In 1950 the 1st Battalion went to Korea as part of the United Nations Forces defending South Korea. The Battalion sailed on the Empire Windrush and called at Port Said, Aden, Singapore, and Colombo before arriving at Pusan, Korea on 10th November 1950. On the 11th Nov. they went by train to Suwon, arriving on 13th Nov. At Suwon they were based in the Agricultural College. Moved by road and train, north to Kaesong for anti-guerilla duties. "D" Coy. relieved a Turkish unit guarding the bridges over the Imjin river at Munsan'ni. "A" and "C" Coys. established a redoubt at Sibyon'ni, guarding the eastern approaches to the Main Supply Route of I Corps. "B" Coy. and Battalion HQ remained in the Kaesong area.
24th Nov. the whole Battalion concentrated at Sibyon'ni and mounted sweeps and raids on villages. In one patrol (commanded by Lieut. Weaver), "C" Coy. engaged a North Korean battalion on the road to Tosan, losing 2 men killed and several wounded.
Battalion entrained and embussed to move north. 30th Nov. they arrived just south of Pyongyang, the North Korean capital. Then they travelled in a convoy of US trucks into Pyongyang and on northwards. They made a defensive position and sent out a patrol under Major Richard Butler to locate the Chinese hordes. 1st and 2nd Dec. spent improving defences, but then orders arrived to withdraw. Heavy snowstorms started.
Battalion reached a defensive position at 2 bridges over the river Taedong and held this while the whole of I (United States) Corps crossed back south of the river. Then the Glosters crossed the bridges and they were blown up. They then embussed on US lorries and left Pyongyang, which was in flames.
The Battalion arrived at Sinmak, a small town 30 miles north of the 38th Parallel. Then they moved to a positions on the bare hills above the village of Chongsoktu'ri, where they dug new defensive positions. Again the order came to withdraw before they had seen any of the enemy. During a patrol, Capt. F.H. Worlock advanced 8 miles beyond the UN front line. At 1540 hrs on 11th December 1950, the last Battalion vehicle crossed the 38th Parallel. The Battalion went into I Corps reserve, just north of Seoul, where they celebrated Christmas.
1st Jan. 1951 the Chinese Army attacked the 1st Republic of Korea Infantry Division, on the Imjin river. At 0545 hrs the Battalion was alerted and moved forward in case they were required. The Royal Ulster Rifles and Northumberland Fusiliers were already in action. By mid-afternoon the enemy was routed, leaving a vast heap of dead on the field. That night the Brigade was ordered to withdraw through Seoul and south of the frozen river Han, where most of I Corps was now positioned. The Glosters moved to the village of Pyongtaek and dug-in in the icy frozen paddy fields. Large numbers of desperate refugees flooded past. Then the UN Forces began to advance again and 31st Jan. the Glosters moved north again, to Osan'ni, in reserve. They then moved to Hill 156, on which lay over 200 dead Chinese who had come against a Turkish unit and been repulsed. On the 11th February they moved to Suwon, then moved on to Kumnyangjang'ni and then to Pabalmak.
12th Feb. they relieved a battalion of US cavalry. From the positions on a hill they watched the American attack on Hill 350. That night a heavy frost fell and shortly after midnight the Chinese attacked Lieut. J.M. Maycock's platoon but were repulsed. The Chinese then attacked Lieut. A.C.N. Preston's platoon ("A" Coy.), wounding him and 2 other men; but the enemy were repulsed again. The next day "C" Coy. patrolled 3000 yards ahead of the Battalion position and dug-in. The rest of the Battalion then moved forward to join them. They were now 400 yards from Hill 327 on which a stong, well concealed and deeply entrenched Chinese force was positioned. On that night, 13th Feb., the Chinese attacked the American 5th Cavalry Regiment on the right flank. The next day, the American airforce attacked the hill with rockets. The Glosters were ordered to take Hill 327.
