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Royal East Kent Regiment (The Buffs) in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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- Royal East Kent Regiment (The Buffs) during the Second World War -

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World War 2 Two II WW2 WWII

Royal East Kent Regiment (The Buffs)

15th Dec 1941 Counter Attack

21st Jan 1943 In Action

24th Jan 1943 On the Move

25th Jan 1943 In Action

26th Jan 1943 In Action

7th Feb 1943 Forward

28th Feb 1943 Quiet

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 East Kent Regiment (The Buffs)

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

  • Ackrill James Jonah. S/Maj.
  • Bemmer John Charles. L/Cpl.
  • Body Edward Hedley. Lt.Col.
  • Brown William Arthur. Pte. (d.6th Nov 1941)
  • Butler George James Elijah. Pte.
  • Butler Maurice Arthur. Pte.
  • Button Gordon Henry. Pte.
  • Cackett Frank Victor. Pte.
  • Chapman Alban. Sgt.
  • Chismon Frank Stidolph. Pte. (d.23rd Oct. 1943)
  • Cole Edward Victor. Sgt
  • Coleman John Stanley. Sgt.
  • Cook Horace.
  • Corrigan Patrick Andrew. Pte.
  • Cox Charles H.. Cpl.
  • Daniels Leonard Ernest Albert. Pte.
  • Dawes Harold Jason. Pte. (d.25th Feb 1945)
  • Dawes Harold Jason. Pte. (d.25th Feb 1945)
  • Evans James.
  • Flisher Eric Earl. Pte.
  • Fowler Arthur.
  • Fowler Charles Edward.
  • Frudd Albert. Tpr. (d.15th Sept 1944)
  • Gardiner Alfred Arthur. Pte. (d.17th Jun 1940)
  • Gilbane James Francis. Pte.
  • Grindy Sidney. Pte.
  • Grindy Sydney. Pte.
  • Grindy Sydney. Pte.
  • Gwyther John Hedley. Cpl. (d.22nd Feb 1943)
  • Harvey Henry Bernard. Mjr.
  • Hearn Robert Charles. Pte.
  • Hermitage Frederick Robert John. Pte.
  • Hirt Harry.
  • Holder George Henry. Pte. (d.1st-2nd Feb 1945)
  • Hole Ernest Arthur. Mjr. (d.14th Nov 1943)
  • Homewood George. Cpl.
  • Horne Percy Cecil. L/Cpl (d.17th June 1940)
  • Ingram William Frederick. Sgt.
  • Johncocks Henry James. L/Cpl. (d.31st May 1944)
  • Jones Bert.
  • Kendall Howard. Cpl. (d.13th April 1945)
  • Kensall William. Pte.
  • Lavender Henry William. RSM
  • Lavender Henry William John. Pte.
  • Lee Cyril Henry John. Pte.
  • McGuiggan Peter.
  • Mills Bert. Cpl.
  • Moth Frank. Pte.
  • Norris Frank Edward. Pte.
  • Overy William Henry Donald.
  • Parsons Lewis George. Cslm
  • Peall Jim.
  • Pledger Bill.
  • Poole Leslie Hubert.
  • Ralfe John. Pte.
  • Ratcliff Edward William. Cpl.
  • Rogers Raymond E. H.. Pte.
  • Ruddock James Warren. Pte
  • Rutter Richard. Pte.
  • Scarth Edward Robert. L/Cpl. (d.9th December 1941)
  • Simpson Francis Arthur. L/Cpl.
  • Spence Barton John. Cpl. (d.17th Dec 1944)
  • Stevenson Alfred John.
  • Stevenson Alfred John.
  • Turrell William John.
  • Watling Alfred Edward. A/RQMS
  • White F.. Cpl.

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 9 pages in our library tagged Royal East Kent Regiment (The Buffs)  These include information on officers service records, letters, diaries, personal accounts and information about actions during the Second World War.

Access our library

Cpl. George Homewood 1st Battalion The Buffs

George Homewood was my father. The army was his family from the day he ran away from his foster home in Lamberhurst and walked to Canterbury to enlist, he had to lie about his age to get accepted. He spent much of his time in the far and the near east. He met and married his first wife whilst serving in Burma, unfortunately his wife died in child birth. He never spoke of this until around a week before he died. My mother was his second wife, they enjoyed 45 yrs of married life.

He was a corporal at the time of his capture, together with his squad he had hidden in a barn but a young soldier with him lost his nerve when the hay around them was prodded with bayonets. He was sent to Stalag XXA but from here the story becomes sparser, he "like many" did not speak very much in detail of the camp life. Only relating specific happenings and events,such as the fact that he became a tailor "altering"`uniforms for the escapees. Using ink and boot polish to "dye" the material. His fingers were not delicate but it seems he could "sew" with the best, and his embroidery equals the best you can find. He told me of the radio kept in the bass drum of the camp orchestra, of the time the prisoners were getting rowdy and louder whilst being held on the parade ground, ordering the guards to raise their rifles made no difference to the POWs behaviour and this prompted the commandant to draw his pistol and shout "Stop or I shoot myself" needless to say that caused even more uproar among the POWs.

I remember one time walking down the local High St on a Saturday when we heard my fathers name called out, it was a man who had been in the same camp, and had recognised my father, not bad after 20+ years. My father has passed away But I write in the hope that somebody out there will be able to add to my limited knowledge. I have a photograph of Dad and the rest of his hut? I will share this if anybody can add names etc.

D Homewood

L/Cpl. Henry James Johncocks MM. Y Company The Buffs (d.31st May 1944)

I have only the telegram and account of Henry's death at age 19 years in support of his award of the Military Medal which reads as follows:

On 31st May, 1944, 'Y' Company, acting as advance guard, had just reached their objective, CLE CANNUCCIE, and were in the process of consolidating when the enemy opened up with Scheimzer fire and sniping. Two sergeants were killed instantaneoulsy. Lacne-Corporal Johncocks, regardless of the fact that the ground was swept by fire, crawled forward and with his first rifle shot and killed one of the enemy.

A few minutes later two Germans having worked their way round to aflank rushed at Lance-Corporal Johncocks. Undeterred he remained at his post and succeeded in wounding both of them with his rifle.

By his prompt action and great coolness and devotion to duty, Lance-Corporal Johncocks inspired all the men in his Platoon and gave his Platoon Commander valuable time to re-organise the Platoon and consolidate the position.

Clive Musselwhite

Pte. Robert Charles Hearn 30th Btn. East Kent Regiment (Buffs)

My Grandad started off in the 30th Buff then trained with No 12 Infantry Training Company and the 44 Special Training School and the 50 Special Training School.

I do not know much about his time in the War as he would not speak about it but my Grandmother has told me how he went cow riding in Norway and was blown up while looking after a spy.

Jo Lovell

Pte. William Kensall East Kent Regiment (The Buffs)

My uncle, Bill Kensall, was a POW. I believe he was captured during the retreat to Dunkirk in 1940 and remained a prisoner until 1945. I think he was in a POW camp in Poland.

Raymond May

A/RQMS Alfred Edward Watling Northamptonshire

This is a brief record of my father's time serving in the Army before and during WW11.

He was born on 13/11/1908 and signed on for the Northamptonshire Regiment on 10/1 1925 at the age of 16 years and 2 months saying he was the right age to sign on.

He served till 21/6/1933,Then was recalled on 1/9/1939,till 1/8/1940. (p) Was then in The Buffs from 2/8/1940 till 3/3/1941. He then transferred to the MPSC at the rank of A/RQMS till being demobbed on 8/12/1245.

In 1941 he was Stationed at the Tower of London where he guarded and looked after Josef Jakob the last man to be shot by firing squad at the Tower, They used to play cards together in his cell whilst waiting for his trial, and my father was the one who had to walk with him to the firing squad on 15 August 1941,

Edward Watling

L/Cpl Percy Cecil Horne 4/5th Batt. The Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment) (d.17th June 1940)

My step brother, Percy Horne aged 19, was on the Lancastria when it was sunk but did not survive.

