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9th Battalion Royal Fusiliers

History

The battalion landed at Salerno on 9th September 1943 as part of the first wave. It advanced and occupied Battipaglia on 10th September but a violent German counter-attack retook the town and inflicted very heavy casualties on the battalion. Two Royal Engineer companies were attached to the remnants of the battalion and this allowed the battalion to fight on in the bridgehead. After being reinforced at the end of September the battalion took part in the advance to the Volturno  and then on towards the Gustav Line, including the second battle of Monte Camino.

The battalion formed part of the first wave in the assault over the River Garigliano on 17th/18th January 1944 and took part in the defensive fighting in the bridgehead until early February when, with the rest of 56 Infantry Division, it was withdrawn and sent to Anzio.

The battalion was rested and refitted in, absorbing a number of Royal Artillery personnel and officers. In early July the battalion returned to Italy and took part in the fighting on the Gothic Line in September and October where it again suffered heavy casualties, especially around Croce in early September. At the end of September it absorbed most of the personnel from 8th Battalion Royal Fusiliers, who were disbanded, but the battalion was only brought up to near full strength in November when 56 Division was withdrawn from the front to rest, refit and reorganise.

Commanding Officers

The following were the unit's Commanding Officers during its service in Italy.

DatesNameComments
09 September 1943 - 10 September 1943Lieutenant-Colonel E.H. HillersdonWounded by when anti--tank gun was destroyed by tank.
10 September 1943 - 17 September 1943Major C.G. DelforceMajor Coleman arrived to take command.
17 September 1943 - 13 November 1943Major J.G.E. ColemanLieutenant-Colonel Sykes arrived to take command.
13 November 1943 - 26 January 1944Lieutenant-Colonel J. Sykes-WrightLieutenant-Colonel Cleghorn arrived to take command.
26 January 1944 - 14 December 1944Lieutenant-Colonel J.R. CleghornAdmitted to hospital.
14 December 1944 - 28 December 1944Major T.F.C. Hamilton MCLieutenant-Colonel Cleghorn returned.
28 December 1944 - 31 December 1945Lieutenant-Colonel J.R. Cleghorn DSO

Organisation

The battalion landed at Salerno organised as a standard British infantry battalion as per WE II/233/2. Its rifle companies were named A, B, C and D. After the disaster at Battipaglia on 10th September 1943, the following day the remnants reformed into two companies named No. 1 Company and No. 2 Company. The battalion was augmented on 12th September with 220 Field Company Royal Engineers who became No. 3 Company. It was further reinforced with 102 Army Field Company Royal Engineers on 15th September. 

The battalion continued with this adhoc organisation until the end of the fighting at Salerno when to reverted back to its standard A, B, C, D company organisation on 25th/26th September. However, continuous casualties caused the disbandment of C Company on 31st October 1943 with its personnel being used to reinforce the other three rifle companies. This structure remained in place until early February 1944 when the battalion seemingly reverted to a four companies just before it deployed to Anzio. 

The next major organisational change came on 23rd September 1944 when the battalion absorbed the 8th Battalion Royal Fusiliers. At the same time it changed to a three rifle company structure and the companies were named X, Y, Z in recognition of the 8th Royal Fusiliers lineage. The battalion reverted to a four company structure when W Company was reformed on 23rd November 1944 

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Awards and Decorations

The following shows the number of awards for the Italian campaign only.

