Princess Louise's Kensington Regiment

Discussion in 'British Army Units - Others' started by DavidP, Aug 14, 2008.

  1. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

  2. Jeffrey Hughes

    Jeffrey Hughes Junior Member

    David, I've been waiting for you to show up for days. Did you have a look at the other photos I posted in my album? I will send a private message with my email. If there is anything of interest I have you are welcome to have a copy.

    My father figures your father was in the same convoy going to Algiers as he was in. He said that on the way you could here depth charges as they hunted for German u boats. This may have been what your father heard. My father remembers the stench and the crowed quarters on the ships with hamocks hanging head to toe. He said guys were passing wind, smelly feet, the inevitable trip to use the bathroom where guys bumped your hamock waking you and boots flying for the snoring guys. We forget how young these guys were at times as we think of them as fathers not kids.
    I have a couple of photos of girls skiing in Austria when they were stationed there too with a post card my dad saved after all these years which was given to him by a young girl he had met. He said they were all nice girls and not you know....
    I'll send you my email
  3. John Scott

    John Scott Junior Member

    Hi John,

    Its all in the link below-Don't be put off by the waiting times:

    Army Personnel Centre - British Army Website


    Thanks for that, Andy - will follow that up.

    In the meantime, here's a picture of my grandad in uniform with my dad. Can't imagine anyone will recognise him all these years later, but you never know...

    dbf likes this.
  4. Jeffrey Hughes

    Jeffrey Hughes Junior Member

    John, I showed my father your photo today and he did not recognize him. Sorry.

  5. Jeffrey Hughes

    Jeffrey Hughes Junior Member

    John, sorry I'm new here and I didn't see the trail for your posts. It would have been impossible for my father to have recognized your grandfather as he didn't even serve when he did.

  6. John Scott

    John Scott Junior Member

    After making contact with a family member, I've got hold of a photo taken in Poznan, in the winter of 1941/2. My grandfather is second from the left in the back row.


    Attached Files:

  7. tarquini

    tarquini Member

    Hello David,

    Your dad certainly fought on the Trasimene Line where he was attached to 38 Irish Brigade- 21 June - 24th June and from then on to 36 Brigade. They took a real pasting between 26-29 June in the taking of the little town of Castiglione del Lago. The casuatles are buried in Orvieto War Cemetery.

    If you can get hold of a copy of John Horsfall's book Fling our Banner to the Wind you'll see that he makes several references to them during the battle 21-24 June.

    The War Memorial in your photo was to soldiers of Ceprano killed in the First World War -exact translation 'Group csulpture of the monument to the fallen which was opened at Ceprano on 8 October 1922'
  8. Paul Ravenscroft

    Paul Ravenscroft Junior Member

    Hi, I am trying to find out some information about the events that lead to my grandfather's death. He was a private in the Princess Louise's Kensington Regiment and was killed on 27th June 1944. I visited the small cemetery in Ovieto yesterday - a beautiful setting - and I would now like to know more about what happened to my grandfather. Any help would be appreciated. Paul
  9. Michael Dowdeswell

    Michael Dowdeswell Junior Member

    My dad also served with the Kensingtons, John Dowdeswell for some strange reason he was nick named Jerry. He enlisted aged 16 at the drill hall in the Hammersmith Road, l've seen his birth certificate and the alteration to the date of birth wouldn't fool anybody. He told me many, many stories of his time in North Africa, Sicily, Italy and finally finishing the war in Austria.I was never really sure exactly how he ended up in Africa, I applied for his campaign medal in 2005 unfortunately he died before they arrived, he was not awarded the Africa Star either. he told me he fought at Longstop hill, he hated it there it was so cold and wet.

    He fought in Sicily and on to Italy, he was wounded at the battle of Termoli. They were moving down through some woods, it looked like it was all over for the Kensingtons a bullet passed through his calf without doing any real damage. he went a little rotten and to deal with it they put a maggot compress on the wound.

    He was indeed at Cassino, where he lost his hearing, he told me his ears buzzed and rang for days. It affected him all his life, when he died aged 82 he was almost totally deaf. he was wounded a second time, when he was caught in a mortar bomb blast, ended up with a small piece of shrapnel in his navel. He also ended up at the big castle in Spittal, where he took part in a big boxing tournament.

