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Royal Berkshire Regiment in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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Royal Berkshire Regiment

   The 1st Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment was a regular Army unit they served with the The Fifth Indian Division. They saw action in the West African Campaign in Eritrea and Ethiopia during 1940 and 41, then moved to Egypt, Cyprus and to Iraq. In 1942 they fought in the Western Desert Campaign including the withdrawal to Alamein. In late 1943 the division was sent to India and fought through the length of Burma until the Japanese surrender in 1945.

After the end of the war they were in Singapore and then fought pro-Independence forces in Eastern Java.

   The 2nd Battalion Berkshire Regiment fought in Burma with the 19th Indian Infantry Division from 1941 until 1945.

A memorial plaque donated after the war was erected in honour of the 2nd Battalion and stands at the entrance to a pagoda near the top of Mandalay Hill. It reads: Erected to commemorate the fierce fighting in the clearance and final capture of Mandalay Hill by the 2nd Btn, Royal Berkshire Regiment, March 10th to 12th 1945.

   The 4th Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment went to France with the BEF early in the war serving with the 8th Infantry Brigade, 3rd Division. In late May 1940, German troops under Rommel overwhelmed the battalion, along with Belgian Army units, defending the Albert Canal in Belgium. Many soldiers of the 4th were captured and made prisoners of war.

   The 5th (Hackney) Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment (formerly the 10th London Regiment Hackney), became the 5th Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment in 1937. Between 1939 and 1942, the 5th Battalion was stationed in London, Suffolk, Northumberland & Durham, Oxfordshire & Berkshire then Suffolk. In 1943-44 East Anglia, Scotland, Hampshire, Scotland and Back to Hampshire.

It was not until June 1944 that the 5th Battalion went to Europe. The 5th Battalion landed with the Canadians at Juno Beach, Normandy and remained there as part of a beach group with core responsibility for the landing ground.

After the Battalion completed their task on the beach they were broken up with many of the men being posted to other infantry battalions who required battle-casualty replacements. Many went to the 4th & 5th Battalions of the Wiltshire Regiment, and some were later recalled when the 5th Battalion was reformed to carry out a similar task during the crossing of the river Rhine.

   The 6th Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment was a territorial battalion stationed in Northern Ireland, England, The Orkneys, Sussex and Kent during the years 1943-47.

   In 1939, the 5th (Hackney) Battalion and the 7th (Stoke Newington) Battalion The Royal Berkshire Regiment were part of the 161st Infantry Brigade, headquartered in Brentwood. This was part of the 54th (East Anglia) Infantry Division of British Eastern Command.

   The 8th (Home Defence) Battalion the Royal Berkshire Regiment was formed from No 84 Group in November 1939 they served in the Defence of Britain throughout the war. In September 1940 the six Young Soldiers Companies became 70th (Young Soldiers) Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment. In December 1941 the battalion was renamed 30th Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment, dropping the 'Home Defence' designation.

   The 9th Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment served in England only. It was formed in July 1940 and disbanded in December 1943.

   The 10th Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment served in North Africa, The Middle East, Sicily and Italy with the 168th London Infantry Brigade. The 10th Battalion was reduced to 40 men defending the Anzio beachhead. In the battle around Carroceto and Aprilia, early February 1944, the 10th Royal Berkshires had been one of a group that included the 1st Battalion Recce Regiment, the 1st London Irish, the 6th Gordons and the 1st Loyals in direct combat with the German Combat Group Graser.

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

Royal Berkshire Regiment

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

  • Astley John Thomas. Sgt.Major.
  • Bishop Cyril Neville. Pte. (d.2nd Sep 1944)
  • Booth Charles Wilson. Capt.
  • Codling S. C.. Lt.
  • Dixon Walter. Cpl.
  • Flaherty Martin. Pte. (d.26th Dec 1944)
  • Fletcher Joseph William. L/Cpl. (d.27th May 1940)
  • Goldring William Frederick Thomas. Pte. (d.23rd April 1944)
  • Goodwin William Frederick Charles . Pte.
  • Hill Edward. L/Cpl. (d.27th May 1940)
  • Kahlow Thomas. Pte. (d.28th May 1940)
  • Leishman Laurence.
  • Loughlin Michael. Pte. (d.1st Sep 1944)
  • Marshall Bernard. Pte.
  • Meech Robert Henry George. Pte.
  • Mernagh Thomas.
  • Mozley James Campbell. Pte. (d.27th May 1940)
  • Murphy Joseph Thomas Frederick. L/Cpl. (d.7th Jan 1945)
  • Ridgley Ronald. Cpl.
  • Sampson William. Medical Orderly
  • Sutton Stanley Charles. WO2 CSM (d.16th May 1943)
  • Swatton James Henry. Pte.
  • Trackenberg Abbe. Pte.
  • Vaughan James. Pte.

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 4 pages in our library tagged Royal Berkshire Regiment  These include information on officers service records, letters, diaries, personal accounts and information about actions during the Second World War.