At 1030 hrs, 16th February the Assault Coys. ("D" Coy. left and "C" Coy. right) moved forward. The slopes were very steep and the 2 columns made their way up to a 200-metre contour from which the final assault was to be delivered. On the right flank the Americans were attacking a hill named "Cheltenham" but were meeting stiff opposition. As the Glosters neared their objective a shower of grenades and heavy rifle and machine-gun fire came down upon them; Major Charles Walwyn was wounded. "D" Coy. were ordered to work left and attack up another spur. Lieutenant D.A. Simcox was killed while assaulting an enemy bunker. A couple of Chinese mortar bombs hit "B" Coy.s HQ, wounding Sergt. Claxton, L/Cpl. Cameron, Ptes. Quinton, Wiseman, and Goldsmith. Slowly the enemy bunkers were located and cleared. As the Glosters advanced across the hill, the Chinese began to flee from their remaining positions and soon the Hill was secured. The Battalion dug-in. On 17th Feb. "A" Coy., with a squadron of Centurion tanks, patrolled forward to the river Han without any contact. On the 18th, the Battalion advanced to the river. There they rested while the Royal Ulster Rifles cleared the banks of the river. On 23rd Feb. the Glosters were relieved and moved back to Anyang'ni on the main Seoul road. 3rd March they moved to Ichon for several weeks.
In April 1951 British 29th Infantry Brigade was holding the defensive line along the Imjin River. The main invasion route across the Imjin was held by the Gloucestershire Regiment (750 strong) and the men of C Troop Light (Mortar) Battery, R.A. The U.N. command needed time to reorganise and asked the Glosters to hold for as long as possible. Against them were three Chinese Divisions (approx. 27,000 men).
On Sunday April 22nd the Battle of Imjin River began. The first attempts to cross the River were stopped by No.7 Platoon of 'C' Company under Lieutenant Guy Temple. Four times they stopped the Chinese and only withdrew when ammunition ran low. Temple received the Military Cross. Unknown to the Glosters, the Chinese had used another crossing point (not marked on maps) and over 1000 Chinese crossed to attack from all sides.
"The first frenzied assault fell on A Company. The Battalion's Vickers guns pumped belt after belt of ammunition into the screaming hordes until the cooling jackets of the guns boiled over and they seized up. Bren guns were fired until the barrels became red hot and rifles until they were too hot to hold."
Repeated attacks by over-whelming numbers of Chinese continued through the night. B Company were now also in action. By the morning of the 23rd A Company were still fighting. 2nd Lieut. John Maycock had been killed and his platoon reduced to only 6 unwounded men. Lieutenant Terence Waters was severly wounded in the head. Half of A Company were dead or wounded by now. The Chinese had occupied a height known as Castle Site and were setting up machine guns to spray fire on the Company. Lieutenant Philip Curtis led a counter-attack on Castle Site across open ground. Within the first minute 3 Glosters were dead and 4 more wounded. Curtis ordered the remaining men to cover him and he charged alone. Severely wounded in the arm and side, his men tried to crawl out to drag him in, but shaking them off he charged again - alone. Throwing grenades as he ran he knocked out a machine-gun position but was killed by a burst of fire from another. He was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross.
Major Pat Angier reported his Company's desperate position, low on ammunition and mounting losses. He needed reinforcements if his Company was to hold its position. But the only order that Colonel Carne could give was "You will stay where you are at all costs until further notice." Major Angier replied "Don't worry about us, we'll be alright." Within 15 minutes Angier was dead.
"D" Company were now being pressed also. There were no other UN troops for 2 miles and the Glosters flanks were unprotected. But the Glosters orders were to hold the road to Solma-ri and "as long as there was a Gloster still on his feet Fred Carne was determined to do just that."
During the night of the 23rd and dawn of the 24th "B" Company fought off 7 Chinese attacks and the forward sections were overwhelmed by sheer numbers. By the morning ammuntition was almost exhausted and grenades gone. Bayonets fixed, men fought with entrenching tools and even fists against the onrushing Chinese. To stop them being overwhelmed Colonel Carne concentrated the surviving men into one area. "B" Company now consisted of Major Harding, CSM Morton and 15 men. The Battalion front line had been 4 miles and was now down to 600 yards, but nowhere had the Chinese broken that line. By the evening of the 24th the survivors were concentrated on Hill 235 (since renamed 'Gloster Hill'). By now 29th Brigade had been forced to withdraw and the Glosters were totally alone, their orders "Hold on where you are."