Douglas Turner

Cpl. F. White The Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment)

Cpl F. White, service number 6285200, prisoner number 250934 is shown as being in Stalag 357 at some time during the war. Does anybody know anything more about this soldier? I believe he may be one of my father's younger brothers and I am trying to find out what happened to them after their mother died in 1925, their father having died in 1915 in Gallipoli. I will try the Army Service Records for more information if I can be sure I'm looking at the right person.

The two younger brothers were Francis Philip White and Frederick Charles White, and their father was Philip Henry White who served in the Royal West Kent Regiment in WW1

Philip Jean White

Pte. George Henry "Slim" Holder 2nd Btn. The Buffs (d.1st-2nd Feb 1945)

Dad loved his country, he volunteered to serve it, but sadly for us his family, he gave his life for it. But we are proud of the sacrifice he made. He was awarded the Burma Star and other medals.

Jennifer Michaels

James Evans The Buffs

My Uncle Jim Evans was a Desert Rat in WW11. I believe he was with The Buffs. I found three diaries which I am offering to the Imperial War Museum shortly. They contain lots of everyday writing but he seems to be in transport as he speaks quite often of 'Dixie' which appears to have been his lorry. He mentions a man called Darkie and an officer called Blakeland. He spent a lot of time in Rome and he also used to like mending watches. Not a lot that I know but someone may remember him.

H Gunn

L/Cpl. John Charles Bemmer East Kent Regiment

My dad, John Bemmer was a POW in Poland. He was captured at Dunkirk at the start of the war and as far as I know was sent to Marienburg Stalag 20B He was in the Buffs. He never once spoke of his time in the camps. We didn't know till he died and I started to do some research on his time in the Second World War.

I would be forever grateful for any information so I can tell my mum what my dad went through as we know nothing of his life. He used to tell me stories as I grew up but not once did he say he was a prisoner of war. He kept that a secret to his grave. Which I find that so sad as I'm so proud of what he and those other young men had to endure so we could have our freedom today. I don't want my dad's memory to disappear I want to keep it alive. Hopefully someone can help me in my quest.

Karyn Bemmer

Pte. Maurice Arthur "Reece" Butler 5th Battalion Royal East Kent Regiment

My father, Maurice Arthur Butler, known as Reece, enlisted at Cranbrook, Kent in the Territorial Reserve on 2nd Feb 1939. When war was declared he enlisted as Private 6287454, 5th battalion, The Royal East Kent Regiment - The Buffs. He was initially stationed at Dover, guarding the Folkstone to Dover railway tunnel although his preference was cooking so he became batman to the company commander.

His battalion left for France on the 19th April 1940 and, although they were a working battalion, they quickly became involved in conflict but it is not clear where he fought. He said, in a roughly typed story he produced many years later, “we were sent to France where we were surrounded by Jerry. Four of us got away and tried to reach the coast. We traveled by night hiding by day in woods (close to) the village of Frevent. We were captured in a wood close to the coast and taken to Lille Prison. From there on to Germany to Stalag VIIIB, from there he moved to Teshen when VIIIB became 344.”

In his belongings was a notebook titled “Poems, collected at Birkental No 36 working party and No 6”. I cannot find any reference to Birkental, so I don’t know what sort of camp this was or when he was there. There are about 18 contributors to the collection, as well as my father:

  • Alec Wilson,
  • George Roast (Hastings),
  • Drum Major A Wilson,
  • Tich Crane,
  • A K Nash,
  • W G H Brown,
  • Sgt F R Creer,
  • L/Cp N Farrar,
  • G R Gratton,
  • Denis L Hoy,
  • Sapper P T Brice,
  • Gunner A Maxwell,
  • William Mitchell,
  • L/CplBetteridge,
  • Bernard A Kettle,
  • Pte McCready,
  • Frank Nicolson
  • Maurice A Savill
. In his time as a POW he spent much of it at a work camp E149 at Buchenlust. Parts of this story are not clear, even though his parents kept nearly 130 letters and cards sent by him from the camp. He became Stage Manager at the theatre (The Teschen Empire) so it is likely he was at Stalag VIIIB Lamsdorf, then moved to Techen when it became VIIIB in 1943, and also spent time at E149. His movements are not clear from the letters as they are all addressed from Stalag VIIIB. We have copies of the programmes for the theatre productions and many photographs. In a very small address book he recorded the last stages of the long march:

April 22nd, Sunday. Crossed the Danube (P)

April 29 Sunday. Released by Yanks. Thank God.

May 7. On air field

May 8. Ditto. Germ plane surrendered. War over. Civvy billets

May 9. Flew to Reims F

May 10. Arrived in England at Ford nr Brighton

He went on to have a long career as a telephone engineer with the GPO. He died after a long illness following a stroke, passing away in 1978. If anyone can help to fill in the gaps in this story I would be most grateful.

Michael Butler

RSM Henry William "Harry" Lavender The Buffs

My late father, Harry Lavender served in the British Army. I know that the information which I have provided is very sketchy but it's the only bit of information that I have at this present time. The reason why I'm trying to find out any information about my late father is that I am an ex regular soldier retired myself. The last known address of my late father where, I presume he lived, after having been demobed from the army was 68 Belasis Avenue, Haverton Hill, Teesside. Sadly he passed away in 1960. I hardly knew my father as I was quite young when he passed away and it would mean a great deal to me if I could find out anything about his time whilst in the army.

Editor's note: from his army number, we can tell you that Harry Lavender enlisted with The Buffs.

Peter Lavender

Pte. Raymond E. H. "Wiskers" Rogers 5th Battalion Royal East Kent Regiment

My Father, Ray Rogers, sometimes known as Ernie or a nickname of Wiskers, came from the small village of Hackleton in Northamptonshire and was a groom for a local farmer in the next village of Piddington. He was called up for service in February 1943 and his original regiment was the Royal Sussex, but later joined 5th batalion, The Buffs in October 1943 where he spent the rest of his time in service. During this time they went to many places in North Africa, Sicily and Italy. I have a diary of all the places he went to, but too numerous to list. They became part of a group known as the 36th Infantry Brigade, which included the Buffs, the Royal West Kent regiment and the Arggll and Sutherland Highlanders. His commanding officer was Lt.Col. A J Odling Smee and the Brigadier was R D Musson DSO. The brigade were later joined by the Eighth Army with Gen. Montgomery, before embarking on Monte Cassino in Italy. My father was wounded and hospitalised twice while in Italy, and would liked to have known who saved his life, by carrying him back from being hit by a German hand grenade. The only name of a colleage I remember him mentioning from his days in action was someone called Dante.

After Italy, they travelled again to many places, including Malta, but they ended up in Klangenfurt in Austria, where he stayed and trained as an Equestrian until his release in 1946, he also met a lifelong friend in Austria called Ray Taylor, who stayed in touch until 1999 when my father passed away.

The 36th Infantry Brigade had a small magazine called "Hopps and Haggis" and I have the final victory edition that lists all the places that they visited, which tied up nicely with my fathers service records, there were two other editions, which I would love copies of, but have never managed to find.

Harry Williams Rogers

Pte. Henry William John Lavender East Kent Regiment

My late father Henry Lavender served with the Buff's (East Kent Regiment) I'm trying to find out any information about his military back ground and whether he was awarded any campain medals whilst he served in his Regiment during his time in the Army. I have collated some brief information on line about his military career and also that he may have been a POW duering the Second World War and that he may have been in a POW camp in Poland (Stalag xxa and XXb). However, I have no information what happend after he was liberated and demobed from the Army at the end of the Second World War. I presume that he returned back to his parent's home in Wales. His last known address I have for him is where he settled down into civillan life is where I was born which is 68 Belasis Avenue, Haverton Hill, Billingham, Teeside. But sadly he passed away in 1960. I can only just briefly remember him as I was very young when he passed away and it would be nice to remember him by and to know that he served his country.

