Author Topic: Hello from Limerick  (Read 11632 times)

princess fleabag

  • Guest
Hello from Limerick
« on: May 30, 2013, 10:06:17 AM »
Greetings from Co. Limerick,

My father was Pte. Frederick Maurice Fitton, 22459080, who did his National Service with the Manchester Regiment from February 1951 to February 1953.  He served in Malaya and judging from the amount of memorabilia he kept and from what he told me, he loved his time with the Manchesters.  It was the first time he'd ever been out of England and I think I remember him telling me about going through the Suez Canal.

After leaving the Manchesters, he lived in Bury, had 2 daughters and worked in jobs with various different textile companies.  He retained his love of all things military though and we used to go to the airshows up and down the country together every year.  Unfortunately, he died in Bury in 1998.   

I have lots of photographs from Malaya that I'll scan and put on the Malaya Forum but in the meantime I would love to hear from anyone that knew of my father. 

Thank you  :)

Offline george.theshed197

  • sadly no longer with us
  • *
  • Posts: 1,162
Re: Hello from Limerick
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2013, 05:36:00 PM »
Hi there to the lass from Co. Limerick,
I have checked my old address book for the members of the Malayan Vets and spotted one D. FITTON, recorded as living at Woodlands View, Station Road, Houghton, Lancs. PR3 )dd.  These details were noted around about the early days in which the MVA were being formed in Ashton-ubder-Lyne at the Ashton Town Hall of the Ladywell Pub.
Any connection ??
Apai Tuai George.

Offline Wendi

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,692
  • Peeking into the past
Re: Hello from Limerick
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2013, 06:11:55 PM »
Hi Princess Fleabag, and a warm welcome to our Forum  ;D

We love photos, was your father in the 1st Battalion? because we already have a section for Far East Photos for the 1st Battalion. 

Wendi  :)
"Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it!  No matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and with your own common sense" ~ Buddha

Offline tonyrod

  • ****
  • Posts: 4,830
Re: Hello from Limerick
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2013, 06:20:16 PM »
hi princess, and welcome to the forum, I have moved you to this section in the hope of better results,, enjoy your stay, ;D tonyrod

Offline Pete Th

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,579
Re: Hello from Limerick
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2013, 08:58:37 PM »
Hi and welcome  ;D
Remembering

Pte Sidney Lee (36719), 2nd Battalion, Worcestershire Regt - dow 18.02.17
Sgt Charles Roberts (13668), 11th Bn, Manchester Regiment - kia 18.05.18
Bombardier John Hesford (70065), 147th Heavy Battery, RGA dow - 04.09.18
Pte Sidney Lee (4131324), 8th Bn, Cheshire Regiment -  kia 12.03.41

Offline harribobs

  • Site Monkey
  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 5,181
Re: Hello from Limerick
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2013, 11:51:51 PM »
Hi Princess

and welcome

we'd love to see the photos
“It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply
  to serve as a warning to others."

princess fleabag

  • Guest
Re: Hello from Limerick
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2013, 11:56:53 PM »
Hello everybody,

Thanks for the welcomes and information.

For george.theshed, no I don't think there is any connection there.  My father was an only child and from what I have found so far, only lived in Bury and Ainsworth after being born in Runcorn.

For Wendi, yes, I think he was in the 1st battalion.  I have a war diary page beginning 30 July 1951 which records that:-
   " 1st Bn. The Manchester Regiment undertook all operational committments in KEDAH, PERLIS, PROV WELLESLEY and PENANG ISLAND from 1st Bn. K.O.Y.L.I" 

I can't get to a scanner till next week but I'll scan this and the photographs in.  Amongst the photographs is one of my father with 4 other soldiers at Port Said on July 13th (no year given).  The other soldiers are recorded as Cliff Taylor, Warrington, Sam Booth, Gerry Bannister, Oldham, and Tommy Cullen, Blackburn.  There's also a photograph of the S. S. Asturias which I presume is the ship he sailed in.

