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Coldstream Guards in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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World War 2 Two II WW2 WWII

Coldstream Guards

   The Coldstream Guards are the oldest Regiment in the British Army, being formed in 1650.

In 1939, the 1st and 2nd Battalions went to France with the British Expeditionary Force. Two additional battalions, the 4th and 5th, were also raised during the war. The Coldstream Guards saw action throughout Europe and North Africa serving both as dismounted Infantry and Armoured Battalions with Sherman and Churchill tanks.

20th Sep 1939 On the Move

11th May 1940 Plan D

12th May 1940 On the March

13th May 1940 On the March

14th May 1940 Holding the Line

15th May 1940 Constructing Defences

16th May 1940 Constructing Defences

17th May 1940 Moving Back

18th May 1940 A New Line

19th May 1940 A New Line

20th May 1940 Digging In

21st May 1940 Under Fire

22nd May 1940 Withdrawl

23rd May 1940 On the March

24th May 1940 Platoon Under Fire

25th May 1940 Quiet Day

26th May 1940 Quiet Day

27th May 1940 Withdrawl

28th May 1940 On the March

29th May 1940 Confusion

30th May 1940 Holding the Bridges

30th May 1940 Casualties

31st May 1940 Under Fire

1st Jun 1940 Withdrawl

2nd Jun 1940 Withdrawl

4th Jun 1940 With the Wounded

8th Jun 1940 On the Move

22nd Jun 1940 On the Move

23rd Jun 1940 Digging In

24th Jun 1940 Costal Defence

25th Jun 1940 Officers and Men rejoin

26th Jun 1940 CO Visits Company

27th Jun 1940 Defences Strengthened

28th Jun 1940 Reorganisation

29th Jun 1940 Costal Defences

30th Jun 1940 Work Continues

27th Jul 1940 On the Move

1st Aug 1940 Wounded Moved

5th Oct 1940 Escape

17th Oct 1940 In Hiding

31st Oct 1940 Report to the Consul

22nd Nov 1940 On the Move

22nd Feb 1941 Back on British Soil

If you can provide any additional information, especially on actions and locations at specific dates, please add it here.

Those known to have served with

Coldstream Guards

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

The names on this list have been submitted by relatives, friends, neighbours and others who wish to remember them, if you have any names to add or any recollections or photos of those listed, please Add a Name to this List

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There are 1 pages in our library tagged Coldstream Guards  These include information on officers service records, letters, diaries, personal accounts and information about actions during the Second World War.

Access our library

Frank Rushton 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards

My Granddad Frank Rushton, served with the 2nd battalion Coldstream Guards from 1938-1946. Anyone with information on Stalag 4B and 7B and Jacobstal would be very helpful

Rebecca Rushton

William Wheeler Coldstream Guards

CSM Willliam Wheeler served with the Coldstream Guards. Bill died a year ago, he had sent to me a couple of chapters of a "book" which he was writing about his 17 years in the Guards. He was mentioned in despatches for actions in the rearguard at Dunkirk and in the armoured units advance to relieve Arnhem. I would like to know where his "book" ended up.

Rodney Hyde

Frank Henry Bennet Coldstream Guards

My father was a prisoner of war we think in Italy. I would like to find out which camp he was in. We think it was from 20/06/42 until 1944 when he escaped to Switzerland. His army no. is 2658732.

Sue Proctor

Grdsmn. James Frederick Corbett Coldstream Guards

I'm interested in learning more of my Grandfathers exploits during WWII after joining the Coldstream Guards in October 1940. He seems to have been transferred to and from various Battalions within the Coldstream Guards and records state that he worked as a sign writer and despatch rider. He was shot and injured on 1st July 1944 by a German sniper whilst riding a motorcyle, he escaped by riding the vehicle into a corn field.

Sadly my grandfather died before I was born so I of my information comes via my father. I hope someone can help. I have my grandfathers full service history if this would help.

Jim Corbett

Gdsm. Reginald Charles Herbert "Bunnie" Bunn 1st Btn. 14 Coy Coldstream Guards (d.13th May 1940)

My older brother Reginald was killed at Dunkirk in 1940. I am now in Australia and have a few letters that Reginald wrote whilst in training and with BEF. I have no photos of my brother, the only one I have is when he was 12! Would it be posible to trace any squad pitures when he was in Caterham, Pirbright or No 1 Infantry base Depot BEF? I would love these and would be willing to pay for the time spent and cost, can anyone help?

Keith Mills Bunn

Michael Sarsfield Coldstream Guards

My uncle Michael Sarsfield served with the Coldstream Guards and was captured at Tobruk. He was four years in prisoner of war camp in Germany. He was freed at end of war and returned to Jarrow, Newcastle-on-Tyne, England.

