ID: WW2_PKS / Tony Millatt

TitleRobert Carmichael Purkis - Essex Regiment
AbstractWW2 Memorial Profiles - West Mersea

Lieutenant 258690
2nd Bn., Essex, formerly Coldstream Guards
Died 13 January 1944 age 20
Commemorated West Mersea War Memorial, Rangoon Memorial, Myanmar (Taukkyan War Cemetery)

George was son of Dr George Samuel and Marjory Carmichael Purkis. George and Marjory were married in Hackney in 1919 and probably moved to Mersea in the late 1930s. George was a teacher at Colchester Royal Grammar School, joining the staff in the Autumn term 1927. During the War he commanded the School Cadet Corps. In 1939 the family was living at Holmwood, Alexandra Avenue, West Mersea, and they lived at various addresses in the years after the War. Dr George Purkis was a member of the Home Guard during the War.

Robert was born 13 March 1923 in Lewisham SE London. He started at Colchester Royal Grammar School Junior School late 1929, moving up to the Main School from 22 Apr 1932 until Autumn 1940/Spring 1941. Robert married Mary E. Cook 3Q 1943 in Chelmsford.

Robert is listed in June 1941 as having joined 'D' Company, 70th Battalion, of the Essex Regiment, with the serial number 6030131. His commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Essex Regiment was published on 9th March 1943. Robert's memorial indicates former service with the Coldstream Guards at some point in his military service.

1st Battalion Essex Regiment became part of the 70th Infantry Division which became the core of Brigadier Orde Wingate's Special Force in Burma. The short article in the Essex County Standard (below) says he was with the 1st Battalion Sierra Leone Regiment. The 1st Bn. Sierra Leone Regiment served in Burma and was involved in heavy fighting in the Arakan.

Essex County Standard - 25th February, 1944
On Active Service
PURKIS - On January 13th, 1944, Lieut Robert Carmichael (Michael), 1st Battalion Sierra Leone Regt - India Command, eldest son of Dr and Mrs Purkis, Holmwood, Alexandria Avenue, West Mersea, died on active service, age 20.

Rangoon Memorial
The Rangoon Memorial commemorates nearly 27,000 Land Forces of the British Empire who died during the campaigns in Burma and who have no known grave. For more information, see

With thanks to
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Wikipedia - Essex Regiment -
Roger Bullen
Michael Green - CRGS archives.

AuthorTony Millatt
SourceMersea Museum