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Edward Albert Pitt No 40 RM Commando  XML
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Julie W
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Joined: 30/03/2011 16:35:24
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I just came across this article from 2010 on 'This is Bath' and thought it may be of interest
http://www.thisisbath.co.uk/Letters-tell-war-hero-s-days/story-11335615-detail/story.html

"Most people know a good story about some priceless treasure found in a skip, whether it is a Renaissance statue chucked out of a Bristol church or silver-plated tea and coffee pots hurled from a famous Paris hotel.

Sid Owen, who lives at Hawarden Terrace in Bath, once had an interesting find, although there was no great value attached to it.

Twenty-five years ago he was passing a skip in the city when he spotted a small bundle of documents. The law being a bit different then, he took them out, took them home and put them in a drawer and more or less forgot about them.

However, he recently came across the again and when he told his neighbour Dave Laming about them, Dave set about doing some research which he has now passed on to the Chronicle.

Dave says: "This little pile of scruffy, water-stained piece of paper intrigued me.

"In particular, 11 small double folded air mail letters each with its 3d King George VI postage stamp, the 'Passed by the Censor' stamp and each having the writer's signature. This confirmed that: 'I certify on my honour that the contents of this envelope refers to nothing but private and family matters'.

Each letter was on blue Army Form W3077 in a neat hand and some written in pencil and some in ink. They were all from the man that Dave discovered was Corporal Edward Albert Pitt CH/X 1257 No 40 RM Commando, Royal Marines who died of wounds aged 27 on April 12, 1945.

He was the son of Frederick and Matilda Pitt and is buried at the Argenta Gap War Cemetery.

The earliest of the letters is dated December 3, 1943 and the last May 15, 1944, all written in and sent from Italy.

On December 3 Edward wrote: "Well, things out here are more or less the same except that Jerry pays visits of late. Strange but true as soon as the air raid siren goes the Italian soldiers and civvies promptly leave town . . . "

Then on February 17: "Since writing last, I have lost a very good friend.

"He was full of thoughts of his marriage which was to have taken place on his return to England. He was always full of fun and adventure.

"Nothing greater can be said of him but that he died a soldier's death doing his duty . . .

"Later things have happened but says he can't tell his parents about them because of their military nature."

Then: "Please note the change of Troop. My old troop is no more.

"We have done very hard fighting since middle of January during which we lost a lot of men. Of the men who came out here with me in my old troop there are only nine left and every one of us has been wounded.

"At one time I had eight motar bombs fall round my section. Only two of us were left. Yet one landed within a few inches of me. We were living in mud up to our knees. I need a good rest now but I cannot see me getting it . . ."

Dave discovered that on April 1, 1945 the whole of 2 Commando Brigade Nos 2,9, 40 (RM) and 43 (RM) under Brigadier Ronnie Tod were engaged in Operation Roast at Comacchio Lagoon in north-east Italy.

This was the first major action in the big spring offensive to push Germany back to and across the River Po and out of Italy.

The breakthrough was to be made through the Argenta Gap crossing the rivers Senio and Santerno, taking Imola, Bologna and onwards.

Finally Commando Brigade succeeded in taking and clearing the entire spit and securing the east flank for the 8th Army.

Nearly 1,000 prisoners were taken and it was later discovered that German losses were so heavy as to have wiped out three battalions, two troops of artillery and a company of machine gunners.

Says Dave: "It is obvious that Edward Pitt, now a corporal and a member of the special forces had been in Italy for some time and had been in the thick of the action as allied forces fought their way northwards, pushing the Germans who in return gave heavy resistance.

"Even before the last B Troop had obviously taken many casualties and Corporal Pitt was becoming very tired and suffering depression and physical fatigue."

(CVA Research Group)
Cousin of Capt. Larry Stephens, No. 5 Commando 1943-1946
Get your name in the back of the book and some unique rewards when you pre-order his biography https://unbound.com/books/goons
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Pete
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Joined: 23/09/2008 00:08:02
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Hi Julie

Just had a very nice phone chat with Sid Owen who found the letters all those years ago. Hopefully we will have copies for our website soon.

Regards

Pete

Pete Rogers, son of LSgt Joe Rogers MM & nephew of TSM Ken McAllister. Both No2 Cdo. God and the Soldier, all men adore, In time of danger and not before. When the danger is passed and all things righted, God is forgotten, and the Soldier slighted.

**** nb. I no longer monitor private messages (pm). Use email or forum please. ****
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Julie W
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Joined: 30/03/2011 16:35:24
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That's wonderful Pete!

(CVA Research Group)
Cousin of Capt. Larry Stephens, No. 5 Commando 1943-1946
Get your name in the back of the book and some unique rewards when you pre-order his biography https://unbound.com/books/goons
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NIC
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I look forward to seeing those - great work!
Nick

Nick Collins

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"We may feel that nothing of which we have any knowledge or record has ever been done by mortal men, which surpasses their feats of arms. Truly we may say of them, when shall their glory fade?"


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Pete
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I have now created an album of the letters found by Sid Owen as described above. They can be viewed on this link. It should be noted that not all are complete:

http://www.commandoveterans.org/cdoGallery/v/documents/Letters/Pitt/

In Memory of Corporal Edward Albert Pitt
40 RM Commando Royal Marines
who died aged 27 on 12th April 1945
Remembered with honour Argenta Gap War Cemetery





Pete Rogers, son of LSgt Joe Rogers MM & nephew of TSM Ken McAllister. Both No2 Cdo. God and the Soldier, all men adore, In time of danger and not before. When the danger is passed and all things righted, God is forgotten, and the Soldier slighted.

