The battalion was a pre-war Territorial Army unit based in London. It formed part of 1st London Infantry Brigade (renamed 167th Infantry Brigade in November 1940), which in turn formed part of 1st London Division (renamed as 56th Infantry Division in November 1940). The battalion served on home defence throughout 1939 and 1940, initially in London and latterly in Kent. The whole of 1941 and the first half of 1942 saw the battalion engaged in training in various parts of England and it wasn't until early June 1942 that 56th Division received an order to prepare for overseas service. It was to be sent to Iraq to counter the dual threats of a German advance from the Soviet Union and of internal unrest.
The battalion left the UK in late August 1942, arriving in Basra, Iraq via Bombay in November 1942. By the time of its arrival the threat to Iraq had rescinded and the battalion spent the next few months training in northern Iraq around Kirkuk.
In early April the battalion, together with the rest of 56th Infantry division, began a road move to Tunisia via Palestine, Egypt and Libya. It arrived shortly before the end of the month and saw its first action on 9th May 1943 at Enfidaville, only a few days before the Axis surrender in Tunisia. The battalion moved to Tripoli, Libya at the end of May. It remained here training for the next three months. From early August this training increasingly included amphibious exercises in preparation for the invasion of Italy.
56th Infantry Division was part of 10 Corps, 5th US Army for Operation Avalanche, the landing at Salerno. The 9th Battalion Royal fusiliers formed part of the first wave that landed at Salerno on 9th September 1943. It advanced inland 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 beachhead. After being reinforced at the end of September the battalion took part in the advance to the Volturno and then on towards the Bernhardt 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. It was then , with the rest of 56th Infantry Division, withdrawn and sent to Anzio.
The battalion was rested and refitted, 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, which was disbanded, but the battalion was only brought up to near full strength in November when 56th Division was withdrawn from the front to rest, refit and reorganise.
The following were the unit's Commanding Officers during its service in Italy.
|09 September 1943 - 10 September 1943||Lieutenant-Colonel E.H. Hillersdon||Wounded when a nearby anti--tank gun was destroyed by a German tank.|
|10 September 1943 - 17 September 1943||Major C.G. Delforce||Major Coleman arrived to take command.|
|17 September 1943 - 13 November 1943||Major J.G.E. Coleman||Lieutenant-Colonel Sykes arrived to take command.|
|13 November 1943 - 26 January 1944||Lieutenant-Colonel J. Sykes-Wright||Lieutenant-Colonel Cleghorn arrived to take command (promoted from 2 i/c 8th Battlaion Royal Fusiliers).|
|26 January 1944 - 14 December 1944||Lieutenant-Colonel J.R. Cleghorn||Admitted to hospital.|
|14 December 1944 - 28 December 1944||Major T.F.C. Hamilton MC||Lieutenant-Colonel Cleghorn returned.|
|28 December 1944 - 03 March 1945||Lieutenant-Colonel J.R. Cleghorn DSO||Left for leave in the UK.|
|03 March 1945 - 31 March 1945||Major J.A.R. Millman OBE||Lieutenant-Colonel Cleghorn returned from leave.|
|31 March 1945 - 31 December 1945||Lieutenant-Colonel J.R. Cleghorn DSO|
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 formed 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.
On the 18th September the battalion reverted to a three company structure (No.1, No.2 and Support Company, the latter largely equipped with captured weapons) until the end of the fighting at Salerno. It then reverted back to its standard A, B, C, D company organisation on 25th/26th September. However, continuous casualties coupled with little or no reinforcements caused the disbandment of C Company on 31st October 1943 with the 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 formed on 23rd November 1944.
The battalion operated with four rifle companies until early February 1945 when, on its return to operations after a period of rest, W Company was attached to B Echelon instead of returning to the front but it was not disbanded. When the battalion again returned to the front in early April to take part in Operation Grapeshot W Company was used as a rifle company, giving the battalion four rifle companies once more.
Awards and Decorations
The following shows the number of awards for the Italian campaign only.