Pat McNamara

Rowland Thomas Woodhall Coldstream Guards

Our Grandad, Rowland Woodhall served in the Coldstream Regiment of the Foot Guards. We have a notification dated Feb 16th 1940.

Jayne Jenkins

GSM. John Harold "The Duke" Brookes MID. Coldstream Guards

My Father, John Harold Brookes joined the Coldstream Guards aged 16 in 1935. He was posted out to North Africa and served in the Desert Rats. Dad was mentioned in dispatches for distinguished service in the Battle of Sidi Barrani, when he and an NCO stormed an Italian machine gun nest. The NCO was given a DSO despite, according to legend, being behind my Father during the advance. The dispatch was recorded in the London Gazette on September 13th 1940.

Later, post war, Dad joined the Palestine police serving until the 1947 handover to the Isrealis.

Vincent John Brookes

Len Joynes Coldstream Guards

My late father, Len Joynes, was in the Coldstream Guards when he was captured on 20th June 1942 at Tobruk. My information is that he was held prisoner of war at Campo 73 and escaped when the Italians surrendered in September 1943.

His army records show him being a prisoner of war up until April 1944 during which time I am pretty sure he spent with Italian partisans near to Pescara as I have some wonderful letters from an Italian family and fellow escapees. I am presently trying to make contact with this family as well as trying to piece together any information that would enable me to put together what must have been a most wonderful journey in life.


RSM. P. Kilbey Coldstream Guards

I collect POW mail and have a preprinted card in respect of a money transfer sent from Stalag 383 by RSM Kilbey, P. serial number 2653008 sent to the Regimental Paymaster, Coldstream Guards on 30 Sep 1944 but not received by the addressee until 24 Feb 1945.

Jim McKay

Pte. Edward John Potter 2nd Btn. Coldstream Guards

My Father, Ted Potter, transfered from the RAF Regiment to the Coldstream Guards and afterwards was transported (by towed barge) to Italy for the Italian campagne. He, like many, never told us much about his time there but I understand that he was a front line soldier and was amongst the first to cross the river Po. He finished his war in Trieste. I recall one of his stories was about his mate given the task of emptying the latrine/cess pit and throwing a hand granade into it. I don`t know if this actually happened or if it was a tale, although his mates always said it had happened. Another story was about a time when he and a small group were in a forward position (I think in hours of darkness) and found a group of German soldiers playing cards, they took them by supprise and `confiscated/liberated` their gambling money before taking them back for questioning etc. Part of my father's duty was driving a `Bedford` truck (which his mates said was held together with bits of string) and he said that they had orders that if they came across a body lieing in the road (mountainous region) they were supposed to run over it as it was a tactic to stop trucks by doing this, he never said if he ever had cause to follow this command.

As I said my father never really said much about his time in Italy and I would love to find out more about that part of his service history. I understand that he was in the 2nd Battalion of the 56th Regiment, Coldstream Guards until 1946 returning to civilian life in Essex after that.

Bill Potter

Walter Tong 1st Btn. Coldstream Guards

I have a portrait of my granddad, Walter Tong with various flags behind him of the 1st Batt Coldstream Guards dated. I would love to find history of him before my mother, his daughter, dies.

Alan Bagley

Gdsm. William John Arnold "Lofty" Weeks 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards

My father, William Weeks, was in Stalag 4b when the Russians liberated the camp. All I know is he worked in the cookhouse and a story about his friend Jack Harris who was dying and he carried him to the gates and thought he and Jack were going to get shot. My father does not talk about it much.

Colin Weeks

Sgt. John Leonard Sutlieff 3rd Btn. Coldstream Guards

Jack Sutlieff joined up in 1936 and was posted to pre-war Egypt as 3rd battalion Coldstream Guards (he departed from Southampton in December 1937 on MV Dunera). He fought in North Africa, at Knightsbridge Box, amongst other places and then captured at Mareth in March 1943. Initially POW in Livorna (Leghorn) Italy and then transferred to Fallingbostal 4B and on eventual release was very thin. He spoke very little about his wartime or POW experiences.

Peter Sutlieff

CQMS Frederick James Hoggarth 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards (d.1st June 1940)

My father, Jim Hoggarth enlisted 9/3/32. He married Stella Mawston 26/1/35 and I was born two years later. He was killed during the retreat at Dunkirk. No known grave, and is on the Dunkirk memorial. I have a photo of Cpl. T. Baker's Squad Coldstream Guards July 1932 and another Warrant Officers, Staff Sergeants and Sergeants, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards Wellington Barracks 1938. If any one would like me to check names or would like a copy please contact me.

