Penrose, Guy Trevenen
He was the second son of Brigadier John Penrose MC (C1900-1905), of ‘Sutton Croft’, Bickley, Kent, and later of ‘Chelveshatyes’, Clyst Hydon, Cullompton, Devon. His mother, Muriel Charlotte Penrose, was the daughter of Hans Hendrick-Aylmer, of Kerdiffstown, County Kildare. He was the brother of Major- General John Hubert Penrose OBE, MC (C1930-1934) and Aylmer (‘Jeremy’) Penrose (C1933-38), who was killed in action in Holland in 1944 (see individual entry).
A School Prefect and good all-round player of games, he derived much enjoyment from them and from many outside activities: cutting down trees, sailing and building a boat or spending a leave-out day after rabbits on a farm. He was at his happiest among his family on holidays at Castletownsend on the Irish coast.
On leaving Winchester he went to RMA Woolwich, where he was a Cadet Under Officer. He gained his commission in the Royal Artillery in December 1939, fought through the Dunkirk campaign, made a distinguished showing on the School of Signals Course, and in late 1942 sailed for North Africa with 78th Division in First Army, landing in Vichy French-controlled Algeria as part of Operation Torch.
He served with 456th Battery, which, according to most sources, was part of 49 LAA Regiment, an anti-aircraft unit. However, according to “The Royal Artillery Commemoration Book 1939-1945”, 456th Battery was an independent mountain battery, specially trained to support beach landings.
The War Diary of 456 Battery notes that on 8th November 1942: “Battery HQ left for landing. Lieutenant Penrose & party landed first, before the Commandos; were met by General Mast (French), and led to Fort Sidi Ferruch. Battery Commander, with Captain Bird of 168 CT, went to the French barracks, but found occupants decidedly hostile. Lieutenant Penrose taken prisoner”. “The Royal Artillery Commemoration Book 1939-1945” gives details of his release: “Lieutenant G. Penrose, who had been captured by the French, suddenly appeared at the OP of 457th Battery with the French commander of Fort L’Empereur (the remaining centre of resistance in Algiers), who wished to surrender. The personality of this first-class Gunner subaltern had triumphed; he was killed at Bone soon afterwards.”
Penrose’s battery of Bofors anti-aircraft guns was attached to ‘Hart Force’, an independent all-arms column taking a northerly route into western Tunisia, and had got as far as Djebel Aboid, a village overlooking a bridge east of Tabarka, when it came under a strong counter attack from the German forces. Penrose was killed in action here during the afternoon of November 16th, as the war diary shows: “p.m. Lieutenant Penrose killed in dive-bombing attack near bridge east of Tabarka, while acting as OP officer.”
However, the war diary’s casualty returns accidentally listed Penrose’s date of death as November 15th, and this date became official and appears in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s records. Why the Wykehamist War Service Record and Roll of Honour gives the date as November 23rd is uncertain; the Register is correct.
Aged twenty-two when he died, Penrose is buried in Grave 4.D.7 of Tabarka Ras Rajel War Cemetery.
- Surname: Penrose
- Forenames or initials: Guy Trevenen
- House: C
- Years in School: 1933-1938
- Rank: Lieutenant
- Regiment: 49 LAA Regiment, Royal Artillery
- Date of Birth: 5th July 1920
- Date of Death: 16th November 1942
- How Died: Killed in Action
- Location in War Cloister: Inner A2
- Decoration: NA
- Burial Site: Tabarka Ras Rajel War Cemetery, Tunisia: Grave 4.D.7