Private 14773296 2nd Bn. Worcestershire Regt

Died Monday 25th November 1946 (Age 20)

At Rest: Taukkyan War Cemetery Myanmar (Burma)
Grave Ref.: 17. B. 19.


GregoryaAlanHat (crop)


Alan Gregory (b. 2nd Q 1926) was the son of Charles and Martha Ann (nee Castledine) Gregory of New Westwood, Nottinghamshire.
Alan had two brothers, Victor Charles and Ken, and a younger sister named Shirley.

The following information has been provided by Shirley, who is a very active member of our Heritage Group and a well-respected local councillor:

“Alan was born on 16th April 1926, starting his education at Westwood School and later moving on to Jacksdale School. He showed a great talent for sports, especially football and played in the Jacksdale School football team.
Alan’s first job was in the laboratories at the Butterley Company’s Steel Works at Codnor Park. His boss, Mr Rawson, spotted Alan’s talent for English and poetry and started to coach Alan for a career as a journalist, reporting for the Derbyshire Times. This then became Alan’s ambition, together with road race cycling, once he came out of the forces.
Before Alan was even 18, he decided to volunteer for the forces. Alan thought he should go to war, because his elder brother Vic, being a miner, was exempt and Alan thought the family should be represented. Alan said he had a family “worth fighting for” and was duly accepted into the forces, even though he was under age. He was told that after his training, he would be drafted to Burma, so his brother Vic, who was engaged to be married, brought his wedding forward so Alan could be best man before he left for overseas duty. Tragically, this was to be the last time all of the Gregory family would be together.

Vic's Wedding

Vic’s Wedding

During Alan’s service overseas the family kept in regular touch, despite communication problems and Alan was an avid letter writer. His family also managed to get parcels sent over to Alan. All sorts of everyday items were in short supply and welcomed by the troops. The family sent such items as razor blades, handkerchiefs and books.

In one of his letters, Alan thanks his mother for the salmon she sent, but explains that due to the intense heat and travelling conditions, by the time he got the Ovaltine she sent, it had melted into a solid block. However, Alan and has pals were not deterred, Alan explained “the boys and I ate it like toffee, and it was great!” Alan also sent poems home to the family. They are very touching and show Alan’s s great love for his family and his zest for life.

by Alan Gregory

Though in miles we are far apart
You’re always with me dear,
An angel with a golden heart
You are all that I hold dear

Don’t let the years change you
From when I was a boy
I hope and pray that one fine day
I see you there with joy

In that little house that I called home
Ere this last twenty years,
I know that I’ll come home again
To see you safely there.

So God bless you dear heart
May angels see you through
This night and all the other nights,
Till I return to you

by Alan Gregory

First of all there is Old Dad,
At times he is a funny lad.
In the garden all day long
With spade and fork with all four prongs.

Then there’s Mar an angel she,
Flitting around like a bumble bee,
Around the house from place to place,
Where she gets it all nobody knows.

Vic is next upon the list,
He’s a miner and works in the pits.
He had another job not long ago;
He got a son so now you know.

Then there’s me, my name is “Lal”,
Sitting here without a pal,
Serving in India over the sea,
You’d say “What a Sight”, if you saw me!

Then there’s big boy, his name is Ken,
6ft 2 and 15st 10,
His hair is red, his eyes are blue
And he has just started building flues.

The small fry is a little girl,
And we have named her Shirley
She is our father’s little pearl,
So we were pushed out early.

This is our little family group
There’s only me that’s in the soup,
But we’ll have a binge one fine day,
When from this country, I sail away.

This sensitive and talented young man of only 20, with a life of promise before him, died in a military hospital in Burma on Monday 25th November 1946.

Respects were paid to the family in the following newspaper report:
Widespread sympathy goes out to Mr and Mrs Charles Gregory, of New Westwood, in the sad news they have just received concerning their second son, Alan, who was serving with the Worcestershire Regiment in India.
Alan was admitted into the Central Military Hospital , Burma, on November 15th, suffering from jungle sores, and the day previous he had written home to his parents informing them not to worry as otherwise he was quite fit.
The same day his parents received this letter they had a telegram saying Alan was dangerously ill and this was followed with another telegram the following day informing them that Alan died in the hospital on the evening of the 25th November, suffering from diphtheria.
Alan was 20 years of age and was a popular boy in the district. He had a fine cheery disposition, full of life and energy. After spending his schooldays at Jacksdale Council Schools, he straight away went into the Codnor Park Forge and Rolling Mills Office, under the Butterley Co. Ltd., and from there he was called up for service at the age of 18 years. After a period of training in England, Alan went overseas one year and eight months ago. Serving in Rangoon, Burma, he was transferred from the heat of Rangoon to Mayayo, where it was terribly cold, and eventually came back to Burma.
Mr and Mrs Gregory have since had confirmation of Alan’s death and the sad news came as a shock, particularly as his letter was so cheery. They have also received a further two letters dated the 19th and 21st November. Alan’s parents have received many letters and messages from a wide circle of friends, expressing deep sympathy in their sad bereavement and his early passing has cast quite a gloom in the locality.
It was expected that Alan would be de-mobbed about next April, and the family were eagerly looking forward to a happy re-union.”

The family also received a personal letter from the Assistant Matron, Senior Nursing Sister L.M.R. Cowling, written just after Alan’s admission to the hospital. It is quite a credit to the dedication shown to both patients and their relatives, by the military nursing staff. Her letter reads:
“I regret to inform you that your son, No 14773296 Pte Alan Gregory of the Signal Platoon, 2nd Bttn Worcesters Regt was admitted to the British Section of this hospital, suffering from diphtheria and placed on the Dangerously Ill List. Not because he seems in any way, very ill at the present moment, but because diphtheria in tropical climates is much more a serious illness, than at home, and seems to have a markedly bad effect on the heart. I have seen Pte Gregory and talked with him, he is extremely cheerful, and says he does not feel very ill. However, I have warned him, as has his medical officer of the serious effect that it might have, and he has promised to lie still and obey all orders for his good. I will write again in a few days when we see how he gets on, I trust that he will improve, and that I shall have better news for you.
Naturally being a British sister in a Burmese Unit I take great interest in the British boys who are admitted and I will do all I can for Pte Gregory.”

Assistant Matron Cowling, wrote to the family again, on 1st December 1946.

Apparently Alan got worse very suddenly and died early on the morning of the 25th. The nurse conveyed messages to the family from the battalion and Alan’s Commanding Officer, Major Edgar, who spoke very highly of Alan and expressed bitter regret at the loss of such an extremely popular young man.

In early January 1947 the Battalion Chaplain, Reverend Evans also wrote to the family.


Alan was first buried in a temporary cemetery, later being moved to the cemetery at Maymyo, twenty miles East of Mandalay by February 1947, to ensure that the grave could be properly cared for.

Gregory grave

In October 1953, the family were informed by the Imperial War Graves Commission that Alan’s grave had again been moved to Taukkyan, Rangoon. The cemetery at Mandalay was so remote it could not be maintained properly and could only be reached by road with great difficulty so it was decided to move the whole cemetery, plus the war dead in three other cemeteries in Burma to Taukkyan.

GREGORY A (Resized)