At the start of the year, we were contacted by John Ansell who was keen to find out more about the death of his childhood friend, Ken Amis, who served with the 12th Devons and was killed on the 25th August 1944 at the age of 19.
John told us that when he was 15 years old, he and 17 year old Ken worked together delivering telegrams on push bicycles at Muswell Hill. He remembered Ken coming home on leave proudly wearing his smart uniform and telling him that part of his training was to fall off lorries at 30 mph!
We were able to tell John that Ken was buried in Honfleur (St. Leonard) Communal Cemetery. The war diary for the 12th Devons reveals that the battalion headquarters were probably at Honfleur. Private Ken Amis was part of C Company who were sent to cross the La Morette river (at a point just East of the hamlet of Ablon), likely in order to flank the Germans. They came under very heavy enemy mortar and machine gun fire as they entered the fjord/crossing between 1145 and 1300 and it is likely that this is when Private Amis and two of his fellow soldiers were killed.
In May of this year, at the tender age of 91, John was able to go and visit his friend Ken at his resting place in Honfleur. He sent us photographs of his emotional visit.
John told us that Ken always had a smile; the inscription on Ken’s grave says:
Here a face for ever young smiles from the other side of death. Mizpah.
Thank you for sharing your story with us John.: 20th Aug 2019