1st British Infantry Division Histories - Digital Versions

Discussion in 'Higher Formations' started by dryan67, Jan 11, 2018.

  1. Stuart Avery

    Stuart Avery In my wagon & not a muleteer.

    Events on the Loyals front 17th Feb 1944.
    By midday of the 17th February enemy armour was in the area of the Dead End Rd. German tanks found concealment behind a group of farmhouses & the infantry proceeded to dig in. The Scout Troop of 'A' Squadron 1 Recce Regiment were holding up the German advance throughout the morning until the enemy started to work their way around behind them, at which point the Recce soldiers were forced at 12.30 to withdraw south.... Source: History of the First Division.

    During the afternoon elements of the Infantry Lehr Regiment had established themselves in some houses at western end of the Dead End Road, from which position German tanks attempted to move forward. The 309 Lehr Regiment was a crack demonstration regiment specially rushed down from Doberitz in Northern Germany for the assault. Around 16.00 eleven American tanks came along the Lateral Road from the east and turned right into Via Anziate, where they were engaged in battle from 19.00 until dusk a few hundred yards north of the Flyover. Two German tanks almost reached the Flyover before being stopped. The Loyals were now covering a front some 2,000 yards east of the Flyover up to Stonk Wood, and to their right the remnants of 2, and 3 Battalions and the fresh 1 Battalion of the U.S. 179 Regimental Combat Team. The Map below is taken from the History of the Loyals Regiment.
    The Loyals' `A' Company were on the far left of the front, near the Flyover, B Coy were in the middle and C Coy on the right, based around a cluster of houses just west of Stonk Wood. D Coy were in reserve. The area to the Loyals front was flat, but what concerned them was the dip some 300 yards in front of the Loyals positions along the Lateral Road, a dip some where the Germans could form up unseen.

    Around nightfall, about 20.00 a platoon-strength German patrol, which had crawled into the dip in front of A Company's positions immediately east of the Flyover, attacked the Company's left forward platoon, but was driven off without difficulty. The situation at last light was obscure. Units of 1 U.S. Armoured Division moved up to the area south of the Flyover in readiness to check any further threat by enemy tanks down towards the Flyover. During the night of 17th-18th Feb the Germans kept up a steady bombardment of the Loyals positions. The storm rumbling over the Beachhead that night heralded the storm of fire that was about to rain on the troops manning the Final Beachhead Defence Line.
    Sources: History of the First Division, History of the Loyals Regiment and Anzio: An Unexpected Fury.

    Gary, any chance you can dig out some other photos?:cheers:

    18th February 1944. 2/7 MX .
    All through the night 17th-18th Feb there was heavy shelling on the Loyals positions. At 04.30 enemy aircraft were reported to be over the Lateral Road immediately south of 7 Platoon. A quarter of an hour later 7 Platoon's area was mortared and small arms and automatic fire could be heard to the left of the gun positions. At 05.00 the Loyals positions were attacked by Lehr Regiment 309.
    B Company bore the brunt of the attack. Their was infiltration between A and B Companies with hand-to-hand fighting. By 05.45, by sheer weight of numbers ( all three battalions of the Lehr Regiment had been committed), B Company HQ, situated in a building known as Todhunter Lodge, and the right forward platoon of B Company had been overrun ( History of the Loyals Regiment states left forward platoon, whereas according to the History of the First Division it was right forward platoon).The other two B Coy platoons held their ground, as did A and C Companies. But a Loyals section attack on the Todhunter Lodge failed. At 06.00 small arms fire started to fall on the area of Lt Bartlett's 7 Platoon (`B' Support Group).
    Map 2.jpg
    More to follow.
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  2. Stuart Avery

    Stuart Avery In my wagon & not a muleteer.

    With a after thought & the kind permission of Frank de Planta, i thought i would show the organisation of an British infantry battalion & weapons in Italy 1944.:cool:

    13.jpg 14.jpg
  3. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    That's very helpful, but can anybody say whether the British battalions serving in Indian Army Divisions followed British or Indian War Establishments?

    Also, I can't vouch for infantry battalions, but the anti-tank regiment with 4th Indian Div traded their 17-pdr anti-tank guns for mortars at Cassino as the terrain made their standard weapons redundant. I would presume that this was the case in other such hilly terrain.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2018
  4. Stuart Avery

    Stuart Avery In my wagon & not a muleteer.

