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The Battalion being embodied on 1st September, 1939, the Colours were once again laid up, this time at the parish church of Saint Mary Abbot. After a winter of training in the llminster region, the Battalion arrived in France in April, 1940, joining the 51st (Highland) Division on the Saar front, near Metz, where it was serving as part of the 3rd French Army in the Maginot Line. Here it manned the outposts and suffered its first casualties before "the blitz" began on 10th May, followed by the great fighting retreat of the Allied armies five days later. Throughout the inevitable chaos that ensued the Battalion maintained its efficiency as a fighting unit, and on 2nd June fought hard on the line of the River Somme near Abbeville. After another river action on the Bresle, "A" and "D" Companies were cornered and cut off at St. Valery-en-Caux with the 51st (Highland) Division and two hundred and seventy-four captured. Meanwhile Headquarters, "B" and "C" Companies fought their way out at Fecamp and were embarked at Le Havre after heavy fighting. On 13th June, 1940, the remnants of a fine fighting battalion landed at Southampton to fight another day.


Three years of Home Training followed, during which Britain rebuilt her strength and, after constant reorganization, the Kensingtons emerged as a support battalion, split into groups, and armed with mortars and machine guns. On 16th May, 1943, the Battalion sailed from Liverpool, bound for Algiers; there it joined 78th Division at Sousse, embarking in July for Sicily and a new offensive.


The Sicily Campaign was over in six weeks, the Kensingtons fighting at Catenanuova, Centuripe and Adrano, sustaining thirty casualties. The next move was obviously to Italy, where the first party landed at Bari on 17th September, 1943. A rapid advance through Foggia and Termoli (where a particularly fierce and bloody battle was fought) brought the Battalion to the line of the River Sangro, a formidable obstacle which took weeks of struggle in very wet weather to cross and secure. Another battle at Mozzagrogna in October and November proved the last obstacle before reaching the grim bastion of Cassino in January, 1944 The famous Gustav Line proved a tough and costly barrier indeed, and was not broken until Cassino fell on 18th May. For their part in the Liri Valley actions close by Cassino the Battalion earned another battle honour


From there the long boot of Italy was a sheer slog; action followed action practically every week. In many of these battles the accurate and heavy firepower of the Kensingtons' support groups rendered immeasurable assistance to the Infantry. After a halcyon midsummer break of two months, during which the Battalion was withdrawn to Egypt for refitting, it was back in the "line" by 12th October. The final months of the war were spent in the same rugged, relentless offensive against a still powerful enemy resolved to sell every yard at heavy cost. Florence , Senio, the River Po and the Argenta Gap each proved a tough area of offensive operations, with casualties steadily mounting as the British probed steadily northwards. For the whole of the campaign - Italy 1943-45 - and for Monte Spaduro further honours were awarded. The end came with suddenness, and on 8th May the Battalion was in Austria.


With Headquarters at Spittal there were months of uncongenial work; security patrols, rounding up deserters from the German Army, disarming troops, looking after refugees and feeding the children. One final call was made when the Battalion moved to Greece in April, 1946, to an area near Patras. Similar duties to those carried out in Austria were undertaken until, on 29th September, the 1st Battalion was disbanded.


1st Battalion