Hope this extra information helps, lastly I have his Certificate of Service which records he enlisted in the Lancs Bde TC on 15 Feb. 1951 and was discharged on the 14 Aug. 1956 after 2 years 23 days NS with 'the colours' and 3 years 159 days with the Territorial Army finishing as a Fusilier.





Offline george.theshed197

  • sadly no longer with us
  • *
  • Posts: 1,162
Re: Hello from Limerick
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2013, 10:34:30 AM »
Hi again Princess,
Not to worry - it was a million to one chance but worth the try.
I had the good or bad misfortune which ever way you may look at it - I was on leave in Manchester when I received confirmation that I was to return to Saighton Camp, Chester, to have my innoculations then return to complete my Embarkation Leave prior to my travelling on the Advance Party of the 1st Bn The Manchester Regiment on our Overseas Tour to Malaya and if my memory serves me right we sailed off from Southmpton  around about March or April, on arriving in Singapore under the Command of Capt Bill Moss our group of Cpls disembarked late in the evening on to Troop Carrier vehicles and headed northwards the Jungle  Warfare School at Kota Tingah, Johore for our six week training at the 'gentle hands' (?) of the Australian Army former Veterans of the Papua New Guinea and Pacific Islands Forces. We were to regain our rightlfull Companies some few weeks later later, I along with Johhny Heason and Capt. Bill Moss were picked up by  the K.O.Y.L.I. troops and taken with them to Kroh in the north of Kedah near to the Siamese Border.
Again if my memory serves me right  the bulk of the battalion travelled around end of May time on the M.T.Empire Halladale leaving Liverpool on the 30 May 1951;seemingly a further group, possibly the rear party travelled on the M.T. Asturias and would also have come via the Suez. The next port of call would have been Aden then Colombo and on to  Singapore and by trucks then to Selerang Barracks The Battalion  then stayed in Singapore for about a month to six weeks then  have entrained for travelling up to one of the following locations - HQ to Minden Barracks, Georgetown, Penang  and took over the then posting held by the K.O.Y.L.I ( a Yorkshire Regiment) at Kroh and possibly Kuala Nerang and Lubok Seginta.
Without knowing to which company your father would have been posted I cannot advise you further where he might  have been stationed so would leave it at at that until we received further information from you.
We enjoyed, as previous responders have stated your joining us and look forward for receiving more details and photographs from you.
Cheers,
Apai Tuai George.

princess fleabag

  • Guest
Re: Hello from Limerick
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2013, 03:11:50 PM »
Hello,

Here are some of the photos - hopefully!

princess fleabag

  • Guest
Re: Hello from Limerick
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2013, 03:14:06 PM »
Hello,

I'm uploading one at a time as the last upload failed!

princess fleabag

  • Guest
Re: Hello from Limerick
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2013, 03:21:44 PM »
This is the war diary page, had to put it into a Word document as the file size was very large.  For george.theshed may be this will give you some clues as it mentions companies.  Hope it's legible!

My father often mentioned Saighton camp and also had a huge kukri which he said he bought from an Arab whilst going through the Middle East.  I don't know if this is true because these knives are Nepalese but he certainly didn't pick it up on Bury Market!

I have my father's passport and will check for stamps and dates to see if if I can establish when he was travelling through the places you mention. 


Offline george.theshed197

  • sadly no longer with us
  • *
  • Posts: 1,162
Re: Hello from Limerick
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2013, 07:12:23 PM »
Good evening Princess,
I have had good look at all the faces but for a while thought the chap  towards the centre the one with the pipe was Sgt Johnny REDWOOD ???? if so that would indicate to me that this was possibly  S Coy;  the War Diary gave me a bit of a problem but I managed to get it eventually but can only find one page ? - 30th July 1951 to3rd Aug.? Was there anything further?  It seems so strange almost as though the document was  incomplete to quote the final line
3rd Aug.  OPERATION SALFORD.A Coy found food dump at QY350319containing 7 cwts of ............???????
and that was it ?? I had my daughter-in-law see to try and find anything further without the slightest success I regret to have to say - however - here's hoping that you have more.

