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Eggleston, F.E., Sjt., M.M., 1943


Fred Cairo 1941


Fred and Olive outside Hesleden School

Oued Zaega War Cemetery

In Oued Zaega War Cemetery, Tunisia, is the Commonwealth War Grave of 2658056 Serjeant Fred Ernest Eggleston, serving with the 3rd Battalion, Coldstream Guards who died 08/05/1943.

Fred Ernest was born in 1920 the son of Walter and Ann nee Clark Eggleston of Hesleden. Walter and Ann married in 1914 and had a daughter Olive in 1917.

Fred joined the Coldstream Guards in 1937. Olive married Arthur S. Roxborough in 1938. In 1939 Walter (1882) a Disabled Colliery Screener was living at 4 Church Street with his wife Ann (1888). Arthur and Olive were at 4 West Terrace Hesleden.

Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail 15/08/1941 reports:-

A Hesleden soldier L/Cpl. Frederick E Eggleston (21) of the Coldstream Guards has been awarded the Military Medal. Official notification to this effect has been been received by his parents Mr and Mrs W. Eggleston of 4 Church Street, Hesleden. The exploit which earned him the award has not yet been made known.

The first Hesleden soldier to gain a decoration in this war L/Cpl. Eggleston joined the Army in 1937 when he reached his 17th birthday. He has been serving in the Middle East since April 1940.

Fred was killed in may 1943. His parents added "Loved in Life Treasured In Death A Loving Memory All That's Left" to his headstone

Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail 06/07/1943 reports:-

Hid on Roof of Axis Barracks

Exploit which won Hesleden Man M.M.

The circumstances which earned Sgt. W. (siC) Eggleston (22) of the Coldstream Guards, son of Mr and Mrs W. Eggleston of 4 Church Street Hesleden the award of the Military Medal in August 1941 have just been disclosed by the War Office.

Sergt. Eggleston died some weeks ago from wounds received during the last push in North Africa.

The official citation describes how, while a battalion of the Coldstream Guards were occupying a defensive position at Halfaya Pass on April 18 1941, Eggleston, at that time a lance corporal, volunteered to go on patrol with an officer and another Guardsman to hide in Sollum barracks for 24 hours. The party lay on the roof, with the Germans occupying the same building, during all the hours of daylight. The enemy searched the building twice but the patrol remained undiscovered and returned safely.

A few weeks later Sgt. Eggleston again distinguished himself. On June 20 1941 the position occupied by the battalion head-quarters to which Eggleston was attached was bombed by the enemy at low level. Early in the raid a B.S.M. while running to cover was hit by enemy machine gun fire. Eggleston, who was in a trench, promptly mounted his motor cycle and rode to the regimental first aid post to obtain medical assistance. There he obtained a truck and drove the M.O. to the wounded man. While Sgt. Eggleston was driving to the first aid post bombing and machine gunning by the enemy planes were in progress.

The official citation ends thus:-"Lance Corporal Eggleston by his prompt and unselfish action put his own life in great danger in order to try to save the life of another. In both instances his determination and courage were a fine example to those who witnessed it."

Sgt. Eggleston, who was an intelligence sergeant when he was mortally wounded last May, began his military career in October 1937. He was posted to the Middle East in 1940. Well known and popular in the Hesleden district, he was an active member of the local Boy Scouts' Association.

Fred Ernest Eggleston is remembered at Hesleden on H124.01 and H124.06 and at West Hartlepool on W111.55

The CWGC entry for Serjeant Eggleston

If you know more about this person, please send the details to janet@newmp.org.uk