1st Battalion East Lancashire Regiment

Discussion in '53rd (Welsh) Division' started by Swiper, Feb 9, 2010.

  1. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    1st Battalion East Lancashire Regiment War Diary

    1st – 30th June 1944
    Commanding Officer:
    Location: Milsted
    2nd June – Battalion commenced Waterproofing A Vehicles for wading.

    4th June – Commenced waterproofing B Vehicles for wading.

    6th June – Battalion at 6 hours notice to move.

    7th June – Lieutenant R Windle and Lieutenant JE Harding proceeded to 47 RHU.
    Messages received from Supreme Command, and Commander-in-Chief 21 Army Group. [Attached as Appendices A and B respectively]

    8th June – Battalion Sniper team formed in accordance with W.E. changes.

    15th June – Advance Party under Captain AT Bain for move overseas departs.
    Vehicles loaded ready to moved.

    16th June – Tracked vehicles entrain at Sittingbourne Station at night for move overseas.

    17th June – Wheeled Vehicle Party moved off at 0530 hours to Marshalling Area (Camp T.2), Marching Party (Main Body) of Battalion entrained at Sittingbourne Station leaving 1200 hours, arriving at Camp J.10 in Marshalling Area.
    Lieutenant W Wyatt and 14 ORs remain as Battalion Residuces, Battalion Strength at time of move 36 Officers and 804 Other Ranks.

    18th June – Company training carried out in Marshalling Area.

    19th June – Company training carried out in Marshalling Area.

    20th June – Company training carried out in Marshalling area. Strength decrease 1 OR. Vehicle Party (Wheels and Tracks) embarked SS Ocean Vigil at East India Docks.

    21st June – All moves from Camp J.10 postponed owing to gale in channel.

    22nd June – All moves from Camp J.10 again postponed.

    23rd June – Marching party received orders to move following day.
    Strength decrease: 2 ORs, absent.

    24th June – First Marching Party (A and B Companies) leaves Marshalling Area at 0800 hours arriving at Newhaven and embarking on LSI SS “Longford”.
    Second Marching Party (C and D Companies) leaves Marshalling Area at 1300 hours arriving at Newhaven and embarking on LSI SS “Ben My Chree”
    Vehicle Party left Thames anchorage.

    25th June – Moved from Newhaven anchorage at 0300 hours, anchoring off Juno beach (Normandy). Marching Parties transferred to LCIs (small) and first men were landed on beaches at 1535 hours. Parties marched through Transit Area to Assembly area South of Banbille. D Company moved off to Beny-sur-Mery at 1900 hours on cycles. Battalion embussed in troop carrying vehicles at 2345 hours moving through Tierceville and Revieres to Battalion Concentration Area square 9980. Brigade under direct command of 1st Corps for operations. Vehicle party anchored off Normandy coast.

    26th June – Commanding Officer recces defensive position South and East of Anguerny (0177) with available Company Commands. C Company Right , B Centre, A left and D in reserve. 17 pounder anti-tank Battery under command. Reverse slope position adopted.

    27th June – Battalion digs reconnoitred defensive position – Firm Base role. Strength decrease: 1 OR – Private L Evans was wounded in the leg as a result of a booby trap explosion in concentration area. Vehicles unloaded from SS Ocean Vigil and join Battalion in concentration area 2330 hours. 3 Carden Loyds ‘drowned’ and kept in Drowned Vehicle Park on beach.

    28th June – Battalion put at 2 hours notice to move to new concentration area.

    29th June – German map of concentration area, found and included as Appendix C. Strength decrease: 2 ORs evacuated sick. Battalion complete in personnel and vehicles.

    Location: Field
    30th June – Battatlion relieved from defensive role by 4th Battatlion South Staffords. Strength decrease: 1 OR evacuated sick. Lieutenant H Carter recced new concentration area at Coulombs 8875. Brigade rejoins 53rd Welsh Division, the whole coming under command 8th Corps. Extract from Lancashire Daily Post received and copy attacked as Appendix D.

