179 Field Regiment - Royal Artillery (previously the 12th Battalion)

1st March 1942 to 15th February 1946.

The small party of Gunner Officers and Sergeants watched with mixed feelings the farewell parade of Lieut.-Colonel A. P. Watkins, M.C., with the 12th Battalion The Worcestershire Regiment. In a few hours theirs would be the responsibility of taking over this magnificent Battalion and turning them into 179 Field Regiment R.A.

This process started at Gravesend with improvisation as the watchword, no guns, no equipment, with improvised gun drill parade with a garden roller and a flag-pole for a muzzle, paper dial sights and the “ju-ju” of Gunnery unfolding under the watchful eye of Lieut.-Colonel F. W. Vogel, O.B.E., the first Commanding Officer of the 179 Field Regiment.

The 179 Field Regiment soon moved to Margate and on the 27th March 1942 the first guns arrived. Training was hard and furious, each man in his own cadre learning as fast as he could until, on 2lst April 1942, they had their own private firing Practice on Shellness range when, quite naturally, everything that could go wrong did, and so the Regiment retired to the Gun Park to go on with their old Gun Drill.

May 1942, was spent in all types of exercises to such an extent that Drivers could find their way around Kent without maps. On the 28th June 1942, they had their first Regimental firing camp at Lydd, where all went well and great celebrations were held.

On the 4th July 1942 orders were received that the Regiment was to mobilise for overseas service as part of the 43rd (Wessex) Division, and on the 17th July 1942 they fired their first rounds on the Sennybridge Range as part of 43rd Divisional Artillery.

Towards the end of August 1942, Lieut.-Colonel Vogel left and Lieut.-Colonel G. L. Pethick, R.A., assumed command, and the next months were spent in training with the 43rd Division and living in never-to-be forgotten Ramsgate, dodging the F.W.190’s, which had a passion for chasing people off Shellness Range.

Christmas 1942 was spent at Ramsgate, where the Regiment had a rest from schemes, drill orders and route marches; then straight into January 1943, when the Regiment obtained the best results in the Divisional Artillery at Anti-Tank Firing. This was followed by more training and the famous exercise “Gallop,” which showed that they had now obtained full status as a Field Regiment R.A.

1943 was spent in consolidation of their gains, sports rushed to the fore, welfare went into full swing, habits were formed, blue lanyards were instituted, schemes flashed by, until on the 5th April 1944 leave was stopped. On the 15th April 1942 the Regiment moved to Bexhill and on went the war paint, last adjustments were made, and on the 17th June 1942 the 179 Field Regiment sailed in the S.S. Sam Houstan for Normandy.

They eventually arrived off Arramanches on the 19th June 1944, and after an awful week, not being able to unload, they finally fired their first round in anger at 0200 hrs. on the 26th June 1944. The next few days were very hectic. The Division was centred round Cheux and some very lively battles took place. Lieut.-Colonel Pethick was wounded on the 27th June 1944 while on a reconnaisance with Capt. R. R. Woodward, and the Second-in-Command, Major Sir J. E. Backhouse, assumed command of the Regiment, but was replaced by Lieut.-Colonel W. D. Blacker on the 3rd July. Slowly the Division pushed forward to Colleville, Mouen, Tourneville, Verson, and Fountaine Etoupefour, and on the 10th July 1944 the attack went in on to Hill 112. The guns never stopped firing and in one recorded 15-minute period the Regiment fired 1800 rounds in response to calls from the infantry, who were fighting a magnificent battle to hold the hill feature. Major R. G. Mapp, R.A., died of wounds received in this attack, and Capt. G. C. Robinson was wounded while going to relieve him. This left Sergeant Trevis responsible for the fire support of the 7th Somerset Light Infantry, which he did for many hours, subsequently receiving the D.C.M.

The next morning Lieut.-Colonel W. D. Blacker was killed by enemy mortaring and Major Sir John Backhouse wounded. This left Major T. M. Brewis in command of the regiment.

