- 50th Anniversary
- A Brief History
- Battle Honours
- Historical Timeline
- Major Historical Events
- Victoria Cross
- Sir Winston Churchill
- 17th HLI
- Famous Fusiliers
- RHF 2Scots Website "White Hackle"
- Older News Reports
WORLD WAR II 1939-45
Expansion during the War was not as significant as it had been throughout the First World War. Despite the introduction of conscription , a smaller number of infantry battalions were required. In the summer of 1939, all Territorial battalions were required to raise a ‘ duplicate’ battalion. 4/5 RSF raised 6 RSF, whilst 5 and 6 HLI raised 10 and 11 HLI. The Glasgow Highlanders (officially 9 HLI ) obtained authorisation to become 1 GH ( HLI) and to raise 2 GH (HLI) : the title 1st Bn The Glasgow Highlanders was retained after the war.
1 RSF was in India in 1939. Recalled to Britain in 1940 it concentrated on home defence. In 1942 it moved, via South Africa, to take part in the capture of Madagascar, held by the French under the control of the Vichy Government. After this operation the Battalion retrained in South Africa and then moved to India in 1943 to take part in operations against the Japanese in Burma, where it remained until the end of the War.
2 RSF went to France in 1939 as part of the BEF. In May 1940 it was heavily engaged on the Ypres-Comines Canal just outside Ypres and here it was over - run after a gallant defence. The remaining men were evacuated at Dunkirk and the Battalion was reformed in Aberdeenshire. It was an odd coincidence that its great fight at Ypres was only about three miles from where it paid such a high price at Gheluvelt in 1914.
2 RSF’s next operation was also in Madagascar. From here it moved on to India and the Middle East. In1943 it landed on Sicily and fought both here and on mainland Italy, being particularly heavily engaged at Anzio and the Garigliano.
In the latter part of 1944 2 RSF refitted and retrained in Egypt, Palestine and Syria before returning to North- West Europe in 1945 and fighting in Germany, ending the War in Lubeck.
1 HLI moved to France in 1939 as part of the BEF. In 1940 it was engaged during the withdrawal to Dunkirk and was eventually evacuated. After four years training in Britain it returned to France as part of the 53rd (Welsh ) Division, which included a regular brigade.It landed in Normandy towards the end of June 1944: it was engaged in the crossing of the Odon and then in the advance firstly into Belgium and later, Holland. Its battles included the Ardennes, the Reichswald and the final advance into Germany.
2 HLI was in Palestine when the war began and was moved to Egypt. Its first main action occurred in the liberation of Ethiopia, playing a leading part in the battle of Keren. After a period in Egypt, Syria and Cyprus, 2 HLI went to the Western Desert, fighting at Fuka, Knightsbridge and the Cauldron. Withdrawn to refit in the latter part of 1942, the Battalion formed a ‘beach brick’ in the landing in Sicily, 1943. Following retraining as a mountain battalion, it fought in Yugoslavia, Albania and Greece. Early in 1945 it was sent to Italy for the final advance in the North, where it remained until the end of the War.
4/5 RSF, 5 and 6 HLI and 1 GH remained in the 52nd (Lowland) Division. This Division moved to France in June 1940 for a short period. Only the HLI battalions, all in 157 Brigade, were actually in action , taking part in what turned out to be a fighting retreat. The 52nd Division was withdrawn via Cherbourg in the middle of June. For the next four years it trained in Britain, becoming a Mountain Division in Scotland for much of the period. With the approach of D-Day the role of the Division was changed and it landed in Belgium in October 1944. Its first major action was the capture of the Dutch island of Walcheren. Thereafter it fought throughout Southern Holland and into Germany, with the Division’s final action resulting in the capture of Bremen.
6 RSF, 10 HLI and 2 GH were in the 15th ( Scottish ) Division, although changes occurred throughout the early period of the War. 11 HLI was converted into an armoured regiment in 1942 and was later disbanded. 6 RSF, temporarily on the strength of the 51st ( Highland ) Division, went to France in 1940 and was in action several times before being evacuated from Le Havre. The 15th Division landed in Normandy a few days after D-Day. Fighting included the Crossing of the Odon, the advance into Belgium, the attempt to reach Arnhem, the Siegfried Line, the Rhine Crossing and the advance into Germany.
11 RSF This was the only battalion of either the RSF or the HLI which was raised during the war and which went on active service. Raised in 1940 it was first employed in the UK on coastal defence before being transferred to the 49th ( West Riding ) Division. Landing in Normandy a few days after D-Day it took part in the fighting in the bocage country and then in the advance across France. In October 1944 the 11th entered Holland and remained on operations in that country until the end of the war, when it joined the Occupation forces in Germany.
As in WWI , other battalions were raised for training and home defence. 10 (later 30) RSF served on home defence duties until being disbanded in 1942. 12 (later 30) HLI and 13 HLI were also on home duties. 14 HLI existed in North Africa for a short period but was never in action.
|< Prev||Next >|