Vincent Walter Adams was born in the last year of the First World War and worked for a Chelmsford butcher prior to joining the army in 1936. Her served in India for almost three years and returned to England two months after the war's outbreak. He married in 1941 at Chelmsford Cathedral, two days before going to north Africa. He was fatally injured in June 1942 near Tobruk when serving as a tank driver. His home was in Nelson Road.
Vincent born in 1918, the son of the metal polisher Walter Adams (1890-1948) and Hettie Florence Adams (nee Lindsell) (1889-1965). Vincent's parents had married in Essex in 1912. The year before her marriage Vincent's mother had been a wardmaid at the Braintree Union Workhouse. The couple produced at least two siblings for Vincent; Leonard George Adams (1912-1998) and Vera Annie Adams (1916-1993).
On 16th August 1935 Vincent appeared before the Chelmsford Magistrates. A local paper reported:
"Cycling in the Recreation Ground. Vincent Walter Adams, Nelson Road, Chelmsford, admitted riding a bicycle in the Recreation Ground on June 29. P.c. Shepheard said that in consequence of complaints he was on duty in the Recreation Ground, and saw defendant ride a trade cycle along the footpath from the viaduct entrance towards the Park Road entrance. Defendant said he thought could ride as he did.—Fined 5/-."
Vincent joined the army in January 1936 having previously worked for the butchers, Benjamin Rowe of 20 Rainsford Lane in Chelmsford. He served in India for nearly three years prior to the Second World War, part of the time in action in the North-West Frontier. He came back to England in November 1939.
Vincent Walter ADAMS, Trooper, 8th Royal Tank Regiment.
Died from wounds in Libya. Aged 24
Vincent married Hilda May Gould at Chelmsford Cathedral on 8th April 1941. At the time he was aged 23, a soldier, and lived at 2 Nelson Road. His bride was the 22 year-old daughter of Edward James Gould who worked for the London County Council. Hilda also lived at 2 Nelson Road, home to Vincent s parents. Two days after the wedding Vincent embarked for the middle east.
He went missing in Libya, west of Tobruk, on 5th June 1942, while serving as Trooper 6011253 in the 8th Royal Tank Regiment, having been wounded. He was subsequently presumed to have died from his injuries, aged 24. His commanding officer subsequently wrote to Vincent's widow:
"Your husband became driver his Squadron Commander's tank. When went into action west ot Tobruk in June 1942. the fighting proved to very tough. The tank driven by your husband which had been under heavy fire all the time was finally knocked out, and he was wounded. Major Lindsay, the Squadron Commander, very courageously and at great personal risk managed get him out ot the tank, but unfortunately his leg was broken, and he was unable to walk back to safety. However. Mator Lindsay went back on his own and arranged tor another tank to go out and pick him up. He was attended to by the doctor, who told us he was afterwards evacuated from the area."
Despite that Vincent has no known grave and is commemorated on the Knightsbridge War Memorial, Acroma, Libya, some 25 kilometres west of Tobruk. His brother, Leonard, was a regular soldier in the Essex Regiment and had served in France until being evacuated in 1940.
Vincent's father died in 1948, aged 58. By then he had worked for 34 years as a polisher in the Polishing and Nickle Department at Marconi's factory in Chelmsford. Vincent's mother died in 1965 and his widow died in 2001.