Mr P. Lavender

Pte. Harold Jason Dawes 2nd Battalion East Kent Regiment (d.25th Feb 1945)

My Uncle, Harold Dawes, served in The Buffs in WW2 he signed up to serve his Country, completed his training, was posted to Burma and as soon as he stepped onto the beach in Burma, he was sadly shot dead. I would love to find a photo of him. Bless him.

We, as a family, are so proud of this young man, without him and many more like him, we would not have a freedom today. We should never ever forget Harold and people like him.

Sharon Witney

Lt.Col. Edward Hedley Body MC. 5th Battalion East Kent Regiment

Lt Col Edward Body, who has died aged 81, was awarded an MC in 1944 while serving in Italy with the 5th Battalion The Buffs during Operation Diadem, General Alexander's advance on Rome.

On May 19 Body, then a captain commanding "Y" Company, was in his battalion's attack on Aquino when the company was pinned down by machine-guns and snipers whose positions proved impossible to locate. Although he knew that the enemy was less than 100 yards away, Body continually moved about in the grass trying to observe them. Eventually he was hit in the shoulder by machine-gun bullets. Barely conscious, he continued to command his company and to send wireless messages back to Battalion Headquarters until another officer arrived to relieve him.

Eventually the order was given to withdraw. Two men were detailed to carry Body, who told them to leave him. When they refused and started to lift him, he pushed them away and, so as not to be a burden to them, staggered off unassisted. Throughout the withdrawal, which was carried out under heavy mortar and machine-gun fire, Body continued to shout orders at his men, and showed them the way to safety.

In the words of the citation: "Throughout the whole operation, Captain Body was a continual source of inspiration to all the officers and men in his Company, and set a magnificent example."

Edward Hedley Body was born at Middlesbrough on May 24 1920 and educated at Tonbridge. Intending to emulate his father and become a doctor, he then went up to Brasenose, Oxford, to study Medicine. At the outbreak of war, Body discovered that, as a medical student, he was exempted from conscription; anxious to enlist, he made a point of attending only lectures unconnected with his subject until eventually he was expelled. He was then called up and joined The Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment), with which he had family connections. On gaining his commission he joined the 5th Battalion, part of 78th Division, and took part in the North African landings and the Tunisian campaign.

Body was wounded in the leg during the invasion of Sicily and evacuated to Malta. Impatient to rejoin his battalion, he discharged himself from hospital and made his way to Italy. On his arrival at his battalion the adjutant greeted him with the words: "Hello, Edward. We wondered when you would turn up. We've just had you posted as a deserter."

During the 78th Division's march on Cassino, Body was posted at a fork in the road to show the way. It was pouring with rain so he huddled under an umbrella - a sight which soon had the passing troops singing Any Umbrellas. The positive effect of this on morale was such that the adjutant ordered him to carry the umbrella at all times in future. Together with an old blanket which Body draped over his shoulders, this later served as a useful disguise during scouting expeditions around Monte Cassino.

After the action at Aquino, Body was evacuated to England. He was refused permission to rejoin his regiment on the ground that he was not fully fit and posted to the carrier Colossus as Army Liaison Officer, with responsibility for teaching Fleet Air Arm pilots to recognise Army positions. While Colossus was berthed in Alexandria on its way to the Far East, Body learned that a film of Antony and Cleopatra was being made in the desert.

As a training exercise, he instructed his pilots to try to find the film's location. Some time later they returned, having "beat them up at zero feet", sending actors, crew and the Egyptian Camel Corps fleeing in all directions. Fortunately for Body, Colossus sailed the next day, leaving the RAF to take the blame for this event.

Body celebrated the end of the war in Sydney and then spent some time running a camp for former civilian PoWs in Shanghai before returning to England. He re-entered Brasenose but, having inherited the family farm on the deaths of his two brothers (both killed while serving with the RAF), he now studied Agriculture.

In 1948, he took a job as a land agent on a large estate in Cheshire. To gain more practical experience, he then spent a year as a tractor driver and farmhand in Dumfriesshire before buying a small dairy farm in Kent. After seven years there, a back injury meant that he could no longer work his farm; so he went to Kenya where he ran another large estate for 18 months before joining the Kenya Agricultural Department. After a period as a lecturer in central Nyanza he went to Thika as Sisal Officer, later becoming Colony Potato Officer. Shortly afterwards he was transferred to Kisumu, in Nyanza, to help with the handover to African administration. After returning once more to Britain in 1965, Body went to live in Wales. Apart from two years in Sarawak as principal of an agricultural college, he remained there for the rest of his life. From 1974 until his retirement in 1989, he ran a bookshop in Brecon.

Edward Body had a fine mind and a cheerful scepticism about conventional wisdom. Quiet and thoughtful, with a gentlemanly disposition, he won the respect and affection of all who knew him. He married, in 1948, Barbro Ygberg, a Swede whom he had met in Alexandria. She survives him together with their four daughters.

Ivor Body

Leslie Hubert Poole East Kent Regiment

My Father, Leslie Poole served in the British Army in World War II. I am almost sure he was in the East Kent Buffs but I do not know which Battalion unfortunately.I do know, however, that he was in France, Belgium, where he boarded with a family in or very near Haacht. (I remember their surname but will not put it here for privacy reasons.) He was in Bali, Italy at the end of the War as I have a photograph that he had taken there and he wrote on the back of this photograph "Bali, 1945".

I know he was a driver. I remember him telling my siblings and I that he drove an officer around and this officer ordered him to drive right through the Black Forest. My Father was, of course, terrified but had no choice! He also told us that he had to often go ahead of the Battalion on a motorbike.

I also remember my Dad telling us that after he had met my Mother (who was a Leading Wren) when they were both stationed in Gt. Yarmouth, he was sent to France and remembers standing on the deck of the ship feeling extremely sorry for himself and wishing he was at home and with my Mother.

I would love to hear other people's memories of this time. I only wish I had had the interest that I have now when my Dad and his contemporaries were still alive.

Barbara Hughes

S/Maj. James Jonah Ackrill 7th Battalion The Buffs

Jim Ackrill

Grandad and some of his regiment

Tank in streets of Holland

This photo was taken by a Dutch Person and sent as a souvenir

Jim Ackrill seved with the Buffs.

Sandra Starling

Pte. Frank Victor "Tiny" Cackett Battalion

My Grandad, Frank Victor Cackett, was in The Buffs and he was from Ashford, Kent. As far as I'm aware he was captured quite early on and what we can gather from the small snippets he gave, he was on the way to Dunkirk. He didn't speak much about the war at all so we've been trying to find out as much information as possible. He was in the Stalag Luft VIII-B in Cieszyn, Poland and did survive. He passed away in March 1992 from heart issues. He came out only weighing 6 stone and after being told he was fed cabbage soup it's not surprising! He was a bare knuckle fighter also so coming out having the nickname Tiny Cackett is pretty understandable. Just trying to piece the story together really from the little bits we did get from him.

Leanne Clark

Sgt Edward Victor Cole 9th Battalion The Buffs

My father Ted Cole was an 'Auxiliary' in WW2. He lived in a dugout in Kingswood Forest near Canterbury. He took me to see it in the 1960's. One of his comrades was Sid Sidwell who I met. He lived in the area. I am researching my family history and would appreciate any leads that anyone might have.