    Charley, this gives you a kind of answer to your second question. 1 Division did not have much use for the Anti Tank & Light Aircraft Regiments. The following is from the History of the First Division Florence to Monte Grande.

    Throughout the campaign the Anti Tank & Light Anti Aircraft Regiments had little of their own work to do. The Anti Tank manned a few guns in most sectors, and the Light Anti Aircraft had an engagement at Monte Grande, claiming a hit; but on the whole their story of a precious store men who were sent to ( do all the odd jobs in the Division). Road and bridge building, portering, smoke screens, line laying and (stretcher-bearing) are the most important.. Here it only remains to say the Division would have found it hard to get on without their hard work, cheerfulness and bravery.

    Even more useful were the heavy anti aircraft guns. These were used principally for firing air-burst at hostile mortars. At Florence and at Monte Grande they were very effective, but they proved too cumbersome for moving easily when the battle was more fluid. At Monte Grande the troop which the Divisional Artillery had in support was put under command of Counter Mortar Organization ,
    1 Division, and was used for practically no other purpose than counter-mortar fire..

    From the the following page regarding MT (Motor Transport.)
    The main problem as far as MT was concerned was that a great deal of the battalion's generous supply was unsuitable for the work it had to do, the chief shortage being that of four-wheel-drive vehicles. This was (slightly) improved by the issue to the mortar company of 30-cwt four-wheel-drive tractors, but a grave shortage of four-wheeled-drive vehicles still remained, which made itself very apparent in the fighting North of Florence. Universal carriers were substituted on some occasions for those splendid mules that could fart from time to time. The latter had no harness for carrying of mortars or machine guns.

  5. Stuart Avery

    Stuart Avery In my wagon & not a muleteer.

    Events on the front of 1 Loyals, morning of 18th February
    At 07.30 A coy on the left of B Company were attacked, and the O.C. A Coy was killed. At 08.00 three tanks, which had moved up to support C Company, shelled Todhunter Lodge. See map below. Then C Coy counter-attacked, with tanks in support, and cleared the area around B Company HQ. The enemy withdrew in the front of A Company, too, but leaving behind several snipers. At 09.00 three more tanks, which had joined A Company,moved across to Todhunter Lodge to complete the clearing of the area, with the help of a C Company section.

    At 09.30 an attack started on C Company (1 Loyals). By 11.00 the attack had been halted but the situation of B and C Coys was grave. B Coy's left (or right?) forward platoon position was still in enemy hands. By 11.30 the German artillery fire had slackened.
    Meanwhile 179 U.S. Regimental Combat Team (equivalent to a British regiment), to the right of 1 Loyals, who were also attacked during the morning. Sources: "History of the First Division" and "History of the Loyals Regiment".
    In the early hours of the 18th February, the enemy gained access to the building at the left rear of 7 Platoon MX. This was "Todhunter Lodge", the Loyals' B Company HQ. There was a windpump at map reference 875282.

    Its priceless to hear, or read accounts of any Soldier. Private Gerry Cowen. Not sure when it was taken. (I'm thinking 7 Platoon.)
    We didn't use to drive up to the gun positions at Carne Farm, cos it would have given the position away. All the ammo etc had to be lugged up by hand. I remember the carriers for our `B` Company (sic) were parked in some near by woods.
    I recall another time at Carne Farm some Yanks came around our position and they saw a cow standing a short distance away. It was just there as they gave it a burst with their machine gun,then they went over to finish it off with a rifle or a pistol shot behind the ear at point blank range. They took most of it away with them, but they let us have some. We had steaks that night.
    A couple of days or so before we were captured, at Carne Farm, i was in a O.P. position by the side of the guns, having something to eat.It was some corned beef or bully beef and a hard biscuit. It was daytime. Suddenly a shell landed near me. I didn't hear the explosion. It took skin of my face and my left eye felt the blast,too. The next shell buried me in the trench up to my neck. There i was, with just my head sticking out of the ground, a corned beef sandwich in one hand and a tack biscuit in the other. I couldn't move.

