This Day In History

  • 1922 The last 5 British Army battalions leave from Dublin after the establishment of the Irish Free State. 2nd Loyals march through the city with bayonets fixed and colours flying and embark at North Wall for Holyhead.
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Chapter 17 – SECOND WORLD WAR 1939-45

Dunkirk. The 30th, 40th, 47th and 4th East Lancashire took part in the 1940 retreat to Dunkirk, where the three Regular battalions distinguished themselves covering the evacuation and a Victoria Cross was earned by Captain Ervine-Andrews of the 30th.

 Singapore, The 81st fought several rearguard actions against the Japanese in Malaya and remained in action on Singapore Island until the capitulation, 1942. 18th Recce Regiment (formerly 5th Loyals) arrived in Singapore in time to share their fate and the survivors of both battalions suffered cruelly in captivity.

 Madagascar. Later in 1942 the 59th and 82nd, in the same brigade, took part in the capture of Madagascar from the Vichy French .

 Tunisia. In 1943 the 47th were with the 1st Army in Tunisia where they fought several desperate battles with the Germans and earned seven battle honours. A posthumous Victoria Cross was awarded to Lieutenant Sandys-Clarke.

 Italy. The 47th went on to Italy, where early in 1944 it played a decisive part in holding the Anzio bridgehead. The battalion then advanced through Rome, Florence, and the Gothic Line to Monte Grande, where the re-formed 81st also saw action.

 Normandy. On D-Day, 6th June 1944, the 40th were one of the two assault battalions of 3rd Division who captured the initial beachhead and earned the battle honour Normandy Landings. They were then involved in fierce fighting on the approaches to Caen. The 13th (Lancashire) Battalion The Parachute Regiment (formerly 2/4 South Lancashires) was the first parachute battalion to drop in Normandy. The 30th and 5th East Lancashires soon arrived in France and all four battalions fought in the breakout from Normandy which led to victory at Falaise.

Holland and Germany 1944-45. Both the 30th and the 40th were heavily involved in the final battles in North West Europe. The 30th particularly distinguished themselves at s’Hertogenbosch, Grimbiemont, and the Reichswald, while the 40th fought in the bitter battles around Overloon, Venraij and the Hochwald. The two battalions ended the war by taking part in the capture of Hamburg and Bremen respectively.

 Burma 1944-45. In 1944 the 59th and 82nd, still in the same brigade, took part in the Arakan campaign. The 82nd were then sent to Assam where they took part in the battle of Kohima. In the advance to Burma the battalions converged on Meiktila, the 59th from the North down the Irrawaddy, while the 82nd, who had marched through the jungle from Imphal, led the crossing of the river at the Nyaungu Bridgehead, fought in that area and then took part in the final advance on Rangoon.

In the course of the Second World War 52 Further battle honours were won. of which 23 are borne on the Colours.

Chapter 16 | Chapter 18