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Kings Own Royal (Lancaster) Regiment in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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Kings Own Royal (Lancaster) Regiment




   1st Battalion, Kings Own Royal (Lancaster) Regiment was stationed in Malta on the outbreak of war in September 1939. At the end of the year they moved to Karachi, India. They later transferred to the 17th Indian Infantry Brigade and then went to in Iraq and Syria with 25th Indian Infantry Brigade, 10th Indian Infantry Division. In August 1942, the 1st Battalion embarked from Egypt for Cyprus, but the transport was torpedoed and the troops had to return and re-embark on another ship. In May 1943, they returned to Syria. In October 1943 they transferred to 234th Infantry Brigade in the Aegean Islands where the bulk of the battalion was captured by the Germans after the Battle of Leros on 16 November. Only 57 officers and men managed to escape the island.

On 30th of January 1944, 1st Battalion was reformed by amalgamating with the 8th Battalion King's Own in 25th Indian Infantry Brigade. The reformed battalion later served in the Italian Campaign with 25th Indian Brigade.

   2nd Battalion, Kings Own Royal (Lancaster) Regiment was stationed at the garrison of Jerusalem when war broke out in September 1939. I in March 1940 they joined 14th Infantry Brigade in Palestine and moved to Egypt in July. The battalion saw action in the in the defence of Tobruk with 16th Infantry Brigade, 6th Infantry Division (later redesignated 70th Infantry Division) and later formed part of the garrison of Ceylon. In September 1943, the battalion was stationed at Bangalore in India with 70th Division when it was selected for attachment to the second Long Range Penetration or Chindits brigade (111th Indian Infantry Brigade) for the Burma Campaign. 2nd Kings formed 41 and 46 Columns in the Second Chindit Campaign, moving to Burma in March 1944 and being flown out to India in July 1944. Between November 1944 to February 1945, the 2nd Kings were served with 14th Airlanding Brigade, 44th Indian Airborne Division.

   5th Battalion, Kings Own Royal (Lancaster) Regiment mobilised with 126th Infantry Brigade, 42nd (East Lancashire) Division and went to France with the British Expeditionary Force seeing action in France and Belgium in 1940. After returning to Britain, the division was converted to armour, and was renamed 42nd Armoured Division. In October 1941, 5th Battalion transferred to the Royal Armoured Corps and was renamed 107th Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps. They continued to wear the King's Own cap badge on the black beret of the Royal Armoured Corps, as did all infantry units converted in this way. 107th Regiment was disbanded in December 1943 and a few of its officers and men were sent to 151st Regiment, which was converted from the 10th Battalion King's Own.

   The 6th Battalion, Kings Own Royal (Lancaster) Regiment was formed in 1940 as a pioneer battalion for hostilities-only. They served with the British Expeditionary Force as GHQ (General Headquarters) troops during the 1940 campaign in both France and Belgium. After being evacuated at Dunkirk, the 6th Battalion later served in the following Home Forces formations: 218th Independent Infantry Brigade (Home), 48th Division, 54th Division, 76th Division. The battalion remained in Britain and was disbanded in July 1944

   The 7th Battalion, Kings Own Royal (Lancaster) Regiment was formed in 1940 as a pioneer battalion for hostilities-only. They served with the British Expeditionary Force as GHQ (General Headquarters) troops during the 1940 campaign in France and Belgium. They were evacuated back to Britain. 7th Battalion served with the 71st Independent Infantry Brigade before moving to form part of the Gibraltar garrison, with the 2nd Gibraltar Brigade, in June 1942. In March 1943, the battalion moved to India to join 150th Indian Training Brigade but it did not see action against the Japanese. The battalion was disbanded after the war in 1947.

