Robert William Friend 6458484 1/7 Royal Fusilers

1 Battalion 7th Foot (City of London Regiment) Royal Fusiliers
Army Record of Service for 25 Yrs 289 days before colours

War Diaries Jan - Dec 1943




Appendix Pages/Location


War Games


As above


As above- weather bad. More jeeps arrive from USA

Apr #

75 more oldest serving soldiers leave for home. Includes 6458484 RW Friend!
Leaves Iraq 12/4/43 to Suez Departs Suez 18/4/43 arrives Bombay 26/4/43  aboard
SS Strathaird
with 1194 troops.
  Departs Bombay 29/4/43 aboard
RMS Capetown Castle

with 200 troops and 800 POW's for NYC sailing independently.


At sea
Durban 13/05
Cape Town 15-18/05/43
Saldanha Bay, SA 18-20/05/43
Punta Arenas, Chile 30-31/05/43


At sea
Balboa, Panama 9/06/43
Cristobal, Panama 10/06/43
New York City 16/06/43
Leave NYC 23/06/43 aboard troop ship
RMS Johan De Witt

Convoy HX245


At sea
Arrives Liverpool 8/7/43
Imagine Bob's thoughts arriving home, his first steps on English soil since leaving as a boy 30/9/36! What a change from India and the heat, dust, sand, flies and war in Middle East. He did not see or experience the temperatures of Agra/Egypt until he visited his eldest daughter Marianne Holder and family in Melbourne, Australia summer 1987. I can see now why he was taken by our visit and BBQ to Lauriston dam near Kyneton on a hot and dry sunny day.
Route map & ships


##Posted end of month to
11 Bn Royal Fusiliers Order of Battle below
Stationed Sandown, Isle of White
 During exercise shoot down ME 109


Exercise Sally defends I.o.W against Nazi aiebourne landing. Serious training for D-Day. The Bn takes part in Operation Cockade a deception to try and destroy Luftwaffe.  Referred to in War Record as Ex Harlequinn.


Training Exercise Flap V is testing Dad's Army with 11th Bn being enemy! Exercise Stalingrad is house to house street fighting in Woolston, Southampton! The transport Div is practising night loading of Landing Boats.
The CO is worried about cleanliness of billets!


C in C Armed Forces visits 10/11/'43. Small exercise Tim. Lots of days off and consequently pilfering & thieving is on the rise.


Light training. Lots of inspections. A dance Christmas Eve at Sandown Town Hall and Christmas day an evening show in the Pavilion on the pier.


"Always a Fusilier"
  • 8th Indian Infantry Div

    • 17th Indian Infantry Brigade

      • 1st Battalion Royal Fusiliers

      • 1/5 Gurkha Rifles

      • 1/12 Frontier Force Rifles
        (RW Friend Left Apr 1943)

##From Aug 1943

  • 47th (London) Infantry Division

    • 4th London Infantry Brigade

      • 11 Bn Royal Fusiliers

      • 12 Bn Royal Fusiliers

      • and more - see here and here

JAN Japs withdraw from Guadalcanal area. Germans are surrounded at Stalingra. US & Oz beat Japs in PNG and resist a fight back. UK capture Tripoli.
FEB Naziz surrender at Stalingrad and start the big retreat back to Fatherland. Guadalcanal finally won. US defeated at Battle of Sidi Bou Zid then push Rommel back at Thala
Aussie troops return home to fight Japanese.See Operation Pamphlet.
MAR UK 1st fully electronic computer Colossus runs at Bletchley Park. US & Oz sink Jap convoy Batt;e of Bismark Sea. Greeks force surrender of Italian Reg. Gloster Meteor has first operational military flight.
MAY Dambuster raid. Churchill addresses a joint US session of senate & congress. German/Italian North African forces capitulate. War of Atlantic won 34 U Boats sunk in Adlantic in May made forces Donitz to call off U boat campaign.
JUL Largest tank battle at Kursk and Prokhorovka. Scicily invasion starts (1 Bn RF involved but Bob is in UK attached to holding regiment). 24 hr bombing of Hamburg starts. Mussolini arrested.
AUG US bomb oil refinary at Ploiesti, Romanai. US routes Japs at New Georgia. Patton & Monty meet in Scicily completing the invasion. Russia routes Axis at Kursk.
SEP Allies invade mainland Italy. 8th Sep Italy surrenders so Germans take over the fighting.
OCT Naples liberated. Completion of Burma railway. There are lots more I've focused on action in Middle East.

Information regarding  voyage from Suez to Bombay provided by, with a special thanks to Mike Holdaway for doing the searches based on dates that 6458484 RW Friend embarked and disembarked at locations..
During 1943 U Boat losses amounted to 238, far more than the Axis could replace. Effectively  the U boat threat no longer existed regarding the blockade of UK.