In 1881 The 37th North Hampshire Regiment & The 67th South Hampshire Regiment where united to form the 1st & 2nd Battalions The Hampshire Regiment. The 37th to be known as the 1st Battalion and the 67th to be the 2nd Battalion. Below is a time line of 2nd Hampshire Regiment from 1885-1946 It shows the Date, Campaign, and Battles, some have pictures. Click on the blue links to read about the Battle itself, see the pictures, and the role the Regiment played. I am trying to research all the battles and as I do I will be updating the Information I have. For WW1 I have created a special section it is not complete but contains alot of information.
2nd Battalion. WW II
The regular army got the order to mobilize in September 1939 and the 2nd Battalion of The Hampshire's were first British Battalion to disembark in France as part of the British Expeditionary Force and were among the last to get away from Dunkirk on the 2nd of June 1940 and returned to England with its equipment complete.
North African Campaign.
On the 11th of November 1942 the 2nd Bn. Left Liverpool England and arrived in Algiers on the 21st of November. Once there they began a general advance towards Tunis on the 24th of November, First Medjez-el-Bab was captured and then Tebourba, but on the 29th the advance slowed and the 2nd Bn received new orders and would take part in Tebourba.
The four day action of the 2nd Battalion at Tebourba twenty miles west of Tunis was the pivot on which the First Army turned. On November 29th the Germans began violent counter attacks to regain Tebourba which was being defended by the 6th Northamptonshire's. The 2nd Hampshire's 689 men strong took over there positions, outnumbered four to one by the Germans who also had heavy armour and air support. The British positions were ill suited for defence, being over looked by high ground to the right and front. On the 30th the Bn was under heavy shelling and the Brigade Commander came up and said that the Bn must hold the ground it stood on. A mortar detachment scored a direct hit on a lorry full of enemy infantry.
On Tuesday morning December the 1st considerable enemy activity was observed on the Bn front, and early in the afternoon the enemy attacked with mortars, and machine guns giving covering fire. The Germans tried to dislodge two forward companies. In front of 'X' company they advanced into a wood but were driven out and 'Y" company repelled an attack on its lines. Again the enemy tried and were counter attacked by a single platoon which took heavy casualties and withdrew to its original positions. The Germans brought tanks into the action and shot up the Battalion headquarters, then headed for the wood. Captain CL Thomas a Company Commander rallied his men all five of them, who then charged the tanks and supporting troops which they began to bayonet. Captain Thomas received the D.S.O.
Le Patourel's V.C. (See V.C.)
His company was faced with enemy machine gun and mortar positions on the high ground to there left, it was essential to clear these to avoid giving up the vital Tebourba area Le Patourel had four volunteers and led them through heavy machine gun fire towards the hill and took out several positions. All four of his men killed or wounded he continued on with only a pistol and grenades but he too was seen to fall. His V.C. Being awarded posthumously, later it was learned that he had been wounded and taken prisoner.
The Germans eventually got behind the Hampshire's and at dusk the C.O. Lieutenant Colonel Lee took his few remaining men and defended his Headquarters, and waited for the cover of darkness, he gave the order to fix bayonets and charged the enemy positions, 194 men survived from 210 ( all that remained of a Battalion of 689 ) who went into action at Tebourba. The remaining men fought there way back to the outskirts of the village and reported to Brigade Headquarters. Finding the enemy had cut the road leading back to Medjez El Bab where all the remaining troops of the Brigade had been withdrawn too, the C.O. gave the order to disperse in groups of two or three.
In 1945-46 The Hampshire's received the freedoms of Aldershot, Bournemouth, Southampton, and Winchester. Then in 1946 an order dated 28th November gave the Hampshire's its highest accolade. The battalions did not wear the Cap badge with the Kings Royal crown upon it until sometime after 1946.
The Citation Read.
"In Recognition of past services His Majesty. The King has been graciously pleased to approve that the following Regiments shall in future enjoy the distinction "ROYAL."
The regimental honours list was short and the Hampshire's were one of them. Meredith's had finally been crowned.
After Demobilization the 37th and 67th went back to its two regular Battalions 1st and 2nd, and in 1949 they were amalgamated, numerically, the
1st Battalion The Royal Hampshire Regiment.