Photos WW2 British & Commonwealth Forces

@Skyline Drive loving all the North Africa pictures and Italy - my father was attached to the 51st Highland Division

This one is for you then! Tommies of the 51st Highland Division meeting up with GIs in La-Roche-en-Ardenne, during the Battle of the Bulge.

A photo taken a little over 79 years ago, approaching the 23rd Anniversary of Armistice Day. A British soldier on watch at a lookout post in the Western Desert, 7 November 1941.
Source: IWM

"Keepin' 'em flying!"
With aid of some linen and dope, riggers of No. 655 Squadron (AOP) Squadron RAF, patch the wings of a Taylorcraft Auster Mark III spotter / liaison aircraft damaged by enemy gunfire over Anzio, in February 1944.
The big advantage of such aircraft with a fabric skin like the Auster was that they could be repaired and made airworthy again quite quickly.
This was the case during the Battle of Britain when damaged (mostly) fabric-covered Hurricanes were put back into service very quickly, whereas the all-metal skinned Spitfires required more time-consuming sheet-metal work.

View from HMS HERMIONE of HMS ARK ROYAL flying off Hawker Hurricane aircraft at sea, shortly before she was torpedoed by the German U Boat U 81. 13th Nov, 1941

HMS Nelson in the Western Mediterranean, April 1943
The wasteland that was once the town of Cassino.
Looming over it in the background is the moonscape of Monte Cassino which the Germans made into an almost impregnable fortress.
South African engineers of 11th Field Company, South African Engineer Corps, clear rubble by hand from "Route 6", the main road through Cassino.
The final German resistance had ceased only hours before when the fearless Poles stormed Monte Cassino.

The Inns of Court Yeomanry removed the turret from the Daimler armoured car to give it a lower profile so it was not easily seen above the hedgerows in the Normandy bocage where they operated as recce. They gave the turretless cars the title Sawn Off Daimlers, SODs for short

Smiles all around!
British troops who had at last broken out of the Anzio bridgehead link up with their American allies who themselves had advanced north from the Gustav Line, May 5th, 1944.
Note the man holding the movie camera just out of the frame, top left.

Lieutenant T.A.M. Vander-Spuy of the South African Air Force sits in the cockpit of his Douglas A20 Havoc ( Boston) somewhere in the Western Desert, circa 1943.
No.24 Squadron of the SAAF, which flew Bostons, was an integral part of the Desert Air Force.

A GI shows his British buddies how to handle an M1 Bazooka which, at the time ( Italy, November 1943) was still quite a new and novel weapon, bearing in mind that the British "equivalent" was the PIAT.
Interestingly, the censor has obscured both sets of unit insignia.

Corps of Engineers, be they British, American or Canadian etc.
Almost as soon as the smoke of battle cleared the engineers were on hand to clear the way with their heavy machinery, as seen here in the ruins of Cassino in May 1944.
The logistcal effort required was phenomenal, whether in Europe or the Pacific.
US industrial muscle churned out large numbers of these specialised machines and shipped them overseas to where they were needed.
The Axis quite simply had nothing to match them.
Thus, in its way, the humble bulldozer was just as much a war-winner as the Sherman tank.
(LIFE / Silk)

HMS Illustrious (87) at sea in the Indian Ocean between 27 March and 18 May 1944, while operating with the U.S. Navy carrier USS Saratoga (CV-3).
Royal Navy Divers remove underwater obstacles, unexploded ordnance, and do salvage work in Cherbourg harbor - July 1944
The Germans had so thoroughly wrecked and mined the port of Cherbourg before the surrender that Hitler awarded the Knight's Cross to Rear Admiral Walter Hennecke the day after he surrendered for "a feat unprecedented in the annals of coastal defense”
LIFE Magazine Archives - David Scherman Photographer


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