Surviving Documents Letters and Postcards from Home Service, the Troopship Staffordshire , North Africa, Italy and Germany by Pte T Tunney, C Company, 16th DLI

Soldier’s Will Form, dated September 20th 1942, witessed by Cpl W Edgar and Pte Harvey Hurst of C Company

A December 1942 Letter from Camberley

A Letter from the Troopship, December 1942

A Postcard from Algiers, January 1943

A First Letter from North Africa, January 1943

A Letter from the Green Hill Sector of the Frontline 20/1/43

Letter from Green Hill 7/2/43

Letter from Green Hill 15/2/43

Letter from Sedjenane 22/2/43

Postcard from Sedjenane 25/2/43

1943-45 POW Correspondence

Soldier’s Will Wallet detailing transfer to Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment in December 1945 and ‘Class B’ Release in May 1946.

Soldier’s Will Receipt from May 1948.


The Battalion was inspected by King George VI on Sunningdale Golf Course, near Aldershot on December 18th 1942. MV Staffordshire sailed from Liverpool on Christmas Day 1942 and arrived at Algiers on January 3rd 1943. The 16th DLI entered the frontline in the Green Hill sector of the Tunisian battlefield on January 17th 1943. These surviving letters and cards were all written by Pte Tunney to his mother, in Thornley, County Durham. The first, undated, was written just after the Battalion was inspected by the King at Camberley. The second is from the troopship and the last, a postcard dated 25/2/43, was written while the 16th DLI was resting in the Sedjenane Woods area, after over six weeks in the mud opposite Green Hill. Two days later the Battalion was committed to the Battle of Sedjenane and Pte Tunney’s next letter home was from an Italian POW camp.

For eyewitness memories of the troopship click here.

Of the names mentioned in the correspondence, ‘Norman’ was Pte Norman Cook, of Wheatley Hill, Co Durham, who was in the same C Coy Platoon, and who was also taken POW at Sedjenane. In civilian life he worked at the local Co-op Store.

‘The Band’ was Thornley Band, for a 1941 photograph click here.

‘The one from Oldham’ was Pte Harvey Hurst who later rejoined the Battalion and was still with them in Greece in early 1945. For a photograph of Harvey Hurst in early 1945 with unidentified 16 DLI friends, click here.

Hurst also features on the 1944 C Company Photograph

Katie was my father’s younger sister, who was then working at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle. Older sister Margaret was an Army nurse with the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service. Nora was another older sister. Leo and Hubert were his younger and older brothers, respectively. Leo was in the RAF and Hubert was a Petty Officer in the RN. Both survived the war. Syd Shutt and John Halliday, mentioned in later letters were both from Thornley and members of B Company 16 DLI. They both also feature on the 1942 B Company photo--click here.

Several items were signed by C Company Platoon officer Lt C W Duck--officers had to read and if necessary censor their men’s mail. Lt Duck died during the Battle. There is a portrait photograph of him here. For a photograph of his CWGC gravestone, click here.
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