Letter Cards sent by Cpl John Petty, 4695014, B Company, 16 DLI

These three microfilm airmail letter cards from 1943 and 1944 are all courtesy of Cpl John Petty’s great niece Fiona Wiercx. To save on airmail volumes, letters like these would be photographed and transferred to microfilm in Italy and then enlarged and printed on arrival in the UK which accounts for their murky photostat appearance.

The undated card at left below has an illustration symbolising the unity of the British, US and Free French forces in the Mediterranean and probably dates from 1943. The card at right, dated 21/11/43 is a stylised representation of the 46th Infantry Division, note the divisional ‘Oak Leaf’ flag design, fighting its way up into the heart of Italy. The card at right below is dated 2/11/44. All three cards list Cpl Petty as being a member of B Coy 16 DLI,, which means he must have gone through all the bitter fighting of the Battalion at Gemmano in the latter half of 1944

The Army number, 4695014, indicates that Cpl Petty was originally enlisted in the the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, the KOYLI, and transferred to the Durham Light Infantry at sometime after basic training. I would guess that he was a reinforcement who came to the Battalion after the heavy losses at Sedjenane in March 1943.

The 16th DLI Roll of Honour includes several casualties with 468-469 series numbers who would probably have been part of the same reinforcement draft, ‘E’ Company commanded by Major Arthur Vizard, including Sgt D Threadgold MM.

Cpl Petty could well feature on this early 1945 photo of B Company in Greece:


This 1944 photo of a B Coy platoon is also a possibility.


As is this informal shot of B Company men in Greece in early 1945.:


Over 30 B Company men were taken POW by ELAS communist guerillas in Greece in December 1944, but Cpl Petty was not one these men.

If anyone reading this can supply further information on Cpl John Petty’s war service please get in touch.

J Petty 16 DLI letter 1943
J Petty 16 DLI letter 1943 46 Division design
J Petty 16 DLI 1944 letter