On this day in 1944, Gordon ‘Jim’ Streets (1919-1944) died of wounds sustained in action in Italy in the Second World War.
Jim, a trooper in the Reconnaissance Corps of the Royal Armoured Corps, died on October 30, 1944 in Cesena. He was 25.
Jim – previously wounded three times in 1944 – was saluted for his ‘great courage and strength’ by a soldier who served with him.
In a letter sent to Jim’s mother, and published in The Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser on November 24, 1944, Corporal E Woodhams, of Croydon, wrote:
‘It is with profound regret that I have to write this letter to you, but I must express my deepest sympathy to you in your recent sad bereavement.
‘It is indeed a sad loss to myself and the boys in my section, who had great personal pride in Jim. To them he was a great friend, who was always willing to give a helping hand, no matter how difficult was the task.
‘As a soldier, he was 100% efficient in all his duties. He carried his ever-popular smile with him, and that we can never forget.
‘I can assure you that he showed no signs of any suffering. If ever a man gave an exhibition of great courage and strength, it was him.
‘Until he was taken away, he had his joke with his comrades, even assisting himself into the ambulance. I do hope this letter will not cause you fresh grief, but it is my salute to a great friend and soldier. May God bless you all.’
The letter was also signed by seven other soldiers who served with Jim.
He fought in the North Africa Campaign, taking part in the advance from El Alamein to Bizerta, and the Sicily Landings.
‘He had a most engaging personality and typified all that is best in English manhood,’ said The Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser.
Another newspaper, The Surrey Mirror, reported that ‘in a letter dated a week before his death, Jim told his parents he was expecting to get leave.’
Jim joined the Queen’s Royal West Kent Regiment as a territorial and was called up in August 1939. ‘He served in France with the British Expeditionary Force and took part in the evacuation from Dunkirk,’ said the newspaper.
‘He reached the rank of sergeant but relinquished this at his own request. He went abroad again in May 1942, and had been in many of the battles from Alamein to Italy. He was one of the most popular young men in Tatsfield.’
Jim, who was attached to the 7th Battalion of the Queen’s Royal West Kent Regiment, was buried at Cesena War Cemetery in Italy. His grave includes the following inscription: ‘On that happy Easter morning graves their dead restore. Father, sister, child and mother meet once more’.
He is also remembered on Tatsfield War Memorial
Jim was born on June 15, 1919 in Godstone, Surrey. He was a member of Tatsfield Scouts in his younger days, and played for Tatsfield Football Club. Before joining the Armed Forces, he worked in the building trade with his father.
His nephew, Ernest Frederick Streets (1912-1976) married Marjorie Courtenay Parker (1917-1978) in 1937 in Merthyr Tydfil. Marjorie was the daughter of William Parker (1883- 1976) and Mary Arscott (1882-1960). Mary was the daughter of Charles Arscott (1858-1926) and Emma Courtney Turner (1954-1899). Charles was the son of Samuel Arscott (1814-) and Mary Ann Courtney (1815-). Samuel was the brother of John Arscott (1807-1879), my great-great grandfather.