Kingsley George (King) ALBRECHT DCM

ALBRECHT, Kingsley George

Service Number: SX7830
Enlisted: 5 July 1940, Wayville, SA
Last Rank: Corporal
Last Unit: 2nd/48th Infantry Battalion
Born: Waikerie, South Australia, 20 August 1917
Home Town: Kingston On Murray, Loxton Waikerie, South Australia
Schooling: Kingston School,, South Australia
Occupation: Packing House at Barmera Co-operative
Died: 6 April 1972, aged 54 years, cause of death not yet discovered, place of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Loxton Cemetery, S.A.
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World War 2 Service

5 Jul 1940: Involvement Corporal, SN SX7830
5 Jul 1940: Enlisted Wayville, SA
5 Jul 1940: Enlisted Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Corporal, SN SX7830
10 May 1944: Discharged Corporal, 2nd/48th Infantry Battalion
10 May 1944: Discharged Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Corporal, SN SX7830
Date unknown: Honoured Distinguished Conduct Medal

‘No Thought Of Danger’

Kingsley (King) was the third Albrecht son born in Waikerie on the 20th August 1917 to Lottie Maud and A.G. Heinrich Albrecht. As a young boy he attended the local Kingston School, enjoying events including the annual Christmas fancy dress breakup at the end of each year. The Albrechs were well represented with Kingsley dressing as a cowboy, Nancy a flower girl, Grace a Christmas tree, Geoffrey a cricketer, Wilfred a clown and Joyce, the school winner with her Japanese girl costume. Even this early indication of being proficient with a child’s gun did not give an indication of the bravery Kingsley would display during WWII.
Post school, Kingsley worked in the Barmera Co-operative packing house before enlisting at Kingston, being recruited at Barmera in June before being officially enlisted on the 5th July 1940. He became SX7830 in the newly formed 2/48th Battalion, naming Clarissa Albrecht as his next of kin. For the new soldiers, initial days were spent in the cold of the Pavilions, now part of the Royal Adelaide Showgrounds before they headed to Woodside in the Adelaide Hills for their preliminary training. King had brief pre-embarkation leave before returning to the 2/48th Battalion which then embarked on the Stratheden for the Middle East, on the 7th November 1940, arriving on the 19th December 1940 where they completed a few months training in Cyrenaica.
The battalion was soon involved in intense conflicts where the reputation for being the most highly decorated but decimated battalion was earned. In July ’41, fighting for Point ’69, Corporal Tex Weston’s account of the fighting is re-told in John Glenn’s book ‘Tobruk to Tarakan. ‘We were a fighting patrol under the command of Lieutenant Don Wallis. We were a strong patrol, King Albrecht, Spud Hinson and Bill Adams were with us. We left our position just after last light, crossed the Waddi Es Sehel, and passed through the wire, moving in the direction of the Twin Pimples to the right of the Derna Road.’ He tells of coming across a large, loud working party of about 200, comprised of Italians protected by Germans. The Australian patrol assumed a reverse arrowhead formation. “When Don gave the order to fire we opened up with everything we had. The enemy seemed paralysed for a fraction of a second, then ran yelling and screaming in all directions, making for sangars and trenches. His casualties were heavy.” The patrol beat a strategic retreat to their wadi, with machine gun fire and mortars following them. ‘We had no casualties,’ Tex recounted.
Darren Paech in Adelaide to Alamein also described conditions experienced in the fierce fighting that ensued at the end of October ’42. Twelve men were killed in a massive blast from the exploding Allied trucks that had been carrying war equipment. A counter-attack ensued. ‘The night was filled with the screams of men locked in mortal combat at point blank range. While they were pushing forward, a well built-up enemy post unleashed a torrent of fire at the C Company Diggers. Captain Bryant ordered 13 Platoon to destroy the post. Twenty-five-year-old Corporal ‘George’ Albrecht, who was a section commander in 13 platoon, charged the post across open ground with his six remaining men to find that it was actually a dug in Italian M-13 Fiat tank. Without pausing, Corporal Albrecht hurled a mark 73 grenade at the tank, knocking the Italian crew unconscious. Several more grenades were then dropped into the hatch to finish the job.’
John Glenn also described that night as “some of the bitterest and bloodiest hand to hand fighting in which members of the 2/48th had ever been engaged. Cries and shouts of the men made the night hideous… Corporal K. Albrecht, a section leader of this platoon, led Private T. Holmes, J. Gardiner, Jack Duffield, Harry Langdon, Jack Cufley and Bill Fletcher in a mad charge across the fire-swept ground, only to find the post was really a dug-in German Mark III tank. Albrecht did not pause but moved in and hurled a 73 grenade right on the target, knocking the whole crew unconscious. Hand grenades then finished the job.” As the fighting continued, ‘Although Albrecht and Kennedy were both badly wounded, they refused to be evacuated until their sections were dug in and ready for counter attack. By their gallantry and leadership, they had earned the Distinguished conduct Medals they were later awarded.’
An extensive list was published in the November ‘42 issue of the Chronicle of the cost of that fighting. It named nine from Kingsley’s battalion either killed in action or who died of their wounds. They included SX8468 Pte. Patrick H. Hoare, SX13570 Pte. Charles Holman, SX7771 Pte. Henry O. Lohmann, SX6848 Cpt. Alfred F. Meyer, SX3149 Col. Arthur. H. Peters, SX11768 Pte. John R. Smith, SX13535 Pte. Allan L. Thessinger, SX13162 Pte. Thomas B. Cosgrave and SX7917 Pte. Leslie A. King. Kingsley was one of 26 from his battalion who were listed as being wounded in action. The 2/48th had paid a high price for their success.
