History of the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, 8th Battalion, 1939-47

Discussion in 'British Army Units - Others' started by welshmedals, Aug 30, 2012.

  1. welshmedals

    welshmedals Junior Member

    Hi Chaps,

    I just wondered if any of you chaps would have the book, History of the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, 8th Battalion, 1939-47. By Lt Col A D Malcolm 1948.

    I am researching a Captain A M Askwith (attached from KSLI) who was wounded on the 20/11/1943 with the battalion and hope that someone might have the book or even the war diary of the unit.

    Thanks everyone

  2. jhowson

    jhowson Junior Member

    Hi there,
    I don't actually have the book, however, I did find a few copies for sale online - but at a price - over $200 each. It was tough to find, but there were a few military book store references deep in the Google search.Just today, I found a copy in the catalog of our local university near me. I'm not sure where you're located but you may want to check there?
    I live in Canada and was quite surprised to find one over here, so maybe you'll luck out too.
    If you're still looking for the info, I'm going to be doing some research (it's an "in-library use only" book) and will be going down to the University within the week, so if you'd like any excerpts I'd be happy to get them for you.

    I did find the book in Google Books - You can't get much, but I was at least able to confirm that Askwith is referenced within the book in at least the 3 results Google brought back. You can see it here: http://books.google.ca/books?id=vUq1AAAAMAAJ&focus=searchwithinvolume&q=Askwith

    Anyhow, I realize this is over a year later but I just started my own research this week and saw your post and thought I'd contribute. If you have come across the war diary of the unit, could you let me know how you did so? I don't even know where or how to search for that one - though I'd assume it's maybe at the National Archives in Surrey?
    Anyhow, Good luck with your research.
    IKE26 likes this.
  3. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Probably too late now but I have the book:

    From all these investigations it was deduced that the enemy had outposts on the escarpment, but that his main positions were probably on the higher ground behind. In any event, the escarpment was the only position which could give protection to the river crossings (Sangro River), and it had to be captured to form a bridgehead. On November 19th, four battalions, of which 8 Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders was the left hand one, each sent a Company forward to seize and hold a position on the escarpment. As soon as it was dark, at about 5pm, Captain Askwith started with X Company. His task was to occupy a position at Popular Gully from which to make an attack on a farm the following night. The river had subsided, so the crossing was only a matter of wading, and the company reached it's objective, after a slight skirmish and proceeded to dig in. However, since strong enemy posts were near at hand, the only positions which could be occupied were on the banks of the gully from which there was very little field of view. Soon after dawn the Germans made a strong attack on the gully from two directions. The company had both flanks exposed and had no room to manoeuvre, and when the platoon at the head of the gully was overrun the position became hopeless. Captain Askwith then withdrew the remainder with difficulty over the open fields and across the river. At the river, they stumbled on anti-personnel mines, which wounded Captain Askwith and the two platoon commanders. This brought the total casualties within the company to 5 killed, 7 wounded and 35 missing. It is often inevitable that an operation starts with 'a boy being sent to do a mans job,' and this may be fairly classed as one of those occasions, for it later required two battalion attacks on successive nights to capture the area of X Company's objective.
    Pember likes this.
  4. Nephewofagunner

    Nephewofagunner New Member

    I have the book in hardback.I bought it because my uncle was killed in action at the kasserine pass in Tunisia,he was with the argyles .
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  5. Kevin1

    Kevin1 Member

    My father was in the 8 Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and, having obtained his records I see that he was picked up by the Field Ambulance and taken to a CCS on 29/10/43. Thing is, I can’t find what action the battalion would have been in at this date as the crossing of the Trigno wasn’t until 2/11/43. Has anyone access to a copy of the war diary that might give a clue?
  6. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Here is what the regimental history has fro the period around October 29, 1943:
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  7. Kevin1

    Kevin1 Member

    Thanks very much for that picture, dryan67, much appreciated. Perhaps my father had been on one of those patrols near the Trigno? Sounds like he was lucky to miss the big attack that followed!
  8. LauraJane

    LauraJane New Member

    My Second Great Uncle was a Sgt in the 8th Battalion. He was killed in action in April 1943 in North Africa. I can't find any information about the timeline of what happened, I was wondering if anyone who has the book has any info on what happened in April 1943. He was just 22 when he was tragically killed. Here is the link to his memorial

  9. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Laura Jane,

    I am in the limo back from JFK and a trip to Italy. I will check the history tomorrow.
  10. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Here is the section of the regimental history covering the April 23 and the Battle of Longstop Hill.

    Your great uncle is mentioned in the excerpt.

    Page01.jpg Page02.jpg Page03.jpg Page04.jpg Page05.jpg Page06.jpg
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  11. LauraJane

    LauraJane New Member

  12. Stuart Avery

    Stuart Avery In my wagon & not a muleteer.


    that's some way to travel back from a trip to Italy.:cool: I do hope it all went for you all? That is after all the hassle you had!

  13. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member


    The limo was a Cadillac Escalade, which is just a big SUV. In Italy, we did it all regarding travel. We had a Renault van to seat six, which was much too large for the hill towns of Sicily. We did the bus, took a sleeper train, a regular train, and water buses in Venice. The Sicily van had a good scrape in a battle with a wall in Piazza Armerina.
  14. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member


    No problem. I am more than happy to help.
  15. Dennybaby

    Dennybaby New Member

    Hi, I went to Sangro river cemetery this year to visit my great uncles grave. He died aged 19 in the battle at termoli. I am trying to find the route the battalion took upon landing at Taranto. If I can find the info I will be heading back there next year to retrace his steps. Would anyone know? He died on 5 October 1943. George Kenneth Wright
  16. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member


    Your best bet is to get hold of Gary Tankard on this forum and ask him to get the War Diaries for the battalion the next time he goes to Kew. He only charges £0.10 per page.

    That will give you what you need including grid references.


  17. ropey

    ropey Member

    You'll need to hire a boat, as 8th A&SH were transported to Termoli, I think from Barletta, disembarking the night of 3/4 October '43.
  18. Dennybaby

    Dennybaby New Member

    Thankyou for your advice. I will look into this further as I do know he was in the 78th division A&SH / 8th ARMY wasn’t sure whether he did go by boat to termoli or went by road. I think my next step is to try and get hold of the war diaries. Am but of a novice on this ! Any help much appreciated x
  19. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    You might like to read 56 Recce Regiments diaries for the October 43 period (Courtesy of Recce_Mitch). Some of the most useful documents in war diaries are the appendices and these contain some reports on the battle for Termoli (they are all consecutive):

    P2000025 -56 Recce operations 4/5 October Termoli (4 pages)
    P2000029 - 11 Inf Bde Battle of Termoli (4 pages)
    P2000033 - The part played by the 38 Irish Bde in the battle at Termoli 5/6 October (2 pages, unfortunately some missing - anyone got them?)

    resized P2000025 | WW2Talk

    Earlier pages may alsobe of interest:
    P2000021, has the 78 Inf Div operational order.
    P1990982 78 Inf Div Instruction State of readiness
  20. Dennybaby

    Dennybaby New Member

    That’s amazing Thankyou for all your help. I will definitely look through these x

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