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8

th
Worcestershire Regiment 1939-41
During 1938 the 7th and 8th Battalions formed a solid Worcestershire representation in the 144th (T.A. Brigade. !n 1939 the
4th and "th Battalions of the #loucestershire $egimens %ho had completed the Brigade left for reconstitution& the one as a
searchlight regiment& the other as a mi'ed tan( )attalion.
!n August 1939 the 8th Battalion Worcestershire $egiment %as at their annual camp at Windmill *ill (+udgershall& Wiltshire&
the Battalion strength %as a thousand men. ,or some %ee(s the -oung men of the countr-side had )een coming for%ard in a
ne% enthusiasm under the .ague threat of e.ents to come. $ecruits %ho had /oined since April together %ith a cadre from the
Battalion no% formed the ne% 10th Battalion& %hich continued %ith elementar- training. *ardl- had the Battalion returned
from camp %hen the international crisis came to a head. The 1st 1eptem)er 1939 mar(ed the da- of mo)ili2ation. ,or a %hile
training continued on 3the home ground.3 But a mo.e %as soon made to the concentration area at 4arl)orough& %here the
Battalion settled do%n for three months prior to em)ar(ation da-.

Location of Windmill Hill at Ludgershall, Wiltshire

!n 1eptem)er 1939& the 144th Brigade concentrated at 4arl)orough after the annual camp.
During 5o.em)er 1939& 6ri.ate *orace Arthur *art%ell (age 71& %ho had recentl- /oined 8A8 9ompan- %ith a draft of
4ilitiamen& died of fatal in/uries in an accident caused )- the 3)lac( out3.
:arl- in the 5e% ;ear (1940 *is 4a/est- <ing #eorge =! inspected the Brigade in 1a.erna(e ,orest> %hile as an e'ercise in
silent mo.ement under control& the Brigade spent a da- rounding up the deer in the forest.
When the great da- came& the difficult- of coping %ith nature pro.ed more e'asperating than an- suggestion of enem-
interference& and the irritations of the first t%o da-s on ,rench soil in a hea.- sno%?storm ha.e alread- )een stressed.

The 8th Battalion landed at +e *a.re on the 1"th @anuar- 1940& and mo.ed up to a concentration area at Tour.ille )efore
mo.ing on to 4oncheau'& near the Belgian frontier& %hich %as reached three da-s later. At this time the British :'peditionar-
,orce (B.:.,. %as on the left of the 4aginot +ine& %ith a neutral Belgium to its front& and had )een out of touch %ith the
enem- for months. 1uch acti.it- as too( place %as to )e found farther to the south on the 1aar front and %ithin the ,rench
area. ,or o).ious reasons of a political nature& it had )ecome a matter of polic- to hold some British troops in the ,rench
sector> and it %as in accordance %ith this polic- that& soon after setting into 4oncheau'& the 144th Brigade mo.ed south to
+orr-?le?4et2 in the 1aar& %hich %as reached on 77nd 4arch 1940. Thereafter during April the 8th Battalion %as constantl- on
the mo.e. The 1aar e'perience might ha.e )een regarded as a continuation of training %hich had initiated at 4arl)oroughA !n
spite of the fact that #erman patrols %ere from time to time encountered& there %ere no casualties. The tas( allotted to the
8th Battalion %as to patrol a)out ten miles in front of the 4aginot +ine. Bnder the ,rench& defence had )een organi2ed %ith a
+igne de contacte& supported )- a +igne de soutien some 1&C00 -ards )ehind. The set?up %as hardl- in (eeping %ith the
British militar- education in principles of defence in depth> and had a hea.- attac( fallen on the area& the enem- could
certainl- ha.e )een Duic(l- through %hat amounted to a linear s-stem. !t %as during this period that 1ergeant Donald %ith a
patrol captured a 5a2i flag (%hich is no% held at the $egimental 4useum& Worcester.

