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Kenfig - The Complete History
A Welsh Documentary Heritage Website
Identified by The National Library of Wales Kenfig - The Complete History
A Welsh Documentary Heritage Website
Identified by The National Library of Wales

The British Army - 15th Battalion The Welch Regiment

War Years Section || 15th Battalion The Welch Regiment


The War Years around Kenfig
Documenting the entire history of the old kenfig borough / old bro cynffig

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The Old Kenfig Borough / Old Bro Cynffig



The British Army

15th Battalion The Welch Regiment

In March 1939 the Government decided to double the strength of the territorial army. It designated the newly formed battalions by the prefix 2/ in front of the existing battalion number and so the 2/4 (the second forth) battalion of the Welch Regiment was formed.
It joined the 2/5 Battalion and the 4th Battalion of the Monmouthshire Regiment to form the 113th Infantry Brigade of the 38th Welsh Division.

Re-numbered

Not long after its formation the 2/4th was re-numbered the 15th Battalion, the Welch Regiment - this was due to pressure to preserve a connection with the Carmarthenshire Battalion of World War I and the people of Carmarthen responded by donating a complete set of band instruments to the new Battalion.
Many of the new recruits came from the Carmarthen area although in some cases they just happened to be living in Porthcawl at the time.

Equipment

The newly formed Battalion suffered from a serious shortage of efficient instructors, equipment and clothing and because of the lack of military vehicles a number of civilian vans and lorries were commandeered.
Initially the men were sent to vulnerable points throughout South Wales but as these responsibilities were taken over by other units, the Battalion returned to Dan-y-Graig to continue their training.

Remaining in Porthcawl

The 15th Battalion remained in Porthcawl throughout the winter of 1939-40; they were housed initially in tents but later billeted in the bowling alley of the General Picton pub and in the Coney Beach fun fair.
In June 1940, 2000 men of the British Expeditionary Force arrived in Porthcawl from the beaches of Dunkirk - the 15th Battalion was assigned the responsibility of organising their reception and accommodation.
The survivors from Dunkirk were taken into resident's homes and some were accommodated in an old furniture warehouse in Nottage.
After the Dunkirk survivors had left Porthcawl, 1460 men of the Royal Dutch Army arrived and the 15th Battalion was involved in the logistics of arranging accommodation and food for them.
The Battalion was also assigned the responsibility for the defence of the RAF airfields at St. Athan and Llandow and because of this the Battalion Head Quarters moved from Dan-y-Graig to Llantwit Major.

End of Association with Porthcawl

In August 1940 the Battalion moved with the 38th Division to a tented camp near Rugely in Staffordshire and in November 1940 it transferred to Ramillies Barracks in Aldershot for intensive training.
The Battalion was given a counter-attack role and was allocated a defensive area on the South Downs to deal with any invasion landing.




The 38th Division

After leaving Porthcawl

The 38th Division's establishment was reduced to providing beach defence and to the training of recruits for other formations and from November 1941 to May 1943 it was stationed in Dorset.

Operations

In May 1943, the 15th Battalion was involved in the organisation and conduct of 'Operation Harlequin' - the full scale rehersal of the invasion of Europe.
In October 1943 the Battalion moved to Hertford and then to Northumberland where it acted as the 'enemy' for troops of the Second British Army.
In January 1944 the Battalion transferred to Scapa Flow in the Orkney Isles where it formed the defence garrison.
The Battalion was despatched to Ballyedmon in Northern Ireland where it was used as a training and draft finding unit until it finally disbanded.
Few if any of the soldiers who joined the 15th Battalion in 1939 remained with it throughout the war. Most if not all were posted to other Battalions of the Welch Regiment or to other arms and units of the British Army.
The role of the 15th Battalion was that of a defensive and recruit training arm of the army - an essential function but one denied the opportunity of battle honours.

Code Names of World War II

Operation Harlequin

A component of the overall Cockade plan designed to provide diversionary action against the German forces in France during 1943. Operation Harlequin was planned as an amphibious training exercise in the English Channel with a feint across the Channel towards German defences in the Pas-des-Calais. The operation was eventually called off for lack of adequate landing craft.



Associated Website Links ||

Acknowledgements ||


Bibliography

(1) Bridgend County Borough Council Library & Information Services
(2) 3rd party copyright © Mike Mansley (Porthcawl at War 1939-1945)
(3) Porthcawl Museum & History Society
(4) Rob Bowen - Kenfig.org Local Community Group

Webpage Author

(1) Mr Rob Bowen - Kenfig.org Local Community Group, 2009.

3rd Party Copyright:

15th Battalion The Welch Regiment;

Information & photos originally researched by Mike Mansley (Porthcawl at War 1939-1945) and part re-published online strictly for educational purposes only - 3rd party copyright © Mike Mansley (Porthcawl at War 1939-1945) - (First Printed 1994 - ISBN 0 9523152 0 3)
Information edited & sub-edited for online purposes || Rob Bowen - Kenfig.org Local Community Group, 2009
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