AwardNumber Awarded
Bar to Military Cross1
Distinguished Conduct Medal5
Distinguished Service Order4
Military Cross9
Military Medal33
NumberNameAwardLG DateDate of Action
4204355Cpl. D. AshcroftMilitary Medal 04 May 194420/21 January 1944
6466576Cpl. D.E.C. Brooks Military Medal 23 March 19446 December 1943
240419Lt. G.B. BurnettMilitary Cross08 March 1945
5547147Cpl. H.R. ChamberlainMilitary Medal21 June 1945
63575Lt. Col. J.R. CleghornDistinguished Service Order26 April 19455 September 1944
41314V A/Maj. A.C. CollierBar to Military Cross23 August 19451 April 1945
176810A/Captain L.M. DaleMilitary Cross13 January 194410 September 1943
176810A/Maj. L.M. DaleDistinguished Service Order15 June 19442 March 1944
14589855P/L/Cpl. A.J. DaveyMilitary Medal23 August 194514 April 1945
5682529Fus. J.H. DaviesMilitary Medal23 August 194515 April 1945
67612A/Maj. C.G. DelforceDistinguished Service Order13 January 194415 September 1943
Lt. R.P. DuthalerMilitary Cross08 February 19456 September 1944
6480410Fus. P.R. GingellMilitary Medal21 June 194527/28 December 1944
174983Lt. J.F. GordonMilitary Cross28 June 1945Periodic
6471247A/Cpl. A.G. HamptonMilitary Medal15 June 19443 March 1944
6461284A/Cpl. H. HerbertMilitary Medal15 June 194417 February 1944
6448439R.S.M. G. HollingsDistinguished Conduct Medal13 January 194410 September 1943
5780874L/Cpl. L.G. HolmesMilitary Medal 04 May 194419 January 1944
3976638P/L/Cpl. J. HoltonMilitary Medal13 December 1945Periodic
6105619A/Cpl. W.W. HouseMilitary Medal08 February 19456 September 1944
5348543L/Sjt. C. JacksonDistinguished Conduct Medal 04 May 194423 January 1944
3780611Sjt. W.T. JarvisMilitary Medal23 August 19456-7 April 1944
160913T/Capt. E.A. JonesMilitary Cross15 June 194417 February 1944
14599664Fus. S. JuddMilitary Medal15 June 1944February-March 1944
6467328Sjt. F. KitchenMilitary Medal13 December 1945Periodic
3907687Sjt. C.Y. KittoMilitary Medal21 June 194521 December 1944
14646315Fus. J. LangdonMilitary Medal20 July 194427 February 1944
14545093Fus. R. LawsonMilitary Medal 23 March 19443 December 1943
6470077Sjt. S. LeechMilitary Medal 23 March 19443 December 1943
14543663L/Cpl. J.M. LewisMilitary Medal08 March 194516 September 1944
6470141Sjt. T.W. MarshMilitary Medal08 March 19455 September 1944
3770437Sjt. G.W. MasonMilitary Medal23 August 194515 April 1945
6466902L/Sjt. E. MiddleditchMilitary Medal 23 March 19443 December 1943
6473298A/Cpl. A.A. MullhollandMilitary Medal 23 March 19442/3 December 1943
129892Capt. R.G. PorterMilitary Cross28 June 1945Periodic
5512445A/Sjt. W.A. PowellMilitary Medal15 June 194427 February 1944
6476856Fus. L. PullengerMilitary Medal20 July 1944February - March 1944
5345538Sjt. H.F. ReedMilitary Medal21 June 194525 December 1944
5344360Cpl. G.A. RyanDistinguished Conduct Medal18 October 194525 April 1945
6465388Cpl. R.P.W. ShaveMilitary Medal08 February 19456 September 1944
6459115Sjt. L. SkipperDistinguished Conduct Medal13 January 194410 September 1943
6468176Cpl. A.P. SmithMilitary Medal08 March 19457-8 September 1944
6094692Cpl. A.E. SmithDistinguished Conduct Medal18 October 194525 April 1945
41221A/Lt.-Col. J. Sykes-WrightDistinguished Service Order 23 March 19442/3 December 1943
6458792A/Corporal R.R. TillettMilitary Medal13 January 194413 September 1943
6459059Sjt. J.E. WardMilitary Medal13 January 19449 September 1943
90786T/Capt. S.C. WarnerMilitary Cross13 January 194416 September 1943
265729Lt. D. WestonMilitary Cross15 June 19442 March 1944
1834162A/Cpl. R.J. WilliamsMilitary Medal23 August 1945
1834162A/Cpl. R. WilliamsMilitary Medal20 September 1945Periodic
4193319Fus. E.P. WilliamsMilitary Medal 04 May 194421/22 January 1944
201976T/Maj. T.W. WoollamMilitary Cross13 December 1945Periodic

War Diaries

The following are the files in the National Archives that cover the unit's service in Italy.

TNA File NameDescriptionDates
WO 169/102149 Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment)1943 Jan.- Dec.
WO 170/13919 Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment)1944 Jan.- Mar., July - Dec.
WO 170/50079 Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) 1945 Jan.- Dec.

Other Documentation

The following are documents of interest for the unit that have been transcribed, mainly from the war diaries but also from other TNA Files.

Document NameTNA File
9th Battalion Royal Fusiliers – Report on Operation Konker (2nd Battle of Monte Camino December 1943)WO 169/10214

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Literature

The following published literature includes coverage of the units time in Italy.

Northcote Parkinson, C. Always a Fusilier. The War History of The Royal Fusiliers (City of London) 1939-1945. London: Sampson Low, 1949. 320 pp.