The fighting was colossal at this period, the Division being on one side of Hill 112, the Germans on the other. Any attempt by either side to gain the top of the ridge being a sure way to suicide. Many times the Germans tried to push the Regiment back, but men held their ground. Many died in this action and, although it was the Regiments first sight of “the little wooden cross,” none of them will forget those moments when Padre Wilson made a moment of peace in a world of insanity and enabled the men to forget their anger and think of those whose hardship was now greater than theirs. Padre was to be seen everywhere, always with that helping hand.

It is not possible to give details of all the little things which saved the day, but perhaps Bombadier Rooney’s is typical. A three-tonner was hit by a shell; standing next to it was one filled with ammunition; he got in and drove it away. Those are the simple facts, imagination can help with the rest of the story. These things were happening in every section of the Regiment and always the chance was taken, an accident averted.

Vehicles of 179 Field Regiment on the road from Cheux to Colleville

On the 22nd July 1942 Lieut.-Colonel Pethick came back to command the Regiment, and four days later they were pulled out into reserve. This rest was soon over and in the wake of 214 Brigade they started a series of actions terminating in the Division’s capture of Mount Pinçon, which was the turning point in the battle of Normandy. In the capture of this feature the 1st Battalion Worcestershire Regiment played a notable part.

A few days later the Regiment crossed the River Noireau, which was a gunner’s nightmare. All the bridges had been blown, so the O.P.’s had to go on foot, working their way up the wooded slopes of the opposite bank; however, it was done, and after a very nasty two days the enemy were in full retreat, only to be caught in the Falaise pocket.

On the 16th August 1944 the chase began, the Division starting its action for the crossing of the river Seine. Many may have read of this exploit, as it was considered the classic example of a river crossing, surprise being the order of the day. In two long hops the Regiment finally reached the river just short of Vernon, where they went into action on the back end of a large wood. Ammunition was dumped and the next day, the 20th August, 129 Brigade forced a crossing during the night, the other two Brigades rushing over after them, and on the 27th August the bridgehead was large enough for the Armour to break out on its way into Belgium. The Regiments greatest loss at this time was when the Second-in-Command, Major Sir John Backhouse, was killed when looking for forward gun positions. John Backhouse had been everybody’s friend.

While Belgium was being overrun the 179 Field Regiment had a holiday on the banks of the Seine. Vernon was liberated, and the men enjoyed their first dance since 'D' Day showed that the French rather liked their effort. The Q Department have been trying to catch up with the shortage of cap badges ever since, which were given away as souvenirs.

All good things come to an end, and on the 14th September 1944 they Regiment started their tour of Belgium; villages, towns, hamlets, all with their cheering crowds, flashed by as they travelled non-stop to the Escaut Canal. Fruit was plentiful and apples, tomatoes, and pears were thrown into the trucks as cigarettes were thrown out. One Battery Commander suffered for days with a sore ear where an apple hit him in full flight. On the 17th September the Regiment arrived and prepared to support the Guards break out of their bridgehead over the canal. It was here that the Regiment found that from this initial break-out our destination was Arnhem and beyond, so that the Rhine could be crossed and the Siegfried Line turned.

One near accident on the canal was when one of the water trucks thought it would be a good place to go and get water, so with its team of two away it went. The tubes, pipes and what have you for getting water having been lowered into the water, the team surveyed the wondrous world, only to be greeted with a burst of M.G. fire; they were on the wrong canal.

How nearly this next operation succeeded is well-known (code name Market-Garden). The Regiment blasted the Guards out of their bridgehead on the 19th September and saw the American Airborne pass over on its way to capture the bridges at Grave and Nijmegen, and the next day the Regiment followed in the path of the Guards as fast as they could go, hoping the bridges were intact. Grave was, with Americans all over it. Nijmegen was still intact, but the Guards had to fight hard for it. The 43rd (Wessex) Division went over the River Waal on the 22nd September, only to be met by the enemy in full strength at the village of Elst, 8 miles south of Arnhem, which stopped the advance.