Battalion *.E. %ere first at Waldeistroff in the +igne de soutien& %ith companies near )- in Bi2ing and *alstroff. But
Waldeistroff& %hich %as the *.E. of )oth )attalions in the +igne de contacte and the +igne de soutien& %as occupied in rotation
)- the other t%o )attalions of the )rigade& 7nd $o-al War%ic(shires and Cth #loucestershires& there)- allo%ing a rest in a
third area )ac( in <edange& %hich %as some fifteen miles )ehind the 4aginot +ine. *ere the Battalion %as directl- under
,rench orders& and once again some differences of opinion and method %ere noticea)le in attempting to interpret the local
,rench 9ommander8s .ie%s on %hat constituted an alerte position. The general tendenc- of the ,rench to accept passing
rumours and mild shelling as occasions for mo.ement& order and counter?order did not encourage that confidence %hich
should ha.e )een the )ac(ground to a close liaison.
The countr-side %as densel- %ooded in patches. 1uch as had formerl- held crops la- untended& as the ci.ilian population had
long since disappeared. The frost of a )itterl- cold %inter had added to the general )arrenness of the landscape. To the left
and right of the Brigade sector the ground %as held )- the ,rench ,oreign +egion and some Algerian troops and patrolling %as
co?ordinated. But it %as a Dueer (ind of %arfare and of a pattern calculated to mislead -oung troops as to the true nature of
%ar. As an e'ample of the decepti.e calm that en.eloped the area& Waldeistroff& %hich accommodated a mass of ,rench
miscellaneous units& %as regarded as secure and %as not shelled until the last da-& %hen the 8th Battalion %as relie.ed )- the
7nd Battalion The Blac( Watch.

