H G C Garratt

HGC Garratt Beresford 1916 (courtesy of Wellington College Archive)

Major Henry George Cashel Garratt went to Wellington in 1916, to the Beresford. It is the Beresford House photograph in his first year that is the source of the above photograph. He went to Sandhurst and was commissioned in 1923 into the Royal Ulster Rifles which he served until 1926. He transferred to the reserve in 1925, rejoining the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers at the outbreak of war.

He joined the 6th Battalion (the “6th Skins”), part of 38th (Irish) Brigade in North Africa on 27 April 1943 at Kef El Tiour and took part in the invasion of Sicily where he was wounded and died from wounds received in the pursuit towards Randazzo on 18 August 1943, the last battle in the liberation of Sicily. He is buried in Catania Cemetery.[1]

The unit war diary for the morning of 13 August 1943 records:

“0130 Remainder of Bttn, with A Coy leading, followed by Bttn HQ. C Coy moved off down the road. When about 3 miles from the final objective (810190), the leading platoons of B Coy under Lieut Bolton ran into an ambush, three were killed and four seriously wounded by about 4 MG 34s. The reason why this platoon had got so far ahead was because the main body of the coy had encountered a number of S mines. Major HGC Garratt was wounded. They became so numerous that the CO decided to leave the road. The remaining three miles were over most difficult country. Vineyards with every now and then very high stone walls and terraces. The last mile was over a very open patch of lava, which in the darkness was very difficult to negotiate. It was impossible for mules even to follow up and they were left to follow up in daylight. The rear link also had to be left behind for the last mile. Two miserable PoWs were taken during the advance. At dawn, the Bttn got back on the road and continued to advance somewhat faster. A detour had to be made at one point to avoid running into some shell fire put down by Americans….”

Garratt joined the OW Lodge in 1938, having been initiated into Cadogan Lodge No 162 in London.

[1] Reference: IV. F. 12