One of the Battalions did get to the south bank of the Rhine after a mad dash, but that evening it was cut off, when eight Tiger tanks cut across its axis. The O.P.’s with the Battalion were still in touch with the guns, but as it was impossible to get them over Nijmegen bridge the 179 Field Regiment could give no support to the 1st Airborne Division, and it was not until the 24th September that they were within range, only to find they were too late, as the 1st Airborne had been ordered to withdraw, their situation being critical. The 179 Field Regiment covered their withdrawal, and sent trucks to take them back to rest centres and hospitals. The gamble from the Escaut had failed.

Then followed a fortnight of confused and scrappy fighting clearing up the “Island,” as the piece of land was known between the Rivers Lek and Waal. By this time the bridges over the Waal at Nijmegen, which had been demolished behind us by the now famous “Frog Men,” had been replaced and on the 9th October 1944 the Regiment passed over the Bailey bridge to Mook in Holland, a few miles South-east of Nijmegen. Here they started off at a grand pace by firing at 12.0 o’clock on the 10th October a ceremonial salvo of shells on to German soil. The good start, however, soon died down and they remained at Mook on the defensive in very bad weather for a month. Many things were done to relieve the boredom of that month, which the men found very trying after the active life they had led up till then. A competition was organised to award a prize to the gun detachment who had the best-dug gun pit. This was Won by Sgt. Stewart’s sub-section, whose gun-pit was complete except for a bar, and that deficiency was remedied by the prize, which was a barrel of beer.

On the 10th November 1944 the Regiment moved South near Geleen, on the Dutch-German frontier, and on the 21st had the honour of supporting one of our affiliated Battalions, the 7th Somerset Light Infantry, in a successful attack on Niederheide. This was the first attack by British troops on German soil. This was followed with hard fighting under frightful conditions of wet and mud, and at Hoven a Company of the D.C.L.I. were forced to withdraw with heavy losses. In this action Capt. D. E. Cran, R.A., and Gunner Clark and L/Bombardier Mort were killed.

There was a welcome diversion on 30th November 1944 when Field-Marshal Montgomery presented medal ribbons to Major Brewis (M.C.), Capt. Bezant (M.C.). Sergeant Trevis (D.C.M.) and Bombardier Rooney (M.M.).

The Regiment remained at Geilenkirchen as the right hand unit of the British Second Army next to the American Ninth Army until the 18th December. The mens fraternising with the Americans was very profitable to both sides. The Americans had much more meat than they wanted, and the men of the Regiment exchanged other goods for it. The cooks had a wonderful time preparing dishes with rare American delicacies instead of the usual disguished but undisguisable meat and vegetable stew. A rather more serious aspect of this exchange was that it did not stop with food, but extended to clothing. The Americans coveted our battle-dress, whilst we envied them their windcheated jackets and rubber boots. When the Regiment left Geilenkirchen they looked 50 per cent American!

On the 18th December 1944 the German offensive in the Ardennes started and, instead of going into rest as promised, the Regiment were moved into a position from which they could go into action near Liege if the offensive was not stemmed. This meant living from hour to hour in fear of a move, and finally the Regiment was told on the 23rd December that the Corps Commander would say on the 24th whether for us Christmas Day would be on the 25th or later. Luckily on the evening of the 24th a message was received to say that Christmas Day would be the 25th. Many other units were not so lucky and had to wait a few days for their Christmas dinner. The cooks worked like slaves to put up a good show and everyone appreciated their efforts when the men sat down to a first-class meal of turkey and Christmas pudding.

After Christmas there followed a series of strategical moves to be ready for any new German offensive, but as this did not materialise the Regiment moved back to Gilrath, near Geilenkirchen, on the 11th January 1945. A series of attacks then rolled up the German line to the River Roer, incidentally recapturing Hoven, which had cost us so dearly but two months before.

On the 31st January the Regiment moved well back into Belgium between Brussels and Antwerp, and spent until the 6th February cleaning and maintaining themselves and their equipment for the next big battle, which was to push the Germans back over the Rhine. Despite the fun and dances had by all over this period, many of the men were not sorry to leave, because of the large number of V bombs of both types which were going over every day to Antwerp. Several of them fell short, not far from where the Regiment was based, one falling on Regimental H.Q., wounding the new Padre, Capt. Richards.