Brian Hoggarth

L/Cpl. John Alcock 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards

My father John Alcock was sent to a place near Wakefield after Dunkirk where the 2 Battalion the Coldstream Guards were being reformed and regrouped. My mother who lived on a farm near Goole cycled all the way to Wakefield to see him. She was able to speak to him through a wire fence. After landing at Dover after Dunkirk he spent one night in a warehouse on the docks. He told that men were screaming and shouting in their sleep.

Dad took part in the last battalion sized parachute drop in 1956 at Suez. He was their RSM and he dropped on bonfire night. He had joined the 2 SAS after the Battle of Longstop Hill in North Africa. In 1945 he was awarded the Croix de Gueure after he and his four man team blew up a German troop train near Benestroff in Alsace Lorraine. He escaped by passing into the American third army front lines. He did this by capturing one of their front line outpost.

Graham Alcock

Roland Breakwell Coldstream Guards

My father Roland Breakwell joined the Coldstream guards in 1935 and served in England and Palestine until leaving the service in January 1939. He was remobilized on 1st September 1939 and sent with the British Expeditionary Force to France on 29th September.

He then was transferred to Corps of Military Police on 25th March 1940 and evacuated from France on 4th June 1940. From then till 24th February 1943 I think he was with 177 provost company guarding Scottish ports, then he was in North Africa.

If anyone can fill in further information I would be very grateful

Paul Breakwell

Frank Henry Best 5th Btn. Coldstream Guards

My Dad Frank Best has developed dementia at 89yrs of age his only real memory is of wartime, he was at Nimagan in Belgium fighting but I can find no records to that effect can anyone help? He served with the Coldstream Guards 5th Battalion.

David Best

Cpl. Fred Rogers 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards

My Grandfather, Fred Rogers, joined 1st Battalion, Coldstream Guards in 1929, signing up in Lincoln. He lied about his age, signing up a year early. He served both at home, in Egypt and Sudan and was made a corporal before leaving in 1935 and entering the reserve. He was called back on 15th August 1939 and mobilised on 1st September and was made a corporal again very quickly afterwards. He served with the BEF until evacuated from Dunkirk with the rest of the battalion in June 1940.

In 1941 the Battalion formed part of the Guards Armoured Division with whom he served until June 1945 when they reverted to Foot Guards as part of the Guards Division. The battalion went to Normandy in late June 1944 and fought its way into Germany, through Belgium and Holland. by the end of the war I believe he was a Quartermaster Sergeant. He was demobbed in December 1945 and remained in the reserve until December 1955.

Has anyone got any details of which specific units he was in (i.e. company's) stories or photographs? I only have one from his pre war service and a couple from the War but would love copies of any with his fellow Guardsmen, Tanks etc.

Richard Stoney

Frank Rushton Coldstream Guards

Frank Rushton served from 1938 to 1946. Anyone with information on Stalag 4B and 7B and Jacobstal please get in touch.

Rebecca Rushton

Pte. George Tingle 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards

My father, George Tingle was stationed in Dumfries, Scotland during WW11. He joined the Army before the war started. He was billeted in the mills on St Michaels Street along with Guardsman Michael Meek, and Guardsman George Gott all of whom married local girls as did my Dad.

Dad met mum and they married in October 1942. Thankfully he missed El Alamein. He was also stationed at Blairgowrie in Perthshire before sailing to North Africa. Dad was the battalion butcher and I can recall many of his stories of scrounging food and I seem to remember him and others stealing a pig! .... could have been in Italy. All the names of places in North Africa and Italy I remember him telling me and my 2 brothers, even the names of those little islands in the Med now in the news again with the human tide in Europe. Lampedusa and Pantelleria - the battalion lost men there.

Dad befriended a small dog in North Africa and managed some how with the help of an officer get it through customs which was no easy task in those days. And, even after months, Tosh the dog knew him straight away.

I have very few photos of dad in the war days. My older brother has the Guards History "No Dishonourable Name" in which appears, on my next trip to the UK I hope to obtain a copy. Well that's a small piece of war time history which I am very proud of, as they say here in Australia: "Lest we forget"

Allan Tingle

Gdsmn. Cecil Lawrence Goddard Coldstream Guards

My late father, Cecil Goddard, I believe served with the Coldstream Guards from 1940 to 1945 in North Africa and Italy.


Brig. Arthur Frederick Crane Nicholls GC, ERD. att. Special Operations Executive Coldstream Guards (d.11th Feb 1944)

Arthur Nicholls was the son of Joseph Crane Nicholls, and of Josephine Crane Nicholls (nee Campbell); husband of Dorothy Ann Violet Nicholls (nee Schuster), of Swinbrook, Oxfordshire. He was 33 years oldwhen he lost his life and was buried in the Tirana Park Memorial Cemetery in Albania. His grave is now lost and he is mentioned on the Special Memorial E.