Clive Cole

Pte. Frank Moth 2nd Battalion The Buffs

Frank Moth. Enlisted: Canterbury, Kent, 18th April 1940 From dad’s wartime diary (my words in brackets for clarity): - 28/5/42 – ‘12o’clock embarked Liverpool’ (this would have been on the SS Laconia with the 2nd Battalion The Buffs)
  • 29th – 30th May ‘42 – ‘Laying off coast’
  • 31/5/42 – ‘11.45 left River Mersey’
  • 1/6/42 – ‘Big escort, lads mostly sick in North Atlantic, 7o’clock 18 miles Iceland’
  • June – Freetown, (Sierra Leone)
  • June - Cape Town, South Africa
  • July – Aden & Port Tewfik Egypt
  • August – Khatatba Egypt
  • Sept – Bare Ridge & Hineima?
  • Oct – Alamein (Second & decisive Battle of El Alamein)
  • Nov – Alamein & Alex (Alexandria) Egypt
  • Dec 42 – Aleppo Syria / Arabia / Trans-Jordan / Palestine / Lebanon
  • Jan 43 – Djerablous Syrian/Turkish border
  • Feb 43 – Baghdad, Iraq
  • March 43 – Quisil, Iraq
  • April 43 – Kiffai, Iraq (possibly Kifri near border with Persia/Iran on ‘road’ to Teheran)
  • May to Sept 43 – C.M.P. (Corps of Military Police?) Teheran Persia (Iran)
  • Oct – Kermanshah, Persia
  • Nov – Teheran, Churchill Conference
  • Dec Xmas – Kanakin (probably Khanaqin) Iraq-Iran border
  • Jan 44 – S.P.Z mountain training
  • Feb – Kirkuk, Iraq
  • April – Beirut (Lebanon &) Syria
  • May – Karid, Persia
  • June – Baghdad, Iraq
  • July – Basra, Iraq
  • August – Bombay, India
  • Sept – Bangalore, India
  • Oct – Balliona, India
  • Nov – India Assam & Burma
  • Dec 44 – Indian Xmas Burma
  • Jan 45 – Bahe / Molong / Mogok - Burma
  • Feb – Mong Mit / Maymyo (Mandalay Region) – Burma
  • March – Mandalay & Meiktila Burma
  • April – Imphal & Manipur Road
  • May – Visapur & Secunderabad India
  • Jun to August - Visapur India
  • Sept 45 – Ahamednagar (Maharashtra Province 200kms from Mumbai/Bombay) & Visapur
  • Oct 45 – Poona & Bombay for riots
  • Nov - Blighty
  • Dec – Xmas?

Following is in a Christmas card issued to all troops ‘To Goat Moth, A happy Christmas and the Best of New Years from all Ranks, 2nd Bn. The Buffs. Many thanks and the very best of luck’. From ‘Lt Col 2 Buffs S.E.AC. 1945’ Goat = Greatest of all time S.E.AC. = South East Asia Corps Contact names from dad’s diary: -

  • GNR Moth.R, 11400281, 386 LAA Battery, Main Camp, Ballykinlar Camp, Co Down
  • Rfn L.E.Moth, 12 Ladycroft, Bolton on Deasae?, Nr Rotherham, Yorks ACWI Moth L.E. 2050506, C/O 2 Addington Road, Reading, Berks
  • Sgt Moth 858403, 952 Def Batt RA, C/O GPO Woolacombe, Nth Devon
  • GNR G Day, 1685378, D Tp 129 AAL Batt, 11 Pow mans, Pow Drive, Batt: SW11
  • Pte Gill.W, C/O Hurst Farm, Oweslebury?, Nr Winchester, Hants
  • Cpl Creasey.F 6404132, A Coy, 4 R.S.Regt, Richmond House, Harestone Valley Road, Caterham, Surrey
  • GNR Moss J.R. 6474378, A Battery, 94th /T Regt R.A., Home Forces Ernie Wheeler, 15 Coningsby Rd, Sth Ealing, W5. 6288869, c Coy 30th Buffs, Coolinge Lane, Folkestone
  • Rfn L.E.Moth 6910734 Rifle B’de, HQ 1st Corps, Home Forces
  • Gnr Moth.R. 11400281, 386 LAA, C/O Waverley Hotel, Aberdeen
  • 6285465 Pte Shorter.A., C Coy 13th Kings Regt, Napier Bar, Karachi, India
  • 6910734 Rfn Moth L.E. (R.B), Q Mov: Rear HQ, 21st Army Group, B.L.A.
  • 6098540 l/Sgt W.Woodhouse, HQ coy, 1st Bn Queens Royal Regt, SEAC
  • 6474378 Gnr Moss.J. S Trp, C Bty, 1st Field Depot Regt: RATD (Main) Pickles, Burnham House, Main Road, Queensboro’, Kent
  • Fred Timms, A/TPln, 1 Coy QRR, B.L.A.
  • Alf 6092211, Redholme Camp, CISD RASC, Chilham, Nr Canterbury
  • Alf, 37 Piper Rd, Kingston, Surrey
  • Ron, Gordon Rd, Luton, Chatham –
  • Alf, 15 Robin Hood Way, Greenford
  • Harry, 1 Livingstone Road, Stretford, E15
  • Patsy, 23 Swinton St
  • Boy Boy, 4 Etloe Road, Leyton, E10
  • Alf, 37 Piper Road, Kingston
  • Erb, 52 East St, Dartford
  • Tom Bedworth, 19 Burnaby Gardens, Chiswick
  • Bill Seas, Shortland(s) Road, Sittingbourne
  • Johnny Webb, 97 Selsdon Rd, South Croydon
  • 6288668 Ron Blackwell
  • Alf Shorter, Ulley Rd, Kennington, Ashford
  • Harry Bowen, 42 Oldfield Circus, Greenford, Midd
  • Trpr Jock Bell 14239717, B Sqdn, 146 Regt R.A.C (DWR), Alfsea
  • Bill, 20A Pilgrimage St, Long Lane, Boro SE1
  • Alf Newman, 185 Twick (Twickenham) Rd, Isleworth, Mid
  • Pug, 66 Brooks Rd, Plaistow, E13
  • Ron Blackwell, 18 Stuart Rd, Grays, Essex
Abbreviations: - LAA or AAL Batt = Anti Aircraft Light Battery Batt RN = Battery Royal Artillery B.L.A. = British Land Army Bn = Battalion Bty = Battery Coy = Company GNR or Gnr = Gunner l/Sgt = Lance Sergeant RASC = Royal Army Service Corps Regt = Regiment Rfn = Rifleman SEAC = South East Asia Corps Sqdn = Squadron Trp or Trpr = Troop Our dad & his brothers all survived the Second World War. His brother Lionel (Rfn L.E.Moth) was a professional soldier who joined the Army in the 1930's & served with the Rifle Brigade. I don't currently have any information on his other brothers.

Dad served in the 2nd Battalion The Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment)with the 8th Army in North Africa where he was wounded by grenade fragments & temporarily blinded, released from hospital & served with CMP escorting prisoners of war. Went to Teheran with 2nd Battalion The Buffs for Churchill Conference, before serving the rest of the war in Burma with the 14th Army. He was also attached to the Indian Army in Iraq & Persia, the US Army in Assam, India, & Burma, the 9th Army in Arabia & Transjordan Desert, & the 10th Army in Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, & Turkey. Dad passed away around Christmas/New Year 1996/97.

Lionel Moth

Mjr. Ernest Arthur Hole 4th Btn. Royal East Kent Regiment (d.14th Nov 1943)

Major Ernest Arthur Hole

Major Ernest Arthur Hole served with the 4th Btn. The Buffs. He was killed on the 14th of November 1943.

Ernest Hole

Pte James Warren Ruddock Royal East Kent

My Father was James Warren Ruddock served with the East Kent Regiment during 1940 in Northern France. (I am not sure, but think he might have been with the 4 Buffs) He was at St Lawrence School, Ramsgate and I believe he signed up there. He died in 1974, when I was quite young having never spoken of his war experience. I was always told that he was left behind at Dunkirk, however, he managed to make his way back to the UK somehow. However, during his escape and evasion he developed chronic pneumonia and was invalided out of the Army on his return to the UK. He never picked up his medals and never spoke about his experiences.

I was wondering if anyone could be so kind and assist me in obtaining his regimental number and which battalion he served with and any other information you may be able to gleam. I am extremely grateful for you assistance in this matter.

Ian Ruddock

Sgt. William Frederick Ingram 2nd Buffs

William Ingram died one year after the war, of his wounds.

