John Meredith's Stories.

Captain John Meredith was the commanding Officer of C Troop 181 Field Regt , an officer that was highly respected by all the men of his troop. After the war he kept in touch with several of the men in his troop, writing to them and sending a card at Christmas time, all the ex-members of C Troop spoke of him with same affection.

John Meredith was born to be a soldier and a leader of men; he was enlisted into the 6th Bn KSLI on 26th July 1940. At the time he was living and working in Whitchurch, Shropshire at the local branch of the National Provincial Bank. It wasn't long before he gained his first appointment A/U//L/Cpl (Acting unpaid lance corporal) and by October 1940 he was promoted to the rank of Sgt i/c of No9 Platoon W Coy. This was the same platoon that my Dad was in. It was only natural the he would be put forward for a commission, and only 4 months after joining the army, he was reposted back to the 6th Bn as 2/Lt. As one of the Officers who volunteered to transfer to the Artillery John attended the artillery officers course and was posted back to 181 Field Regt as Captain.

It was an article written by John and printed in the KSLI Regimental journal in 1958 that kicked off my project. In which he mentions some of his old Troopers, I was thrilled to see that he had remembered my Dad!

Percy Lewis had kept in close touch with John who lived in Herefordshire after the war. Percy and Dick Fletcher visited John and his wife on many occasions. It was Percy who put my name forward to John's son, Bill Meredith. After exchanging a couple of letters I was invited to Bills home in Kings Langley. There was a treasure trove of papers and mementoes all kept together in two trunks. I didn't know where to start John had kept meticulous notes and the trunks contained in detail the whole of his army service, including all the notes he made on his mortar course, his Officers course and his Artillery course.

For me it was a wonderful insight into C Troop and brought to life many of the stories I'd been told and many of the names I was so familiar with. He had kept notes on all of the soldiers in his platoon and written a physical and character description of each man, including my dad, it was very nice to see he regarded Dad a good, reliable soldier. He wrote a letter of condolence to each of the next of kin of those men who had been killed in 178 Bty. There were dozens of photos, many of which Bill was kind enough to let me copy. I was able to take a lot of papers home and study them in my own time, from these notes I was able to form an almost intimate knowledge of Johns war service and the members of C troop.

During the war, typically, he served with fortitude and distinction, inspiring his men and leading from the front, always! Decorated twice for his bravery in action. Afterwards in Germany he was promoted to honorary Major and given command of the Battery. His desire to serve his country remained after the war, when he was commissioned captain into 639 heavy battery RA(TA)

Sadly I was not able to meet John in person, he could have told many great stories and I'm sure he would have been very proud to see the exploits of his Regiment recorded forever in my book. He died after being ill in 1992.