John (Jack) Frank Digby

Service No: 113670
Rank: Driver
Regiment / Service: RASC
Date of death: 28th May 1942
Memorial / Grave: Tobruk Military Cemetery, Plot 1, Row F, Grave 15
Additional information:

Jack joined the Royal Army Service Corps on 19th October 1939 with other men from Northampton. After basic training they were sent on the 26th November 1939 to Rouen, France via Leeds and Catterick, to support the British Expeditionary Force with petrol and other supplies.

In May/June 1940, the evacuation of troops from France had begun but Jack and his colleagues were unable to get to the beaches of Dunkirk in time so travelled through France to St Nazaire on the West Coast. By 6th June 1940, all the troops had left the beaches so as Jack had not returned it was assumed he had been taken prisoner or killed. However this was not to be because on the 17th June, Jack and a contingent of British Troops left France on board the “Floriston”, the same night that the “Lancastrian” was sunk off the coast and 5,000 souls were drowned. On returning to the UK the group was based in Wales before going by train to Scotland on 3rd February 1941 for embarkation to who knows where, although everyone was issued with tropical clothing and a Topee! Due to extensive German submarine activity in the North Atlantic and the Mediterranean, the troopship journeyed the long way round, via Freetown, Sierra Leone to the Cape and Durban and through the Suez Canal to Ismailia, Egypt.

At the Ismailia Supply Depot where they were stationed, German Stukkas and Messerschmitts often attacked it from the air and during one of these bombing attacks; shrapnel from an exploding bomb killed Jack on the 28th May 1942.

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