East Kent Regt (Buffs) in Italy 1944

Discussion in 'British Army Units - Others' started by The Guardroom, May 21, 2008.

  1. The Guardroom

    The Guardroom Senior Member

    Hi,
    Is anyone able to help with info on the Buffs in Italy.Trying to trace 6292567 Sgt Leslie Frank Coomber who served in the Buffs (not sure what Bn).
    Only location I have is a photo of him in Bari dated 9/9/1944, I think whilst on leave.

    Not sure of when the Buffs went to Italy and if they had actually fought in North Africa before. Do not know Leslie's medal entitlement unfortunately.

    Also know that he was in Trieste at the time of his demob in Dec 1945.

    If anyone could also suggest any books that the Buffs in WW2 are covered in, I would appreciate it.

    Thanks,
    Alan
     
  2. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    The 5th Batt Buffs were a part of the 36th bde of the 78th Div( Battleaxe) which landed in North Africa as part of 1st Army in Nov '42 - they landed - variously in Italy around the 9th at Reggio followed by the main party at or near Termoli /Bari around the 22nd September'43 with 8th Army - capturing the Foggia Airfields soon afterwards. They were involved in many Battles around the Sangro River area before being sent over to the central sector and becoming involved in the Kiwis third battle of Cassino - and the fourth battle as well as the drive through the Liri valley.
    After Rome in June '44 they went up the Eastern side of the Appenines with US 5th Army and took part in the battlee of Lago Trasemino before heading for Egypt for rest and refit. Returning to take part in the Gothic Line battles - the Winter Line on the Senio and final breakout in the spring through the Argenta gap to finish up at Trieste before heading for the Occupation of Austria where they were based in Vienna !
    The 36th were known as the "fire brigade" as they always seemed to be in the thick of it - somehow - we sometimes thought they just stirred it up !
     
  3. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Guardroom -
    Should also mention that the 36th Bde of 78th Div had the 6th West Kents and the 8th Argyll and sufferin Highlanders - and with those two alongside - you were bound to be involved in lots of fights !
     
  4. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Hi,
    If anyone could also suggest any books that the Buffs in WW2 are covered in, I would appreciate it.
    Thanks,
    Alan

    Hi Alan
    See if you can get your local library to get hold of a copy of "The Campaign in Italy" 1943-1945 by Eric Linklater.
    There is a fair amount of direct references to the 5th Battalion of the Buffs (Royal East Kent)
    (Two pages attached as an example)
    Ron
     

    Attached Files:

  5. The Guardroom

    The Guardroom Senior Member

    Thanks Ron and Tom for the replies.
    I have another photo of Sgt Coomber which seems to have been taken infront of the Lido in Venice 1945, but on it is written '1st Buffs C.M.F.'

    Not sure what the CMF means or what the 1st Buffs were doing in North Italy or infact if he was a member of that Battalion instead of the 5th as you mention ?




    Rgds,
    Alan
     

    Attached Files:

  6. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  7. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Guardroom
    If he was in fact in the 1st battalion Buffs in 56th Div - then he might have joined them in their first battle in Tunisia at Enfidaville before landing at Salerno along with the 46th Div and a section of 7th Armoured div - fighting their way through the Garigliano River - then Anzio for a while - eventually going up the western side of the Appenines still with US 5th Army - then over to Egypt for a refit and rest - back to Italy around the time of that photo at Bari in the sept '44 - then on to the Gothic Line where thye were torn apart at a place called Gemmano ( google for that one) - then on to the Po and finally Trieste......they had avery tough time all through Italy !

    Cheers
     
  8. The Guardroom

    The Guardroom Senior Member

    Followign on from this post some time back, I have since been given Leslie's service book and some other papers of his.
    It does appear that he was in the 1st Buffs joining them on the 27.6.1940.
    He passed a trade course as a Driver Mech Group D class II in S Coy at Canterbury.
    The further question I have is that on a Records of Service card (hopefully shown below) it states he left the 1st Buffs for 1 month between the 10.11.1944 and 11.12.1944 to the Hampshire Regt, whilst I presume he was in Italy.

    Why would this have been to the Hamps. Not as if injured/ wounded ?
    Even if the Hamps Regt required a driver (and by this time at Bari in Sept 1944, he was a Sgt), would he have been recorded as changing regt, rather than perhaps attached or on loan ?

    Not sure which Hampshire Battalion was out alongside the 1st Buffs, so perhaps someone can shine some light on this 1 month period.

    He later returned to teh 1st Buffs to be added to the Army Reserve on the 25.4.1946 having left Lazzaretto Trieste CMF.

    Many thanks,

    Alan
     

    Attached Files:

  9. The Guardroom

    The Guardroom Senior Member

    Also on his soldiers release book it mentions present rank as W/ Sgt.
    Whats the 'W' stand for ?
     
  10. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Guardroom
    The Hampshire regiment was also in a neighbouring broigade in 56th Div and so he was probably on loan of one of their chaps had been injured - not a big deal ..

    The W should be W/S meaning that his rank had been approved and was War Substansive - and he was getting paid at the right scale for that rank - and was entitled to one bottle of Scotch per month ..
    Cheers
     
  11. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    1 Buff's war diaries covering his service:

    WO 169/345 1 Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment)1939 Nov.- 1940 Dec.

    WO 169/1708 1 Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment) 1941 Apr.- Dec.

    WO 169/4994 1 Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment) 1942 Jan.- Dec.

    WO 169/10183 1 Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment) 1943 Jan.- Dec.