Fn the 74th April 1940& the 8th Battalion arri.ed )ac( at 4oncheau' %ith Brigade *.E. near )- at +e ,orest. !t %as to spend
another month digging anti?tan( defensi.e positions in this area and carr-ing out reconnaissances up to the Belgian frontier.
The dreadful %eather continued into the spring& so that digging )ecame a slo%& mess- process& and in the e.ent pro.ed
su)seDuentl- of no a.ail.
But the %ar of mud and static defence %as a)ruptl- concluded %hen #erman- in.aded the +o% 9ountries& and )- 14th 4a-
1940 the 8th Battalion %as %a- up at Dan *oe( on the outs(irts of Brussels& and for the ne't fortnight %as to e'perience its
first and last taste of grim realit-. During that short period it acDuitted itself in a manner %hich indicated that& had the
fortunes of %ar demanded its ser.ices on a second occasion& it %ould ha.e come a%a- %ith all the honours and more& of
%hich it %as to )e depri.ed )- the luc( of the dra%.
+ea.ing )ehind man- good friends among the ci.il population of 4oncheau'& the 8th Battalion pac(ed up and )- da-light on
14th 4a- 1940 %as across the Belgian frontier. !n loo(ing )ac( on the months in ,rance and Belgium there %ere fe% colourful
moments on %hich the mind could focus. But no record %ould )e complete %ithout mention of the episode %hich& for all its
humour& nearl- caused an 3!nternational situation.3 The 9ommanding Ffficer had managed to e.ade all restrictions and had
successfull- )rought o.er four ferrets& presuma)l- to deal %ith the ,rench rats. !t %as at 4oncheau' that a pri.ate soldier
detailed to loo( after the ferrets thought he %ould test them out in the ra))it copses round the 4oncheau' mines. Alas& a
,rench game?(eeper %as %aiting for them o.er an e'it hole and dul- confiscated the offending animals. !t then needed all the
diplomac- of +ieut.?9olonel @ohnstone and the *.E. 1taff to negotiate the su)seDuent hand?o.er& the ,rench +iaison Ffficer
)eing the medium through %hich& at a price& the- %ere e.entuall- returned. The ferrets %ere last seen scampering a%a- in
freedom in a Belgian field.
The 48th Di.ision %as mo.ing )- 4otor Transport (4.T.. The frontier )arriers %ere up and as the columns mo.ed through the
Belgian .illages the- recei.ed a %ild %elcome from the inha)itants. :.er-%here at the street corners groups of %omen and
children had gathered to speed them on their %a- %ith shouts and cheers.
Bp at Dan *oe( the Di.ision came into reser.e to the 1st 9orps& %hich %as alread- in action a%a- to the east& and
instructions %ere issued to carr- out reconnaissances for three alternati.e situations. The 1econd?in?9ommand (4a/or 1. W.
@ones found that the great 3+ion3 4emorial mar(ing the )attle of Waterloo made as good a .ie%point as an- and a long
reconnaissance %as made. But no sooner %as this o.er and plans formulated than orders %ere recei.ed to reinforce a ,rench
formation. The ,rench& ho%e.er& could not )e found& and the onl- ,rench troops encountered %ere some columns of 9olonial
units mo.ing rapidl- to the rear in undignified confusion. ,inall-& after the Brigadier had contacted Di.isional *.E.&
confirmation %as recei.ed that that particular plan %as no longer operati.e.
The plan chosen in.ol.ed a mo.e on to the Bois de 1oignes& for%ard of the field of Waterloo& and accordingl- on 1"th 4a-
1940 a mo.e %as made. The Brigade spent a rather fruitless da- entangled in the thic( forest. #ood roads intersected the
forest& )ut other%ise there %as no field of fire. There %ere some large pri.ate houses round %hich desultor- patrolling too(
place.
,or the ne't fe% da-s it %as a matter of marching& halting to fight spasmodic rear?guard actions& then on again& %ith little
ne%s coming in to gi.e a picture of ho% the Di.ision in general and the 8th Worcestershire in particular %ere fitting into the
entangled mo.ements of the B.:.,.& the ,rench& the Belgians and the enem-. ,or the soldier in the ran(s it meant marching
all night to a full moon& arri.al in the earl- morning& %aiting for the tas( allotted and contact %ith the enem-. Tentati.e orders
to go %ould )e recei.ed late in the e.ening and )- midnight the Battalion %ould )e again on the mo.e. :ncounters %ith the
enem- %ere nearl- al%a-s of an isolated nature so far as the 8th Battalion %as concerned. The )ridges %ere all )eing )lo%n
and there %as constant an'iet- lest some portion of the Battalion should )e caught on the %rong side of a )lo%n )ridge.
Fn 18th 4a- 1940 there should ha.e )een a )rief rest at We2?=el.ain& %here the Battalion came into reser.e and har)oured
for the night in the grounds of the chateau. But that night some enem- mortars ranged on to Battalion *.E. and there %ere
man- casualties& among them a .er- gallant medical officer& 9aptain @ones.

Wez Velvain location south of Tournai, Belgium

The Di.ision %as no% on the line of the
$i.er :scaut& and all ran(s %ere
heartened )- a message from the
Di.isional 9ommander to the effect that
the 48th Di.ision %as no% to stand and
fight& and there %ould )e no further
%ithdra%al. Accordingl- the Battalion
mo.ed up to Bru-elles on the :scaut&
relie.ing the Cth #loucesters in the
for%ard area in a defensi.e position of t%o
)attalions up and one %ithdra%n.
Throughout 77nd 4a- 1940 the enem-
%as held. The countr- %as enclosed %ith
lo% scru) do%n to the )an(s of the ri.er&
and it %as not difficult for the enem- to
%or( for%ard under co.er. 5e.ertheless
onl- small parties succeeded in crossing
and these %ere mopped up )- our patrols.
!n spite of hea.- casualties& the morale of
the 144th Brigade stood high& and it %as
a )itter disappointment %hen that e.ening
orders came to %ithdra% o.er the ,rench
frontier. The e'planationGthough it %as
not (no%n at the timeGpro.ed to )e the
surrender of the Belgians on the left.

