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Territorial Army 1920-1945

Museum of the Manchester Regiment


History


Territorial Army 1920-1945

5th Battalion The Manchester Regiment (TA)

On 29 March 1939 the government ordered a doubling in strength of the Territorial Army and on 31 July the battalion was divided in two, the second half forming a new 6th Battalion. The 5th Battalion mobilised on 1 September 1939 with all men under 19 or of low medical category being transferred to the newly formed 6th Battalion. Training was carried out locally and in Central Park, Wigan. At the end of the month to Haydon Bridge, Northumberland and in January 1940 to Marlborough, Wiltshire.

To France with the BEF on 24 April as part of 127 ( Manchester ) Brigade 42 ( East Lancashire ) Division to Halluin on the French/Belgium border. Following the German invasion of Belgium on 10 May the battalion moved to the area of Douai. During the withdrawal to Dunkirk the battalion was engaged in close combat to the west of Bergues. To the UK on 1/2 June from Dunkirk.

The battalion reorganised at Stokesley, near Middlesborough. Later to West Aukland, to Wortley in the Sheffield area and, in the autumn, to Wheatley, near Oxford. In November to Felixstowe, Suffolk. In March 1941 the battalion moved to Southend and in the summer to Orwell Park, between Felixstowe and Ipswich. On 1 November 1941 the battalion was redesignated 111 Regiment Royal Armoured Corps (The Manchester Regiment) when 42 nd Division was converted to an armoured division. In November 1942 the regiment became an armoured car regiment of 77th Division.

In November 1943 the battalion moved to Greatham, near West Hartlepool and reverted to an infantry role following disbandment of 42 Division. For a short time in 38th Division, then to 55th Division at Corsham, again converting to a machine-gun battalion. In August/September 1944 acted as the Royal Bodyguard at Balmoral whilst the Royal Family was in residence. December 1944 to Nutley, Sussex, with 'D' Company to Sandringham for Royal Guard duties. In February 1945 to Mundford, Norfolk until April when it moved to Llanybydder, Carmarthenshire.

Posted to Malta on 18 November 1945 and remained there until November 1946. Battalion disbanded and 159 men transferred to the 1st Battalion in Germany in February 1947.

Reformed as a Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment Royal Artillery in 1947.

6th /7th Battalion The Manchester Regiment (TA)

In 1922 the 6th and 7th Battalions amalgamated to form the 6th/7th Battalion.

This amalgamated battalion became 65 Anti-Aircraft Regiment RA in December 1936. New 6th and 7th Battalions were formed in 1939.

6th Battalion The Manchester Regiment (TA)

On 29 March 1939 the government ordered a doubling in strength of the Territorial Army and a duplicate battalion was raised at Wigan by the 5th Battalion that, on 31 July 1939, became the 6th Battalion. Captain W M Archdale was appointed Adjutant and Lieut Beatson Quartermaster. The battalion was embodied in Wigan on 1 September 1939. In April 1940 to the Thirsk area. 8 June 1940 to Driffield and on 23 June to Beccles, Suffolk. In November to Henley on Thames, January 1941 to Huntercombe, July to Aldershot, December to Hull and in May 1942 to Withernsea. In June 1942 reconstituted as the 1st Battalion.

7th Battalion The Manchester Regiment (TA)

As per the newly formed 6th Battalion. A duplicate battalion had been formed by the 8th (Ardwick) Battalion, which on 31 July 1939 became the 7th Battalion. Mobilised in 1939 as part of 127 ( Manchester ) Brigade of 42 nd ( East Lancashire ) Division.

To coast defence at Lowestoft in 1940, then to Maidenhead and Yorkshire as part of 55th Division. In late 1942 to Scotland at Dornoch to become a Support Battalion of 52 nd (Lowland) Division. Battalion Headquarters at Orton, between Rothes and Fochabers, and later at Broughty Ferry. In April 1944 the battalion concentrated at Arbroath as a Support Battalion with one Mortar Company and three Vickers Medium Machine Gun companies. 6 August to Chalfont St Giles and Ashbridge then on 2 September to Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire.

To Belgium in groups between 15 /21 October 1944. First action in the battle for Walcheren with 'C' Company taking part in a seaborne assault on Flushing on 5 November 1944. The attack was made in Buffaloes and in support of a company of the 7th /9th Royal Scots resulting in the surrender of the German garrison of Flushing. Then to s'Hertogenbosch in late November and into Germany and Geilenkirchen on 6/7 December. Following further fighting west of the Rhine the battalion took part in the battle for Wesel, and later the battle around the Dortmund/Ems Canal.

