A May 9th 1945 Letter from Sgt P Griffin MM

Peter Griffin MM was the Medical Sergeant of 16 DLI for most of the Battalion's existence. Transferred from the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment in June 1940 (click here to see the early 1940 Beds and Herts training squad photo on which he features), he served with the Battalion through all of its World War Two campaigns. In 1944, he was awarded a periodic Military Medal for his consistent good work.

On May 9th 1945, just as the war in Europe ended, he wrote the letter below to his good friend Sgt Charles Bray, ex of D Company. Bray, a fellow ex-Beds and Herts NCO, had been taken POW in the Battle of Sedjenane in March 1943 and wrote to Griffin on his repatriation to the UK in April 1945. Griffin's reply is a fascinating snapshot of the Battalion on this crucial day. The letter also provides some invaluable insights into the many and varied changes in the Battalion over the hectic two years since the two friends had last met. Special thanks to Charles Bray for loaning me this priceless document. I have added a brief set of explanatory notes. To read a typed transcription of the letter please click here.


'S' in the letter refers to the Battle of Sedjenane. Well over 50 DLI men were killed in this action in February-March 1943. Many others were taken POW and many others wounded. Indeed, many of the wounded were captured and treated--very well--by the Germans. In the letter, Griffin refers to picking up and tending to 13 wounded from the Battalion on the day of the final attack in which Bray was taken POW, March 2nd

Atkinson, Bell and Nye, were three of Griffin's fellow stretcher-bearers and all were taken POW at Sedjenane. Atkinson escaped from his Italian POW camp in September 1943 and eventually regained Allied lines.

Peter Griffin MM 1945 Letter Page 1