Rawlins, Gerald Anthony (1922-1944)

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    Sherborne School, UK, Book of Remembrance for former pupils who died in the Second World War, 1939-1945.

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    Credit: Sherborne School Archives, Abbey Road, Sherborne, Dorset, UK, DT9 3AP.

    Details: Gerald Anthony Rawlins (1922-1944), also known as Gerald Antony Rawlins, born 13 October 1922, son of Eric Ford Rawlins (Old Shirburnian) and Beatrice Nellie Rawlins, of The Square House, South Petherton, Somerset.

    Attended The Downs School, Charlton House, Bristol.

    Attended Sherborne School (Abbey House) September 1936-July 1940; 6th form; Tennis VI (1939-1940); member of Duffers and Eclectics; Lance-Corporal in OTC.

    Temporary School master (French and English), Streete Court Preparatory School when evacuated from Westgate-on-Sea to Barrington Court, South Petherton, Somerset.

    Author of 'This Petty Pace' [an account of the author's experience in the army] (A.H. Stockwell, 1943).

    WW2, Lieutenant in the 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards, Royal Armoured Corps.

    Killed in action during 'Operation Goodwood' at Commes, Normandy, while endeavouring to save life on 20 July 1944, aged 21.

    Commemorated at:
    Bayeux War Cemetery,Calvados, France, I. E. 6. Inscribed on his headstone: ‘YOUR KNIGHTLY VIRTUE PROVED, YOUR MEMORY HALLOWED IN THE LAND YOU LOVED’ www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2328721/rawlins,-gera...

    South Petherton War Memorial thebignote.com/2012/11/25/south-petherton-church-of-st-pe...

    Church of St Peter and St Paul, South Petherton webapp1.somerset.gov.uk/her/details.asp?prn=53418

    Sherborne School: War Memorial Staircase; Book of Remembrance; Abbey House roll of honour.

    Obituary, 'The Shirburnian', December 1944: 'Perhaps it may not seem superfluous to write a few words in affectionate tribute to two contemporaries and friends, Bob Thomas and Anthony Rawlins. Much that can be said of one is true of the other, for they were among the most gentle, humble, and single-minded of people, good without being self-righteous, and loyal without asking for any recognition or return. Coming to Sherborne together in September 1936, to the same House and form, they died in Italy and Normandy within a few weeks of each other. Neither of them attained any special distinction at School, though Bob was a House Prefect. By those who did not know them intimately, Bob will probably best be remembered as a runner with a fine determination and beautiful style, and Anthony for his very sensitive performance as Viola in 'Twelfth Night' at the age of fifteen. But by those who had the good fortune to be their friends it is not for prowess in any field of school activity that they will chiefly be remembered, but for their high ideals, devotion to their homes, love of beautiful things, and enjoyment of the simple pleasures of the countryman. They both possessed to a remarkable degree the ability to see what was best in others and pass over without unpleasantness what was less good, unconsciously giving more than they hoped to receive. And now, in the same spirit, they have given all that they had, and their example will long survive them.'

    Letter from Major the Marquis of Kildare, 5th Royal Inniskillings Dragoons B.L.A., to Mrs Rawlins, 24 July 1944: 'Words are not enough to express ones feelings on occasions such as these, but I do wish to write and send you my very deepest sympathy on your very great loss, and as Anthony's squadron leader, to show my appreciation for all he had done for the regiment, squadron, and men. He was loved by all of us, officers and men alike, his troop would do anything for him. He is a terrific loss to us. He was always happy and smiling and had a great sense of humour which caught on with everybody. No work was too hard for him and no difficulty insurmountable. As a young officer he was second to none, and had done tremendously well; I had the greatest confidence in him and was certain he would lead his men in battle with great gallantry and judgment; sadly, in a way, this turned out to be true, for his example in trying to save the life of a soldier was perfect, and he gave his own life together with the padre, with great gallantry in this attempt. His memory will live with the regiment for ever. I can say no more, but send you on behalf of the officers and men of my squadron, our very deepest sympathy in your great loss, a loss we all share with you.'

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