This story and photos are shared by the Trust with kind permission from Nicola Hinds, Reginald's granddaughter.
My grandfather’s name, Private Reginald Hinds of the Dorsetshire Regiment, is engraved in your wonderful new memorial. Here is his story.
Reginald Hinds was married to Ada Hinds.
They met whilst he was serving with the Dorsetshire Regiment. He saw a photo of her that a previous boyfriend of hers had and decided to write to her. His letter begins:
No doubt you will be surprised and you might think it a cheek, which I sincerely hope you don't, when you receive this letter from me, as a latter boy friend of yours, the name of Ernie Hill, gave me your address.
Reginald's first letter to Ada
It seems Ada did not think the letter a cheek as they met and got married as a result.
Reginald and Ada on their wedding day
They had one son, Reggie.
Ada with Reggie Hinds
Mickey Gray was his comrade and best mate whom he met when serving in the regiment. They were both London boys.
They were fighting at Chateau Fontaine near Caen when Reginald was struck by a German bayonet and fell on 10th July 1944. Mickey Gray emptied his pockets and found a letter addressed to my Nan, a reply to her letter which he had written on the day he was killed, which he brought home to give to her. It read:
My Own Beloved Wife
Just a few lines to thank you for the always welcome letter and am ever so glad to hear that it left you and our son in the best of health as it leaves me at the moment darling, also in the best of spirits please don't worry. I am taking care of myself and don't you forget to do the same for me sweetheart. We have seen some more marvellous work by our bombers, the sky was black with them, gerry sure got a hell of a pasting, there were some big planes too. I know that you would stick by me darling, and it goes the same way with me don't worry Ada, I couldn't do otherwise as I love and miss you more than ever. I will close now, so for the present cheerio, chin up and keep smiling. My love to you both darling. God Bless and keep you both safe for me. Your Forever Loving and Devoted Husband Reg
Reginald's last letter to Ada
The fallen were buried next to the Chateau. They were later moved to St Manvieu war cemetery just outside of Caen. He was 27 years old. My Nan was 22 and their son (my dad) was almost 1 years old.
We have original photos too of the very first white wooden crosses on the graves and the first move to the cemetery.
We have all my grandmothers letters from him too including his very last one. My nan coped as best she could with bringing my dad up.
Ada with young Reggie, Margate c. 1953
He said she did a very good job but she did eventually have a bad breakdown about it all when dad was in his teens for which she was hospitalised for a short while. Apart from that she was a true warrior and survivor of a real true love story!
She eventually got to visit Reginald's grave with their son, Reggie and her grandchildren.
L-R Nicola, her brother, Ada and Reggie, my dad
And we visited the site of his original place of burial.
Chateau Fontaine showing the wall you can see part of in the graves photo
My Nan never remarried and wanted to be buried with him when she died. 48 years later she passed and, with the war commission's permission, her ashes were put in his grave with him.
REGINALD ROBERT HINDS
Army • PRIVATE
DIED 10 July 1944
SERVICE NO. 5728652