5th Wiltshire Regiment

The Wiltshire Regiment was a line infantry regiment of the British Army, formed in 1881 under the Childers Reforms by the amalgamation of the 62nd (Wiltshire) Regiment of Foot and the 99th Duke of Edinburgh's (Lanarkshire) Regiment of Foot.

 

The regiment was originally formed as the Duke of Edinburgh's (Wiltshire Regiment), taking the county affiliation from the 62nd Foot (which became the 1st Battalion) and the honorific from the 99th Foot (which became the 2nd Battalion). In 1921, the titles switched to become the Wiltshire Regiment (Duke of Edinburgh's).

 

The 4th and 5th Battalions of the Wiltshire Regiment were both Territorial Army (TA) units called up to active duty with the start of the Second World War. The 4th Battalion, Wilts had been the original Territorial battalion when the Territorial Army was reorganized during the early 1920s. The 5th Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment was formed on 25 March 1939 as the 2nd Line duplicate of the 4th Battalion as part of the expansion of the Territorials in throughout 1939 when another European conflict seemed increasingly likely. From 1939 to 1944, both units remained in England training, both attached to 129th Infantry Brigade, alongside the 4th Somerset Light Infantry, part of the excellent 43rd (Wessex) Infantry Division. Although the 5th Battalion was a 2nd Line Territorial unit, it was assigned to a 1st Line brigade and division. This was because the 43rd Division and its 2nd Line duplicate, the 45th, was not formed as an exact mirror duplicate as most were, but was instead split on a geographical basis, with all the units from Wiltshire, Hampshire and Dorset being assigned to the 43rd, whereas those from Devonshire, Somerset and Cornwall assigned to the 45th.

 

As part of the 129th Brigade, both the 4th and 5th Wiltshires participated in the Battle of Normandy, landing in France on 24 June 1944.

On arrival in theatre, the division became part of Lieutenant-General SirRichard O'Connor's VIII Corps. Both battalions would be heavily engaged in many battles during the campaign across North-West France, the low countries, and Germany. During the Normandy Campaign, this included the Battle of Odom, the fight for Hill 112 (Operation Jupiter), and the capture of Mont Picon.

 

After the breakout from Normandy, the 5th Wiltshires would be one of the first two British battalions to force a crossing of the Seine River. On 25 August 1944, they, along with the 4th Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry, crossed the Seine in paddled assault boats. Once across, the 5th Wiltshires had to stand-off a counter-attack from the German forces including three Tiger tanks of 205 Heavy Tank Battalion. Because of an error in landing on an island in the Seine, rather than the far shore, by the other battalion, the 4th Somerset Light Infantry, the 5th Wilts found themselves cutoff initially. Despite the heavy counter-attack from the German defenders, the 5th Wiltshires were able to hold and extend the beachhead enough to allow reinforcements to be brought over. Eventually, by the daybreak on 26 August 1944, the Somersets were reembarked and brought to the right landing site. The 4th Wilts were ferried over while elements of the 214th Infantry Brigade, also a part of 43rd (Wessex) Division, managed to cross at a damaged bridge in order to relieve the 5th Wilts.

Men of the 4th Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment climb into an assault boat to cross the Seine at Vernon, France, 25 August 1944.

 

During Operation Market Garden, the 4th and 5th Wiltshires formed part of the relief force which tried to reach the airborne troops of the US 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions, as well as the British 1st Airborne Division fighting at Arnhem. After the failure of Market Garden and the ensuing stalemate, both battalions participated in the Geilenkirchen Offensive in October 1944.

 

Both battalions also played a significant part in the 43rd division's fighting in the Roer Salient, as well as the capture of Bremen.By the time of VE-Day and the end of the war in Europe both battalions had suffered heavy casualties; 4th Wilts had suffered 19 officers and 213 other ranks killed in action and the 5th Wilts had 334 killed in action, including 21 officers, with a further 1,277 wounded or missing

Name: Mead, Albert George

Rank: Private

Age:24

No.4922397

Unit:

Missing since: 22-09-1944

Next of Kin:

Groesbeek Panel: 5

 

KIA Information: Known to have been killed in Nijmegen.

