Source: The article, dated June 1944, is from the collection of the Shropshire Regimental Museum, Shrewsbury, England. The photograph and medals are from the museum’s collection.
Maurice (pictured before the war) was Commanding Officer, 2nd Battalion, King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, British 3rd Division
It is with deep regret that we announce the death in action this month of Lieut.-Colonel Jack Maurice, King’s Shropshire Light Infantry.
Jack Maurice was born on April 2nd, 1905, the second son of the late Dr. Oliver Maurice and Mrs. Maurice (nee Giffard). After being educated at Marlborough College, he went to Sandhurst. On passing out he joined the East Surrey Regiment. He was stationed at Gibraltar and Jersey for some time, but owing to his efficiency as a soldier he was offered accelerated promotion to the rank of Captain. He was posted as such to the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, and he went to India with them.
He went to France in 1939 as Adjutant. His battalion was with the first formation of British troops to go and it was one of the first to see action in the Maginot Line and suffered the first British Army casualty of the war. He was promoted to Major late in 1939.
He was sent home on sick leave during the early months of 1940, but on hearing that the British Army was crossing into Belgium, although still a sick man, applied to the War Office to be returned to his battalion. He crossed over to France, but was unable to catch up with the battalion. He saw action commanding a scratch collection of troops and was evacuated via Cherbourg to England where he was detailed to form a camp for 2,000 in the Newcastle area.
After this he returned to his own regiment as a Major commanding a Company. During the latter part of 1940 and 1941 he was stationed in Lincolnshire and his brigade was acting as mobile reserve to the coastal defence battalions in one of which, the 6th K.S.L.I., his brother was serving. They were fortunate in seeing a great deal of each other during this period and his brother was well able to realize what an excellent soldier he was and how popular and appreciated by those both senior and junior to him in rank. His company was the most efficient in the Battalion, and at the same time the happiest. Not only did his seniors appreciate his ability in his work, but also realized that any men he commanded would follow him anywhere at any time.
After this service he was appointed Lieut.-Colonel in command of a battalion which had been serving for some years overseas and was in need of much training for modern warfare. Although it was a great wrench to leave his battalion he was very pleased to be given a command and particularly so in that it would depend to a large extent on his own endeavours what the final state of the battalion’s training and competence would be for the job they were to do. He was not always in the best of health during this period but by ‘D’ day no battalion could have been more efficiently trained for the job to be done.
He landed in France on ‘D’ day in an “assault” Division fully determined to give of his best to finish the job that four of his uncles had lost their lives in beginning 1914-1918.
His sense of duty and love of his profession was very highly developed and he was a worthy son of his father. This sad ending of a promising career and passing of a beloved personality in the execution of his duty will be greatly mourned by his many friends round Marlborough and elsewhere.
Colonel Maurice was unmarried, but to his only brother and many relatives, deep sympathy will be felt.
Col. Maurice’s medals (Shropshire Regimental Museum)