5th Btn D.C.L.I. 1940-1941 locations

Discussion in 'British Army Units - Others' started by brimacombe, Aug 1, 2020.

  1. brimacombe

    brimacombe Member

    Hi guys,

    Wonder if someone can help me with some detail regarding locations of 5th Btn DCLI between 1940 and 1941?

    Unit was on Home Defence - the first location was the Rame Peninsular, but then I'm having difficulty pin pointing them!

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    This is what I get from Godfrey's DCLI history:

    In the chronological index it mentions some movements of 45 Division: Oct-Nov 1940 to Yorkshire, February 41 become part of GHQ mobile reserves in St Alban's, August beach defence in Essex.

    The narrative mentions the 4th and 5th Battalsions were incorporated into 136 Infantry Brigade in 45 Division (unclear date), then a move to Sussex for anti-invasion defence "as soon as the German invasion of Holland and Belgium took place". The Fifth was between Newhaven and Seaford.

    In Yorkshire "the Fifth were in the the neighbourhood of Thorne."

    Around St Albans the Fifth "for some months occupied Welwyn Garden City"

    In Essex beach defence, "the Fourth and Fifth found themselves, for the next eighteen months, rotating between Walton-on-the-Naze and Harwich, with occasional spells in reserve at Colchester and Manningtree."

    There's an interesting paragraph here so I'll just transcribe it. "It was a curious existence. The towns along the coast, with the exception of Harwich, had been completely evacuated and the battalions were accommodated in the dwelling-houses and hotels that had been left empty. The battalion in Walton-on-the-Naze had a detached company at Frinton, about two miles away; in peacetime a select resort that had disallowed any form of commercialism inside its boundaries. Along the coast were numerous pill-boxes and emplacements housing a motley collection of weapons, with searchlights to help pick up any invader that might try to creep in unawares under cover of darkness. In fact, the offshore shoals and banks and the tidal currents probably afforded the best protection against any serious attempt at a landing, but it was as well to be prepared, and this the battalion ensured by constantly testing, by day and night, the speed with which the defences could be fully manned."

    Hope that helps!
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2020
  3. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    PS I highly recommend the book, just 5 pounds from the Cornwall Regimental Museum shop... plus postage, admittedly.
  4. brimacombe

    brimacombe Member

    Thanks for that Chris. The DCLI Museum at Bodmin is only about 40 minutes from me and I've visited numerous times (often combined with a trip on the Bodmin Wenford steam railway), so perhaps a revisit is due!

    Thanks again.
    Chris C likes this.
  5. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    I went to both on an excellent sunny day in June 2018 :) The book room was very good too.

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