This book tells the story of the Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment from the aftermath of the Great War in 1920 down to the wake of the Second World War in 1950. The RWK did garrison duty in India and the occupied Rhineland in the early 1920s, and in policing the turbulent north and south of Ireland during the Irish independence struggle. The author calls 1923-32 ‘the lean years’ when post-war cutbacks hit the RWK hard. After 1933, however, the growing prospect of war with Nazi Germany meant gradual rearmament and partial mechanisation. In 1938-39 the RWK’s second battalion policed Palestine against Arab unrest. The final months before war saw hasty preparation and expansion; and after war broke out most battalions crossed to Franceand Belgium as part of the BEF. Here they found themselves on the old battlefields of the Great War and even at Oudenarde, scene of one of Marlborough;’s victories. Swept up in the German Blitzkrieg of May 1940, the 6th and 7th battalions were overrun at Doullens and Albert; while the Queen’s Own Brigade were embarked in the Dunkirk evacuation. From June 1940 new battalions were recruited; the 2nd Battalion defended Malta and the 4th and 5th battalions joined the Eighth Army in Egypt; fighting at the battles of Alam Halfa and Alamein and also seeing service in Iraq. The 1st and 6th battalions joined ‘Operation Torch’, the Anglo-American invasion of French Algeria in November 1942; and fought the Germans in the tough Tunisian campaign. The 6th battalion was present at the invasion of Sicily, fighting in the fooothills of Mount Etna and was joined by the 1st and 5th battalions in the Italian campaigns, fighting at Cassino and slogging up the Peninsula to Florence, the Gothic Line and finally entering Austria. Meanwhile the 1st battalion had been in Greece, where it was caught up in the politicial in-fighting in Athens in December 1944; and the 4th battalion had formed part of Slim’s ‘forgotten army’ in Burma. In the five years after the war the RWK underwent extensive re-organisation while serving in Egypt and occupied Germany and in Malaya. With a Roll of Honour, 30 maps and 42 photographs. The text is accompanied by six appendices listing honours and awards, officers in campaigns, Home Guard units, Colonels and CO’s etc.
QUEEN’S OWN ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT 1920-1950
History of the Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment from 1920 to 1950. Covers the inter-war years and the Second World War when the RWK saw service in France, Malta, the M iddle East, Greece, Sicily and Italy.