10th Battalion Rifle Brigade Italy 1943-44

Discussion in 'Italy' started by 10Battalion, Mar 5, 2014.

  1. 10Battalion

    10Battalion Member

    Hi All,

    Hoping someone might be able to help. I have started researching my Grandfathers steps during WW2. One area I have very little info on is the Italian campaign and his battalion the 10th rifle brigade.

    My Grandfather said very little, like most soldiers, of his time during the war. The details I know are that he served in the 10th battalion, D Company, Rifle Brigade. He was taken POW during a battle in the hills around Perugia 22nd June 1944. This may or may not have been the actual date of capture, this information was on a telegram sent to my Grandmother. My Grandfather then spent the rest of the war in Stalag VIIa Moosburg.

    I was wondering if anyone had access to any war diaries or regimental histories of the 10th rifle brigade. I don't know if it is possible, but i was hoping to drill down to the company level in my research as well. If anyone can provide any information I would be eternally greatful.

    Thank you in advance.

  2. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member


    As you will know, by the end of June 1944, 10 Rifle Brigade were part of the newly formed 61 Infantry Brigade in 6th Armoured.

    Two possibles at Kew...and of course Ken Ford's 6th Armoured book to give an overview of the campaign.

    Reference: WO 361/879 Description: [SIZE=1em]Italy: 10th Battalion, Rifle Brigade; missing personnel [/SIZE][SIZE=1em]Date: [/SIZE]1944 Jun 21 - 1945 Jan 23

    Reference: WO 170/1470 Description: [SIZE=1em]10 Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own) [/SIZE][SIZE=1em]Date: [/SIZE]1944 Jan.- Dec.

  3. 10Battalion

    10Battalion Member

    Wow, thank you Richard.

    Amazingly fast response and a great starting point. Will have to venture on ebay and amazon to find a copy of Ford's book.

    I live in Australia, so acces to the archives is troublesome. Will have to see if I can get a relative to pay a visit and get some details.

    Again thank you for the excellent information and help, much appreciated.

  4. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

  5. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Hi Scott

    Just drop me a PM if you need a hand ref war diaries and files from the National Archives.

    Thanks Bexley :)

  6. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Here is a very brief summary of the service of the 10th Battalion, The Rifle Brigade:

    2nd Battalion, The Tower Hamlet Rifles, The Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort’s Own)

    3rd London Infantry Brigade – 3 September 1939 to 15 October 1940
    The battalion was raised from the Tower Hamlet Rifles on March 31st, 1939 (FOC July 3rd, 1939) at Bow. It went to summer camp at Beaulieu Heath in Hampshire. The battalion was called up on September 1st, 1939 and reported for duty the following day. The battalion then marched out of the Drill Hall on Tredegar Road, Bow and moved into Cooper’s Company School, about 400 yards away. After two months, the battalion moved to Swindon and was billeted in the Co-op Hall. It guarded the Dry Docks during this period and spent most of 1940 around the Dock-land area. After the battalion went under canvas on Hempstead Heath.

    26th Armoured Brigade – 16 October 1940 to 29 May 1944
    It was converted to a motor battalion on joining the brigade. The battalion was retitled as the 10th (Tower Hamlet Rifles) Battalion on January 15th, 1941. It left the United Kingdom on November 8th, 1942 and arrived in North Africa on November 22nd, where it remained until March 12th, 1944. It arrived in Italy on March 14th and served with the brigade in Italy.

    61st Infantry Brigade – 30 May 1944 to 20 March 1945
    It joined the newly formed brigade in Italy on May 30th. It left when the brigade was converted to the 61st Lorried Infantry Brigade on March 20th, 1945. It was placed into suspended animation in March 1945 and the personnel went to 1st, 2nd and 7th Battalions, The Rifle Brigade.
  7. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Here is the chapter covering Rifle Brigade operations around Perugia from Hastings regimental history:

    Attached Files:

  8. 10Battalion

    10Battalion Member

    Thankyou Dryan, fantastic. I will have a look at these details at work today. I find it interesting how they changed and shuffled the battalions throughout the war. I wonder if that will be a bonus or not when conducting the research.

