3rd Battalion 8th Punjab Regiment – Never Forgotten



3rd Battalion 8th Punjab Regiment – Never Forgotten

A new Italy Star Association associate member will be placing ISA ‘In Remembrance’ crosses and poppies at Monte Cassino in May.

Sue Hughes, from Hampshire, is travelling with Frank de Planta’s http://www.cassinobattlefields.co.uk organisation, making her first visit to Monte Cassino, where her late father, Wilfrid Potter, fought in the Fourth Battle (3rd Battalion, 8th Punjab Regiment, part of 19 Indian Infantry Brigade, British Eighth Army).

With a wealth of wartime memorabilia (pictured) but few stories (as ‘he never spoke much about his war years’), Sue is piecing together family history for her sons – and much of it involves her father’s progression through Italy from 1943-45.
Having located places Wilf visited in Naples last summer, matching locations to those in a superb wartime album compiled by Wilt’s father when he mailed photographs home, she’s set for a fascinating journey.

“The regimental War Diaries revealed Dad, aged 22, was on a course at the start of the Fourth Battle, which probably saved his life given the pounding the Rifle Companies took in the first few days,” said Sue.

“I am here, as is the next generation, because my father’s name is not on that war memorial. I planned to save my poppy last November to take to Monte Cassino, but at Frank’s suggestion I decided to acquire 22 additional ones.
“He has the locations of the 22 men from 3rd Battalion 8th Punjabi Regiment buried at Cassino. I shall place a poppy on the grave of every soldier in my father’s Battalion, also at the Cassino Memorial, along with ISA crosses.”

Sue, who is attending the ISA reunion lunch on May 15, a week after her trip, is looking forward to sharing her experiences, photos and meeting members.

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SMH March 2016

8 Comments

  1. Zeba Clarke

    This is a coincidence. I’d be very interested to hear more about this battalion and this regiment, as I believe my grandfather, Ataullah Kalim served in it. If anyone has any further information about the battalion, please could you contact me?
    Many thanks, Zeba Clarke, Isle of Man

    Reply
    1. Robin HollambyRobin Hollamby (Post author)

      Hi Zeba,
      You might like to try filling in and submitting the form on our ‘Lost Trails’ page.
      If we get any information it will be on the web site.
      I hope one of our site visitors can help you.

      Robin

      Reply
  2. Sue Hughes

    Zeba,
    From pictures when my father was definitely with the 3/8 (due to badges), I can tell you a bit more: Lahore 1942 (and OTS Mhow for Dad), Irak, Petra & Syria 1943, Italy 1943-45 (Transjordania pix feature rock-climbing with named troops, but not your grandfather’s name), Italy 1943-45 (regimental WDs reveal more of the 3/8’s route after the 4th Battle of MC), India again 1945-46.
    Best wishes, Sue Hughes

    Reply
    1. Peter Dickinson

      Hello Sue

      I have just recently come across the Italy Star Association website and the post about your father Wilf and the 3/8 Punjab Regiment from 2016. I was in Sicily on holiday in August, just after the 75th anniversary of the invasion by the 8th Army and was curious because my uncle Captain C.C. “Peter” Moon was in the 3/8th. After a little Googling I came across your post. I hope you made it to Monte Cassino OK. I don’t have a lot of information on or material about my uncle’s time in the regiment. I know he joined up in India, where he was working in the pharmaceuticals industry at the start of the war, and subsequently fought with the regiment all the way to Italy. Sadly he was killed in Italy on 8 Feb 1944 during the battles around the Sangro River. I have been to visit his grave at the Sangro River twice in the past and plan to go again next year on the 75th anniversary. I wondered if amongst all the material that you have if you happen to have any information that relates to him as he would have been contemporary with your father.

      Kind regards

      Peter Dickinson

      Reply
  3. Helen Batting

    My Uncle Cpt. Denis Raven Stewart was killed at Sangro River in November 1943. This was his unit too.
    I am travelling to Italy in 2018 to try to locate his grave which was where his comrade buried him and which he described to my grandmother in detail.
    I have a copy of his letter which describes the battle and how my uncle died.
    I would appreciate any information on the history of the 3/8 Punjab and where they fought before he was killed. This will be the first time anyone from our family has been to Italy to try to do this.
    Thank you, in anticipation.

    Reply
    1. Saverio Malatesta

      Hi Helen. This is the grave reference of your uncle: Captain, DENIS RAVEN STEWART, 8th Punjab Regiment, Southern Rhodesia. Grave Ref. XI. B. 18.
      3/8 Punjab Regiment fought in the Sangro offensive (here some localities in Abruzzo region: Tufillo, Perano, Altino, Sant’Angelo, Casino Vezzani). If you know the date of his death maybe I can be more precise.
      I’d like to write a book about 8th Indian division in Abruzzo a day and a copy of your letter could be very useful for my research.

      Saverio Malatesta (Italy)

      Reply
  4. Shivalik Bakshi

    Hello, So wonderful to connect with you all. My grandfather, Om Prakah Bakshi, was with this unit too. He was wounded at some point (shot in the leg) and spent a big chunk of time in a hospital somewhere in Italy. After returning to Lahore and getting married, my grandfather named his firstborn (my uncle) ‘Kamal’ after Sepoy Kamal Ram of 3/8 Punjab. Sepoy Kamal Ram was awarded the Victoria Cross for his valor in one of the battles along River Gari. I hope to head to Cassino some day to see this place in person.
    Shivalik Bakshi (USA)

    Reply
  5. Frank de Planta

    Shivalik.

    You should join the battlefield study that I am running to Monte Cassino on 11-14 May 2019. This will be the 75th Anniversary of the Fourth and final Battle of Monte Cassino. 3/8 Punjabis were one of the assault battalions in the Fourth Battle that started at 2345 on 11 May 44. We will be going down to the River Gari to look at the 3/8 Punjabis operation. It was quite something.

    You can reach me through my website at http://www.cassinobattlefields.co.uk

    Other people who had family members in 3/8 Punjabis will be on the study.

    Regards

    Frank

    Reply

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