THIRKELL-WHITE, Derek John Plantaganet

Unit / Base: 
Middle East Commandos
Suffolk Regiment
Died : 
Sunday, November 14, 1943
Died (between): 
Monday, November 15, 1943
Killed in action or died of wounds
Captain Derek Thirkell-White died during operations with the King's Own Regiment at Leros having left the Commando. He has no known grave. Previously served with the Middle East Commando and 1 Special Service Regiment.
Extract from 'The King's Own..The Story of a Royal Regiment' by Col. Cowper
"November 13 dawned with cloudy skies, high wind and heavy seas, but this did not prevent the enemy from landing more parachutists to reinforce the others. The resistance on Clidi that day was overcome and the Germans were able to concentrate on the built-up area along Alinda Bay. The paratroops attacked from the north east while those in Tangeli Bay took Mount Appetici and Castle Hill at about noon. For the rest of the day the heavy attacks or the Luftwaffe prevented further action, but at 2 a.m. on November 14 a counter-attack was delivered. In spite of every effort only one company of Fusiliers and 'A' and 'D' Companies King's Own, could be collected for it.
'A' Company, commanded by Captain D. J. P. Thirkell-White of the Suffolks with Captain C. J. Blyth as his second-in-command. was directed on to the searchlight and gun position at the top of the hill. 'D' Company had to cover dark ground which abounded in caves, each one of which had to be assaulted separately, and platoons therefore were forced to act independently. Touch between the companies was soon lost.
'A' Company reached the first gun position, after which it came under heavy fire from the flanks, the company commander and two of the platoon commanders were killed. Blyth also was wounded and in great pain, but he continued to lead the company into the attack until he was again wounded in the neck and died on his way back to the regimental aid post."
Casualty Lists/ National Archives files WO417/5 and 6.
ME Cdo Depot and 1 Special Service Regt. War Diary Nominal Roll of Officers July 4th  1942 / National Archives WO218 / 159.

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