This brand-new title is the story of the Devons, Hampshires and Dorsets in Sicily and Italy. Its publication completes the trilogy. In August 2017 Yells, Bells & Smells told the story of the three battalions in the Siege of Malta 1940-43. In June 2019 D-Day Spearhead Brigade told their story in the Normandy landings in 1944. Now Roy’s Boys fills the gap in the middle by describing their part in the landings in Sicily and Italy in 1943.
The new book draws on the testimony of scores of veterans to portray the Brigade’s training in Egypt, their successful landing on the south-eastern tip of Sicily and their rapid advance inland to encounter fierce opposition from the German defenders. It describes the bloody battles at Agira and Regalbuto before a shambolic landing on the toe of Italy, where the Brigade’s fighting experience in Sicily enabled them, despite heavy casualties, to impose order upon chaos and to win through. It is full of good pictures – many previously unpublished contemporary ones alongside recent colour photographs of 231 Brigade’s battlefields. Roy’s Boys was the Brigade’s nickname, given by the Jocks of 51st Highland Division. Roy was Brigadier Roy Urquhart DSO, who had been 51 Div’s chief staff officer before taking command of 231 Malta Brigade. He later, of course, won fame at Arnhem.
Like its predecessors, this book is the work of a team consisting of one map man (Peter Turner), one writer (Christopher Jary) and four other researchers (James Porter, Nick Speakman, Andrew Edwards and Laurence Thornton Grimes). It is being published now to enable us to send a copy to Denis Bounsall DCM (stretcher-bearer, A Company, 1st Dorsets) who fought throughout these bloody campaigns and whose humane presence warms and illuminates several incidents in all three books. Denis will be 100 on 2nd March and a set of the books will be sent to him in New Zealand with the good wishes of us all. He was and remains a very remarkable man.
Matching editions of all three books have been produced. Each book can be bought for £12 while a matching set of all three can be bought for £32.
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