The next operation was “Veritable,” the turning of the defence line at Cleve, with the object of cleaning up the whole of the Rhine bank; it can truly be said that phase one of this action was the Gunners’ gift to the infantry. The Regiment started firing at 0500 hrs. on the 8th February 1945 and ceased on the first part at 0100 hrs. on the 9th, and unless one has fired for that length of time it is impossible to know just how tired men can be.

On the night of the 9th/10th the Regiment moved forward to Nutterden, right into the mud and slosh they had made; every house, field, hut and road had been hit by shells; water was everywhere and only by brute force could the momentum of the attack be maintained. By the 12th February 1945 the Regiment was through the Reichwald Forest and the Cleve bottle-neck, deployed in the village of Matterborne, amongst the 5th D.C.L.I., who were rather amazed to find the guns in their midst, as they had only taken the place six hours before.

On the 16th February the Regiment moved forward again to Beachoise, and from this day until the end of the month they were engaged in the hard fight for Goch and Calcar, which proved to be one of the hardest the Division had ever had. The ground there will never be forgotten as it was the first time the men had had to live in what most of them imagined a 1914 battlefield looked like. Everything was smashed, tank tracks had cut the ground to pieces, vehicles which had run off the so-called road lolled about in the mud with no one to care for them. All the trees were splintered and in the dim light of dawn rose up out of the ground like monsters of another age. But in all this dirt the men lived, and as one walked round the guns at night talking to the sentries it was often pleasant to go down the muddy step into the home-from-home which had been made in the gun pit. Well under the earth one could live, sleep and play for a little while until the shocking cry of “Take Post” created its usual upheaval.

On the 28th February 1945, the Regiment was in action at Calcar, only a few miles from the Rhine, and then advanced through Marienbaun to Xanten on its banks. There was stiff fighting here, but eventually by 10th March the Germans were pushed back across the Rhine and a smoke-screen was laid along the river bank to prevent the Germans seeing the preparation for the next phase, the crossing. It was at Marienbaum that the guns fired at their closest range, 1600 yards. The gunners could see their shells bursting, and this caused much merriment.

It was now our turn for a rest, re-fit and final brush up of training to fit us for the next battle, which the men were told was going to be the last, crossing the Rhine and then swanning on into Germany with no more rest until the surrender. The Regiment spent these days until the 22nd March 1945 at Afferden, and on the 22nd moved up secretly into action a mile from the bank of the river and in full view of the enemy side except for the smoke-screen, which continued all day; although it made the men cough badly, it was very successful in concealing the men's presence. The night of the 24th/25th March kept the Regiment very busy firing in support of the assaulting divisions crossing the Rhine. Unfortunately there was a premature explosion at one gun and Gunner Hewitt was fatally injured and Bombardier Boots wounded. Nevertheless, the morale was very high, and although everyone was very tired, there was a feeling that this was the last phase of the war in Europe. The following day was heralded by a fire in the cookhouse which destroyed that day’s rations. However, the ever-resourceful cooks managed to find something to cook; no questions asked. On that evening a lone German plane had the audacity to drop a bomb on the gun position, but no damage was caused except frayed temper.

On the 27th March the Regiment crossed the Rhine over a Bailey bridge and took the initiative from the assaulting Divisions, who had done the fighting up to then. They had forced the crossing and it was now up to the 179 Field Regiment to drive hard and deep into the heart of Germany.

After passing through the heap of rubble that was the town of Rees, the Regiment advanced with 214 Infantry Brigade Group, and by the 3rd April 1945, entered Holland again at Hengelo. Here once again the men experienced those moving receptions of liberation that were reminiscent of previous advances in Holland. The streets were full of cheering crowds and flags were flying from all the buildings. The Regiment passed on, entering Germany again at Nordhorn, where we the very crowded road was shared with the Guards’ Armoured Division. However, they branched off at Lingen, whilst the Regiment went straight on to Bawinkel and Haselunne. A reconnaissance party selecting a new gun position was ambushed at Bawinkel by a small party of enemy left behind for the purpose, and in a sharp and very brave scrap Lieut. Robert Charles Bater (228479) and Gunner Godfrey Hugh Dunn (1126852) were killed, Driver Hornsby was wounded, and Bombardier Mills, Gunners Spaul and Saunderson taken prisoner.

