Devonshire Regiment

Discussion in 'British Army Units - Others' started by reddevon, Apr 1, 2014.

  1. reddevon

    reddevon Member

    It Seems to me that there is a bit of confusion as to what Devon Battalions there were and where they were during WW2. The following will Hopefully clear things up (I hope).

    1st Battalion –
    1939 to 1942 India. Mid 1943 moved to Ceylon and joined 80th Indian Brigade, 20th Indian Division. Late 1943 moved to Burma. Mid 1945 returned to India and joined 26th Brigade.

    2nd Battalion –
    Mid 1938 as part of 231 Independent Brigade moved to Malta (may 1939 draft of 122 OR's to 1st Battalion, India). Late 1942 moved to Egypt. Mid 1943 took part in the invasion of Sicily. September 1943 took part in the invasion of Italy. November Battalion arrives back in the UK and joins 50th Infantry Division. June 1944 took part in the invasion of Normandy. September 1944 Belgium. Mid September- December Holland (November Battalion transferred to 7th Armoured Division). December 1944-1945 Germany (early 1946 transferred to 5th Infantry Division)

    4th Battalion TA -
    1939 UK as part of 134 Brigade 45th Division, (expansion of the TA provided the 8th Battalion). 1940 moved to Gibraltar. Mid 1943 returned to UK (Barnard Castle and became demonstration battalion at the School of Infantry) and returned to 45th Division. June 1945 joined 61 Light Division for service in the Far East But only got as far as Italy before going to Austria to join 78th Div and then 48 div.

    5th Battalion TA -
    1939 split into the 5th and the 7th Battalions. 1940 MG Battalion 43 Div. October 1941converted to 86 Anti Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery. June 1944 sailed for Normandy and fought through France, Belgium, Holland and Germany.

    6th Battalion TA -
    1939 UK as part of 134 Brigade, 45th Infantry Division (split to form 9th Battalion). Feburary – December 1943 Ireland. 1944 South East England.

    7th Battalion TA -
    1939 Mg Battalion 45th Division. October 1941converted to87th Anti Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery. 1943 North Africa. May 1944 Battalion disbanded (except for the Battalion Band which continued.

    8th Battalion TA –
    1939 134 Brigade, 45th Infantry Division. 1943 Battalion left 134 Brigade and put into reserve and to provide draft for other Battalions. July 1944 Disbanded.

    9th Battalion TA –
    1939 77th Cornish Brigade, 1940 moved to 134 Brigade, 45th Division to replace 4th Battalion. 1942 disbanded.

    10th (30) Battalion TA –
    1939 80th National Defence Company (stayed in the South West of England). September 1942 moved to Scilly Isles. 1945 returned to mainland, June disbanded.

    11th Battalion TA –
    1940 formed from nucleus of Officers and Or’s from ex depot. September 1942 moved to Ireland. May 1943 returned to UK, September 1943 disbanded.

    12th Battalion TA –
    1939 formed as 50 Battalion. 1940 renamed 12th Battalion as part of 214 Infantry Brigade. 1943 joined 6th Airborne Division. 1944 took part in the invasion of Normandy, September returns to UK.December 1944 moved to Belgiumto fight in the Ardennes campaign. Late Feb 1945 returned to UK. March 1945 took part in the invasion of Germany in Operation Varsity. Mid 1945 returned to UK and warned of possible move to Far East. Late 1945 disbanded.

    All information taken from the Bloody Eleventh by W.J.P.Aggett.

    dbf and Owen like this.
  2. sirjahn

    sirjahn Member

    I have some guys tentatively identified by Service Number of the Devons as wounded PWs in Rennes Military Hospital. Can anyone verify these guys as Devons and which battalion?



    Lennon, J.



    Smith, Walter



    Cork, Hubert Henry



    Cutler, A.



