- Royal Ulster Rifles during the Second World War -
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Royal Ulster Rifles
29th May 1940 Reorganisation
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 Ulster Rifles
during the Second World War 1939-1945.
- Adamson Hugh.
- Barr James. L/Cpl.
- Baxter Alexander. Pte. (d.3rd Feb 1945)
- Craig Samuel. Rfm. (d.2nd June 1940)
- Cully Robert James. Cpl.
- Douglas Alfred Thomas. Pte.
- Franklin Albert William. Cpl.
- Gillen Louis. Pte.
- Gillen Louis. Pte.
- Holmes Joseph. Pte.
- McCoy John Tate. S/Sgt.
- Parsons James. Pte.
- Quinn James. Rfmn. (d.2nd March 1944)
- Turner Henry James. Rifleman
- Whitelock Alfred James. L/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 2 pages in our library tagged Royal Ulster Rifles These include information on officers service records, letters, diaries, personal accounts and information about actions during the Second World War.
Cpl. Robert James " " CullyMy Dad, Robert Cully signed up while he was still underage, 17, in Northern Ireland. This must have been in mid to late 1940 and his father was the recruiting Sergeant! They realised that probably the only way out of Ireland at that time was to join up, my Grandad told my Dad that if things got too much for him then he could show his birth certificate and come out. But he never did that.
Where he trained we don't know, but he took part in the D-Day landings, landing near Caen, where he was shot in the leg after just a few hours action. The French Resistance tried to help, but the wound was too bad for their poor facilities, and they reluctantly explained to my Dad that the best thing for him would be for them to turn him over to the Germans, which they did. Apparently he ended up in Oerbke, Stalad 357. His POW Number was 84045.
My Dad always had nothing but praise for the surgeon who patched him up, he never suffered with his leg during the rest of his life, after the war he had 32 years in the Metropolitan Police. He died in 1988, aged 64. If anybody knows anything of his time from joining up until the D-Day landings, I and my brother and Sister would be very grateful to hear from you.Bob Cully
Pte. Alfred Thomas Douglas London Irish Rifles Royal Ulster RiflesMy father was at the disastrous Anzio landing and was one of the meny captured there. He often spoke of his experience there, though not in detail. However, incredibly, I have a beautifully drawn plan of the entire camp, showing it in great detail, and wish I knew how to post it onto the site ! If anyone can give advice, I'd be glad to, as it appears to be quite rare. It was made for him to order by the same Dutchman who took some of the photographs on the Stalag 4b website.Stephen Douglas
Rifleman Henry James Turner Ulster RiflesMy father, Henry James Turner, was taken prisoner in Sicily. I believe his Major was called Sir James Henry. I have never been able to find out more. Sir Henry actually managed to get away but I believe his wife wrote to my mother to tell her that my father had been taken prisoner.
Dad was taken prisoner sometime in 1943, and taken through Italy by cattle train, said they could only look through slats, to Czkecoslovakia Stalag 4c where he stayed until the war ended.
Until the authorities knew officially, he was missing presumed killed, and my mother tore up the widow's pension book she had been sent and refused to believe he had been killed.
During his stay there he saw officers shot for one reason or another. They were taken regularly out of the camp to build roads and then back again.
He became ill at one time with phneumonia, not sure and was thrown on the back of a dung cart and taken to the local Red Cross Hospital which was believed to be run by the French Red Cross. He was nursed back to health.
When he returned to the camp his fellow prisoners in his hut had saved his Red Cross food parcels for him which he needed badly as was very thin and weak from the infection.
At the end of the war, he said they woke up one morning and found there were no guards, no one around and it was sometime later I believe that Russian soldiers came into the camp and took them out.And some time later, not sure of the time scale, handed them over to the Americans.
They were all quite weak, I believe, with having had an atrocious diet and had to be medically checked over. I believe my father was told he wouldn't live beyond his mid fifties and would never be able to work inside again, but he lived until he was 88, but always had a bit of a cough.
I don't know how long it was before he was sent home, but said he travelled back to England in the bombhold of a bomber. Mum said for a while he wasn't the same when he returned, always looking over his shoulder.
He tried a few outdoor jobs but finally worked for the GPO as a postie, always out in the fresh air, free, he could never stand to be cooped up. I still have letters written to my mother from Stalag 4cPatricia Frostick
Pte. Louis Gillen Black WatchMy father, Louis Gillen,joined the Ulster Rifles and was at El Alamein with the Black Watch. He was captured in Italy. I don't know where he was held, but he managed to escape and was re-captured again approx 12 months later. He was taken to Stalag XI A where he remained until the end of the war. I would love to hear what life was like there as my father never really spoke about it. Sadly he passed away in 2003 aged 81yrs.Leonie Dooris
Pte. Louis Gillen Black WatchMy father, Louis Gillen, was captured after the North African Campaign. He was captured in Italy but managed to escape twice. He joined the army with the Ulster Rifles but was attached to Black Watch in 8th Army. He was eventually captured and sent to Stalag 11a in Altengrabow. He remained there until they were liberated. He passed away in 1983. He was a wonderful man. Does anyone have any information on him as I would be delighted to hear anything.Leonie
Rfm. Samuel Craig Royal Ulster Rifles (d.2nd June 1940)Samuel Craig was born in 1910 in Glynn. He enlisted in 1930 and was Killed in action between the dates 28 of May 1940 and2nd of June 1940 aged 30 He is remembered on the Dunkirk Memorial, my late Grandfather's youngest brother.John Blair
Rfmn. James Quinn 1st Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles (d.2nd March 1944)James Quinn died aged 29. He was born in Jarrow in 1914, son of Edward and Annie Quinn (nee Callighan) of Jarrow and Husband of Isabella Quinn (McLeod) of Primrose, Jarrow. He is remembered on the Cassino Memorial and is commemorated on the WW2 Roll of Honour Plaque in the entrance of Jarrow Town Hall.Vin Mullen
Cpl. Albert William Franklin 1st Btn. London Irish RiflesMy father Albert Franklin was a prisoner of war at Stalag IVB and I think he was released when the Russians came and rescued him. There was an association called the Stalag IVB based at 101 Colinton Mains Grove, Edinburgh. Does anybody know if this is still going or not? I live in Blackpool Lancs and I cannot find anything about it now after trying to do a little research! This is a great site and I look forward to reading many more stories.