In the last report back to Brodie, Colonel Carne replied "I understand the position quite clearly. But I must make it cear to you that my command is no longer an effective fighting force. If it is required we shall stay here, in spite of this, we shall continue to hold."
By now the Glosters were surrounded, low on food, water, and ammuntion. The radio batteries were almost dead. American helicopters tried to evacuate the wounded but could not close because of the intense Chinese fire enveloping Gloster Hill. The 8th Hussars (Tank Regiment), the Belgians, Filipinos, Puerto Rican and American infantry battalions tried desperately to break through to the Glosters, but could not.
On Gloster Hill, the Battalion HQ had virtually ceased to exist. Captain Richard Reeve-Tucker (signals officer) was dead, Assistant-Adjutant Lieutenant Donald Allman (wounded in the shoulder) was commanding the remnants of one platoon, the Intelligence Officer Lieutenant Henry Cabral was commanding another.
Colonel Carne, with rifle and bayonet in hand, led the Regimental Police in an attack on a party of Chinese, reporting to his Adjutant, "Just been shooing away some Chinese."
Adjutant Tony Farrar-Hockley, decided that his appointment as Adjutant was now redundant as the radio was almost dead, his last message was to Lieutenant Temple: "Guy, you will stay where you are until further notice. If your ammunition runs out hurl bloody rocks at 'em." He then joined what was left of A Company.
The last of the ammuntion was handed out on the 25th. Each man had 5 rounds, each bren gun one and half magazines, each sten gun half a magazine. The Chinese were blowing bugles and on that morning, sensing the end was near they reached a crescendo of noise. Farrar-Hockley ordered Drum-Major Buss to fetch a bugle and play every call he knew "Except Retreat !" As he played the Glosters cheered him on.
"I could see his tall, lean figure, topped by a cap comforter" wrote Farrar-Hockley; "he always played a bugle well and that day he was not below form. The sweet notes of our own bugle, which now echoed through the valley below him, died away. For a moment there was silence - the last note had coincided with a lull in the action. Then the noise of battle began again - but with a difference; there was no sound of a Chinese bugle. There are not many Drum-Majors in the British Army who can claim to have silenced the enemy's battle calls with a short bugle recital."
At 0600 on the 25th Brigadier Brodie gave the Glosters the order to attempt to break out. They had held the line for 4 days. In his Log, Brodie wrote the Battalion's epitaph:
"NOBODY BUT THE GLOSTERS COULD HAVE DONE IT."
Colonel Carne gave his last orders. The wounded could not attempt escape. Captain Robert Hickey, the Medical Officer, Chaplin Sam Davies, and Medical Sergeant Brisland, immediately volunteered to stay with the wounded. The remnants of "A", "B", "C" and Support Companies headed south under heavy machine-gun fire. Soon "A" Company led by Farrar-Hockley were surrounded and captured. Captain Pike and his men ran into a force 10 times his own, after firing off 2 of his last 4 bullets he ordered his men to surrender. Major Harding, Lieutenant Temple and CSM Ridlington had covered 10 miles before being captured. Lieutenant Cabral was captured and was to die in a prison camp "after faithfully adopting an 'incorrect attitude' - as the Chinese phrased it - and being a constant thorn in their sides for 12 months." Colonel Carne, RSM Hobbs and CSMI Strong evaded capture for 48 hours.
Captain Mike Harvey, with "D" Company and some machine-gunners (92 men in all) headed north and then west before turning south. After 3 hours they ran into enemy machine guns and lost half the party. Finally the group ran into UN forces. Unfortunatley the American tanks mistook them for Chinese and opened fire, wounding Lieutenant Thomas Conneely and 6 men. Realizing their mistake the Americans covered the group and 5 officers and 41 men reached the UN lines. Captain Harvey was awarded the Military Cross for his leadership.
