I first met Tom Gardner in the 70th (Young Soldiers Battalion) The Royal Sussex Regiment, at Caterham in 1942. At the beginning of 43 that Bn gradually broke up as drafts were sent overseas to other Home Counties Regts. We eventually went, with others, to the 10th Bn for further training in Northumberland before being posted to the 1st Bn in Syria. Tom went to “D” Coy and I went to “C”.
Our final destination was Italy, where after a few weeks in the line on the Adriatic side at Lanciano we moved across to take part in the fiasco of Cassino.
Tom passed away just before Christmas after a battle with cancer. He was well known in the Association as, over the years, he acted as welfare officer for his branch.
He came to NZ in 98 to visit his brother, and took time out to come to Nelson to visit myself and my wife. A friend of more than 60 years I last spoke to him by phone just days before he passed away.
I am sure there are still many in the Regiment who will remember him.