!t %as not eas- to e'tricate the Brigade in the dar(ness& )ut the Brigadier (Brigadier @. 4. *amilton& D.1.F. handled it
super)l- %ithout fuss. 1tanding at a road /unction& he %atched his %ear-& disappointed troops march slo%l- on& man- turning
to their comrades for support.
6lanard %as reached on the 73rd 4a- 1940 and ,rench troops %ere in position on the frontier. But their general attitude to
the situation and the num)ers of them %ho %ere roaming around lost and unarmed %as not an encouraging )ac(ground for
speculation on the future. 5or %as it possi)le to remain for long unmo.ed )- the pitia)le spectacle of refugees& old people&
%omen and children& %ho& %ith their paraphernalia& cro%ded the roads e.er-%here and hampered mo.ement.
Fn 74th 4a- the Battalion staggered into A.elin. The- had co.ered some 700 miles in the last ten da-s& fighting all the %a-&
and the- %ere reaching the limits of human endurance. The suppl- s-stem had )ro(en do%n and there %as precious little to
eat. At the )est lo% rations could onl- at moments )e supplemented )- )u-ing and scrounging in the .illages.
At A.elin the Battalion tum)led into motor transport& and fe% %ere a%a(e to note Armentieres& the 4enin #ate and ;pres as
the- dro.e north?%est to Be.eren.
!t is difficult to (no% to %hat e'tent the fighting )attalions of the 48th Di.ision could follo% the general situation. But the
mo.e to the north %as an effort to hold the #ermans %ho %ere pushing up the coast from the south. Though it %as (no%n
that the ,rench had collapsed& there %as -et no tal( of e.acuation and Dun(ir( %as still /ust a name of another ,rench port.
A tri)ute is here due to the Di.isional 9a.alr- $egiment& the 17th $o-al +ancers& %ho had %or(ed )ac( %ith the Brigade to
A.elin. !t %as comforting indeed at the end of the long night to march through their road?)loc(s and find their cars tuc(ed into
the hedges read- to help the Battalion in.
Whether or not the decision of Dun(ir( had )een ta(en at this stage is hardl- rele.ant to this stor-. The fact remains that
there %as ne%s of a #erman tan( formation mo.ing up from the south?%est& and from Be.eren the 144th Brigade %ere sent
off to meet and hold the threat in order to gi.e the Di.ision and other formations the freedom needed to reach the coast.

Fn the 7"th 4a- 1940 the Brigade %as therefore concentrated in and around Wormhoudt. Both Battalion and Brigade *.Es.
%ere in the chateau. T%o companies %ere in the chateau grounds& the other t%o )eing some distance a%a- to the north in
touch %ith the defenders of Bergues. The War%ic(s %ere in position in Wormhoudt .illage& %hile the #loucesters on the left
held the main road from 9assel.
Fn 77th 4a- there %ere hopes of a Duiet da-& )ut the Brigadier e'plained that there %as a difficult time ahead. The /o) in
hand %as to sa.e precious hours for others to get to the coast. !f the pressure )ecame too great& then a %ithdra%al of a fe%
miles %ould )e underta(en& another stand %ould )e made& and the process repeated o.er again.
+ater this %as interpreted in an order %hich came in to hold the Wormhoudt position until midnight of the 78th.
And so on the morning of 78th 4a- the Battalion %as still in and around the chateau of Wormhoudt. :.er-one %as in high
spirits and the .er- serious situation else%here %as fortunatel- hardl- reali2ed.
That night the %eather& %hich had hitherto )een so (ind& )ro(e in a tremendous thunderstorm& and in the e.ent the drenching
rain and dar(ness ma- %ell ha.e imposed a %elcome fog of mo.ement o.er the enem- tan(s. !n the circumstances the
%ithdra%al %as put for%ard from midnight to 7100 hours.
A)out a mile from Battalion *.E. to the north?east& 3A3 and 3D3 9ompanies had organi2ed an all?round defence of the .illage
W-lder. These %ere left out to protect the right flan( of the Brigade %hile Battalion *.E. and 393 9ompan- %ithdre% along the
road to *er2ele. With them came the sur.i.ors of one troop of the C7nd Anti?Tan( $egiment (The Worcestershire ;eomanr-.
This troop alone had accounted for some t%ent-?si' #erman tan(s and had man?handled its guns after its transport had )een
destro-ed. Fn the %a- to *er2ele& 3B3 9ompan-& %hich had held the southern e'tremities of Wormhoudt& %ere met s%inging
along at a good pace& %onderfull- fresh and in high spirits.
Fnl- a short halt %as called at *er2ele& and thence a march %as made north?east to Bam)ecDue. !t %as here throughout 79th
4a- the 8th Battalion %as to fight a rearguard action %orth- of the finest traditions of the $egiment. Frders %ere recei.ed to
hold Bam)ecDue until 7100 hours. 3B3 9ompan- too( up a position north of the $i.er ;ser co.ering the road from *er2ele&
%ith 393 9ompan- /ust %est of the .illage itself. Battalion *.E. %as in the .illage.