Private Essex of "B" Company was wounded in the head and both legs, his right leg being broken. When he could no longer walk he had crawled until he collapsed from pain and exhaustion. He was found by the Chinese and interrogated, which involved kicking his legs and hitting him in the face. He gave his name, rank and number. The Chinese walked away and tossed a grenade back at him, fortunately only wounding him in the eye. After they had gone he crawled to a village and was tended by the villagers. Finally he made it back to UN lines and in December 1951 he was chosen to broadcast to the Commonwealth before king George VI gave his Christmas Speech.
"In April I was wounded when the Glosters fought the battle on the Imjin River. I was captured and then escaped. For a few weeks I lived with some Korean villagers and they taught me how to keep alive on grass. Then I was picked up by one of our patrols and afterwards the RAF flew me home. Ever since I have been in Cambridge Hospital at Aldershot and today am going home to my father's farm in Gloucestershire. The chaps still out in Korea won't get much of a Christmas, and first of all I want to say cheerio to them, especially those who are prisoners. All the best mates, and I hope that it soon packs up and you all get home alright..."
The following officers had made it back: Majors Digby Gist, Watkin-Williams, and Mitchell; Captains Harvey, Bartlett, Taylor and Worlock; Lieutenants Martin, and Barker, 2nd Lieuts. Holdsworth and Whatmore. Returning from leave in Japan, Major Wood, Captain Mardell and Lieut. Bergin rejoined the Battalion. The surviving men of the Battalion were now under command of Major Digby Grist, who sent the famous signal:
"We are operational again."
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Steve: they got an american presidential citation for that action. Not sure how often they are given to none us troops?
Often noted as a swift, defeat , the rear guard action of the glosters in this action is often overlooked. The japanese army suffered possibly their first defeat to the glosters, small though it may have been it proved they were not invincible
The 1st Battalion arrived in Burma from India in November 1938, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel R.M. Grazebrook, OBE, MC. They were stationed at Mingaladon, about 12 miles north of Rangoon. In 1939 Lieutenant-Colonel G.E. Mirehouse took command of the battalion and was replaced in June 1941 by Lieutentant-Colonel C.E.K. Bagot, MC.
When Japan entered the war in December 1941 the battalion was dispersed on various duties. Battalion HQ Company (Lieutenant V. Playne) with 'B' Company (Captain E.J. Rockett) was at Mingaladon, 'A' Company (Major G.W.V. Ladds) was in Rangoon, 'C' Company (Major A.D. Hunter) was at Mandalay, and 'D' Company (Captain R.V.G.N. Johnson) was in a training camp 30 miles from Mingaladon.
The battalion mobilized on December 17th 1941, with the families being sent to Maymyo. The Regimental Colours were sent by air to Lloyd's Bank in Delhi. The Regimental silver was also sent to Myamyo and was buried in the jungle. Unfortunately the hiding place had been discovered and the silver was lost.
December 23rd and 25th there were heavy air-raids on Mingaladon and Rangoon. The Japanese invasion of Burma was underway. By March they had cut the Mandalay-Pegu road, leaving only the Prome-Rangoon raod open. General Alexander ordered a general retreat, with the 1st Glosters chosen to act as rear-guard.
The Glosters moved to Taukkyan. Major Ladds was sent with 'A' Company to Syriam to destroy the oil refineries. He then rejoined the regiment. 7th March at Taukkyan, 'B', 'C' and HQ Companies were blocking the road to hold up the Japanese advance. After a fierce fight the 28th, with the assistance of the 7th Hussars and some Indian units, forced the Japanese to withdraw. The 28th lost 3 officers, and 17 men killed, 23 wounded.
For 140 miles, on the march from Taukyyan to Prome, the 28th fought many rear-guard actions. Many patrols were undertaken to take the fight to the Japs "so that he would respect the Glosters and keep his distance."
On March 16th one patrol got information that the Japanese were going to move into Letpadan. Colonel Bagot decided to lay a trap. 17th March, 'D' Company ambushed to Japanese Advanced Guard Battalion. It was brilliantly successful and the Japanese were defeated and retreated. It was the first defeat that the Japanese had suffered.
