Red Crown and Dragon: 53rd Welsh Division in North-West Europe 1944-1945 - Patrick DelaforceStroud: Amberley Publishing, 2009, Paperback.
Condition: Near Fine.
Includes: Black & white photographs; Black & white drawings; Frontispiece map; Appendix;
From the cover: “The 53rd Welsh Division fought in the First World War at Gallipoli and against the Turks in Palestine. At the outbreak of the Second World War, they went from Wales to garrison Ulster. After four years of training they landed in Normandy as part of ‘Overlord’ — one of Monty’s six ‘green’ divisions; but the ONLY Welsh division.
They took part in the attritional battles of Le Cahier, Le Bon Repos and Evrecy, and in Normandy won a fine VC. They captured 4,000 Germans in the Falaise Gap before following up to Antwerp and the Lommel bridgehead battles. Their greatest set-piece victory was the capture of ‘s-Hertogenbosch in October 1944. Lt Gen Ritchie, their Corps Commander, wrote: ‘tremendously impressed with the fighting qualities of the Division’.
After a short spell as garrison of the ‘Island’, they were abruptly called south as part of Monty’s ‘longstop’ to fight the Panzers in the Ardennes in bitter conditions. During ‘Veritable’ they slogged their way through the Reichswald to break the Siegfried Line and into the Rhineland to capture Weeze. During Operation ‘Plunder’ they fought in all the vicious little canal and river battles before ending the war in Hamburg.
They were brilliantly led by Maj Gen ‘Bobby’ Ross, CB, DSO, MC, but suffered 10,000 casualties during the campaign. Later, Monty told them: You have been, and are, one of my best divisions.
The Royal Welch Fusiliers provided five units (4th, 6th and 7th Bns. plus 116 LAA and 71st A/Tk Regt.). The Welch Regt was represented by 4th and l/5th Bns; the Monmouths by their 2nd Bn. Their ‘international’ brigade was composed of 1st Highland Light Infantry (City of Glasgow), 1st Bn Oxford & Bucks LI and 1st Bn East Lancashire Regiment. The three gunner regiments, 81st (Glamorgan Yeomanry), 83rd (Monmouthshire volunteers), and 133rd Field (Radnor), plus the Manchesters’ medium machine guns and heavy mortars provided formidable support.
Over sixty men, NCOs and officers tell their part in this campaign story.”