53rd Welsh

A World War II Living History Group

53rd Welsh Divisional Troops

 In addition to the 3 Infantry Brigades the Division had a substantial number of supporting units:

71st (Royal Welch) Anti-Tank Regiment

Converted Royal Welch Fusiliers' Battalion into the Division's Anti-Tank Regiment in 1942. During the Normandy Campaign they were armed with a mix of 6 Pounder and 17 Pounder Anti-Tank Guns. These were usually towed by Loyd Carriers. Despite their conversion they (just like 116 LAA) felt a strong attachment to the Royal Welch Fusiliers and were determined to retain their Regimental identity despite the transition to Gunners. They also sustained some of the highest casualties of any Royal Artillery unit in Normandy.

Definitive Book - None, best one is Red Dragon, RWF, (see Acknowledgements)

116 (Royal Welch) Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment

Another converted Royal Welch Fusiliers' Battalion, the men of 10th Battalion RWF became 116 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment in 1942. 116 LAA provided key anti-air support for the Division's troops often deploying to protect the Field Gun and infantry concentration areas. During Normandy they were used in the direct fire role as part of the 'Counter-Mortar Organisation in conjunction with the infantry and Field Regiments to supress and destroy German mortar positions. After their finest hour in s'Hertogenbosch the Regiment was disbanded in December 1944 and replaced with 25 LAA. The Regiment was disbanded as it had been originally a infantry battalion and infantry re-enforcements were desperately needed elsewhere. It was commented on by the units they went to that these men proved to be excellent personnel needed at a hard pressed time.

Definitive Book - None, best one is Red Dragon, RWF (see Acknowledgements) 

53rd Recce Regiment

 53rd Recce Regiment (53 Recce) was formed from the 158, 159 and 160 Brigade Anti-Tank Companies on the 1st January 1941 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The first few months were spent accepting the new blood being sent into the Regiment and merging the three Companies and putting the formerly fierce rivalry behind them, luckily this was all achieved - after no small degree of tears and laughter as the Regiment formed into a cohesive unit.

 Definitive Book - Welsh Spearhead (see Acknowledgements)

1st Battalion Manchester Regiment (Machine Gun Battalion)

The 1st Bn Manchester Regiment (1 Mancs), was the only unit within the Division to have access to the feared Vickers Machine gun and the 4.2 inch heavy mortar. They allocated Platoons and Companies to support the Infantry Brigades and also assisted greatly on preliminary bombardments and Counter-Mortar Organisation roles.

Definitive Book - None, Divisional Histories (see Acknowledgements) 

Counter-Mortar Organisation

 Established in July 1944, this was an informal unit created from a mixture of the Infantry and Royal Artillery units. With the German's extensive use of mortars it became imperative to find a way to strike back at the Germans to maintain morale, random shooting was pointless and a real concerted effort was needed to deal with this substantial problem.

Using the 40mm Bofors guns of 116 LAA, 1 Manch’s 4.2 inch mortars and Vickers Machine guns, along with 25 pounders from the RA Field Regiments as required, they helped blow a bloody hole in the German mortar units with accurate fire. Keeping astonishingly accurate records regarding performance, ranging etc. Forward observers were sent out to the infantry units to report back co-ordinates and likely positions for the guns to engage.

Definitive Book - None, see Divisional Histories (see Acknowledgements) 

555 Field Company Royal Engineers

11 Field Security Section

 

Field Regiments

81st Field Regiment

83rd Field Regiment

133 Field Regiment