The South Staffordshire Regiment was a line infantry regiment of the British Army in existence for only 68 years. The regiment was created on the 1st July 1881 under the Childers Reforms by the amalgamation of the 38th (1st Staffordshire) Regiment of Foot and the 80th (Staffordshire Volunteers) Regiment of Foot. The 2nd Battalion, The South Staffordshire Regiment would always be known as the 80th Regiment of Foot.
The 2nd Battalion was one of the first units to land in France in 1914, as part of the British Expeditionary Force, and saw action on the Western Front throughout the rest of the First World War, earning twenty-eight battle honours.
The 2nd Battalion, The South Staffordshire Regiment moved from England to Palestine in 1929. From here it was then sent to India in 1932.
On the 17th July 1940 the battalion arrived back in England, landing at Liverpool, as part of the counter to a threat of invasion. They formed part of the 31st Independent Infantry Brigade, and they were initially stationed at Wheatley in Oxfordshire.
Then in November 1941 it was converted to a glider infantry role, serving as part of the 1st Airlanding Brigade in the 1st Airborne Division. As such, they went to North Africa in May 1943, and then landed in Sicily on the night of 9/10 July 1943 where they, along with the rest of the brigade, suffered heavy casualties during Operation Ladbroke.
Back in North Africa they re-built and re-equipped for the next action that was being planned, which turned out to be Operation Slapstick, the invasion of south-eastern Italy, via the port of Taranto in September 1943. In December they returned to England to prepare for the Second Front.
The battalion now took part in Operation Market-Garden, and played a significant part in the Battle of Arnhem, 17th – 25th September 1944, but suffered heavy casualties. Amongst the bravery awards to members of the battalion were two Victoria Crosses, one to Major Robert Cain, and the second, posthumously, to Lance Sergeant John Baskeyfield.
Although the battalion did not see action again, it did take part in one further Operation – Doomsday – the occupation and securing of Norway in May 1945, where they assisted with the disarming and processing of the German Garrison.
In October 1945 the battalion’s airborne role came to an end and they were sent to Germany in December 1945 as part of the occupation force.
Lt Col. AD Clinch 1941-42
Lt Col. OL Jones 1942-43
Lt Col. WDH McCardie 1943-44
Lt Col. HCB Cook 1944-45Read More
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