In Memoriam  -   Douglas Arthur Prigmore                                                                            Home

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Arthur Ernest Abbott

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Gordon George Elderton

Peter Gifford Felce

Frederick Furr

Harold Philip Gardiner

Anthony Robert Gillitt

Ronald Douglas Hales

Norman Leonard Hornsey

Robert Howard

Edwin Hudson

John Arthur Paul Loake

Richard Saxby Mutimer

Raymond Reginald Norman Raymond George Osborne Brian Terence Peck
Colin Roderick Penness Douglas Arthur Prigmore John Harry Sharp Norman Perkins Sharpe
Robert Troath Died after Korean War: Raymond-Kimber Leslie Walters

If you can help with his career please contact me:  grahamtall@wgsmemories.org.uk

DOUGLAS ARTHUR PRIGMORE, born 6.8.1919, entered the School in September 1931.  He left in July 1935 to take up clerical work. 

He enlisted in the Regular Army on 15th February 1937, and joined the 1st Royal Dragoon Guards.  He embarked for the Middle East in September 1938 and took part in the Campaign with Arab Rebels.  He died of wounds after the Battle for Benghazi, July 1942, and is buried in El Alamein Military Cemetery. 

He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. F Prigmore, 24 St.Barnabas Street, Wellingborough.   "In Memoriam" book information

 

Douglas, unlike most of his Grammar School peers was a "Regular" soldier, for him to selecting the Royal Dragoon Guards tells us something about him.

 His surname is ancestrally linked with Dumfriesshire, Scotland - possibly a  reason for choosing a Scottish regiment?   The Dragoon Guards at that time were mounted soldiers - horsemen; they did not replace the horses with armoured cars until December 1940.  Hence it is likely that Douglas had links with farming and working with horses.

 

Before WW2 was declared the Royal Scots Dragoons were stationed in the Lydda an area of Palestine.  They were there as a result of  the treaties that ended World War I when Britain was given a mandate to govern Palestine for the League of Nations. The first world war British Prime Minister (Arthur Balfour), had made the 'Balfour Declaration', which encouraged Zionists to settle in Palestine.  Not surprisingly increased  immigration of Jews led to quarrels and considerable violence between Arabs and Jews in the region and the British army was deeply involved trying to control the situation. 

The picture below is of a parade of the Royal Scots Greys in Palestine - similar parades will have occurred of the Royal Scots Dragoons.

Photo right: A 'Dingo' Armoured Car - used by reconnaissance regiments like the Royal Scots Dragoons an Royal Scots Greys.

 

In December 1940, the Dragoons moved to the Royal Armoured Corps School at Abbassia, Cairo, where after only four months training they became an Armoured Car Regiment..  'A' Squadron then joined the 11th Hussars in the Western Desert, while 'B' Squadron moved to Syria to take part in the campaign against the Vichy French. On conclusion of the armistice in Syria, the Regiment moved north to Aleppo to patrol the Syrian-Turkish border where they were later joined by 'C' Squadron. (I have no idea which squadron Brian Prigmore was in).

 

In December 1941, The Royal Dragoons joined the Eighth Army in the Western Desert, advancing with it to Benghazi – they were the first troops to enter the city on Christmas Day, 1941 – and on to Agedabia.  During Rommel’s counter-offensive of January 1942,

 

The Regiment acted as flank and rear-guard for the withdrawal to the Gazala line and the subsequent retreat from Tobruk

In May 1942, the regiment was the Reconnaissance Regt for the 1st Armoured Division, before joining the 4th Light Armoured Brigade during the retreat to El Alamein. After stabilization of the line at El Alamein, apart from a month’s rest in order to refit, the Royals were on constant patrol duty. The regiment then joined 10th Armoured Division as its Reconnaissance Regt for El Alamein.

  http://www.desertrat.brigades.btinternet.co.uk/4thABunits.htm#1RD)

 

The Mediterranean the war in North Africa swung to-and-fro like a pendulum. Early in 1942 British Commonwealth forces had advanced westwards from newly-liberated Tobruk deep into Libya. In January General Erwin Rommel's Panzerarmee Afrika had counter-attacked and pushed General Claude Auchinleck's Eighth Army back towards Egypt.  In May Rommel attacked again, driving the British Commonwealth army out of the Gazala line and back into Egypt, re-taking Tobruk in a day.

 

By the end of June 1942 the Eighth Army faced a crisis. It was retreating into Egypt, there to stand on a defensive line established around a little railway station in the Western Desert called El Alamein. In the first week of July Rommel's advance was at last halted. British, South African, New Zealand and Indian divisions stopped the Axis army, itself exhausted by months of desert war at the height of the North African summer. By the end of the first week of July, when the Australians entered what would be known as the first battle of Alamein, the Eighth Army had halted Rommel at El Alamein.

