Grandfather's service records, 1st Bn Border regiment

Discussion in 'Service Records' started by paulbellis, Aug 17, 2019.

  1. paulbellis

    paulbellis Member

    Hi, I've finally got hold of my grandfathers service records. He was in 1st Battalion Border regiment (which became 1st Airborne i think) My query here is that his record shows him in North Africa, but he wasn't awarded the Africa Star? His record doesn't show him in Italy, but he was awarded the Italy Star? I've attached a copy in the hope that some of you very knowledgeable people can clarify things for me. Thank you. Scan 17 Jul 2019 at 11.29 page 2.JPG
  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Medals: campaigns, descriptions and eligibility

    The Africa Star is awarded to personnel who served in North Africa, Malta or Egypt between 10 June 1940 and 12 May 1943.

    The Italy Star is awarded for operational service in Sicily or Italy between 11 July 1943 and 8 May 1945. Those who served in Yugoslavia, Greece, Corsica or Sardinia between certain other specified dates will also qualify.

    North African campaign - Wikipedia
    The North African campaign of the Second World War took place in North Africa from 10 June 1940 to
    13 May 1943

    Although he was in North Afrcia fighting had effectively ceased when he arrived, so North Afrcia for him would basically have been a 'base'

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  3. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

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  4. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    July 1943 1st Battalion, Border Regiment as part of 1st Glider Brigade/1st Airborne Division took part in invasion of Sicily - hence award of Italy Star.
    From the dates given, I suspect he was captured at Arnhem, during Operation Market Garden.
    Border Regiment - Wikipedia

  5. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    As others have said he wasn't awarded the Aftica Star as he arrived after the cut off date - the end of hostilities - was 12th May 1943.

    From memory 1st Border didn't arrive until June - I'd hazard a guess the date on his statement of service form is the day he left UK.

    There are many mistakes on records - made by busy Army Clerks - showing men were in North Africa for dates when they were in Italy.

    I'd recommend the book When Dragons Flew - 1st Border WW2 history. It is full of detail and includes an Armhem Nominal Roll.

    Last edited: Aug 17, 2019
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  6. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    From the Wiki link in my last post:
    the battalion went to North Africa in May 1943 and in July it took part in Operation Ladbroke, part of the Allied invasion of Sicily, in which the battalion suffered heavy casualties, with some gliders being cast off too early due to inexperienced pilots and, as a result, many men were drowned. The battalion, which had gone to Sicily with a strength of 796 officers and men, returned to North Africa with just 200. Due to the heavy casualties, the battalion did not participate in the Allied invasion of Italy and was sent to the United Kingdom.

    If this is correct it would explain why no entry for Italy appears on the Service records but does qualify for the Italy Star.

  7. paulbellis

    paulbellis Member

    Brilliant! Thank you all for clearing that up for me.
    Timuk, My mother remembers him mentioning that they’d all landed in the sea so that must’ve been during Operation Ladbroke that you mention. He was indeed injured and subsequently captured during Operation Market Garden and became a POW. He eventually escaped along with two others.
    Tullybrone, I do have the book ‘When Dragons Flew’ it is indeed a fantastic account of events of the Border Regiment.
  8. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    It was a bit late for further research yesterday evening but this is from my own copy of When Dragons Flew -

    1st Border departed their billets at Barton Stacey and entrained at Andover for Liverpool in 3 special trains overnight 16/17May. By early evening 17th May all were aboard the troopship MV Staffordshire. They departed the Mersey at 09.30am 19th May for the Clyde to pick up the remainder of the convoy. They arrived at Oran, Algeria at 10.30pm 26th May and disembarked and were transported to Fleurus, a staging camp 15 miles east of Oran arriving there in the early hours of 27th May. 1st Airborne Division concentrated at Mascara, 85 miles south east of Oran 8th June 1943.

    After the debacle of the glider borne landings on Sicily 10th July 1943 the surviving 15 officers and 214 OR’s departed Syracuse on the evening 14th July 1943 and arrived in Sousse, Tunisia the following evening. Various other parties of survivors arrived over the following days comprising another 210 OR’s and 21 officers.

    Contrary to the above Wiki entry 1 Border did serve in Italy.

    They departed Bizerta sailing on 2 cruisers 11th September for Taranto with orders to pursue the retreating Germans up the east coast of Italy. They made first contact 19th September. By 25th September 1 Border had reached Cerignola, and Foggia by 27th. The Battalion were split up in early October for internal security duties at various locations as the advance continued.

    1 Border left Taranto 27th November 1943 by sea and arrived in Philippeville, Algeria 21st November They went into a transit camp until departing for the U.K. 27 November 1943 aboard the Duchess of Bedford (a former Canadian Pacific liner) bound for Liverpool. They disembarked 10th December and entrained for Woodhall Spa,Lincolnshire. Most of the Battalion went on 2 weeks leave from 12th December 1943.

    If you want to post his personal details I’ll look for him in the nominal roll. If you want to post his full papers members will be hopefully able to decipher them. As you can see posting a portion doesn’t give the whole picture. In my experience, it’s often the case that the details on the B103 contradicts the updates made on the Statement of Service form you’ve posted.


