WW2 Group to Snape London Rifles KIA El Alamein.
A poignant little group comprising of 1939/45 star, Africa star with 8th army bar and 1939/45 war medal all awarded to 2124999 Rifleman Roland Snape of the 7th/ / 1st London Rifle Brigade.
Roland Snape was born in Cheshire around 1911. It is not known when he enlisted into the London Rifle Brigade, but his regiment stayed in the UK until May 1942.
The 1st Battalion, London Rifle Brigade was originally serving as part of the 2nd London Brigade of the 1st London Division, and later served as the motorised infantry element of the 23rd Armoured Brigade, part of the 8th Armoured Division. The battalion became the 7th Battalion, Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own) (London Rifle Brigade) on 18 January 1941. The division remained in the United Kingdom until May 1942 when it was sent to the Middle East to join the Eighth Army, becoming active there in early July. In mid-July the brigade, now commanded by Brigadier L. E. Misa, was detached from the 8th Armoured Division and with the addition of the 5th Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery became known as the 23rd Armoured Brigade Group. After only 14 days of acclimatisation and without any infantry support training, the brigade was chosen to reinforce an attack by XXX Corps during the Second Battle of Ruweisat Ridge, part of the First Battle of El Alamein. The regiments failed to locate lanes cleared by the leading units through Axis minefields and were virtually annihilated by German anti-tank fire while in the minefield. The brigade had mustered 122 Valentines and 18 Matildas for the attack but at day's end, had lost 116 tanks; the tank crews suffered 44 per cent killed or wounded.
The brigade was rebuilt by cannibalising men and tanks from the newly arrived 24th Armoured Brigade and it was retrained as an infantry support unit, although it was not renamed as an Army Tank Brigade as would have been appropriate. On 11 August 1942, the 7th Battalion, Rifle Brigade (The Prince Consort's Own) was transferred to the 7th Motor Brigade, then part of the 7th Armoured Division but later became part of the 1st Armoured Division. During the Battle of Alam el Halfa in September, the brigade was initially in XXX Corps reserve but was transferred to the 10th Armoured Division, XIII Corps. Before the Second Battle of El Alamein, the brigade was reinforced by the addition of the 8th Royal Tank Regiment to a strength of about 186 Valentines; the 5th RHA was exchanged for the 107th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, with sixteen Bishop self-propelled guns. During that battle, most of the regiments supported the infantry divisions of XXX Corps. The 8th RTR was attached to the 1st South African Division, 40th RTR was attached to the 9th Australian Division and the 50th RTR was attached to 51st (Highland) Division. The brigade suffered heavily during the battle and it remained in Egypt to refit and reorganise, but it was in the 2nd battle that Rifleman Snape was killed in action, first reported as missing, then later, his death was reported. He was lost on the 3rd November 1942 aged 31, the son of James and Sarah Snape and Husband of Winifred Snape of Beuchill, Manchester.
He is now remembered with honour at the El Alamein war cemetery.
Along with his medals, comes a photograph of Roland in uniform, this is in quite poor condition and faded, it was obviously framed for many years, and a small original photo of his original grave in the middle east before his remains were removed to the war cemetery.
Included is CWGC certificate and a small amount of copied research.
There are several books and websites dedicated to the 2nd battle of El Alamein, which tells of the gruelling conditions and hard fighting far better than I can. It is very well worth reading to a just a small insite to what this brave man and all the other men that served there went through.
The medals are in excellent condition, never mounted or polished and come in a fitted box with the photos, just as found. The 8th army bar is loose in the box, never put onto the medal.