   The 8th Battalion, Kings Own Royal (Lancaster) Regiment was formed in 1940 as a pioneer battalion for hostilities-only. They served with the British Expeditionary Force as GHQ (General Headquarters) troops during the 1940 campaign in France and Belgium. They were evacuated back to Britain after the retreat. In August 1941 8th Battalion moved to man the Malta garrison and served through the Siege. In November 1943, the battalion was moved to Palestine and then to Italy with 25th Indian Infantry Brigade, 10th Indian Infantry Division. 8th Battalion was disbanded in Italy, on 30 January 1944, and its personnel merged with the few surviving remnants of the 1st Battalion King's Own, which was virtually lost during the fighting at Leros when only 58 officers and men managed to escape being captured.

   The 9th Battalion, Kings Own Royal (Lancaster) Regiment was formed in 1940 as a pioneer battalion for hostilities-only. They served with the British Expeditionary Force as GHQ (General Headquarters) troops during the 1940 campaign in both France and Belgium. After being evacuated at Dunkirk, they served in 47th (Reserve) Infantry Division in the United Kingdom until December 1941. The battalion was then transferred to the Royal Artillery and was converted into the 90th Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery and served with the 45th Division from February 1942 until November 1943 when it was disbanded.

   50th (Holding) Battalion, Kings Own Royal (Lancaster) Regiment was formed in the United Kingdom on 28 May 1940. On 9 October 1940, it was renumbered as the 10th Battalion, Kings Own Royal (Lancaster) Regiment and joined 225th Independent Infantry Brigade (Home), formed for service in the United Kingdom. When the brigade was converted into a tank brigade in December 1941, the battalion became 151st Regiment Royal Armoured Corps. When 107th RAC was disbanded in December 1943, a cadre transferred to 151st RAC, which adopted the number of 107th to perpetuate the 5th Battalion King's Own, which was a 1st Line Territorial battalion with a long history. The new 107th Regiment went on to serve in North-west Europe from 1944-1945.

10th April 1941 Coup in Iraq

6th May 1941 Attack Made


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

Kings Own Royal (Lancaster) Regiment

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 2 pages in our library tagged Kings Own Royal (Lancaster) Regiment  These include information on officers service records, letters, diaries, personal accounts and information about actions during the Second World War.

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gunner patrick "Jock" mccluskey 16th Btn. Lancaster Rgt

this is my dad taken in india june 19 42 does anyone recognise him any information will be much appreciated

May Law



Pte Henry Hynd Young 8th Pioneer Btn Kings Own Royal Regiment

My dad, Harry Young, died some years ago, but I only recently got sight of his war record. He was captured on 29 April 1940 at Amiens, France and was taken to Stalag XXA, prisoner no. 19412, on 21 July 1940 from a Dulag. He was transferred to Stalag XXB on 1 November 1940 and appears to have stayed there until repatriated. He arrived back in the UK on 19 May 1945. Would be interested to know how he would have spent his time and any photographs would be particularly welcome as he never spoke about his time as a POW apart from mentioning he went on a Death March.

Ray Young



Pte. Charles Thomas Oliver Hunneybell Kings Own Royal (Lancaster) Regiment

Just trying to follow up on the only story he ever mentioned about his service in WW2. He was a prisoner of war at Stalag Camp 344 in Poland his POW No. was 16022. He was captured at Dunkirk fighting a rear guard action and imprisoned by the Germans. He had to work forced labour and claimed he escaped with a sergeant but was recaptured when a gestapo officer recognised him. He then said he was near a concentration camp for the remainder of his time.

He would never speak about his time as a prisoner of war, but is said to have been mentioned in a book about prisoners of war who were not officers and escaped. His name being miss spelt - perhaps as honeyball, honeybell or honeywell. He was also a translator at the Nuremburg Trials.

Anyone who could add or knows anything to add to this story about my late father, it would be very gratefully received.

