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William Albert Tickle

William Tickle

An Article by Martin Harper Facebook

My last post on the St Margaret's WW2 Roll Of Honour and quite a personal one as I have known the family most of my life. My thanks go to Clive Grayshon who supplied me with much of the information about his Uncle William. Clive passed away a few months ago and this is dedicated to him and his lovely mum who was Williams sister. WILLIAM ALBERT TICKLE was born 13th June 1924 in Chorlton to William Albert Tickle (Snr) and Margaret Tickle. In the 1939 Register they are living at 18 Polefield Approach. They were one of the first people to move on to Polefield Approach in 1930/1931 when Polefield was still being built. He went to St Margaret’s Primary School then Heys Road Boys Secondary. He started in the St Johns Ambulance at the age of nine serving with the Heaton Park Division who held their weekly meetings at St Margaret’s Primary School. During the bombing of Manchester bombs dropped on Prestwich and an incendiary hit a house on Bury Old Road close to Polefield. William junior was first on the scene and pulled two people from the building.

Manchester Evening News 24th July 1944

William served with the Royal Army Medical Corps, 213 Field Ambulance, and was attached to the 43rd Wessex Division. In June 1944, the 43rd (Wessex) Division was sent to Normandy, after the Allies invaded France on 6 June, where it joined the British Second Army and was initially earmarked as a reserve for Operation Epsom during the Battle for Caen.

Operation Jupiter

In July, Operation Jupiter was launched against the German 9th SS Panzer Division on Hill 112, though it was beaten back after both sides had suffered horrendous casualties.

Manchester Evening News 24th July 1944

Operation Jupiter was an offensive by VIII Corps of the British Second Army on 10 July 1944. The objective of the 43rd (Wessex) Infantry Division was to capture the villages of Baron-sur-Odon, Fontaine-Étoupefour, Chateau de Fontaine and to recapture Hill 112. An attached brigade of the 15th (Scottish) Infantry Division would take Éterville, Maltot and the ground up to the River Orne and then the Churchill & Sherman tanks of the 4th Armoured Brigade, supported by infantry, would advance through the captured ground and secure several villages to the west of the River Orne. It was hoped that the initial objectives could be captured by 9:00 a.m.after which the 4th Armoured Brigade would exploit the success.

Hill 112 Memorial. Esquay-Notre-Dame. "To the memory of all ranks of the 43rd (Wessex) Division who laid down their lives in the cause of freedom June 1944 to May 1945. This memorial is erected on the site of the first major battle in which the Division took part July 10th to July 29th 1944 when this ridge, Château de Fontaine Éterville and Maltot were captured and held."

The British advance went well at first but fighting for Hill 112 took all day and Maltot changed hands several times. On 11 July, counter-attacks by the Tiger tanks and 88s of the 9th SS Panzer Division Hohenstaufen, 10th SS Panzer Division Frundsberg and the schwere-SS PanzerBattalion 102 in the afternoon, forced the British off the top of Hill 112 to positions on the north-facing slope. The operation was a strategic success for the Allies, attrition having reduced the II SS Panzer Corps to a condition from which it never recovered.

Lance Corporal William Albert Tickle was killed near Château de Fontaine along with his stretcher bearer colleague Private Robert McGhee. While attending to wounded, both men were killed when they were hit by a barrage of mortar fire.

William's headstone,ST MANVIEU