The badge of the K.S.L.I.


Don Neal

Those of you who have logged in before will notice a change of web site.

I hope you agree that it's a big improvement and my thanks go to Mark Smith of UKLive. He logged in to my old site and spotted my dilemma and very kindly offered to help. The results are clear. I would like to thank Mark from UKLIVE for doing such a great job on my web site and for his continued support. Anyone looking to have a web site designed, to sell products on line, to run database applications and more, need look no further.

UKLive can be found here provide web sites, e-commerce solutions, database applications and more.

1940 - 1945

Read the story HERE


7:30 am 26th June 1944


This was their test. The men of the181st Field Regt RA. 4 years of training and waiting - waiting for a chance to strike back. Men from all over the country brought together by war. Most, never having been in battle, some, wearing the riband of the North Africa campaign had tasted battle.

The order to "take post" had been issued, the men crouched behind their gun, each man ready to perform his task, trying to put the thoughts of home and family at the back of their minds and focus on the coming battle. Some chatted nervously, calming their nerves with a smoke, others silent, hoping they would come through this baptism of fire.

Since landing on 6th June the Allied Army had become bogged down just beyond the beaches as the offensive congealed. Thousands of tons and men were being shipped in after the violent storm of 19th June, in order to keep this massive army fed, watered and armed. This was the time to break out from the beaches. Monty had called this operation 'Epsom'.

Well out in front of the guns with the first line of Infantry were the Regiment's Forward Observation Officers, and their band of signallers ready to feed the guns with fire plans so that they could 'guide' the footsloggers onto their objective. These were the men of the 15th Scottish division, untried in battle, but, from the finest Regiments in Scotland whose ancestors had fought at Culloden and Banockburn and Flanders Fields. To the left were the men of the 53rd (Welsh) Division from the valleys and the fields of the principality. To the right the 'Polar Bears' of the 49th West Riding Division.

The day dawned damp, drizzly and overcast. The men spat and cursed when they realised there would be no air support from the rocket firing Typhoons of the RAF to soften up the enemy.

On the second. 900 guns of the allied services let fly a storm of hot metal at the German defenders. The gunners, working together like a well oiled clock, feeding 25pd shells into the breech of the mighty gun as fast as possible. And in front - the Infantry rose from their start line amongst the cornfields of Normandy, and walked forward - into the jaws of death, into the mouth of hell.

Mark Smith of UKLive provided this site, his father Bill served with my Dad. Bill told me many stories relating to his army service which I shall be telling you about soon. He was very keen on my book after I'd visited him in Ramsgate where he had a reunion with his old buddy John May. Imagine my sadness when I wrote to surprise him of my publication in September/October last year only to learn from his wife Lilian that he'd passed away in June! What a shock, and all the more reason to capture these heroic stories now!!

The latest stories are to be found nearer to the bottom of the page, except where stated.

Bill Smith

John and Bill were great pals who arrived from the Royal West Kents..... (New stories added 15 April 2002)

Bdr Snowy Brannan

Signallers were hard to find and train it being a more technical job and they often found themselves in hairy situations at the front line......

Major Dudley Shaw

Those of you who have read my book will no doubt have read my profile on Major ADG Shaw DSo. A remarkable man who always had the welfare of his men at the forefront of his actions......

Percy Lewis

Unlike many old soldiers, Percy was justly proud of his War service and happy to talk about them freely, both of the good times and the grim. He spoke of the incident in Normandy, when a captured German sniper was shot on the spot by a soldier
..... (New stories added 15 April 2002)

Another story tells of a less auspicious way to die during the war..... (Added 01 May 2002)

Tom Stokes' Stories.

Tom Stokes ( see photos) was born in 1910, and now lives in Heaton, Bolton though he is a son of rural Hereford, from a style of life long gone. At 92 he is as sharp as ever and I was most impressed by his fantastic memory.....

The Backbone of the British Army is how Tommy Stokes describes the NCO's. Their Officers, who speak of them with great affection when they see a photo of one of their old No1's, treasured them....

Charlie Ashton's Memories.

Charlie Ashton, had been one of the first to be called up to the newly formed 6th Bn KSLI, they called themselves 39ers as the earliest intakes in the Battalion had the army number starting 4039 the later recruits were 4040 (Further stories added 10 June 2002)

Captain John Meredith....
was the commanding Officer of C Troop 181 Field Regt , an officer that was highly respected by all the men of his troop. After the war he kept in touch with several of the men in his troop, writing to them and sending a card at Christmas time, all the ex-members of C Troop spoke of him with same affection.....

Football Crazy.
The Battalion football team was one of the best in the British Army at that time......

Tragedy at the Gheel bridgehead

One of the few glimpses I had of my Dad's war experiences from his own lips was the tragedy that befell Charlie Troop at the Gheel Bridgehead.

As children we had a close neighbour who too had fought in the war. His name was Vernon Thomas, when my interest in military Research developed in later life I interviewed him at length on his war service. He served in the Guards Armoured Division, 1st Battalion Welsh Guards. He was a sniper and his war was "very personal" as he told me. Amazingly, he and dad fought in the same arena on many occasions.
Read MORE about the tragedy here.


Real internet solutions.
Photo Galleries
Web site provided by UKLive.Net in thanks for the book.