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Edwin WYLD
Henry EARL
Alice WEST
Samuel WYLD
Florence Caroline EARL

Edwin Earl WYLD


Family Links

Dorothy Spencer DISNEY

Edwin Earl WYLD

  • Born: 11 Mar 1916, Bulwell, Nottingham, England
  • Marriage: Dorothy Spencer DISNEY in Sep 1939 in Bulwell, Nottingham, England
  • Died: 1971, Bulwell, Nottingham, England at age 55

bullet  Noted events in his life were:

• This Photograph of Samuel, Florence and Edwin WYLD was taken about 1917 in Nottingham, England.

Sam is dressed in his army uniform, so it can be assumed that the photo was taken just prior to him leaving for France in 1917.

• This Photograph of James and Hilda CAULTON's Wedding was taken about 1920 in ?? Nottingham, England.

The identity of the people in the photograph is uncertain. The gentleman on the left is Jack HAYWOOD, then Lily WYLD, not known, and then probably Sam WYLD. The young boy in the shorts, coat and hat is probably Ted WYLD aged about 4 years.

• This Photograph of Lily and Florence WYLD with Ted and Kath was taken about 1921.

The location of the photo is not known, but would have been one of the seaside areas such as Blackpool, Skegness, Ingoldmells.

• This Photograph of Florence WYLD with Ted and Kath was taken circa 1921.

The location of this photo is not known but would have been an English seaside area.

• This Photograph of Lily and Florence WYLD with Ted and Kath was taken circa 1921.

The location of this photo is not known but would have been an English seaside area.

• This Photograph of Florence WYLD with Ted and Kath was taken circa 1923.

The location of this photo is not known but would have been an English seaside area.

• Edwin Earl WYLD saw War Service from 15 Jun 1940 to 2 Aug 1945.
Edwin enlisted in the Army at the Notts. Militia HQ on Saturday 15th June 1940 at the age of 24. Since leaving school he had worked at the Midland Magneto Company in Nottingham and his trade of Auto-Electrician resulted in him being placed in the Royal Army Service Corps. Three days after Edwin enlisted, Italy declared war on France and Britain, and operations began in the Western Desert, thus making it necessary to strengthen the forces in the Middle East.

The R.A.S.C. had a history dating back to the Royal Waggoners, formed in 1794, and was one of the most senior of the Services; only the Royal Army Chaplains Department preceded it on parade. The prefix ‘Royal’ was conferred on the Army Service Corps by King George V on 25th November 1918. The R.A.S.C. was divided into two branches, Supply and Transport, under a Major-General who held the appointment of Director Supplies and Transport (DST) and reported to the Quarter-Master General.

Edwin underwent basic training at Church Stretton in Shropshire, which would probably have lasted until the end of July. He then went to Northampton Polytechnic to take a course on electrical theory and vehicle electrics. I (Peter Wyld) remember seeing some of his exercise books with drawings meticulously executed in blue and red crayon. He stayed in a school in St. John’s Wood in North London and had a lucky escape because he happened to be out when the building was badly bombed.

Nottingham received its first bombs on the night of Friday August 30th and from time to time was subjected to some minor raids, but nothing to match the scale of devastation that happened to Coventry on the night of November 14th 1940.

Towards the end of 1940 Edwin traveled by train to Shorncliffe Camp near Folkestone. He and the other men in the compartment all fell asleep and they did not wake up until the train ground to a halt. They thought they had arrived and leapt out, only to find that the train was not at the station!

That Christmas (1940) Dorothy traveled from Nottingham to Folkestone to visit Edwin. The Folkestone train had been shot at the day before and Dorothy remembers seeing the coastal defences at Folkestone. Presumably Edwin learnt the practical aspects of vehicle electronics at Shorncliffe and on 15th January 1941 an officer in 133 Coy. noted in his pay book that he had passed a further test as an electrician class III.

At the start of 1941 Churchill was urging General Wavell to strengthen his army of the Nile in readiness to support Greece against the German forces which were building in the Balkans. During January the 6th Australian Division and the 7th British Armoured Division were pushing steadily westward from the Egyptian border across the part of Libya known as Cyrenaica. Benghazi was captured on February 6th and the British Division was able to reach Agheila where it halted, with supply lines stretching some 500 miles across the desert to Alexandria. The Italian army had been defeated, and Wavell felt confident enough to withdraw his battle-weary troops with the few tanks they had left for rest and refit. In their place he sent units which were still under training and which were poorly equipped as priority was being given to equipping the forces due to go to Greece. These were the 1st Armoured Brigade, the New Zealand Division and the 6th Australian Division and they embarked for Greece on 5th March 1941.