Julian Ingram

Cpl. Edward William Ratcliff East Kent Regiment

I am sure grandfather is in this photo, taken outside Hut 91 (2nd Row sitting far right)

My grandfather, Edward William Ratcliff, was a POW at Stalag 383. I am not entirely sure when he was captured (possibly 1942), but he was there until the end of the war, when they were liberated by US Troops. He was in The Buffs (East Kents).

I have loads of photos that were taken during his time there, some I have seen on the web already, so I presume they were issued to quite a few. I have photos of the shows they used to put on, of the Red Cross parcels they received, and also a photo of him with the Camp stamp on the reverse, which was sent to my grandmother back in England.

Gary Inkersole

Alfred John Stevenson Royal East Kent Regiment

I never got the chance to meet my grandfather as he had passed away before I was born, but I was always told about him being captured as they headed to Dunkirk and then being marched to Poland, he lost several toes due to frostbite. While researching my family tree I discovered that he was a POW at Stalag 20b in Malbork, Poland. His name was Alfred John Stevenson of the Royal East Kent Regiment (the Buffs). He was in his late 30s when he was captured. Id love to find out more, where he was when he was captured, what he did when he was at the camp etc.

Claire Stevenson

Sgt. Alban Chapman 2nd Btn. East Kent Regiment

My grand father, Alban Chapman, was in the 2nd Buffs, I know he was in El Alamein and ended the war attached to the Chindits. We have no wartime photos or information and he didn't like talking about the war, if anyone can shed some light on his activities or has any photos of him it would be greatly appreciated

Greg Chapman

Tpr. Albert Frudd 141st Armoured Regment Royal Armoured Corps (d.15th Sept 1944)

I never knew Albert Frudd, but did meet his parents. He served with the Royal Armoured Corps 141st Regiment (7th Battalion, The Buffs.) I have no information other than his service number and regiment and that he died on 15th September 1944. I have visited his grave at Bayeux and he is buried by the side of L/Cpl D.F. Moore same regiment and battalion killed on the same day. They may have been comrades in the same tank. If anyone has any tips on where I can get any information please contact me.

John Frudd

Pte. Harold Jason Dawes East Kent Regiment (d.25th Feb 1945)

Harold Dawes was my Uncle on my Fathers side. He fought in Burma in the Second World War, serving with the East Kent Regiment, The Buffs. Harold lied about his age, (he was much younger), to enable him to sign up. He arrived on the Burma Beaches on 25th February 1945, and was killed instantly, so never got to fight for his Country, as he so wanted to do.

May he Rest In Peace, knowing that he did his bit, his family love him and are very proud. We miss you Harold. xxxx

William John Turrell 1st Battalion Royal East Kent Regiment

William Turrell is centre of back row.

My uncle Bill - William John Turrell was born in 1919, Bromley Kent. I have been told he was with the royal east kent regiment (the buffs). Sadly, my uncle passed away in 1983. He never really spoke of the war days, but I guess, knowing what I know now, I can see why he never spoke about things.

I have just been given a photo of my uncle. I believe the photo was taken in a prison of war camp in september 1944 at Molln, I believe that this was in Pupping Austria, camp number Stalag 398. His POW number was 155006.

My uncle Bill is the big man in the centre of the back row, I don't know who the other men are but it would be nice to find out.

David Turrell

Pte. Patrick Andrew Corrigan East Kent Regiment

This is Pat Corrigan's account of his surviving the sinking of the Lancastria, from a conversation with my father when I visited him on 20th August 2005 with my daughter, then aged 8. At times he didn’t know whether to laugh or cry telling us this.Pat was an Irish citizen who had signed up to the British Army.

Pat was born 8th December 1917 and died on 18th June 2009, aged 91: 69 years and one day after he could so nearly have lost his life off St Nazaire in 1940. Although he had often referred in passing to his experience this was the first time I had heard him recount the events so clearly, he seemed inspired to tell the story to his grandaughter and I set it down later that evening:

“I was an Irish soldier fighting for the allies in France in the East Kent Regiment, known as ‘the Buffs’. Three weeks after the evacuation from Dunkirk I was still there and I was evacuated on the ‘Lancastria’. About five thousand soldiers and others were put on there. When I was marching with my platoon across France to get to St Nazaire, where the ship was waiting, we were frequently ordered to ‘Halt and fall out!’ to make way for others to go past. At the time I was really worried that the ship would be full up by the time we got there, and I kept wondering why are they letting them go ahead of us?

However when I got to the ship I was really glad as they had all had to go deep below decks. The sergeant majors were saying things like ‘It’s safer the lower down you go, down you go!’ Nobody believed them. When I boarded a soldier said to me ‘We’re going to sail at four o’clock’. I didn’t believe him, but he said ‘No it’s true – I bet you twenty Players we are!’ I found a space on the deck. Then the German bombers began attacking the ship. One bomb went down the funnel and the ship started listing very quickly – and started sinking. I took off my heavy army boots and some other garments because I knew I would have to jump into the sea. You have to remember the Lancastria was a very big ship, and when a ship like that sinks, so quickly, there is an awful lot of panic and chaos. I took off my tin hat, but then the German planes were gunning the ship as well as the men who were already in the water, so I put it back on. I could hear the bullets ‘zinging’ past me and hitting the metal of the ship.

As the ship was beginning to sink and people were shouting and panicking, me and another soldier noticed that one of the lifeboats was tangled up. But we realised that as the ship listed over the lifeboat would get nearer and nearer the water. So we cut the ropes to release the lifeboat and it dropped into the water. Then we had a problem. Although we had climbed into the boat to cut the ropes and let it fall, when it hit the water there were so many people already in the sea, and they all tried to clamber on board and the thing capsized. Those of us that could climbed on the upturned hull. Then we thought that if it did right itself it would fill with water and sink, so we kept having to move this way and that, all together, to stop the boat turning over again.

While I was on the boat I saw the man who had said the ship was going to sail at four o’clock. He was covered in oil and soot – hardly recognisable, and he was waving at me, shouting across the water, ‘I owe you twenty Players mate!’. Meanwhile the German planes were shooting machine guns all around. Eventually the lifeboat was towed back to St Nazaire harbour. I was naked and cold and they found me some clothes. I walked along the harbour looking for a boat that could take me back to England. Most of them were full but I found one that had some room. It was an old pleasure steamer commissioned to help with the evacuation. All I remember is going to sit by the engine to warm up. It did set sail, but then went back to join a convoy where it would get some protection from allied airplanes. I was so tired that once I had warmed up I just lay on the deck while the German planes were everywhere. I could see the tracer bullets. But by this stage I almost didn’t care any more and I just lay there and fell asleep. When I woke up it was daytime. Sometimes I think I’m the luckiest man alive.

We got back to England and I went to a camp in Wiltshire. I remember finding some new uniform to wear from piles of clothes. They told us just to help ourselves and I ended up with a pair of RAF trousers, and a big trench coat. Then we went to London to be registered, counted and sent back to where we belonged. I remember they let us sleep to 11 o’clock the next morning which was pretty unusual in the Army.

In London I met up with two other soldiers, one was Welsh and one was Scottish, that’s it, an Irishman, a Welshman and a Scotsman! We all said we were in the Fusiliers, which meant they let us leave, and I went to stay with my sister in Hounslow for one night. Technically I was AWOL but I went back the next day and got sent back to my Regiment.

The sinking was covered up; Churchill didn’t want it coming out.”

Kieron Corrigan

Pte. Cyril Henry John Lee East Kent Regiment

camp 53 pm3300

Cyril Henry John Lee of the Buffs was in Camp 53 3300 Italy then moved to Stalag 11b sometime after 1943. He was my father's uncle.

