Following my previous posts this week about my great-uncles Jim Wootton and Keith Sillars this last ANZAC commemoration post is regarding my Grandfather Stuart Leslie Sillars.
Stuart was born in 1915 to Matthew and Mary Sillars in the small port town of Lyttelton, near Christchurch, New Zealand. He was the youngest of 4 children with an elder sister and two elder brothers. Both his brothers served during the war. His brother Keith was killed in action in Libya. His brother William (known as Bill) survived the war.
I know Grandad had started dating my Grandmother Lucy Margaret Wootton (known as Margaret or Marg) well before the war as I have a number of photos of them in the late 1930s, such as this one in 1937.
Grandad served from 1941 through until 1945, both in North Africa and Europe. He fought in Operation Crusader in Libya in November 1941 and in the Battle of El Alamein in Egypt in June through August 1942. I have partially transcribed his war diary and have an Index of entries linked at the top of my blog. The bold entries in the blog are a particularly interesting read.
Grandad took a lot of photos during the war. Many include photos of himself and his friends during their time serving as well as day to day life of the local people in the regions.
This photo below shows my Grandad on the right with his brother Keith (left) at what looks to be Burnham Military Camp, just outside Christchurch, this would have been early 1941 before they left for Egypt.
Below Stuart Sillars (left) and his mate George Smith (right) at Ezbekieh Gardens in Cairo on June 21st 1941
Shortly after Grandad returned from the war, he married my Gran on 24th April 1945.