"Heartiest congratulations on splendid operation at Letpadan. Congratulate Company Commander from me personally." - General Alexander to Colonel Bagot.
"My heartiest congratulations to you and all ranks. A splendid show and just what I wanted. You set a fine example of enterprise and proved that we can defeat the Jap at his own game. Chief was delighted." - Divisional Commander.
Captain Richard Johnson was awarded the Military Cross for his part in the battle. For the next 3 weeks they marched and fought. At Paungde they stopped to rest on 27th March. But within an hour a Japanese force approached the town. There were 2 Japanese battalions with another 3000 men closing east of the town. In the battle 2 officers were killed and 2 more wounded. After heavy fighting the 28th withdrew to Shwedaung.
As they approached the village air attacks intensified and it was found that the enemy were already there in strength. After 2 hours of fighting the village was passed, but Major Morton was killed and Colonel Bagot wounded. The Battalion now numbered 240 men. At Padigon on 28th March 'D' Company held off the Japanese advance and fought surrounded for 17 hours. After breaking out they moved to help the Glosters at Shwedaung.
April 13th they arrived at Yenangyaung and were ordered to blow up the oil-plant at Chauk. Then they resumed the march to Mandalay. Captain Johnson was wounded and missing, never to be seen again.
April 27th Colonel Bagot reformed the remnants of his battalion (7 officers and 170 men) into an HQ and 2 rifle companies, at Shwebo. The Japanese were now racing to Kalewa on the River Chindwin. If they got there first the whole Burma Division would be trapped. Captain Niblet was sent with 2 companies to Monywa to cover the withdrawl of civilians.
"As the sun went down firing broke out... the Japanese had arrived. Almost simultaneously the Gloucesters came into Monywa from the south. Only 100 strong and commanded by a Captain, utterly weary, with sweat running through the dust on their faces, they marched in and said, like the English policeman, 'What's all this going on here?' The Gloucesters held the river-bank. No Japanese were able to cross." - Burma Rifles Officer
Bagot took his men to Ye-u, where a draft of 3 officers and 120 men arrived from England! He rejoined the 28th at Budalin and on May 4th the Japs attacked. The withdrawl continued from Ye-u to Kaduma, to Pyingaing and onto Thetkegyin, which was reached on May 9th. Then Kalewa was reached and the 28th crossed the Chindwin and the Army struggled on towards the Tamu Pass (6500 feet above sea-level) carrying the wounded with them. Finally the 28th reached Imphal and then moved onto Kohima, arriving on June 1st.
They had lost 8 officers killed and 11 wounded, 156 men killed and many more wounded.
Due to the lack of supplies an order was given to the Burma Army that the men could grow beards. When General Alexander inspected the 28th he commented that he had excused the men from shaving yet the battalion was properly shaved. The R.S.M. replied 'Sir, the 28th prefer to shave."
"During the long and terrible retreat to Corunna a century and a half before the 28th Foot were part of the rearguard. At Corunna the army marched past Sir John Moore; the men in the main column were ragged and unkempt, and they marched past painfully and in any order. But not so the rearguard, who marched past in their proper companies, their ranks perfectly dressed, the men clean and fully equipped. Tradition is indeed a potent thing."
The 1st Battalion was re-equipped and posted to the 17th Indian Division. They served in reserve on the Assam-Burma frontier until July 1943 when they were sent to Calcutta on internal-security duties, including helping to feed the civilian population during the Bengal famine. In Dec. 1942 the Battalion moved to Imphal and in Jan. 1943 to camp MS46 on the Tiddim track. The next 2 months were spent helping to move supplies to the Chin Levies. In April the Battalion moved to Shillon and then back to Imphal as a mobile reserve. In July they moved to Calcutta to rest and refit. They were stationed in Fort William for the next 2 years on internal security duties (guarding Japanese POW's etc).
