Friday, 14 September 2018

C F Crouch QX27813

The following entry is from They Answered The CallClick here for the contents page.

Charles Frederick CROUCH 

Service number: QX27813.  Age: 38 years 1 month.  Enlisted: 4 Mar 1942.
Occupation: Fisherman.  Next of kin: (wife) Mrs Eileen Crouch.
Address on enlistment:  Bribie Island.

 Soldiers beside a dugout at 2/15th Battalion headquarters, 
El Alamein area, Oct 1942.[1]

Service Summary:
4 Mar 1942: 2/15 Infantry Battalion.[2]

23 Aug 1942: Embarked from Sydney on U.S. 16 HT P3.

“In July 1942, in the face of a heavy German onslaught that threatened to break through to Suez, the 9th Division was hurriedly moved back to North Africa. The 2/15th subsequently took part in the First and Second Battles of El Alamein during the remainder of the year.  Throughout August, the 2/15th subsequently held a position in the north-east sector of the line from Hill 33 to the coast. On 1 September, the 2/15th participated in the 9th Division's diversionary attack south of Tel-el-Eisa, codenamed Operation Bulimba, which was planned as a response to German offensive actions further south during the lead-up to the final assault in late October and early November 1942. In heavy fighting near Point 23, a low rocky outcrop, the battalion lost about half of its fighting strength, sustaining 183 casualties, amidst heavy hand-to-hand fighting as the battalion came up against heavy resistance after penetrating a German minefield.  Ogle's carrier struck a mine during the operation, and he was seriously wounded.  

The battalion's role in the September attack, including the efforts of Corporal Horton McLachlan, who received the Distinguished Conduct Medal, was later depicted in a painting by Ivor Hele.  Among the casualties at El Alamein was the 2/15th's recently appointed replacement commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Keith Magno, who was mortally wounded by artillery fire after the battalion was heavily shelled while forming up during an attack around Trig 29 – a valuable piece of high ground south-west of Tel-el-Eisa – on 28 October.  Casualties over both periods the battalion fought around Alamein totaled 81 killed, 23 died of wounds, 276 wounded and seven captured.”[3]

27 Feb 1943: Returned to Australia at Sydney.

12 Feb 1944: Discharged.

Life Summary:
Charles Frederick Crouch (1904-1972), was the eldest son of Charles and Emma Crouch. Charles Crouch married Eileen Ormiston in 1934 and the couple made Bribie Island their home where he worked as a fisherman.

Fred and Eileen Crouch in 1941.[4]

After his military service, Charles Crouch returned to Bribie Island where he and his wife raised their family.

Charles Crouch, aged 73, died 7 Sep 1977 and was buried at Redcliffe Cemetery.

[1] Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial P01614.013
[2] Information on 2/15th Australian Infantry Battalion
[3] Wikipedia 2/15th Battalion (Australia)
[4] Photo kindly provided by Pam Smith (nee Crouch).

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