Monday, February 11, 2008

Gunner John Fitzsimons, R.A. from Whitehaven

A photograph of 3598158 Gunner John Fitzsimons, R.A.
(Photograph used by permission of Mr Tom Fitzsimons, John’s brother)


John Fitzsimons was one of the sons of William and Catherine Fitzsimons of Bransty, Whitehaven, Cumberland. On 15 June 1936 John Fitzsimons enlisted in the 5th Battalion The Border Regiment (the regiment's West Cumbrian Territorial Battalion). He was discharged by his own consent on 28 September 1936. A note in the Archives held at the Border Regiment & KORBR Museum, The Castle, Carlisle says that he later re-enlisted in the Special Reserve of the King's Own Royal Rifles. Afterwards John Fitzsimons transferred to the Royal Artillery, keeping the original service number he obtained when joining the Border Regiment (3598158).

In 1942, Gunner John Fitzsimons was serving with No 5 Battery, 4 H.A.A Regiment (Anti Aircraft) and based in Malta during the siege by the Axis powers. He lost his life at the age of 23 on 25 May 1942, and was laid to rest in Collective Grave E.23 in Pieta Military Cemetery, 2 Km SW of Valetta along the Sliema road.


The epitaph on John's headstone reads:
"Sleeping across the Ocean Foam
He died for his loved ones far from Home".

John Fitzsimons is also commemorated in two memorials in his hometown of Whitehaven. These are: the WW2 Borough of Whitehaven 'Book of Remembrance' and the WW2 Memorial at St Begh's R.C. Church, Whitehaven.

(Thanks to the following in providing information about Gunner John Fitzsimons:
Mr Tom Fitzsimons, Mr John B. Wright & Mr Tony Goddard of the Border Regiment & KORBR Museum)

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