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The 2nd Battalion East Yorks 1939-1945

At the outbreak of war the Battalion was in Plymouth having recently returned from Palestine. They were mobilised on the 7th of September 1939.

The 2nd Battalion formed part of the 3rd Infantry Division. In 1940 they went to France as part of the BEF and, when the time came, fell back to the beaches of La Panne in good order. They were one of the last Battalions to be evacuated.

Following evacuation the Battalion spent time preparing defences on the south coast of England before being chosen to form part of the new “Field Army”. Intense combined operations training followed which saw the Battalion earmarked for the Dieppe raid. Fortunately for the Yorkshire men, the Canadians undertook the raid.

Eventually the threat of invasion receded and thoughts turned to the liberation of Europe. The Battalion was selected for an “Assault Operation” (this would turn out to be D-Day) . They went to Scotland to undertake training in beach assault and it is said that the training they received has no parallel in British military history.

On the 6th of June 1944 the Battalion took part in Operation Overlord and, although suffering many casualties, took all their objectives - see separate piece.

The Battalion continued to fight with distinction all the way through the Normandy Campaign, then on into Belgium, Holland and finally into Germany. Their attack on Bremen being the last action of the campaign for the 2nd Battalion.

The Battalion spent VE day in Westphalia where they were employed on occupational duties.

The above is a very brief history of the Battalion in WW2 and can not reflect adequately the hardships and suffering endured by the Battalion during the separate actions in which they were employed.

The East Yorks on D-Day
Between 0430 - 0600hrs the assault landing craft were lowered from the Empire Battleaxe and HMS Glenearn. Just after 0600hrs the seven mile journey to the beaches began. At 0725hrs the East Yorks landed on Queen Red beach where heavy mortar, machine gun and artillery fire were encountered.

A and B companies supported by tanks were to break through the beach obstacles.

A company, along with C company of the 1st Battalion South Lancs, would attack and eliminate the Strong Point Cod. This consisted of: One 75mm gun, two 50mm anti-tank guns, three 81mm mortars, a 37mm gun and 5 machine gun posts.

B company were to move inland and assault Strong Point Sole with C company in support.

The next task was to attack and eliminate the Daimler Battery, a heavily defended gun battery with four 75mm guns capable of firing onto the invasion beaches. This was the main responsibility of D and C companies supported by tanks of the 13/18 Hussars.

Strong Point Cod was taken by 1000hrs and Sole was overrun by 1300hrs. Daimler Battery was put out of action by 1800hrs with little loss and 70 prisoners in the bag.

The East Yorks continued on to the village of St Aubin d’Arquenay. They were relieved by the Kings Own Scottish Borderers. The East Yorks spent the night in a cornfield near Hermanville.

By the end of the day the East Yorks had lost 5 officers and 60 men killed, and 4 officers and 137 men wounded.


kevin coyne said...

does anyone have information about
Major Robert H Barber(67170)
D comp, 2nd Batt.
KIa 6th June 1944

max maxie said...

My grandfather was major Reginald Rutherford 2nd battalion b company..... any info

max maxie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Michael Lycett said...

Hi Max,

We do have some information on Major R Rutherford. Are you looking for anything in particular. It would be helpful if I had some direct contact for you. Can you re-post with an email address. The moderator will not publish your email address but pass it on.

Nicola Rhodes said...

Hi, I'm wondering if you can help. I'm trying to research about my grandad raymond Terence rhodes I believe he may have served in the east yorks regiment 2nd battalion in ww2. I wonder if you have any info on him? If you do my email address is nicola_rhodes@rocketmail.com

David Sharman said...

Hello. My grandfather was 2nd Lieutenant Francis William Matheson Sharman who served in the regiment during WWII. I'm aware that he was awarded the Military Cross but I would be very pleased to get an further information about his service. Many thanks.

W Horn said...

Hi My Father in Law private David George Wilkinson was shot in the head sometime after the beach landing.( he survived but died in 1990) He told me it was a French sniper not a German who shot him is anyone familiar with this? We are off to Normandy tomorrow so I presume the incident happened near Hermanville. Rgds Bill

Michael Lycett said...

Hi Bill,

That's an interesting story. I haven't heard it before. I shall post your question on our FaceBook page and see if anyone knows any more about it.
Did your Father in Law serve with the 2nd Battalion? The East Yorks had the dubious honour of providing two assault battalions for D-Day. The 2nd landed on Sword beach and the 5th landed on Gold Beach. If he was with the 2nd Battalion then indeed it would have been in the vicinity of Hermanville. Once of the beach, they made their way towards their second objective SOLE. This strongpoint is just to the north of the D35A that runs from Colleville-Montgomery towards Ouistreham. Having subdued this position they then proceeded to their next objective Strongpoint DAIMLER. This position is near the water tower just south of Ouistreham and was nicknamed the water tower battery. This gives you some idea of the route that was taken on the 6th.

Patrick Wells said...

Major Robert H Barber was my grandfather.
Patrick Wells

Jillian Bradley said...

I'm looking for any information on my papa who recently passed. His name was Clive Bradley and I have a picture of him in uniform and the number on him is 4344089 but i haven't been able to locate any information from that.

My papa passed without disclosing any family information and my Dad would really like to know where he comes from and if he has any family so your help would be greatly appreciated.


Anonymous said...

My grandfather served with 5th Bn east yorks during the WWII
He was killed in action in may 1942
He is buried in Alexandria war cemetery
I have tried to research the units movements but am coming up with very little but lots on 2nd Bn.
It appears to have been a TA unit
Can anyone maybe supply me with any information or point me in the right direction.
I have just started on my searches (for 3 family members) so resources are difficult to find for this novice
Steven brown

Vic Kelly said...

I was wondering if you have any casualty information or troop movements?
My uncle was in the 2nd East Yorks and was killed on D-Day

We visited him around 6 years ago and left notes in the cemetery book etc. We have since moved to Canada, but I find much of my research turns up the same basic information at the Company level rather than unit.

Thank you for reading this. Have a great day.

Anonymous said...

My father was in the east Yorks during the second world war. In his war records it says he was in the 7th battalion but I can't find mention of it, my father told us he was on the first wave to hit Gold beach. Can anyone shed any light on this mix up please ?

Anonymous said...

Who is this man as i am the first grandchild of Reginald Rutherford and I know all the others

Sandra Rutherford said...

Who are you? I am the first Grandchild of Reginald. I am the daughter of his eldest child. I know all the grandchildren

Sandra Padley said...

Replying to Steven Brown re Grandfather 5th Bn East Yorkshire Regiment.
My Uncle was John Thomas Welburn, he died 3rd October 1942 and he
is Buried in Alexandria War Memorial Cemetery in Egypt.
I found a lot of information on Commonwealth War Graves Commision site..
I had very limited information on him, but from an old letter to my late mother
it gave me his rank and number, I found his burial plot number and a plan
of graves which enabled me to pinpoint his last resting place, which was
very comforting.
Good luck in your search I hope you find the information you are seeking.