The Manchester Regiment 1758 - 1958

The Fifth (Territorial) Battalion


1/5th (Wigan) Battalion T.F.

On the 4th August 1914, The battalion was at their HQ at Bank Street Chambers, Wigan, ‘A’ to ‘E’ Companies, ‘F’ Company Patricroft, ‘G’ Company, Leigh, ‘H’ Company, Atherton.

As part of the Manchester Brigade, East Lancs Division (under the command of Brigadier General Noel Lee.) The Battalion was in camp at Hollingworth Lake, Littleborough near Rochdale.

On the 10th September 1914 the battalion sailed from Southampton for Egypt on board the Caledonia, arriving at Alexandria on the 25th September. En route the convoy passed the Jullunder Brigade sailing in the opposite direction, which included the 1st Battalion, sailing back from India to go into the line in France. In Egypt the battalion was quartered in the Mustapha Barracks and were kitted out in tropical clothing. By October the battalion was training in the Sidi-Gaber Barracks.

On the 3rd May the battalion embarked and on the 6th May 1915 they landed landed with the 6th Battalion at W and V beaches at Gallipoli,

The battalion moved up to the front line trenches on the 12th May under heavy machine gun and artillery fire, relieved on the 21st, the battalion went back to the beach, which was still under heavy fire. On the 26th May 1915, the formation became part of the 127th Brigade, 42nd Division. The battalion moved back up to the badly flooded front tranches and worked at completing the trench line

4th June 1915, the 42nd and the 29th Division attacked the main line of Turkish trenchs, with the Indian Brigade on the left and the RND on the right. The attack was carried through to the turkish third line ( which was their objective) but with 'terrible casualties' Although the initial attack was a success, the troops were withdrawn to the turkish front line, as the other units had not acheived their objectives. This position was held despite heavy turkish attacks. On the 5th July the battalion went back into the trenchs

In January 1916 after the evacuation of Gallipoli, the battalon arrived back in Egypt, wher it remained until March 1917 when it was transferred to France

On the 11th November 1918, as part of the 127th Brigade, 42nd Division, the battalion was in France, Hautmont area, S.W. of Maubeuge.

5th Battalion The Manchester Regiment (TA)

On 29 March 1939 the government ordered a doubling in strength of the Territorial Army and on 31 July the battalion was divided in two, the second half forming a new 6th Battalion. The 5th Battalion mobilised on 1 September 1939 with all men under 19 or of low medical category being transferred to the newly formed 6th Battalion. Training was carried out locally and in Central Park, Wigan. At the end of the month to Haydon Bridge, Northumberland and in January 1940 to Marlborough, Wiltshire.

To France with the BEF on 24 April as part of 127 (Manchester) Brigade 42 (East Lancashire) Division to Halluin on the French/Belgium border. Following the German invasion of Belgium on 10 May the battalion moved to the area of Douai. During the withdrawal to Dunkirk the battalion was engaged in close combat to the west of Bergues . To the UK on 1/2 June from Dunkirk.

The battalion reorganised at Stokesley, near Middlesborough. Later to West Aukland, to Wortley in the Sheffield area and, in the autumn, to Wheatley, near Oxford. In November to Felixstowe, Suffolk. In March 1941 the battalion moved to Southend and in the summer to Orwell Park, between Felixstowe and Ipswich. On 1 November 1941 the battalion was redesignated 111 Regiment Royal Armoured Corps (The Manchester Regiment) when 42nd Division was converted to an armoured division. In November 1942 the regiment became an armoured car regiment of 77th Division.

In November 1943 the battalion moved to Groatham, near West Hartlepool and reverted to an infantry role following disbandment of 42 Division. For a short time in 38th Division, then to 55th Division at Corsham, again converting to a machine-gun battalion. In August/September 1944 acted as the Royal Bodyguard at Balmoral whilst the Royal Family was in residence. December 1944 to Nutley, Sussex, with ‘D’ Company to Sandringham for Royal Guard duties. In February 1945 to Mundford, Norfolk until April when it moved to Llanybythor, Carmarthenshire. Posted to Malta on 18 November 1945 and remained there until November 1946. Battalion disbanded and 159 men transferred to the 1st Battalion in Germany in February 1947.

Reformed as a Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment Royal Artillery in 1947.

Further reading:

Wigan Military Chronicle - The Teritorial Army - G Derbyshire.
Unpublished manuscript in Imperial War Museum, Wigan Local Studies Library (Ref D/DZ A16) and the Lancashire County Record Office, Preston.

courtesy of Capt. Robert Bonner