The 43rd Wessex Division at War 1944 - 1945

43rd Wessex Division at War 1944-45 By Major-General H. Essame
Published by William Clowes and Son Limited, London

Published 1952

This is the straightforward story of the famous West Country Division which captured Mont Pinçon, the key to Normandy, forced the crossing of the Seine, were the first British troops to fight in Germany, and turned the tide in the Reichswald thus enabling the Allies to close with the Rhine. Written by one of its brigadiers who was present from start to finish, the narrative vividly recaptures the atmosphere of the B.L.A. at times achieving almost Anglo-Saxon. dramatic effect. It is tempered by an occasional flash of humour and a tolerant outlook generous even to the enemy. Where German units fought with skill and courage in the execution of what they considered to be their duty, the facts, so far as they are known, are honestly recorded.

Though primarily a tribute to the junior officers and men of the Division and the 8th Armoured Brigade, the story casts an intriguing light on the characters of some of the Higher Commanders in the B.L.A. and describes the hard school, known to the Germans as the “British S.S. Division” in which many now rising to high rank in the Army won their spurs.

Considerable care has been taken to ensure that the names of those who played a prominent part in the fighting are suitably recorded. These include the Canadian officers who joined the Division just before D-Day and whose contribution has never until now received in their own country the recognition their gallantry earned. The book is supported by a most comprehensive and accurate index.

The twenty-one sketch-maps and thirty-one illustrations enable the reader to grasp quickly, with the minimum effort, the intentions of the Higher Command and the setting of the battles.

The aim in the production of this book has been to present a straightforward and intelligible narrative which is not complicated by the inclusion of a suc­cession of footnotes, cross-references and other misleading details. It is therefore a practical and vivid contribution to the distinguished histories of the 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards, 13th/18th Royal Hussars, The Nottinghamshire Yeomanry (Sherwood Rangers), the Royal Artillery, the Royal Engineers, the Royal Corps of Signals, the Somerset Light Infantry, the Gloucestershire Regiment, the Worcestershire Regiment, the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, the Royal Hampshire Regiment, the Dorset Regiment, the Middlesex Regiment, the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, the Wiltshire Regiment, the Royal Army Chaplains Department, the Royal Army Service Corps, the Royal Army Medical Corps, the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechani­cal Engineers and the Corps of Royal Military Police.