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Sergeant Frederick J PETRIE MM and MiDr signs for the splendid fighting service of 43rd WESSEX DIVISION, mainly TERRITORIAL ARMY,with its Wyvern symbol flying on Wessex battle standards going back to well before the Battle of Hastings, which under Manor General G Ivor THOMAS (a WW1 Artillery officer) and Brig EASAMEr played asignificant role within 2nd ARMY in the LIBERATION of North West EUROPE.
His own role as a SAPPER was with the 553 FIELD COMPANY. ROYAL ENGINEERS (part of 130 BRIGADE, with its constituent 7th ROYAL HAMPSHIRES. 4th and 5th DORSETS and 112 Field Regiment ROYALARTILLERY) was mainly in MINE CLEARANCE at NORMANDY (24-26June toJul 1944) and the Battle of GEILENKIRCHEN (first , where SAPPERS were also used as Infantry, himself at HOVEN; also recalled is the first British ASSAULT CROSSING of the SEINE at VERNQN/VERNQNNEJ1 and the earlier work in Normandy, particularly the bitter fighting for HILL112 (5 DCLI and costliest Battalion action of Campaign) and then MONTPINCON, the later relief of the AIRBORNE FORCES at ARNHEM and after the Anglo-American GEILENKIRCHEN Offensive, the ROER SALIENT, GOCH. XANTEN, the RHINE BRIDGEHEAD at REES, liberation of Eastern Holland and the drive east via CLOPPENBURG into BREMEN.
The 43rd DIVISION also had 60 Officers seconded from the CANADIAN ARMY and commemorative replicas of the DIVISIONAL MEMORIAL stand at Rough Tor in CORNWALL. Wynard’s Gap in SOMERSET and in MERE, WILTSHIRE. The Division was reformed at the outbreak of WW2 and trained largely in Kent initially against the threat of invasion, delayed by the storms in the English Channel, most units were ashore by 21st June, 1944 and their first major battle alongside15th SCOTTISH DIVISION began at the end of June. Most of their Tank Support was provided by 8th ARMOURED BRIGADE.
Casualty figures were 1,587 KILLED, 8,292 WOUNDED and 2,603 MISSING of about 40,000 men.