 

For the rest of the month Auchinleck's army made a series of attacks on the German and Italian divisions facing it. At Trig 33, Ruweisat Ridge, Tel el Eisa and Makh Khad Ridge, the two sides attacked and counter-attacked. As the major fresh formation, the 9th Division took a major part in these operations. By the last week of July it had been committed to a series of attacks. While some had been successful (on 10 July the 26th Brigade had captured the best part of an Italian division), none had broken through the Axis line as Auchinleck intended.   (http://www.awm.gov.au/atwar/remembering1942/alamein/transcript.asp)

 

On 11th July the battle at Tel el Eisa finished.  Whilst it cannot be certain that that is where Brian Prigmore died, the likelihood is high.

 

The  epitaph on his grave at El Alamein is extraordinarily poignant:  "Dear son and brother, of Wellingborough, Northants"

 

Note 1: The Royal Scots Dragoons have the same reconnaissance role as John Loake (another WGS) of Royal Lancers  - both in 4th Armoured Brigade.  But John wasn't in Africa until after Douglas had died.

 

Note 2: My father in Law was in the Royal Scots Dragoons and told us of his reconnaissance role in the Royal Scots Greys.  The front line changed very rapidly and that it was very easy to get on the wrong side -  once he found himself in the middle of a German convoy. In talking to his family Thomas he spoke of "stealing K rations from American forces".  Once when they were short of water he managed to find a cellar full of red wine and a rabbitry with chickens - to say the least he was popular that night. The military dangers were real - when he was with an Ack-Ack gun, he left to obtain some eggs and returned to a ‘crater’ - one survivor.  Another time, when on a survey, he drove mistakenly into a minefield.    (Graham Tall webmaster)

 

CWGC

Name: 

PRIGMORE, DOUGLAS ARTHUR

Initials:

D A

Nationality:

United Kingdom

Rank:

Trooper

Regiment/Service:

Royal Armoured Corps

Unit Text:

1st Royal Dragoons

Age:

22

Date of Death:

12/07/1942

Service No:

409287

Additional information:

Son of Fredrick Arthur and Edith Elizabeth Prigmore, of Wellingborough, Northamptonshire.

Casualty Type:

Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference:

XIII. A. 11.

Cemetery:

EL ALAMEIN WAR CEMETERY

 

Cemetery: 

EL ALAMEIN WAR CEMETERY

Country:

Egypt

Locality:

unspecified

Visiting Information:

The cemetery is kept open during daylight hours and is staffed by our gardeners Saturday to Thursday 07.30 - 14.30. Wheelchair access with some difficulty. For further information regarding wheelchair access, please contact our Enquiries Section on telephone number 01628 507200.

Location Information:

Alamein is a village, bypassed by the main coast road, approximately 130 kilometres west of Alexandria on the road to Mersa Matruh. The first Commission road direction sign is located just beyond the Alamein police checkpoint and all visitors should turn off from the main road onto the parallel old coast road. The cemetery lies off the road, slightly beyond a ridge, and is indicated by road direction signs approximately 25 metres before the low metal gates and stone wing walls which are situated centrally at the road edge at the head of the access path into the cemetery. The Cross of Sacrifice feature may be seen from the road.

Historical Information:

The campaign in the Western Desert was fought between the Commonwealth forces (with, later, the addition of two brigades of Free French and one each of Polish and Greek troops) all based in Egypt, and the Axis forces (German and Italian) based in Libya. The battlefield, across which the fighting surged back and forth between 1940 and 1942, was the 1,000 kilometres of desert between Alexandria in Egypt and Benghazi in Libya. It was a campaign of manoeuvre and movement, the objectives being the control of the Mediterranean, the link with the east through the Suez Canal, the Middle East oil supplies and the supply route to Russia through Persia. EL ALAMEIN WAR CEMETERY contains the graves of men who died at all stages of the Western Desert campaigns, brought in from a wide area, but especially those who died in the Battle of El Alamein at the end of October 1942 and in the period immediately before that. The cemetery now contains 7,240 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War, of which 815 are unidentified. There are also 102 war graves of other nationalities. The ALAMEIN CREMATION MEMORIAL, which stands in the south-eastern part of El Alamein War Cemetery, commemorates more than 600 men whose remains were cremated in Egypt and Libya during the war, in accordance with their faith. The entrance to the cemetery is formed by the ALAMEIN MEMORIAL. The Land Forces panels commemorate more than 8,500 soldiers of the Commonwealth who died in the campaigns in Egypt and Libya, and in the operations of the Eighth Army in Tunisia up to 19 February 1943, who have no known grave. It also commemorates those who served and died in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Persia. The Air Forces panels commemorate more than 3,000 airmen of the Commonwealth who died in the campaigns in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Greece, Crete and the Aegean, Ethiopia, Eritrea and the Somalilands, the Sudan, East Africa, Aden and Madagascar, who have no known grave. Those who served with the Rhodesian and South African Air Training Scheme and have no known grave are also commemorated here. The cemetery was designed by Sir Hubert Worthington.