    Last edited: Aug 18, 2019
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  9. paulbellis

    paulbellis Member

    Thank you for taking the time to type all that Steve, it's very kind of you and helps me a lot to get a clearer understanding of where he was and what he was involved in. Up until a couple of days ago when I received the service papers, the only part I knew for certain about my grandfather was that he was at Arnhem and captured there so I hadn't read through other parts of the book because I didn't know what was relevant. I will definitely post everything that they sent me, would I post it here or on a different thread?
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  10. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Posts moved from WW2 Campaign Stars & Medals info thread
    to create separate dedicated thread
  11. paulbellis

    paulbellis Member

    Thank you for opening this as a new thread. I've uploaded all the service records of my grandfather so hopefully some kind and more experienced souls on here will be able to offer any more information about him and his service. I have his Ex-POW questionnaire kindly posted by horsapassenger, but i'm interested what he did before he was captured.
    Service Record Page 1.JPG Service Record Page 2.JPG Service Record Page 3.JPG Service Record Page 4.JPG Service Record Page 5.JPG Service Record Page 6.JPG
  12. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    Hi Paul,

    No problem re my early morning post. Who knows it may be of assistance to others in the future.

    Thanks for posting the papers. Did you receive any B103 forms from MOD? They are usually the most helpful in tracing an individual’s movements but you have the advantage of the very detailed records of the Battalions activities to fall back on in Stuart Eastwood’s (et al) When Dragons Flew book. Stuart is the Curator of the Regimental Museum at Carlisle Castle. I bought the 2nd revised edition of the book when it was published.

    If you aren’t aware his Army service number indicates enlistment/call up to the Border Regiment in April 1940. He served with 1 Border throughout his service - not all “original” 1 Border remained with them when they converted to airborne troops.

    I don't want to go on at any length - in case you have his B103 - so I will just say that from the reverse of the B102 form I note his was given the usual 3 months post POW leave on repatriation and was then permanently attached to 2/6th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers for a fortnight from 24th August 1945. Perhaps it was to keep him near to home? (My father’s first “home” posting post POW leave was in Surrey - 300 miles from home - he then went to Nottinghamshire for a while and lastly to North Lancashire but still 80 miles from home in West Cumberland). He is then posted to Border Regiment Depot at Carlisle Castle until he commenced the demobilisation process in December 1945.

    There may be more detail in the B103.

    Last edited: Aug 18, 2019
  13. paulbellis

    paulbellis Member

    Hi Steve,
    Thanks for being so helpful. I wasn’t sent a B103 form unfortunately, everything they sent was in the above post. I didn’t realise he had been attached to the Lancashire Fusiliers. His family were living at North Frodingham in East Yorkshire so I’ve no real understanding of why he was posted there.
    I actually visited the Regimental museum at Carlisle earlier this year, just hoping to find some info about my grandfather or even a photograph maybe whilst he was serving or a POW. I spoke to a man at the front desk, this may have been Stuart? He advised me to apply for my grandfather’s service records and so here we are.
  14. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    It’s not the first time MOD haven’t sent B103 forms (there will likely be several of them) to relatives. Whilst it may be the case they have been misplaced over the past 70 odd years other members have been advised to recontact MOD and reported back on the Forum that MOD have turned up the missing forms and apologised profusely for their clerical error.

    You may want to contact MOD again using the details in the covering letter that usually accompanies the service papers and ask for a search for the B103 forms.

    Please let us know how you get on.

    Good Luck



    My late father served 5th (Cumberland) Battalion Border Regiment TA 1935/37 prior to enlisting in Coldstream Guards.


    You may glean some information about his time as POW from Swiss Red Cross on 23rd September via this link -

    Requests for information about people held during Spanish Civil War or the Second World War: Quarterly limit reached

    You’ll need to be quick off the mark and check the site from 8am BST onwards until the online application form appears. Fill it in asap as the window for enquiries usually closes by mid morning. It’s a free service and you get a reply through the post after about 4 months.

    Last edited: Aug 18, 2019
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  15. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    Hi Paul,

    If you aren’t already aware Wikipedia says this about 2/6 LF -

    “From July 1944, the battalion served with the 203rd Infantry Brigade, part of the 77th Holding Division, and acted in a training role for the rest of the war.”

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  16. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    I’ve just had a closer look at your father’s papers.

    You will see on the reverse of his B102 that he was posted (permanently attached) to 4CRU October 1945.

    Civil Resettlement Units - Wikipedia

    You’ll find some more background information in the document in this link - the author was a regular Coldstream Guards Officer during WW1 & WW2 (commanded 2nd CG with BEF 1939/45) and later inherited his father’s Peerage as 6th Lord Skelmersdale.

    If you search google with Civil Resettlement Unit UK 1945 you will turn up further information.

    Last edited: Aug 23, 2019
  17. paulbellis

    paulbellis Member

    Thank you for that Steve, it’s a great read. I never realised they were trying to tackle the issues soldiers had post war that far back. On my granddads service record it does state under a number B108 Disability ~ Anxiety State. Maybe that would now be classed as PTSD?
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  18. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    Hi Paul,

    You’re welcome. As you say PTSD would likely be the modern term.

    Whilst MOD don’t release medical forms when I received my Dad’s papers from Coldstream Guards RHQ his “Repatriated POW Medical Forms” were included.

    After a month at home soldiers were called to a military location near their home for a medical to assess their fitness for a return to active duty. My Dad’s medical was at Carlisle Castle - The Border Regiment Depot.

    In addition to the medical the men were asked about their preferred route to “civvy street” once they were eligible for demobilisation. One of the options was attendance at a Civil Resettlement Unit.

    The B108 is the Regular Army Record of Service Book - red hard back cover - handed to a man on his discharge to the Reserve.

  19. Julesface

    Julesface New Member

    I am also looking into the Border Regiment First Battalion. I know my Grandfather served in Italy/Sicily and have found an entry which could be him on Forces War Recorder:

    J W Haines 2nd Lieutenant WS/Lt Border Regiment Seniority date 1.11.1941 (this may or may not be him as the full names aren't given) but I see theBorder Regiment First Battalion did go to Sicily.

    I have up loaded a photo I have of him with his unit in the hope that someone can identify them. Many thanks
  20. Julesface

    Julesface New Member

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