By this time it was obvious to all that the German resistance was cracking. For the most part the Regiment was not meeting as large forces of enemy as they had been used to; instead they met every form of obstacle the Germans could think of. Bridges were blown, large road blocks were encountered and the roads were mined. These obstacles, which often occurred every 1000 yards, were covered by small parties of Germans who caused the Regiment casualties out of all proportion to the strength of the forces against us. In fact, the type of warfare was very similar to that the Germans would have encountered in England had they invaded in 1940. The average German civilian was very subdued and gave us very little trouble, and it was surprising how the brandishing of a pistol removed any reluctance to comply with orders. One of the most interesting things of this phase of the war was the enormous stocks of food hoarded by the Germans in their cellars. The Army ration was greatly augmented by bottled fruits, fresh and preserved eggs and hams, etc. Germany was certainly not starving.

The Regiment passed to Hasselunne through Loningen and Cloppenburg to Ildeshausen, which they reached on the 20th April 1945. Here they were given a short spell of rest and, in the knowledge that they had nearly finished their task and heartened by the beautiful spring weather, the men produced a concert in a local hall. Although impromptu, it was a tremendous success, so much so that it had to be repeated the following day for the benefit of those who were on duty for the first performance.

Following a few short moves, the Regiment crossed the River Weser at Verden and came into action at Langwedel, clearing the way to an assault on Bremen from the East to be synchronised with other Divisions attacking from other directions. There was much excitement on the night of the 26th of April, when the 129 Brigade captured an S.S. General and a band of fanatical Germans in the concrete S.S. Headquarters in the famous Burgher Park.

The guns then moved into Bremen, the first large German city the Regiment had seen, which was a shambles of tangled tram wires, cratered gas mains and fallen and burnt-out buildings. Open sewers gaped at many places and the devastation of the factories and docks was indescribable. At many places the leading troops had to drive their way through mountains of rubble, searching for the road with armoured bulldozers. The general feeling of the troops was that they had certainly repaid Bremen a hundredfold for the damage done to London. Had they known then, as we do today, that every German city had been equally flattened, we would have expressed this thought even more strongly. The next few days were spent in clearing up Bremen, and on the 28th April the Regiment started on the last task of clearing the remaining groups of enemy who had withdrawn to the marshes between Bremen and Bremerhaven.

It was obviously now only a matter of days before the surrender, but nevertheless these last few days’ fighting were amongst the least pleasant of the whole campaign. Resistance took the form of small groups armed with spandaus and intense fire from Moaning Minnies, which slowed down the speed of the advance. Gun positions were very difficult to find in the swamp and digging was impossible.

Finally the Regiment reached Rhade on the 2nd of May, suffering on the way one of the most tragic accidents of its history. A column of guns and vehicles set off a sea mine buried under the road, Two vehicles were blown to smithereens and with them ten good men.

Serjeant Richardson, Bombardier Armstrong, Bombardier Sanders and Gunners Vale, Buckingham, Holt, Seal, Peters, Masters and Newbury were killed instantly, and L/Bombardier Jepson and Gunner Jenkins were wounded. Coming as it did at the end of the battle to men who had survived months of fighting, this tragedy cast a gloom over everyone. The old Padre, Capt. Wilson, took the burial service amidst a very sad congregation.

On the 7th May 1945 came the order the men had been awaiting for so long, “No firing on the whole Divisional front except against direct enemy action,” followed by official notification of the capitulation of the German Forces.

There were celebrations that night. The order was given that no guns were to be fired as salutes or Verey lights let off, but before the order had arrived some jubilant soldiers had already celebrated in this way. One Officer collected all the local German civilians together and informed them in his halting German that at last Germany had lost her second war in half a century. It was not surprising that their expression was one of relief.

