Memories of the Green Howards WWII

The 50th (Northumbrian) Division included the Infantry Brigades 149th, 150th (4th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment, 4th and 5th Green Howards and 5th Durham Light Infantry) and 151st. The division was mobilised on 1st September 1939 and in October 1939 was under the command of Major-General Giffard Le Quesne Martel, focused on training in the Cotswolds. Then in January 1940 embarked to France to join the British Expeditionary Force (BEF). My father (Pte RL Hymer), in the 4th Green Howards fought in France and retreated to Dunkirk. After which was sent to North Africa and in the Battle of Gazala, Rommel surrounded the 150th Brigade Box known as the Cauldron until it was gradually reduced over a stubborn defence and overrun by noon on 1st June 1942. Prisoners were then taken through Italy to German camps and Stalag XVII B [Pottenbrunn, Austria] is where he was taken. His mother, Margaret Hymer (21 Salisbury Street, Thornaby-on-Tees) sent a parcel to him on the 31st December 1944, rather than the Red Cross. Home from the battlefields, the Green Howards honoured with the freedom of Middlesbrough – 1946.

Photographs and details courtesy of Michael Hymer.

6 thoughts on “Memories of the Green Howards WWII

    • Details of Inscription given on website, alas not all the names are recorded.
      Imperial War Museums, Memorial Stockton.
      WM Reference 9789


  1. There were so many of them David, many Infantry both Light and Heavy lost up to 300% of their men from 1940 to 1945 and continued losing men for many years after in what the Governments of the day called “Bush Fire Actions” to those of us involved it seemed like war to us.
    I was with Armour but you cannot go charging off without Infantry cover so the PBI were always in up to their necks it is not generally known that it takes 75% of the Army to put 25% into the front line so those Infantry Regiments took the brunt of all fighting.
    We saw many brought wounded from the front to the Local military Hospitals such as Sedgefield, walking wounded would be seen in Town in their blue uniforms and they talked, we probably knew more that was going on than the News media said.
    I take my hat off to the DLI, Green Howards and other local troops who knowing the odds still went off willingly.


    • Commonwealth War Graves
      Pte Alfred Harris : Service Number 4392226
      Regiment & Unit : Green Howards (Yorkshire Regiment) 6th Battalion
      Died 09 August 1944 : Age 25 Years
      Buried : Banneville-La-Campagne War Cemetery XVI. A. 15. France
      We all remember their service to our country and us, Lest we forget.


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