Manchester Regiment Territorial Army 1919 – 1945
Between the two World Wars a number of changes were made. In February 1922 the 6th and 7th Battalions amalgamated to become the 6th/7th Battalion. In November 1937 this battalion was converted to an anti-aircraft role and became 65th Anti-Aircraft Regiment Royal Artillery.
In 1938, when war appeared to be imminent, the 6th and 7th Battalions were resurrected from the ranks of the 5th and 8th Battalions. Both battalions were divided in two and a new 6th Battalion sprang from the 5th Battalion and a 7th from the 8th Battalion.
The 10th Battalion was converted to armour in October 1938 and became the 41st Battalion Royal Tank Corps. Renamed 41st Royal Tank Regiment in 1939. A second line regiment was formed at Oldham in April 1939 and became 47th RTR. Both units were in action in the Middle East and at El Alamein. The 47th was then disbanded and the 41st became1st Scorpion Regiment Royal Armoured Corps. Later became 1st Assault (Engineers) Regiment. Post-war merged with 40th RTR & eventually with the Duke of Lancaster’s Yeomanry.
The 5th Battalion went to France with the BEF in April 1940; withdrew through Dunkirk and in November 1941 was redesignated 111 Regiment Royal Armoured Corps (The Manchester Regiment). In November 1942 it became an armoured car regiment of 77 Division. In November 1943 it reverted to is original infantry role as 5th Manchesters. Following royal guard duties at Balmoral in 1944 it was posted to Malta in November 1945 and remained there until November 1946 when the battalion was disbanded and 159 men were transferred to the 1st Battalion in Germany in February 1947. It was reformed as 652 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment Royal Artillery in 1947 and was later disbanded.
The 1st Battalion was captured by the Japanese in Singapore in February 1942. In June 1942 the War Office instructed that the 6th Battalion was to be reconstituted as a new 1st Battalion.
The newly raised 7th Battalion went to Scotland in late 1942 as a support battalion of 52nd (Lowland) Division. To Belgium in October 1944. Took part in the capture of Bremen and the surrender of the German Army. Later returned to the UK and disbandment.
The 8th (Ardwick) Battalion went to France with BEF in April 1940 and almost immediately transferred to Malta. To the Middle East in 1943 and the war in Italy. Returned to the UK in October 1944 and finished the war in Northern Ireland then South Wales.
The 9th Battalion went to France in April 1940, withdrew through Dunkirk and reorganised at Llandudno. To Iceland as part of Iceland ‘C’ Force in March 1941. Then to Scotland, Orkney & Shetland Islands and in December 1942 to East Anglia. To Italy in 1943, Greece in January 1945 and Klagenfurt, Austria. Returned to the UK in late 1945.
An additional battalion – the 2nd /9th was formed during 1938 in Ashton-under-Lyne as a medium machine-gun battalion. It mobilised at Stanley House, Ashton-under-Lyne. In December 1941 it was converted to artillery and became 88th Anti-Tank Regiment Royal Artillery. It remained in the UK and was disbanded in late 1944.
Although not strictly a Territorial unit an 11th Battalion was raised as a Home Defence Battalion in May/June 1939. Most ranks were discharged or dispersed to other units during February 1941. Later renamed 30th Battalion – UK only – and disbanded.