A RETIRED major from Cosham who fought in some of the most notorious North African battles of the Second World War has died at the age of 98.
Captain Reginald Elwin was a solicitor’s clerk before being called up and enlisted into the Hampshire Regiment on June 13 1940. In 1945, he was awarded a military MBE for his ‘drive, vigour and inspiration, retaining at all times his good humour’, according to Lt Col Colin Bulleid, secretary of The Royal Hampshire Regiment Trust.
Known as Reggie by friends, he did basic training at the Hampshire Regiment Infantry Training Centre at Parkhurst Barracks on the Isle of Wight before being commissioned in June 1942 and posted to the 1/4th Battalion as a platoon commander.
In January 1943 he sailed with his battalion to North Africa. Reggie commanded his platoon throughout the Tunisian Campaign, at Hunt’s Gap and then Pichon.
During heavy fighting spanning 33 hours at Bou Arada, when the 1/4th was reduced to two companies, his company commander was wounded, for the first of three times, and taken prisoner. He managed to escape two weeks later, in time to take part in the victory parade in Tunis.
Reggie was mentioned in dispatches during the time the battalion fought its way to cross the Volturno river and on towards the Garigliano.
As a captain, Reggie was appointed adjutant of the 1/4th Battalion on June 2 1944, an appointment he held until the German surrender in Italy and during the battalion’s time as occupation troops in Austria.
After he was discharged in 1946, he qualified as a solicitor and worked at Bramsdon & Childs Solicitors in Southsea until his retirement at the age of 75.
He was very active in the Royal Hampshire Regiment Comrades’ Association and was permanent life president.
He died at Alexandra Rose Care Home in Havant Road, Farlington having previously lived in Magdala Road, Cosham.
Lt Col Hugh Keatinge, who knew Reggie through the association, said: ‘Reg was a huge supporter of the Portsmouth branch of the comrades’ association.
‘He looked after the branch more than anyone else could have done.’