Sgt George Guild’s photo collection

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.

Top row: i) “To my old friend Jock, from Paddy” ii) “7/7/44 – Sincere good wishes and the best of luck S Green.” iii) “Frank (Jesse) Janes”. Bottom Row: iv) “Shoeshine Boy”. v) Unknown. vi) “C Packer”. vii) “Portrait of a Solder”.

Top row: i) “I am a very handsome young soldier. My sergeant says so. Paddy.” ii) “Rome 7th July 1944, George Faizey.” iii) Harrison M/T.” Bottom row: iv) “Souvenir to my dear Sergeant, love Harold.” v) To Jock from one of the lads in memory of some good and hard times spent together, Willie Maxwell.” vi) “To Jock, we have spent many good times together, A McIlwaine.”

Top Row: i) “In memory of Sanfatucchio. D Mathews.” ii)To Jock, with love and kisses, my dearest sergeant, Dennis Conroy. 7/7/44.” iii) “To Jock, wishing all the best of luck, Eric. Italy 7/7/44.” Bottom Row: iv) “From one of the shower, to Jock from Peter. One of the London boys.” v) “To Jock, with the best of luck from Smudger.” vi) “To Sgt Guild with memories of the Trigno. From JR Langrish.”

Top row: i) “This is my Sunday suit. Don’t I look sweet. Best of luck, Sergeant. from James 9th July 1944.” ii) “Yours sincerely, ‘Hard Jack’ Murphy”. iii) “To Jock. Best wishes, Jerry.” iv) “L/Cpl J Smith. Termoli, Cassino, Rome, Lake Trasimeno.” Bottom Row: v) “To Jock, with best regards from Bill Letson, Tommy McKinley.” vi) “Best wishes and best luck, Fred.” vii) “T Whiteside.”

Top Row: i) “Frank Janes killed in Oct’ 44. Monte Spaduro. 5th Army Front. Buried near Castel del Rio.2 ii) “Wishing you all the best of luck, Walter John Allpress.” Bottom Row: iii) Unknown. iv) “Hamie.” v) “The two spiffs.” vi) To the Taranto memories, Jimmy 16/7/44.”

Top Row: i) “To Jock, a good soldier. From Mac, a very good soldier.” ii) “Harry Smith, 12/8/44.” iii) “The only Aberdonian in the Company. R Reid, 7/7/44.” Bottom Row: iv) “‘Operetta’. Rome, July 1944. George Plummer ‘Capire’.” v) “C Birkett.” vi) “To Jock, with best wishes J Crisp.”

Top Row: i) “to the platoon commander, from LJ Horsby.” ii) To Sgt Guild with best wishes from A Taylor. Ismalia, Egypt, 1944.” iii) “In memory of Mrs Big Bed and Mrs… Cpl Moore.” Bottom Row: iv) FW Stelswood, Rome 7.7.44.” v) To Jock Guild, with my best wishes from Ted Isaacs.” vi) Unknown.

Top Row: i) “From a Paddy to a Jock, with best wishes, B Mannagh.” ii) “Sincere good wishes and good luck from a lightning… Fred.” iii) Unknown. Bottom Row: iv) “To Jock from Tom.” v) “Italy 1944. Souvenir to Jock from George.” vi) “Best runner F Coy had, Johnny.”

Top Row: i) “Hills Snob.” ii) “Barrow Boy, Farrand. Bill Alex 9/8/44. My love Gee.” iii) “To Sgt Jock Guild, A Thomson.” Bottom Row: iv) RG Calves, 12th F Coy best Rfn.” v) “L Burlinson, Roma 7/7/44. The only Sunderland lad in the company.” vi) “F Stevens. 7/7/.44, Roma.”

Top Row: i) Unknown. ii) “To Jock, with best wishes. T Gothard.” iii) “Egypt 1944, To Gee, L/Sgt Francis. Bottom Row: iv) “Howard.” v) “To Jock, from Arthur.. Italy (Rome) 1944. vi) “Tic Tac Ledwich…”

Top Row: i) “Gibson, Barrett, Harrison. Cairo 1944.” ii) “To Gee Gee Guild. T Kutch. I am more beautiful that this photograph really shows. iii) “Unknown.” Bottom Row: iv) “Took in Rome, 4-7-44. Robert Averell.” v) “Sgt Ormerod.” vi) “Bari, 1944. Best wishes Moo.”

i) Unknown. ii) “Best wishes.” iii) Unknown.

i) “Danny McCook.” ii) “Higdon.” iii) “To Sgt Gee Gee. Verily we have had some moments exciting. Yea ever at Cassino. Signed Gin Victims. Remember Cairo.”


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