4/13 Frontier Force Rifles (Wildes) - and 8/13 FFR

Discussion in 'British Indian Army' started by Skoyen89, Sep 23, 2021.

  1. Skoyen89

    Skoyen89 Senior Member

    I am trying to establish what 4-13 Frontier Force Regt (Wildes) were involved in during WWII. Mentions of them online are rare although it seems they were in Paiforce and then Italy.

    Wandering through Tregaron in West Wales I came across the grave of Col Hubert Benson Davies MC MBE who served in 2 Monmouthshire Regiment in WWI (awarded MC in 1918) and then 4-13 FFR (Wildes) from 1919 to 1946. These ranges come fro his headstone. I have found him in the WWI War Diaries in France from 1916 to 1918 - he arrived just before the Battle of Beaumont Hamel which was his first action.

    However his MBE was awarded for leadership of 8/13 FFR in the Arakan in June to Sept 1943. 8/13 FFR were part of 36 Indian Inf Bde in 26 Div but again info on them in the books I have and on-line is limited to a few mentions.
     
  2. Steve49

    Steve49 Well-Known Member

    The 4/13th FFR were part of 21st Indian Brigade, 10th Indian Division during the Battle of Gazala (thought the C/O at this time was Lt Col C.E. Morris DSO). It arrived in the area after the battle began and had an airfield/HQ defence role and was later able to withdraw to Mersa Matruh, providing the rearguard to 10th Indian Division. The battalion then suffered heavy losses during the breakout from Mersa Matruh on 29th June.

    I've just a check look through the FFR history, Capt H.B. Davies MC gets a mention for taking part in a ceremony to deposit the battalion colours at Kohat Church on 18th April 1929. He was not with the 4th Btn during WWII, but as Maj Davies he is listed as raising the 8th Btn on 7th August 1940 at Solon. As a Lt Col he lead the Btn on active service at Arakan in April 1943 (with 36th Brigade). He left the Btn on 5th August 1943, "to take up a new appointment". The history notes that "departure was greatly regretted by all ranks", but presumably he was relieved due to the toll active campaigning would have taken on a man of his age.

    Regards,

    Steve
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2021
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  3. Rothy

    Rothy Well-Known Member

    The 4th Battalion later served in Italy and from 18th August 1944 until May 1945, served with the 11th South African Armoured Brigade, 6th S.A. Armoured Division.

    Steve
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2021
  4. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    The 4/13th appear in this thread: 4th Bn, 13th Frontier Force Rifles Jul 1942

    An award to a Sepoy, a pointer only: Recommendation for Award for Ram, Gobinda Rank: Sepoy Service No: 29264 ... | The National Archives and another in Burma: Jmdr. Prakash Singh Chib VC. British Indian Army 4th Btn. 13th Frontier Force Rifles The Wartime Memories Project A VC in Burma: Prakash Singh VC - victoriacross

    In the Syrian campaign, at one battle: Battle of Deir ez-Zor (1941) - Wikipedia

    Google has several hits for being with the South African 6th Armoured Division in Italy, this is only one: From the Landing in Italy to the Gothic Line – Paolo Guidotti Cultural Centre in Castiglione dei Pepoli

    You get different results using "4/13th Frontier Rifles" and "4/13 Frontier Rifles". I have not tied a search with FFR.

    Not sure how Google gives them in Burma and Italy. Anyway, hopes this helps.
     
  5. idler

    idler GeneralList

    And don't forget to try FFRifs and FF Rifs

    FFR strictly being 12th Frontier Force Regiment.

    They are a bloody minefield...
     
  6. Skoyen89

    Skoyen89 Senior Member

    Many thanks for all the input and constructive searching tips!! So it looks like for WWII I am looking for 8/13 Frontier Force Rifles. They have a WD at Kew for 1944 and 1945 but only for April to Oct 1943 which suggests they were out of the front line around this. It is interesting that his headstone has him with 4th Bn from 1919 to 1948 - perhaps that is where his heart was.