The 8th of May saw the Regiment come out of action and move to their first occupational area at Sudeburg. There, until the 18th May, they were occupied in searching their area for arms and installations as well as collecting in the remnants of the Wehrmacht who were all trying to make their way home and demobilise themselves. It was here; too, that Displaced Persons were met for the first time, who in the months to come were to play such a large part in the Regiments occupational duties.

On the 19th May 1945 the Regiment left Sudeburg, spent a few days in transit in the area of Rebbelah and on to Mellendorf, arriving on the 26th. The whole of June and July were spent on occupational duties such as the searching of the area, enforcement of Military Government orders, collecting of D.P.’s into special camps, and the general maintenance of law and order. The Regiments guns were taken from them in June as they were unable to maintain them in addition to our other duties, and they became, to all intents and purposes, infantry.

As well as occupational duties, during this time the Regiment was able to find a lot of time for recreation in the beautiful summer weather. They were very well off for swimming pools, and other sports enjoyed were cricket, football and basket ball. Hockey, too, came into its own and, under the excellent leadership of Capt. G. C. Robinson, was, soon very popular as well as successful.

On the 1st August 1945 the men of the Regiment were all very sorry to leave Mellendorf, to which we had become very attached, and move to Dushorn to take, over the unpleasant job of the Divisional Artillery, which was the policing of the area of the large D.P. Camp at Fallingbostel, which contained 28,000 persons of all nationalities, mostly Poles. Many of these D.P.'s were law-abiding, but many also were not; those who had no respect for the law caused us a lot of trouble. Their motives were twofold: first, to increase their ration of food by stealing from nearby German farmers, and, secondly, revenging themselves on the Germans for the bad treatment that had been meted out to them in the past when they had been employed as slave labour. Nearly every night there was an “incident” of some sort at one of the lonely farms within 5 to 10 miles of the Camp. One night a pig would be stolen from a farmer, another night would find an old German couple murdered in their bed. To stop this sort of thing was the job of the Regiment for the months of August and September. The method was to patrol the area thoroughly by night, to establish posts at likely points in the area, and in exceptional cases to station pairs of British soldiers in particularly lonely farms. It was in one of the latter situations that Bombardier Altimas was shot dead by a raiding Pole, who in turn was killed by Gunner Entwistle. Gunner Entwistle was awarded a Commander-in-Chief’s Certificate for Gallantry for this action.

As a direct result of this murder, on the 27th September 1945, 3000 British troops carried out a full search of all the rooms, Poles, and their baggage in the camp. The object was to find loot, bicycles and particularly weapons, and to bring the offenders to book. The haul of weapons was very encouraging, and there was a very quiet period just after the search. On November 17th another similar search was carried out, and after that D.P. ‘s gave the men very little further trouble.

Pte. John Frederick Stuart
Served with 12th Battalion and the 179 Field Regiment
(photo from Eileen Ireland
his granddaughter)

The beginning of October 1945 saw the Regiment back at Gross Burgwedel, near Mellendorf, where they spent three months training as infantry, for their occupational role, and kept themselves otherwise busy by policing the area, playing games and training specialists to take the place of those who were being demobilised. Demobilisation was hitting the Regiment very hard, as they were taking in very few replacements, and when by January 1946 the Regimental strength was about 400 it was becoming obvious that the life of the Regiment would be short unless they were sent some more men. The Regiment did not have to wait long for the news as, when they moved back to Fallingbostel at the end of January 1946, they were ordered to disband as from the 15th February 1946. Naturally this news was very saddening to all, but the men also realized that the disbandment of units was necessary if demobilisation was to continue, and also, although our Regiment had won itself a very good name, it was not proper that other Regiments formed long before the 179 Field Regiment, and with Territorial Army history, should be disbanded before them. Field-Marshal Montgomery wrote the Commanding Officer, Lieut.-Colonel T. M. Brewis, M.C., R.A., a personal letter expressing his regret at having to take the decision to disband the Regiment, and thanking the men for work they had done for 21st Army Group. The C.R.A. in a farewell speech also expressed the same sentiments. A further compliment, and one which meant much to all the men, was received from the Commanding Officer of the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry saying: “I hear with much regret the decision to disband your fine Regiment. I would like to thank all ranks for the shells that were fired for us and to say that no Infantry Battalion could have had better Gunner support than that given to 5th D.C.L.I. by 179 Field Regiment.”

