War diaries for the 1st Battalion Hertfordshire regiment

Discussion in 'Unit Documents' started by DOM, Apr 11, 2017.

  1. DOM

    DOM Member

    Does anyone know where I can go to get access to the war diaries for the 1st Battalion Herts. My grandfather was in the motor transport section of this regiment and I know he was in Gibraltar, Italy and Palestine. We have a collection of photos he took titled North Africa invasion where were taken on the ships and shows the landings with US troops and flags in the shots. I am assuming that this is part of Operation torch in Nov 1942, where some troops departed from Gibraltar. Yet we don't have an African Star medal for him. Searching online I can't find any reference to this regiment taking part in Operation Torch or any part in the action in North Africa. But we do have a collection of photos of his from Egypt too. But I am assume this was at the end of the war after his time in Palestine in 1945 (again loads of photos). We know he was in Italy within the family there is a story that he was a driver for Monty in Italy but I need to see if I can track down documentary proof.
  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Hi Dom - The battalion war diaries will be at the National Archives. Assuming there is a regimental museum somewhere, they may have a copy of them as well.

    There may also be a regimental history book published that could be worth considering as well.

  3. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Here is a summary of the service of the 1st Battalion, The Hertordshire Regiment:

    1st Battalion, The Hertfordshire Regiment, The Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment (T.A.)

    162nd Infantry Brigade – 3 September 1939 to 7 September 1942

    The battalion received orders to recruit beyond its established size in March 1939, since it was to split into two battalions. This was completed by April 1939 and it went to camp with 40 officers and 1200 other ranks. At the end of camp at Shorncliffe, the battalion was split into the 1st and 2nd Battalions. It was embodied on September 1st, 1939 at Hertford. By the end of October 1939 it was on coast defence in the Dovercourt-Harwich area and supplied Lewis gun crews for ships sailing from Harwich to Calais. It moved north to Northumberland in April 1940, first at Rothburg with a detachment at Blyth but later moved to the Alnmouth coast. The brigade was placed intothe GHQ Mobile Reserve in October 1940 while still in Northumberland. The battalion moved to Cheltenham in March 1941 and on November 20th, 1941 its role changed and it was moved to the east coast at Kessingland, south of Lowestoft.

    The battalion remained on the east coast at Kessingland until the spring of 1943. It was designated to move to Gibraltar in March 1943 and an advanced party moved by air on March 31st. The battalion left by ship from Glasgow on April 13th and arrived on April 22nd, 1943.

    2nd Gibraltar Infantry Brigade – 24 April 1943 to 17 November 1943
    1st Gibraltar Infantry Brigade – 17 November 1943 to 22 July 1944

    The battalion provided a detachment to the Independent Company on Gibraltar. It did battle school in Morocco along with other battalions from the garrison.

    WO Control

    It was finally relieved by the 30th Dorsetshire Regiment and left Gibraltar on July 25th, 1944. It landed at Naples on July 29th.

    HQ Allied Armies, Italy – 29 July 1944 to 4 August 1944

    It trained at Afragola Camp on arrival in Italy then moved north to Piedmonte, where it joined the 66th Infantry Brigade on August 4th.

    66th Infantry Brigade – 4 August 1944 to 31 August 1945

    After service with the brigade, it came out of the line on January 7th, 1945 and moved to Bastardo on January 11th. It moved by train to Taranto by January 27th and embarked for Palestine on the same date. It was at sea until January 31st, 1945, when it arrived at Haifa, Palestine. It moved to Pardes Hanna near Hadera to rest and refit. It left Palestine on April 30th, 1945 and moved to the Beirut area in Syria on May 1st and to Jebel Mazar near Damascus on May 13th. It returned to Palestine in the early autumn of 1945.
  4. DOM

    DOM Member

    Thank you both for the information. I am delighted to get some help with this. I am based in Ireland so getting to Kew will be a bit tricky in the short term. But I plan on trying to get over next year. The dates you mention tie in with the photo collection we have of Palestine and Syria, although none of it is dated. I have photos of Damascus, Beirut, Tel Aviv, Tiberias, Jerusalem and Haifa. (all labelled but not dated). I also have photos of a funeral of what looks like Lance Corporal Jenner in Gibraltar and photo's of his grave. I wonder if he was a close friend of my grandfather. But I can't find out anymore details. I'll have to see if it turns up in the records.

