Private Albert George 'Bertie' Bacon was the son of Albert Charles and Elizabeth May Bacon of Broad Oak (Kent).
He served with The Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment prior to volunteering for airborne forces in 1942.
Pte Bacon qualified as a military parachutist on course 36, which ran at RAF Ringway in November 1942. He joined B Company, 2nd Parachute Battalion, as a reinforcement in the North African campaign during Operation Torch in January 1943.
In March 1943 the 2nd Para Bn was transported to the Tamera Valley having cleared a couple of prominent landmarks in the Beja sector. They were instructed to take over a hill feature with steep sides and covered in cork oak woods at Sidi Mohammed el Kassim from the Lincolns. Unsurprisingly this home became known to the men as ‘Cork Wood’. The subsequent engagement at Cork Wood also became known as the Battle of Tamera.
Conditions at Cork Wood were often extremely uncomfortable and hostile. The trees restricted visibility on some parts of the hill and also added to the hazards from shelling and strafing. The cover enabled the enemy in certain places to arrive undetected within 20 yards of the battalion frontline positions and to infiltrate in between the defences. During their occupation of the hill, rain filled their trenches and the wet weather meant clothing, boots and blankets were soaked and covered in sticky red mud. As a result the men were frequently wet and cold. The mud and slush often made movement up and down the slopes difficult. While occupying these defensive positions the battalion was subject to an onslaught of shelling, mortaring and strafing by enemy aircraft.
On 8 March an enemy force of divisional strength comprising four regiments attacked the defensive positions of the 1st and 2nd Para Bns.
Private Bacon was killed during this attack on 8 March 1943, aged 20 years old, and is now buried at Tabarka War Cemetery, Tunisia.
Cemetery photograph courtesy of CWGC.
Maj Gen John Frost, A Drop Too Many, (2002), Pen & Sword.