    Jacobs, F. T.
  3. reddevon

    reddevon Member

    Any idea of the date?
  4. sirjahn

    sirjahn Member

    In the hospital on




    13-Jul-44 respectiviely
  5. reddevon

    reddevon Member

    at those dates in Normandy could be one of three Devons battalions. 2nd Battalion landed at gold beach june 6th, 12th "Airborne" battalion landed at Ranville and Sword beach (as there was only enough gliders to transport one company by air) and the 5th Battalion which were converted to 86th Antitank regiment RA.
    But looking at the location and the proximity of the landing beaches, i think i would say that they were from the 2nd battalion as the 12 tended to follow the coast on past Honfleur, (but i may be wrong) whichever Rennes is clearly way in the American zone of France.
  6. sirjahn

    sirjahn Member

    Rennes Hospital always had a mix of different Allied soldiers. I have US, Canadians, British, New Zealand and Netherland soldiers identified. So I don't think the 'sector' had anything to do with the German plans for PWs.
  7. reddevon

    reddevon Member

    I did a quick google search and it stated that there were several members of a Airborne medical unit being held there so its possible they were members of the 12th Battalion. I will dig out my list of members of the 12th and see if any names match.
  8. reddevon

    reddevon Member

    I have had a look at my copy of the nominal role for the 12th Devons who took part in D-day, none of the names you list are mentioned in the list. So my guess would again be 2nd Battalion, but i have no list of names for that Battalion to check
  9. sirjahn

    sirjahn Member

    Thanks for looking them up. In my list of medics and doctors working the hospital most of them are from the 224 Para Field Ambulance Company and none seem to be part of the Devons.
  10. Wilgar

    Wilgar New Member

    Hi looking for some help.

    My uncle was a member of 2nd batt Devonshire Regiment and died on the 11th July 1944. I have located his war grave but I'm trying to piece together the events and circumstances leading up to his death. Does anyone have details of the battles on or before this date that would detail the casualties and cause of death in this battalion.

    Would appreciate any help.
  11. reddevon

    reddevon Member

    Hi Wilgar, welcome to the forum.
    According to W.J.P.Aggett's book the bloody eleventh vol III.
    On the 9th July 1944 231 Brigade started planning its second attempt to capture the town of Hottot, on the 10th C Company on the right and D Company on the left moved up to their start line. At 07.00 hrs the first barrage came down on the Hampshires whilst moving to secure Hammer Wood, they reached their objective within a hour. C & D moved towards their objective and by 09.30am. C had actually got past it , but the fighting by then was at extremely close quarters. During a counter attack by tanks and infantry at about 10.30am. C had to withdraw from the position it had gained after loosing a complete platoon in killed and wounded. Just after 13.00 the Sherwood Rangers who were right up with the infantry knocked out four enemy tanks. Of the Sherwood Rangers, the war diary states @they did Trojan work in support and stayed with us in our re-organisation' The fact that they were able to move at all was due to the R.E. and the Pioneers who spent a field day blowing gaps in hedges for the tanks to get through.
    Contact with the enemy throughout the day was such that at one time the Battalion was attacked by our own Typhoons, a truly terrifying experience and serious damage was done; the R.A.P. received a direct hit killing the Padre, Captain the Revd Thomas who had very recently joined and wounding Captain Lloyd, the M.O. who insisted on remaining at his post.
    Between 16.30 and 17.30. although some companies were still able to press forward, it became obvious that the attack was spent. The Devons had suffered fairly heavy, and the Hampshires very heavy , casualties, so Stannier decided his Brigade would dig in where they were, about 200 yards short of Hottot. Between 500 and 1,000 yards had been gained, six enemy tanks had been destroyed and 75 prisoners taken. Enemy casualties in killed and wounded were known to be high; in the 2nd one Officer and nine OR's had been killed ; four officers and fifty two OR's were wounded.
    On the following day a trickle of enemy deserters started to arrive in the battalion's area, the new position was regularly shelled and mortared and about 16.50, Cosmo Nevill was seriously wounded when an HE shell struck a tree just above the slit trench he was occupying. He was evacuated beyond the R.A.P. to the casualty clearing station and Guy Browne his 2 i/c immediately assumed temporary command. Browne was not unduly supprised by this latest turn of events.
    In any battle Cosmo fought, he was always well forward, he remembers.

    i hope this helps
  12. Roddy1011

    Roddy1011 Senior Member

    Tony -

    Noted your interest in the Devonshire Regiment...