Mike Gurney

Pte. Sydney Grindy 5th Btn. Royal East Kent Regiment

My father - Private 6286696 Sydney Grindy of the Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment). He served with the 1st, 2nd and 5th Battalion between 1937-45. He was taken prisoner at Le Milliard on 24th May 1940. He was confined in Stalag XXA at Thorn (9/6/40 - 16/4/41) Stalag XXB at Marienberg (18/4/41 - 17/5/43) Stalag XXA at Thorn (27/11/43 - 23/1/45). He was also posted to the following work camps - Elbing Camp from 20/5/41 - 17/2/42 and Konitz Camp from 11/4/44 - 23/1/45. I am particularly keen to trace any members of the regiment who may have been confined with my father during this period.

I wish I had listened more to my father on the few occasions he spoke about his experiences in the camps. Much of what I have read on the memories page (which is excellent) I remember my father speaking about when I was young. I only wish I had been able to record this information, as many of the contributors to your excellent memories page have already done. As a family we are desperate to contact people - of any nationality - who may have know my father during his time as a POW. Can any one help in some way or offer us some advise?

Susan Grindy

William Henry Donald Overy 5th Btn. Royal East Kent Regiment

Pte Bill Overy

Bill Overy was in the British Army, serving with the 5th Buffs, an East Kent Regiment. He joined the Territorials on the 3rd May 1939 when he was 24 and in April 1940 he went to France. In May they took up positions along the Arras-Doullens road to defend the town of Doullens. They had no backup troops to their rear or any aircraft for support. They had three Bren guns for which there had been little training and three 0.55 inch anti-tank rifles and one 2 inch mortar which unfortunately had no ammunition. All this to stem the onslaught of the 218 tanks of the 6th Panzer division, which overrun them on the 20 May 1940 and he was captured.

Following his capture they were all herded into a field with thousands of others of all nationalities where they stayed for about 3 or 4 days. When they moved off they received a black loaf, about 9 inches long, to share between six of them. They marched on for days often raiding empty houses to get food and wine to go with the turnips they collected from the fields. Eventually they arrived at a railway siding, where they were loaded into cattle trucks, 40 to a truck, with no ventilation, except for a narrow window about a foot square. They traveled for days through Luxembourg. Germany and Poland some days they ate and some days they didn't.

They arrived at Thorne in Poland to Prisoner of War camp Stalag XXA which was a large fort but the food was still bad consisting of one litre of watery soup at mid day and at tea time a loaf between five of them and ersatz coffee made from acorns.

POW`s Stalag XXa

About 20 men all from the Buffs, were sent to DANZIG in EAST PRUSSIA to work on farms and from there they were allowed to write a card home every two weeks. By Christmas 1940 they were moved to Stalag XXB at MARIENBURG in EAST PRUSSIA. It was very cold and the snow was deep and with no greatcoats it was very bad but for Christmas they had their first Red Cross parcels. They returned to Stalag XXA in the spring and then in the summer of 1941 moved to a new camp outside Thorne.

POW`s Stalag XXA

Parcels started to arrive from the Red Cross and from home, so what with these and they exchanged coffee, tea and chocolate with the Poles for white bread, eggs and cakes, life was fair. They got the bread and eggs past the guards by making pockets inside the lining of their coats and dropped the eggs down inside. They had concerts at night in the camp, also football, a lot of the players were professionals from big clubs back home in Britain. Every Sunday they had a church service.

POW`s put on a play, Stalag XXA

POW Football Team, Stalag XXA

In the spring of 1942 they were put on a farm work party in the village of GRUSSAUS GR SCHONWALDE near GROUDENS. They lived in a large house with two Polish families and the farmer and his wife and two children.

Bill Overy and a friend

They were split up into pairs to go onto the farms and the guards took them out at 6 in the morning and returned for them at 6 at night. A lot of things changed, they gave the women tea and coffee and showed them how to brew tea. The women did their washing, for which they paid them with soap, chocolate or cigarettes from their food parcels. Bill Overy made friends with John Whitticker from Derby who was the camp barber and they shared their Red Cross parcels so they went a lot further. They would often meet prisoners from other farms and exchanged news, much was wild rumors but it helped to keep up their moral.

Bill Overy (left) with two friends

During this time there was a new arrival, which was always a great event as they always had more news. He was Jack Imlack, a New Zealander who had been captured in Crete and was from camp Stalag XXB. He had been in a lot of trouble because he hated the Germans and one night a guard hit him with his rifle, so he hit him back and broke his jaw. For this he got 8 months in a civil jail and it nearly killed him, he was 16 1/2 stone when he went in and 8 stone when he came out. They took him in with them sharing their food parcels.

POW`s Stalag XXa

In the spring of 1944 they got hold of an old radio that they kept under the floorboards. Every morning two were left behind to clean the rooms while the guards took the rest to work. This gave them the opportunity to listen to the British news and write it down. When they delivered the milk later they would pass on the news to other areas.

So came the great day, 6th June 1944. Bill Overy was one doing the cleaning that morning and when they put the radio they found out the Allies had landed in France. They could not believe it and as luck would have it, they did not write it down or pass it on they just could not believe it. When they got back to the fields they told the others, forgetting some of the Poles had learnt a bit of English. By that night the entire village knew. Of course the guards didn't know, they were not told until two days later, so where did the news come from? Their rooms were turned upside down but they found nothing and the Poles kept quiet. Later that week three of them were returned to Stalag XXA with their corporal. When the corporal was being interrogated they heard all he said from the next room so they were all able to tell the same story. They said they had heard the officer in charge of the guard talking about it. That was that, they went back to Schonwalde and the officer went to the Russian front. All mail from home stopped from July 1944 and food parcels came only one a month, so their food had to be rationed. Winter came and in November it started to snow and the temperature was 20 degrees below zero.

Group of POW`s Stalag XXA

Early in 1945 they were told they would be leaving at the weekend and they would be walking. So they got rid of all excess baggage, except food, their spare shoes and clothes they gave to the Poles. The three of them made a sledge to carry their food and on the Saturday they left, pulling their sledge, to a camp called Possen. The journey there was not too bad, plenty of snow but at night the guards found them shelter in a barn, as there was only twelve of them. Food was a problem though as their food parcels were very low. It took four days to reach the camp that was an assembly area for all the working parties in the area. They stayed for two days waiting for everyone to arrive then they each were given two Red Cross parcels and they loaded their sledge and started on their way. There were about 400 British and 200 Russians and 25 guards and 6 dogs. The German officer rode in a small buggy pulled by two horses. They had a short rest every two hours, which was not too bad at the beginning but then some started to lag behind. The Germans turned their sledges over and hit them with their rifles and made them leave everything. One night they spent in the open in a football ground, and in the morning they left quite a few behind frozen in the snow. Even if they sheltered in a barn, they never took their boots off as they would freeze solid and it would be impossible to put them on again. As food became scarce the Germans killed some horses to make soup and at one of the place they caught a rabbit, which they killed and ate raw.

The snow was nearly gone by the time they arrived in STETTEN and crossed the river into Germany but it was still very cold and the rain meant they slept in wet clothes at night. At this point they left the Russians behind. Days did not seem to matter anymore. Walking, walking and more walking. One day they arrived at a farm where there were about 200 British POWs, they were in a terrible state with dysentery and typhus and they were dying like flies. The guards were scared stiff so they quickly moved them on. The Germans started to get trigger-happy and two lads were shot trying to pick up potatoes and another when he relieved himself during the night. And still they walked on, first one way, then another, until they reached the town of CELLE. In HAMBURG they were put into huts near the station. That night the station was bombed but none of them were killed. The guards did not know where go, so they started to take them south into Germany while the sound of gunfire got closer. At this point Bill, John and Jack thought they had had enough so they planned to make a break for it when they moved off. After about an hour they dived into a wood but the Germans sent the dogs after them and they were recaptured. John had been hit around the head with a rifle that split his ear and when they next stopped, they were trying a bit of first aid when the British NCO, in charge, told them the guards had gone.

So at last they were free, after 5 years. The change that came over them was unbelievable. Where it had been every man for himself, now those who had cigarettes shared with everybody else. It was a wonderful feeling. Of the 400 who had started out on the march, less that 200 were left. Not all had died, a lot had been taken into hospital on the way but it was still a shock.