Hugh Adamson Royal Ulster RiflesI joined the Army when I was 16 (1940) and served until the summer of 1946. During that time I served with the Royal Ulster Rifles in gliders and the 2nd Btn Parachute Regiment in North Africa, Sicily and Italy. I was taken prisoner in Sicily but escaped, was wounded and taken prisoner again at Arnhem in Holland. I spent the rest of the war in a Stalag. I would not have missed it when I look back on it all.Hugh Adamson
Pte. Joseph Holmes 9th Btn. Parachute RegimentMy dad, Joe Holmes, was transferred from the Royal Ulster Rifles into the 9th Btn Parachute Regt. He underwent extensive training around Derbyshire and again in the Newbury area of Berkshire. His battalion were to drop over Normandy and seize the gun emplacement at Merville. This was deemed to be a positive obstacle to the men landing on the beaches as it overlooked the beaches. Unfortunately, many men of the Battalion were dropped wide of the DZ (Dropping Zone) and many of them landed in marshland.
My dad was one of the lucky ones who landed safely and, with others, fought their way back to link up with the rest of the Battalion, who by this time had indeed taken the Merville battery. After many weeks of action, the Battalion was returned to the UK in September for R&R refitting. However the R&R was interrupted when the 6th Airborne Division was rushed back to take part in what became known as the Battle of the Bulge.
During this time, one of his recollections is of when they were lying up in their trenches awaiting the next onslaught from the German infantry and tanks, and one of the men was overheard speaking to his friend - which was heard by everyone. The conversation went along the lines of "Why don't you tell the Platoon Commander your real age and he can arrange for you to be returned to England?" The other guy apparently thought about this for a few seconds before replying, "No I don't think so, because my dad will kill me". Gales of laughter apparently went around the position as everyone who heard it burst out laughing.
Shortly after this the Battalion were relieved and moved back from the line. Later, my dad took part in the crossing of the Rhine. This, he says, was the most perfect parachute action that ever happened, until they got on the ground that is. Sometime after this my dad was wounded in a further action when his section was blasted by a grenade attack. He came to and found himself surrounded by German soldiers and with a badly damaged leg.
He, along with others, were then moved through the German lines and eventually placed in POW camp in the north of the country until they were released by an American unit at the end of the war. He still has the card he filled out in the POW camp that was sent to my mum saying that he was alive, as she had been warned that he was missing in action. He returned to UK sometime at the end of summer 1945 where he underwent various operations on his leg. He was eventually discharged from the army in 1947.
Pte. James Parsons Irish RiflesJames Parsons was my father I still have his p.o.w.dog tag is number was 40152 he never spoke about his time in the army but when he came home my mother told me he threw all his medals and ribbons in the fire.M Parsons
L/Cpl. Alfred James "Paddy" Whitelock 716 Airborne Light Coy. Royal Army Service CorpsJim Whitelock was born William James Whitelock in Billis, Co. Monaghan on 23rd July 1922. His family were farmers and weavers, spinners from the village of Caledon, Co. Tyrone. At the tender age of 15, Jim, as was he preferred to be known, walked to Armagh and joined the Royal Ulster Rifles. He gave them his father's name Alfred James and a false date of birth. That was on 1st January 1938. He was recruited as a Supplemental Reserve, Rifleman. On 25th October 1938 he transferred to the regular army (Royal Ulster Rifles) in Edinburgh until 4th May 1941. I believe he was with the 2nd Battalion in Belgium 1940 and Dunkirk in June that year, one month off his 18th Birthday.
In 1941 he transferred to the RASC and started driver, mechanic training and, in 1944, Parachute training. His service record shows that he was in North West Europe December 1944 to February 1945, with the British Liberation Army in Germany March 1945 until May 1945 and the Middle East September 1945 until March 1946.
He was discharged in May 1946 and settled in West Yorkshire. He joined the St. John Ambulance Service and the West Riding Ambulance Service and gave 35 years' further service.Stephen brook
S/Sgt. John Tate McCoy MiD. 2nd Btn. Royal Ulster RiflesMy grandfather John Tate McCoy served in WW2 based in Alexandria, Egypt. He was Mentioned in Dispatches twice.Sharon
Pte. Alexander Baxter Army Catering Corps (d.3rd Feb 1945)Private Alexander Baxter was the Husband of Mary Minnis Baxter of Belfast, Northern Ireland. He was 37 when he died and is buried in the Haldensleben Hospital Cemetery in Germany.s flynn
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