April to November 1945 they were in a jungle camp at Ranchi. However 2 platoons and a section of 3-inch mortars was attached to the 2nd Dorsets and fought through the final Burma campaign. In November the Battalion moved to Jhansi
(A Tribute to the 1st Glosters, 1942)
By swamp and tangled jungle way,
From Rangoon on to Mandalay!
Thy after day, week after week,
By thorny path and poisoned creek;
or, where there is no path at all,
Where it is death to fail or fall,
Where sun, soil, insect, beast and snake,
Their toll of every traveller take;
Where fever lurks in every breath,
And every yard Li’ walked with Thath;
The venomed and forbidden way
From Rangoon on to Mandalay!
That is the route the Gloucesters went —
Our own, our glorious Regiment —
When every bog, and bush, and tree
Gave cover to an enemy.
Unfed, outnumbered, and worn out,
Yet with the strength to turn about
And change the overwhelming foe,
And turn again, and onward go
Along the muddy, bloody way
From Rangoon on to Mandalay.
For two long months, by day and night
They fought, marched, turned again to fight!
Their dead they must leave where they stay
Along the road to Màndalay.
March/Halt! Turn!Charge!DidGlory’s page
E’er holda braver pilgrimage?
Mark it in gold on Honour’s Scroll,
And with just pride of race extoll
These, who their lives for England spent,
Our own, our glorious Regiment.
Add Letpadan and Paungde
To Alexandria, long ago,
And all the other honours won
Since their proud history was begun.
These men did all that any might
All stress and strain that men may know
They fought and conquered, plus the foe!
And Letpadan and Paungde
Stand out in their especial fame,
Because here was a place to name!
‘Gainst Burman dacoit, cruel Jap,
‘Gainst natural peril and mishap
They battled on, and justified
The Back Badge emblem of their pride,
Making each day a “Crispin’s Day”
On that dread road to Mandalay.
Honour the living! For the dead
Let no unhappy tear be shed;
They fought and fell as brave men should
For England, and the common good.
Pray God that we our part may play,
Like those who stay ‘til Judgement Day
Along the road to Mandalay
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During the night of the 23rd and dawn of the 24th "B" Company fought off 7 Chinese attacks and the forward sections were overwhelmed by sheer numbers. By the morning ammuntition was almost exhausted and grenades gone. Bayonets fixed, men fought with entrenching tools and even fists against the onrushing Chinese.
You have to admire that sort of tenacity, when the ammo is nearly out to keep fighting with fists, bayonets and e-tools. Is that regiment still part of the British Army?
"This was the first time that the Marines of the two nations had fought side by side since the defence of the Peking Legations in 1900. Let it be said that the admiration of all ranks of 41 Commando for their brothers in arms was and is unbounded. They fought like tigers and their morale and esprit de corps is second to none."
---Lt.Col D.B. Drysdale, 41 Commando, Chosin Reservoir, Korea 1951
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They were amalganated into the The Royal Gloucestershire Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment in 1994. The origonal regiment was raised in 1694.
They served with distinction in WW1, many of them died, when they agreed to hold against a far larger german force in order to buy time for beleagured french forces.
In WW2, when british forces where being evacuated from dunkirk, the job of buying time and holding the line was given to the glosters. They marched to cassel to attempt to hold and buy time. People talk of the BEF offering no resistance, yet this small group held out for 4 days
The 2nd Battalion was withdrawn from Escault 23rd May and reached Cassel on May 25th. They were to hold the western half of the town with the 1st Buckinghamshires holding the eastern half. Some platoons were sent to hold important positions, the most notable being a partly built blobkhouse on the Dunkirk road held by No.8 platoon under 2nd Lieut. R.W. Cresswell. 27th May 'A' Company commanded by Major W.H. Percy-Hardman, went to Zuytpene village, which covered the approaches to Cassel from the west. Their orders were simple. They were to hold the line at all costs to allow the B.E.F. to be evacuated from Dunkirk.
25th May - fairly quiet day. Battalion worked on improving defences.
26th May - German patrols probe towards Cassel and driven off.
27th May - Cassel was attacked in strength from three directions. 'D' Company (Captain A.P. Cholmondley) in the South West corner of the town, was heavily attacked. 'C' Company (Captain E.H. Lynn Allen) fought off a strong infantry assault.
