Buried Battles & Veterans' Voices

The North West Frontier

Europe & Africa

Until India obtained independence and was partitioned in 1947, it was one of the most heavily garrisoned parts of the British Empire and was a regular posting for British regiments. The regular battalions of both Surrey regiments spent many years on tours of duty in the Raj. Although India was generally peaceful, the mountainous North West Frontier Province, bordering Afghanistan, saw many uprisings by the Pashtun (or Pathan) tribes and was considered a place where men could engage in some 'real' soldiering in very difficult terrain. In 1935, too, the town of Quetta, was wrecked by a devastating earthquake, and the 1st Battalion, the Queen's Royal Regiment (West Surrey), helped in the aftermath.

The North West Frontier

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Major Toby Taylor

Toby Taylor, 1st Battalion, the East Surrey Regiment, recalls the backwardness of the British Army in 1940 and the spectacular but useless French border defences.

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Major Toby Taylor

Toby Taylor, 1st Battalion, the East Surrey Regiment, recalls the chaotic retreat to Dunkirk, 1940.

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Douglas Mitchell

Doug Mitchell, 1/5th Battalion, the Queen's Royal Regiment, remembers a gruelling route march and coming under fire in France, 1940.

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Major Toby Taylor

Toby Taylor, 1st Battalion, the East Surrey Regiment, recollects landing on the North African coast in November 1941.

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Douglas Mitchell

Doug Mitchell, 1/5th Battalion, the Queen's Royal Regiment, remembers getting by in the North African desert.

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Private Stan Blay

Stan Blay, 2/6th and 2/7th Battalions, the Queen's Royal Regiment, recollects a wet landing on the Italian coast, 1943.

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Private Stan Blay

Stan Blay, 2/6th and 2/7th Battalions, the Queen's Royal Regiment, remembers running into German tanks in Italy in 1943.

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Sergeant Jim Jeffery

Jim Jeffery, 2/5th Battalion, the Queen's Royal Regiment, remembers the horror of the fighting around Anzio, 1944.

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Private Graham Swain

G Swain, 2/7th Battalion, the Queen's Royal Regiment, remembers Anzio and the desperate struggle to keep communications open in Italy.

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Major Toby Taylor

Toby Taylor, 1st Battalion, the East Surrey Regiment, recalls the desperate advance through Italy, butterfly spotting around Cassino and British army rations, 1944.

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Private Eric Reeves

Eric Reeves, 1/5th Battalion, the Queen's Royal Regiment, remembers the high spirits and confidence of victory when war was declared.

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Sergeant Noel Matthews

Noel Matthews, 1/5th Battalion, the Queen's Royal Regiment, remembers the chaos of the Dunkirk evacuation, 1940.

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Sergeant Noel Matthews

Noel Matthews, 1/5th Battalion, the Queen's Royal Regiment, remembers the gruelling conditions in the North African desert.

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Sergeant Noel Matthews

Noel Matthews, 1/5th Battalion, the Queen's Royal Regiment, remembers a night patrol during the advance through the occupied Netherlands at the end of the war.

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Sergeant Noel Matthews

Noel Matthews, 1/5th Battalion, the Queen's Royal Regiment, remembers a local German surrender and the advance to Berlin, 1945.

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Private Eric Reeves

Eric Reeves, 1/5th Battalion, the Queen's Royal Regiment, remembers how, as a returning prisoner of war, the war ended for him.

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Ernest Sewell

Ernest Sewell, 1st Battalion, East Surrey Regiment, remembers the ferocity of the fighting around Longstop Hill, Tunisia, in April 1943.

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Maurice Howard

Maurice Howard, 2/5th Battalion The Queen's, describes the advance from Salerno and a patrol down a mined track.

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Maurice Howard

Maurice Howard, 2/5th Battalion The Queen's, describes how knowing what the Germans was doing helped one to feel in control and less afraid.

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