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Letter sent to Pte. V.F. Osmond 5567035 K.I.A.


This is a letter sent to Pte. V.F.Osmond 5567035, A Company, 4th Wiltshire Regiment, B.W.E.F. (British Western Expeditionary Forces) from his sister Nellie from Maidenhead written on Sunday the 23/07/1944 with a postmark dated 24/07/1944. Pte. Osmond was killed in action on 15/07/1944, thus unfortunately he was already deceased when the letter was written and it never reached him. The addressees details being crossed out and handwritten it says "26/07/44 Deceased" along with a Captains signature. It has an official blue stamp which says the same and has been opened and resealed by the army post office to allow them to re-address it and return it to the sender. The senders details have been written on the back (To Nellie?, Old Court Cottage, Cox Green, Maidenhead, Berks) and the field post office return stamp is date marked 27/07/44. Amazingly it has never been re-opened the past 65 years since the army officially sealed it. Just recently the letter has been re-opened.




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The contents of this letter is a pretty poignant reminder of what war is all about. It is a timecapsule were you can read about the everyday live of two relatives (brother and sister). The threat of the V1 flying bombs (doodle bug), the air raids, talking about the weather and the vegetables in the greenhouse, the destruction of housing the uncertainty of being alive tomorrow. Victor Frank Osmond was killed on the 15th July 1944 at the age of 32 and his name is engraved on panel 16, column 3 on the Bayeux (France) Memorial.

The contents of the letter reads:

Old Court Cottage, Cox Green, Maidenhead


My dear Frank.
Yes, you did owe me a letter dear, and learning that you were across the drink I couldn’t write to you before I had your address. I was so glad to hear from you. I had one from Fred same morning. I’m glad to know you are back well and I trust this affair will soon finish so that you both can be this side once more, but the news is good, but it is vexing to hear the weather is so rotten and holding everything up, as well as making it so rotten for you all. Tom came over this morning and had your address so you may be hearing from him. I have got the secretary, his wife, and small daughter, their house had an unlucky one, by one of the doodle bug(gers). They lived in Essex. Have been here a month but they are very nice people, could have it a jolly sight worse. I hope you have got your bread. I must say that you and Fred both wrote very cheerful under the circumstances. I hope  you will soon be getting leave. I had to disappoint  K:  about coming here just yet, but couldn’t help it. Mr. Gilby is one of the “Heads” and we were placed in a funny position but poor devils Maidenhead is full of evacuees although we are getting the siren plenty often ourselves. Sometimes 5-6-7 times a day, and nights as well. We were in G.P.O. about 3 weeks ago, and just missed one, fell  about 1/2 mile away, had them all around. I expect you heard from Vee that she had been up to see us. I gave K: your message she sends her love to you. Fred and I went to the playa yesterday to see Bufflo Bill, jolly good film. There’s some talk about the ?????? going back if they are settled about Sept we may go down. We were going to Guildford for this last week but thought it best to stay put, under present conditions. George is still at P: E:  and doing alright. We thought we  would take it quiet this afternoon and go for a ride this evening. And it still keeps cloudy, but it may keep fine not a bit like July although I don’t like it too hot myself. The tomatoes are just ripening up in the greenhouse, but we had some cucumbers and jolly good they are. The firm is having a huge shed built along by the fence it will look like a village hall. There will be plenty of work for  someone. I expect a good many of the lads will want to go back to the midlands when the war is over, if they can’t get houses down here. This is all for now and write again when you can. All the best and look after yourself.
Fondest love from your affected sister Nellie.






Frontpage of letter









Pte. V.F. Osmond was a member of the 4th Wiltshire Regiment which was a regiment of the 43rd Wessex Infantry Division. The 4th Wiltshire Regiment landed in Normandy on 24 June 1944 to take part in Operation Overlord (the invasion of Europe by the Allied Forces). A complete list of British Army follow-on Divisions for Operation Overlord can be found here.

Click on the image below to see a short video about Hill 112

The 4th Wiltshire Regiment took part in Oparation Jupiter, a fierce battle for Hill 112, that lasted for 12 days with 7000 casualties on allied side. In the first attack the 43rd Division was to capture Hill 112 and the town Maltot on 10th July. Hill 112 was an unimpressive stretch of country covered with wheat two or three feet high, and with a few wooded copses and several villages on its slopes. From this elevation the entire valleys of the Odon and Orne could be seen, and the Germans said, "He who controls Hill 112 controls Normandy." Certainly they clung to it desperately, and when they were driven off counter-attacked at once to regain possession.

Between 29 June, when the 9th and 10th SS Panzer Divisions regained the hill, and 23 July, when they were driven from Maltot, the area around Hill 112 changed hands many times and thousands of Allied and German troops were killed or wounded on its bloody slopes and Pte. Osmond was propably one of them. The 43rd Division alone lost more than 2,000 men in the first 36 hours of operation JUPITER to regain Hill 112. The attack began before dawn on 10 July with an impressive artillery barrage. By 0630 hours 129 Brigade - 4 and 5 Wiltshire and 4 Sommerset Light Infantery had advanced through the waist-high wheat sprinkled with poppies. They reached their objectives at the crest of the hill, although for several hours fierce close-quarter battles continued in the wheat where SS troops manned concealed machine-gun nests and refused to surrender even when wounded.

Major Anthony Parsons was second-in-command of A Company 4th Wiltshire Regiment when Operation Jupiter started and later first in command. He died in 2001 aged 83 and his story about the event is as follows:

On July 7 1944 A Company 4th Wiltshires was ordered to raid SS Panzer positions in the bridgehead area facing Caen and to bring back a prisoner for identification purposes. During a desperate night battle in which the prisoner was taken, A Company withdrew as arranged, but the company commander was shot dead trying to evacuate a wounded comrade. I took command and brought the whole company safely back to their lines. I continued to command A Company in several weeks of intense fighting in the bridgehead area.

Men of the 43rd Wessex "The Fighting Wyverns" on the Caen - Aunay sur Odon road




Crew of "Illusive" a Churchiill of A Sqdn RTR. The crew were captured in the fighting for Hill 112 in Maltot on 10.6.44








Dead cattle litter the area of Hill 112 as B Sqdn 9th Battalion RTR advance to Hill 112

Churchills move cross country to Hill 112



Crew of troop sergeant's tank Iceni, 2 Troop, A Squadron, Farnborough, 19 May 1944. Back row: Ray Gordon, Jack 'Hutch' Hutchinson. Front row: Bill Morris, Sgt. Jock Smith, Dickie Knight. Hutch, Bill, Jock and Dickie were burnt to death in their tank on 10 July 1944; Ray escaped with burns, but had to spend the next four years in and out of hospital.






Tiger "E" crew of 1/SS -Pz.Abt.102 who fiercely defended Hill 112

The scene of utter destruction round the "Kastenwaldchen" or "Cornwall Wood" on top of Hill 112

Infantry men of 43rd Wessex Division on Hill 112

Again, Infantry men of 43rd Wessex

Hill 112 today...

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