    Davies HB Headstone Tregaron Cemetery Reduced 2MB.jpg Davies HB Headstone Tregaron Cemetery Reduced 2MB.jpg
     
  7. Gary Tankard

    Gary Tankard Well-Known Member

    4/13 FFR confirmed assignments.

    03/41 - 07/41 and 09/41 - 07/42 - 21st Indian Infantry Brigade
    02/43 - 06/43 - 10th Indian Infantry Brigade
    07/43 - 01/44 - 20th Indian Infantry Brigade

    As rothy mentions they were attached to 6th South African Division in Italy but seemingly were never an official part of the division - they do not appear on any official OOB returns. However, the 6 SA unti history mentions them numerous times and the award citations for 4/13 FFR come from 11 SA Brigade, 12 SA Brigade and 24 Guards Brigade suggesting they were used wherever needed.
     
  8. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    The 4/13th Frontier Force Rifles bounced around a bit. Here is a list of their assignments during the war:

    HQ Kohat Brigade 3/9/39 - early-3/40
    HQ Eastern Bengal Brigade early-3/40 - 9/40
    HQ 21st Indian Infantry Brigade 9/40 - 4/8/42
    HQ 25th Indian Infantry Brigade 4/8/42 - 26/8/42
    HQ XXV Corps 26/8/42 - 17/2/43
    HQ 20th Indian Infantry Brigade 17/2/43 - 30/5/43
    HQ 10th Indian Infantry Brigade 30/5/43 - 25/1/44
    HQ XXV Corps 25/1/44 - 4/44
    HQ 9th Army 4/44 - end-7/44
    HQ British Troops in Egypt end-7/44 - 29/8/44
    HQ AAI 3/9/44 - 11/9/44
    HQ 11th South African Armoured Brigade 11/9/44 - 6/11/44
    HQ 12th South African Motor Brigade 6/11/44 - 1/12/44
    HQ 24th Guards Infantry Brigade 1/12/44 - 15/12/44
    HQ 11th South African Armoured Brigade 15/12/44 - 25/1/45
    HQ 24th Guards Infantry Brigade 25/1/45 - 18/2/45
    HQ 12th South African Motor Brigade 18/2/45 - 14/4/45
    HQ 13th South African Motor Brigade 14/4/45 - 1/5/45
    HQ 8th Army 1/5/45 - 9/5/45
    HQ 8th Indian Infantry Division 9/5/45 - 7/6/45
    HQ AAI 7/6/45 - 31/8/45

    As noted, they served as an extra battalion with the 11th South African Armoured Division for a fair amount of their service in Italy. Even the listing for 24th Guards Brigade was while this brigade was under the command of the South African Armoured Division. It was not unusual to include additional, unassigned battalions to divisions. This happened most frequently with the 4th, 8th, and 10th Indian Divisions.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2021
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  9. Skoyen89

    Skoyen89 Senior Member

    Davies' MBE Citation
     

    Attached Files:

  10. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    At the beginning of August 1944 long-awaited orders arrived that the Battalion was to proceed to Italy. In the middle of August 1944, it left Haifa and embarked at Port Said, Egypt. It arrived at Taranto on August 29th, 1944.

    On September 3rd, 1944, the Battalion detrained after a three-day trip from Taranto at the small village of Castiglione Fiorentino, seventy miles southwest of Florence. By September 11th, it was concentrated in the Montale area as part of the 11th South African Armoured Brigade. Its first action was the attack on Monte Acuto on September 13th.

    Based on this, I would lean toward the September 11th date as joining the 6th South African Armoured Division rather than the September 13th date, which was their first action.

    The official history states that the 4/13th Frontier Force Rifles joined the 6th South African Armoured Division on August 18th, 1944. This is probably the assignment date since the Battalion was still in Palestine. The September 11th, 1944 date is a more acceptable date for coming under command.
     
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