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Joseph John Wagstaff

 
 
 

Major Joseph John Wagstaff - Service Ref 71665 Royal Artillery 349th Battery. Died 12th April 1943 aged 24. Grave Ref 4.G.2 La Reunion, Algeria. Son of Mr George Frederick Wagstaff and Ethel Mary P (nee Foxwell); husband of Doreen L. Wagstaff (nee Hunter), of Chew Stoke, Somerset.

Allied troops made a series of landings on the Algerian coast in early November 1942. From there, they swept east into Tunisia, where the North African campaign came to an end in May 1943 with the surrender of the Axis forces. Bejaia (formerly Bougie) was the landing place of the 36th Infantry Brigade Group on 11 November 1942. La Reunion War Cemetery contains 211 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War.

" Mr Nick Kemp shared his father's notes about the death of Maj. J.J. Wagstaff: "That evening Waggie held an 'orders group' giving the route role details of our coming journey. He gave each officer present a typed copy of the orders read them through to ensure all were certain about the details. On those orders was one paragraph '2. The column will be under the commanding Major J J Wagstaff RA'. This was the only piece of the order that he did not read out. I did not see him again. He met his end the next day at 0445hrs when his car was in collision with a train. It appeared afterwards at the court of inquiry that a bar should have ben placed across the line to hold up traffic, but through some negligence on someone's part it was not done. And we lost a real friend and a very fine soldier."

Above Le Reunion Cemetry, Algeria.

Bristol Evening Post Wednesday 21st April 1943

Major John Wagstaff R.A (24) of Blagden has died from injuries received in North Africa. Educated at Bristol Grammar School, he was later at Messrs Hudson-Smith and Briggs, accountants. From the Grammar School OTC he went to the Territorial Army, joining the Regulars just before war broke out. He leaves a widow and young daughter.