    Fortunately, my platoon mates came along and dug me out i had no other injury. The blast from the explosion damaged the back of my left eye, but i couldn't be taken for treatment cos we were under attack. We could not move from our position cos there was a box barrage, not only from our own artillery, but from Jerry's. My eye was painful, but i suppose in the heat of battle, you put it out of your mind & it didn't seem too bad. I lost vision in that eye because i could see black and white, no colour. I never have since.

    I remember another time at Carne Farm when i needed to go to the toilet for (a number two). Now in the middle of the courtyard of the Farm buildings there was a wooden cubicle which we used as a toilet. I was gonna go straight away, but for some reason, some impulse I can't explain, I thought "No, I'll hang on and do it later." Good job i did! A couple of minutes later the Germans started shelling. And the toilet took a direct hit and blew up! I'd have been sitting in it if I hadn't decided to wait.. Funny, the things you remember.
    Map 3.jpg
    Events on the Loyals front, afternoon and evening of 18th February.
    At 14.30 there was a counter-attack by D Company, with tanks in support, covered by a smoke screen laid by the mortar platoon, and this proved successful. The Loyals retook the left (or right?) forward platoon position that B company had lost. By 15.00, the whole of B company's area had been cleared of the enemy. (After 14 hours of fierce fighting), not one yard of ground had been lost by the Loyals. D Coy remained in the area that had been B Coy's left (or right?) side position.
    So now all four companies of the 1 Loyals were in the line, & a Company of the North Staffs took up the reserve position that D Company 1 Loyals had been in before. Soon after 17.00, following heavy shelling on the Loyals positions, another developed on the right flank of the Loyals (`C' Company) and the left flank of 179 U.S. RCT. This was the point in the line where MX 8 Platoon were sited & Lt Friar's platoon found themselves in the thick of the battle, worse than anything they had known to date. (See the map below). But the line held. The sector was reported quiet at 21.50.
    Map 4.jpg
    In the meantime A Coy had also been under attack. At 18.30, at least a battalion of Germans attacked A Company. The enemy succeeded in penetrating the company's wire, overran the right forward platoon, which was (only twelve strong), and crossed the Lateral Road. The platoon which had been overrun, however, continued firing. The enemy thrust was halted by the Company HQ and the left forward platoon, but hand-to-hand fighting was reported to be taking place in the darkness, at 19.40 hours, over the Flyover bridge.

    To safeguard the bridge at all costs, B Company of the Gordons was moved to this area, a company of the Irish Guards taking its place. By 22.30 hours, however, the enemy seemed mostly to have withdrawn, and A Company's positions were intact. The tanks and the Gordons then returned whence they came.
    The Loyals were now disposed with A Coy, much weakened (only fifty men!) after a day of almost ceaseless fighting, on the left, covering the vital Flyover; D Coy, with the reamaining elements of B Coy under command, in the centre; and C Company on the right, in contact with 179 U.S. RCT on the right. C Company numbered only sixty men at this stage. During the afternoon No 2 Company of 2 North Staffs had been moved up to replace D Coy (Loyals) in battalion reserve.

    During the attacks on 1 Loyals of 18th Feb, despite the fact of the fighting had been at close quarters, only 23 prisoners were taken, indicative of the savage nature of the struggle. Most of the enemy who remained within 1 Loyals lines were either dead or wounded.
    Sources: "History of the First Division Anzio Campaign" & "History of the Loyals Regiment".

    Before I forget my manners, I must thank forum member Tom OBrien. He has done a top job on copying the War diaries of HQ 168 Brigade for the months of Jan-March 44. He also did the 10 Berks for the same period. Thank-you Tom, its most appreciated. Edit... a correction .. Feb-March 44.


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    Last edited: May 21, 2018
  6. Stuart Avery

    Stuart Avery In my wagon & not a muleteer.

    Conversation with John Wormsley M.M. 29th Sept 2006.
    Cpl John Wormsley of 1 Loyals was (19) when he landed on Anzio. During the German attacks in February he was with `A' Company, in Lieutenant Winn's platoon. We were dug in actually on Wigan Street ( Loyals' nickname for the Lateral Road), more or less in a line along the road. I don't remember any troops dug in North of Wigan Street. That was no-mans land, so to speak. Our Company Commander was killed at one point on Anzio. He was on the Flyover. I wasn't with him at the time, though, I was on Wigan Street. There weren't many houses on Wigan St. But I remember there were woods behind us.