**** nb. I no longer monitor private messages (pm). Use email or forum please. ****
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Pete
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The CVA has received this reply from Cllr. Dave Laming who as you will see from the newspaper article above researched the letters found by Sid Owen and written by Corporal Edward Albert Pitt RM:

May I congratulate you on your presentation of the letters, but in particular the link to Corporal Pitt's grave. It feels as if I have found closure having spent so much time researching his Italian experiences. I also feel very humble having shared such precious and personal thoughts.

Kindest regards.

Dave







Pete Rogers, son of LSgt Joe Rogers MM & nephew of TSM Ken McAllister. Both No2 Cdo. God and the Soldier, all men adore, In time of danger and not before. When the danger is passed and all things righted, God is forgotten, and the Soldier slighted.

**** nb. I no longer monitor private messages (pm). Use email or forum please. ****
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John M
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Joined: 18/04/2007 16:22:37
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This is stirling work Pete............what a wonderful result.

Best regards

John M

CVA Research Group

Do not speak.....unless it improves on Silence.

A good teacher opens the door.....you must enter yourself.


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Jackie Read
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Joined: 14/02/2017 20:47:33
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Hi

The newspaper article posted on your website states that Edward Pitt's parents were Fred and Matilda Pitt. Do you know where this information came from? I believe I might be related to Edward but there are a few things that don't make sense to me. Can anyone provide more details?

Many thanks

Jackie
NIC
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Hi Jackie,

Welcome to the CVA Website & Forums.

The information regarding Edward Pitt's parents comes from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission record re: Cpl E A Pitt, 40 RM Cdo (see link)
http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/1716828/PITT,%20EDWARD%20ALBERT

However, there is an anomaly that has puzzled me - in the letter home, dated 18 February 1944, the salutation starts, "Dear Mother," yet it is addressed to a Mrs G Edwards.
The letter form - or 'bluey,' as they became known - seems to be complete.

http://gallery.commandoveterans.org/cdoGallery/v/documents/Letters/Pitt/18feb44.jpg.html

If you are able to throw light upon this then we'd be very grateful. If, on the other hand, we can help you with your research please let us know...

Nick

Nick Collins

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Proud son of Cpl Mick Collins, 5 Troop, No5 Cdo

"We may feel that nothing of which we have any knowledge or record has ever been done by mortal men, which surpasses their feats of arms. Truly we may say of them, when shall their glory fade?"


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Jackie Read
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Hi Nick

It looks as though Edward (Ted) Pitt was my grandfather's brother. His real mother (Annie Matilda) died in Detroit in 1927 and Ted returned to England soon after with his father (Fred) and siblings (including my grandfather, Richard, and Bill, who is mentioned in one of Ted's letters). We understand that Ted's Father remarried and that the children were not welcomed by their step-mother. I have no idea who Mrs Edwards was but I imagine she looked after them in some way. I would love to know more!!

My Mother's second-cousin, Brian, has done some fantastic research into our family history. We also have photos of Ted that I would like to share with you but I need to check with Brian first. So... more to come (hopefully).

Jackie
GUY
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Joined: 26/05/2012 17:50:52
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The addressee of the letter is Vera E G Edwards, wife of Albert G Edwards living at Rylston, Beach Road, Portishead.

Vera Edey G EDWARDS (nee : Piggott) was born on 4th October 1897, registered at Barton Regis Gloucestershire. She died in Weston-super-Mare 1Q 1984

She married Albert G Edwards in Bristol 2 Q 1922.

Guy

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 15/02/2017 12:57:26

Jackie Read
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Thanks Guy. I wonder why Ted calls her 'mother.' Do you know if there are any other letters?
GUY
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Frederick Pitt returned to England aboard the RMS Olympic, arriving at Southampton on the 4th April 1930. The manifest records seven of his children including Edward, age 12.
Could he have been adopted by the Edwards?
One record for Rylston, Portishead is closed.

Guy
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NIC
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I notice that although Ted calls her 'mother' and refers to himself as 'your loving son', he described Vera's husband as 'Mr Edwards'...
I'm guessing Mary is the Edwards' daughter?

This is all very intriguing and extremely poignant especially with these extra twists.

I'm thinking that Mary (Edwards) may still be alive and may be able to throw light upon the whole story.

I've had good success in the past with the use of local press and have traced/located half a dozen people this way.

Nick

Nick Collins

CVA Forum Administrator

Proud son of Cpl Mick Collins, 5 Troop, No5 Cdo

"We may feel that nothing of which we have any knowledge or record has ever been done by mortal men, which surpasses their feats of arms. Truly we may say of them, when shall their glory fade?"


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Jackie Read
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Another twist is that, when Ted died, he left his money to his sister-in-law (my grandmother). It seems odd to have done that if he had an adopted family. Plus my grandfather was only 1 year older than Ted and my Mother thinks she would have known if her father had been adopted. As far as we know, the older siblings looked after the younger ones when they returned from America.

We believe Ted volunteered for the Commandos after receiving a 'Dear John' letter and wonder whether it might be possible that Mrs Edwards was his girlfriend/fiancée's mother. Just a thought...
 
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