 

 

 


Name: Harland, Reginald James

Rank: Lance-Corporal

Age:24

No.5577369

Unit:

Missing since: 02-10-1944

Next of Kin:

Groesbeek Panel: 5

 

KIA Information: Known to have been killed in the Elst area.

 


Name: Rose, Eric Charles

Rank: Private

Age:21

No.14264088

Unit:

Missing since: 02-10-1944

Next of Kin:Son of Arthur Edward and Kate Florence Rose, of Bromham, Wiltshire.

Groesbeek Panel: 5

 

KIA Information: Known to have been killed in the Elst area.


Name: Timms, Walter William

Rank: Private

Age:21

No.5577031

Unit:

Missing since: 02-10-1944

Next of Kin:Son of William Henry and Alice May Timms, of Bourton, Wiltshire.

Groesbeek Panel: 5

 

KIA Information: Known to have been killed in the Elst area.


Name: Johnson, Frederick Leslie James

Rank: Private

Age:19

No.1479132

Unit:

Missing since: 03-10-1944

Next of Kin:Son of Walter and Annie.M. Johnson, of Pewsey, Wiltshire.

Groesbeek Panel: 5

 

KIA Information: Known to have been killed in the Elst area.

Name: Williams, Llewelyn

Rank: Private

Age:24

No.4201105

Unit:

Missing since: 22-09-1944

Next of Kin:

Groesbeek Panel: 5

 

KIA Information: Known to have been killed in the Elst area.

 

A number of unknown soldiers were found in the Elst area, only one of them could be indentified as being a Wiltshire soldier, he is buried at Jonkerbos War Cemetery Grave 2.A.7.


Name: Preedy, Thomas Patrick

Rank: Corporal

Age:24

No.4105249

Unit:

Missing since: 02-10-1944

Next of Kin:Son of Mr and Mrs R.J. Preedy, of Hereford

Groesbeek Panel: 5

 

KIA Information: Known to have been killed in the Elst area.


Name: Seymour, Sydney George

Rank: Corporal

Age:25

No.556712

Unit:

Missing since: 02-10-1944

Next of Kin:

Groesbeek Panel: 5

 

KIA Information: Known to have been killed in the Elst area.

 

 


Name: Watson, Alexander

Rank: Private

Age:28

No.3776325

Unit:

Missing since: 02-10-1944

Next of Kin: Husband of Dorothy Watson, of High Bentham, nr Lancaster.

Groesbeek Panel: 5

 

KIA Information: Known to have been killed in the Elst area.


Name: Kleinman, Jack Aaron

Rank: Lieutenant

Age:23

No.284525

Unit:A Company

Missing since: 05-11-1944

Next of Kin: Son of Barnett and Dora Kleinman, of Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex.

Groesbeek Panel: 5

 

KIA Information: Known to have been killed in the Groesbeek area.

Name: Baker, Norman

Rank: Lance-Corporal

Age:25

No.5570957

Unit:

Missing since: 02-10-1944

Next of Kin:

Groesbeek Panel: 5

 

KIA Information: Known to have been killed in the Elst area.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Name: Raison, William Henry Frederick

Rank: Private

Age:28

No.14610085

Unit:

Missing since: 02-10-1944

Next of Kin:

Groesbeek Panel: 5

 

KIA Information: Known to have been killed in the Elst area.

 


Name: Timbrell, Leslie Herbert

Rank: Corporal

Age:21

No.5570591

Unit:

Missing since: 02-10-1944

Next of Kin: Son of Mr H.H. and Mrs Timbrell, of Chippenham, Wiltshire.

Groesbeek Panel: 5

 

KIA Information: Known to have been killed in the Elst area.

 


Name: Woolf, Albert Edward

Rank: Private

Age:29

No.5336021

Unit:

Missing since: 02-10-1944

Next of Kin: Husband of D. Woolf, of Islington, London.

Groesbeek Panel: 5

 

KIA Information: Known to have been killed in the Elst area.