Discussion in 'Italy' started by Armitaa, Mar 26, 2021.
This might offer a clue as to what was happening.
Others have said the 90 LAA were being used for logistics, moving ammunition etc.
Senio Valley 1st Infantry Division.
67th Field Regiment RA with 75th Medium Regt. spent three weeks in the valley frequently under intense enemy fire. They lost several men to enemy shellfire including two officers (plus two other men not from the Regiment), when the farmhouse they were using as a Command Post was hit.
They were initially buried in Palazzuolo sul Senio (there is a memorial to 1st Division here), then Faenza.
There is also a cook (Army Catering Corps) killed by shellfire which landed next to the cookhouse tent also buried in Faenza.
One of our group visited the memorial in Palazzuolo sul Senio, Badia di Susinanah and Faenza War Cemetery in October 2019 his relative was one of the officers killed in the farm house mentioned above.
There was a very nasty diversion in the village of Baffadi where all forward supply and OP transport came into full enemy view.
They had it very accurately registered, a permanent canister smoke screen was put up by day but they harassed it regularly.
Objective: Monte Cece (Ceco) A succession of infantry attacks took place. The KSLI on the 8th followed by the Duke of Wellington Regt
on the 9th October. The CO of the Dukes was killed.
By late afternoon they had two companies on top of the feature with a company of the KSLI and Foresters in support.
The enemy counter attacked heavily but the position was held against ceaseless mortar and artillery concentrations. That night the FOO’s went up with the Loyals to relieve the Dukes.
At 1800 the enemy opened up with everything they had.
1 Div Artillery replied with its DF plan the expected counter attack did not materialise.
The Loyals had many casualties and a FOO from 67th Field was seriously wounded on Oct 10th.
In the town centre near the museum is a largely unknown memorial to the British 1st Division.and 67th Field Regt on Piazza IV Novembre Palazzuolo sul Senio. Photo Courtesy of the Hartridge family. The initial burials took place in a churchyard nearby then transferred to Faenza when the CWGC War Cemetery was opened.
The family visited the memorial and the War Cemetery on 13th October 2019 to place items in remembrance of Lt John Hartridge ACPO 266 Bty 67th Field Regt killed when a shell struck the window sill of the room in which he was sleeping in the village of Badia di Susinana on Friday 13th October 1944.
How to get there, a simple (but rather pale) sketch map by myself showing Arrow Route used by our colleague who went there in 2019. It is best to use a guide who knows the area well as conditions and roads can vary and there are several steep gorges to cross.
Dubman, I would be very interested in the diaries you were after. Did you obtain them and if so do you mind sharing, I am obviously willing to pay.
I've stumbled across this thread by chance. Hugh Campbell was my uncle. Photo of him attached.
The 1st post author has not logged on since a few days afterwards. I will send a PM to them, assuming the email address used when joining is valid; let alone if their interest remains. Thanks for the photo. Are you after anything else?
Dubman seems to be around still but may not be able to help.
Nearest that I can Find:
From a letter by Major DCL Shepherd who commanded 266 Battery 67th Field Regt.
He arranged the burial of his Command Post Assistant Lt John Hartridge on 13th October 1944 in Palazuollo.
Both regiments were part of 1st Infantry Division who had their cemetery there.
From "A History of the 67th Field Regt".
Badia di Susinana
On October 1st the 67th Recce party reached Palazzuolo sul Senio quickly moving on to Badia di Susinana,
the guns followed them on the 3rd October.
The 67th Field Regt and 75th Medium Regt were moved up to provide support.
Read the 3rd Paragraph re 9th Oct
There was no room for any more Artillery until the engineers could build bridges and clear the roads towards Faenza.
After three weeks and many casualties the 67th Field Regt were relieved by the 2nd and 19th Field Regiments.
The advance up the Senio Valley was inevitably slow. There were many bridges on the road passing Mt Ceco,
one in particular took much time to replace.
This was before Casola Valsenio, being 100 metres long and 30 metres above the gorge.
It would be a month before the Indian Division took the town.
On Nov 4th The Regiment withdrew to Borgo San Lorenzo to re-equip for their advance to San Clemente Valley.
Whilst the 90 LAA are not mentioned, they cant have been far away and if they were providing logistics support or assisting in road clearance, could be under shellfire in the area of Badia di Susinana.
1st Div HQ was in Palazzuolo sul Senio.
Burials from here and San Clemente Valley were later concentrated at Faenza CWGC.
You will note that there was little or no enemy air activity at this time.
90 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment RA - The Royal Artillery 1939-45
View attachment 364980
Thank you for getting back to me. I don't need any info presently but look forward to tapping in to the insight and expertise in the forum at some time in the future!