    For a number of years now, I have been researching the WW2 history of Falmouth...As you will well know, at lest two Devonshire Bns served there (9th & 30th) with another (12th) based in Truro prior to converting to 'Air Landing'. For what it is worth, I attach the war diaries of the first two while they were in Falmouth. Do you have anything to add to these - any little snippets always help...


    Attached Files:

  13. Roddy1011

    Roddy1011 Senior Member

    Tony -

    10th/30th Bn also in the S Cornwall you have the same for the 12th in Truro during 1943 ?


    Attached Files:

  14. reddevon

    reddevon Member

    excellent info there, I'm affraid i have nothing much on the early war except where the battalions were stationed.
    4th Battalion were raised at Paington with their HQ in the drill Hall in Bedford Circus in the center of Exeter. Which split to become the 8th Battalion. 4th Commanded by Lt.Col J.D.Rutherford and the 8th commanded by Lt.ColGavin Young, with the 4th in Exeter while the 8th being centered in the towns and villages of East Devon.

    5th Battalion doubled to provide the 7th Battalion, the 5th were mobilized at Plymouth and then went to Exmouth,and became the machine gun battalion of the 43rd Division while the 7th Battalion became the machine gun battalion of the 45th Division.

    6th Battalion commanded by Lt.Col J.N.Oliver CBE, stationed at Plumer Barracks, Plymouth

    8th Battalion were stationed at Yelverton between Plymouth and Okehampton

    All the above units with the exception of the 5th were part of the 45th Infantry Division

    9th Battalion as mentioned in above post

    10th Battalion formed at Devonport moved to Torquay September 1941 under the command of Lt.Col. C.G.Haynes, in the autumn 1942 it moved to Kingsbridge, Falmouth and to the Isles of Scilly in December it was redesignated 30th Battalion.

    11th Battalion formed under the command of Lt.Col.Douglas Elford. from a cadre of 11 officers and 148 men provided by the Exeter depot and initially stationed in billets at Ilfracombe untill moving to Plymouth. September 1942 the Battalion left for Ireland to spend a month at Enniskillen before travelling to Banbridge some sixteen miles south west of Lisburn where it remained untill May 1943 when it returned to Litton Cheney near Bridport in Dorset.

    12th Battalion formed as 50th Battalion and originally known as a holding battalion, stationed at Denbury Barracks at Newton Abbot, 1940 retitled 12th Battalion manning coastal defences in the Shaldon area. it then moved to East Devon to the Seaton and Budleigh Salterton area with Companies encamped at Littleham Camp, Widworthy Camp and being billeted in variuos town throughout East Devon and with the occasional stays at Bypass camp on the outskirts of Exeter. 1943 the Battalion moved to Truro and Launston in Cornwall.

    all info taken from Bloody Eleventh by W.P.J.Aggett

  15. MadMac

    MadMac New Member

    Just stumbled across this forum and was amazed to find something about the Devonshire right at the top!

    My late father (Samuel McGrevey) was in the 8th as of March 1942 (at least, that's what it says on the marriage certificate when he married my Mother then!). I remember him talking about being in Greece and (possibly) Egypt. The usual source (Google) hasn't thrown up a lot on what their activities were, and I'm interested in just what they did.
  16. reddevon

    reddevon Member

    Hi Madcap, welcome to the WW2 forum.
    8th Battalion was a training battalion mainly stationed in the south west, unfortunately never left the UK. So he might have been posted to another unit which was serving abroad.
  17. MadMac

    MadMac New Member

    Hi Tony,

    Thanks for the info. It explains why there isn't a lot of info on the 8th. He evidently moved on after March 1942! The mystery continues.
  18. reddevon

    reddevon Member

    Good luck with your search Madcap, do you have any photos of your late father when he was in the Devons?

  19. MadMac

    MadMac New Member

    Unfortunately not :-(
  20. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    You can solve the mystery by applying for a copy of his service records from the MoD. They cost £30 but will list all of his units and when he was with them amongst many other things. Once you know the units you can look at the units war diaries which will tell you what the unit was doing on a day to day basis and where they were doing it.


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