    At this moment of crisis 2 Brigade took some desperate measures. About midnight on the 18th Feb Brigade HQ ordered ( all `B' Echelon personnel to be moved up to a position behind 2 North Staffs, as a reserve. Storemen, cooks and drivers stood to arms, and even the Docks Operating Companies left their derricks to take up rifles and Brens.) The Loyals `B' Echelon sent up three officers and 76 men, mostly cooks and drivers, keeping back a small party to deal with administrative matters. `A' Company only had two Bren guns in working order and so four light machine guns were sent to them during the night. They were also reinforced by a platoon of `B' Coy.

    Extract from War diaries of `B' Support Group, 2/7 Middlesex. (Lt. W.F. Bartlett below.. Not long left on the beachhead.) Photo below.
    18th Feb 44- Summary. Several enemy attacks were beaten off in the area north of the Flyover 8629,8729, during the day. These attacks took place on the direct front of 7 Platoon and Lt. W.F. Bartlett, O.C. 7 Platoon, at times directed the fire not only of his own platoon but also No 1 Company mortars and artillery. In the course of the fighting Lt. Bartlett was wounded but was not evacuated. The info passed back by Bartlett over the wireless was of great value to the Group, & Brigade Commander. During the morning the Group Commander was able to bring indirect fire from 8 Platoon down in-front of & in support of 7 Platoon.
    rsz_photo_upon_commission (1).jpg

    More to follow.
    Last edited: May 21, 2018
  7. Stuart Avery

    Stuart Avery In my wagon & not a muleteer.

    General Walter Fries of the German Armoured Command, in his account in 1947 of the Commitment of the 29 Panzer Grenadier Division for the attacks in Feb 44. Well-fortified and stubbornly-held enemy strong-points were located near the group of houses,
    Cle. l'Ovile, and in front of the left (east) flank, approximately 1 km north of Highway 82 (The Lateral Road).

    Operations Report of the German Army at Anzio.
    18th Feb 44. In the area of the 76 Panzer Corps both the 26 Panzer Division & the 29 Panzer Grenadier Division were committed for the first time. After 04.00 they fought with 3 Panzer Grenadier Division in the attack towards the south. A line north of the strada
    82 (at 875284) has been reached by the 29 Panzer Grenadier Division. Strong enemy resistance was overcome at the village of
    Cle. l'Ovile, 1km east of Cantoniera (864282) and at the foot hills 73 and 69, 1,200 metres northeast of Cle. l'Ovile. A few years ago, i came across the website below & give a heads up to the author. Its something that I've not viewed since.
    Source: Combined Arms Research Library website http:/ / cgsc.army.mil/carl .I'm not sure how to cut & paste the link? Help on that one would be appreciated.

    This seems to suggest that there were more houses along the Lateral Road ( Strada 82) than Loyals and Middlesex soldiers remembered (certainly enough to constitute what the Germans considered a village - "Cle.l' Ovile") (Author's note: "Cle. l'Ovile" may be another name for "Carne Farm". I suspect "Cle." is an abbreviation of "Casale", which can mean country house, hamlet or group of houses.)

    Memory of Major Robotham, 2nd December 1995.
    6207015 Colour Sgt A.E.R. Fairhead was one of my Sergeants at Anzio. The weather conditions were not good. Everyone got very wet. Fairhead carried out his duties in an exemplary manner, taking the ammo, rations & water round to the positions we were holding in the beachhead. This meant that whilst most of us could remain under whatever cover from the rain might be available,
    Sgt Fairhed was out in all weathers every night. He had the care & foresight to take a different driver each night, so that they could all get some rest: but he attended to his duties most conscientiously himself. In fact, if he found, upon his return from delivering all supplies mentioned, that a rum ration had been authorised for the night, he would go round the positions again with it, despite the fact that his first visit might have alerted the enemy, & he now attracted more hostile fire.

    I have had this book for a few years. If my memory serves me correct, it was first printed in grey-scale or black & white. It did take some asking or blagging to get it printed in colour.. I've bought four copies over the years & given them to a few people. I'm not complaining at all. Its been ace to see the book grow in content & colour. The map & photo speak for themselves. More on Tug Wilson..



