Congratulations to Chris for putting together such a comprehensive history of 66 Medium. My father, Gnr Robert Sheridan 918527, was in A Troop of 227 Battery.
Though seriously injured in an incident logged in both of the website accounts, he is still going strong at the age of 90, living a very full life, dancing twice a week and walking every day.
Bob came from Haddington and joined up at Prestonpans with two of his friends, Tommy Lemon and George Sandy. In June 1940 he attended a gunfitters' course in the Potteries, where he met his future wife. They married in February 1942.
Early in January 1943, he was just able to see his son, Peter, before embarking on the campaign. The next time he saw Peter was immediately after the war ended.
On the website there's a picture of A Troop 227 Battery taken in Egypt in 1943. Bob Sheridan is seated centre on the ground immediately in front of Captain Cooper. Bob occupies a similar position on the larger group photo of 227 Battery.
On October 4th 1943, Bob was detailed to drive Captain Cooper's Scout Car with three soldiers in the rear: Gunners Bertie Roberts, Thomas Buckley and Edward Wilkins. Captain Cooper sat in the front with Bob. The scout car was taken out by a landmine and Gunner Roberts died at the scene. By the time they reached the field hospital, Gunners Buckley and Wilkins had also died.
Captain Cooper suffered multiple fractures and Gunner Sheridan suffered a fractured skull and other shrapnel wounds. He spent two weeks in a coma. I still have the telegrams and letters that were sent to my mum immediately afterwards. Captain Cooper was an honourable "Sir" from North Berwick. His mother kindly communicated with Bob's mother in Haddington over the coming weeks, and they supported each other through this difficult time.
Gunner Sheridan eventually returned to front line duties, but after two weeks the pressures of battle forced him to report sick and he was then classified B1 and he spent the rest of the war practising his pre-war trade as a Baker in the regiment.
One day, at the bakery near Taranto, Bob was walking down the stairs as some soldiers from the Cheshire Regiment were walking up. Suddenly, Bob came face-to-face with his younger brother, George, six years his junior! Bob didn't even know that George had been posted to Italy! Nedless to say, that group of Cheshires were treated to a feast that day!
After the cease-fire in 1945, Bob's commanding officer laid on a truck for him to go and visit his very sick brother-in-law, Jack Beamish, in Rome. Jack was suffering from TB. The two men were able to share a short time together, with the Padre close by. Bob was repatriated two weeks later, and on arrival home was informed that Jack had died soon after the visit. Amongst Jack's belongings was a Papal Blessing for the Beamish family, which I now keep safely.
Though Bob and his wife initially settled in Haddington after the war, within a year of my own birth, they moved down to the Potteries, where Bob has lived ever since.
Amazingly, the dates and events that my father has described to us over the years tally completely with the accounts on the website. Despite the very serious head injuries he received in Italy, my father's memories of his wartime times are as clear as ever.
Son of Gunner Robert Sheridan 918527
Gerard, Good to hear your Father Robert is still going strong. I will have to get his phone number from you and give him a call. Thanks for the wee story, thats what the site is for.