Service number 121624
Born: March 20th 1910
Died: January 31st 1944
Arthur John was born in Retford, the elder son of Arthur Peel Williamson and his wife, Beatrice Hunt. His father was a solicitor of Retford, Nottinghamshire. [Williamson and Company deposited their archive with Nottinghamshire Archives DD/WM in 1955]
He was educated at Shrewsbury and Matriculated in 1928. He took a 3rd in Jurispudence in 1931 and a 2nd in BCL in 1932.
He married Muriel [Peggie] E. Fenwick in Chelsea in the summer of 1936. They had a daughter.
He served as a Captain in the 2nd Battalion The Sherwood Foresters [Notts & Derby Regiment]
He was killed in Italy on January 31st 1944.
He is buried in the Anzio War Cemetery Plot II, U, 9.
About ten days after the Anzio landing on January 22nd 1940, the invasion force received orders to move forward. The Guards Brigade attacked and captured the group of agricultural buildings known as the Factory, suffering heavy casualties.
The Factory was to be the start line of the attack, at 15.10 hours on January 31, 1944. The plan was for 2/Foresters to move through the Guards Brigade with men from the King's Shropshire Light Infantry and the Duke of Wellington's Regiment.
They were to move forward and stop just short of the railway lines at Campoleone and the Foresters to pass through, cross the railway and seize Campoleone station.
The KSLI and Dukes came under heavy mortar and machine gun fire but reached their objectives with tank support.
The Foresters came under fire at the start line but advanced, passed through KSLI and Dukes, and proceeded to cross the exposed railway line. They immediately came under tank fire from close range and from numerous machine-gun nests. Many Forester officers and men fell. The CO, Lieutenant Colonel GRG Bird, ordered the Foresters to withdraw for about 300 yards while he called for artillery fire to try to soften the resistance.
The Foresters resumed the attack but were hurled back by ferocious concentrations of shell fire, mortar and small arms fire. Although they attacked with grim determination and valour they came to a standstill. The strongest company consisted of only 40 men and the weakest company was down to 20 men. All the company commanders were casualties. The CO, adjutant and mortar officer were all hit. Colonel Bird had to be evacuated, under protest. Command of the Battalion passed to Major Johnnie Hackett.
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