Tag Archives: Glosters

Normandy Legacy – D-Day Remembered 70 Years On – The Rifles Heritage

50th Div_ D-Day_gold_beachDLI embarked for D-Day
Friday 6th June 2014 marks the 70th Anniversary of D-Day, the allied assault landing into Nazi occupied Europe. An operation that marked the start of the liberation of Europe and the beginning of the end for Hitler and his Nazi empire. Antecedent Regiments of The Rifles feature large in the story of D-Day in every aspect of the operation.D Coy of the 2nd Bn Oxford & Buckinghamshire LI, under command Major John Howard, famously captured the bridges over the Caen Canal and Orne River in a preliminary ‘coup de main’ operation early hours D-Day. Less well known is that they were subsequently reinforced by 7th (LI) Para Bn [formerly 10th Som. LI], who were also part of the 6th Airborne Division assault landing.pegasus_bridge

On the coast, on the beaches 1st Dorsets were taking part in their 3rd beach assault of the war (having previously landed in Sicily and Italy) 2nd Devons were landing on Gold Beach, along with 6th 8th 9th DLI (151 ‘Durham Brigade – also veterans of Sicily) 2nd Glosters, 12th Devons, 5th Royal Berks and 2nd KSLI were all also landing on the Normandy beaches that day in 1944. Beaches some of which had been marked out for landing by another antecedent of The Rifles, 1st Buckinghamshire Bn (TA) Ox & Bucks LI who were part of 6th Beach Group.

Devonshires-DDaylanding

The story of each of these units and their involvement in Operation Overlord can be explored further by visiting their museums in The Keep Dorchester, The Wardrobe Salisbury, The Castle Taunton, The DLI Museum Durham, RGJ Museum Winchester, all part of The Rifles museums Network.

It was a momentous moment in world history and events that day 70 years ago, still influence the Europe of today. On this 70th anniversary we pay respect to all veterans and the fallen of this operation. We in The Rifles can be justly proud of the D-Day legacy our forebears have left us. For that reason recalling their bold deeds that day; both Pegasus Bridge & Normandy are proud battle honours borne on the appointments of every Rifleman today.

 

Remembering The Glorious Glosters in Korea – April 1951

 The Battle of Imjin River, Korea 22-25 April 1951. The 1st Battalion The Gloucestershire Regiment as part of 29th Commonwealth Infantry Brigade were in defence holding a key historic invasion route from the north towards Seoul, a shallow crossing on the Imjin River.
The Battalion consisted of approximately 650 all ranks.

Drum Major Buss 1st Bn The Gloucestershire Regiment, answers the Chinese Bugles with his own. Gloster Hill, Korea 1951.

Drum Major Buss 1st Bn The Gloucestershire Regiment, answers the Chinese Bugles with his own. Gloster Hill, Korea 1951.

The battle commenced on the 22nd April when the forward standing patrols engaged the advanced guard of massive assault by the Chinese Peoples Army attempting to drive towards Seoul. By the morning of the 23rd, facing some 10,000 Chinese troops, the forward Companies of the Glosters were forced to withdraw to concentrate on Hill 235 with the remainder of the Battalion, later to be known as Gloster Hill. The Glosters were to fight on for a further 2 days against insurmountable odds, often driving off massed charges at the point of the bayonet; becoming increasingly isolated as the rest of the Brigade withdrew under the weight of similar hammer blow attacks by Chinese Divisions. By the 24th April B&C Companies had merged to one, due to casualties sustained. By the morning of the 25th, Brigade Artillery support had become untenable. Brigadier Brodie left the decision whether to attempt a break out or to surrender to Lieutenant-Colonel Carne, the Glosters’ CO and with ammunition and medical supplies spent, he “gave the order to his company commanders to make for the British lines as best as they could” on the morning of the 25th. Only the remains of D company under the command of Major Mike Harvey escaped successfully from Gloster Hill and reached the safety of friendly lines after several days. The rest of the battalion was taken prisoner, including Lieutenant-Colonel Carne. 620 men from the Gloucestershire Regiment, which mustered 217 men on 27 April, were on the Brigade Casualty list. 522 soldiers became prisoners of war and of them, 180 were wounded and a further 34 died while in captivity. 59 soldiers of the Gloucestershire Regiment were killed in action.The action of The Glosters and 29th Brigade had however so worn down the combat effectiveness of the lead Divisions of the communist assault that their attack was stalled and the South Korean capital saved. For this action the Glosters received 2 VCs (one to the CO), 1 George Cross, 2 DSO and 1 MC and were awarded a US Presidential Citation. The swift decisive action and boldness in defence demonstrated by the Glosters during this battle are duly seen as part of the proud legacy The Rifles have inherited from there forming Regiments. Imjin is one of the 34 battle honours borne on the Belt Plate Badge of the Regiment. To find out more about this piece of The Rifles story visit the recently refurbished Soldiers of Gloucester Museum