Trooper 7909536 Richard Norman Lovett

4th Queen's Own Hussars, Royal Armoured Corps

Died at sea between the 26th/27th April 1941 in the Middle East Theatre of War aged 25 years.

Son of Richard and Maud Lovett and husband of Lorene Lovett of Rothley.

He is commemorated on the Athens War Memorial, Greece. Panel Ref: Face 1


Known to his family as Norman.
A 25 year-old Hussar, Trooper Richard Norman Lovett, actually died at sea. Part of the 4th Queen's Own Hussars, Royal Armoured Corps, Norman found himself in early 1941 being ordered out of North Africa into Greece. Hitler, having lost patience with the failure of the Italians to capture the Greek port of Piraeus, started to inject his own troops into Greece to take it himself. Piraeus was strategically vital to the German plans to sweep the allies out of Africa. The London Government decided that a special force of 50% British, 25% New Zealanders, and 25% Australians should be despatched to Greece from Africa to halt the German attack on Greece. This material comes from an interview with Gordon Lovett, Norman's younger brother, at his home in Shepshed, who served as a Bomber Navigator in the Royal Air Force from 1942-47. Gordon offered the view that this commonwealth force was regarded as a sacrifice force the Government knowing that it could not be properly supported and equipped in the time scale needed.

Trooper Norman Lovett in tropical kit in his tank, still adapted for desert warfare, was plunged into the conflict in the winter conditions of the Greek mountains. The German blitzkrieg was overwhelming, and the decision was taken to evacuate as many troops as possible who were not already captured by the Germans. Chaotic conditions existed in the evacuation port and beach area of Naplion as boats took on troops to escape the turmoil. Two Royal navy destroyers arrived offshore from Gibraltar, HMS Diamond and HMS Wryneck. Together they gathered up some 950 men from the chaos but were sitting targets for the attentions of waves of Junkers Ju 87 dive bombers, the so called Stukas. Both ships were sent to the bottom of the Mediterranean with almost all hands. Only 23 men survived.

Trooper Norman Lovett had been on board the Wryneck, and since his grave is the sea, his name is commemorated on the Athens Memorial, set amid the beautifully kept grounds of the Commonwealth Cemetery of the capital city Norman strove to serve. He was awarded a special medal by the Greeks.

Norman was the eldest of three brothers, all born in the front room at 18 Hawcliff Road, Mountsorrel. Middle brother Eric volunteered for the Royal Air Force, spending much of the war in Coastal Command. Gordon, known as Dick, was a Bomber Navigator and the teller of this story. Before he was called up, Norman Lovett was an Insurance Agent for the Prudential. Married in early 1940 to Rothley girl Lorene Frith, their family home was on The Oaks side of Shepshed, near to the deLisle Arms. The widowed Lorene returned to live in Woodgate, Rothley, while her younger sister Betty Frith, who had married Ivan Betts, eventually went off to Australia after Ivan also became a war casualty.

Named on the War Memorial, Parish Church Triptych Roll of Honour, Parish Church Book of Remembrance.

The medal awarded to Trooper Lovett by the Greek Government