The Northamptonshire Regiment at Monte Cassino

Discussion in 'Italy' started by thebigback, Jan 14, 2014.

  1. thebigback

    thebigback New Member

    As with many old soldiers,my late father was reluctant to talk about his wartime experiences.He did however mention the Monte Cassino campaign and the part the Northants Regiment played.Although vague he did mention the crossing of the Salerno and Rapido rivers.He also mentioned the Indian Div.Does anyone have any information about the Northants and the Italy campaign?
  2. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

  3. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    No doubt, reluctance to talk about their wartime experiences was the order of the day for the majority of men on their return home...

    “Cassino” is sometimes used as a generic term for a large part of the campaign period on the western side of Italy from January to May 1944.

    Ron’s reference to the 5th Battalion in 11 Brigade would certainly directly apply to the Cassino campaign but....
    .....don’t overlook the possibility that your father may have had some connection with another Northamptonshire Regiment battalion who were in the Italian theatre during 1943 and 44 - this was their 2nd Battalion, who were with 17th Infantry Brigade as part of 5th Division.

    An obvious starting point to try to clarify this would be for you to apply for your father's service records.

    Without a firm basis by referencing the service records or other personal papers, there would necessarily be some speculation on all the relevant battalion/dates/postings etc.

    Good luck
    Owen and 4jonboy like this.
  4. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron


    You are quite correct to suggest that it might have been a completely different battalion.

    Until the correct battalion has been established we are just making guesses.

    Bigback really needs to establish this so that we can provide hime with the info he seeks.

  5. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Two battalions of the Northamptonshire Regiment served in Italy during WW2 so you would need to identify the battalion before taking your research further. Looking at the list of war diaries available at Kew for this period he would have been in either the 2nd or 5th Battalion.
  6. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Most likely that 2nd Northants served in 46th Div who landed on Salerno and crossed the Rapido - but I can never find a real OOB for 46th after North Africa...

  7. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    No they didnt.
    2 Northants were only ever in 5th Div .
  8. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    only going on the reference of Salerno where only 56th and 46th landed - 5th Division went over to Salerno to asset the struggling Mark Clark from Reggio as the Canadians went over to the

    Adriatic side - on re-reading the initial posting - he only mentions "crossing" Salerno - NOT landing - it could also be argued that they didn't cross the Rapido per se but MIGHT have crossed the

    Garilgliano - even that is doubtful as they MIGHT have sailed into Anzio from Naples….still don't have the OOB for 46th Div..but quite sure someone has the war diary of 5th Div...

  9. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    I'd rather wait for 'thebigback' to get his Father's Service Records from the MoD before saying anymore.
  10. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    True enough but the OP's question was "did anyone know the movements of Northants in Italy " as they were part of 5th Div it is easy enough to trace their movements through Italy until they left …OR 78th Div for that matter ….

  11. NSWP

    NSWP New Member

    G'day, new on here, have done an intro. My late father served in the 5th Bn Northamptonshire Regt during the war and post war, 1st Bn of the same Regt. He received the Africa and Italy Star as well the 39-45 star, Defence medal etc. I have those medals. I do not have his Certificate of Service book, heaven know where it is. I never ever got his service record from the MOD, so are they easy to get? And would it include details of his service including promotions, campaigns etc?

    I am particularly interested his WW2 service in Africa/Italy, as he rarely talked about it, having been bayoneted in the desert.

    Thanks. :salut:
  12. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member


    Was this what you were looking for wrt 46th Division?

    128th Infantry Brigade
    2nd Bttn The Hampshire Regiment
    1st/4th Bttn The Hampshire Regiment.
    5 Bttn The Hampshire Regiment

    138th Infantry Brigade
    6th Bttn The Lincolnshire Regiment
    2nd/4th Bttn The King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
    6th Bttn. The York and Lancaster Regiment

    139th Infantry Brigade
    2nd/5th Bttn The Leicestershire Regiment
    5 Bttn. The Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment)
    16th Bttn. The Durham Light Infantry
  13. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    I'd say they were a must have.
    30 quid & a few months wait but worth it if you want to know more.
    Have a look in the Service Records section of the forum for examples of what they are like & info they contain.
  14. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

  15. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    exactly what I have been looking for in ages - many thanks

  16. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  17. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    Was thinking about it until I read the blurb. " although not one of the D D day divisions " ….? the 46th did much more fighting than many of the so called experts at D Day..apart from XXX th

    corps……just in case people - like historians - book sellers- movie goers et al…. think that the fighting in the desert initially by 11th Hussars in 1940….meant nothing….without all the struggles in

    Africa - Sicily and Italy ….. and the strategy of Alanbrooke…..which many still fail to understand……especially our Allies ….D Day could never have happened...


    PS - those people should read of the sufferings of 46th Div at Croce / Gemmano in September '44

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