    Has anyone requested British soldier details from the MOD official archives? Just wondering what level of detail they go into on service records.
  9. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce Patron

    Lots of members have :)

    If one gets the FULL service records from MOD at Glasgow (that is if they can be bothered to send them all out first time :wink: as they can sometimes be quite inefficient), they are quite detailed. Take a look at my Gallery at my dad's army records-the were well worth the 30 quid I spent.


  10. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    If you do get the records, many members can help you interpret them since they can be quite cryptic regarding abbreviations.
  11. 10Battalion

    10Battalion Member

    Dryan those scans are fantastic. Looks like my Grandfather was most likely taken prisoner during the battle of Monte Rentella on page 279. He only ever said a few words out those were 'we got overrun by the Germans and surrounded.' By the description of hastings it appears it was a hand to hand battle. Interesting note is Captain Blacker was killed in the action in the same battle. The telegram to my Grandmother has a nother Captain's name which I have so far been unable to decipher. I'll try and post the telegram up soon.
  12. 10Battalion

    10Battalion Member

  13. 10Battalion

    10Battalion Member

    Andy thank you I might take you up on the offer. I'll get my notes together first.
  14. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    No worries Scott - Just click the red link in my signature for all the details etc. should you need them.


    GANDALF Member

    Hi Scott,

    I can confirm that D Company was overwelmed by german troops belonging to 15th Panzergrenadier Division during the battle for Mount Rentella, a feature near Corciano (Perugia) an outpost of the Trasimene Line. D Coy was in the eastern feature of Mount Rentella. The germans counterattacked in the saddle between D and C Coy that was established in the western feature of Mount Rentella.
    A coy of Panthers belonging to 1st Bn. Panzer Regiment 4 counterattacked in the valley on the left flank of 10RB.

    the attached picture shows the situation in the morning of 22nd june 1944.

    Attached Files:

    Dickie, 10Battalion and Owen like this.
  16. 10Battalion

    10Battalion Member

    Gandalf thank you so much for this map, it's fantastic! Could I ask where you found it?

    GANDALF Member

    Rentella-Corciano_2.jpg View attachment Rentella.bmp
    I am sorry for the delay but I had a long "absence" from ww2 talks
    I realized the map according to 10RB war diaries and is part of the book "Corciano'44 - quando passa la guerra"
    10Battalion likes this.
  18. 10Battalion

    10Battalion Member

    Hi Paolo,

    Not a problem. Thank you for taking the time to create the google map. From this I was able to use the coordinates and Google Earth the location and view Mt Rentella from a number of different aspects. Very helpful.

    Thanks again,

  19. tankmaker267

    tankmaker267 New Member

  20. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Hello everybody,

    Perhaps I should have posted this in the CWGC forum of the website, but what I have to say relates to Naples War Cemetery

    I am currently downloading and analysing the details for each CWGC cemetery in Italy and would warn any researcher that the presence of a serviceman in a cemetery does NOT necessarily mean that he was in action in the vicinity. Neither does the date of death help to work out the movements of the army units UNLESS the cemetery is described as a battlefield cemetery by the CWGC (for example Santerno Valley). Men from 46 Division killed on the Gothic Line are buried in Assisi, and prisoners of war from Campo PG 52 who died in hospital in Chiavari were moved from a temporary cemetery to Milan.

    Regarding men from the Rifle Brigade buried in Naples War Cemetery, the information posted by CWGC on 7 battalion is as follows:

    6921293 Corporal Edward Victor Elsmere died on 24 July 1944. On this date the battalion was in Tuscany fighting along the lower slopes of the Pratomagno mountain mass.

    6968759 L/Sgt. Eric David King died on 8 January 1945 and 1823271 Rifleman Harry James Stamp on 28 February 1945 when the battalion was on the Gothic Line.

    So, to explain their presence in the cemetery some further research is required. Did they die in a hospital, left behind there when their unit advanced further north? Unfortunately their concentration forms do not give a map reference for their previous burial place.

    Other than 7 Battalion, the data sheet shows that only men from 1 Battalion (deaths between 2 October and 12 November) are present in Naples War Cemetery

    JimHerriot likes this.

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