with his wife Jane. When John passed away some years back, at his funeral, the family had out his albums from the Second World War and Palestine and I was fortunate enough to be allowed to photograph the pages of his wartime service.
Looking back on these pictures of Palestine (and we don’t have much in the Regimental Archives of that time) there were several faces that were familiar to me, mainly officers, but in one photograph of members of the Anti Tank Platoon, there was Charlie Doggett staring back at me - what a fantastic result!
Another piece of that great jigsaw has been put back into place. There still many more pieces to find and place, but I’m getting there...very slowly!