B- 1130 hours 9aptain ,arrar had successfull- %ithdra%n 3D3 9ompan- half a mile to the east on to the road from Bam)ecDue
to West 9appel. At Battalion *.E. the doctor had found time to deli.er a ,rench %oman successfull- of a son and 3)oth %ere
doing %ell.3 #erman tan(s %ere no% coming on in large num)ers from Wormhoudt in the south?%est and Bergues in the
north?%est.
Tan(s %ould come up first to dra% fire and then to )rea( through for the lorried infantr- )ehind. The +.4.#s. of 3A3 and 3D3
9ompanies %ere ha.ing good shooting& and 6ri.ate Turton of 3D3 9ompan- successfull- shot up a 4.F. part- off?loading from
a large tan(. B- 1700 hours an enem- tan( attac( had closed in on 3D3 9ompan- *.E. and set it on fire. 9aptain ,arrar %as
last seen firing an anti?tan( rifle at enem- tan(s at close range. B- 1800 hours )oth companies %ere so )adl- cut up as to
ma(e further resistance impossi)le& and the sur.i.ors& three officers and a)out si't- other ran(s& dri))led into Battalion *.E.
in threes and fours to reorgani2e.
4ean%hile stragglers from other units %ere coming in and it %as difficult to organi2e them effecti.el- in support of the
defence. B- 1730 hours the circle %as )eginning to close around Bam)ecDue and 3B3 and 393 9ompanies %ere hea.il-
in.ol.ed. 9aptain :. W. Berr- organi2ed a %or(ing part- and )uilt a .er- stout road?)loc( of farm?carts and tractors on the
Bam)ecDue road )elo% Battalion *.E. The same officer had pre.iousl- had a great shoot round the Wormhoudt mar(et sDuare
from a carrier& sending #erman infantr- scuttling li(e ra))its into the houses.
At a)out 1800 hours a +iaison Ffficer from Brigade *.E. arri.ed %ith orders for a %ithdra%al at 7100 hours& and a route to
Bra- Dunes& on the coast north?east of Dun(ir(& %as gi.en. The Ad/utant then had to get out mar(ed Duarter?inch maps to as
man- su)ordinate commanders as could )e found& no eas- tas( in .ie% of the fact that the enem- no% had e.er- possi)le
route under o)ser.ation. =arious runners .olunteered to ta(e out the orders& )ut none of them got through to their
destinations. At last dar(ness fell and at 710C hours a start %as made thinning out the defenders& %ho )egan to %ind their
%a- in single file along the road to $e'poede. The last detachment finall- left at a)out 7700 hours under the command of
9aptain Berr-. But 3B3 and 393 9ompanies had suffered grie.ous loss. 3B3 9ompan- indeed& %hich had )een %idel- deplo-ed&
fought on until its ammunition %as e'hausted and then& %ith the net dra%n tightl- around it& had no alternati.e )ut to
surrender. The sur.i.ors as the- trudged the long miles to Bra- Dunes all through the night at least could (no% that& despite
hea.- sacrifices& their endurance had ensured the safet- of thousands.

