WW2 British Army Essex Regiment Officers Trousers Lt Col K. F May OBE POW Escapee.Genuine officers trousers originally owned by Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth Ferguson May OBE (15338) who was a career soldier and a veteran of the First and Second World Wars serving in the Essex regiment. These trousers came with a group of uniform items which were attributed to K.
May, other battledress uniform items owned by K. May are available in my other items. During the First World War K.
May was commissioned as an officer, the undermentioned Gentlemen Cadets, from the Royal Military College, to be 2nd Lts. Published London Gazette 18th December 1917 Supplement 30438 Page 13336. While serving in the Essex Regiment K.
May was wounded in action 30th August 1918 and authorised to wear a wound stripe. War Office Daily List No. Later in the war promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. Medal index card details K. May served in France from 22nd April 1918 and was awarded the Victory Medal and British War Medal.
During the interwar period K. May continued to serve in the army in the Essex Regiment 2nd Battalion in the West African Frontier in Lokoja, located in Nigeria.
Promoted further to Captain and later to Major serving in the 1st/6th Battalion. Essex Regiment (64th Searchlight Regiment). After the outbreak of he Second World War K.
May served in the 2/5th Essex TA who were attached to the 161st Brigade (Essex Brigade) until the 15th October 1941. During this period the 2/5th Essex were on home defence duty in which the Essex Regiment had close ties with the Home Guard. They shared the same training facilities and the Home Guard were trained by Essex regiment instructors.
In December 1941 the 2/5th Essex was attached to the 18th Indian Infantry Brigade, 8th Indian Division who were sent to fight in North Africa. On the 1st July 1942 the 2/5th Essex were wiped out by the 15th Panzer Division during Rommel's advance towards Al Alamein, all soldiers of the 2/5th were either killed, wounded or captured. The article by Major M. D below details the defeat of the 2/5th Essex.Deir-el-Shein was a small depression of solid rock covered by 18 inches of sand and 2/5th Essex were dumped there with only their rifle companies - no anti-tank guns, no carriers and certainly no armour. With no explosives to shift rock, slit trenches could only be scraped into 18 inches of sand and afforded no cover from view or protection from shot or shell. On 1 July 1942 the German 15th Panzer Division arrived and started to shell the Battalion and launch an all out attack. Despite being totally outnumbered this was repulsed with fighting continuing until early afternoon when a sandstorm blew up. Under cover of this 15th Panzer threw all their tanks against the Battalion's pitiful anti-tank defences and, of course, broke through. Fighting still continued area to area until early evening when resistance inevitably ceased with 2/5th Essex completely annihilated - all dead, wounded or captured. Although the 2/5th were wiped out at Dier-el-Shein, their actions delayed the advance enough to allow the 8th Army to regroup and organise defences for the First Battle of El Alamein. May was initially reported missing in action in the.
National Archive reference WO417/003 and later reported as a prisoner of war 29/08/1942 Casualty List No. 915 National Archive reference WO417/3.He made multiple attempts to escape, initially from the back of a lorry while being transported but was recaptured in 20 hrs. He was sent to Camp 29 in Veano Italy in which in mid-July 1943 he successfully escaped via a plot to tunnel out of the camp. He almost reached the Italo-Swiss border but gave himself up due to weakness from cold exposure, he received 30 days confinement. After the Italian Armistice 23rd September 1944 K. May left the camp and led a group of POWs via land and sea to Corscia. For his actions of attempted escapes and leading his men to allied territory to continue fighting K. May was awarded the OBE. Below features extracts from K. May's OBE Citation, National Archives reference WO 373/95/545.
When the armistice with Italy was signed the senior British Officer took charge of the camp and organised P/W into parties for escaping. Food was distributed and at 1130 hrs on the 10 Sept 43, all P/W were marched from the camp. I recommend the following officers for the awards shown. Captured at Al Alamein on the 1 Jul 1942, Lt-Col May was sent via Barce, Bariand Chieti to Veano (Camp29). About 4 Jul 42 this officer escaped from the back of a lorry but was recaptured after 20 hrs.
In mid-July 43 he escaped from Camp 29 through a tunnel with seven other officers; they immediately dispersed and Lt-Col May almost reached the Italo-Swiss frontier but was obliged to give himself up because he was so weak from cold and exposure. For this attempt he received 30 days' confinement. When the P/W from Camp 29 dispersed after the Armistice 23 Sept 43, they were joined by another party of P/W, but subsequently separated to ensure greater safety.
Assisted by friendly Italians, they remained in this locality until 17 Feb 44 when their journey to Corsica, partly by land and partly by sea, was arranged for them. Lt-Col May was the leader of the party of officers and other ranks. After returning back to Britain K.
May commanded the 1/5th Battalion The Leicestershire Regiment, C Wing 148 pre-O. U training establishment for the duration of the war and early post war period 10th Sept 1944 - 12th August 1946. This is detailed on the Royal Leicestershire Regiment Website, extract below. Commissioned into The Essex Regiment. Commanded 2/5th Essex in Egypt and captured at El Alamein in Jul 1942.
After 14 months as a POW, escaped from Italy and was awarded O. Commanded 1/5th Bn The Leicestershire Regiment'C' Wing 148 pre-O.Training Establishment 10.9.1944 to 12.8.1946. These officers trousers are a privately tailored example, in good clean condition and made from from all natural fibres. Feature button fly closure (one button missing). Buttons to the waist to secure braces and a tailors label to the interior which reads.
The approximate measurements of the trousers are. Top of waist to bottom hem - 40 inches.Inner leg - 24 inches. Please look at my other items for more militaria and collectables.