2nd Battalion Royal Northumberland Fusiliers 1943

Discussion in 'Unit History' started by johnnie, Aug 2, 2018.

  1. johnnie

    johnnie Junior Member

    Dear All,

    I was wondering if any members had access to the war diary for the 2nd Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers for September 1943?

    I'm keen to find out what they were up to from about the 10th to the 20th, as I'm guessing they were involved in the landings at Salerno.

    The CWGC suggests there was a constant stream of casualties from the 11th to the 18th, with most buried in Salerno or appearing on the Cassino Memorial.

    Numbers are as follow:
    11/09/43 - one killed (Fusilier)
    12/09/43 - one killed (Fusilier)
    13/09/43 - three killed (1 x Fusilier, 1 x Corporal, 1 x L/Sgt)
    14/09/43 - two killed (1 x Fusilier, 1 x Sgt)
    15/09/43 - one killed (1 x Sgt)
    16/09/43 - four killed (4 x Fusiliers)
    17/09/43 - one killed (1 x Fusilier)
    18/09/43 - one killed (1 x Fusilier)

    obviously the dates provided by the CWGC are dates of death, and some of the above may have died of wounds, but I was keen to see if anybody had the war diary to shed a little more light on the period.

    Any help would be great.

    Johnnie
     
  2. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Hello Johnnie,

    No 1 and No 3 Groups, 2nd Bn Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, were attached to the 138th and 139th Infantry Brigades, of 46th Division, respectively. Both were involved in the Salerno landings and subsequent fighting.

    Some of No 1 Group were attached to The 2nd Special Service Brigade, i.e. Commandos.

    Source: The History of the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers in the Second World War (Barclay).
     
  3. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    Johnnie.

    2 NF were not a conventional infantry battalion at the time.

    They were a Divisional asset and provided Vickers Medium Machine Gun, Oerlikon 20mm Anti Aircraft Gun and 4.2 Inch Mortar support to Infantry Brigades. The Companies were changed to Groups and each Group had a Platoon of Vickers MMGs, a Platoon of 20mm Oerlikons and a Platoon of 4.2inch mortars.

    Brigade Commanders then dished out these assets to Infantry Battalions as they saw fit.

    Regards

    Frank
     
  4. johnnie

    johnnie Junior Member

    Many thanks for the help with this.

    So do you know how many Groups there would have been? Would there have been three Groups rather than three Companies?
     
  5. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Correct!
     
  6. johnnie

    johnnie Junior Member

    Great stuff.

    My main interest is the loss of Sgt Bowles who was killed on the 15th September, but it seems getting to the bottom of his death might be harder than expected if he was possibly attached to a different unit.
     
  7. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Sgt PDS Bowles: Service No. 4266681 is mentioned only in the Roll of Honour in the regimental history I mention at post #2.

    No clues from CWGC:

    Serjeant BOWLES, PHILIP DESMOND STOLE
    Service Number 4266681
    Died 15/09/1943
    Aged 31
    2nd Bn. Royal Northumberland Fusiliers
    Son of Henry John and Susan Bowles; husband of Daisy Bowles, of Lymington, Hampshire.
    Buried at SALERNO WAR CEMETERY
    Cemetery/memorial reference: IV. A. 31.

    Despite the Hampshire address his service number is from the RNF block of army numbers.
     
  8. johnnie

    johnnie Junior Member

    I've been looking at the casualties around him on the same day to see if that might help.

    Deaths in infantry regiments (according to the CWGC) are as follow:
    15 - Hampshire Regiment (mix of 2nd, 4th and 5th Battalion)
    4 - 8th Battalion Royal Fusiliers
    4 - 16th DLI
    2 - 6th Grenadier Guards
    2 - 5th Sherwood Foresters

    So, I guess he unit which might fit in here is the 16th DLI as they were part of the 139th Brigade.

    I have also looked at where he was buried as he was moved from his original burial location. I kind of assumed (and this is a massive assumption) that his original burial place might be near the area he was killed.

