The Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment), Italy

Discussion in 'Italy' started by Llyndabaugh, Mar 5, 2011.

  1. Llyndabaugh

    Llyndabaugh Junior Member

    Hello. This is a big ask but wondered if anyone could help me. My Dad and his brother were in the 'Buffs' during WWII in Sicily. My Uncle was killed in April 1943 and I am going to visit his grave next week. The flight was a surprise gift from my son so now I am trying to gather information on where my Dad was. I believe he was in B Coy and my Uncle was definitely in C Coy. I know he was in Palermo and Syracuse but where else did they serve? I have some old photographs of his but they seem to have German names on the back of them. There are also photographs of Milan. Were they in Germany or Austira? My Dad made it though the war but died when I was 6 so I know little of him. Hope someone can help. I have the grave details of his brother Pte Raymond Ball - my Dad was Pte Felix Leonard Ball.
  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Hello and welcome to the forum-Do you know what battalion he was in?

  3. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    Think I am right in saying that 1st battlion Buffs served with the 4th Indian Division in early 1941 in the desert - but from what I can gather of their movements - the 5th battalion is more likely to be with whom they served both in North Africa - Sicily - Italy and Austria with the 78th Battleaxe Division - that being so I would advise getting hold of the "Battleaxe Division" book by Ken Ford which will give you a "cooks" tour of where they were operating from the Landings at Algiers in November-'42 until '46/7 in Austria....then you can follow along their path the easier

    Your Uncle was probably killed near Medjez el Bab and possibly buried there !
  4. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Read that you have your uncle's details already, but just posting this for info.
    CWGC :: Casualty Details
    Private RAYMOND JOHN BALL 6298991, 5th Bn., The Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment) who died age 25 on 09 August 1943

    Son of John and Elsie May Ball, of Coalville, Leicestershire; husband of Marian Teresa Ball, of Coalville.

    Remembered with honour CATANIA WAR CEMETERY, SICILY
    Grave/Memorial Reference: III. J. 21.
  5. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Lyndabaugh - CORRECTION
    somebody got the date wrong - as the landings in Sicily were on 10th JUNE '43 - NOT April '43- so the CWGC has it right with his death on August 8th when the 78th Div were around the Catania area...
  6. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Attached Files:

  7. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member


    As others have said, the Ken Ford book is the one to get hold of as it is still in print and order-able. Good accounts of Sicily and the Buffs' actions there.

    Given the limited time that you have before your visit to Sicily, I have taken the liberty of referencing some detail about the Sicily bit from that book and Richard Doherty's book about the 38th Brigade to point some of the way - there are many on this forum who are more qualified to recollect further detail.

    The allied landings commenced on 10th July 1943, but the 36th Brigade, with whom 5th Royal East Kents served, only started disembarking between 25th and 29th July.

    I believe that General Montgomery's intention was that the 78th Division would be held in reserve during the Sicilian campaign but due to the stalling of the British 8th Army's advance to the east of Etna, the 78th were brought into the line to seek to outflank to the west of the mountain.

    After 11th Brigade had joined with the 3rd Canadian Brigade to capture Catenanuova on 29 July, 36th Brigade was brought forward to attack Centuripe on the night of 31 Jul/1 Aug (brought forward by 24 hours).

    5 Buffs led the assault at 20.00 on 31 Jul.

    When you visit this area, you will soon have one of those moments when you cannnot imagine how forward progress could ever have been achieved. Due to determined defensive action over the next 48 hrs, 5 battalions of 36 and 11 Brigade were ultimately thrown into the attack. The final capture of Centuripe was achieved in 4th August with a final assault led by all three battalions of the 78th Division's other Brigade, the 38th.

    The next few days encompassed the crossing of the Simeto and Salso rivers and the capture of Adrano, and then moving onto Bronte. At this time, the Allies were also introduced to the dreaded Nebelwerfer for the first time.

    The Buffs came back into the picture with the advance to Randazzo, nine miles to the north. They started their attack towards Maletto with two companies on the morning of 9th August, but encountered considerable defensive resolve.

    An evening patrol sent out by the Buffs on the 9th "ran into accurate artillery fire and lost 10 men killed and wounded............".

    By 13th Aug, Randazzo was neared but the 78th Division was pinched out of the line by the advancing Americans and had to avoid a considerable amount of shortfall shelling.

    Sufficed to say, the 78th Dvision's actions during these 15 days had considerably helped to unhinge the Etna defensive line.

    My father's memories of these desperately difficult days suggests that this period was one of the more concentrated and bitterest fighting of his (your father's) 30 month tour from Nov 1942 to May 1945. As you know, August in Sicily "benefits" from a fair amount of heat (!) and during that time too, there was a couple of mosquitos out and about. Malaria was rife - and a lasting legacy for many of those men.