They were told to tidy up and were soon busy shaving and washing, as best as they could. The NCO's went to look around and when they returned they said the Americans were down the road and as they were still in the British Army would march into town. Then they were taken by truck to the British main depot at a place called Hereford about 4 hours drive away and then to Munster and flown to Brussels. That night in Brussels they went to the Churchill Club for their first taste of English beer in five years. The next day they boarded another Lancaster for England and home.

Bill Overy

Alfred John Stevenson East Kent Regiment

My grandfather was Alfred Stevenson, serving in the East Kent Regiment. He was a POW at Malbork Stalag XXb, POW number 15353. Captured whilst retreating to Dunkirk, he was then force-marched across Europe, losing several toes to frost-bite along the way.

I don't have much more information about my grandfather as I was born after he passed away and he apparently didn't talk much about his life during the war. If anyone has any knowledge of him I would love to hear from you. Reading everyone else's accounts is humbling.

Claire Stevenson

Mjr. Henry Bernard Harvey MC. 1st Btn East Kent Regiment

Lt Henry Harvey, 1st Battalion, Royal East Kent Regt (The Buffs) served in North Africa and Italy. On 21st March 1943 he was ordered to go to the enemy line to assess the forces and defences in the area near to the Roman Wall at El Hamma. With his Sgt he approached the area and, under heavy enemy MG and Artillery fire, surveyed the area and marked the minefield. He returned, unharmed, to his own lines and reported back to his commanding officer.

On 26th March 1943 he volunteered to rescue a Capt of the Northumberland Regt from behind enemy lines. The Capt was wounded and when found Lt Harvey carried him to the troop carrier under heavy enemy fire from MG and then lay on top of the Captain to prevent any further injury.

Michael Harvey

L/Cpl. Edward Robert "Ted" Scarth 1st Battalion The Buffs East Kent Rgiment (d.9th December 1941)

This is in memory of my Uncle Ted, who I never met as he died in WW2 only 21 years old. He was my father's older brother. He believed really strongly in fighting Fascism. Mosley's Blackshirts used to march through east London where his family lived and hold rallies. My grandmother Millicent {Ted's mother} used to tell me stories of having to go the the local police station to bail Ted out after getting into fights trying to break up the rallies etc.

Both my grandmother and Ted were members of the Communist Party during the war as were lots of people at the time as they believed Communism was the antidote to Hitler and Facism. Ted had been learning Russian at night school because of this. He was proud to fight in the war, and with The Buffs East Kent Regiment was sent to the Western Desert to fight. I have read letters that he sent home, obviously no content about details of where they were etc but he believed in the war he was fighting and also wrote of how much he missed everyone back home. He and his wife Edie had a daughter Edith born in 1940. He spoke of maybe going to live in South Africa after the war.

He was killed in action on 9th December 1941 in Tobruk, Libya and is buried in the Knightbridge Cemetery at Acroma, Libya.

I think of how awful it must have been for my grandmother and father and his wife to hear that news so close to Christmas. My grandmother placed a memorial in the local Hackney Gazette which read "We are still fighting, Ted". She wanted the inscription on his grave to be written in Russian and the War Graves Commision have translated it for me. It reads "The most holy and heartfelt tears that I have seen in this world are the tears of poor mothers".

I am very proud of Ted and I am told I look like him.

Dorothy Scarth

Pte. Sidney Grindy East Kent Regiment

My father was a POW from 1940 to 1945. He was taken prisoner at Le Milliard on 24th May 1940 and confined at:
  • Stalag XXA at Thorn (9th June 1940 to 16th April 1941)
  • Stalag XXb at Marienberg (18th April 1941 to 17th May 1943)
  • Stalag XXA at Thorn (27th November 1943 to 23rd January 1945)

    He was also posted to the following work camps:

  • Elbing Camp (20th May 1941 to 17th February 1942)
  • Konitz Camp (11th April 1944 to 23rd January 1945).

    Does anyone have any information about members of the regiment who were confined with my father?

  • Ian Grindy

    Cpl. Charles H. Cox Royal East Kent Rgt (The Buffs)

    Cpl Cox was a POW in Stalag 20b. His POW Number was 13358.

    Sgt. John Stanley Coleman Royal East Kent Regiment

    I don't know much about my granddad, Jack Coleman 's war service other than to say he was fiercely proud of his connection and service with the Buffs. As a child growing up I always was reminded of his war service by the hand made framed Buffs emblem hung on the parlour wall, it must have been 5ft x 4ft. He left the army in 45 or 46 I think with the rank of Sgt. If there is anyone with any more information I would be pleased to hear.

    Terence Moore

    Arthur "Blondie" Fowler East Kent Rgt (The Buffs)

    Arthur Fowler and his brother Charles Edward Fowler were captured in Italy and sent to Stalag IVB.

    Charles Edward Fowler East Kent Rgt (The Buffs)

    My grandad was in the Buffs (East Kent Rgt) during WWII. He and his brother were captured in Italy and transferred to Stalag IVB. My grandad's name was Charles Edward Fowler and his brother was Arthur (Blondie) Fowler. I believe that Arthur was injured when landing in Italy and my grandad would not leave him and they both were captured.

    Glenn Miller

    Cpl. Howard Kendall 1st Btn. Royal East Kent Rgt (The Buffs) (d.13th April 1945)

    My uncle, Howard Kendall, was killed in Italy on 13th April 1945. He is buried in Argenta Gap War Cemetery, III.F.8.

    Keith Kendall

    Cpl. John Hedley Gwyther 5th Btn Royal East Kent (The Buffs) (d.22nd Feb 1943)

    John Gwyther is remembered on the Medjez-El-Bab Memorial at Medjez el Bab Baja, his final resting place is unknown.

    Colin Gwyther

    Cslm Lewis George Parsons 1st and 2nd Btns. Buffs

    My Granddad, Lewis George Parsons Cslm 6279907 "The Buffs" POW stalag XXB Group 92 was captured at Dunkirk and a POW to the end of the war. I do hope this helps all out there. I have a full list of all the group of men that were with my granddad as below.

    • Pvt Rose GF 6289129,
    • Pvt Hall J 6288252,
    • Fus Morrow S 6979015,
    • Pvt Grundy J 4467304,
    • Pvt Harrison R 4394716,
    • Rfn Clarke G 14219983,
    • Pvt Fielding D 5253149,
    • GDSN Watkins I 2752901,
    • Sigm Lloyd D 2482516,
    • Pvt Endean R5435517,
    • Pvt Johnsonson S 5112505,
    • Pvt Dexter LM 2050812,
    • L/Cpl Pearson FL 4586940,
    • Cslm Parsons LG 6279907 my Granddad,
    • Pvt Willsmore GC 6347379,
    • L/Bdr Morton M 833406,
    • Pvt Grant J 2882863,
    • Pvt McFarlane R 77396,
    • Pvt Hague A 6747061,
    • Pvt J ones W 6463242,
    • Fus Jacobs G 6466682,
    • Pvt Strudwick TF 6345056,
    • L/CS Eaton J 3452192,
    • Pvt Ashby AK 6976369,
    • Pvt W alker A 5107679,
    • Pvt Thursfield W2188618,
    • Pvt Ord T 4272738,
    • Fus Ord PD 427272737,
    • Gnr Holden T I 836109,
    • Rsm Hidgeon B 6847715.

    Died 27/4/1974

    All the best.

    Alan Booth

    Harry Hirt East Kent (The Buffs) Rgt. Royal Engineers

    My grandad served with the Royal Engineers and was also in the Buffs (East Kent) Regiment. He went to Dunkirk. I would love to know his service history and the history of his regiment in WWII. Anyone remember him?

    John Messent

    Pte. Eric Earl Flisher 4th Btn. East Kent Regiment

    I am trying to find more information about my granddad's time as a POW. According to the information I have from the ICRC, he was captured at Fecamp on 11th June 1940 and arrived at Stalag XXA on 9th July 1940 having come from a Dulag. He was then transferred to Stalag XXB on 1st March 1941 for the remainder of the war. His unit was 4th Battalion, East Kent (Buffs). His POW number was 13947.


