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Name: Aiken R.H.
Service No: NX5488
Unit: 6 DIV CAV
Tex Aiken taken prisoner by Italians near Derna 27/01/1941
Letter to the Mr & Mrs Aiken from Padre Hulme-Moir when "Tex" disappeared.
(from Cavalry News 27, 1981)
Chaplain F.O. Hulme-Moir NX234
6 Aust. Div. Cav. Regt.,
6th March, 1941
Dear Mr & Mrs Aiken,
Please excuse my delay in writing about Reg, but I have been on the move for over one month, during which time I have searched for any clues which might throw light upon Reg's whereabouts. The Australian, British and Italian hospitals hav been visited. All visits have ben made to the C.C.S.'s and field ambulances to no avail. All the area Between Durna and Bengazi have been gone over and ay unknown grave has been opened to establish identity. We can only assume now that Reg is a prisoner of war in Italian hands. If this assumption is correct, then the only means of establishing the fact beyond doubt, is through the offices of the Red Cross Society. Already this is being done, and Colonel Cater will advise you immediately upon receipt of any information, as also I will.
One thing stands out clearly that as no trace can be found of him among the dead and injured, we can reasonably suppose that he is in Italian hands. This has given me hope, especially as we have just received news that the Sergeant who was on the truck with him is a prisoner of war. Perhaps advice concerning Reg may soon be at hand. There is probably little consolation to you in what I say as indefiniteness gives us all a great deal of worry, so I trust news may be to hand soon.
Reg's disappearance has caused us a great deal of concern as he was very popular amoung his comrades (who called him Texas) and was a good soldier who could always be relied upon by his Officers. We miss his very cheery presence amoung us. If he is in Tripoli we may regain him on the fall of that town. On the other hand if they have arranged to send him to Italy, an early capitulation of that country may facilitate his quick return. If we are able to establish that Reg is a prisoner of war, then I must ask you to believe me when I say Italians treat our prisoners in a very civilised and humane way. Men who we have subsequently recaptured after being for at least one month prisoners, vouch for this. Lists of prisoners have from time to time been dropped by the planes over our lines. On other occasions while the British were holding them on the border before the great push, these planes dropped letters for posting home written by our lads. The mail which has already arrived has been held pending information as to his location. In the event of his capture, his mail to you, and yours to him, will proceed normally as far as delivery is concerned.
Everything possible has been done so that your hearts andminds could be at rest. Had he been casualty and died in the sands their custom was to put full details on the grave. No such grave has been found. I think we can reasonably believe that he is a prisoner.
I know that your hearts must be sad and full of fears - lay hold of hope. Reg and I were friends and he often came along to my Sunday's parade and we often had yarns together. He has left in the minds of many of us a memory of a cheerful, sincere good fellow. He was a credit to you and his country.
May God bless you and your hearts richly. I pray that the peace of God may dwell in your hearts, both yours and Reg's..., and soon in God's time you may all be together again, and the thought of these days of war be a failing memory. Have hope, have faith, and may you be kept in all your ways.
Padre C.of E.
Read Wally's Martin's story of their capture here
Read Tex's grandaughter's Anzac poem here.
Unit POW List here
VALE : 12/08/1986
A TRIBUTE TO TEX FROM CAVALRY NEWS AT THE TIME BY WALLY MARTIN
It was a very big shock to Barbara and I when Tex died, and we were surprised to find he was in hospital, and about to go onto Concord. We rang the hospital and the Matron told us we could see Tex on the Tuesday...However Tex's wife Dot rang on Monday evening to say that Tex had passed on.
During the war Tex and I had a very close relationship. We had quite a lot of interesting times, really stirring times together, the highs and the lows, I could not have asked for a better partner than Tex. We never had any recriminations or anything like that, never an argument, but stuck to the same system as we started with, which was if we get into an awkward place, which we were bound to, if I don't like the look of it, I'm going to say to Tex, "You don't have to come" and we stuck to that all the way through. We used it every time we went anywhere that looked nasty, and that was most of the time. It was a measure of the man that he always came along without question. Tex was very proud that he personally captured General Berzangoli at Bardia, just after the baker's shop had been knocked over. He was also very proud when we were both saluted by the Australian Infantry as they marched out of Bardia on the first day. We had our truck on the mound near the entry in the wire. We were both surprised and pleased. It was an emotional moment. ..........Wally Martin
And yet another TRIBUTE
A newspaper clipping referring to the death of Reg "Tex" Aiken on 12 August was received from his widow, Dot, portion of which is printed below.
...Tex joined the Conowindra troop of the 6th Lighthourse regiment early in 1939, and enlisted in the AIF on 3 November of the same year. He sailed for the middle east in the first convoy on 10 Jan 1940, and in company with Wally Martin was responsible for saving many lives during the early desert campaign.
He and Wally were the first POW's to be captured by the Italians in 1941. He later escaped, but 6 months later was recaptured by the Germans. He was discharged from the AIF in 1945, and the following year he married Dorothy Edwards of Kiama. They were wed in Canowindra, and had two children Reg Jnr and Barbara.
His funeral took place on 15 August at All Saints Anglican Church at 3 p.m. and the church was filled to capacity with members of his family and his many friends. His grand daughters Adele and Sharyn Wren will always remember him as a wonderful grandfather.
|Name ||AIKEN, REGINALD HERBERT |
|Service ||Australian Army |
|Service Number ||NX5488 |
|Date of Birth ||19 Jul 1914 |
|Place of Birth ||LYNDHURST, NSW |
|Date of Enlistment ||3 Nov 1939 |
|Locality on Enlistment ||CANOWINDRA, NSW |
|Place of Enlistment ||BATHURST, NSW |
|Next of Kin ||AIKEN, H |
|Date of Discharge ||24 Aug 1945 |
|Rank ||Trooper |
|Posting at Discharge ||6 DIV REG CAV |
|WW2 Honours and Gallantry ||None for display |
|Prisoner of War ||Yes|