The following details are given in the London Gazette of 1st March 1946: "Awarded the George Cross for most conspicuous gallantry in carrying out hazardous work in a very brave manner." Brigadier Nicholls parachuted into Albania in October 1943 as General Staff Officer to the Allied Military Mission which organised resistance activities. The Mission was attacked and broken up by the Germans in December and from then on Brigadier Nicholls lived as a fugitive in the open mountains in freezing weather. He continued leading the remnants of the Mission but was suffering from frostbite so severely that he ordered an inexperienced man to amputate both his legs without anaesthetic. He was pulled over the mountains lying upon his greatcoat by two members of his party. He was determined to reach a British Mission to make his report upon which the course of the war in Albania would depend. He succeeded in this but had gone beyond the limits of endurance and died from gangrene and heart failure.

s flynn

Pte. Harry Edward Dolton Coldstream Guards

Harry Dolton was my father. He was captured in North Africa around 1942, by Italians and passed over to the Germans. He suffered frost bite and conditions were over crowded while at Stalag 17b.

David Dolton

Reginald John Goss 2nd Btn. Coldstream Guards

Reginald Goss was a friend of my late father's, from Bedfordshire, he did pre war service in Guards, may have been a drill Sgt. His coy commander was Maj A Miller, he lay on Dunkirk beach with a wounded hand.

N Tee

William Bambury 2nd Btn. Coldstream Guards

William Bambury, Coldstream Guards

William Bambury with Company Mascot Sludge.

My father, William Bambury, was a Coldstream Guardsman in 2nd battalion, 4th company (I think). While in North Africa 1942 - 45, he was selected to be the Soldier Servant of Major General David Toler.( his previous Servant having been wounded. A selection, I think, which may have changed the direction of the rest of his life. Whilst the Major General was on leave or up front, my father looked after his dog (company mascot)- a Maltese terrier called Sludge. A mascot, so the story goes, very well known.

After leaving the Army, my father kept in touch with David Toler via letters and Christmas cards etc. On my birth, apparently my parents received some bed socks from David Toler's mother in Scotland which were far too big - even for my father to wear. Shortbread and other gifts were received on a regular basis. And, on one occasion I remember, I was about 15, Major General Toler was inspecting troops at Leek Army barracks, and my father and I went to meet him. At that time, possibly the most important person I had ever met - a man who made a big impression on me! As a family, we were also invited to his home in Grantham, Lincs to meet him and his wife, Judith. A visit which has stayed in my memory since that time. Dad and the Major kept up regular communications, until 1990 when Dad died. I received a lovely letter from him, outlining their army times together, and some very special comments about my dad - how steadfast and dependable he was during very tense and testing times. A letter I have to this day. During some family research, I read that Major David Toler's son, Hugh, followed in his father's footsteps. I was also saddened to read of David Toler's death in November 2009. In his obituary, I was interested to read that he was born at Holmes Chapel, Cheshire - (ironically) not too far away from where my father was born and lived for all of his life.

Mike Bambury

Gdsm. Edward John Beddis 5th Battalion Coldstream Guards

Jack Beddis served with the 5th Battalion, Coldstream Guards.

Gdsmn. Leslie Bennett MM. 3rd Btn. Coldstream Guards

On 25th of September 1943 Guardsman Leslie Bennett's company took part in an attack upon Point 270 north of Salerno. The attack entailed scaling a precipitous hillside in the face of intense machine gun and mortar fire. Guardsman Bennett was among the first of the section to reach the top and, as he did so, his nearby comrades fell from an enemy sniping machine gun that opened up nearby. His section were forced to take cover from this gun which was then joined by an enemy patrol. Guardsman Bennett, with complete disregard for his own safety and heedless of the enemy machine gun, left his cover and went forward completely alone and, under heavy machine gun fire, threw grenades at the approaching patrol forcing them to withdraw. Later in the action he was seriously hit by shrapnel in the back but, in spite of this and of the very considerable pain in which he was obviously suffering, he continued to man his Bren gun and only withdrew for treatment after asking permission of his Platoon Commander. Throughout the whole day's fighting Guardsman Bennett continuously set an example of courage, determination and cheerfulness of the highest order.

Dvr Arthur Leslie Bursell 1st Btn. Coldstream Guards (d.16th Feb 1986)

My Dad, Arthur Bursell served with the 1st Coldstream Guards.

Robert Howard Bursell

Recomended Reading.

Available at discounted prices.

Second to None: The History of the Coldstream Guards 1650-2000

Julian Paget

At last a wonderful book, that includes brilliant photographs and maps. Of interest in the way that the social aspect of this regiment is discussed, and all ranks are considered equally.

The Coldstream Guards (Men-at-arms)

Charles Grant

This book outlines the history of the Coldstream Guards from its inception to the end of World War II, detailing the uniforms and equipment of this prestigious unit.


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