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The Suffolk Regiment

By Ben Head

WWII was the Second World War between Brition, America, Russia and numerous other countries against Nazi Germany, 1939 – 1945.
It was started by Adolf Hitler rising to power over Germany and becoming a Nazi dictator and leader of the National Socialist party.
Hitler invaded Poland and so WWII was declared as his Secret Police – The SS – were murdering and torturing the Jewish race in concentration and death camps. He was ruling the country by fear.
Opposition countries declared war on Germany and so WWII was started.
My Grandad, Bill Woodcock, was 17 when he joined the Suffolk Regiment to join WWII.
His Birth date was picked and he was asked to join the war, and because he wanted to fight for Briton and his family, he joined the Suffolk Regiment to fight Nazi Germany in Europe.
D-Day or Normandy was one of the Suffolk Regiments major and first battles. Grandad was in the 8th brigade of the 3rd infantry division.
The 1st battalion of the Suffolk regiment were the Assault troops and first troops ashore on Queen White Beach in Normandy near Hermanville – Sur Mer (On Sea).
It started when the 1st battalion boarded the SLI’s – the landing ships Infantry on the 3rd and 4th of June, but didn’t sale into the English channel until the 5th of June. – My Grandad said he smoked a whole carton of Cigarettes on the way over – He had never smoked before that but he was so nervous and he was hooked onto smoking for many years later. They landed on Queen beach at 7:25 am. They came ashore through German MG’s and shelling. The First German my Grandad saw was Japanese. They moved off the beach by the end of the day and dug in. They lost 7 men killed and 25 wounded. They also took 270 German Prisoners. In Normandy a street is named after the Suffolk’s – “Rue de Suffolk regiment” Grandad was surprised he survived with all the bullets and shells in the air. He was very grateful that he lived through the first battle.
During around the time of D – day, elsewhere in WWII, Americas 132nd infantry regiment prepared to take over Mavaviain Bougainville.
On the 5th of April, 1944, the 132nd regiment now had established a patrol that swept along Empress Augusta bay, successfully launched an attack to take the Japanese held village of Mavavia. Two days later, the regiment encountered prepared Japanese defences, where they destroyed twenty Japanese pillboxes using pole charges and bazookas. Then the regiment with the Fiji defence force captured hills 155, 165, 500 and 501 in fierce fighting, until the Japanese were killed or driven off. The American 93rd division reinforced them and they began to make airfields along the beachheads. There, they conducted bomber raids on Japanese held islands like Rabaul and Kavieng.
Back in Europe, Grandad was ready for the next battle – Caen. Caen was an objective to be taken of D – Day, but at the end of the day it still hadn’t been.
After fighting every day from the 6th of June (except for about 6 days) on the 27th of June – the operation to take Caen was launched. It was called “Operation mitten”
When they arrived, German soldiers of the 192nd regiment with 30 panzer tanks fought the British off for a day. On the 28th, Grandad’s 1st battalion renewed the assault amongst heavy resistance. After a whole day of fighting, they captured LaLonde castle near Caen. But fighting for the rest of Caen continued until the 21st of July, nearly a month later.
There is a big memorial to the 3rd division in Caen. My grandad called the symbol the eternal triangle. And the people of Caen have a lot of respect for the English soldiers who liberated their city.
Back in the pacific, the battle of Cape Gloustor was starting.
In 1943 and 44, the goal was to capture a Japanese airfield at cape Gloustor and secure safe passage in the seas.
Landings in Gloustor began on December 15, and America’s 112th cavalry division went to cut off the Japanese reinforcements and supplies from east to west. The main operation began on December 26th with an American naval barrage on Japanese positions in Gloucester, followed by the air attacks by planes and the landing of the first marine Division. They were opposed by the Japanese 17th division, the 65th infantry brigade and elements of the Japanese 51st division. America then continued to fight in the Pacific.
Back in Europe, granddads 3rd infantry division and the us 7th armoured division and the British 11th division tried to take over overloon but failed and they had heavy losses. They then advanced on Venray, and resulted in heavy losses, especially near loobeek creek, which was swollen due to heavy autumn rains and was flooded and mined by the Germans. During the battle the village of Overloon was destroyed. In and around overloon, some 2, 500 soldiers died making it one of the bloodiest battles in the Netherlands during World War 2. It was also the only major tank battle ever fought on Dutch soil. Dozens of tanks, mainly British, were destroyed.
Altogether WWII was a war that shocked nations worldwide. It was by far the worst war that many people died – over 50 million. The Suffolk regiment, along with many other regiments of brave men were most needed to defeat Hitler and Nazi Germany. Many men would have been appreciated and my Grandad was one of them.