    Appendix A
    The following message from the Supreme Commander will be read to troops by an officer after embarkation, if prior to 0001 hrs. D+1, and only when no postponement of the operation is likely; alternatively, when briefing prior to embarkation after 0001 hrs. D+1.

    “You are soon to be engaged in a great undertaking – the invasion of Europe. Our purpose is to bring about, in company with our Allies, and our comrades on other fronts, the total defeat of Germany. Only by such a complete victory can we free ourselves and our homelands from the fear and threat of Nazi tyranny.

    “A further element of our mission is the liberation of those people of Western Europe now suffering under German oppression.

    “Before embarking on this operation, I have a personal message for you as to your own individual responsibility, in relation to the inhabitants of our Allied countries.

    “As a representative of your country, you will be welcomed with deep gratitude by the liberated peoples, who for years have longed for this deliverance. It is of the utmost importance that this feeling of friendliness and goodwill be in no way impaired by careless or indifferent behaviour on your part. By a courteous and considerate demeanour, you can on the other hand do much to strengthen the feeling.

    “The inhabitants of Nazi-occupied Europe have suffered great privations, and you will find that many of them lack even the barest necessities. You, on the other hand, have been, and will continue to be, provided adequate food, clothing and other necessities. You must not deplete the already meagre local stocks of food and other supplies by indiscriminate buying, thereby fostering the ‘Black Market,’ which can only increase the hardship of the inhabitants.

    “The rights of individuals, as to their persons and property, must be scrupulously respected, as though in your own country. You must remember, always, that these people are our friends and Allies.

    “I urge each of you to bear constantly in mind that by your actions not only will you as an individual, bit your country as well, will be judged. By establishing a relationship with the liberated peoples, based on mutual understanding and respect, we shall enlist their wholehearted assistance in the defeat of our common enemy. Thus shall we lay the foundations for a lasting peace, without which our great effort will have been in vain.”

    Appendix B
    To be read out to all Troops

    • The time has come to deal the enemy a terrific blow in Western Europe.
    The blow will be struck by the combined, sea, land and air forces of the Allies – together constituting one great Allied team under the supreme command of General Eisenhower.
    • On the eve of this great adventure I send my best wishes to every soldier in the Allied team.
    To us is given the honour of striking a blow for freedom which will live in history; and in the better days that lie ahdead men will speak with pride of our doings. We have a great and righteous cause.
    Let us pray that “The Lord Mighty in Battle” will go forth with our armies, and that His special providence will aid us in the struggle.
    • I want every soldier to know that I have complete confidence in the successful outcome of the operations that we are now about to begin.
    With stout hearts, and with enthusiasm for the contest, let us go forward to victory.
    • And, as we enter the battle, let us recall the words of a famous soldier spoken many years ago:–
    “He either fears his fate too much,
    Or deserts are small,
    Who dare not put it to the touch,
    To win or lose it all.”
    • Good luck to each one of you. And good hunting on the mainland of Europe.
    BL Montgomery, General C-in-C 21 Army Group

    Appendix D
    East Lancs in Kohima Duel
    The East Lancashire Regiment have been engaged in heavy fighting against Japanese between Kohima and Imphal.
    In most difficult country, against grim natural obstacles and in the face of grave difficulties of supply from the air during monsoon weather, they are among the troops who have advance from the Dimapur side of Kohima, sweeping the Japanese before them from the ridges sometimes five thousand feet high, sometimes dropping three thousand feet, in order to outflank the enemy and in the end defeat them in many bitterly contested actions.

    A Splended Record
    The East Lancashire Regiment who fought splendidly in France and Belgium, where one of their two battalions bought down nine enemy aeroplanes, while inflicting heavy casualties on the Germans. The other battalion formed part of the covering defences of the beaches of Dunkirk, and here Major Ervine-Andrews gained the distinction of becoming the first Army VC of the war.
    Distinction was also gained by the East Lancashire Regiment in the Madagascar campaign.
    Drew5233 likes this.
  2. prgreycloud

    prgreycloud Junior Member

    Hi Swiper - do you have more of this to cover 4/1/45 - 8/1/45 in particular?