Took part in the capture of Bremen and the surrender of the German army. Two weeks later to Magdeburg on the Elbe. Mid-June to Belgium and in August to Haltern in the Ruhr. Later returned to the UK and disbandment.

8th (Ardwick) Battalion The Manchester Regiment (TA)

Mobilised in 1939. To France with the BEF and immediately on to Malta. Served Sergeants mess members, Malta, August 1940there throughout the siege. Then to the Middle East in 1943 and to Italy where it fought until the end of the war with 10th Indian Division. The battalion's first major attack was in the Central Apennines in early June 1943 resulting in the capture of the village of Piccione. They captured the strongly fortified medieval castle of Rocca D'Aria, shortly afterwards capturing the German position on the mountain ridge of Monte Altuccia.

Later the battalion fought in the battles for the Gothic Line, their final action being the major assault on the village of San Pietro di Bagno. The battalion was relieved on 2 October 1944, moved to Naples and arrived in the UK on 23 October 1944, having completed four and a half years service overseas. The next six months were spent training infantry in Northern Ireland and the battalion then moved to Pembroke Dock in South Wales.

9th Battalion The Manchester Regiment (TA)

Mobilised in 1939. To France with the BEF in 1940. Engaged in heavy fighting around Arras, which was virtually surrounded by the enemy and later abandoned. Following the return from Dunkirk in June 1940 the battalion reorganised at Llandudno. To South Devon in January 1941.

To Iceland as Vickers medium machine-gun battalion of Iceland 'C' Force in March 1941. Then to Scotland, the Orkney and Shetland Islands, and later in December 1942 to East Anglia.

To Italy in 1943 as machine-gun battalion of 4th Indian Division and later to 46th Division. Fought in the battles for the Gothic Line and in the Central Apennines. Briefly to Greece in January 1945 against the communist uprising and eventually to Klagenfurt, Austria.

Returned to Ashton under Lyne in late 1945. Demobilisation completed in January 1946.

2/9th Battalion The Manchester Regiment (TA)

Reformed in 1938 as a machine-gun battalion and mobilised in Fairfield, Ashton under Lyne in 1939. To Tenby, South Wales in early 1940 guarding Milton Aerodrome and Pendine Sands against possible enemy invasion. In October 1940 to Pontypool and in February 1941 to the south of England on coastal defence duties. Converted to 88th Anti-Tank Regiment Royal Artillery in December 1941. In 1942 to Bournemouth and later to Llanidloes, Central Wales as the anti-tank regiment of 49 Division. Remained in UK and disbanded in 1945.

10th Battalion The Manchester Regiment (TA)

Converted to 41st Battalion Royal Tank Corps on 31st October 1938 and renamed 41st Royal Tank Regiment in 1939. A 'second line' was formed at Oldham in April 1939 and was numbered 47th Battalion RTR. Both battalions were in action in the Middle East and at the battle of El Alamein. After the victory at El Alamein the 47th, which had suffered appalling casualties, was disbanded. The 41st were then equipped with flail tanks and became 1st Scorpion Regiment Royal Armoured Corps.

Later after an infusion of Sappers they became 1st Assault (Engineer) Regiment. They then took part in the river crossing battles of the Italian campaign. After active service throughout the war they merged with 40th RTR (previously 7th Bn The King's ( Liverpool ) Regiment) and eventually merged with the Duke of Lancaster's Yeomanry.

11th (Home Defence) Battalion The Manchester Regiment

Was raised for a short period in the UK prior to WWII in 1936 as 102 Group National Defence Company (Territorial Army Reserve). Later in 1939 renamed 11th (Home Defence) Battalion and in 1941 renamed 30th Battalion. It was commanded by Lieut Colonel J W Holmes MBE TD (Possibly late 5th Battalion) The battalion formed part of the East Lancashire area force, together with 8th Border Regiment and 6th East Lancashire Regiment (ACI 742 of 1939 as amended by ACI 831/3). It consisted of officers and other ranks found permanently or temporarily unfit for service overseas but fit for service at home.

Their role was to protect important points in Great Britain, as far as possible in the neighbourhood of their own homes. Unfortunately its duties and locations are not recorded in regimental archives. The battalion was disbanded in 1943.

Page last updated: 7 March 2011