SEARCH FOR FAMILY OF MUCH DECORATED WWII VETERAN

A WORLD War II enthusiast is looking to reconnect with the family of a Newtownards veteran.

Andy Glenfield has come into the possession of a photograph, which is believed to include Tommy Maxwell.

Expressing the hope readers of the Chronicle may be able to assist in his search, Mr Glenfield says: “I had the honour and privilege to know Tommy Maxwell from Newtownards who served throughout the Second World War.

I have a keen interest in ‘The Second World War in Northern Ireland’ and have a Facebook Page of the same name on which I post details about places throughout Northern Ireland as well as people from here who were involved in the Second World War.

The Bangor man has researched Mr Maxwell’s wartime service; born on May 16, 1922, Tommy joined the Royal Marines and served in Palestine, in response to what was referred to as the Arab Revolt’.

In 1940 he was at Dunkirk before being involved in assisting Free Polish personnel to escape their German Occupied homeland.

He then saw action at Crete in 1941.

February 1942 saw him on a ship leaving Greenock with a ‘trade delegationto Murmansk for discussions with the Russians.

In June 1942 Tommy again found himself in the Mediterranean having left Belfast on June 3, to provide Anti-Aircraft defence for Convoy WS19Z and was under attack starting June 14 from Italian aircraft and submarine.

On June 15, Cairo was in action against Italian ships and was hit by two six inch shells, which caused serious damage as well as being subjected to air attack before finally reaching Malta on June 16.

On August 12, the ship was going through the Sicilian Narrows when it was hit aft by two torpedoes.

Being totally disabled HMS Cairo was abandoned with survivors, including Tommy, being rescued by HMS Wilton.

Tommy had been wounded during this action with shrapnel wounds to his right thigh and left calf.

Within just one week of having been wounded on board HMS Cairo, Tommy was again involved in a major operation, this time being the Raid on Dieppe.

Having been involved in the Special Service Brigade, Tommy joined 44 Commando in 1943 and received training in Wales before going to Achnacarry.

In 1944 Tommy was serving with 3rd Commando Brigade in India.

He operated for some time in the Pacific Theatre and Burma where, in 1945, he was shot in the head.

He had been targeted by a Sniper who had secured himself in the top of a tree and Tommy’s injury was such that he had a metal plate fitted in his head where the bullet had hit him above his right eye.

His long list of medals show that Tommy Maxwell served his country worldwide!

They include The General Service Medal with Palestine clasp, the 19391945 Star, the Atlantic Star, the Africa Star, the Burma Star with Pacific’ clasp, the Italy Star, the Arctic Star, the Defence Medal, the 19391945 War Medal and The Dunkirk Medal.

As well as these are the Malta George Cross Fiftieth Anniversary medal and no less than five Russian medals including the Ushakov medal for British Veterans of the Arctic Convoys.

Tommy passed away on December 21, 2011 and is buried in Movilla Cemetery, Newtownards.

Mr Glenfield says: “Having written about his amazing service I have received a photograph of Royal Marines and it is believed that Tommy Maxwell is shown in the centre of the photographI would like very much to renew contact with the Maxwell family so that I can pass details of this photograph.

I can be contacted at ww2ni@btinternet.com.”

A photograph of Royal Marines, which is believed to include Newtownards veteran.