Somerset Light Infantry 2nd Battalion World War 2

Discussion in 'North Africa & the Med' started by AshardA, Nov 9, 2015.

  1. AshardA

    AshardA Member

    My grandfather served in the 2nd Battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry during world war 2 and I am looking for any others that served with him and maybe knew him. His name was Richard (Dick) Ashard and he served in Gibraltar, Italy and Greece. He spoke little about it and so I only know a few things about his service. He told me that he was air dropped into Italy by the Americans and that he was also stationed in Greece toward the end of the war (I guess this was peace keeping, as Greece was in danger of a civil war at the time). I would be very interesrted in hearing from anyone involved or knew him. I have his service book and a couple of photos of him in Gibraltar but that is about it. I think he joined up around 1941 and would have been 32 at the time.

    Thank you.

  2. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Ashard A

    Your Grandfather - after his spell in Gibralter probably joined the 2nd Somersets either in North Africa or Italy when they were part of 28th Bde of 4th

    Infantry Division which fought in the battle of the Liri Valley near Cassino then on to the Gothic Line where they served as left flank to the Canadian 1st

    Division - with my 21st Tank Bde squeezed in between the two- they took part in the first "Montgomery's Floodlight" attack at San Martino on the 17th

    September '44 and went off to Greece by the November …..

  3. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

  4. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Tom 2 SLI were part of the Gib garrison.
    I met a local Veteran a few years ago who has sadly passed on.
    He told me ''From Gib they went to Eygpt before going to Italy in 1944''

    In first post of that thread Paul Reed has a link to some pages of 2 SLI war diary he copied.
  5. Lotus7

    Lotus7 Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome to the forum, good luck with your research

  6. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member

    Hi Adrian

    2nd Battalion, The Somerset Light Infantry (4 Infantry Division), left Taranto on 12 Dec 1944 on board the SS Banfora and arrived at Phaleron (harbour south of Athens) on 15 Dec 44. The rest of 28 Infantry Brigade were flown over in Liberators on the 12 Dec 44 as much needed reinforcements.

    Look at the third post down on the following link and you'll see Field Marshall Alexanders Report on the troubles in Greece.

    That should get a flavour of what happened in Athens between December 1944 and January 1945. If you need anything more just ask.

    My father was stationed in Athens during the troubles.

  7. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Hello Adrian,

    A very good friend of mine, Albert Dickinson, who was in S Company, 2 Somersets, died last year. What a pity you couldn't meet up with him. He was a wonderful storyteller. Here is an entry from his diary. It refers 25 June '44 when 2 Somersets were operating to the east of 2/4 Hampshires on the Trasimene Line.



    Attached Files:

  8. hoolig

    hoolig Member WW2 Veteran

    Hi Ashard,
    I was in the 2nd Somerset Light Infantry, and served in North Greece at Komotini, in 1946, we were there for a year before the Regt was moved to Austria,
    I did not meet your relative, I was in HQ company
  9. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member


    Were you with them at Cassino?


  10. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  11. hoolig

    hoolig Member WW2 Veteran

    This post prompted me to look for my Som.L I cap badge, after a recent move but I have lost it, very annoying
  12. Dad was in the 2nd in Italy, Greece and Austria - met mum in Vienna.

    Attached Files:

    vitellino and Owen like this.
  13. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member


    Was your father serving in 2 SLI during May 44 when the battalion was heavily involved in the Fourth Battle of Cassino?


  14. Hi Frank. No, I think that dad went from UK to Egypt then to Taranto and then on to his other postings. Not certain about the dates.
  15. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member


    2 SLI were one of the three infantry battalions of 28 Infantry Brigade who were part of 4 Infantry Division.

    The battalion was at the Fourth Battle of Cassino in May 44 then fought up central Italy during the Summer before reaching Florence in Aug 44. They then fought on the Gothic Line near Rimini in Sep 44 and pushed north to the flat areas around the Senio. In Nov-Dec 44, they were shipped out to Greece to help put down the Communist Insurgency.

    It would be good to know at what point he joined the battalion.


  16. Frank, I don't know when he joined. I've tried looking up his service record but don't seem to be able to find anything.
  17. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Have you actually SENT for his service records, Richard - where did you 'look them up'?

    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  18. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    You cant look up his service records, you have to send off to the MOD for them - forms you need are here - Request records of deceased service personnel, you will also need to include a copy of his death certificate

  19. I went through I saw my grandad's service number and the regiments he served in (Somersets and Gloucesters) in WW1. I'll go through the process of requesting them
  20. Thanks for the info, I'll do that.

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