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50 Comments

  1. Nigel Church

    My father served in Italy with the middlesex regiment. He rarely spoke of his experience, but did talk about fighting around the Factory. I would like to know where the Factory is

    Reply
  2. Frank de Planta

    Nigel.

    2/7 Middx Regt were the Machine Gun Battalion for 1 Infantry Division at Anzio. They had a Company of Vickers Machine Guns, a Company of 4.2 inch Mortars and a company of 20mm or 37mm Oerlikon (cannot remember exactly which calibre) anti-aircraft guns.

    The Factory was the soldiers’ word for Aprilia. It was one of five model Fascist towns built by Mussolini. It is just north of Anzio.

    Get in touch with me via http://www.cassinobattlefields.co.uk and I will put you in touch with a whizz on 2/7 Middx Regt.

    Regasrds

    Frank

    Reply
    1. Melanie

      Hi my grandad was in the 2/7th Middlesex battalion and I’m just trying to find out as much as I can. Is there a way you can put me in touch with someone that knows about them?
      Many thanks.

      Reply
      1. Frank De PlantaFrank De Planta

        Melanie.

        2/7 Middx were the Divisional Machine Gun Battalion for 1 Infantry. The Division has a short and painless operation to clear the island of Pantelleria in 1943 and then, in Jan 44 they were sent to Anzio. They stayed at Anzio until Jun 44 when Rome finally fell to the Allies.

        Get in touch with me through my battlefield tour website at enquiries@cassinobattlefields.co.uk and I will happily give you more detail on what 2/7 Middx, with their Vickers Medium Machine Guns and 4.2 inch mortars endured at Anzio. It was a grim place to be – observed as they were from the surrounding hills.

        I take my hat off to anyone who served at Anzio.

        Regards

        Frank

        Reply
  3. Jerry Delaney

    I’m wondering if you could please help me with tracking down my grandads service record.
    He hardly spoke about the war but I do know the following.
    He was with the Middlesex regiment at Monte cassino. He was injured saving an American officers life and was mentioned in dispatches, got a medal of bravery and some oak leaves from the US army. His surname was woods but there was always confusion over his 1st name. We knew him as Fred but he was known as tooty for some reason. Would be so greatful if you could help me out.

    Reply
  4. Frank de Planta

    Jerry.

    If your grandfather served at Cassino, it is likely that he was serving in 1st Battalion Princess Louise’s Kensington Regiment, the Middlesex Regiment. This was the Machine Gun Battalion that supported 78 Infantry Division who were at Cassino for the Third and Fourth Battles.

    To be absolutely sure, and to know what medals he was awarded, you need to go to http://www.gov.uk. On the site, go to the Search box and type in ‘How do I obtain a Service Record.’ Follow the instructions. If you have his Death Certificate that will help but it is not crucial.

    Regards

    Frank

    Reply
  5. Frank de Planta

    For those who are not aware, yesterday was the 76th anniversary of the Allerona Bridge disaster when Allied aircraft mistakenly bombed a train full of Prisoners of War being taken from Camp 54 to Germany.

    The full story is here: https://bombedpowtrain.weebly.com

    Regards

    Frank

    Reply
  6. Sue Hughes

    Thanks for making me aware of this link to the topic Frank, such a mixture of troops from various forces and nations affected.

    Reply
  7. Carol Fordham

    I’m wondering if anyone can help me. I’ve managed to obtain copies of my fathers army records thanks to the information you gave me but I’m finding it difficult to read and understand some of the details. My father was Ernest Henry Newman and he was enlisted in the 67th Field Regiment R.A. From the army records (and my late mother’s account), he initially enlisted as a gunner but was later transferred to Driver Mechanic Class II. I can recall my mother saying that when they found out he could ride a motorcycle he took the role of ‘dispatch rider’.It also mentions in his records that he was a m/cycle orderly and was upgraded from GP.D CII to BIII. Sadly my father died when I was 13 years old and I never had the opportunity to talk to him about his war years and I never recall him speaking of them. I would like to learn more about what his duties would have been and where he was. My brother and I have his war medals 1939-45 STAR, Africa Star with 1st Army Clasp, Italy Star and the Defence Medal. I would be grateful of any information you can share with me.
    Thank you

    Reply
  8. Frank de Planta

    Carol.

    If you get hold of me through enquiries@cassinobattlefields.co.uk I will happily give you what I have on 67 Fd Regt RA.

    67 Fd Regt RA were one of three artillery units that supported 1 Infantry Division who landed in Italy in Dec 43 and stayed until Feb 45 when they were moved to Palestine. Where ever the Division went, so did 67 Fd Regt RA. In the period Dec 43-Feb 45, the Division was at Anzio from Jan-Jun 44 then it pushed up the centre of Italy to Florence. They spent the winter of 1944 freezing in the Apennines to the north east of Florence.

    If your father served at Anzio then I take my hat off to him. It was truly ghastly.

    Regards

    Frank

    Reply
  9. David Hobbs

    I was wondering if anyone else has had a similar problem to my Grandfathers.

    Going through his service record, I can see that he was awarded, though never claimed, the War Medal and the 1939-45 Star. However – he was captured by the Germans at Anzio while serving with 9 Royal Fusiliers 16 Feb 1944. His POW ID card and the IRC Archives show he was captured there and there is a small note in his service records. However his official record only shows him being in the UK, North Africa and then Germany as a POW (where he eventually escaped). They haven’t officially documented him as being in Italy on his records. Is there any reason he wouldn’t have qualified for the medal? As far as I can see he needed to serve at least one day of operational service in Italy 1943-45.

    I am trying to gather together as much evidence as possible to support his claim – is there any other advice you might have – or people who have had the same issue?

    Man

    Reply
    1. David Hobbs

      That’s menat to say Many thanks, David – not just Man! (Hit post too early!)

      Reply
  10. Frank de Planta

    David.

    This sounds like a clerical error by either the Adjutant and Chief Clerk of 9 R FUSILIERS or the Manning & Records Office that looked after the Regiment.

    As long as you have his Service Record showing when he joined the Battalion, and IRC record showing that he was captured at Anzio on the first day of the counter attack known as Op FISCHFANG, then you can show that he was indeed in Italy and entitled to the Italy Star.

    If he was in the Battalion before 9 Sep 43, that would place him at the Salerno landings in Sep 43, the crossing of the Volturno in Oct 43, the assault on Monte Camino in Nov-Dec 43, the crossing of the Garigliano and the seizure of Monte Damiano in Jan 44. A grim time.

    MoD tend to be very good about these things.

    If you ever want to go and see what he endured at either Salerno or Anzio, do get in touch.

    Regards

    Frank
    http://www.cassinobattlefields.co.uk

    Reply
    1. David Hobbs

      Thanks for much for the response Frank! He was posted to 5Bn on 24 Sept 43 and then to 9RF on 17 Oct 43. I’ll try my luck with the MoD and hopefully it will all go without too much trouble!

      Regards, David

      Reply

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