This story and photos are shared by the Trust with kind permission from Andy Round, great nephew of Albert Frampton
My Great Uncle Albert Frampton was my father's, mother's brother. He was born and bred in St Andrews Road, Small Heath, Birmingham. On the onset to war he was a labourer for a building company. I am not sure when he joined the Army but he served with the 1st Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment.
He married Lorna Beatrice May in 1943, aged 27. She was a London Clippy and I can only presume he met her when the regiment moved down to Kent. He was aged 30 on his wedding day, but a year later, aged 31, he was killed.
Albert and Lorna on their wedding day, 1943
On 16th June, 1944 his battalion boarded the SS Canterbury at Newhaven but the ship did not leave its anchorage until the 19th June when it proceeded to the Solent, and joined other vessels in preparation for crossing the channel. But it became clear that the channel crossing would not take place that evening due to the severe storm of 19-20 June 1944.
They finally set sail at midday on the 22th June, one of the first convoys to leave after the storm. Once they had crossed the Channel the SS Canterbury was ordered to stand-off and wait for orders to disembark. Eventually the battalion was given the go ahead to board four Assault Landing Craft and head for the beach.
The designated landing area was some 3 mile east of Arromanches near the small village of Mont Fleury, and at 17.15 hours the first L.C.A., with the Commanding Officer (Lieut.-Col. Roy Harrison), came ashore. As one of the other L.C.A.’s beached a naval rating lowered the bow ramp and signalled for the first carrier to drive off, but the commander of the craft asked for the sea depth to be checked. This was very fortunate since the measure failed to touch the sea bottom, and so the landing was temporarily halted. Before a second attempt was made to try to get closer to the beach, orders where received stating that no more landing should be made that evening.
When Albert finally landed in Normandy their objective was to take Caen. The surrounding areas around Caen were heavily fortified with the SS Division Hitlerjugend 12 Panzer Division, a German armoured unit of the Waffen SS.
On the 27th of June 1944 Albert was fatally wounded at Cheux. I have a copy of a handwritten letter to his wife from his Officer Commanding, Captain Noel Watkins, dated 16th July 44, telling her about the incident in which he was killed.
Dear Mrs Frampton
It is with deep regret that I write about your husband's death in action. I'm sure you will have heard officially by now. He was a first-class Corporal and a fine fellow besides. His comrades join with me in offering you our deepest sympathies. He was killed by a shell at CHEUX on the 27 June. I ran to his trench immediately the shells had fallen and I think he must have been sleeping in the trench. He must have been killed instantly and he had the appearance of being at rest. Your husband is one of the many brave men of this regiment who have made the supreme sacrifice for their homes and country.
Lorna kept in touch with Albert's mother for some years and then remarried.
I was hoping that the Capt Noel Watkins would have made it through the whole show and be reunited with his family and loved ones. But he was killed on 29 September 1944, along with Major Broome, Commanding 'B' Company, in Randwijk (near the Neder Rijn) during Operation Market Garden. Ironically, he was the same age as Albert.
Albert is buried in Brouay CWGC Cemetery, Normandy with two of members of his Regiment buried either side who were also killed that day. Many years ago now I applied to the Medal Office and received his Medals.
Andy Round, wearing Albert's medals, standing at Albert's grave
ALBERT EDWARD FRAMPTON
Army • LANCE CORPORAL
DIED 27 June 1944
SERVICE NO. 5257737