  3. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    Mark, got your email check your profiles 'visitor messages', short answer is no. Longer answer via email ;)

    Or not yet to say the least!
  4. englandphil

    englandphil Very Senior Member

    Mark, got your email check your profiles 'visitor messages', short answer is no. Longer answer via email ;)

    Or not yet to say the least!

    Swiper, do you have anything for the 1st East lancs 1st July to 4th July 1944
  5. Laura Dumbleton-Jones

    Laura Dumbleton-Jones Junior Member

    Hi Swiper,

    My Grandad H.B Hemming 2185744 was in 1st East Lancashire reg all through WW2. He and his group managed to hide in a field after action on the beaches and were picked up by a French fishing boat. Other than that I dont really know much about his time in the war.
    I have only just started researching but wondered where the above journal came from and if/Where I could find anything about my Grandad.
    If you could give me any pointers on this it would be much apprecieted.
    Many thanks!
  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Hi Laura and welcome the forum.

    The information above is from the battalions war diary dated 1944. From the information you have provided though it sounds like that was at Dunkirk during 1940.

    The first thing I would do is apply for his service records:
    Army Personnel Centre - British Army Website

  7. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    Belated: EnglandPhil - currently only June - will rectify this soon(ish).

    Laura, contact the Regimental Museum, they may be able to help. And do as Andy says to get his records.

    Do you have any photographs or documents by him? It sounds like he fought the whole war as a member of 1 East Lancs which is frankly remarkable.

    Photographs are always useful as I have a load of other sources which I can cross reference etc, but East Lancs is one area I am somewhat weak on - due to lack of me finding decent documentation on them compared to the others!

    My website: Home - 53rd Welsh - may give you some more pointers.
  8. prgreycloud

    prgreycloud Junior Member


    Try getting your hands on 'The East Lancashire Regiment in the War 1939-1945' which was written by people who were there. Think copies are as rare as hens teeth at the mo but I was fortunate enough to get a one a couple of years ago. Lots of detail of individual actions including names, probably taken from the war diaries shortly after the war.
    My Grandfather Charles Wride was in 2nd Bn East Lancs Regiment from 1933, but transferred to 1st Bn in 1942 and fought thru from Normandy to the End of the War in Hamburg.
    The Major battles were s'Hertengbosch, The Ardennes around Verdenne and Grimbiemont, and The Reichwald Forest. Very few men were still in the regiment at the end of hostilities who had landed in Normandy (my Grandfather was one of the few from the rifle companies (D Company) and he was wounded twice), never mind taken part in the fighting in 1940 as well.

    Good luck in your search.


  9. Xandra

    Xandra Junior Member

    After googling 1st bn ELR, I can came across this forum, so do hope you can help.
    My uncle Billy (Private W.J. Nugent) was part of the 1st bn East Lancashire Regiment. I would like to have the following confirmed.
    Part of Operation Market Garden. 30 corps under Brian Horrocks command. After reading this forum with documentation up to June 1944 I believe he was part of the troops who landed in Normandy, who then went on to join up with other battalions after 101st airboure secured the bridges and forwarded to the Belgium/Dutch Border in September 1944. At age 19 he died on 19th September 1944 and was buried (originaly) in the Lommel church Cemetary. He was moved (when I don't know) to the Canadian War Cemetary in Adegem. I have had the honour to visit his grave with my mother a few years before she died. There are also others from his regiment buried there.
    is there anyone who can give me any information on him. Someone who knew him and could tell me where he actually died and was this at Joes Bridge?
    I have also tried to obtain the book 1st bn ELR 1939-1945 as suggested here, with no luck I'm afraid.
    Thanks in advance for any help.
  10. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Xandra, 1 ELR were not involved there.
    They crossed the Junction Canal near Lomel on the 19th Sept.
    Map to follow from the 53rd Division history.
  11. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    1 ELR were part of 71 Brigade in 53 Welsh Divsion,
    Here are a couple of pages that are for Sept 44.
    See 1 E Lancs marked on map
    click images a couple of times to make bigger

    Attached Files:

  12. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Here's a page from Red Crown & Dragon by Patrick Delaforce mentioning the crossing a few days before he died.
    Wonder if he died of wounds .

