6 November 2009

6008980 Pte Percival Frederick Charles Mapes, 1st Bn, Essex Regiment

6008980 Private Percival Frederick Charles Mapes of the 1st Battalion, Essex Regiment, died on the 6th November 1940. He was the son of Frederick Charles and Elizabeth Sarah Mapes of Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex, and was 26 years old when he died. He is buried in the Keren War Cemetery in Eritrea. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has this to say about the cemetery:

"Keren was the last Italian stronghold in Eritrea and the scene of the most decisive battle of the war in East Africa in February and March 1941. Guarding the entrance from the western plains to the Eritrean plateau, the only road passing through a deep gorge with precipitous and well fortified mountains on either side, Keren formed a perfect defensive position. On these heights the Italians concentrated some 23,000 riflemen, together with a large number of well sited guns and mortars. A preliminary assault by United Kingdom and Indian troops was repulsed after a week of bitter fighting, although they gained and held a valuable position on Cameron's Ridge, on the left of the road. The final battle began a month later. After ten days of gruelling combat the Commonwealth troops succeeded in forcing their way through the seemingly impregnable defences on the ridge and finally through the 200 metre long road block which the Italians had blasted at the narrowest point in the pass. Keren was taken on 27 March. The defeated Italian force retreated in some disarray to Asmara, which fell to Commonwealth forces on 1 April, and the Italian surrender was taken at the port of Massawa on 8 April. KEREN WAR CEMETERY contains 440 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War, 35 of them unidentified. The KEREN CREMATION MEMORIAL stands within the cemetery and commemorates 285 Sikh and Hindu soldiers from India and Pakistan killed on the Keren battlefield during the Second World War, whose remains were cremated in accordance with their faith. Three East African soldiers are also commemorated on the memorial."

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.


Ancestry.co.uk (1939-1945 Roll of Honour)
Commonwealth War Graves Commission

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