Erwin Rommel had arrived in Tripoli on February 12th 1941 to take command of the German forces in North Africa. By the 12th April he had pushed the allied forces back to Bardia, close to the Egyptian boarder, having skirted around Tobruk which allied troops were valiantly holding. This action resulted in plans to invade Rhodes (Operation ‘Mandibles’) being cancelled and ships supplying the forces in Greece were frequently attacked. At the end of April 50,000 troops who had been sent to help in defending Greece were evacuated to Crete and Egypt.

Early in 1941 Edwin had transferred to Badsey Camp, near Evesham in Worcestershire, to prepare for embarkation. He was there for about three months and Kathleen Savoury, who helped in the NAAFI, and her father invited Dorothy to stay with them for a while. Edwin took part in several dummy runs to embark and as soon as Dorothy knew that it was the “real thing” she went down to Bristol docks hoping to see Edwin leave. She found Bristol badly damaged after an air-raid and after talking to the gate-man (who gave her a cup of tea) she discovered that the troops had embarked and quickly sailed the day before. Churchill was in Bristol on Easter Saturday, April 12th, to confer degrees and that night he witnessed a heavy raid on the city from his train which lay in a siding outside the city. It is tempting to speculate that this was the raid which so narrowly missed the convoy.

Churchill was so anxious about the situation in North Africa, particularly the need for more tanks to replace those lost in battle, that on 20th April he issued instructions that those ships in convoy W.S.7 that were carrying tanks were to take the short-cut through the Mediterranean with heavy escort to save some six weeks on the journey time. He called this operation ‘Tiger’ and in order to maintain secrecy he told Wavell to issue orders for their reception as though they were being sent round the Cape.

Edwin’s convoy (which might have been W.S.7) first went to Glasgow where other ships joined it, then out into the Atlantic following a course to evade U-boats and eventually arriving at the Gold Coast in West Africa. From there it crossed the Equator and headed initially for South America. Life would have been tedious on board and after several weeks at sea the daily routine of PT, boat drill and parades must have become very irksome. The next land-fall was Capetown in South Africa, and the convoy then sailed through rough seas around the Cape of Good Hope to the port of Durban where the troops enjoyed a week’s leave on dry land. Edwin was one of the few people on board who did not succumb to sea-sickness as the ship battered its way through the mountainous seas around the Cape. He would still not have been told where he was going, and during the stop in Durban the troops must have speculated about their final destination. By now they had been issued with tropical dress of light khaki shirt, worn with rolled-up sleeves, shorts, long woolen socks and ankle puttees.

Ten weeks or so after leaving England the ships sailed up the Red Sea to their final destination of Port Tewfik near the town of Suez. Along a stretch of canal 20 miles to the north of Suez are the Great Bitter Lakes where ships wait their turn to pass through the narrow canal. On the shores of the Lakes the R.A.S.C. had established a base at Geneifa with a large underground store of petrol supplied by pipeline from tanker berth and from the refinery at Suez. Genefia was also a training centre where trade tests were taken and local civilians were trained. Full-sized plywood replicas of tanks and armaments were erected all over the area in an attempt to confuse the ‘shufty’ planes which regularly flew reconnaissance missions.

Ships heading northwards from the Bitter Lakes pass through Lake Timsah before reaching Ismailia which marks the half-way point along the canal. Ferdinand de Lesseps, the builder the canal, had his villa there and it subsequently became the headquarters of the Suez Canal Company. When constructing the canal the only way of supplying fresh water was to bring it by camel from the Nile which lay 60 miles to the west. This proved to be so difficult and expensive that de Lessups cut another canal from the Nile to the edge of Lake Timsah to bring ‘sweet water’ to the men. The sweet-water canal was eventually extended to run parallel to the navigable canal and provide fresh water to Port Said in the North and Suez in the South. This soon created a fertile strip along the edge of the canal and new villages sprang up.

Edwin was probably based in or near Ismailia for much of his time in Egypt, possible at the peacetime army billet of Moascar. As an auto electrician he would have been in a workshops platoon attached to a transport company. One photograph of Edwin shows him with 285 Company, and others show civilians standing in front of 6-wheel Foden lorries. Most transport companies comprised a headquarters, a workshop and several operating sections with their own section HQ under the command of a Captain or Subaltern and sub-sections of five vehicles and drivers controlled by an NCO. Each transport company had a designated role, and I (Peter Wyld) believe that Edwin’s company would have been primarily involved in moving supplies and stores from the port area around Suez to depots around Cairo.

Companies providing second-line transport to battle formations came under the control of a Commander R.A.S.C. (CRASC) who was attached to the staff of the division or brigade being supplied. Their role was to move supplies, ammunition and POL (Petrol, Oil, Lubricants) from a Refilling Point (RP) to a Delivery Point (DP).

