8th Battalion King's Own Royal Regiment 1940-1943 then 1st Battalion King's Own Royal Regiment 1944-

Discussion in 'British Army Units - Others' started by Caz65, Mar 5, 2015.

  1. Caz65

    Caz65 Member

    Hi, new member Caz65 (Carol in Leeds, West Yorkshire) - already posted this in my introduction today but it was suggested I post in the appropriate forum - fingers crossed that's what I've done! The last thing I want to do is keep posting in the wrong place (I'm not used to forums) and confuse everyone (or more to the point confuse myself!)

    I've had a copy of my dad's army service records for a couple of years now but fairly recently decided to try and 'dig a bit deeper' and hopefully piece together his time during World War II. I thought I would use the questionnaire I spotted to help get things going.

    1. Full Name: Harry Young
    2. Relationship (to researcher): Father
    3. Service number: 4540650
    4. Which branch of Service. Army
    5. What unit. 8th Battalion King's Own Royal Regiment, which then merged in 1944 to become the new 1st Battalion
    6. Which areas served in. France, Malta, Middle East, Italy
    7. Date of birth. 30.3.1915
    8. Date of death. 12.11.82
    9. Was he a POW ? No
    10. Any Gallantry medals. No
    11. Any Campaign Stars/Medals ? 1939-1945 Star, Africa Star, Italy Star, Defence Medal
    12. Do you have his AB64 or equivalent ? Don't know what this means
    13. Approx age on joining. 24
    14. Have you applied for records? Yes
    15. Do you have any photos ? a couple
    16. Have you tried researching elsewhere ? Yes
    17. If you have, state where. Google and RA websites and the KORR Museum website
    18. Main reason for researching the named person ? He was my dad, I'm proud of what he did according to his service records but would love more detailed information (if possible) on what he/the battalion actually did during those war years.

    The kind of things I'd like more information about is as follows:
    Posted 18.4.40 to Dorking then 25.4.40 embarked for BEF - from which port? name of ship?
    Disembarked & entered Theatre of Operations 26.4.40 - France - where in France? what were they doing in France?
    31.5.40 OR 5.6.40 (one record states 31.5.40 and another this date crossed out and replaced with 5.6.40) disembarked UK - he was in the evacuation of Dunkirk but what ship would he have been on and what port in the UK was disembarkation? did they all disembark at Dover only?
    In Pollok (Glasgow) May/June 1941 - presumably training?
    Embarked for Service Overseas, Kelso 11.7.41 - from which port? what ship? would it have been via Gibralta?
    Disembarked Malta 24.7.41 - possibly Valletta? what sort of things were the KORR doing in Malta?
    SOS Malta to ME 4.11.43 - what ship?
    Disembarked Port Said ME 11.11.43 - apart from being in Jerusalem at some stage, no other places mentioned in the 3 or 4 months he was in ME, so anything would be helpful here!
    SOS MEF to CMF 22.3.44 - he remained in Italy until August 1945 - he was wounded (BC) 16.7.44 admitted 19 CCS then transferred to 72 Gen Hosp (which I believe was in Cancello, near Naples) then wounded in action (BC) again 5.10.44 - based on these dates I've been trying to find out what battles these could have been?

    Whew! Sorry if this is all a bit longwinded but I thought I may as well 'set up stall' right at the beginning and take things from there. Again apologies if I should have posted this elsewhere - remember, I am new to all this!

    I fully appreciate that I may not get all the answers, if any at all, but at least I will have tried.
  2. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  3. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Here is a bit of a summary which may clear up a few areas:

    8th (Pioneer) Battalion, The King’s Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster)

    The battalion was raised on February 14th, 1940 at Ripon. The battalion was formed with the help of the 18th Holding Battalion and moved to the No. 1 Infantry Pioneer Training Centre at Sutton Coldfield in March 1940 for two to six weeks of training. After completion of the training it moved to Dorking. It crossed to Le Havre, France on the night of 25th/26th of April 1940.

    GHQ BEF – 26 April 1940 to 31 May 1940
    The battalion was allotted to the II Corps at Hessin Coupigny. When the attack came, the battalion moved to Aygem and then to Elesghem. It later marched to Mons-en-Banoeuil and then retreated behind the canal at St. Omer-La Basee. The battalion left Dunkirk on May 31st, 1940.

    Upon return to the United Kingdom it was allotted to defend a section of the coast at Exmouth, Budleigh, Salteron and Sidmouth around the mouth of the River Axe. It was reformed as an infantry battalion in the United Kingdom on October 24th, 1940. It was relieved of beach defences in South Devon later and half of the battalion moved to the Scilly Isles under the 203rd Infantry Brigade, with the rest of the battalion at Burnham-on-Sea. The battalion was mobilised at Kelso on May 22nd, 1941 and embarked at Glasgow on July 11th, 1941.

    WO Control – 11 July 1941 to 2 August 1941
    The battalion was at sea enroute to Malta on the HMS Manchester, which was torpedoed on July 23rd and had to limp into Malta on August 2nd.

    Southern Infantry Brigade – 2 August 1941 to 12 May 1942
    The battalion served on Malta.

    Western Infantry Brigade – 13 May 1942 to 13 July 1942
    The battalion served on Malta. On July 14th, the brigade was renamed as the 4th (Malta) Infantry Brigade.

    4th (Malta) Infantry Brigade – 14 July 1942 to 7 January 1943
    2nd (Malta) Infantry Brigade – 8 January 1943 to 10 October 1943
    233rd Infantry Brigade – 11 October 1943 to 3 November 1943
    The battalion served on Malta under the brigades.

