Yeates, Anthony Winston, 318, Police Constable.

Second Lieutenant "A" Squadron 153rd (8th Battalion, The Essex Regiment) Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps

Paul Watts with thanks to Mick Hall

Remembrance Poppy
Paul Watts

Early Life.

Anthony Winston Yeates was born on the 5th April 1915 at Kelvedon, Essex and baptised there on the 25th April 1915. At this time, his father, Harry Winston Yeates, was recorded as being employed as a Butler and living at Felix Hall, Kelvedon.

His father was born in 1887 at Kington, Herefordshire. In the 1911 census he was recorded as being a valet and living at the home of Viscount Raincliffe at Londesborough, Market Weighton, Yorkshire.

His mother, Alice Maud Liquorish, was born on the 19th May 1886 at Haycock Wansford, Northants. In the 1911 census she was recorded as being a housemaid at the Manor House, Metheringham, Lincoln. She married Harry Yeates in 1913 at Sleaford, Lincolnshire. They had the one child, Anthony.

The 1922 to 1924 Electoral Rolls show the family are recorded as living at Barnes Lodge Cottages, King’s Langley. The 1928 to 1930 Electoral Rolls show the family are recorded as living at Clandon, Sonning near Reading.

Witness At An Inquest.

Published in the Sheffield Daily Telegraph on Wednesday 4th May 1932 under the headline Cyclist’s Fatal Turn: Lord Colum Crichton-Stuart in Motor Accident. At an inquest Windsor last night, on Eric John Hall (21), of Slough, who received fatal injuries when his cycle was in collision with Lord Colum Crichton-Stuart’s motorcar at Chippenham, a verdict of accidental death was returned and the driver of the car was exonerated from blame. Lord Colum Crichton-Stuart said that he saw two cyclists proceeding in the same direction as the car. He saw the outside cycle turn outwards and although the car brakes were immediately applied, the cycle was struck. Anthony Winston Yeates, of Woodley, near Reading, said that he saw Hall make a half turn and saw the car strike him. Edward James Smith, chauffeur said had been driving for 31 years and no one had ever been injured before in an accident in which car he was driving had been involved.

Anthony’s father died in 1934 at Wandsworth, London. In the 1939 register his mother, shown as a widow, was living at 63, The Grove, Bournemouth.

Anthony Winston Yeates Police Service.

Anthony’s Police Service Record has not survived so his date of appointment to the Hertfordshire Constabulary is not known, but as will be seen below it was before his marriage. From other sources we know he was Constable 318.

Marriage.

Anthony married Muriel Irene Dock on the 11th February 1939 at All Saints Church, Kings Langley. He was recorded as being aged 23 years a bachelor employed as a Police Officer living at 45, Stonecross Road, Hatfield. His father, Harry Winston Yeates, was shown as being deceased but had been employed as a Butler.

Muriel was born on the 3rd October 1910 at King’s Langley. In the 1911 census she is shown as living with her family at Rucklers Lane, King’s Langley. At the time of her marriage she was aged 28 years, a spinster, employed as a Shorthand Typist living at 4, Hempstead Road, Kings Langley. Her father, Hubert Dock, was employed as an Office Manager.

Anthony and Muriel had a son, Christopher Winston Yeates, who was born in 1940 at Hitchin.

In the 1939 register Anthony, shown as being a Police Constable, and Muriel are recorded as living at 24, Abbotts Road, Letchworth.

General Order Number 24 of 1941 announced that the Criminal Investigation Department of the County would consist of the following officers. Shown as being stationed at E Division at Letchworth was Constable 318 Yeates.

Anthony Winston Yeates Army Service.

Anthony’s Army Service Record is held by the Ministry of Defence. From documents that are publicly available we know that he was Commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in “A” Squadron 153rd (8th Battalion, The Essex Regiment) Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps (RAC) although the date is unknown.

The 153rd Regiment, RAC was formed by conversion to the armoured role of the 8th Battalion, Essex Regiment, a hostilities only infantry battalion that had been raised during 1940. The battalion had been serving in 226th Independent Infantry Brigade (Home), a Home Defence formation, when the whole brigade was converted into 34th Army Tank Brigade on 1st December 1941.

The 153rd Regiment, RAC began to receive its first Churchill tanks in March 1942; it had its full scale of equipment by the end of August. Having been billeted in Swindon, Wiltshire, the regiment moved with 34th Tank Brigade to Eastern England and then the South Coast for training. At the end of 1942 it moved to Broome Park, Kent, which remained the regiment’s base for the next year, utilising firing ranges across Southern England. In early 1944, as training intensified for the coming Normandy invasion, The 153rd Regiment, RAC moved to Folkestone in Kent, and then Headley, Surrey, before finally moving to its Marshalling Area near Portsmouth at the end of June.

The 153rd Regiment RAC was transported to Normandy from 2nd to the 4th July 1944. On the 9th July 1944, the 153rd Regiment, RAC was ordered to move to I Corps’ front to prepare for an attack on Caen, but the fall of the city led to the cancellation of the move. The 153rd Regiment, RAC finally went into action on 16th July, when the 34th Tank Brigade supported 227th Brigade of 15th (Scottish) Infantry Division in an attack in the Esquay – Évrecy area west of Caen. The object of the operation was to ‘hold the attention of the enemy to that front while preparations for a breakthrough were being made east of Caen.

The last phase of 227th Brigade and the 34th Tank Brigade’s joint operation was an attack on the wooded area of Gavrus and Bougy by the 8th Battalion, Royal Scots and 153rd Regiment, RAC. Some Churchill Crocodile flame throwing tanks and Churchill Armoured Vehicle Royal Engineers were assigned to support the operation but were not used. The attack began at 05.30 on 16th July, and the final objective was reached by 10.25, but there were still enemy troops in the woods to be mopped up. An early casualty was the regimental commanding officer, hit in the back while climbing into his tank. At 14.50 the Germans counter-attacked with a mixed force, and the British claimed to have destroyed a Tiger tank. In a second counter-attack later in the afternoon the Germans lost another Tiger and three Panther tanks. The regimental war diary refers to ‘a slogging match’ throughout the rest of the day. Casualties included the commander of ‘A’ Squadron and four of his crews who crossed a ridge to deal with machineguns on the flank. Their burnt out tanks were discovered weeks later near Évrecy. The counter-attacks dwindled after 18.00, and 153 withdrew into its forward rally position. It was in this position that the majority of the casualties occurred. A considerable number of tanks were damaged and crews injured through intense mortar fire.

The War Office casualty list number 1510 (Officers) dated the 28th July 1944 shows that 2nd Lieutenant A.W. Yeates 308997 was killed in action on the 16th July 1944.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission record shows: “In Memory of Second Lieutenant Anthony Winston Yeates 308997, “A” Squadron 153rd (8th Battalion, The Essex Regiment) Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps who died on 16th July 1944 Age 29. Son of Harry Winston Yeates and Alicia Maude Yeates; husband of Muriel Irene Yeates, of King’s Langley, Hertfordshire. Remembered with Honour Banneville-La-Campagne War Cemetery.” Banneville-la-Campagne is a village in Normandy, which is 10 kilometres east of Caen. Anthony was initially buried near Gavrus and was reburied here on 17th January 1946 in Plot 7 Row E Grave  10. The family requested the following inscription to be placed on his headstone: “Rest Eternal Grant Him, O Lord; And Let Light Perpetual Shine Upon Him.”

Anthony’s Probate record shows that Anthony Winston Yeates of 24, Abbotts Road, Letchworth died on 16th July 1944 on war service. His estate went to his widow Muriel Irene Yeates.

This page was added on 19/08/2020.

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