Images courtesy of Jim Thompson
Born: 28th July 1926, Ipswich.
Died: 21st April 1945; age: 18.
Residence: Flat 6, Roundwood, Victory Road, Ipswich.
Rank: Guardsman; Service Number: 2724872.
Regiment: Irish Guards, 3rd Battalion – Foot Guards.
The original grave.
Reginald with his sisters Sylvia and Vera
Reginald was one of six children Fred, Vera, Sylvia, Audrey and Peter.
Father: Henry John Catling, born November 1885, Dover, Kent.
Mother: Maude Katharine Catling (nee Davey), born April 1895, Islington, London.
ENGLAND & WALES REGISTER 1939
Reginald was living with his maternal grandparents, parents and siblings at their family home at Flat 6, Victory Road, Ipswich.
Frederick Davey, a retired Police Constable, born May 1861, Mendlesham, Suffolk. Frederick was a retired Constable of the Hammersmith Division, Metropolitan Police, he was on a Pension of £54.3.10 per Annum, commencing 16th May 1910, after serving 25 years & 32 days.
Mary Ann Davey, a Housewife, born January 1860, Onehouse, Suffolk.
Henry Catling, an Engineer.
Maude Catling, a Housewife.
Frederick John Catling, an Assember – Radiator Dept., born April 1917, Ipswich.
Vera Mabel Catling, a Shop Assistant – Confectionery, born May 1921, Ipswich.
Sylvia K. Catling, born 1924, Ipswich.
Audrey E. Catling, born 1929, Ipswich.
Peter R. Catling, born 1933, Ipswich.
and 1 other.
Reginald was born in Ipswich and lived with his parents and family at the Roundwood in Victory Road, a house that was originally built for Lord and Lady Nelson.
Reginald during training with the Irish Guards.
EDWARD COLQUHOUN CHARLTON
A Victoria Cross was posthumously awarded during the battle that killed Reginald, on the 21st April 1945. The recipient was 24 year old, Guardsman Edward Colquhoun Charlton, of the 2nd Battalion, Irish Guards. Edward was a co-driver of a tank supporting an infantry platoon. An electrical failure had disabled his tank just before the attack on the village of Wistedt, Harbury, Lower Saxony began. Edward received orders to dismount the turret of their Browning .30 caliber machine gun and support the infantry. On his own initiative Edward took the machine gun, and advanced in full view of the attacking Germans, firing the weapon from his hip, inflicting heavy German casualties. Even after Edward was wounded in his left arm, he balanced the machine gun on a fence where he launched a another attack. Edward’s arm was hit again. He finally collapsed from the loss of blood when he was hit and wounded again. Edward died from his wounds in enemy hands. He was laid to rest at Becklingen War Cemetery.
Edward was not mentioned in the battalion’s war diary as the tank commanders, and other close witnesses had either been captured or killed. Unusually much of the citation for the posthumous Victoria Cross was based on German accounts of the battle, and from accounts of guardsmen who had been taken prisoner were released from PoW camps in April 1945.
On the 2nd May 1946, for most prestigious gallantry, Edward was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. He was the last British soldier awarded the Victoria Cross in the European theatre of the Second World War. The Victoria Cross was presented to his parents. His mother chose to donate her son’s medals to the Irish Guards RHQ. They are now displayed at The Guards Museum, Wellington Barracks, London.
Edward’s brother, Alwyn Charlton’s account can be found here: