James Ronald Hornby

2nd/5th Lancashire Fusiliers



* James Ronald Hornby was conscripted on 16/10/1942 at the age of 18. He was born 16/10/1924.
* He went to a training came at Berwick on Tweed and was assigned to Second/Fifth Lancashire Fusiliers. His service number was 14550547
* A few days before D-Day his division was sent to Aldershot as part of the Reinforcement Holding Unit.
* The RHU travelled to Newhaven then crossed the channel on 6 June 1944 for an overnight landing behind the first wave.
* Dad was wounded whilst on the beach. Had a severe shrapnel wound in the leg.
After release from the field hospital he found the RHU had been disbanded so he was sent to rejoin his comrades in the 59th Division.
* After the Falais Gap, the Lancs Fusiliers was disbanded and he joined the Welch Fusiliers, going through France, Belgium, Holland and into Germany.
* He continued to serve with the Royal Welch Regiment.
* He was granted home leave just before the war ended and he was then promoted to Lance Corporal. He returned to Germany while waiting to be drafted to Burma and the Far East Campaign. The draft never came.
* For the next two years he assisted the Red Cross in the repatriation of British POWs.
* In 1947, in Gevelsberg, Germany, he married a Polish Red Cross nurse - Janina Przytocka. They came back to live in England after dad was demobbed. They had 3 children and Janina passed away in 2009.

I know you say you can’t find any records for dad but I would ask you to bear in mind that when we applied for the Legion D’Honor Medal, all details had first to go to the Ministry of Defence for them to verify that the applicant did serve in France. The MOD verified that dad was there and they informed the French government that dad was entitled to the medal. Therefore, there must be a record somewhere of his service.

The only other thing I found was his membership card to the Veterans Association of the 53rd (Welsh) Division. His membership number was 28 and on the card it states ‘7th R.W.F. D.Coy’. Not sure if this helps you.

I hope the above information is of use. Dad was not one for keeping many records of the time he was in the army as it didn’t bring back happy memories for him.

He died at the age of 95 years on 21 January 2020 due to complications following hip replacement surgery.

The head and shoulder of my father in uniform was taken on 16 May 1946 when he was 21 years of age.

The only photo we have of him in uniform is on his wedding day – 29 March 1947 when he and my mum, Janina, were married in Gevelsberg, Germany.

Another photo is of him in his Normandy Veterans uniform, taken at the Liverpool Town Hall when he was presented with the Legion d’Honor medal on 19 February 2016