Access our library

L/Cpl. Joseph William Fletcher 1st Btn. Royal Berkshire Regiment (d.27th May 1940)

Joe was my mother's brother, he was sadly killed at Dunkirk. Her other brother John served in the Navy and my mother and one of her 6 sisters served in the Land Army.

Sandra Garrod

Medical Orderly William Sampson 10th Btn. Royal Berkshire Regiment

My late father William (Bill) Sampson was captured at Anzio early February 1944. He was a medical orderly and was in the 10th Battalion, The Royal Berkshire Regiment.

He was actually captured attending to an injured German soldier. He was transported to IV B by road via Rome and was in Transit camp FP31979 before ending up in IV B and stayed there until his release 23rd April 1945 by the Russians. His POW number was 279561.

I personally visited the camp in Muhlberg in 1999 and there is a museum in Muhlberg which I have also been to. The Museum has many photographs/maps etc. of which I have donated some new documents/maps/phots etc to the museum which opened after the reunification of Germany. The Russians refused to allow a museum to be opened until that time. I have also visited the war graves around the camp.

The address of the museum is: Initiativgruppe Lager Muhlberg e.V., Klostersrtasse 9, 04931, Muhlberg/Elbe, Germany

The currator is Angelica Stamm who is very helpful. There is a 21 page information book which I have translatted into English which gives the full history of the camp until it closed in 1948. I would recommend anyone to visit the museum and the site which still retains some basic outline of the camp. It is open Tuesdays to Thursdays 13.00 to 16.00 pm and every 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month between 13.00 and 16.00pm. Telephone number is +49 35342 706 87.

If any one wants to get any further information from me please do not hesitate to contact me. If anyone remembers my dad who lived in London I would of course be very happy to hear from them.

Roger Sampson

Pte. Cyril Neville Bishop 2/6th Btn. The Queen's Royal Regiment (West Surrey) (d.2nd Sep 1944)

My grandfather Cyril Bishop was killed in Rimini, Italy, but I am not sure what date. His marriage certificate to my grandmother Esther Simmons states that he was a private in the Royal Berkshire Regt.

Update: CWGC lists Cyril as having been killed on the 2nd of September 1944, whilst serving with the 2/6th West Surreys.

Jo Worsley

Capt. Charles Wilson "Carl" Booth Royal Berkshire Regiment

My father, Charles Booth, served with the 4th (TA) Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment during the 1920's and 1930's. In 1939/40 he was with the 1st Battalion in France and commanded a company during the advance into Belgium in May 1940, taking part in the Battle of the River Dyle. In the retreat to the Dunkirk perimeter later in the month he was wounded and captured on 27th May 1940 and spent five years in various POW camps in Poland and Germany. He was liberated by US forces in April 1945.

Dermot Strangwayes-Booth

Pte. James Henry Swatton Royal Berkshire Regiment

I am trying to find out more about my father, James Swatton. I think he may have been in the Royal Berks as I think he went to re-unions in Reading. He served in WW2 in India and Burma as a stretcher bearer. I do have a picture of him in uniform and another with his mates which I think was pre-embarkation.

Patsy Laker

Pte. James Campbell Mozley 4th Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment (d.27th May 1940)

From The South London Times, Friday 8 August 1941:

In May last year [1940] during the Dunkirk evacuation, Private James Campbell Mozley [21] of the Royal Berkshire and Lance Corporal Scott decided to part company at a road junction on the Belgian border. The road that Scott chose took hin to Dunkirk and home. Mozley was never heard of again and was presumed missing. Now Mozley's mother of 10 Pendernrist Road Streatham London has just heard from the Red Cross that he was killed. In the above picture Mozley is seen in the bottom right hand corner.

In Memory of Private James Campbell Mozley 534073, 4th Bn., Royal Berkshire Regiment who died age 21 on 27 May 1940 Son of Rufus and Mary Ann Mozley. of Streatham. London. Remembered with honour Adegem Canadian War Cememtery. .

Janet E Milner

Cpl. Walter Dixon 10th Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment

Walter Dixon was captured in Anzio in 1944 and spent the war in 2 pow camps Stalag 357 and Fallingbostell. He was released in 1946 and as his friend was critically ill he carried him from Stalag to Britain and his friend lives in Canada today. He would have died if Walter hadn't carried him.

Jack Fletcher

Pte. Martin Flaherty 2nd Btn. Royal Berkshire Regiment (d.26th Dec 1944)

Martin Flaherty who died aged 27 was born in Jarrow in 1917, the son of Martin and Rose Flaherty (formerly Collins nee Coyne) of Jarrow.

Martin is buried in Taukkyan War Cemetery and is commemorated on the WW2 Roll of Honour Plaque in the entrance of Jarrow Town Hall.