Lance Sergt. Henry Frederick Stammers
served with 179 Field Regiment
was mentioned in despatches.
(photo submitted by Mr M. R. Williams, son-in-law)

That is the story of 179 Field Regiment, and it would not be complete without mentioning the good work done by the people behind the scenes. The men on the guns gave excellent service, but were always supported by the people behind the scenes. Firstly, the cooks, headed by Sergeant Ierston, always managed to produce a meal in record time, often under the most difficult conditions. They showed wonderful resource in disguising in different ways the monotonous rations we were issued with during the fighting. Secondly, there were the clerks, S/Sergeant Gisbourn, L/Sergeant Limb, Bombardiers Wright, Byron and Turner. Theirs was a thankless job, working late hours filling in returns and reports, but they did it well, and much of the efficiency of the Regiment was due to their efforts. Then there were the Vehicle End Gun Fitters headed by S/Sergeant Oyston, Sergeants Pardoe, Brush and Murkett. Once a vehicle or gun was “off the road,” they and their teams would not rest until they got it going again. The Regiment had a reputation in the Division of having less vehicles off the road than any other unit. This was also partly due to the Drivers, who really took a pride in their vehicles.

And last, but not least, the Q. Staff headed by Capt. Bamber, and assisted by R.Q.M.S. Adamson, B.Q.M.S. Clark, and B.Q.M.S. Markham. Many have said that the Q. Staff have an “easy” war living in the back areas; others who have worked with them know the truth—the hard trying work that has to be put in, the race to get stores that have just been delivered to the Division before other units get them. The best compliment that could be paid to the Q. Staff is to say that it was seldom that any demand was made on them that they could not meet within 24 hours.

The story of 179 Field Regiment is the story of a team pulling together and of the good result the whole gave under the test of action.


Decorations and Awards

Gazette Date
Pethick Geoffrey Loveston Lieut.-Col. 38417 D.S.O. 21/06/1945
Bezant Barrington Capt. 130914 M.C. 01/03/1945
Finnigan Francis Walter T/Major 90070 M.C. 21/12/1944
Brewis T. M. Lieut.-Col. - M.C. -
Backhouse J. Major (Sir, Bart.) - M.C. -
Scott W. J. Major - M.C. -
Henderson R. A. Capt. - M.C. -
Greenhill Alec Ernest T/Major 153596  M.C. 24/01/1946
Bridges I. L. Capt.  - Croix de Guerre Gilt Star -
Greenhill Alec Ernest T/Capt. 153596 MID 22/03/1945
Graham I. N. Capt. - MID -
McLean I. A. Capt. - MID -
Trevis William Frederick A/Sergeant 1126866 D.C.M. 21/12/1944
Beck A. N. H. W.O.1 (R.S.M.) - M.B.E. -
Rooney S. A. Bombadier - M.M. -
Vale Harry Walter Bombardier 5256846 M.M.  22/03/1945
Wrycroft   Gunner - M.M. -
Vernon H. F. Gunner - M.M. -
Stapleton E. C. Gunner - M.M. -
Hayes J.  W.O.II (B.S.M.) - M.M. -
Harpin G. W.O.II (B.S.M.)   Croix de Guerre, Silver Star  
Drinkwater A. L. Gunner 557853 MID 22/03/1945
Redfern F. Gunner - MID -
Fisher J. Sergeant - MID -
Duffill P. Gunner 5257528  MID 08/11/1945
Stammers Henry Frederick L/Sgt. 888907 MID 22/03/1945
Slssingar A. E. Gunner 14270050 MID 08/11/1945
Propert W. Gunner - MID -
MacAllister A. T. Capt. - CCC -
Yeadon H. Bombardier - CCC -
Loraine P. C. A. Lieut. - CCC -
Pealling H. Bombardier - CCC -
Harpin C. W.O.II (B.S.M.) - CCC -
Spittle J. Bombardier - CCC -
Sartin W. D. W.O.II (B.S.M.) - CCC -
Hawkins H. G. L/Bombadier - CCC -
Gisbourn E. F. S/Sergeant - CCC -
Kent J. A. C. Gunner - CCC -
Pardoe R. J. Sergeant - CCC -
Cound H. Gunner - CCC -
Hacon R. J. Bombardier - CCC -
Maddocks P. Gunner  - CCC -
Entwistle - Gunner - CCC -
D.S.O. = Distinquished Service Order
M.C. = Military Cross
D.C.M. = Distinguished Conduct Medal
M.M. = Military Cross
M.B.E. = Member of the Order of the British Empire
MID = Mentioned in Despatches
CCC = Commander-in-Chief Certificate


