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

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Royal East Lancashire Regiment




24th Sep 1939 Recce

7th Nov 1939 On the Move


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 Lancashire Regiment

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

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

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

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Private George Whittle 2/4 Battalion East Lancs Regiment

Is there anyone out there that knew my father, George Whittle, Private No. 3385209, 2/4 Battalion, East Lancs Regiment. He served 17 years, some in the Territorials and served in Palestine, Dunkirk and somewhere in Italy.

I am like millions of others trying to piece together his part in saving Britain. My father wouldn't talk about the war and if he did I would be too young or didn't listen. Now that I am writing my life story to leave to my grandchildren I am desperate to find out as much as possible about my dad.

George Whittle



A/LCpl. John "Jack" Thwaite 2nd Btn. Border Regiment

My Dad Jack Thwaite joined the TA in March 1933 serving with 7th Bn Duke of Wellington's Regt hence his Regtl number. He joined the Regular Army in Nov 1934 at the age of 20. Initially he served with 1st Border in Belfast then with 2nd Border in India from 1935 to 1943, including service on the NW Frontier with another Btn as a reinforcement.

He returned to the UK in 1943 & was posted to 6th Border. He landed on D Day 6 Jun 1944 with this Beach Group Bn. He transferred on breakup of the Battalion to the Lancashire Fusiliers, East Lancs and finally 7th RWF. He was wounded in action on the 18th of September 1944.

Martin Thwaite



Pte. Harold "Penny" Pennington East Lancashire Regiment

My grandad Harold Pennington lived in Slyne, Lancaster and was called up in 1939. He enlisted with the East Lancashire Regiment and saw action in Dunkirk. He then joined C Squadron, 6 Troop, 53rd Reconnainsance Regiment as a driver, mechanic, group D,class II based at Maidstone, Kent. He then saw action in France and Belgium with the 53rd Welsh Division.

On the 7th September 1944 he was listed missing in action after he and his comrades were sent to capture a German general and 500 men who had offered to surrender. I have a letter sent to his father from HQ dated Wednesday 29th September 1944 confirming this information. He was sent to Stalag XIIA, Limburg and on the 26th September sent to Stalag VIIA, Moosburg. His P.O.W number,87517. There is a letter sent to a Ken Williams, Shrewsbury address who may have been captured at the same time but sent to Stalag IVB, Muehlberg. Grandad was returned to this country on the 13th May 1945 and joined the 62nd TRG Reconnaissance Regiment.

Brian Pennington



Pte. Robert Kelly East Lancashire Regiment

Like many survivors my Dad never really wanted to talk about his time in the war. It was only when he passed that I found a few photos and the newspaper cutting. I inherited his Football plaque on the passing of his Uncle who had clearly treasured it since my Dads return. He had been part of the "Long March" and when he finally arrived home he weighed less than seven stone and according to my Grandma he would still scavenge for food that had been thrown to the hens in their neighbourhood for several months. Despite this terrible period in his life he eventually became the most positive and optimistic person I have ever known.

Robert Kelly served with the East Lancashire Regiment during WW2 and was captured at Dunkirk in 1940. Released by the advancing Russian forces in Upper Silesia.

1st and 4th Battalions East Lancashire Regiment who joined the 42nd Division in 1940 prior to Dunkirk. It is not clear which battalion Robert served with however it is more probable that it was the 1st Battalion which formed part of the final defence force around the Dunkirk beaches.

Shortly after the outbreak of war with Germany the 1st South Lancashires and 1st Loyals crossed to France with, respectively, the 4th and 1st Divisions of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF). By early October 1939 both battalions were in position on the Belgian frontier, where they were joined in April 1940 by the 1st and 4th East Lancashires, both of 42nd Division.

On 10th May 1940 the ‘Phoney War’ came to an abrupt end when Germany invaded Belgium and Holland. The BEF advanced into Belgium but the Allied front rapidly collapsed before the German ‘blitzkrieg’ and the British force, with its flanks exposed and its rear increasingly threatened, was obliged to make a succession of withdrawals. Ordered back from one defensive line to the next, amid scenes of growing chaos, the four Lancashire battalions fought a number of delaying actions, most notably at Tournai on the Escaut, at Lannoy and at Rousbrugge, before reaching Dunkirk.

Dunkirk 1940

All three of the 1st Battalions then took up defensive positions to cover the evacuation of the BEF. The South Lancashires held the far left of the British line, west of Nieuport, the Loyals occupied the fortified town of Bergues on the right, while the East Lancashires plugged a gap in the centre of the line along the Bergues Canal. All three units held their positions, under constant attack, until ordered to withdraw. On 1st June a determined enemy attack on the Dunkirk perimeter was halted by the gallant stand of B Company, 1st East Lancashires, for which Captain Marcus Ervine-Andrews was awarded the Victoria Cross (the only one at Dunkirk), assisted by a counter-attack by the Loyals. The three Lancashire battalions were among the last British troops to embark on the night 2nd/3rd June.

E3 Blechhammer was a working party area part of the overall Stalag 8b Complex. The prefix E referred to English although other national were included. The Room 42 on the football plaque could refer to a room containing mainly POWs from the 42nd Division.

The whole camp covered the area of 230m x 290m. The crematorium where 1500 bodies were burnt was in the south-east part of the camp. The camp was commanded by SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer Otto Brossmann. During winter 1944/45, as the Red Army was closing fast, the Germans decided to evacute the camp (which became a transfer point for the prisoners from Auschwitz and other camps) and forced the prisoners into columns of 500 men each. They were ordered to march to the West. During the "Death March" people who were suffering from cold (marched barefoot, without proper winter clothing) soon started to die of exhaustion. Those who were unable to march were killed with the butts of the guns by the so-called Nachkommando which followed the columns. The camp was liberated by the Red Army on the 26th of January 1945. There were less than 200 survivors found.

James Kelly



John Darbyshire East Lancashire Regiment

My late father, John Darbyshire, was a prisoner of war in Stalag 8a in Gorlitz. He swapped identities with a Corporal Trenfield and wrote to my mother under this assumed identity. He managed to escape and, after being helped along the way by several kind people, he eventually landed at Speke airport.

Gillian Miles









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