A POCKET HISTORY
The Second World War and Post War Years
N. Africa - The lst
Battalion was in the force which drove the Italians back to Benghazi.
Malta - From Benghazi
the lst Battalion went to Malta where it remained till 1943, earning some
distinction in the unloading and loading of
stores and ammunition in the Grand Harbour under the heavy bombing of the
second Great Siege of Malta.
North Western Europe
- The 2nd Battalion went to France in the lst Division with the British
Expeditionary Force, followed later by the 4th and 7th Battalions. After
a period on the Maginot Line, they all took
part in the gruelling withdrawal from the R. Dyle to the coast and were
brought off from the Dunkirk beaches by the
North Africa - The 2nd Battalion was part of the Garrison of the Gazala Line which was successfully defended till the German armour attacked it from the rear. But by skilful and determined action, most of the troops fought their way back to the Alamein Line protecting Egypt.
After Alamein, where the 6th Battalion was also
engaged, the 2nd Battalion took part in the attacks of the successive
positions held by the Germans in their withdrawal along the coast.
Sicily - The 2nd Battalion and 7th Battalion took part in the assault landings in Sicily in 1943. The British forces played the key role on the Eastern flank and had hard fighting in difficult and minestrewn country.
Vickers machine-gunners of 6th Battalion in action at Monte Gemmano
- 7th September 1944
(Painting by David Rowlands commissioned for the 3rd (Volunteer) Battalion)
Italy - The 7th Battalion in the 5th Division from Sicily fought in Calabria and was moved to the west coast for the attack on the German Winter Line, the Garigliano Crossing, Anzio and fall of Rome.
The 6th Battalion, in the 56th Division from Tripoli, took part in the assault landing at Salerno and in the difficult operations leading to the capture of Naples and the advance to the winter line.
After a rest in Egypt, the 6th Battalion took
part in the Gothic Line Battles followed by fighting in the R. Lamone area
and the final operations and capture of Venice.
Rhine - The lst Battalion
from Malta was in action on the line of the R. Maas and in the Rhine crossing.
It then became a motor battalion and took part in the pursuit to the final
round-up of the German High Command.
Post War - After the war, infantry regiments were reduced from two regular battalions to one. The lst was placed in suspended animation and the 2nd took its title and Colours. The Territorials were reduced to two Battalions, the 4th and the 7th. The 6th was disbanded and the 5th placed in suspended animation. With the formation of the T.A.V.R. the 4th and 7th were joined to become the 4th/7th Battalion. Even this disappeared in 1971.
With a smaller Territorial Army, Cheshire provided A Company (Stockport) lst Battalion Mercian Volunteers and later C Company (Ellesmere Port) 2nd Battalion Mercian Volunteers. In 1986 the 3rd (Volunteer) Battalion, The Cheshire Regiment was embodied as part of the TA enhancement programme, to include A and C Companies, Mercian Volunteers.
The Regular Battalion has, since the war, served in Palestine, Egypt, Cyprus, (UN Peace Keeping Force), Malaya, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bahrain, Belize, Berlin (twice), Germany (thrice), Northern Ireland (three residential tours and six roulement tours) and in various barracks in the UK.
1986-88 it mounted Queen's Guard and other Public Duties in London based at Caterham. In late 1988 it returned to The Dale, Chester, to celebrate the Tercentenary on the Roodee in 1989.
Under threat of amalgamation it exchanged tours with the Staffords to get a last visit to Germany. The ensuing and successful tour in Bosnia under UN auspices positively helped to save the Regiment from amalgamation.
This page was created by Eardley Bryan.
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