Unit / Base:
'Special Air Service'
Honours & Awards:
Saturday, April 15, 1944
Died on war service
Sergeant Alexander Westwater DCM, formerly 7 Commando and SAS, was killed in Italy after an explosion in what is described as a battle accident whilst serving with the Royal Artillery (AFHQ).
[Source: Royal Artillery Deaths 1939-1946, Form RH, stamped RA Record Office Field Branch]
Alexander Westwater was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal having transferred out of the Commando and into 'L' Detachment Special Air Service. He took part in their first raid at Tmimi ( also seen spelt as Timimi or Al Tmimi) and was taken prisoner. The recommendation from the Director of Military Intelligence on the Escape Evasion Report reads as follows:
"Captured at Tmimi on the 23rd November 1941. Sent via Benghazi, Taranto, Bari, Udine, Servigliano, and Imperia, to Camp 53 (Macerata). While at Bari he escaped through the wire but after 3 days liberty he was recaptured and taken back to camp where he was "beaten up" and kept without food for 3 days as a punishment. His second escape was by tunneling at Servigliano; he was recaptured after 18 days and given 35 days solitary confinement. A third attempt was made in Feb. '43 from Macerata, when he escaped wearing Italian uniform with faked insignia. He was recaptured the next day and given 30 days soiltary confinement.
After the Armistice, Westwater escaped from Camp 53 on the 13 Sept. but was recaptured on the Gran Sasso and taken to Aquila. From there a fifth escape was made but he was retaken at Castropignano by the Germans and sent to Sulmona. The next day he slipped through the wire thus making his sixth escape and hid in a tree while the enemy peppered the surrounding woods with M.G. fire. He lay up until nightfall then made his way up to our lines, finally meeting allied troops at Trigno on the 27th Oct. '43.
Other successful escapers from camps where Westwater was imprisoned have commented that he was conspicuous for his high moral and continued determination to escape. He set a fine example to all ranks. "
London Gazette 36586, page 3070 published 27th June 1944.
National Archives ref WO/373/95.
Photo of grave in Gallery:
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