I read about the huge kukri which your father says he bought from an Arab whilst going the Middle East - as you say they are of Nepalese original i.e. Ghurka Knife; is it possible he was confusing it with a weapon of similar Saudi Arabian format but as worn by the people of that part of the world? I agree with you that type of weapon definitely did not originate from Bury Market !!!!

You say you have your father's passport and would check his travelling route - in that trip he was travelling courtesy H.M. Government on an Army AB64 - Parts I and !! - NOT a Passport so that will be the only details you will find.
Looking forward from further information,
Cheers for now,
George.

Offline rafboy

  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,148
Re: Hello from Limerick
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2013, 07:51:24 PM »
Hi Princess
The battalion came home from Malaya on the Asturias, I was on it with my parents.  It was the first Troopship back from Singapore after the Empire Windrush caught fire and sank.

Take a look at the photos by Battalion section of the Forum and look at the photos from the far east there are a lot from that period.

Have a look at some of the posts here,  (Forgot the link didn't I, here it is:  http://themanchesters.org/forum/index.php?board=34.0 ) there are 2 pages.  Near the bottom of page 1 you will see the subject UTube Videos open this page and you will find a link to 8 videos of the Malayan Emergency period.

Cliff (rafboy)
« Last Edit: June 01, 2013, 08:40:49 PM by rafboy »
Cliff P Son of 3525679 Sgt Arthur Phillips 1st Bn Manchester Regiment and RAPC

Offline Robert Bonner

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,390
Re: Hello from Limerick
« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2013, 04:14:04 PM »
Hallo Princess - You have created a lot of interest on the Forum.
Unfortunately I do not recognise any of the men in the two photographs.  However if you go to the Regimental Archive site and look up 'Image archive', then insert Fitton and there is a good photograph of a Pte Fitton boldly leading a patrol through the jungle.  Could this be your Father?

The 13th July date in Port Said does not fit in with the movement of the battalion whilst at sea.  The battalion sailed from the UK on 30 May 1951 arriving Singapore 28 June.  It returned to the UK on 5 May 1954 arriving Southampton 25 May. Your Father must have come out with a later draft to join the battalion.

I was very interested to note that you had retrieved part of the battalion war diary. As I wrote in my foreword to Jungle Bashers (September 2002): According to the Public Record Office the battalion war diary was destroyed years ago on the instructions of the relevant committee as being of no historical interest.  Little did they know!

Jungle Bashers is long out of print but the activities of the battalion in Malaya are fully described and illustrated in the recently published The Manchester Regiment - 1st Battalion 1945-1958.  Obtainable through the museum web-site.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2013, 04:16:05 PM by Robert Bonner »
Robert

princess fleabag

  • Guest
Re: Hello from Limerick
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2013, 05:39:44 PM »
Hello everyone,

Thank you for all the responses.  I'll try and answer the queries in return!

For george.theshed, yes this is the only page of the war diary that I have unfortunately.  There is also a wall map of Penang and Wellesley Province with it showing two sites - one for 'Advanced Tactical Headquarters' for the 1st Battalion and one for the Headquarters of  __ Company which has rather annoyingly not been completed.  This was maybe the company my father was in seeing as he has the map.  However the HQ was at Gambier? on Penang Island, near the Glugor Estate and Tongkang Dock.  The map is stamped with the Intelligence Office stamp and dated Nov. 52.  It looks very like my father's writing and he was a clerk in civilian life so I'm wondering if he could have been a clerk in the Army too?  I also have lots of photos of Malayan civilians and each is usually numbered on the back in his writing.

For rafboy, thank you.  I've had a look at the Far East photos.  It all looks very civilized out there, I can understand a little more why he enjoyed it so much.  He always used to say that if he won the football pools he would go back to Penang.

For Robert Bonner, thanks for that information.  The Pte. Fitton shown is not my father as far as I can make out unfortunately.  I will certainly get a copy of the history of the 1st Battalion.

Here are some more photos.  Where there is information on the back, I've included the reverse of the photo also.