The Rifles & RGBW Regimental Association

The Death of Fredrick Perkins


This is to inform you of the recent death of 5351928 Pte Fredrick George Perkins who passed away on the 13 July at The Royal Surrey County Hospital.

Fred will be cremated on the 29th August 1330pm at The Park Crematorium, Guildford Road, Aldershot, Hampshire GU12 4BP.
Fred's stepson has written a few words about his varied and interesting service

5351928 Frederick George Perkins. 5th Bn R Berks, 4th Bn Wilts, 1st Bn DCLI

Fred was born on the 2nd of December 1923,
at 9 Grange Lane, Tongham, Surrey.

He was the son of George Perkins and Ethel (Nee Bright).

“Fredie”’s father was a corporal in the Army, and came from “west of Monmouth”. At the time of his marriage he gave his address as Curragh Camp in Ireland, and his occupation as "domestic groom".
George and Ethel had a second child
Ruth b.1924
George was removed to Brookwood mental asylum when Fred was only 2years old, and he died there in December 1926.
Ethel married again, twice.
1) M.Albert Hall….>Len. Albert died.
2) M.William Alden. He died when Fred was in the Army.
Fred went to school at St Paul’s School, Tongham. Surrey
Because Fred had a job to go to, he was allowed to leave school in the summer of 1937. (Normal school leaving was at age 14, unless you could show that you had a job to go to.)

He started work as a nurseryman at Bide’s Nurseries. This job lasted until war broke out, and in November 1940 he moved to Crosby’s to do war work. He was a night worker, and a member of the Works Fire Section. (They had to deal with three big fires while he was there.)

In June 1942, at age 18 ½, he was called up to the Army. He joined the 5th Royal Berkshire Regiment as Private 5351928 Perkins.

He did basic training at Reading, and was then posted to Aldeburgh, Suffolk, where he was in a beach defence battalion. (A German invasion was expected to come across the North Sea.)

In Spring 1943 he moved to Troon, Scotland. The camp was in the middle of the championship golf course, and the men took part in exercises as a beach group, planning for the D-Day landings.

He was then moved to Waterlooville, Hampshire. His regiment was attached to the Third Canadian Division as their no.8 beach group, and they took part in three major exercises to prepare for D-Day.

June 6th 1944. D-Day. Fred landed on Juno beach at 0700hrs and was in the thick of the action, and came under heavy fire.

After one month in France, at Bernieres-sur-Mer, the battalion was broken up, and platoons were sent to strengthen different regiments which had suffered heavy losses. Fred went to the 4th Wiltshire Battalion - 43rd (Wessex) Division. He joined the 129th brigade of that division on the breakout of Caen. He proceeded across northern France to make the Seine crossing at Vernon S/Seine, and then crossed France northwards and into Belgium. He entered Brussels on the same morning as the 2nd Army.

He then continued north as far as the Dutch border, and in September 1944, attacked Holland, (Exercise “Market Garden”).

On to Nijmegen (under fire) he reached the little town of Elst (1½ miles from Arnhem). Then to Aachen. He helped capture Gelsenkirchen, but was then wounded with shrapnel in his knee.

(A pal of Fred was Tom Collins. They joined up together, went everywhere together and survived together. When Fred was wounded he was evacuated by stretcher to a first-aid station. He was put in a tent, on the floor, next to…Tom Collins! Tom had been wounded in the same action, and they were taken back to England together.)

Fred was flown back to Lyneham in Wiltshire, then taken by train to Swansea, where he was nursed in Morriston Hospital.

After a brief period of convalescence in, in penicuick
Scotland, Fred was sent to join a holding battalion in Felixstowe. While he was there, on 10/11/12th of May 1945 the German navy surrendered. Fred watched 20 or more German “E boats” come in to Felixstowe harbour to surrender.

But the war went on.

Fred was moved to Sussex with the 1st Battalion, Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry. In Ashdown forest they trained in jungle warfare (it was proposed to land on Japan as a glider/airborne force). While this was going on, the Americans dropped two atom bombs on Japan, and there was no more need to go out there.

Change of plan! Fred was sent instead to Palestine to deal with the Jewish problems there. While there he went to Trans Jordan (now known as Jordan), and developed rheumatic fever. He needed nine months of convalescence, in both Jerusalem Hospital and the Cambridge Military Hospital in Aldershot, Hants.

Fred was finally discharged “medically unfit”, and given a grey pinstriped suit and a trilby hat!

This was 1947, and Fred was overdue in “Demob”. In all he had served 5 years and 87 days in the Army!

Before Fred was demobbed, his mother had been widowed for the third time, and had moved home to live with her sister at Aldershot. Before Fred arrived home, his aunt died, so Fred and his mother moved in to a house at May Crescent, Ash.

Fred found work at Dolly’s nurseries, (a market garden in Farnham), and stayed there for a while, hoping that something better would come along.

He was soon in the building trade, working for Kemp Stroud in Aldershot where he trained to be a bricklayer. He was classed as an “improver”, and turning down the opportunity to serve an apprenticeship, he became a brickie after four years. A long career with the firm and promotions led to him becoming a site supervisor. He stayed with Kemp Stroud right up till his retirement on his 65th birthday.

When Fred left the army he was very keen on all sports. He played soccer for Tongham F C up till the age of 42, and then managed the side, achieving considerable success in league and Surrey cup matches.


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