    My grandfather enlisted at Belfast on the 4th Mar 1941, but what was more extraordinary is that both he and his brother Christopher traveled up from Cork (very south of Ireland) to enlist in the British Army. Their father previously served in WW1 along with his father in-law. So there was a family tradition. But that was when Ireland was still part of Britain. Their other brother James was living in England at the time and also joined the Herts but he ended up a POW in Singapore and was eventually rescued from a POW labour camp in Sendai, Japan at the end of the war. There is even footage of the camp on youtuve from the US archives.

    It still leaves me with the anomaly of the North Africa photo collection. Hopefully I can get to the bottom of it eventually. Thank you for your assistance. It has been very helpful to me. I uploaded one of the photos but it is showing it upside down. But at least you get an idea of what I am talking about.

    Attached Files:

  5. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    I reversed the photo. It is obviously of American troops. I wonder if during one of the training sessions in Morocco he took the picture of American troops.
  6. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    "...I also have photos of a funeral of what looks like Lance Corporal Jenner in Gibraltar and photos of his grave. I wonder if he was a close friend of my grandfather. But I can't find out anymore details. I'll have to see if it turns up in the records..."

    Perhaps this "Jenner"..
    Casualty Details
    Rank:Lance Corporal
    Service No:5952994
    Date of Death:01/05/1944
    Regiment/Service:Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment1st Bn.
    Grave Reference:Plot 1. Row E. Joint grave 5.
    Additional Information:Son of William and Alice Jenner, of Walthamstow, Essex; husband of Doris Flora Jenner, of Walthamstow.
  7. DOM

    DOM Member

    That must be the funeral that is referenced. I've attached the photos. I took a picture of the page in the book but it hasn't come out too clearly.

    Attached Files:

  8. DOM

    DOM Member

    That will have to be my working assumption for now.

    But it was not like him to big something up, if it was a training exercise I would have assumed he would have labeled them as such. He never spoke about any of this and wasn't prone to bragging. In post 1922 era Ireland it was not the sort of thing that could be discussed without causing trouble for yourself. Nobody outside of the immediate family have ever viewed this collection until lately. I was wondering if a section of the motor transport section were assigned to a US group to move them around as most of the photos I have are of the 1st Batt Herts Motor transport section, US troop and US vehicles (trucks, Jeeps etc). I am in the process of requesting his service record. Hopefully that will have more information. I will attach more photos later.
  9. DOM

    DOM Member

    I attached some more photos.

    BTW I have reached out to family of Arthur Jenner on ancestry to share the photos I have of his funeral. They are poor quality but I'm sure his descendants will appreciate them.

    Attached Files:

  10. DOM

    DOM Member

    dryan67: Thank you very much for all the information you gave me.

    I just received my granddad's service record and it matches up to the information you gave me here.

    He served in the UK from 4th Mar 1941 until 13th Apr 1943
    He then embarked for Gibraltar on the 13th Apr 1943 and disembarked on the 22nd Apr 1943.
    He was in Gibraltar until the 22nd Jul 1944.

    Then embarked at Gibraltar on the 22nd Jul 1944 and disembarked CMF on 29th July 1944.
    Then embarked Taranto 25th Jan 1945 for MEF and SOS CMF
    Embarked + TOS MEF from CMF 24th Jan 1945 and disembarked MEF 28th Jan 1945

    Leave with HRM Egypt 6th Feb 1945 11th Feb 1945

    Then left the army in Jan 1946.

    In addition to this the following was listed under military history:

    Home 4/3/41 to 12/4/43 2 yrs 40 days
    Gibraltar 13/4/43 to 21/7/44 1 yr 100 days
    BNAF (CMF) 22/7/44 to 26/1/46 189 days
    MEF 27/1/45 to 18/1/46 357 days
    Home 19/1/46 to 21/1/46 3 days
    Rel leave 23/1/46 to 20/4/46 89 days

    I still have no idea about the North Africa photos but he did have 3 other brothers that served in the war so could be from them.

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