    WO 170/1367 1 Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment) 1944 Jan-Dec

    WO 170/4992 1 Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment) 1945 Jan.- Dec.

    WO 170/7985 1 Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment) 1946 Jan.- June
     
  12. JUDY BALLANGER

    JUDY BALLANGER Junior Member

    I have been very interested in the chat about Leslie Coomber and the role of the Buffs 5th Battalion. My father in law Cyril Ballanger from Dartford, Kent, was 3 numbers away from Leslie in his service number, also in the 5th Btn and also a Driver mechanic, same class. I wonder if they knew each other?
     
  13. JUDY BALLANGER

    JUDY BALLANGER Junior Member

    I am learning a lot from replies given to questions about Leslie Coomber and The Buffs as they are some of the same questions I would have asked, so thank you!
    My father in law was in the 9th Btn the Buffs until 1944, so we think he was moving around the British Isles, and missed the events of 1940 which overtook the Buffs in France. Can you help with any information on what the 9th actually did in the UK from 1940 to 1944?
     
  14. The Guardroom

    The Guardroom Senior Member

    Hi Judy, Unfortunately all I have found to date on the 1st Bn has been from the internet or friends on the forum. The lnk below is a good start. From what I can see the 9th Buffs was the training depot for the other Bns and never went abroad.


    The 9th & 10th Battalions were infantry training units. The 9th Battalions parent unit was with The Northamptonshire Regiments I.T.C. The 10th Battalion was based at the Machine Gun Training Centre of the Cheshire Regiment at Chester. In August 1940 both units received orders to move lock stock to the West Country, by the end of September the move from Berkshire was complete, the adolescent Battalions now found themselves billeted over the wide Devon and Cornwall area, now part of 209 brigade Devon and Cornwall Div (later 77th Division). The 10th Battalion was put into 206 Brigade, later being transferred into 209 Brigade. During the November of 1942 the 9th Battalion was moved to Dover, leaving the 10th behind in Devon, and was stationed at the 8th Battalions old Barracks after the 8th was transferred to the Royal artillery. Around Jan 1943 the 10th was moved north with the 77th Div to Hull then later to Shildon Co.Durham. December 1943 was to see the 10th Battalion disbanded.

    January 1944 saw the 9th moved to Ireland in 164 Brigade of the 55th Division, July 1944 saw the Battalion re-named as the 9th Buffs ITC and was based in Enniskillen. The unit was disbanded in 1946.



    Rgds,

    Alan
     
  15. Copysys

    Copysys Junior Member

    Hi Alan....Tom has said it all really, but I do have a copy of a magazine that was issued to the 36th infantry brigade which included the Buffs 5th batalion and in it is a list of all the places they went to, which tied up perfectly with my fathers service records, who was also in the Buffs 5th. It makes a very intersting read and may be able to email it to you.
    Harry
     
  16. The Guardroom

    The Guardroom Senior Member

    Hi Harry,
    Thanks for offer of copy of magazine. However, as my relative has since been identified as being a member of the 1st Bn Buffs, think this may be of little use. Judy who was searching for info on teh 5th may however take you up on your kind offer.
    Best regards,
    Alan
     
  17. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    Alan.

    If Sgt Coomber was in 1 Buffs then during his time in Italy in 1944 he would have been part of 18 Lorried Infantry Brigade which was part of 1 British Armoured Division.

    1 British Armoured Division were heavily involved in the push beyond Rome and fought at the Gothic Line short of Rimini in Sep 44. If I remember correctly, they were on the left of 5 Cdn Armd Div for the attack on Coriano Ridge in early Sep 44.

    Regards

    FdeP
     
  18. whitestacks

    whitestacks New Member

    My father was an NCO in C Coy , 5th Bat , The Buffs , served in Italy from sept '44 till he was wounded on the 19th April 1945 at Benivignante , He was in Hospital in Brindisi before re joining his company and being based at San Lorenzen in Austria. He came home at Christmas 1945. I know he was in the mountains throughout the winter of'44 and the in the final battle of '45. His name was Reg Wilson and was a keen Boxer before the War in Liverpool. Does anyone have any more information on the Bat or even the Coy during this time
    as I know so very little.
     
  19. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    A few

    Here's a few pages from the battalions war diary covering the date you mentioned your father was injured
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  20. mike091055

    mike091055 New Member

    Hi All

    I am new to WW2talk and i am researching my granddad's war, especially in Italy (I remember him telling me he was at Monte Casino). I have acquired his service and casualty form along with territorial army record of service paper.

    He was from Leeds in Yorkshire and enlisted or was drafted in July 1940 with the WYR for training etc.

    He embarked for North Africa 15/7/43 arriving 30/7/43.

    He was transferred from WYR to 1st West Kents and then only one month later to 5th battalion 'The Buffs'.

    He was in the 5th Buffs from 30/7/43 to 28/7/44. He was hospitalised 6 times (i have the names of the hospitals all in Italy and one in Sicily).

    What i am looking for are the war diaries of the 5th Buffs for the period mentioned above additionally the 5th Buffs roll? So i could find out which company he was in. He was a corporal. He took a beating at the third battle of Monte Casino from what i can establish. So much so that he asked to be demoted back to private 30/3/44.

    I have just applied for his Italy Star, Africa Star, 1939/1945 War Medal/Star and we shall see what/if i receive them from the Army?

    i WOULD BE MOST GRATEFUL FOR ANY INFO OF THE 5TH BUFFS OF THIS PERIOD

    Regards

    Mike
     

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