Route taken by the 8th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment !"th #ay to "$th #ay !%&$'
The num)ers indicate the da- in 4a- that the Battalion %as at that location.

The a)o.e is all too )rief an account of an action in %hich man- moments of indi.idual heroism must remain unsung. A British
infantr- )attalion had fought and held an armoured enem- attac(ing in o.er%helming strength. !n doing so& its 9ommanding
Ffficer& 1econd?in?9ommand and Ad/utant had set an e'ample of leadership and disregard for personal safet- %hich had
Duic(l- )ecome infectious. !n such conditions it is in.idious to single out indi.iduals for merit %here so man- contri)uted to
the common heroism of some ten long da-s of fighting.
The march to Bra- Dunes has )een summed up as a nightmare. All transport had )een destro-ed at Bam)ecDue. ,or man-
this in.ol.ed the a)andonment of a mass of trin(ets& of personal (it collected la)oriousl- o.er the %inter. The 1econd?in?
9ommand and Ad/utant also had the happier tas( of )urning all secret and confidential documents o.er a (itchen fire.
Fn either side of the road the d-(es %ere flooded and for miles an interloc(ed sham)les of transport /ammed all mo.ement.
*ere and there an e'ploded .ehicle )urning itself out added colour to the confusion. 1ometimes the onl- %a- round %as to
ta(e to the %ater in the d-(es. At other moments troops had to clim) on to and o.er the .ehicles. At $e'poede it %as hoped
to find British troops in position& )ut the place %as a mass of )urning hamlets %ith )e%ildered .illagers adding to the chaos. A
fe% minutes8 contact %ere made %ith the Brigadier and then on to Bra- Dunes. An enormous dump of arm- .ehicles )la2ing
a%a- in some fields %as grim e.idence of the #erman domination.
The flooding of the countr-side ma- ha.e handicapped the enem-& )ut it meant precious little to drin( for the troops> and it
%as good to find the Brigade %ater?truc( %ithin a mile or t%o of the )each near )- one of the fe% pure %ater supplies.
Fn the )each a massi.e& immaculate militar- policeman %as sorting out arri.als )- di.isions. As far as the e-e could see&
thousands of troopsGBritish and ,rench cro%ded the )each& %hile at the time onl- one solitar- destro-er and t%o small
merchant ships stood a mile out to sea. 1urel-& some ma- ha.e thought& here %as no sal.ation )ut a death?trap A Ffficers and
men la- huddled together in the dunes& sleeping the sleep of e'haustion. Fthers %ere chatting to each other or staring silentl-
out to sea. *ere and there an officer or 5.9.F. %as )us- sorting out his particular floc(. *undreds %ere slo%l- %andering to
and fro searching for their comrades. 9onfusion there certainl- %as& )ut no panic. Discipline %as unsha(en and graduall- the
situation %as resol.ing into such order as %as possi)le.
At last a count could )e ta(en& and a)out a hundred men of the Battalion could )e mustered. The tale of losses is simpl- told
%hen it is remem)ered that C33 replacements %ere sent to /oin in :ngland. Fn the )each throughout the da-& se.en men of
393 9ompan- turned up> none& alas& from 3B3 9ompan-. (see note +ater a total of 149 men )oarded the #len #o%er.