    More to follow.
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  8. Gary Tankard

    Gary Tankard Well-Known Member

    Cle. l'Ovile is shown on this US 1:100,000 map (GSGS4164) but oddly not the 1:50,000 Sheet 158 UK map.

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  9. Stuart Avery

    Stuart Avery In my wagon & not a muleteer.

    Gary, any chance you can provide a link has to were you got that map from? I've not seen that one before (nice to add it to the collection!)

    I should have had a look at the maps that I've got. It did not cross my mind to post one. I'm sure you have seen the one below? Italian Army 1931 & reprinted in 36 ? The Legend is in Italian.
    Thanks for posting. Click on map to enlarge.

    Last edited: May 31, 2018
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  10. Stuart Avery

    Stuart Avery In my wagon & not a muleteer.

    Events on the Loyals front in the early hours of 19th Feb
    At 04.00 the Loyals reported heavy shelling on 'A' Compeny's positions. They were also dive-bombed by German planes. Twenty minutes later 'D' Company were under fire from enemy tanks, & the attack rapidly spread along the whole battalion front. The 179th U.S. RCT to the Loyals ' right were also under attack, but the main thrust was made by two German battalions of the enemy's reserve 15th Panzer Grenadier Regiment (29th Panzer Grenadier Division), supported by three tanks, against 1 Loyals' C Company
    positions. At 05.00 'C' Company HQ (Captain R.H. Young) and two platoons were reported overrun, together with a machine gun platoon of 2/7 Middlesex (This was 7 Platoon, not stated on the pages taken from Loyal's History. 'C' Company were on the right of the battalion sector, so closer to 8 Platoon than 7 Platoon) and only one officer and twelve men ( of 'C' Company HQ 1 Loyals) managed to get back to Battalion HQ. C Company's right forward platoon (15 Platoon, under Lt E. W. Black) though isolated, maintained there position. Lt Black himself was captured when he went to report to Company HQ, not knowing that the position had already been taken by the enemy. 15 Platoon were in fact cut off for some 28 hours, only being contacted by some tanks at 08.00 on the morning of the 20th Feb. The remaining platoon, however, stood firm, & the enemy was subjected to intense fire from the Loyal's mortars & automatic weapons.

    The attack on C Coy also extended to 'B' Coy, part of whose now reduced area (the wind-pump) was overrun. The Germans crossed the Lateral Road & it was believed enemy tanks were in the company positions. Shortly after 05.00 the fighting spread westwards to D Company's right platoon, which was isolated but continued firing. D Company's right platoon, which was isolated but continued firing. Later 'D' Company left was also heavily engaged.

    At `B` Support Group HQ they were dismayed to hear that Sgt. Batchelor of 7 Platoon and two of his wireless operators had just made contact with 9 Platoon & given the disconcerting news of the Platoon's fate. "About 12 Germans appeared out of the darkness & broke into our Platoon HQ," Batchelor said. "We heard Lt Bartlett forward at the gun positions shout out the enemy were getting into our positions, and that was the last we heard of him." Batchelor explained that the enemy had made for the wireless set & broken up the batteries and aerial.(These three 7 Platoon men had somehow managed to lay low then escape when Allied artillery forced the enemy to take cover in some buildings. All contact had now been lost with 7 Platoon.)

    When you have (one or two pages) worth of memories from 7 & 8 Platoon soldiers of 2/7 Middlesex its hard to type them all. I would be here all year in trying to show them all. One finger at a time & all that.

    Private Norman Bartram's (7 Platoon) memory, as told to his son, Keith. Not sure which year.
    Me & another soldier hid when the Germans attacked. I remember as we lay low, we could hear the Germans talking above us, and the other blokes from my platoon being taken prisoner. Luckily, the Germans didn't see us two and we found our way back to our lines, calling out as we approached "Don't shoot, we're not Germans!" Afterwards, I was one of the men sent back to get the body of Bartlett. I remember he had two kids. He was a good officer. Very sad.

    Private Arthur "Titch" Casbolt's (7 Platoon). Memory not known.
    I remember seeing our Lieutenant, Bartlett, on top of a haystack. He was a short bloke.

    Sgt Ron "Micky " Walker (8 Platoon)
    I actually saw Bartlett at one point in the attack. He was on top of a haystack, or maybe a cowshed. I said "Get off there, you'll get blown off!" He had binoculars and was radioing back the map references to our artillery.