No. of Identified Casualties:

6547

 

 

 

 

 

Royal Scots Dragoons   Part of the 4th Armoured Brigade

 

Below:  http://www.northeastmedals.co.uk/british_cavalry_regiment/1st_royal_dragoons.htm

WW2 1939 - 1945

 

 

 

campaigns:

North Africa & Middle East*

Italy**

North West Europe

WW2 campaign stars:

 Africa

 Italy,

France and Germany

clasps:

8th Army

 

 

*Oct 1942. Divisional troops with 10th Armoured Division at the Battle of El Alamein with 46 Armoured Cars.

Baghdad 1941, Iraq 1941, Palmyra, Syria 1941, El Alamein, North Africa 1942-43,

 

Below: http://www.desertrat.brigades.btinternet.co.uk/4thABunits.htm#1RD

When war was declared in September 1939, The Royal Dragoons were stationed in the Lydda Area of Palestine. By December 1940 the regiment had been mechanised with Armoured cars, before moving to Syria in mid 1941.

In May 1942, the regiment served as the Reconnaissance Regt for 1st Armoured Division, before joining 10th Armoured Division as its Reconnaissance Regt for El Alamein, with it served for the rest of the North African campaign.

 

http://www.desertrat.brigades.btinternet.co.uk/4thABunits.htm#1RD

Service History

When war was declared in September 1939, The Royal Dragoons were stationed in the Lydda Area of Palestine. By December 1940 the regiment had been mechanised with Armoured cars, before moving to Syria in mid 1941.

In May 1942, the regiment served as the Reconnaissance Regt for 1st Armoured Division, before joining 10th Armoured Division as its Reconnaissance Regt for El Alamein, with which it served for the rest of the North African campaign.

Only 'A' Squadron, too part in the Sicily landing as 8th Army troops and were attached to 4th Armoured Brigade for this campaign and during the early stages of the Italian campaign. Along with the rest of 4th Armoured Brigade withdrew in January 1944, to prepare for the Normandy landings. The rest of the regiment had returned to the UK as XII Corps troops in May 1943. It was with XII Corps that the regiment fought its way across Northern Europe, eventually helping to liberate Copenhagen in 1945. It was attached to 1st Parachute Brigade from May to August 1945

From 1938 to 1940, The Royal Dragoons were in Palestine on Internal Security Duties, stationed in the Lydda Area. In December 1940, they moved to the Royal Armoured Corps School at Abbassia, Cairo, where after only four months training they became an Armoured Car Regiment. 'A' Squadron then went to join the 11th Hussars in the Western Desert, while 'B' Squadron moved to Syria to take part in the campaign against the Vichy French. On conclusion of the armistice in Syria, the Regiment moved north to Aleppo to patrol the Syrian-Turkish border where they were later joined by 'C' Squadron.

In December 1941, The Royal Dragoons joined the Eighth Army in the Western Desert, advancing with it to Benghazi – they were the first troops to enter the city on Christmas Day, 1941 – and on to Agedabia. During Rommel’s counter-offensive of January 1942, the Regiment acted as flank and rear-guard for the withdrawal to the Gazala line and the subsequent retreat from Tobruk. In May 1942, the regiment served as the Reconnaissance Regt for 1st Armoured Division, before  joining 4th Light Armoured Brigade during the retreat to El Alamein. After stabilization of the line at El Alamein, apart from a month’s rest in order to refit, the Royals were on constant patrol duty. The regiment then joined 10th Armoured Division as its Reconnaissance Regt for El Alamein.

During the Battle of El Alamein in October 1942. 'A' and 'C' Squadrons slipped unobserved at night through the enemy lines and spent two days behind the front, causing chaos amongst the German supply columns and the retreating Italian infantry. In one of these actions on the night of November 1 1942, Major Heathcoat-Amory was in command of 'C' squadron of the Royal Dragoons, broke through the enemy minefields at Alamein. It took until daylight before they were clear of the minefields, but Heathcoat-Amory pushed on to his objective through enemy positions, regardless of the opposition. Under his direction, the squadron was subsequently responsible for the destruction of more than 100 enemy transport vehicles, a tank and several guns; and they also captured of a very large number of prisoners. The citation for his MC commended Heathcoat-Amory’s "conspicuous ability and devotion to duty throughout this hazardous operation covering four days behind the enemy lines".

Thereafter, during the rapid advance that followed the victory at El Alamein, the Royals led the southern flank of the Eight Army as flying column frequently with other arms under command. By the middle of May 1943, the enemy had been driven from North Africa, and the Regiment spent until September resting and training in Tunisia.

 

The Balfour Declaration

Foreign Office
November 2nd, 1917

Dear Lord Rothschild,

I have much pleasure in conveying to you. on behalf of His Majesty's Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet:

His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.

Yours,
Arthur James Balfour