    His 2 best mates were Lou Bush and Jimmy Porrit, Lou Bush who l met several times married an Austrian girl, they found it very tough when they came back to England. There's a very good book called the Impossible Victory, by brian Harpur he was either my Dad's platoon or company officer. The kensingtons being a vickers regiment, were classed as Divisional troops and l believe were normally split up to support other formations they travelled on bren carriers.

    can anyone tell me why they didn't get the Africa Star.
  10. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member


    I presume that the "lack" of an Africa Star was due to the timing of your father's arrival in Africa and onward journey to Tunisia. I thought that the Kensingtons had arrived after 12 May 1943, but might be wrong. You say that he fought at Longstop which would probably have been in late April 1943, so on that basis should have been eligible for the medal.

    If you have his service records, then the dates should be clear.

    Another book about the Kensingtons in Sicily/Italy is "Front of The Line" by Colin Gunner (out of print but can be found on Amazon). It focuses on the day to day relationships with their infantry comrades within the Irish Brigade. It's not always an edifying read, but in the absence of personal oral history, provides some flavour of the warts and all realities of combat life.

  11. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I'm currently reading the Kensingtons History and they didn't fight in N. Africa. As mentioned they never arrived in Africa (Algiers) until May, the 27th May around 7am to be precise.
  12. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for that detail - I had read that they had arrived in late May but unlike others not an expert on their day to day.
  13. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Hi, I am trying to find out some information about the events that lead to my grandfather's death. He was a private in the Princess Louise's Kensington Regiment and was killed on 27th June 1944. I visited the small cemetery in Ovieto yesterday - a beautiful setting - and I would now like to know more about what happened to my grandfather. Any help would be appreciated. Paul

    From the Regiments history:

    At dawn on June 27th, 6 Platoon, "C" Group, came under considerable shell fire. Two shells landed alonside Sergeant Nicholson's section, one of which buried Corporal Powell in his slit-trench. They were all shaken, but luckily unhurt. The mortars and machine-guns fired on many targets during the day, and things were much quieter until 1800hrs, when a large shell landed close to the cook house of "C" Group's 3 Platoon. The Platoon was just drawing it's well earned evening meal at the time, and tragedy resulted. Sergeant Holloway and Ptes Coulson, Graham, and Ravenscroft were killed outright, and Ptes Cotton, Parker, and Greenwood were wounded-the latter dying later in hospital from the wounds he had received.
  14. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Thanks for that detail - I had read that they had arrived in late May but unlike others not an expert on their day to day.

    No probs and no expert here - I'm well out of my comfort zone at the moment.

    Ref the Africa Star I'm not sure what the time scales were to receive it but they weren't in Africa for long before shipping to Sicily.
  15. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    :( I've just been reading about the battalions journey to Africa - The details must have been etched in Don's memory for I feel like I'm reading the chapter again :poppy:

    Hi HarryP

    Thought you might like some first hand information about the wartime experiences of the 1st Battalion Princess Louise Kensington Rgt I like your Dad volunteered under aged and asked if I could be put in a Machine gun regiment and after a medical was put in the 70th battalion Middlesex Rgt there was no transition of regiments as the both sides came under the Middies anyway so after being told you are now being formed up as the 1st Batt Kens the story starts here

    Early 1943 we sailed from Greenock in convoy to Algiers and after a few days acclimatising picked up our transport from the docks in Algiers and drove across
    Algeria and Tunisia my own memories of this epic journey that still being just turned seventeen and having done three weeks learning to drive in England I was now driving a lorry an ammunition trailer behind that and behind that an Oierlikon gun the whole lot being about eighty feet long to a place called Hammamet not far from the Capital Tunis a well known holiday resort nowadays but then a very long stretch of sandy beach but nothing else our time was then spent waterproofing the vehicles for what turned out to be the invasion of Sicily the story behind the Oierlikon gun that as a support group and being Infantry we were supposed to take that Heath Robinson
    Contraption into the line as a Twenty Millimetre anti aircraft weapon it took about
    An hour to rig up and almost as long to pack up so they were ceremoniously dumped along with the ammunition trailers and we just went in with the heaviest mortars we
    had at that time the 4.2 and the Vickers machine gun we certainly never had Spandau machine guns they were German but we did get many replies from them after our guns opened up.
    The Regiment was never awarded the Africa Star as we arrived a week or so after the cut off date for the award but personally I have never applied for any medals apart from the veteran’s badge which is a tiny thing anyway so the rest of the story has been well documented the Sicilian campaign onto Italy and eventually Austria and your Dad was right we certainly were heavily involved in the Cossacks return to the Russians and the escorts hearing them being massacred once inside Communist territory the place the Cossacks were camped at about 38 thousand of them was the Drau valley and the largest town in the area was Lienz I know I was there if there is anything else I can help you with don’t be afraid to ask sorry I didn’t recall your Dads name so I didn’t know him personally

