The WW2 Battlefront (1939 – 1945)
Here are examples of our WW2 Battlefront displays and portrayals.
The Forgotten 14th
The British Fourteenth Army was a multinational force comprising units from Commonwealth countries during World War II. Many of its units were from the Indian Army as well as British units and there were also significant contributions from West and East African divisions within the British Army.
It was often referred to as the “Forgotten Army” because its operations in the Burma Campaign were overlooked by the contemporary press, and remained more obscure than those of the corresponding formations in Europe for long after the war.
For most of the Army’s existence, it was commanded by Lieutenant-General William Slim.
More information and pictures can be found in the Facebook Group The Forgotten 14th
7th Armoured Division
(The Desert Rats)
The 7th Armoured Division saw distinguished active service in the Western Desert Campaign in North Africa, which made it famous as the ‘Desert Rats’.
The 7th Armoured Brigade was detached from the division during early 1942 and fought the Japanese during the fighting in the early stages of the Burma Campaign, it then returned to the Mediterranean Theatre and fought in the Italian theatre.
The division fought in most major battles during the North African Campaign; later it would land and fight in the Italian Campaign during the early stages of the invasion of Italy before being withdrawn to the United Kingdom where it prepared to fight in North-west Europe. It began landing in Normandy during the afternoon of D-Day, 6 June 1944, and fought its way across Europe ending the war in Kiel and Hamburg, Germany.
Auxiliary Territorial Service (A.T.S)
The Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) was the women’s branch of the British Army during the Second World War.
It was formed on 9 September 1938.
The ATS had its roots in the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC), which was formed in 1917 as a voluntary service. During the First World War its members served in a number of jobs including clerks, cooks, telephonists and waitresses.
Prior to the Second World War, the government decided to establish a new Corps for women, and an advisory council, which included members of the Territorial Army (TA), a section of the Women’s Transport Service (FANY) and the Women’s Legion, was set up. The council decided that the ATS would be attached to the Territorial Army, and the women serving would receive two thirds the pay of male soldiers.
The first recruits to the ATS were employed as cooks, clerks and storekeepers. At the outbreak of the Second World War, 300 ATS members were billeted to France. As the German Army advanced through France, the British Expeditionary Force was driven back towards the English Channel. This led to the evacuation of troops from Dunkirk in May 1940, and some ATS telephonists were among the last British personnel to leave the country.
As more men joined the war effort, it was decided to increase the size of the ATS, with numbers reaching 65,000 by September 1941. Women between the ages of 17 and 43 were allowed to join, although these rules were relaxed in order to allow WAAC veterans to join up to the age of 50. The duties of members were also expanded, seeing ATS orderlies, drivers, postal workers and ammunition inspectors
The Women’s Auxiliary Service (Burma) (WAS(B))
The Women’s Auxiliary Service (Burma) (WAS(B)) was formed on 16 January 1942 and disbanded in 1946. The WAS(B)s were a group of British and Australian women who manned Mobile Canteens for the troops of Burma Command in World War II. They moved through Burma with the British Fourteenth Army living in dangerous and uncomfortable conditions, sleeping in bombed out, rat infested houses or tents with their stores and equipment brought in by air. They improvised stoves from old ammunition boxes. They were evacuated from Myitkyina on the last plane, and from the Battle of Imphal during the siege, but returned as soon as the Japanese retreated, eventually reaching Japan with the British Commonwealth Occupation Force. Many were mentioned in dispatches. General Slim later 1st Viscount Slim, Commander of the 14th Army known as the “Forgotten Army”, said of them “They showed the highest standard of devotion and courage.”