Note:
(Captain E. J. Haywood, wrote later: " 'B' Company were cut off and when we withdrew that night we could till hear fighting.
!e concluded that 'B' Company wa till holding out, "ut there wa nothing we could do."#
That da- on the )each the Battalion performed its last ser.ice for the %elfare of its comrades in the B.:.,. !t had )een e.ident
that there %ere no orders co.ering the arrangements for the ro%ing )oats to come and go )et%een the shore and the ships.
The 9ommanding Ffficer and a 4a/or of the $o-al :ngineers too( the situation in hand. =olunteers %ere called for to s%im out
and )ring in man- of the )oats %hich %ere floating idl- in the sea& and ro%ing gangs from men %ho professed to ro% %ere
organi2ed. The men of the Battalion formed three sides of a sDuare on the )each facing a%a- from the sea& and into this )o'
parties for the )oats %ere passed as the- %ere made up. !t %as a fine /o) of %or(. :arlier the 9olonel had decided that parties
of %aifs and stra-s %ithout a unit should ta(e precedence> and so it %as that 8th Worcestershire came a%a- ha.ing seen
man- another to safet- first. ;et it %as not immediate safet-. ,or some %ho fell asleep on the #len #o%er a%o(e t%o hours
later %ith .isions of the :nglish coast in sight& onl- to find that the- %ere still at Dun(ir(A The ship had steamed fi.e miles
do%n the coast to pic( up 700 %ounded )efore heading for *ar%ich.

The (len (o)er )ith troo*s on board

The #len #o%er pro.ed to )e a paddle?steamer& familiarl- (no%n on the Bristol 9hannel ferr- ser.ice. *er dec(s %ere pac(ed
%ith troops. $ifles %ere stac(ed to sa.e space& and her captain had a )us- time shouting instructions to o)tain an e.en
distri)ution of %eight on his dec(s. 34o.e right do%n the car& pleaseA3 !n such a %a- he )alanced his paddles e.enl- in the
%ater.
1o far as enem- interference %as concerned it %as a luc(- da-. Fnl- at Dun(ir( a #erman plane straddled the #len #o%er
%ith a stic( of )om)s and one caught it %ith a glancing )lo%. Ff the 1&400 men on )oard& onl- four or fi.e %ere hit.
And so to *ar%ich> and for once 3the #lorious ,irst of @une3 passed uncele)ratedA

Those fe% %ho la- a%a(e on the /ourne- to *ar%ich might perhaps ha.e %ondered at the (ind of reception %hich a%aited
them from the people of :ngland. *ardl- could the- return triumphant as conDuering heroes. ;et %ould there )e credit for the
stu))orn heroism of the past fe% %ee(sH Would there )e some recognition of the magnitude of the tas( the B.:.,. %ere called
on to perform at a time %hen it %as )eing deserted )- those on %hom it had depended to form a common front against the
#erman armour in its s%eep across the +o% 9ountriesH The- need not ha.e )een an'ious. !n the case of the 8th
Worcestershire& a )attalion of the Welsh #uards %ere to )e their hosts for a fe% hours& and the- made the small part- feel
that %hate.er the circumstances& it %as good to )e home. ,irst& there %as the /o- of getting clean& and after%ards a 3high
tea3 of ham& salad& )read and )utter& cheese and ca(e seemed a .erita)le )anDuet after the scant- rations of the past three
%ee(s. As the men formed up to catch the train to Der)-& a cro%d collected along the railings )- the station and ga.e them a
cheer. !t %as the tonic the- needed> and once again the old spirit %as ali.e.
!n such %a-s the return of an arm- in its grie.ous loss %as to sha(e the people of :ngland from their apath- and )race them
to meet the danger ahead.
!t %as not until 4th @une that at <ington the Battalion %as a)le to halt and ta(e stoc( of its resources. Bnli(e man- units& it
had )rought a%a- its rifles and some had managed to carr- their +.4.#s. At <ington for a month it re?formed. T%o large
drafts %ere recei.ed& one from the Depot at Worcester& the other from the $o-al Welch ,usiliers at Wre'ham. With the arri.al
of a)out 400 ne% recruits& ne% clothing and light eDuipment& the Battalion %as once again an acti.e unit read- to train for the
ne't phase. ,rom <ington on 3rd @ul- a mo.e %as made to 1omerset& %here )illets %ere found in t%o .illages& 9astle 9ar-
and Bruton& %ith Brigade *.E. at ,rome. The role of the 48th Di.ision %as no% that of 3anti?in.asion&3 and in this capacit-
the- proceeded into 9orn%all. Transport %as )- single?dec(er Western 5ational )uses& and the Battalion %ent into camp at
+anh-droc(& near Bodmin.
Fn Cth August the Battalion mo.ed to 6enr-n and ,almouth& %here& under the orders of Admiral <itson& it %as responsi)le for
the defence of ,almouth. Fnce again it %as a matter of digging and %iring round ,almouth and 6enr-n& %ith hea.- guard
duties )- night. The usual alarms and rumours interrupted %or( %ith freDuent orders to 3stand?to.3 Fn 17th Fcto)er the-
returned to Truro. :'moor and Ames)ur- pro.ided the areas for anti?in.asion e'ercises and %eapon training. All the time
further additions in arms and eDuipment %ere arri.ing& and )- 4a-& 1941& the 48th Di.ision& though still in an anti?in.asion
role& %as complete in eDuipment& %as mo)ile %ith all its transport ser.ices and up to full esta)lishment.