    Attached Files:

  13. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    I see CWGC has his date of death as 18th Sept.
    CWGC :: Casualty Details

    Initials:W J
    Nationality:United Kingdom
    Regiment/Service:East Lancashire Regiment
    Unit Text:1st Bn.
    Date of Death:18/09/1944
    Service No:14550861
    Additional information:Son of William John and Iris Clare Nugent, of Liverpool.
    Casualty Type:Commonwealth War Dead
    Grave/Memorial Reference:II. AA. 6.
  14. Xandra

    Xandra Junior Member

    Owen, thank you so much, you are right he died on the 18th Sept. Typing mistake!

    Will read the copy you have sent and get back to you, much obliged if you have anything else.
  15. Xandra

    Xandra Junior Member

    Hi Owen,
    thank you for the information. I will carry on with my research into the regiment. Not too sure how this works. 30 corps/158th division/71st Brigade/1st bn East Lancashire Regiment. I see that Irish Guards and Welch Fusiliers were also here?? Were they also part of the same "team"?
    By the way I do not know if he died of wounds. My mother has passed and also her 2 brothers that may have known more about the circumstances of his death. I have 1 auntie who may know, but I live in The Netherlands and my family in Liverpool. Will be my next move if I don't get any further.
  16. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    no at that time 53rd Welsh Divsion were not in XXX Corps but on the flank in XII Corps I believe.
    Don't worry about the other units at the moment.
    this should help explain a bit about 53 rd Div.
    click>> 53rd Division
    he may have been killed in action on the 18th as there were lots of little skirmishes going on all the time.
    I was just thinking out loud with the died of wounds comment.
  17. Xandra

    Xandra Junior Member

    Does anyone know what happens to war cemetary registers? My mother wrote a message for her brother W.J. Nugent 1st bn East Lancashire Regiment in the Adegem Canadian War Cemetary Register and has since passed away. Is there any way I can see into this register?
    thanks for your help.
  18. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Does anyone know what happens to war cemetary registers? My mother wrote a message for her brother W.J. Nugent 1st bn East Lancashire Regiment in the Adegem Canadian War Cemetary Register and has since passed away. Is there any way I can see into this register?
    thanks for your help.
    I wouldn't hold out too much hope that you'll see it.
    I suggest you contact the CWGC.
    "Contact Us" page here. > :: CWGC ::
  19. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Just watching a re-run of the 'Who do you think you are?' episode featuring Rory Bremner (comedian).

    Apparently, his dad was OC (Major), 'B' Company, 1st Bn, East Lancs Regiment, at the time of the assault on s'Hertengbosch, The Netherlands, in October 1944 (and possibly before). The story concentrated on his presence at s'Hertengbosch...


    Major Donald Bremner

    May be of use to those researching their relatives pasts and is interesting in its own right!


  20. Mickyh2501

    Mickyh2501 Ex Scaley

    I have come across this quite late, my grandfather passed away several years ago now and from the stories he has told me he served in the ELR.
    I remember he was in Dunkirk and was wounded during the pull back, luckily not wounded badly but he made it back on one of the final boats to leave the shores. After a spell in hospital he returned to the ELR and landed at D + 6 (I think).
    From what I have read he served with the 1st Bn up until close of hostilities in Hamburg. I have the book that details the ELR during WW2 however the more I can find out the better. I do know he de-mobbed as a Warrant Officer, however which platoon etc he was in is a mystery so again the more I can find out via war diaries etc the better, any help greatly appreciated.
    Patwood5 likes this.

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