David Hunneybell



Pte. Leonard "Wingy " Woodhead 2nd Btn. Kings Own Royal Regiment(Lancaster)

My dad who from Leeds, West Yorkshire, Pte. Leonard Woodhead 2nd Bn King's Own Royal Regiment, was captured at Dunkirk whilst holding off the advancing Germans. He endured the "Death March" to Stalag V111B. He spent nearly 4 years in captivity in Lamsdorf. After an accident, in the forced labour coal mines, he lost his right hand and had multiple injuries to his head arms and legs. He met up with a fellow Yorkshireman, Richard Pape who was a captured RAF navigator,and after the war an author of a book on his wartime experencies. My dad was repatriated in November 1943, but before he left stalag V111b Richard Pape asked my dad if he would smuggle a message home to Ernest Osborn editor of the "Yorkshire Post Newspapers". He got this message through in a ring made out of a toothbrush. My dad describes his feelings in the book, “Boldness Be My Friend” written by Richard Pape, when he was stripped and searched by the German guards before he was allowed to embark on his way home. My Dad was known as Wingy Woodhead in the book. Risking his life Dad got the message to Ernest Osborn, and in return was presented a world atlas from the editor of the Yorkshire Post Newspaper, which I still have today. It has a signed and dated label in the front. Sadly my dad died in 1980, 2 months after my mother, I have one or two photos of him in Stalag v111b plus POW letters etc., if anyone has any more knowledge of him during his captivity I would be most interested in it.

Les Woodhead



Trpr. James Connolly 107th Regiment Royal Armoured Corps (d.27th Aug 1943)

James Connolly died aged 23. The son of William and Sarah Connolly (late McCluskey nee McCrudden) of Primrose, he was born in Jarrow. He served with the 5th Btn The King's Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster) and 107th Regiment Royal Armoured Corps

James is buried in Dely Abrahim War Cemetery.

Vin Mullen



L/Sgt. Alfred Davies MM. Kings Own Royal Lancaster Regiment

Alfred Davies was born in 1920 and enlisted in the TA at Horwich and then the regular army whilst still only seventeen. He served with 1st Battalion South Wales Borderers regimental number 3d 50th in India, Iraq and North Africa. He won the Military Medal in June 1942 during the withdrawal from the Tobruk area. In August of the same year all but 19 of the survivors were transfered to the Kings Own Royal Regiment.

In November 1943 Sgt Davies was part of the ill-fated garrison occupying the island of Leros when it was invaded by an overwhelming forces of German infantry and paratroops. Other regiments involved included the Royal East Kents (Buffs) and the Royal Irish Fusiliers. After five days the garrison was forced to retire. Alfred was among the hundreds wounded and taken prisoner. He was treated at a German military hospital in Salonika and then taken by cattle truck to Austria and eventually to Stalag 357 Oerbke. He remained in captivity until April 1945.

Kathleen Walsh.



L/Sgt. James Casper 6th Btn. King's Own Royal (Lancs) Rgt. (d.29th May 1940)

My father was a Lance Sergeant with the 6th Btn. The King's Own Royal Regiment. (He has been in the Duke of Wellington's Regiment prior to this.) He was killed in action on the retreat to Dunkirk. He was first buried by local people in the churchyard at Berthern but in 1979 his remains were transferred to the British War Grave Cemetery at Wimille, France. On my father's death my mother was left a widow with four young sons. I was the second eldest aged three years. My mother had to work so hard to keep us all together and so she too died young. My brothers and I were then fostered, so losing all trace of our family tree. Does anyone remember my father?

Ronald Casper



Pte. John Thomas Antrobus 2nd Battalion Kings Own Royal (Lancaster) Regiment

My grandfather Tom Antrobus served with 2nd battalion KORR from March 1940 until the end of the second Chindit Campaign (Operation Thursday) when he returned to England sick with dysentry and malaria. Any info would be great to piece together his time in the forces.

Amanda Antrobus



Don Pearce 1st Btn. King's Own Royal Regiment

I have a special interest 1st Btn The King's Own Royal Regiment in which I served. I celebrated my 21st birthday 7.7.44 in Montone and I am trying to find any one who was was involved in the Battle of Montone, July 1944, military or civilian.

Don Pearce



Pte. Alfred Connolly 1st Btn. King's Own Royal Rgt. (d.4th July 1944)

Pte Connolly was killed in action on 4th July 1944 whilst serving with the 1st Btn. King's Own Royal Regiment. He is buried in Assisi War Cemetery, Italy.










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