|Bar to Military Cross||1|
|Distinguished Conduct Medal||5|
|Distinguished Service Order||4|
|Number>||Name||Award||LG Date||Date of Action|
|4204355||Cpl. D. Ashcroft||Military Medal||04 May 1944||20/21 January 1944|
|6466576||Cpl. D.E.C. Brooks||Military Medal||23 March 1944||6 December 1943|
|240419||Lt. G.B. Burnett||Military Cross||08 March 1945|
|5547147||Cpl. H.R. Chamberlain||Military Medal||21 June 1945|
|63575||Lt. Col. J.R. Cleghorn||Distinguished Service Order||26 April 1945||5 September 1944|
|41314V||A/Maj. A.C. Collier||Bar to Military Cross||23 August 1945||1 April 1945|
|176810||A/Captain L.M. Dale||Military Cross||13 January 1944||10 September 1943|
|176810||A/Maj. L.M. Dale||Distinguished Service Order||15 June 1944||2 March 1944|
|14589855||P/L/Cpl. A.J. Davey||Military Medal||23 August 1945||14 April 1945|
|5682529||Fus. J.H. Davies||Military Medal||23 August 1945||15 April 1945|
|67612||A/Maj. C.G. Delforce||Distinguished Service Order||13 January 1944||15 September 1943|
|Lt. R.P. Duthaler||Military Cross||08 February 1945||6 September 1944|
|6480410||Fus. P.R. Gingell||Military Medal||21 June 1945||27/28 December 1944|
|174983||Lt. J.F. Gordon||Military Cross||28 June 1945||Periodic|
|6471247||A/Cpl. A.G. Hampton||Military Medal||15 June 1944||3 March 1944|
|6461284||A/Cpl. H. Herbert||Military Medal||15 June 1944||17 February 1944|
|6448439||R.S.M. G. Hollings||Distinguished Conduct Medal||13 January 1944||10 September 1943|
|5780874||L/Cpl. L.G. Holmes||Military Medal||04 May 1944||19 January 1944|
|3976638||P/L/Cpl. J. Holton||Military Medal||13 December 1945||Periodic|
|6105619||A/Cpl. W.W. House||Military Medal||08 February 1945||6 September 1944|
|5348543||L/Sjt. C. Jackson||Distinguished Conduct Medal||04 May 1944||23 January 1944|
|3780611||Sjt. W.T. Jarvis||Military Medal||23 August 1945||6-7 April 1944|
|160913||T/Capt. E.A. Jones||Military Cross||15 June 1944||17 February 1944|
|14599664||Fus. S. Judd||Military Medal||15 June 1944||February-March 1944|
|6467328||Sjt. F. Kitchen||Military Medal||13 December 1945||Periodic|
|3907687||Sjt. C.Y. Kitto||Military Medal||21 June 1945||21 December 1944|
|14646315||Fus. J. Langdon||Military Medal||20 July 1944||27 February 1944|
|14545093||Fus. R. Lawson||Military Medal||23 March 1944||3 December 1943|
|6470077||Sjt. S. Leech||Military Medal||23 March 1944||3 December 1943|
|14543663||L/Cpl. J.M. Lewis||Military Medal||08 March 1945||16 September 1944|
|6470141||Sjt. T.W. Marsh||Military Medal||08 March 1945||5 September 1944|
|3770437||Sjt. G.W. Mason||Military Medal||23 August 1945||15 April 1945|
|6466902||L/Sjt. E. Middleditch||Military Medal||23 March 1944||3 December 1943|
|6473298||A/Cpl. A.A. Mullholland||Military Medal||23 March 1944||2/3 December 1943|
|129892||Capt. R.G. Porter||Military Cross||28 June 1945||Periodic|
|5512445||A/Sjt. W.A. Powell||Military Medal||15 June 1944||27 February 1944|
|6476856||Fus. L. Pullenger||Military Medal||20 July 1944||February - March 1944|
|5345538||Sjt. H.F. Reed||Military Medal||21 June 1945||25 December 1944|
|5344360||Cpl. G.A. Ryan||Distinguished Conduct Medal||18 October 1945||25 April 1945|
|6465388||Cpl. R.P.W. Shave||Military Medal||08 February 1945||6 September 1944|
|6459115||Sjt. L. Skipper||Distinguished Conduct Medal||13 January 1944||10 September 1943|
|6468176||Cpl. A.P. Smith||Military Medal||08 March 1945||7-8 September 1944|
|6094692||Cpl. A.E. Smith||Distinguished Conduct Medal||18 October 1945||25 April 1945|
|41221||A/Lt.-Col. J. Sykes-Wright||Distinguished Service Order||23 March 1944||2/3 December 1943|
|6458792||A/Corporal R.R. Tillett||Military Medal||13 January 1944||13 September 1943|
|6459059||Sjt. J.E. Ward||Military Medal||13 January 1944||9 September 1943|
|90786||T/Capt. S.C. Warner||Military Cross||13 January 1944||16 September 1943|
|265729||Lt. D. Weston||Military Cross||15 June 1944||2 March 1944|
|1834162||A/Cpl. R.J. Williams||Military Medal||23 August 1945|
|1834162||A/Cpl. R. Williams||Military Medal||20 September 1945||Periodic|
|4193319||Fus. E.P. Williams||Military Medal||04 May 1944||21/22 January 1944|
|201976||T/Maj. T.W. Woollam||Military Cross||13 December 1945||Periodic|
The following are the files in the National Archives that cover the unit's service in Italy.
|TNA File Name>||Description||Dates|
|WO 169/10214||9 Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment)||1943 Jan.- Dec.|
|WO 170/1391||9 Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment)||1944 Jan.- Mar., July - Dec.|
|WO 170/5007||9 Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment)||1945 Jan.- Dec.|
|WO 361/849||Italy: 9th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers; missing personnel||September 1943 - July 1945|
The following are the currently transcribed war diaries.
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 Name>||TNA File|
|9th Battalion Royal Fusiliers – Report on Operation Konker (2nd Battle of Monte Camino December 1943)||WO 169/10214|
|9th Battalion Royal Fusiliers - Patrol Reports December 1943||WO 169/10170|
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.