At 0800 Zuytpene was assaulted from the air and then tanks and infantry. The position was soon surrounded. 'A' Company fought from house to house, withdrawing to the centre of the village. By 1800 the position was desperate. The survivors had gathered in one building. When the Germans got into the garden and were able to throw grenades into the house Percy-Hardman ordered his men to surrender.
At 1800 the attack began on the blockhouse held by No.8 platoon. They were immediately cut off. Without rations and the blockhouse on fire they held out for 4 days. Finally on 30th May, with the Germans on the roof Cresswell ordered his men to break out and try to reach Dunkirk. But escape was hopeless and the survivors were captured. Both Percy-Hardman and Cresswell received the Military Cross.
Quartermaster Captain R.E.D. Brasington got through to Cassel with the last supplies. He was then ordered to take the transports to Dunkirk. He was later awarded the M.C.
28th May - Shelling and mortaring of Cassel. 'B' Company (Captain H.C. Wilson) attacked from the rear, but attack was repulsed.
29th May - more attacks, mostly on 'B' Company. All were driven off. That afternoon a message came through that the defenders were to begin withdrawing to Dunkirk. But Cassel was totally surrounded and very few men escaped to Dunkirk.
Around 100 men of the 2nd Glosters made it home. 5 officers and 132 men were dead. 472 taken prisoner.
The Battalion won a CBE (Brigadier Somerset), DSO (Colonel Gilmore), and Military Crosses to Captain Lynn Allen and Major C. campbell, a DCM and 11 MM's.
The 5th Battalion
May 26th the 5th battalion moved to Ledringhem and Arneke villages, 4 miles north-west of Cassel. 'B' company (Captain C. Norris) held the south and east of the village, HQ Company (Major A. Waller) in the village. 'A' Company (Major D. Biddle) and 'D' Company (Captain E. Rockett) took up forward positions at Arneke. 'C' Company (Captain H. Mason) held a road junction between the 2 villages.
May 27th - German tanks and guns were seen moving around the flanks of Ledringham. Both villages came under shell and mortar fire, followed by infantry and tank assaults against Arneke. After heavy fighting 'A' and 'D' Companies withdrew to join 'C' Company. They had destroyed 5 German tanks and 5 armoured cars.
May 28th - Ledringham was shelled and cut off. All the companies were now in the village and totally surrounded. A message arrived to begin withdrawing. But the Germans were now assaulting the village and beginning to penetrate. The village was on fire and the Germans had made it into the churchyard. The cry of 'Up the Glosters!' was heard and after 3 bayonet charges the Germans were driven back. Each charge was led by a different officer and all 3 were seriously wounded - Captain Norris, Lieut. Dewsnap and 2nd Lieut. D. Norris.
The Germans attacked again and Major Waller led a successful counter-attack, but Waller was killed. Colonel Buxton was wounded in the leg. Just after midnight the battalion started to withdraw. The seriously wounded were left with 2 medical orderlies to await the Germans. This left 13 officers and 130 men, many of them wounded. They marched for 6 hours, finally reaching Bambecque at 06.30, where they were met by the 8th Worcesters. The Adjutant of that Battalion wrote:
"During the early-morning stand-to I saw a wonderful sight. Round the corner as I came out of Battalion HQ appeared the survivors of the 5th Gloucesters. They were dirty and haggard, but unbeaten. Their eyes were sunken and red from lack of sleep, and their feet as they marched seemed to me no more than an inch from the ground. At their head limped a few prisoners.... I ran towards Colonel Buxton, who was staggering along, obviously wounded. I took Colonel Buxton indoors....assuring him again and again that his men were all right."
The Battalion was driven to Rexpoede, commanded by Captain Mason and the Adjutant, Hauting. On 30th May they marched to Bray Dunes and were shipped back to England. About 500 men made it home. They had lost 2 officers and 85 men killed. The Battalion was awarded a Military Cross and 7 MM's.
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Current Topic - THE GLORIOUS GLOSTERS - KOREA 1950-51