    Private Harry Dopson's (9 Platoon ) memory, Feb 1987.
    I think the 7 Platoon officer (Lt. Bartlett), plenty of Navy Rum inside him, tried to fight the German Army by himself. Read into that has you will. (He was told to surrender & refused so they shot him.)

    The all off the above were almost certainly exaggerated rumours that tend to spread when passed on so many times. Batchelor's son recalls his father saying it was a sniper's bullet. However, in the diary of Lt J. Hill (9 Platoon O.C.) he wrote " it was the Yankee line which fell & allowed the Boche to overrun Bill Bartlett's 7 Platoon. Poor Bill, they found him on the spot much cut up by shrapnel. They only found Blackett, who was held in the farm by the Germans, who being cut off, gave themselves up readily to our Company Commander." I have yet to see the diaries for the all 1944 of Lt J. Hill ( 9 Platoon O.C.). He was my Grandfather's Platoon O.C. for the rest of 44?Edit, in parts.

    rsz_img_0037 (1).jpg
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    Last edited: Sep 27, 2022
  11. Stuart Avery

    Stuart Avery In my wagon & not a muleteer.

    Extracts from 1 Loyals War Diaries of 19th Feb. I would have shown them, but the handwriting is shocking.
    04.30 - C Company report machine gun fire from tanks and are being attacked.
    04.50 - C Company HQ overrun. Out of communication with them so do not know how many of Coy on ground.
    04.55 - (Enemy behind C Coy. HQ overrun.)
    04.57 - To D Coy- C Coy, it appears, has gone-be prepared.
    05.00 - (To Brigade) We need tanks urgently. Can you bring them up?
    05.05 - Regiment of Artillery & Mediums fire 860290.
    05.10 - D Coy reports attack on right.(Lost touch with right platoon but still firing.)
    05.15 - Staffs Coy report heavy shelling and are told to expect attack when shelling stops.
    05.15 - D Coy see two tanks around C Coy. Artillery engages.
    05.20 - No sign of our tanks.
    05.22 - A Coy - Situation quiet now. Seems to be switching to D Coy area.
    05.25 - (from D Coy) Left platoon being attacked, out of touch with right platoon. Artillery fire D.F.64 called down. D.F. Defensive Fire. What do's the No 64 mean?
    05.40 - Left platoon still in danger. Artillery fires D.F.64.
    06.00 - D Coy-seems quieter now. Sending patrol to contact right platoon. In touch with left. Trying to close gap with C Coy, with B Coy's assistance. Lt. Robertson goes to liaise with Americans on right reference support of their tanks.

    Just before i carry on, i should have put the memory of Private Gerry Cowen (7 Platoon) in my last post. Taken on the 24th April 2008. Looks has if hes somewhat cheesed off, & may have a point if you ask me?

    I heard from someone after the war that Bartlett was captured, but he bit a German's hand and they riddled him with bullets! I heard that Sgt Batchelor & the radio operator got a message through from Robotham, the Company C.O., saying "Every man for himself", but they never passed the message on! I still feel narked by that. I never went to the reunions on principle. I mean, we were taken prisoner cos that message wasn't passed on to us. And you know, Batchelor got the M.M. and all we got was captured! Page 437, APPENDIX VI, The Middlesex Regiment 1919-1952 by KEMP. 6209862 Sgt. D.A. Batchelor.

    Bartlett's platoon was adjacent to Carne Farm, not far distant from the main Rome-Anzio road which was the axis of the enemy's advance, & was on the right of the celebrated Flyover bridge, the most shelled point on the beachhead. Dug into this bridge were O.P.s of many units, both Infantry & Artillery, & rarely a minute went by without a shell landing in the immediate vicinity of the bridge.

    (It was said by the Intelligence that the enemy's final attack down the axis of the Anzio road consisted of FIVE divisions, including a Panzer division..) I'm not sure if that is correct, it may have been more divisions? Lt Bartlett, with his 7 Platoon, was a few hundred yards from the main axis of the advance, and the tremendous toll taken by these four vickers guns was beyond description. Time & again the German Infantry, in concentrated & unusual formations ran straight into the enfiladed fire, & after many attempts to locate where the guns were being controlled from, the enemy put in attack after attack on Bartlett's position. He was controlling the fire from the top of a haystack & throughout the battle gave a spirited running commentary.

