The Old Diocesan Issue5 Mar2020 - Page 78



Line defences in the Apennines
was launched. The fighting was
especially severe from this point,
with many ODs involved, and it
would be nearly impossible in
such a short space to give justice
to their deeds and heroics with
any depth. Rather, a selection
of accounts from soldiers in the
campaign can give voice, 75 years
later, to their role in history.
During the war, many ODs
corresponded with Frank Reid,
long-serving secretary of the ODU,
who had held the position since
1908. Frank’s tenure overlapped
with both World Wars, and was
interrupted for him to join the
fighting in East Africa in WWI,
where he was wounded twice,
severely enough in one of the
campaigns to be repatriated.
Well beyond fighting age in WWII,
he kept meticulous record in the
Diocesan College magazine of the
letters and post cards he received.
The following are a selection of
his reports (edited for style and
consistency) that include some
familiar Bishops surnames.
MISSING, THEN PRISONER:
For over a month from 31
December, Capt Lawrence
Waugh, DFC (1932-40), was
reported missing from air
operations in the Avezzano
area, “not very far” from Rome.
He “was last seen, strafing two
motor vehicles where there
was a gun position containing
six machine guns”. In February
came the good news that he was
safe, but a prisoner in Germany.
It is likely that Lawrence’s
Spitfire was damaged; that
he was forced to land or bale
out some distance from the
scene of the battle and was
taken prisoner the same day.
In the Desert, Lawrence had
a splendid record for which
he was mentioned – twice,
we believe – and was awarded
the DFC… Capt V Wells of the
Bishops staff has sent from
Italy a copy of the Eighth
Army News of 15 November,
which has a photograph of five
Spitfire pilots (two Australians,
an American, a New Zealander
and Lawrence Waugh) who, led
by Lawrence, had destroyed a
train carrying 100,000 gallons
of petrol to the German Army
in Italy. This is what the
assistant director of Air
Personnel, SAAF, has written:
“Lawrence has proved himself
one of the distinguished pilots
in the SAAF. In his second tour
of operations, he continued the
BISHOPS IN WORLD WAR II – THE NUMBERS
There were 1,532 ODs
in full-time service
146
were killed
or died
887 HELD COMMISSIONS
76 | THE OLD DIOCESAN
204
138
went missing,
including POWs
were POWs, of
whom 37 escaped
There were 284 honours
and awards
Maj-Gen William Henry Evered Poole,
who matriculated from Bishops in 1919,
served as a Brigadier at El-Alamein,
where he was awarded the DSO. He
went on to command the 6th South
African Armoured Division in Italy,
and was made a CBE in 1945. On his
death in 1969, he was described in the
Cape Times as “one of South Africa’s
greatest soldiers and diplomats”.
exceptionally fine work he had
accomplished in the Western
Desert during the eventful days
of 1942. His name is mentioned
whenever the deeds of our pilots
are discussed. But it is as a man
that he proved himself most
exceptional. His ready sense
of humour, his comradeship
and his fund of understanding
have endeared him to all.”
CAPT PETER GRIFFITHS, whose
death as a prisoner of war in
Germany we recorded in June,
was in the same camp as Major
John Newman, DSO, who wrote
further details: “Yesterday
I represented the camp at Peter
Griffiths’ funeral. He was killed
while trying to jump off the
train in order to escape. He had
a brilliant record. He was a real
hero and died doing his duty for
his country. It has been very sad,
but we got some consolation
from the fact that the German





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