Vin Mullen

Cpl. Ronald Ridgley 5th Btn. S.Coy Royal Berkshire Regiment

Ronald Ridgley served with the 5th Royal Berkshire Regiment, S. Company. These are his recollections of D.Day

After a fairly rough crossing, we arrived off Bernieres, part of Juno beach. Alongside our L.C.T was an L.C.F fitted with all kinds of anti aircraft guns, which were putting up a curtain of fire, that any attacking aircraft would have to fly through. When the ramp went down, the first thing I saw was a row of dead Canadians laid out on the beach. A flail tank was beating a path through the mined sands, so we knew that if we kept to the tank tracks it would be fairly safe. The water wasn't very deep, so I got the motorbike ashore that I had to get on to the beach for an officer to use from then on. Meanwhile the Platoon had got our six guns and towing carriers ashore, ready to move inland. We were held up for a while by snipers in a nearby church tower, but I imagine the Navy put a couple of shots through that, as they soon came out., were disarmed and marched away as prisoners. Others memories of that day were of a Free French man walking along the beach pointing out gun sites and of German prisoners being made to carry the wounded down to the boats to go back to England. All this time the Navy shells were screaming overhead at targets inland. Our job was to move inland to form an anti tank screen around the beachhead between the sea and Caen. Caen was known to be the base of the German army in that area, so it was thought that any counter attack would come from there.

Celia Silk

L/Cpl. Edward "Ginger" Hill 1st Bn. Royal Berkshire Regiment (d.27th May 1940)

I was asked by my uncle to research the family tree for their side of the family. After talking to the four brothers about their lives and what they remembered of their family it jolted their memories about an uncle who had died during the war. After a little research I found the War Grave Commission for L/Cpl Edward Hill - who is my grandfathers twin brother. My uncles were not aware of their father having a twin brother!

Both of the brothers joined the Royal Berkshires from Monmouthshire during the 1930's. Thomas left the army after having a severe motorbike accident early in the war. Edward was sadly killed at Dunkirk on 27th May 1940. His War Grave Commission memorial is at The Dunkirk Memorial Part II, column III. I have made the trip to France to pay my respects to Edward. Sadly I have no photos of Edward, but I have been able to read a little about the circumstance leading to his death in the Regimental diaries held at the Reading Library.

Update: Edward enlisted into the 1st Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment and died at Dunkirk age 27. He was the son of Thomas and Alice Hill; stepson of Mrs. A. G. Hill, of Hainault, Ilford, Essex.

Joanne James

Pte. William Frederick Charles Goodwin 2nd Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment

I have been trying to find out about my father's war service. His name was Frederick Goodwin, he served with the 2nd Battalion Royal Berkshire and the Royal West Kents and was awarded the Burma Star. My father died in 1948, due to a motor cycle accident, I was one year old. Can you help in finding out about my father's Army service record.

Philip Goodwin

Laurence Leishman 10th Btn. Royal Berkshire Regiment

My grandad was at Stalag 4B. His name was Laurence Leishman, he was in the 10th Btn. Royal Berkshire Rgt, 168th Brigade, 56th Division. Does anyone remember him?

Lisa J Engelund

Thomas Mernagh Royal Berkshire Regiment

I would like to find information aboutthe regiments my brother, Thomas, served in during WWII and for a time afterwards:

Royal Berkshire 14th August 1939 to 2nd June 1940

2nd Rangers 3rd June 1940 to 12th July 1942

Cheshire Regiment 24th September 1942 to 25th September 1947

Worcester Regiment 26th September 1947 to 26th August 1952.

Kevin Mernagh

Pte. Michael Loughlin 10th Btn. Royal Berkshire Regiment (d.1st Sep 1944)

Michael Loughlin was wounded at Anzio. He died of those wounds and is buried in the British War Cemetery in Rome. He was aged 19.

Mike Loughlin

L/Cpl. Joseph Thomas Frederick Murphy 2nd Btn. Royal Berkshire Regiment (d.7th Jan 1945)

Joseph Murphy was the son of Anne Lauretta Murphy and Thomas Richard Murphy, born in London in 1916. He is buried in the Taukkyan War Cemetery, Rangoon, Burma.

L Grange

Pte. James Vaughan Royal Berkshire Regiment

James Vaughan served with the Royal Berkshire Regiment.

James Edward Vaughan

Sgt.Major. John Thomas Astley 4th Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment

Jack Astley served with the Royal Berkshire Regiment. He served in Germany and India before the war. He was captured in France on the 26th of May 1940 and spent 4 years as a prisoner of war.

Steve Clarke

Lt. S. C. Codling 30th Btn. B Company. Royal Berkshire Regiment

On 24 July 1942 Lt. S.C. Codling from Ramsden wrote to Miss Hope, secretary of Finstock Village Hall, Oxfordshire requesting the hire of the village hall on 30 July for a company dance. His address was B Company, 30th Royal Berkshire, Ramsden, Oxfordshire. This letter is now in the collection of Finstock Local History Society Ref.14/3/7

Shaun Morley

Pte. Abbe Trackenberg 10th Btn. Royal Berkshire Regiment

My father, Abbe Trackenberg, never mentioned the war, like many others, so we never asked. However, it would be fitting for him to be mentioned here.

Nick Tracken

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