    On several occasions he was given control of the (divisional artillery & fired this with great effect, even though he was wounded at the time.) His commentary on the battle, besides being heard by his Group commander, was also followed closely by the Brigade commander. There is little doubt that the efforts of this officer, so unfortunately killed, did much to prevent the Germans succeeding in their efforts to push the beachhead into the sea.It was unfortunate that no award higher than a (mention in despatches could be given for his gallantry.) Source: op.cit. by P.K. Kemp. A photo below that is not in the Regimental History of the Middlessex.


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    Last edited: Jul 1, 2018
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  12. Phillip Burgess

    Phillip Burgess New Member

    Hi David,
    I have just found your post above and joined this site -
    I would really appreciate a link to 'History of the First Division: Anzio Campaign: January - June 1944'

    I hope that this will help my research into my fathers war campaign, (during his lifetime he would not talk about any of his war time experiences and I would now wish to find out more) - I am totally new to this kind of research, so any help would be appreciated.

    His name was - Mr Frank Burgess, service no 4691666.
    his regiment was 9th Battalion K.O.Y.L.I (Yorkshire Dragoons) as part of the 1st armoured Division.

    He took part in the Anzio Beachhead campaign and taken Prisoner by the Germans on (14th March 1944, I think?) and subsequently transferred to Stalag 7a at Moosburg, in Germany, His POW No was 130435.
    Any guidance or help on how to find details of the movement to Germany and if held at any other POW camps would help greatly

    a copy of the above link and any other guidance of how to go about this research would be appreciated .

    Kindest regards and thanks
    Phill Burgess
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  13. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member


    To be absolutely clear, 18 Infantry Brigade were temporarily detached from 1 Armoured Division and attached to 1 Infantry Division in the Anzio beachhead. Your father would have been captured shortly after the Brigade’s arrival in the beachhead.


  14. Gary Tankard

    Gary Tankard Well-Known Member

    9 KOYLI WD and report for the (seemingly disastrous) attack of 13th/14th March 1944.

    9_KOYLI_Feb_44_0002.jpg 9_KOYLI_Feb_44_0003.jpg 9_KOYLI_Feb_44_0005.jpg
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2020
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  15. Gary Tankard

    Gary Tankard Well-Known Member

    9 KOYLI Operational Order for the above attack.

    9_KOYLI_Feb_44_0042.jpg 9_KOYLI_Feb_44_0043.jpg 9_KOYLI_Feb_44_0044.jpg
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  16. Gary Tankard

    Gary Tankard Well-Known Member

    Map for the above - if you want a full size copy message me with your email.

    Campo di Carne_158_IV_SE.jpg
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  17. Phillip Burgess

    Phillip Burgess New Member

    I am greatly indebted in particular to yourself and also to others for posting such valuable information about 9 KOYLI involvement at ANZIO, I have now much reading and sorting out to do, I came across this site quite unexpected and between you, and your colleagues I now have so much more detailed info than i ever hoped for.
    This is the start of a new journey for me, THANKS

    Gratefully yours

    Thanks for the offer of a copy of the full size map, at this point in time that is not necessary, but the offer greatly appreciated
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  18. Tim Lee

    Tim Lee Member

    This is fascinating, I believe my Father Ron Lee (2/6 mx) was injured on 16th so these would be the positions he would have occupied at the time ?

    Sorry should say 2/7 mx . Dispatch rider at the time Injured by shell fire .
  19. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member


    Stu Avery is the man for all things 2/7 Middx.

    If you would like to see what happened to your father, I am guiding a group to Anzio on 14-17 May 23.


  20. Tim Lee

    Tim Lee Member

    Thanks Frank … it’s become a voyage of discovery - I finally resolved to research this after visiting Anzio (inc ‘smelly farm’ this summer with guide Danila Bracaglia, I hadn’t realised how intense the action had been ? If We return to Italy, perhaps Florence I would definitely look to be heading into the hills where dad was fighting later in the campaign … hope your tour goes well, the guys at the Aprilia Museum were incredibly helpful and it’s a tribute to the men who gave their lives that so many relatives and others are still eager to return to Anzio ? cheers Tim

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