THE BATTALION

From D-Day to VE-Day, the 1st Battalion fought virtually continuously, with only a few weeks away from the enemies fire. Though the official history of their actions, published in 1947, cover the campaign in detail, they have remained 'invisible' from the history books ever since.

 

Below is a brief history of the Battalion's five commanders throughout the campaign, its achievements, Honours and Awards, and its losses.

COMMANDERS

Lieutenant-Colonel R.E. Goodwin assumed command of the Battalion in June 1943 and led it until D+3, he was badly wounded when his carrier received a direct hit.

His Second-in-Command, Major J.G.M.B. Gough assumsed command and commanded them at the Chateau de la Londe. He was wounded on 11th August during an orders group with the Brigadier.vIn his place, Major F.F.E. Allen assumed command until the new commander, Lieutenant-Colonel R.W. Craddock arrived on 25th August.

Lieutenant-Colonel R.W. Craddock commanded the Battalion until 16th October when he was wounded at Venray. Major Allen once again assumed command until 7th November when Lieutenant-Colonel R.E. Goodwin returned having recovered from his wounds. He commanded the Battalion until the end of the war.

All these men later went on to achieve greatness in their careers, achieving high office. Lieutenant-Colonel R.E. Goodwin later became Lieutenant of the Tower of London.

Officers of the Battalion with the Colonel-of-the-Regiment. Nairn, March 1944

CSM 'Ted' Broom's original grave marker in Hermanville CWG cemetery

LOSSES

The Battalion was some 850-strong when it landed on D-Day. Its losses that first day were comparatively light; just ten killed and fifteen wounded.

The biggest losses incurred to the Battalion was during the battle to take the Chateau de la Londe. Here forty-one were killed and over one hundred were wounded. Twenty-eight men were killed between the battles at the Chateau and the advances of operation GOODWOOD. 

At Tinchebray, losses were high, but not as high as at the Chateau, thirty-five killed and over fifty wounded. In Belgium and Holland losses were slight before the battles at Overloon and Venray which claimed thirty seven killed and over seventy wounded.

Between these battles and the Crossing of the Rhine, casualties were incurred on a daily basis. The last major losses were in the taking of the crossroads before Brinkum at Hallen-Seckenhausen. Here eighteen men were killed and over twenty-five were wounded.

Total losses to the Battalion were 215 all ranks between D-Day and VE-Day, with over 640 wounded.

RECOGNITION

Despite being in combat for more days than many of their counterparts in the Division, the Battalion had the lowest number of gallantry awards given to any of the nine fighting infantry battalions in their division (3rd British Infantry Division).

One distinguished Service Order was awarded to the Battalion Commander. Ten Military Crosses, one Distinguished Conduct Medal, eleven Military Medals and four foreign decorations were presented to the officers and men of the Battalion between D-Day and VE-Day.

Numerous men were Mentioned-in-Dispatches and many men received the Divisional Commanders certificate as well. 

Major F.F.E. Allen, who had twice been Battalion Commander, later commanded the 1st Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment in the 53rd (Welsh) Division, where he won a DSO and Bar. It was said later that he was named by both General's Horrocks and Dempsey as the finest Battalion Commander of the campaign.

Pte. Clarke being presented with the ribbon of the Military Medal. December 1944

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