By January ’43 news of the Distinguished Conduct Medal awards was made with, not unsurprisingly, the 2/48th Battalion being well recognised. They included SX7410 Sergeant Robert Frank Gordon Ranford, of Bartley terrace, Davington, SX7410 2/48th Corporal Kingsley George Albrecht, of Kingston-on-Murray, Corporal Robert Francis Kennedy, SX7092 of Halbury. Additionally, Private William Charles Dunn, of Ellen street, Prospect also from the 2/48th was awarded the Military Medal. The decorations were for gallantry in the attack made by the 9th Australian Division on Rommel's forces, which led to the defeat of the enemy in Egypt.
Finally, back home for much overdue leave, tumultuous crowd welcomed Kingsley and other Riverland servicemen who were trained home from Adelaide to the Riverland to be met by platforms crowded with well-wishers. Many of the men, including Kingsley had been away for three years and were part of the acclaimed ‘Rats of Tobruk’. A welcome home social followed with many speeches praising the efforts of those who served, but also for those at home who worked tirelessly to raise funds and provide necessities, whilst awaiting news of their loved ones.
In April ’43 the Adelaide Advertiser and Murray Pioneer both proudly included a write up headed ‘No Thought Of Danger. Cpl Kingsley George Albrecht Inf. received the Distinguished Conduct Medal. During a night advance on Miteiriya Ridge he was leading his section when his platoon was held up by heavy machine-gun and anti-tank fire, apparently coming from an enemy strongpoint. Without thought of personal danger Albrecht charged the post with rifle and bayonet, only to find that the post was a dug in German Mark 111 tank. He then attacked the tank in the face of heavy fire with a 73 grenade, rendering the crew unconscious. They were then killed by grenades. This gallant and speedy action allowed Albrecht's platoon to continue to advance to the objective. Although wounded by shrapnel in the head and covered with blood, Albrecht continued to lead and to control his section during the reorganisation phase and refused to be evacuated until his section had completed digging in. and was ready for any enemy counter-attack.’
The Murray Pioneer added more detail, headed ‘Severely Wounded. This action occurred in confused, bloody fighting, on the El Alamein front. In the course of the violent exchanges, Cpl. Albrecht was hit in the left shoulder, but carried on; then he was hit again in the right shoulder, but still carried on. Then he was hit in the left leg close to the knee, and shrapnel hit him in the groin and a small piece caught him under the eye. He was carried by stretcher bearers and marked severely wounded.’
‘Cpl. Albrecht is the son of Mr. and Mrs. L. M. Albrecht, of Kingston, and is well known in that and surrounding districts. He enlisted on November 16, 1940, in the infantry and saw much hard service during several months in Tobruk, which he left in a hospital ship with a severely Injured knee as a result of a fall. While in Tobruk he was promoted to Lance-.Cpl. After a short time in transport, he was with his battalion again when the Australians were thrown in to stem Rommel's onrush towards Alexandria. His battalion was on the coast road, and on July 8 and 9 went Into action. The corporal took part in all the heavy fighting and had some narrow escapes. When home on leave recently Cpl. Albrecht said little about himself. In letters home he said: "I got tangled up with a couple of bullets and four pieces of shrapnel. I must say my opponent was a very bad shot. I had a bullet through each shoulder. Well, old Jerry got a thrashing this time. He was just not in the race with our boys. . . The sisters and. VAD are doing a Marvellous work. . . .I can tell you that our company commander won the DSO for good work done by the company In action. Also that old Bob the sergeant, won the MM, for good work done by our platoon."
Official intimations concerning Cpl. Albrecht's gaining- of this award include one received by the parents "relating to the conspicuous service rendered by your son. . .He is recommended for the DCM by the Commander-in-Chief for gallantry in the HI Alamein operations."
A letter written by Lt.-General Morshead to the soldier conveys "cordial congratulations to you on being awarded the DCM. I am indeed very pleased that your good work and your gallant conduct in battle has been recognized".
Kingsley was able to return home on leave in March ’43 when the Local Soldiers Aid Fund Committee held a social and supper in honour of the Kingston soldiers on leave. In December that year he announced his engagement to Mary King, of Moorook. They were blessed with the arrival of their first child, a son Terrence Kingsley who arrived on October 25 the following year. By that time, Kingsley had officially been discharged in May ’44.
By ’45 about 50 discharged servicemen were welcomed home at the Bonney Theatre, Barmera. The RSL insisted that it ‘would leave no stone unturned to see that the discharged men were assisted to take up civil life to their own volition. The members of the 1st AIF were ever ready to assist the new Digger to make a fresh start in life.’ The RSL strongly endorsed the need for finance, materials and manpower be made available for the erection of homes. It took several years for this goal to be fulfilled.
It was not until July ’46 that Kingsley, accompanied by Mary and young Terry were able to travel to Adelaide to formally receive Kingsley’s DCM won for conspicuous bravery at El Alamein.
With peace declared, in January ’50 Kingsley, Mary and their young family moved to Loxton North in the soldier settlement area where he gained employment with the Lands Department. He was one of a group of 68 ex-servicemen selected for allotment of irrigation properties at Loxton and Chaffey. This was to be home for his growing family with children Lynette, Gregory and Mark joining Terry. Whilst working for the Lands Department, 32-year-old Kingsley was fortunate to escape from his utility which overturned on the Bugle Hut road. He was able to escape from the ute and walked to the home of a neighbouring fruit blocker who took him to the Loxton Hospital where concussion was diagnosed.
Aged 54, Kingsley died on the 6th April ’72 and is now commemorated in the Loxton Cemetery.
Researched and written by Kaye Lee, daughter of Bryan Holmes SX8133, 2/48th Battalion

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