1 / 5th Battalion The Welch Regiment

Discussion in 'British Army Units - Others' started by ww2ni, Apr 15, 2013.

  1. ww2ni

    ww2ni Senior Member

    I received an enquiry recently regarding 1 / 5th Battalion the Welch Regiment.

    The relative of an old soldier had asked where Holts Barracks was in Newry.

    I have researched the Battalion who arrived in Portadown on 19th December 1939 before going to Newry on 4th April 1940 from where they trained in the Mourne Mountains before leaving in November 1941 for hereford.

    My interest in "Holts Barracks"

    With the help of Google streetmaps i have found the building in the attached picture.

    Does anyone have ANY information about "Holt's Barracks"??

    Attached Files:

  2. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    What information are you specifically after? I have a number of photos of 1/5th Welch in NI which I received the other day.

    Got plenty of info and accounts on them in NI... just haven't transcribed it yet.

    Just barracks info - or general 1/5th Welch in NI info?
  3. ww2ni

    ww2ni Senior Member

    If you have photographs showing locations I could possibly try and get "Then and Now" type pictures.

    Any information regarding where they were and what they were doing. - My intention is to try and build a brief picture of their activities here.

    You can email me via my website below.

    Thanks very much.
  4. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    I'll pop something here and email you the photos (want to make sure I have full permissions before I upload them here.)

    This is an area which I have covered - just needs a rewrite atm - and is covered in some detail in CN Barclay's History of 53rd Welsh Division, and to a lesser extent in Red Crown and Dragon by Patrick Delaforce. There is another narrative account in an unpublished 4 Welch history that I've tracked down.

    They trained a great deal, in a mish-mash of kit, SD and BD, and with Lewis Guns and the ilk. Initially training and being (loosely) involved in counter IRA activities but the RUC was already dealing with that effectively. Training was not... fantastic I believe as they had a large mix of new members, conscripts and only later really had the addition of Militiamen who were of good calibre. Many good men had been sent to form 38 Division under the disastrous doubling of the TA in 1939. In addition they were very limited in terms of kit and had even partially resorted to horse-drawn status in Wales at the start of the war, and pressed many civilian vehicles into service.

    Many men supported local businesses, and the Irish farmers wrote letters to the Lt-Cols incharge of Battalions before they travelled out to NI - information security was pretty much non-existent, and many men were in roles they were ill suited for due to the doubling of the TA/poor coordination by the army in NI early on. With Norway/France it turned their role to a defensive force ready to face invasion from Ireland in the event of a German landing there. Many men married girls locally and regularly organised dances et al throughout their period of deployment - one reason 53 Div was sent as it was felt a Welsh presence would provoke less trouble than an English unit in NI.

    53 Div in NI is a really interesting topic, just very, very overlooked. Indeed the whole of 1939-41 in NI is really fascinating, especially the raid on Ballykindler Camp.

    General info:
    1/5th Welch Regiment - ('the' prefix is Postwar)
    in 53rd Welsh Division.

    Some errors emerge and confusion in writings, due to a later split between two Associations - one calling it the 'Welsh Division' the other the 'Welch Division' - the former is the correct wartime and postwar version - from the First World War until 53 Div was disbanded.
  5. ww2ni

    ww2ni Senior Member

    Regarding Ballykinlar Camp.

    A book "Ballykinler Camp The first Seven Decades 1900 - 1969" has been written by Philip Orr.

    Its a super publication being A4 size and consisting of 64 pages with loads of info and photographs.

    Best of all ITS FREE!!! - Email museum@downdc.gov.uk or phone them at 02844 615218. Tell them of your interest and, if they are still available, they will pop one in the post for you!


  6. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    Excellent, I'll be giving them a bell in the morning!

    Attached as promised:

    Early Bedford MW with Aeroscreen
  7. ww2ni

    ww2ni Senior Member

    Regarding your first picture.

    That looks as if it could be the building at the junction of Cecil Street and Edward Street in Newry - You can see this in detail on Google Maps streetview - It now appears to be a Carpet Store.
    The photograph appears to have been taken in the back yard of the building.


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