Shoulder flash East Surrey (canvas)

white on red, residu on back

€ 20,00

The 1st Battalion, East Surrey Regiment was a Regular Army unit based in England at the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939. The battalion was part of the 11th Infantry Brigade, which also included the 2nd Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers and 1st Battalion, Ox and Bucks Light Infantry, and was attached to the 4th Infantry Division and was sent to France with the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in October. After returning to the United Kingdom after the Battle of Dunkirk and evacuation from Dunkirk in May–June 1940 the 1st Battalion was reformed and spent the next two years on home defence expecting a German invasion.[20] In June 1942 the battalion was reassigned, with the rest of the 11th Brigade, part of the newly raised 78th Battleaxe Infantry Division, with which it remained for the rest of the war. It took part in Operation Torch in November 1942, landing in North Africa at Algiers with the British First Army.[20] Following this the battalion fought with the division in Tunisia until the end of the Tunisian Campaign in May 1943. During this time it took part in notable actions such as Ochsenkopf offensive, Longstop Hill and Tebourba.

A battle patrol of the 1st Battalion, East Surrey Regiment rest after returning from enemy territory, 16 December 1943. They are armed with Thompson SMGs, grenades and a captured German MP 40.
After North Africa the British First Army was disbanded and 78th Division became part of the British Eighth Army. The battalion then fought in Sicily during the invasion before moving to Italy for the Italian Campaign where it had notable involvement in the Battle of Termoli and the fighting on the Barbara Line and River Sangro during the autumn of 1943. In February 1944 78th Division was switched to the Cassino sector. The battalion initially held positions on the River Rapido south of Cassino but by March had been moved into bleak and exposed positions in the mountains north of the town. In late April they were relieved and after a brief rest took part in the fourth and final battle of Monte Cassino in May 1944.They were then involved in the pursuit after the Allied breakthrough. They fought a hard engagement at Lake Trasimeno on the Trasimene Line in June 1944 before being withdrawn with the rest of the division in July to Egypt for rest and training.

The 1st East Surreys returned with 78th Division to Italy in September 1944 in time to take part in Operation Olive and the fighting in the Apennine Mountains during the winter of 1944 and occupying positions on Monte Spaduro when the front became static. In February 1945 the battalion came out of the front line to prepare and train for the offensive planned for the spring. By late March the whole division was in place on the banks of the Senio river ready for the start of the spring 1945 offensive which started on 6 April. The battalion fought in the intense action at the Argenta Gap before advancing with the rest of the division to the north of the Gulf of Venice and crossing the Italian border to finish the war in Austria.

The 2nd Battalion

Memorial in All Saints, Kingston to the 2nd Battalion, East Surrey Regiment and the men it lost in the Malayan campaign and as prisoners afterwards.
In 1940 the 2nd Battalion was shipped from China to Malaya where it was attached to 11th Indian Infantry Division based in North West Malaya. In December 1941 the Japanese Army invaded Malaya after landing in southern Thailand. The 2nd East Surreys suffered tremendous casualties during the defence and retreat from this part of Malaya. The battalion was amalgamated with the 1st Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment to form the British Battalion on 19 December 1941. This unit fought gallantly throughout the rest of the short campaign until the surrender of the British Army at Singapore in February 1942.

In May 1942 the 2nd Battalion was reformed in the United Kingdom from the redesignation of the 11th Battalion, a hostilities-only battalion raised in 1940 that joined the 184th Infantry Brigade, 61st Division. It did not see further action in the Second World War.

Shoulder title East Surrey (canvas)

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