179 Field Regiment - Roll of Honour (1944-1945)

Date Killed/Died
McDermott Frederick George Gunner 5256330 02.07.1944 31
Mapp Richard Gerald Major (R.A.) 78862 10.07.1944 29
Blacker, DSO William Desmond Lieut.-Col. (R.A.) 27893 11.07.1944 40
Shaw Ian Capt., (R.A.) 172 Bty., 207340 13.07.1944 -
Vivian Francis Alexander L/Bombardier 5257256 13.07.1944 -
Titterton Charles Henry Capt., (R.A.) 185235 15.07.1944 29
Gray Herbert Anthony Sergeant 920503 15.07.1944 -
Addison Charles Wilfred L/Bombardier 1126817 15.07.1944 36
Buffery Bert Gunner 5252134 21.07.1944 25
Arthurs Robert John L/Sergeant 5256698 30.07.1944 30
Yorke-Long John Dennis Lieut., (R.A.) 228457 04.08.1944 25
Middleton Leslie Henry Gunner 14204378 04.08.1944 21
Baxter, MC Darrell Valentine St. John Major, (R.A.) 173 Bty., 67013 08.08.1944 -
Rhatigan Edward L/Sergeant 5256793 08.08.1944 31
Burke Joseph W.O.1 (R.S.M.) 788638 12.08.1944 36
Fooks Frederick William Gunner 14345210 15.08.1944 33
Smith Frederick Reginald Gunner 14270051 15.08.1944 21
Backhouse, MC John Edmund Major (Sir, Bart.), R.A. 41059 29.08.1944 35
Hook Sydney Arthur Gunner 3976639 04.08.1944 21
Mort George Percy L/Bombardier 14339786 21.11.1944 37
Clarke Albert Ernest Gunner 5256715 21.11.1944 29
Cran Douglas Elmslie Capt., (R.A.) 77519 29.11.1944 26
Timmins John Thomas Sergeant 5257657 16.01.1945 33
Hewitt John Solomon Gunner 5256243 25.03.1945 31
Bater Robert Charles Lieut., (R.A.) 228479 08.04.1945 31
Dunn Godfrey Hugh Gunner 1126852 09.04.1945 22
Mulligan Francis Xavier L/Bombardier 5256357 30.04.1945 30
Richardson Harold Sergeant 812624 02.05.1945 35
Armstrong Philip Chamberlain Storie Bombardier 14349902 02.05.1945 32
Saunders Frederick Charles Bombardier 6550546 02.05.1945 32
Vale Albert William Gunner 5257658 02.05.1945 29
Buckingham Frederick Stanley Gunner 5256709 02.05.1945 30
Holt George Ernest Gunner 5257563 02.05.1945 31
Seal Eric Joseph Gunner 14582597 02.05.1945 29
Peters Kenneth Morrison Gunner 11003393 02.05.1945 29
Masters Edward Albert Stephen Gunner 5256345 02.05.1945 30
Newbury Frederick Charles Gunner 5256364 02.05.1945 28
Altimas George Bombardier 7340759 19.08.1945 35