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 One Family at War

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Individual Stories – WW2
Part 4

Lieutenant Anthony Benoit Guise
1916 - 1944

24 years old on entering
Royal Artillery 217042 Royal Indian Artillery attd. 13 H.A.A. Regt.,
Died on Active Service 23/07/1944


More of the life of Anthony Benoit Guise

More of the life A.B.Guise, particularly during World War 2

Little is known of the work and life of Anthony Guise before the war other than that he was an artist and had been to art college. A card indicates that his address at one time was 16 Kirkstall Road Streatham SW2 which was different from the family address at 4 Pinfold Road. A letter to his mother early on in the war, presumably during the first bombing of London which started in September 1939 suggests that he has to be doing fire watch.
Letters from May 1941 indicate that he has enlisted and has started officer training. This training goes on until travelling to active service in India in late 1943. Letters suggest that over 2½ years his training and operational time in England occurred at the following places:

Stevenston Ayrshire  Salisbury Plain Dishforth 
Shrivenham near Swindon Dumfermline Fife Unst, Shetland 
Achnasheen North Scotland Oswestry Salop Kinross
.Middlebank House, Kinghorn  Nitshill Glasgow Catterick 

Some of these places he was on active service as an officer in a gun battery - 
Nitshill Glasgow - Blantyreferme Camp, Kinross, Unst in Shetland

An example of such a Gun Battery exists on the Headland North of  Hartlepool. 
Called the Heugh Battery, it if  is set up as a museum and well worth a short visit to see the range of gun used by the artillery over the years and the condition in a Gun Battery on the coast.

Also at the museum there is a full size model of a WW1 trench duggout .

By May 1941 he had met with Don Haycraft in training and sent him with an open invitation letter to his family home.

“ Darling V, 
Introducing Donald … pall of mine. Has met Gertie, the Andersons and Stevenson’s – we do things together. Fix him up with bath & meals etc and get Widdy to show him the local dumps and tell the girls to look after him.
Know you’ll all like him, he is quite used to me” 
Also in the letter there is the statement that he should be home on leave on the 20th June 1941. 

It is known that Don Haycraft and his cousin Joan Dibdin visited the family together at this time and that Peter, Joan’s brother, had also been introduced to the family after this but by 3rd June 1941.
All visitors to the Guise family were immediately drawn into a powerful and expanding family dynamic centred on Mater (Vera Guise) and her two daughters Yvonne and Maria. 
It can be supposed that Anthony met Joan on his anticipated leave of late June 1941.
They married in 1942. 

Photographed with his son on embarkation leave before sailing to India.
His boat was sunk in the Mediterranean but continued on his journey. 
Story goes that he abandoned ship fully prepared, unwilling to loose a good pair of boots.

From letters it seems that Anthony is in India by 9th Jan 1944 
On the 21 January he wrote describing the bungalow he was having built apparently in India.
By the 9th May he was in Ceylon.
On 2nd June 1944 he wrote home from India Command in Ceylon.

While in Ceylon he had his own quarters built by local labour and his men.
This is not much reference to war action in his letters but there is reference to having to censor his men’s letter home and noting how lonely they felt. Also he was shocked by the infidelity they experienced from their wives, up to 50% and some bearing children by others. Again he notes how forgiving the men were and how faithful they were bearing in mind the opportunities on the Indian continent.

(however there is a note regarding having to write letters home for those that had died cannot find the letter referring to this) 

Drawing of his tent while in India 

Drawings of the 'bungalow' that he designed and had made in Ceylon

Anthony Benoit Guise died by drowning while saving someone in the water in Ceylon. ( Now called Sri Lanka)

Initials: A B
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Lieutenant
Regiment/Service: Royal Artillery
Secondary Regiment: Royal Indian Artillery
Secondary Unit Text: attd. 13 H.A.A. Regt.,
Age: 27
Date of Death: 23/07/1944
Service No: 217042
Additional information: Son of Jules and Vera A. Guise; husband of Joan Mary Guise (nee Dibdin), of Chiswick, Middlesex.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: 2. J. 1.

Poem sent back from Ceylon

A Digit of the Moon

Oh thou lovely incarnation of the Nectar-dropping moon,
come down from heavens to lighten our darkness:
Delight of the race of man: retaining in thy womanhood the dancing play of the waves of that sea of milk out of which thou were originally chosen by the Gods:

We the three worlds (ie of Childhood, Manhood and Age) do worship the orb of thy bosom that possesses for us a threefold mystical feminine energy, being a pitcher of milk for us when we are born, a pillow for us, in the middle of the path of life and a shrine in which we take refuge to die at the last

Drawings of Bungalow built in Ceylon

More of the life of Anthony Benoit Guise