8th Battalion men of trans*ort section !%&!'
(photo supplied )- 6eter Butlin ? his father *orace ser.ed %ith the 8th Battalion

Fn the 71st 4a- 1941 a mo.e %as made to Ti.erton& Brigade *.E. )eing close )- in 9ullompton. The Battalion left the Brigade
for a short period from 70th @une until 19th @ul- for Bri'ton& near 6l-mouth. This allo%ed for the 11th Battalion The
De.onshire $egiment to ta(e its place in the Brigade for training purposes and afforded all ran(s a %elcome rest.
;et another mo.e follo%ed to 1t. Austell& in 9orn%all& on 71st August& the Brigade going to Bridesto%& near F(ehampton. !t
%as at 1t. Austell that for a )rief period the %hole Battalion )ecame screen artists for the purpose of ma(ing the film 35e't of
<in.3 The ne% role& ho%e.er& %as interrupted on 7"th 1eptem)er %hen the %hole of the 48th Di.ision too( part in e'ercise
3Bumper3 and finished up at Wo)urn& in Bedfordshire. The e'ercise %as on a large scale %ith tan(s in )attle on )oth sides and
%as a clear indication of the degree to %hich our armed forces had )een a)le to reco.er and eDuip since the tragic da-s of
Dun(ir(.
B- Cth Fcto)er the Battalion %as )ac( at 1t. Austell to complete its film %or(. But on 1Cth Fcto)er it re/oined the Brigade at
F(ehampton& and earl- in 5o.em)er the %hole Di.ision mo.ed north to +incolnshire& Battalion *.E. )eing at *ungerton *all&
#rantham& %ith companies scattered around. Fn 79th 5o.em)er& 1941& the Battalion mo.ed to 5orth 1omercotes. Thereafter
north +incolnshire %as to remain the training area for man- months. 9onstant mo.es for the sa(e of mo.ement seemed at
times to )e the polic- of higher authorit-& and in 1947 +outh& Woodhall 1pa and 4ar(et $asen %ere .isited& %ith freDuent
e'ercises at $ufford and else%here.
,irst at 5orth 1omercotes and then at +outh in @anuar-& 1947& %here *.E. %as set up in a ne% drill hall& the role %as coastal
defence. The War Diar- reflects the monoton- of the period after the campaign in ,rance& and entries tell of sno%& frost&
.oluntar- church parades and coastal e'ercises. !t is almost %ith a sense of relief that reference is made to the successful
)aling out of the cre% of a 4anchester )om)er %hich crashed in the Battalion area. !t %as a constant struggle to maintain and
stimulate interest. ,or the %or( in hand& the preparation of the 48th Di.ision in a role to meet the threatened in.asion& %as
still of .ital significance. District e'ercises %ere& ho%e.er& freDuentl- pac(ed %ith interest. The allo%ance for fifth columnists
pro.ided %ith false identit- papers lent a certain e'citement to the proceedings. But it is a little incongruous to find in the
same orders co.ering such matters that 3special care %ill )e ta(en not to alarm floc(s of sheep )- firing )lan( o%ing to the
lam)ing season A3