For example a typical infantry division of 17,500 men would have a Divisional HQ split between the ‘G’ staff controlling the Arms and ‘A’ and ‘Q’ staff controlling the services, the CRASC working closely with the latter and controlling four RASC companies: 1 Div Troops Co (moving supplies), 1 Tk Brig Co (for three battalions with 58 tanks each) and 2 Inf Brig Cos (for six rifle battalions each with 33 officers and 753 enlisted men divided between an HQ company and four rifle companies.)

The second-line transport was replenished by third-line transport operating between rail-heads or field supply depots and RP’s, under the control of an RASC Officer attached to the Corps staff who also could deploy a General Transport (GT) Company from a reserve pool, with three or four platoons of thirty 3-ton trucks each, to move troops, ammunition or supplies as necessary.

Specialist RASC units operated in the Line of Communications Area outside the battle zone including Mechanical Transport Stores Depots (MTSD’s); Vehicle Reception Depots (VRD’s); Heavy Repair Shops (HRS’s); Base Supply Depots (BSD’s); Bakeries; and even a vehicle assembly plant (at Ataka near Suez). These units would have operated under the Director Supplies and Transport Major-General C. Le B. Goldney based at GHQ in Cairo.

Assuming that Edwin arrived in Egypt in July 1941 he would then have heard about Wavell’s failure to relieve Tobruk by operation Battleaxe. Shortly after this Wavell was replaced by General Auchinleck, who immediately started to plan a major offensive operation called Crusader. Much to Churchill’s annoyance he did not believe he would have the necessary forces ready until November 1941. In September Churchill commented that the field state of the Army of the Nile was good, which “is not surprising considering they are taking nearly five months’ rest from all fighting”. There were then 60 British battalions, averaging 880 men, and 45 artillery regiments in the Nile delta. The strain on the RASC in supplying provisions and equipment was recognised by Churchill because he delayed sending 5 battalions to India in order to send another 4000 men to augment the RASC.

By October 1941 preparations for Crusader must have been virtually complete and the various armoured and infantry units would have started to move towards the border in the West. Edwin was able to go on leave to Cairo and visit the pyramids.

Operation Crusader began in heavy rain on November 18th 1941, with XIII Corps and XXX Corps together forming the 8th Army under Gen Cunningham.

Dorothy knew little about where he was or what he was doing because of censorship but she deduced that he was in Egypt because of the clue “where two rivers meet” in one of his letters home. From photographs taken at the time we know that he had leaves in Cairo (Oct. ’41) and Tel-Aviv in Palestine (Oct. ’42, Jun. ’43) and on one of these leaves he visited the Holy Land.

In 1944 there was a call for volunteers and Edwin, bored with Suez and thinking that it might mean that he would get home quicker, volunteered. In the event he sailed to Pirćus in Greece in the van of the British invasion of 13 October 1944 which followed the German retreat. Initially the British were welcomed in Athens but they soon found themselves caught up in a Civil War between two groups of Resistance fighters (Andartes) : the Communist “ELAS” group on the one hand and a Royalist group on the other. Because Britain was harbouring the King British troops became a target for the Communists.

The Grand Bretagne hotel was used as the British Headquarters and was heavily guarded - it also became the refuge of British and American journalists. Matters came to a head on 3 December 1944 when 20 Greeks were shot dead in Snytagma Square. British troops went around armed and in threes. Winston Churchill himself visited Athens on Christmas Day to try to resolve the political problems and he mentioned the troops cut-off in Athens in his Christmas broadcast that year. Churchill narrowly escaped death during that visit after a time-bomb was found in the sewers under the hotel.

Edwin stayed in Athens until mid-1945. He had befriended a family in Greece who kept in touch after the war. Lorries were driven in a circuit around the Acropolis to test them after repair.

Finally he was able to leave Greece. He was flown to Naples and sailed home from there. When he arrived back at Victoria Station in Nottingham he found cars waiting to take troops returning from Germany but he had to walk back to Nuthall. He had 30 days dis-embarkation leave starting on 2 August 1945.

He spent some time at RASC Headquarters at Doncaster, before finally being discharged on Doncaster race-course.

• This Photograph of A Day At The Beach was taken in 1951.

The picture shows Ted and Dorothy WYLD, Florence WYLD, Kath LEVERITT, Sam WYLD with Neil LEVERITT the baby in Kath's arms, and Peter WYLD and Bill LEVERITT sitting on the sand.


Edwin married Dorothy Spencer DISNEY, daughter of Jack DISNEY and Hetty SPENCER, in Sep 1939 in Bulwell, Nottingham, England. (Dorothy Spencer DISNEY was born on 1 Feb 1917 in Bulwell, Nottingham, England.)

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