    Regards niccar
  16. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    Excellent stuff - etched is one way to describe the impact. Scorched and seared are other words that come to mind.
  17. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Thank you for starting this thread. I had a uncle who was killed June 26, 1944 and he is buried in Orvieto Cemetery, CWGC :: Casualty Details.

    I have been looking for information that follows his movements up to and including his death. His name is Private James Edwin Eyles, Middlesex Regiment, 1st Bn. Princess Louise's Kensington Regt.

    I found this website. The Wartime Memories Project - The Second World War - The Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge's Own). I have not gone through it yet.

    Thank you for this thread.

    From the Regiments History:

    Pte. Eyles of 5 Platoon was killed by shell splinters in the neck when Pescia was heavily shelled.

    Hi Johnny Canuk

    Saw your post only today 12th of April and can hopefully fill in your request for information regarding the death of Jimmy Eyles he was a fine soldier and I knew him pretty well I will never talk of heroics or anything about the war in general but his death was tragic in the extreme and I will make this an exception Jimmy was near a building with other men of the Kens Regt and being heavily shelled when a piece of shrapnel severed his jugular vein the other men tried to assure him he would be alright
    but jimmy was no fool and he knew you couldn’t put a tourniquet around a neck so each time his heart pumped it pumped out the life’s blood Jimmy asked a couple of them to sit by his side against a wall until he slipped into the eternal dream I hope this is not too depressing but a tribute to a very well liked and brave soldier I was about half a mile away in another detachment and the news reached us like wildfire and gloom set about loosing such a fine comrade

    RIP Jimmy Eyles 1st BaTT Kensington regt

    Regards Niccar
  18. Michael Dowdeswell

    Michael Dowdeswell Junior Member


    I think the cap badge may be the Middlesex regiment, l Know there were two battalions affiliated to the Middlesex the 1/7 and the 2/7. Where do you think your Dad signed up, my Dad signed up at the drill hall in Hammersmith Road.I would imagine a lot of these lads were from Fulham and Hammersmith. There is a memorial to the regiment at the top end of High Street Ken.

    Mike Dowdeswell
  19. Jeffrey Hughes

    Jeffrey Hughes Junior Member

    and you never know who you might find in one
    No idea who these gents are but it was probably from Greece in 1946
    again from Greece

    my father met...Kathi or Gisela
    no name
    Kathi or Gisela
    from Greece
    View attachment 70234
    I do have a few others but these are the best ones. Others are attached to my profile. If anyone sees a picture they want I would be happy to send them a good high quality digital file.

    again unknown

    Attached Files:

  20. smith022

    smith022 Junior Member

    Jeff, thanks very much for getting in touch with me. I actually had forgotten about this site. Just been reading the posts since my last time on here. From reading your posts there are a couple of pics you can place names on, I don't recognize any of the names. There is one pic where one bloke resembles my dad, the one of the soccer team but I am not sure. Some other names my dad has dropped in the past are Ted Sharples and Harry Potter. Other notes I have taken quickly when I was unprepared and he decided to talk was he was the "first on the gun" - not sure of the accuracy of the text, he was one of two men responsible for the water purification, Ted Sharples I believe was the other. My dad claims to have been a driver on one of the invasion trucks and was a dispatch rider at some point. I will have to try and get some photos posted, unfortunately he has been very ill with pneumonia, is in hospital right now so it may be some time before I can get them.

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