I have one or two photos of Hugh from that period that I could upload should the original poster respond to you (or of interest to anyone else). One of your contributors mentioned that Hugh had served in the HLI pre-war and I have discovered a photograph (c.1934) confirming that.
My hunch is that he was killed whilst serving in one of the bearer units that 90 LAA Regt RA supplied to support the infantry. The German air threat had all but disappeared and the terrain lended itself nicely to infantry needing support for carrying combat supplies forward and casualties back to the dressing stations. The infantry were so thin on the ground by Oct 44 that they were unable to release their own soldiers for portering work.
Thank you for that insight, Frank. At some stage I will definitely follow up on research into Hugh. I remember my late dad used to say 'that Hughie got a shell all to himself'. I have attached a letter from his commanding officer to his mother, advising of his death and circumstances of it.
The 90 LAA is very light on detail (to say it mildly).
However, the Op Instr of 1st November explicitly confirms the personnel of the regiment were not to be used for infantry portering duties and the regiment was to provide AA cover for the Field Regiments of 1 Div. By 9th, though all troops were concentrated at Impruneta in preparation for the regiment being disbanded.
Saying that Impruneta must have been within German artillery range given the sprinkling of casualties sustained by the regiment after 9th October.
90 LAA casualties must have occurred in the Senio Valley in October.
In November 1 Div Moved to San Clemente Monte Grande to relieve the American 88 Division.
90 LAA must have provided fire support or logistics support to 1st Div coming under fire on the bend at Baffadi,
from where there was a back route to Palazzuolo sul Senio for supplies to the infantry.
Edit: See #35 Gary Tankard 11LF Stretcher Bearers
There were only two Artillery Regiments in The Senio Valley.
67th Field and 75th Medium firing at Monte Cece. (Mt Ceco to the Brits in WW2).
75 Medium Regt photo from Italian publication "1st Division in the Apennines" by Romano Rossi
Photo of the field where the gun stood in October 1944
Monte Cece from Badia di Susinana taken from where 266 Bty Command Post stood.
Colour Photos courtesy Hartridge Family taken in October 2019.
@rse...I was reading as 9th November.
That's better. It appears Bombardier Campbell was a member of a party from 90 Lt. A. Regt attached to 11 Lancs Fusiliers for the tasks Frank mentioned.
However, interestingly 11 LF were out of line and only moved up to relieve 1 Loyals on the 11th October.
See #28 A History of the 67th Field Regt Paragraph 3 re: 9th October 1944.
9th October the successful assault was by DWR, with KSLI and Foresters in support.
Confirming that 11 LF were resting.
There appears to have been some confusion regarding changeovers at a critical time in the battle.
Not surprising considering the terrain and communication problems in the mountains.
Radios were damp and transmission erratic at the best of times.
Most importantly, the enemy lost!
This is fascinating. Thank you (and fellow expert contributors) so much for your insight.
1st Infantry Division August 1944 - Jan 1945
The 2nd Infantry Brigade
1st Battalion, Loyal Regiment (North Lancashire)
2nd Battalion, North Staffordshire Regiment
6th Battalion, Gordon Highlanders
3rd Infantry Brigade
1st Battalion, Duke of Wellington's Regiment
2nd Battalion, Sherwood Foresters
1st Battalion, King's Shropshire Light Infantry
66th Infantry Brigade
2nd Battalion, Royal Scots
1st Battalion, Hertfordshire Regiment
11th Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers
Major Shepherd MC BC 266Bty 67 Field Regt.
On evacuating wounded
One of the worst aspects of these mountains is the great difficulty involved in evacuating wounded,
often a lone man and mule carrying over precipitous path ankle deep in mud for perhaps 5 or 6 miles.
Add to that darkness and rain and it’s a grim outlook!
A forward Dressing Station is a remarkable place – such a mixture of skill and improvisation.
Of course only serious cases could be kept there and if a man could be restored he won’t at once be evacuated right back
On shortage of replacements
I am writing this in a dugout up on a mountain where I am doing a turn of night duty officer for the infantry who are old friends of mine.
I sometimes volunteer to do this when they are hard pressed with work.
So I am alone in a tiny dugout where I live along with the CO and am very busy as I have to answer not only my own phone and wireless but also theirs.
As the floor is deep in mud you can imagine we are slithering around with a phone in each hand trying to fire the guns with one and explain on the other to a company commander, above all the noise of firing to his flanking actions!
Its an odd feeling being alone but now one is so used to all the sounds of war they no longer cause terrible fear unless unpleasantly close and personal.
Separate names with a comma.