ID OOD_120 Article from Mersea Museum / Edwin Sparrow

TitleAlexander Erskine Hope - died 2 October 1944
Abstract

Alexander Erskine Hope
Lieutenant Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment: "B" Company, 9th Battalion.: attached. 7th Battalion : Hampshire Regiment 130 Brigade:
Age: 27
Date of Death: 02/10/1944:
Service No: 71119

He was the son of Major Richard Berwick and Mary Hope; husband of Lilias Mary Phyllis Hope, of Peldon, Essex. He was born in Surrey & a resident of Eastbourne. His father had served in the East Surrey Regiment in WW1 as a major. The Theatre of War that Alexander served in was Western Europe Campaign 1944-45.

The Hampshires landed on Arromanches beaches on June 22 1944 and suffered severe losses in the Normandy bocage with its undulating fields, woods and high hedges which greatly favoured the defenders. In August, the British broke out of the bridgehead and 7th Hampshires, as part of 130 Brigade, took part in the action to capture the Mount Pincon feature, the highest point in Normandy and strongly defended by the enemy on the 6th of August..

On September 9, 7th Battalion Hampshires entered a liberated Brussels and fought in a succession of actions including Operation "Market Garden" , as the support to Guards Armoured Division. This unit was one of those units of XXX Corps that advanced towards the southern side of the Lower Rhine at Driel to assists the Poles and if possible the British at Oosterbeek. In October the regiment had to destroy the German bridgehead which SS forces had established at the brick factory. Eventually they succeeded in that at the cost of several men. This monument shown below honours those who fell.

The monument stands on the lower Rhinedike running from Heteren to Driel. The monument reads: "To commemorate those men of the 7th Battalion the Hampshire Regiment who gave their lives for the cause of freedom in this area. From 23rd Sept 1944 to 4th Oct 1944."

1939-45 War Star; France and Germany Star; 1939-45 War Medal; Defence Medal

Alexander's body was found in 1982 in an orchard at Driel.

Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: XII. C. 1:
GROESBEEK CANADIAN WAR CEMETERY

Allied forces entered the Netherlands on 12 September 1944. Airborne operations later that month established a bridgehead at Nijmegen and in the following months, coastal areas and ports were cleared and secured, but it was not until the German initiated offensive in the Ardennes had been repulsed that the drive into Germany could begin. Most of those buried in GROESBEEK CANADIAN WAR CEMETERY were Canadians, many of whom died in the Battle of the Rhineland, when the 2nd and 3rd Canadian Infantry Divisions and the 4th Canadian Armoured Division took part in the drive southwards from Nijmegen to clear the territory between the Maas and the Rhine in February and March 1945. Others buried here died earlier or later in the southern part of the Netherlands and in the Rhineland. The cemetery contains 2,610 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War, and nine war graves of other nationalities. Within the cemetery stands the GROESBEEK MEMORIAL, which commemorates by name more than 1,000 members of the Commonwealth land forces who died during the campaign in north-west Europe between the time of crossing the Seine at the end of August 1944 and the end of the war in Europe, and whose graves are not know. No. of Identified Casualties: 2599.
Reference www.rememberseptember44.com/mon_driel3.htm

AuthorEdwin Sparrow
SourceMersea Museum
IDOOD_120