Green howards WW2

Discussion in 'British Army Units - Others' started by Rob Channell, Jul 1, 2019.

  1. Rob Channell

    Rob Channell Member

    My wife's father, Kenneth Norman Rackham green howards. We have no service number, and little information. We know he served in Egypt, Italy. And was on flame throwers . He never spoke of the war to his wife, because he just wanted to forget. If anyone can help, it would be great. Find two images attached, very little to go on, a long shot. But you never know.

    Attached Files:

  2. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Hello and welcome to the forum.

    The best way to begin is to get copy service records. No need for Army Number so long as you can supply DOB, death certificate along with fee.
    Request records of deceased service personnel

    Good luck with your research.
    Tony56 and Tricky Dicky like this.
  3. Rob Channell

    Rob Channell Member

    Thanks for your help.
  4. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Once you have his service records they will tell you which units he served in when he served with them and where he served, he may have enlisted in the GH's but it doesnt mean to say he stayed with them all through the war, this is why service records are so important.

    Each unit also kept War Diaries (WD's), so again once it is known which unit(s) he served in you can obtain the WD's for that unit(s) which gives basically a daily log of what they did

    Tony56 and dbf like this.
  5. Rob Channell

    Rob Channell Member

    Cheers Tricky Dicky, thanks for the info. Sounds like a good plan.
  6. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Hello Rob,

    Likely that your father-in-law served with, either, 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th or 7th Bns Green Howards, but only possibly with the 4th or 5th if he was in Italy as a PoW. These two Battalions got overrun by the Deutsche Afrika Korps at ‘Gazala’ in the Western Desert and never fought in Italy.

    The 1st, 6th and 7th Bns all served in Sicily and the 1st then went to mainland Italy too. The 6th and 7th returned to the UK and were in the first wave on Gold Beach on D-Day and NW Europe thereafter. This makes the 1st Bn most likely.

    However, the 1st Bn never fought in Egypt albeit they did travel/pass through... They were in Palestine for a while.

    So, no clear view on which Battalion he served with as yet. You definitely need those service records and should post them on this site asking for assistance on receipt.


  7. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    1 GREEN HOWARDS were in 15 Infantry Brigade which was itself part of 5 British Infantry Division. The battalion fought at the crossing of the mighty Garigliano River in Jan 44 as part of the assault on the Gustav Line at Cassino before being moved up to reinforce the landings at Anzio when it was all going a bit pear shape.

    The battalion featured heavily in the initial stages of the breakout from Anzio on 23 May 44.


  8. Rob Channell

    Rob Channell Member

    Cheers Steve, thanks for your help. The mother in law, mentions some medal he could have had for valour, but he didn't want it. You can't imagine what the
  9. Rob Channell

    Rob Channell Member

    Thanks for your help Frank.
  10. CAMRyan

    CAMRyan Member


    I’m hoping someone might be able to help with information regarding the 1st Battalion Green Howards, particularly their deployment in the year 1943. My understanding is the 1st Btn GH joined the 15th Infantry Brigade, part of the regular 5th Infantry Division, and were deployed in North Africa taking part in Operation Baytown in September of that year.

    I’d be grateful for any detail about this operation and any information you might have of the battalion’s activities as part of the Central Mediterranean Force beyond that.

    Very many thanks,
  11. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member


    You are right that 1 GREEN HOWARDS were part of 15 Inf Bde, 5 Inf Div and they were indeed at Op BAYTOWN which landed British Eighth Army troops at Reggio di Calabria on 3 Sep 43. From here, they pushed steadily north to meet up with US Fifth Army at Salerno.

    The Div pushed up the Adriatic side of Italy before being transferred to X (BR) Corps in US Fifth Army in Jan 44. They were one of two Divs committed to the assault crossing of the Garigliano on 17 Jan 44. The other was 56 Inf Div.

    With 5 Inf Div, 15 Inf Bde were in reserve but were quickly committed when the crossing stalled on the other side of the river. 1 GREEN HOWARDS were heavily involved in the seizure and retention of Minturno and Minturno Ridge.

    From here, in Mar 44, 5 Inf Div was moved up the coast to the Anzio beachhead and here they stayed until the 23 May 44 breakout operation. As part of this, the moved up the coast to the mouth of the Tiber.

    From Rome, 5 Inf Div was withdrawn to Palestine for rest and refit.


  12. CAMRyan

    CAMRyan Member

    That's absolutely wonderful, Frank, you have made some people very happy, they will be delighted with this information. THANK YOU for taking the time to share it.

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