The intentions to document this information are long standing in that they go back some two decades to the early/mid 1990’s, just a few years before the subject of this site, James Kitchener Heath passed away.

As is the case in so many families in which a generation experienced war and all its traumas, certain aspects of service are known, but all too often the details are sketchy and disjointed. Add into this mix the passage of time and the result is invariably a collection of stories and fragments of memories accompanied by a handful of fragile and faded documents (if you are lucky) that represent the sum of information relating to the most extraordinary period in a soldier’s life. This was certainly the case in our family..... and it’s not much to go on.

In February 1995, my Father and I struggled to put together a potted service history to be read by the cleric presiding over my Grandfather’s funeral. At this point I decided to take steps to fill in some of the gaps as best I could.... sadly now without the benefit of first hand testimony.

A well known turn of phrase, ‘written on the back of a fag packet’ is defined by the Collins on-Line dictionary as something ‘composed or formed quickly and without detailed analysis or research’. As far as first hand source material for this history is concerned, no better a description could be made. The details gleaned from my Grandfather in brief (and often emotional) discussions in the 1990’s are summarised as a list of place names written in an old man’s shaky handwriting on the back of a standard envelope! (this will feature later). On the upside, a standard envelope is approximately twice the size of a cigarette packet, which immediately doubles the amount of information to work with!

By my own admission, this site is a little self-indulgent, being of primary interest to myself, my mother, my children and a handful of relatives still living in Staffordshire. In addition, it may be that the information presented here will be read by others outside of the family who have a passing interest in military or family history.

I would welcome any comments/suggestions or dare I say it relevant information to contact me.

Information Sources

The 59th Division: Its War Story by Peter Knight (1954)

A detailed history of the 59th (Staffordshire) Division focussing on their three major engagements in Normandy, namely the Battles of Caen, Noyes and the Orne, after which the Division was disbanded in order to reinforce other decimated Divisions then progressing through France. This volume was kindly sent to me by The Staffordshire Regimental Museum.

‘Your men in battle; the story of the South Staffordshire Regiment- 1939-45’ 
Compiled from official and semi-official reports, and from accounts by officers, n.c.o.s. and men of the South Staffordshire Regiment, and edited by L.B. Duckworth. Published by the Wolverhampton Express & Star (1945)

The 59th (Staffordshire) Division in WWII website

An excellent site created and maintained by Robert Morss. This site complements much of the information in 'The War Story' with additional detail in the form of maps and photographs.

A Concise History of The 5th South Staffordshire Battalion and the 11th Royal Scots Fusiliers Battalion as reproduced on a UK Standard A6 envelope by ex-L/Cpl J.K. Heath (1992 - unpublished)

An extensive volume detailing the chronology of 18 months spent in North West Europe with the 5th South Staffordshires, the 11th Royal Scots Fusiliers and No.12 Unit D.P.A.C.S. as recalled by the great man himself!

Miscellaneous Contemporary Military Documents

Enlistment Document (Army Form E 531 A)
Soldier's Service And Pay Book  (Army Book 64) L/Cpl James Kitchener Heath 5051929
Entry Pass to Belsen Camp
Soldier's Release Book Class "A" (Army Book X 801)
Record Of Service (Army Form W5258)
Certificate Of Transfer To The Army Reserve (Army Form X/202/B)
National Registration Identity Card (J.K. Heath)

Post-War Documentation

Various Ministry Of Pensions Tribunal Reports 1946-1980
Ministry Of Defence Military Service Record for  L/Cpl James Kitchener Heath 5051929


Ministry Of Pensions Notes On War Pensions For Disabled Ex-Servicemen
Ministry Of Labour And National Service The Disabled Persons Employment Act, 1944

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