    Pte. Sydney Grindy Royal East Kent Regiment

    Can anyone help me trace fellow members of the Royal East Kent (The Buffs) Regiment who were confined with my father as a POW in 1940-45? My father - Private 6286696 Sydney Grindy was taken prisoner at Le Milliard on 24th May 1940. He was confined in the following camps:
  • Stalag XXA at Thorn (9th June 1940 - 16th April 1941)
  • Stalag XXB at Marienberg (18th April 1941 - 17th May 1943)
  • Stalag XXA at Thorn (27th November 1943 - 23rd January 1945).

    He was also posted to the following work camps:

  • Elbing Camp from 20th May 1941 - 17th February 1942
  • Konitz Camp from 11th April 1944 - 23rd January 1945.

    I am partculary keen to trace any members of the regiment who may have been confined with my father during this period.

  • Susan Grindy

    Pte. George James Elijah Butler East Kent Regiment


    My father, Private George James Elijah Butler served with the East Kent Regiment (The Buffs. He was captured in Belgium in 1940 and sent to POW Camp Stalag XXA13. His prisoner number was 12556. In WW2 my father, along with a great many others, was a part of the British Expeditionary Forces that was sent to Belgium to fight the Germans. He was in the Royal East Kent Regiment (The Buffs). His battalion was 20 men over strength making it 1020 men in all.

    He told me that he didn't have a tin hat - he only had a beret - and his mate had a tin hat but didn't like it, so they swapped. He went on to say that this helped to save his life, because shrapnel hit the tin hat and made a hole in it. He also was saved by his tin mug and tin plate in his kit bag because they stopped a spent bullet that hit the kit bag. They were sent over to Belgium without adequate weapons or supplies to be able fight the Germans. As a result, 1000 men lost their lives. At the end of the battle the twenty who were left were ordered to surrender. He was captured before the fall of Dunkirk. When he was captured he, along with a great number of others, was paraded in a large sports stadium. They were being paraded in front of Adolf Hitler and other top Nazis. I remember my father telling me that a German guard told him to stand to attention. He told me the answer he gave the guard and it's a wonder he wasn't shot by the guard.

    He was force-marched into Poland via Holland with many other British troops. He ended up in Stalag XXA13 in Poland. He made three escape attempts, but did not make a home run. On one of the escape attempts he and some of his mates removed some iron bars which were set into a frame that was set into the stone work of a window that overlooked a road and climbed out straight on to the road. Their mates then put the iron bars back in place. They were all recaptured. After they came out of solitary he was told by his friends that the SS came to try to find out how they manage to escape. His mates told him that the SS officer reached up and pulled on the iron bars and the bars gave way and fell on top of him. My father told me that he wished he hadn't escaped that time, because he would have loved to seen the bars fall on the SS officer. During another escape they removed a large stone block from the wall which was replaced by their mates once they had made their escape.

    Another of the escapes was when he was working on a farm. The German sergeant pulled out his gun and told all the prisoners that he would shoot anybody that tried to escape while he was in charge. My father told me that became a challenge to him and his mate. So they both did a bunk as soon as the guard's back was turned. They were both recaptured by the Polish police and were held at the police station until they could be escorted back to the prison camp. The guard who came to escort them back to the prison camp was the same sergeant who had said he would shoot anyone that escaped while he was in charge. So my father and his mate told the Polish police officer that if they went back with that sergeant he would shoot them before they got back to the camp and they told him what the German sergeant had said to them. So the Polish police officer phoned the prison camp and asked for a German officer to come and escort them back to the camp because the sergeant has told the prisoners that he intended to shoot them.

    On one of my father's escapes he was put in a concentration camp when he was recaptured until the camp guards could come and pick him up to escort him back to the prison camp. He told me how he was put to work on a farm and that the farmer's son was trying to shoot crows for food and that he wasn't a very good shot, so my dad persuaded the farmer's son to let him have the gun to shoot the crows for him. So my father ended up shooting the crows. It was a good job that there were no German guards about at the time. My father was a marksman with a rifle and Bren gun.

    The atrocities he saw I cannot put here - there were many of them. He suffered all his life with bad health because of being a POW. He had nightmares most of his life because of what he had seen. He also survived a 600 mile death march.

    I am now trying to find out as much as I can about his service record because when he was alive he would not tell me as much as I would have liked him to.

    Michael G Butler

    Bert Jones East Kent Rgt (The Buffs)

    Bert Jones served with the 5th Btn East Kent Regiment (The Buffs) and was present at Doullens during WWII.

    Horace Cook 5th Btn. East Kent Rgt (The Buffs)

    Horace Cook served with the 5th Btn East Kent Regiment (The Buffs) and was present at Doullens during WWII.

    Bill Pledger 5th Btn. East Kent Rgt (The Buffs)

    Bill Pledger served with the 5th Btn East Kent Regiment (The Buffs) and was present at Doullens during WWII.

    Jim Peall 5th Btn. East Kent Rgt (The Buffs)

    Jim Peall served with the 5th Btn East Kent Regiment (The Buffs) and was present at Doullens during WWII.

    Pte. Alfred Arthur Gardiner 2nd Btn. Royal East Kent Regiment (d.17th Jun 1940)

    Whilst on active duty Arthur was only 22 years old when he was killed aboard the HMT Lancastria. We have not forgotten

    Barry Hales

    Pte. Frederick Robert John Hermitage 7th Btn. East Kent Regiment

    My father, Fred Hermitage, joined the 7th Buffs and was transferred to the 11th Battalion Durham Light Infantry on 7th July 1944. The 11th DLI was posted to the 1st Dorset Regiment on 26th August 1944 and dad was finally posted to the 4th Dorsets at Kemmel on 10th December 1944. He remained with them, ending his war in Soltau, Germany from where he was posted home on 30 November 1945.

    Mark Hermitage

    L/Cpl. Francis Arthur Simpson 4th Btn. Buffs (East Kent) Regiment

    I began this quest when I decided to take a close look at my father's, Francis Simpson's, dog tags from Stalag 11A where he spent that last year of the war. This, together with many papers that my mother had saved, led me to his service record, then to here. I am now also researching my maternal father's record and my paternal father's records, both of whom survived the First World War.

    Pte. William Arthur Brown Royal Army Service Corps (d.6th Nov 1941)

    My uncle William Brown enlisted into the Buffs and ended up in Portadown, Northern Ireland. He died after being involved in an accident (I know no details) in 1941, aged 19. My sister and I went to Lurgan N.I. to visit his war grave.

    Does anyone know anything about Portadown in WW2?

    Sheena Brown

    Cpl. Bert Mills Royal East Kent Regiment

    It was reported in the Dover Express on 19th January that Bert Mills was at home in Dover on sick leave after serving in France. He had four brothers, a step-brother and a nephew also serving in the armed forces at the same time.

    Paul Silk

    Peter McGuiggan Royal East Kent Regiment

    Naples, Italy 1944

    Near Trieste, Italy 1944

    Two photographs of my father, Peter McGuiggan who I believe served with the Royal East Kent Regiment in World War 2. The first is of three soldiers posing in Naples, Italy in about 1944. My father is the one on the left with his hands behind his back. The second is also of three soldiers bathing at a location near Trieste, Italy towards the end of the war, my father again on the left. I have no other information.

    John McGuiggan

    Pte. Richard Rutter East Kent Regiment

    Dickie Rutter served on Malta during the siege and transferred to Leros were he was taken prisoner and ended the war in a prison camp.

    Keith Rutter

    Recomended Reading.

    Available at discounted prices.

    The Buffs (Men-at-arms)

    Gregory Blaxland

    This book details the history of the Buffs from their inception to their demise as an independent unit in 1967, focusing particularly on their uniforms, including the distinctive dragon badge.
    More information on:

    The Buffs (Men-at-arms)


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