No.7951947, Lance Sergeant, Alan Richard DUFF
3rd Royal Tank Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps
Believed to be.....Alan Richard DUFF born in 1922 in Leyton (West Ham Q2-1922 4A:615) son of John William and Ada Rebecca DUFF
In the 1939 register, Ada R DUFF (widow) [7/5/1879] was living at 52 Fulready Road, Leyton with 2 sons? Ronald W [16/10/1910] clothing dept manager) and John T. [17/12/1906] (clothing dept man) but no record of Alan
Essex Chess Association have a record of Alan (albeit they have promoted him to Lieutenant).
Alan Richard Duff 1922-1945 - Alan Duff (Leyton C.H.S) who was our most remarkably talented junior player, took the British U18 title on three consecutive occasions, in 1937, 1938 and 1939.
It is sad that Alan Duff died serving his country. As a lieutenant in the Royal Tank Regiment he was involved in the liberation of the Netherlands where he was killed on April 8th 1945, with the war drawing to a close.
No Steeple Bumpstead connection has yet been found, however the occupation of his brothers may indicate a family move to the Haverhill area and Gurteen's factory. He just possibly was the Alan R Duff who married Jessie WHEELER (Ilford Q1-1945 4A958) The confusion over rank does raise some doubt as to identification here but it does seem more likely that the Chess Association have it wrong.
3 Tank Regiment had just crossed the Weser near Stolzenau, NW of Hanover. From a member on WW2talk.com, Tim Payne, came this|
My father (Richard Payne), too, was in 3RTR in April 1945 (C Sqn).
He was driving Sgt Alan Duff's tank at point, into Husum on 8th April, when they were subject to a barrage of panzerfaust / shreck rockets, one of which killed Sgt Duff (Dad told me that it took his head off...). Dad told me that he remained in the disabled tank, whilst the others baled out, smoking furiously, whilst further projectiles hit the vehicle, but he reckoned that the majority didn't detonate, thankfully for him.
4464400 Tpr F Wilkinson (Loader / Op, I believe) was badly injured in this action and subsequently DOW on 13th April, apparently in a field hospital in Winsen. Apparently three tanks were brewed up in Husum, during the action to clear the village, along with heavy casualties to 4 KSLI, including 10 KIA.
Alan was buried with two others that day in Linsburg, but they were moved to Hanover War Cemetery in May 1947
The photo below was taken on March 25th of Major WATTS MC in that area in his Comet tank http://www.greenflash.org.uk/history/3RTR1944].pdf
click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details