On this day in 1943, Arras Henry Worle (1917-1943) died as a prisoner of war.
A corporal in the 2nd Battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry, he was 26 when he lost his life on March 13, 1943.
His battalion were based in Gibraltar – forming part of a garrison on the peninsula – at the time of his death.
It is understood he was captured while on garrison duty.
But it is not known where he was kept as a prisoner or died.
He may have been held in one of four German labour and concentration camps on Alderney.
Arras was buried at Gibraltar (North Front) Cemetery, close to the airport and just 300 yards from the harbour.
His grave includes the following inscription from his wife, Dorothy Ellen: ‘In loving memory of my dear husband. Rest in Peace. His loving wife.’
Three Somerset newspapers reported in June 1943, three months after Arras’s death, that he had died as a prisoner of war.
The Somerset Guardian and Radstock Observer, on June 18, The Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette, on June 19, and The Taunton Courier and Western Advertiser on June 26, reported:
‘Somerset Light Infantry: Previously reported prisoner of war, now reported died as prisoner of war, Cpl A H Worle.’
The 2nd Somerset Light Infantry moved to Gibraltar in 1939, remaining there until they joined Allied forces in Tunisia in December 1943.
During the war, Gibraltar’s civilians were evacuated to Britain, Madeira and Jamaica to enable it to be fortified against German attack and invasion.
By 1942, 30,000 British soldiers, sailors and airmen were based there.
The 2nd Somerset Light Infantry served with the 2nd Gibraltar Brigade as part of the garrison in Gibraltar.
Arras was the son of Wilfred Harry Worle (1879-1950) and Amy Maud Roberts (1881-1935). Amy was the daughter of Henry Roberts (1822-1892) and Ellen Stacey (1840-1934). Henry was the son of William Roberts (1779-1848) and Sarah Treble (1784-1861). William was the son of William Roberts (1738-), my great-great-great-great-great grandfather.
Born in 1917 in Long Ashton, Somerset, Arras married Dorothy Ellen Green (1919-2001) in 1940 in Tiverton. Dorothy, born on December 12, 1919 in Tiverton, was the daughter of William and Sarah Green. In 1939, aged 18, she was a parachute maker, living in Ashley, Tiverton. She married Ronald John Burchell (1922-1988) in 1947 in Tiverton. Dorothy died on December 1, 2001 in Mid-Devon aged 81.
The Germans built two labour and two concentration camps in Alderney, the northernmost of the inhabited Channel Islands, after all but a few of its population of 1,400 was evacuated to mainland Britain. Thousands of people were transported to the island to build military fortifications.
North Front Cemetery, Gibraltar. Picture by Scott Wylie (CC BY-SA 3.0 <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/>, via Wikimedia Commons). https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:North_Front_Cemetery.jpg