    The CWGC forms state original burial location 668312, and that he was buried with the following:
    1 x member of the 2/5th Leicesters - date of death 15/09/1943
    2 x members of the 2nd Scots Guards - date of death 23/09/1943.

    Not sure where this is taking me, but it might help.
     
  9. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Re member

    Philip Desmond Stole Bowles
    1912–1943
    BIRTH 13 APR 1912 • West Ham, Essex, England
    DEATH 15 SEP 1943 • Salerno, Campania, Italy

    UK, Commonwealth War Graves, 1914-1921 and 1939-1947
    Name: Philip Desmond Stole Bowles
    Age: 31
    Birth Date: abt 1912
    Death Date: 15 Sep 1943
    Cemetery: Salerno War Cemetery It 5
    Burial Country: Italy
    Father: Henry John Bowles
    Mother: Susan Bowles
    Regimental Number: 4266681
    Region or Memorial: Italy

    UK, Army Roll of Honour, 1939-1945
    Name: Philip Bowles
    Given Initials: P D S
    Rank: Serjeant
    Death Date: 15 Sep 1943
    Number: 4266681
    Birth Place: London E
    Residence: Cornwall
    Regiment at Enlistment: Royal Northumberland Fusiliers
    Branch at Enlistment: Infantry
    Theatre of War: Italy
    Regiment at Death: Royal Northumberland Fusiliers
    Branch at Death: Infantry

    TD
     
  10. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    Johnnie.

    Actually, you are more likely to find mention of him because each Group kept a War Diary of its own rather than just the Battalion. This was not the case in conventional infantry battalions. Most War Diaries do not mention the death of Other Ranks by name - only Officers.

    However, being a Sgt, it is more likely that the Group's War Diary author will mention him by name.

    The tricky bit is to establish which Group he was in - 1, 2 or 3. If you do not, then you will have to get all three Groups' WDs.

    The man for WDs is drew5233. He provides a great service and it is inexpensive.

    Regards

    Frank
     
  11. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Re member

    Just for my own education I guess this is what you are talking about and is for 2 Group??

    2 Group 2 Royal Northumberland Fusiliers | The National Archives
    Reference: WO 169/10275
    Description:
    2 Group 2 Royal Northumberland Fusiliers
    Date: 1943 Aug.- Dec.
    Held by: The National Archives, Kew
    Legal status: Public Record(s)
    Closure status: Open Document, Open Description
    Access conditions: Closed For 29 years

    There will be others I guess for 1 Group and 3 Group

    TD

    1 Group 2 Royal Northumberland Fusiliers | The National Archives
    Reference: WO 169/10274
    Description:
    1 Group 2 Royal Northumberland Fusiliers
    Date: 1943 June, Sept.- Dec.
    Held by: The National Archives, Kew
    Legal status: Public Record(s)
    Closure status: Open Document, Open Description
    Access conditions: Closed For 29 years

    3 Group 2 Royal Northumberland Fusiliers | The National Archives
    Reference: WO 169/10276
    Description:
    3 Group 2 Royal Northumberland Fusiliers
    Date: 1943 July- Dec.
    Held by: The National Archives, Kew
    Legal status: Public Record(s)
    Closure status: Open Document, Open Description
    Access conditions: Closed For 29 years

    Looks as though I have answered my own question
     
    4jonboy likes this.
  12. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    I understand that No. 2 Group was not in Italy at this time, rather it was kicking its heals in North Africa. I’ll check this later when back home and revert!

    If so, only Groups No. 1 and No. 3 War Diaries come into play.

    Best,

    Steve.
     
  13. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    The aforementioned regimental history states that the 2nd Battalion HQ and No. 2 Group remained in North Africa near Algiers until arriving in Italy circa 1 December 1943.

    Best,

    Steve.
     
    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  14. johnnie

    johnnie Junior Member

    Great stuff. So that narrows it down a great deal.
     

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