We are pleased to be able to share a number of photographs from the collection of Sgt George Guild MM, who was a platoon sergeant with F Company in the 2nd Battalion, London Irish Rifles.
We would like to thank the London Irish Rifles’ Museum for allowing us to share these intimate studies of a remarkable group of men. Of course, they all still had many months of hard fighting ahead of them and not everyone in the photos got through to the end and were able to return to their families.
Although Sgt Guild hailed from Arbroath, his Army Number suggests that he originally joined up with the Royal Berkshire Regiment. We are unsure when he transferred to 2 LIR but it seems clear that he fought in all the major battles on the Adriatic Coast during the autumn of 1943, and then at Cassino and Lake Trasimene in May/June 1944. It was for his actions during the fighting to break through the Trasimene Line south of Florence that Sgt Guild was awarded the Military Medal and the citation for the MM underpins the bravery of the men of F Company, who were led at that time by Major Colin Gibbs MC:
“Sgt Guild commanded 10 Pl of F Coy on 21 Jun ’44 when his platoon came under heavy MG fire from the western outskirts of Sanfatucchio and was pinned down. Sgt Guild ran forward under heavy fire and, from an exposed position, engaged the post with his rifle, silencing it. He then led a section round to a flank and knocked out another post which was holding up the platoon on his right. Later in the day his platoon had to advance on their objective while subjected to intense mortar and MG fire from their flanks with great skill and determination Sgt Guild seized his objective and held it in spite of repeated attempts to dislodge his platoon by mortar and constant small arms fire from his front.
The personal gallantry and determination of this NCO was a decisive factor in the success achieved by his platoon over difficult ground tenaciously defended by the enemy.”
George Guild’s comrades clearly seem to have been very appreciable of his skills as a leader of men and fighting soldier as they passed onto him an abundance of photos of themselves as they were about to embark for Italy again in September 1944 – some with personal inscriptions, but not always with their own names. We have added a selection of these photos here but, unfortunately, we don’t seem to have an easily identifiable photograph of “Jock” Guild himself !
But we do want to find out more about as the men in the photos… so all feedback comments would be welcomed.