    25th Indian Infantry Brigade – 19 November 1943 to 30 January 1944
    The battalion joined the 25th Indian Infantry Brigade at Beit Juja Camp near Gaza in Palestine on November 19th, 1943. On January 30th, 1944 it was amalgamated with the 1st Battalion to reconsitute that battalion.
    Tricky Dicky and Owen like this.
  4. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    Excellent, but a minor, minor semantic - I believe that 2nd Malta (Infantry) Brigade had been renamed 232nd Infantry Brigade on 1 April 1943 with whom KORR continued to serve until they transferred to 233rd Infantry Brigade (the previously renamed 3rd Malta (Infantry) Brigade) in October...and thence to the Middle East in November.

    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  5. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member


    You are correct. It was a typo. I have fixed it in my original document.
  6. Caz65

    Caz65 Member

    dryan67 - this is just brilliant! I did wonder why on one of my dad's service sheets under Corps was written '8th Pioneer Pn' and under Unit KORR then 'Pioneer Pn' crossed out and replaced with 8th KORR and '18 HLDG BN' under Unit. The info you've provided about France is just so good, thank you. It does say in the service records that on return to UK 'rejoined unit' and the place given as Paignton, which I know is in Devon. And again, just to know places in Egypt/Palestine where my dad was helps so much in trying to piece together his time during the war. What does the abbreviation 'WO' stand for by the way? A big thank you.
  7. Caz65

    Caz65 Member

    bexley84 - reading through those excerpts from 'The Tiger Triumphs' that you quoted yesterday reminded me that my dad used to talk about the Gurkhas a lot (this was many, many years ago when I was much younger - I'm now 65!) but I never really understood why Gurkhas should be in Italy! I do recall he spoke of them with high regard. So thanks again for providing those excerpts.
  8. Caz65

    Caz65 Member

    Drew5233 (are you Andy?) - oh my goodness, I can't thank you enough for what you uploaded for me! This is absolutely fantastic. It's so much better seeing the names of the places, times of the movements, the ships' names, some of the things the soldiers were actually doing and so on - instead of plain 'UK to France' or 'Overseas to Malta' and the like.

    I'm guessing that most, probably all, of the information I would like to find out must come from these War Diaries? I had no idea what these were until I saw them mentioned on this site. Are all the War Diaries kept at The National Archives then, meaning that if anyone wanted to see them they would have to go there in person?

    Anyway thanks again. Kindest regards. Carol
  9. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Hi Carol - No problem, good to hear they are of interest. There's a few other pages in the file (50ish in total) but they are more along the lines of Operational Orders and Field Returns etc.

    Ref other war diaries, they will be at the National Archives. You can go in person to see them or you can get someone like me to copy them for you for a small fee ie I charge 10p per page to photograph files compared to the National Archives who charge over £1 per page. Send me a message on here if you are interested. You can also find out more info by clicking the red link below.

  10. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Carol, if you want efficiency then asking Andy-Drew to copy is a good idea but if you're able to get there then visiting the National Archive and handling the pages written all those years ago by the battalion adjutant is rather special and helps to get the feel of things.

    Be warned though, it can be addictive and there are some really odd people there on a regular basis. I wish that I lived closer.
    Drew5233 likes this.
  11. Caz65

    Caz65 Member

    Hi Rich, I do know what you mean about going there in person and handling such pages and particularly about 'helping to get the feel of things'. I learnt that when I was at uni (and I'm not talking years ago, I actually went as a mature student, at the age of 59, to do a 3 year degree course on History and proud of the fact that I got my BA Hons degree in 2011 and I can call myself an historian!). Perhaps one day I might get to Kew myself but I'm also a bit of an impatient person and the thought that Andy could help and already knows what he's doing seems a good option. Who knows? Thank you for your comments.
  12. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    WO is short for War Office. As a unit was in transit overseas from the United Kingdom, the War Office exercised control over the unit, at least in a broad sense.
  13. Caz65

    Caz65 Member

    dryan67 thank you. I feel a bit foolish now as I ought to have known this one!
  14. Dorothy McQuillen

    Dorothy McQuillen New Member

    I am a newbie so sorry if I am green but my uncle Frederick Gardiner was originally in the Royal Berkshire 5th Battalion in 1939 (Hackney) and then was transferred into the 8th Battalion of the Kings Own and died 28 May 1940 and is buried in Adinkerke Cemetery. I have sent for his MOD papers but the service history was pretty much blank. Just had "22.4.40 Proceeded Overseas" and "28.5.40 Killed in Action" on it. That was all. Nothing I didnt know already and I was hugely disappointed. The service history attached to the Attestation was even more blank with just two rather odd dates of service from 24.4.1939 to 23.4.1943 well after his death I believe he drove a lorry and was based at GHQ but dont know that for sure. I noticed on the Kings Own Museum website that Adinkerke has about 33 graves of men from the 8th Battalion all dying on the same day - 28.4.1940 and some not being buried till about 5 days later. I know on the 28th the Siege of Lille began where two French units - the IV and the V Corps held off the Germans to enable the BEF to squeeze through the gap in the Maginot line and retreat to Dunkirk and I wondered if the 8th stayed in Lille on that day and fought beside the French? I would dearly love to know how my uncle died. He was the youngest of my mothers brothers and the family never got over losing him. My mother was told he was shot protecting a Belgium women and child against a wall but you never know if that just isnt families stories.
  15. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    You probably need to get hold of the battalion’s war diary.

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