53rd Welsh

A World War II Living History Group

2 Battalion, The Monmouthshire Regiment

2 Battalion, The Monmouthshire Regiment - known as 2 Mons - was the senior Battalion in 160 (South Wales) Brigade at the start of the war. The Monmouthshire Regiment was unusual as it was a Territorial Army Regiment, the TA component of the South Wales Borderers.

       By 1939 the Battalion had a core of experienced interwar-officers, many of them went on to prestigious higher-command roles during the war. The latter inter-war years proved crucial in forming the Battalion's espirit-de-corps. In 1936 an article in the Times by the renown military theorist Liddel-Hart, several officers were promoted in the New Years Honours list for their part in the glowing report. 1938 saw the order to motorise the Battalion issued, initially requisitioning civilian transport, Bren Carriers arrived, there were more official dances, meals and an Annual Dinner.

       The British Army began the process of duplicating Divisions in order to get the army up to strength, the formal ordering being to double the Territorial Army. One company was transfered over to the new 38th Welsh Division, which was 53rd Welsh Division's second line Division (a place for training new recruits and used as a 'feeder' Division for re-inforcements.) With conscription to expand the Regular Army, the Battalion prepared itself for the expected large intake of new recruits and several excellent officers were transfered over to create the new 38th Welsh Division.

       When war was declared the Battalion was now nearly ready to smash the 'Hun'. However several long years of training and preparation lay ahead before they would be finally allowed to test their metal.

The Second World War

After the declaration of war, 2 Mons moved to Caerphilly

 

Pte A Anderson of the 2nd Mons, during the assault on Venraij, 17 October 1944. [IWM]

 

3-inch mortar team of 2nd Mons in action during the advance of 53rd Division towards Laroche in Belgium, 5 January 1945. [IWM]

An infantryman of the 2nd Monmouthshire Regiment asleep in his foxhole outside Uedem, 1 March 1945. [IWM]

 

Men of the 2nd Mons in Bocholt, 29 March 1945. Note the Nazi slogan painted on the wall. [IWM]

 

Rail-mounted 88mm flak guns captured by 2 Mons, 13 April 1945. [IWM]