    All the very best for your trip and your research and reading about the rest of the Buffs' campaigns. You will surely be greatly moved.

  8. Llyndabaugh

    Llyndabaugh Junior Member

    Wow, I am so grateful to you guys. This will make my trip so much better. I found something he wrote about his time in Sicily and it talks about the above places but you have added some as he wrote on the move and didn't name all of the places. He was in C Coy - his brother in A Coy. I only intended visiting the grave but now I have all of this info I will try and trace some of his footsteps as I am stying for 3 days in Catania - near to where he was. You are all so kind - I am moved by your contribution to what will be such a special trip - on my birthday too. Thank you so much.
  9. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

  10. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  11. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  12. Copysys

    Copysys Junior Member

    Hi I am new to this site and you will have already made your trip, but thought I would give you some information about the Buffs 5th Batalion. My Father was tranfered from the Royal Sussex to the Buffs 5th (as many were) they formed part of the 36th infantry brigade and most of their travels were North Africa and Italy, before ending up in Klagenfurt in Austria, their largest battle was at Monte Cassino and many lost their lifes there.
    What may interest you is that I have a copy of a magazine issued to the 36th infantry brigade and it includes every place they visited and it ties up perfectly with my fathers war service records. The magazine is called Hopps and Haggis and I have desperately tried to get the other two copies (I have issue 3 the victory edition) it looks like it was printed in Austria, but makes very a interesting read. I am also looking for anyone that may have known my father, the only person I remember him mentioning was called Dante, otherwise he spoke much about his time as he was badly injured twice in Italy.
    If you want a copy of the magazine, I may be able to email to you, but being new here, not sure how it works via this site, probably better dirictly.
  13. Jacmell

    Jacmell Junior Member

    He was in the buffs, 5th regiment, but would never speak of the war so his family have no idea where he was stationed. He passed away in 95, his grandchildren are keen to know more but I am clueless as to how to go about this. I live in Sydney now but am traveling to italy in June and would love to know more before I go. I don't have any records or ID numbers unfortunately. Any advice very gratefully received. Jacky.
  14. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    If you were to look back through this thread - you will find mention of two books about the 78th division - of which the 5th Battalion of the Buffs were part of their 36th brigade - you have time to read them both before setting off for Italy

  15. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Hi and welcome from up and over. I waould also consider getting a copy of the regiments history but they ain't cheap:
    knight - Buffs The Royal East Kent Regiment 1919 1948 - AbeBooks

    As a long term project I would also think about obtaing copies of his units war diaries - Its extremely unlikely that you would have time to digest them before your trip in June.

    Do you know when he joined up? I've posted a bit on here about the battalion when they were in France.


    He was in the buffs, 5th regiment, but would never speak of the war so his family have no idea where he was stationed. He passed away in 95, his grandchildren are keen to know more but I am clueless as to how to go about this. I live in Sydney now but am traveling to italy in June and would love to know more before I go. I don't have any records or ID numbers unfortunately. Any advice very gratefully received. Jacky.
  16. jamesgd

    jamesgd New Member

    Hello, I'm new to this website.

    Basically I've been trying to search for someone who fought in the Buffs but I am having difficulty finding out information about him.

    His name is Arthur William Vincent Moore (A W V Moore) and his personnel number is 6298482.

    Does anyone know any information about him or can guide me to a site which can please?

    Many thanks,

  17. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Hello James, His Army number, 6298482, confirms that he started his service with the regiment as it falls within that block allocation.
    The Buffs (East Kent Regiment) 6278001 - 6334000

    Generally speaking, there's not a lot more in the public domain which can be done specifically for him unless he was eg listed for a gallantry award, or was taken POW.

    Do you have any other information: campaign medals, letters, Soldiers pay book, photos?

    The best advise we give on the forum is to apply for copy of service records, for they will supply details necessary for further research. Knowing his battalion will lead to where he served, and which actions he took part in. War diaries for unit will assist you with that.

    MOD hold service records and there are a few details you'll have to sort out before applying. If you want them, it's best to send the forms & fee as soon as possible - normally it takes months for them to be sent out.

    Have a look at this thread.

    Good luck.
    Drew5233 and 4jonboy like this.
  18. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    DANIELE PISELLI likes this.
  19. John McGuiggan

    John McGuiggan New Member

    Two images of my father who served with the Buffs in Italy. One, in the greatcoat is dated January 1944, but I don't know where; the second, in trunks id dated June 1945 and is taken in Trieste 005 (2).jpg lost weekend in Italy - 1944_edited-1.jpg Peter McGuggan, 1944, Naples, Italy.jpg ; the third is undated but was taken in Naples
    Skoyen89 and Drew5233 like this.

Share This Page