1st Battalion, South Staffordshire Regiment

Discussion in 'British Army Units - Others' started by Jerry69420, Aug 8, 2021.

  1. Jerry69420

    Jerry69420 Active Member

    Can anyone kindly provide the history of the 1 battalion, South Staffs regiment in North Africa?
  2. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Here is a summary of the 1st South Staffordshire Regiment's service in the Middle East until its departure for India:

    1st Battalion, The South Staffordshire Regiment

    16th Infantry Brigade – 3 September 1939 to 16 October 1939
    In September 1938, the 1st Battalion arrived in Palestine and took over the Tiberias-Nazareth area with Headquarters for one month at Tiberias and then the following month at Nazareth. It was still located there at the start of the war and remained there while serving under the brigade.

    HQ Jerusalem Area, British Troops in Palestine and Transjordan – 16 October 1939 to 29 March 1940
    In October 1939, the 1st Battalion moved from Northern Palestine to Hebron for a two-month period on internal security duties. It was relieved at Hebron in early December and concentrated at Jerusalem. From January to March 1940, it was located in a camp near Jericho.

    14th Infantry Brigade – 29 March 1940 to 20 July 1940
    The battalion joined the brigade at Gedera at the end of March. The brigade left for Egypt on May 31st, 1940 and arrived on June 1st. On arrival, the brigade was located at Helwan, near Cairo. The battalion left the brigade on July 20th and the brigade was broken up six days later.

    22nd Infantry Brigade – 21 July 1940 to 1 September 1940
    The 1st South Staffords joined and brigade at Mersa Matruh and served there with the brigade. HQ 22nd Infantry Brigade became HQ Mersa Matruh Fortress on September 2nd, 1940.

    HQ Mersa Matruh Fortress – 2 September 1940 to December 1940
    It remained at Mersa Matruh sending a small HQ, one company and two carriers to Selby Force during the Sidi Barrani battle in December 1940. Selby Force was to move up the coast, clear enemy minefields and capture and hold Mektila. The rest of the battalion remained in defence of Mersa Matruh. After Selby Force captured Mektila, part of Selby Force including the South Staffords moved toward Sidi Barrani from the southeast. Along the way, it came across a strong Italian position on the main track to Mersa Matruh. The column attacked but the South Stafford Company was held up by heavy artillery and automatic weapons’ fire. After support from British guns, the column took the Italian position, which surrendered.

    HQ British Troops in Egypt – December 1940 to 4 February 1942
    At the end of 1940 the battalion moved to the Canal Zone and was employed escorting Italian prisoners to India. It served under the Canal Line of Communications Area on January 31st, 1941. The men had one-month leave in Bombay while waiting for a return ship. Upon return to Alexandria the battalion formed small detachments for sea service as AA troops on ships to Greece, Crete, Tobruk, Aden and South Africa. The rest of the unit worked on the Alexandria Line. The battalion was located at Sidi Bishr Camp near Alexandria on May 29th, 1941 and at Alexandria on July 17th, 1941.

    23rd Infantry Brigade – 4 February 1942 to 14 September 1943
    The 1st Battalion joined the brigade in the Suez area on February 2nd, 1942. The brigade departed from Port Tewfik on February 27th and arrived at Bombay, India on March 3rd.
    dbf and 4jonboy like this.
  3. Jerry69420

    Jerry69420 Active Member

    Thanks a lot , dryan
  4. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    No problem. Glad I can help.

    JITTER PARTY Well-Known Member

    Probably best not to refer to it as the 'SS regiment'! The recommended abbreviation was 'S Staffords' - not that abbreviated, I know.
  6. Jerry69420

    Jerry69420 Active Member

    Yes ,apologies for that.
  7. Stu Sutton

    Stu Sutton New Member

    Hello all, I wondered if anyone had any information or photos of the 1st battalion south staffs reg. My great uncle Robert Lawrence Sutton died on 5th may 1941. He was son of Mabel B Sutton and John Sutton
  8. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    The CWGC record shows he was initially buried at Amba Alagi 5/5/1941 and reburied at Asmara, Eritrea two years later. Somehow the records also show he was with the 1st Worcestershire Regiment, although the main record shows 1st South Staffords. I note four South Staffs died that day, alongside two from the Worcestershire Regmt. See: Corporal Robert Lawrence Sutton | War Casualty Details | CWGC

    Amba Alagi was the final stand of the Italians in East Africa, it is located now in Ethiopia . See: Battle of Amba Alagi (1941) - Wikipedia

    Clearly this is at variance with DRyan's post on the South Staffs itinerary. So was he serving with the Worcestershire Regiment?

    Wiki has this passage:
    From: Worcestershire Regiment - Wikipedia

    From: 5th Infantry Division (India) - Wikipedia

    Back to the CWGC. Their records show six South Staffs died in May 1941, the others being buried in Crete, Athens, Port Said and El Alamein. Two are at Asmara.

    During the East African campaign 10 June 1940 – 27 November 1941 dead 1st Bn. South Staffs are buried across the region: Khartoum x2, Keren (Ethiopia) x3, Egypt x7, Greece x3, and Syria x2.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2022

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